Anatta, Self?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
cappuccino
Posts: 1644
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:45 am

Re: Anatta, Self?

Post by cappuccino » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:50 pm

On Self, No Self, and Not-self

the teaching is to regard everything as not your self

different than regarding yourself as having no self
“Life is anxiety”

pegembara
Posts: 1319
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am

Re: Anatta, Self?

Post by pegembara » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:46 am

Give up all questions except one, "Who am I?" After all the only fact you are sure of is that you "are". The "I am" is certain, the "I am this" is not. Struggle to find out what you are in reality. (Chapter 21; Who Am I?)

Be content with what you are sure of. And the only thing you can be sure of is "I am". Stay with it and reject everything else. This is Yoga. (Chapter 36; Killing Hurts the Killer not the Killed)

Quotes from I Am That by Nisargadatta
The anatta doctrine states that "you are not that". Even the feeling of "I am" is not yet the finish. The self has no where to hide.

Sabbe dhamma anatta - All phenomena are not self
"Friend Khemaka, this 'I am' of which you speak: what do you say 'I am'? Do you say, 'I am form,' or do you say, 'I am something other than form'? Do you say, 'I am feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness,' or do you say, 'I am something other than consciousness''? This 'I am' of which you speak: what do you say 'I am'?"

"Friends, it's not that I say 'I am form,' nor do I say 'I am something other than form.' It's not that I say, 'I am feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness,' nor do I say, 'I am something other than consciousness.' With regard to these five clinging-aggregates, 'I am' has not been overcome, although I don't assume that 'I am this.'

"Friends, even though a noble disciple has abandoned the five lower fetters, he still has with regard to the five clinging-aggregates a lingering residual 'I am' conceit, an 'I am' desire, an 'I am' obsession. But at a later time he keeps focusing on the phenomena of arising & passing away with regard to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance. Such is feeling... Such is perception... Such are fabrications... Such is consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.' As he keeps focusing on the arising & passing away of these five clinging-aggregates, the lingering residual 'I am' conceit, 'I am' desire, 'I am' obsession is fully obliterated.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 3178
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Anatta, Self?

Post by DooDoot » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:52 am

discussionbuddhist wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:10 pm
What is the difference between the annihilationist stance vs the alleged "no self" that was supposedly declared?
Based on the following texts, it might be the annihilationist stance believes in a "self" and believes this "self" is annihilated.
4. Annihilationism (Ucchedavāda): Views 51–57

84. "There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who are annihilationists and who on seven grounds proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honorable recluses and brahmins proclaim their views?

85. "Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin asserts the following doctrine and view: 'The self, good sir, has material form; it is composed of the four primary elements and originates from father and mother. Since this self, good sir, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death, at this point the self is completely annihilated.' In this way some proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .bodh.html
How, bhikkhus, do some overreach? Now some are troubled, ashamed, and disgusted by this very same being and they rejoice in (the idea of) non-being, asserting: 'In as much as this self, good sirs, when the body perishes at death, is annihilated and destroyed and does not exist after death — this is peaceful, this is excellent, this is reality!' Thus, bhikkhus, do some overreach.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .irel.html

TRobinson465
Posts: 522
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 5:29 pm
Location: United States

Re: Anatta, Self?

Post by TRobinson465 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:57 am

I think whether or not there is actually a self or not is beside the point. I presume the Buddha didnt answer because it was a question that was detrimental to people's awakening.

as probably the most famous western "non, not no" selfer states.
The belief that there is no self can actually get in the way of awakening. As the Buddha noted, the contemplation of not-self can lead to an experience of nothingness (MN 106). If your purpose in practicing is to disprove the self—perhaps from wanting to escape the responsibilities of having a self—you can easily interpret the experience of nothingness as the proof you’re looking for: a sign you’ve reached the end of the path. Yet the Buddha warned that subtle clinging can persist in that experience. If you think you’ve reached awakening, you won’t look for the clinging. But if you learn to keep looking for clinging, even in the experience of nothingness, you’ll have a chance of finding it. Only when you find it can you then let it go.
https://tricycle.org/magazine/there-no-self/
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 3178
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Anatta, Self?

Post by DooDoot » Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:10 am

TRobinson465 wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:57 am
I presume the Buddha didnt answer because it was a question that was detrimental to people's awakening.
The above seems certainly a presumption.
Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said, Ananda, that the world is empty.

SN 35.85
:alien:
TRobinson465 wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:57 am
as probably the most famous western "non, not no" selfer states.

