No True Self

“…there is no true self waiting in the wings to be released.  Self is a disruptive, false and, as such, unnecessary metaphor for the process of awareness and knowing:  when we awaken to knowing, we realize that all that goes on in us is the flow of ‘thoughts without a thinker’.  The impossibility of figuring out who or what we are is inherent, since there is nothing that we ‘really are’ –  just a void in the core of our being.   Consequently, in the process of Buddhist enlightenment, we do not exit this terrestrial world for another, truer reality; rather, we accept its non-substantial, fleeting, illusory character, and undergo the process of ‘going to pieces without falling apart’.”

-Slavoj Zizek

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~ by Scott Hamilton Peters on March 24, 2009.

One Response to “No True Self”

  1. As a Buddhism neophyte who just picked up and read the Tao Te Ching, I find it interesting that this self-immolation concept I keep hearing about is contrary to the purpose of Lao Tzu’s writings, which appear to be an instruction manual on how to survive the vicissitudes of the Warring States period (from Book Two, XLIV, line 100):

    Your name or your person,
    Which is dearer?
    Your person or your goods,
    Which is worth more?
    Gain or loss,
    Which is a greater bane?
    That is why excessive meanness
    Is sure to lead to great expense;
    Too much store
    Is sure to end in immense loss.
    Know contentment
    And you will suffer no disgrace;
    Know when to stop
    And you will meet with no danger.
    You can then endure.

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