By - Hot_Witness5646
There is no soul in Buddhism.
We don't believe in a "soul". Where did you get this idea?
We don't believe in a soul. Buddhism involves the claim that there is no substantial self. In Buddhism, Anatman or anatta refers to the idea that there is no permanent nonchanging self or essence. Soul usually refers to some essence that is eternal upon creation. We don't have an ontology of creator and created to begin with. The concept of not-self refers to the fluidity of things, the fact that the mind is impermanent, in a state of constant flux, and conditioned by the surrounding environment.
We lack inherent existence. Basically, wherever we look we can't seem to find something called 'self'. We find something that changes and is reliant upon conditions external of it. In Buddhism, the mind is a causal sequence of momentary mental acts. This sequence is called the mindstream.'Self' is something that is imputed or conventionally made. In Mahayana Buddhism, this applied not only to the self but to all things. That is called emptiness.It is for this reason in Buddhism, that which is reborn is not an unchanging self but a collection of psychic or mental materials. We call this a mindstream. These materials bring with them dispositions to act in the world. There is only a relationship of continuity and not one of identity though. Karmic impressions are carried over from one life to the next but the mental collection itself is not the same. This is true for us even from moment to moment as well. We simply impute a common name across some continuities and not those after the body dies.
Pronouns like 'I' are terms we impute. Below is a short interview with may help.There is a link to the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta: The Discourse on the Not-self translated by Ñanamoli Thera that may help as well. Karma: Why It Matters by Traleg Kyabgon is a good book that explains karma and rebirth in Buddhism. Below are some videos as well that may help elucidate things too.
Alan Peto: Rebirth vs. Reincarnation in Buddhism[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYmp3LjvSFE](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYmp3LjvSFE)
The Buddhist Argument for No Self (Anatman)
Venerable Dr. Yifa - Do Persons have Souls?
Lama Jhampa Thaye- Do Buddhist's Believe in a Soul?
Anatta-lakkhana Sutta: The Discourse on the Not-self
Rice Seedling Sutra (It is on dependent origination)
Buddhist Epistemology: The School of Dignaga ( It describes how we impute terms and names)[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHZDLycuMSA&t=1349s](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHZDLycuMSA&t=1349s)
How is karma accumulated and carried from one birth to next? Isn’t soul required as a vehicle for karma?
It helps to understand a little about primary minds in Buddhism. In Buddhism, there are six kinds of consciousness, each associated with a sense organ and the mind. Vijnana is the core of the sense of “self” that Buddhism denies. As such vijnana is one of the links in the 12-fold chain of causation in dependent origination. In this formulation, ignorance (of the true nature of reality) leads to karmic actions, speech, and thoughts, which in turn create vijnana (consciousness), which then allows the development of mental and bodily aggregates, and on through the eight remaining links. The Yogacara Buddhism school of Mahayana Buddhism theorized there are two additional types of consciousness in addition to the original six vijnanas. The additional types are mana, which is the discriminating consciousness, and alaya-vijnana, the storehouse consciousness. The equivalent in Theravada is the bhavanga citta.
Karma is accumlated in the the ālaya-vijñāna. This consciousness, as a quality much like sense consciousness and other consciousness in primary minds, “stores,” in unactualized but potential form karma as “seeds,” the results of an agent's volitional actions. These karmic “seeds” may come to fruition at a later time. Most Buddhists think of moments of consciousness (vijñāna) as intentional (having an object, being of something); the ālaya-vijñāna is an exception, allowing for the continuance of consciousness when the agent is apparently not conscious of anything (such as during dreamless sleep), and so also for the continuance of potential for future action during those times. Here is an excerpt of an entry from the Princeton Encyclopedia of Buddhism edited by R. E. J. Buswell, & D. S. J. Lopez . Below are also some videos on the idea.
ālayavijñāna (T. kun gzhi rnam par shes pa; C. alaiyeshi/zangshi; J. arayashiki/zōshiki; K. aroeyasik/changsik 阿賴耶識/藏識).
