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January 15, 2013

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Alexander Duncan (Tseten Thokmey): Thanks so much! Please keep in touch.

Bravo. I have studied the Pali Canon intensively and, without reference to any particular school of thought, have concluded exactly what you have stated: it is logically impossible that the Buddha abandoned the concept of self, in the sense of any possible interpretation of that word. Rather, he abandoned two things: the concept of soul (atta) in Indian tradition, and the concept of a self that is exclusive. Way too many people in Buddhist study groups in my experience get all giggly and excited over reassuring each other that they do not exist! This blog speaks the truth.

I see what you guys are saying when it comes to the Buddhas 'self' as said in this khema sutta:
"Any feeling... Any perception... Any mental fabrication...

"Any consciousness by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Freed from the classification of consciousness, great king, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the ocean. 'The Tathagata exists after death' doesn't apply. 'The Tathagata doesn't exist after death doesn't apply. 'The Tathagata both exists and doesn't exist after death' doesn't apply. 'The Tathagata neither exists nor doesn't exist after death' doesn't apply."

Apologies.

Gassho,

Anthony

Thanks, I understand what you are saying in your views, I am still learning, I must learn to let go of even my own view. There must be a self, but an eternal self is hard to see because of impermanence. When I'm at work my mechanic self arises. When I'm at home with my wife and kids a husband/father self arises. When I am trying to understand dharma a student/listener self arises. So the self is a is something to be utilized. I have not died yet to find out what happens, but seeing the self which arises when I'm ticked off, knowing “This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self”
Helps me to cling less. Or I could just be under the dumb forum Buddhist category, Haha. Nah I will continue to listen to everyone's comments, study dharma and find my Buddhism. Thanks.

Anthony: still, both extremes are not the same according to the Lankavatara Sutra. That is to say, even if both are wrong, it's better to be wrong in one way than the other (nihilism is worse than eternalism, they're not equivalent):

"Mahamati, this is why I say it is better to believe in a self as big as Mount Sumeru than to give rise to the vain and empty view of nothingness. Mahamati, the vanity of nothingness is what characterizes nihilists."

This suggests that while both views are incomplete, one (eternalism) is still somehow closer to the truth than the other.

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