Buddhists in the West can easly become blinkered and entrenched in certain views about Buddhism which lead to some very wrong opinions about Buddhism. The most salient example of a very wrong opinion is that the Buddha denied the ātman (generally translated as "self" even though it doesn't mean self etymologically) when he did not. In fact, I will go so far as to say that the first noble truth of suffering pertains to what is not the ātman or in Sanskrit, anātman (often transl. into English as nonself or not-self).
First of all we have to understand just what is the first noble truth of suffering. It is the Five Aggregates that are subject to clinging that is the noble truth of suffering or in Sanskrit, Ārya-satyāni. The Pali Nikayas record the Buddha saying:
"And what, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of suffering? It should be said: the five aggregates subject to clinging; that is, the form aggregates subject to clinging [to] the consciousness aggregate subject to clinging. This is called the noble truth of suffering" (S. v. 425).
In other words each of the aggregates is suffering. Now the question we must ask, are the aggregates ātman or not the ātman (S., anātman/P., anattā)? Again, here is what the Pali Nikayas tell us:
"At Sāvathī. "Monks, form is not the ātman [in Sanskrit and Pali, anātman, anattā]. The cause and condition for the arising of form is also not the ātman. As form has originated from what is not the ātman, how could it be ātman? Feeling is not the ātman. . . . Perception is not the ātman. . . . Volitional formations are not the ātman. . . . Consciousness is not the ātman. The cause and condition for the arising of consciousness is also not the ātman. As consciousness has originated from what is not the ātman, how could it be ātman? Seeing thus . . . He understands: ' . . . there is no more of this state of being" (S. iii. 24).
We discover that each individual aggregate is not the ātman which is also suffering. Can we conclude, by implication, that the first noble truth of suffering is what is not the ātman or in English, not-self? Yes we can. Logic and reason dictate that the first noble truth of suffering is actually not-self. Nowhere has the Buddha taught that the first noble truth is, in anyway, connected with the ātman. On the other hand, the Buddha has certainly taught that the Five Aggregates are the first noble truth of suffering each of which is not the ātman. From this we might also conclude that the cause or origin of suffering is clinging to whatever is not the ātman.