"There's no self": a sutta says

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"There's no self": a sutta says

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:13 pm

"Assuming 'self' where there's no self"

AN 4.49 Vipallasa Sutta:

These four, O Monks, are distortions of perception, distortions of thought distortions of view...

Sensing no change in the changing,
Sensing pleasure in suffering,
Assuming "self" where there's no self,
Sensing the un-lovely as lovely —

Gone astray with wrong views, beings
Mis-perceive with distorted minds.

Bound in the bondage of Mara,
Those people are far from safety.
They're beings that go on flowing:
Going again from death to birth.

But when in the world of darkness
Buddhas arise to make things bright,
They present this profound teaching
Which brings suffering to an end.

When those with wisdom have heard this,
They recuperate their right mind:

They see change in what is changing,
Suffering where there's suffering,
"Non-self" in what is without self,
They see the un-lovely as such.

By this acceptance of right view,
They overcome all suffering.

~ translated from the Pali by Andrew Olendzki
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .olen.html

⬤ It is very interesting to see the absolute wordings: "no self" and "what is without self", ⬤ where some others would just replace them with conveniently manipulatable and easily digestible "not-self".

:anjali: :anjali: :anjali:
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Re: THERE'S NO SELF: a sutta says

Post by cappuccino » Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:16 pm

Assuming "self" where there's no self
Because all is not self.

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Re: THERE'S NO SELF: a sutta says

Post by Idappaccayata » Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:53 pm

"assuming self where there is no self", is not saying there is no self. It means just what it says, assuming one in a place where there isn't, ie the aggregates.

I don't disagree that there isn't a self, but I wouldn't use that sutta as my reference if I were going around trying to prove it to others.
A dying man can only rely upon his wisdom, if he developed it. Wisdom is not dependent upon any phenomenon originated upon six senses. It is developed on the basis of the discernment of the same. That’s why when one’s senses start to wither and die, the knowledge of their nature remains unaffected. When there is no wisdom, there will be despair, in the face of death.

- Ajahn Nyanamoli Thero

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Re: THERE'S NO SELF: a sutta says

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:39 pm

Greetings,

Further to the two excellent responses above, I'd just like to draw attention to the fact that talk about whether things exist or not is bestial animal-talk.
AN 10.69 wrote:“Then the Blessed One, emerging from his seclusion in the late afternoon, went to the meeting hall and, on arrival, sat down on a seat made ready. As he was sitting there, he addressed the monks: “For what topic of conversation are you gathered together here? In the midst of what topic of conversation have you been interrupted?”

“Just now, lord, after the meal, on returning from our alms round, we gathered at the meeting hall and got engaged in many kinds of bestial topics of conversation: conversation about kings, robbers, & ministers of state; armies, alarms, & battles; food & drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, & scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women & heroes; the gossip of the street & the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity, the creation of the world & of the sea; talk of whether things exist or not.”

“It isn’t right, monks, that sons of good families, on having gone forth out of faith from home to the homeless life, should get engaged in such topics of conversation, i.e., conversation about kings, robbers, & ministers of state… talk of whether things exist or not.

“There are these ten topics of [proper] conversation. Which ten? Talk on modesty, contentment, seclusion, non-entanglement, arousing persistence, virtue, concentration, discernment, release, and the knowledge & vision of release. These are the ten topics of conversation. If you were to engage repeatedly in these ten topics of conversation, you would outshine even the sun & moon, so mighty, so powerful — to say nothing of the wanderers of other sects.”
The Buddha teaches us to navigate the middle way between the polarity of existence and non-existence...
SN 12.15 wrote:Dwelling at Savatthi... Then Ven. Kaccayana Gotta approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Lord, 'Right view, right view,' it is said. To what extent is there right view?"

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on 'my self.' He has no uncertainty or doubt that just stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It's to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.

"'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications...
As this sutta demonstrates, the path of understanding that navigates through the middle of this polarity is understanding phenomena by way of paticcasamuppada.

This is important for two main reasons...

