How can there be no-self when there seems to be a self?


Hello again

Thanks for that interesting sutta. Unfortunately, it does not help me, though it may help you.

I think one must decide which (interpretation of the) definition of the First Noble Truth one wishes to follow. The traditional one that assumes less than half (birth, aging and death) of the details given in the First Noble Truth is physiological, and the whole Truth has to be summarised as:

“in short the Five Aggregates are suffering” (leaving out clinging)

or, a different one that does not assume that, but rather takes into account the whole of the details (especially all the other items that would be psychological: soka­pari­deva­duk­kha­do­manas­supāyā­sāpi dukkhā, appiyehi sampayogopi dukkho, piyehi vippayogopi dukkho, yampicchaṃ na labhati tampi dukkhaṃ) and the repeated psychological meanings (redefinitions) the Buddha gave to key terms, clearly including ‘death’ and one then accepts the summary:

“in short the Five Clinging Aggregates are suffering”.

Since I take the second approach, after many years of testing the first approach, which you clearly follow, I do not accept teachings that promote the idea:

‘Having reflected thus, he becomes indifferent towards past form… consciousness (the Five Aggregates), he does not seek delight in past/present/future form… consciousness (the Five Aggregates), and he is practising for revulsion towards past/present/future form… consciousness (the Five Aggregates), for its fading away and cessation.’

Because, for me Nibbāna is the fading away and cessation of the Five Clinging Aggregates, not the Five Aggregates.

Since it seems you are happy with the first, I certainly doubt further conversations will be of any benefit, but to correct your misunderstandings of what I have said:

It does not sound that way to you because, I believe, you do not read clearly what I have written because your ego edits things out or adds things, to protect itself. I have said I accept multiple births (not RE-births) that are pscylological, that is, I accept the arising of ego multiple times in this very life and a different ego each time. I understand and you have confirmed that Bh. Buddhadāsa taught psychological-only-RE-birth, which I do not accept. I have given up Bh. Buddhadāsa’s teaching of psychological-only-RE-birth. Hopefully I have made it clear enough this time.

It seems I have developed this interpretation independently of any other person claiming to be a disciple of the Buddha.

at least we agree on that. :slight_smile:

To me, the rest of your post is just repetition of the traditional views/interpretations, which I don’t accept and will not discuss once again. As I feel certain you cannot provide a clear example in the First Four Nikaya of any language source, where, for example, the Buddha said ‘I teach one truth, ultimate truth/reality’ as you understand it. If you can, please do so.

Otherwise I do not wish to continue thrashing the same old arguments and hope you one day decide to step out of what I think is your (ego) comfort zone and question them.

So, it seems you agree with me that, they are not universal characteristics, but you could not say that clearly and in appreciation, establishing common ground, but rather you choose only point to difference.

My point is (once again), the first and last of the Three Characteristics (anicca, anattā) would apply to all conditioned things, including the Five Aggregates, but the second would only apply to the Five Clinging Aggregates, which are the definition of dukkha, imo, but I think you could not accept that, due to your understanding of the First Noble Truth.

I think it’s best to say goodbye and

Best wishes


So if we take sn16.12 for example.

The Tathagata exists after death
The Tathagata does not exist after death
The Tathagata both does and does not exist after death
The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death

All above are wrong views, says the Lord Buddha.

Is the Lord Buddha referring to “psychological” death here too? If so what is the status of the Tathagata right now that he is literally dead?

Can you also extrapolate the above to Brother Joe please? What would be the status of Brother Joe if he gets run over by a bus tomorrow?

Have been formally ordained? if so which Temple/Country please?

I get to see fruitcakes rejecting literal re-birth but loitering with the Dhamma quite often. Although I must admit this is the first time I come across a robed one.


Hi Rajitha

To me, your message has very inappropriate content and has been flagged.

The lack of friendliness in lack of greeting and not being able to talk to me directly, seems blatant.

