NO self

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NO self

Postby robertk » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:18 am

there is no self is actually a wrong view, a terrible one. You said let go of all views but from what you said, you cling to the wrong view, you should let go of that view, there is no self. None of the evidence suggests that there is no self. None of the suttas said that, none of the arahants said that. So don't think that there is no self, it is a wrong view

I saw this today written by a member on a thread. As no one questioned this opinion I thought it useful to look at it here.
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Re: NO self

Postby robertk » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:21 am

In fact the Buddha is the teacher of Anatta - no self.
This is the heart of Dhamma, it is the essence.
Vajira Sutta BhikkuniSamyutta
Vajira
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/samyutta/sn05-010a.html
Then the bhikkhuni Vajira, having understood, "This is Mara the Evil One," replied to him in verses: "Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view? This is a heap of sheer constructions: Here no being is found. Just as, with an assemblage of parts, The word 'chariot' is used, So, when the aggregates are present, There's the convention 'a being.' It's only suffering that comes to be, Suffering that stands and falls away. Nothing but suffering comes to be, Nothing but suffering ceases."
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Re: NO self

Postby robertk » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:27 am

Sometimes people misunderstand this sutta:

"
This is how he attends inappropriately: ... Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'

"As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self ... This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views."

Of course if one thinks "I have no self"
that is a self view. But that is very different from understanding there is no self at all, no I at all.
Ven Yuttadhammo explained what this really means(I saved his post from esangha):

The correct view is that there is no self. Whether one should teach this to others or not might be up for debate, but the truth of it is not. Right view is so important, the Lord Buddha placed it at the front of the eightfold noble path. As long as one holds to self in this or that, one still has wrong view. The very notion of I that exists in "I have no self", is already view of personality (sakkaayaditthi), and makes one stuck in a thicket, etc.

To say, on the other hand, that one could get stuck on such a view as "there is no self" doesn't make any sense, unless it is based on the idea that there once was a self in the past. The view of non-self frees the mind from any attachment internally or externally. It is, of course, possible that one might get caught up in pondering or fretting over the non-existence of self and miss the point, but that is not due to wrong view, it is due to wrong attention (ayoniso manasikara):


QUOTE

That opinion of theirs is based only on the personal sensations, on the worry and writhing consequent thereon, of those venerable recluses and Brahmans, who know not, neither perceive, and are subject to all kinds of craving:

45 foll. [41, 42] 'Those opinions of theirs are therefore based upon contact (through the senses).

58 foll. [43] 'That they should experience those sensations without such contact, such a condition of things could not be.

71. [44] 'They, all of them, receive those sensations through continual contact in the spheres of touch. To them on account of the sensations arises craving, on account of the craving arises the fuel (that is, the necessary condition, the food, the basis, of future lives). from the fuel results becoming, from the tendency to become arises rebirth, and from rebirth comes death, and grief, lamentation, pain, sorrow, and despair. It is, brethren, when a brother understands, as they really are, the origin and the end, the attraction, the danger, and the way of escape from the six realms of contact, that he gets to know what is above, beyond, them all.

Source: Dialogues of the Buddha (Rhys-Davids, Trans.)


The view "there is no self" does not fall into this category as it is free from the problems that a view of self holds.

Purification of view is most important for anyone starting out on the path to enlightenment. If one has wrong view from the start, one should be expected to undertake wrong practice. If one undertakes wrong practice, wrong knowledge and wrong release will follow. It is most important that one set on freedom from the rounds of rebirth should be clear from the start that all of the things inside of oneself and everything else in the world is void of a self.

Best wishes,

Yuttadhammo
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Re: NO self

Postby robertk » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:30 am

"There is no doer of a deed, or one who reaps the result. Phenomena alone flow on, no other view than this right."

Visuddhimagga XIX19





"This is mere mentality-materiality, there is no being, no person"

XVIII24





"
The mental and material (nama rupa) are really here
But here is no human being to be found, for it is void and merely fashioned like a doll"

XVII31
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Re: NO self

Postby Ben » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:32 am

Thanks Robert, that is most useful.
kind regards,

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Re: NO self

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:07 am

This reminds me of an old talk some guy gave at a Humanist meeting a while ago in my town:


The concept of a triangle refers to a thing that exists.

The concept of a six-hundred-foot diamond triangle floating above the Pentagon refers to a thing that does not exist.

The concept of a five-sided triangular square does not refer to a thing that does exist.

The concept of a five-sided triangular square does not refer to a thing that does not exist.

To say, "There is no five-sided triangular square" is to state that such a concept refers to a thing (albeit a non-existent thing) when in fact "five-sided triangular square" does not refer to a thing that either exists or does not exist.


This logical format is often used by ignostics to explain why they do not identify as agnostics/atheists; they argue that the concept of God is meaningless both linguistically and conceptually, and that even denying that God exists posits a link between language and form that doesn't actually exist.

