Author Topic: No-self, not-self, true self  (Read 11173 times)

Offline francis

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Re: No-self, not-self, true self
« Reply #30 on: June 09, 2013, 12:11:07 am »
Vacchagotta asked the Buddha:

Quote
"Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?"

When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.

"Then is there no self?"

A second time, the Blessed One was silent.

Source:  "Ananda Sutta: To Ananda" (SN 44.10), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 12 February 2012, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn44/sn44.010.than.html . Retrieved on 8 June 2013.

Anatta is a reflective tool as opposed to a doctrinal position, e.g., the Buddha says that the 5 Skandhas are not self.  So:
-  Form is not self, i.e., our bodies - are not self.  Our bodies are not really us because it just follows nature.  Uncountable numbers of our cells grow and die, yet "that which is aware" of these changes in the body (the growth of new and death of old parts of the body) does not die when the cells die.
-  Feelings are not self - a nice feeling arises and then ceases in our minds.  But "that which is aware" of the arisings and the cessations of the feelings - does not die with the dying out of those feelings.
And so on for the other 3 Skandhas.


Hi OP, why not put up the whole sutta instead of just the introduction? Though many kudos for putting in the link.

What sutta are the following quotes from?

Quote
1. that which is aware" of these changes in the body (the growth of new and death of old parts of the body) does not die when the cells die.
2. Feelings are not self - a nice feeling arises and then ceases in our minds.  But "that which is aware" of the arisings and the cessations of the feelings - does not die with the dying out of those feelings.


And what is that “which is aware” to be found among the aggregates?
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: No-self, not-self, true self
« Reply #31 on: June 09, 2013, 04:17:08 am »
Francis,

What makes you think that "That which is aware" is to be found within the aggregates?  It is not to be found within them.  Unless you assume that the aggregates are the be all and end all and nothing else is outside of them.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2013, 05:05:06 am by Optimus Prime »

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: No-self, not-self, true self
« Reply #32 on: June 09, 2013, 04:29:18 am »
As for the reflections using anatta to see "that which is aware" - you don't even need a Sutta to see those reflections.  As per the Kalama Sutta of seeing for yourself - you can put the Kalama Sutta into practice: 

You can sit there right now, observing your own mind, "Thoughts flowing in" and observing "thoughts flowing out" of the mind. 

Because you can sit back and observe those thoughts, you are not those thoughts are you? - right there is how you can reflect using Anatta - thoughts are not self - they are not you, they are just thoughts arising and ceasing. 

Thoughts disperse and fade away but "that which is aware" of those thoughts doesn't fade with the fading of the thoughts has it?  Thoughts flow in and out of the mind, but the mind itself does move - it is an unmoving observer.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2013, 05:05:51 am by Optimus Prime »

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: No-self, not-self, true self
« Reply #33 on: June 09, 2013, 04:39:54 am »
In the same way, you can say:
-  That which is aware of sound is not the sound - it is the knower of the sound.  Sound is just sound and is not self.
-  That which is aware of sights/forms is not the sights/forms - it knows the sights, it observes the sights and images.  Forms are just forms and are not self.
etc... through all the 6 senses and 5 Skandhas.

The knower is something separate from the sense objects.  It is something separate from the 5 Skandhas.  Don't mistake these things like sense objects to be you - they are not you, not self.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2013, 05:08:09 am by Optimus Prime »

Offline francis

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Re: No-self, not-self, true self
« Reply #34 on: June 09, 2013, 05:19:34 am »
Francis,

What makes you think that "That which is aware" is to be found within the aggregates?  It is not to be found within them.  Unless you assume that the aggregates are the be all and end all and nothing else is outside of them.

Hi OP, the Buddha didn't teach Brahmanism. As far as Buddhism goes, the aggregates are the be all and end all, and there is nothing else is outside of them. 

Have you read the Heart Attack Sutra? 

"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline francis

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Re: No-self, not-self, true self
« Reply #35 on: June 09, 2013, 05:21:44 am »
As for the reflections using anatta to see "that which is aware" - you don't even need a Sutta to see those reflections.  As per the Kalama Sutta of seeing for yourself - you can put the Kalama Sutta into practice: 

You can sit there right now, observing your own mind, "Thoughts flowing in" and observing "thoughts flowing out" of the mind. 

Because you can sit back and observe those thoughts, you are not those thoughts are you? - right there is how you can reflect using Anatta - thoughts are not self - they are not you, they are just thoughts arising and ceasing. 

