Coëmgenu wrote:I think you are confusing metaphysical existence, ontological existence, and phenomenological existence.
Hi Coëmgenu, Interesting observation. Not something I think I'm doing but I'll defer to your judgement on that.
from a phenomenological angle, the Buddha does thoroughly dismiss selfhood, notions and realizations thereof, etc.
If something does not exist phenomenologically, such as the self, it does not exist for me, for you, for anyone, other that someone who can see reality "as it is",
Yep. The only issue I have sometimes encountered (not implying that this is anything you have stated or done) is that this can be conflated with opinion. What I mean is that it's relatively easy to acquire a doctrinal (intellectual) belief in the existence or non-existence of a self. A fine example is the snippet from the sutta ancientbuddhism linked
etc.‘That which is the self is the world; after death I shall be permanent, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change; I shall endure as long as eternity’—this too he regards thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self.’
Although most people don't push their "self" belief to such a detailed doctrinal extent, I happen to think that belief in self (however it's defined) is a useful starting point for anyone, as we all have a default "self" modus. I think the onus is thus on a person to seek, identify and establish this "self".
The key issue is how this investigation is conducted. If it's done using logic and analysis, then a conclusion is reached. If it is done using right concentration, a direct discovery is made. The nature of these is completely different; the former being an inferior antidote to self-grasping (if an antidote at all). My point being that if Buddha states "This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’ it's born of direct realization, rather than a conceptually constructed doctrine. Not saying that you shouldn't have such a doctrine, just that there's a fundamental difference.
From the phenomenological-Buddhist perspective, the Buddha is silent on issue of selfhood, but only because from this perspective, he is silent on the existence or non-existence of anything, selfhoods included. Look into the lists of all of the things that are called "not the self".