Revival (IV). The «Strange Oriental System» called buddhism by Gogerly
Reverend DJ Gogerly devoted much of his forty-year work to research in Buddhism as set out in Pali’s original works, and the results of his research can not but be of interest to students of a religion that professes almost a the third of the human race.
The following text belongs to a lecture given in Colombo shortly before the death of Mr. Gogerly, it contains, it is believed, the last and most complete account published by him of this strange oriental system of mixed religion and philosophy.
This is a work of great interest to understand the strange and often ridiculous system of pseudo-magical beliefs in which a Buddhism had become that embarrassed his devotees, while causing interest in the Western scholars who approached him for the first time.
It is not surprising that this product was unpresentable before anyone with a minimum of rationality. This painful situation led Buddhism to its practical disappearance from the one that saved it from the revival to which theosophy subjected it.
Some conclusions of the speaker to which it may be desirable to draw attention. For example, a very agitated question a few years ago was, what was the previous system, Brahmanism or Buddhism? It will be seen that Mr. Gogerly maintains the now generally entertaining opinion that Buddhism was a reaction against the abuses of the Brahmanic system. The second paragraph of the conference refers to Gautama’s statement that many previous Buddhas had existed; possibly some of their doctrines had been taught by older sages, and this fact may have been exaggerated in the notion of the Buddhas of preceding kalpas.
A considerable part of the conference is occupied-with the Buddha’s description of the material universe. This is the weak point of Buddhism, which is placed in antagonism with the most obvious teachings of science.These statements are not mere allusions to the popular belief of that period; they are positive and detailed affirmations made by Buddha about the authority of his omniscience. To escape the difficulty, a few years ago an ingenious attempt was made to prove that these descriptions of the universe should be understood in an allegorical sense. Mr. Gogerly, however, in his Christian Pragnyapti demolished this explanation, showing that what the Buddha taught concerning the world was thought by him to be literally believed, as an essential part of his religion.
Probably the main novelty will be the representation that gives of the doctrines of Buddha regarding a Creator. The usual opinion of people familiar with Buddhism has been that the existence of a Supreme Being was not affirmed or denied in this system , being the subject simply ignored by Buddha. However, this was not Mr. Gogerly’s opinion. He held that the idea of a Supreme and Infinite Creator was familiar to the mind of the founder of Buddhism, and deliberately rejected by him. Some curious extracts on this subject will be found in the conference.
There are three doctrines closely connected with each other and uniquely characteristic of Buddhism. These doctrines are related to the nature of man, transmigration and Nirvana. At each of these points, Mr. Gogerly’s Pali studies led him to conclusions that are clearly expressed in the following conference. First: Buddhism denies the existence of a soul in man; therefore, -Second, there can be no transmigration, in the popular sense of the term- there is only one series of beings, the later beings of the series inherit the merit or demerit of previous beings. Third, Nirvana is not Paradise, because when the series of sentient beings comes to an end, there is no soul to continue. Nirvana is therefore simply extinction . This is the vision of Nirvana in the hands of the highest authorities of Buddhism.
The notes are written by the Reverend David de Silva of the Wesleyan Mission. He was previously a student of Mr. Gogerly, and has acquired extensive knowledge of the Buddhist scriptures in Pali.
This is the text of the conference:
BUDDHISM, which was once the dominant religion of India, is now completely unknown in their native country; but when it is excluded from that region, it extends in other directions, and currently prevails in Nepal, Tibet, China, Burma, Siam, Ceylon and other countries, and counts among its devotees a large part of the human race.
Brahmanism certainly prevailed extensively at the time when Gautam Buddha was born, since upon his birth the Brahmins were consulted respecting the fortunes of the newborn prince; and it is asserted that the progress of Buddhism was faster among the lower castes: the kshatriya or warrior tribe rejecting it from the pride of birth, and the brahmins of the pride of learning; but the Brahmanism of that period differed materially from that of the present tense; no trace appears in the sacred books of the Buddhists of the worship of Shiva and Vishnu. The God to whom the offerings were generally made was Agni, the God of fire.
