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In Buddhism, the term anattā (Pali) or anātman (Sanskrit) refers to the doctrine of "non-self", that there is no unchanging, permanent soul in living beings. It is one of the seven beneficial perceptions in Buddhism, and along with Dukkha (suffering) and Anicca (impermanence), it is one of three Right Understandings about the three marks of existence.
- 1 Etymology and nomenclature
- 2 Anattā in the Pali canon
- 3 Anatman in Theravada Buddhism
- 4 Anatman in Mahayana Buddhism
- 5 Anatman in Vajrayana Buddhism
- 6 Anatta – the difference between Buddhism and Hinduism
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Etymology and nomenclature
Anattā is a composite Pali word consisting of an (not, without) and attā (soul). The term refers to the central Buddhist doctrine that "there is in humans no permanent, underlying substance that can be called the soul." It is one of the three characteristics of all existence, together with dukkha (suffering, unsatisfactoriness) and anicca (impermanence).
Anattā is synonymous with Anātman (an + ātman) in Sanskrit Buddhist texts. In some Pali texts, ātman of Vedic texts is also referred to with the term Attan, with the sense of soul. An alternate use of Attan or Atta is "self, oneself, essence of a person", driven by the Vedic era Brahmanical belief that the soul is the permanent, unchangeable essence of a living being, or the true self.
In Buddhism-related English literature, Anattā is rendered as "not-Self", but this translation expresses an incomplete meaning, states Peter Harvey; a more complete rendering is "non-Self" because from its earliest days, Anattā doctrine denies that there is anything called a 'Self' in any person or anything else, and that a belief in 'Self' is a source of Dukkha (suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness).[note 1] It is also incorrect to translate Anattā simply as "ego-less", according to Peter Harvey, because the Indian concept of ātman and attā is different from the Freudian concept of ego.[note 2]
Anattā in the Pali canon
The concept of Anattā appears in numerous Sutta of the ancient Buddhist Nikāya texts. It appears, for example, as a noun in Samyutta Nikaya III.141, IV.49, V.345, in Sutta II.37 of Anguttara Nikaya, II.37–45 and II.80 of Patisambhidamagga, III.406 of Dhammapada. It also appears as an adjective, for example, in Samyutta Nikaya III.114, III.133, IV.28 and IV.130–166, in Sutta III.66 and V.86 of Vinaya.
The ancient Buddhist texts present an extensive discussion and rejection of the Vedic concept of Attā (soul, self) – sometimes with alternate terms such as Atuman, Tuma, Puggala, Jiva, Satta, Pana and Nama-rupa – in order to provide the context for the Buddhist Anattā doctrine. Examples of such Attā contextual discussions are found in Digha Nikaya I.186-187, Samyutta Nikaya III.179 and IV.54, Vinaya I.14, Majjhima Nikaya I.138, III.19, and III.265–271 and Anguttara Nikaya I.284.
The contextual use of Attā in Nikāyas is two sided. In one, it directly denies that there is anything called a self or soul in a human being that is a permanent essence of a human being, a theme found in Brahmanical (proto-Hindu) traditions. In another, states Peter Harvey, such as at Samyutta Nikaya IV.286, the Sutta considers the materialistic concept in pre-Buddhist Vedic times of "no afterlife, complete annihilation" at death to be a denial of Self, but still "tied up with belief in a Self". "Self exists" is a false premise, assert the ancient Buddhist Nikaya texts. However, adds Peter Harvey, these texts do not admit the premise "Self does not exist" either because the wording presumes the concept of "Self" prior to denying it; instead, the early Buddhist texts use the concept of Anattā as the implicit premise.
Anattā is one of the main bedrock doctrines of Buddhism, and its discussion is found in the later texts of all Buddhist traditions. For example, the Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna (~200 CE), extensively wrote about rejecting the metaphysical entity called attā or ātman (self, soul), asserting in chapter 18 of his Mūlamadhyamakakārikā that there is no such substantial entity and that "Buddha taught the doctrine of no-self". The texts attributed to the 5th-century Buddhist philosopher Vasubandhu of the Yogachara school similarly discuss Anatta as a fundamental premise of the Buddha. The Vasubandhu interpretations of no-self thesis were challenged by the 7th-century Buddhist scholar Candrakirti, who then offered his own theories on its importance.
Existence and non-existence
Anattā (no-self, without soul, no essence) is the nature of living beings, and this is one of the three marks of existence in Buddhism, along with Anicca (impermanence, nothing lasts) and Dukkha (suffering, unsatisfactoriness is innate in birth, aging, death, rebirth, redeath – the Saṃsāra cycle of existence). It is found in many texts of different Buddhist traditions, such as the Dhammapada – a canonical Buddhist text. Buddhism asserts with Four Noble Truths that there is a way out of this Saṃsāra.[note 3][note 4]
Eternalism and annihilationism
While the concept of soul in Hinduism (as atman) and Jainism (as jiva) is taken for granted, which is different from the Buddhist concept of no-soul, each of the three religions believed in rebirth and emphasized moral responsibility in different ways in contrast to pre-Buddhist materialistic schools of Indian philosophies. The materialistic schools of Indian philosophies, such as Charvaka, are called annihilationism schools because they posited that death is the end, there is no afterlife, no soul, no rebirth, no karma, and death is that state where a living being is completely annihilated, dissolved.
