Atma- analysis of Self


same with nibbana

same with nibbana


Nibbana (‘extinguishment’) has no features. Therefore isn’t composed of the five aggregates- it is the cessation of the five aggregates. Atman is your ‘splinter from God’, and is definable and therefore subject to the five aggregates.

The cessation of the five aggregates can be experienced. There is ‘proof’, with deep practice, of a dimension beyond the five aggregates. And it doesn’t have anything to do with Self, Soul or God/Brahman.

With metta


If Nibbana Not definable , what it is and how do you know ?


I think it’s useful to be precise here…

Please present the proof. If you can’t present it, it’s neither proof nor ‘proof’.

Is it? Says who? consistently? Is this the standard definition agreed on by all Indian teachers? Hardly. It’s a metaphor. Which brings me to…

But it has very featury metaphors in the EBT all the same. “The far shore”, “the high ground”, “the deathless” (including the ‘doors to the deathless’ - nibbana has doors?!) You can’t deny that these metaphors exist. Sure, you can say “it’s just a metaphor”. Well, so are the atman-metaphors too.

I think you’d agree after consideration that no experience can represent what is beyond experience

and neither is Ramana’s atman.
Now what?


People seem to have a hard time to understand what Buddhism is all about.
Buddhism is about getting the hell out of the dharman that is paticcasamupada. Just because there is absolutely no self in this intrinsically impermanent dharman; therefore no bliss possible.
There is no self in paticcasamuppada. Period !
Is there a self/Self elsewhere ?
No need to ask, says Buddha. Just get that mere handful of leaves (aka the genuine Teaching [with parallels, for Self sake],) and get out.
The same way it goes for the Samkhya as in “getting out of prakriti” ) .

Is Shaivism (tantric) advaita necessary to have aa better view of what a self might mean - why not ?
One can also read the Tattvārth sūtra of the Jains - Also quite instructive (and a short read).

However, how many times do we address the transcendences that allow us to get out of the kama loka, then out of the rupa and arupa loka ?
Very rarely it seems; if not totally nonexistent on all the prominent Buddhist forums.

Some people are just torturing themselves pretending to be Buddhists; when indeed they are leaning a lot more towards things like tantric advaita shaivism (eternalism), or nihilism, or materalism, whatever names the latter might have taken in Buddha’s time, or later).

Anything BUT Buddhism.

"He who has comprehended in the world the beyond, and away the supreme; in whom there is no perturbation by anything in the world, who is calm, free from the smoldering fires, untroubled and desireless — he has crossed beyond birth and decay, I say."
Saṅkhāya lokasmi paroparāni,
Yassiñjitaṃ natthi kuhiñci loke;
Santo vidhūmo anīgho nirāso,
Atāri so jātijaranti brūmī”ti.
Snp 5.4

(Note that the above last quote does not apply to me - as I am actually at hell’s door; trying desperately not to move in its antechamber - just careening:) .


Indeed, this is the one thing not explained to a decent level. This can only be done through formulating a unified theory of physics. Without that, it’s impossible to do. That would have taken a lot of time, given rise to tons of misinterpretation and is not important for the path. It’s only utility would be convincing a few more people and bringing them to the dhamma.

Such things would have sounded very strange at that time and needless to say impossible to prove, since things like the double slit erazer experiment, etc. were discovered only recently. All one can do in such a situation is simply stating the conclusions regarding how consciousness and matter work, without proving them. The pressure of proving them is not too big even in today times, since materialism has been refuted. It’s not like you have a billion competing theories.

And last but not least, one can simply take this on trust because of a very simple reason: Buddha is the only one claiming that there is no self, something that is possible to verify, same as one can verify weather cars run because of eningines or because of tiger-forces pushing them. Since Buddha is the only one that that teaches this, he is the only one that can be trusted from all the philosopers out there. All others would look to you like a person claiming your car is pushed by a mysterious spirit. Only person you would trust in regards to how cars work is the mechanic that showed you how they actually work because of engines, all others would look like idiots.


Imagine a fire that has been extinguished and does not exist any more.

Does that lack of existence of a fire have any features ? No, it’s simply a lack of something. Whatever attributes you might try to apply to it are meaningless since there is no subject to which to apply those attributes.


Thanks Gabriel, I am reading this one now and finding it to be quite interesting so far. I had no idea how long this has been a topic of debate among Buddhist scholars until starting to read this book.