It seems the Buddha taught that shame and dread protect us from unwholesome action (karma/kamma), if we have them.

I might deal with your questions some other time.

best wishes


You cannot see inside my mind. I say things with compassion. I am fully compliant with the Dhamma.

I have compassion for the Thathagatha whom you slander and also those innocents whom you mislead appearing as a Sanga.

Peddling the wrong view here quite brazenly, violating all kinds of decency, I should flag you first.

Although I wont, since flagging in itself is an act of gossip and a violation of basic precept which you would know had you been properly ordained.


Hello Brother Joe

A friend emailed me saying:

I read his essay and he doesn’t seem to be saying anything that’s particularly new.

I replied:

we disagreed on the following: Joe thinks ‘atta’ means ‘soul’ and ‘anatta’ means ‘not-soul’

Since my friend was interested in your essay, I referred them to this thread, so they could work out what your personal views about the Buddha-Dhamma are.

The sutta appears to support your views about recollecting ‘past abodes’ means recollecting past clingings. I think it is a most valuable sutta.

[quote=“Brother_Joe, post:261, topic:5041”]
the whole Truth has to be summarised as: “in short the Five Clinging Aggregates are suffering”.[/quote]

For me, ignorance clings to the aggregates rather than the aggregates cling. Apart from your using this rather confusing translation of “clinging aggregates”, members of this site including myself have posted the same view as your’s, namely, the last sentence about ‘upadana’ summarises the entire 1st noble truth. Ajahn Buddhadasa also had this view. As my friend said, you appear to not have offered anything particularly new here.

[quote=“Brother_Joe, post:261, topic:5041”]
which you clearly follow[/quote]

I certainly do not follow what you have suggested here. Apart from the confusing translation of “clinging aggregates”, respectfully, you have offered nothing new here.

For me, Nibbāna is the fading away and cessation of Clinging to the Five Aggregates. As I mentioned, I have not discovered the body, feeling, perception or consciousness aggregate clings or is clinging. Instead, I have found the sankhara aggregate, when affected by its ignorance, is doing the clinging.

[quote=“Brother_Joe, post:261, topic:5041”]
It does not sound that way to you because… I have said I accept multiple births (not RE-births) that are pscylological, that is, I accept the arising of ego multiple times in this very life and a different ego each time.[/quote]

Ajahn Buddhadasa’s view is exactly the same as your view, here, as it clearly written in his lecture called ‘Anatta & Rebirth’.

[quote=“Brother_Joe, post:261, topic:5041”]
Buddhadāsa taught psychological-only-RE-birth[/quote]

I have never heard or read this. I would suggest to support your idea with evidence.

Thanks[quote=“Brother_Joe, post:261, topic:5041”]
he rest of your post is just repetition of the traditional views/interpretations, which I don’t accept and will not discuss once again.[/quote]

So you seem to believe the words " Brother Joe", “Deele”, “cat”, etc, represent a real Brother Joe or cat rather than are just ‘conventions’ or ‘verbal designations’ assigned to parts, as described in SN 5.10 & MN 98? SN 5.10 is a very lofty sutta to me yet you seem to disagree with its contents.

Certainly not. I did not discard/reject the 2nd characteristic since the suttas only say the 3 characteristics apply to conditioned phenomena.

[quote=“Brother_Joe, post:261, topic:5041”]
My point is (once again), the first and last of the Three Characteristics (anicca, anattā) would apply to all conditioned things, including the Five Aggregates, but the second would only apply to the Five Clinging Aggregates[/quote]

The 2nd characteristic applies to all conditioned things because they are unsatisfactory, even when they are not clung to. This is the Dhamma of the Lord Buddha, as declared in SN 22.59, AN 3.136 & Dhp 278.

If only the 1st & 3rd characteristic applied to all conditioned things, even though those conditioned things would be impermanent & not-self; due to lacking the characteristic of unsatisfactoriness; those conditioned things would be inherently desirable and would not result in dispassion.

