Responsibility: if there is no doer and no-self, and if there no nobody here doing anything, then what about responsibility?


Question: If there is no doer, then how does the notion of responsibility fit into this? If there is nobody here, then surely there can’t be anyone responsible?

Tom: This teaching is not an excuse to act irresponsibly or unethically. Responsibility is an important part of being human, and it is a phenomena that arises by itself from time to time, like any other phenomena we experience.

By responsibility I mean a natural sense of caring, affection, consideration, thoughtfulness and desire to take care of the people, animals and world around us.

As far as I can see, when we free ourselves from illusions of a separate doer/self, the energies in the human organism naturally tend to balance out. This is because the distorting centripetal factor of egotism (I define ego as the belief in being a separate doer-entity who creates thoughts and actions) is no longer at play. And when the energies in the body are harmonious and in balance, the body-mind naturally tends to become responsible, kind and loving.

It’s just what tends to happen, and it takes time, depending on your conditioning which in turn depends on the culture, environment, genetics, etc.

And it’s not just responsibility, it’s true for a whole load of so-called positive qualities such as love, sensitivity, kindness, thoughtfulness, empathy, openness, being non-judgmental. These just tend to arise, by themselves, when the doer/ego is seen to be non-existent.

Q: So there is no doer, but these things happen by themselves?

Tom: Yes, exactly. Of course it doesn’t have to be like that. Perhaps the energies in the body don’t balance out and the heart doesn’t open and these loving qualities do not express themselves. In Freedom it doesn’t really matter. There is no attempt to be more loving or to be more responsible – that would just be the ego striving for an ideal. Freedom doesn’t care for these artificial ideals and does not try to conform to imaginary notions. But precisely because there is no self-motive, these qualities naturally tend to arise.

And if these qualities don’t arise that’s ok too. This is Freedom: whatever happens is whatever happens, no judgement, no motive, total forgiveness, and nobody doing any of it.

Q: OK, you mentioned total forgiveness? That’s confused me. Why do you say that? 

Q: You mentioned earlier that the heart opens? That sounds rather fluffy and vague to me – what does it mean?

Q. But I think there’s another type of responsibility, not just the sense of responsibility for others and caring for those around you, not just being responsible for the people and word, but a sense ‘I am responsible for my thoughts and actions’. And if you do something wrong, then you are ‘responsible’ and accountable for that. What about that? Does that exist if there is no doer? (To be continued in a future post)

5 thoughts on “Responsibility: if there is no doer and no-self, and if there no nobody here doing anything, then what about responsibility?

  1. Dear Tom,
    I think that on a relative level karma keeps us responsible. We are responsible for ourselves and how we experience our reality and how we perceive it to be. Karma keeps us inspired to treat others as we wish to be treated, as we grow to understand this on a deeper level we can can let go of this and all other concepts.

    On an ultimate level there is only the unity of the subject, object, and action as you have alluded to. We should not confuse the two or we risk misunderstanding the realization process and traveling the wrong path. There are many and no steps between the relative and the ultimate.
    How do see this?



      1. Not bad Tom I read them once and will read them again, but this is quite close. I think if I started to comment more I would be just splitting hairs, or inviting a complex philosophical debate.


        The hair to split would be the idea of oneness. There cannot be one without many. The absolute is beyond all extremes. Lol
        Have a great day, I will read them once more to fully digest and appreciate.


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