There is no self that is permanent. All this results from 5 aggregates, then who is experiencing the non self?


6 Answers 6


There are several questions on this site which are more-or-less about this topic.

One which I found helpful was, How is it wrong to believe that a self exists, or that it doesn't?

I also liked this little summary of Right View, which includes, "A thicket of wrong views".


Why, of course Buddha is experiencing the non-self. Arahant is experiencing the non-self. Bodhisattva from the first Bhumi and above is experiencing the non-self.


You have this question a bit upside down and backwards. The point is that we mistakenly associate the 'self' with the five aggregates. What we think is the 'self,' isn't. It's like walking around wearing a name-tag that says 'me,' and pointing at it whenever anyone asks who we are. If someone rips off our name-tag and runs away, do we suddenly stop being 'me'? But we are so used to pointing at the name-tag, that we lose track of the distinction between it and us.

The idea of 'no self' is a way of ripping off the name-tags. It's not a question of who is there experiencing 'non self'; it's a question of who is there experiencing all the false labels of 'self'.

  • Is the name tag "the aggregates", is this analogy? Are you saying there is a self but that it's other than the aggregates? :-) And what's the basis of this answer, what doctrine (or personal experience) is it based on?
    – ChrisW
    Commented Dec 9, 2019 at 16:03
  • The various aggregates that we identify with become 'name tags'. You have awareness, therefore you have experience that is reasonably interpreted as a self. The Buddhist problematic arises when you begin to connect with various aggregates as 'permanent' features of an 'identified' self. You can't really argue with 'I am,' because 'I am' is the fundamental condition for arguing with anything. The problem enters when 'I am' becomes 'I am this' or 'I am that.' Commented Dec 9, 2019 at 17:21
  • Thank you (and I didn't mean to challenge you, I just didn't understand the answer).
    – ChrisW
    Commented Dec 9, 2019 at 22:14
  • Oh, no worries. I didn't think you were being challenging; nothing here to challenge except our own curiosity. 😀 Commented Dec 9, 2019 at 22:31

The mind experiences not-self.

Questions about "who" are irrelevant, per the Phagguna Sutta .


I can't give answer this question. But I will attempt this question. We aren't going "non self " First question " who am i " I am "name" so I can live without "name" so I am not "name". Who told you aren't name?. Answer =mind saying

You can understand....

I am "identity " identity means docter, engineer, monk, Hindu,Muslim. So without identity you can live so you aren't identity.. Who told you aren't identity? Answer =mind saying.

I am physical body. In physical body many parts so we are discussed. I am hair so without hair we can live so I amnot hair.

I am leg and hand But without leg we can live so I amnot leg.

I am eye, ear , but without eye and ear we can live so I amnot eye and ear..

I am mind but without mind can live so I amnot mind for example comma .

I am "breath" but without breath we can't live.. This is my last lever. I amnot going next level.


That’s exactly right. When you find out “who” that is, you will have resolved the matter of birth and death.

Just keep asking “who? who? who?” Don’t put the question down for a second. Keep it so close that no air can escape.

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