Page 12

seeking the path

or essence; that, since they have no unchanging principle or essence, they are powerless to resist impermanence and inevitably ‘lead to affliction’—to change, decay, and death—; and that this impotence in the face of change is the characteristic of anattå: and if it is also remembered that nibbåna is both void of the five aggregates and permanent,—then it should not be difficult to see why nothing is attå, why the five aggregates are anattå, and why it cannot be said that nibbåna is either. Certainly, a statement by the Buddha that nibbåna is attå or that it is anattå is nowhere to be found it the Suttas.

ii. saπkhårå & dhammå A discussion of nibbåna and anattå might, perhaps, have been needless, were it not that, in spite of the Buddha’s silence on the matter, the view that nibbåna is anattå is often put forward. To justify this view, appeal is generally made to these three statements of the Buddha’s, which occur in the Suttas in many places: Sabbe saπkhårå aniccå. Sabbe saπkhårå dukkhå. Sabbe dhammå anattå. (Aπguttara, III,134; Dhammapada, 277-279; etc.) All formations are impermanent. All formations are suffering. All things are not-self. They are interpreted in this way. Sabbe saπkhårå means everything that is saπkhata, or formed; or, in other words, everything excluding the asaπkhata, the unformed, nibbåna. Sabbe dhammå means both saπkhata and asaπkhata; that is to say, everything, nibbåna included. Nibbåna is thus anattå. As evidence of the correctness of such an interpretation, this Sutta passage will perhaps be adduced: Yåvatå bhikkhave dhammå saπkhatå vå asaπkhatå vå virågo tesaµ dhammånaµ aggaµ akkhåyati yadidaµ madanimmadano pipåsavinayo ålayasamugghåto va††¨pacchedo ta~hakkhayo virågo nirodho nibbånaµ. (Aπguttara, IV,34)

330

Early Writings (Seeking the Path - Ñāṇavīra Thera)  

Part B includes two early essays (Nibbana and Anatta and Sketch for a Proof of Rebirth) as well as notes from a Commonplace Book and Margina...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you