On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Brizzy » Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:30 am

Zom wrote:No.

For example, there can be a view like: "There is a self, though THIS is not self, THAT is not self, everything is not self ect.".
See what I mean? ;)


This is what I call "self-based position". No matter what your experience is, you are still SURE that somewhere somehow there MUST be my self.
It is on this self-based position such Right View like "There is no self" turns into Wrong View like "There is no self FOR ME" (look for details in MN 2).


I think you are reading to much into my position. By stating 'THIS is not self' does not mean that I am SURE that somewhere somehow there MUST be a self. Like I said, it is a subtle distinction between viewing/perceiving something as not self and taking a stand as to whether there is a self or no self.

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby kirk5a » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:50 pm

Brizzy wrote:I think you are reading to much into my position. By stating 'THIS is not self' does not mean that I am SURE that somewhere somehow there MUST be a self. Like I said, it is a subtle distinction between viewing/perceiving something as not self and taking a stand as to whether there is a self or no self.


The Buddha himself made such a subtle distinction.

"If, Ananda, when I was asked by the wanderer Vacchagotta, 'Is there a self?' I had answered, 'There is a self,' this would have been siding with those ascetics and brahmins who are eternalists. And if, when I was asked by him, 'Is there no self?' I had answered, 'There is no self,' this would have been siding with those ascetics and brahmins who are annihilationists.

"If, Ananda, when I was asked by the wandered Vacchagotta, 'Is there a self?' I had answered, 'There is a self,' would this have been consistent on my part with the arising of the knowledge that 'all phenomena are nonself'?"

"No venerable sir."

SN 44.10
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:44 pm

kirk5a wrote:
Brizzy wrote:I think you are reading to much into my position. By stating 'THIS is not self' does not mean that I am SURE that somewhere somehow there MUST be a self. Like I said, it is a subtle distinction between viewing/perceiving something as not self and taking a stand as to whether there is a self or no self.


The Buddha himself made such a subtle distinction.

"If, Ananda, when I was asked by the wanderer Vacchagotta, 'Is there a self?' I had answered, 'There is a self,' this would have been siding with those ascetics and brahmins who are eternalists. And if, when I was asked by him, 'Is there no self?' I had answered, 'There is no self,' this would have been siding with those ascetics and brahmins who are annihilationists.

"If, Ananda, when I was asked by the wandered Vacchagotta, 'Is there a self?' I had answered, 'There is a self,' would this have been consistent on my part with the arising of the knowledge that 'all phenomena are nonself'?"

"No venerable sir."

SN 44.10

That sutta also contains the opposite standpoint.
"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?"


you should consult SN 44.8 or MN 22, either view is not correct, the sutta you quote uses no self, not not self as Thanissaro usually uses and supports the view (& I feel brizzy also supports this view,) that the Buddha didn't teach about self he taught a pragmatic approach which has no use of a self.
the Buddha (as Thanissaro does point out,) uses self, but does not say what a self is as it is not conductive to the goal.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby chownah » Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:49 pm

Some people, when asked, "What is your doctrine concerning the existence of self", will answer, "My doctrine concerning the existence of self is that self does exist."

Some people, when asked, "What is your doctrine concerning the existence of self", will answer, "My doctrine concerning the existence of self is that self does not exist."

Both groups of people have a doctrine of self.

The Buddha advises us to have no doctrine of self whatever.

Some people, when asked, "What is your doctrine concerning the existence of self", will answer, "I don't really have a doctrine concerning the existence of self because I have never found anything in my experience which could possibly be construed as being self and I have no way of knowing about anything which might exist or not exist outside of my experience so I don't have enough data from which to construct a doctrine concerning the existence of self....I have no view on the matter."

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:30 pm

:goodpost:
makes me realise I should expand my last post slightly.
by self in the last line I am refering to uses such as found in the Dhammapada chapter of the same name
for example
Dhammapada V. 165 - 166 wrote:Evil is done by oneself by oneself is one defiled. Evil is left undone by oneself by oneself is one cleansed. Purity & impurity are one's own doing. No one purifies another. No other purifies one.

Don't sacrifice your own welfare for that of another, no matter how great. Realizing your own true welfare, be intent on just that.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Zom » Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:21 pm

Btw, Right / Wrong ditthis have nothing to do with conventional "self". They deal with ultimate-reality self.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:26 pm

Brizzy wrote:I think you are reading to much into my position. By stating 'THIS is not self' does not mean that I am SURE that somewhere somehow there MUST be a self. Like I said, it is a subtle distinction between viewing/perceiving something as not self and taking a stand as to whether there is a self or no self.


I think the reason why we have this problem is because someone here is still viewing a "self"... which was the irony that I tried to allude to a few posts back. A self-view doesn't just entail eternalism. There's also a view which involves annihilationism.

This kind of person would always try to find a "self" in anything, including even in what Ven. Thanissaro teaches, just so that he could continue to bolster his own view of "no self". That kind of activity is what ends up causing dukkha (as seems to be obvious in this thread), due to the clinging. He would keep on trying to build up a strawman, and then go on to annihilate it... keeping on thinking that this would solve the problem, that he seems to perceive.

No matter how much we deny the "self" to him, he would just keep on seeing a "self" in something, just to annihilate it over and over.

I remember a long time ago, when I mentioned in a thread that the idea of "no self" would be irrelevant to someone who has no concept of a "self" whatsoever, I took some really big arguments from some people on here... they're mainly the ones who also seem to have issues with Ven. Thanissaro in here. Why? I think it's because they like their "no self" doctrine so much, that they need a view of "self" somewhere to continue bolstering it. It's a tragedy.

vinasp wrote: I agree that there should be no problem about the view "there is no self"
if it is said by someone who is free of delusions, and is based on knowing
and seeing things as they really are.


