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


Hi Cara

thanks for pointing that out

As I said, I was addressing what I thought was wrong (unkind/adammic) speech.

Maybe I should start a new thread on right speech?

best wishes


Opinions on such things vary, it’s difficult to change someone else’s mind about them, especially over the internet.

Otherwise, I might suggest it could be better to discuss issues privately or with the moderators.

Thank you. :anjal:


Of course, but surely it is only our opinions or views that we can discuss and whether they accurately reflect the Buddha’s or not and it takes time and patience, to listen to others.

Surely this public forum the place for that?


Of course, I’m just saying if you have to do it, please post in the relevant place, and if your queries address just one or two users, they might be best done privately.


ok, thanks very much for your direction

  1. Rajitha spoke to harshly in his manner of speaking to Brother_joe. Just because someone has new ideas doesn’t call for a bashing. This type of attitude has held the world back from advances a 100 times over. The moderators have been very gentle with Rajitha and many other online forums would not have been so kind - thankfully we are Buddhist.

  2. It was the moderator before Brother_joe’s six comments that were discussing something ‘off topic’ and with numerous posts. To attack Brother_joe with such a comment; “You have just made 6 posts in a row here that are not related to the original thread’s meaning. What are you trying to achieve here?”… This is totally uncalled for when the subject had been changed before hand. I’d recommend to message him personally as well.

  3. There are a lot of harsh words going on in this thread and many others for that matter - this should be monitored much more carefully. I have never come across a forum where people are so harsh in a general sense - it needs to be controlled - many people are just trying to learn and study and don’t deserve to be dealt with in such a manner.

  4. In terms of this topic, it shows us how important this subject of ‘no self’ is, and how strongly people feel about it. Closing the thread is not a mature response. In the end, all of these harsh words come about when thinking that ones ‘SELF’ ideas are correct.

  5. I recommend the monitors to talk to a person via private messages when a post has been flagged and secondly not to speak harshly to people who are trying to stand up for themselves in a PUBLIC forum. Brother_Joes initial response to Rajitha was very mature and gentle

With Metta


I greatly appreciate your understanding and supportive words.


Hi Shaun,

I imagine this comment was made because the matter had been resolved. I think there was a sense that it was been brought up again.

We are actually doing all we can to encourage a respectful/courteous environment. As evidenced by the current update of the guidelines; more specifically by there being open for community comment.

I actually believe that harsh speech has decreased over the last several months.

A decision to close the thread will be made if we see, (going by previous experiences) that it is simply going around in circles and just promoting arguments for their own sake. We’d rather put out fires than encourage them to spread. This is not just for the participants in a thread; it is also so that it is more coherent and pleasant for other readers. Note that closing a thread doesn’t mean that you cannot start a new/related topic.

We do sometimes do this. Other times we choose to respond in the thread. If something has ocurred “publicly”, then sometimes it makes sense to deal with it “publicly”…especially when it provides some reassurance to others who may be reading, but not taking part, and may be finding it uncomfortable to read some of the unpleasantness.

We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. We’re not visible enough or we’re too heavy handed. We’re gentle or we’re harsh. :slight_smile: At the end of the day, we have to just trust ourselves and let ourselves be human. We’re doing the best we can in volunteering for this role, even though we have busy lives (all of us) we still feel that this is an act of service that we’re happy to do the best we can with.

We are not “in charge” Shaun. We’re guided by the guidelines too. And we want the community to feel like they’re a part of this. We don’t won’t to control anyone. Nor can we be everywhere at everytime. We’re volunteers. Hence the flagging.

I don’t think anyone spoke harshly in this sort of context.

Shaun, if people keep stirring the pot in a situation that has already been dealt with, that just serves as more fuel to thread-closing-thoughts!

It’s interesting that people feel so threatened by a thread being closed! It’s just a thread. It’s not the end of the world.

Thank you for your clearly well intentioned thoughts. :slight_smile:

With metta


I can understand your job is not easy, thanks for making the effort to keep such a priceless online forum alive for novices like me to ask questions.


I’d like to continue on this concept of no self and self by asking a question that I’m trying to figure out.

How does this idea of no self and/or self fit into the equation of the 3 Marks of Existence?

There is suffering because one sees that there is self… how does impermanence fit in. Or there is suffering because there is impermanence. There is meant to be no self because there is impermanence. Again there is a difficulty as we find there is a self because there is suffering…

How does this work - how do we fit these pieces together (anatta, dukkha, anicca) in a logical manner of understanding? Your ideas will be much appreciated.


At Savatthi. There the Blessed One said: “From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. What do you think, monks: Which is greater, the tears you have shed while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — or the water in the four great oceans?”

When the Lord Buddha said “A beginning point is not evident” do you understand what he meant?

Can you read this Sutha and comment, please?


The standard logical sequence in the suttas is:

At Savatthi. “Bhikkhus, [form, feeling, perception, will, consciousnesses] is impermanent. What is impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is nonself. What is nonself should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’ (from SN 22.15)

Impermanence ⇒ suffering ⇒ not-self

Assuming that one thinks something is ‘mine, me, myself’; SN 22.7 seems to describe how agitation can arise from that (excerpt):

“And how, bhikkhus, is there agitation through clinging? Here, bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling … regards form as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form.

That form of his changes and alters. With the change and alteration of form, his consciousness becomes preoccupied with the change of form.

Agitation and a constellation of mental states born of preoccupation with the change of form remain obsessing his mind. Because his mind is obsessed, he is frightened, distressed, and anxious, and through clinging he becomes agitated.

[Same for feeling, perception, will and consciousnesses]

From the same sutta further down:

“And how, bhikkhus, is there nonagitation through nonclinging? Here, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple … does not regard form as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form.

That form of his changes and alters. Despite the change and alteration of form, his consciousness does not become preoccupied with the change of form.

No agitation and constellation of mental states born of preoccupation with the change of form remain obsessing his mind. Because his mind is not obsessed, he is not frightened, distressed, or anxious, and through nonclinging he does not become agitated.

[Same for feeling, perception, will and consciousnesses]


Thanks Erik! Thats a big help.


I agree. A strategy that a mod over at Dharma Wheel use that I think is a good idea is to say in their last post that closes a contentious long-winded thread for members to PM them if they have anything more to add to the topic.


As I see it we are still in the process to develop an accurate reconstruction of what atta meant, and I think the 3 marks point to that. Since the marks culminate in anatta to me it shows that the believers in atta took it to be permanent and blissful., i.e. not just a personal ‘self’, but more of a ‘divine emanation’. A bit reminiscent of the upanishadic/advaitic 'sat-chit-ananda’


thanks Gabriel, in short, for me: ‘soul’. :slight_smile:




For me, just because they are there, does not mean they are true or authentic.


Dear Brahmali

I’d just like to say I appreciate your restraint and commitment to open conversation/dialogue.

best wishes


If we accept the idea of rebirth, then the mind cannot be equated with the brain; it must be something more.

The mind is what you experience right now. It is the mind that feels and perceives the world (whatever that is).