Buddha criticized the materialistic annihilationism view that denied rebirth and karma, states Damien Keown. Such beliefs are inappropriate and dangerous, stated Buddha, because they encourage moral irresponsibility and material hedonism. Anatta does not mean there is no afterlife, no rebirth or no fruition of karma, and Buddhism contrasts itself from annihilationism schools. Buddhism also contrasts itself with other Indian religions that champion moral responsibility but posit eternalism with their premise that within each human being is an essence or eternal soul, and this soul is part of the nature of a living being, existence and metaphysical reality.
Karma, rebirth and anattā
1. identity view (Anatman)
up to seven rebirths in
once more as
4. sensual desire
once more in
6. material-rebirth desire
The Buddha emphasized both karma and anatta doctrines.
The Buddha criticized the doctrine that posited an unchanging soul as a subject as the basis of rebirth and karmic moral responsibility, which he called "atthikavāda". He also criticized the materialistic doctrine that denied the existence of both soul and rebirth, and thereby denied karmic moral responsibility, which he calls "natthikavāda". Instead, the Buddha asserted that there is no soul, but there is rebirth for which karmic moral responsibility is a must. In the Buddha's framework of karma, right view and right actions are necessary for liberation.
Developing the self
According to Peter Harvey, while the Suttas criticize notions of an eternal, unchanging Self as baseless, they see an enlightened being as one whose empirical self is highly developed. This is paradoxical, states Harvey, in that "the Self-like nibbana state" is a mature self that knows "everything as Selfless". The "empirical self" is the citta (mind/heart, mindset, emotional nature), and the development of self in the Suttas is the development of this citta.
One with "great self", state the early Buddhist Suttas, has a mind which is neither at the mercy of outside stimuli nor its own moods, neither scattered nor diffused, but imbued with self-control, and self-contained towards the single goal of nibbana and a 'Self-like' state. This "great self" is not yet an Arahat, because he still does small evil action which leads to karmic fruition, but he has enough virtue that he does not experience this fruition in hell.
An Arahat, states Harvey, has a fully enlightened state of empirical self, one that lacks the "sense of both 'I am' and 'this I am'", which are illusions that the Arahat has transcended. The Buddhist thought and salvation theory emphasizes a development of self towards a Selfless state not only with respect to oneself, but recognizing the lack of relational essence and Self in others, wherein states Martijn van Zomeren, "self is an illusion".
Anatman in Theravada Buddhism
The Buddhist denial of "any Soul or Self" is what distinguishes Buddhism from major religions of the world such as Christianity and Hinduism, giving it uniqueness, asserts the Theravada tradition. With the doctrine of Anattā, stands or falls the entire Buddhist structure, asserts Nyanatiloka.
The Theravada tradition has long considered the understanding and application of the Anatta doctrine to be something possible for the practicing monk, and not for the lay Buddhists because it is a psychologically difficult doctrine and requires the destruction of "I am" tendencies. The Suttas present the doctrine in three forms. First, they apply the "no-self, no-identity" doctrine to all phenomena as well as any and all objects, yielding the idea that "all things are not-self" (sabbe dhamma anatta). Second, states Collins, the Suttas apply the doctrine to deny self of any person, treating conceit to be evident in any assertion of "this is mine, this I am, this is myself" (etam mamam eso 'ham asmi, eso me atta ti). Third, the Theravada texts apply the doctrine as a nominal reference, to identify examples of "self" and "not-self", respectively the Wrong view and the Right view; this third case of nominative usage is properly translated as "self" (as an identity) and is unrelated to "soul", states Collins. The first two usages incorporate the idea of soul. The Theravada doctrine of Anatta, or not-self not-soul, inspire meditative practices for monks, states Donald Swearer, but for the lay Theravada Buddhists in Southeast Asia, the doctrines of kamma, rebirth and punna (merit) inspire a wide range of ritual practices and ethical behavior.
The Anatta doctrine is key to the concept of nirvana (nibbana) in the Theravada tradition. The liberated nirvana state, states Collins, is the state of Anatta, a state that is neither universally applicable nor can be explained, but can be realized.[note 5]
The dispute about "self" and "not-self" doctrines has continued throughout the history of Buddhism. In Thai Theravada Buddhism, for example, states Paul Williams, some modern era Buddhist scholars have claimed that "nirvana is indeed the true Self", while other Thai Buddhists disagree.