The same argument works remarkably well when it comes to the self - to say "the concept of a self refers to something that exists" is wrong but it is also technically inaccurate to say "the concept of a self refers to something that does not exist" because the Buddha made it clear that the self wasn't even a meaningful or otherwise cognitively functional concept due to anatta, anicca, and dukkha. So that's why we have a doctrine of non-self; it negates the entire concept of the self entirely, instead of saying "this is what the self is/would be, do we or do we not have it?"

At least that's my take on it.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: NO self

Postby polarbuddha101 » Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:13 am

The way Venerable Thanissaro describes it is as 'Not self", i.e. everything in your experience is not self, the aggregates are not self etc.. However, when the Buddha was asked directly if there is no self or if there is a self, he refused to answer.

Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: "Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?"

When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.

"Then is there no self?"

A second time, the Blessed One was silent.

Then Vacchagotta the wanderer got up from his seat and left.

Then, not long after Vacchagotta the wanderer had left, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "Why, lord, did the Blessed One not answer when asked a question by Vacchagotta the wanderer?"

"Ananda, if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"

"No, lord."

"And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

You can question the translation, but if the translation is accepted then holding the view, "there is no self" is wrong view.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: NO self

Postby cooran » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:08 am

Hello polarbuddha101,

A note to Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation of this sutta is worth considering:

‘’We should carefully heed the two reasons that the Buddha does not declare, ‘’There is no self’’: not because he recognizes a transcendent self of some kind (as some interpreters allege), or because he is concerned only with delineating ‘’a strategy of perception’’ devoid of ontological implications (as others hold), but (i) because such a mode of expression was used by the annihilationists, and the Buddha wanted to avoid aligning his teaching with theirs; and (ii) because he wished to avoid causing confusion in those already attached to the idea of self. The Buddha declares that ‘all phenomena are nonself’’ (sabbe dhamma anatta), which means that if one seeks a self anywhere one will not find one. Since ‘’all phenomena’’ includes both the conditioned and the unconditioned, this precludes an utterly transcendent, ineffable self.
Part of Note 385 on Page 1457 of The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (A New Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya by Bhikkhu Bodhi).

with metta
Chris
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Re: NO self

Postby Dan74 » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:37 am

In all these discussions I am left wondering what is this self that we affirm or deny?
_/|\_
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Re: NO self

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:15 pm

Dan74 wrote:In all these discussions I am left wondering what is this self that we affirm or deny?

If you really don't know what this self is, you are in an enviable position: you have no need to affirm or deny it.
:tongue:
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Re: NO self

Postby Alex123 » Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:58 pm

polarbuddha101 wrote:You can question the translation, but if the translation is accepted then holding the view, "there is no self" is wrong view.


What if anatta means don't consider anything as self? This fits well with "don't cling" and don't believe in ontological "existence/non-existence". It also fits with pragmatic refusal of Buddha to answer direct question about existence/non-existence of self in SN44.10.
Do you see the difference between: not-self (anatta) and no-self (natthattā)?

In MN2 it says that to hold "I have no self" or "Am I not?" IS WRONG VIEW.
It sounds contradictory to interpret it to mean that "Atta has no Atta".
"Atta = no Atta" is mutually exclusive and contradictory thing to claim.

During a perfect opportunity Buddha didn't say "There is no Self" to correct self views above, and gave 4NT instead. This reinforces teaching of SN44.10

"There is no Self"
"There is Self"
Both have "There is" in them. To reject the idea of a Self, you first have to posit the idea of a Self that you then reject!

To say that "there is no Self" is just as much of a view as to say "There is Self", only with the negative sign instead.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: NO self

Postby robertk » Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:20 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:The way Venerable Thanissaro describes it is as 'Not self", i.e. everything in your experience is not self, the aggregates are not self etc.. However, when the Buddha was asked directly if there is no self or if there is a self, he refused to answer.

Then the

"Ananda, if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"

"No, lord."

"And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

You can question the translation, but if the translation is accepted then holding the view, "there is no self" is wrong view.

It is ironic that Thanissaro's outright attack on Orthodox theravada is now being held up as some type of New Orthodox position.
I have little time so I hope this old post from Dhammanando is sufficient to explain:
http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... 3364&st=60
Citing the relevant suttas is unlikely to be persuasive for Thanissaro would simply interpret them differently or else would translate them differently so as to make them support his view. A good example of this is the following passage from the Alagaddūpamasutta, which is one of the starkest and most uncompromising assertions of the non-existence of self.... until Thanissaro gets his hands on it:

attani ca attaniye ca saccato thetato anupalabbhamāne
(MN. 22; also cited in the Kathāvatthu's debate on the puggalavāda, Kvu. 68)

And here are some extracts from an old article of mine discussing this phrase...

