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Thread: Pali suttas: Established misconceptions in Pali Buddhism

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Element View Post
    Also, these words are only found in SN 44.10 (and nowhere else in the suttas). They are words attributed to the wanderer Vacchagotta (rather than to the Buddha). This again supports the conclusion that SN 44.10 is not about 'not-self' ('anatta').

    Could that be why the Buddha didn't answer, that the words used had a unique meaning, so that whatever answer was given would be wrong for the individual concerned, and wouldn't move him on?

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by philg View Post
    Could that be why the Buddha didn't answer, that the words used had a unique meaning, so that whatever answer was given would be wrong for the individual concerned, and wouldn't move him on?
    Yes, it appears that way.

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    Thanks for persevering with me! I think I have it now.

  4. #14
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    No problem. I think there are lots of assumptions going in the Buddha's mind that are not explained in the sutta. In short, the Buddha made the assessment Vacchagotta would not comprehend the teaching of anatta (not-self) if it was explained to him.

    What can be concluded from the sutta is the questions of Vacchagotta were about eternalism & nihilism rather than about the Middle-Way of not-self (anatta) of the Buddha:

    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. 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.
    Regards

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