Siddhartha Gautama, known as The Buddha, taught ‘The Path to the Absolute’ that he termed Brahmayana. His philosophy is stated in the two documents – The Four Noble Truths and The Noble Eightfold Path. The Sutras are sayings of The Buddha, and Suttas are commentaries on the sayings of The Buddha. From these sources form the Buddhist canon.
Mystical Buddhism in short rejects the Secular Humanist philosophy that we see as anti-Buddhist, this also includes Secular Buddhism, Social Buddhism, and Millennial Zen.
Secular Humanism Zen/Buddhism:
- Believes in No-soul, no god, no heaven
- The practice is to make the world around you a utopia
- Follows secular Moral codes, rule-following, and conformity to the Sangha
- Believes in a soul, the absolute (God), nirvana (soul liberation)
- The Practice is a methodology to liberate the soul from suffering (phenomenal manifold-existence-suffering)
- Applies natural Law (wisdom)
Specifically, the terms ‘Anatta’ / ‘anatman’ (Pali/Sankrit) what is termed as the ‘No-Soul’ doctrine, that never existed in early original doctrine and only exists in a via negativa methodology that describes ‘what the soul is-not’ and not a negation of the soul. This methodology is found all throughout the Buddhist canon and as well in Christian mysticism and Gnosticism.
Ultimately, all religious debates are doctrinally based. Religious metaphysics uses inductive reasoning and logic to understand what the Buddhist canon does and does not say. We care not for the opinions, commentaries, feelings, or ideas of one’s teacher, guru, or the current political establishment. We recognize that Post-facto sects, latter-day Buddhism, created many treatises that they assume as Canon, but in-fact are writing outside of established Canonical and are actually commentaries based on assumptions and conjecture.
Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy and C. A. F. Rhys Davids, as well as many other researchers and scholars, both have all concluded that “What passes as Buddhism today is absolutely not Buddhism”. More specifically, Dr. Coomaraswamy is quoted to say, “Buddhism is most admired for everything it is not”
There is no negation of the ‘atman’ AKA The Soul in Buddhism. There are 626 occurrences of this word in the Buddhist canon, and there is never once any that negates ‘atman’, The soul.
Mystical Buddhism states that ‘The soul is the only refuge’, this is sometimes called The True self, for it is eternal and beyond stain. Original metaphysics always speaks of two selves, the corporal self that is sometimes called the false-self that its fate always ends up in death, and the True-Self the ‘atman’ self, that is unborn/undying and eternal.
Six facts that are undisputed by Buddhist researchers:
- Specifically, the five Nikāya are the oldest text on this earth relating to Buddhism.
- There is no dispute by any researcher that the five Nikāya predate any and all other Buddhist sects, and schools of modern Buddhism.
- There is no dispute by any researcher that Theravadin, formally known as branch of Sarvastivada, while old did not exist till the 3rd century CE, that being 500 years after the recording of the five Nikāyas’.
- The seven pillar edicts of Emperor Ashoka, which are foundations for Theravadins are unquestionably dated to the middle of the 2nd century CE, and mention the five Nikāyas, proving that the Nikāyas pre-date Theravadin scriptures.
- There is no dispute of any Buddhist researcher that the concept of the Tripiṭaka is an utterly sectarian creation of the Theravadins and other schools of latter-day Buddhism. The three collections AKA “Three baskets, triple gems” are utterly heterogeneous works, specifically, the numerous versions (20+) of the Abhidharma are all commentaries of the Nikāyas and not Buddhist canon self. The first book of the Abhidharma the Kathāvatthu is nothing more than a sectarian fight discussing where there is an ‘atman’ (A soul) or not in the teachings of Original Buddhism.
- All Buddhist scholars and researchers agree that the five Nikāyas (Dīgha Nikāya, Majjhima Nikāya, Samyutta Nikāya, Anguttara Nikāya, Khuddaka Nikāya) are the closest to Original Buddhism and everything else after that is commentary, conjecture, and opinions that have no bases or relevancy in Buddhism.
Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy and C. A. F. Rhys Davids, as well as many other researchers and scholars, all have said that when ignoring all that various sects have said, the commentaries and options, that there is no place in Original Buddhism that negates The soul, and that the Pali word ‘Anattman’ is not a negation of the soul, but rather an additive to say ‘what the soul is not’ in a via negativa methodology. Those who do not understand this methodology make fallacious conclusions and opinions about Buddhism that are just not so!
The notion of No-Soul in Buddhism does not exist scriptural or doctrinal.
As if Buddhist doctrine indicates that utter inconsequentially of the five aggregates are – form, sensation, perception, mental formations, and consciousness as “That’s not my Self” and the term “non Selfishness” (anatta) are predicated of the world and all “things” are identical with the Brahmanical “of those who are mortal, there is no Self/Soul”.
For anatta is not said of the Self/Soul but what it is not. There is never a ‘doctrine of no-Soul’, but a doctrine of what the Soul (The Self) is not (form is anatta, feelings are anatta, etc.).
It cannot be denied that what is anatta is indeed the mere and petty self for [SN 3.196], and countless other passages, the mere self of psycho-physicality is ‘anatta’ and ‘Skandha’, that same self which the disciple is instructed to have his will/mind/spirit (ctta) reject in the face of illumination and insight.
The ‘reflexive position’, a fallacy taken by illogical Latter-day Buddhism, proclaims the Pali term Attan (Skt. Atman, Self) to be merely a reflexive term meaning “oneself, himself, herself”, however, the reflexive and empirical mere self is, regardless of translation, “anatta” i.e. “na me so atta” (not my Soul), or also “eso khandhassa na me so atta” as in these five aggregates (forms, feelings, perceptions, experiences, consciousness) are not the Self, the Soul.
As it pertains to the reflexive self, of who proclaim “myself, himself, herself” we are referring to “that person so-and-so (Larry, Sue, etc.)”, the empirical and psycho-physical self of blood and sinew which is “doomed to fall into the grave at long last”, the very same self the poetic dead are said to cry out to the living “what you are, we ‘the dead’ once were, what we are you shall be!”.
Even more illogical is the double standard of communitarians and sectarian Buddhists who desire anatta to mean ‘no-Soul’ as well as atta to mean simply ‘myself, himself, herself’; wherein illogically atta in the adjective ‘anatta’ is, to their ignorant minds then Soul (‘no-soul’), but atta in standalone as ‘myself’.
As illogical an end result, modern Buddhism has proclaimed atta (atman/soul) is anatta (not-atman)! It’s quite hard to fathom any position more senseless than this, however, this is one of the countless reasons modern ‘Buddhism’ is illogical without end. However doctrinally and logically so, what IS anatta (the five aggregates of the mere empirical, corporeal self) are indeed ‘myself’, in so meaning the mortal (mata) self-composed of the bodily humors which is fated to death. That mere self is never implied nor meant when Buddhism speaks of immortality and the path leading to same (amatagamimagga) [SN 5.9], of which “the body cannot pass that gate to fare beyond,..only the Soul (The Self)” -Udana
The soul is coordinate to the five aggregates (The psycho-physical self ) but not of those things
Buddhism teaches there is a transendent subject beyond the psycho-physical self; that this psycho-physical self is just a ‘soul chariot’ that is impermanent“
This body is worn out-with age, it is the seat of sickness, it is subject to decay. This putrid body disintegrates; life, indeed, ends in death.” – Verse 148
The point is, that Original Buddhism is not speaking about the psycho-physical self, the self looks upon in the mirror.
Rises and fall the entire structure of Modern Buddhism on this one term ‘anatta’, and finds its identity in the denial of The Soul’, that is clearly a fallacious notion. There are 22 items in the doctrine that is called ‘anatta’ that is an additive to say ‘what the soul is not’ in a via negativity methodology. Example of illogical via negativity: A != B and A !=C, so there for A does not exist! Of course, A exist!
The most common phrase in the Nikāyas is “na me so atta” meaning ‘this body is not my soul’, which occurs thousands of times in the Nikāyas, that the five aggregates is not The Soul. Via negativity metaphysics can only talk about what is not known by the five aggregates as to “what it is not”! Western scientists when talking about The Ether only in terms as to what it was not, via-negativity, since one cannot detect it with any means, but it’s known to be there!
Those that come to Modern Buddhsim/Zen with predetermined views of nihilism, atheism or agnostic just love the notion that modern Buddhism/Zen connotation of Secular Humanism: Adhering to a code of ethics and following the rules, conforming to the will of the leadership. None of this is what Buddha taught, and it is not found in the canonical scriptures.
Buddhism is a liberation ontology based on wisdom, this cannot be disputed, it is the entire principle foundation of Buddhism.
As famously said by Gautma before his death [SN 5.8], he referred to teachings as the path to immortality (Amata) through soul liberation, AND not the immortality five aggregates (deathless or zombie-like) however modern Buddhism believes just this through the purification of the maradhamma [SN 3.195] and the five aggregates are maradhamma according to Gautama, and if one believes both that the maradhamma is the focus of purification, then Buddhism becomes the most insane and illogical sudo-metaphisics ever!
Lucky for us, the Buddha did teach that there is a subject ‘citta’ in Pali or Nous in Greek, that transcends the five aggregates and that is the locus of purity. Buddhahood refers to the fully liberated spirit or liberated Citta or Nous! All branches of metaphysics teach this liberation of spirit, such as Greek Neoplatonism. The spirit that we are talking about is that what is in you, but does not identify as form, sensation, perception, mental formations, and consciousness. This is where the spiritual mysteries are unlocked, knowledge gain, and wisdom formed.
AP buddhadatta, a soul-denying Theravadin, commented that when he read the book Doctrine of the Buddha [Free book] by George Grimm, stated that, “Grimm has recovered the genuine doctrine of the Buddha that has been submerged, and when we Theravadin read our Tripiṭaka and Abhidharma we get the sense that Buddhism as a sort of nihilism. This has had us puzzled for a very long time to discover the true meaning of Buddhism, though I have been born a Buddhist. Many people don’t go so far in these matters of doctrine.”
The above is the summation of Modern Buddhism, a secular humanist soul-denying sudo-metaphysics that is insane and illogical. Everything people read about Buddhism comes second-hand from the people, sects, and institutions who interpret the scriptures for them through commentary, opinions, and their feelings, and then there are those who just create commentary of commentaries just adding more confusion and folly. Because, to take the time to read the scriptures for oneself, to discuss and understand them, can take years if not decades of work, as well as the intellect to master them. Very few people actually can do that.