Posted by: Soh
My fifth translation of this author. This is an article by by One Thought Traveller (2013-04-03 05:51:05)

Translated by Soh (any help in improving this translation is greatly appreciated!)

Original text: http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_5b4d23f60102e6tg.html

凡夫众生,几乎人人都 以为有个我,且那么真实,那么实感。但却少有人去思考“我”到底是什么?在哪里?何模样?那些思考、寻证,且如实知见的人,则都成了证悟者、觉者、大解脱 者。实际到底有没有“我”呢?如果说有,为何世间一切高僧大德、诸证悟者都说无我?如果说没有,为什么普通大众却人人感觉有个我在?

Almost all ordinary sentient beings believe that there is a self, and that is so real, it feels so real. But few people contemplate what on earth is "self" actually? Where is it? What does it look like? Those who contemplate, fish for evidence (investigate), and those who knows and sees it as it is - all of these have become realized beings, awakened beings, great liberated beings. In truth, is there any "self"? If we say that there is, why is it that all the great venerable masters and all the realized beings have said that there is no self? If we say that there isn't (a self), why is it that all ordinary people feel like there exists a self?


若想谈我,首先得确定 “我”是什么?有哪些特征?具备何性可称为我?我者须具备两点:一是恒常不变,二是能够持物主宰。具备这两点才能称我,否则凭何说我?有一样东西,如果昨 天是这样,明天是那样,后天、后年、大后年、数十年后又完全是另一个样儿,则不能说是我。何以故?我则不变,变了何再说我(不是我了嘛)?这是其一。其 二,是我则得能随心所欲,而行持事物,凡事得能当得了家作得了主,不然何故称我?考察一下我们的身与心,凡事你能当得了家作得了主吗?于身,该老时你能不 让它老吗?肚子饿时你能让它不饿吗?生病时你能不让它生病吗?于心,烦恼时你能不烦恼吗?头脑想时你能不让它想吗?贪嗔痴起时你能控制它不起吗?于身于 心,你都不能作主、掌控,也不能保持它不变,是故可知,遍寻一切,没有符合这两点的一个“我”存在。


If we wish to discuss about self, first of all we have to determine what exactly is the “self”? What characteristics does it have? What natures must it possess in order to be called a self? Self would have to possess two points: first is eternal and unchanging, second is ability to dictate/control phenomena. Only when it possesses these two points, could it be called a self, otherwise based on what are we calling it self? There is one thing, if it is like this yesterday, tomorrow it is like that, the next day, the next year, and many years later, a decade later it is completely of another state, then it cannot be said to be self. Why is it so? Self is unchanging, if it has changed why call it self again (it is no longer self already)? This is point one. The second point is, if it is I/mine then we could have things happen the way the mind desires, and hold onto events and phenomena, whatever events should be under our management and control, otherwise why call it self? As for the body, when it is time to get old can you make it not get old? When the stomach is hungry are you able to make it not get hungry? When sick, can you make it not get sick? With regards to mind, when there’s suffering can you make it not suffer? When the brain is thinking can you make it not think? When craving, anger and ignorance arise can you control it not to arise? As with body and with mind, you are unable to dictate or take control of them, nor can you hold onto them without letting them change, therefore from these we could know, having looked everywhere there is nothing that fulfils these two points in which the “self” exists.

这是从理智上找不到一个能符合上述两点的存在,故说无我。但这只是理论上的,要感性地知道无我,还需要你去实际地考察、认证,这就是修证。既然没有我,那么谁知谁觉?能思考的是谁?谁在见闻觉知、吃喝拉撒?到 这里,正是你该起疑,该去弄明白的!!到这里,即使佛陀也不会把你说明白,故有“向上一路,千圣不传”之说;不是他们不传不说,而是他们说了传了不少,只 是你不明白。因为这事非得亲见一回不可。譬如世尊咬了一口庵摩罗果(苹果),啧啧赞叹,说它的味道多么美多么好多么脆甜可口,但不管他描述得那味道再真 实、再准确、再贴切、再形象、再丰富,你还是不明白,除非你也咬上一口。这就是证道的关键和重要性!

This is the inability to find any existence that could fulfill the two points stated above through intellectual reasoning, therefore saying/concluding that there is no self. However this is only the theoretical side, if we want to understand no-self on a perceptual/experiential level, you still need to practically investigate/examine/observe and authenticate, that is cultivation and realization. Since there is no self, then who is it that knows and who is it that is aware? Who is it that is able to think? Who is seeing, hearing, awaring, eating, drinking, shitting, pissing and sleeping? Coming to this point, this is precisely where you should give rise to doubt, where you should clarify/make clear!! Coming to this point, even the Buddha is unable to make you understand through speaking, therefore there is a saying, “one road going upwards, a thousand sages does not pass down”; it is not that they do not pass down (teachings) nor speak, rather it is that they have spoken and transmitted much but it is just that you do not understand. Because this matter calls for an intimate seeing (insight). For example, the World Honoured One (Buddha) bites an Amla fruit (apple), and was profuse in his praises, saying its taste is so wonderful and so crisp, fragrant and pleasant. However no matter how realistically he narrates that taste, no matter how accurate, how apt, how vivid, how rich, you are still unable to understand it, unless you also take a bite. This is the important point and crucial key towards attaining the way!

