There is neither atta nor anatta?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
daverupa
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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Post by daverupa » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:25 pm

Kingdubrock wrote:...Nagarjuna's fourfold negation... But sometimes when some Theravadin teachers address issues like this one or emptiness, I detect a bit of appropriating or allowing Mahayanist formulations, primarily because they are not contradictory per se, or more positively, are implicit or latent in the Canonical sources, rather than explicitly taken up within the texts or commentaries prior to the Mahayana.
The fourfold negation isn't Nagarjuna's, but contained within the Nikayas. It's sometimes called the tetralemma; Nagarjuna used it, but it isn't a Mahayanist formulation per se.

The idea that all beings have Buddha Nature, however, is definitely a Mahayana formulation not found in the Nikayas.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

Samma
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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Post by Samma » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:19 pm

The last bit of Thanissaro selves and not selves is of note where he talks of what is beyond self and not self. So for grades of practice, an advanced one is to apply not-self across the board. Maybe saying "a self is un-findable" seems a bit too much seeing things in terms of self, as no-self. Its more about dropping categories of identification and obsession. And Ajahn Chah "nor anatta" is about talk as nibbana as beyond even not-self (?), as an ultimately dropping of categorization, as beyond discrimination.
Many of the forest ajaans have emphasized this point in their teachings: that in the attainment of awakening, you put aside both self and not-self. Several years back, there was a controversy in Thailand as to whether nibbana was self or not-self. The issue was even argued in the newspapers. So one day someone went to ask Ajaan MahaBoowa, “Is nibbana self or not-self?” And his answer was, “Nibbana is nibbana.” That was it. He then went on to explain how self and not-self are tools on the path, how both are put down when the path has done its work, and how neither applies to the experience of nibbana. Ajaan Suwat, one of my teachers, also said that when you’ve experienced deathless happiness, you don’t really care if there’s something experiencing it or not. The experience is sufficient in and of itself. What we’ve been describing here is a special kind of consciousness that lies beyond the aggregates: The texts call it “consciousness without surface.” Once it’s been attained, then freedom is never lost. The mind no longer tries to define itself, and because it’s not defined, it can’t be described.

Kingdubrock
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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Post by Kingdubrock » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:25 pm

daverupa wrote:
Kingdubrock wrote:...Nagarjuna's fourfold negation... But sometimes when some Theravadin teachers address issues like this one or emptiness, I detect a bit of appropriating or allowing Mahayanist formulations, primarily because they are not contradictory per se, or more positively, are implicit or latent in the Canonical sources, rather than explicitly taken up within the texts or commentaries prior to the Mahayana.
The fourfold negation isn't Nagarjuna's, but contained within the Nikayas. It's sometimes called the tetralemma; Nagarjuna used it, but it isn't a Mahayanist formulation per se.
Ah! thank you very informative. I looked around and indeed it is contained in the Brahmajala Sutta
The idea that all beings have Buddha Nature, however, is definitely a Mahayana formulation not found in the Nikayas.
Of course. I was talking about the negating "logic" and its purpose, not buddhanature as such.

Thanks :anjali:

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Prasadachitta
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Re: There is neither atta nor anatta?

Post by 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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