So, this is about “trust”?
Not because the “how” the rebirth works ?
Not about how the “consciousness” came about ?
We are back to square one .
At the same time , any buddhist can thrash other teachings , although they themselves have not attained any of the state they against !


Of course, it’s so obvious! Just, if I call it ‘trust’ I lose my leverage over other spiritual traditions.

And what is wrong with saying “I follow out of faith”, “I follow out of conviction”? The self-image gets dangerously close to blind guru devotees who swallow anything their master says.

So I turn what-I-have-faith-in, what-I-am-convinced-of into a fact. Which turns the process away from me to others - because whoever is not accepting facts is obviously mentally inferior (i.e. other sects, religions or their followers)

It’s right there in the gradual training, e.g. AN 10.99: a person “hears this Dhamma. He then acquires faith in the Tathāgata” and acts on it - that is the basis of it all.


Oh, I am thinking that everyone is talking about the Mechanism of rebirth , kamma and interdependent origination ! To Find out the HOW ?!
I didn’t know that Require Faith !
Then, what for is the Discussion ?


I don’t think it’s that bad either :slight_smile: Faith is a powerful door-opener for investigation. Gradually we can replace mere-faith with conviction-faith and eventually with knowledge. And discussion-investigations (as long as it’s really about investigating) can help all the way.


Faith or no faith , the Question still remains !
How , your concept of rebirth actually take place ?
From the moment of death , the birth of new body arises ?


Strictly speaking you will need to be the Buddha to know and see this, in action. Arahanths with knowledge of previous lives may be able to witness it too. However this isn’t the main thing we are discussing in the thread, unless you say an Atman is necessary for rebirth. Since you don’t know whether rebirth (or Atman) exists or not, discussing rebirth is unhelpful.

Then some are able to see aggregates arising and passing away from one life to the next (vipassana in pubbenivanussati nana), and apart from the sudden shift in setting/plane it’s similar - craving for sensory stimuli (with the inherent ignorance which drives that), the desire to exist (hence all this talk of continually existing as Atman or Brahman, after death) and kamma are the forces, that give rise to consciousness. Then after that the coming together of father and mother in the fertile period, forming Nama-Rupa for Vinnana to be propagated forward, if it’s in the human or animal realm. We can then use this process to get a proxy view of how ‘rebirth’ or re-arising of phenomena occurs moment by moment. When phenomena cease we know what was taken out of the equation (ie-craving, ignorance, bhava tanha and consciousness) at the fruit of stream entry - then we know that this is how rebirth will stop. Buddhas and some arahanths will have direct knowledge of this.

Bhava Sutta Bhava Sutta: Becoming (1)

With metta


Which does not preclude the existence of something else than the fire and its cause.

There are, monks, other dhammas, profound, hard to see, hard to understand, peaceful, excellent, beyond mere verbal determination, subtle, to be experienced by the wise…”
Atthi, bhikkhave, aññeva dhammā gambhīrā duddasā duranubodhā santā paṇītā atakkāvacarā nipuṇā paṇḍitavedanīyā…
(DN 1 - DA21)

Bhikkhu Bodhi has translated atakkāvacarā by “thought”, instead of “verbal determination” . Atakkāvacarā is just the contrary of vitakkāvacarā.

At-man (अत् at - √ मन् man) means a somewhat “continuous, unremitting (notional) thinking”.

In our case the fire is the vitakkāvacarā - the cause is ignorance.
Get rid of these particular latter two - would the thinking (man) be gone also ? - couldn’t there be other verbal determinations, on behalf of this Atman/Self; viz. other dhammas?
(ध dha (or √ dhā) - √ मन् man - means a somewhat “performed & established “thinking”” (dharma) [धर्मन् dharmán]) .
Something else than paticcasamuppada (the dhamma we are living in).

Note that in philosophy this “thinking” has two phases. First the potential “notion”; then the “idea” (that actualizes itself through “forms”) .

Again, this kind of question about a Self (possible in Buddhism) - or about a continuous “paticcasamuppada-esque” self, that meets that Self at realisation (definitely impossible in Buddhism) - is just red-herring intended to distract attention to the main issue; that is to say:
Getting out of paticcadamupada - viz. first the kama loka; then the rupa & the arupa loka.

