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 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 ...
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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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Is it helpful to avoid first person pronouns when speaking and writing?

"There's no 'I' in team" is an aphorism that promotes the selfless group effort, but what about first person pronouns from a Buddhist perspective such as 'I', 'me', 'mine', and 'my'. I am also ...
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In a Buddhist perspective how do we recall memories of this life and beyond?

What is the Buddhist perspective on how we store and recall memories of this life and beyond? Since there is not solid core (Atman) as in the Hindu perspective which all such memories are stored and ...
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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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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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Anatta in Tibetan Buddhism (How can we reconcile it with the Tulku?) [duplicate]

Buddha taught us that Anatta, non self, is a key concept of the Dhamma, one of the 3 marks of existence. Basically we have a mind, not a soul, that differentiates from other minds by the kamma-vipaka ...
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Evolution of a Buddha vs. Anatta

Based on the lifestory of Shakyamuni Buddha, one can see that there is an evolution, from disciple to boddhisatva until the Buddhahood stage... like a path his mind was following, but we know minds ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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 ...