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 Chapter XX - MAGGA VAGGA - The Way or The Path

EVERYTHING IS WITHOUT SELF

EVERYTHING IS WITHOUT SELF

Sabbe dhamma anatta'ti yada pannaya passati
Atha nibbindati dukkhe esa maggo visuddhiya.
[279]

All states (dhamma) are without self.1When one sees this in wisdom,
then he becomes dispassionate towards the painful. This is the Path to Purity. [279]



XX: 04 Meditation on anatta

The story is the same as the stories on anicca and dukkha. Here, the Buddha on reflection found that still another group of bhikkhus had meditated on insubstantiality or non-self (anatta). So he said, 'Bhikkhus, all component things are insubstantial, they are not subject to one's control.'

 Notes:

  1. Impermanence (anicca), sorrow (dukkha) and no-soul (anatta) are the three characteristics of all things conditioned by causes. It is by contemplating them that one realizes Nibbana. The aspirant may choose any characteristic that appeals to him most. Anatta or no-soul is the crux of Buddhism. The term sankhara which is applied to any conditioned thing is used in the two previous verses, while in the third verse the term dhamma is used. The commentator interprets dhamma as the 'aggregates' (khandha). The same interpretation he gives to sankhara too. If by dhamma is meant sankhara, there is no reason for the Buddha to make a differentiation in the third verse. Sankhara is applied only to those things conditioned by causes. Dhamma can be applied to both conditioned and unconditioned things and states. It embraces both conditioned and unconditioned things including Nibbana. In order to show that even Nibbana is free from a permanent soul the Buddha used the term dhamma in the third verse. Nibbana is a positive supramundane state and is without a soul. 'All the elements of being are non-self. When one by wisdom realizes (this), he heeds not (is superior to) (this world of) sorrow, this is the path to purity'. Radhakrishnan.

 

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This webpage was updated 14th January 2020

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