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No Self-Soul-Ego-Atman-Atta-I (Ven. Nanananda and Ven. Buddhadasa)


#1



There . . .         is . . .      


No No No
Soul Atta Atman

No No No
Self Ego I

~ and ~
CONSCIOUSNESS
is
NOT
Self nor Soul





Venerable Kaṭukurunde Ñāṇananda

All possible views of Self 
are traceable to 
the Five Aggregates of Grasping
The Buddha had 
unequivocally declared that 
the idea of Soul 
is the outcome of 
an utterly foolish view
viññāṇa was taken as a unit, 
and worse, as the Soul
The fallacy is pre-Buddhistic...
This is because 
they conceived of consciousness
as a Self or Soul.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Venerable Buddhādasa Bhikkhu

There’s just body and mind. 
There’s no third thing. 
There’s no self.
This consciousness itself is 
no self or soul, 
attā or ātman, 
ego or 
whatever you want to call it.
Anattā means that 
there is no such thing as 
a self, soul, ego, 
spirit, or ātman.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~






Venerable Bhikkhu Kaṭukurunde Ñāṇananda’s Quotes from the following Books:
(from Books Archive - seeing through the net ):

  • Concept And Reality
  • 33 Sermons On Nibbāna
  • Questions-And-Answers_Web_Edition_Rev_0-9
  • The-Law-Of-Dependent-Arising_Le_Rev_1.0
  • From Topsy Turvydom To Wisdom
  • The-Magic-Of-The-Mind_Rev_4.0
  • Towards_Calm_And_Insight


Ven. Buddhadasa’s Quotes obtained from the following PDF files:
(the website BIA, Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives)

  • New Life
  • Something Which Most Of You Probably Misunderstand
  • Problem Of Every One Of Us
  • Destroying Selfishness
  • New Life Is Most Certainly Possible
  • Using Anapanasati-Bhavana For Daily Life
  • Genuine Fruits Of Studying Buddhism
  • Benefits Of New Life
  • What Does New Life Have To Do With Anapanaasati
  • Self Which Is Not-Self
  • Religion Which Is A Way Of Life
  • The Path For Realizing New Life
  • Dependent Arising
  • The Heart Of Buddhism Anatta
  • The Buddha Farangs Don’t Know About
  • Everything Is Anatta
  • Way To Buddhist Art
  • The Buddhist Way Of Life
  • Dependent Origination Medicine For Spiritual Disease
  • Dhamma Overview Of Buddhism Realization
  • Dhamma Questions And Responses
  • Teaching Of No Person Only Dhatus
  • Dhamma Questions And Responses II
  • 8th-International-Buddhist-Research-Seminar-Proceedings




~ font incompatible rendering errors may be found in pali words, please kindly refer to the source books., if necessary ~




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VENERABLE BHIKKHU KAṬUKURUNDE ÑĀṆANANDA

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CONCEPT AND REALITY



  • Soul         /         a fundamental error         /         related to ignorance
page-ix_Concept And Reality (Ven. Nanananda)

Buddhism traces the idea of a Soul to a fundamental error in understanding the facts of experience. This ignorance (avijjâ) is reflected to a great extent in the words and concepts in worldly parlance.




  • Ego notion         /         not faithful to facts         /         a mental aberration of the worldling
page-10_ Concept And Reality (Ven. Nanananda)

The label ‘I’ thus superimposed on the complex contingent process, serves as a convenient fiction of thought or a short-hand device, and is in fact one of the shortest words in many a language. But paradoxically enough, it is the outcome of ‘papañca’ — rather a disconcerting predicament. The paradox is resolved by the fact that the Ego notion is an extension in thought not faithful to facts, being a mental aberration of the worldling.




  • the fiction of an Ego
page-12/13_ Concept And Reality (Ven. Nanananda)

The essence of the Buddha’s discourse to the monks in the Madhupindaka Sutta may now be summed up. If one does not entertain Craving, Conceit and Views (tanhâ, mâna, diññhi) with regard to the conditioned phenomena involved in the process of cognition, by resorting to the fiction of an Ego, one is free from the yoke of proliferating concepts and has thereby eradicated the proclivities to all evil mental states which breed conflict both in the individual and in society.




  • illusion of an Ego as the agent
page-32_ Concept And Reality (Ven. Nanananda)

From the standpoint of the average worldling, there is an Ego as the agent or mentor behind the sum-total of sense-experience. Its existence is postulated on the basis of a wide variety of Soul-theories, and its reality as an incontrovertible self-evident fact of experience, is readily taken for granted. Even at the end of a thorough introspection, he is often tempted to agree with Descartes in concluding ‘Cogito, ergo sum’ (“I think, therefore, I am”). Thus behind the data of sense experience conditionally arisen, there looms large the illusion of an Ego as the agent.




  • illusion of an Ego
page-33_ Concept And Reality (Ven. Nanananda)

The eradication of the illusion of an Ego, has to be accomplished through penetrative wisdom focussed on one’s own personality.




  • notion of an ego         /         root of all sickness
page-33_ Concept And Reality (Ven. Nanananda)

The ‘papañca’ which taints the worldling’s concept of his individuality is none other than the notion of an ego (v. supra 14 - ‘asmîti bhikkhave papañcitam’). This wrong notion is said to be the root of all sickness within the individual and out in the society.




  • Chains of illusion as to Self or Soul
page-37_ Concept And Reality (Ven. Nanananda)

— S. N. I. 14 - 15
For him who hath renounced them utterly
Chains of illusion as to Self or Soul
Exist no more, scattered are all such bonds.
He, rich in wisdom hath escaped beyond
Conceits and deemings of the errant mind.
He might say thus: “I say”
“They say it to me”.
So saying he; expert in usages
Of men; aware of the worth of common names
Would speak merely conforming to such use’.




  • Void         /         self
page-70_ Concept And Reality (Ven. Nanananda)

It is in the ‘light’ of this transcendental vision that he declares — as the Buddha did —”Void is this world of anything that is Self or of anything that belongs to Self”




  • ‘Attâ’ has to be taken in its subjective sense as the notion of a Soul or an Ego.
page-98_ Concept And Reality (Ven. Nanananda)

The world is called ‘void’ in the sense that it is devoid of a Self or of anything belonging to a Self. It must be noted that the ‘world’ in this definition corresponds to the totality of sense-experience based on the six senses. The implication is therefore that no element of experience can be regarded as one’s Self or as belonging to oneself. ‘Attâ’ has to be taken in its subjective sense as the notion of a Soul or an Ego. Its characteristic is the power to own and control. The Buddha has clarified this fact in the very first sermon he delivered on the characteristics of anattà (Anattalakkhana Sutta, Vin. I. 13, S. N. III. 67).




