The Middle Path ~ self / no self

The Core teachings of Buddha is Not about :
self / no self !

It is about the Causal arising links !

It is about the Middle Path ~

So , having the Right View (the Middle Way) ,

One do not take “self” at one end ,
One also do not take “no self” at the other end .


The middle-way sounds like not-self (anatta).

The extremes are probably the bewildered views of the bewildered Vacchagotta in SN 44.10, who asked about ‘atthattāti’ and ‘natthattāti’.


“If, Ānanda, when I was asked by the wanderer Vacchagotta, ‘Is there a self?’ I had answered, ‘There is a self (atthattāti),’ would this have been consistent on my part with the arising of the knowledge that ‘all phenomena are not-self’ (anattāti)?”

“No, venerable sir.”

“And if, when I was asked by him, ‘Is there no self?’ I had answered, ‘There is no self (natthattāti),’ the wanderer Vacchagotta, already confused, would have fallen into even greater confusion, thinking, ‘It seems that the self (attā) I formerly had does not exist (natthīti) now.’”


Here is a little sutta where it says

All exists’: Kaccana, this is one extreme. ‘All does not exist’: this is the second extreme. Without veering towards either of these extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma by the middle: With ignorance as condition, volitional formations…. with volitional formations as condition, consciousness…. sn12.15

As you know, the ‘Dhamma by the middle’ is DO (dependant origination) with links (nidanas)

SN 12.35 lists various polar views, dismisses them and responds in terms of DO:

  1. Aging-and-death is one thing, the one for whom there is this aging-and-death is another.
  2. The soul and the body are the same.
  3. The soul is one thing, the body is another.
  4. Birth is one thing, the one for whom there is this birth is another.
  5. Existence is one thing, the one for whom there is this existence is another.
  6. Volitional formations are one thing, the one for whom there are these volitional formations is another.
    Without veering towards either of these extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma by the middle… With ignorance as condition, volitional formations…

Also note:

“This world, Kaccana, is for the most part shackled by engagement, clinging, and adherence. But this one with right view does not become engaged and cling through that engagement and clinging, mental standpoint, adherence, underlying tendency; he does not take a stand about ‘my self.’ He has no perplexity or doubt that what arises is only suffering arising, what ceases is only suffering ceasing.

So we go to the reverse order of DO:

from the remainderless fading &
cessation of ignorance comes the
cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications the
cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness the
cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form the
cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media the
cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact the
cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling the
cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving the
cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance the
cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the
cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth,
then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease.
Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."
Analysis of Dependent Co-arising

Also see MN.039 for some good spiritual lessons.

That is my current understanding, but is subject to change and impermanence :slight_smile:



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A Self cannot be causally arisen, moment by moment.

A Self must be self extant and last at least a lifetime.

A Self cannot die moment by moment.

Arahanths use I and mine for convenience.

“If a bhikkhu is an arahant,
Consummate, with taints destroyed,
One who bears his final body,
He might still say, ‘I speak,’
And he might say, ‘They speak to me.’
Skilful, knowing the world’s parlance,
He uses such terms as mere expressions.”

This is just conventional use of I or me.

With metta


Thank you .

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