No Self? What about "I", "me", & "mine"?

“Twenty-six hundred years (ago) … a spoiled young trust-funder, Prince Shakyamuni Gautama – the eventual Buddha, or ‘awakened one’ – tried something like sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll at his childhood palace, the ancient Indian version of the Playboy Mansion. Then he scrapped all of that for the life of a devout ascetic, fleeing the city for the forest, where he tacked 180 degrees and began praying feverishly, starving himself, wrenching his frame into tortured yoga positions, and perhaps worst of all, forgoing the company of women. What he ultimately discovered was that a life of pure denial or negation, the strictly ‘religious’ life, was no more the answer to our suffering than a life of unrestrained indulgence or affirmation. Prudery and debauchery were both extremes, dead ends born from the illusion of an ego consciousness or ‘self’ that exists in and of itself, apart from everything else, a soul or supernatural thumbprint to identify us as the same wearisome individuals for all eternity.

In other words, Shakyamuni Buddha went to the very end of human thinking and experience. What he found when he got there was that he himself was missing. That is, the definitive, fixed ‘This is me’ that he thought he was seeking was nowhere to be found. What he discovered instead is that the entity that arises and in due course winds up on one’s driver’s license is a kind of composite relationship or dynamic intersection between a trillion shifting boundaries, inner and outer (time, space, hair color, memory, neural impulses, sunbeams, beefsteak, and on and on), with a little provisional flag sticking up out of it called I Am. For the Buddha, any attempt to pin yourself down as anything whatsoever, a hedonist or a moralist, for example, is sure to fail. By the time you’ve calculated the boundaries that define you, they’ve been rezoned by the worlds around and within you.”

Shozan Jack Haubner. “Zen Confidential. Confessions of a Wayward Monk.” Shambhala, Boston, 2013.

Texting on stilts!

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