Having taken a seat to one side, Vacchagotta the wanderer said to the Master, 'Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?' When this was said, the Master was silent. 'Then is there no self?' For a second time the Master was silent. Then Vacchagotta the wanderer got up from his seat and left.
Then, not long after Vacchagotta the wanderer had left, the Venerable Ananda said to the Master, 'Why, sir, did the Master not answer when asked a question asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer?'
'Ananda, if I, being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self, were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those priests & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism (i.e., the view that there is an eternal soul). And if I... were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those priests & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism (i.e., that death is the annihilation of experience). If I... were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?
'And if I... were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: "Does the self which I used to have, now not exist?"'
Joined: Jan 14, 2003
all phenomena are not-self.
Having removed any view in terms of self, always mindful, Mogharaja, view the world as void. [ July 24, 2004: Message edited by: Mohanlal Karamchand ]