Atma- analysis of Self


One should consider AN 4.24 with some dubiousness (no parallel).

However the Kaccānagotta sutta (Sn 12.15) is indeed interesting.

One who rightly sees and knows, as it really is, the arising of the world, does not hold to the non-existence of the world.
One who rightly sees and knows, as it really is, the cessation (passing away) of the world, does not hold to the existence of the world.
SA 301 (Parallels on SN 12. 15 & Sf 168).

In other words, when the sensory world arises, there is existence - (as per definition of the word “world”, or somewhat of the “All” in Buddhism).
When the sensory world passes, there is non existence.

A Buddhist will see both (middle way).

You don’t need to go to MIT to understand that.

And here, we are obviously talking about the little (Upanishadic) inner self, (that in Buddhism can’t be continuous, and is therefore devoid of bliss).
And also about the self as the “inner core of man”, that might liberate itself through asankhata. (see above Atma- analysis of Self)

We are definitely not talking here, about the big Self (in the Avyakata).


Not quite!!
Is and is not is a duality. They must co-exist within the fabricated.
Middle-way allows one to transcend between them.
Very subtle difference…and also non dual.


Let’s be simple ,
The point is, You said Atman doesn’t exist , You also said cannot prove that things do or don’t exist , but , in that meaning when you imply something really does not exist isn’t both of that already contradicting each other !?

Secondly , Atman doesn’t exist in the first place (as you said) , therefore analysing it,
is a Futile attempt ! Would you agree ?
Why do you want to do this (examine something you said doesn’t exist) ?


But can one produce a specimen of something that doesn’t exist?


The answer is above , you started a topic to analyse Atman not me . If it doesn’t exist in the first place , why would you want to examine it ? Fallacy fall over your side.
Please read my post again .


I agree with your reasoning - which is why ‘anatta’ is either the final result insight of anicca practice and cannot be practiced as such. So it would be not a dogma but something one might know only at the end.

Or it can be used as a meditation technique, an anatta-sanna. Meaning: I bring it back to my mind as a repetitive tool against the arising experience in the mind. Just like marana-sati it doesn’t mean that ‘death is there’ at the moment - I contemplate it as a vague tool, again not as dogma of truth.


It was me who started the topic. A few things - we can discuss and analyse concepts. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is such a ‘concept’. These were later helpfully known as pannapti. It’s possible for us to imagine things or concepts that don’t exist. As they don’t exist, it isn’t possible to find acceptable proof of their existence (say for example a photograph of the moon would be a certain type of evidence or its gravitational pull if monitored might be another, and so on). It isn’t that Buddhism teaches that the Self is the five aggregates. That would be a misapprehension of the issue. Rather the five aggregates have been mistaken to be a self. And because of the lack of samadhi in the normal human mind it is unable to see that the aggregates are impermanent, moment by moment but thinks the Self is continuous or everlasting. It thinks the Self is a positive or at least ‘ok’ thing, while seeing the five aggregates arise and passing away it is clear that they are unsatisfactory or even repulsive (nibbida), and layers of conditioning or ignorance must be peeled away to see it for what it truly is.

With metta


Factors of entering the stream:

  1. Association with kalyanamittas
  2. Listening to the true dhamma
  3. Contemplation of the dhamma
  4. Practice according to the dhamma- dhammanudhamma patipada

So our analysis would fall into step 3. It’s said that some people rarely do understand Anatta merely by contemplation. The majority might need to see the phenomena arising and passing away with their own eyes.

Correct. Useful before realising anatta and even more afterwards to recall or recapture that moment of insight to fully integrate its meaning into oneself (pun not intended). We can still use the word Self, so as not to bring confusion when speaking to others, just as the Buddha did. This doesn’t mean they do not understand anatta but is familiar with ‘both sides of the fence’, and is able to think and behave appropriately.

With metta


First , the five aggregate Not equal to the self is by Buddhism definition .
By Brahmanism definition , Atman is something beyond the five aggregate .
As I said earlier ,
Instead of analysing Atman , which you said never existed ,
You analyse the five aggregate .
That’s all I am saying .
The logic is you don’t have to and no need to find something that you think non existence .


And in Buddhism Nibbana is something beyond the five aggregates. Though of course Nibbana is not Atman.

It all looks like a thicket of views to me. Personally I focus on paying close attention to experience with a view to understanding better what is happening, and why. I notice transience and conditionality, but not directly the absence of self.


Everyone entitled to believe in what they think are the truth . I just point out the fallacy of the approach .


As @Gene rightly said, “by Brahmanism definition, Atman is something beyond the five aggregates” - and I would add that this Atman is somewhat IN the aggregates, as the atma.
I say “somewhat”, because it depends on the periods in the Veda, and the Rishis’ interpretations.
In the early Upanishadic (and generally the Hindu creed,) atma is somewhat Ka/Prajapati. The evolved Atma>Brahma>Prajapati>Ka Self in the “body” (Ka,) of all creatures - and to which one should melt into Brahma, once (the Upanishadic) ignorance is understood .
This (little) atma/atta, continuous (and blissful) is what Buddha rejects, because of the anicca nature of the khandhas.

But once again, Buddha never rejected an Atman in the avyakata. Buddha just said that this is irrelevant to the Teaching - that is to say, irrelevant to the liberation through the asankhata.
A Self, if it exists, is beyond words (samkhya), says Snp 5.7 (Upasīva­māṇava­pucchā,) for instance.
A useless and insane speculation.

