Reply To: Post on An Apparent “Self” Is Involved in Kamma Generation


I have done some significant revisions to the post in question: “An Apparent “Self” Is Involved in Kamma Generation.”

Those interested should re-read the revised post.

One major change was to add #5 under a new heading, as follows:

Attā Translated as “Self” Is Not Correct

5. The Pāli word “attā” does not really mean “self” even though I used that translation above. That translation is quite common these days. We will go with that until we finish discussing Paticca Samuppāda. If I try to discuss the real meaning of attā right now, that could lead to confusion.

That is in fact why the Buddha refused to answer Vaccagotta’s question about whether or not there is an “attā.” See, “Ānanda Sutta (SN 44.10).”

Vacchagotta comes to the Buddha asked “kiṃ nu kho, bho gotama, atthattā” ti?” OR “Master Gotama, is it correct to say that there is an “attā”?”.

Note that “atthattā” is “atthi attā” where “atthi” means “exists.” Vaccagotta meant in this case “attā” to be “self.” Thus, Vacchagotta meant: “Is it correct to say that a “self” exists?”

The Buddha remained silent, and Vacchagotta asked the question again in the negative form. The second time, he asked: “Kiṃ pana, bho gotama, natthattā” ti?” or, “Master Gotama, is it not correct to say that there is a “self”?”.
– Seeing that the Buddha is refusing to answer his question, Vacchagotta got up and left.

Note that “natthattā” is made up of three words: “naatthi attā,” which negates “atthattā.”Just as these days, many people were confused about the Pali word “attā” and the Sanskrit word “ātma.” The latter meaning is closer to a “soul.”

I will discuss this sutta when I will come back to discuss “attā” in detail, after discussing Paticca Samuppāda.