  • illusion of the Ego (attà)
page-99_ Concept And Reality (Ven. Nanananda)

Thus the main prong of attack is levelled at the concept of the Soul as the controlling agent who is capable of experiencing happiness, which necessarily has to be permanent in order to be perfect. It is true that what gives rise to this notion is the idea of permanence or substantiality, but this latter is sufficiently rendered by the term ‘nicca’. The illusion of substantiality is linked with the psychological impulse for happiness (sukha), which in its turn sustains the illusion of the Ego (attà). Now, the Mâdhyamika system often seems to stress this notion of substantiality underlying the illusion of an ‘âtman’, thereby giving an objective twist to that word. As already indicated, the word ‘nicca’ by itself does sufficient justice to this primary notion of substantiality which originates at the cognitive level.




  • he [Tathâgata] no longer cherishes the illusion of an Ego
page-113_ Concept And Reality (Ven. Nanananda)

The term ‘Tathâgata’, as much as any other concept, is a convenient linguistic symbol used to comprehend a complex process of conditionally arisen mental and material phenomena. It exists neither in the five aggregates nor outside of them. However, though he is composed of the five aggregates, the Tathâgata has this difference from the ordinary ‘bundles’ of aggregates—the worldlings—that he no longer cherishes the illusion of an Ego and as such he does not cling to any of the five aggregates. As we have already mentioned, this makes him so incomprehensible from the worldling’s standpoint that he is regarded as “deep, immeasurable, unfathomable as is the great ocean.”




  • There can be no annihilation since there is no Soul to be annihilated.
page-113_ Concept And Reality (Ven. Nanananda)

Since there is no more clinging there is no more rebirth, but this fact cannot be indicated through the second alternative, because there the term ‘Tathâgata’ has the implicit prejudice of a Soul. To do so would be to leave the door open for the annihilationist view. The charge of annihilation does not arise when one grasps the law of Dependent Arising and the fact that the Buddha merely preached about suffering and its cessation. There can be no annihilation since there is no Soul to be annihilated. Hence the final cessation in Nibbâna is no more lamentable than is the death of an unborn son. There is no room for eternal entities in terms of Tathâgatas, for they are those who comprehend and proclaim the law of Dependent Arising, which is said to endure in the world whether Tathâgatas arise or not.




  • mind intrinsically pure         /         not … soul
page-126_ Concept And Reality (Ven. Nanananda)

Moreover, the reference to a mind intrinsically pure is not to be confused with the idea of an absolute entity, like a Soul, already embedded in every being. The luminosity of the mind is a potentiality which becomes a reality only when the necessary conditions are fulfilled. These conditions are collectively called ‘bhâvanâ’, a word which even literally suggests growth.





33 SERMONS ON NIBBĀNA


  • self is nothing but a disease
33 Sermons on Nibbana (html file) (Ven. Nanananda)

The world is in anguish and is enslaved by contact. What it calls self is nothing but a disease.




  • not a transmigration of a Soul
33 Sermons on Nibbana (html file) (Ven. Nanananda)

It should be clearly understood that the passage of consciousness from here to a mother’s womb is not a movement from one place to another, as in the case of the body. In reality, it is only a difference of point of view, and not a transmigration of a Soul. In other words, when consciousness leaves this body and comes to stay in a mother’s womb, when it is fully established there, ‘that’ place becomes a ‘this’ place. From the point of view of that consciousness, the ‘there’ becomes a ‘here’. Consequently, from the new point of view, what was earlier a ‘here’, becomes a ‘there’. What was formerly ‘that place’ has now become ‘this place’ and vice versa. That way, what actually is involved here, is a change of point of view. So it does not mean completely leaving one place and going to another, as is usually meant by the journey of an individual.




  • no Soul or Self to lose
33 Sermons on Nibbana (html file) (Ven. Nanananda)

The attitude of the noble disciple is then outlined in contrast to the above dogmatic approach, and what follows after it. As for him, he does not approach, grasp, or take up the standpoint of a Self. The word anusaya, latency or ‘lying dormant’, is also brought in here to show that even the proclivity towards such a dogmatic involvement with a Soul or Self, is not there in the noble disciple. But what, then, is his point of view? What arises and ceases is nothing but suffering. There is no Soul or Self to lose, it is only a question of arising and ceasing of suffering. This, then, is the right view.
Thereafter the Buddha summarizes the discourse and brings it to a climax with an impressive declaration of his via media, the middle path based on the formula of dependent arising:




  • Ālāra Kālāma and Uddaka Rāmaputta         /         the present day Hindu Yogins following the philosophy of the Upaniśads
33 Sermons on Nibbana (html file) (Ven. Nanananda)

Therefore they concluded: ‘This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is neither-percep tion-nor-non-perception’, and came to a halt there. That is why the Buddha rejected even Ālāra Kālāma and Uddaka Rāmaputta and went in search of the stilling of all preparations. So the kind of tranquillity meditation followed by the pre-Buddhistic ascetics, through various higher knowledges and meditative attainments, could never bring about a stilling of all preparations. Why? Because the ignorance underlying those preparations were not discernible to their level of wisdom. In the least, they could not even recognize their sa:khāra nature. They thought that these are only states of a Soul. Therefore, like the present day Hindu Yogins following the philosophy of the Upaniśads, they thought that breathing is just one layer of the self, it is one of the outer rinds of the Soul.




  • Not only those brahmins and heretics believing in a Soul theory, but even some Buddhist scholars are scared of the term bhavanirodha, fearing that it leads to a nihilistic interpretation of Nibbāna.
33 Sermons on Nibbana (html file) (Ven. Nanananda)

Nibbāna has been defined as the cessation of existence.17 The Buddha says that when he is preaching about the cessation of existence, some people, particularly the brahmins who cling to a Soul theory, bring up the charge of nihilism against him.18 Not only those brahmins and heretics believing in a Soul theory, but even some Buddhist scholars are scared of the term bhavanirodha, fearing that it leads to a nihilistic interpretation of Nibbāna. That is why they try to mystify Nibbāna in various ways. What is the secret behind this attitude? It is simply the lack of a clear understanding of the unique philosophy made known by the Buddha. Before the advent of the Buddha, the world conceived of existence in terms of a perdurable essence as ‘being’, sat. So the idea of destroying that essence of being was regarded as annihilationism. It was some state of a Soul conceived as ‘I’ and ‘mine’. But according to the law of dependent arising made known by the Buddha, existence is something that depends on grasping, upādānapaccayā bhavo. It is due to grasping that there comes to be an existence. This is the pivotal point in this teaching.




  • There is no Self or Soul at all to get destroyed
33 Sermons on Nibbana (html file) (Ven. Nanananda)

Keeping in mind the meaning of the Buddha’s dictum ‘dependent on grasping is existence’, upādānapaccayā bhavo, if one cares to reflect on this little illustration, one would realize that there is actually nothing real to get destroyed. There is no Self or Soul at all to get destroyed.




  • Soul theory or divine creation. Everything came out of Brahma, and Self is the essence of everything.
33 Sermons on Nibbana (html file) (Ven. Nanananda)

Before getting down to an analysis of the basic meaning of this discourse, it is worthwhile considering why the Buddha forestalled a possible perplexity among his disciples in the face of a barrage of questions likely to be levelled by other sectarians. Why did he think it fit to prepare the minds of the disciples well in advance of such a situation?