Firstly, it shows that the Dhamma is about that which is experienced and the nature of what is experienced. Thus, it is phenomenological... it is not ontological. Affirmations or denials of a soul are each ontological propositions, animal-talk on whether things exist or not, are not connected to the phenomenal, are beyond the scope of "The All", and are therefore irrelevant to the Dhamma.

Secondly, it shows that all experienced conditioned phenomena (sankhata-dhammas) have "ignorance as a requisite condition". Thus, any thing, any sankhata-dhamma experienced, is experienced as it is, on account of ignorance (avijja). A meditator cannot magically wash the ignorance away from a sankhata-dhamma and somehow reveal its "true nature", since its true nature is that it is rooted in ignorance.

When this truth is properly understood, any compulsion to reify dhammas, construct conditional relations between dhammas, microscopically analyse dhammas, any worldly/bestial regarding of dhammas as being "real" or "existing" etc. all fade away, as they are seen as the irrelevant follies they are. This is the path to nibbida, disenchantment.

This has significant implications to what one studies and how one practices the Noble Eightfold Path, that I'll leave for the reader to discern for themselves...

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: THERE'S NO SELF: a sutta says

Post by Circle5 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:39 pm

Idappaccayata wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:53 pm
"assuming self where there is no self", is not saying there is no self. It means just what it says, assuming one in a place where there isn't, ie the aggregates.

I don't disagree that there isn't a self, but I wouldn't use that sutta as my reference if I were going around trying to prove it to others.
The point Buddha is always trying to make is that there is no self anywhere, whatsoever. Do you regard form, consciusness, perceptions, feelings, etc. as self? Do you believe there is a self apart from them? Do you believe there is a self somewhere inside them, or in any case some self dwelling somewhere?

If so, then let me know what exactly do you regard as self.
s this sutta demonstrates, the path of understanding that navigates through the middle of this polarity is understanding phenomena by way of paticcasamuppada.

This is important for two main reasons...

Firstly, it shows that the Dhamma is about that which is experienced and the nature of what is experienced. Thus, it is phenomenological... it is not ontological. Affirmations or denials of a soul are each ontological propositions, animal-talk on whether things exist or not, are not connected to the phenomenal, are beyond the scope of "The All", and are therefore irrelevant to the Dhamma.

Secondly, it shows that all experienced conditioned phenomena (sankhata-dhammas) have "ignorance as a requisite condition". Thus, any thing, any sankhata-dhamma experienced, is experienced as it is, on account of ignorance (avijja). A meditator cannot magically wash the ignorance away from a sankhata-dhamma and somehow reveal its "true nature", since its true nature is that it is rooted in ignorance.

When this truth is properly understood, any compulsion to reify dhammas, construct conditional relations between dhammas, microscopically analyse dhammas, any worldly/bestial regarding of dhammas as being "real" or "existing" etc. all fade away, as they are seen as the irrelevant follies they are. This is the path to nibbida, disenchantment.

This has significant implications to what one studies and how one practices the Noble Eightfold Path, that I'll leave for the reader to discern for themselves...
False. The sutta in question shows how nothing can be said to really exist, since everything is impermanent. A chair might exist now, but in the future, not even the memory of it will survive. It will be like it never existed. But on the other hand, Buddha points out that there are things that arise, therefore nobody in his sane mind can claim things don't exist.

This normal, non-conspirationist interpretation of that sutta is also supported by your most hated sutta:
Near Sāvatthī. There the Blessed One said, “Monks, it’s not that I dispute with the world, but that the world disputes with me. A proponent of the Dhamma doesn’t dispute with anyone with regard to the world.1 Whatever is agreed upon by the wise as not existing in the world, of that I too say, ‘It doesn’t exist.’ Whatever is agreed upon by the wise as existing in the world, of that I too say, ‘It exists.’

“And what is agreed upon by the wise as not existing in the world that I too say, ‘It doesn’t exist’?

“Form that’s constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change is agreed upon by the wise as not existing in the world, and I too say, ‘It doesn’t exist.’

