Author Topic: No Self  (Read 2349 times)

kde

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No Self
« on: September 19, 2010, 01:57:39 PM »
Dear all,
I notice Buddhism has no fixed Self or Atman. This seems totally opposite to Vedanta and what Sri Ramana talked about. I remember somewhere Ramana says "you are the Self nothing but the Self, anything else is just imagination". So Ramana seems very clear on this. Buddhism seems very dualistic in it's approach. Though I quite like it on a practical level. But I don't know a great deal about Buddhism, am I wrong in saying there is no Self in Buddhism?

I like to read the Upanishads, which are full of references to the Self. Upanishads were around in the Buddha's time. Am I in error here?   

matthias

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Re: No Self
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2010, 12:14:44 PM »
dear kde

let me try to explain the buddhist terminology.

in therevada (in the suttas or sutras) life has three characteristics: anicca, dukkha, anatta

anicca=impermanence: there is nothing that stays the same in samsara, everything is contantly chaning, nothing permanent here you see, one time in meditation you expereince bliss, after meditation its gone, one time your girlfriend makes you upset, one time happy, no phenomena is permanent.

dukkha=suffering: problem is we thing there is something permanent :) so we cling to this things and think they give us happiness, in fact they wont, so we suffer

and anatta (pali for skt.: anatman)=no self: you see everything always is in movement, flower grows and dies, thought comes and goes, our body transforms; now you look different then 20 years ago or not? So why think there is a personality somewhere? anatman means there is no persona anywhere, everything is without core or fixed point of reference that you could call a "permanent" self...why? because if you look there is no permanent self anywhere..everything changes

thats one way to explain, you also could say: look at this flower, it is a flower but its made of "non" flower parts: earth, sunshine, water, its constructed of things that are noflower...this is the thought of interdependence, other way to explain noself is to show that there is no part of a single phenomena that is not a composition of other things :)

here si alot of information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatman


thats traditional thought, nagarjuna the great buddhist scholar explains this a little different and then you have mahayana buddhism..

and the tantric or vajrayana buddhism doesnt speak so much about htis things, they speak about mahasukkha (great bliss) or clear light.

if you examine closely there is a fundamental differnce between buddhist teaching and vedanta, but also alot of familarites, I think studding both is very good for spiritual development but if you want to practice, just one path :)

much love
matthias

kde

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Re: No Self
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2010, 01:23:13 PM »
Dear matthias, thanks for your reply.

The three characteristics: anicca, dukkha, anatta, make a lot of sense. But anatta, I can understand no fixed self for the ego. It makes sense, the ego is a bunch of habits and tendency's repeating over and over, with no fixed centre. But the Self I have alway thought of as real and unchanging, beyond space/time. Or space/time occur within that fixed Self, as thought only. I gotta admit I have little real idea about this stuff.

My ideas of Vedanta and Buddhism are very different, but both need more study. I have been going along to a Buddhist study group, it's nice to meet people and talk about this stuff :). But most of my spiritual ideas are borrowed from Paul Brunton's writing. That's seems the most accessible source for me.   

matthias

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Re: No Self
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2010, 01:06:51 PM »
sure, whatever works works:)

the buddha didnt gave much ideas about nirvana, or what is real or unreal, whenever it came to this topics he remaind in silence :)

If you study and practice buddhism alittle bit (shamata vipassana or something like this) you should read this book, it is for free, just print it and read it, it will save you many years of wrong practice and hardship, its from an american buddhist monk who took a closer look to the sutras, and changed shamata vipassana to be more in tune with the buddhas teaching...very nice book

http://www.dhammasukha.org/Study/Books/Pdf/The%20Anapanasati%20Sutta%202.pdf

much love
matthias

« Last Edit: September 21, 2010, 01:21:56 PM by matthias »

Subramanian.R

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Re: No Self
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2010, 01:28:33 PM »

Dear kde,

matthias, who is the right person for writing about Buddhism has
done it nicely.

Buddhism and Hinduism are not different.  In the end point after
negating everything is impermanent, Buddhism says there is only
'sunya' or 'emptiness.'  Hinduism says that, it is not emptiness but
is full of Bliss.   The bliss cannot be described by those who have
not experienced Bliss.  Again, Bliss is not to be confused with other
forms of worldly joys and happiness.

All major Upanishads speak about the Self, about the impermanence of the world and body.  Maandukya Upanishad directly touches upon Bhagavan Ramana's teachings.  There is a commentary in Sanskrit
for this by Gaudapada, Sri Sankara's guru's guru, and English translations are available.

Arunachala Siva.   

kde

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Re: No Self
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2010, 11:18:43 PM »
Thanks to you both for replying. I have the pdf file and will give it a read though.

I always thought Buddha wouldn't have been to keen to talk about nirvana, as it would only be pointless speculation.
I really like the practical stuff, like what can I do now.  thanks