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ESTABLISHING THE INNER PERCEIVER AS WELL AS THE INDIVIDUAL SELF TO BE DEVOID OF A SELF-NATURE
The Lamrim Yeshe Nyingpo root text says:
The mind that observes is also devoid of an ego or a self-entity.
It is neither seen as something different from the aggregates
Nor as identical with these five aggregates.
If the first were true, there would exist some other substance.
This is not the case, so were the second to be true,
That would contradict a permanent self, since the aggregates are impermanent.
Therefore, based on the five aggregates,
The self is a mere imputation by the power of ego-clinging.
Although the outer observed objects possess no true existence, doesn’t the inner observer, the mind, truly exist? No, it doesn’t.
The mind has no existence apart from imputing such an existence upon the perpetuating aggregates and holding the belief in an ego, with the thought “I am!” Since the two kinds of self-entity are not separate from that, neither can their existence be established when examined by correct discriminating knowledge.
When there is a belief in an “I” or a “self” it follows that its existence cannot be ultimately established, because it neither differs from nor is identical with the five aggregates.
If, as in the first case, you could prove that there is a separately existing self, there would have to be a sixth aggregate of a substance different from the other five.
Since such a knowable object is impossible, it would be like the name of the son of a barren woman. If the self were identical [with the five aggregates], then it would have to be of identical substance and, since the five aggregates have substantial existence while the belief in an “I” has imputed existence, their substances would be contradictory, like the concrete and inconcrete.
Again, to describe this in an easily understandable way: since the self cannot be observed as being some entity that is separate from the gathering of the five aggregates and also cannot be seen as being identical with them, the existence of the self cannot be established. In the first instance, [it is impossible for] the self to have any existence separate from the aggregates, because an additional sixth aggregate would then have to exist, because ego-clinging applies to nothing other than the aggregates.
Moreover, as no concrete thing exists separate from the characteristics of the aggregates and, as an inconcrete thing cannot perform a function, the self cannot be established as existing separate from them.
Though the self does not exist separately in that way, can’t its existence be established, as in the second case, as identical with the aggregates? No, it cannot, because their characteristics are incompatible. In other words, all the aggregates are conditioned and therefore proven to be impermanent.
This is contrary to the self, which is held to be permanent, as in the case of assuming that one knows now what one saw earlier. Furthermore, the aggregates are composed of categories with many divisions, such as forms, sensations, and so forth, while the self is believed to be singular, as in thinking “I am!” And finally, the aggregates verifiably depend on arising and perishing, while the self is obviously experienced to be independent, as in the thought “I am!” The Prajnamula describes this:
If the self were the aggregates,
Then it would arise and perish.
But, if the self is different from the aggregates,
It would have none of the aggregates’ characteristics.
You may now wonder, “Though the self does not exist, its continuity is permanent and can be proven to exist.” That is also not the case. The Two Truths says:
The so-called continuity or instant
Is false, just like a chain, an army, and so forth.
While in reality possessing not even the slightest existence, the self, the individual, and so forth, are merely imputations made by the power of ego-clinging and are simply based upon the gathering of the five perpetuating aggregates.
Entering the Middle Way teaches:
The self does therefore not exist as something other than the aggregates,
Because it is not held as anything besides the aggregates.279
And again, in the same text:
When uttering such words as “the aggregates are the self,”
It refers to the gathering of the aggregates and not to their identity.
The word “chariot,” for instance, is merely a label given to the gathering of parts, such as the wheels and the main beam of the chariot, while you find no basis for the characteristics of the chariot that is not the parts but the owner of the parts. In the same way, you cannot prove the basis for the so-called self besides the mere belief that the ego is the gathering of the aggregates.
This is described in a sutra:
Just as the name “chariot” is given to the gathering of all the parts,
Similarly, the name “sentient being” is superficially used for the aggregates.
Padmasambhava - The Light of Wisdom VOLUME I - Rangjung Yeshe Publications

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