The Buddha is the only teacher of anatta

p.59 sammohavinodani (the dispeller of delusion)
241: "The characteristics of impermanence and pain are made known with or without the arising of the Tathaagatas. The characteristic of no-self is not made known without the arising of the Enlightened Ones; it is made known only on the arising of the Enlightened Ones. For such wanderers and ascetics (taapasa) as the master Sarabha.nga are mighty and powerful and are able to express ‘the impermanent and the painful’: [but] they are unable to express ‘no-self’. For if they were able to express ‘no-self’ in a present assembly, there would be penetration of path and fruition in the present assembly. For the making known of the characteristic of no-self is not the province of anyone else; it is the province of the Fully Enlightened Ones only. Thus the characteristic of no-self is unobvious. That is why the Master, when teaching the characteristic of no-self, taught it by means of impermanence or by means of pain or by means of both impermanence and pain. But here it should be understood that he taught it by means of both impermanence and pain.

"But it is owing to not keeping in mind, owing to non-penetration of what and owing to concealment by what that these characteristics do not appear? Firstly the characteristic of impermanence does not appear owing to not keeping in mind, not penetrating rise and fall owing to its being concealed by continuity (santati). The characteristic of pain does not appear owing to not keeping in mind, not penetrating continuous oppression and owing to its being concealed by postures (iriyaapatha). The characteristic of no-self does not appear owing to not keeping in mind, not penetrating the resolution into the various elements (naanaadhaatuvinibbhoga) owing to its being concealed by compactness. But when continuity is dissected by laying hold of rise and fall, the characteristic of impermanence appears in accordance with its true essential nature. When postures are exposed (ugghaa.tita) by keeping in mind continual oppression, the characteristic of pain appears in accordance with its true essential nature. When resolving of the compact (ghanavinibbhoga) is effected by resolution into the various elements, the characteristic of no-self appears in accordance with its true essential nature.

"And here the following difference should be understood: impermanence and the characteristic of impermanence, pain and the characteristic of pain, no-self and the characteristic of no-self.

"Herein, the five aggregates (pa~ncakkhandha) are impermanent. Why? Because they rise and fall and change, or because of their absence having been. Rise and fall and change are the characteristic of impermanence, or the mode of alteration (aakaaravikaara) called absence after having been.

"But those same five aggregates are painful because of the words ‘what is impermanent is painful’ (S iv 1). Why? Because of continual oppression. The mode of being continually oppressed is the characteristic of pain.

"But those same aggregates are no-self because of the words ‘what is painful is no-self’(S iv 1). Why? Because there is no exercising power over them. The mode of insusceptibility to having power exercised over them is the characteristic of no-self.

“That is why the impermanent, the painful and the no-self are one thing and the characteristics of impermanence, pain, and no-self are another. For that which consists of the five aggregates, the twelve bases, the eighteen elements is all impermanent, painful and no-self; the modes of alteration of the kind aforesaid are the characteristics of impermanence, pain and no-self.”

1 Like

the Sammohavinodanii (Vol. I, pp. 58-60):

"But what is taught by the Tathaagata in this Suttanta Division? The characteristic of no-self in the twelve bases. For the Fully Enlightened One, when teaching the characteristic of no-self, teaches it by means of the impermanent, or by means of suffering, or by means of [both] the impermanent and suffering.

"Herein, in the following sutta passage: ‘Should anyone assert that the eye is self, it would be untenable. The arising and passing away of the eye are obvious. But since its arising and passing away are obvious, he would thus have to conclude that ‘my self arises and passes away’, therefore it is untenable, … therefore the eye is no-self’ (M iii 282), he taught the characteristic of no-self by means of the impermanent.

"In the following sutta passage he taught the characteristic of no-self by means of suffering: 'Materiality, bhikkhus, is not the self. If materiality, bhikkhus, were the self, this materiality would not lead to sickness, and one would say of materiality: ‘Let my material form be thus; let my material form not be thus.’ But because, bhikkhus, materiality is not the self, therefore materiality leads to sickness and one cannot say of materiality: ‘Let my material form be thus; let my material form not be thus’ (S iii 67).

