The Self as a Figment - Do Figments Have Eternal Life?

Total Posts:  9254
Joined  20-02-2006
10 September 2016 09:17

Is the self a figment?  Do figments have eternal life?  Why do many religious people think that the personal memories and experiences accumulated since birth are going to continue to exist after they die?  (even though brain injury or disease tells us that memories and experiences can be lost even in this life)

figment  n  something made up or contrived

contrived  adj  ARTIFICIAL, LABORED

artificial  adj  MAN-MADE

Zen master Mazu comments:

“Human delusions of time immemorial, deceit, pride, deviousness, and conceit, have conglomerated into one body.  That is why [Buddhist] scripture says that this body is just made of elements, and its appearance and disappearance is just that of elements, which have no identity.  When successive thoughts do not await one another, and each thought dies peacefully away, this is called absorption in the oceanic reflection.”

Is Mazu saying that when the self isn’t active we are already immortal (Buddha mind) even in this life?  That is, when the self isn’t active, are we then pure consciousness, an eternal attribute of the universe?

(Mazu quoted from the book, ‘ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom’  -  translated and edited by Thomas Cleary)

Total Posts:  5970
Joined  09-11-2012
13 September 2016 18:26

Homeboy is only in his 30’s. Granted, he looks great for his age, but I think it’s a little early to be talking about Dorian Gray like immortality.

In all seriousness, though, if one thinks of it in computer terms (the best current analogy, to my mind, despite not existing in Buddha’s day,) it would be like asking what it’s like for electricity to be electricity. Presumably it’s both like something but not ‘like’ anything in the way we understand that term (experientially). Add some bits and bytes and suddenly it can experience and mirror itself to increasing degrees. Is this a ‘good’ thing? I suppose it depends on how you look at it.

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