Where There Is No Self

Ajahn Sumedho

Where There Is No Self

There’s a certain level of consciousness in all life, in the fact that there is receptivity to the environment; and trees are very receptive to the environment they are in.

One begins to change the perception of mind to one of a consciousness that pervades everything. Then it’s not just a human mind; there’s something more to it. But in Buddhism it is never named; you never try to form a concept about it. Instead you contemplate the totality, the whole sensitivity, the sensory realm and what it is really about. And this we have to contemplate from our own ability to be conscious and to feel but not seeing it in terms of ‘me and ‘mine’ – ‘I feel these things, but nobody else does,’ or ‘Only human beings do, but animals don’t’, or ‘Only mammals do, but reptiles don’t’, or ‘Only the animal and insect kingdoms doubt, not the plants.’

Consciousness does not imply thought, but it does imply receptivity to what is impinging, to what comes to it. We begin to see that consciousness is a vital, changing universal system. It’s like a plenum: it’s full with all possibilities, all potentials of form, of what can be created. Whatever we can think of, we can see it in terms of the human ability to imagine, through which we can create all kinds of fantasies that come into material form.

But the greatest, most profound and meaningful human potential is overlooked by most people, and this is the ability to understand the truth of the way it is, to see the Dhamma, to be free from all delusions.

When you are contemplating reality, begin to reflect on where there is no self. Whenever there is the cessation of self, there is just clarity, knowing, and contentedness – you feel at ease and balanced. It takes a while to be able to give up all the striving and restless tendencies of the body and mind. But, in moments, that will cease; and there’s a real clarity, contented peacefulness.

And in that, also, there is no self, no ‘me’ and ‘my’. You can contemplate that.

This reflection by Luang Por Sumedho is from the book, Ajahn Sumedho Anthology, Volume 3—Direct Realization, (pdf) pp.111-112.