The long-awaited English translation of Kamaleswar Bhattacharya’s 1973 French book, L’Ātman-Brahman dans le Bouddhisme ancien, has just been published, and is now available at As stated in the book’s description:

“The thesis of this book is nothing less than epoch-making. While no one doubts that the Buddha denied theātman, the self, the question is: Which ātman? Buddhism, as a religion, has long taken this to be the universal ātman taught in the Hindu Upaniṣads, equivalent to brahman. What we find in the Buddha’s words as recorded in the Buddhist scriptures, however, is only a denial of any permanent self in the ever-changing aggregates that form a person. In decades of teaching, the Buddha had many opportunities to clearly deny the universal ātman if that was his intention. He did not do so. Kamaleswar Bhattacharya’s research is the most important study of this fundamentally important question to have appeared. Other studies of this question exist, coming to the same conclusion, but in general they have not been taken seriously. Bhattacharya’s research, because of the high level of his scholarship, has to be taken seriously. One may disagree with it, but it cannot be dismissed or ignored.”

Professor Bhattacharya’s thesis, as stated in his Preface, is: “the Buddha does not deny the Upaniṣadicātman; on the contrary, he indirectly affirms it, in denying that which is falsely believed to be the ātman.”

How, one may wonder, could such a fundamental teaching be misunderstood for so long? He writes in his Preface:

“The one request I would make of such eminent scholars as have devoted their lives to the study of Buddhism is that they adopt a genuinely Buddhist attitude and read this book before saying, ‘That is impossible.’”

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The Upaniṣadic ātman or brahman has been equated by Blavatsky and the Theosophical Mahatma teachers to the first fundamental proposition of the Secret Doctrine: an omnipresent, eternal, boundless, and immutable principle. They give this as being what the Buddha originally taught, in accordance with what is taught in the ancient Wisdom Tradition that they represent. Since the Buddha denied the ātman, long taken by the Buddhist religion to be theātman taught in the Hindu Upaniṣads, the Theosophical Mahatma teachers appear to be woefully uninformed, if not altogether imaginary. Kamaleswar Bhattacharya’s research found in this book is therefore of much importance to students of Theosophy. The main points of his research have been excerpted and placed within this context in the article by Nancy Reigle, “Ātman/Anātman in Buddhism and Its Implication for the Wisdom Tradition,” available here:


David,  thanks very much for pointing us towards Bhattacharya's work and for Nancy's article.  There is another work by Joaquin Perez-Remon, which also takes up this theme.

'Self and non-self in Early Buddhism."

Here is how the author introduces the work:


Thanks, Peter. Perez-Remon's book is indeed a major contribution to this question. Bhattacharya in one of his later articles ("A Note on Anātman in the Work of E. Lamotte," p. 26, fn. 2) rather enigmatically writes: "Despite an apparently identical standpoint, there is a gulf of difference between Perez-Remon's approach and mine--a difference which, unfortunately, has often been missed by scholars." But he nowhere elaborates on what this difference is.

Just a few days ago (April 30) I posted an announcement of our publication of Bhattacharya's book in English on the Dharma Wheel website. While it was predictable that many Buddhists would not like this book and therefore would respond, the response in numbers of posts has been quite surprising. At the present moment, there have so far been 142 posts on this topic:


Haha, yep. Quite the conversation over there so far. I suppose most will find it difficult to even consider that such a cherished dogma may have faults. For many, it would mean reexamining ideas they've spent an entire lifetime devoting themselves to.

But also, of course there are two sides of the atma-anatma question... many theosophists may fall into the opposite trap, I think, in attaching ourselves too strongly to a preconceived notion of what is meant by atman, and too personalizing the concept. I've found it beneficial to consider the idea of no-self as a way to challenge how I view what atman is.


Good point, Jon, about the Buddhist anatman teaching being helpful to balance the view of atman usually held by theosophists. Mahatma letter #16 refers to "Sakkayaditthi, the "heresy or delusion of individuality" and of Attavada "the doctrine of Self," both of which (in the case of the fifth principle the soul) lead to the maya of heresy and belief in the efficacy of vain rites and ceremonies; in prayers and intercession." Kamaleswar Bhattacharya's book helped me to understand more about what these may refer to, and why even attavada, "the doctrine of Self," can be a problem. The big issue seems to have been regarding the personal self as being the universal self; of attributing finite and limited things to what is infinite and unlimited. It is apparently this that the Buddha's teaching attempted to counter.


I've studied these problems for a while and to me at least the whole dispute about atman and anatman all comes down to nothing more than an argument about words. These two doctrines don't even correspond to the same level of discourse. For a thing to be anatman is nothing more than for it to be empty. For a thing to be empty is for it to lack any intrinsic or unchanging nature. In one sense, we may consider the atman to be devoid of anything like an unchanging nature; how could it be otherwise since the atman is identical to the never ending fluctuations of samsara? On the other hand, the atman is also empty of impure, fleeting, and false defilements or impossible ways of existing. It is the ultimate mode of existence, the primordial purity of the universe. I think many of the posters at Dharma Wheel may be too caught up in the spirit of sectarianism to dispassionately look at what is really meant by the concept of the impersonal atman, sadly.

Both of these doctrines when understood in concert are very powerful shields against both eternalism and nihilism, imo.


"These two doctrines don't even correspond to the same level of discourse." This is what Kamaleswar Bhattacharya's book attempts to show. He tries to show that the Upanisadic atman taught in Vedanta is quite different from the atman connected with a person that other schools of Hinduism taught. It is this latter personal atman, he says, that the Buddhist anatman doctrine refutes. Of course, this is a hard sell to Buddhists who have been brought up with the idea that Buddhism refutes atman, period, without making any distinction.


Samantha, what you wrote here is exactly what Bhattacharya says in his Conclusion (p. 207):

"In actual fact, our controversy is nothing but an argument over words. The authentic åtman, being the negation of the empirical åtman, is anåtman; and anåtman is a negative expression which indicates the authentic åtman, which is ineffable and—from theobjective point of view—“non-existent.” There is no contradiction between åtman and anåtman. The åtman, which is denied, and that which is affirmed, through that negation itself, pertains to two different levels. It is only when we have not succeeded in distinguishing between them, that the terms åtman and anåtman seem to us to be opposed."


What a fantastic quote! I do look forward to getting my hands on this volume soon. His argument seems pretty solid and sensible and should definitely be a wonderful contribution to the the historical evidence for Theosophical teachings, and from texts that are generally agreed to be the closest to the Tathagata's actual teachings no less.


This is a great subject for consideration; " Which ātman?"

I'm sure for those who have studied upanishadic texts, âtma used very liberally. The Taittiriyopanisad, for example is the perfect example of this.  One Âtma followed by 5 various "atmas."  I've always considered this to be like saying the "[SELF] Self and the self."  Âtman,in one sense, at least how I understand it, might be seen as a principle that encapsulates other principles/bodies of different (various) natures. A bubble or encasing field of sorts.  I suspect that âtman, in the most literal sense, need not be strictly confound to the 7th principle of man.  Though called Âtma, perhaps it might be indicating some other principleakin at Âtma. Considering this and turning to Jîvâtman/ Human Monad; 

(root verb) jîv जीव्; to live , be or remain alive, to live by, to support life , keep alive.
jîva; जीव; living , existing , alive, living by, causing to live ,vivifyingthe principle of life , vital breath , the living or personal soul(as distinguished from the universal soul.

" The principle of life" is an interesting definition.  Perhaps it might be wise to see what qualifies "life" in the esoteric doctrine, or rather, what "life" is being referred to i.e., limited to outward expressions- physical manifestations.

Âtman; आत्मन्- the soul , principle of life and sensation, the individual soul , self , abstract individual, essence , nature , character , peculiarity, the person or whole body considered as one and opposed to the separate members of the body etc...

Understanding that the jivatman and the human monad are identical (differing in name) we are led to the conclusion, that there are perhaps 3 atmans stemming from One Holy Paramatman- The Supreme Parabrahmam.  

"...The term Jîvâtmâ is generally applied by our philosophers to the seventh principle when it is distinguished from Paramâtmâ, or Parabrahmam."
[T.S.R. "Aryan-Arhat Esoteric Tenents."]

Turning to his article "Occultism of Southern India" we find some interesting direction, which even modern practitioners of vedanta fail to mention.  "Southern occult school divides the sates of consciousness into three; 1) Jâgrat, waking consciousness; 2) savanna, dream consciousness, and 3) susupti, consciousness of dreamless sleep.  As this classification stands, however, it is purposely obscure: to make it perfect, it must be understood that each of these three states is further divided into three states."

Individuals may refer to this article and find one upanishad, the sarvopanisad, that lists two other manifestations, or upadhis, of Âtman, "above" and "beyond" the condition of jîvâtmân, I am unaware of the theosophical definitions of the sanskrit terms, as I've yet to come across them.   This will tie into what T. Subba Row hints out about the 3 major avasthas, with 3 sub-states.  At least to my knowledge. 

Now, if I might add some thoughts, I find it interesting in this common definition of Âtman, that the majority of the definitions are of a separative nature, other than "essence", all of the definitions are qualifying. Even "abstract individual" is denoting a sense of separateness, if not a definable form then a distinct condition of individuality.  So looking at then the Paramâtman- may one consider that this denotes the Self (Parabrahmam- the One Universal Life) which is beyond the Âtman condition?

Para पर (viz.parâtman परात्मन्)- distant , remote (in space) , opposite , ulterior , farther than , beyond , on the other or farther side of , extreme, ancient, following , succeeding , subsequent, final , last, superior (or inferior to), highest , supreme , chief, other than , different from, left or remaining, existence (regarded as the common property of all things).

In all cases, para suggests something greater, and when the affix is atman, it must by definition, mean something greater or "other than" âtman. Any thoughts?

I have been thinking of this topic for some time, needless to say, I am excited to read the book!


What is this "auric envelope" ? Judging by the name, I suppose it can be called Atman, in the strictest sense regarding the jivatman/human monad.


Thank you Nicholas,

Very well.  It is known by many names indeed, however Sutratman (between lives) is probably the best way to understand this.  

I think this clears a lot up for me regarding the constitution.  I always felt like something was a little off kilter, or just not mentioned.  The Upanishads mention it in their own way, but this just closes the case.  I am satisfied.

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Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on May 5, 2015 at 6:43am

I tried to raise this subject in a recent post:

Brahman, Atman, Jiva, Purusha - Clarification?

Atma is the seventh principle, Shankara and Kapila say it is unaffected by the actions of Jiva.
"Atma neither progresses, forgets, nor remembers. It does not belong to this plane: it is but the ray of light eternal which shines upon and through the darkness of matter -- when the latter is willing." HPB
Jiva* is the Seventh plus sixth principle or put another way: Jiva is Atma entangled in an upadhi, in Prakriti. Both Shankara and Kapila say that Jiva is not 'real', ie that it is conditional on:
- Prakriti which is never stable "matter, whose life is motion" Mahatma Letter 1
-The presence of Atma which only appears to be entangled in Prakriti "like the notion that a crystal is red or of any other colour owing to its association with limiting adjuncts such as a red cotton pad." (Shankara and Kapila)
Remember that there is within man no abiding principle......neither Atma nor Buddhi ever were within man, " Mahatma Letter 72

*The normal Vedic version. HPB sometimes used a different Jiva (The 'Arhat-Esoteric' philosophy?)

Permalink Reply by David Reigle on May 5, 2015 at 1:17pm

The loose use of terms such as purusha is frequent in Sanskrit writings in general. In specifically philosophical texts of the Advaita Vedanta school, the terms brahman, atman, and jiva are used in specific ways as distinguished from one another. In this system, speaking strictly, purusha is not among these terms. This school approaches reality from the standpoint of non-dualism. So when the term purusha is found in an Advaita Vedanta text, it is usually used somewhat loosely, being imported from the different and ostensibly dualistic framework of the Samkhya school. This framework is, as we say, another way to cut the pie. Because purusha is such a common term in Sanskrit, an Advaita Vedanta writer may use it, and in so doing may use it for brahman, or for atman, or for jiva. In its own system, purusha would (or could) include all of these. This is the nature of the Sanskrit writings as we have them, and we just have to do the best we can to figure out how any particular writer, at any particular place, uses a particular term such as these.

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on May 6, 2015 at 7:31am

But what confusion is caused by ill defined terminology! After centuries one would have thought some pandit would have made an attempt at clarification. Purusha/Prakriti - normally considered the province of Samkhya constitutes a major component of the cosmology in the Mahatma Letters

Permalink Reply by David Reigle on May 5, 2015 at 12:57pm

As you say, Kristan, the word atman is used in different senses in the Upanisads, and even within the same Upanisad. This has no doubt contributed to confusion about which atman is denied by the anatman doctrine of Buddhism. It seems that, when the word paramatman is used in Vedanta texts, this is usually done to make it clear that the universal atman is being referred to rather than the personal atman. The same is true for the terms brahman and parabrahman. In the Upanisads, just atman and brahman are the norm. Since the Upanisads also speak of a lower or personal atman in places, the Vedanta teachers sometimes spoke of paramatman, apparently to show which atman they were referring to.

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on May 5, 2015 at 1:27pm

Thanks David,

Yes, it is a very subtle topic, but it appears that there must be fundamentals grasped to understand the many meanings of one word, say for example, even sutratma.  Personally I have found terms like "atman, jiva, purusa, prakriti, etc." to differ depending on author, and school of philosophy.  There was a line in HPB's Transactions;

"State anything you please from the esoteric standpoint to a Hindu, and, if he so wishes, he can, from his own particular system, contradict or refute you."

This, personally, I think what makes the sanskrit language so amazing, as it is highly philosophical in its very driest approach to grammar, yet deeply esoteric and capable of being 100% suggestive through mere literal and common word usage. 

I believe one must understand a the fundaments of a particular school, the philosophical structure, and then dry to decipher the meanings behind the Vedic or Upanisadic texts.  All schools study from the same book, but not surprisingly, know it differently.

I must say I am quite uneducated in Buddhist texts other than the Dharmapada, so I have no basis to make a comparison.  What I know about Buddhism is only through Theosophy.  

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on May 4, 2015 at 10:46am

Expecting latter day Buddhists to have an open mind? They are worse than Catholics in my experience. Try to find an example of a dialogue with Vedantists on the web; yet its clear that such occurred when Buddhism was present in India.

Just read the posts above (I gave up on page 5) which are mostly about their own disagreements.

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on April 29, 2015 at 2:17pm

Thanks for sharing this.

Permalink Reply by David Reigle on April 29, 2015 at 8:07pm

Preparing Kamaleswar Bhattacharya's book was very much like your work, Jon, except that the author was alive until it was finished. So Nancy could get his book how he wanted it. We had to publish it for him posthumously.

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on April 30, 2015 at 11:25am

For anyone wanting the Amazon link:

The Atman-Brahman in Ancient Buddhism (2015)

And the French version from David's website: L’Ātman-Brahman dans le Bouddhisme ancien (1973)

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on May 4, 2015 at 5:57am

This is not the only matter where the Buddha leaves us hanging:

"What do you think: Do you regard the Tathagata as form-feeling-perception-fabrications-consciousness?"
"No, my friend."
"Do you regard the Tathagata as that which is without form, without feeling, without perception, without fabrications, without consciousness?"
"No, my friend."
"And so, my friend Yamaka — when you can't pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality even in the present life — is it proper for you to declare, 'As I understand the Teaching explained by the Blessed One, a monk with no more effluents, on the break-up of the body, is annihilated, perishes, & does not exist after death'?"
Yamaka Sutta
There is a passage in a Sutta (which I can't find now) where The Buddha refers to the Skandhas to this effect:
'if there were not form-feeling-perception-fabrications-consciousness would you even be able to say "I"'?

q. 'But Lord, is it possible for me to know whether perception is a person's self, or whether perception is one thing, and self another?' 'Potthapada, it is difficult for one of different views, a different faith, under different influences, with different pursuits and a different training to know whether these are two different things or not.'
The Buddha may have had reasons not to answer the questions on self but I see no reason for not explaining these statements.
Moreover it seems to me there is flaw in the reasoning in the Potthapada Sutta:
Leigh and Rhys David Translation:
"Then, Lord, I postulate a self without form and made of consciousness.
"And granting, Potthapàda, that you had such a self, the same argument would still apply."
that argument is expressed differently in Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translation:
"Then, lord, I posit a formless self made of perception."
"Then, Potthapada, your self would be formless and made of perception. That being the case, then for you perception would be one thing and self another....even as there remains this formless self made of perception, one perception arises for that person as another perception passes away. It's through this line of reasoning that one can realize how perception will be one thing and self another."

Now this is correct because perceptions are phenomena but if we take Consciousness as contentless awareness then logically the passage should surely be (my changes in bold):

"Then, Potthapada, your self would be formless and made of awareness. That being the case, then for you awareness would be one thing and" self the same thing. "even as there remains this self made of awareness, one perception arises for that person as another perception passes away"

cf Advaita and Samkhya
Q: The Supreme is the master and consciousness -- his servant.
M: The master is in consciousness, not beyond it. In terms of consciousness the Supreme is both creation and dissolution, concretion and abstraction, the focal and the universal. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj 
Consciousness is not an attribute, but the essencee, of Purusha 
Samkhya Pravachana Sutra aph 146

Permalink Reply by David Reigle on May 5, 2015 at 1:33pm

Remember that there is within man no abiding principle......neither Atma nor Buddhi ever were within man. " This Mahatma Letter quotation posted by Keith is the crux of the whole atman/anatman question. It is this that Kamaleswar Bhattacharya tries to show in his book, in a scholarly manner. The Mahatma's explanation makes the situation very clear, and is sufficient for the relative handful of students of Theosophy. For the whole rest of the world, influenced as they are by what the intelligentsia says, Professor Bhattacharya's book is of great importance.

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on June 16, 2015 at 10:44am

HPB in The Key to Theosophy:

so his caution led Buddha to conceal too much. He even refused to say to the monk Vacchagotta whether there was, or was not an Ego in man. When pressed to answer, "the Exalted one maintained silence."

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Permalink Reply by David Reigle on June 19, 2015 at 8:29am

Thanks, Keith, for this very relevant quote. I had forgotten it, and had to look it up. In the 1889 first edition, it is on p. 81. The accompanying footnote is:

"Buddha gives to Ananda, his initiated disciple, who enquires for the reason of this silence, a plain and unequivocal answer in the dialogue translated by Oldenburg from theSamyuttaka Nikaya: — "If I, Ananda, when the wandering monk Vacchagotta asked me: 'Is there the Ego?' had answered 'The Ego is,' then that, Ananda, would have confirmed the doctrine of the Samanas and Brahmanas, who believed in permanence. If I, Ananda, when the wandering monk Vacchagotta asked me, 'Is there not the Ego?' had answered, 'The Ego is not,' then that, Ananda, would have confirmed the doctrine of those who believed in annihilation. If I, Ananda, when the wandering monk Vacchagotta asked me, 'Is there the Ego?' had answered, 'The Ego is,' would that have served my end, Ananda, by producing in him the knowledge: all existences (dhamma) are non-ego? But if I, Ananda, had answered, 'The Ego is not,' then that, Ananda, would only have caused the wandering monk Vacchagotta to be thrown from one bewilderment to another: 'My Ego, did it not exist before? But now it exists no longer!"' This shows, better than anything, that Gautama Buddha withheld such difficult metaphysical doctrines from the masses in order not to perplex them more. What he meant was the difference between the personal temporary Ego and the Higher Self, which sheds its light on the imperishable Ego, the spiritual "I" of man."

As might be expected, Kamaleswar Bhattacharya also quotes this passage in his book. The first time he quotes it, in note 119 on pp. 86-67, he points out that the ātman that Vacchagotta is asking about is the empirical or personal or individual ātman. When he quotes it more fully, pp. 239-240, he explains, just like Blavatsky did in her footnote, that the Buddha could not have spoken of the universal and absolute ātman without confusing Vacchagotta more:

"The itinerant monk, Vacchagotta, came to ask the Buddha whether there was an ātman or not. The Buddha did not reply. Later, explaining the reason for his silence to Ānanda, he said: 'To reply that there is an ātman, would have been to adopt the eternalist point of view (sassatavāda) and to contradict the truth according to which no dhamma is the ātman (or: has self nature) [sabbe dhammā anattā]; and, if I had answered that there is no ātman, I would have been adopting the nihilistic point of view (ucchedavāda), and, moreover, I would have been adding to the folly of Vacchagotta. . . .'

"The ātman which Vacchagotta was seeking, the so-called individual ātman, is impossible to find: no dharma can be the ātman, which is the foundation of all dharmas. Even so, the Buddha could not deny it: being in becoming, it has an intermediate reality between being and non-being, it is not nothing. He could deny it only by referring to the universal and absolute ātman. But the spiritual state in which Vacchagotta was, did not permit him to conceive of such a reality; if there was an ātman, it could only be for him, an individual substance. If the Buddha had replied that that ātman of his imagination did not exist, he would simply have thought: 'I had an ātman, and that ātman no longer exists!' In the circumstances, the Buddha preferred to keep silent."

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 3, 2015 at 8:19am

With reference to the Buddha being over cautious in his answers to Vacchagotta I have a hunch that in the light of the Upanishads HPB and I have been unfair to Gautama. Specifally the Kena (with AdiShankaras brilliant commentary) which in my opinion takes up the gauntlet thrown down by Yajnavalkya: how can the knower be known?

Many have swallowed this as implying that all attempts to know The Self (not the unmanifest) are futile because of the reasoning 'it cannot be obtained by logical discussion.' (though perhaps it can if the logic is dialectical/antinomical?). This is superceded in the Kena by the equally famous passages 'beyond the known and the Unknown' and the chelas declaration 'I do not think I know It well, nor do I think I do not know It'. I use the translations by Gambhirananda and Sitarama

We start with echoes of Yajnavalkya:
We do not know That. We do not know how to instruct one about It. It is distinct from the known and and the unknown. Sitarama p44
Thus the statement, that Brahman is different from the known and the unknown, having amounted to Brahman being denied as an object to be acquired or rejected, the desire of the disciple to know Brahman (objectively) comes to an end, for Brahman is nondifferent from the Self.

Gambhirananda 4

Moving on:
Considering that the previous portion of the text leads to the conclusion that it is impossible by any means to instruct one about the Atman, the following exceptional mode is pointed out

But lest the Brahman should be confounded with the unknown, the text says :'It is beyond the Unknown.' Sitarama p46

Whatever is known is limited, mortal, and full of misery; and hence it is to be rejected. So when it is said that Brahman is different from the known it amounts to asserting that It is not to be rejected.
different aviditat, from the unknown, from what is opposed to the known, from that which consists of the unmanifested ignorance*, which is the seed of the manifested. 
and more in the first part of the Upanishad.
* I confess I don't understand this use of ignorance, surely it is the unmanifested which is unknown but is the seed of the manifested known? KJ

Now second part - the chela:
If thou thinkest 'I know well it is certainly but little' .... is not an accurate conviction I know (Brahman) well' desirable ? Certainly it is desirable. But an accurate conviction is not of the form ' I know (Brahman) well.' Sitarama p54

even more enigmatic now:
"It is unknown to those who know, and known to those who do not know." 
Sitarama p57
The Srutis say 'This state of mind cannot be obtained by logical discussion.' Sitarama p34
Intelligence cannot be the quality of the earth, etc., (Prakriti/ Upadhi KJ)
Similarly, it cannot be the quality if the sensory organs, ...or of the mind.

Now towards the answer:
'' Brahman is defined by its intelligence" Sitarama p57
The gist is that the Brahman limited by no conditions or attributes, passive, infinite, one without a second, known as Bhuma, eternal, cannot be known well. (ie comprehensively KJ)
the disciple sat in solitude all composed, discussed within himself... arrived at a conclusion by his reasoning', realised it in himself, approached the preceptor and exclaimed "I think I now know Brahman" Sitarama p58-59
I do not think I know well ; I know too ; not that I do not know. (in better words? 'yet I do have gnosis of Brahman') Sitarama p59

AdiShankara summarises:
From the tradition which his master had explained to him, i.e., that the Self is something other than both the known and the unknown, from the reasonableness of the doctrine and from the strength of his own experience, the disciple loudly exclaimed, showing the firmness of his knowledge of the Brahman.
And now concludes:
(The Brahman) is known well, when it is known :as the witness of every state of consciousness
Sitarama p62
That by which all states of consciousness are perceived like objects is the Atman. He knows and sees all states of consciousness, being by nature nothing but intelligence and is indicated by these states of consciousness, as blended with every one of them.
Sitarama p63

This passage is a real discovery: 
there is something indescribable, cognisable only by the intelligence of the wise, occupying the deepest interior of all. unchangeable, undecaying, immortal, fearless, unborn (wow - is Gautama not repeating this when he says: "There is, O monks, an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed...?)
Sitarama p41

neither eternalism nor nihilism - antinomical reality again

Permalink Reply by Nemanja Stefanovic on June 23, 2015 at 3:30pm

Hello dear brothers, this is my first post since i registered before the trip to Thailand. I was in a Theravada monastery,Wat Pa Baan Taad for nearly a month. The teachings that they propound are completely different from what is mostly sold today as Buddhism. They are affirming the Self and Non-duality as reality, but some 'Buddhist' are accusing them for introducing those concepts that are similar with Vedanta , which is indeed laughable since the last confirmed Arahats were from that province. If anyone is interested in how they explain things, here is the great book , by Ajahn Pannavaddho. Exactly they didn't use the term Self, they changed it with Citta in order to avoid denoting something personal (Citta is term today wrongly understood as the same thing as mano and vinnana). Here is also a video from Ajahn Martyn talking about Self/Citta from the same monastery (i had an honor to meet him)

What they teach has pretty much a lot in common with Advaita Vedanta. 

Now the problem i'm facing in contemplation and hope someone will be able to help me, concering the Atman: If Atman does not act, and it is Atman that realizes Itself (Vivekachoodamani) , and if everything is impersonal, then what is the agent of will, who/what is it that wills? If i say that its 'me' that wills, its wrong, for something needs to will to make the thought "its 'me' that wills" (lol). Again, if everything is impersonal (which somehow is logical after all...) how can there be any 'control', since there is no 'I' that controls? Control is done by Will, its the Will that chooses, so what is the relation between Atman and Will? Is Will an attribute of Atman, like active attribute?

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on June 24, 2015 at 10:27am

I think it is important to maintain a sense of mystery and awe concerning this subject.  There is a central  mystery surrounding the SELF, Self, self.  There is a tendency to want to tie up the subject into a neat box and be done with it once and for all and theosophy points to a transcendent perspective, one that we cannot take in until we climb to the mountain top.  All the views along the way are preliminary and conditional.

The teaching concerning the sevenfold nature of man points to an integrated, multi-leveled conception spanning the most manifest to the most unmanifest and everything in between. I believe it offers clues and direction to your sincere inquires.  We are both the man in the world and the observer at the same time.  One is permanent the other impermanent and changing. We have a physical self and a Metaphysical Self.

The Atman is not the actor, what is doing the acting, what role does the Atman play in directing the acting?  These are all good questions.  And the question may be more important than the answer.  Why?  Because the question encourages climbing and the answer does not.  Remember we must get to the top of the mountain to see the whole vista. We don't want to settle for the cheap solutions.

Impersonality should not imply something cold and distant.  Impersonality ought to be associated with compassion and empathy.  Why?  Because it suggests psychologically removing our concerns and attention away from one's self to that of others and the whole. (beyond the person, impersonality)

So in theosophy, as reflected in many traditions around the world that we respect, we are encouraged to keep asking the question:  Who am I?    It is one of the most time honored questions.

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on June 25, 2015 at 2:49am


I can't thank you enough for those amazing links. Until today I would have said there was no Self inquiry tradition in Buddhism. In return I would point to the videos of Mooji who deals with the subject extensively and he teaches exactly the same as Ajahn Martyn and I do mean exactly. He is in the 'tradition' of Ramana Maharshi but I say this guardedly. Ramana himself had no spiritual background, somehow he emerged a fully fledged master after many years totally immersed in spontaneous meditition with the ability to guide experienced yogis and vedantists. The path of Self inquiry is not an easy one - there are no 'practices' as in Patanjalis yoga or Buddhism and most people have had great difficulty with it. As Osho said: Ramana was a great master but a poor guru; Mooji is a great guru. What is more amazing about him is that he too had no background not even a Hindu upbringing and on his own admission never reads books. Yet I have heard him say things that a normal person could not encounter without extensive study. Re your question I have some thoughts which I will post later but I leave you with one of Moojis favourite sayings about 'the impersonal Self': 'It has no past, no future, no gender, no star sign'


Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on June 25, 2015 at 4:50am

"who/what is it that wills?"
Let me start with the impersonal: as the source of the personal it can't be such. (Satkatyravada - the effect must exist potentially in the cause). The paradoxical nature of reality (which I prefer to call 'Tat' tho Tao is good) is epitomised in Kants antinomies (eg space/the universe must be infinite and must have an end). As Hegel subsequently pointed out: everything shares these characteristics not just Kants 5 antinomies.
Advaita = not one, not two
Antinomical Scenario 1
Adi Shankara of the Vivekachudemani: Atman is Brahman manifested/enmeshed in Upadhi (matter/prakriti/7 principles/'Khandas'). Everything thus manifested must have some sense of 'I' in order to be 'aware' of other. In the human this must result in 'will'. Shankara likes the analogy of space being the same in the pot and outside but he is actually refering to 'intelligence'/Sat-chit/(and chitta?).
cf Self Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness By Padmasambhava

"However, even though we employ the example of the sky to indicate the nature of the mind, this is in fact only a metaphor or simile indicating things in a one-sided fashion.
The nature of the mind, as well as being empty, is also intrinsically aware; everywhere it is clear. But the sky is without any awareness; it is empty as an inanimate corpse is empty. Therefore, the real meaning of "mind" is not indicated by the sky."
So for Shankara moksha is release from Upadhi (mergence in the unmanifest?) and Shakyamunis teaching and practice has the same goal: prevention of rebirth.
As Ajahn Martyn points out the individual/person is the khandas - difference is only in the Upadhi - the Chitta is the same in all. So will is an attribute of embodied 'Tat' it seems to me.
cf VERILY not any soul is bound, nor is released, nor migrates; but nature alone, in relation to various beings, is bound, is released, and migrates. Samkhya Karika

Antinomical Scenario 2
In Samkhya, Budhist theosophy and Bhedabeda Vedanta individual 'selves'/ monads/purushas are real and permanent. The are manifested in Manvantara and potential in Pralaya. For Samkhya - purusha enmeshed in Upadhi is capable of Kaivalya in any Manvantara which seems like an individualised version of Shankaras Brahman. In Budhist theosophy this does not seem an option. However we must bear in mind the other side of the antinomy:
neither I AM, nor is aught mine, nor do I exist. Samkhya Karika
and HPB: The heresy of separateness
Still it is the Purusha enmeshed in Prakriti/Upadhi which 'wills' (Theosophy seems to insist that Upadhi/Prakriti is essential to Purusha/monad - the 5th principle: mind)

Perhaps we can reconcile the differing views on Moksha as being a matter of choice (final 'will' for Shankara?); The Boddhisattva ideal seems to imply this. In any case we ourselves would seem to be 'antinomic': Ajahn martyn actually uses the term 'witness' (Sakshi in Advaita) which is always present, unchanging, the same in all, which sees without personal interest.

To conclude I would point to this video:

at circa 48mins mooji explains that it is the gunas which are active; and at circa 1hr 11mins:

I say can you see it but it has no form and you say 'yes I can see'. How is the rational mind to understand such a thing? I ask you who are you in this seeing and you say I am the seeing itself'

and circa 1hr 20 min in answer to a questioner who says I feel separate from everything

The 'I' that feels separate from everything, is itself part of the 'everything'


Permalink Reply by David Reigle on June 25, 2015 at 3:05pm

What an interesting post, Nemanja. Thank you for giving us this information. Glad to learn of this Buddhist group giving such teachings, which may well be what the Buddha originally intended. There is no doubt that he denied the atman in the five skandhas/khandhas that make up the personal self. It seems that there was a prevalent teaching in India then, holding that the atman was a permanent, personal self. This view is found in the old Hindu Nyaya school, for example, describing the atman as the permanent agent or actor or doer (kartr) in a person. The early Mahayana Buddhist writers specifically refuted this atman, a permanent agent. Another old Hindu school, Samkhya, taught that the atman, aka the purusha, was a permanent experiencer or enjoyer (bhoktr). It could not act, but it could experience. This atman, too, a permanent experiencer, was specifically refuted by Mahayana Buddhist writers. For Buddhists, what acts, and what experiences, are the five psycho-physical aggregates (skandha/khanda) that make up the personal self, and these are ever-changing, not permanent. This is their point in refuting the ideas of a permanent personal self. For the permanent atman that is posited in Advaita Vedanta, one that is not an agent (kartr) and not an experiencer (bhoktr), but is a mere witness (sakshin), we do not seem to have a specific refutation by Indian Buddhist writers. This self cannot be the will, since it cannot act. In Advaita Vedanta, like in Buddhism, what acts, what wills, is part of the perishable personal self, whether we describe this personal self as the five aggregates (skandha/khanda) as in Buddhism, or as the five sheaths (kosha) as in Advaita Vedanta. This also seems to be the same as the Theosophical teachings, with their seven principles in a human being. Probably the will in most instances is the kama-manas, the desire-mind. Of course, there may be instances of a higher will, but even this would not be the permanent atman of Advaita Vedanta that cannot act, but is merely a witness.

Permalink Reply by Nemanja Stefanovic on June 25, 2015 at 5:36pm

Thank you for all replies and answers, i will have to study them thoroughly! I am very happy that you find the post useful.

I have some more links/files that i think you will find interesting. They are from a great man, Dr. Kenneth Lee Wheeler, he is a metaphysician, scientist, photographer, master in Platonism/Neo-Platonism/Buddhism/Advaita... His yt channel is Theoria Apophasis , he removed some of his videos concerning metaphysics, but i have them saved. Here is the video on Anatta/Anatman , you will find what is left in related videos. 

Thank you again, you people are pure gold here!

Permalink Reply by Nemanja Stefanovic on June 25, 2015 at 6:29pm

This is a must watch as well :, Venerable Luangta Maha Bua, Arahat from the aforementioned monastery.

(also the term Arahatta= Araha + Atta=worthy of praise,sainthood, but also i would say Great Self?)

How he describes removal of Avijja and how Upanishads/Viveka describe it differs not : Isa Upanishad :"The "Door of the Truth" is veiled by the "golden disc" (Maya)." ; Vivekachoodamani: "Without causing the objective universe to vanish and without the truth of the Self,how is one to achieve liberation by the mere utterance of the word Brahman?- It would result merely in an effort of speech.

(without - By realising one's identity with Brahman, the One without a second, in Samadhi, one becomes the pure Cit (Buddhist Pure Citta) (Knowledge Absolute), and duality of subject and object vanishes altogether. Short of this, ignorance, which is the cause of all evil, is not destroyed"

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on June 28, 2015 at 3:39am


Arahatta= Araha + Atta wow! talk about the truth hiding in plain sight. I watched the first three videos of Wheeler and find his arguments impressive. I particularly like his analogy: "There is no more a self or soul in this corporeal body than there is light in what is illuminated; nor is there a radio signal inside the radio" Echoes of Theosophys 'ray' teaching and Mahatma KH no atman in man

However its hard to find much info regarding him on the web (Theoria Apophasis channel is devoted to photography it seems). He seems to be here as Plotinus Veritas:

I doubt the moderators here would welcome his contributions! Still I recall Anna Kingsford criticizing HPB for her aggressive arguments. No one seems to have challenged/checked his Pali translation claims


Permalink Reply by Casady on June 26, 2015 at 10:21am

Hi Nemanja:

HPB has an interesting entry on Will in her Glossary (p.370):

Will. In metaphysics and occult philosophy, Will is that which governs the manifested universes in eternity. Will is the one and sole principle of abstract eternal MOTION, or its ensouling essence. “ The will”, says Van Helmont, “is the first of all powers. . . . The will is the property of all spiritual beings and displays itself in them the more actively the more they are freed from matter.” And Paracelsus teaches that “determined will is the beginning of all magical operations. It is because men do not perfectly imagine and believe the result, that the (occult) arts are so uncertain, while they might he perfectly certain.” Like all the rest, the Will is septenary in its degrees of manifestation. Emanating from the one, eternal, abstract and purely quiescent Will (Âtmâ in Layam), it becomes Buddhi in its Alaya state, descends lower as Mahat (Manas), and runs down the ladder of degrees until the divine Eros becomes, in its lower, animal manifestation, erotic desire. Will as an eternal principle is neither spirit nor substance but everlasting ideation. As well expressed by Schopenhauer in his Parerga, “ in sober reality there is neither matternor spirit. The tendency to gravitation in a stone is as unexplainable as thought in the human brain. . . If matter can—no one knows why——fall to the ground, then it can also—no one knows why—-think. . . . As soon, even in mechanics, as we trespass beyond the purely mathematical, as soon as we reach the inscrutable adhesion, gravitation, and so on, we are faced by phenomena which are to our senses as mysterious as the WILL.”

Permalink Reply by David Reigle on June 26, 2015 at 5:53pm

For the kind of will that HPB is speaking of here, I wonder what the Sanskrit term would be. The English word "will" has quite a broad range of meanings.



Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on June 26, 2015 at 6:22pm

Will is the one and sole principle of abstract eternal MOTION, or its ensouling essence; the first of all powers,  . . . The will is the property of all spiritual beings, will is the beginning of all magical operations, Will is septenary in its degrees of manifestation. Emanating from the one, eternal, abstract and purely quiescent Will (Âtmâ in Layam), it becomes Buddhi in its Alaya state, descends lower as Mahat (Manas)....Will as an eternal principle is neither spirit nor substance but everlasting ideation

I'm guessing here, but it sounds a lot like Mahacaitanyam, or pure unadulterated Sakti prior to its infinite expressions, however it is the driving force behind each and every.  Perhaps even Cicchakti (चिच्छक्ति)?

From what I understand, this Force takes on different "traits" or modes of manifestation when reflected through a upadhi and the karmic conditions therein.  It would seem quite reasonable that Will is the only spiritual force, rather, the only force known in degrees.  

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on June 27, 2015 at 9:25pm

Are we wandering 'off topic' here? Nemanja is not referring to will in the sense of Sakti or Schopenhauer in my opinion but more in the sense of choice, of deciding, of evaluating; so its rather Buddhic than Saktic. Viveka might be the best term - who 'vivekas'?

Permalink Reply by Nemanja Stefanovic on June 28, 2015 at 6:30pm

Indeed. Who vivekas, that sounds good. I wish not to wander off the topic, but I am so confused on whether or not there is a choice or is everything predetermined? Surely there must be dependence on individual (i won't say person/(a)l) effort in whatever?  Kristian's post is very interesting...

Permalink Reply by David Reigle on June 29, 2015 at 9:20am

When the doctrine of karma first came before the West, many people thought it was a doctrine of predestination. Certainly, if you perform an action, good or bad, that predetermines that you will experience the result of that action, of the same kind. The idea that everything is predetermined, however, leaves out the fact that new karma is being made all the time. So we certainly have choice. By the actions we choose, we determine our future.

As for the will, Buddhists say that actions do not generate karma unless they are undertaken with volition, or intention, or will, Sanskrit and Pali cetanā; that is, when we do something on purpose. If a person kills another person on purpose, that action generates karmic results. If done accidentally, it does not generate karmic results.

Likewise, from a slightly different angle, Hindu texts say that karma is not generated unless our actions are preceded by desire, or wish, Sanskrit kāma. Here, the idea is that by stopping desire, we can transcend karma. It is possible for a sage to work in the world, doing good, and yet not be bound to rebirth in order to experience the results of those good actions.

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on June 29, 2015 at 1:18pm

I've posted this quotation in another place, however I think it would fit in rather well to this thread;

"... Those who believe in Karma have to believe in destiny, which, from birth to death, every man is weaving thread by thread around himself, as a spider does his cobweb; and this destiny is guided either by the heavenly voice of the invisible prototype outside of us, or by our more intimate astral, or inner man, who is but too often the evil genius of the embodied entity called man."

David, regarding your statement;

"Hindu texts say that karma is not generated unless our actions are preceded by desire, or wish, Sanskrit kāma. Here, the idea is that by stopping desire, we can transcend karma."

may I have the references for at least one text regarding the kâma Karma theory?

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on June 29, 2015 at 2:56pm

On second thought, you don't need to.  I just remembered a very important occult axiom;

"Desire first arose in It."

Can we understand "our actions are preceded by desire" to be simply, actions preceded by desire?  In this case, we take desire out of the personal and understand it as a Cosmic force,  what do we have for desire?  More importantly where is this scope of action?

Permalink Reply by David Reigle on June 30, 2015 at 1:55pm

A reference for the idea that actions preceded by desire, kāma, are what generate karmic results is Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.4.5. This was discussed by Kamaleswar Bhattacharya in his book, pp. 20-21:

"It is then, in the last analysis, desire (kāma) which determines our phenomenal becoming. 'This puruṣa is but desire: in fact, as is its desire, so is its will; as its will, so its acts; and it reaps according to its acts.'140 As Śaṅkara makes clear, commenting on this passage, acts, good or bad, bear fruits only when they are accompanied by egoistical desires; they are sterile if their agent is without desire. It is thus desire which is the 'root of saṃsāra' (saṃsārasya mūlam).141"

140. Ibid. IV, 4, 5. (Trans. Senart.)
141. atho apy anye bandhamokṣakuśalāḥ khalv āhuḥ: satyaṃ kāmādipūrvake puṇyāpuṇye śarīragrahaṇakāraṇaṃ, tathāpi kāmaprayukto hi puruṣaḥ puṇyāpuṇye karmaṇī upacinoti; kāmaprahāṇe tu karma vidyāmānam api puṇyāpuṇyopacayakaraṃ na bhavati. upacite api puṇyāpuṇye karmaṇī kāmaśūnye phalārambhake na bhavataḥ. tasmāt kāma eva saṃsārasya mūlam, Śaṅkara, Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad-bhāṣya, IV, 4, 5 (pp. 655-656). Cf. ibid., 6 (p. 657): . . . kāmo mūlaṃ saṃsārasya . . . ata ucchinnakāmasya vidyamānāny api karmāṇi brahmavido vandhyaprasavāni bhavanti. See also Radhakrishnan, Indian Philosophy2, II, pp. 623-624.

The word that Bhattacharya translates here as will is kratu. The Sanskrit passage that Bhattacharya quotes in note 141 from Śaṅkara's commentary on Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.4.5 states this idea very clearly. Since Bhattacharya wrote his book primarily for other scholars, he gives many Sanskrit and Pali passages without translation, assuming that his readers know these languages. For the benefit of readers who do not know these languages, I here translate this passage:

“Now, others, skilled in [the knowledge of] bondage and liberation, say: It is true that merit and demerit, preceded by desire, etc., are the cause of taking a body. Still, it is having desire [by which] a person accumulates meritorious and demeritorious karma. But when desire is eliminated, even when action (karma) is being undertaken, it does not bring about the accumulation of merit and demerit. Even if accumulated, meritorious and demeritorious karma, when devoid of desire, do not set into motion (karmic) results. Therefore, desire (kāma) alone is the root of saṃsāra.”

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on June 30, 2015 at 2:46pm

Thanks for the reference David.  

It does stand to reason that with any sense of desire, there must be an agent in conjunction with desire.  Judge states in his Aphorisms on Karma;
"There is not Karma unless there is a bing to make or feel its effects."  Thus as long as a center of ego is present, there must be an agent of action, etc., resulting from both types of desire, good/bad. We find this repeated a number of times in the Bhagavadgita.

From the Bṛhadāraṇyaka (iv.iv.5) we hear a very familiar occult axiom;

"... As it does and acts, so it becomes; by doing good it becomes good, and by doing evil, it becomes evil- it becomes virtuous through good acts and vicious through evil acts.  Others, however say, 'The self is identifies with desire alone.  What it desires, it resolves; what it resolves it works out, what it works out, it attains."

An interesting addition to this is found in Sankaracaryas commentary;

"Being identified with desire, what it desires, it resolves.  That desire manifests as a slight longing for a particular object, and if unchecked, take a more definate shape and becomes a resolve. Resolve is determination, which is followed by action. [...] Therefore desire is the only cause of its identification with everything as also of undergoing transmigration."

This reminds me of what is stated in Rg.X.190.3, via BS.I.iii.30.  

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on June 29, 2015 at 1:07pm


There are essentially only two forces in the entire Cosmos.  WILL is one of them, though it is known by numerous names.  To list them all wouldn't be very useful. Viveka is a fruit of Will.  It is defiantly worth the meditation.

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on June 30, 2015 at 5:35am


Thoughts on choice v predetermination (paradoxical reality again):

"By whom directed?" is the core question of the Isha Upanishad.
Mooji gives the example of the boy alone in a room with his brothers birthday cake. The mind tells him "take a slice, no one will know - you can close it up after". So he does and the mind now tells him "you should'nt have done that!".

Isha upanishad: by whom is the mind etc directed? The senses including mind are semi independent entities (devas?) with 'minds', memory of their own. We can 'direct' them to some extent but they also have their own agenda. So too the buddhi - Mahatma KH pointed out that conscience (an aspect of the Self) never tells you what to do - only what not to do. Step out into a busy street and turn your head 90 degrees; how much computation occurs in those brief moments and how feeble is the 'directed' brain in comparison. " Who could live and breathe if there were not the self-luminous Brahman ;" (Isha upanishad). In Ki Aikido one learns how to direct or project the vital force 'personally' but later how to let it flow ('be projected') because 'personal' Ki is limited.

Satkaryavada is the gem of Samkhya philosophy (effects exist potentially in causes) This might smell like the effects are predetermined but they definitely are not; Budhist theosophy proclaims the rule of Law - no arbitrary 'Gods will'. As I understand  the Samkhya: at any given moment/scenario the potentials of causes must be relatively finite but not 'set in concrete'. Personal will is part of those causes; how else to explain the ability to do evil, to make mistakes?. Deny this and there can be no such thing as karma.

Mooji gives the example of the sliding bar: at one end the Sakshi/ witness self sees without self interest, at the other is the egoic self. The spiritual practice is viveka and be Sakshi. The problem is that we are capable of being at intermediate positions on that sliding bar.

Now I conjecture: at the Sakshi end we have the 'Impersonal'(?) which does not see with self interest etc. Can and does it choose? Is it truly impersonal, Brahman without action? I would say not because of the existence of conscience - the voice of silence. As Gerry Keefe said earlier "Impersonality should not imply something cold and distant. Impersonality ought to be associated with compassion and empathy. Why? Because it suggests psychologically removing our concerns and attention away from one's self to that of others and the whole. (beyond the person, impersonality)" 
This implies that this Self is not the unmanifested absolute; ie Atman is not Brahman in fact but Brahman in manifestation or Sat/chit pantheistically present in all manifested beings. Brahman as the absolute or unmanifested is be-ness not being etc. But thats another subject altogether. For now I conclude with reference to the Kena Upanishad: In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad we have Yajnavalkyas famous statement: how can the knower be known? which is answered in the Kena (with Adishankaras essential commentary).


Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 3, 2015 at 6:09am

Sorry - please substitute any reference to Isha by Kena

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on June 29, 2015 at 6:19am

2400 years before someone appears with the ability to explain Tahthagata? :

Maybe this guy is justified in his arrogance and his contempt for Buddhists and commentators 'Thus come/gone?' What a joke (on us)

The problem with Bhattacharya is his nationality, which immediately raises the suspicions of anatman Buddhists - and not without good reason. Radhakrishnan spent a large chunk of his History of Indian Philosophy in earnest attempt to understand the many versions of Buddhism - and failed. Because he was chronically incapable of rising above his adwaitee conditioning and any anatman Buddhist will smell a vedanta rat in there.


Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by David Reigle on June 29, 2015 at 10:33am

This person, going by the names Theoria Apophasis, etc., is right in saying that there is no explicit denial of anything but the personal self (atta/ātman) in the Pali canon, as has also been said by Kamaleswar Bhattacharya in his book, and has been acknowledged by K. R. Norman, who is considered the world's leading Western scholar of Pali. Nonetheless, his adversarial style is not likely to "win friends and influence people," as Dale Carnegie put it in the title of his famous book. Moreover, people who know Pali and Sanskrit are not likely to get a good impression of his knowledge of those languages when they hear how he (mis)pronounces Pali and Sanskrit words. This impression is confirmed when we see his analysis of the word tathāgata. He says:

"The term Tathagata is composed of two parts, Tat, and agata. Tat has been since time immemorial in India, meant Brahman, the Absolute, as in the famous Upanishadic dictum: "That (Brahman) thou art" (tat tvam asi). . . . Agata is the past tense denotation of gata (going, traveling, trekking), here being meant "arrival, gone-unto, attainment of, arrival-at". As such, Tathagata in the ancient Prakrit Pali, is meant literally "(The sage who has) arrived at the Absolute", . . . The very term Tathagata, which has of yet never been discovered by anyone until now, is none other than a personal appellation of that very rare someone who has realized by wisdom "tat tvam asi". . . . To say that Tathagata, is meant by nonsensical "Buddhism", to the effect: that Tathagata denotes the "thus-come one", or "thus-gone one" has no contextual validity, is utterly illogical to read Pali as such, and carries no meaning whatsoever, . . ."

The reason that the meaning he proposes of tathāgata "has of yet never been discovered by anyone until now" is because tathāgata is not composed of the two parts, tat and agata. It is composed of the two parts tathā, "thus," and gata, "gone," or āgata, "come" (both are possible). For those who know the languages, i.e., for those in India since time immemorial, there is no way to get "tat" from "tathā." The letter that we transliterate as "t" is entirely distinct from the letter that we transliterate as "th." You cannot break this single Sanskrit letter "th" into the two letters that we use for it in roman transliteration, and get "t" from it (to say nothing of then leaving out the remaining "h").

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on June 29, 2015 at 9:55pm


Nevertheless the common translation as the 'Thus come or gone one' is still meaningless. Wheeler may be making false claims cf this from a buddhist website:

"Question 19: What is the meaning of “Tathāgata”?

Answer: Lord Buddha refers to himself as “the Tathāgata,” which is usually translated as “thus gone one” or “thus come one,” “Perfect One,” or one who has attained Supreme Enlightenment. “Thus come one” or “thus gone one” is given the meaning “he who has come and gone as have the former Buddhas.” It is a compound of the word “That” (sic) and “āgata.” The “th” is a dental T, not like “th” in English. The word “āgata,” the same as Sanskrit “āgatah,” means “attained.” The word “Tath” or “Thatata” is translated from Pali as “essence” or “suchness.” “That” is also a Sanskrit term translated as “reality,” or Universal Principle. Therefore, Tathāgatha means one who has attained reality. Mahayana schools translate “Tathāgata” as one who has attained full realization of Suchness (Thatata) or one who has become one with the Absolute (Dharmakaya). Thatata is further explained asTrue Nature, that which is immutable, immovable, and beyond all concepts and distinctions.

So wheelers 'Tat' is the correct pronunciation of 'Tath'. 'Tat' in Tat vam asi seems to me to mean the same as “reality,” or Universal Principle and the Absolute or True Nature, that which is immutable, immovable, and beyond all concepts and distinctions.


Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on June 29, 2015 at 10:24pm

"Nevertheless the common translation as the 'Thus come or gone one' is still meaningless."

Only meaningless to those who find no meaning.

Tathagata (Sanskrit) Tathāgata [from tathā thus + gata gone; or + agata arrived, come] Thus come or thus gone; a title given to the long serial line of the Buddhas of Compassion as they appear each after his predecessor among mankind; likewise a title of Gautama Buddha, the last of this line of buddhas to have appeared thus far. It is a beautifully exact expression illustrating the common spiritual character of the great ones who have gone before ourselves as well as of those destined to come in the future. As a title of the buddhas, it signifies also “one who has followed the inward way, the inner pathway, the still small path coming down, so to say, from the universal self, passing through the human constitution onward until it disappears again in the heart of being from which we came” (Fund 625).—Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary

One may also contemplate what "gone" and "come" may signify in terms of the path of the Bodhisattva. What does it mean for a Buddha to be "gone"? What does it signify for one to "come"? These are very deep questions if we wish to follow them. To "cross to the other shore", i.e. "thus gone" is in absolutely no sense a meaningless idea.

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on June 30, 2015 at 1:39am

Yet another interpretation. I was always puzzled by it and assumed that it was the result of a Western translators ignorance.Here is another interpretation:

Even more on Wikipedia (Buddhghosa gave eight)

Note: it starts with: Tathāgata (Sanskrit: [t̪əˈt̪ʰɑːɡət̪ə]) is a Pali and Sanskrit word

So Tathāgata would seem to be a Pali word and not Sanskrit? In which case Mr Williams may be the authority since as he points out the oldest works were in Pali, not Sanskrit.

In any case my viveka chooses the meaning: 'he who has arrived at 'Tat' ie the enlightened one; He who has won Truth (Buddhaghosa);  "the one who has arrived at suchness". All same and all meaningfull.

Gautama Buddha uses it when referring to himself in the Pāli Canon

It seems odd to me for the Buddha to constantly refer to himself as 'gone' or 'arrived' when all the time he was directly present in front of those he was teaching.


Permalink Reply by David Reigle on June 30, 2015 at 2:33pm

The word tathāgata is the same in both Pali and Sanskrit.

Yes, the letter "th" is a "t" sound, an aspirated "t" sound, not like the "th" sound in the English words "this" or "theory." We learn this at the very beginning of our Sanskrit or Pali studies, when we learn the alphabet. The Sanskrit letter "th" is nonetheless an entirely distinct letter from the Sanskrit letter "t", as much as the English letters "b" and "p" are distinct from each other.

To say that the "th" in "tathāgata" is actually "t", so that "tathā" is actually "tat," is like saying that the "b" in "Abe" is actually "p", so that "Abe" is actually "apple." Going on from here, one may then conclude that Abe Lincoln actually means apple Lincoln. This in turn tells us that Abe Lincoln was a great lover of apples.

It may be that Abe Lincoln loved apples. However, his name Abe does not tell us that. Likewise, it may be that the Buddha arrived at tat, "that"; i.e., reality. However, his epithet tathāgata does not tell us that.

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 1, 2015 at 8:57am



Tatha (adj.) [an adjectivized tathā out of combn tathā ti "so it is," cp. taccha] (being) in truth, truthful; true, real D i.190 (+bhūta taccha); M iii.70; Th 1, 347; Sn 1115 (=Nd2 275 taccha bhūta, etc.). (nt.) tathaŋ=saccaŋ, in cattāri tathāni the 4 truths S v.430, 435; Ps ii.104 sq. (+avitathāni anaññathāni). As ep. of Nibbāna: see derivations & cp. taccha. abl. tathato exactly v. l. B for tattato at J ii.125 (see tatta2). -- yathā tathaŋ (cp. yathā tacchaŋ) according to truth, for certain, in truth Sn 699, 732, 1127. -- Cp. vitatha.
-- parakkama reaching out to the truth J v.395 (=saccanikkama); -- vacana speaking the truth (cp. tathāvādin) Miln 401.

Tat is surely one of the most ancient terms referring to the Ain-Soph—the “UNKNOWABLE” and the “UNNAMEABLE”* a term used for the same reason that Tao which (can be named is not the eternal name) is used. 

What would be Tat Vam Asi in Pali? It has been noted by many that there is a tendency in modern Buddhism to treat it as though it was developed in a cultural vacuum. I suspect that 'ancient' Buddhists contributed to this in order to distance themselves from orthodox Hindu beliefs. Pali is said to derive from Vedic Sanskrit; is it likely that those who spoke it (incl Gautama) did not know of the Vedas? and were not familiar with this ancient name?



Permalink Reply by David Reigle on July 3, 2015 at 9:29am

Sorry, Keith, for the delay in replying to this. I had started to research it yesterday, but after replying to a phrase in your post from a couple of days earlier, I could not finish it yesterday. Moreover, I first wanted to make a point of saying that I do not disagree with our multi-named friend's main conclusion, but that some of the linguistic evidence he gives for it is not valid, and this undermines his and its credibility.

What I gather from your post is that you are suggesting taking the first member of the compound tathāgata as tatha, meaning "truth," rather than as tathā, meaning "thus." This is a valid possibility, and one worthy of serious consideration. This does not change the letter "th" to the letter "t", as does the linguistically not possible idea of taking the first member as "tat".

We do not find the phrase "tat tvam asi" in Pali, as far as I know. These words would be the same in Sanskrit and in Pali. The word tat (tad) can be a demonstrative pronoun in Pali, meaning "that"; the word tvam is the second person singular pronoun "you"; and the word asi is the second person singular verb, "are". For "tat" to be the word used in the compound tathāgata, the compound would have to be tadāgata or tadgata.

Yes, it is highly likely that the Buddha knew of the Upanisads, and thus knew of the phrase, tat tvam asi.

Pali can only be said to derive from Vedic Sanskrit in the sense that any of the non-Dravidan Indian vernaculars derive from Vedic Sanskrit. Certainly, no direct line can be traced. On the contrary, as noted by Franklin Edgerton in his 1936 article, "The Prakrit underlying Buddhistic Hybrid Sanskrit," Pali includes Prakrit forms that are foreign to Sanskrit. This includes Vedic Sanskrit. He there postulated a proto-canonical Prakrit that preceded Pali.

The language that the Buddha spoke was called Magadhi, which was the vernacular language of the Indian province of Magadha, where he lived. The Pali language of the Buddhist scriptures is usually regarded by scholars as a later development of Magadhi, even though the Theravada tradition regards Magadhi and Pali as the same. Buddhist scholars have long since concluded that the Pali Buddhist texts we have are no older than the Sanskrit Buddhist texts. The Pali we have, as far as we can tell, dates from the first centuries of the first millennium C.E. Likewise, the Sanskrit Buddhist texts were first translated into Chinese in the first centuries of the first millennium C.E.

I will try to get to your next post shortly, and go further into Buddhaghosa's etymologies.

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 3, 2015 at 10:17am


That is very informative - sorry for my impatience. I would appreciate your opinion regarding the 'multi-names' sutta references.

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on June 30, 2015 at 3:45am

More on the strange case of Kenneth Lee Wheeler (or whatever his real name is):
First he seems to be behind the the now defunct website
which you can get a taste of at the waybackmachine eg:
His present website is private with no means of getting access to the volumes of translations he claims to have done (and distributed free)
So apart from the few videos on Theoria Apophasis all I can find are postings on various websites under :A.E. Hollingsworth, Kenneth L. Wheeler, Denise Anderson, AncientBuddhism, Shakya Aryanatta, Ven. Shakya Ariyana, Aryasatvan, and the Neoplatonic Platonist, Plotinus Veritas, VeritasluxMea etc
As such his repertoire seems rather limited - he comes across like a phonograph with the needle stuck.
On the other hand none of the Buddhists that he 'provoked' came up with responses that he would not have justifiably derided as 'pathetic'. The only one that challenges his Pali:
is less than impressive. This guy claims to be a Buddhist (authority?) yet he criticizes Wheeler for using images with 'Nazi' swastikas: actually a drawing of Julius Evola holding a flag. Evola apparently was an Italian esoterist (and Buddhist probably) somewhat reactionary apparently but anti-fascist according to Wikipedia
VeritasluxMea has a profile here at Amazon
one can find some interesting books he approves of (he is a fan of Coomeraswamy and recommends The Living Thoughts of Gotama the Buddha frequently).
In conclusion perhaps one can regard this guy as the philosophical version of the 'Mad Scientist' who nevertheless is capable of good work.

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 1, 2015 at 10:06am

Having watched his video: Sati / Samadhi. Original Buddhist methodology (jhana) explained

I must say that I'm still impressed by the guys reasoning and insight - which can only be the result of much study and thought. Here he gives a very compelling explanation of Avidya (another Buddhist term with vague interpretations) which is exactly the same as "the thirst or desire to sentiently live" ML 88 and "that force or energy which causes the rebirths." The Voice of the Silence GLOSSARY TO PART I.

While looking up Sati I came across this interesting disputee regarding erroneous interpretations:

I don't think this our man under a new alias. BTW I should mention that Plotinus Veritas denies any connection with K. Wheeler on one website.

Permalink Reply by Nemanja Stefanovic on July 2, 2015 at 4:10am

Here is how they teach in Wat Pa Baan Taad, , Sati is awareness/bare awareness .

Anyone who wants the Living Thoughts of Gotama the Buddha by Coomaraswamy, please link/send me your email, i have it in scanned pdf format. Or is there a way to upload files larger than 5 MB?

Permalink Reply by David Reigle on July 2, 2015 at 10:19am

Of course, Theoria Apophasis "nevertheless is capable of good work." Many of us, myself included, fully agree with his ultimate conclusion that the Buddha in the Pali texts does not deny the impersonal universal ātman. If, however, we accept some of the reasoning that he uses to get there, such as that tathāgata is composed of tat + āgata, we undermine the conclusion reached. This type of reasoning, based on faulty knowledge of the languages, does not help to make the case. Kamaleswar Bhattacharya's reasoning, based on full mastery of the languages, does help to make the case.

Theosophy is already seen by the vast majority of the public as being based on fantasy (if they have even heard of Theosophy at all). The Theosophical literature includes many examples of conclusions based on reasoning that is not supported by facts. Languages such as Sanskrit and Pali, being objectively verifiable, can contribute greatly to the correct ascertainment of facts regarding Theosophical ideas. It is a fact, verifiable for anyone who knows Pali, that the Buddha denied only the personal self in the extant Pali scriptures. It is not a verifiable fact that tathāgata is composed of tat + āgata. On the contrary, it is demonstrably incorrect. Any conclusion reached on the basis of a faulty premise such as this will also be regarded as faulty, i.e., as fantasy.

If it is only a question of our own personal beliefs, we are free to believe anything we want, and for any reason we like. This is fine, and nothing more is expected of us. If, however, we wish to place our ideas before the public, more is expected. For Theosophical ideas, which are already widely regarded as fantasy, even more is required. If these ideas are not fantasy, there should be reasons to support them, good reasons. I think that good, verifiable reasons exist to support these ideas, in many cases. My own interest is in finding some of these verifiable reasons in the Sanskrit texts.


Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on July 2, 2015 at 1:44pm

Well said, David. Very good points.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on July 2, 2015 at 2:16pm

Truth loves questions and Facts love evidence.

How about that?

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 3, 2015 at 5:07am


I am disappointed that you do not address my reference to Tatha in the Pali Text Society dictionary and my questions regarding the vedas/Upanishads in Pali. I would also point out again the many interpretations by Buddhists relating to its interpretation/translations as truth, reality, suchness etc. Pali is a dead language and we will probably never know what the people who spoke it were really trying to communicate. The literal translation without reference to the context is in my opinion neither reasonable nor probable and if Buddhaghosa has to have eight options (incl the one I consider reasonable and probable) then... History is full of examples of the all too human failing of orthodoxy where - unable or unwilling to change their views the orthodox prove very good at sophistry to invent justifications.

As an aside Theoria Apophasis claims there are only a handfull of people capable of translating the Samyutta Nikaya (and my preliminary searches on the web suggest he may be correct). Still he gives to the following references (among many): 

MN 1.279, SN 5.370, DN 1.84, MN 2.144, AN 1.6, DN 2.49, MN 3.72, MN 1.298, MN 1.197, AN 1.124

All my attempts to find these result in links to posts by his aliases but that may be my lack of skill regarding the numbering (all the translations of SN for example don't seem to match). On the other hand it would appear that only a partial selection of SN has actually been translated so maybe he is the only person to have done so.

Permalink Reply by David Reigle on July 4, 2015 at 12:45pm

Since many readers have never heard of the word tathāgata, I would like to take a moment to say that it is an epithet used primarily as a name for the Buddha. The pronunciation of this word is not like it looks. The first syllable is pronounced as “tutt” (the final “t” sound actually goes with the next syllable). The second syllable rhymes with “top,” but without the final “p”. The third syllable is pronounced as “gut” (the final “t” sound actually goes with the next syllable). The fourth and last syllable rhymes with “tutt,” but without the final “tt”. The stress is on the second syllable, unlike what we expect in English. This same stress pattern may be seen in the word himālaya, which English speakers regularly mispronounce by stressing the second syllable from the end.

Now to Buddhaghosa’s etymologies of tathāgata, which are necessarily somewhat technical. As stated in the Pali-English Dictionary published by the Pali Text Society, 1921-1923, Buddhaghosa gives eight etymologies for tathāgata in his commentary titled Sumaṅgala-vilāsinī on the Dīgha-nikāya (Pali Text Society edition, vol. 1, 1886, pp. 59-67). This commentary has not yet been translated into English, as far as I know, so we must turn to the Pali text. The first two etymologies he gives are the well-known and widely accepted ones: tathā + āgata, “thus come,” and tathā + gata, “thus gone.” We must know that compound terms like this have fixed rules of interpretation, that go far back in time. A compound that is an epithet is normally a bahuvrīhi compound, a possessive compound, that is traditionally filled out by adding the words “he who.” So the meanings here are “he who has come thus,” or “he who has gone thus.” This can be, and often is, paraphrased in English as the “thus come one,” or the “thus gone one.”

In the next two etymologies of tathāgata given by Buddhaghosa, the first word is taken as tatha, “truth,” rather than as tathā, “thus.” In these, the second word of the compound is necessarily āgata, “come”; it could not be gata, “gone.” The first of these etymologies is: tatha-lakkhaṇaṃ āgata, “he who has come to the defining characteristic of truth (or the true),” or “he who has come to the true defining characteristics.” It is described as pertaining to the Buddha’s comprehension of the true defining characteristic (lakkhaṇa) of each and every thing. The second of these etymologies is: tatha-dhamme yāthāvato abhisambuddha, “he who has fully awakened to the true way things are (dhamma), as they are.” It is described as pertaining to the Buddha’s realization of the four noble truths: suffering; the arising of suffering; the cessation of suffering; and the path leading to the cessation of suffering.

On sutta references, the norm has been to use the Pali Text Society editions, referring to them by volume number and page number. Thus, SN 5.370 means Saṃyutta-nikāya, vol. 5, p. 370, of the Pali text. Since the Pali Text Society editions have become the standard of reference, even English translations usually include these references. There are, to my knowledge, two complete English translations of the Saṃyutta-nikāya. The first is titled, The Book of the Kindred Sayings, by Mrs. Rhys Davids and F. L. Woodward, 1917-1930, and is in five volumes. In that translation, the page numbers of the corresponding Pali edition are given in the running heads at the top of the English pages. The second translation is titled, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha, by Bhikkhu Bodhi, 2000, and is in two volumes. In that translation, the page numbers of the corresponding Pali edition are given in brackets within the English translation.

We must note that the Pali Text Society editions of the Pali texts were in most cases regarded by their editors as preliminary editions, being based on the relatively few Pali manuscripts then available to them. Improved editions of the Pali texts have since been published, mostly by others, outside of the Pali Text Society, and some revised editions by the Pali Text Society. The old editions still remain the standard of reference only because they were the first editions available, and were long the only editions available.

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 5, 2015 at 6:12am


Now we are making progress! Thanks for the above. I have the following pdfs:

Ireland, Walshe, Thera,

Bhikku Bodhi Translations book1 and 2 from

However I confess I still can't find matchings to Ken Williams references; which I copy below:

1. Citta is the only thing which is said to obtain the state of "non-clinging" (anupada) "This is immortality, that being the liberated mind (citta) which does not cling (anupada) after anything" [MN 2.265].

2. Citta is the only thing which is said to obtain the state of being "taintless" (anasava) [DN 2.35, MN 1.501, MN 3.20, SN 3.45...etc etc].

3. Citta is the only thing which is said to obtain/is gathered in "the realm of immortality": "he gathers his mind within the realm of Immortality (amataya dhatuya). This is tranquility; this is that which is most excellent!" [MN 1.436]. "This is immortality, that being the liberated citta" [MN 2.265]. [AN 1.282] "He gathers the mind inside the immortal realm".

4. Citta is the only thing which is said to be the basis (arammana) for Parinibbana. Said immediately after Gotama's physical death: [DN 2.157] "No longer with (subsists by) in-breath nor out-breath, so is him (Gotama) who is steadfast in mind (citta), inherently quelled from all desires the mighty sage has passed beyond. With mind (citta) limitless (Brahma) he no longer bears sensations; illumined and unbound (Nibbana), his mind (citta) is definitely (ahu) liberated." The taintless (anasava) mind (citta) being = parinirvana: [SN 3.45] "The mind (citta) being so liberated and arisen from defilements, one is fixed in the Soul as liberation, one is quelled in fixation upon the Soul. Quelled in the Soul one is unshakable. So being unshakable, the very Soul is thoroughly unbound Parinirvana)." "This said: `the liberated mind (citta) which does not cling' means Nibbana" [MN2-Att. 4.68].

5. Citta is the only thing which is differentiated from the five aggregates (rupa/vedana/sanna/sankhara/vinnana): "Whatever form, feelings, perceptions, experiences, or consciousness there is (the five aggregates), these he sees to be without permanence, as suffering, as ill, as a plague, a boil, a sting, a pain, an affliction, as foreign, as otherness, as empty (suññato), as Selfless (anattato). So he turns his mind (citta, Non-aggregate) away from these; therein he gathers his mind within the realm of Immortality (amataya dhatuya). This is tranquility; this is that which is most excellent!" [MN 1.436, AN 4.422]. [SN 3.234] The Aggregate Sutra. At Savatthi "Followers, the desire and lust for formations is a defilement of the citta, the desire and lust for feelings is a defilement of the citta, the desire and lust for cognition is a defilement of the citta, the desire and lust for experiences is a defilement of the citta, the desire and lust for vinnana is a defilement of the citta. But, followers, when one abandons the defilements of the citta regarding these five stations (aggregates), then ones citta inclines towards renunciation. Ones citta is made pliable and firm in renunciation by direct gnosis." [MN 1.511] "For a long time I have been cheated, tricked and hoodwinked by my citta. For when grasping, I have been grasping onto form, for when grasping, I have been grasping onto feelings, , for when grasping, I have been grasping onto perceptions, for when grasping, I have been grasping onto experiences, for when grasping, I have been grasping onto consciousness."

6. Citta is the only thing which, when perfected by samadhi and panna, is = Soul (attan): "Steadfast-in-the-Soul (thitattoti) means one is supremely-fixed within the mind (citta)" [Silakkhandhavagga-Att. 1.168]. "'The purification of one's own mind', this means the light (joti) within one's mind (citta) is the very Soul (attano)" [DN2-Att. 2.479]. [AN 2.6] "Him who is Lord of the mind (citta) possessed with supernormal faculties and quelled, that One is called 'fixed-in-the-Soul' (thitattoti)". [AN 1.196] "With mind (citta) emancipated from ignorance...this designates the Soul has become Brahma". [MN 1.213] "The collected and quelled mind is the Supreme Soul". "Steadfast-in-the-Soul (thitattoti) means steadfast in ones True-nature (thitasabha'vo)" [Tikanipa'ta-Att. 3.4].

7. Citta is the only thing which is said to be the basis/medium for the recollection of past lives: "directs his mind (citta) to the recollection of past lives" [DN 1.81].

8. Citta is the only thing which is said to be "its own foundation/not based in anything" (anarammana), therein philosophically anything which is "a thing in itself", i.e. "without a foundation of its own" is hence the basis for marking the mind as the Absolute (when wisdom and samadhi are culminated): [Pati-A 2.478] "The sovereign-mind which is its own support (an-without + a'rammana=support) means the sovereign-mind is the foundation". [Dh-A 4.26] "Ones own mind is the foundation of the Soul". [MN-A 2.297] "Nibbana is the foundation, that being the emancipated-mind (citta)". [Sn-A 2.583] "Emancipation is meant the foundation, that being the establishment of the emancipated mind".[Theragatha-A 1.138] "Supramundane samadhi is the foundation of Nibbana, that being the exceedingly quelled mind (citta)"

9. Citta is the only thing which is compared to the "indestructible" diamond: [AN 1.124] "What, followers, is a being who has a diamond-mind (vajiru'pamacitto)? That one who has destroyed the taints (asavas) and has both a liberated mind (citta) and is liberated by wisdom. Just as there is nothing which a diamond cannot cut, be it stone or gem; so to is one with a diamond-mind who has destroyed the taints and has both a liberated mind (citta) and is liberated by wisdom. This is one who possesses a diamond-mind."

10. The entire Aryan path itself is said to both being and end with the citta (mind) as its basis: [MN 1.197] "Followers, the Brahma life is not lived for sake of gains, honors, or acclaim; nor is it lived for virtuousness, nor for absorptions, nor for gnosis and insight. This Brahma life is lived for the sole preeminent purpose of emancipation of the mind alone, which is the quintessential final core". [MN 1.301] "What is samadhi (the culmination of the entire Aryan path) for? Samadhi, friend, is for making the mind (citta) sovereign".

11. The citta is the only thing which is said to go to the light/heaven realm: [SN 5.370] "His mind goes heaven-bound to auspiciousness."

12. Most importantly, the citta is the only thing which is said to obtain freedom from nescience/ignorance/agnosis (avijja): [MN 1.279] "When his steadfast mind was perfectly purified, perfectly illumined, stainless, utterly perfect, pliable, sturdy, fixed, and everlastingly determinate then he directs his mind towards the gnosis of the destruction of defilements. Knowing thus and seeing thus his mind is emancipated from sensual desires, his mind is emancipated from becoming, his mind is emancipated from ignorance."

13. The only proper noun which is said to obtain the state of emancipation (vimutta) is the citta (cittavimutta)- common pali term.

14. As per the `superior' path VS. the `inferior' path, the mind is the sole basis for the `superior' path: "ariyacittassa anasavacittassa ariyamaggasamangino" [MN 3.72] "The Aryan citta, the taintless citta; this is that with which the Aryan path is endowed with".

15. The citta is the only thing which is deemed "the highest absolute": [MN 1.298] "Emancipation of the mind is the highest absolute." [MN 1.298] "Of all types of unmanifest emancipations of mind, the fixed unshakable emancipation of the mind is the highest supernal."

16. The entire basis for Buddhism itself is said to be for/ as regards the citta: "The purification of one's own mind (citta); this is the Doctrine of the Buddha" [DN 2.49]."How is it that one is called a `Buddha'?...gnosis that the mind (citta) is purified (visuddham)...such is how one is deemed a `Buddha'." [MN 2.144] [AN 1.6] "I do not have, followers, insight into anything or any dharma which, when made to become and made to expand that brings greater bliss than the mind (citta). The mind, followers, when made to become and made to expand, brings the greatest bliss." [SN 1.26] Those followers absorbed, their minds (citta) flawless having assimilated the Soul; a charioteer (Soul) in control of the reigns, sages like them guard this supranormal-power!

17. The citta is the only thing which is deemed to achieve `freedom from becoming (bhava)'. All thing "as become must pass. The borne, the become, the made, the create has no other fate than to pass just as they have arises". The philosophical implication that the citta can transcend causation/becoming cannot be denied. "My mind (citta) is emancipated from desire (kama), emancipated from becoming (bhava), emancipated from nescience/ignorance (avijja), `Emancipation! Emancipation alas!'...there exists no fruit more exquisite and perfect that this." [DN 1.84]

Permalink Reply by David Reigle on July 5, 2015 at 9:01pm

The SN 3.45 in reference no. 2, for example, can be found in The Connected Discourses of the Buddha, by Bhikkhu Bodhi, vol. 1, pp. 884-885. There you will see, just over half way down the page, the bracketed number [45], which marks the beginning of p. 45 in the edition of the Pali text. The roman numeral III in the running head of p. 884 shows that this corresponds to vol. 3 of the Pali text.

The reference to MN is the Majjhima-nikaya. The English translations of this are: Middle Length Sayings, translated by I. B. Horner, 3 volumes, 1954-1959; and The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, translated by Bhikkhu Nanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi, 1995.

The reference to DN is the Digha-nikaya. The English translations of this are: Dialogues of the Buddha, translated by T. W. and C. A. F. Rhys Davids, 3 volumes, 1899-1921; and The Long Discourses of the Buddha, translated by Maurice Walshe, 1987.

The reference to AN is the Anguttara-nikaya. The English translations of this are: The Book of the Gradual Sayings, translated by F. L. Woodward and E. M. Hare, 5 volumes, 1932-1936; and The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha, translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi, 2012.