According to the commentarial literature (Vibhanga Atthakatha, 49 f) only a Buddha knows what the self is not (anattâ/anâtman) such as material shape, feeling, perception, habitual tendencies, and consciousness which constitute the Five Aggregates.
While everyone knows the signs of impermanence and suffering, ordinary beings lack the ability to distinguish what the self is and is not.
Such beings do not even know that what is not their self is impermanent and suffering—and mortal. Nor do such beings realize that suffering, the first noble truth (arya-satya), is material shape, feeling, perception, habitual tendencies and consciousness. In addition, they don’t realize that spiritual separation from the just named aggregates is release from impermanence and suffering.
In their self-inflicted blindness, ordinary beings (P., puthujjana) are not adverse to constructing a counterfeit Buddhism led by the most spiritually blind of this deluded flock. Because of this, they have doomed themselves to endless samsara. These are some of the tenets of a counterfeit Buddhism which if any Buddhist believes them, they are far from true Buddhism.
- Nirvana is not transcendent.
- Samsara ends with the death of the psychophysical body.
- Consciousness does not transmigrate.
- Consciousness does not enter the womb.
- With the death of the psychophysical body there is no more self.
- There is only a conventional self that is reified.
- The cause of suffering is our ego.
- Buddhism is just a therapy that helps us deal with our lives.
- Buddhism is about learning to live in the here and now.
- The Buddha never really believed in karma and rebirth.