"In such passages as: ‘Materiality, bhikkhus, is impermanent; what is impermanent is painful, what is painful is not self; what is not self is not mine, that I am not, that is not my self’ (S iii 82), he taught the characteristic of no-self by means of both the impermanent and suffering.

“Why? Because of the obviousness of impermanence and suffering. For when a plate or a saucer or whatever it may be falls from the hand and breaks, they say: ‘Ah, impermanence,’ thus impermanence is obvious. But as regards the person (attabhaava), when boils and carbuncles and the like have sprung up, or when pierced by splinters and thorns, etc., they say: ‘Ah, the pain.’ Thus pain is obvious. The characteristic of no-self is unobvious, dark, unclear, difficult to penetrate, difficult to illustrate, difficult to make known…”

2 Likes

Some of the points where some additional clarifications are needed for the modern Buddhists are as follows.

For all the khandas or not?

Are these two the only means?

How can the Anatta of Nibbana and Pannattis be understood in this way, since they are not categorized as Anicca and Dukkha?

Thanks for your careful thought on this ekocare.
On this topic Buddhaghosa is speaking generally.
Clearly other religions and wisemen only have a basic understanding of impermanence and dukka(pain) - not the detailed understanding in Theravada.
Also regarding “when teaching the characteristic of no-self, teaches it by means of the impermanent, or by means of suffering”, I think he again not trying to exclude totally other possibilities.

1 Like

Right, these are special cases. The point of this passage is simply to show that only the Buddha is the teacher of anatta, it shows how this teaching is the core of the Dhamma. it is not a passage that is aimed at elucidating all aspects of anatta.

1 Like

The characteristic of no-*
self is unobvious, dark, unclear, difficult to penetrate, difficult
to illustrate, difficult to make known. The characteristics of
impermanence and dukkha are made known with or without the arising of
the Tathagathas. The characteristic of no-self is …only made known
on the arising of the enlightened ones"
**Sammohavinodani p59 **
(Dispeller of delusion, Pali text society, commentary to the **
**Vibhanga).

the characetristic of no-self does not appear owing to not keeping
in mind, not penetrating the resolution into the various elements
(nanadhatuvinbbhoga) owing to its being concealed by compactness…
But when resolving of the compact (ghanavinibbhoga) is effected by
resolution into the various elements, the characteristic of anatta
appears in accordance with its true essential nature
Sammohavinodani59-60)

Those same five aggregates are anatta because of the words ‘what is
painful is no self’ Why? Because there is no exercising power over
them. The mode of insusceptibilty to having power exercised over them
is the characteristic of anatta" sammohavinodani 60.*

1 Like

https://suttacentral.net/sn22.90/en/suj … ript=latin
“Reverend Channa, form,
“rūpaṁ kho, āvuso channa, aniccaṁ;
feeling,
vedanā aniccā;
perception,
saññā aniccā;
choices,
saṅkhārā aniccā;
and consciousness are impermanent.
viññāṇaṁ aniccaṁ.
Form,
Rūpaṁ anattā;
feeling,
vedanā …
perception,
saññā …
choices,
saṅkhārā …
and consciousness are not-self.
viññāṇaṁ anattā.
All conditions are impermanent.
Sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā;
All things are not-self.”
sabbe dhammā anattā”ti.

1 Like

*** Saṁyutta Nikāya**
*** Connected Discourses on the Aggregates**

22.20. Nonself with Cause

At Savatthi. “Bhikkhus, form is nonself. The cause and condition for the arising of form is also nonself. As form has originated from what is nonself, how could it be self?

“Feeling is nonself…. Perception is nonself…. Volitional formations are nonself…. Consciousness is nonself. The cause and condition for the arising of consciousness is also nonself. As consciousness has originated from what is nonself, how could it be self?