The Dhammakaya Movement in Thailand teaches that it is erroneous to subsume nirvana under the rubric of anatta (non-self); instead, nirvana is taught to be the "true self" or dhammakaya. Similar interpretations have been put forth by the then Thai Sangharaja in 1939. According to Williams, the Sangharaja's interpretation echoes the tathāgatagarbha sutras.
The Dhammakaya Movement teaching that nirvana is atta in 1999, has been criticized as heretical in Buddhism by Ven. Payutto, a well-known scholar monk, who added that 'Buddha taught nibbana as being non-self". This dispute on the nature of teachings about 'self' and 'non-self' in Buddhism has led to arrest warrants, attacks and threats.
Anatman in Mahayana Buddhism
Nagarjuna, the founder of Madhyamaka (middle way) school of Mahayana Buddhism, analyzed dharma first as factors of experience. He, states David Kalupahana, analyzed how these experiences relate to "bondage and freedom, action and consequence", and thereafter analyzed the notion of personal self (attā, ātman).
Nagarjuna asserted that the notion of a self is associated with the notion of one's own identity and corollary ideas of pride, selfishness and a sense of psychophysical personality. This is all false, and leads to bondage in his Madhyamaka thought. There can be no pride nor possessiveness, in someone who accepts Anattā and denies "self" which is the sense of personal identity of oneself, others or anything, states Nagarjuna. Further, all obsessions are avoided when a person accepts emptiness (sunyata). Nagarjuna denied there is anything called a self-nature as well as other-nature, emphasizing true knowledge to be comprehending emptiness. Anyone who has not dissociated from his belief in personality in himself or others, through the concept of self, is in a state of Avidya (ignorance) and caught in the cycle of rebirths and redeaths.
The early Mahayana Buddhism texts link their discussion of "emptiness" (shunyata) to Anatta and Nirvana. They do so, states Mun-Keat Choong, in three ways: first, in the common sense of a monk's meditative state of emptiness; second, with the main sense of Anatta or 'everything in the world is empty of self'; third, with the ultimate sense of Nirvana or realization of emptiness and thus an end to rebirth cycles of suffering. The Anatta doctrine is another aspect of shunyata, its realization is the nature of the nirvana state and to an end to rebirths.
Tathagatagarbha Sutras: Buddha is True Self
Some 1st-millennium CE Buddhist texts suggest concepts that have been controversial because they imply a "self-like" concept. In particular are the Tathāgatagarbha sūtras, where the title itself means a garbha (womb, matrix, seed) containing Tathagata (Buddha). These Sutras suggest, states Paul Williams, that 'all sentient beings contain a Tathagata' as their 'essence, core or essential inner nature'. The Tathagatagarbha doctrine, at its earliest probably appeared about the later part of the 3rd century CE, and is verifiable in Chinese translations of 1st millennium CE. Most scholars consider the Tathagatagarbha doctrine of an 'essential nature' in every living being is equivalent to 'Self',[note 6] and it contradicts the Anatta doctrines in a vast majority of Buddhist texts, leading scholars to posit that the Tathagatagarbha Sutras were written to promote Buddhism to non-Buddhists.
The Mahaparinirvana Sutra explicitly asserts that the Buddha used the term "Self" in order to win over non-Buddhist ascetics. The Ratnagotravibhāga (also known as Uttaratantra), another text composed in the first half of 1st millennium CE and translated into Chinese in 511 CE, points out that the teaching of the Tathagatagarbha doctrine is intended to win sentient beings over to abandoning "self-love" (atma-sneha) – considered to be one of the defects by Buddhism. The 6th-century Chinese Tathagatagarbha translation states that "Buddha has shiwo (True Self) which is beyond being and nonbeing". However, the Ratnagotravibhāga asserts that the "Self" implied in Tathagatagarbha doctrine is actually "not-Self".
It is possible, states Johannes Bronkhorst, that "original Buddhism did not deny the existence of the soul", even though a firm Buddhist tradition has maintained that the Buddha avoided talking about the soul or even denied it existence. While there may be ambivalence on the existence or non-existence of self in early Buddhist literature, adds Bronkhorst, it is clear from these texts that seeking self-knowledge is not the Buddhist path for liberation, and turning away from self-knowledge is. This is a reverse position to the Vedic traditions which recognized the knowledge of the self as "the principal means to achieving liberation".
According to some scholars, the Buddha-nature discussed in these sutras does not represent a substantial self; rather, it is a positive language and expression of śūnyatā "emptiness" and represents the potentiality to realize Buddhahood through Buddhist practices. Other scholars do in fact detect leanings towards monism in these tathagatagarbha references. Michael Zimmermann sees the notion of an unperishing and eternal self in the Tathagatagarbha Sutra. Zimmermann also avers that 'the existence of an eternal, imperishable self, that is, buddhahood, is definitely the basic point of the Tathagatagarbha Sutra'. He further indicates that there is no evident interest found in this sutra in the idea of Emptiness (sunyata). Williams states that the "Self" in Tathagatagarbha Sutras is actually "non-Self", and neither identical nor comparable to the Hindu concepts of Brahman and Self.
