Q. Are you still you if everyone looks at you differently?

A. Even if you remain exactly as you are right now, if you could flick a magical switch in everyone else’s mind so that their perceptions of you were different, would you still be the same person? In other words, is a part of who we are contained within the way that we are seen by the rest of the world?

We always have two selves; the one that each of us defines himself as and wants to be defined as, and the one that others define us as. We sometimes try to adjust ourselves to, or escape from the definition, image of us made by others, and sometimes seek to get others to see us in the way we want them to. This is the way we live mundane lives.

In Buddhism, no matter what perspective you and others may have about you, all the perspectives are not real but imaginary illusions created by us. People are troubled by being bound with these invisible illusions. Escaping from these illusions is called deliverance in Buddhism.

We should see the real self of us stripped of all illusions that is referred to as the true-Self, the Buddha nature, or Emptiness in Buddhism. Then, we can realise that we are all perfection itself, that is, each of us is so perfect that no one is superior, or inferior to another. This is why Buddhism says that everything is equal.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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