The belief that there is no self can actually get in the way of awakening. As the Buddha noted, the contemplation of not-self can lead to an experience of nothingness (MN 106). If your purpose in practicing is to disprove the self—perhaps from wanting to escape the responsibilities of having a self—you can easily interpret the experience of nothingness as the proof you’re looking for: a sign you’ve reached the end of the path. Yet the Buddha warned that subtle clinging can persist in that experience. If you think you’ve reached awakening, you won’t look for the clinging. But if you learn to keep looking for clinging, even in the experience of nothingness, you’ll have a chance of finding it. Only when you find it can you then let it go.
I think the above by Bhikkhu Thanissaro has no relationship to the issue whatsoever. The above appears merely a description of immature practise. Instead of having direct experience (vipassana) that the five aggregates are empty of self; above, in MN 106; it appears the practitioner is reflecting intellectually about emptiness (similar to in Mahayana) that results in a concentration state of nothingness via suppressing thoughts.

I recall, somewhere, the monk Maha Boowa made a distinction between 'Samadhi Emptiness' (false emptiness) and 'Panna Emptiness' (true emptiness).
Last edited by DooDoot on Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

TRobinson465
Posts: 522
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 5:29 pm
Location: United States

Re: Anatta, Self?

Post by TRobinson465 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:26 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:10 am
I think the above has no relationship to the issue whatsoever. The above appears merely a description of immature practise.
The OP clearly states
can anyone think of any reasons why he didn't take the stance there is no self?
The idea that believing there is no self can hinder awakening sounds like a pretty good/relavent reason as to why he wouldnt take a stance.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 3178
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Anatta, Self?

Post by DooDoot » Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:30 am

TRobinson465 wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:26 am
can anyone think of any reasons why he didn't take the stance there is no self?
In SN 44.10, the Buddha was asked two wrong questions (not about "anatta") thus remained silent. The Buddha explained as follows:
And if, when I was asked by him, ‘Is there no self?’ I had answered, ‘There is no self,’ the wanderer Vacchagotta, already confused, would have fallen into even greater confusion, thinking, ‘It seems that the self I formerly had does not exist now.’

https://suttacentral.net/sn44.10/en/bodhi
The two questions asked were:

“kiṃ nu kho, bho gotama, atthattā”ti?

“Kiṃ pana, bho gotama, natthattā”ti?

It appears both questions contained the presumption there was a self (attā). Thus Buddha didn't answer.

Attha = exist

Nattha = not exist

Questions appear to be:

1. Does the self exist

2. Does the self not exist.

It is the Buddha's final statement (as posted) that shows the questions asked; that in the questions; the questioner presumed a self to exist in both cases.
And if, when I was asked by him, ‘Is there no self?’ I had answered, ‘There is no self,’ the wanderer Vacchagotta, already confused, would have fallen into even greater confusion, thinking, ‘It seems that the self I formerly had does not exist now.’

https://suttacentral.net/sn44.10/en/bodhi

TRobinson465
Posts: 522
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 5:29 pm
Location: United States

Re: Anatta, Self?

Post by TRobinson465 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:08 am

Yes i think the "there was never a self" idea is a perfectly valid answer as well. I was just providing another possible answer to the OPs question. I was not directing my post to you or anyone here except the OP.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

User avatar
cappuccino
Posts: 1644
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:45 am

Re: Anatta, Self?

Post by cappuccino » Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:45 pm

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?
the arising of knowledge
“Life is anxiety”

User avatar
Grigoris
Posts: 314
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:43 am

Re: Anatta, Self?

Post by Grigoris » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:36 am

discussionbuddhist wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:15 pm
cappuccino wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:40 pm
discussionbuddhist wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:10 pm
What is the difference between the annihilationist stance vs the alleged "no self" that was supposedly declared?

"no self" leads to thinking of annihilation, whereas "not self" doesn't

the teaching is "not self" rather than "no self"

Ananda Sutta
I asked this question if 'No Self' is uccedavada to someone on Dharma Wheel who is an administrator https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?p=461050#p461050 after his post:
Grigoris wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:13 am
It is exactly because there is no permanent, unchanging, immutable, essential self nature that what we do is so important. If there was a permanent... then it wouldn't matter, because you could not effect it. But exactly because we are this constantly mutable yet continuous process, then what we do is of utmost importance, because what we do makes a difference.

The problem with your question though is that you ask: why would I bother what happens to the self if there is no self?

If you start from the premise that there is no self then why would you care what happens to the self? If you start from the premise that there is a self that is effected, then why enter into process of asking?

It seems that it is time for you to move beyond an intellectual understanding into a realisation of no-self, otherwise you will get stuck with these sort of questions. This requires instruction and practice.

In the meantime you could study the four assurances from the Kalama Sutta.
then he said:
Grigoris wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:12 pm
discussionbuddhist wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:40 pm
Move to a realization of no-self? Isn't that ucchedavada?
So according to you the teaching of anatman nihilistic?

You better go inform the Buddha then.

I guess we are down to Three Dharma Seals then?
I fail to see why you believe the statements are contradictory.
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: budo and 123 guests