The Concept Of Anatta - No-Self

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Re: The Concept Of Anatta - No-Self

Postby meindzai » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:08 pm

Chula wrote:I think people too easily misunderstand Thānissaro Bhikkhu's view on the not-self teaching. I recommend listening to his recent talks on a retreat about Anattā:



I agree. I think they also have to take into account the context of his teaching - which is that it's based entirely off the Suttas, and not so much commentaries and Abhidhamma.

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Re: The Concept Of Anatta - No-Self

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:02 am

Greetings Jasmine,

Here are some related topics where this and similar issues have been discussed previously at Dhamma Wheel...

The Not-Self Strategy
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=309

Challenging the Traditional view of Anatta
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2891

As for Thanissaro Bhikkhu's brief article you reference above, I think he is totally spot on.

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


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Re: The Concept Of Anatta - No-Self

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:15 am

Hi Tilt,
Looks like you answered your own question!

not sure what you were getting at though?
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: The Concept Of Anatta - No-Self

Postby thecharmedbaja » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:43 am

meindzai wrote:The answers so far are correct with regards to the most widely studied part of the Theravada canon which is contained in the Nikayas. These are the "Suttas" you will come across.

But if you study abhidhamma or talk to people who studied a lot of it you will most likely get a definitive "no" to the answer of whether a self exists. Not denying the conventional self (I am typing. I went to the store. I bought a loaf of bread) but in terms of ultimate dhammas or ultimate reality, no, there is no underlying essense or anything that can actually be called a "self" in any of it. There is just the arising and passing of dhammas (phenomenah) trillions of times per second in any given moment, all of which are anatta.


I, personally, do not believe that the Abhidhamma is the word of the Buddha's; I tend to stick to the first two pitakas. By your last statement, are you talking about our sense data from our six senses (i.e what we see, hear, feel, touch, etc), which, because we cannot see the world/ourselves without this data, we do not know if there is a self. And because of this - because of our senses - everything is anatta? Just a thought I've had (probably due to the topic I'm studying in Philosophy right now - Knowledge of the External World)


meindzai wrote:That's fine, though I tend to agree with Thanissaro the perspective of the Suttas it is kind of considered to just be a pointless question. "Ontology" in general was considered a kind of useless topic with regards to liberation - right along with politics and fashion.


So basically, it doesn't matter about whether or not there is a 'self'? I read somewhere on this forum that the Buddha says there are four ways he answered questions, the last of which being that he did not answer at all, due to the question being unrelated to the path to enlightenment. I guess this is one of them?

meindzai wrote:I feel for Jasmine, coming back to this thread and seeing the flurry of replies for such a seemingly simple question.


No, it was great! I thought I'd get no replies whatsoever! Thank you all :D

tiltbillings wrote:Depends upon what is meant "self."


I'm not too sure, to be honest :jumping: I guess I meant a consciousness, but that is one of the Five Aggregates, so I guess me asking about my thoughts of Anatta means that I am clinging to one of the Skandha, thus I will continue suffering!

retrofuturist wrote:The Not-Self Strategy
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=309


Thank you! Sorry I didn't look for answers on this forum more thoroughly! One of the key parts which stuck out in my mind was the Matrix analogy - we do not know if this "world/self" is an illusion until we 'wake up from the dream,' so to speak. And I guess in order to 'wake up from the dream,' we have to get out of this vicious cycle of life, death and rebirth! :D That's my take on it, anyway...


Thanks for everything everybody, I genuinely do appreciate it :) you've all helped me reach the conclusion that it really doesn't matter if there is a self or not :)

Good day to you all!
'He is able who thinks he is able.' - The Buddha
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Re: The Concept Of Anatta - No-Self

Postby meindzai » Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:15 pm

thecharmedbaja wrote:
I, personally, do not believe that the Abhidhamma is the word of the Buddha's; I tend to stick to the first two pitakas. By your last statement, are you talking about our sense data from our six senses (i.e what we see, hear, feel, touch, etc), which, because we cannot see the world/ourselves without this data, we do not know if there is a self. And because of this - because of our senses - everything is anatta? Just a thought I've had (probably due to the topic I'm studying in Philosophy right now - Knowledge of the External World)



Any and all phenomenah, including sense data. Basically phenomenah (dhammas) arise and pass so quickly - as soon as they arise they are gone already. There is nothing that endures so nothing called a self can be found in them.

So basically, it doesn't matter about whether or not there is a 'self'? I read somewhere on this forum that the Buddha says there are four ways he answered questions, the last of which being that he did not answer at all, due to the question being unrelated to the path to enlightenment. I guess this is one of them?