The state of caste at that time was also different from that prevailing at present, the warrior tribe being considered as the first, and the brahminical tribe as the second on the scale of dignity. Many princes have embraced the doctrines of Buddhism, the «warrior» tribe became their followers, but ultimately they were subdued by the ascendancy of the priesthood. Much darkness is based on that historical period that we will not try to eliminate; limiting ourselves briefly to the doctrines of the Buddha as recorded in his sacred books.
Although the present system of Buddhism is of comparatively recent origin, Gautama affirmed that, in the most remote times, the doctrines that he taught had been proclaimed by an incalculable number of Buddhas who lived in previous kalpas; as well as by three who preceded him in the present kalpa. The doctrines they teach are represented as identical to those of the present Buddha. It is said that the whole field of truth was opened before every Buddha, who therefore is called sabbaññū, omniscient; cakkhumā, who has a supernatural vision or wisdom;samantacakkhu, He who has eyes to see in all directions. The Buddhas, therefore, saw all things with infallible precision, and their teachings matched those of Gautama even at the most insignificant points. But these teachers and their doctrines «had been forgotten for a long time before the birth of Gautama Buddha, and he became the new discoverer of the system.»
Gautama Buddha was born in Kapilavatthu, a city in or near the present province of Oude
(It should be noted that Gogerly was previous to the famous swindler Dr. Führer who was the one who placed a column of Asoka in the place known today as Lumbini, in Nepal.Oudh or Awadh was a province of India, in the British Raj and was Located in what is now the northeast part of Uttar Pradesh, it is named after Ayodhya, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Kosala, which is believed to have coincided with the Oudh region.In the 12th century the Muslim invaders conquered it. The 16th century was part of the Mughal Empire and was invaded by the British in 1856, joining it in 1877 with the province of Agra to form the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh (United Provinces of Agra and Oudh). 1947 became part of the State of Uttar Pradesh).
in the year 624 before the Christian era . His father was a sovereign prince named Sudhodana . He was called Prince Siddhartha , and lived in royal splendor until his 29th year. At that time he was displeased with sensual pleasures; he considered the circumstances of the disease, decrepitude and death, and was eager to obtain the liberation of the continuous reproduction of existence, embraced the life of an ascetic and withdrew to the desert. Its object seems to have been twofold: first, to obtain that complete freedom of the passions. and affections that would guarantee the total cessation of his own personal existence: and second, that he may reach that perfection of wisdom and knowledge that will enable him to teach others the paths of perfect freedom. For this purpose, for six years, he performed painful penances, and his abstinence from food was such that his body was reduced to a skeleton; and, completely exhausted, he fainted and his associates considered him dead. However, he revived, and when he did not find any advantage in this course of life, he abandoned it and took the necessary sustenance for the restoration of his bodily strength, and with renewed energy directed his mind to intense meditation.
This deep meditation is called Jhāna, and while the devotee engages in these exercises, he becomes insensible to all external things: he can not see, hear or feel, but he is in a state similar to what is called the hypnotic trance, and there are no means by which I can be awakened from this state until the meditation is over. Buddha declares to the Brahmin Veranjo, that he, being persevering, calm in body and mind, pure of heart and free of all sensuality, is dedicated to examine and investigate the nature of things, and thus enjoys the first Jhāna. At the end of the investigation and the investigation, with a calm and self-centered mind, one enjoys the serene pleasure of the second Jhāna. Free from the disturbances of pleasure, reflective and wise, and healthy in the body, he enjoyed the third Jhāna, called the state of contentment. Free from the emotions of joy or sadness, previous exaltation and depression are eliminated, with a content and holy mind that reached the 4th Jhāna, without being moved by pleasure or pain.Being mentally calm, pure and holy, free from passion or contamination,
Then, with a clear and divine vision, which transcended that of men, he contemplated beings who died or were born, noble or low, beautiful or deformed; marked his behavior and his results. Having thus attained a high degree of wisdom, he then ascertained the causes of pain and continued existence, and the manner in which the series of existence and the misery connected with it could cease forever. When he obtained this knowledge, he became a Buddha, perfect in wisdom, purity and knowledge, and the head of all existing beings, the highest world of Brahma to the lowest hell; not to honor anyone as their superior, but to be worthy to receive the supreme honor of all.