First I cite seven translations of it:


Dhammanando:
"...since in truth and reality there obtains neither self nor what belongs to self..."

Ñāṇamoli/Bodhi:
"...since a self and what belongs to a self are not apprehended as true and established..."

Thanissaro:
"...where a self or what belongs to self are not pinned down as a truth or reality..."

B.C. Law:
"...But both soul and that which belongs to soul being in truth, and forever, impossible to be known..."

I.B. Horner:
"But if Self and what belongs to Self, although actually existing are incomprehensible..."

Mahāmakut Tipiṭaka:
"...meua attā lae borikhān neuang duai attā bukkhon theu ao mai dai, doey khwām pen khong jing, doey khwām pen khong thae..."

Mahāchulalongkorn Tipiṭaka:
"...meua thang ton lae khong thii neuang kap ton ja yang hen mai dai, doey khwām pen khong jing, doey khwām pen khong thae..."


Then my comments:

Of the seven renderings above, those of Horner and Law are completely off the map, while the remaining five are more or less defensible so far as purely philological considerations go.

There are two key terms in the passage that give rise to disagreement: firstly, the participle "anupalabbhamāne"; secondly, the phrase "saccato thetato". How one conceives the meaning of these will determine how one interprets the passage; and how one interprets the passage will determine how one goes about translating it. The problem, of course, is that every translator's interpretation of the above phrases will be determined - or at least influenced - by his prior assumptions about the Buddha's teaching.

Let's start with anupalabbhamāne. This is the present participle of the passive form of the verb upalabhati, inflected in the locative case. In front of it is placed the negative particle na ('not'), which changes to an- in accordance with the rules of euphonic junction.

Upalabhati means to obtain, get or find. So in the passive voice it would mean to be obtained, gotten or found. With the addition of the negative particle 'na' the meaning would be "not to be found."

Here's one familiar example of the verb, to be found in every Indian logic textbook:

vañjhāya putto na upalabbhati.
"A son of a barren woman is not to be found."

(Or as western philosophers would phrase it, " 'Son of a barren woman' does not obtain."). Elsewhere the same will be predicated of "horns of a hare", "flowers in the sky", etc.

And here arises the first point of controversy among translators and interpreters of this sutta: does the phrase "not to be obtained" mean the same as "not exist"? Ñāṇamoli, Bodhi and myself would answer yes. A mystically-inclined monk like Thanissaro would answer no. Unsurprisingly Thanissaro has chosen a rendering ("not pinned down") that stresses the epistemic or cognitive, and would tend to imply that a self does (or at least might) exist, but one that is too inscrutable to say anything about.

To continue, when the verb na upalabbhati is made into a present participle, the meaning would be "non-obtaining" (or more precisely, a "not-being-obtained-ness"). When this present participle is inflected in the locative case, then various meanings are possible, and here arises the second point of controversy. What function does the locative have in this context? There are three possibilities:

Spatial or situational stipulative: "Where there is a non-obtaining of self..."
Temporal stipulative: "When there is a non-obtaining of self...."
Causative: "Because there is a non-obtaining of self..."

Ñāṇamoli, Bodhi and I of course favour the causative, for the other two would leave a loophole that there might be some time or place where self does obtain. Thanissaro of course favours a reading that will leave his mysticism intact. So here too it's a case of our prior assumptions determining how we translate.

Now for "saccato thetato". Sacca means true or a truth; theta means sure, firm, or reliable, or something that has these features. Adding the suffix -to turns these words into adverbs. Here I'm not really sure about the relative merits of the above translations, or even if there is a difference between "X does not obtain as a truth" or "X does not in truth obtain." Not that this matters greatly; the crux of the matter is obviously the word anupalabbhamāne. The difference between my old rendering and the Ñāṇamoli/Bodhi one is that I had taken saccato thetato to be an adverbial qualification of anupalabbhamāne, whereas Ñāṇamoli and Bodhi make it more like an adjectival qualification of "self and what belongs to self." I now think that their rendering is more likely to be correct. At least it seems to accord better with the Ṭīkā to this sutta.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
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Re: NO self

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:24 am

Views and opinions are a terrible trap — even right views should not be clung to. Sometimes, you just have to walk away from controversy. People will believe whatever appeals to them. The most vital task is to develop insight into three characteristics.
Sir Winston Churchill wrote:Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end; there it is.
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Re: NO self

Postby whynotme » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:28 am

cooran wrote:Hello polarbuddha101,

A note to Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation of this sutta is worth considering:

‘’We should carefully heed the two reasons that the Buddha does not declare, ‘’There is no self’’: not because he recognizes a transcendent self of some kind (as some interpreters allege), or because he is concerned only with delineating ‘’a strategy of perception’’ devoid of ontological implications (as others hold), but (i) because such a mode of expression was used by the annihilationists, and the Buddha wanted to avoid aligning his teaching with theirs; and (ii) because he wished to avoid causing confusion in those already attached to the idea of self. The Buddha declares that ‘all phenomena are nonself’’ (sabbe dhamma anatta), which means that if one seeks a self anywhere one will not find one. Since ‘’all phenomena’’ includes both the conditioned and the unconditioned, this precludes an utterly transcendent, ineffable self.
Part of Note 385 on Page 1457 of The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (A New Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya by Bhikkhu Bodhi).

with metta
Chris

Well, monk's opinion is something worth to consider, but that is not Buddha's words. Even monk's with jhana or sotapanna still has faults, and now people only believe in monks' explanation but not in the Buddha anymore?

All phenomena doesn't include the unconditioned one, the unconditioned one is outside of phenomena, out of words. Also to understand these meaning you need to be very careful. Sentences like one seeks a self anywhere should be changed to consciousness seeks self anywhere it will not find one.

Now, to the logical side, if there is a real thing that unconditioned, can the impermanent things like consciousness see it? Definitely not, because when consciousness sees one thing and recognize its existence, then that thing is conditioned, because its existence is based on consciousness. So when consciousness seeks everywhere, it only sees conditioned things. And then it is contradicted to the unconditioned assumption. By that, in the solidest logical form, consciousness can't see the unconditioned thing. So the unconditioned is outside of thinking, outside of experience, outside of the world, outside of all phenomena.

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Re: NO self

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:44 am

whynotme wrote:So the unconditioned is outside of thinking, outside of experience, outside of the world, outside of all phenomena.
Unconditioned is asankhata?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: NO self

Postby whynotme » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:51 am

I am not good at Pali.

I only using common sense, normal logic and reason to point out that if there is unconditioned thing, what ever it is, then it is outside of all phenomena, outside of the reach of consciousness, because another member has said that all phenomena include the unconditioned. All phenomena have beginning and ending, which contradict to the unconditioned if there is any. Unconditioned means no beginning, not created, because has the beginning or be created already means conditioned.

Correct me if I was wrong

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Re: NO self

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:57 am

whynotme wrote:I am not good at Pali.

I only using common sense, normal logic and reason to point out that if there is unconditioned thing, what ever it is, then it is outside of all phenomena, outside of the reach of consciousness, because another member has said that all phenomena include the unconditioned. All phenomena have beginning and ending, which contradict to the unconditioned if there is any. Unconditioned means no beginning, not created, because has the beginning or be created already means conditioned.

Correct me if I was wrong

Regards
A discussion of this goes way outside of this particular thread OP. See the guidelines for this subforum: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=373
If you wish to pursue this further, please feel free to start a new thread in the appropriate section.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
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Re: NO self

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:04 am

whynotme wrote:I am not good at Pali.

This dictionary is a good start for doctrinal terms:
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... #asankhata
Asankhata: The Unformed, Unoriginated, Unconditioned, Uncreated & Unconstructed is a name for Nibbāna, the beyond of all becoming and conditionality.


The Nibbāna entry notes:
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... bb%C4%81na
...
One cannot too often and too emphatically stress the fact that not only for the actual realization of the goal of Nibbāna, but also for a theoretical understanding of it, it is an indispensable preliminary condition to grasp fully the truth of anattā, the egolessness and insubstantiality of all forms of existence. Without such an understanding, one will necessarily misconceive Nibbāna - according to one's either materialistic or metaphysical leanings - either as annihilation of an ego, or as an eternal state of existence into which an ego or self enters or with which it merges.
...

:anjali:
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Re: NO self

Postby robertk » Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:37 pm

Some more on "there is no self" .
It must be admitted hat someone could say " there is no self", and be having some sort of anilhilationist view such as the philosopher Hume, some scientists and materialism in general.

Thus more detail is needed to clarify, more about the vinnana sota, nama-rupa , conditionality, and dependent origination.
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Re: NO self

Postby Alex123 » Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:51 pm

robertk wrote:Some more on "there is no self" .
It must be admitted hat someone could say " there is no self", and be having some sort of anilhilationist view such as the philosopher Hume, some scientists and materialism in general.


If annihilation implies belief in a Self that is annihilated, then that person cannot believe in "there is no Self".

From metaphysical POV, Alex believes that Atta doesn't exist. To "reality" It doesn't make any difference whether we claim Atta or Not. Believing in Atta doesn't create real Atta.

The problem is with Self Views. But to deny Atta, you first have to postulate the wrong idea of Atta that you correctly reject. Thus in a sense, Self View is still present.

This is why I believe it is better to phrase Dhamma as much as possible into, for example, 4NT like the Buddha did in MN2.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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