** If you see your Guru as a Buddha, you will recieve the blessings of a Buddha ** If you see your Guru as a Boddhisatva, you will recieve the blessings of a Boddhisatva ** If you see your Guru as a friend, you will only receive the blessings of a friend **

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Is there a "self" or an "I"?

In many traditions there is a strong belief in the existence of an "I" or a self. In fact, most people believe that there is an "I" or self. Every day, people

refer to "I" and "me," in connection with daily activities, and reference "mine" with regard to belongings. However, this usage does not prove that there is a self or an "I" which exists inherently. Rather, Buddhist doctrine maintains that there is neither a real "I" nor a real self. In Buddhist texts it is argued that the self is simply a label applied by a mistaken mind, or in other words, it is a creation of the mind. It is like the content of a dream which does not really exist and is insubstantial.

For instance, a car consists of many parts, but we cannot find the car among the parts, for "car" is merely a label designated on a collection of parts. Similarly, the "I" cannot be found from among the components of the body, such as eyes, ears, head, arms, legs, etc. If one separates the body into its many parts, then one will never find the body within its individual components, let alone an "I." The "I" is merely as a label designated onto the body and mind.

Just as the self cannot be found among its parts, neither can it be found separate from the parts. If one thinks that "I" is substantially real and exists inherently, and does not depend on other factors like the body, then even after the body dies one should still be able to point to this substantial "I." Such thinking is like believing that even after the mechanics have dismantled all the parts of your car, there would still be some independent, real car in which you might drive home.

There is nothing wrong with believing that there is an "I" that does things or owns possessions, but if one believes that this "I" is something that exists independently, then this is a position that cannot be supported by logic. It is reasonable then to think that even though a substantially real and independent "I" does not exist, one can still go about one's daily activities.