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The word "Anatta" exists in the three marks of existence. In Dhammapada 279, there Buddha says: "Sabbe Dhamma Anatta."

"277. Sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā ti, yadā paññāya passati, atha nibbindatī dukkhe – esa maggo visuddhiyā.

  1. Sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā ti, yadā paññāya passati, atha nibbindatī dukkhe – esa maggo visuddhiyā.

  2. Sabbe dhammā anattā ti, yadā paññāya passati, atha nibbindatī dukkhe – esa maggo visuddhiyā."

-Dhammapada Verses 277,278,279

Here first we need to understand the true meaning of word "dhamma".

This word dhamma occurs many time in Pali Canon.

Also, this word "dhamma" is used by Buddha after enlightenment where he meets Ajivika:

"Then, having stayed at Uruvela as long as I liked, I set out to wander by stages to Varanasi. Upaka the Ajivaka saw me on the road between Gaya and the (place of) Awakening, and on seeing me said to me, 'Clear, my friend, are your faculties. Pure your complexion, and bright. On whose account have you gone forth? Who is your teacher? In whose Dhamma do you delight?" -Ariyapariyesana Sutta

"Whose Dhamma" as in "whose path" or "whose truth" or "whose teaching"

So is dhamma "things" as translated by Acharya Buddharakkhita?

"Sabbe Dhamma Anatta" "All things are not-self" - Dhammapada 279

Or is dhamma "phenomenon" as translated by Thanissaro?

"Sabbe Dhamma Anatta" "All phenomena are not-self" - Dhammapada 279

Ajivika: "Whose dhamma you follow?" Or simply whose teaching or path you follow?

Dhamma is dharma. A path. A doing, a way or conduct.

Dhamma is also teaching.

Also, in this book it writes:

"Five hundred monks strove hard but were unable to attain Arahatship, so they approached the Buddha for further teaching; seeing into their past lives and knowing they had previously meditated on lack of self, the Buddha gave them this teaching, after hearing which, they became Arahats.

  1. Sabbe dhammā anattā ti, yadā paññāya passati, atha nibbindatī dukkhe – esa maggo visuddhiyā.

All components are without self, when one sees this with deep wisdom, then one grows tired of suffering, this is the path to purity." -20: The Chapter about the Path – 245

This could also mean: "See monks all dharma that you have followed is devoid of self. Drop them" or "All paths that you follow is not the self or yourself or that leads to the pure self?

So Sabbe Dhamma Anatta, when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.

All Dhamma is not-self. All Dhamma does not lead to the path of purity.

All teaching is devoid of essence. All teaching does not lead to the path of purity.

However, in this context, "Dhamma" could really mean existence.

Also, this.

So regarding this Buddha might have said:

"If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?" -Buddha (that all dharma, all things, all doings is not the self.)

Now Atta is the core or deep center of something.

Atta is very similar to Atman. But Atta is not Atman. Atman is something only living being consist of. Atta is the core of non-living things as well.

Atta is inside tattva(element). Atta lies even deep.

All "tattva" is made of atta.

Atta is like atom, but concept of atom is new.

You can say Atta is a deep permanent essence that is always there. A core substance.

"Sabbe dhammā anattā ti, yadā paññāya passati, atha nibbindatī dukkhe – esa maggo visuddhiyā.

My translation, in Nepali here: (My native language is Nepali, I have also learned sanskrit as a child. This Pali language is very similar to Nepali and sanskrit.)

'sabbe dhamma anatta ti' : 'tyo sabai dharma ma atta chaina' (there is no permanent essence in all existence.) (here the meaning of dhamma implies all things, all doings, all phenomenon in this world.)

'yada pannaya passati : 'yedi punya paunucha'( if you want to have good merit)

'atha nibbindatī dukkhe : 'ani dukkha nibhauna (and remove suffering)

'– esa maggo visuddhiyā. : 'yo bisuddha marga ho.'( then this is the path to purity.)

So finally it could mean:

"There is no permanent essence in all existence, and if you want to have good merit and remove suffering, this is the path to purity."

What do you think is the correct translation of "Sabbe dhammā anattā."?

It could be true that there was no concept of atman during the time of Buddha, but only "atta" which was later misinterpreted by Hinduism.

Also the word "atta" could also mean "I".

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    I don't see a question. This seems like "am I right or am I right?" kind of post that belongs to a blog, not Q&A site. – Andrei Volkov Jan 15 at 2:43
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The word dhamma in these passages has multiple meanings and can only be understood in the context of the passage they come from as you seem to understand. This is difficult for most Buddhist students and anyone who does not speak the original language of these ancient texts. That is why it is important to rely upon good translations and on good spiritual mentors to explain and expand upon the context.

Of course, it is wonderful that you are trying to piece together the meanings and different contexts of how the word dhamma is used in these passages! But even more important is to try and figure out the underlying teaching without fixating on individual words.

I would encourage you to see if you can't paraphrase each passage yourself in plain english or whatever your native language is and try no to worry too much about what the word 'dhamma' really means as it is not (like all words!) a real and substantially inherent thing. What it means is entirely dependent upon the context it is used. What's important in all these teachings is the heart or spirit of the teaching and not any individual words and to get at them we must consider the context.

