The Absent Monster of Self
Question: A Buddhist article emphasised the importance of applying oneself to do the right things, instead of depending on others or blaming the environment. While I agreed totally, I was suddenly beset by what I thought a quirky ‘misalignment’: Why the emphasis on the effort of the ‘self’, when there’s supposed to be no self’? Pray discuss a reconciliation…
Answer: The truth is, as long as we have a conventional sense of self, we need to work with it, to better our self with increase in wisdom, before we can transcend the illusion of self with ultimate wisdom realised. This is similar to the need to tell a child who imagines there is a monster under his bed how to deal with this monster, how to have more courage to face it, before he can realise the monster is not real!