Now we will briefly note his teaching concerning the system of the universe, embracing its inhabitants; and then consider their metaphysical and moral doctrines.
Buddha does not try to explain the origin of existing beings: he says: «Bhikkhus, the starting point of the transmigration series is not known: the beginning does not appear. Therefore, he confines his teachings to the system as it is during the present Kalpa. The duration of a Kalpa is not defined arithmetically, but uses a similarity: if there is a solid rock that forms a cube of a yojana (approximately 14 miles) and a delicately formed shawl should brush against it once in 100 years, the rock by the contact it would wear out gradually: but the kalpa would not be completed at that moment. All large measures of length are calculated by yojanas): thus 4 hetekma Sinhalese, or miles of a gow, or league, and since the hetekma is less than one English mile, the gow or league may be approximately 3.5 miles; 4 of these, or about 14 miles, constitute a Yojana.
The universe comprises an infinite number of systems or sakala-lokadhātu: each complete in itself, having its own sun, moon and stars, and its own heavens and hells. The sakala-lokadhātu with which we are connected is surrounded by an immense rocky circle, which has a height of 82,000 yojanas or more than 1,100,000 miles (13) above the surface of the sea, and has 3,610,350 Yojanas in circumference, which is, more than 16,000,000 miles in diameter. In the middle of the mountain is Maha Meru. This state of mountainous Buddha, in the sermon on the rising of seven suns, is 84,000 yojanas long, 84,000 yojanas wide, 84,000 yojanas high above the sea, and 84,000 yojanas below its surface. It is surrounded by seven circles of rocks, each circle is half as high as the previous one, beginning with Maha Meru and moving outward: thus the circle of Yughandera is half the height of Maha Meru, and the seventh circle, or Aswarkarna There are only 656 Yojanas well above the sea. (16.) Between these circles and the sakala-lokadhātu rocks there are four great continents (four mahādīpas), each accompanied by 500 islands, and separated from each other by stormy seas, so that they are inaccessible to all those who do not possess super – human powers. The four continents are Jambudīpa south of Maha Meru; this is the world inhabited by men: Uttarakuru is located to the north, Aparagoyāna to the west, and Pubbavideha to the east of Maha Meru. In reference to this, a stanza by Pali says: «When the sun rises on this continent (Jambudīpa) it is midday in Wideha late in Goyana and midnight in Kuruna,» because the Sun, Moon and Stars are represented as traveling daily around Maha Meru to the height of Yughandera.
In a sermon on earthquakes in the Aṅguttara, Nikāye Buddha states that the earth rests on water and that water is established in the air. When the air is stirred by storms, the water is shaken violently, and with this the earth trembles, constituting an earthquake. The land is 240,000 yojanas thick, «the water has a depth of 480,000 yojanas, and the atmosphere in which everything rests is 960,000 yojanas of depth. The four great continents are very frequently mentioned by Buddha in his sermons.
In the lower part of the system there are eight main hells, each accompanied by 16 subordinate hells. Under Maha Meru is the Asura world. The Asuras were formerly gods who inhabited the summit of Maha Meru, but gave way to intemperance to become insensitive, and Sakra (or Indra) with their hosts threw them to the bottom of Maha Meru and occupied the conquered region. The Asuras have often waged war against Indra to recover their lost possessions, but in all cases they have finally been defeated. Men, gods and demons inhabit the earth and its atmosphere. Demons are in many cases evil and of horrible appearance, while many others are beneficial and devout Buddhists.
The general name for demons is Yakshayo or «Devils». Half the height of Maha Meru, or 42,000 yojanas on the surface of the sea, is the heaven of the four guardian gods (cātumahārājika). In this the sun, the moon and the stars are situated. The sun is represented by a resplendent circular residence of 50 yojanas or 700 miles in circumference, and the moon has one of 49 yojanas in extension. It is said that the eclipses of these bodies are the result of the efforts of Asur Rahu, in the form of a large serpent, to swallow them.
