I think you are reading to much into my position. By stating 'THIS is not self' does not mean that I am SURE that somewhere somehow there MUST be a self. Like I said, it is a subtle distinction between viewing/perceiving something as not self and taking a stand as to whether there is a self or no self.
I think the reason why we have this problem is because someone here is still viewing a "self"... which was the irony that I tried to allude to a few posts back. A self-view doesn't just entail eternalism. There's also a view which involves annihilationism.
This kind of person would always try to find a "self" in anything, including even in what Ven. Thanissaro teaches, just so that he could continue to bolster his own view of "no self". That kind of activity is what ends up causing dukkha (as seems to be obvious in this thread), due to the clinging. He would keep on trying to build up a strawman, and then go on to annihilate it... keeping on thinking that this would solve the problem, that he seems to perceive.
No matter how much we deny the "self" to him, he would just keep on seeing a "self" in something, just to annihilate it over and over.
I remember a long time ago, when I mentioned in a thread that the idea of "no self" would be irrelevant to someone who has no concept of a "self" whatsoever, I took some really big arguments from some people on here... they're mainly the ones who also seem to have issues with Ven. Thanissaro in here. Why? I think it's because they like their "no self" doctrine so much, that they need a view of "self" somewhere to continue bolstering it. It's a tragedy.
I agree that there should be no problem about the view "there is no self"
if it is said by someone who is free of delusions, and is based on knowing
and seeing things as they really are.
I think that this is quite an excellent insight... if we try to work from this insight, we can pretty much see the very reason why the Buddha didn't affirm when Vacchagotta asked him if there was "no self". How? If the Buddha affirmed it, then that would mean that he was incapable of seeing things as they really are. Why not? Because then that would mean he didn't see that Vacchagotta will not have grasped it properly, and then the dukkha would've ensued. Think about that carefully. He affirmed "non-self" to Ananda.
Why do some people seem to have trouble grasping the idea that both of the "self" and "no self" could be seen as wrong views? I think that the Kaccayanagotta Sutta explains why. Uninstructed people prefer to keep to one extreme or other, regardless of what's actually happening in the actual world.
Zom, what makes you think that if someone isn't going to grasp the "not self" strategy properly, it would be less likely for him to grasp the "no self" strategy improperly? He's still an uninstructed person either way. From reading this thread, I actually think that Ven. Thanissaro's strategy seems to be an excellent way to ferret out some people who still have a subtle, lingering view of "self", especially in annihilationists.