Who Is This “I” Fellow? Dependent Arising

Ven. Thubten Dondrub once describe Dependent Arising as “the poor man’s emptiness”. He was not being disrespectful to the Buddha or the Buddha’s teachings. He was trying to make the point that Dependent Arising can be thought of as a simplified view of the world without the subtle complexities of Emptiness.

Here we are introducing the idea of Dependent Arising into the discussion about this “I” fellow that Jeffrey Hopkins urges the reader to find in ‘Meditation on Emptiness’.

Dependent Arising is where the “I” requires the basis of the body and mind. The body and mind themselves rely on various causes and conditions.

At each of the followng points in time there was a sense of “I” that depended upon the body and mind. At each point in time the body and mind were different. In dependence on the body and mind and the sense of “I” was also different.

  • I did not miraculously appear. My Mom kindly carried me for 9 months.
  • Many changes have happened already. I went to playschool, school, and worked different jobs.
  • I do not live independently exist in isolation from everything else. There is the rent to pay every week.
  • I will definitely die, I wish it could be different but it will not be.

The body, mind, and sense of “I” seem so solid, independent, definite. Yet, why would I think of them in that way? At each point in time have changed in the past and they will continue to change in the future.