FULL MOON - No abiding self

Published Wednesday, 16 February 2022

"All realities are devoid
of an abiding self";
when we see this with insight
we will tire of this life of suffering.
This is the way to purification.

Dhammapada v.279

Students of child development tell us that it takes many months before an individual sense of self emerges in the consciousness of an infant. And at the other end of the spectrum that we call our life, the sense of self that we have grown used to, often becomes much less defined; in some cases disintegrating altogether. This might not be something we are comfortable thinking about. However, it accords with what the Buddha said about all realities being devoid of any abiding ‘self’. What we call our ‘self’ develops over the years, it changes and as such is not something we ought to be clinging to. So where, then, should we be looking for security, for identity? This is why we say, ‘I go for refuge to the Buddha.’ We trust that a reliable, stable sense of who we truly are is to be found in the Buddha. We are not talking here about the historical Buddha who lived in India around two and a half thousand years ago. The Buddha we go for refuge to, that we have faith in, is here-and-now, selfless, just-knowing awareness.

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