What is My True Self, Heart? Brain? Mind?

The Key to Understand Our Own Fate

Who is the “One” in “What One Sows, One Must Reap?” Noriko Yamauchi (Supportive Staff, Toyama)

Who does the “one” in “What one sows, one must reap” refer to? When answering this question, I point to myself. Buddhism clarifies the existence of an eternal life which permeates the 3 worlds and I learned that that eternal life is who I am. Whatever we do through our bodies, mouths, and minds is stored in an imperishable consciousness. When it is aligned with a condition, it brings about an effect that is visible to us. I learned about this astonishing mechanism of our fate. I was reminded afresh that although all 7 billion people on this planet share the same condition of being born into the realm of human beings, each individual is harvesting a different result in accord to the different seeds they planted in the past. One can never hear enough on the Law of Cause and Effect, so I will listen and learn about it earnestly.

A Modern Superstition: “My Brain is Myself” Takashi Abe (Supportive Staff, Toyama)

Who or what is the “I”? We say, “That is my house, my car, my heart, my brain or my limbs.” However, such things such as a house or a car are not who I am. With the same token, my limbs, heart or brain are not me, but things that belong to me. In the lecture, it was mentioned that J. C. Eccles, a Nobel Prize Winner on brain research, criticized materialism, which teaches “our mind = the working of our brain”, as a superstition. Also, I learned that “in philosophy, the notion of ‘my brain is myself’ has been considered obsolete.” I just have to agree with those criticisms. When further research on artificial brain enables us to have our brain replaced, where would be the “I”, who requested a brain transplant? I learned from the lecture that the one requesting such a brain transplant is the real “me.” I have come to know that I am not at all aware of who my real “self” is. Even though all the cells of my body are replaced with new ones in seven years, no matter how much my body changes, there exists “me” or ever-lasting life which never changes throughout the three worlds. I will listen to Buddhism and work hard until I truly realize that.

A Misconception: “My Mind is Myself” Hiroshi Kanamori (Supportive Staff, Toyama)

When I was a child, I used to watch a TV show which featured a person whose body was all made with machinery except for his brain. Then I thought, “I am my brain.” Today, however, the theory that regards the brain as the core of myself has been considered wrong. Some people think “my mind is myself.” However, we often think of what we should not think of, worry about what we do not have to, and get angry for what we need not care about. Sometimes I am surprised to know that I cannot control my mind, even though I own it. I have realized that my mind is a belonging of myself, but not me myself. When we do not know what I am or what seeds of actions I am planting, we cannot become happy. I want to listen to Buddhist teachings until I realize the “true self.”

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #45 | 2014, What is My True Self, Heart? Brain? Mind?

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