“I” is just a composite, and doesn’t actually exist

One of the very first Buddhist texts I read explained how the idea of “I” or “Me” is just a composite, just a shadow that arises from the interaction of the material world and our senses.  It’s always changing, coming and going, and yet we can build up such desire, hope, and anger based upon this. And yet, if we just let go of this “I” and “Me”, all of those things just pass by, unable to find a place to glom onto. Perhaps this is why letting go like this, or bowing, leaves my heart feeling like it’s been washed clean.

I love this image of “self” as the ghost of a thousand sharp-edged pieces of garbage!

from Wired magazine.

8 thoughts on ““I” is just a composite, and doesn’t actually exist”

  1. “…and yet we can build up such desire, hope, and anger based upon this”

    True, but we also base our most meaningful experiences and relationships based on this. My good friends, my family, my partner, perhaps are all just projections, nothing more than shadows formed from a million little shards of metal, with no real permanence or substance – and yet this is also the home of love and meaning.

    Thank you for a fascinatijng post.

    1. Good point, and one where I can very quickly stick my foot in my mouth! I think, for me, when I am diligent about letting go of the “I did,” “I am,” “It happened to me,” then something bigger opens up. That’s when I get a sense of something more than “me” and when a much deeper sense of connection appears. Yet i can’t grab hold of this, and if I try, that awareness disappears. I think there is a very subtle “I have” “I am experiencing” that sneaks in, and the duality(?) inherent in this causes the fruits(?) of awareness of this greater connection to fade.

  2. nothing is as it seems – thank you for this profound post, Sunim!
    the artwork is as brute as subtle, i find, do you know by chance the name of the artist?

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