"self" = "atman" / "pudgala" / "purisa" / etc.
--> permanent, blissful, autonomous entity, totally unaffected by any conditioned phenomena
Wait. I thought "self" was impermanent...?
Ven Hui-feng's point is the the view of a ""self" = "atman" / "pudgala" / "purisa" / etc." is a false view - the entire premise of a self, atman, pudgala is a complete delusion. No such thing could be found upon investigation. And he is differentiating the view of an atman from the teaching of mindstream in Buddhism.
Let's take 'weather' as an example. Usually we talk about 'weather' and it may seem to us as if weather is a 'thing', but what is it really? Is it the everchanging rain droplets, or is it the wind, or is it the sunshine, or is it the everchanging clouds, or lightning, or thunder, or tornadoes?
All these changes from moment to moment... they cannot be pinned down as a 'thing'. There is no entity called 'weather' to be found in any of these things, nor can an entity called 'weather' be found apart from these things (activities, processes, happenings).
In reality the word 'weather' is just a conventional designation or imputed label upon a conglomerate of everchanging, interdependent activities and no real 'weather' as such can be found.
The same goes for 'self' and the 'five aggregates' of form, feelings, perception, volition and consciousness. Even among these aggregates, the designation of 'form, feelings,' etc are found to be conventional designations of a conglomerate of empty dharmas/phenomena. There is no self that could be found within the aggregates or apart from the aggregates. But dependent on the aggregates, a conventional designation of 'self' is being superimposed on the aggregates.
Also as I said, each of the aggregate is also a conventional designation (especially for the Mahayana teachings that stresses on the emptiness of phenomena). The teachings of aggregates lead to the seeing of no-self first in the subjective person then later in all phenomena. Taking the aggregate of form as an example. The purpose of teaching the four/five elements is so that when we directly investigate and observe our experience, we deconstruct any notions of a Self/Soul or even of a substantial body and see that there are only elements. Do you think the body is yours? No, the body is made of a conglomerate of elements - liquids, motion, heat, solidity, space. Are any of these elements different from the elements in the environment? No. The liquids in the body is the same stuff as the liquids found around. Our body is part of the environment, and consumes the elements of the environment to survive. None of the elements are I, me, mine. The notion that the mind and body consists of a Self/Soul is a delusion. They are just transient, conditioned and self-less aggregates.
But this teaching is not meant to be understood by dry intellect. It should be directly realized in immediate experience. It is not a theory about the material objective universe but what we actually deconstruct in direct experience. The earliest Buddhist texts explain that the four primary material elements are the sensory qualities solidity, fluidity, temperature, and mobility; their characterization as earth, water, fire, and air, respectively, is declared an abstraction—instead of concentrating on the fact of material existence, one observes how a physical thing is sensed, felt, perceived, and deconstructs any substantial notion of a self into the direct immediate 'mere sensed, felt, perceived, cognized'. The same can be applied to the other four aggregates. And then one further penetrates even the empty, unlocatable and ungraspable nature of the 'mere sensed, felt, perceived, cognized'. One penetrates first the emptiness of a subjective self/soul, then later the emptiness of all dependently originating phenomena.
Can 'self' be equated with liquidity? No... can 'self' be equated with motion? No... can self be equated with heat? solidity? space? No. Is it the case that the coming together of all these elements equate with self? That is also not the case... we later discover that all the elements and aggregates are seamlessly inter-penetrating. Yet, to group the aggregates into a single entity or self is simply mind's abstractions to conjure a coherent entity for identification out of a conglomeration of aggregates... heat is still heat, solidity is still solidity and space is still space and no matter how these elements are seamlessly manifesting interdependently in this moment, they do not in any way make up into a 'one self' other than mind's habit to conjure things out of various cognition like seeing a snake in a rope.
In short, there is no self/soul within or apart from the aggregates. There is as Buddha taught in the Bahiya Sutta, 'in the seen just the seen, in the sensed just the sensed, in the heard just the heard, in the cognized just the cognized' and when this is practiced and discerned with penetrating insight into the nature of anatta, then, being there in the seen just the seen in the heard only the heard etc, there is no 'you' here, there, or in between in relation to the seen/heard/cognized. Just this, the Buddha said, is the end of suffering. No "self" can be established. Therefore to speak of "self as impermanence" is also not accurate in an ultimate sense except perhaps as a conventional statement.