Pali terms in this page are created with Unicode CN-Times font. That they are not self becomes evident through their characteristics. There is a query in the Sutta, "Is it fitting to consider as a self that which is subject to change? When these characteristics are observed as they occur, the knowledge develops that the corporeal and mental aggregates are not self but mere phenomena. According to that Commentary, such exclamations as "Oh, impermanent, transient," readily come to mind when a pot is accidentally dropped and broken. Again, when afflicted with boils or sores or pricked by thorns, we readily murmur, "Oh what pain, what suffering.
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Pali terms in this page are created with Unicode CN-Times font. That they are not self becomes evident through their characteristics. There is a query in the Sutta, "Is it fitting to consider as a self that which is subject to change?
When these characteristics are observed as they occur, the knowledge develops that the corporeal and mental aggregates are not self but mere phenomena. According to that Commentary, such exclamations as "Oh, impermanent, transient," readily come to mind when a pot is accidentally dropped and broken.
Again, when afflicted with boils or sores or pricked by thorns, we readily murmur, "Oh what pain, what suffering. But just as an object lying in the dark is hard to explain to others, the characteristic of nonself is not easily understood. The characteristics of impermanence and unsatisfac-toriness are well known both inside and outside the Buddhist teaching, but the characteristic of not-self is known only in the Buddhist Dispensation.
If they could only teach this doctrine, their disciples would have attained the knowledge of the Path and Fruition, but since they could not teach it, attainment of Path and Fruition was impossible for them. It is the unique quality or attribute of the Exalted Enlightened Ones to be able to teach and explain the doctrine of not-self.
Teachers outside of the Dispensation are not up to the subtlety and profundity of this doctrine. The Commentary states that the doctrine of not-self is so deep that even the Enlightened Ones had to employ either the characteristics of impermanence or the characteristics of suffering, or both, to facilitate its teaching.
The Sub-Commentary further explains: "In the above statement of the Commentary, the anicca and dukkha known outside the Dispensation are mere conventional terms, they cannot be used as means for realizing not-self. Only the anicca and dukkha realized in the absolute sense can be used in explaining the doctrine of nonself. According to this Sutta, the meditator should know the following six classes of six: 1.
Six internal bases of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind 2. Six external bases of sight, sound, odor, taste, touch and mental impressions 3. Six kinds of consciousnesses: eye-, ear-, nose- tongue-, body- and mind-consciousness 4.
Six kinds of phassa, sense contact, through eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind 5. Six kinds of feeling through eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind 6. And if liking or craving for the object develop with seeing, that desire should also be noted as "liking, liking. To the meditator who is aware of these, the knowledge is gained personally that eye, visible sight and eye consciousness arise and cease. The meditator realizes, "Previously, I thought that there is a permanent entity, an enduring self.
Now I see by actual observation that there is only the natural phenomenon of incessant arising and vanishing. Realization that there is no self is attained through fully understanding the nature of impermanence. In corroboration of this practical experience, the Blessed One continued in this Chachakka Sutta: "The sensitive material quality of the eye, which serves as the base for eye consciousness, arises and vanishes on every occasion of seeing; it is not, therefore, permanent, not the enduring, everlasting entity, the self, it seems to be.
Therefore, it must be concluded that the unenduring material quality of the eye is not self. This is how the six phenomena which become prominent at the moment of seeing are to be regarded as not self.
In a similar manner, the six kinds of phenomena which are apparent at the moments of hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking may also be regarded as not-self. What is not permanent is suffering. What is suffering is not self. It is not proper to regard as "mine" what is really not self; it is not proper to think vainly of oneself as "I am, I can In a similar manner, feeling, perception, volitional formations and consciousness are also shown to be not self by their characteristics of impermanence and suffering.
At the time of the Buddha, a certain wandering recluse by the name of Saccaka came to the Blessed One and disputed with him on this subject. What are his chief instructions? We have heard that Recluse Gotama has been teaching this doctrine of not-self, to hear which is evil, unpropitious for us.
One of these days I may have an opportunity to meet with Recluse Gotama and rid him of this wicked, odious doctrine of his, the wrong view of nonself. The wandering recluse even talked about ridding the Blessed One of his "wrong view.
Such people who are reviling others are usually found to be deficient in their knowledge of the texts and to have little practical experience of meditation. Yet he held a poor opinion of it and felt himself very much above it. Therefore, he attempted to go to the Blessed One and engage him in debate. He then asked, "Venerable Gotama, how are your disciples instructed? What are the main points in your instructions? In this way I instruct my disciples. These are the main points of my teaching.
Likewise one depends on feeling, perception, volitional formations and consciousness as substantial self and depends on feeling, perception, volitional formations and consciousness for both wholesome and unwholesome deeds.
Trees need the firm support of the earth; similarly, wholesome and unwholesome deeds are performed by individuals having form, feeling, perception, volitional formations and consciousness as self; it is dependent on these "selves" that deeds are carried out. Also, it is the self that reaps the fruits good or bad of these deeds. Were material form not self, where would be the support for the performance of wholesome and unwholesome deeds, and who would reap their fruits?
It was beyond the intellectual scope of the disciples to solve this doctrinal matter of self likened to the earth. Only the Blessed One could handle the problem. So says the Commentary. Accordingly, the Blessed One, intending to tackle the problem personally, asked of the wanderer, "Saccaka, do you hold that material form is self, feeling is self, perception is self, volitional formations are self, consciousness is self?