无我之时,诸事诸物, 见闻觉知,一点没少。没有我,但能知能觉,这其中的妙味,惟自证者能知。智乃自知,非关人我。恒沙妙用,自然而出。知、做但没有一个我,在身心的背后或里 面,没有一个作者,没有一个做者,也没有一个接受者,但一切事务作业照常完成,且行事高效,不生烦恼,甚妙甚妙。无我之知,知尽一切能知;无我之用,用尽 一切能用。总之无我,具足恒沙妙德。有知,但不知上立知,只用本知,即是无我之知(智)用。譬如明镜,本来能照,能照之镜,不说我能照。若镜说我能照,即 是镜神出。镜神出时,镜失本来,入于虚妄,所见都是虚幻。若镜神不于本照之中妄生我照能照,斯即神镜本来。我们的生命就是一面神镜,其情况和这一样,理无 二致。诸君深味此喻,能否从此豁然契入?智乃自知,此中无我。无我而知,是名真知。真知之知,同于佛知。

When there is no self, not one bit of all events and all phenomena, seeing, hearing, and awaring is missing. There is no self, but there’s the ability to know, the ability to be aware, the wonderful taste of this can only be known by those who have realized this themselves. Wisdom is self-known, it has nothing to do with a personal/subjective self. The wondrous functions of the sands of ganges (meaning: countless) naturally manifests. Knowing, doing (manifest) but there is no self, in the background of the mind and body, there is no actor, there is no doer, there is no receiver/feeler, yet all works and assignments continue to be accomplished as usual, furthermore the efficiency at work is high, no longer giving rise to suffering, it is truly wonderful. The knowing of no-self, knows away all knower; the function/uses of no-self, uses up all user/function-er. In brief, no-self is replete with (countless) wondrous virtues like sands of ganges. There is knowing, but one does not impute knowing on top of knowing, that is original knowing, and that is the knowing (wisdom) functions of no-self. Like a clear mirror, is always able to reflect, but the mirror that is able to reflect does not say I am able to reflect. (Note: I'm not too sure of the following translation so please suggest any corrections where needed) If the mirror says that I am able to reflect, the mirror's energy/spirit/divinity goes out. When the mirror's energy/spirit/divinity goes out, the mirror loses its originality, enters into illusions, and whatever one sees are illusions. If the mirror's energy does not deludedly give rise to I-reflect/subject-reflector in the midst of original reflection, that is the divine mirror’s original state. Our life is just like a divine mirror, that other situation is just like this, they are not two. All who deeply tastes this explanation, can you suddenly penetrate (and see)? Wisdom knows by itself, in it there is no self. Knowing without a self, is known as true knowing. The knowing of true knowing, is the same as Buddha’s knowing/knowledge.


无我的体验并不是神秘 莫测、遥不可及,普通大众也常体验,也常进入。只是不知。例如,专注的投入工作,忘我的进入娱乐,夜晚无思无梦时等,这些时刻我去了哪里?这些都是普通大 众进入无我状态的时刻,只是他们不知,不能从中领悟本来无我有智!这些忘我的时刻,都是进入和领悟无我的契机、入口。我们通常以为,忘我就是有一个我,是 你把它暂时给忘了。如果真有一个我你忘了,谁在那个忘的状态里见闻觉知,高效精确地处理正发生的一切呢?我们忘我的体验,是领悟无我的时刻与契机之一;我 们忘我时却能见闻觉知、应对一切的那个能和知,是我们所要认识和遇见的生命之神、之光(本识、本觉)!通常,当我们感觉不到我——忘我、无我的时刻,却能 更好地服务、应对一切;而我们感觉有我时,却又事事物物当不了家作不了主。由此可知,“我”实虚幻,无我时并不是真无我,有我时并不是真有我。在那本来状 态,即不是有我,也不是无我,其实际状况,让人如何说?

The experience of no-self is not veiled in mystery, nor is it beyond reach, ordinary people often experience it, and often enter it. It is only that they do not know it. For example, when one is concentrated and fully engaged in one’s work, one forgets one’s self and enters into joy, during sleep when there is no thinking nor dreams, at those times where have the self gone to? All these are the times when ordinary people enter into the state of no-self, it is only that they do not know it, and cannot realize the wisdom of “always already no-self” from this! All these times of forgetting self are the entries and opportunities for entering and realizing no-self. We often think that forgetting the self means there is a self, but you temporarily forgot about it. If there was truly a self that you have forgotten about, then who is there during the state of forgetting that is seeing, hearing, and awaring, and accurately dealing with whatever comes up? Our experience of forgetting self is one of the opportunities and gateways for realizing no-self; when we forget the self and yet is able to see, hear and be aware, that capacity and knowing that responses to everything is life’s divinity and light (original consciousness, original awareness) that we have to recognise and encounter! Usually, when we no longer feel a self – the times of forgetting self, no self, one is yet better able to serve others and face everything; but when we feel that there is a self, we’re however unable to dictate or take control of all the events and phenomena. From this we can know, “self” is in truth an illusion, when there is no self it is not that there is truly no self, when there is self it is not that there is truly a self. In that original state, it is not that there is a self, nor is it that there is no self, as for this actual condition, how can we put it?