I think that this is quite an excellent insight... if we try to work from this insight, we can pretty much see the very reason why the Buddha didn't affirm when Vacchagotta asked him if there was "no self". How? If the Buddha affirmed it, then that would mean that he was incapable of seeing things as they really are. Why not? Because then that would mean he didn't see that Vacchagotta will not have grasped it properly, and then the dukkha would've ensued. Think about that carefully. He affirmed "non-self" to Ananda.

Why do some people seem to have trouble grasping the idea that both of the "self" and "no self" could be seen as wrong views? I think that the Kaccayanagotta Sutta explains why. Uninstructed people prefer to keep to one extreme or other, regardless of what's actually happening in the actual world.

Zom, what makes you think that if someone isn't going to grasp the "not self" strategy properly, it would be less likely for him to grasp the "no self" strategy improperly? He's still an uninstructed person either way. From reading this thread, I actually think that Ven. Thanissaro's strategy seems to be an excellent way to ferret out some people who still have a subtle, lingering view of "self", especially in annihilationists.

:anjali:
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:59 pm

Zom wrote:Btw, Right / Wrong ditthis have nothing to do with conventional "self". They deal with ultimate-reality self.


Views deal with all things, what to discard and what not to, how to hold things and how not to, and how to understand thing & frame them.

any use of self would be included unless you can prove otherwise, the fact the Buddha did use the term in a certain way demonstrates that it is.

oh, where did the Buddha make a distinction between conventional and ultimate self?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby ancientbuddhism » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:17 pm

Views on substantiality; the ‘six positions on views’ (chayimāni … diṭṭhiṭṭhānāni), improper consideration (ayonisomanasikāra) – were those of the puthujjana. The Buddha’s denial of Self is no mere view.
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby daverupa » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:28 pm

Zom wrote:Btw, Right / Wrong ditthis have nothing to do with conventional "self". They deal with ultimate-reality self.


Anattā deals with the Self of the Upaniṣads (attā, Skt. ātman), not with the individual (puggala). There's no need to tangle with this "ultimate" baggage.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:39 pm

daverupa wrote:
Zom wrote:Btw, Right / Wrong ditthis have nothing to do with conventional "self". They deal with ultimate-reality self.


Anattā deals with the Self of the Upaniṣads (attā, Skt. ātman), not with the individual (puggala). There's no need to tangle with this "ultimate" baggage.


so all the other schools weren't contested by the Buddha?
I think you will find they were and attributing every view to the upanisads is wrong as the Buddha mentions other beliefs not found in them.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby ancientbuddhism » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:13 pm

Anattā doctrine is both denial of the Upaniṣadic Self, and instruction on how, through contemplative knowledge, the habit of reification is broken down. It is not annihilationism because it is rooted in an understanding paṭiccasamuppāda.
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby daverupa » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:03 pm

Cittasanto wrote:attributing every view to the upanisads is wrong


When did this happen?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:01 pm

daverupa wrote:Anattā deals with the Self of the Upaniṣads (attā, Skt. ātman)


you don't mention any other possibility of it going against other views not found in the Upaniṣads. and these views can be contradictory to themselves, as I understand it at-least.

The Buddha argues against holding anything as a me, mine, my, I, not just those found within one or another tradition, but rather any clinging to any type of self, or noself.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby vinasp » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:07 am

Hi everyone,

The following quotation is from - No-Self or Not-Self? - by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

"In fact, the one place where the Buddha was asked point-blank whether or not there was a self, he refused to answer. When later asked why, he said that to hold either that there is a self or that there is no self is to fall into extreme forms of wrong view that make the path of Buddhist practice impossible. Thus the question should be put aside."

I believe that this is a serious misunderstanding of the teachings of the Sutta
pitaka, and should be challenged.

Where does the Buddha say this?

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:13 am

vinasp wrote: Where does the Buddha say this?


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby vinasp » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:31 am

Hi Goofaholix,

SN 44.10 is misunderstood by many. The eternalist view and the anihilationist
view are both views about a self.

These views are always rejected. Also the no-self teaching was, at the time,
probably not given to "outsiders".

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:33 am

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

The following quotation is from - No-Self or Not-Self? - by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

"In fact, the one place where the Buddha was asked point-blank whether or not there was a self, he refused to answer. When later asked why, he said that to hold either that there is a self or that there is no self is to fall into extreme forms of wrong view that make the path of Buddhist practice impossible. Thus the question should be put aside."

I believe that this is a serious misunderstanding of the teachings of the Sutta
pitaka, and should be challenged.

Where does the Buddha say this?

Regards, Vincent.


This is simply a misrepresentation of the Ānanda Sutta. Because this thread has become rather circular I will try not to add to it by repeating myself here, but I have commented on this in the OP here (and locations in the embedded link in that post) that was split off from the original thread. I can go into more detail on why this is misguided if these comments still raise questions.
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:45 am

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

The following quotation is from - No-Self or Not-Self? - by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

"In fact, the one place where the Buddha was asked point-blank whether or not there was a self, he refused to answer. When later asked why, he said that to hold either that there is a self or that there is no self is to fall into extreme forms of wrong view that make the path of Buddhist practice impossible. Thus the question should be put aside."

I believe that this is a serious misunderstanding of the teachings of the Sutta
pitaka, and should be challenged.

Where does the Buddha say this?

Regards, Vincent.


I believe it is .... (edit no I am wrong) reference has already been given.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:22 am

I have been looking at the responces to Vincents quote, and feel it should be noted that many of SN44 has this question, it is even an aspect of two of the ten questions (all of which were put aside).

although in the reference given gives a reason not the same as the other instances, so a context is differing there, it still shows the Buddha putting the question aside, due to its lack of benefit for the ending of Dukkha.
one layer of its context.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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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