It's more like he said "let's ask a more important question." Which was how we identify with things that cause us suffering, i.e. the aggregates. Talking about "whether things exist or not" is just sort of talking about philosophy which is (apologies to your professor) kind of a waste of time.

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Re: The Concept Of Anatta - No-Self

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:30 pm

Manapa wrote:Hi Tilt,
Looks like you answered your own question!

not sure what you were getting at though?

You stated: The Buddha didn't make metaphysical or ontological statements of absolute reality…. The point is a metaphysical self - a meaningless concept - is irrelevant to the Buddha's statement that there is no self to be found in one's experience.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The Concept Of Anatta - No-Self

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:49 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Manapa wrote:Hi Tilt,
Looks like you answered your own question!

not sure what you were getting at though?

You stated: The Buddha didn't make metaphysical or ontological statements of absolute reality…. The point is a metaphysical self - a meaningless concept - is irrelevant to the Buddha's statement that there is no self to be found in one's experience.

did you miss the word didn't and the continuation of that line & post?

The Buddha didn't make metaphysical or ontological statements of absolute reality, he gave logical reflective statements. as Ajahn Sumedho says the noble truths aren't noble because they are true, but because they are reflective statements of truth. or something to that effect.


The Buddha did not say 'there is no-self' and leave it at that, or did he go up to strangers tell them there is no-self, then go on his merry way?
The Buddha didn't make statement of self view in any form, he gave tools to abandon the self view.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
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: The Concept Of Anatta - No-Self

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:58 pm

Manapa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Manapa wrote:Hi Tilt,
Looks like you answered your own question!

not sure what you were getting at though?

You stated: The Buddha didn't make metaphysical or ontological statements of absolute reality…. The point is a metaphysical self - a meaningless concept - is irrelevant to the Buddha's statement that there is no self to be found in one's experience.

did you miss the word didn't and the continuation of that line & post?
Not missed.

The Buddha didn't make metaphysical or ontological statements of absolute reality, he gave logical reflective statements. as Ajahn Sumedho says the noble truths aren't noble because they are true, but because they are reflective statements of truth. or something to that effect.


The Buddha did not say 'there is no-self' and leave it at that, or did he go up to strangers tell them there is no-self, then go on his merry way?
Did I say that?
The Buddha didn't make statement of self view in any form, he gave tools to abandon the self view.
Well, that may be so; however, he certainly seems to have undercut the validity of any metaphysical claim of a self.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The Concept Of Anatta - No-Self

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:14 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
The Buddha didn't make metaphysical or ontological statements of absolute reality, he gave logical reflective statements. as Ajahn Sumedho says the noble truths aren't noble because they are true, but because they are reflective statements of truth. or something to that effect.


The Buddha did not say 'there is no-self' and leave it at that, or did he go up to strangers tell them there is no-self, then go on his merry way?
Did I say that?


No, I did

tiltbillings wrote:
The Buddha didn't make statement of self view in any form, he gave tools to abandon the self view.

Well, that may be so; however, he certainly seems to have undercut the validity of any metaphysical claim of a self.


Where did I say he didn't undermine some form of self view, or posited some form of self view?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
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: The Concept Of Anatta - No-Self

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:21 pm

Manapa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
The Buddha didn't make metaphysical or ontological statements of absolute reality, he gave logical reflective statements. as Ajahn Sumedho says the noble truths aren't noble because they are true, but because they are reflective statements of truth. or something to that effect.


The Buddha did not say 'there is no-self' and leave it at that, or did he go up to strangers tell them there is no-self, then go on his merry way?
Did I say that?


No, I did

tiltbillings wrote:
The Buddha didn't make statement of self view in any form, he gave tools to abandon the self view.

Well, that may be so; however, he certainly seems to have undercut the validity of any metaphysical claim of a self.


Where did I say he didn't undermine some form of self view, or posited some form of self view?
Please, accept my apology. It was not my intention to say you were saying any of that. I think we agree here. I simply used your msg as a basis for giving textual examples of what, in my opinion, I see the texts as saying, not meaning to imply you thought differently.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The Concept Of Anatta - No-Self

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:29 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Please, accept my apology. It was not my intention to say you were saying any of that. I think we agree here. I simply used your msg as a basis for giving textual examples of what, in my opinion, I see the texts as saying, not meaning to imply you thought differently.

No Need to accept, it was simple misunderstanding, no offence intended or seen.

I was more confused than anything.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
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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