Anatman in Vajrayana Buddhism
The Anatta or Anatman doctrine is extensively discussed in and partly inspires the ritual practices of the Vajrayana tradition. The Tibetan terms such as bdag med refer to "without a self, insubstantial, anatman". These discussions, states Jeffrey Hopkins, assert the "non-existence of a permanent, unitary and independent self", and attribute these ideas to the Buddha.
The ritual practices in Vajrayana Buddhism employs the concept of deities, to end self-grasping, and to manifest as a purified, enlightened deity as part of the Vajrayana path to liberation from rebirths. One such deity is goddess Nairatmya (literally, non-soul, non-self). She symbolizes, states Miranda Shaw, that "self is an illusion" and "all beings and phenomenal appearances lack an abiding self or essence" in Vajrayana Buddhism.
Anatta – the difference between Buddhism and Hinduism
Anatta is a central doctrine of Buddhism, and marks one of the major differences between Buddhism and Hinduism. Buddhists do not believe that at the core of all human beings and living creatures, there is any "eternal, essential and absolute something called a soul, self or atman". Buddhism, from its earliest days, has denied the existence of the "self, soul" in its core philosophical and ontological texts. In its soteriological themes, Buddhism has defined nirvana as that blissful state when a person, amongst other things, realizes that he or she has "no self, no soul".
The traditions within Hinduism believe in Atman. The pre-Buddhist Upanishads of Hinduism assert that there is a permanent Atman, and is an ultimate metaphysical reality. This sense of self, is expressed as "I am" in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.1, states Peter Harvey, when nothing existed before the start of the universe. The Upanishadic scriptures hold that this soul or self is underlying the whole world. At the core of all human beings and living creatures, assert the Hindu traditions, there is "eternal, innermost essential and absolute something called a soul, self that is atman." Within the diverse schools of Hinduism, there are differences of perspective on whether souls are distinct, whether Supreme Soul or God exists, whether the nature of Atman is dual or non-dual, and how to reach moksha. However, despite their internal differences, one shared foundational premise of Hinduism is that "soul, self exists", and that there is bliss in seeking this self, knowing self, and self-realization.
While the Upanishads recognized many things as being not-Self, they felt that a real, true Self could be found. They held that when it was found, and known to be identical to Brahman, the basis of everything, this would bring liberation. In the Buddhist Suttas, though, literally everything is seen is non-Self, even Nirvana. When this is known, then liberation – Nirvana – is attained by total non-attachment. Thus both the Upanishads and the Buddhist Suttas see many things as not-Self, but the Suttas apply it, indeed non-Self, to everything.— Peter Harvey, An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices
Both Buddhism and Hinduism distinguish ego-related "I am, this is mine", from their respective abstract doctrines of "Anatta" and "Atman". This, states Peter Harvey, may have been an influence of Buddhism on Hinduism.
- Buddha did not deny a being or a thing, referring it to be a collection of impermanent interdependent aggregates, but denied that there is a metaphysical self, soul or identity in anything.
- The term ahamkara is 'ego' in Indian philosophies.
- On samsara, rebirth and redeath:
* Paul Williams: "All rebirth is due to karma and is impermanent. Short of attaining enlightenment, in each rebirth one is born and dies, to be reborn elsewhere in accordance with the completely impersonal causal nature of one's own karma. The endless cycle of birth, rebirth, and redeath, is samsara."
* Buswell and Lopez on "rebirth": "An English term that does not have an exact correlate in Buddhist languages, rendered instead by a range of technical terms, such as the Sanskrit PUNARJANMAN (lit. "birth again") and PUNABHAVAN (lit. "re-becoming"), and, less commonly, the related PUNARMRTYU (lit. "redeath")."
See also Perry Schmidt-Leukel (2006) pages 32-34, John J. Makransky (1997) p.27. for the use of the term "redeath." The term Agatigati or Agati gati (plus a few other terms) is generally translated as 'rebirth, redeath'; see any Pali-English dictionary; e.g. pages 94-95 of Rhys Davids & William Stede, where they list five Sutta examples with rebirth and re-death sense.
- Graham Harvey: "Siddhartha Gautama found an end to rebirth in this world of suffering. His teachings, known as the dharma in Buddhism, can be summarized in the Four Noble truths." Geoffrey Samuel (2008): "The Four Noble Truths [...] describe the knowledge needed to set out on the path to liberation from rebirth." See also [web 1][web 2]
The Theravada tradition holds that insight into these four truths is liberating in itself. This is reflected in the Pali canon. According to Donald Lopez, "The Buddha stated in his first sermon that when he gained absolute and intuitive knowledge of the four truths, he achieved complete enlightenment and freedom from future rebirth."[web 1]
The Maha-parinibbana Sutta also refers to this liberation.[web 3] Carol Anderson: "The second passage where the four truths appear in the Vinaya-pitaka is also found in the Mahaparinibbana-sutta (D II 90-91). Here, the Buddha explains that it is by not understanding the four truths that rebirth continues."