“Feeling that’s constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change is agreed upon by the wise as not existing in the world, and I too say, ‘It doesn’t exist.’

“Perception that’s constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change is agreed upon by the wise as not existing in the world, and I too say, ‘It doesn’t exist.’

“Fabrications that are constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change are agreed upon by the wise as not existing in the world, and I too say, ‘They don’t exist.’

“Consciousness that’s constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change is agreed upon by the wise as not existing in the world, and I too say, ‘It doesn’t exist.’

“And what is agreed upon by the wise as existing in the world that I too say, ‘It exists’?

“Form that’s inconstant, stressful, subject to change is agreed upon by the wise as existing in the world, and I too say, ‘It exists.’

“Feeling that’s inconstant, stressful, subject to change is agreed upon by the wise as existing in the world, and I too say, ‘It exists.’

“Perception that’s inconstant, stressful, subject to change is agreed upon by the wise as existing in the world, and I too say, ‘It exists.’

“Fabrications that are inconstant, stressful, subject to change are agreed upon by the wise as existing in the world, and I too say, ‘They exist.’

“Consciousness that’s inconstant, stressful, subject to change is agreed upon by the wise as existing in the world, and I too say, ‘It exists.’2
https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/SN/SN22_94.html

Solipsism, postmodernism and other such views of the world are not in line with the suttas.

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Re: THERE'S NO SELF: a sutta says

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:23 pm

Greetings Circle5,
False. The sutta in question shows how nothing can be said to really exist, since everything is impermanent. A chair might exist now, but in the future, not even the memory of it will survive. It will be like it never existed.
Pick one. :)

I do not intend to go around in circles rehashing old conversations, merely to be misrepresented by you yet again as you tilt at windmills.

All I do want to say in connection to your sutta quote is that I see you're using a Bhikkhu Bodhi translation. This is interesting because, as you know, any translation requires a degree of interpretation and interpolation by the translator based upon their views. And what are Bhikkhu Bodhi's views in connection to "existence"? If we turn to page 188 of Bhikkhu Bodhi's "A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma", we read...
The compendium of process-freed consciousness opens with a survey of the topography of the phenomenal world, charting the planes of existence and the various realms within each plane. (See Table 5.1). The author undertakes this survey before examining the types of process-freed consciousness because the external universe, according to the Abhidhamma, is an outer reflection of the internal cosmos of mind, registering in concrete manifest form the subtle gradations in states of consciousness. This does not mean that the Abhidhamma reduces the outer world to a dimension of mind in the manner of philosophical idealism. The outer world is quite real and possesses objective existence. The outer world is always a world apprehended by consciousness, and the type of consciousness determines the nature of the world that appears. Consciousness and the world are mutually dependent and inextriably connected to such an extent that the hierarchical structure of the realms of existence exactly reproduces and corresponds to the hierarchical structure of consciousness.

Because of this correspondence, each of the two, the objective hierarchy of existence and the inner gradation of consciousness, provides the key to understanding the other. The reason why a living being is reborn into a particular realm is because he has generated, in a previous life, the kamma or volitional force of consciousness that leads to the rebirth into that realm, and thus the final analysis all the realms of activity of existence are formed, fashioned, and sustained by the mental activity of living beings. At the same time these realms provide the stage for consciousness to continue its evolution in a new personality and under a fresh set of circumstances.
It is unsurprising then, that when he comes to translate SN 22.94, he translates in accordance with his Dhamma understanding, and in doing so distorts the meaning of atthī’ti to say "it exists", when it is more appropriate for it to be translated literally as "it is". When we look at suttas like AN 1.52 and SN 22.62 which also contain the term atthī’ti, we can see that to translate it as "it exists" would lead to a non-sensical translation. Thus, unlike in SN 22.62 where Bhikkhu Bodhi translated atthī’ti correctly as "it is", we can conclude he has over-reached in SN 22.94, and fallen in with the "Everything Exists" crowd, by erroneously translating atthī’ti as "it exists". The fact the "Everything exists" crowd rely so heavily on a faulty Bhikkhu Bodhi translation to cling to their ontological view shows what a paucity of sutta evidence there is to substantiate their animal-talk (tiracchāna kathā) about whether things exist.

