On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
User avatar
cooran
Posts: 8504
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by cooran » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:02 am

Hello Daniel, binocular,

Please show us all one Sutta, just one, where the Buddha clearly taught that there was a permanent Self or Soul.

With metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:09 am

Talking in terms of actual experience, the Buddha:
  • Bhikkhus, what exists by clinging to what, by adhering to what does view of self arise? … When there is form, bhikkhus, by clinging to form, by adhering to form, view of self arises. When there is feeling…perception…voltional formations…consciousness, by clinging to consciousness, view of self arises. … Seeing thus… He understands: …there is no more for this state of being. – SN III 185-6.
  • Monks, whatever contemplatives or priests who assume in various ways when assuming a self, all assume the five clinging-aggregates, or a certain one of them. Which five? There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person -- who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma -- assumes form (the body) to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.... Owing to the fading of ignorance and the arising of clear knowing, (the thoughts) -- 'I am,' 'I am this,' 'I shall be,' 'I shall not be,' 'I shall be possessed of form,' 'I shall be formless,' 'I shall be percipient (conscious),' 'I shall be non-percipient,' and 'I shall be neither percipient nor non-percipient' -- do not occur to him." SN III 46
  • It is impossible, it cannot come to pass that a man possessed of (right) view should treat any dhamma as self [atta] – this situation does not occur. MN iii 64
  • ‘”I am’ is derivative upon form … perception … feelings … volitional formation … consciousness’ – S XXII 83/iii 105
  • ‘Bhikkhus, self and self’s property being unapprehendable as true and established, then would not this view “The universe is the self; after death I shall be permanent, stable, eternal, immutable, eternally the same, endure as long as eternity” be the pure perfection of a fool’s idea?’ ‘How not, lord? It would be pure perfection of a fool’s idea.’ MN 22/ I 138
  • "But who, Venerable One, is it that feels?" "This question is not proper," said the Exalted One. I do not teach that there is one who feels. If, however, the question is put thus: 'Conditioned through what does feeling arise?' then the answer will be 'Through sense impressions as a condition feeling [arises]; with feeling as a condition, craving [arises]." SN II 1
  • The world, as a rule, is fettered by attachment and clinging to things, and is firmly adhering to them. But the learned and noble disciple does no longer attach himself, cling firmly, adhere and incline to the thoughts: 'I have an attaa,' and he knows: 'Merely dukkha that arises, merely dukkha that vanishes.' SN II 17 SN III 135
>> 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

danieLion
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by danieLion » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:14 am

cooran wrote:Hello Daniel, binocular,

Please show us all one Sutta, just one, where the Buddha clearly taught that there was a permanent Self or Soul.

With metta
Chris
Hi Chris,
Why would I do that? I'm not talking about the self as permanent or soul (David Hume is instructive here), so please don't put words in my mouth. 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. Just look at all the suttas I just cited.
Kindly,
dL

danieLion
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by danieLion » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:16 am

tiltbillings wrote:Talking in terms of actual experience, the Buddha:
  • Bhikkhus, what exists by clinging to what, by adhering to what does view of self arise? … When there is form, bhikkhus, by clinging to form, by adhering to form, view of self arises. When there is feeling…perception…voltional formations…consciousness, by clinging to consciousness, view of self arises. … Seeing thus… He understands: …there is no more for this state of being. – SN III 185-6.
  • Monks, whatever contemplatives or priests who assume in various ways when assuming a self, all assume the five clinging-aggregates, or a certain one of them. Which five? There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person -- who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma -- assumes form (the body) to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.... Owing to the fading of ignorance and the arising of clear knowing, (the thoughts) -- 'I am,' 'I am this,' 'I shall be,' 'I shall not be,' 'I shall be possessed of form,' 'I shall be formless,' 'I shall be percipient (conscious),' 'I shall be non-percipient,' and 'I shall be neither percipient nor non-percipient' -- do not occur to him." SN III 46
  • It is impossible, it cannot come to pass that a man possessed of (right) view should treat any dhamma as self [atta] – this situation does not occur. MN iii 64
  • ‘”I am’ is derivative upon form … perception … feelings … volitional formation … consciousness’ – S XXII 83/iii 105
  • ‘Bhikkhus, self and self’s property being unapprehendable as true and established, then would not this view “The universe is the self; after death I shall be permanent, stable, eternal, immutable, eternally the same, endure as long as eternity” be the pure perfection of a fool’s idea?’ ‘How not, lord? It would be pure perfection of a fool’s idea.’ MN 22/ I 138
  • "But who, Venerable One, is it that feels?" "This question is not proper," said the Exalted One. I do not teach that there is one who feels. If, however, the question is put thus: 'Conditioned through what does feeling arise?' then the answer will be 'Through sense impressions as a condition feeling [arises]; with feeling as a condition, craving [arises]." SN II 1
  • The world, as a rule, is fettered by attachment and clinging to things, and is firmly adhering to them. But the learned and noble disciple does no longer attach himself, cling firmly, adhere and incline to the thoughts: 'I have an attaa,' and he knows: 'Merely dukkha that arises, merely dukkha that vanishes.' SN II 17 SN III 135
No, "there is no self" claim here either; likewise, this topic would not exist without ourselves making it happen.