On the meaning of moksha as liberation from rebirth, see Patrick Olivelle in the Encyclopedia Britannica.[web 4]
- This is a major difference between the Theravada Buddhists and different Hindu traditions which assert that nirvana is realizing and being in the state of self (soul, atman) and is universally applicable. However, both concur that this state is indescribable, cannot be explained, but can be realized.
- Wayman and Wayman have disagreed with this view, and they state that the Tathagatagarbha is neither self nor sentient being, nor soul, nor personality.
- Anatta Buddhism, Encyclopedia Britannica (2013)
- [a] Christmas Humphreys (2012). Exploring Buddhism. Routledge. pp. 42–43. ISBN 978-1-136-22877-3.
[b] Brian Morris (2006). Religion and Anthropology: A Critical Introduction. Cambridge University Press. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-521-85241-8., Quote: "(...) anatta is the doctrine of non-self, and is an exteme empiricist doctrine that holds that the notion of an unchanging permanent self is a fiction and has no reality. According to Buddhist doctrine, the individual person consists of five skandhas or heaps – the body, feelings, perceptions, impulses and consciousness. The belief in a self or soul, over these five skandhas, is illusory and the cause of suffering."
[c] Richard Gombrich (2006). Theravada Buddhism. Routledge. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-134-90352-8., Quote: "(...) Buddha's teaching that beings have no soul, no abiding essence. This 'no-soul doctrine' (anatta-vada) he expounded in his second sermon."
- "Sañña Sutta: Perceptions" (AN 7.46) Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013
- Richard Gombrich (2006). Theravada Buddhism. Routledge. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-134-90352-8., Quote: "All phenomenal existence [in Buddhism] is said to have three interlocking characteristics: impermanence, suffering and lack of soul or essence."
- [a] Anatta, Encyclopedia Britannica (2013), Quote: "Anatta in Buddhism, the doctrine that there is in humans no permanent, underlying soul. The concept of anatta, or anatman, is a departure from the Hindu belief in atman (“the self”)."; [b] Steven Collins (1994), Religion and Practical Reason (Editors: Frank Reynolds, David Tracy), State Univ of New York Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-2217-5, page 64; "Central to Buddhist soteriology is the doctrine of not-self (Pali: anattā, Sanskrit: anātman, the opposed doctrine of ātman is central to Brahmanical thought). Put very briefly, this is the [Buddhist] doctrine that human beings have no soul, no self, no unchanging essence."; [c] Edward Roer (Translator), Shankara's Introduction, p. 2, at Google Books to Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad, pages 2-4; [d] Katie Javanaud (2013), Is The Buddhist ‘No-Self’ Doctrine Compatible With Pursuing Nirvana?, Philosophy Now; [e] David Loy (1982), Enlightenment in Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta: Are Nirvana and Moksha the Same?, International Philosophical Quarterly, Volume 23, Issue 1, pages 65-74; [f] KN Jayatilleke (2010), Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, ISBN 978-8120806191, pages 246-249, from note 385 onwards;
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- Peter Harvey (2012). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices. Cambridge University Press. pp. 57–62. ISBN 978-0-521-85942-4.
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- Peter Harvey (2015). Steven M. Emmanuel, ed. A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy. John Wiley & Sons. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-119-14466-3.
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- David Loy (2009). Awareness Bound and Unbound: Buddhist Essays. State University of New York Press. pp. 105–106. ISBN 978-1-4384-2680-8., Quote: Nagarjuna, the second century Indian Buddhist philosopher, used shunyata not to characterize the true nature of reality but to deny that anything has any self-existence or reality of its own.
- Peter Harvey (2012). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices. Cambridge University Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-521-85942-4., Quote: "Again, anatta does not mean 'egoless', as it is sometimes rendered. The term 'ego' has a range of meanings in English. The Freudian 'ego' is not the same as the Indian atman/atta or permanent Self."
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- Buswell & Lopez 2003, p. 708.
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- Makransky 1997, p. 27.
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- Harvey 2016.
- Samuel 2008, p. 136.
- Spiro 1982, p. 42.
- Vetter 1988, p. xxi, xxxi-xxxii.
- Makransky 1997, p. 27-28.
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- Carter 1987, p. 3179.
- Anderson 2013.
- Anderson 2013, p. 162 with note 38, for context see pages 1-3.
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- Peter Harvey (2012). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices. Cambridge University Press. pp. 32–33, 38–39, 46–49. ISBN 978-0-521-85942-4.
- Ray Billington (2002). Understanding Eastern Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 43–44, 58–60. ISBN 978-1-134-79349-5.
- Norman C. McClelland (2010). Encyclopedia of Reincarnation and Karma. McFarland. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-7864-5675-8.
