Preserving the Buddha’s Teachings, Ch 6


Dear friends,

Chapter 6

Clinging to Self

The Buddha taught that there is no self and therefore it was very
appropriate that in all the holy sites Acharn Sujin reminded us of
our clinging to a self. She said:

“We say that there is no self, but do we understand by insight
knowledge realities as nåma dhamma and as rúpa dhamma? Nobody can
change their characteristics, they have no owner. We have to listen
in order to understand their characteristics and if there is
gradually more understanding, sati will arise. It is the task of sati
to be aware, not our task.”

We cling to ourselves, to our actions, speech and thoughts, but we do
not notice this. When we listen to the Dhamma or read a sutta, is
there not an idea of self who is doing this? The test is always at
this moment. Only paññå can eliminate clinging to the idea of self
and all kinds of lobha, “we” cannot do this.
There are different ways of thinking of ourselves. We may think of
ourselves with wrong view, ditthi, or just with clinging that is
unaccompanied by wrong view, or with conceit, måna. There are eight
types of citta rooted in lobha, lobha-múla-cittas, four of which are
accompanied by wrong view and four without wrong view. Conceit can
accompany lobha-múla-citta that is without wrong view, but it does
not arise all the time with these types of lobha-múla-citta [1].
Wrong view is eradicated at the attainment of the first stage of
enlightenment, the stage of the streamwinner, sotåpanna. However, he
can still think of himself with attachment, or with conceit.
We have accumulated these three ways of clinging to self for aeons.
Attachment to sense objects, kåmaråga (which is lobha cetasika),
wrong view, ditthi, and conceit, måna, are latent tendencies,
anusayas, that are very persistent. Latent tendencies are subtle
defilements that lie dormant in the citta and do not arise with the
citta, but they condition the arising of akusala dhammas time and again.

Acharn Sujin referred to a Sutta about lobha in the “Kindred
Sayings” , the “Resident Pupil” (IV, Kindred Sayings on Sense, Fourth
Fifty, Ch 5, § 150), where lobha is compared to a resident pupil, a
companion one lives with, and to a teacher, who tells someone what to
do. Lobha is our life-long companion, it follows us everywhere. Lobha
can also be compared to a teacher, who, as Acharn Sujin said,
suggests going here or there, and who is followed by citta who obeys
the teacher. There is seeing and then clinging, there is hearing and
then clinging, there is thinking and then clinging. She said that we
know the coarse lobha, but not the more subtle lobha. For example,
when we are seeing now we may not notice that we like what we see,
but still, there may be a subtle clinging to seeing or to visible
object. We often do not notice it when there is akusala citta, in
particular when attachment or anger are not strong. When our
objective is not dåna, síla or bhåvana, our actions, speech and
thoughts are motivated by akusala cittas, and these are bound to be
lobha-múla-cittas very often. When we, for example, are just
daydreaming, we may not notice it when there is lobha.

1. In the second Book of the Abhidhamma, the “Book of Analysis” Ch
17, “Analysis of Small Items” different ways of craving have been
explained in connection with oneself. One thinks of oneself with
craving, with wrong view and with conceit. Craving, taùhå, wrong
view, ditthi and conceit, måna, are three factors that slow down the
development of insight. They are also called papa~nca, diffuseness or


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