Not-self or No-self?

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Not-self or No-self?

Postby chandrafabian » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:16 am

Dear friends,

I don't know if this topic has or has not been brought about,
I read the statement of Ven. Thanissaro is somewhat misleading.
He said the view "have self" or "have no-self" are equally wrong.
I think he took different approach in translating "atta" as self only.
He is not taking into accounts the concept of atta as individual-entity/individual-essence soul.
Therefore atta can be translated as self or soul.
So Anatta in many scriptures most often means not-self and/or no-soul.

Please share your opinion.....

:anjali:
Last edited by chandrafabian on Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:20 am

i don't know, i do know when listening to ajahn's talks i have heard him time and again state there is no self just as adamantly as any other Buddhist teacher out there.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby chandrafabian » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:27 am

I think, in translating from the pali, we should consider the context... we can not translate all as not-self or all as no soul...
Even though I think no-soul is applicable in almost all situation.

The word "sabbe dhamma anatta" all conditioned dhamma has no-soul is correct.
the translation "not self" is somewhat ambiguous to me.
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:30 am

no soul is rather meaningless though, what is a soul? is it a self or is it some thing inside us we carry around or what?is it just the Indian concept of a soul that Buddha argues against and so the christian one is okay? or the Greek one? the word soul opens a whole can of worms that self does not.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:32 am

Greetings,

All phenomena within the realm of existence are not-self.

I don't see what's ambiguous about that unless (despite the warning in SN 12.15) you're explicitly hunting for some kind of ontological proclamation that will state whether the soul "exists" or "does not exist".

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby chandrafabian » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:40 am

jcsuperstar wrote:no soul is rather meaningless though, what is a soul? is it a self or is it some thing inside us we carry around or what?is it just the Indian concept of a soul that Buddha argues against and so the christian one is okay? or the Greek one? the word soul opens a whole can of worms that self does not.


That is exactly what I mean, Buddhist don't share any of those view, so the word anatta as no soul is correct.
In the sense there is no soul anywhere in the universe.
No-soul is direct refusal of soul doctrine (atta ditthi) as believed by other religion.
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby somo » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:49 am

anatta is the nature when out of the craving. therefor anatta has not any self. :namaste:
*happiness=pain,h/p=1,mind=1,suffering=p*t(time of craving)*
*real happiness will not change to the pain later*
*h^max=p^max..p can solves by decreases..h*

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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:54 am

how do you know? i mean what is a soul? a self is: me, mine, I, but a soul, who knows? can i have no soul but have a self? i don't have a dorsal fin either but knowing that doesn't help me in suffering less, but at least i know what a dorsal fin is, telling me i have no soul helps me in no way unless i have clearly defined what a soul is and have a belief in it. but i really have no idea what a soul is. maybe this is just a problem only i have? :shrug:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby chandrafabian » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:55 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

All phenomena within the realm of existence are not-self.

I don't see what's ambiguous about that unless (despite the warning in SN 12.15) you're explicitly hunting for some kind of ontological proclamation that will state whether the soul "exists" or "does not exist".

Metta,
Retro. :)


Dear Retro,

Yes.. soul does not exist, but this doesn't mean everything doesn't exist.
Aggregates exist but continually change, we are now is not the same as we are yesterday or last minute or last second.
That is why The Buddha say "everything exist or everything does not exist" is equally wrong.
But soul as in other religion believe, doesn't exist, never exist in any circumstances.
In my opinion the meaning anatta, one of the three characteristics, is no-soul.

Mettacittena,
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby chandrafabian » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:58 am

somo wrote:anatta is the nature when out of the craving. therefor anatta has not any self. :namaste:


Dear Somo, anatta is the nature of everything is changing. Therefore no permanent entity or permanent soul wandering around as other religion believe to exist.