Again, one should not mix up the different meanings of atta - as much as one should not mix up the different meanings of dhamma/Dhamma.



If anyone begins to utter a meaning loaded term like Brahma to emptiness rather than saying it is empty, they have imagined something in place of emptiness, rather than accepting it for what it really is.

And the fallacy of thinking there is something concrete beyond thoughts, is that it is just that- even more thoughts and imagining. Welcome flying one eyed pyramid doing the jig in empty space. If you use a reductive approach to prove there is atma, as is done in the original post by Maharishi then it must be amenable to logical analysis. He didn’t simply say ‘come and see’ for yourself, but said that the body and the mine is mine, therefore it is not me, and asserted that there is a Self in the emptiness ie he never truly approached the topic neutrally but held onto a self and when it wasn’t found anywhere, thought it must be in the emptiness.

with metta,


Mat , I did not say anything about Maharsi .
The Question is , What is the logic of you in trying to prove something you already find never existed ?
Does not sound that proper .
That’s all .
But , if you insist , please by all means .


I would even go one step back in a way: Let’s say there is a Buddhist dogma of no-self (which there isn’t). And further that I believe it. What is gained by that? Am I magically transported into nibbana-lala-land?

At best I start a practice of dispassion towards the phenomena I encounter. And I’ll hit a wall where my subtlety is not sufficient because I never got properly explained what the knockout argument of ‘aggregates’ (or ‘ayatanas’) really supposed to mean.

At worst I start walking around, preaching “no-self, no-self”, propagating a theoretical salvation I never realized myself, looking down on others who have teachings I don’t like because I identify with the term “no-self”.


But it is not a question of emptiness. It is a question of non-continuity.

Nama-rupa nidana is not empty. It just comes from no-thing-ness. And anything below namarupa nidana is not empty.
And don’t come with that “bubble thing”, because it is given in another context - (as in: what can be non-empty in something like a body that decays, etc.? )

The all atta thing is about continuity.

You are again mixing up everything, to suit your own view about a non existing big Self- mixing it up with the concepts of a small “self”.

Did Buddha ever said that Brahma was an empty thing ?

It is just that this satta of yours cannot universally merge with Brahma. Period.
You cannot say like the modern Hindu “I am Brahma !”.
That’s it !

But that you know.


No, but Maharishi is saying that which is beyond nama rupa is Atma.

With metta


‘SuttaCentral exists’ ontologically, is a delusion, is uncertain (according to the Dhamma). ‘SuttaCentral doesn’t exist’ is just the opposite view, with nothing to back it up as SC can be seen, now. Buddhism allows the meditator to see for themselves, that SC arises at the eye base, gives rise to fleeting consciousness at the eye, which in turn gives rise to eye contact. This in turn specifically gives rise to (idapaccayata) feeling, identifications and intensions, ie. this arising happens down a specific pathway as mentioned before, and not in a chaotic manner. This isn’t the seeing of the existent world out-there. The process of perception includes material and the mental phenomena. The mental portion is the mind’s projection on to the outside world meanings it doesn’t contain. One could say that 90% is added to it subsequent to the initial arising of the eye + image. The ‘world’ is fabricated sense base by sense base, in this manner. Rather than ontological reality or non-existence, the ‘world’ arises as experiences, as a string of causally arisen phenomena, each lasting less than a second before giving rise to the next phenomena, which then also passes away, and so on, to infinity. Therefore they are dependently originated. Without the cause there would be no effect. There are no ‘entities’ observing this process- just the process itself is aware of it own arising. This process happens so fast that 3 dimensional world is created, with its material and mental aspects seemingly ‘fused’ (ghana sanna). Dispersing this fusion is the task of samadhi in vipassana. The majority of the ‘experience’ has been created subsequently- and is an illusion- like a mirage or a projection. This means it makes sense to detach from thinking our experiences are real manifestations of reality. It is meaningful to not view our experiences as having much validity, but rather to ‘not take the signs or the details’, or to ‘just see the seen’ as mentioned in certain suttas. So when we come to see that we have been living in an illusion (a ‘matrix’ of sorts) it gives rise to repulsion (nibbida) and we un-plug from samsara. The world arises because we are attached and want it to arise, at a deep level. At the end of this we have Samma ditti (Right view) which will open the door to stop generating phenomena, after later practicing vipassana. These are teachings which incline the mind to Nibbana’. Atman provides us with an insurmountable barrier to reaching experiential Nibbana. Our greatest attachment and that which requires the greatest detachment (Nibbana) cannot co-exist. The latter is also the ending of suffering- the Self is a great cause of our suffering, as we build our hopes, achievements, goals, and ego around it.

We are not ruling out the existence of the world- as it keeps arising, regularly
We are not saying it exists because clearly it is dependently originated
(if we say it arises in the ‘mind’, that is also about existing in the world, but just in mind and brain)
The third way, the middle way, is that it can be experienced to arise as causes and effects, moment by moment, infused by delusion (avijja).
Attachment to this process, unknowingly, causes suffering.
Detachment from this process is the ending of suffering.
Nibbana is when this process has halted, and there is no more arising in the present moment to be experienced (nirodha).

with metta

Nibbana .. phala

Sorry Gene, it wasn’t me who started this topic.


I think it’s further complicated by the fact that we tend to find what we are expecting to find. Our assumptions lead us to label “spiritual” experiences in particular ways.