I am hopeful that I will attain Anatta. After I attain Anatta I will cease to be expressible. That hope motivates me to give up the clinging to forms, feeling , perception , consciousness etc... But what about the clinging to the hope of getting Nirvana...? Should I give up hope of getting Nirvana in order to achieve Anatta or Nirvana ?

4 Answers 4


Nobody attains Anatta. Everything is Anatta to begin with. It's just an aspect of all realities. I think you have Anatta confused with Nibbana.

  • Nobody attains the Anatta. What happens is the cessation of suffering. That cessation of suffering is only possible if I get rid of ignorance. Knowledge and realisation of Anatta removes the ignorance. Have I realised Anatta ? No ... I identify myself with a feeling of pride. I identify myself with a consciousness of sound, smell etc..I identify myself with form. That is why I feel sad and hurt. Remove the ignorance and I will be free from suffering that is the promise of Anatta. Mar 7, 2018 at 15:33
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    Anatta is only one aspect. There's also Dukka and Anicca. You don't need to reach the end of suffering to realize Anatta. It can be seen even by beginners here and now. It's just that the realizations of the 3 characteristics peaks just before one attains enlightenment. Mar 7, 2018 at 16:39

Desire to be free from desire is desire again. Make right effort i.e. meditate without desires...and strive towards final goal with desire to attain nirvana but dont start craving...in the end tine will come when the final desire will drop itself.

  • Thanks for reminding me... I use hope to get rid of hope.. I shouldn't suddenly drop the hope. Mar 7, 2018 at 14:27
  • I read somewhere that the aspiration to be free of desire and hence suffering is a skillful aspiration and hence encouraged.
    – user68706
    Mar 7, 2018 at 17:38
  • Desire to be free from desire is desire again- This is well said. Beautiful. Mar 9, 2018 at 12:48

Your question reminds me of this sutta, when Buddha told monks it is normal for oldest prince born from a great king and rightful queen. He is from righteous blood line 7 generations up, endowed with physical strength and intelligence. It is only normal for him to expect to inherit the throne when time comes. So do monks who has 7 factors for enlightenment. It isn't unusual for them to expect nirvana. I don't believe Buddha said anything about how to deal with the "hope/expectation", as long as you have 7 factors of enlightenment

again, i maybe someone with better memories than me could help me recall referencing sutta number. thanks.

  • Point no.2 - keen investigation of Dhamma. When I investigate Dhamma I ask Am I hope ? Do I keep hope ? An honest answer is yes. Then I give up the hope of getting Nirvana. Thus I get rid of craving. Mar 8, 2018 at 3:42

Nowhere does the Buddha say there is no self (natthattā). Anatta refers to the five aggregates which are never our self/atta which is our true nature. The Buddha in fact says, Monks, you should abandon desire for whatever is anatta (S.iii.77). Remember too the aggregates are Mara the evil one (S.iii.195).

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