A positive message to encourage people of all ages to pursue their dreams! In Buddhist spirituality that includes the aspiration to become Buddha. But in order to become something else, you need to “unbecome” what you are. To let go of your present self.
To wear new clothes, we have to take off what we are wearing. Simply adding and wearing garments on top of each other cannot work well. But that is exactly how we are. We are hesitant to take off our existing hat to put on a new one.
BUT THE REALITY, is that we really do not have a choice.
Our persona, our personality, our likes and dislikes, our preference, our temperaments, our characters changes over times. Sometime it is driven by social pressure. For example fashion. Sometimes driven by our aging body. Sometimes even our mood and emotion can change our personal preferences. We are constantly changing.
Because we are constantly changing, there is no fixed “I”
That is the basic level of understanding ‘non I’, or ‘non self’. However, even that understanding will not help people accept “No I”. The attachment in the mind will cause people to conclude that the various persona from birth till now is “I”.
Therefore, there is a constantly changing “I”
When we form that conclusion, it is not completely correct too. This is because that “changing I” is nothing more than a combination of past memories and current attachment to a sense of being (a samsaric being). When we do that, we become chained to samsasic experience. We still cannot let go…..
For many people, the idea of non “I” is terrifying. As can be seen from the below screen shot comments.
This is because when the word non or no appears, they think negatively and interpret it as nihilism. That is also a wrong conclusion. Buddhism is the middle path and avoid the idea of eternalism and nihilism.
“No I” does not mean we cease to exist or we do not exist. In a simple interpretation, Buddhist is saying that the “I” , we are attached to, is dependent on various factors.
If we think objectively, our sense of “being” is being programmed into us. We are taught to identify with a name after birth. Taught to understand the concept of me and you and they. Taught to recall memory of yesterday and understand the concept of tomorrow and planning ahead. Can you still remember when it happened during this lifetime?
Our daily interaction with parents and friends, social indoctrinations, religion etc gives us more and more idea of what is right and what is wrong. Forming our persona, our self….
Therefore, the “I” that we strongly identify with is not our true self. It is an illusion. It is a “programing” of our mind. Unfortunately, the program is flawed. Flawed by craving, hatred and ignorance.
It takes mental training (meditation and contemplation) to slowly untie the”knots” in our mind. Since there is “no I”, we can be anything……
The Buddhist goal is to be Buddha.
May all be well and happy.