Anatta = not Atman or No-Self

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Dinsdale
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Re: Anatta = not Atman or No-Self

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:59 am

BlackBird wrote:Anatta is something to be realized. Conceptual pondering that culminates in one forming a view of what they think anatta is might actually hinder ones progress, since one comes to assume they understand what they in truth do not.
But if one doesn't clearly understand what anatta means, then how does one know that one has realised it?
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Re: Anatta = not Atman or No-Self

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:08 am

Alex123 wrote:2) Atta is indirectly defined. Apparently atta has to be unchanging (nicca) and happy (sukha).
In the suttas the usual formula is that the aggregates are impermanent, therefore unsatisfactory and therefore not fit to be regarded as self. The general view seems to be that this is a strategy for not identifying with / grasping at the aggregates, rather than implying the existence of a self which is permanent and satisfactory.
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reflection
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Re: Anatta = not Atman or No-Self

Post by reflection » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:56 am

Anatta means the aggregates are just processes, without owner or controller. And because there is nothing aside from the aggregates, it's ok to say there is no self anywhere. There is this sutta quote that says if there is a self anywhere, the Buddhist path would not exist. So, that says if there was an entity with control or ownership, the path would not exist. Because if there was control over the aggregates, we would just turn them as we like. Which obviously, we can't or we wouldn't ever have suffered.

So that's not meant as a strategy. Yes, anatta can be used like a strategy, but it's not just a strategy. Just like suffering and impermanence are not mere strategies, but realities of existence, so is anatta the Buddha's answer to the big questions in life. Dukkha, anicca and anatta are the same thing. As far as I've seen the discourses, they are treated identically. Not one as a technique and others as a reality.

I know this is in the pali forum. If you expect an answer based on pali literature, I'm sure many things can be found - but don't ask me. ;)

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Re: Anatta = not Atman or No-Self

Post by Alex123 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:04 pm

SamKR wrote:As I understand it in the Buddha's teachings:
Atta = I
Anatta = Not I
But in Hinduism Atman is used to mean both "permanent I" as well as "permanent soul". In one of the Hindu literature (Bhagavad Gita) Lord Krishna says:
The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.


This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, all-pervading, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.

It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable, immutable, and unchangeable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body.
http://www.asitis.com/2/23.html

Here is the thing. How many people believe that I cannot be cut, burned, etc? Not every person believes in a soul.

So Atman is something more than mere empirical "I" which can be cut, burned, age and die.

SamKR wrote:
Alex wrote:I wonder If someone would ask the Buddha, "why can't self be anicca, and dukkha? what is wrong with that?"
Even without any reference to Hinduism or Buddha's teachings, we can say that it is not possible for self (if there is any) to be anicca. Anicca means origination and destruction, and if anything originates and instantly vanishes then it is not self.


Why can't a person (most likely a atheist, physicalist) believe in a self that is born, ages, and dies?
"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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Re: Anatta = not Atman or No-Self

Post by Alex123 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:07 pm

porpoise wrote:In the suttas the usual formula is that the aggregates are impermanent, therefore unsatisfactory and therefore not fit to be regarded as Atman. The general view seems to be that this is a strategy for not identifying with / grasping at the aggregates, rather than implying the existence of a self which is permanent and satisfactory.
In place of self it says atta (Atman). Buddha has NEVER spoken in English. It is questionable what Atman precisely means. Lets remember that Buddha spoke in different Culture and in different time (5th BC India).

I do agree about treating every phenomenon as "Not I, Not me, Not mine".
"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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Re: Anatta = not Atman or No-Self

Post by Samma » Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:08 am

if we become attached and try to hold on to things that will inevitably change and disappear, then we are bound to suffer. This argument also seems to be aimed directly at the early Upanisadic notion of the self as an unchaning, eternal absolute that is free from all suffering; in the phrase 'this is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self' there appears to be a deliberate echo and rebuttal of the Chandogya Upanisad's 'this is the self, this is what you are'.10 (Gethin, Foundations of Buddhism, p. 137)
Here seem to be two good books on topic of atta/anatta.
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=15393
Where Joaquín Pérez Remón argues that we have made too much of the anatta teaching at expense of atta, and a true self lurks behind: "This transcendent self was the one asserted whenever one was made to say of the empirical factors, 'This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self', a formula that equivalently says, 'I am beyond all this, my self transcends all this'."

