A Buddha and enlightend person has probably still a sense of self. I feel sutta’s show this.
But it is not an ego-like sense of self. It is not like the perception that there is a mental entity inside who lives, who knows and experiences and dies. But he/she has a natural sense of self that, i believe, goes back to the natural clarity of mind. That clarity is a kind a radiance.
The more one removes defilements, the more this radiance, this natural clarity of the mind shines. This is also what we experience as “I am happy without any reason”. That is the experience of the natural clear light nature of the mind.
The unawakened mind does not know that this natural sense of self is not really a mental entity, but the natural clarity of the mind. That is the difference between seeing things as they are and not?
This radiance of the mind does not disappear while one lives, and therefor a natural sense of self also remains, i believe. But this is not known now as mental entity anymore but as the clear light nature of mind.
There is a sense of self that is rooted in attachment and that gives the impression that you are a mental entity that experiences, knows, lives, will die etc. This is always something conceived.
But when the mind is not conceiving there is also a sense of self. But now this goes back to the natural clear light nature of mind, its clarity.
The big magician is the stream of mental vinnana’s. Lost in this stream of mental vinnana’s a cinematic reality arises with an entity like perception of me, and like reality is a story. But this is mere the result of conceiving.
Is seeing the sense of self as it really is like seeing this sense of self is the natural clarity of the mind?