Not-self or No-self?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:02 am

chandrafabian wrote:
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

the Buddha often used words differently than other Indian religions and philosophies, take kamma for instance. and in this instance i believe the Buddha's teaching on anatta go further than just denying some eternal entity, to include any creation of I, me and mine (a self). i think it's plain to see that we suffer far more because we think "i am this.... or i am that..." and live our lives dependant upon how this or that is treated in relation to how we believe this or that should be treated. or that this or that should have this thing or that thing. this leads to craving which leads to suffering. like i said i don't have any belief in an eternal entity, yet i suffer, so a problem thus arises with seeing atta as just an eternal entity, it must be something either different or more. also anicca should cover the debunking of an eternal entity without the need for anatta since impermanence would contradict the eternal nature of a soul.
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:30 am

chandrafabian wrote:The word "sabbe dhamma anatta" all conditioned dhamma has no-soul is correct.
the translation "not self" is somewhat ambiguous to me.


From a book, Pāli - Buddha's Language, by Kurt Schmidt:

Sabbe dhammā anattā ti yadā paññāya passati
atha nibbindatī dukkhe esa maggo visuddhiyā. (Dhp 279)

Remarks:
anattā is neut sing of the noun an-attan (explanation, see 3rd lesson). This is important! Therefore it does not mean: All things are void of being (adjective pl), but rather: All things are not the self, not the "I" (noun sing).


The 3rd lesson explains the declension for the -n words. So, the masc. noun attan (the soul, the self, the "I") becomes attā for nom. singular (attāno for plural). In neuter case, atta(n) means "oneself". Doesn't seem ambiguous to me (if I understand correctly).

Plus, saying that the dhamma-s are without souls (or selves) seems a bit funny to me. Who would think that they have souls in the first place? And why would the Dhp verse (quoted above) say that if one sees this with wisdom, one would get weary of them as suffering? Does this imply that if they have souls (or selves), then it won't be suffering?... It makes more sense to say that they are not the self.
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby chandrafabian » Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:12 am

Dear Shonin, Somo and Beeblebrox,
I think we can not translate only by not-self, no-self or no-soul.
As Somo has pointed out, it depends wether we want to discuss anatta in a conventional (lokiya) sense
or we want to discus anatta in ultimate reality sense (Lokuttara)

So no-self, not-self or no-soul might be correct, depends on the context.
The ultimate reality of our mind and body, is just a group of processes.

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

Postby PeterB » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:07 am

beeblebrox wrote:
chandrafabian wrote:The word "sabbe dhamma anatta" all conditioned dhamma has no-soul is correct.
the translation "not self" is somewhat ambiguous to me.


From a book, Pāli - Buddha's Language, by Kurt Schmidt:

Sabbe dhammā anattā ti yadā paññāya passati
atha nibbindatī dukkhe esa maggo visuddhiyā. (Dhp 279)

Remarks:
anattā is neut sing of the noun an-attan (explanation, see 3rd lesson). This is important! Therefore it does not mean: All things are void of being (adjective pl), but rather: All things are not the self, not the "I" (noun sing).


The 3rd lesson explains the declension for the -n words. So, the masc. noun attan (the soul, the self, the "I") becomes attā for nom. singular (attāno for plural). In neuter case, atta(n) means "oneself". Doesn't seem ambiguous to me (if I understand correctly).

Plus, saying that the dhamma-s are without souls (or selves) seems a bit funny to me. Who would think that they have souls in the first place? And why would the Dhp verse (quoted above) say that if one sees this with wisdom, one would get weary of them as suffering? Does this imply that if they have souls (or selves), then it won't be suffering?... It makes more sense to say that they are not the self.

:goodpost:
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:27 pm

It may be worth looking at other words which use atta to see what atta should be translated as!

personally the use of the words no & soul as translation of anatta has its problems for me, as using no-soul would incline statements to the nihilistic side more than using 'not-self' as a translation of anatta.

but on another note where is conditioned coming from here?

The word "sabbe dhamma anatta" all conditioned dhamma has no-soul is correct.
the translation "not self" is somewhat ambiguous to me.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby Shonin » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:47 pm

What about Non-soul then? :tongue:

Manapa wrote:but on another note where is conditioned coming from here?


Good point. The doctrine is:
All conditioned dhamma are impermanent
All conditioned dhamma are unsatisfactory
All dhamma are Nonself
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby PeterB » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:50 pm

Is it though ?
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby Shonin » Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:17 pm

How the **** should I know? :smile:

I'm not familiar enough with 'the unconditioned' to say. I wonder though if notions of permanence/impermanence or self/nonself even have meaning outside samsara.
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby PeterB » Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:31 pm

:smile:
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:57 pm

PeterB wrote::goodpost:


I'm glad that you liked my post, Peter. :) I'm really still a bit confused about the grammar usage though (such as why there seem to be two nominatives in the "sabbe dhammā anattā"). I think this is because attan is commonly used as a pronoun (as it said in AK Warder's Introduction to Pali), but not sure.

What I said about what the verse's implication might be if anattā was interpreted as "no self" still stands, though (that is, if the dhamma had a self, then it will not be seen as dukkha). It makes more sense if it was interpreted as "not self". (If there is dhamma that is really mine, then it won't be dukkha, ever.)