Dinsdale
Posts: 5969
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:21 am

cooran wrote: Please show us all one Sutta, just one, where the Buddha clearly taught that there was a permanent Self or Soul.
But is there a sutta where he clearly taught that there wasn't? In the Ananda Sutta he equates the no-self view with annihilationism, which is wrong view.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

danieLion
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by danieLion » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:26 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
cooran wrote: Please show us all one Sutta, just one, where the Buddha clearly taught that there was a permanent Self or Soul.
But is there a sutta where he clearly taught that there wasn't? In the Ananda Sutta he equates the no-self view with annihilationism, which is wrong view.
Exactly. Given the opportunity to say, "there is no self," he refused.

User avatar
Gaoxing
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:08 pm
Location: China

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Gaoxing » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:42 am

danieLion wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
cooran wrote: Please show us all one Sutta, just one, where the Buddha clearly taught that there was a permanent Self or Soul.
But is there a sutta where he clearly taught that there wasn't? In the Ananda Sutta he equates the no-self view with annihilationism, which is wrong view.
Exactly. Given the opportunity to say, "there is no self," he refused.
Nobody can tell an unenlightened, UN-liberated being that there is no self because in the sense of the unenlightened there is a self. Just as the Buddha did not deny gods. The Buddha did not deny delusional entities.

Kutadanta Sutta

'Only through ignorance and delusion do men indulge in the dream that their selves are separate and self-existing entities.

This body will be dissolved
and no amount of sacrifice will save it.
Therefore, seek the life that is of the mind.
Where self is, truth cannot be;
When truth comes, self will disappear.
Therefore, let your mind rest in the truth;
propagate the truth, put your whole will in it, and let it spread.
In the truth you shall live forever.

Self is death and truth is life.
The cleaving to self is a perpetual dying,
while moving in the truth
is partaking of Nirvana
which is life everlasting.

Atta = soul = self
Anatta= not-self = no-self

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Alex123 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:19 am

Gaoxing wrote:Actually the Buddha’s methods of refusing to speak about no-self or self are simple when considering the audience.
In SN44.10 the Buddha refused to say that "there is no self". He chose to say something else, anatta. I know that some say that "Buddha didn't want to confuse Vaccha who couldn't understand". But the Buddha refused to say to Venerable Ananda , a stream-enterer (who could understand), that "there is no self".

In MN2, "am I not" and "I have no self" are said to be wrong reflections. Interestingly, the right reflections are not replacement of wrong ontological positions with "right" ones. Right reflection is contemplating 4 Noble Truths and things that lead to extinguishment of clinging.

There are also lists of undeclared questions. If the answer was "The question is incorrect because it assumes Self, and there is no self", then why didn't the Buddha say so - at least to the bhikkhus who could understand?
"And why are they undeclared by me? Because they are not connected with the goal, are not fundamental to the holy life. They do not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That's why they are undeclared by me.MN63
Please note: They were not undeclared because they assumed Self. Why couldn't the Buddha say so? Rather, the rejection of views if far more pragmatic...
"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..."

User avatar
Gaoxing
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:08 pm
Location: China

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Gaoxing » Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:52 am

Alex123 wrote:
Gaoxing wrote:Actually the Buddha’s methods of refusing to speak about no-self or self are simple when considering the audience.
In SN44.10 the Buddha refused to say that "there is no self". He chose to say something else, anatta. I know that some say that "Buddha didn't want to confuse Vaccha who couldn't understand". But the Buddha refused to say to Venerable Ananda , a stream-enterer (who could understand), that "there is no self".

In MN2, "am I not" and "I have noself"f" are said to be wrong reflections. Interestingly, the right reflections are not replacement of wrong ontological positions with "right" ones. Right reflection is contemplating 4 Noble Truths and things that lead to extinguishment of clinging.

There are also lists of undeclared questions. If the answer was "The question is incorrect because it assumes Self, and there is no self", then why didn't the Buddha say so - at least to the bhikkhus who could understand?
"And why are they undeclared by me? Because they are not connected with the goal, are not fundamental to the holy life. They do not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That's why they are undeclared by me.MN63
Please note: They were not undeclared because they assumed Self. Why couldn't the Buddha say so? Rather, the rejection of views if far more pragmatic...
If there is no 'I'' it is stupid to think "I have no self" so agreed with the Buddha. If there is no 'I' it is stupid to think "am I not" so agreed with the Buddha. If there is no 'i' it is stupid to think "am I not" so agreed with the Buddha. But it is not agreed to that the Buddha refused to state that there is no-self. Ananda already new that but the Buddha also new Ananda was still suffering from a self-view.