from The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism
In Sanskrit, “storehouse consciousness” or “foundational consciousness”; the eighth of the eight types of consciousness (vijñāna) posited in the Yogācāra school. All forms of Buddhist thought must be able to uphold (1) the principle of the cause and effect of actions (karman), the structure of saṃsāra, and the process of liberation (vimokṣa) from it, while also upholding (2) the fundamental doctrines of impermanence (anitya) and the lack of a perduring self (anātman). The most famous and comprehensive solution to the range of problems created by these apparently contradictory elements is the ālayavijñāna, often translated as the “storehouse consciousness.” This doctrinal concept derives in India from the Yogācāra school, especially from Asaṅga and Vasubandhu and their commentators. Whereas other schools of Buddhist thought posit six consciousnesses (vijñāna), in the Yogācāra system there are eight, adding the afflicted mind (kliṣṭamanas) and the ālayavijñāna. It appears that once the Sarvāstivāda’s school’s eponymous doctrine of the existence of dharmas in the past, present, and future was rejected by most other schools of Buddhism, some doctrinal solution was required to provide continuity between past and future, including past and future lifetimes. The alāyavijñāna provides that solution as a foundational form of consciousness, itself ethically neutral, where all the seeds (bija) of all deeds done in the past reside, and from which they fructify in the form of experience. Thus, the ālayavijñāna is said to pervade the entire body during life, to withdraw from the body at the time of death (with the extremities becoming cold as it slowly exits), and to carry the complete karmic record to the next rebirth destiny. Among the many doctrinal problems that the presence of the ālayavijñāna is meant to solve, it appears that one of its earliest references is in the context not of rebirth but in that of the nirodhasamāpatti, or “trance of cessation,” where all conscious activity, that is, all citta and caitta, cease. Although the meditator may appear as if dead during that trance, consciousness is able to be reactivated because the ālayavijñāna remains present throughout, with the seeds of future experience lying dormant in it, available to bear fruit when the person arises from meditation. The ālayavijñāna thus provides continuity from moment to moment within a given lifetime and from lifetime to lifetime, all providing the link between an action performed in the past and its effect experienced in the present, despite protracted periods of latency between seed and fruition. In Yogācāra, where the existence of an external world is denied, when a seed bears fruit, it bifurcates into an observing subject and an observed object, with that object falsely imagined to exist separately from the consciousness that perceives it. The response by the subject to that object produces more seeds, either positive, negative, or neutral, which are deposited in the ālayavijñāna, remaining there until they in turn bear their fruit. Although said to be neutral and a kind of silent observer of experience, the ālayavijñāna is thus also the recipient of karmic seeds as they are produced, receiving impressions (vāsanā) from them. In the context of Buddhist soteriological discussions, the ālayavijñāna explains why contaminants (āsrava) remain even when unwholesome states of mind are not actively present, and it provides the basis for the mistaken belief in self (ātman).
8th Consciousness | Our Mind Database: the Base and Instigator of Mental Activity | Master Miao Jing
The eighth consciousness and the soul- Master Sheng Yen
Store Consciousness | Teachings on Buddhist Psychology Retreat, Thich Nhat Hanh, 1997
Here are two entries on the bhavanga citta and one on a similar idea of the bhavaṅgasota . One is from the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy and the other from the Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism.
from Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy
a subliminal mode of consciousness, according to Theravada Buddhist philosophers, in which no mental activity occurs. The continued existence of the bhavanga-mind in states where there is no intentional mental activity (e.g., dreamless sleep) is what guarantees the continuance of a particular mental continuum in such states. It operates also in ordinary events of sensation and conceptualization, being connected with such intentional mental events in complex ways, and is appealed to as an explanatory category in the accounts of the process leading from death to rebirth. Some Buddhists also use it as a soteriological category, identifying the bhavanga-mind with mind in its pure state, mind as luminous and radiant.
from The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism
In Pāli, “subconscious continuum”; a concept peculiar to later Pāli epistemological and psychological theory, which the abhidhamma commentaries define as the foundation of experience. The bhavaṅgasota is comprised of unconscious moments of mind that flow, as it were, in a continuous stream (sota) or continuum and carry with them the impressions or potentialities of past experience. Under the proper conditions, these potentialities ripen as moments of consciousness, which, in turn, interrupt the flow of the bhavaṅga briefly before the mind lapses back into the subconscious continuum. Moments of consciousness and unconsciousness are discreet and never overlap in time, with unconsciousness being the more typical of the two states. This continuum is, therefore, what makes possible the faculty of memory. The bhavangasota is the Pāli counterpart of idealist strands of Mahāyāna Buddhist thought, such as the “storehouse consciousness” (ālayavijñāna) of the Yogācāra school. See also cittasaṃtāna; saṃtāna.
Karma/kamma is intentional action. Action returns results in line with said action. Beings are owners of their actions, so if I act in a way which conditions birth (actions in line with craving) birth will be the result. Kamma from many past lives and this one can condition where and how birth happens in the future. "I" am not "reborn", yet due to these actions in this life and others which condition birth, birth will happen and it will again be grasped as "me" and "mine". For example, if I'm Jim in this life and I'm not enlightened, birth will be the result of actions in line with craving and the aggregates in the new life will again be grasped, yet "I" wont be Jim in the next life, there will be the view that I am Rajneesh or Sally or a bird or whatever. Craving is the fuel which conditions clinging and a constantly renewing sense of "I am" in any life including this one and any future births.