- Hugh Nicholson (2016). The Spirit of Contradiction in Christianity and Buddhism. Oxford University Press. pp. 23–25. ISBN 978-0-19-045534-7.
- Gananath Obeyesekere (2006). Karma and Rebirth: A Cross Cultural Study. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 281–282. ISBN 978-81-208-2609-0.
- See, for instance, the "Snake-Simile Discourse" (MN 22), where the Buddha states:
"Monks, this Teaching so well proclaimed by me, is plain, open, explicit, free of patchwork. In this Teaching that is so well proclaimed by me and is plain, open, explicit and free of patchwork; for those who are arahants, free of taints, who have accomplished and completed their task, have laid down the burden, achieved their aim, severed the fetters binding to existence, who are liberated by full knowledge, there is no (future) round of existence that can be ascribed to them. – Majjhima Nikaya i.130 ¶ 42, Translated by Nyanaponika Thera (Nyanaponika, 2006)
- The "fruit" (Pali: phala) is the culmination of the "path" (magga). Thus, for example, the "stream-enterer" is the fruit for one on the "stream-entry" path; more specifically, the stream-enterer has abandoned the first three fetters, while one on the path of stream-entry strives to abandon these fetters.
- Both the stream-enterer and the once-returner abandon the first three fetters. What distinguishes these stages is that the once-returner additionally attenuates lust, hate and delusion, and will necessarily be reborn only once more.
- "Selves & Not-self: The Buddhist Teaching on Anatta", by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/selvesnotself.html
- David Kalupahana, Causality: The Central Philosophy of Buddhism. The University Press of Hawaii, 1975, page 44.
- Malcolm B. Hamilton (12 June 2012). The Sociology of Religion: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives. Routledge. pp. 73–80. ISBN 978-1-134-97626-3.
- Raju, P. T. (1985). Structural Depths of Indian Thought. State University of New York Press. pp. 147–151. ISBN 978-0-88706-139-4.
- Peter Harvey (1995). The Selfless Mind: Personality, Consciousness and Nirvana in Early Buddhism. Routledge. pp. 54–56. ISBN 978-1-136-78336-4.
- Peter Harvey (1995). The Selfless Mind: Personality, Consciousness and Nirvana in Early Buddhism. Routledge. pp. 111–112. ISBN 978-1-136-78336-4.
- Peter Harvey (1995). The Selfless Mind: Personality, Consciousness and Nirvana in Early Buddhism. Routledge. pp. 31–32, 44, 50–51, 71, 210–216, 246. ISBN 978-1-136-78336-4.
- Martijn van Zomeren (2016). From Self to Social Relationships: An Essentially Relational Perspective on Social Motivation. Cambridge University Press. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-107-09379-9., Quote: Buddhism is an example of a non-theistic religion, which underlies a cultural matrix in which individuals believe that the self is an illusion. Indeed, its anatta doctrine states that the self is not an essence.
- Steven Collins (1990). Selfless Persons: Imagery and Thought in Theravada Buddhism. Cambridge University Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-521-39726-1.
- Steven Collins (1990). Selfless Persons: Imagery and Thought in Theravada Buddhism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 94–96. ISBN 978-0-521-39726-1.
- Steven Collins (1990). Selfless Persons: Imagery and Thought in Theravada Buddhism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 96–97. ISBN 978-0-521-39726-1.
- Steven Collins (1990). Selfless Persons: Imagery and Thought in Theravada Buddhism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 3–5, 35–36, 109–116, 163, 193. ISBN 978-0-521-39726-1.
- Donald K. Swearer (2012). Buddhist World of Southeast Asia, The: Second Edition. State University of New York Press. pp. 2–3. ISBN 978-1-4384-3252-6.
- Steven Collins (1990). Selfless Persons: Imagery and Thought in Theravada Buddhism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 82–84. ISBN 978-0-521-39726-1.
- Steven Collins (1990). Selfless Persons: Imagery and Thought in Theravada Buddhism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 81–82. ISBN 978-0-521-39726-1.
- Loy, David (1982). "Enlightenment in Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta". International Philosophical Quarterly. Philosophy Documentation Center. 22 (1): 65–74. doi:10.5840/ipq19822217.
- Potprecha Cholvijarn. Nibbāna as True Reality beyond the Debate. Wat Luang Phor Sodh. p. 45. ISBN 978-974-350-263-7.
- Williams 2008, pp. 125–7.
- Mackenzie 2007, pp. 100–5, 110.
- Williams 2008, p. 126.
- Mackenzie 2007, p. 51.
- Mackenzie 2007, p. 51–2.
- King, R., Early Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism: The Mahayana Context of the Gaudapadiya-Karika (Albany: SUNY Press, 1995), p. 97.
- Nāgārjuna; David J. Kalupahana (Translator) (1996). Mūlamadhyamakakārikā of Nāgārjuna. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 56–59. ISBN 978-81-208-0774-7.