Contemporary ascetics of other sects, notably the brahmins, entertained various views regarding the origin and purpose of ‘all things’. Those who subscribed to a Soul theory, had different answers to questions concerning thing-hood or the essence of a thing. Presumably it was not easy for the monks, with their not-self standpoint, to answer those questions to the satisfaction of other sectarians. That is why those monks confessed their incompetence and begged for guidance.

It was easy for those of other sects to explain away the questions relating to the origin and purpose of things on the basis of their Soul theory or divine creation. Everything came out of Brahma, and Self is the essence of everything. No doubt, such answers were substantial enough to gain acceptance. Even modern philosophers are confronted with the intricate problem of determining the exact criterion of a ‘thing’. What precisely accounts for the thing-hood of a thing? What makes it no-thing?




  • So then, the essence of all things is not any Self or Soul, as postulated by the brahmins.
33 Sermons on Nibbana (html file) (Ven. Nanananda)

So then, the essence of all things is not any Self or Soul, as postulated by the brahmins. Deliverance is the essence. In such discourses as the Mahāsāropamasutta, the essence of this entire Dhamma is said to be deliverance.[327] The very emancipation from all this, to be rid of all this, is itself the essence. Some seem to think that the essence is a heaping up of concepts and clinging to them. But that is not the essence of this teaching. It is the ability to penetrate all concepts, thereby transcending them. The deliverance resulting from transcendence is itself the essence.




  • The Buddha had unequivocally declared that the idea of Soul is the outcome of an utterly foolish view
33 Sermons on Nibbana (html file) (Ven. Nanananda)

So also in the case of these two alternatives, “the Soul and the body are the same, the Soul is one thing and the body another”. Either way there is a presumption of a Soul, which the Buddha did not subscribe to. The Buddha had unequivocally declared that the idea of Soul is the outcome of an utterly foolish view…




  • Soul … even this citadel itself the Buddha has described in this discourse as essenceless and hollow,
33 Sermons on Nibbana (html file) (Ven. Nanananda)

So for the Buddha, consciousness is comparable to a magic show. This is a most extraordinary exposition, not to be found in any other philosophical system, because the Soul theory tries to sit pretty on consciousness when all other foundations are shattered. But then, even this citadel itself the Buddha has described in this discourse as essenceless and hollow, as a magical illusion. Let us now try to clarify for ourselves the full import of this simile of the magic show.




  • worldlings are prone to take consciousness as a compact unit.
33 Sermons on Nibbana (html file) (Ven. Nanananda)

Generally, the worldlings are prone to take consciousness as a compact unit. They regard it as their Self or Soul. When everything else slips out from their grasp, they grasp consciousness as their Soul, because it is invisible.





QUESTIONS-AND-ANSWERS_WEB_EDITION_REV_0-9


  • viññāṇa was taken as a unit, and worse, as the Soul
page-22_ Questions & Answers (Web Edition) (Ven. Nanananda)

“In all other religions, viññāṇa was taken as a unit, and worse, as the Soul. It is taught that even if everything else is impermanent, this isn’t. And it is taught as that which reaches Brahmā. But the Buddha pointed out that it is a mere illusion. It can’t exist on its own.




  • Putting an end to ‘re-becoming’ is not tantamount to ‘annihilation’ – for there is nothing to annihilate.
page-110_ Questions & Answers (Web Edition) (Ven. Nanananda)

You can easily understand why some Western scholars with the Soul prejudice are taken aback by my rendering of Nibbāna as ‘Extinction’ – going by the fire simile. ‘Bhavanirodha’ is cessation of becoming, by the removal of ‘taṇhā’ which is qualified by the ‘pregnant’ terms ‘ponobhavikā’ (bringing about re-becoming – certainly not re-being!) nandirāgasahagatā (accompanied by delight and lust) and ‘tatratatrābhinandinī’ (delighting now-here-now-there). Putting an end to ‘re-becoming’ is not tantamount to ‘annihilation’ – for there is nothing to annihilate.





THE-LAW-OF-DEPENDENT-ARISING_LE_REV_1.0


  • “eternalist view by claiming that they have a permanent Soul”

  • “annihilationist extreme by asserting that they would be no more after death since the body itself is the Soul.”

page-8_The Law of Dependent Arising (Ven. Nanananda)

All those doubts arise because of reasoning in terms of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ based on the personality view. The Buddha has declared that this way of reasoning leads to 62 views. They end up by falling into two extremes. Either they take up the view ‘I exist’ or go on asserting ‘I do not exist’ as regards the future. Thereby, on the one hand they uphold the eternalist view by claiming that they have a permanent Soul or on the other hand they go to the annihilationist extreme by asserting that they would be no more after death since the body itself is the Soul. Brahmajāla Sutta says that in between these two extreme views there are as many as 62 views. All those views get dispelled even by seeing the arising aspect of the conditions. That is the meaning of the first verse. What we have said so far is gleaned from the first verse. Out of the three modes of attending to the Law of Dependent Arising, the first is the direct mode which is concerned with the arising aspect.




  • The fallacy is pre-Buddhistic.         /         consciousness as a Self or Soul.
page-99_The Law of Dependent Arising (Ven. Nanananda)

The passage of consciousness is the talking point these days. Particularly, the western psychologists who are in the grip of the personality-view (sakkāyadiṭṭhi) whenever they speak about consciousness have an idea of it as a monolithic whole. They know nothing about name and form. They interpret consciousness as something jumping from one birth to another. This is not a recent development. The fallacy is pre-Buddhistic. Even in the Upanishads of the Brahmins rebirth is explained with the simile of the leech. Think of the way a leech moves from place to place. This is because they conceived of consciousness as a Self or Soul.




  • “According to the Buddha there is no real Self or Soul to be annihilated.”
page-187_The Law of Dependent Arising (Ven. Nanananda)

We are taking pains to explain all this because quite a lot of misconceptions and wrong views about Nibbāna are rampant in the world today due to a lack of understanding of the depth of this subject. In fact, I think the Brahmins of the Buddha’s time knew more about what the Buddha was speaking of than many Buddhist scholars today. Those Brahmins knew full well that the Nibbāna preached by the Buddha had nothing in it to bolster up the craving for existence – that it meant the cessation of existence. Only thing, they viewed it as tantamount to annihilation. That was their mistake. According to the Buddha there is no real Self or Soul to be annihilated. This is all what the Buddha proclaimed: “Formerly as now, I make known a suffering and its cessation (“Pubbe cāhaṁ etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññapemi dukkhassa ca nirodhaṁ.”)




  • “He must have been thinking of a soul (ātman) as the one who enjoys all those objects.”

