|The round of samsara, cycling existence|
Ultimately, there is no self. But conventionally most of us most of the time cling to one or more of these five groups as self:
I am my body, this body. I am this feeling (sensation). I am this perception, and that dress is clearly blue and black and can't be anything else to normal eyes! I am my impulses, volitions, (and/or 49 other discrete mental processes). No, but that's silly, clearly all "I" am is the watcher, the experiencer of experience, the feeler of feelings, perceiver of perceptions, thinker of thoughts and generator of will, which is to say I AM consciousness.
|"Self" is like a patchwork of crumbling replaceable parts.|
We are caught up in an all-embracing nets of views which will be very difficult to break free from to see things as they really are, which would be enlightenment and a glimpse of nirvana. Escape to reality! But all we do all day long, and most of the night, is try to escape from reality, or at least what we think and fear is reality.
It's like transformational comedian and guru Kyle Cease says, "What is fear? We think a thought, it scares us, and we seem to forget that we created it. Taking it as real, we continue to be afraid of it." That's a very good explanation of what is going on, so good that we bet Eckhart Tolle and Pema Chodron are slapping their foreheads wondering, "Why didn't I say that?"!
The Buddha said many things like that, specifically on one occasion giving the example of a length of rope laying on the road. In dim light one comes upon it and (mis-)perceives it as a "snake," and due to one's knowledge, bias, or opinions of snakes (all those mental formations associated with what we think we recognize or perceive, our prejudiced reactions, the primed pump), one is gripped with fear and dread. This is usually how we treat life, fearing death, fearing life, fearing loss but somehow failing to fear the actually dreadful things like unskillful karma, rebirth, lost wandering in samsara, greed, aversion/fear, delusion, and so on.
|What color is dress that broke the Internet, what actual, objective color? (m2woman.co.nz)|
|There are countless worlds in 31 categories.|
Who am I if not my perceptions?
|Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream, merrily... (Valerie_Sauve_in_Vancouver)|
|What color is this dress? Wrong!|
(What exceptions? For example, that there exists an Immaterial Sphere means there is a portion of the universe that is not physical; for another, the realm or plane of unconscious beings means there is a world without perception/consciousness where the beings seem to be asleep but have bodies and other mental functions). Body and mind are interdependent and rarely independent. They are conditioned phenomena.
|Native American dress|
This non-identity means we cannot possibly be our feelings, nor can we be these disintegrating bodies, nor these flickering perceptions, nor these mental formations, such as volition/will, and certainly not the impersonal process of "consciousness" we take so very personally. But that is the Higher Teaching (Abhidharma), and conventionally, in Buddhist psychology, has explained physical and mental processes in exquisite detail for personal verification.
|Kalapas and cittas as concepts (nature.com)|
They are not subject to our "will" but come and go according to their own nature. What is their nature? It has three characteristics. Why would we ever cling to things if we always saw them as they truly are? We would not; the mind/heart would immediately let go. But there's the rub! We do not see things as they really are. We see them almost exactly as they are not: we take for granted that they are, of course, lasting over time, able to satisfy us, and actually what they seem so as to be able to be possessed.
|The magician creates reality like the mind.|
|What color are my Asian eyes? Wrong! Blue.|
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