The Buddha's Doctrine of Anatta ❖ อนัตตาของพระพุทธเจ้า
[PREFACE by Suny Ram-Indra]
Together with a reply letter from Suan Mokkhabalarama, Chaiya, Surat Thani, Than Achan Buddhadasa sent me a bundle of his Dhamma books, among which there is one entitled อนัตตาของพระพุทธเจ้า (The Buddha’s Doctrine of Anatta). He expressed his wish for me to consider translating this book into English and added in his letter, “if you are able to.”
In his letter, the Than Achan also advised: “This book will make people understand better the word ‘anatta’ (not-self) as meant by the Buddha, since there have been too many doctrines which are so ambiguous as to confuse people in general. Or, if you are not in a position to translate the book, I would suggest that you try to study and discuss it with your friends who are interested in this topic.”
Then, the Than Achan explained the associated terms:
“Atta” means fully having self.
“Niratta” means having nothing whatsoever.
“Anatta” means “self’ that is not-self, which is righteous.
Next, he added: “This means that the ‘self’ we perceive is a borrowed one, but we must treat it rightly in order to benefit from it. Otherwise, it will bite us. Eventually, attachment to self in everything will naturally be eliminated. So try your best to have ‘self’ that is not self.”
Having read the book, I found myself unable to translate it mainly due to my deteriorating health. But with firm determination to have this work done in response to the Than Achan’s wish, and to symbolically express my gratitude for his contribution to liberation of mankind from blind ignorance to the light of Buddhism and to better understanding of true happiness, I tried to contact several translator friends and asked them for help. First among them was Achan Mongkol Dejnakarintra of Chulalongkorn University, who kindly assisted me before in the translation of the Than Achan’s book, The 24 Dimensions of Dhamma. Willingly, Achan Mongkol pledged his contribution to help together with kind cooperation of Achan Supaphan Na Bangchang, also of Chulalongkorn University, the late Dr. Witt Siwasariyanon, and Dr.Wariya Chinwanno. Their achieved translation is now in your hand. I am very grateful to them all.
Also for the successful publication of this book, I wish to express my deep appreciation to The Dhamma Study & Practice Group for their kind help in taking care of the artwork and the printing.
Last and least is myself who could play a very little part by contributing to the publication of this book as a token of gratitude to Than Achan Buddhadasa on the occasion of his 84th birthday anniversary, May 27, 1990.