  • “But the Buddha says that the mind is the resort and that it is the mind which partakes of all those sense objects”

page-215_The Law of Dependent Arising (Ven. Nanananda)

Let me say something more about contact. Now it is a discourse of a different type. A Brahmin named For instance, the eye can only see forms. It cannot hear sounds. The ear can hear but cannot see. They have their own pastures and cannot trespass on other’s pastures. Uṅṅābha is curious to know the resort of all these five senses. He is asking whether there is someone who can partake of all objects received through the five senses. He must have been thinking of a soul (ātman) as the one who enjoys all those objects. But the Buddha says that the mind is the resort and that it is the mind which partakes of all those sense objects (‘. . . mano paṭisaraṇaṁ mano ca nesaṁ gocaravisayaṁ paccanubhoti’). Whatever objects that come through the five external senses are received by the mind. The mind partakes of them. Then the Brahmin asks: “What is the resort of the mind?” The Buddha replies that ‘Sati’ or mindfulness is the resort of the mind. Uṅṅābha’s next question is: “What is the resort of mindfulness?” The Buddha says: “The resort of mindfulness is Deliverance.” Then the Brahmin asks: “What is the resort of Deliverance?” The Buddha’s answer is: “The resort of Deliverance is Nibbāna.” But the Brahmin has yet another question: “Good Gotama, what is the resort of Nibbāna?” Then the Buddha corrects him with these words: “Brahmin you have gone beyond the scope of the question. You were not able to grasp the limit of questioning. Brahmin, this Holy life is to be lived in a way that it gets merged in Nibbāna, that it has Nibbāna as the Goal and consummation.”




  • Poṭṭhapāda here brings in a self as from nowhere. Why? Because he still has ‘sakkāyadiṭṭhi’ or ‘Personality View’.

  • The Buddha asked Poṭṭhapāda for a definition of the word ‘self’ because he himself has no conception of a self or soul.

  • the concept of a ‘self’ … an entirely foolish idea.

page-286_The Law of Dependent Arising (Ven. Nanananda)

“Venerable Sir, is perception a man’s self or is perception one thing and self something else?” Now this is a tricky question the type clever lawyers go on asking. Poṭṭhapāda here brings in a self as from nowhere. Why? Because he still has ‘sakkāyadiṭṭhi’ or ‘Personality View’. He was probably disappointed that the Buddha’s disquisition made no mention of a self. That is why he dragged in the question. Such questions put one in a dilemma. If you give a categorical answer, you get into difficulties. Take for instance a case like this in the law courts. A driver who has never taken intoxicants appears before the judge, but a lawyer wants to get him to admit that he has taken drinks. If the lawyer asks him sternly “Say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Are you still drinking or have you stopped it?” – the man would be in a fix. Whether he answers ‘yes’ or ‘no’ he would get caught in the lawyer’s trap. Poṭṭhapāda’s question is also of the same type. But the Buddha didn’t get caught.

“What do you mean by ‘self’, Poṭṭhapāda?”
The Buddha asked Poṭṭhapāda for a definition of the word ‘self’ because he himself has no conception of a self or soul. In discourses like Alagaddūpama Sutta, he called the concept of a ‘self’ an entirely foolish idea. (‘kevala paripūro bāladhammo’)9 which the world is clinging on to.


  • they attributed it to some non-descript Soul or Self or else they thought that some agent is manipulating perception.
page-298_The Law of Dependent Arising (Ven. Nanananda)

Poṭṭhapāda as well as Citta Hatthisāriputta, are asking the same question which we ourselves would have asked had we not known the Dhamma. It was the same problem that blocked the progress of the yogins. They reached some high level of spiritual development, but they mystified it. They never thought that it is brought about by causes and conditions as shown in this discourse. Instead they attributed it to some non-descript Soul or Self or else they thought that some agent is manipulating perception. Why were they unable to extricate themselves from perception? Because they had not recognized ‘Saṅkhārā’ or preparations. The most distinctive feature of the Dhamma proclaimed by the Buddha is the recognition of the part played by Saṅkhārā – a term that is integral to the Law of Dependent Arising.




  • It is the Law of Dependent Arising that blasts the view of self or soul.
page-300_The Law of Dependent Arising (Ven. Nanananda)

It is the Law of Dependent Arising that blasts the view of self or soul. From beginning to end this discourse vibrates through and through with the Law of Dependent Arising. This is a marvelous discourse. So you had better bear in mind every one of the similes you have come across. Remember the breaking of ‘sakkāyadiṭṭhi’ or personality view is not something that happens with an audible sound.




  • eternalists … Their grip on the ‘ Soul’ prevents them from striving for an escape.

  • Annihilationists … a revulsion towards becoming … They treat this body as the Soul and reject the idea of a life beyond death

page-309_The Law of Dependent Arising (Ven. Nanananda)

The Buddha’s teaching based on the Middle Path, for the cessation of becoming does not appeal to the eternalists who have grasped the Soul theory. Generally those who like becoming, dislike the cessation of becoming. They get drowned in the flood of becoming. They sink in the current of becoming. Their grip on the ‘ Soul’ prevents them from striving for an escape. There is another group called the annihilationists, developing a revulsion towards becoming. (“Bhaven’eva kho pana eke aṭṭiyamānā harāyamānā”). They treat this body as the Soul and reject the idea of a life beyond death. That is an overreaching. This is called ‘vibhava’. They go to the other extreme by denying re-becoming. They are those who overreach.




  • The notion of the Soul is shattered then and there.

  • Instead of a Soul what actually exists is a problem of suffering, and its cessation.

  • That is the Middle Path implied there.

page-312_The Law of Dependent Arising (Ven. Nanananda)

When both views of existence and non-existence are given up, what remains there, is a question of suffering. The notion of the Soul is shattered then and there. Instead of a Soul what actually exists is a problem of suffering, and its cessation. That is the Middle Path implied there. That means there is only the arising and ceasing or samudaya and vaya, free from the extreme views of existence and non-existence.




  • Soul         /         eternalists         /         nihilists
page-312_The Law of Dependent Arising (Ven. Nanananda)

But what we wish to point out is that sammādiṭṭhi embodies the Middle Path of the Paṭicca Samuppāda. It should be clear that there is no absolute existence or absolute non-existence. Instead, there is an arising and a ceasing dependent on causes and conditions. If at all, what arises is an entire mass of suffering, and what ceases is an entire mass of suffering. Towards the end of the Kaccānagotta Sutta, the Buddha further explains that those who hold and cling to the aforementioned extreme views, thereby conceive an idea of a Soul. The eternalists believe in an eternally present Soul while the nihilists imagine that the body is the Soul. The reason for this is their taking up a rigid stand point, their firm grip on a view.




  • the undirected state (appaṇihita) and the void state with no soul
page-333_The Law of Dependent Arising (Ven. Nanananda)

When you arise from the attainment of cessation – nirodha samāpatti – your attention is focused towards the signless state (animitta), the undirected state (appaṇihita) and the void state with no soul, no continuity (suññata). This is the special message from the Buddha to the world, the significance of which was unknown to the meditators of the time. You could remember this mental state as Vimokkha.




