Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

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Posts Tagged ‘Self’

Deepak Chopra- Learn How to Meditate (Nauči meditirati)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 9, 2012

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Seeking the Self: A Ghost Story

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 9, 2012

By Deepak Chopra

We are all quite certain that we have a self. When you say “I like chocolate” or “I vote progressive,” no one asks what you mean by “I.” That task was left for centuries to philosophers and theologians. “Know thyself” is an axiom worth heeding, but what is there to know? If one camp of modern science has its way, the answer is “nothing.” The self, we are told, is an illusion created by the complexity of brain functions. As thousands of inputs bombard each other every second, forming an almost infinite tangle of neural messages, a ghost was created whose name is “I.”

Thus, in one stroke the problem that has intrigued humanity’s greatest minds — “Who am I?” — is reduced to a mirage or fairy tale. The search for the self has proved fruitless when brain scans are consulted. There is no known location for “I” in the brain, and this lack leads one of two ways: Either the self is pervasive or it doesn’t exist. Claiming that “I” is an illusion would seem like a cheap way to shrug off a very difficult problem. Yet there is some backing for this position in the Buddhist concept of “emptiness,” which holds that all transitory events, including all of our personal experiences, are fabricated by the ego-personality. If we give up our cherished clinging to “I, me, and mine,” freedom lies in the realization that there is no fixed self, no fixed mind, not even such a thing as consciousness.

Yet when they combine their efforts, Buddhism and neuroscience can’t convince the ordinary person that “I” is a ghost, and there’s another tradition that considers the self the richest part of who we are, the source of unlimited potential for creativity, intelligence and evolution. In short, there’s a contest between the higher self and no self. Until a small band of scientific skeptics and atheists stepped forward, waving the banner of absolute materialism, the no-self camp was decidedly in the minority. But materialists see an advantage in denying that “I” exists. For them, it isn’t an exotic minority position with little bearing on daily life. No-self falls in with a larger notion that consciousness is just a byproduct of chemical reactions in the brain. Read the rest of this entry »

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