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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby chandrafabian » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:04 am

jcsuperstar wrote:how do you know? i mean what is a soul? a self is: me, mine, I, but a soul, who knows? can i have no soul but have a self? i don't have a dorsal fin either but knowing that doesn't help me in suffering less, but at least i know what a dorsal fin is, telling me i have no soul helps me in no way unless i have clearly defined what a soul is and have a belief in it. but i really have no idea what a soul is. maybe this is just a problem only i have? :shrug:


Dear JC, That is why The Buddha always say "anatta - no soul" consistently. We believe in personal entity inside our body before we know Buddhist Teachings. After we know Buddhist Teachings we understand, there are only mind and body processes. No Individual entity, no personal entity, no individual essence, no soul.

Mettacittena,
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:10 am

Greetings,

One big problem with the "no soul" interpretation is that anatta is not spoken in isolation without a frame of reference... it is always explained with respect to something.

This is not-self, that is not-self... it's never said that "there is no self".

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:35 am

chandrafabian wrote:, there are only mind and body processes.

agreed
No Individual entity, no personal entity,

i see these as a self, not a soul

when i think of a soul i think of some magic white ball that is inside me that goes to heaven or whatever when i die. i guess, i really have no idea what a soul is, however like i said i understand what a self is (or is not as the case may be). if not believing in a soul is a big deal i think many many people would be far along the path, since many people would probably have the same idea as me as to what a soul is. however the idea of a self is a hard thing to rid one self of. I making, me making mine making these are hard habits to break, the belief in some thing that may or may not be in me or is me or whatever, not too hard a thing to give up. i can guarantee you right now i have no soul belief yet i still create a self on a regular basis and suffer from it.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:59 am

retrofuturist wrote:This is not-self, that is not-self... it's never said that "there is no self".

To be pedantic, I see no difference between "no" and "not". The disctinction is whether they are applied to something:
"Form is not self."
"There is no self in form."
As I recall, sentences similar to the latter appears in several Sutta translations.

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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby chandrafabian » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:16 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

One big problem with the "no soul" interpretation is that anatta is not spoken in isolation without a frame of reference... it is always explained with respect to something.

This is not-self, that is not-self... it's never said that "there is no self".

Metta,
Retro. :)


Dear Retro, as far as I know the notion of not-self is Ven. Thanissaro idea. Anatta is a knowledge seen by direct experience connected with other characteristic (impermanency and insatisfactory), in seeing anatta the person can not fully control their own five aggregates activities, because five aggregates are only processes, that is why it is considered anatta.

This understanding is not easy to correlate with not-self notion, but it is easily related to no soul.
We must understand also the meaning atta or atman (sanskrit) is means soul or permanent entity or individual essence.
This believe is popular in the time of The Buddha, which is dominated by Brahmanism.
The Buddha consistently refute the atman concept, by saying no atman, only aggregates.
In this regard we should consider the meaning of atta/atman.
Afterall aggregates is only a group of processes, therefore empty of permanent individual essence.

Mettacittena,
fabian
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby chandrafabian » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:23 am

mikenz66 wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:This is not-self, that is not-self... it's never said that "there is no self".

To be pedantic, I see no difference between "no" and "not". The disctinction is whether they are applied to something:
"Form is not self."
"There is no self in form."
As I recall, sentences similar to the latter appears in several Sutta translations.

Mike


Yes I agree with you Mikenz,
form is only processes, there is no-self in there.
feeling also only processes, there is no self in there... etc.

Therefore I'm not agree with Ven. Thanissaro, he said no-self is wrong.
Even though I should say not-self is also correct.

The real understanding here is: all five aggregates are only a group of processes, nothing more

Mettacittena,
fabian
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby chandrafabian » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:36 am

jcsuperstar wrote:
chandrafabian wrote:, there are only mind and body processes.

agreed
No Individual entity, no personal entity,

i see these as a self, not a soul

when i think of a soul i think of some magic white ball that is inside me that goes to heaven or whatever when i die. i guess, i really have no idea what a soul is, however like i said i understand what a self is (or is not as the case may be). if not believing in a soul is a big deal i think many many people would be far along the path, since many people would probably have the same idea as me as to what a soul is. however the idea of a self is a hard thing to rid one self of. I making, me making mine making these are hard habits to break, the belief in some thing that may or may not be in me or is me or whatever, not too hard a thing to give up. i can guarantee you right now i have no soul belief yet i still create a self on a regular basis and suffer from it.