For example , if the drug cocaine was not unsatisfactory, it could be used for pleasure & not have any harmful side effects. Cocaine could be used and when the pleasure stopped due to impermanence, cocaine could be used again, as a harmless impermanent pleasure. But because cocaine is unsatisfactory, if cannot be used for impermanent pleasure because using cocaine regularly will result in disastrous (hellish) side effects. This is why cocaine itself, as a plant growing in the ground, has three characteristics, namely, impermanence, unsatisfactoriness & not-self.

The noble truths in my understanding are not related to the three characteristics. These are two distinct teachings. The noble truths are related to the psychological suffering of the mind. The three characteristics are related to the inherent characteristics of conditioned things, be they material or mental.

To conclude, I returned to your posts on this thread because I was asked about what you believed because your essay on the internet was unclear to my friend. My friend can read your views here & my response to them.

The Buddha taught that bhikkhus are always subject to scrutiny & testing by lay people.

Thank you for replying.

With metta :seedling:


Hi @Rajitha, it’s fine to ask this, indeed, as @Deeele said,

Yes, this is true. The realms of Right Intention are deeply personal.

However, once we type something out and press “Reply” or “Post”, or write something, or speak, we enter into the domain of Right Speech.

So while the intention was beautiful (and I’m happy to take your word for it) perhaps you can see that perhaps the words could have been phrased differently?

Personally I’m sympathetic to the teaching on rebirth. And I would rather see the Sangha spreading the teachings as consistent with the EBTs.

However, on a forum such as this, where it’s difficult, due to not seeing each other’s faces and not being in each other’s presence, to get some idea of Intention; perhaps it’s best to be extra careful in our choice of words.

So there are many generally sane, good hearted, clever people who are not entirely comfortable with the notion of rebirth. While it’s okay to engage in an exchange of views. It’s probably best to do so without referring to them as “fruitcakes”!

No. It isn’t. It’s just a way for this particular online community to keep it’s Speech and general tone pleasant and inviting and respectful. It’s a way for people to say, “hey, I’ve got an issue with this, can you please have a look at it!” Flagging doesn’t break any precepts. Here’s our flagging guide. :slight_smile:

Wishing you well, with metta.


Well, this guy would have been doing this for a while.

My intention was not to insult him. My intention was to wake him up from a deep slumber.

At the “supermundane” level, all that matters is the intention. So it may look weird to you but it was “Right Speech”.


Then what is the purpose of “Right Speech”? Why would the Buddha have bothered to include it in the 8 Fold Path? It is an 8 Fold Path. All eight aspects of it matter.

EDIT: Remember the interactions that take place her on D&D, take place within the “mundane level”. Your mind may feel at ease because your intentions were pure. But your actions may still cause (however small they may be) possible problems in this mundane, external world.


It didn’t work. Apparently, for your words to come through, you should phrase them differently, as the Lord Buddha so masterfully did in His discourses.


There existed this particular monk who was an Arhath. This monk would regularly abuse people. When asked the Lord Buddha explained about an attribute called the “Gathi” i.e. past habits.

There are words coloured by Gathi. They are not intentionally used to hurt people, although many might perceive it as wrong speech in a conventional sense.


I agree with this idea. We’re all just a bunch of habits in one sense!

Like I said, I’m sure your intention was pure. Your intention is not under attack. Nor are your habits. Nor are you. And it’s okay if your habits of speech are casual in this manner.

But now that it’s been pointed out to you that this particular moment of speech may have offended (regardless of your intention) you don’t need to defend your intention, you can just make a decision about whether or not you wish to modify your speech. That’s up to you.

Habits can be changed, slowly, gradually. It’s part of the purification of Virtue to have a gentle, tolerant and very patient habit re-program as an ongoing part of Practice! And we’ll continue to make mistakes. It’s okay to say they’re just habits or a way of talking influenced by personality. That’s fine. But it’s also okay to look at something from somebody else’s perspective and say, “hmmm…yes, I can see your view too…perhaps you have a point.” No harm acrrues to anyone in such an admission and indeed, you may find that all these interactions ease considerably.