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I think that "atta" and "atman" are the same words, two different languages (Pali and Sanskrit).

That in a Buddhist context, "atta" (and its converse, "anatta") are related to ideas like upādānakkhandha (from SN 56.11) and sakkāyadiṭṭhi ... and furthermore that (according to doctrine) any/all theories about self (or "self-existence"?) are unsatisfactory or cause suffering.

And that "dhamma", there, should be understood there as in contrast to "sankhara" -- i.e. that, "all sankharas (all constructed/compounded things) are impermanent and unsatisfactory", conversely, "literally everything (including for example nibbana) is anatta (although nibbana, which is a dhamma and not a sankhara, is neither impermanent nor unsatisfactory)".

  • Thank you for your answer. – user17389 Jan 14 at 20:45
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In one of our conversation, you wrote that you are from nepal... So here I will use some hindi language too. Don't confuse from various representations of dharma, dhamma, atta.

Dharma( धर्म ):: This word was already there in India even before buddha. Even Aghoris used to use this word. This also includes the wrong views of attaining liberation and/or gaining merits through sacrificing ( बलीप्रथा ) animals and humans( नरबली)--even nowdays these are being practiced.

Dharma was/is referred to all the principles that govern this universe.See Hinduism part Such sets of principles were/are considered to be right view. Eg., dharma of a kshatriya is only to fight&rule, dharma of various castes, dharma of fire is to produce heat, and so on, dharma of deva/ghost/... is to eat material food, and so on...
Note as to how dharma is generalized to meanings of behaviour, duty, karma, requirement_for_satisfaction of celestials,... Now, buddha arrived::

After attaining enlightenment, having Right view, he sees that dharma of human has nothing to do with caste, satisfaction_dharma of celestial beings has nothing to do with materials,...
So, a new term has been given, simply because it would be too much troublesome to waste time on teaching right_dharma without an appropriate word.

Dhamma:: Set of all the right principles governing universe, so simple.
These principles are also concrete cause they are being told through Right View in righteous way(8 fold Noble path).

Atta:: This is a generalized word for 'self'. It can be used to mean inner-self and outer-self. Atta, when used to indicate seemingly 'I' means 'inner-self', when used for other things means 'outer self', i.e. self of other things.

Sabbe dhamma anatta:: It means that all the right governing principles are not-self(this self is outer-self), means that they don't have any permanence within them.

This statement was specifically given for those people who declared buddha to be God( परमात्मा/parmaatma/eternal-self ) and hence principles given by him as his child( आत्मा ) buddha as vishnu...to remove wrong view among people.
Along with this, dhamma states it's permanence in sense that from infinite past-time, these principles are true&right, at present these are true&right and in infinite future time these will be true&right. Buddha also states it's permanence as,"Whatever principles have been given were, are and will remain true&right".

So, to avoid any misunderstanding, he simply said, " I have no atta, dhamma also has no atta".

That's it. No confusion.
Metta.

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I would translate it as 'state' similar to the use in the ariyapariseya;

To what extent did Rama declare that he had entered & dwelled in this Dhamma?' When this was said, Uddaka declared the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.

States would be all states; 1. State of aggregates; 1a) unskillful 1b) skillful (rupa and the four arupa jhana) 2. Not included (Cessation of Perception & felling)

Cessation of perception & feeling is Nibbana in definitive sense;

“First, take a mendicant who, quite secluded from sensual pleasures … enters and remains in the first absorption. To this extent the Buddha said that extinguishment is visible in this very life in a qualified sense. …

Furthermore, take a mendicant who, going totally beyond the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, enters and remains in the cessation of perception and feeling. And, having seen with wisdom, their defilements come to an end. To this extent the Buddha said that extinguishment is visible in this very life in a definitive sense.” https://suttacentral.net/an9.47/en/sujato

It is also the Dhamma in a definitive sense;

“First, take a mendicant who, quite secluded from sensual pleasures … enters and remains in the first absorption. To this extent the Buddha spoke of the Dhamma visible in this very life in a qualified sense. … Furthermore, take a mendicant who, going totally beyond the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, enters and remains in the cessation of perception and feeling. And, having seen with wisdom, their defilements come to an end. To this extent the Buddha spoke of the Dhamma visible in this very life in a definitive sense.” https://suttacentral.net/an9.46/en/sujato

''All'' is Sankhara because Sankhata element is all that is conditioned, past, present and future.

There is also that which is known to the Buddha and isn't included in the Allness of the All as is talked about in the mn49

He also talks about the Ayatana where there is no coming or going; neither this world nor the next in ud9.1

There is that dimension, monks, where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; neither dimension of the infinitude of space, nor dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, nor dimension of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception; neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon. And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor staying; neither passing away nor arising: unestablished,[1] unevolving, without support [mental object].[2] This, just this, is the end of stress.

Basically there is an Asankhata element, an unmade which is discerned when one attains cessation of perception & felling which is a dhamma in which Ariyans enter & dwell.

Therefore i would choose states for that particular line of verse.

All constructions are impermanent All constructions are burdensome All states are not self

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