The buddhist no self doctrine philosophy essay

The Buddha emphasized both karma and anatta doctrines. The tradition, states Collins, has "insisted fiercely on anatta as a doctrinal position", while in practice it may not play much of a role in the daily religious life of most Buddhists. First, they apply the "no-self, no-identity" doctrine to all phenomena as well as any and all objects, yielding the idea that "all things are not-self" sabbe dhamma anatta. The liberated nirvana state, states Collins, is the state of Anatta, a state that is neither universally applicable nor can be explained, but can be realized.

The buddhist no self doctrine philosophy essay

Katie Javanaud asks whether there is a contradiction at the heart of Buddhism.


Two of the most fundamental doctrines of Buddhism are firstly that the self is illusory, and secondly that we can achieve liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth to reach a state of peace called Nirvana.

From the perspective of Western philosophy, it may appear inconsistent to claim both that there is no self and that Nirvana can nonetheless be attained, for who or what attains liberation if there is no self in need of liberation?

Although this is a common objection to Buddhism, to consider its validity we must explore the concept of Nirvana more fully in order to understand the liberation it offers.

We will also need to examine the notion that there is no self, a notion which is inherently difficult to accept, but has been held by a number of philosophers, notably David Hume. The doctrine is certainly asserted by Buddhism, and was strongly implied by sermons of the Buddha himself see verse 7 of the Dhammapada, or the Alagaddupama-Sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya.

The buddhist no self doctrine philosophy essay

However, as we shall see, one difficulty with this stance is that it seems to require those who hold it to abandon the demands of reason for a position which is defended without recourse to the usual methods of philosophical enquiry.

What would result from the discovery of either the compatibility or the incompatibility of the two doctrines?

However, as I argue, in offering a complete liberation from suffering, Buddhism is highly optimistic. Abandoning a belief in an enduring self is a natural step for any Buddhist paying close attention to the constant flux occurring in the world. I shall in fact offer two answers to the title question; which one we accept will depend on our attitude towards the claims of logic.

The Self That Buddhism Denies What is the nature of the self that Buddhists deny, and how can they justify this claim? This position is discussed in the Milindapanha or Questions of King Milinda c. Milinda is shocked to hear the monk Nagasena deny the existence of a self, and asks whether each of the bodily parts of Nagasena and then each of his mental constituents constitute his self.

To each question Nagasena replies negatively. To each of these Milinda too replies negatively. The self Buddhists deny would have to meet the following criteria: Yet through empirical investigation, Buddhists conclude that there is no such thing. So, could there be something outside the skandhas that constitutes the self?

This exhaustiveness claim amounts to asserting that every element or aspect of a person is accounted for by the five skandhas. Objectors to the exhaustiveness claim often argue that for discovering the self the Buddhist commitment to empirical means is mistaken.

Buddha (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

True, we cannot discover the self in the five skandhas, precisely because the self is that which is beyond or distinct from the five skandhas. Whereas Buddhists deny the self on grounds that, if it were there, we would be able to point it out, opponents of this view, including Sankara of the Hindu Advaita Vedanta school, are not at all surprised that we cannot point out the self; for the self is that which does the pointing rather than that which is pointed at.

Buddha defended his commitment to the empirical method on grounds that, without it, one abandons the pursuit of knowledge in favour of speculation. Rahula, What The Buddha Taught, p The argument from impermanence relies on the exhaustiveness claim, whose validity is implicit in the premises of the argument.

The argument can be summarized thus: The five skandhas are impermanent. If there was a self, it would be permanent. A person is no more than the five skandhas this is the exhaustiveness claim. Therefore there is no self. This argument is logically sound.

The buddhist no self doctrine philosophy essay

However, the truth of the conclusion depends on premise 3. Could there be something transcending the five skandhas which should be recognized as a self?Buddhism and No-Self Essay Words 8 Pages Eastern enlightenment religions have been gaining popularity throughout the western world for the past few decades, with many people attracted to a "different" way of experiencing religion.

The Buddhist concept of "no-self" is an essential element on the path to spiritual freedom presented by the Buddha Gautama Siddhartha Sakyamuni. It is claimed by many Buddhists that at the age of thirty-five Siddhatta achieved samyaksambodhi, a state of supreme enlightenment, while meditating under a tree.

Some Buddhist traditions assert that "no self" doctrine means that there is no perduring self, but there is avacya (inexpressible) self which migrates from one life to another. The majority of Buddhist traditions, in contrast, assert that vijñāna (a person's consciousness) though evolving, exists as a continuum and is the mechanistic basis of.

Philosophy. Buddhist Ethics. Topics: Compare the ideas of Self (ātman) found in the Upaniṣads with the Buddhist concept of no-Self (anātman) The early Upanisadic notion of the Atman, a permanent, How Is the Great Compassion Mantra Critical for Disseminating the Buddhist Doctrine Essay.

In Buddhist philosophy, materialism is despised. No-Âtman: There is no Self (, âtman) in Buddhism, either as an essence or as a substance. Phenomena are only "provisional existence" to Buddhism, and the Buddhist doctrine of no enduring Self could easily be .

After distinguishing between a metaphysical and a contemplative strategy interpretation of the no-self doctrine, I argue that the latter allows for the illumination of significant and under-discussed Kantian affinities with Buddhist views of the self and moral psychology.

Is The Buddhist ‘No-Self’ Doctrine Compatible With Pursuing Nirvana? | Issue 97 | Philosophy Now