Peter Harvey's book argues against the above it seems. Look on amazon book reviews to see a little war where proponents of true-self sort of teaching are giving 1star reviews to Peter Harvey's book, and Steve Collins book selfless persons. Also 1 1star criticism of Joaquín Pérez Remón book. :tongue:

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Re: Anatta = not Atman or No-Self

Post by SamKR » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:03 am

Alex123 wrote:
SamKR wrote:
Alex wrote:I wonder If someone would ask the Buddha, "why can't self be anicca, and dukkha? what is wrong with that?"
Even without any reference to Hinduism or Buddha's teachings, we can say that it is not possible for self (if there is any) to be anicca. Anicca means origination and destruction, and if anything originates and instantly vanishes then it is not self.


Why can't a person (most likely a atheist, physicalist) believe in a self that is born, ages, and dies?
They can, and actually I think many people in the world (atheist or not, rationalist or not) do believe so: "self is born, ages and dies." But then that is not the right view.

A view of impermanent self is self-contradictory. I may not be good at explaining in English but let me try anyways:

An atta (self) remains atta as long as it remains nicca (constant). If it changes, it changes to something else, and therefore cannot be considered to be the same previous atta.
(It cannot be said to have changed to itself. If it changed to itself, then it actually didn't change; it is still the same atta.)

Now, as it changes to something else it is now not the previous atta but a new atta.
Consider such changes many times, and such newer and newer atta forming each time. Then the set of all these attas so far is not a single atta.
Now, make the time duration of existence of each new atta infinitesimally small, and think if you can see any real atta that lasts.

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Re: Anatta = not Atman or No-Self

Post by Nyana » Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:26 am

Alex123 wrote:How many people believe that I cannot be cut, burned, etc? Not every person believes in a soul.
Those who believe some version of this hold an eternalist view.
Alex123 wrote:Why can't a person (most likely a atheist, physicalist) believe in a self that is born, ages, and dies?
Those who believe this hold an annihilationist view.

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Re: Anatta = not Atman or No-Self

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:50 am

reflection wrote:Yes, anatta can be used like a strategy, but it's not just a strategy. Just like suffering and impermanence are not mere strategies, but realities of existence, so is anatta the Buddha's answer to the big questions in life. Dukkha, anicca and anatta are the same thing. As far as I've seen the discourses, they are treated identically.
But is this identity of the 3 characteristics made explicit in the suttas? The usual formula in the suttas is that the aggregates are impermanent, therefore unsatisfactory, therefore not fit to be regarded as self.
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Re: Anatta = not Atman or No-Self

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:59 am

Alex123 wrote: It is questionable what Atman precisely means.
My assumption is that atta implies a permanent essence or "core" - which we could talk about as a soul, or as a fixed personality.
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Re: Anatta = not Atman or No-Self

Post by Alex123 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:34 pm

SamKR wrote:They can, and actually I think many people in the world (atheist or not, rationalist or not) do believe so: "self is born, ages and dies." But then that is not the right view.
I agree.

SamKR wrote: A view of impermanent self is self-contradictory. I may not be good at explaining in English but let me try anyways:
IF one believes that The Self has to be permanent, then impermanence would contradict it.


SamKR wrote: Now, as it changes to something else it is now not the previous atta but a new atta.
Consider such changes many times, and such newer and newer atta forming each time. Then the set of all these attas so far is not a single atta.
Now, make the time duration of existence of each new atta infinitesimally small, and think if you can see any real atta that lasts.

