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The theory of no soul in Buddhism

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The theory of no soul in Buddhism
Buddhism stands uniquely in history of human thought rejecting the existence of such a soul, self or Atman.
The Buddha said the idea of self or Atman in an imaginary false belief which has no corresponding reality and its produces such harmful thoughts of “Me” and “Mine” selfish desire, craving, attachment, hatred, will, conceit, pride egoism and other defilements, impurities and problems. It is the source of all the troubles in the world from personal conflicts to wars between nations. In short to this false view car be forced all the evil in the world.
Two ideas are psychologically deep rooted in man such as self-protection and preservation. For self-protection man has created God in whom he should depends for his own protection, safety and security, just as a child depends on their parents. For self-preservation man has conceived the idea of an immortal soul or Atman, which will live eternally.
The Buddha’s teaching does not support this ignorance weakness, fear, and desire but aims of making man enlightened by removing and destroying them, striking at their very root. According to Buddhism, our ideas of self and soul are false and empty. The Buddha knows this quite well and the Buddha’s teaching was to against the current (patisotagami) against man’s selfish desire four weeks after his enlightenment, seated under the Banyan tree, he thought to himself. I have realized this truth which is deep, difficult to see, difficult to understand… understandable only by the wise, men who are overpowered by passions and surrounded by mass of darkness cannot see this truth which is deep and profound difficult to comprehend. With these thoughts in his mind the Buddha hesitated for a moment whether it would not be in vain if he tried to explain to the world the truth he had just realized. Then he compared the world to the lotus pond, “in the lotus pond there are some lotuses still under water, and there are others which have risen only up to the water level and there are other stand above water are untouched by it. In the same way in this world, there are men at different levels of development. Some would understand the truth. So the Buddha decided to teach the doctrine to the people.
The doctrine of Atman or no soul is the natural result of the five aggregates and the teaching of co-origination (paticcasamapŒda). In the first noble truth (Dukkha) what we call a being or an individual is composed of the five aggregates, and when these five aggregates analyzed and examined there is nothing behind them, which can be taken as “I”, Atman, or self and any unchanging things.
The theory of dependent origination is to show that everything is relative, interdependent, and everything is conditioned. So whatever interdependent and inter-relative that is impermanence and subject to change.
The principle of this doctrine is given below;
When this is, that is (Imasmin sati idam hoti).
This arising, that arises (Imassa upŒdŒ idam uppajjati)
When this is not, that is not (Imasain asati idam na hoti)
This ceasing that ceases (Imassa nirodha idam nirujja hati)
On the principle of dependent origination, consisting of twelve factors; though ignorance are conditioned volitional actions or Karma formations (Avijjapaccaya samkŒrŒ samkhŒrapaccaya vi––Œnam……….etc.)
It should be clearly remembered that each of these factors is conditioned paticcasamuppanna as well as conditioning and therefore they are all relative, interdependent and interconnected, and nothing is absolute and independent. In order to avoid confusion it should be mentioned here that there are two truths, conventional truth (Sammati sacca) and ultimate truth (paramatha sacca). When we use such expressions in our daily life as “I” “you” being, individual, etc we do not lie because there is no self or being as such but we speak a truth conforming to the convention of the world. But the ultimate truth is there is no “I” or “being” in realty, conventionally there is a being but not in reality. In the Dhammapada there are three verses extremely important and essential in the Buddha’s teaching. (No 5,6,and 7 of chapter xx or verses 277, 278, 279). The first two verses say, “All Dhammas are without self (sabba dhammŒ anattŒ). Here it should be carefully observed that in the first two verses the word samkhŒrŒ (conditioned things) is used but in the third verses the word dhamma is used. Why did not the third verse use the word samkhŒrŒ conditioned things as the previous two verses, and why did it use the term dhamma instead? The term samkhara denotes the five aggregates all conditioned, interdependent, relative things and states, both physical and mental.
In the Alagaddupama Sutta of the M. N. addressing his disciples, the Buddha said; “O bikkhus, accept a soul theory (AttavŒda) in the acceptance of which there would not arise grief, lamentation, suffering, distress and tribulation. But do you see, see O Bikkhus such a soul theory in the acceptance of which there would not arise grief, lamentation, suffering, distress and tribulation? Certainly not sir, good Bikkhus, I too do not see a soul theory in the acceptance of which there would not arise grief, lamentation, suffering, distress. If there had been any soul theory which the Buddha had accepted he would certainly have explained it here, because he asked the bikkhus to accept that soul theory which did not produce suffering. But in the Buddha’s view, there is no such subtle and sublime is false and imaginary, aerating all kinds of problems producing in its train grief, lamentation, suffering etc.
In the same sutta, the Buddha said O Bikkhus when neither self nor anything pertaining to self can truly and really be found, the view permanent soul, everlasting and unchanging etc completely foolish.
Those who seek a self in the Buddha’s teaching quote a few examples which they first translate wrongly and then misinterpreted, one of them is the well know line “AttŒ hi attano natho” (dhammapada XII, 4 V 160) translated as “self is the lord of self” this interpretation is incorrect. AttŒ here does not mean self in the sense of soul and natho dose not mean lord but refuge, support help, protection. Therefore, AttŒ hi attano nŒtho really mean “one is one’s own refuge” or one is one’s own help or support. It has nothing to do with any metaphysical soul or self it simply means you rely on yourself, and not others.
In the Mahaparinibba satta of the D,N. it has mentioned that just before the demise of the Buddha three months, when the Buddha was eighty years old he thought that it was not proper for him to die without breaking it to his disciples who were near and dear to him, so with the fully courage and determination he bore his pain, got the better of his illness though his health was still poor and so on.
The Buddha full of compassion and human feeling and gently spoke to his devoted and beloved attendant “Ananda what does the order expect from me? I have taught the Dhamma without any distinction, with regard to the truth, the Buddha has nothing like closed fist of a teacher (acariya mutthi). Therefore, Ananda dwell making yourselves, your island (support) making the Dhamma your refuge, nothing else your refuge”. What the Buddha wanted to convey to Ananda is quite obvious that he gave him consolation, courage and confident saying that they should depend on themselves and the Dhamma he taught, and not on anyone else. The wanderer named Vacchagotta asked him whether there was an Atman or not. He comes to the Buddha and asks.
“ Venerable Gotama, is there an Atman? Is there no Atman? The Buddha was silent, and Vacchagotta get up and goes away”. After he left Ananda asked the Buddha why he did not answer Vacchagotta’s questions, and the Buddha explained, Ananda if I had answered “there is a self” then Ananda that would be siding with those recluses and BrŒhmanas who hold the externalists theory (sassata vŒda) and when asks “is there no soul? I answered there is no soul it against to those who hold the annihilationist theory (ucchedavŒ). And when asks, is there a self? If I answered there is a self would that be accordance with my knowledge that all Dhammas are with out self
The Buddha did not answer all the questions immediately and he did not answer questions to show his knowledge and intelligence but to help the questioners in the way to realization. He always spoke to people bearing in mind their standard of development; their mental make up, their capacity to understand a particular question. There are four ways of answering questions.
  1. Some should be answered directly.
  2. Should be answered by ways of analyzing them.
  3. Should be answered by counter questions
  4. Some questions should be put aside.
The Buddha says what we call “I” or being is only a combination of physical and mental aggregates which are working together interdependently in a flux of momentary change within the law of cause and effect and there is nothing permanent, everything, and eternal in the whole of existence. Because the five aggregates are combining with each other and whatsoever interrelated is subject to changed and not eternal. So it is the false believe when they hold the view that soul is everlasting forever, and Buddhism completely against to this theory.

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