Are you saying the Buddha spoke rubbish in the quote below?

Kutadanta Sutta

'Only through ignorance and delusion do men indulge in the dream that their selves are separate and self-existing entities.

This body will be dissolved
and no amount of sacrifice will save it.
Therefore, seek the life that is of the mind.
Where self is, truth cannot be;
When truth comes, self will disappear.
Therefore, let your mind rest in the truth;
propagate the truth, put your whole will in it, and let it spread.
In the truth you shall live forever.

Self is death and truth is life.
The cleaving to self is a perpetual dying,
while moving in the truth
is partaking of Nirvana
which is life everlasting.

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by daverupa » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:07 pm

Gaoxing wrote:Kutadanta Sutta

'Only through ignorance and delusion do men indulge in the dream that their selves are separate and self-existing entities.

This body will be dissolved
and no amount of sacrifice will save it.
Therefore, seek the life that is of the mind.
Where self is, truth cannot be;
When truth comes, self will disappear.
Therefore, let your mind rest in the truth;
propagate the truth, put your whole will in it, and let it spread.
In the truth you shall live forever.

Self is death and truth is life.
The cleaving to self is a perpetual dying,
while moving in the truth
is partaking of Nirvana
which is life everlasting.
The Kuttadanta Sutta I'm familiar with has no such poetry. Where is your selection from? Paul Carus' work The Gospel of the Buddha? I wonder what his source is... anyone?
  • "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]

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Alex123 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:11 pm

Gaoxing wrote: If there is no 'I'' it is stupid to think "I have no self" so agreed with the Buddha.
I have no self = no self. The Buddha called this inappropriate reflection.
Am I not = no I. The Buddha also called this inappropriate reflection.



If there is no 'I' it is stupid to think "am I not" so agreed with the Buddha. If there is no 'i' it is stupid to think "am I not" so agreed with the Buddha. But it is not agreed to that the Buddha refused to state that there is no-self. Ananda already new that but the Buddha also new Ananda was still suffering from a self-view.
Where self is, truth cannot be...Self is death and truth is life.
This doesn't say that "there is no self". This and other passages say that one should not speculate about the Self, even in sense of "Self doesn't exist".

In order to refute the idea of Self, you need to propose idea of Self to refute in the first place. So in that way there is still concern about conception 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..."

User avatar
Gaoxing
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:08 pm
Location: China

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Gaoxing » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:12 pm

daverupa wrote:
Gaoxing wrote:Kutadanta Sutta

'Only through ignorance and delusion do men indulge in the dream that their selves are separate and self-existing entities.

This body will be dissolved
and no amount of sacrifice will save it.
Therefore, seek the life that is of the mind.
Where self is, truth cannot be;
When truth comes, self will disappear.
Therefore, let your mind rest in the truth;
propagate the truth, put your whole will in it, and let it spread.
In the truth you shall live forever.

Self is death and truth is life.
The cleaving to self is a perpetual dying,
while moving in the truth
is partaking of Nirvana
which is life everlasting.
The Kuttadanta Sutta I'm familiar with has no such poetry. Where is your selection from? Paul Carus' work The Gospel of the Buddha? I wonder what his source is... anyone?
No one was caught red-handed. :clap:
.

User avatar
Gaoxing
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:08 pm
Location: China

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Gaoxing » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:17 pm

I have no self = no self. The Buddha called this inappropriate reflection.
Am I not = no I. The Buddha also called this inappropriate reflection.
Nope it's not what it says. I have no self =self. The Buddha called this inappropriate reflection.

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Alex123 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:22 pm

Gaoxing wrote:
I have no self = no self. The Buddha called this inappropriate reflection.
Am I not = no I. The Buddha also called this inappropriate reflection.
Nope it's not what it says. I have no self =self. The Buddha called this inappropriate reflection.

"I have no self" = no self. Some attempt to say that "I have no self" means "atta has no atta" , but this is twisting the meaning too much and still means no self. "A has no A" means "no A".
"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..."

User avatar
Gaoxing
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:08 pm
Location: China

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Gaoxing » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:36 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Gaoxing wrote:
I have no self = no self. The Buddha called this inappropriate reflection.
Am I not = no I. The Buddha also called this inappropriate reflection.
Nope it's not what it says. I have no self =self. The Buddha called this inappropriate reflection.

"I have no self" = no self. Some attempt to say that "I have no self" means "atta has no atta" , but this is twisting the meaning too much and still means no self. "A has no A" means "no A".
Nope its not twisting it. A has no B = A. It's like saying I have no bananas = I

The teaching of Atta (A) was something completely different to the teaching of Anatta (B) and still is.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 71 guests