- David Loy (2009). Awareness Bound and Unbound: Buddhist Essays. State University of New York Press. pp. 36–38. ISBN 978-1-4384-2680-8.
- Diane Morgan (2004). The Buddhist Experience in America. Greenwood. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-313-32491-8.
- David F. Burton (2015). Emptiness Appraised: A Critical Study of Nagarjuna's Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 31–32, 48 with footnote 38. ISBN 978-1-317-72322-6.
- Ian Harris (1991). The Continuity of Madhyamaka and Yogācāra in Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism. BRILL Academic. pp. 146–147. ISBN 90-04-09448-2.
- Mun-Keat Choong (1999). The Notion of Emptiness in Early Buddhism. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 1–4, 85–88. ISBN 978-81-208-1649-7.
- Ray Billington (2002). Understanding Eastern Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 58–60. ISBN 978-1-134-79348-8.
- David Loy (2009). Awareness Bound and Unbound: Buddhist Essays. State University of New York Press. pp. 35–39. ISBN 978-1-4384-2680-8.
- Stephan Schuhmacher (1994). The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion: Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Zen. Shambhala. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-87773-980-7.
- Paul Williams (2008). Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations. Routledge. pp. 125–127. ISBN 978-1-134-25056-1.
- S. K. Hookham (1991). The Buddha Within: Tathagatagarbha Doctrine According to the Shentong Interpretation of the Ratnagotravibhaga. State University of New York Press. pp. 100–104. ISBN 978-0-7914-0357-0.
- Paul Williams (2008). Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations. Routledge. p. 104. ISBN 978-1-134-25056-1.
- Paul Williams (2008). Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations. Routledge. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-134-25056-1.
- Paul Williams (2008). Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations. Routledge. pp. 104–105, 108. ISBN 978-1-134-25056-1.
- Merv Fowler (1999). Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices. Sussex Academic Press. pp. 101–102. ISBN 978-1-898723-66-0., Quote: "Some texts of the tathagatagarbha literature, such as the Mahaparinirvana Sutra actually refer to an atman, though other texts are careful to avoid the term. This would be in direct opposition to the general teachings of Buddhism on anatta. Indeed, the distinctions between the general Indian concept of atman and the popular Buddhist concept of Buddha-nature are often blurred to the point that writers consider them to be synonymous."
- Paul Williams (2008). Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations. Routledge. p. 109. ISBN 978-1-134-25056-1. Quote: "... it refers to the Buddha using the term "Self" in order to win over non-Buddhist ascetics."
- John W. Pettit (1999). Mipham's Beacon of Certainty: Illuminating the View of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection. Simon and Schuster. pp. 48–49. ISBN 978-0-86171-157-4.
- Paul Williams (2008). Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations. Routledge. pp. 109–112. ISBN 978-1-134-25056-1.
- Christopher Bartley (2015). An Introduction to Indian Philosophy: Hindu and Buddhist Ideas from Original Sources. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 105. ISBN 978-1-4725-2437-9.
- Paul Williams (2008). Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations. Routledge. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-134-25056-1.
- S. K. Hookham (1991). The Buddha Within: Tathagatagarbha Doctrine According to the Shentong Interpretation of the Ratnagotravibhaga. State University of New York Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-7914-0357-0.
- Johannes Bronkhorst (1993). The Two Traditions of Meditation in Ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 99 with footnote 12. ISBN 978-81-208-1114-0.
- Johannes Bronkhorst (2009). Buddhist Teaching in India. Wisdom Publications. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-86171-811-5.
- Jamie Hubbard, Absolute Delusion, Perfect Buddhahood, University of Hawai’i Press, Honolulu, 2001, pp. 99-100
- Zimmermann, Michael (2002), A Buddha Within: The Tathāgatagarbhasūtra, Biblotheca Philologica et Philosophica Buddhica VI, The International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology, Soka University, p. 64
- Michael Zimmermann, A Buddha Within, p. 64
- Zimmermann, A Buddha Within, p. 81
- Miranda Eberle Shaw (2006). Buddhist Goddesses of India. Princeton University Press. pp. 387–390. ISBN 0-691-12758-1.
- Kun-Dga'-Bstan; Kunga Tenpay Nyima; Jared Rhoton (2003). The Three Levels of Spiritual Perception: A Commentary on the Three Visions. Simon and Schuster. p. 392. ISBN 978-0-86171-368-4.
- Garab Dorje (1996). The Golden Letters: The Three Statements of Garab Dorje, the First Teacher of Dzogchen, Together with a Commentary by. Snow Lion Publications. p. 319. ISBN 978-1-55939-050-7.
- Jeffrey Hopkins (2006). Absorption in No External World. Snow Lion Publications. pp. 400–405. ISBN 978-1-55939-946-3.
- Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen (2010). A Complete Guide to the Buddhist Path. Snow Lion Publications. pp. 259–261. ISBN 978-1-55939-790-2.