Get out ! - it ain’t good ! :skull_and_crossbones: :scream::imp::japanese_ogre::female_detective::mage:t2::metal:t2::eye::money_mouth_face::hamburger::fries::pizza::hotdog:



I have watched the video but I might be missing something because at 11:10 R Maharshi speaks of deep sleep and then goes on to say to his interlocutor ‘as you already admitted you were happy’ but I don’t see where he admitted that. I also don’t understand how one can be happy whilst in deep sleep and unconscious (unless he means you’re happy after a good night sleep?).

What he then describes (a happiness unrelated to external objects or to thoughts) seems like what you experience in meditation, and for him this corresponds to the true self if I understand correctly.

More generally I don’t think one can resolve these questions through arguments or discussions. To a certain extent they boil down to the question in Western philosophy of whether a thing (and a person) is just the sum total of its observable properties (as in Hume or Nietzsche) so that there is no fixed core beyond or beneath that, or whether there is a substance to which all these properties belong (as in Plato, Descartes etc) - the second interpretation would seem to be in agreement with how language is structured, with a subject and a predicate. Then there are interpretations in between these two extremes (e.g. Heidegger discusses this in ‘The origin of the work of art’ or ‘What is a thing’). I am saying all this because great minds have argued about these questions in the history of Western philosophy too, and there are valid arguments for and against each side, so I think that one cannot come to a conclusion of these questions by arguing one way or another.

With metta.


<<Nibbana (‘extinguishment’) has no features. Therefore isn’t composed of the five aggregates- it is the cessation of the five aggregates. Atman is your ‘splinter from God’, and is definable and therefore subject to the five aggregates.

The cessation of the five aggregates can be experienced. There is ‘proof’, with deep practice, of a dimension beyond the five aggregates. And it doesn’t have anything to do with Self, Soul or God/Brahman.>>


I see that everyone here is discussing about rebirth and in spite of everyone seems don’t know rebirth existing for certain yet you said it is unhelpful .

Although you don’t know or having any experience of Atman , Self , Brahman for sure , you talked as you really know what are those terms refer to .

Perhaps , to be Fair is to admit one don’t know or just claim that one only belief in one system and not the other .


There was a time I believe I knew the Self existed. Now through Buddhist analytical thought, as well as seeing it for myself, which is when the penny dropped, I see that there is no self to be found- its just aggregates. Beyond what can be sensed through the 6 sense doors, what might exist, including the Macandcheese god, is irrelevant. They are a fantasy for those people who are happy to accept an explanation for for why they need to pay 10% of their income into the accounts of the owners of the story.

When the ignorance of permanence is still working in the minds of people, they need a afterlife fantasy which involves them becoming greater than their short sharp lives. When this ignorance falls away people begin to see life for what it really is. Buddhism allows them to come to a place where they come to not react to the unsatisfactoriness of life, having let gone of fantasy AND reality. Sheep, we are not.

with metta


1 - Out of 12 links, 11 are evident and easy to verify. You can ask “if there was no contact, could such a thing as feeling arise” etc.

The only link that requires a unified theory of physics to prove is the one about volitional formations giving rise to birth.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to formulate such a theory and get right all the details of it ? Do you have any idea about how long and complicated such a theory will be ? If you want I can post the starting point of such a theory, so that you can get an idea about how much effort figuring out the details requires.

2 - Why this aggresiveness and sadness ? All else except buddhist idea regarding how consciousness and matter work had been refuted. Materialism has been refuted. Believing in it is like believing the world is flat. It’s not like you have any other theory our there that could be correct. So far, buddhism has not been refuted by anything discovered during the past 2500 years. It has no rivals, since everything else had been refuted. You can either be a buddhist or an agnostic at this point, all else is equal to believing the world is flat.

3 - Imagine you were a bushman who taught cars are pushed by some mysterious spirit. All your bushman friends have been arguing about weather this spirit is the spirit of the ancestors, or weather it’s a raven spirit, or weather it’s a tiger spirit, etc. Then a mechanic comes along and shows you the trickery about the engine and how it can work without being an animal and without being pushed by some spirit. You verify this and see that he is correct. Would you not have a natural trust in this mechanic when he says other things in regards to how a car works ?

4 - What importance does a unified theory of physics have when it comes to the path ? All that is important as far as the path is concerned is being able to prove there is no self.