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15 votes

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? 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 ...
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12 votes

If anatta is a reality, then how do you explain Volition or Will?

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 ...
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9 votes
Accepted

What is the best translation of Anatta into English?

CORELESSNESS 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 ...
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9 votes
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If i am the result of an aggregate, how does one refer to oneself?

Short Answer: Use "I" like you always did, but be mindful of what it does (and doesn't) refer to. Longer Answer: It isn't that "I" doesn't exist; rather, it doesn't exist in the way we normally ...
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9 votes

How can the theory of emptiness be true and yet the self still transmigrates and takes rebirth?

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, ...
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9 votes

Is rebirth essential to Buddhist philosophy?

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 ...
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  • 9,473
8 votes

What is the difference between non-self and emptiness?

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 ...
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8 votes

Hesitation between Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta

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 ...
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7 votes
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The actualization of Anatta

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 ...
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7 votes

Is Anatman the most important concept in Buddhism?

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 ...
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  • 1,099
7 votes

Should I identify myself as formless?

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[27] from the acceptance of which ...
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6 votes
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Keeping in mind impermanence, suffering and non-self

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 ...
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6 votes

Why are the 16 Unwise Reflections ("shall I exist in future" etc.) considered unwise?

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 ...
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6 votes

Have any Buddhist thinkers responded to the critique of the Brahma Sutras?

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 ...
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6 votes

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

You should not believe or hold a view that: there is a self there is no self But whatever you consider as self is not worthy of being called self as: you cannot control it to your will it is ...
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6 votes
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Questions about strong acceptance of rebirth?

The question is basically, why is belief in literal rebirth (reincarnation) a problem. I won't address every OP point here, just make four theses: Rebirth is self. Self is rebirth. Whenever there is ...
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6 votes
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How does *Buddhist* meditation differ from others and lead to awakening?

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". ...
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6 votes
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Why is there no self in the container of the 5 aggregates?

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 ...
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5 votes

What is the difference between non-self and emptiness?

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 ...
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  • 1,524
5 votes

If anatta is a reality, then how do you explain Volition or Will?

If decision making is a self, why do you regret certain decisions you have made? You should be able to make all good decisions in life. Why is decision making affected by craving, aversion and ...
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5 votes

Without an enduring quid between lifes, how to explain past life recalling?

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 ...
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  • 23.8k
5 votes

Understanding anatta via "there are no computer programs" analogy

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 ...
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