SarathW wrote:All compounds are devoid of self.
Some translate the phrase sabbe dhamma literally as "all phenomena"
(both compound and non-compound). This is not true. According to Lord
Buddha's Teaching in the Dhammapada Pali text, as interpreted by the
original arahant commentators and by the most recent translators
(Carter and Palihawadana 1987) 2, the words sabbe dhamma , in this
context, refer only to the Five Aggregates . These are sankhara or
compounds. Thus, the reference excludes pure, non-compound aspects of
nature such as nibbana.
The writer you quote seems to be treating the Dhammapada Commentary's interpretation (which he approves of) as if it were the sole and normative definition of dhammā
in this context. But in fact it's unique and exceptional. Everywhere else the commentaries support the view that the writer rejects, the usual gloss being:
'Sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā' ti sabbe tebhūmakasaṅkhārā aniccā.
'Sabbe dhammā anattā' ti sabbe catubhūmakadhammā anattā.
'All saṅkhāras are impermanent' means that all saṅkhāras belonging to the three planes are impermanent.
'All dhammas are not self' means that all dhammas belonging to the four planes are not self.
The three planes are those of sense-desires, refined-form and formlessness. The four planes are the same with the addition of the supramundane.
Khandhānaṃ rāsaṭṭhaṃ, āyatanānaṃ āyatanaṭṭhaṃ,
Dhātūnaṃ suññaṭṭhaṃ, indriyānaṃ adhipatiyaṭṭhaṃ,
Saccānaṃ tathaṭṭhaṃ aviditaṃ karotītipi ‘avijjā’.
It prevents knowing the meaning of heap in the aggregates, the meaning of actuating in the sense-bases, the meaning of voidness in the elements, the meaning of predominance in the faculties, and the meaning of suchness in the truths, thus it is called ‘ignorance’.
(Visuddhimagga XVII. 43)