There is neither atta nor anatta?

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Hage
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There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby Hage » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:09 pm

If you really see uncertainty clearly, you will see that which is certain. The certainty is that things must inevitably be uncertain and that they cannot be otherwise. [...] If you know that all things are impermanent, all your thinking will gradually unwind and you won’t need to think too much. Whenever anything arises, all you need to say is "Oh, another one!" Just that! - Ajahn Chah

Kingdubrock
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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby Kingdubrock » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:59 pm

Ugh. Poor Thanissaro. This kind of thing will probably follow him and overshadow his many contributions now.
I havent read that quote in context but if I understand him correctly (from that oft-quoted passage) something similar is pretty much, but in a more generalized fashion suggested by Rupert Gethin in The Buddhist Path to Awakening. I dont have the book handy and cant quote directly but I think it might have been in one of the introductory chapters.
His main point as I understood it was that in Western philosophy various subjects are usually discussed or treated and debated in isolation from other subjects, such as metaphysics, phenomenology, ontology, ethics, aesthetics, politics and so on. We have a general and traditional tendency to read other philosophies and world views that way because of it. So, for example, to take something like Sila or Anatta or Dependent Origination etc on their own, as self contained doctrines or philosophical positions, without reference to the rest of the overall, deeply interconnected Buddhist framework and purpose, will more often than not be fraught with problems of context, distortion, over or under-emphasis, translation and much more.
So, at least in Gethin's case, he felt that the scholarly literature suffered quite a bit from this and with support for his reasoning explains that he felt offering a truer more holistic picture of Buddhist thought overall, entails situating categorizing, contextualizing and organizing the bewildering number of, and confusingly organized, collections of suttas into a framework of a path of practice rather than reified, self contained philosophical and metaphysical stances. In other words, like Thanissaro seems to me to be saying, things are taught, and often repeated in a huge variety of differnt circumstances or in different variations of lists and whatnot, specifically as a peagogical strategy aimed at liberation, avoiding views that could impede liberation, promoting views that aid liberation, at a very practical level. And, fwiw, I believe this makes a great deal of sense to relate to Buddhist concepts in this way.
I have seen many people develop real hot buttons, quirks, obsessions, crusades, even learn Pali, over this and a few other issues (like Emptiness - yikes). It consumes them, they argue, debate, harrass others. All to "prove" what the Buddha really meant.
Call me crazy but I dont think thats helpful for practice, understanding or comparative philosophy/religious studies.

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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:23 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby Kingdubrock » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:37 pm


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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:45 pm

Greetings Kingdubrock,

Generally, those who object to the "not-self strategy" tend to be those who are suspicious of anything short of "denial of self"... as if not denying self is somehow an affirmation of self.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby Kingdubrock » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:50 pm


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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:31 am

Greetings,

:reading:

No-self or Not-self? (Thanissaro Bhikkhu)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... self2.html

The Not-Self Strategy (Thanissaro Bhikkhu)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... tself.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby Kingdubrock » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:47 am


SarathW
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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby SarathW » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:49 am

Hi Hage
Anatta is not a thing. It is a common name given to describe an object which is made of several parts.
For example Buddha said the so called person is an aggregate of five things (Nama Rupa).
It is similar to a scientist saying water is Anatta ie. H2O.
I have read many writings of Ven. T. I have no problems with what he says.
What he saying is when “I” thirsty "I" can drink water and it can satisfy “my” thrust.
Buddha said that there is no “I” but the thrust (one of the elements of the five aggregate) is there.
The thrust is not I, me or myself.
:)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby chownah » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:43 am

Hage,
I think that Ajan Chah's statement that you provided is nicely to the point so I'll post it again:


Question: Are defilements such as greed or anger merely illusory or are they real?
Answer of Ajahn Chah: They are both. The defilements we call lust or greed, or anger or delusion, these are just outward names, appearances. Just as we call a bowl large, small, pretty, or whatever. This is not reality. It is the concept we create from craving. If we want a big bowl, we call this one small. Craving causes us to discriminate. The truth, though, is merely what is. Look at it this way. Are you a man? You can say “yes”. This is the appearance of things. But really you are only a combination of elements or a group of changing aggregates. If the mind is free, it does not discriminate. No big and small, no you and me. There is nothing: anatta ¯, we say, or non-self. Really, in the end there is neither atta nor anatta

I think this clearly describes how it is that atta and anatta are real and illusory.....and it also applies this discernment to lust, greed, anger, and delusion. My view is that this same concept applies to every word and idea that we have.....
chownah

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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby pegembara » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:46 am

And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby pegembara » Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:05 am

And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby Hage » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:56 am

Thanks for your comments, now I can see the arguments of Ajahn Thanissaro better...