“Seeing thus … He understands: ‘… there is no more for this state of being.’”
SuttaCentral

2 Likes

Yes, this is true. I think to realize the correct concept of Anatta is difficult, it tooks me many years just to grasp its concept. I need to study more.

The fact that you see the importance of understanding anatta shows you see the heart of the Dhamma.
The correct intellectual understanding of anatta is the firm platform for further insight and investigation IMO.

2 Likes

https://suttacentral.net/mn11/en/bodhi?reference=none&highlight=false

11. The Shorter Discourse on the Lion’s Roar

“Though certain recluses and brahmins claim to propound the full understanding of all kinds of clinging, they do not completely describe the full understanding of all kinds of clinging. They describe the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures without describing the full understanding of clinging to views, clinging to rules and observances, and clinging to a doctrine of self. Why is that? Those good recluses and brahmins do not understand these three instances of clinging as they actually are. Therefore, though they claim to propound the full understanding of all kinds of clinging, they describe only the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures without describing the full understanding of clinging to views, clinging to rules and observances, and clinging to a doctrine of self.

“Though certain recluses and brahmins claim to propound the full understanding of all kinds of clinging…they describe the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures and clinging to views without describing the full understanding of clinging to rules and observances and clinging to a doctrine of self. Why is that? They do not understand two instances…therefore they describe only the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures and clinging to views without describing the full understanding of clinging to rules and observances and clinging to a doctrine of self.

“Though certain recluses and brahmins claim to propound the full understanding of all kinds of clinging…they describe the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, and clinging to rules and observances without describing the full understanding of clinging to a doctrine of self. They do not understand one instance…therefore they describe only the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, and clinging to rules and observances without describing the full understanding of clinging to a doctrine of self.

“Bhikkhus, in such a Dhamma and Discipline as that, it is plain that confidence in the Teacher is not rightly directed, that confidence in the Dhamma is not rightly directed, that fulfilment of the precepts is not rightly directed, and that the affection among companions in the Dhamma is not rightly directed. Why is that? Because that is how it is when the Dhamma and Discipline is badly proclaimed and badly expounded, unemancipating, unconducive to peace, expounded by one who is not fully enlightened.

“Bhikkhus, when a Tathāgata, accomplished and fully enlightened, claims to propound the full understanding of all kinds of clinging, he completely describes the full understanding of all kinds of clinging: he describes the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, clinging to rules and observances, and clinging to a doctrine of self.

1 Like

https://suttacentral.net/sn55.53/en/sujato?lang=en&layout=sidebyside&reference=none&notes=sidenotes&highlight=false&script=latin

At one time the Buddha was staying near Varanasi, in the deer park at Isipatana.
Ekaṁ samayaṁ bhagavā bārāṇasiyaṁ viharati isipatane migadāye.
Then the lay follower Dhammadinna, together with five hundred lay followers, went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him:
Atha kho dhammadinno upāsako pañcahi upāsakasatehi saddhiṁ yena bhagavā tenupasaṅkami; upasaṅkamitvā bhagavantaṁ abhivādetvā ekamantaṁ nisīdi. Ekamantaṁ nisinno kho dhammadinno upāsako bhagavantaṁ etadavoca:

“May the Buddha please advise
“ovadatu no, bhante, bhagavā;
and instruct us. It will be for our lasting welfare and happiness.”
anusāsatu no, bhante, bhagavā yaṁ amhākaṁ assa dīgharattaṁ hitāya sukhāyā”ti.

“So, Dhammadinna, you should train like this:
“Tasmātiha vo, dhammadinna, evaṁ sikkhitabbaṁ:
‘From time to time we will undertake and dwell upon the discourses spoken by the Realized One that are deep, profound, transcendent, dealing with emptiness.’
ye te suttantā tathāgatabhāsitā gambhīrā gambhīratthā lokuttarā suññatapaṭisaṁyuttā te kālena kālaṁ upasampajja viharissāmā’ti.
That’s how you should train yourselves.”
Evañhi vo, dhammadinna, sikkhitabban”ti.

