How is it possible that he had past lives?
Because until he became the Buddha he hadn't eliminated craving.
Craving leads to clinging, clinging leads to becoming, becoming leads to birth.
how did he know they were his? What defines them as his?
Do you remember your childhood? If so, why do you call it your childhood? Because your current existence(...
Anatta means that there is no permanent self, not that there is no self at all. That would be just silly and contradict observation. Imagine the self as a car. Every day one part of the car is replaced with another. One day the right headlight, the other day the windscreen, the third day the rear left wheel. And so on. At some point, all the pieces of the ...
Before we can pick a translation we must understand what it is that we are translating.
Prefix an- is a simple negation.
Hindu concept of Atman should not be confused with Aham (the simple reflexive "I", "ego" or "self") nor with Jiva (the vitality that makes an animate being an animate being). Atman means "inner spirit" or "core" and refers ...
Short Answer: Use "I" like you always did, but be mindful of what it does (and doesn't) refer to.
It isn't that "I" doesn't exist; rather, it doesn't exist in the way we normally think it does. "I" does not denote a stable, independent entity that is "us".
However, "I" does exist in another sense; it's Conventionally Real. For instance, ...
Not all forms of Buddhism define emptiness in the way you describe; in Theravada Buddhism, for example, emptiness mainly means "empty of self":
“katamā cāvuso, suññatā cetovimutti”?
“idhāvuso, bhikkhu araññagato vā rukkhamūlagato vā suññāgāragato vā iti paṭisañcikkhati — ‘suññamidaṃ attena vā attaniyena vā’ti. ayaṃ vuccatāvuso, suññatā cetovimutti”.
From Ven. Bodhi's excellent short essay "Dhamma Without Rebirth?":
The aim of the Buddhist path is liberation from suffering, and the Buddha makes it abundantly clear that the suffering from which liberation is needed is the suffering of bondage to samsara, the round of repeated birth and death. To be sure, the Dhamma does have an aspect which is directly ...
As I understand, Mahayana's shunyata (noun, because shunya is adjective) includes all Three Characteristics of Existence, as well as Nirvana (sometimes counted as the fourth!)
In this sense, Shunyata is the all-encompassing view, and as close as it gets to Ultimate Truth, while Anatta is but one aspect of this truth.
"I'm just trying to understand the concept of anatta better here. Buddhism tells me there is the concept of no-self (anatta) [...] (correct me if I'm wrong)."
I'll quote @suminda's sucint description of anatta here:
Saying there is no self is a bit of a mistranslation or abbreviated translation. A better translation would be "there is nothing you can ...
It is 'anatta' that means our inability to control the five aggregate, as found in the Pali as follows, where the word 'anicca' is not found at all:
Rūpaṃ, bhikkhave, anattā. Rūpañca hidaṃ, bhikkhave, attā abhavissa, nayidaṃ rūpaṃ ābādhāya saṃvatteyya, labbhetha ca rūpe: ‘evaṃ me rūpaṃ
hotu, evaṃ me rūpaṃ mā ahosī’ti. Yasmā ca kho, bhikkhave, rūpaṃ
i express anger or sadness, i should look to detach or disassociate
myself from such emotions.
Not! Stop hypothesizing and simply observe the events/experience at their unsullied form.
When you say "I express anger", it's already sullied. You have assumed the existence of an 'I'. Anger is anger. So simply notice it as anger. Not 'I'! Same with sadness and ...
If someone can realize Anatman then is this not basically the whole teaching?
It's certainly a great step forward on the path, but it is not the whole teaching.
This is the whole teaching.
That was a joke! But seriously, there is no truly objective answer to your question. Anattā is just one slice of one of the many pies of Buddhism. As a "mark of ...
It is wrong view because of the "I" (bolded): "I have no self". This view still believes in self. It thinks: "myself has no self". This is the wrong view of the befuddled wanderer Vacchagotta in SN 44.10.
This wrong view is similar to the nihilistic view in MN 102, where it states:
Just as a dog bound by a leash tied to a post or pillar keeps running and ...
If you want to know the truth about reality, you have to learn how to make impartial observations of nature. When you ask questions like "Who is waking up? Who is witnessing?", you have already made the assumption that there is an entity involved. The moment you do that, you drift away from reality and the experiment becomes biased. It's the same as asking "...