With metta


I doubt Arahants would be resistant to taking on feedback. My guess is that they would be so peaceful and calm that any feedback given, would be something they would be open to. So while this particular Arahant may have been criticised and the Buddha may have talked about ‘habits’…I bet, the Arahant in question wouldn’t have minded about the feedback/criticism. He may even have taken on board some of the feedback. Afterall, having certain habits doesn’t mean that they are fixed, just tricky to change.

I often think, that in general, it’s good to be relaxed, natural and easy around our ways of being; to just “be ourselves” so to speak. However, as a practicising Buddhist, I’m finding more and more in my own life, that this works best, (for my benefit and others’ benefit) when I do so within the boundaries of courtesy. (Which is not to say that I don’t get impassioned from time to time! But I’m finding that this is the risk one takes when one gets too involved or cares too much about something! And of course, that’s partly habit too…fortunately, while it’s difficult to change, it’s also very prone to change.)


Well, yes most certainly, I shall try to apply more restraint with words.


In Western countries, often fundamentalist Christians engage in extreme behaviours, such as aggressive speech & even military war, because they believe their faith (belief) will save them rather than their actions.

Sometimes, I have noticed some Buddhists to be similar, in that some Buddhists seem to believe just because they believe in reincarnation they will automatically have a favourable reincarnation.

I posted before I have not found this doctrine in the suttas; where a person is saved by belief alone.

The suttas state harsh speech leads to ‘rebirth’ in the lower worlds (loka).

Pharusāpharusa, bhikkhave, vācā āsevitā bhāvitā bahulīkatā niraya­saṃ­vatta­nikā tiracchā­na­yoni­saṃ­vatta­nikā petti­visa­ya­saṃ­vatta­nikā. Yo sabbalahuso pharusāya vācāya vipāko, ­manus­sa­bhūtassa amanā­pa­saddasaṃ­vatta­niko hoti.

Harsh speech — when indulged in, developed & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from harsh speech is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to unappealing sounds.

AN 8.40



Good on you Rajitha! Much respect for this gracious response; it comes across as being given with both kindness and renunciation. :anjal:


Well, I think you need to understand the Suthra first. The Suthra says.

Harsh speech, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being harsh speech at minimum conduces to disagreeable sounds.

I think you are not using the Suttacentral ones. In any case, did you see “when indulged in” ? That suggest if harsh words are repeatedly pursued.

I use it sparsely only when the occasion calls for a heightened sense of urgency or focus.


I wasn’t questioning his intention, but his action. I’m sure he didn’t mean to speak unkindly. Your encouragement to reconsider the phrasing, to me shows you may have a similar concern, or you consider there may have been something amiss with the speech.

As I understand it, the Buddha allows and encourages us to criticise behaviour, if we think it is adhammic. See MN139.


The PTS dictionary gives the first meaning of attā is soul:


  1. The soul as postulated in the animistic theories held in N India in the 6th and 7th cent. B. C. It is described in the Upanishads as a small creature, in shape like a man, dwelling in ordinary times in the heart. It escapes from the body in sleep or trance; when it returns to the body life and motion reappear. It escapes from the body at death, …

  2. Oneself, himself, yourself. Nom. attā, very rare. S I.71, 169; III.120; A I.57, 149

So, it is not just my thought. It would certainly be one possible meaning.

best wishes


I think you will find that it is scrutiny by noble lay people. Could you provide the reference?


= ethical voidness, imo. if intention were all that mattered, I thing the Path would end there, Right View, Right Intension, but no, it actually goes to Right Action also. As the popular saying goes ‘the path to hell is paved by good intentions’.

I just read one of Kay’s responses. Seems to make a very similar point.