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The Buddha

An amanuensis is an assistant, especially one who takes dictation. Your thoughts and your ego devote most of your waking hours to convincing you that they are necessary, if not to your existence, at least to your competent functioning as a person. They persuade you that they are a loyal amanuensis.

I never had this problem, likely because I had meditated enough before I thought of it, but one can easily see how it might slow some people down on the Buddhist path. If you take the standard account of the self, or ego, at face value, it could easily seem that doing away with it, as Buddhists seem to suggest, would be a really bad idea.

Buddhists actually claim that your sense of self is a myth, a misrecognition. Again, everything in your existence, including your sense of self, arises and falls away again at a pace too rapid for us to notice, but it is profoundly unstable and fleeting.

You may be so wedded to your sense of self that you will find it difficult even to notice that it exists as a distinct phenomenon, but if you meditate long enough, you will begin to catch glimpses of it starting to peel off.

Far from serving you loyally, your ego and your thoughts actually do far more harm than good and it is important to start watching for their operation as you meditate. They chatter endlessly. They tell you repeatedly that they are helping you when they are actually incompetent and useless at best.

The vast majority of your thoughts serve only to reinforce your sense of self and to keep you from noticing and abiding in your pure consciousness, which is luminous and empty.

As you meditate, you start to notice your thoughts more and more, gain growing distance from them, and begin to see them to be as useless as they are.

Listen for the silence that is the voice of pure consciousness and abide in it.

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Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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