We should almost have doubted that this was a doctrine of the Buddhist religion if it were not recorded in two Sutras or Buddha discourses, in the Saṃyutta Nikaya, which is part of the three Piṭakas. On one occasion, Suriya, the Sun God, is represented by great anguish as a result of Rahu’s efforts to swallow him and his residence. He invoked the help of the Buddha, who rebuked Rahu and ordered him to desist from his efforts;Rahu became terrified and trembled fleeing towards Asuralokaya. The Sutra immediately preceding this states that the Moon experienced a similar danger and called the Buddha for help, who freed him from the power of Rahu;
These discourses, in addition to the one that refers to the cause of the earthquakes in the Aṅguttara Nikāya, show the incorrect nature of the Buddha’s physical philosophy. At the top of Maha Meru, or 42,000 yojanas above, the Cātumahārājikā heavens – Tāvatiṃsa is placed, In this world, and these six heavens, the pleasures of the senses are enjoyed, and virtuous or vicious actions can be performed.
It is estimated that the period of human life in this world is around 100 years, therefore, it is calculated that of the gods of heaven immediately above the earth (Cātumahārājikā).
A day and a night, insurance is equivalent to 50 years of men: 360 of these days make a year, and the duration of life is 500 of these years; the entire period was 9,000,000 years of men.
The period of life in each ascending sky is a quadruple proportion, so in Tāvatiṃsa it is 36,000,000, in Yāma, 114,000,000, in Tusita, 576 million, in Nimmānarati 2,304 million, and in Paranimmita-vasavatti, the duration of life is 9,216 Million of years.
All these details are taken from the Vibhaṅga division of Abhidhamma Piṭaka .
On these heavens there are 16 worlds of Brahma. A birth in the worlds of Brahma is the result of the execution of the four Jhānas, or courses of deep meditation. There are three ways in which one can attend to the Jhāna, the imperfect, the medial and the perfect.
The imperfect execution of Jhāna’s first comprehensive investigation and investigation concerning the nature of things, seeks a birth in the lowest;of the worlds of Brahma called Brahmapārisajja, the duration being one third of a Kalpa.
The medial functioning of the Jhānas themselves leads to the Brahmapurohita Brahma world, in which the duration of life is half of a Kalpa. The perfect execution of that Jhāna gives entrance to the world of Maha Brahma, the duration of life is a complete Kalpa, these three worlds of Brahma, the six Heavens, the earth, the residence of the Nāgas and Asura®, and the various hells they are all destroyed at the termination of each Kalpa.
The execution of the 2nd Jhāna, which comprises the clear and unalterable perception of the truth, seeks an existence as parittābhadeva, appamāṅābhadeva and ābhassara deva in the worlds of Brahma, the period of life is 2,4 and 8 kalpas. Again we will have occasion to refer to the world of ābhassara Brahma.
The 3rd Jhāna, in which the devotee is free from the disturbances of pleasure or pain, and being healthy, in body and mind, lives in quiet and content meditation on the doctrines of truth, gives access to three other worlds of Brahma More exalted than the above mentioned, the term of life is 16, 32 and 64 Kalpas.
The 4th Jhāna, in which the passions are so dim that the devotee is always happy, uninfluenced by the sensations of pleasure or pain, gives access to the remaining seven worlds of Brahma and the four worlds Arūpa. The duration of existence is immense, from 500 to 16,000 Kalpas. There is a peculiarity in the first world in this last series, that is, the Asaññasattā Brahma world. In this, the duration of life is 500 Kalpas, but there is only the existence of the Body, without consciousness: they have neither sensation, perception nor knowledge «; but they are like beings in a deep dream without dreams. The whole of the inhabitants of the worlds of Brahma is completely free of sensual pleasures or desires: they are not subject to the laws of gravity, but move at will through the unobstructed atmosphere, and their pleasures and pursuits are all intellectuals and cigars; resembling perhaps what Saint Paul was referring to when he spoke of «spiritual bodies».