Dear JC, I think we must understand the etymology of the word atta or atman in Indian phylosophy, in Indian phylosophy atta or atman is a kind of "eternal entity". The Buddha in His Sermon many times mention anatta as refusal of Brahmanism which believe of this "eternal entity".

Mettacittena,
fabian
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby Shonin » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:27 am

To make things confusing, the word for the immortal essence of a person in Vedic thought is 'atta' and the word for a conventional individuality is also 'atta'. For most of Buddha's contemporaries the sense of self was the experience of an immortal Atta. Buddha challenged this idea, teaching people to look at their experience more deeply.

The Buddha emphasised not speculation about things as they are outside of human experience (ontology, metaphysics), but the nature of phenomena as they are experienced or can be experienced. He was in that sense pragmatic and empirical. This is why he tended to always speak in reference to something - phenomena, the aggregates, or the world (the set of aggregates, everything that can be experienced). This was not just a special qualifier for the doctrine of Anatta, but the way he always spoke (AFAIK). This applies equally to Impermanence and Unsatisfactoriness too. Speaking this way turns our attention to actual observation as opposed to abstract speculation.

Buddha realised that we suffer because we cling to phenomena - we identify with them, and we appropriate or identify them as ours. Not only that, but we do not see clearly that we are doing this, instead holding self-views. We construct a concept of our self and we conceive our experience in terms of that as if it was a real entity - that we are the phenomena, that we are in the phenomena, that the phenomena are in us, that phenomena are possessed by us etc. The Buddha wants us to see this and thereby relinquish our clinging identifications. To do this we must abandon self beliefs and self-views and see the nature of phenomena clearly.

It is repeated many times through the suttas that no atta is to be found anywhere in our experience.

"Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said, Ananda, that the world is empty. And what is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self? The eye is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Forms... Eye-consciousness... Eye-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self.

"The ear is empty...

"The nose is empty...

"The tongue is empty...

"The body is empty...

"The intellect is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Ideas... Intellect-consciousness... Intellect-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Thus it is said that the world is empty."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.085.than.html

However Buddha is happy to use 'atta' in it's conventional usage to mean 'oneself' as opposed to 'him' or 'her'. One who is liberated does not experience in terms of, or in reference to, a self at all. He or she does not hold onto a belief that 'there is no self'. However he or she can still make use of such terms as conventions of language.

On the other hand, taking up a belief or position about it such as 'there is no self' may be unhelpful as this is abstraction, not observation and potentially leading to the view that 'my self does not exist', 'I have lost the self that I formerly had', which is not liberation, but suffering based on clinging identification to that which one feels has been lost. This explains the single occasion (AFAIK) when the Buddha refused to answer whether there was a self or not. The question was asked in abstract terms, not in reference to phenomena.

"Ananda, if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those priests & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those priests & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"

"No, lord."

"And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn44/sn44.010.than.html
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby PeterB » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:30 am

We are getting there.
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby somo » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:54 am

chandrafabian wrote:
somo wrote:anatta is the nature when out of the craving. therefor anatta has not any self. :namaste:


Dear Somo, anatta is the nature of everything is changing. Therefore no permanent entity or permanent soul wandering around as other religion believe to exist.

Mettacittena,
fabian


the dhamma(nature) has 2 class
1.Lokiya ,this for common people
2.Lokuttara

the nature that i meat that's anatta is the highest truth of Lokuttara or it's the highest truth of the nature. :buddha1:
*happiness=pain,h/p=1,mind=1,suffering=p*t(time of craving)*
*real happiness will not change to the pain later*
*h^max=p^max..p can solves by decreases..h*

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