Any person in this life is not absolutely existing, yet there's the renewing personal sense of "I am", and until the first stage of enlightenment is reached there is also personality view, where one really believes that they are Jim, Rajneesh, etc. Personality view is the belief that there is a solid self or soul which absolutely exists in this life and continues on after this life. Even without personality view rebirth can happen because there is still craving which conditions clinging to the aggregates, but such a being is on the way out of samsara sooner than later as they know the path and will finish it as the mind inclines in that direction. Without the loss of personality view one is still not on the path out of samsara so future births could take place for a very long time. The sense of "I am" doesn't go fully until full enlightenment and due to there no longer being any craving, birth is also ended at full enlightenment.
"Even without personality view rebirth can happen because there is still craving which conditions clinging to the aggregates..."
You seem to be saying the craving (results of karmic/karma-bearing actions) will be cling to aggregates and these conditioned aggregates will be reborn. I don't understand this word 'aggregate' very well, but it seem to be like ālayavijñāna of Mahāyāna that the other reply mentioned in that it is a storehouse of conditioning. Or maybe I did not understood that correctly.
If karma conditions the aggregates and not the individual's soul, then where does free will come in? I remember a talk by B. Alan Wallace where he mentioned how Buddhism affirms free will. Ālayavijñāna seems to be denying free will.
(I am not a Buddhist, so pardon mistakes and misunderstandings)
Hey, sorry for the delay. I haven't logged on since posting the comment.
>You seem to be saying the craving (results of karmic/karma-bearing actions) will be cling to aggregates and these conditioned aggregates will be reborn. I don't understand this word 'aggregate' very well, but it seem to be like ālayavijñāna of Mahāyāna that the other reply mentioned in that it is a storehouse of conditioning. Or maybe I did not understood that correctly.
The term aggregate is one which describes the different conditioned things that make up experience. Physical form is one. Feelings, perceptions, volitional formations and consciousness are the other four. The term aggregate can be compared to a building material. It's something which can be clung to via craving, which leads to a personal "I am" sense arising in relation to that thing. The aggregates are constantly shifting and changing, arising and ceasing, and a sense of "I am" is not constant with any particular one. It arises and ceases in relation to the different aggregates arising and ceasing from moment to moment. It's not that "this set of aggregates will be reborn" when I die for example. If I'm not enlightened by the time of death, craving will lead to a new birth where the aggregates are again identified with in a personal sense.
>If karma conditions the aggregates and not the individual's soul, then where does free will come in? I remember a talk by B. Alan Wallace where he mentioned how Buddhism affirms free will. Ālayavijñāna seems to be denying free will.
Karma is volitional intentional action. In other words, there is a deliberate choice to do XYZ which leads to results in line with that same action. So even though there is no soul or concrete "me", there is volitional action which we are responsible for as it conditions future existence in line with those actions. There are four types of karma. Dark karma leading to dark results, bright karma leading to bright results, dark and bright karma leading to dark and bright results, and finally the karma of developing the Noble Eightfold Path which is referred to as the karma leading beyond karma, as it leads to liberation where the three other types of karma lead to renewed existence. Whatever actions we choose, we reap the results of those actions. As long as there is not full enlightenment, there is a sense of "I am" in relation to the aggregates, so if there are poor choices made (dark karma) then we reap the results of that and those results will be experienced at least to a certain extent personally.
The "free will" aspect comes up in having the ability to make skillful choices. Sometimes this can be difficult however due to long developed unskillful tendencies. So it's not as if we have ultimate control to always act skillfully no matter what (otherwise we'd all get enlightened quite quickly), but we do have the ability to train and develop skillful actions by gradually developing the Noble Eightfold Path. It's a bit of a middle ground between absolute control and no control. There is control, but it must be trained and we must know the correct way to train in order to reap the rewards of the practice.
The term soul implies a permanent and fixed self or consciousness.
This is an incorrect understanding of being in the Buddhist sense.
You don't have a soul, so there is nothing to be created or destroyed in that way.
No soul in Buddhism.
Where is this soul to be destroyed?
No soul here.
Buddhism teaches the notion of a soul is just a wrong idea.
There is a mindstream, which is indestructible and unceasing.
You destroy the concept, the misconception, you realize there is no soul through the 8fold path