The Blessed Buddha once noted:
It is by clinging, friends, that the notion: 'I am' occurs, not without clinging!
And by clinging to what does the notion: 'I am' occur, not without clinging?
It is by clinging to form, to feeling, to perception, to mental constructions, &
to consciousness that the notion: 'I am' occurs, and not without this clinging!
Suppose, friends, a young woman, or a young man, fond of fashion & jewelry,
would examine her own facial image in a mirror or in a bowl filled with pure,
clear, clean water: She would look at it with clinging, not without clinging...
Even and exactly so too, it is by clinging to form, to feeling, to perception,
to mental constructions, & to consciousness that the notion: 'I am' occurs!
It is not without this subconscious, quite detrimental, deep and rigid clinging!
Clinging to what is impermanent, transient and prone to decay is very painful..
What is changing & painful cannot be 'Mine', nor 'What I Am', nor 'My Self'!
Understanding this, the intelligent Noble disciple is disgusted with all forms,
all feelings, all perceptions, all mental constructions, and every consciousness.
Being disgusted induces disillusion. This disillusion launches into mental release!
When released, then mind becomes unagitated! By being entirely imperturbable
one attains Awakening right there and then, and one instantly understands:
This mind is irreversibly freed! Rebirth is ended, this Noble Life is concluded,
done is what should be done, there is no state of being after or beyond this...
Let's take a closer look at the seemingly self-evident statement "I Am"...
There are two components: An "I" and an "Am"... Which is the wrong here?
The "Am" part designating existence cannot be denied. This "existence"
is however neither static, nor being of an entity, nor presence of an "I"...!
What is it then that "Ams"=IS? It is just these 5 dynamic & ever-changing
processes (& not entities!): Of form, feeling, perception, construction and
consciousness, that arise and cease according to their conditioned causes!
What is it then, that have a form, a body to be seen there in the mirror?
It is the process of form itself, that has this frame of appearance...
What is it then, that feels pleasure, pain and neutral feeling?
It is the process of feeling itself, that feels pleasure, pain and neither!
What is it then, that perceives, that experiences, if it is not "Me"?
It is the process of perception itself, that perceives various 'objects'!
What is it then, that constructs, intends, plans, & hopes, if it is not "I"?
It is the process of mental construction itself, that creates tendencies!
What is it then, that is conscious, if it is not "myself", "my ego or soul"?
It is the process of consciousness itself, that arises & ceases ever again...
Nothing else......, than these ownerless conditions, these selfless states,
these coreless phenomena without independent substance, is ever there!
On clinging to 'personality' view (Sakkāya Ditthi) and selflessness (Anattā):
The Grouped Sayings by the Buddha. Samyutta Nikāya 22:83 III 105