  • Soul         /         eternalists … Bhava tanha         /         nihilists … Vibhava tanha
page-427_The Law of Dependent Arising (Ven. Nanananda)

Those are the three characteristics of taṇhā. Then come the three types of craving kāma taṇhā, bhava taṇhā and vibhava taṇhā. Kāma taṇhā is craving for the five sense pleasures. Bhava taṇhā is in short, the longing for the Soul to continue forever as the eternalists advocate. Vibhava taṇhā on the other hand is the craving to cease existence as nihilists teach. That is how craving is classified in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.





FROM TOPSY TURVYDOM TO WISDOM


  • Their complacent belief in a permanent Self is shaken by it to such an extent that they are “for the most part, stricken with fear, dread and terror.”
page-12_From Topsy Turvydom to Wisdom (Ven. Nanananda)

The ‘Lion’s Roar’ is a graphic depiction of the impact of the Buddha’s teaching of universal impermanence, on gods and men steeped in delusion. Their complacent belief in a permanent Self is shaken by it to such an extent that they are “for the most part, stricken with fear, dread and terror.” This impressive declaration highlights the unique message a Tathàgata has for the worldlings caught up in the Sa§sâric cycle of births and deaths. It is a clarion call to wake up and see things-as-they-are.




  • All possible views of Self are traceable to the Five Aggregates of Grasping.
page-21_From Topsy Turvydom to Wisdom (Ven. Nanananda)

If one is to rise above that kind of self-deception, one must be prepared to rise above the deception of Self itself.
All possible views of Self are traceable to the Five Aggregates of Grasping. Form, feeling, perception, preparations and consciousness are the five groups which for the sake of grasping are conceived as compact. They are but transient heaps of processes, elusive and delusive by their very nature. There is only a semblance of stability and a conceit of mastery about them.





THE-MAGIC-OF-THE-MIND_REV_4.0


  • This kind of reflection leads one into a jungle of views because one has taken for granted the ‘I’.

  • The two questions of Vacchagotta (S. IV 400f.): ‘Is there a presumptions soul ?’ or ‘Is there no soul ?’ carried the same presumptions born of wrong reflection.

  • As the Buddha, for his part, had no conception of a soul which is but a figment of the worldling’s imagination, he used to negate it only where it was asserted with specific reference to one or the other of the aggregates.

page-36_ The Magic of the Mind (Ven. Nanananda)

In the Sabbasava Sutta (M. I. 8) the Buddha includes these two among the six views which are said to arise in one who wrongly reflects in the following manner: “Was I in the past ? Was I not in the past ? What was I in the past ? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past ? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future ? Having been what, what shall I be in the future ?” Or else, he is doubtful in himself about the present, thus: “Am I ? Am I not ? What am I ? How am I ? Whence has this being come ? Whither will it be bound ?”
This kind of reflection leads one into a jungle of views because one has taken for granted the ‘I’. The proper reflection is in terms of the Four Noble Truths, since all that exists and ceases is suffering.
The two questions of Vacchagotta (S. IV 400f.): ‘Is there a presumptions soul ?’ or ‘Is there no soul ?’ carried the same presumptions born of wrong reflection. Hence the Buddha’s silence. As the Buddha, for his part, had no conception of a soul which is but a figment of the worldling’s imagination, he used to negate it only where it was asserted with specific reference to one or the other of the aggregates. Thus, for instance, before he ventured to answer Potthapada’s question: ‘Is perception a man’s soul or is perception one thing and soul another ?’, he counter- questioned him: ‘What do you mean by a soul ?’





TOWARDS_CALM_AND_INSIGHT


  • âlàra Kàlàma and Uddaka Ràmaputta

  • higher Jhanic levels of (sphere of Nothingness) and (sphere of Neither Perception nor Non-perception).

  • they clung to those mental phenomena as states of some permanent ‘soul’.

page-24_ Towards Calm and Insight (Ven. Nanananda)

‘Then what is the provocation for looking upon all dhammas as ‘anattà’? it may be asked. Now, it is said that even pre - Buddhistic sages and as a matter of fact, âlàra Kàlàma and Uddaka Ràmaputta had reached the higher Jhanic levels of Ākiñcaññāyatana (sphere of Nothingness) and ‘Nevasaññānāsaññāyatana’ (sphere of Neither Perception nor Non-perception). The Buddha, soon after his Enlightenment even thought of them as the fittest persons to be taught the Dhamma first, (see Ariyapariyesana S.M.N.) because they had already become acquainted with the sublime levels of ‘sankhàrà’. Blinded with self-bias, those sages, however, were unable to distinguish ‘sankhàràs’ as such and hence they clung to those mental phenomena as states of some permanent ‘soul’.







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VENERABLE BUDDHADASA BHIKKHU

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Excerpt from:

NEW LIFE

  • … very clearly that in reality there is no self or soul and that the ego is only an illusion.
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

Life where there is no ego, no desires growing out of the sense contacts, no egoistic beliefs, no attachments growing out of the desires, then there is no ego, no ‘self,’ and no ‘soul’ to burden life. The mind doesn’t have this heavy weight and the mind is free, peaceful, light, and very skillful. The mind can act much more skillfully when it doesn’t have this burden – this is new life. Old life is burden and heavy with the self and attachment. New life is free, light, skillful, and wise.
This distinction right here points out very clearly that in reality there is no self or soul and that the ego is only an illusion. All the ego is this reaction of the mind to desire. Desire arises and then this illusion of ego arises. There is nothing at all real about the ego.





Excerpt from:

SOMETHING WHICH MOST OF YOU PROBABLY MISUNDERSTAND

  • Hunger disappears because there is no one or nothing, no ‘self,’ no ‘I,’ no ‘me,’ no ‘mine’ to hunger.
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

This is the highest thing. Voidness is beyond good and beyond evil – it is beyond the best. Thus, emptiness is freedom from the spinning around – the going round and round in circles chasing after things that will satisfy hunger. In emptiness, both the hunger and the one who hungers disappear. There is no self to hunger, there is no one, no thing, no anything that is hungry – not even God. And so hunger disappears too. In emptiness, all these illusions of ‘me’ & ‘mine’ disappear. Hunger disappears because there is no one or nothing, no ‘self,’ no ‘I,’ no ‘me,’ no ‘mine’ to hunger. This is the highest thing – this is what the goal of the practice of Dhamma is about.





Excerpt from:

PROBLEM OF EVERY ONE OF US

  • There is no self or soul.
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

This is a misunderstanding of what is really happening. Yes, maybe there is thinking now, or perceiving or feeling or knowing or body. At each moment there is one of these khandhas. But that’s all. There is just this aspect of life but that aspect is pure. It’s either pure mind or pure body. There is no self or soul. So don’t allow this confusion, this illusion, this foolishness to arise in the mind. Cut it off, like the cross. Don’t let it happen and then the mind will be pure. Life will be pure and light and free of all of these burdens and dukkha.





