Zom wrote:Ajahn Thanissaro, as far as I understood, argues, that actually there IS a self.
Read footnotes 13 and 14 in this sutta (translated from pali by himself):
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... n.html#t-9
Zom wrote:I read that already (as well as other his articles, books, comments), but it doesn't change the matter, that actually he is talking that there IS a self as an individual continuence of being after the perishing of the 5 aggregates (to say so.. a self that can't be classified in the terms of "The All" - also take a look at footnote N9 here - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html). Otherwise, he would not use that point about "no self" in his explanations. And precisely because of the fear to adopt wrong view, I don't accept his opinion -) (as well as opposite opinions that are taught by other scholar monks, for example, Mahasi Sayadaw).
Although this last passage indicates that there is a sphere to be experienced beyond the six sensory spheres, it should not be taken as a "higher self." This point is brought out in the Great Discourse on Causation, where the Buddha classifies all theories of the self into four major categories: those describing a self which is either (a) possessed of form (a body) & finite; (b) possessed of form & infinite; (c) formless & finite; and (d) formless & infinite. The text gives no examples of the various categories, but we might cite the following as illustrations: (a) theories which deny the existence of a soul, and identify the self with the body; (b) theories which identify the self with all being or with the universe; (c) theories of discrete, individual souls; (d) theories of a unitary soul or identity immanent in all things. He then goes on to reject all four categories.
As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established,
or the view I have no self...
or the view It is precisely because of self that I perceive self...
or the view It is precisely because of self that I perceive not-self...
or the view It is precisely because of not-self that I perceive self arises in him as true & established,
or else he has a view like this: This very self of mine — the knower which is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine which is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will endure as long as eternity.
In this context the term takes on the flavor of upaya
Nosta wrote:Thanks for some of the good links you guys gave me - later i will read them carefully.
For now, i think my question is still not answered lol.I see discussions here that leads me to conclude that this is a hard question. Maybe its too much of a "philosophical" question, and so with no interest at all on the achievement of nibbana, in the practice itself. But i am still greatfull for the answers so far
Maybe the answer to "what is nibbana?" may help us to find the answer. If nibbana is the complete liberation of suffering, the freedom from birth and death, maybe that means that the "essence" i spoke it will end. On the other hand, i think i remember to read somewhere that Buddha said that nibbana is no self and no no self: its both self and no self...thats an hard think to understand lol, maybe even harden than the study of quantic or relativity theories lol.
Consciousness is not Nibbana. Consciousness (citta) takes Nibbana as an object. They are different paramattha dhammas.
To conflate consciousness as Nibbana is to reify consciousness and fall into the trap of eternalism.
"And when the devas, together with Indra, the Brahmas, & Pajapati, search for the monk whose mind is thus released, they cannot find that 'The consciousness of the one truly gone (tathagata)  is dependent on this.' Why is that? The one truly gone is untraceable even in the here & now. 
"Speaking in this way, teaching in this way, I have been erroneously, vainly, falsely, unfactually misrepresented by some brahmans and contemplatives [who say], 'Gotama the contemplative is one who misleads. He declares the annihilation, destruction, extermination of the existing being.' But as I am not that, as I do not say that, so I have been erroneously, vainly, falsely, unfactually misrepresented by those venerable brahmans and contemplatives [who say], 'Gotama the contemplative is one who misleads. He declares the annihilation, destruction, extermination of the existing being.' 
Some have objected to the equation of this consciousness with nibbana, on the grounds that nibbana is no where else in the Canon described as a form of consciousness. Thus they have proposed that consciousness without surface be regarded as an arahant's consciousness of nibbana in meditative experience, and not nibbana itself. This argument, however, contains two flaws: (1) The term viññanam anidassanam also occurs in DN 11, where it is described as where name & form are brought to an end: surely a synonym for nibbana. (2) If nibbana is an object of mental consciousness (as a dhamma), it would come under the all, as an object of the intellect. There are passages in the Canon (such as AN 9.36) that describe meditators experiencing nibbana as a dhamma, but these passages seem to indicate that this description applies up through the level of non-returning. Other passages, however, describe nibbana as the ending of all dhammas. For instance, Sn V.6 quotes the Buddha as calling the attainment of the goal the transcending of all dhammas. Sn IV.6 and Sn IV.10 state that the arahant has transcended dispassion, said to be the highest dhamma. Thus, for the arahant, nibbana is not an object of consciousness. Instead it is directly known without mediation. Because consciousness without feature is directly known without mediation, there seems good reason to equate the two.
So please no more of this "TB is an eternalist" talk.
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