As there is self only conventionally,
there is no self ultimately.
(70) One might [mistakenly] say that in the absence of a [ultimate; substantial and thus unchanging] self, there would be no proper relationship between an action and its result. If the agent vanishes upon having performed an action, who will [experience] this result? (71) Since we [one who believes self exists, and one who does not] both agree that an action and its fruition have different bases, and that the [conventional] self [in the moment] who performs the action does not function at the time [of its fruition], is it not pointless to dispute this issue?
(72) It is not possible that the very possessor of the cause can be seen to be ‘endowed with the effect [at the same time].’ Rather, agent and experiencer are designated depending on their oneness of continuum [of consciousness. E.g. Yesterday’s conventional self has passed, and today’s dependently originated conventional self has newly arisen, but are of the same continuum of change, without an ultimate self.] (73) The past or future mind is not the ‘I,’ for it is not found. Moreover, the present mind is not the self; [for if it were,] upon its passing, the self, too, would not exist. (74) When the trunk of a banana tree is cut into pieces, there is nothing left over. Just so, the ‘I’ is not [found to be] really existent, when sought after analytically.
(75) You might ask [mistakenly]: If no sentient being is found, towards whom would one feel compassion? For practical purposes [one feels compassion for conventionally existing beings] who are imputed by acknowledged delusion [e.g. of clinging to the illusion of self]. (76) You may ask [mistakenly]: If there is no sentient being, whose is the goal? We grant that such desire [for liberation, etc.] is indeed delusive [as it arises from clinging to the illusion of self]. Still, in order to eradicate suffering, effective delusion, whose result [is understanding of the ultimate truth e.g. of non-self] is not prevented. (77) Grasping onto the ‘I’ which is a cause of suffering, is strengthened due to delusion about the self. You may think that you cannot rid of it, [but for this,] meditation on selflessness is ideal.
(Exposition on Wisdom Section of Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life)
by H.H. the Dalai Lama, translated, edited and annotated by B. Alan Wallace
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