What Lang wrote is correct.
However, what needs to be really done is to realize the following:
1. To understand WHY there is no “self” or a “soul” involved in the initial sensory event.
2. That the response to those initial sensory events with the idea of a “self” leads to suffering in the long-term.
– We have not yet discussed how that suffering arises via Paticca Samuppada. (but some may be able to make that connection on their own).
– In any case, the next few posts will make that connection clear.
Stated in another way, there will be suffering as long there one has the view that it is WORTHWHILE to take good sensory inputs as “mine” and TRY TO ENJOY THEM, especially by doing immoral deeds. An extreme case is where one kills or steals in order to get money and buy luxury items and live a “good life.”
– Same works the other way too. We tend to dislike other sensory events and MAY TRY to do IMMORAL THINGS in order to stop those. For example, as an extreme case, some people try to hurt or even kill their enemies.
Tobias asked: “Why is anattā “not-self”?.”
I said it is the WRONG APPROACH to say that there is “no-self” OR there is a “self”.
– Please read the post carefully. I emphasized that point at the very end.
– We need to realize that suffering arises because of the idea of a “self.” One does immoral things BECAUSE of that.
– In a strict sense, it is correct to say that anattā implies “no-self.” But we cannot START there BECAUSE just saying that will not help. One will be just fooling “oneself.” We are under the perception of a “self.” We need to SEE the bad consequences of that perception by SEEING the dangers of that view.
Basically one is “anattā” (with no refuge) AS LONG AS one has the wrong view of sakkaya ditthi.
– One starts becoming an “attā” (one with refuge) when one starts realizing the true nature (that there is no “experiencer.” Then one will be free of the apayas.
– However, the perception of a “self” goes away only at the Arahant stage, and at that time one will have the full refuge of NO SUFFERING AT ALL (after the Parinibbana.)
I am glad that both of you thought about it. It is not possible to write all this in a post. When we go through the next few posts, this will hopefully become clear.
– This is why the Buddha said, “my Dhamma is difficult to understand.” That Dhamma cannot be UNDERSTOOD by repeating verses to oneself. One needs to “see-through” the true nature.
– The procedure of repeating verses (which most people call meditation) becomes useful after “SEEING” the true nature. Then, in order to remove the wrong perception and get to higher magga phala, such “formal meditations with repeating verses” will be more effective.
– That is why “bhavanaya pahatabba” comes at the end in the Sabbasava Sutta. First one needs to get to “dassanena pahatabba” or “removal by vision” or Samma Ditthi.
– Of course, one who has removed sakkaya ditthi needs to do those formal meditations. That will help remove the “wrong perceptions” (sanna vipallasa).
An analogy is a smoker. A smoker first needs to “SEE” the bad consequences of smoking. But unless one keeps recalling that frequently, it may be hard to break the “old habit” completely (by removing the sanna).
– Of course, there is a difference at the Sotapanna stage. Even if one may be tempted to do “some immoral things” one WILL NEVER BE CAPABLE of doing apayagami deeds after removing sakkaya ditthi.
P.S. Here is what I stated at the very end of the post:
17. In other words, the wrong views about a “self” (sakkāya diṭṭhi) go away at the Sōtapanna stage. But the perception of a “self” (asmi māna) goes away in stages and disappear only at the Arahant stage.
– Only an Arahant has no saññā vipallāsa and asmi māna.
– That is also why we CANNOT say that “there is no-self.” Until the attainment of Arahanthood, there is a perception of a “self.”
– It is a wrong approach to analyze sensory experiences based on a “self” or “no-self.” Instead, we can explain everything in terms of causes and effects or Paticca Samuppāda. We will discuss this in the future.