Hooray! There is no separate self!

I’ve been reading histories of tantric practice, one in particular, An Introduction to Buddhist Esoterism by Benyotosh Bhattacharyya, published in 1931. He explains the similarities and differences between Buddhism and Hindu or Brahmanic religions, from the teaching of the Buddha through the Mahayana and up through Vajrayana, tantra and the ‘third turning of the wheel.’ What I gather from this history is that originally, Buddha taught principles that were directly opposed to Brahamanic religion, but through a thousand year process of exchange between the two religions, they came to be more alike, in terms of doctrine and practice. One critically important difference is this: the Buddha taught, and Buddhism continues to teach, that there is ‘no self.’ But what did he mean by that? What Buddha meant was that Brahamanic religion taught there was a separate, continuous, eternal self, atman, that was separate from BRAHMAN, or ‘ultimate reality’ or god. They taught that the soul or atman had to be born in a body and die and reincarnate countless times until the atman or soul was able to be reunited with Brahman. What Buddha taught was that there was no separate self that was separate from Brahman or ‘ultimate reality.’ All that IS emanates from Buddhanature, which is pure wisdom/compassion joined with shunyata or emptiness. “We” as embodied beings emanate from that Buddhanature; therefore we are of the same nature as Buddhanature, and moreover, we have never been separate from it. Why? because there is no separate self. Ultimately, by teaching that there is no separate self, what the Buddha is saying is that you are one with Buddhanature, you are of the same nature as Buddhanature, and you don’t have to be reincarnated countless times to be ‘reunited with Buddhanature’ because you have never been separated from it.


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