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Author Topic: [Q&A] What is the meaning of Anicca and Anatta?  (Read 169 times)

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Offline Johann

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[Q&A] What is the meaning of Anicca and Anatta?
« on: October 01, 2017, 05:39:09 PM »
What is the meaning of Anicca and Anatta?

Quote from: by Upasaka Sarath
Most[1] of the English translation I read, Anatta is translated as not-self and Anicca as impermanence. However many Sri Lankan Buddhist monks do not agree with this translation. They say it is a miss translation by Buddhagosha. According to many Buddhist monks, it appears, Anicca means our inability to control the five aggregate. Anatta means the futile nature of the five aggregate. Is this true?
 1. actually only some, see discussion there

Venerable members of the Sangha,
walking in front Fellows in leading the holly life.

 _/\_  _/\_  _/\_

In Respect of the Triple Gems, Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, in Respect of the Elders of the community _/\_ , my person tries to answer this question. Please, may all knowledgeable Venerables and Dhammika, out of compassion, correct my person, if something is not correct and fill also graps, if something is missing.

Valued Upasaka, Upasika, Aramika(inis),
dear Readers and Visitors,


- Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa

(This is a maybe modified and expanded answer of the "original" that can be found here . )

Nyom Sarath, and those with interest,

At(t)ma(n)-peap (atta-paññatti, my person, "I-ness", usually, polite and modest 3rd person adressing of oneself when speaking with householder as pabbajita "one gone forth", here where he dwells) followed the hard leaded discussion on many places of Dhamma-discussion a little, which was merely very un-welcome to many and sometimes "brutal" and ignorant approached, from my persons view, especially in scholar-spheres and where practicing is merely secondary matter, even unwished to be discussed.

Coming to this question, not as a linguistic scholar and also not as a script scholar, but from a practical use, also of language and of it's sense, in relation to the practice and aim.

Here in Cambodia, which maybe has the longest unbroken "oral only"-tradition, with less exchange to organised communities elsewhere and seemingly long unbroken lineage without much scholars, in a more modern way, and scripts very young, many pali and sanskrit words are living part of the countries language in daily use, and also general translations into Khmer (khema = land or person at peace) language are mostly often different to modern translation in living languages.

The word atthanay,for example, as part of common language, adjectivly used, means simply "makes no sense", "has nothing to hold on". Anicca is translated as min-deang or *min-dang (khmer), which means, not-knowable, not to see, not control-able, not in the sphere of control or foreseeable.

That would, independently of this "old" Sri Lankan approach, Sarath quoted,
Anicca means our inability to control the five aggregate. Anatta means the futile nature of the five aggregate.

fit well with each other. Practical in living language and meaning, as well practical in relation of the path, for the aim to get ride of suffering/stress, rather to find such as an "I" or destroy it.

At the heart - the sense stays actually (like also particly mentikned by Beginner her) the same with the usual words - it would, for a good and in line of the general context of the Dhamma, and ways conductive for the path, just fit better than use the modern/popular words, since speculations about, if there is a self or not, needs to be avoided, and are root causes of suffering (e.g. papanca).

But maybe the "problem", causing disputes, lies merely there, that the issue of at least emptiness, usually have not been taught to the untrained person (mind), and that people not free of sakkaya-ditthi, one of the lower fetter, self-view, self-believe, has simply a hard to work without self or not-self, therefore prever the use of one or another extreme and bend it here and there that it does not possible seem like eternal- or nihilism, but still is.

How ever, to cut away a "dangerous" assuming that some might draw from it: that would not mean that Nibbana is self - making a dopple-chance in a thought line - it just would mean that Nibbana makes sense (attha), aside of all other phenomenas which do not (anattha), and it is no more not in the sphere of insecurity, niccha, secure. For whom or what, is no question in this sphere, cut off, made an end.

How ever, my person never come across a saying of "nibbana atta, nibbana niccaṃ" quoting the Buddha, ditectly. Maybe out of good reason as well, such was not said, since Nibbana is not an antidote to Samsara, but "simply" beyond.

But this "tiny" distinction fits also well into the "not-modern" translation, suggested here:

Quote from: anattā

While in the case of the first two characteristics it is stated that all formations (sabbe sankhārā) are impermanent and subject to suffering, the corresponding text for the third characteristic states that "all things are not-self" (sabbe dhammā anattā; M. 35, Dhp. 279).

Hence: Nibbana "just" nicca: secure: might be possible valid to express, taken that sabbe dhammā anattā incl. Nibbana (for security to be not mistaken as "the Self")

So the answer here will again either stay food for not conductive thoughts for the path either, or possible lead even more "just" to practice and see (dang km) for "oneself" (kluan eing km).

May all able to, gain the best out of it and reach the stream till highest fruit.

This post and Content has come to be by Dhamma-Dana and so is given as it       Dhamma-Dana: Johann

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