Individual wrote:I agree, however I think it's also important to recognize how rejecting the existence of self can be a basis for annihilationism.
How so? Do you have any sutta perhaps which back up this statement?
...The fact that the Buddha said here
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].
Sorry, not a "basis," but a corrollary (the two coincide). Also, to put it more clearly, he has, "There is no self," as a view, while still being egoistic.
To give context to what I mean: A person might state, "There is no self," because he is a materialist. Being a materialist, he observes that consciousness is a product of evolution and neurochemistry. On this basis, he believes there is no self. Because if consciousness is merely a byproduct of evolution and neurochemistry, if consciousness is simply a complex byproduct of brains, how can there really be a soul, or even free-will (an agent, a self)? Based on this, he rejects self. But in doing so, he also believes in annihilationism; he rejects rebirth, rejects karma, and doesn't understand dependent origination. He might think, for instance, that there's really no consequence for suicide since, once you're dead, you're dead. By this, he doesn't mean that the self is dead, but that "self" is an illusion created by brains and when these brains decay, that illusion will no longer re-arise.
To give an example of what I mean, historically I would make an educated guess that the Carvakas rejected atta too, on the basis of materialism, while still being annihilationists.
My point is that the rejection of self is not the litmus test for right view, with regards to rebirth. Although rebirth and reincarnation may blind people from the reality of anatta, people who passionately proclaim anatta can still be quite deluded. People who are deniers of rebirth are by nature the most passionate defenders of anatta.