Excerpt from:

DESTROYING SELFISHNESS

  • There are merely these conditioned things, these phenomenon, arising and passing away, and in this process, further conditioning in cooking up other phenomenon, and this process just goes on and on, but there is no self anywhere to be found.
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

When things are difficult to bear, impossible to stand up to, that means that there is no self, there is no real self that can stand up and stop that change. There is no self that can prevent that change, that can stand that dukkha. This is the third characteristic, the characteristic of not-self. There is no self in any way, shape, or form. So these are the three characteristics of the five khandha, or of life, that we all must know. Everything is changing, is impermanent. That change is very difficult to bear, and there is nothing which can stop it or control it. These are the three characteristics of life – impermanence (anicca), unsatisfactoriness (dukkha), and not-self (anattā). The first thing to observe, to realize, is that there is merely a process of cause and effect, a process of conditioning and in that process, there is no self. All that is taking place is a series, a process of causes conditioning effects, causes leading to effects, various things cooking up conditioning, compounding other things. This is a process, a flow that is taking place, and if we observe it carefully, we just see it as a natural process, happening under the law of idappaccayatā (the law of nature). And in all that, there is no self. There are merely these conditioned things, these phenomenon, arising and passing away, and in this process, further conditioning in cooking up other phenomenon, and this process just goes on and on, but there is no self anywhere to be found. This is the first thing to realize, and then it is possible to realize the end of selfishness.





Excerpt from:

NEW LIFE IS MOST CERTAINLY POSSIBLE

  • In the new life when we realize that we no longer have this belief in a ‘self’ or ‘soul,’…
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

There’s just body and mind, and with the body and mind there are these senses and through the senses all the different kinds of activities arise and then because of the misunderstanding of this sense activity and sense experience, we become deceived and we think that all this thing that is happening is happening because of some ‘self’ or ‘soul’ – but that’s a misunderstanding. And so in the new life we realize that what is taking place is merely body and mind with the senses and there’s nothing else, no attā, no ‘self,’ no ātman, no ‘soul,’ involved.
The belief that there is a ‘self,’ a ‘soul,’ an ātman, or whatever leads to another kind of thinking or feeling which is the feelings of selfishness. The belief in a ‘self,’ of an ‘ego,’ leads to selfishness and out of selfishness comes all kinds of problems and crises and disasters and suffering for ourselves and others. In the new life when we realize that we no longer have this belief in a ‘self’ or ‘soul,’ then selfishness doesn’t arise and without selfishness, none of those problems arise also and then life is very peaceful and free.





Excerpt from:

USING ANAPANASATI-BHAVANA FOR DAILY LIFE

  • there’s no ‘self’ or ‘soul’ outside the mind and that the mind itself is not a self or soul and in the mind there is no self, no soul, no atman or anything like this.
  • there’s just body and mind and besides the body and mind there is no third thing, there is no self, soul or whatever you want to call it.
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

There’s no such thing as a self or whatever outside the mind. And then if we look even further and see the mind on the deepest, most profound level then we see that even the mind itself is not a soul, an atman, or whatever, that there’s just the mind and the body. The body is just a container, a vessel that supports or holds the mind but everything happens through the mind and when the mind is highly developed as we’ve described, then this most profound truth is realized – that there’s no ‘self’ or ‘soul’ outside the mind and that the mind itself is not a self or soul and in the mind there is no self, no soul, no atman or anything like this. This knowledge, this is the highest knowledge of Buddhism, this is the pinnacle of Buddhism to see that there is no self, soul, atman or whatever anywhere, whether inside or outside the mind. And this is the highest wisdom of Buddhism. Once this knowledge was discovered, there has not been anything higher or more advanced then discovered soon. This is the highest knowledge of the human species. This is the deepest wisdom of our race, of our species, that the wisdom, the knowledge of not-self, that there’s just body and mind and besides the body and mind there is no third thing, there is no self, soul or whatever you want to call it. There’s merely the body and mind functioning according to the law of nature. This is the highest knowledge of the human species.





Excerpt from:

GENUINE FRUITS OF STUDYING BUDDHISM

  • This consciousness itself is no self or soul, attā or ātman, ego or whatever you want to call it.
  • Anattā means that there is no such thing as a self, soul, ego, spirit, or ātman.
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

We need to understand that within the body and the internal āyatanas, there is a system of nerves known as the nervous system. When some external stimulus such as a form or a sound makes contact with this nervous system, there is a reaction – a response that occurs automatically. This happens naturally by itself. It doesn’t depend on the existence of a self, an ego, or a soul. This too is the beginning of our understanding of anattā – the truth of not-self. There is no self or soul involved, it’s just a natural function of our bodies and nervous systems. To stress this further, when the internal and external āyatanas come into contact, there arises viññāṇa (sense consciousness). Once this consciousness arises the ‘I’ and a shape come into contact or into a relationship which happens naturally. [24.00 ??] This consciousness itself is no self or soul, attā or ātman, ego or whatever you want to call it. So if you understand the inner āyatanas, the outer āyatanas, and the sense consciousness as being anattā, if you truly understand this through your own experience, then you have understood these three things correctly. It is also then that you begin to understand or practice Buddhism as a science. If you still think that these things are occurring because of some self, soul, or ego, if you have some self view on these things, then it isn’t Buddhism at all. Your understanding wouldn’t be Buddhist at all, it would be animism. Once we see that the sense organs, the sense objects, and the sense consciousness have nothing to do with selves, souls, or egos, then we begin to practice science. It is then that we can progress along the correct path and move in the right direction.
Buddhism teaches anattā, the truth or fact of not-self, not as a doctrine but rather as a truth that we can realize for ourselves. Anattā means that there is no such thing as a self, soul, ego, spirit, or ātman.





Excerpt from:

BENEFITS OF NEW LIFE

  • The ‘self’ that is not a ‘self’ must study and practice the Dhamma.
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

And so in order to control the vedanā we must know ourselves, we have to study ourselves. It’s kind of funny – you need to study ‘yourself’ but there’s no ‘self.’ You have to figure out this one too. You yourself must study and practice the Dhamma. But that ‘self’ that has to study and practice is not a ‘self.’ Can you understand the meaning of this? The ‘self’ that is not a ‘self’ must study and practice the Dhamma.





Excerpt from:

WHAT DOES NEW LIFE HAVE TO DO WITH ANAPANAASATI

  • So Buddhism teaches not-self, no soul.
  • … there is no self or soul anywhere …
  • There’s no self or soul to be found and what we do have is not-self or not-soul.
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

If we know voidness, we know that things are void of self and of soul. This is called ‘suññatā.’ This is what Buddhism is about. Realizing the voidness of things. Buddhism is a religion that teaches ‘not-self’ or ‘not-soul.’ In Pāli, this single word anattā means not-self, no soul. ‘Self’ and ‘soul’ in English might have different meanings but the Pāli word ‘attā’ includes both their meanings. So Buddhism teaches not-self, no soul. In realizing this, that there is no self or soul anywhere and that realizing that what there is, what we have right here, this life is not-self, it’s not-soul. There’s no self or soul to be found and what we do have is not-self or not-soul. To see this is to see anattā. To see anattā means there’s nothing to attach to. We’re incapable of attaching and then we are free. The mind, the heart is perfectly free and that is the new life





Excerpt from:

SELF WHICH IS NOT-SELF

  • All of Buddhism is just teaching that there is no self…
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

All of Buddhism is just teaching that there is no self; that there is nothing that we can cling to as a self and that we should get rid of, should clean up this illusion and confusion that we have about selfhood.