A football team can through time have different players coming and going, but it IS the same football team. Same with what some can believe in self.
5 Aggregates change, but self remains the same during some time.
"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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Re: Anatta = not Atman or No-Self

Post by kirk5a » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:05 pm

There are a variety of possibilities for clinging to self.
"Potthapada, there are these three acquisitions of a self: the gross acquisition of a self, the mind-made acquisition of a self, and the formless acquisition of a self. [9] And what is the gross acquisition of a self? Possessed of form, made up of the four great existents, feeding on physical food: this is the gross acquisition of a self. And what is the mind-made acquisition of a self? Possessed of form, mind-made, complete in all its parts, not inferior in its faculties: this is the mind-made acquisition of a self. And what is the formless acquisition of a self? Formless and made of perception: this is the formless acquisition of a self.
...
I teach the Dhamma for the abandoning of the [gross, mind-made & formless] acquisition of a self, such that, when you practice it, defiling mental qualities will be abandoned, bright mental qualities will grow, and you will enter & remain in the culmination & abundance of discernment, having known & realized it for yourself in the here & now.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
So that's what the teachings are all about. Abandoning whatever type of "acquisition of a self" that one happens to be clinging to.
If the thought should occur to you that, when defiling mental qualities are abandoned and bright mental qualities have grown, and one enters & remains in the culmination & abundance of discernment, having known & realized it for oneself in the here & now, one's abiding is stressful/painful, you should not see it in that way. When defiling mental qualities are abandoned and bright mental qualities have grown, and one enters & remains in the culmination & abundance of discernment, having known & realized it for oneself in the here & now, there is joy, rapture, serenity, mindfulness, alertness, and a pleasant/happy abiding.
So those are the marks of being on target with one's understanding re: anatta.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Anatta = not Atman or No-Self

Post by reflection » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:47 pm

porpoise wrote:
reflection wrote:Yes, anatta can be used like a strategy, but it's not just a strategy. Just like suffering and impermanence are not mere strategies, but realities of existence, so is anatta the Buddha's answer to the big questions in life. Dukkha, anicca and anatta are the same thing. As far as I've seen the discourses, they are treated identically.
But is this identity of the 3 characteristics made explicit in the suttas? The usual formula in the suttas is that the aggregates are impermanent, therefore unsatisfactory, therefore not fit to be regarded as self.
That's not the only way anatta is used. It is also used as a noun, as in "body, feeling, etc. is anatta".
"And since form is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.'"
- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
That's not a strategy, but a statement of how one can't control the aggregates.

Or like this, where it is not with "to be regarded as":
"Monks, matter is impermanent. That which is impermanent is unpleasant. That which is unpleasant is not self.
- http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ggo-e.html


Also, there is the quote:
"Thus, monks, any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every form is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'"

If it was just a strategy, it wouldn't really make sense that it has to be seen with discernment, with right view. The suttas also say one should see the four noble truths with right discernment, and many other things, like impermanence. Are they all strategies? No. Neither is anatta. Mostly, anatta is a statement about how existence is. It is the explanation how "being" and "non-being" are both incorrect views.

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Re: Anatta = not Atman or No-Self

Post by SamKR » Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:20 pm

Alex123 wrote: IF one believes that The Self has to be permanent, then impermanence would contradict it.
It is not a matter of belief. True self (Atman), if there is any, by definition must be permanent.
If you consider a self that changes and still see it as the same self, then that is not a true self. That is a concept of self.
True self, if there is any, is not a concept.

But the fact is that we cannot see any true self in the Dhammas.
We perceive a concept of self when there is ignorance, and we are deluded to think that this self is born, ages and dies.
We do not perceive any concept of self when there is no ignorance.

Alex123 wrote: A football team can through time have different players coming and going, but it IS the same football team. Same with what some can believe in self.
5 Aggregates change, but self remains the same during some time.
Again, the football team is a concept. The aggregates of phenomena, which this concept of football team is referring to, is changing when players are coming and going. But out of ignorance the concept of football team leads to the illusion that it is the same football team.
Similarly, 5 aggregates change, and the concept of self remains the same for some time out of ignorance: the inability to distinguish between the changing ultimate Dhammas vs. the concepts. But if there were any true self in 5 aggregates it could not have changed.

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Re: Anatta = not Atman or No-Self

Post by Nyorai » Mon Apr 08, 2013 5:23 am

Anatta = not Atman or No-Self
Anatta is just like that, a tranquil state. The essence of tranquil state in arahat and Buddha is difference. Atman in hindu is a suppressing state of mind to an extremely degree of no eruption of emotions, and in this state of peace, it was presumed as Almighty state which was personally experienced by Buddha who practiced together with those Hindu most ascetic achievers then. It is not soul as there is no hell and heaven either :pig:
ImageTo become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.
If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path. He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self.Image

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