Anatman (Hinduism)

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For the concept in Buddhism, see Anatta.

Anātman in Sanskrit means that "which is different from atman" or "non-self".[1] In Hinduism, the former definition is found in some texts, while in Buddhism, anātman or anattā means non-self.[2]

Advaita concept of Anātman[edit]

According to Śrī Candraśekhara Bhāratī of Śringeri,[3] Shankara does not use the term anātman to mean non-soul or anti-soul. The Atman is formless and partless whose true nature cannot be perceived, while the anātman has form, has parts and whose nature can be perceived.[4] Anātman, a creation of Brahman which is non-different from Brahman and has no existence apart from Brahman.[5] To comprehend the difference between ātman and anātman is to become liberated.[6]

In order to realise the self-existent eternal Atman, the seeker after Truth uses "Neti, neti", that is "not this, not this" on Anatman, to reach that which remains as Atman.[7]

Buddhist concept of Anatman or Anatta[edit]

Buddhists believe that there is no permanent underlying substance called self or soul (Atman) in human beings.[8][9][10] They believe that anattā/anātman (non-self), impermanence and dukkha (suffering) are the three characteristics (trilakkhana) of all existence, and understanding of these three constitutes right understanding. "The anātman doctrine was in no sense an addendum, since it was fundamental to the other two doctrines; that is, because there is no real human self, there is no duration in human experience; and because there is no duration in human experience, there is no genuine happiness."[11]

Nāgārjuna's explication of the theory of anātman as śūnyatā (emptiness) in the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā was part of his restatement of the Buddha's Four Noble Truths as well as a rejection of the philosophies of the early Buddhist schools of the Sarvastivadins and the Sautrāntika.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Monier Williams, Monier-Williams Sanskrit English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, Article on Anatman, Quote: anAtman m. non-self, another; something different from spirit or soul
  2. ^ Anatta, Encyclopædia 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”)."
  3. ^ Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati III of Sringeri. Sri Samkara’s Vivekacudamani. Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. p. 207. 
  4. ^ Swami Madhavananda. Vivekachudamani of Adi Shankara. Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama. p. 56. Verse 148 
  5. ^ Swami Madhavananda. Vivekachudamani of Adi Shankara. Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama. p. 12. Verse 20 
  6. ^ Swami Madhavananda. Vivekachudamani of Adi Shankara. Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama. p. 58. Verse 152 
  7. ^ Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati III of Sringeri. Sri Samkara’s Vivekacudamani. Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. pp. 270–272, 342. 
  8. ^ [a] KN Jayatilleke (2010), Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, ISBN 978-8120806191, pages 246-249, from note 385 onwards;
    [b] Steven Collins (1994), Religion and Practical Reason (Editors: Frank Reynolds, David Tracy), State Univ of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791422175, 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
  9. ^ John C. Plott et al (2000), Global History of Philosophy: The Axial Age, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120801585, page 63, Quote: "The Buddhist schools reject any Ātman concept. As we have already observed, this is the basic and ineradicable distinction between Hinduism and Buddhism".
  10. ^ Anatta, Encyclopædia 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”)."
  11. ^ Organ 1987, p. 163.
  12. ^ Kalupahana 1996, p. 67.

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