Can someone please explain to me the concept of self or, anatta, according to Zen Buddhism?

Another words, what does Zen Buddhism specifically teach regarding it? Also, i’m rather an idiot at these things so if you could please answer my question as though a child were asking, i’d appreciate it hehe.

3 thoughts on “Can someone please explain to me the concept of self or, anatta, according to Zen Buddhism?

  1. The Gautama Buddha taught that upon examination and awareness, there is no separate “self” To be found. Anatman or “anatta” as opposed to atman.

  2. Zen teaching on the “self” is consistent with all Buddhist teaching on the “self” – namely, that our sense of having a “self” is a delusion.

    The Buddha taught that non-self (anatta) was one of the “three marks” of all existing things (along with impermanence and discontent).

    Zen teachers generally don’t spend much time on the Buddha’s analysis of non-self, or on the persistent belief that we have a “self.”

    Zen teachers are very interested, however, in the ways in which our belief in a “self” produces suffering. When we attach to our notion of “I, my, me, mine,” we inevitably create suffering for ourselves and others.

    And Zen, as with all Buddhist traditions, seeks to put an end to human suffering.

  3. Anatta means “no self” and that is a term originated from Early Buddhism. It was through analysis of our psychological and physiological functions on sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and consciousness that all these functions are always momentarily changing, there is no empirical experience that stays permanent hence there can hardly be a permanent or unchanging substantial thing you can identify as the “self”.

    However, that is not the approach of Zen Buddhism. Zen regards that most, probably not all, of our concurrent thinking, rationality amd logical thinking are part of the network of our uncontrollable delusioned wandering thoughts. Even the thoughts that lead someone to think about Buddhist concept of no-self can be derived from wandering thoughts activities. Zen asks people to introspect one’s mind through meditation, for example, to recognise these internal wandering thoughts activities. If someone can calmly observe these self-initiating thoughts activities, then certainly these thoughts and their contents are not “I” because I am observing them from a distance. Then one understands that these self-thinking thoughts are some of our mind’s problems, and they do not represent “I”. One need not to follow or obey strictly these wandering thoughts. By such one achieves autonomy or control over one’s mind’s activities. One is less influenced by internal emotional fluctuations.

    When one can meditate to a point where no internal wandering thoughts arise any more. Then within the quietude, there is just the living, no thoughts, no fluctuations; there is not anything one customarily identifies as “I”. This is “No I” or no-self as experienced in Zen meditation.

    Sometimes one can be intiated by a Zen master such that the wandering thoughts activities would suddenly come to a halt and one will see the “no-self” as above, this is called sudden enlightenment in the Zen approach.

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