On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
danieLion
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by danieLion » Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:50 am

Gaoxing wrote: Atta = soul = self
Anatta= not-self = no-self
It takes a self to declare there's no self. The Buddha used his self to declare the things that are not self. He knew taht declaring there is no self would be absurd.

danieLion
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by danieLion » Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:57 am

binocular wrote:
danieLion wrote:I agree with the Buddha and William James about the self that even though the self isn't permanent or a soul it is nonetheless real.
I don't see how the Buddha is saying that.

And I'm not sure about William James either. Can you provide his reasoning that the soul is not permanent, but nevertheless real?
The Buddha did not deny the existence of selves affirming by implication they're real; not ontologically real, buy pragmatically real. James didn't believe in soul, so your question makes me think you misread my sentence.

danieLion
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by danieLion » Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:00 am

tiltbillings wrote:
danieLion wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Talking in terms of actual experience, the Buddha: . . .
No, "there is no self" claim here either; likewise, this topic would not exist without ourselves making it happen.
The claim that is being made in these texts -- and I would say the suttas as a whole -- is that the experienced self, however one might imagine it, is a derived construct of our experiential process. A sense of self is an experience we are stuck with until awakening. It is not an issue in these texts of some sort of ontologically self-existing entity. The suttas are really not doing that kind of philosophy. It is, rather, in dealing with the experiential process of what we are, we find no unchanging metaphysical self/thing within that experience.
And? I agree. W. James agrees. And to the OP, Thanissaro agrees.

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acinteyyo
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by acinteyyo » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:17 am

binocular wrote:
cooran wrote:Please show us all one Sutta, just one, where the Buddha clearly taught that there was a permanent Self or Soul.
False assumption. Nobody said that the Buddha taught there was a permanent self.
We're saying that "there is no self in the aggregates" is not the same as "there is no ontological self." That is all.
It's only if one proposes that all there is, are the aggregates, that "there is no self in the aggregates" is equivalent to "there is no self."
The reason why the Buddha was only concerned with what is not the self is because he realized that everything within range is not the self and there's simply nothing else to say about it because there is nothing else to say about. To assume anything beyond would be futile because it lies beyond range. There is the tendency to assume that there could be something beyond the all and that could possibly be a self of some kind but if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for such a statement, one would either have to admit that one is actually considering the aggregates and therefore assuming a self in the aggregates or one would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range.
Sabba Sutta SN35.23 wrote:The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."
binocular wrote:But if we are to believe that the aggregates are all there is, then nibbana either doesnt' exist, isn't real, cannot be attained, cannot serve as a goal, or is a mere aggregate.
We are not simply to believe that the aggregates are all there is but we have to understand that anything beyond the aggregates is beyond range and therefore nothing can be said about it. And nibbana isn't a thing like the aggregates and to compare it with the aggregates reveals a misunderstanding. Nibbana is described as the absence of something, generally the absence of greed, hatred and delusion. The absence of something is not a "thing" in itself, it lacks substance or existence of something. Like fire which has simply gone out. It hasn't become any-thing else but is simply absent.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Gaoxing
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Gaoxing » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:08 pm

danieLion wrote:
Gaoxing wrote: Atta = soul = self
Anatta= not-self = no-self
It takes a self to declare there's no self. The Buddha used his self to declare the things that are not self. He knew taht declaring there is no self would be absurd.
Where is this self 'you' talk about? What does it consist of? Where did the Buddha say this?

Judai
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Judai » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:47 pm

Gaoxing wrote:
danieLion wrote:
Gaoxing wrote: Atta = soul = self
Anatta= not-self = no-self
It takes a self to declare there's no self. The Buddha used his self to declare the things that are not self. He knew taht declaring there is no self would be absurd.
Where is this self 'you' talk about? What does it consist of? Where did the Buddha say this?
The Buddha says that whatever is self does does not lead to suffering.
The Buddha also said that whatever is non self leads to suffering.

Then he proceeded to say that which is non self is suffering.

So ask the Buddha where the self is,ask the Buddha why he said that which has a self does not lead to suffering,while he said non self is suffering.
(if you need the quotes I can provide them)just ask.

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daverupa
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by daverupa » Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:30 pm

Judai wrote:The Buddha says that whatever is self does does not lead to suffering.
The Buddha also said that whatever is non self leads to suffering.
Hmm.
MN 22 wrote:“Bhikkhus, you may well cling to that doctrine of self that would not arouse sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair in one who clings to it. But do you see any such doctrine of self, bhikkhus?”—“No, venerable sir.”—“Good, bhikkhus. I too do not see any doctrine of self that would not arouse sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair in one who clings to it.
  • "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]

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Alex123
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Alex123 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:33 pm

daverupa wrote:
Judai wrote:The Buddha says that whatever is self does does not lead to suffering.
The Buddha also said that whatever is non self leads to suffering.
Hmm.
MN 22 wrote:“Bhikkhus, you may well cling to that doctrine of self that would not arouse sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair in one who clings to it. But do you see any such doctrine of self, bhikkhus?”—“No, venerable sir.”—“Good, bhikkhus. I too do not see any doctrine of self that would not arouse sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair in one who clings to it.

I wonder if "there is no self" fits the doctrine of self.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

Judai
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Judai » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:42 pm

daverupa wrote:
Judai wrote:The Buddha says that whatever is self does does not lead to suffering.
The Buddha also said that whatever is non self leads to suffering.
Hmm.
MN 22 wrote:“Bhikkhus, you may well cling to that doctrine of self that would not arouse sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair in one who clings to it. But do you see any such doctrine of self, bhikkhus?”—“No, venerable sir.”—“Good, bhikkhus. I too do not see any doctrine of self that would not arouse sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair in one who clings to it.
yea the pali canon says many things,how do these passages go with your quote?

