Western society has a compelling tendency to adapt every issue of life to the needs of the self.
Self-compassion. Self-help. Self-acceptance. From a separate self to a connected self. True Self.
A spiritual self. Self- enlightenment. The list goes on….
Teachers and others certainly can employ such language but you will not find such words in 10,000 discourses of the Buddha. Nowhere does the Buddha attach such words to self. Why?
You will find frequently teachings on non-self, non-I and non-My, no self-existence of anybody or anything anywhere.
It is much easier to grasp onto the notion of the self, as it seems to have a substance, whether a separate self or a connected self, whether self-blame of self-compassion.
Contemporary teachings of the self can offer a certain comfort – self-compassion, self-acceptance, a spiritual self feels much better than the opposite.
If your primary wish consists of feeling better about yourself, then these terms can work for you
A Matter of Depth
Depth goes far, far deeper than self-interest
Depth leaves behind the story of the self – the construct of the personal history and whole baggage of formations that put it together to stick to a notion of a self.
Dharma primarily concerns itself with the deep, not with the comfortable, not with the gratification of the self. Teachings point to the emptiness of building up the self around compassion and an awakened self.
Two wings of Dharma
The Dharma flies with two wings – compassion and wisdom.
Compassion emerges from a liberated wisdom.
That happens when constructs in the mind lose their significance.
The emptiness of self and the emptiness of dependency on feeling tones take priority.
The liberation of compassion reveals the dissolution of ‘I’ and ‘my.’
The teachings will offer a reminder of the meaning of ‘acting out of compassion.
Here are Five Areas for Reflection
- With self-compassion, am I settling for something less than the best?
- How can self-compassion reveal the emptiness of self-interest?
- Why is the entire story of our lives such a minor detail in the Great Expanse?
- What does emptiness of self-existence mean?
- Why does natural empathy and compassion emerge through seeing the emptiness of self?
Who am I? 40 Common Views About Ourselves. Brief Commentary. A Practice
The Buddha spoke on Emptiness. What on Earth was he talking about?
I guess all paths are valid. It all depends on the sort of person you are, your personal history and one thousand other variables. If you try to sell the ’emptiness of self’ point of view as a end-all-be-all of ‘spirituality’ there’ll certainly be many who’ll buy it, but self-compassion is also a very helpful tool for those who need to relate to themselves in a more positive way. That include those that consider the gratification of their self as a priority, those who still feel the need of some self-based structure or just can’t cope with the idea of emptiness.
Thank you for this input, Eola!