Excerpt from:

RELIGION WHICH IS A WAY OF LIFE

  • … there is ultimately no self …
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

Instead Buddhism went further, took the truth further and deeper and taught that there is ultimately no self, that everything is void of self and that there is universal voidness. This is what Buddhism has taught. If we’re going to understand Buddhism at all we must recognize this central teaching. Buddhism didn’t merely carry on with the same old Indian teaching but went deeper and has proclaimed the universal voidness that everything is without self.





Excerpt from:

NEW LIFE

  • The fact that there isn’t any real self, this is what Buddhism teaches.
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

We should not confuse the belief in a self or soul with Buddhism. The fact that there isn’t any real self, this is what Buddhism teaches. This fact that there’s no self, the fact of selflessness, is a permanent lasting truth. There is no permanent truth to the idea of self. If we observe, we can see that the self is just a concept or a feeling that arises from time to time temporarily. It has no lasting substance. You can’t find any real truth in it. This is what is understood in Buddhism.





Excerpt from:

THE PATH FOR REALIZING NEW LIFE

  • So obviously if there’s no ‘self,’ then there’s nothing that ‘belongs to self.’
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

Attā is ‘self,’ attena vā is ‘categories of self,’ attaniya means ‘concerning self,’ and attaniyena vā is ‘categories concerning self.’ The universe is completely void of self and things concerned with self, of categories about self & the things concerned with self, attā & attaniya.
So obviously if there’s no ‘self,’ then there’s nothing that ‘belongs to self.’
If there’s no ‘I,’ well there can’t be any ‘mine’ either. But because we’re rather stupid there’s ‘I’ and ego and ‘self’ and ‘soul’ all
over the place, and so then we scoop in everything as ‘mine, mine, mine.’ No ‘I,’ no ‘mine’ – that’s short and simple.





Excerpt from:

DEPENDENT ARISING

  • That there is no self, no soul, no doer, no ‘I’ involved here,…
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

The doer doesn’t really exist, but when there is attachment to desire we create the illusion, or the belief, the image of the ‘doer,’ the ‘ego,’ the ‘self.’ To see this point will show very clearly the fact of anattā (not-self). That there is no self, no soul, no doer, no ‘I’ involved here, it’s just a natural process unfolding according to natural law. And so it’s not a matter of whether it is logical or not, it is just the facts which need to be observed directly from experience.





Excerpt from:

THE HEART OF BUDDHISM ANATTA

  • Then Buddhism came along and said ‘don’t worry about all that – there is in fact no self, no soul.’
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

Then Buddhism came along and said ‘don’t worry about all that – there is in fact no self, no soul.’
In fact there are other traditions, schools, and approaches which discuss anattā, although they use different terms. Some of them come rather close to anattā (notself) as it is taught in Buddhism. But none of them are quite the same.
One of the other approaches is to speak of ‘not-self,’ saying that there is absolutely nothing that is self, that there is no self. And to push this to the extremist position that there is no self – there is nothing – which is to differ from the Buddhist approach. Which is to say that there is something which we feel to be our self – this life here – but it is in fact not-self. But there is something that one can call oneself, but in fact it is not-self.





Excerpt from:

THE BUDDHA FARANGS DON’T KNOW ABOUT

  • there is no self or owner of life,
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

If we have the true Buddha who we were talking about earlier, then life won’t bite its owner because there won’t be an owner. If we’ve got the real Buddha, then we realize that there is no self or owner of life, and then there’s nobody to be bit and life can’t bite its owner any more.





Excerpt from:

EVERYTHING IS ANATTA

  • … to understand on the deepest level possible that there is no self, that self is an illusion.
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

The center where you are staying has only one primary purpose, which has two aspects. At this center we aim to help everyone to understand on the deepest level possible that there is no self, that self is an illusion. All of us are living but our lives are not-self. And so we will study in particular the law of dependent origination (paṭiccasamuppāda) which you will be hearing more about, because this – if we study it properly – reveals very clearly and profoundly that life is not-self.
But selfishness depends on a self, on the illusion or belief in a self. If we practice correctly we have the understanding about not-self and we have trained our minds to the point where they can master all situations. Then we can live life without allowing the self to arise, we have no need of it. We aren’t tricked into letting this illusion take over our minds. When there is no self, there is no selfishness. And when there is no selfishness then all the problems disappear. So this is the purpose of the center where you are staying, and may this be the purpose, your purpose, in staying there for this ten-day-retreat.





Excerpt from:

WAY TO BUDDHIST ART

  • There is no ego, no self …
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

And then mindfulness will keep the mind or keep life on the right track and there will be… and then through this practice you will develop samādhi (the stable focused concentrated mind) which provides the strength and energy to do this, to keep the mind on the right track. So through practicing correctly there is mindfulness, wisdom, and concentration. When we have these, when these are sufficient and strong enough, then there is no attachment to the positive & the negative. When there is no attachment, there is nothing heavy. There is no ego, no self and so there is no suffering, no dukkha.





Excerpt from:

THE BUDDHIST WAY OF LIFE

  • We don’t recognize that there’s no self, so we go grabbing onto things as self.
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

Now let’s ask then, what is the cause? What is the source of this spiritual disease? The fundamental source of spiritual disease is our own stupidity. The ignorance, the misunderstanding that there is self. All of us think, believe, understand that there is self and there are things of self. And this fundamental stupidity is the source of all of our spiritual illness. Because of this ignorance, there arises self, ego, ‘me.’ And because of this ‘me,’ there is selfishness, and as soon as there is selfishness, it bites. All that biting is just the selfishness of ‘me,’ which comes from our ignorance. We don’t recognize that there’s no self, so we go grabbing onto things as self. We get selfish, and this selfishness bites us. This is where the spiritual disease comes from.





Excerpt from:

DEPENDENT ORIGINATION MEDICINE FOR SPIRITUAL DISEASE

  • … if there’s no self, how can anything belong to self or be of-self? …
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

Now the last point to observe, to check out is, if there’s no self, there’s no intrinsic, inherent, real self, whether you call this ‘soul’ or an ‘ego,’ if all of that is merely a ghost, an hallucination, then how can there be anything that belongs to this self, anything that is of-self or ‘mine?’ This is the important question – if there’s no ‘me,’ how could there be any ‘mine?’ if there’s no self, how can anything belong to self or be of-self? So if self doesn’t actually exist, then where is ‘my husband,’ ‘my wife,’ ‘my children,’ ‘my job,’ ‘my car,’ ‘my possessions,’ ‘my money.’ If there isn’t a ‘me’ to start with, where do you find all these ‘my husband,’ ‘my wife,’ ‘my lover,’ ‘my friends,’ ‘my mother,’ ‘my father,’ ‘my children,’ ‘my car,’ and all that? Where do you find all these things?