SN 22.46 Impermanent (2) pg 885
At Savatthi. "Bhikkhus, form is impermanent.... Feeling is impermanent.... Preception is impermanent.... Volitional formations are impermanent.... Consciousness is impermanent. What is Impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is nonself. What is nonself should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self."
SN 22.68 "Bhikkhu you should abandon desire for whatever is non self"
SN:22.69 "Bhikkhu,you should abandon desire for whatever does not belong to self."

SN 22.59
Anatta-lakkhana Sutta: The Discourse on the Not-self Characteristic
Thus it was heard by me. At one time the Blessed One was living in the deer park of Isipatana near Benares. There, indeed, the Blessed One addressed the group of five monks.
"Form, O monks, is not-self; if form were self, then form would not lead to suffering and it should obtain regarding form: 'May my form be thus, may my form not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since form is not-self, therefore form leads to suffering and it does not obtain regarding form: 'May my form be thus, may my form not be thus.'
"Feeling, O monks, is not-self; if feeling were self, then feeling would not lead to suffering and it should obtain regarding feeling: 'May my feeling be thus, may my feeling not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since feeling is not-self, therefore feeling leads to suffering and it does not obtain regarding feeling: 'May my feeling be thus, may my feeling not be thus.'
"Perception, O monks, is not-self; if perception were self, then perception would not lead to suffering and it should obtain regarding perception: 'May my perception be thus, may my perception not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since perception is not-self, therefore, perception leads to suffering and it does not obtain regarding perception: 'May my perception be thus, may my perception not be thus.'
"Mental formations, O monks, are not-self; if mental formations were self, then mental formations would not lead to suffering and it should obtain regarding mental formations: 'May my perception be thus, may my mental formations not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since mental formations are not-self, therefore, mental formations lead to suffering and it does not obtain regarding mental formations: 'May my mental formations be thus, may my mental formations not be thus.'
"Consciousness, O monks, is not-self; if consciousness were self, then consciousness would not lead to suffering and it should obtain regarding consciousness: 'May my consciousness be thus, may my consciousness not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since consciousness is not-self, therefore, consciousness leads to suffering and it does not obtain regarding consciousness: 'May my consciousness be thus, may my consciousness not be thus.'

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Alex123
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Alex123 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:48 pm

Judai wrote:SN 22.46 Impermanent (2) pg 885
At Savatthi. "Bhikkhus, form is impermanent.... Feeling is impermanent.... Preception is impermanent.... Volitional formations are impermanent.... Consciousness is impermanent. What is Impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is nonself. What is nonself should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self."
That and other similar quotes do not state that Atta does not exist. It merely says that 5 aggregates are not Atta and should not be considered to be Atta.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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reflection
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by reflection » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:21 pm

The aggregates encompass all. To those who think there is some room for a self/soul outside of aggregates, outside of the six senses - try to define it, or find it in your own experience. You'll find you can't, because such a thing does not exit. So by saying there is no self/soul in the aggregates, the Buddha said there is no self/soul at all. To take the aggregate that is the most clear: What sort of self/soul could exist without consciousness? Without consciousness you can't speak of such things.

I know Thanissaro defines some sort of consciousness outside of the aggregates, but in my eyes that is just being evasive. The suttas say all types of consciousness whatever fall under the aggregate. If there was something outside, surely the Buddha would make it exceptionally clear every time he taught anatta, but he didn't.

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acinteyyo
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by acinteyyo » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:28 pm

Alex123 wrote:
daverupa wrote:
Judai wrote:The Buddha says that whatever is self does does not lead to suffering.
The Buddha also said that whatever is non self leads to suffering.
Hmm.
MN 22 wrote:“Bhikkhus, you may well cling to that doctrine of self that would not arouse sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair in one who clings to it. But do you see any such doctrine of self, bhikkhus?”—“No, venerable sir.”—“Good, bhikkhus. I too do not see any doctrine of self that would not arouse sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair in one who clings to it.

I wonder if "there is no self" fits the doctrine of self.
Yes, it does and it leads to suffering not to the end of suffering.
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Judai » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:38 pm

acinteyyo wrote: Yes, it does and it leads to suffering not to the end of suffering.
SN 22.59
"Form, O monks, is not-self; if form were self, then form would not lead to suffering and it should obtain regarding form: 'May my form be thus, may my form not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since form is not-self, therefore form leads to suffering and it does not obtain regarding form: 'May my form be thus, may my form not be thus.'

that which is self would not lead to suffering
that which is non self leads to suffering also non self is said to be suffering.

Judai
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Judai » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:48 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Judai wrote:SN 22.46 Impermanent (2) pg 885
At Savatthi. "Bhikkhus, form is impermanent.... Feeling is impermanent.... Preception is impermanent.... Volitional formations are impermanent.... Consciousness is impermanent. What is Impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is nonself. What is nonself should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self."
That and other similar quotes do not state that Atta does not exist. It merely says that 5 aggregates are not Atta and should not be considered to be Atta.
I agree with you
I believe its an old Buddhist Pudagala teaching.

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tiltbillings
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:54 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Judai wrote:SN 22.46 Impermanent (2) pg 885
At Savatthi. "Bhikkhus, form is impermanent.... Feeling is impermanent.... Preception is impermanent.... Volitional formations are impermanent.... Consciousness is impermanent. What is Impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is nonself. What is nonself should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self."
That and other similar quotes do not state that Atta does not exist. It merely says that 5 aggregates are not Atta and should not be considered to be Atta.
But let us not forget that the Buddha states that any idea of atta is derived from the khandhas.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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