I think the doctrine is saying that you shouldn't "identify yourself" at all. Quoting from this answer
"You may well accept, monks, the assumption of a self-theory from the acceptance of which there would not arise sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief, and despair. (But) do you see, monks, any such assumption of a self-theory?" — "No, Lord." — "Well, ...
According to my present (non-sectarian) teacher, the way the Three Marks are to be used is not simply as dogma to be mindful of, but rather as a tool for enquiry into our psyche -- our attachments, or preconceptions.
The way to use Three Marks for enquiry into preconceptions is to try accepting one Mark at a time and see what resistance it causes.
Is there a better (than Wikipedia) explanation why we should not reflect on these questions?
Perhaps a better explanation is the Sabbasava Sutta itself.
The 'unwise reflections' are diverse (16 if you count them) opinions about the 'self':
"This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was ...
When speaking in conventional terms, i.e. "my, mine, they, others, people etc." we are dealing with conventional reality. Here concepts such as "a man, woman, an animal, a Self" etc. exist.
When instead we turn to ultimate reality we realize that there is no such thing as concepts. They are not findable in ultimate reality. They have no real point of ...
Very good question.
Buddhist meditation is based on the understanding of the mechanism of arising and cessation of suffering. Suffering arises whenever there is a conflict between "is" and "should". Craving for any "should" because of attachment to that (usually to a concept within a framework) is the generator of suffering. Letting go of the "should", or ...
In short , was something ever done by me?
Conventionally speaking, yes.
Ultimately speaking, no.
Be aware that no matter how hard you try to understand this intellectually, it will never happen.
Anatta can only be grasped truly and completely through the practice of Vipassana meditation.
This is the problem with mixing up ultimate reality with conventional reality. In ultimate reality, the cat does not exist. What is real is the tactile experience of the touch. That experience is an instance of the 5 aggregates arising due to causes. The experience is impermanent, unsatisfactory and non-self.
'Container' is only a concept in the mind. It ...
I would add to this, that in the reception of these two terms, there is a difference. While the two terms are possibly used synonymously in the second sermon of the Buddha (compare the answers already given for this), the terminus technicus in early buddhism is anattā/anātman, being as one of the three marks of existence a claim of the Buddha which marks the ...
I think Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika is the work you are looking for. Just like Brahma-sutras does not mention specific Buddhist sutras it debates with, Mulamadhyamakakarika does not mention Brahma-sutras, but it does methodically address the same points.
As ancient texts go, Mulamadhyamakakarika is way too obscure to be brought in here and contrasted ...
A self wouldn't help in this case; a self is an untenable entity - it is permanent yet able to change to know multiple objects, an illogical paradox.
The very idea that a memory can be stored isn't tenable, because memories don't exist, just as "information" doesn't exist. The "information" stored in the brain or on a floppy disk isn't information, it's ...
I find it helps to try to relate things back to the core teachings: suffering, the cause of suffering, the extinction of suffering and the way to achieve that. So the relevant teaching here as I understand it is not "there is no self" but rather "clinging to a false sense of self causes suffering."
On its face, "there is no self" is patently false, much ...
No, anatta is not the key point of Buddhism, and Buddhism is not nondualism.
That would be too easy ;)
Shunyata, the Mahayana extrapolation of anatta principle, is getting closer.
If I had to pick one point to explain it all, I would say TATHATA.
Here is the simple answer to what you feel...
We are in constant pain and suffering.
As to lord Buddha
Eyes,Ears,Tongue,Nose,Body & Mind are Burning from three things (Lust,Anger,Confusion -[Raga,Dwesha,Moha]). But the one who practice and realize escape the burning forever,he is free.
So here's what is happening to you...
Now that you have ...
You should not believe or hold a view that:
there is a self
there is not self
But whatever you consider as self is not worthy of being called self as:
you cannot control it to your will
it is impermanent
Since if you take a being as parts in terms of the 5 aggregates or 6 faculties each part which constitute a being is not self. E.g. the eye is not self, ...
Acts of cognition do not require a "cogniser, a subject" that knows (apart from the mind itself), because consciousness belongs to the body & mind.
The original question contains an implicit assumption that is invalid.
Cognition results from consciousness; just as a mirror reflects without a self.
Buddhism explains there are five aggregates (khandha) ...
Buddha did not teach that things exist (that's one extreme) or that things do not exist (that's another extreme). Buddha teaches that things exist to some extent, in some context, relative to some frame of reference – and do not exist in other contexts. It's the same with the "self".