A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Buddhism and China

One thing I need to mention. When I talk about I in the individual self, it’s a reference to thoughts, speech or actions we as an individual can accomplish or aspire to. It would be more correct to use the term not self, for I separates us from the other beings around us as unique. The western view point tends to see us as individuals, and that we have the right to be seen as unique individuals. Also that we are allowed to be as we are, and must be accepted as we are. That we have individual autonomy, the right to live as we see fit, and treated with impartiality accorded to an individual. Buddhism does not hold the view of self or I, as we are just borrowing the physical elements that make up our body. As there is no “I” or self, there can be no demand for inalienable rights. Demanding our rights is a slippery slope that can be covered with greed, and anger. That our interaction with those around us should realize they are only the way they are now, because of their past choices and actions, and that in the future they may be totally different.  We should strive to make the choices that will help others towards enlightenment, open to the possibility and likelihood they will change in the future. That the best we can do is offering others the opportunity to better themselves; we can’t do it for them, or force them to change. That each of us has Nirvana as our goal, just the path will be different for all, based on the karma each of us has earned, is earning and will earn in the future. So when I use I it a reference to myself only to differentiate between beings, not as a level or as a measure of uniqueness.

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