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Questions tagged [anatman]

The Sanskrit term for the concept of 'not self' or 'no fixed self'. This is classified among the three marks of existence, namely impermanence, suffering and no fixed self. The equivalent Pali term is Anatta.

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How is it wrong to believe that a self exists, or that it doesn't?

the one place where the Buddha was asked point-blank whether or not there was a self, he refused to answer. When later asked why, he said that to hold either that there is a self or that there is ...
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What is the precise meaning of anatta?

This is focusing in on one specific aspect of what was asked here: What are the three marks of existence? I often hear "anatta" explained as being an expression of the non-existence of the self. ...
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If there is no soul, how can there be rebirth?

Anatta is often described as "not-self" which I understand to mean that our identities are illusions. But it's also described as "soullessness" which I think implies that there is no mind other than ...
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Have any Buddhist thinkers responded to the critique of the Brahma Sutras?

By far the most popular school of Hindu philosophy, which almost all Hindus nowadays belong to, is the Vedanta school, which is based on an ancient Hindu work called the Brahma Sutras or Vedanta ...
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Linking Madhyamaka emptiness to Theravada emptiness through papanca

From the different answers that I have received on various questions that I've asked, I have come to the following ideas: According to Mahayana Madhyamaka emptiness (shunyata), all phenomena is empty ...
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What is the difference between non-self and emptiness?

Non-self (anātman) and emptiness (śūnya or śūnyatā) are very similar aspects of the Truth of Suffering. So similar that they are hard to distinguish apart. What is the difference between them? (Or ...
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Mahayana view on why Theravada's anatta is insufficient to uproot ignorance?

A Mahayana-practising member wrote this comment: With respect, the Theravada generally has a much more coarse understanding of emptiness and anatta and is confused as to the object of negation. ...
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Is the Mind (Citta) the Self? If not, what is it?

It's been discussed in all perspectives that the Buddha was teaching about not-Self (Anatta) in this forum. However, it taught that one should empty the Mind (Citta) to realize Anatta, or Sunyata, in ...
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If Theravada doesn't posit the selflessness of phenomena, then how to interpret SN 22.95?

This question is closely related to this question and this question and this question. There is a Sutta in the Pali Canon that seems to explicitly reject that any of the aggregates is real or ...
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Does Nibbana mean not self?

I have found a text which states that nibbāna is a description meaning not-self. The meaning of the text is clear. Nibbana is nothing but not-self. Moreover I have also found a sutta(SN22.45) ...
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Does Theravada posit the selflessness of phenomena?

It is generally taught in Mahayana monastic universities that Theravada does not posit the selflessness of phenomena. There it is taught a dichotomy exists between the tenet systems employed by ...
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Why is “I have no self” a wrong view?

In the Sabbasava Sutta (MN2), the view that "I have no self" is listed as one of the six wrong views and one who holds this view will not be freed from suffering. Questions: Why is "I have no self" ...
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Did the Buddha said that there is no self there is no soul?

In this article, the writer of the article claims, purports or alleges that Bhikkhu Thanissaro and Bhikkhu Bodhi state that the Buddha NEVER said that there was no self. The Buddha NEVER said that ...
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Does any real existent or genuine person end with parinibbana?

Does modern Theravada accept that no real person ends with the break up of the body of a realized one? That the moment after the break up of the body of a realized one is the same as the moment before?...
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How does the idea of Bodhisatva in Mahayana mesh with anattā?

As this is my first posted question, I welcome input as to how to improve it. Many thanks in advance. When I have heard Mahayana practitioners discuss the concept of Bodhisatva as it varies from ...
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The “conventional” self - in what way can it be accepted?

Buddhist writers, such as Joseph Goldstein and Thupten Jinpa, say that although the self is not intrinsically real, that we still accept the "conventional" idea of self. For example: If we arrive ...
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Impermanent self

I hear people saying this a lot regarding Annatta - "if something is impermanent then it cannot be self." But doesn't this only apply if you're coming from the view that a 'self' must be permanent?...
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What does Buddhism add to a Stoic?

Is there any thing that Buddhism can add to a Stoic Pursuit? Below is a friendly laid-back discourse between a Stoic and a Buddhist, which could be used as a guide to what I’m trying to compare. ...
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Is Anatman the most important concept in Buddhism?

Buddhism begins with The Truth of Suffering. That seems like the best point to get someone's attention, and is basically indisputable. The Truth of Impermanence is fairly easy to accept, because we ...
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Is rebirth essential to Buddhist philosophy?

Elements of Buddhism can be rationally accepted such as the suffering that arises through attachment, the benefits of meditation, and even the acceptance of anatta, or non-self. It seems, however, ...
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6answers
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How does *Buddhist* meditation differ from others and lead to awakening?

The practice of meditation is central to certain Buddhist traditions, e.g. Vajrayana, Dzogchen, Zen, important for recognizing Buddha nature. Furthermore, Vajrayana and Theravada traditions assert ...
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Was the doctrine of 'Anatta', accepted as doctrine by modern Buddhism, actually taught by the Buddha?

Understanding of 'Anatta' is key to so much Buddhist meditation practice and philosophy that I've been exposed to but (call me conservative) I gain great confidence when the Buddha himself had ...
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What is the best translation of Anatta into English?

Is the best translation of Anatta "non-self" or "there is nothing that you can take as me, mine, self or non-changing everlasting controllable part which can be identified as me, mine or everlasting ...
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3answers
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Difference between Theravada's self and Mahayana's intrinsic essence

With reference to this comment: An intrinsic nature, essence or characteristic that is unique to some phenomena that can be described as that phenomena's self. The self of chair would be that ...
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6answers
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Did the Buddha leave room for the possibility of a self?

