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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What does the Pali canon say about “death”?

I'm just clinging to this notion that the small death (of prthagjanas) is never reversible, and never incomplete. Leaving aside the notion of "karma" and "rebirth" and "continuity", what does the ...
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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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Is the emptiness of persons an emptiness of essence or just substance?

Is the emptiness of persons an emptiness of their essence, which (I think) would be a defining characteristic, like how "fire" is always "hot", or just substance? Do any Buddhist texts say no?
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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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At what stage / step of development do we start to contemplate on non-self?

List below is extracted form Kimattha Sutta noting how skillful virtues lead step-by-step to the consummation of arahantship. The question is does skillful virtue require knowledge of non-self or ...
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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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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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Is no soul doctrine (there is no eternal soul) supported in Buddhist suttas?

"The purification of one's own mind/will (citta); this is the Doctrine of the Buddha" [DN 2.49] "How is it that one is called a 'Buddha'?...gnosis that the mind/will (citta) is purified (visuddham)......
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Tanha vs “Right Aspiration” & Anatta vs nihilism: how does one resolve contradictions in BUddhism?

From my perspective, the two biggest obstacles to to perfect understanding of Dharma is the apparent contradictions between "Tanha" and "Right Aspiration" and Anatta vs Buddha's condemnation of ...
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Do (any) Mahayana Buddhists teach subjectivity?

I don't think "self" is the right term in English for the sort of quality I want to ask about. So, regardless of its ontological status, or that of what it relates to (objects), do (any) Mahayana ...
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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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How is rebirth to be understood?

I have some questions regarding this Buddhadhasa text saying there is no rebirth in Buddhism. Is rebirth not what enlightenment is supposed to bring an end to? Is there no rebirth because rebirth is ...
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If there is no “I”, who or what is controlling my animalistic urges?

All sorts of impulses and urges in human and other beings are invoked by nature in order to sustain life. In my way of thinking, it is a rational "I" who attempts to control reacting to these impulses ...
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Can anyone identify which suttas these quotes (having to do with the sense of self) come from?

This document contains instructions for ridding the sense of a personal self. I was wondering which suttas (or other texts) the quotes at the end come from: “By rightly understanding ‘I am,’ one ...
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How does Buddhism explain consciousness if there is no self?

One major differing point between Hinduism and Buddhism is the understanding of the self. Buddhist reject the Brahminical notion of an eternal, non-material soul substance that is distinct from the ...
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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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How is the Anatta (not-self) doctrine useful?

My question today concerns Anatta's usefulness. What good does it bring us to realize that the "self" (what things are and who we are), because it is permanently changing, is therefore not real ? (...
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What does Buddhism say about the existence of a self?

Anatta and Sunyata doctrines from the Tripitaka and later Mahayana/Parjnaparimata sutras both have mentioned "not-self" or "empty of self" doctrines. I am still a bit confused, though, even after ...
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watching myself everywhere?

During meditation sessions, morning 4 to 5, I have started watching myself everywhere. I didn't experienced it before. The garden where I am used to take a morning walk after meditation, there I saw ...
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Ultimate existence and the self in Mahayana

I was reading the SEP article on the two truths According to the abhidharmakosa: An entity, the cognition of which does not arise when it is destroyed and, mentally divided, is conventionally ...
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Gender : Is it truly what it seems?

Now before you read and answer i would like to invite you to keep the term "Sexism" aside as this is a discussion on gender and it is impossible to talk about it without pointing out some things that ...
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Why does Milinda step into Nagasena's trap?

Referring to the discussion between Milinda and Nagasena: Why King Milinda does not consider all together - pole, axle, wheels etc. - his chariot? Normally one defines a chariot a means for ...
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Realization of Anatta

I am not following any particular tradition of Buddhism. How does anatta feel to a sentient being? How can it be tested or experimented? This is being asked because mere intellectualization is not ...
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Pure Land Schools' version of the Three (or Four) Marks of Existence

I'd be grateful for references to some of the major Pure Land schools' versions of the Three (or Four) Marks (Seals) of Existence: Impermanence (anicca) Suffering (dukkha) No-self (anattā) ...
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Am I “fooling” myself?