Given that Bhikkhu Bodhi has translated SN 22.94 in this way due to his ontological "Everything Exists" view, and the "Everything Exists" crowd now cling so tenaciously to Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation to affirm their view, they are inadvertently guilty of the logical fallacy known in English as "begging the question".

I have no interest in "debating" your logically fallacious arguments, and shall therefore leave you to your ditthi.

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: THERE'S NO SELF: a sutta says

Post by form » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:46 pm

This is something deep that is not suitable for intellectual discussion. It is to be realised.

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Re: THERE'S NO SELF: a sutta says

Post by DooDoot » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:09 am

Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:13 pm
AN 4.49 Vipallasa Sutta:

These four, O Monks, are distortions of perception, distortions of thought distortions of view...

Sensing no change in the changing,
Sensing pleasure in suffering,
Assuming "self" where there's no self,
Sensing the un-lovely as lovely —

~ translated from the Pali by Andrew Olendzki
Hi. I probably don't agree with lots of Bhikkhu Sujato's translations however Bhikkhu Sujato has done us all an enormous service :heart: in his translating of the MN, SN, AN & DN, which also includes Pali with the English, where most of the Pali words can be highlighted to see their English translation.

Sujato's translation is here: https://suttacentral.net/an4.49/en/sujato Click on the wheel at the top right to active both the Pali-English text and the Pali-English dictionary. The text is as follows:
“Mendicants, there are these four perversions of perception, mind, and view.
“Cattārome, bhikkhave, saññāvipallāsā cittavipallāsā diṭṭhivipallāsā.

What four?
Katame cattāro?

Taking impermanence as permanence.
Anicce, bhikkhave, niccanti saññāvipallāso cittavipallāso diṭṭhivipallāso;

Taking suffering as happiness.
dukkhe, bhikkhave, sukhanti saññāvipallāso cittavipallāso diṭṭhivipallāso;

Taking not-self as self.
anattani, bhikkhave, attāti saññāvipallāso cittavipallāso diṭṭhivipallāso;

Taking ugliness as beauty.
asubhe, bhikkhave, subhanti saññāvipallāso cittavipallāso diṭṭhivipallāso.
Having a careful look at the text, we can see the relevant Pali word is "anatta" or "not-self". Therefore, we can say the translation of "no self" by Andrew Olendzki is not particularly accurate.

I have found since Bhikkhu Sujato started his translation & research facility, my personal knowledge has grown enormously. I encourage you to learn to use it; just with patience; little by little. Note: I can't read Pali but just research using the SC facility. Its awesome!

Regards :smile:
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Re: THERE'S NO SELF: a sutta says

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:17 am

:anjali: :anjali: :anjali:
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Re: THERE'S NO SELF: a sutta says

Post by Circle5 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:20 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:23 pm
[...]
Let me ask you something: Have you ever noticed things arising? Have you ever noticed feelings arising, forms arising, perceptions arising, etc.?

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Re: THERE'S NO SELF: a sutta says

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:24 am

Greetings Circle5,
Circle5 wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:20 am
Let me ask you something: Have you ever noticed things arising? Have you ever noticed feelings arising, forms arising, perceptions arising, etc.?
Yes, and...?

(Please note that as a courtesy to the OP, I'm expecting you to get back to the topic at hand, and am allowing your oblique questioning for now only on the expectation that it will return there...)

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: THERE'S NO SELF: a sutta says

Post by Circle5 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:57 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:24 am
Yes, and...?

(Please note that as a courtesy to the OP, I'm expecting you to get back to the topic at hand, and am allowing your oblique questioning for now only on the expectation that it will return there...)
If you have seen and understood the arising of form, consciousness, feelings, perceptions, etc. - can you claim that feelings do not exist, that perceptions do not exist, that material form does not exist, etc.?