He was thus forced to admit that he held that "material form is self, feeling is self, perception is self, volitional formations are self, consciousness is self. They rule over their countries as they will; is this not a fact, Saccaka? The doctrine of self holds that one can exercise control as one wills. At this juncture, Saccaka had admitted that sovereign kings had complete control over their kingdoms; it appeared that he would have to admit that the body, which he regarded as self, would be amenable to management.
If he did that, there would come the further question whether he could exercise control over his body so as to keep it youthful like the bodies of the Licchavi princes. If he replied that it could not be managed, then that would amount to admitting that there could be no control over the body and therefore it could not be self. Finding himself in this dilemma, Saccaka kept silent and gave no answer. The Blessed One repeated the question for the second time, but Saccaka remained silent.
It is not the time to remain silent. The ogre was visible only to the Blessed One and Saccaka, not to others. It is somewhat like the ghost manifestations of the present day, which are visible to some, invisible to others.
Saccaka was terrified by the sight of the ogre; but when he saw the rest of the audience undisturbed in any way, he realized that the ogre was not visible to them. He could not, therefore, claim that he was forced to answer the way he did, being threatened by the ogre.
He knew also that he had no other refuge but the Blessed One to whom, therefore, he submitted: "May it please the Blessed One to put the question; I am ready to answer. He had said that material form is self; if material form were self, it should be amenable to control. Now he was saying that there was no control over material form, thus, in effect, admitting that material form is not self.
When the Blessed One heard him contradicting himself, he cautioned Saccaka: "Aggivessana, take heed, be careful with what you say. What you said later is not in accord with what you have said earlier.
What you have said earlier is not in accord with what you said later. Now, Aggivessana, what do you think? Saccaka provided similar answers, saying there was no control over each of them.
Then the Blessed One asked him whether material form is permanent or impermanent. He answered, "Impermanent, Sir. The same questions were repeated with regard to feeling, perception, volitional formations and consciousness, and Saccaka gave similar replies.
Then the Buddha questioned him further: "Aggivessana, what do you think of this? Would it be possible for him to end suffering, to be rid of suffering? Saccaka provided the answers according to the questions asked: "Venerable Gotama, how could it be possible for him to know the truth of suffering or to end suffering? Impossible, Lord Gotama. He was very vain and boastful about it, but when examined by the Blessed One he was forced to admit the error of his views.
To give a final blow to his bloated ego, pride and vanity, the Blessed One gave this illustration: "Aggivessana, suppose there is a man who goes into the forest wanting some heartwood.
Seeing a plantain tree and expecting to find heartwood inside it, he fells the tree. Then he cuts off the top part of the tree and begins to peel off the outer skin.
He finds in the plantain trunk not even any outer wood fibre, not to mention inner heartwood. Even a lifeless wooden post, endowed with neither mind nor mental concomitants, when challenged by me in debate, would tremble and fall down, not to say a human being.
As it happens, some of the sweat from your brow has soaked through your upper robe and is dropping onto the ground. As for me, I have no sweat on my body.
The wanderer Saccaka, having nothing to say in reply, remained silent, embarrassed and crestfallen, with slumping shoulders and lowered head. Then one of his followers, a Licchavi prince by the name of Dummukha, rose and asked permission from the Blessed One to give an illustration.
On being permitted by the Blessed One, Dummukha, the Licchavi Prince, said, "Lord, there was a tank not far from the town, and there was a crab living in the tank. The young children came out from the town and, arriving at the tank, caught hold of the crab and placed it on land. The crab clumsily raised its claws and legs and waved them about. Every time the crab raised a claw or leg, the children would smash it off with sticks or broken pieces of pottery.
With its limbs thus crushed, the crab could not make its way back to the tank. There are now no more grounds for Saccaka to approach the Lord in debate. Seeing a situation developing in which the Licchavi princes would be one by one heaping disgrace on him, Saccaka decided to stop Dummukha from making further remarks: "Hold on Dummukha, we are having a discussion with the Venerable Gotama, not with you.
I wish to bring them to a close.
Pali terms in this page are created with Unicode CN-Times font. They hold to the view that there is such a thing as a soul, a living entity, which actually resides in all living creatures. What really exists, in the ultimate sense, is a continuous flux of corporeal and mental processes, impersonal phenomena. He first touched on the doctrine in his elaboration of the Four Noble Truths in the Dhammacakka Sutta. He touched on it again when he taught the Hemavata Sutta, explaining that "with the arising of the six sense bases, eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind there arises a world, a being. They did not go out, even for alms round. The Blessed One himself also stayed in the monastery to attend to their progress and assist them in removing the obstacles, hindrances and impurities that arise in the course of meditation practice.
Thus have I heard. If he lives the household life he will become a ruler, a wheel turning righteous monarch of the law, conqueror of the four quarters who has established the security of his realm and is possessed of the seven treasures. He has more than a thousand sons who are heroes, of heroic stature, conquerors of the hostile army. He dwells having conquered this sea-girt land without stick or sword, by the law. But if he goes forth from the household life into hermit life, then he will become an Arahant, a fully enlightened Buddha, one who draws back the veil from the world. He has feet with level tread.
Courtesy of Laksana Thai. In Theravada tradition, Anattalakkhana is of one of the most revered sutta or discourse or sermon by Lord Buddha. After this sermon Pancavaggiya monks, the first companions of Lord Buddha reached enlightenmen at the final state or Arhat. This book is intended for free distribution. By the first discourse, the Buddha set in motion the Wheel of the Law. He explained to the five ascetics why he had discarded the two extremes of indulgence and mortification; he declared that he had discovered the Middle Way, which is the Noble Eightfold Path leading to Enlightenment; he expounded the Four Noble Anattalakkhana Sutta Truths and convinced the five ascetics that he had attained Supreme Enlightenment.