songhill wrote:Permit me to give you the correct interpretation of this discourse.... On the other hand, the Buddha's self or attâ is other than these evil aggregates.
Your interpretation errs as the extreme of eternalism. There is no tathāgata or ātman to be found other than the aggregates either. SN 22.86
"Do you regard the Tathagata as that which is without form, without feeling, without perception, without fabrications, without consciousness?"
"And so, Anuradha — when you can't pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality even in the present life — is it proper for you to declare, 'Friends, the Tathagata — the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment — being described, is described otherwise than with these four positions: The Tathagata exists after death, does not exist after death, both does & does not exist after death, neither exists nor does not exist after death'?"
"Very good, Anuradha. Very good. Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress."
Where in the Anurādhasuttaṃ is it said that the Tathagata is
form, feeling, perception, volitional formations and consciousness? (It doesn't.) And why does the Buddha say, in many discourses in the Khandhavagga, that he is not any of the aggregates saying: "This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self (na meso attâ)" (S. iii. 22–23). Also, keep in mind that five aggregates are Mara (the demon). Why would the Tathagata be also Mara?
“When there is form, Radha, there might be Mara, or the killer, or the one who is killed. Therefore, Radha, see form as Mara, see it as the killer, see it as the one who is killed. See it as a disease, as a tumor, as a dart, as misery, as really misery. Those who see it thus see rightly. When there if feeling ... When there is perception ... When there are volitional formations ... When there is consciousness, Radha, there might be Mara, or the killer, or the one who is killed” (S. iii. 189).
As for the subject of eternalism (sassatavada) where in the Buddhist canon does it say that eternalism is a belief that the individual has an unchanging self or soul? It doesn't. The doctrine of eternalism is generally found in this form: “the self and the world are eternal" (sassato attâ ca loka ca) (Ud VI, v). So what does this mean?
“[T]hey [eternalists] take some particular item amidst (the [five] khandhas of) material form and on to be "the self" and "the world", and then describe this as "eternal, permanent", also understanding that others likewise, in accordance with which there is said: "They [eternalists] declare material form to be the self and the world, stating such to be not only the self and the world but also eternal; they declare sensation ... perception ... the formations ... consciousness to be the self and the world, stating such to be not only the self and the world but also eternal (The Udana Commentary (udanaattakatha) 344, p. 882)."
As you are probably aware, the Buddha says the five aggregates are not the self (anattâ). Obviously, the self or attâ is transcendent. By the way, who produces the five aggregates? Here is the answer:
[Like the painter or artist] So too, when the uninstructed worldling produces anything, it is only form that he produces; only feeling that he produces, only perception that he produces; only volitional formations that he produces; only consciousness that he produces” (S. iii. 152, Dutiyagaddulabaddha Sutta).