The Be Here Now Network Guest Podcast features dharma talks from a rotating lineup of contributors like: Roshi Joan Halifax, Mirabai Starr, Gil Fronsdal, Mirabai Bush, and so many more!
Gil speaks about the concept of self and not-self. For all the teachings of not-self (anatta) in Buddhism, there is also the concept of the great self (mahatma). Early texts show the character of the Buddha as someone with a very advanced self-concept. He had a strong sense of identity and gave accounts of his experiences and spiritual capacities in the first person. What is the relationship between being spiritually awake and the concept of self? Gil explains that early Buddhist tradition did not try to answer the question of “who am I” initially. Instead, it raises other questions such as “what is freedom?” What is it to be psychologically and spiritually free from the shackles of our own mind? The beginning of wisdom is recognizing that our mental traps exist in the first place. The ancient tradition teaches us to develop our self as an island refuge. From this refuge, we may observe the deceptions and patterns of our mind. Understanding how we are caught in our own traps allows us to overcome them and become free from the vise of self.