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Dec 02, 2018 02:42:49

"You" don't exist. (And that's a good thing.)

by @vickenstein | 215 words | 🐣 | 218💌

Victoria Maung

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Buddhist tradition asserts the doctrine of anatman, or non-self. This states that "you" don't inherently exist. What you perceive as yourself is simply an impermanent conglomerate of your surrounding conditions at that time. 

Anatman is empowering because it means that you are an ever-changing phenomenon that is co-dependent with all other phenomena around you. You exert an impact on others and on everything with which they do in turn. As they do on you and on everything with which you do.

Choice is an active, rather than passive, process. Each formation of "self" plays a role in each successive formation "self," and that is powerful. At each point in time, you control what you choose to do given the preconditions that make "you" at that moment. 

Furthermore, anatman is a useful doctrine because it can liberate you from thinking of yourself as a static and corporeal being. Unpleasant feelings, perceptions, and physical embodiments, are all transient. They are specific to that present moment of phenomenological "self."

During each step in life, it is possible to create the preconditions of a positive "self." At every moment, your "self" is contingent on the circumstances that have been created by all the actors in the circumscribed space of your "self"--including "you."

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    @vickenstein Great post Victoria. I'm a practicing almost Buddhist (definitely not a thing, I made it up like all the other worldly labels anyway) And what fascinates me the most by with the Buddhist philosophy is how much it teaches us about being not attached to one constrained identity like you describe. About dropping ego, strong desires and self-cherishing. Life feels really light that way. Also, I shared a note on compassion lately in similar lines that I think you'll enjoy: http://thisiskp.com/blog/2018/11/30/what-exactly-is-compassion

    Nice to meet you here and looking forward to your further posts.

    KP avatar KP | Dec 02, 2018 20:34:43
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      @kp Thank you for your feedback! Buddhism is quite fascinating to me as well, especially its ideas of detachment.

      I read your blog post, and it reminds me of a quote I once heard. Something along the lines of "your first thought is what you're conditioned to think. Your second thought is what you choose to think."

      Maybe human nature makes it hard to break the "what's in it for me" mentality. But by that quote, maybe you have the agency to re-wire your brain and condition yourself into a more compassionate being by constantly reminding yourself of the virtues of compassion.

      The Dalai Lama does say something congruent with this idea, along the lines of "Karma, or intentional action, conditions the mind, which conditions further action."

      Victoria Maung avatar Victoria Maung | Dec 02, 2018 21:36:38
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      @vickenstein Wow, that is a powerful quote. Definitely worth reflecting on. Thanks for sharing & hope to see more of your writings here.

      KP avatar KP | Dec 03, 2018 01:58:19
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      @kp Thank you, KP! I look forward to reading more of your blog posts as well :)

      Victoria Maung avatar Victoria Maung | Dec 03, 2018 04:03:24
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    @vickenstein incredibly clear writing to explain a complex concept! Welcome aboard Victoria ?

    Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | Dec 02, 2018 11:02:45
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      @vickenstein @basilesamel Baz, may be a feature request to consider: Any chance I can follow specific writers so I get their feed in my inbox when they publish it? For ex, I'd like to know when Victoria publishes a new post. It could just be a simple alert with a link to the 200WordsADay site.

      KP avatar KP | Dec 03, 2018 01:59:47
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      @kp yes ofc. This is the card, a member proposed it some days ago: add followers feed - Trello

      It's been a crazy week trying to reach the 100th user. Now I finally have time to make new features and help the members with their writings ?

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | Dec 03, 2018 06:09:08
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    This is brilliant! Every time I learn something about Buddhism it makes me think this ideology is a great summary of my thoughts and beliefs.

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      @zyumbik Thank you for your feedback! This was a challenging point to get across, since I struggle with using semantics to describe the metaphysical--a topic I don't often talk about.

      Victoria Maung avatar Victoria Maung | Dec 02, 2018 06:30:08
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