In the four Arūpa worlds that complete the series, there are unorganized bodies, but the inhabitants have sensation, perception, reasoning and knowledge or consciousness. I do not clearly understand the nature of existence or modes of operation in these worlds, and therefore I can not attempt to explain them. The term of life is set at 20,000, 40,000-60,000 and 84,000 Kalpas. The latter the longest possible duration of the existence of any Being.
I have said before that at the end of a Kalpa, the three lowest worlds of Brahma, the. six heavens, the earth and, below, the earth will be completely destroyed. The next destruction will be by fire, and the way in which this will be done is thus established by Buddha in his speech on the ascent of seven suns, content; in the Aṅguttara Nikāya: Bhikkhus, Seneru (or Maha Meru) the King of the Mountains, has a length of 84,000 yojanas, in a width of 84,000 yojanas, under the great sea 84,000 yojanas, and on the sea 84,000 yojanas. There will come a time when for hundreds, thousands and hundreds of thousands of years cloud rain will not descend, as a result of which the cultivated plants and herbs, the forests, the grass and the trees will be completely dried up and they will burn
At the expiration of a long period after this; a second sun will appear, and from the heat of these two suns, the small rivers, ponds and lakes will dry up and disappear. After another long period, a third sun will arise, and by the heat of these three suns, the great rivers, such as the Ganges, the Jumna, etc., will dry completely. When a fourth sun rises, the seas in which these great rivers once flowed will dry up. A fifth sun will emerge later, and by the heat of the five suns at a time, the great ocean (84,000 yojanas deep), will gradually dry up until there are only a few puddles left: a sixth sun will emerge, and by the combined heat of these six suns, the great earth and Maha Meru, will smoke continuously like a potter’s kiln.
At last a seventh sun will arise, and the heat of these seven suns, this great Earth and Maha Meru, the King of the Mountains, will burn; shine and become a mass of fire, and the flames, by the wind will ascend as high as the worlds of Brahma, and by the accumulated heat of the fiery and flaming mountain, its rocky peaks; from 100 to 500 yojanas in extension, will be destroyed; and finally this great land and Maha Meru will be so completely consumed that even the ashes will not appear and will not exist;
Even when butter or oil is consumed in a container, no residue appears or exists, therefore, this great land and Mount Meru will be so completely destroyed that no ash will appear or exist. and finally this great land and Maha Meru will be so completely consumed that even the ashes will not appear and will not exist; Even when butter or oil is consumed in a container, no residue appears or exists, therefore, this great land and Mount Meru will be so completely destroyed that no ash will appear or exist. and finally this great land and Maha Meru will be so completely consumed that even the ashes will not appear and will not exist; Even when butter or oil is consumed in a container, no residue appears or exists, therefore, this great land and Mount Meru will be so completely destroyed that no ash will appear or exist.
Buddhist scholars spread this destruction beyond what is stated in this quote from a Sermon of the Buddha . A learned Priest who resides near Bentotte, in a controversial treatise states: «The waters of the sea dry up, and seven suns shine simultaneously, the earth, the mountains, Mount Meru, the Sakwala gala and all the other things destroyed by the fire». The three worlds of Brahma, namely, parisadyaya, brahmapurohitya, mahabrahmaya, together with the six heavens will be burned: and thus one hundred billion Sakwala will be burned and destroyed once.
However, the worlds thus destroyed will re-exist, but not because of the power of Karma or the power of moral merit of their previous inhabitants, as some of the natives claim, who should have received better instruction in Buddhism; nor by the power of a Creator.
In the Milinda Prashna, a book of great authority among Buddhists, the priest Nagasena, speaking of the production of things, declares: «All sentient beings are kammaja (that is, produced by the accumulation of merit or demerit of previous actions) . The fire and all kinds of vegetables are hetuja, (produced by material causes such as seeds, etc.) The earth, the mountains, the waters and the winds are utuja (produced by the seasons) «.What he meant by the seasons that produce the causes of the earth, the mountains, the waters and the winds, is difficult if not impossible to determine.
Now we have finished our sketch of the material universe according to the system of Buddhism, and we will proceed to examine the most prominent parts of metaphysics.