- Karma-Ran-Byun-Kun-Khyab-Phrin-Las; Denis Tondrup (1997). Luminous Mind: The Way of the Buddha. Simon and Schuster. pp. 204–206. ISBN 978-0-86171-118-5.
- Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (2000). Essence of Vajrayana: The Highest Yoga Tantra Practice of Heruka Body Mandala. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 140–143. ISBN 978-81-208-1729-6.
- John A. Grimes (1996). A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy: Sanskrit Terms Defined in English. State University of New York Press. p. 199. ISBN 978-0-7914-3067-5.
- A. K. Warder (2000). Indian Buddhism. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 473–474. ISBN 978-81-208-1741-8.
- Asaṅga; Janice Dean Willis (2002). On Knowing Reality: The Tattvārtha Chapter of Asaṅga's Bodhisattvabhūmi. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 24. ISBN 978-81-208-1106-5.
- Helen J Baroni (2002), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Zen Buddhism, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 978-0-8239-2240-6, page 14
- David Loy (1982), Enlightenment in Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta: Are Nirvana and Moksha the Same?, International Philosophical Quarterly, Volume 23, Issue 1, pages 65-74
- Peter Harvey (2013). The Selfless Mind: Personality, Consciousness and Nirvana in Early Buddhism. Routledge. pp. 34, 38. ISBN 978-1-136-78336-4.
- Sengaku Mayeda (2000), Sankara and Buddhism, in New Perspectives on Advaita Vedānta (Editors: Richard V. De Smet, Bradley J. Malkovsky), Brill Academic, ISBN 978-9004116665, pages 18-29
- Peter Harvey (2012). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices. Cambridge University Press. pp. 59–60. ISBN 978-0-521-85942-4.
- Peter Harvey (2013). The Selfless Mind: Personality, Consciousness and Nirvana in Early Buddhism. Routledge. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-136-78336-4., Quote: "The post-Buddhist Matri Upanishad holds that only defiled individual self, rather than the universal one, thinks 'this is I' or 'this is mine'. This is very reminiscent of Buddhism, and may well have been influenced by it to divorce the universal Self from such egocentric associations".
- Anderson, Carol (2013), Pain and Its Ending: The Four Noble Truths in the Theravada Buddhist Canon, Routledge
- Buswell, Robert E. Jr.; Lopez, Donald Jr. (2003), The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, Princeton University Press
- Carter, John Ross (1987), "Four Noble Truths", in Jones, Lindsay, MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religions, MacMillan
- Gombrich, Richard F. (1997). How Buddhism Began: The Conditioned Genesis of the Early Teachings. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-19639-5.
- Harvey, Graham (2016), Religions in Focus: New Approaches to Tradition and Contemporary Practices, Routledge
- Harvey, Peter (2013). An Introduction to Buddhism. Cambridge University Press.
- Keown, Damien (2000). Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction (Kindle ed.). Oxford University Press.
- Lopez, Donald S (1995). Buddhism in Practice (PDF). Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-04442-2.
- Lopez, Donald, jr. (2009), Buddhism and Science: A Guide for the Perplexed, University of Chicago Press
- Rory Mackenzie (2007), New Buddhist Movements in Thailand: Towards an Understanding of Wat Phra Dhammakaya and Santi Asoke (PDF), Routledge, ISBN 978-1-134-13262-1
- Makransky, John J. (1997), Buddhahood Embodied: Sources of Controversy in India and Tibet, SUNY
- Raju, P. T. (1985). Structural Depths of Indian Thought. State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0-88706-139-4.
- Samuel, Geoffrey (2008), The Origins of Yoga and Tantra: Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century, Cambridge University Press
- Schmidt-Leukel, Perry (2006), Understanding Buddhism, Dunedin Academic Press, ISBN 978-1-903765-18-0
- Spiro, Melford E. (1982), Buddhism and Society: A Great Tradition and Its Burmese Vicissitudes, University of California Press
- Vetter, Tilmann (1988), The Ideas and Meditative Practices of Early Buddhism, BRILL
- Williams, Paul (2002), Buddhist Thought (Kindle ed.), Taylor & Francis
- Williams, Paul (2008), Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations (PDF) (2 ed.), Routledge, ISBN 978-1-134-25056-1
- A Note on Attā in the Alagaddūpama Sutta. K. R. Norman – Studies in Indian Philosophy LD Series, 84 – 1981
- Recovering the Buddha's Message. R. F. Gombrich
- Lama, Dalai (1997). Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective. Translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa. Snow Lion Publications. Source:  (accessed: Sunday March 25, 2007)
- Wynn, Alexander (2010). "The atman and its negation". Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. 33 (1-2): 103–171.
- Web sources
- Donald Lopez, Four Noble Truths, Encyclopedia Britannica.
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu, The Truth of Rebirth And Why it Matters for Buddhist Practice
- "Maha-parinibbana Sutta: Last Days of the Buddha".
- Patrick Olivelle (2012), Encyclopædia Britannica, Moksha (Indian religions)