« Emptiness in early Buddhism | Main | Shangri-La Buddhism »

March 04, 2013


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The problem in early Buddhism is not the self but what we assume to be the self, namely, the five khandhas, so that we cling to them and cause our rebirth. On this matter which I addressed Erich Frauwallner observes:

"He [the Buddha] does not say that we should know the true self, but that we must not regard as the self (âtmâ, P. attâ) that which is not the self. For otherwise craving clings to this false self, and thus brings about an entanglement in the cycle of beings."

What Vasubandhu has to say about the self and the skandhas doesn't seem to reflect the understanding of the five khandhas and the self in early Buddhism.

Dear Zennist,

Thank you for a very thoughtful and well-researched blog. There are not that many of them out there that deal as well with these issues of buddhism.

However, isn't the point of associating the skandhas with Mara that we should not cling to them? The product of clinging being the conception of a self?

The only reason I ask is that I usually understand Vasubandhu to be defending the existence of some sort of substratum underlying the erroneous view of subject and object. In that sense wouldn't Rinzai and Vasubandhu be pretty much in agreement?

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