What is True Self?

True Self as the not the “self” we think we are, the one that is referred to by a name, “Sundar” in my case. 

But is that it?  Or is there more?

Here’s a sampling of what the Masters say about True Self.

True Self is non-self:

True self is non-self, the awareness that the self is made only of non-self elements. There’s no separation between self and other, and everything is interconnected.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

True Self is the Self within me, the birds, and the beasts, the grasses and the trees and all phenomena:

True Self is the Self that existed before the division of heaven and earth and before one’s father and mother were born. This Self is the Self within me, the birds and the beasts, the grasses and the trees and all phenomena. It is exactly what is called ‘Buddha Nature”. 

This Self has no shape or form, has no birth, has no death. It is not a Self that can be seen with the aid of your present physical eye. Only the (hu)man who has received enlightenment is able to see this. The (hu)man who does see this is said to have seen into her own nature and became a Buddha. It is to use neither thought nor reasoning and to look straight ahead.

Takuan Soho, The Unfettered Mind – Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master by Takuan Soho (1573-1645)

True Self is the eternal Tao, the unnameable eternal reality:

The Tao that can be named
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.
The unnameable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

~ Laozi, “Tao Te Ching”, translated by Stephen Mitchell

True Self is pure awareness, which in turn, is Sat-Chit-Ananda:

 Pure awareness is the Self which is Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence-Consciousness – Bliss).  Awareness which already exists within everyone, everywhere, is imperishable & changeless.  Effortless and choiceless awareness is our real nature.

~ Ramana Maharshi

True Self is infinite:

Know that you are really the infinite being, the Self.

~ Ramana Maharshi

True Self is peace:

Perfect peace is of the Self. Peace is your natural state.

~ Ramana Maharshi

True Self is love:

The experience of Self is only love, which is seeing only love, hearing only love, feeling only love, tasting only love and smelling only love, which is bliss.

~ Ramana Maharshi

True Self is happiness:

Happiness is the nature of the Self. Self is not other than perfect happiness.

~ Ramana Maharshi

True Self is liberation / freedom:

Know that the pure and changeless Self-awareness in the heart is the knowledge which, through the destruction of the ego, bestows liberation.

Liberation is our very nature.

~ Ramana Maharshi

True Self is silence:

Only silence is the eternal speech. The only words, the heart to heart talk.

Silence is Truth.
Silence is bliss.
Silence is peace.
And hence silence is the Self.

 Mouna (Silence) is the speech of Self.

 The Self is that where there is absolutely no ‘I’ thought. That is called ‘silence’.

That which is, is Silence

~ Ramana Maharshi

Stillness is the gateway to recognition of True Self:

The bible says, ‘be still and know that I am God.’ Stillness is the sole requisite for the realization of the Self as God.

Your duty is to be , and not to be this or that. The method is summarized in ‘BE STILL’

What does stillness mean? It means ‘Destroy yourself’ because every name and form is the cause of trouble.

The Self is always realized. Look within and be still.

~ Ramana Maharshi

True Self is the only reality.  And reality can only be experienced, not explained:

Reality is only one and that is the Self. All the rest is mere phenomena in it, of it, and by it.

Reality can only be experienced, it cannot be explained.

Reality alone exists as a perfect undivided whole, and you experience it here and now, whether you think you are aware of it or not. 

~ Ramana Maharshi

It is clear from what the Masters say, that True Self is the One without the other.  Unnameable. Infinite. Eternal.

It can’t be known by the mind and therefore cannot be explained, but can be experienced as reality.

The pointers they’ve left us, are like cookie crumbs pointing a path to the Truth:  It is pure awareness. It is peace without suffering.  It is love without judgment.  It is happiness beyond objects and attachments.  It is bliss.  Knowing it and being it is true freedom without bondage.  It is silence.  Stillness is the gateway to recognizing it.  It is the only reality. 

You can know it only through experience not through concepts of the mind or intellect.



* The No-otherness Series of books are resources for your awakening and living awake.

* Check out the book, “What is Enlightenment? A Simple Guide” – it brings you clarity on preparatory practices vs direct paths to Enlightenment.

* Available now, “Awaken: An Experiential Exploration of Enlightenment” – is a resource that guides you to the direct experience of Reality, the One without a second. It is a guided form of Self-Inquiry, for those who find the natural self-exploration in the form “Who am I?” to be challenging.

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