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TitleSelfless persons: imagery and thought in Theravāda Buddhism
LanguageEnglish
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Total Pages334
Table of Contents
                            Book-Titel
Half-Titel
Titel
Cobyright
Contents
Dedication
Preface
Introduction
Part I - The cultural and social settingof Buddhist thought
1 The origins of rebirth
2  Varieties of Buddhist discourse
Part II - The doctrine of not-self
3  The denial of self as 'right view'
4  Views, attachment, and 'emptiness'
Part III - Personality and rebirth
5  The individual of 'conventionaltruth'
6  'Neither the same nor different'
Part IV - Continuity
7  Conditioning and consciousness
8  Momentariness and thebhavahga-mind
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Glossary and index of Pali andSanskrit terms
General index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 167

The individual of 'conventional truth'

plural] called a tree, that it is said 'the tree fruits', or 'the tree has fruited', so it is
simply owing to the arising of the result of action [the 'fruit'] consisting of the
pleasure and pain called experience [upabhoga], which is one of the constituents
of personality, which [together] are called 'deities' and 'human beings', that it is
said 'a deity or a human being experiences or feels pleasure or pain'. There is
therefore no need at all here for a superfluous experiencer. [Literally: 'another
experiencer'.]19

It would, of course, be possible to say a great deal in interpretation and
evaluation of these two truths — most obviously in relation to homiletic
discourse, almost all of which, even for the virtuoso, must needs be
carried on in conventional terms. For my purpose, which is the exposi-
tion rather than the evaluation of Buddhist doctrine, it is enough to
remark that this is how the Theravdda tradition has schematised the
relationship between the different areas of thinking and discourse which
its textual tradition contains; and to point out the congruence of this
meta-linguistic schematisation with the social and psychological picture
of human nature which Buddhism presents. Both types of discourse are
seen as containing truths, for two main reasons. In the first place, since
the phenomenological reality of the 'ordinary man' and of the 'learner'
on the Path is necessarily patterned according to 'the conceit "I am"' , for
them discourse containing talk of unitary individuals will be — pro
tempore — 'true'; secondly, as I hope to have shown in Chapters 3 and 4,
for the most refined type of virtuoso Buddhism, doctrines which can be
given verbal expression are in the last analysis simply instruments, tools
for a spiritual culture which culminates by abandoning them in the 'silent
wisdom' of the sage.

In the next section I will discuss the two most important concepts with
which the intellectual, scholastic tradition has systematised the conven-
tional view of personality and rebirth. These are attabhdva, literally
'self-state', which I will translate as 'individuality' to retain the Pali
word's flavour as a technical term; and puggala, for which I will use the
normal translation of 'person', meaning by that to imply the sense of
'personality' or 'character'.

5.2. Attabhava 'individuality', puggala 'person'

5.2.1. Attabhdva: the word and its denotation
Attabhava is a compound formed from atta, 'self, and the ending
-bhdva; this latter, in both Pali and Sanskrit, is used in a similar way to
the English'-hood' or '-ness', and means 'the state' or 'condition' of being
something. For example, from atthika, 'needy', comes atthikabhdva, 'the
condition of being needy', 'destitution'; from asarana, 'not remember-

156

Page 168

Attabhava 'individuality', puggala 'person'

ing', asaranabhava, 'amnesia'. With some nouns, the sense is that of
having a certain status: from samana, 'ascetic', samanabhdva, 'the status
of ascetic'; bhikkhubhdva, 'the status of monk', '(full) monkhood', is a
term used to denote the status of monkhood after the ordination
ceremony, which follows a period of probation.1 Attabhava, then, refers
to the fact, condition or status of being a 'self — a 'self, that is, in the
sense in which the unenlightened man feels himself to be a separate
individual, confronting real others.

According to Buddhist thought, as we have seen, this sense of self
arises through mistakenly taking one or all of the five 'constituents of the
personality' as a self. Attabhava is explained in the same way: 'Through
either the body's or the five categories' being taken in the sense "this is my
self", they are called attabhava' There are four 'grounds for individual-
ity', which are the same as the four ways of conceiving a relationship
between 'self and khandhd which we met in Chapter 4. According to the
Visuddhimagga, *attabhava is what the body is called, or else the five-fold
khandhd, since its real being is only as a concept derived from (grasping)
them'.2 Although 'only a concept' for the most sophisticated level of
Buddhist intellectual and doctrinal analysis, this sense of self, as we have
seen, is held to be necessarily a phenomenological reality for the
unenlightened: and so in discourse which is not phrased in terms of the
category-analytic, Abhidhammic style, the word attabhava can be used
to pick out this (ultimately illusory) phenomenon for description and
comment.

5.2.2. Various forms of individuality
There are a number of different ways in which this individuality can be
seen. First, there is the sense of individuality as defined by social status.
The Buddha teaches the Brahmin Esukari:
On recollecting his ancient family lineage on his maternal and paternal sides,
wherever there is the production of an individuality, it is reckoned accordingly.
So, if there is the production of an individuality in a noble family, it is reckoned as
a noble. If there is the production of an individuality in a brahman family, it is
reckoned as a brahman. If there is the production of an individuality in a
merchant family . . . [or] in a worker family, it is reckoned as a merchant. . . [or]
a worker.* As a fire, brahman, no matter on account of what condition it burns,
is reckoned precisely as that: if the fire burns because of dry sticks it is reckoned
as a dry stick fire; if the fire burns because of chips . . . grass . . . cowdung, it is
reckoned as a fire of chips . . . grass.. . . cowdung — even so, brahman, . . }

* These are, of course, the four varnas, 'estates' of Brahmanical social theory, arranged as
typically in Buddhist texts with the kingly or noble 'estate1 preceding that of the
Brahmins.

