I read Florin Giripescu Sutton’s book quite a few years ago. I use it like a reference book now. The title of his book is, Existence and Enlightenment in the Lankavatara-sutra. I think it is a very useful book for the advanced student who is at the stage of trying to look for the trunk of the tree and its root—not interested in leaf collecting! (Yep, it is autumn and the leaves are beautiful from where I am—I was just out sweeping a few.)
I have picked out some passages from pages 94 and 95 that refer to the ātman. I want the reader of this blog to see first hand that Buddhism is not preaching there is no ātman. The brackets are mine. Sutton didn’t include the Sanskrit, but I thought it should be included.
The best of speakers points out that the originally clear mind (citta), along with the defilements, (such as) pride, etc., are united within the Self (ātman).
The clear Self [ātmā prabhāsvaraḥ] has been soiled by primal and adventitious defilements and (therefore) is regarded like a soiled garment which has been washed off.
As the destruction of dust in a garment, or as the gold is free from its impurities, they (the garment and the gold) are not destroyed (completely), but remain as they are (clean, pure); so is the Self (ātman) freed from its defilements.
Indeed, as the womb cannot be seen by the woman who feels it, in the very same manner he who lacks wisdom cannot see the Self (ātman) among the personality aggregates (skandhas).
Needless to say, there will be some people who don’t agree with this. They will manage to find something to contradict these passages. But whatever they find, it won't abrogate what I’ve submitted. There are other passages in the Lankavatara that are very explicit; which state that,
"Those who propound the doctrine of non-Self [nairātmya-vādino] are to be shunned in the religious rites of the monks, and not to be spoken to, for they are offenders of the Buddhist doctrines…"(p. 98).