The self and the person as treated in some buddhist texts

Asian Philosophy 7 (1):37 – 45 (1997)
The theme of our conference is “The Concept of a Person”. One of the most original attitudes of the Buddha towards this problem was to have dissuaded his followers from clinging to the concept of “person”. The word “person” in P li is puggala (= individual), which represents in early middle Indian dialect puthakala, a derivation of Sanskrit: prithak (= prith or prath+ a c = separately, one by one). [2] Puggala means person or man, an individual as opposed to a group. Its equivalent in Sanskrit is pudgala., which means a personal entity or an individual. If there were any unique and permanent substance unifying this personal entity, it would be the self or the soul, attan in Pali and tman in Sanskrit. The self and the person are closely related to each other. I will trace the evolution of these two notions as treated in some Buddhist texts, firstly in the primitive basic Buddhist texts in verse or in short sentences, secondly in the prose part of some s tras and finally in later developed Mah y na Buddhist texts. Then I will confront these notions with the experience of their followers, by taking the example of Zen master Dōgen (1200-1253).
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