After all, I think that all they said is the same thing in different words, what shows how Dhamma must be completely understood in practice.
It seems to me that "self" as a soul is invention of ours, so, it is a little strange to say that there is no self. It's how I am saying that there is not-"judi", and that there is not judi, it don't exist in our language - does judi means something? it is just four letters without meaning for us... So, how to say there is not-something there is not? Why? What the purpose? lol
It is unnecessary. how Buddha said, it is just a tangle of ideas. So, to ask "There is not a self?" is a little strange. I think was because of it that Ajahn Chah said that... We must see just empty phenomenas.

There are just phenomenas and, as Ajahn Brahm said, we must not ask "Do I exist?", but "What do I think that am I? What do I think that is my self?". After all, Thanissaro was talking about it, but I was seeing it in the wrong way. I was putting what Ajahn Brahm said on one extreme and what Ajahn Thanissaro said in another extreme, but, as a matter of fact, I see now that they were saying the same thing, on the middle way.

But it is better to see it in practice. I hope we can understand the Dhamma Language :anjali:
If you really see uncertainty clearly, you will see that which is certain. The certainty is that things must inevitably be uncertain and that they cannot be otherwise. [...] If you know that all things are impermanent, all your thinking will gradually unwind and you won’t need to think too much. Whenever anything arises, all you need to say is "Oh, another one!" Just that! - Ajahn Chah

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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby Samma » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:03 am

For more on Thanissaro might read skill in questions:
the anatta teaching does not deny the existence of the self. It is a mode of perception, a strategy using the label “not-self” to help abandon attachment to whatever is clung to as self, so as to reach liberation. ... The anatta teaching is meant to function in the context of questions shaped by that viewpoint: When is the perception of self a skillful mental action and when is it not? When is the perception of not-self a skillful mental action and when is it not?

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
When Buddha asked if there is atta he was silent. When asked is there no atta he was silent. That is, middle way between eternal and annihilation views. After all the Buddha did teach anatta doctrine, so it seems odd to say "nor anatta". So neither atta nor annihilation (no self)? I think this is why we see Thanissaro walk a very fine line....at what point does talk of "no self, no soul, no being" "there is nothing" seem too much like annihilation?

I think the key line of Ajahn Chah was ""If the mind is free, it does not discriminate." and I'm not sure how the "nor anatta" line as adding anything beyond that, and maybe causing confusion?
As Ajahn Chah was getting at:
1. 'The Tathagata exists after death'
2. 'The Tathagata does not exist after death'
3.The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death'
4. 'The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death' doesn't occur.
As the Buddha explained on another occasion, only those who take any of the six senses to be mine or 'I' or 'myself' will take up any of these four propositions (Analayo)

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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby Kingdubrock » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:46 pm


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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby daverupa » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:25 pm


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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby Samma » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:19 pm


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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby Kingdubrock » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:25 pm


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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Postby Prasadachitta » Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:22 pm

Hi all,


I am very taken with the Achaan Cha quote which was posted twice in this thread. What I would like to contribute is that I think the "not self" teaching clearly puts our experience and our views into an appropriate perspective so that we can develop the conditions which bring an end to suffering. Its where we start again and again. I do not think of it as where we end up. I particularly like the Five spiritual faculties as a teaching.....

Faith Balancing Wisdom ( Not self being wisdom)
Energy Balancing Concentration

Mindfulness of Purpose taking care of the Job of Balancing all these Faculties.

The Faculties are not real and that is why they can be balanced with each other.

If they were separate distinctive faculties they would not interact but they do.

Be well all.

Prasadachitta
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332


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