The existence of a Creator of all things, and the dispenser to Man of pain and joy, Buddha expressly denies it; affirming that the pains or pleasures experienced by intelligent beings are not in any way the result of the power of a Creator. He himself claims to be the supreme: he told Upaka, an ascetic, who asked him who his teacher was and whose doctrine, he embraced, «I have no teacher, there is no one like me; ‘In the worlds of the Gods, I have no equal. I am the most noble in the world, being the irrefutable teacher, the only perfect Buddha. «
In the Parajika section of the Vinaya Piṭaka; Brahmin Weranjo who accused him of not honoring the old brahmins, of not rising in his presence, and of not inviting them to sit down, he replied: Brahman, I do not see anyone in the celestial or the Maraya worlds, nor among the inhabitants of the worlds of Brahma, neither among gods or men; whom I should honor, or in whose presence I should get up, or whom I should ask to sit down. If the Tathagata (ie, Buddha) acted like this against someone, that person’s head would collapse. «
And in the Jataka Atuwara it is stated that from the lowest hell to the highest world of Brahma there is no equal or superior to the Buddha in wisdom, virtue and knowledge. These assumptions are totally irreconcilable with the doctrine of a Universal Creator, which necessarily must be superior to the beings formed and supported by him. Buddha was aware of the doctrine of a Creator held by the Brahmins, and strives to account for their existence.
In the Brahma Jala Sutra, which is the first in Dīgha Nikāya, he discusses respecting the 62 different sects in the philosophical Schools, since they can hardly be called religions, among which four hold the doctrine of both the pre-existence of the soul, and of its eternal duration through innumerable transmigrations (the Buddhist doctrine of samsara is, antecedents and consequents).
Others believed that some souls have always existed while others have had a beginning of existence. Among these, a sect is described as believing in the existence of a Creator, and Buddha denies the accuracy of this opinion.Explaining how the opinion originated, he says: «There is a time Bhikkhus, when after a very long period this world is destroyed. In the destruction of the world, many beings obtain existence in the Ābhassara Brahma Loka, (which is the sixth of the series and in which the term of life never exceeds 8 Kalpas). There are spiritual beings (who have purified bodies uncontaminated with bad passions or with any bodily impurity): they have intellectual pleasures: they are resplendent to themselves, they cross the atmosphere unimpeded, and remain for a long time established in happiness. After a very long period, this worldly system reproduces, and the world called Brahma Vimane (the third of the Brahma Lokas) is born, but it is uninhabited. «
«At that time, a Being, consequently, either expired the period of residence in Abassara, or as a consequence of some deficiency in merit that prevented him from living there the full period, ceased to exist in Abassara, and reproduced in the uninhabited Brahma Vimane. He was a spiritual being: his pleasures were intellectual: he shone by himself, he crossed the atmosphere and for a long time he enjoyed an uninterrupted happiness. After living there a very long period in solitude, he feels the desire to have a companion, and he says: «I wish that other being were living in this place».
In that precise conjuncture, another being that ceases to exist in Abassara, is born in the Brahma Vimane in the vicinity of the first. They are both spiritual beings, they have intellectual pleasures, they are resplendent, they go through the atmosphere and for a long time they enjoy happiness.
Then the following thoughts arose in him, which was the first existing in that Brahma Loka: I am Brahma, the Great Brahma, the Supreme, the Invincible, the Omniscient, the Ruler of all things, the Lord of all. I am the Creator, the Creator of all things. I am the boss, the Dispenser and the controller of all; the Universal Father. This being was made by me. How does this appear?
Formerly I thought. I wish that other being was in this place, and by my will this being came here. These Beings also, who then obtained an existence there, they thought, this illustrious Brahma is the Great Brahma, the Supreme, the Invincible, the Omniscient, the Ruler, the Lord, the Creator of all. He is the boss, the Dispenser of all things, the Controller of everything, the Universal Father. We were created by him, because we see that he was first here, and that since then we have obtained existence. In addition, the one who first obtained existence there, lives for a very long period, exceeds in beauty and has immense power; but those who followed him are ephemeral of inferior beauty and little power. Then it happens that one of those Beings, ceasing to exist there, is born in this world, and then withdraws from society and becomes a recluse.
