What is “I”?

SONY DSC“I” is an interesting thing.  It is a subject worth exploring.

Everyone seeks the reality of “I”.  All religions attempt to explain and describe the truth of it.

The “I “ we usually know is this individual life revealed in daily living.  Actually, we have no real understanding about it, and often need to learn more or less about what it is through the eyes of others – people’s viewpoints, analyses and commentaries.

However, we find that we have a different experience about this “I”, or we disagree with others’ opinions.  Sometimes, we acknowledge people’s opinions, but summing up their commentaries, we still do not know completely about this “I”.

We see that this “I” has many aspects that appear to be the same as or similar to others’ “I”, yet, it has something particular that only my “I” has.

Wherein it is similar, there is nothing particular about “I”.  Even though something that only “I” has seems particular, it is not really unique.  Such distinction does not exist outside of the common characteristics, because when it is apart from the common characteristics, the uniqueness also disappears.

Using our powers of scope of observation and recognition does not reveal, after all, what this “I” is.   Also, “I” appears only as an individual form of life.  It is individual because it is not a joint body.  However, apart from other individual forms of life, “I” cannot live.  Therefore, “I” compromises and adapts to the needs or demands of the “I” of others.  Yet, in this process, “I” does not seem to exist because it has joined in the compound of all bodies of life.

Everyone is searching for answers to the “I” and at different levels, different answers are found.  If so, is there a resolved or universal answer or truth to this “I”?

Who am “I” really?  What is this “I”?  Perhaps we should go within and look…

(2004/12/04 Written at Ipoh, Malaysia. Published in the book 《閒事心頭》 by YBAM Buddhist Digest Publication Board.)

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