Thoughts disperse and fade away but "that which is aware" of those thoughts doesn't fade with the fading of the thoughts has it?  Thoughts flow in and out of the mind, but the mind itself does move - it is an unmoving observer.

OP, who is observing?
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

GoGet

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Re: No-self, not-self, true self
« Reply #36 on: June 09, 2013, 05:23:17 am »

Have you read the Heart Attack Sutra?

Do you mean the Heart Sutra or the commentary "Heart Attack Sutra by Karl Brunnholzl?

Offline francis

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Re: No-self, not-self, true self
« Reply #37 on: June 09, 2013, 05:34:05 am »
In the same way, you can say:
-  That which is aware of sound is not the sound - it is the knower of the sound.  Sound is just sound and is not self.
-  That which is aware of sights/forms is not the sights/forms - it knows the sights, it observes the sights and images.  Forms are just forms and are not self.
etc... through all the 6 senses and 5 Skandhas.

The knower is something separate from the sense objects.  It is something separate from the 5 Skandhas.  Don't mistake these things like sense objects to be you - they are not you, not self.

OP the there is no knower that is separate to the self in Buddhism, it’s your memories. There is nothing else. There is no knower in Buddhism. 
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline francis

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Re: No-self, not-self, true self
« Reply #38 on: June 09, 2013, 05:35:11 am »

Have you read the Heart Attack Sutra?

Do you mean the Heart Sutra or the commentary "Heart Attack Sutra by Karl Brunnholzl?

The "Heart Attack" Sutra by Karl Brunnholzl.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2013, 05:44:24 am by francis »
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: No-self, not-self, true self
« Reply #39 on: June 09, 2013, 05:49:09 am »
Thoughts disperse and fade away but "that which is aware" of those thoughts doesn't fade with the fading of the thoughts has it?  Thoughts flow in and out of the mind, but the mind itself does move - it is an unmoving observer.

Presumably this "unmoving observer" is mind-consciousness, the awareness of mental objects? 

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: No-self, not-self, true self
« Reply #40 on: June 09, 2013, 05:52:27 am »
Vacchagotta asked the Buddha:

Quote
"Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?"

When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.

"Then is there no self?"

A second time, the Blessed One was silent.

Source:  "Ananda Sutta: To Ananda" (SN 44.10), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 12 February 2012, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn44/sn44.010.than.html . Retrieved on 8 June 2013.



For me this sutta raises more questions than answers.  It seems odd to me that the Buddha didn't just come out and say "there is no self".

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: No-self, not-self, true self
« Reply #41 on: June 09, 2013, 06:05:11 am »
Vacchagotta asked the Buddha:

Quote
"Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?"

When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.

"Then is there no self?"

A second time, the Blessed One was silent.

Source:  "Ananda Sutta: To Ananda" (SN 44.10), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 12 February 2012, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn44/sn44.010.than.html . Retrieved on 8 June 2013.



For me this sutta raises more questions than answers.  And it seems odd that no-self is equated with annihilationism here.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: No-self, not-self, true self
« Reply #42 on: June 09, 2013, 06:07:05 am »
This sutta gives an interesting perspective - see Note 1:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an06/an06.038.niza.html

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: No-self, not-self, true self
« Reply #43 on: June 09, 2013, 06:23:09 am »
Thoughts disperse and fade away but "that which is aware" of those thoughts doesn't fade with the fading of the thoughts has it?  Thoughts flow in and out of the mind, but the mind itself does move - it is an unmoving observer.

Presumably this "unmoving observer" is mind-consciousness, the awareness of mental objects?

No.  What you are talking about is "thought consciousness", consciousness of thoughts, which is often referred to as vinnana.  Consciousness of thoughts arise when the thoughts arise and ceases when the thoughts cease - it's the premise behind such sayings by Descartes as "I think, therefore I am".  But the unmoving observer is not thought consciousness.

The unmoving observer is aware when thoughts are present and it is also aware when thoughts are not present (whereas thought consciousness only arises when there are thoughts).  Therein lies the difference.

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: No-self, not-self, true self
« Reply #44 on: June 09, 2013, 06:28:11 am »
It seems odd to me that the Buddha didn't just come out and say "there is no self".

Correct.  That would've been the simple, direct method and the Buddha can easily be simple and direct.

According to Thanissaro, this is the only place in the Suttas where the Buddha is asked point blank whether there is a self and whether there is no self - and the Buddha remained silent on this.  Yet we find Buddhists everywhere these days saying, "There is no self" as if the Buddha proclaimed it from up high - but as you can see here, he didn't.

 


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