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Self-Essence and Identity

The Conscious Process


“When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn’t, that isn’t.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.”
~Assutavā Sutta

Many of the traditional human philosophical systems are invariably built upon, or strive to confirm, some sense of permanent self-existence. Is it possible, however, that this sense of a personal “self” actually derives from a misreading or misinterpretation of the causes and conditions of experience, mistaking what is essentially a temporary matrix of perception to be a reliable indication of some unchanging essence?

As the great sage Tsongkhapa wrote in the profound “Lamrim Chenmo”, “When living beings experience or see a phenomenon, they do not apprehend it as being set up by the power of the mind to which it appears. Rather, they apprehend it as existing just as it appears, i.e., as existing in an essentially objective…

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