As for coming back on topic, why not do it with a similar, simple question about self. You claim that you do not have an opinion on whether a self exists or not. As far as you are concerned, a self might very well exist.

My question is: What makes you believe a self might exist? There has to be some reasoning behind this opinion.

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Re: THERE'S NO SELF: a sutta says

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:12 am

Greetings Circle5,
Circle5 wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:57 am
If you have seen and understood the arising of form, consciousness, feelings, perceptions, etc. - can you claim that feelings do not exist, that perceptions do not exist, that material form does not exist, etc.?
Let us rejoice in the Blessed One's words...
SN 12.15 wrote:When one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.
Let us return now to Circle5's words...
Circle5 wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:57 am
As for coming back on topic, why not do it with a similar, simple question about self. You claim that you do not have an opinion on whether a self exists or not. As far as you are concerned, a self might very well exist.

My question is: What makes you believe a self might exist? There has to be some reasoning behind this opinion.
I have no opinion either way, nor do I consider it "appropriate attention" to be bringing the mind to such speculative matters, which are necessarily outside of "the All", thus outside the realm of experience, and thus, beyond the scope and range of the Dhamma. Let us rejoice once more in the Blessed One's words...
SN 12.15 wrote:By & large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on 'my self.' He has no uncertainty or doubt that just stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It's to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.
:buddha1:

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: THERE'S NO SELF: a sutta says

Post by Circle5 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:47 am

Let us rejoice in the Blessed One's words...
So you share Buddha view, that's great. But why do you share this view? Why do you believe that claiming "feelings/form/perceptions/etc do not exist" is wrong?
I have no opinion either way, nor do I consider it "appropriate attention" to be bringing the mind to such speculative matters, which are necessarily outside of "the All", thus outside the realm of experience, and thus, beyond the scope and range of the Dhamma. Let us rejoice once more in the Blessed One's words...
Ok, but even if you do not usually think about this, you must have thought at least one time about whether there is a self or not. After all, it's the fundamental teaching of buddhism and topics about this matter are abundant on this forum. Understanding this is the thing that sets apart a stream enterer from a normal person, it is the difference between being certainly heading towards enlightenment or possibly getting reborn countless times again in samsara.

You must have thought at least one time about weather there is a self or not. If you are not convinced there is no such thing, that means there are reasons that make you believe that a self might exist. What are those reasons? What are those things that make you believe such a thing might be possible?

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Re: THERE'S NO SELF: a sutta says

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:58 am

Greetings Circle5,
Circle5 wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:47 am
So you share Buddha view, that's great. But why do you share this view?
Because it is correct, and in accord with how things are - i.e. it is Dhamma.
Circle5 wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:47 am
Why do you believe that claiming "feelings/form/perceptions/etc do not exist" is wrong?
This has already been answered via the Blessed One's words...
SN 12.15 wrote:But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.
Circle5 wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:47 am
Ok, but even if you do not usually think about this, you must have thought at least one time about whether there is a self or not.
Why, when it is disconnected to the goal? Your assertion has already been responded to via the Blessed One's words...
SN 12.15 wrote:One such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on 'my self.'
Circle5 wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:47 am
After all, it's the fundamental teaching of buddhism and topics about this matter are abundant on this forum. Understanding this is the thing that sets apart a stream enterer from a normal person, it is the difference between being certainly heading towards enlightenment or possibly getting reborn countless times again in samsara.
If that is your conviction, then why do you insist on involvement with that by which the wise do not become involved? For what benefit are such "attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions"?
Circle5 wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:47 am
You must have thought at least one time about weather there is a self or not. If you are not convinced there is no such thing, that means there are reasons that make you believe that a self might exist. What are those reasons? What are those things that make you believe such a thing might be possible?
I am not sure what you find so difficult to comprehend about SN 12.15. Suffice to say, your question has already been answered numerous times, whether you agree with it, understand it or do not.

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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