As I practice more and more on seeing life as Dukkha, something interesting happens. I feel a greater sense of gratitude and contentment. I am not talking about seeing things as they are directly ...
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Why talk and think about self as noun?

We always talk and think about self as a noun. When reading Buddhist philosophy, I have never seen exceptions to this. Both "common sense looking" and "metaphysical looking" is looking for the self. ...
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Is there a generally agreed upon idea of what Buddha nature is?

I often hear and read about Buddha nature. I wonder, is Buddha nature something common to all varieties of Buddhism? And where in the scriptures can I find out more about this? I'm asking because ...
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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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Understanding anatta via “there are no computer programs” analogy

I tried to find an analogy that would help me to understand anatta: Just as we can say "there is no self" (there are just mental aggregates interacting with each other and eventually causing some ...
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If there is no soul or self, why did the Buddha speak of his past lives?

How is it possible that he had past lives and how did he know they were his? What defines them as his?
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Is there person without consciousness?

If we consider person(Arthma) as a consciousness. When undergoing an operation, we are temporarily unconscious. Then what happens to that person while unconscious? Some related discussion are here: ...
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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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Notions of self in religions that blend Buddhism and Hinduism

I read in Peter Harvey's book an Introduction to Buddhism that there was a syncretistic religion in Bali that was a mixture of Buddhism and Hinduism. He didn't give many details as it was a very minor ...
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Caught in a bind; what to do?

I would imagine the following may be a bit odd to be asking here outright and dare I say it, a little egoic to do so, but I was referred to this place to ask questions, and I have some questions. But ...
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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 nature of impermanence, desire and anatman?

If everything in unstable, unsatisfying and out of control then what is the point in living? Isn't the 'point of life' meant to be a journey to stability, satisfaction and self control? Thanks :).
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Reconciling anātman and ancestor worship/veneration

Buddhism teaches the concept of anattā or anātman. In short: There is no "soul" or "essence", only "processes" within the framework of the five skandhas. This gives the illusion of the individual ...
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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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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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My thoughts don't happen to other people so why are they 'not mine'?

Considering the five aggregates and the sense in which they are all not-self. Thoughts (samskāra) are one of the five aggregates so they too are 'not me' or 'not mine'. In one sense this is a ...
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If i am the result of an aggregate, how does one refer to oneself?

It is my understanding that illusion, reality, rebirth and reincarnation are a result of the aggregates i.e. vision, taste, sound, emotions, smell and mind. - Source If one is am simply a composition ...
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Equanimity, aversion and anatta

Equanimity is described as It refers to the equanimity that arises from the power of observation, the ability to see without being caught by what we see. The definition can be found here. If i dig ...
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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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Metaphors in and out Buddhism

One of the questions / answers recently posted here was about "storing" mental states for later. Of course this isn't Buddhist, in the sense that it does not literally describe a selfless person. ...
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If anatta is a reality, then how do you explain Volition or Will?

I'm just trying to understand the concept of anatta better here. Buddhism tells me there is the concept of no-self (anatta), and even the so called conditional self is actually an illusion that arises ...
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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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Does any Mahayana school teach that I am atman?

Does any Mahayana school teach that I am atman, the Self of buddha nature? Assuming a resounding "no", may I please ask, if atman is "like" anything, or is it more like the eventual non existence, ...
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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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Who am I- according to Buddhism

What does Buddha say about the question,"Who am I"? Our body and mind perishes with time. If so then who actually attains the Truth?
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If I am not the skandhas, then what entity/group of entities am I being responsible for by being a good person?

I'm look more for an epistemological Buddhist answer to this question. If I am anatta (not self because composite) then who is the one responsible for his/her actions? Why am I still responsible for ...