Shonin wrote:
Manapa wrote:but on another note where is conditioned coming from here?


Good point. The doctrine is:
All conditioned dhamma are impermanent
All conditioned dhamma are unsatisfactory
All dhamma are Nonself


In Pali it is: sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā; sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā; and sabbe dhammā anattā. I think these three got conflated. The first two, it's just "fabrications", and the latter, it's just "dhammas."
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby Shonin » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:07 pm

beeblebrox wrote:In Pali it is: sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā; sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā; and sabbe dhammā anattā. I think these three got conflated. The first two, it's just "fabrications", and the latter, it's just "dhammas."


OK thanks. I'm not familiar with the exact meaning of 'fabrications' - is that different from 'conditioned dhammas' ?
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:43 pm

Shonin wrote:OK thanks. I'm not familiar with the exact meaning of 'fabrications' - is that different from 'conditioned dhammas' ?


I think they're probably more or less the same. Ven. Ñāṇananda calls it "preparation," at least in the book I'm reading right now. I've seen some call it "determination," (though in a different sense than is used here) and some call it "formation." I've read that Bhikkhu Bodhi wanted to translate it as "construction," but he thought that it might be awkward. I think the Wikipedia definition is probably the clearest, "that which has been put together," (fabrication) and, "that which puts together" (determination).
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:51 pm

Sankhara is translated as conditioned and fabrication but I don't believe that dhamma/Dhamma is ever called a fabrication... itself.

the correct formulas are
all conditions are imperminent - sabbe sankhaaraa aniccaa
all dhammas are not-self - sabbe dhammaa anattaa
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby PeterB » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:20 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
Shonin wrote:OK thanks. I'm not familiar with the exact meaning of 'fabrications' - is that different from 'conditioned dhammas' ?


I think they're probably more or less the same. Ven. Ñāṇananda calls it "preparation," at least in the book I'm reading right now. I've seen some call it "determination," (though in a different sense than is used here) and some call it "formation." I've read that Bhikkhu Bodhi wanted to translate it as "construction," but he thought that it might be awkward. I think the Wikipedia definition is probably the clearest, "that which has been put together," (fabrication) and, "that which puts together" (determination).

Both have advantages and disadvantages...or so it seems to me. It may be as is often the case that the full meaning is lost if we plump for a word for word translation. Its aesthetically more pleasing to have an English word representing a Pali one, but nuances are thereby lost.
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby chandrafabian » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:41 am

Dear friends,

Let's consider this, we know five aggregates are merely process nothing more.
Now the question is whether we can say five aggregates as self or not, in conventional way...?

The fact remain, our five aggregates exist, in conventional reality we can say self exist, because five aggregates is self in conventional reality. So the notion five aggregates as not self is like denying reality to me (I mean in conventional reality). According to scriptures five aggregates exist, but it has no individual essence or permanent entity, because they are merely process. I exist in conventional reality.

In my understanding Individual essence/permanent entity or atman is translated as soul.
But even in conventional reality or absolute reality, soul does not exist, never exist,
therefore no-soul anywhere in the universe. Or at least we would never be able to prove soul exist.

So it depends on the context, sometimes no-soul is more precise in translating anatta.
In other context not-self or no-self is more precise.
(just another opinion) but the choice is yours.

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

Postby Goedert » Thu Aug 12, 2010 2:40 am

chandrafabian wrote: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:


Don't you think there is sentience life? It is conditioned to impermanence, but it arise when the necessary conditions are fullfilled.

With the term no=self, some people with out the knowledge of abhidhamma, may create a concept of nihilism.

The cittas, cetasikas and cetanas are like stream lines, working volition. Volition can create a wrong concept of self, or wrong concept of no-self.

Volition also can be directed to achive nibbana, Stream-win.

It is really difficult to we have the right answer. We only can say "I believe in this, I believe in that..." but none of us here have the realesation of direct nibbana. Only a Wisdon Buddha would know it.

There is a great bliss in when we rest in the first stages of sammasamadhi. But nibbana is out of words, how can we conceptualize the very true 'thing' that expirience nibbana? We can only speculate.
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Re: Not-self or No-self?

Postby chandrafabian » Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:04 am

Dear friends,
Let us translate the meaning of AN in an-atta, what is the best translation?
no-atta or not-atta ?
Actually The Buddha said in one of the Sutta, Dhamma is deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness. Emptiness is direct experience of anatta.
So anatta experience is not connected with sensse of belonging, but anatta experience is connected with the stopping of phenomena. But The Buddha also say it is not me, it is not mine, in that sense not-atta also correct.

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

Postby 5heaps » Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:29 am

chandrafabian wrote:So the notion five aggregates as not self is like denying reality to me (I mean in conventional reality). According to scriptures five aggregates exist, but it has no individual essence or permanent entity, because they are merely process. I exist in conventional reality.

on the other hand sometimes you want people to be shocked by the negation, particularly if you set it up properly beforehand. because its not as though our cognitions of ourselves are correct at this very moment. that self it doesnt exist at all
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