Buddhism (Religions of the World) by Leslie D. Alldritt

By Leslie D. Alldritt

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Extra info for Buddhism (Religions of the World)

Sample text

A pencil is not a “pencil” until someone sees it as an object that has that meaning for the objectifier. So, in order to have an object, you need a subject (the objectifier). In seeing the pencil, this book, or any object, you are necessarily involved as the objectifier. You are not an object—but a subject—so we can call you the subject-I. Normally human consciousness posits a self, that is, it includes self-consciousness. Just because my consciousness functions the way it does, I believe I have a self, even though I can never see the self directly.

Along with dukkha, these three comprise what are called the Three Marks of Existence. Non-self is a challenging concept, even for someone who has studied Buddhism for many years. The idea is not that one has no self or that one does not exist, as Westerners often understood it when they first learned of this doctrine. It is rather that this ordinary self, this collection of physical and mental aggregates, is impermanent, relative, and nonexistent in and of itself. One suffers or is unsatisfied because of a failure to fully realize this limited nature of the self.

This craving or grasping after those objects that we deem desirable does NOT lead to relief from suffering or dissatisfaction (although we think it will). Rather than release us from the fundamental ignorance from which we began, it simply leads us to a death that results in a rebirth that only lands us back in a new cycle of ignorance. Release from the round of births and deaths requires a fundamental change in consciousness (Awakening), whereas craving is only ordinary consciousness. So craving only lands us back in suffering.

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