Concering Anatta

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.

Concering Anatta

Postby VictoryInTruth » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:35 am

Hi everyone, my question concerns the doctrine of Anatta. In a book I was reading called The Gospel of the Buddha by Paul Carus has me confused. I always thought that the Buddha denied the existence of the soul but in this book it states the Buddha did not deny the existence of the soul and that it would be misleading to think so... Perhaps this book being written in 1915 makes the ideas proposed by the author to be outdated or maybe its that I am the one who has misunderstood the doctrine of anatta all this time. I'd like for all of you to give me your views on what the quote from the book states and whether or not it is valid.

Lest the fundamental idea of the Buddha´s doctrines be misunderstood, the reader is warned to take the term ¨self¨in the sense in which the Buddha uses it.... The Buddha denies the existence of a ¨self¨ as it was commonly understood in his time; he does not deny man's mentality, his spiritual constitution, the importance of his personality, in a word, his soul.

Buddhism is monistic. It claims that man's soul does not consist of two things, of an atman (self) and of a manas (mind or thoughts), but that there is one reality, our thoughts, our mind or manas, and this manas constitutes the soul.

Accordingly, the translation of "atman" by "soul", which would imply that the Buddha denied the existence of the soul is extremely misleading.


Thank you and much metta
User avatar
VictoryInTruth
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:07 am
Location: Deva Realm

Re: Concering Anatta

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:39 am

Greetings,

Sabbe dhamma anatta = all phenomena are not self.

Therefore, anything within the domain of experience is not-self.

To affirm or deny the existence of a self/soul/atman beyond the "world" (loka) of experience is inherently speculative, as it is beyond the range of sensory/phenomenal experience. Either metaphysical proposition is unverifiable.

What is important, and of relevance to the pursuit to end dukkha, is that there is no self to be found.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14654
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Concering Anatta

Postby manas » Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:10 am

Hi VictoryInTruth,

I found the following very helpful in clarifying the place of anatta in Buddhist doctrine, maybe it will be of use to you also:

No-self or Not-self? by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... self2.html

:anjali:
______________________*__*__*______________________

I could die today, and I don't want to die without having done
some citta-bhavana, so I will do some citta-bhavana today.
User avatar
manas
 
Posts: 2106
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Concering Anatta

Postby Buckwheat » Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:32 am

manasikara wrote:No-self or Not-self? by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu


Thanissaro Bhikkhu is the one who made that distinction clear to me, even though now I go back and see a lot of things I read before were making that distinction and I just missed it. What worked for me was to take the metaphysical soul out of the picture and simply ask, "Is this me? Is it mine?" Looking at body, mind, money, relationships, or any other thing, it is clearly an inadequate definition of who I am, and in the end they aren't really my possessions. As Jimmy Buffet said, "You can't really own that rock."
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
Buckwheat
 
Posts: 927
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: Concering Anatta

Postby Zom » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:44 am

Buddha didn't speak directly about the absense of self due to the reason that many would not understand that properly.
So he spoke about it absense indirectely.
User avatar
Zom
 
Posts: 818
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg

Re: Concering Anatta

Postby Buckwheat » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:12 pm

Zom wrote:Buddha didn't speak directly about the absense of self due to the reason that many would not understand that properly.
So he spoke about it absense indirectely.


When one looks at something and says "this is me, this is mine", one must recognize that as a fabrication. If the fabrication is skillful (such as, "I have a duty to help the sangha to the best of my ability") then it leads to liberation. If it is not skillful (such as, "I deserve a reward for all my hard work") then it leads to suffering. Thus, Right View does not concern with self or no self, but only with suffering and the end of suffering. Asking if there is a self or no self is a question that only leads to quarreling.

In the Brahmajala Sutta (DN 1) (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bodh.html) the Buddha lists 62 wrong views, with every possible concept regarding the self listed as wrong view. This indicates that Right View has only to do with karma and suffering/liberation as defined in the suttas. I have lately noticed that anatta, in the suttas, is always applied to something specific. For instance, this body, is it my self? No, body is not self. Feelings, are they self? No, feelings are not self. And so forth. This illustrates that all of our fabrications are just that, fabrications - this includes views regarding self/no-self.

At least, this is all the best of my understanding. If I am deluded, please forgive me and offer to help clean the dust off my eyes. I am very, very far from stream-entry. :rolleye:
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
Buckwheat
 
Posts: 927
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: Concering Anatta

Postby VictoryInTruth » Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:44 pm

Thank you all for your replies. Though my journey in discovering more and more about Buddhism has had many stops and starts I hope to one day be able to dive straight in and take refuge once I get the doctrines sorted out.

Much metta,

Victory
User avatar
VictoryInTruth
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:07 am
Location: Deva Realm


Return to Discovering Theravāda

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests