Self and No Self
Venerable Xiao Pingshi
The Buddha Dharma of the Three Vehicles speaks of the notion of No Self. Nonetheless, so many famous Buddhist masters, both monastics and lay practitioners, often fail to grasp the real meaning of No Self. All the Three-Vehicle Sutras—the Agama Sutras, prajna paramita, and Consciousness-Only—have implicitly and explicitly expounded the true principle of "No Self" and "Self." Although the Mahayana Dharma teaches No Self, it is not a nihilistic view of the emptiness of all phenomena; instead, it reveals the ultimate reality of the remainderless nirvana—the true mind. This true mind is called the Self of the non-self, the mind of the non-mind, and the true reality of all phenomena. Upon realizing this mind, one will comprehend the true reality and immediately bring forth the Mahayana wisdom pertaining to prajna; thus, one will be referred to as a sage or saint of Mahayana "distinctive teaching." It is hoped that every monastic Dharma master will first understand this principle to avoid misleading himself and others while trying to expound the Dharma. By doing so, both the master and his disciples will be on the right path toward awakening and post-awakening cultivation.