本来无我,大众为何却又有明显、真实的我感(我的感觉)?一切生命,本来无我,但因最初 一念错觉、错认、错信而有我生,念念认同、念念加强而有我的主体感、存在感,长久无明地如此思、如此想、如此觉而使我的主体感、存在感,真实、逼真、坚 固,从而使我们不再怀疑和思考“我是什么、到底存在不存在”这回事。社会大众普遍这样认为我存在,且我们的故事相互支持,社会的法则也依此建立,因此有了 今天阎浮提众生普遍持我的现状。这个世界的大众,因知识见解不同而对“我”的主体认识有所不同:一般,孩子们会将“身体”视为我,普通成年人会将“心”视 为我,对身心现象作过思考探索、稍有些知识见解的人,则会进一步抽象出“灵魂”、“大我”、“梵我”、“神”等虚妄之物视为我。但,不管大众怎样认为,事 实不变,即使那我的感觉再真实、再逼真、再强烈,也只是个虚妄的认为,毫无实质性的认同!

There is always already no self, yet why is it that the masses have an obvious, (seemingly) real sense of self (feeling of self)? All lifeforms are always already without a self, but due to a mistaken thought at the beginning, a wrong identification, a wrong belief, that gave rise to self, and thought after thought agrees/affirms, thought after thought strengthens this sense of a subjective self, a feeling of existence, reality, seemingly real, and solid. All these made us stop doubting and contemplating “what is the self, does it even exist or not in final analysis?” Society and the masses commonly regard the self to be existing, and our stories mutually support each other, society’s laws are also built upon such, therefore there is the current situation of today whereby the sentient beings of Jambudvipa commonly holds onto a (notion of) self. Because the sentient beings of this world have varying knowledge and understandings, therefore they have different understandings with regards to the Subject-entity of "Self": generally, children treat the “body” as self, ordinary adults treat the “mind” as self, while those that have pondered over and explored, or those who have some knowledge and understandings, would go a step further and abstractify various illusory phenomena as Self such as a “soul”, “Great Self”, “Brahman”, “God”, etc. However, no matter what the masses conceive, the truth of things does not change, no matter how (seemingly) real that sense of self is or how strong it is, it is but a deluded conceiving, an understanding that is not in the least substantive (with basis)!

虽然本来无我,但大众 感受到了“我”,大众所感受的“我”是什么样?居于何处?如何来去?一切有情本来无我,“我”是寻思时刹那一念,是无始以来坚固错觉,它虚妄如梦中之物, 如镜中之像,如水中之月,如空中之响,如石女之子,如人之第二头,幻想而有,认同而真,不觉而实!如何描述“我”的样子?如同画鬼,如同描神,如同绘龙, 如同八岁的童子描述他第十八代子孙的模样,如同……。总之,本来无我,无所居处;本来无我,不来不去;本来无我,幻生幻灭。最后还要清楚的是:本来无我, 但有本智;本智亦幻,一切不实;凡所有相,皆是虚妄!

南无阿弥陀佛。


Although there is always already no self, yet the masses feel a “self”, what is that feeling of “self” of the masses like? Where does it abide in? How does it come and go? All sentient beings are always already without a self, “self” is just that flashing moment of thought during pondering, it is a solid illusion/wrong impression from without beginning, it is illusory like phenomena in a dream, like reflections of a mirror, like the moon in the pond, like the resounding in space, like the child of a stone-woman (barren woman), like the second head of a person, it appears through imagination, it (appears) real due to identification, it (seems) true due to not being awakened/aware. How do we narrate the face of “self”? It is like the ghost of a painting, it is like the god of a cat, it is like a pinacosaurus, it is like the eight year old child narrating the faces of his eighteenth generation’s descendents, it is like… All in all, there is always already no self, there is no where (which self) abides; there is originally/always already no self, no coming nor going; always already no self, illusorily appears and illusorily ceases. Finally, one must still be clear about: there is always already no self, but there is an innate/natural wisdom; that natural/innate wisdom too is illusory, everything is unreal; all forms are illusory!

Namo Amitabha Buddha.
1 Response
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Dear aen,i m hving strong understanding into the adittaoariyaya sutta, " whenever there is arising,dukkha is inevitable". I dont want to fall from this state which is a very powerful condition fir the arising of path into liberation frim conditioned(shankara)existence.self,no self is not my path,but rather dispassion,dusenchantment....

    Ppl has underestimated the trap of clinging tk existence.