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Self, Anatta and Consciousness

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Cartesian theater. Objects experienced are represented within the mind of the observer "Cartesian theater" is a derisive term coined by philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett to refer pointedly to a defining aspect of what he calls Cartesian materialism, which he considers to be the often unacknowledged remnants of Cartesian dualism in modern materialistic theories of the mind.

Cartesian theater

Descartes originally claimed that consciousness requires an immaterial soul, which interacts with the body via the pineal gland of the brain. Dennett says that, when the dualism is removed, what remains of Descartes' original model amounts to imagining a tiny theater in the brain where a homunculus (small person), now physical, performs the task of observing all the sensory data projected on a screen at a particular instant, making the decisions and sending out commands (cf. the homunculus argument). See also[edit] Notes[edit] References[edit] External links[edit] Dhamma and Non-duality. One of the most challenging issues facing Theravada Buddhism in recent years has been the encounter between classical Theravada vipassana meditation and the "non-dualistic" contemplative traditions best represented by Advaita Vedanta and Mahayana Buddhism.

Dhamma and Non-duality

Responses to this encounter have spanned the extremes, ranging from vehement confrontation all the way to attempts at synthesis and hybridization. While the present essay cannot pretend to illuminate all the intricate and subtle problems involved in this sometimes volatile dialogue, I hope it may contribute a few sparks of light from a canonically oriented Theravada perspective. My first preliminary remark would be to insist that a system of meditative practice does not constitute a self-contained discipline. Any authentic system of spiritual practice is always found embedded within a conceptual matrix that defines the problems the practice is intended to solve and the goal toward which it is directed.

Bāhiya Sutta: Bāhiya. I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Sāvatthī at Jeta's Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery.

Bāhiya Sutta: Bāhiya

And on that occasion Bāhiya of the Bark-cloth was living in Suppāraka by the seashore. He was worshipped, revered, honored, venerated, and given homage — a recipient of robes, alms food, lodgings, & medicinal requisites for the sick. Then, when he was alone in seclusion, this line of thinking appeared to his awareness: "Now, of those who in this world are arahants or have entered the path of arahantship, am I one?

" Then a devatā who had once been a blood relative of Bāhiya of the Bark-cloth — compassionate, desiring his welfare, knowing with her own awareness the line of thinking that had arisen in his awareness — went to him and on arrival said to him, "You, Bāhiya, are neither an arahant nor have you entered the path of arahantship. Dzogchen. This article is about the primordial state in Tibetan Buddhism and Bön.


For the monastery, see Dzogchen Monastery. Dzogchen (Wylie: dzogs chen) or "Great Perfection", also called Atiyoga, is a tradition of teachings in Tibetan Buddhism, aimed at attaining and maintaining the natural, primordial state or natural condition. It is a central teaching of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism and of Bon. Dzogchen. Herkunft[Bearbeiten] Bön[Bearbeiten] Nach der Überlieferung der Bön-Tradition wurde Dzogchen erstmals vom Meister Shenrab Miwoche in Zentralasien gelehrt.


Der Meister Gyerchen Nangzher Lodpo lehrte Dzogchen erstmals in Tibet. Bei den Bön gilt Dzogchen als höchster der neun Wege oder Fahrzeuge. Die Bön-Dzogchen-Übertragung ist bis auf den heutigen Tag als eigenständiges Lehrsystem erhalten geblieben. Nyingma[Bearbeiten] Auch wenn man die Lehren des Dzogchen hauptsächlich den ursprünglichen zwei religiösen Traditionen zuordnen kann, überschreiten sie aufgrund ihrer Unmittelbarkeit den Kontext religiöser Konzepte. Lehrinhalt[Bearbeiten] Gotama and Parfit on the Self. Image courtesy of Idea go / The self is perhaps one of the most fraught and confusing elements of the dhamma.

Gotama and Parfit on the Self

The Buddha considered it an advanced teaching: it’s not something he brought up in discussions with laypeople. Indeed, the great lay benefactor Anāthapiṇḍika was apparently not aware of any of the doctrine of non-clinging until his deathbed, and urged that the Buddha teach it more widely. (Majjhima Nikāya 143.15). It also does not occur explicitly in either the Eightfold Path or the Four Noble Truths, which are the heart of the dhamma. For most of us it’s enough to be aware of the problem, in particular as it reveals itself in conceit and egotism, and leave it at that. The Buddha’s Strategy It’s a common mistake to claim that the Buddha believed in ‘no self’ in the sense that there are no persons, no individuals.

Sam Harris Talks Spirituality. Sam Harris’s new book Waking Up has a lot to recommend it.

Sam Harris Talks Spirituality

Harris is a gifted writer, always clear and engaging, who never seems to talk down to the reader. This is not an easy task when dealing with abstruse topics. Harris picks out salient examples and tells interesting stories that continually bring his points to life. I have no doubt that this book will prove popular and convincing to many readers.

This is a good thing, since Harris’s aim is to propound what he terms “Buddhism shorn of its miracles and irrational assumptions” (p. 27), which is a good shorthand for what those of us in the Secular Buddhist community are trying to do. To make his case, Harris has to defend himself on two flanks: first against those skeptics, atheists, and secularists who deny any role for something termed “spirituality” at all, and second against more traditional forms of religiosity.