On Self, No Self, and Not-self 2

“What does one need in order to be Enlightened ?” asked the disciples.
Said the Master : “You must discover what it is that falls in the water and does not make a ripple; moves through the trees and does not make a sound; enters the field and does not stir a single blade of grass”
After weeks of fruitless pondering, the disciples said “What is this thing ?”
“Thing ?” said the Master. “But it isn’t a thing at all”
“So it is nothing ?”
“You might say so”
“Then how are we to search for it ?”
“Did I tell you to search for it ? It can be found but never searched for. Seek and you will miss”

Conversations with the Masters (2003)

The dialogue of Vacchagotta with the Buddha (Samyukta Nikāya VI, 400) :

Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: “Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?”

When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.

“Then is there no self?”

A second time, the Blessed One was silent.

Then Vacchagotta the wanderer got up from his seat and left.

Then, not long after Vacchagotta the wanderer had left, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, “Why, lord, did the Blessed One not answer when asked a question by Vacchagotta the wanderer?”

“Ananda, if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?

“No, lord.”

“And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: ‘Does the self I used to have now not exist?'”

Note [24] to Appendix I from Self-Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness (2010)

“From the ultimate standpoint of the Dharmakāya, there are no Buddhas, but from the standpoint of the Rūpakāya, Buddhas manifest as individual Buddhas. But this manifestation of Buddhas is only a phantom show for the benefit of ignorant, deluded sentient beings, in aid of bringing them to self-recognition, to discovering for themselves what has been there all along”

Ah, now if upon reading the above statement, it triggers-in-you some kind of sensation-of-indignation (or incredulity) remain present to the emotion, sense it fully, allow it … but why ? Because it’s just another “appearance” (as the Contents) eh ? You could say it’s like trying to distinguish the Aware Presence from all the “arisings” or perhaps, I suggest, differentiating the Mirror from the Reflections eh ? 🧐

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