lyndon taylor wrote:I think if the buddha actually believed there was absolutely no self of any kind, he would have said so quite plainly, If there really was absolutely no self, why didn't he just say straight up, there is absolutely no self of any kind, instead he went to all this trouble to show us what all the fake counterfit selves were, by saying what you see is not your self, what you hear is not your self, what you feel, smell, taste is not your self, your senses are not your self, your physical body is not your self, your random everyday thoughts are not your self, but he never said there is nothing that is your self, and obviously if he really believed there was no kind of self he would have said so, instead of going to so much trouble to point out what we might think are fake or counterfit selves, there are plenty of scriptural references to what the self is, it is permanent, it is the "buddha nature", it is the good inside us, but they are mostly mahayana in transmission, but even in Therevada, there is no complete denial of any kind of self being real.
You can just as easily (even more easily I'd say) turn this argument around. Nowhere in the suttas does the Buddha say there is a self. So in your argumenation; if there was, he would have said so. But he didn't; not in the oldest texts at least. The newer texts usually are not considered the word of the Buddha in Theravada Buddhism.
But, the Buddha did on various occasions say there is no self at all. "Sabbe dhamma anatta", 'everything is not a self' being the most famous example of this. But it all lies in recognizing that there is nothing outside of the five aggregates, so nothing can be self. In fact the suttas do explicitly say that whoever constructs a self (has a self view), does it in terms of one or more of the aggregates.
The aggregates are used because self view in general is not a definition, it is ingrained in wrong view with respect to the aggregates. Just saying 'everything is not a self' is not really leading people to investigate what they base their self view on. Therefore the aggregates as a teaching tool, but one must not mistake this to mean there is something outside of the aggregates.
This discussion has been done here many times before, but it keeps surprising me how people keep trying to defend a self view while it should be quite obvious that this is not what the Buddha was on about.
But again, we have to use this to look at our own experience. What do you take to be parmanent? What do you take to be "you" or "yours"? What do you think you are in control off? Seeing that all these things are just a process without core is going towards understanding no self. An intellectual challenge or reading suttas just won't.