Did the Buddha teach that a self or soul (whether permanent and fixed or impermanent and changing) cannot be found, did he teach that it cannot exist, or what?
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What is it that is re-incarnated ? [duplicate]

I have been reading Mahayana philosophy. It proposes non-self and that self does not exist in the 5 aggregates. If the self/atman does not exist, what is that is re-incarnated? How can nothing ...
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How is the doctrine of no-self compatible with reincarnation?

The term anattā (Pali) or anātman (Sanskrit) refers to the doctrine of "non-self", that there is no unchanging, permanent soul in living beings. If this is the case, then what exactly is being ...
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Should I identify myself as formless?

Namo Buddhaya. Sabbe Dhamma Anatta. Form is Anatta too. Meaning form is not worth identifying as myself, me or mine. Does that mean that I should identify myself as formless ? Am I in form or am I ...
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Difference between Buddhist and materialist views of no self?

This question follows from a discussion on the materialist, scientific reductionist understanding of no self, and was posted in a comment: In what way does the materialist view differ from Buddhism ...
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What is eradication of the fetter of identity-view (sakkāya-diṭṭhi)?

I'm asking this question based on this comment and this question. It is well known that the goal of Buddhism is to end suffering. However, it is popularly mistaken (as seen in the cited comment and ...
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Is it correct to say that 'one who craves for …' and imply existence of self?

Buddha says in saṃyuktāgama: “One who craves for and delights in bodily form, craves for and delights in dukkha. One who craves for and delights in dukkha will not attain liberation from dukkha....
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The “empirical self” in Buddhism

Is it right to say that all Buddhists both do and don't believe in the "empirical self", as in the conscious mind and its concomitants? And in order I might make sense of your answer, can the latter "...
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What are the main arguments in favor of the Anātman view over the Ātman view?

The main difference (I know) between Buddhism and Hinduism is that the first defends Anātman theory whereas the second defends Ātman theory. What are the main arguments in favor of the Anātman ...
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Why are the 16 Unwise Reflections (“shall I exist in future” etc.) considered unwise?

In a quest to find the Buddhist meaning of life, I stumbled upon The Unanswered Questions and the Unwise Reflections (Sabbasava-Sutta), and I am surprised that The Buddha actually advised against ...
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How do Buddhists reconcile “Anatta” with Buddha supporting the existence of the Self in the Mahayana Mahaparininirvana Sutra?

In the third chapter of the Mahayana Mahaparininirvana Sutra, Buddha calls the Self real and permanent: Then the Buddha said to all the bhiksus: "Do not say this. I now leave all the unsurpassed ...
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Other than Nirvana , what else is not changing?

It is said that Nirvana is not changing. But I found a text here which states that dharma of conditioned arising is unchanging. The Buddha said to the monk: “Conditioned arising was neither made by ...
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Why the view “I am the owner of my karma” not contradict anatta?

Why did the Buddha advise lay people and monks to think, "I am the owner of my kamma, the heir of my kamma; I have kamma as my origin, kamma as my relative, kamma as my resort; I will be the heir of ...
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Do metta practices and anatta contradict each other?

When I was taught the Metta Bhavna meditation practice it was suggested that I repeat the following to myself May I be well May I be happy May I be free Then again repeating the same again to ...
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Keeping in mind impermanence, suffering and non-self

If one doesn't know the notion of "impermanence, suffering and non-self", can one see it by one's self? I know that I don't need to "force" myself to see impermanence: but do I need to keep in mind "...
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Hesitation between Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta

I hesitate between Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta. Buddhism pleases me very much for its willingness to seek an end to suffering, being depressed it speaks to me a lot. But intellectually, ...
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Without an enduring quid between lifes, how to explain past life recalling?

How a being (be it a Buddha) can remember its past lives, if there is no "quid"/soul/self enduring for more time?
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What is the meaning of Anicca and Anatta?

Most of the English translation I read, Anatta is translated as not-self and Anicca as impermanence. However many Sri Lankan Buddhist monks do not agree with this translation. They say it is a miss ...
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Annatta and taking responsibility

I'm a bit confused about "not self". How do you take responsibility for your actions if you don't see them as your actions but just a process happening? For example if you're an alcoholic part of the ...
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How can the theory of emptiness be true and yet the self still transmigrates and takes rebirth?

The Theory of "Emptiness" is the concept that all phenomenon are empty of inherent existence. Something has the illusion of existence when the right causes and conditions arise. Example: there is no ...
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The actualization of Anatta

Having attempted to understand the actualization of Anatta, i am at a complete loss. The more i endeavor to understand the meaning, the more confusing it seems. I have read; What is the best ...
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Are the physicists suffering?

Physicists are scientist who study the reality and draw conclusions about it scientifically. After studying what Buddha said it appears to me that Physicists are trapped in a wrong world. They believe ...
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Unconscious Grasping to a Self

In daily life, I guess my self-grasping is not very salient; people tell me I'm considerate, open. However, I've written stories in the past, and in my fiction I project these fantasies that are ...
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“The not finding (the mind) is the finding”

American Buddhist teacher Joseph Goldstein says1 that in order to cut through identification with consciousness, or the knowing mind, that Zen traditions say that in looking for the mind, there is ...
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How does the experience of “realisation of Sunyata” differ from “realisation of Anatta”?

In what ways does the experience of "realisation of Sunyata" differ from the experience of "realisation of Anatta", for the practitioner? The two aims are apparently non confirming, as far as I know, ...
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How to experience Anatta

Is it during deep meditation when the mind is completely stilled that one experiences anatta? Is the conviction in anatta gradual or abrupt? This question would be connected to the 4 stages of ...