Q. Is there ‘No Self’ in Buddhism?
A. ‘No self’, or ‘No I’, is a frequently mentioned expression that is the of the core of Buddhism. It is also one of the many phrases that are most commonly misunderstood or misinterpreted. What, or who, is it that asks this question and is reading this writing if there is ‘No I’ or ‘No Self’?
The ultimate goal of Buddhism is to attain enlightenment, which means to realise the truth that everything is empty. When we realise that everything is empty, we simultaneously realise that everything is Oneness as Emptiness.
This means that I belong to Oneness, that is, I am part of Oneness. When I am Oneness, there is nothing or nobody else except me, Oneness. Then, it is said that there is no ‘I’, or no ‘Self’, because there is nothing or nobody to distinguish me from, just as the colour red is not red any more when all there is, is red.
Therefore, ‘No self’, or ‘No I’, means not that there is no ‘I’ at all, but that you are all there is and all there is, is you. Then you can see your neighbours as yourself.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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