1 Like

The Mahanidana sutta atthakatha says that this is such a deep matter:
Samyutta XII 61 ii94 (Bodhi :The Great Discourse on Causation p66)

Its depth of penetration should be understood …Deep is the meaning of consciousness as emptiness, absence of an agent.

The tika continues:

Consciousness’s meaning of emptiness is deep because consciousness is said to be the distinctive basis for the misapprehension of self. As it is said “for a long time the uninstructed worldling has been attached to this, appropriated it, and misapprehended it thus; ‘This is mine this I am , this is self’”

1 Like

Here is given the case of a monk who claims to have given up the conceit “I am” but then says he still has doubts and confusion…

AN 6.13

PTS: A iii 290

Nissaraniya Sutta: Means of Escape

"Furthermore, there is the case where a monk might say, ‘Although “I am” is gone, and I do not assume that “I am this,” still the arrow of uncertainty & perplexity keeps overpowering my mind.’ He should be told, ‘Don’t say that. You shouldn’t speak in that way. Don’t misrepresent the Blessed One, for it’s not right to misrepresent the Blessed One, and the Blessed One wouldn’t say that. It’s impossible, there is no way that — when “I am” is gone, and “I am this” is not assumed — the arrow of uncertainty & perplexity would keep overpowering the mind. That possibility doesn’t exist, for this is the escape from the arrow of uncertainty & perplexity: the uprooting of the conceit, “I am.”’

1 Like

https://suttacentral.net/snp3.12/en/sujato?lang=en&layout=sidebyside&reference=none&notes=sidenotes&highlight=false&script=latin
Dvayatānupassanāsutta

See how the world with its gods
“Anattani attamāniṁ,

imagines not-self to be self;
Passa lokaṁ sadevakaṁ;
habituated to name and form,
Niviṭṭhaṁ nāmarūpasmiṁ,
imagining this is truth.
Idaṁ saccanti maññati.

For whatever you imagine it is,
Yena yena hi maññanti,
it turns out to be something else.
Tato taṁ hoti aññathā;
And that is what is false in it,
Tañhi tassa musā hoti,
for the ephemeral is deceptive by nature.
Mosadhammañhi ittaraṁ

[…]
The noble ones have seen as happiness
Sukhanti diṭṭhamariyehi,
the ceasing of personal entity[this line is bodhi translation, not sujatos].
Sakkāyassuparodhanaṁ;
> This insight by those who see
Paccanīkamidaṁ hoti,
contradicts the whole world.
Sabbalokena passataṁ.

1 Like

n 35.3 https://suttacentral.net/sn35.2/en/bodh … ight=false
Saṁyutta Nikāya

Connected Discourses on the Six Sense Bases
35.3. The Internal as Nonself
“Bhikkhus, the eye is nonself. What is nonself should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’
“The ear is nonself…. The nose is nonself…. The tongue is nonself…. The body is nonself…. The mind is nonself. What is nonself should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’

1 Like

Anguttara Nikaya 136 (4) Bodhi Translation

Arising (1)
“Bhikkhus, whether Tathāgatas arise or not, there persists that law, that stableness of the Dhamma, that fixed course of the Dhamma ‘All conditioned phenomena are impermanent.’ A Tathāgata awakens to this and breaks through to it, and then he explains it, teaches it, proclaims it, establishes it, discloses it, analyzes it, and elucidates it thus: ‘All conditioned phenomena are impermanent.’ […]

(3) “Bhikkhus, whether Tathāgatas arise or not, there persists that law, that stableness of the Dhamma, that fixed course of the Dhamma: ‘All phenomena are non-self.’ A Tathāgata awakens to this and breaks through to it, and then he explains it, teaches it, proclaims it, establishes it, discloses it, analyzes it, and elucidates it thus: ‘All phenomena are non-self.’”

and

https://suttacentral.net/an1.268-277/en … ript=latin
270

“It is impossible, mendicants, it cannot happen for a person accomplished in view to take anything as self.
But it is possible for an ordinary person to take something as self.”

1 Like