He submits his passions, he is persevering in the practice of virtue, and by deep meditation he remembers his previous immediate state of existence, but not before that: therefore, he says that the illustrious Brahma is the Great Brahma: the Supreme, the Invincible, the Omniscient, the Governor, the Lord, the Creator, the Creator of all.
He is the boss, the Dispenser of all things, the Controller of everything, the Universal Father. That Brahma by which we were created is always during, immutable, eternal and immutable, continuing forever the same. But we, who have been created by this illustrious Brahma, are changeable, short-lived and mortal.
According to this extract, it seems that Buddha had a clear perception of the doctrine of a supreme Creator that exists by himself, and yet he declares that this doctrine is false, because he says in another part of the same discourse. «The teaching of those Sramanas and Brahmins, who maintain that some Beings are eternal and others not eternal, is based on their ignorance and their lack of perception of the truth, and is the result of the impressions made in the senses».
There are many who call themselves Buddhists who recognize the existence of a Creator: but they do so out of ignorance of Buddha’s teachings. The Buddhist system does not recognize the possibility that such a Being exists.
Having noted the principles of Buddhism regarding a Creator, we will consider what it teaches about the nature of man. The totality of the constituent parts of a conscious being. The being is organized into five divisions called khandhas or collections: they are the rūpa-khandho); the organized body; vedanā-khandho, the sensations of pleasure, pain or indifference; saññā-khanhdo, or perceptions: saṅkhāra-khandho, or thoughts, contemplations and reasonings; and the viññāṇa-khando or understanding, consciousness. Except the body, there is no entity among these. There is simply no entity among these. It is nothing more than an organized body, and inherent in this body a capacity for sensation, perception, contemplation and knowledge, caused by contact with other objects: there is no feeling, thought or knowledge of the soul in a man. The body itself is mutable, and the other khandhas are in perpetual flux.
According to this system, man is never the same for two consecutive minutes: the arūpadhamma as the set of khandhas, except that it is called the body, constantly change: they occur, cease to be and never remain the same: they are compared to the periphery of a wheel in motion, always altering its position: and in the light of a lit lamp that, although it continues to shine, has its rays continuously changing. The lamp continues to burn throughout the night, constantly emitting new rays: so that man continues as long as his body lives, but the mental processes constantly change. This Buddha doctrine is certainly not in the hands of most lay Buddhists, and it was not, and perhaps to this day it is not, received by several of the priests, but it is taught more clearly in the sacred books. To clarify this question, it is necessary to determine the meaning that should be attached to the word Pali attā, translated into Sinhalese by the word ātmāya and to which we surrender «soul». In the Brahma Jala Sutra, Buddha states that some taught that the soul (attā) is eternal in duration;they said «living beings transmigrate: they die, they are born, but their existence continues being eternal». In another part of the same sermon when the doctrines of the ucchedavādī are discussed, or those who believe that the soul will finally be annihilated, relates a conversation among some philosophers: «Another will answer and say: Friend, I do not deny that there is such a state as you you mentioned, but the soul does not then be annihilated: there it is. Friend, another unknown and inexperienced state for you, but known and perceived by me; in that state, the form is divine, the pleasures are mental, and all the powers and faculties are in perfection.After the dissolution of that body by death, the being is cut off, destroyed and no longer exists.
These extracts are sufficient to show that by the word (attā) or soul, it means an immaterial substance that continues to exist after the death of the body. The Commentary affirms that there are four main opinions regarding the nature of the soul, the last of which is that it remains in the body like a jewel deposited in a chest: and that when it dies it moves away like a bird from its cage. Therefore, there can be no doubt that Buddha attached to the word (attā) the meaning we attribute to the word «soul».
We have already noted that the integral parts of a man are divided into five khandhas, but there is also another arrangement called āyatana or residences: they are the six āyatana personnel; verbigracia the eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue, the body, the understanding; and the corresponding external āyatana, figure / form, sound, smells, taste, touch and material or immaterial objects. Buddha