For so many years now, I have tried to gain a grasp on understanding the reality of no self (anatta).
My “faith” in the dhamma has always had me mostly convinced of this, but just as the Buddha taught, it is up to self investigation to understand. We are taught by the Buddha to take nothing as “gospel” merely because he said it. He directed to use our own logic, reason and intellect to discover for ourselves if any of his teachings are the truth.
Well today, as I read again about the Five Aggregates (khandhas), it started to finally make more sense and become clearer to me.
The “self” is merely a combination of mental and physical personal experiences that combine to give each of us the illusion of self or separateness.
Those Five Aggregates are: Form, Sensation, Perceptions, Mental Formations, and Consciousness.
If we observe each of these individually, I think it is easy to see that without any one of them, we cease to exist. And by combining all of them we form something that we call the “self”, which then gives birth to the ego.
Looking at it another way, can you see that none of these phenomena are ever constant? Does our form not change every moment? Is our form not influenced by the wind, the Sun, gravity and the environment?
We are not separate from any of these factors, nor would we exist without them.
As I continue to exam the teachings of the Buddha, I find that I have more love for him and more love for all beings. And I see that the core of his teachings are about the inter-connectedness of all of us, and by letting go of the self we also let go of suffering.
This, in turn, gives rise to compassion and equanimity.
My Pali name that was give me is Nissarana, meaning release, escape, abandon.
And this is in fact my path, to escape the attachment, clinging and delusion of self and separateness.
May all sentient beings enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.
May they be free from suffering and the root of suffering.
May they not be separated from the great happiness, devoid of suffering.
May they dwell in the great equanimity, free from passion, aggression and prejudice.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.