157

Page 333

General index

Humphreys, C, 8

'I am', conceit of, 94-5, 96, 100-3, 119,
141-2,153,189,263

imagery, 19-20, 23, 84, 148, 165-76,
185-8, 200, 218-24, 225-6, 230-3,
247-61, 264-6

'I-maker', the utterance T, 100-3, 2^3
immortality, non-dying, 42-4, 46
individuality, 74,132 and n, 148,156-60,

167,190, 223, 239; acquisition of,
138,158

Jainism, 33,37-8, 52
James, W., 87,112,173, 189, 253-8
Jdtaka stories, 17, 67, 70,151-2
Joyce, J., 253

Kalidasa, 23
Kdmasutra^ 39
Kant, I., 182, 225
Kathdvatthu, 109,178-82
Kautilya {Arthasdstra), 39
king, warrior, 34, 51, 52, 155, 260

life, 36n, 55, 115; -faculty, 227-30; a full,
44-7; -formations, 227-8

liberation, enlightenment, 13, 29, 39, 47,
52-3, 63-4, 81, 149; see also nirvana

lives, memory of former, 162-3, *68
Locke, J., 177

Mahdydna Buddhism, 8, 20, 23, 24-6,106,
n o , 116,123-7, 135, i54n, 194

Makkhali Gosala, 3 5-6
Malalasekera, G. P., 4
Malamoud, C , 63
Mann, T., 262-3
Marriott, McK., 17
Mauss, M., 2, 3
meditaton, 90,111-15, 122-3,I39-42>

172-3, 215-18, 221-2
Metteyya Buddha, 16,151
Mill, J.S., 240
mind, 77, 80, 214, 215, 233, 235
moment, momentariness, 226, 233-8,

241-3, 248, 252-3; three
sub-moments (arising, presence,
cessation), 234, 237, 241-2, 258

Monier-Williams, Sir M., 13

Nanamoli Thera, 22,112,178
Nanajlvako Bhikkhu, 254
Nanananda Bhikkhu, 141
nirvana, 'blowing-out', enlightenment,

liberation, 10-13,16, 52-3, 68, 81-4,

322

92 , 113, 121 , 1 2 2 - 3 , 125, 1 3 5 - 6 , I 5 I ,
164, 171 , 175, 2O6-8 , 2 l 6 , 22O,
249—5O, 26O—I, 262—5

non-violence, 139-42
Norman, K. R., 96
not-self, concept introduced, 4-5, 7-12;

doctrine of, 87-143; linguistic form
discussed, 95-6; relationship to
ordinary language use of 'self, 70-8;
later scholastic arguments for, 178-82;
self and other(s), 188-95

Nyanaponika Thera, 173, 239
Nyanatiloka Mahathera, 5, 213, 227, 261

Obeyesekere, G., 69
Oldenberg, H., 11, 29

Pakudha Kaccayana, 36
Pali Text Society, 7
Paitcatantra, 152
Parfit, D., 177 and n
Personality Belief, 9 3 - 4 , 101, 1 3 2 - 3 , 153
persons, 71 , 73, 74~5> 77, ^54, 1 6 0 - 5 ,

223; essence of cosmic and/or
individual, 51, 55, 73 , 79, 81 , 102;
differences between, 93 , 161

Pocock, D. , 15
Poussin, L. de la Vallee, 15, 108, 193, 202,

211,239
Prajapati, 42 , 81
Prajndpdramitd, 24, 115, 124
Purana Kassapa, 36
purity, purification, n 2-13, 129-30

Radhakrishnan, Sir S., 9
Rahula, W., 4, 106, 192, 252-3, 266
Rbhus, 43
rebirth, see under samsdra
Redfield,R., 17
Rhys Davids, C. A. F., 7, 8
Rhys Davids, T. W., 8, 3 5n, 106, 162
Richardson, D., 253
Robinson, R. H., 192

Samkara, 23
Sdmkhya-Yoga, 73, 79-80, 81, 99, 100,

102, 174
samsara, the round of rebirth, 13, 16, 29,

33,43,47,63-4,88-9,91,120-1,
155, 164, 168, 187-8, 193, 200-8,
213-18, 220, 222, 249-50, 259,
262-5

Sarvadarsanasamgraha, 3 8-9
Schweitzer, A., i95n
self, 71-4, 76, 79-8i

Page 334

General index

selflessness, of persons and of things,
123-7, i54n

Silburn, L., 42,199, 201
Smart, N., 133
Spiro, M. E., 6, 16, 150, 153
Stcherbatsky, T., 11, 234
Steiner, F., 183
Steiner, G., 116
'suffering', unsatisfactory, 9, 191-3

Tambiah, S. J., 17, 67-8
time, 41-53, 58-64, 200-8, 214-18,

234-8,252-8
truth, conventional and ultimate, 19, 71,

147-8, 153-6, 176, 179-82, 199, 263

Upanisads, 8, 30, 31,41, 43, 49-64,
79-81, 149, 154, 168, 184, 208-9,
211, 215, 2 3 2 - 3 , 261

Veddnta, 9

Vedas, 30, 41-50, 59, M9, ^9
Rg Veda, 41,43, 81, 232
Atharva Veda, 41,44, 55, 59, 81, 232

view, 87-143; in the Noble Eight-fold Path,
89-90

viewpoint, prejudice, opinion, 103, 119,
127-8, 132, 134-5

'water-doctrine', 49
Weber, M., 12, 38n, 89, i95n
Wittgenstein, L., 3
Woolf,V.,253
world, sphere, rebirth-plane, 45-9, 53, 54,

63,76-7, 214-15
Worsley,P.,65

Yajnavalkya, 58, 80
Yama, 44, 80

Zaehner, R. C, 9, 14-15
Zeno,256

313

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