The Concept Of Self And Selflessness

Decent Essays
The concept of self and selflessness is prime to all Indian philosophies. Two of India’s most popular religious systems, Jainism and Buddhism, teach renunciation of the self in order to reach Samadhi and Dharma (i.e. enlightenment, breaking free from the cycle of rebirth and correct living) (Collins, 1990). While Jainism vehemently espouses denial of self, both as an ideological concept and as a tangible reality, Buddhism teaches renunciation of self by way of still using the self as a vehicle for such understanding. While this may seem paradoxical, Buddhism uses the Four Noble Truths to espouse how the mind and sensory system can be used by the budding Buddhist to learn that the phantasmagorical and phenomenological aspects of the world are truly illusory. In this sense, Jainism represents absolutist denial of the self while Buddhism represents paradoxical renunciation of the self by way of utilizing the self towards understanding the porous nature and falseness of such a construct. Thus, many Indian philosophies take the denial of the self as a prime tenet of life. However, the gradations between such systems are intriguing, as is the case with Jainism and Buddhism. The religious and philosophical system of Jainism defines the self as a flimsy and false construct that acts as a liaison between the dense matter of the body and the immortal and perfect aspect of the soul residing within the body. The self holds true to the concept of samsara (i.e. transmigration, rebirth
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