Excerpt from:

DHAMMA OVERVIEW OF BUDDHISM REALIZATION

  • But when there’s no self, when there’s no egoistic concepts in the mind, when the mind is free of the illusions of ‘self,’ ‘I,’ ‘mine,’ then things are much different.
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

If we go into this a bit more deeply, it’s the life where there is ‘ego,’ the life of ‘self,’ the life where there is the egoistic concepts of ‘me’ and ‘mine’ – this is the life of hunger. The life when there is ‘ego,’ ‘self,’ ‘me,’ ‘mine,’ then there will be constant hunger, all the searching and struggling and fighting of that life of hunger. But when there’s no self, when there’s no egoistic concepts in the mind, when the mind is free of the illusions of ‘self,’ ‘I,’ ‘mine,’ then things are much different. There’s just the natural life, where there’s the body and mind, functioning naturally, responding to circumstances, without any ego. This is a totally different life, a life where there isn’t any hunger. When there’s ego there’s constant hunger and constantly we act according to the power of that hunger. But when there’s the life without ego, then there’s no hunger and one just acts in terms of one’s duty, the responsibilities of life – one sees what needs to be done and does it. There’s just the doing without a doer, in the way that we’ve asked you to practice walking here as walking without a walker. Let it be a natural function of the body and mind without adding any of the egoistic concepts to it. All of life can be that way – doing without a doer. That then is the life of non-hunger.





Excerpt from:

DHAMMA QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES

  • There’s no third thing. There’s no self.
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

As we’ve said before, there’s just body and mind. There’s no third thing.
There’s no self.





Excerpt from:

TEACHING OF NO PERSON ONLY DHATUS

  • … there is no attā, no self or no atman …
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

To see that there is nothing but these dhātus (natural elements) is to see that there is no attā, no self or no atman, but rather there are merely these natural elements which are anattā (not-self).





Excerpt from:

DHAMMA QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES II

  • There is no self or soul that goes and gets reborn.
(Ven. Buddhadasa)

In Buddhism, there is just idappaccayatā, everything happens according to causes and conditions. There is no self or soul that goes and gets reborn. Buddhism teaches that everything, absolutely, is not-self. Body and mind are not-self. There is no self or soul that will be reborn after death.





Excerpt from:

8TH-INTERNATIONAL-BUDDHIST-RESEARCH-SEMINAR-PROCEEDINGS

  • dhammānupassanā (contemplation of Dhamma) as taught by Buddhadāsa, i.e. the contemplation of impermanence, emptiness and no-self.
(referring to Ven. Buddhadasa’s teachings)

In the third stage develops the illumination aspect which is the clear awareness of things as they are. This stage is marked by perfect stillness, motionlessness yet clear comprehension of the multitude of things surrounding. This unperturbed and still mental state in Silent Illumination practice is likened to a mirror that is utterly still while images and shadows appear freely before it. At this stage, the principles that guide one’s practice are similar to the fourth tetrad is dhammānupassanā (contemplation of Dhamma) as taught by Buddhadāsa, i.e. the contemplation of impermanence, emptiness and no-self.






NO SELF

      Just … the Buddhist Way

      NOT … nihilism / annihilationism

*For truely appreciating ven. Buddhadasa’s teachings on “there is no self,” it may be necessary to understand ven. Buddhadasa’s teachings on what is NOT “No-self.”

  • He rejected the concept of “No-self” when it is used in the view of nihilism or Annihilationism. This is to be understood as illustrated in his teachings below. After grasping what is NOT “No-self,” it is more easy to digest the idea of True “No-self” of above ven. Buddhadasa’s quotes.



Excerpt from:

THINGS CALLED THE FIVE KHANDHAS

  • When we say ‘not-self’ we are taking a middle of the road position saying ‘there is this but it is not-self.’

In his second sermon he talked about the five khandhas and taught that the five
khandhas are not-self. Let me point out that when we say ‘not-self,’ in this context or any other context, we are not saying ‘no self.’ There’s the one misunderstanding that there is a self and then there’s the opposite misunderstanding that there is no self which people take to mean there is nothing. These are two opposing misunderstandings. When we say ‘not-self’ we are taking a middle of the road position saying ‘there is this but it is not-self.’

Excerpt from:

DEPENDENT QUENCHING

  • The belief that there is no self at all, that there is nothing, is just a nihilistic wrong understanding, which is not Buddhism at all either. But the self which is notself, this is the teaching of Buddhism.

The belief or doctrine of an eternal self or soul that goes on forever and ever, that gets reborn in future lives, this is a Hindu belief, it’s not Buddhist. The belief that there is no self at all, that there is nothing, is just a nihilistic wrong understanding, which is not Buddhism at all either. But the self which is notself, this is the teaching of Buddhism.

Excerpt from:

DEFILEMENTS AND DUKKHA

  • … Buddhism does not teach that there is nothing. Buddhism is not nihilistic or annihilationist.

To avoid any misunderstandings – to protect you from falling into misunderstanding – let me point out for you to be very clear that Buddhism does not teach that there is nothing. Buddhism is not nihilistic or annihilationist.
Buddhism does not teach that there isn’t anything. What Buddhism says is there are things but in those things there is no self and no soul. You see the difference between non-self/non-soul – which is Buddhism – and nihilism which says there is nothing whatsoever and that is not Buddhism. So in order to avoid and prevent misunderstandings, please see the difference and realize that Buddhism teaches non-self/non-soul but does not teach nihilism or nothingness. Be very clear that whenever there is attachment to the khandhas together or any one of them – whenever there is this attachment to something, one of the khandhas as ‘I,’ as ‘me’ or ‘mine,’ as ‘myself’ – then there is immediately dukkha. That is as soon as there is attachment to one of the khandhas, dukkha immediately arises. So please see this very carefully – very clearly – and understand that dukkha arises because of attachment to the khandhas.






Summing up:


NO SELF

:heavy_check_mark: Just … the Buddhist Way

:heavy_multiplication_x: NOT … nihilism / annihilationism


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#2

Thank you for this message! You’ve read my mind, not long ago I was looking for Bhikkhu Ñāṇananda’s opinion on anatta.

With metta. :pray:


#3

My pleasure. And, I’m glad this OP is of help.

I have regarded teachings of the venerable as too “beyond me”, until recently.

However, several weeks ago, this topic by @pahana [thanks :anjal:] of: Some quotes from Bhikkhu Katukurunde Ñāṇananda on SC sparked my interest on Ven. Nanananda, regarding self.

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#4

Greetings @Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta

I’m just going to change categories of this post to essays, rather than discussion, as the fit seems better there :slight_smile:

Thank you for your work :slight_smile:


#5

Essays? Yayyy! Thanks a lot. :anjal: