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The teaching of no self is not just an interesting piece of Buddhist philosophy but a vital necessity for Buddhist salvation It is the belief in ourselves as separate selves that leads us to wrongly distinguish between one another It makes us seek our own good rather than other peoples This is all ignorance of the true nature of existence Complete loss of this delusion of self is equivalent to enlightenment This teaching of no self to the Buddhists is known as Anatta Around the same time as the Buddha The Shramanas taught self was a real part of the person This real part of the person was known as a soul or atman This atman would reincarnate in a different body after death and could never completely die Shramanas would meditate with the idea that the atman would be freed from the body which imprisoned it The Buddha rejects absolutely all of this These were common ideas at the time that he would often be in debate about He taught that believing in a soul was dangerous and would lead to selfishness The Buddha must have had reasons for not believing there was any eternal self While exploring in thought he saw dependent co-origination nothing is independent and everything is dependent on something else for its own existence The Buddha saw that no part of the self is constant and unchanging so there could be no soul or atman that the rest of the self is dependent on The Buddha believed if there was a self surely it could be found in meditation but he did not All he saw was his mind thoughts and feelings Even when he awakened at the point of enlightenment he saw no self The Buddhist Scriptures say He found nothing substantial in the world of becoming just as no core of heartwood is found in a plantain tree when its layers are peeled off one by
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