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in immunology, pertaining to foreign antigens; see also self.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The doctrine of not-self explains that this way of thinking is mistaken, that there is no fixed self behind the ever-changing aggregates.
Thus, to the question of what nibbana entails, the Buddha replies using the stock formula for meditation on not-self He refuses to state categorically whether or not the self survives death because the inquiry is a misguided one that already begs the question, in that it assumes the existence of a permanent, substantial self.
The doctrine of not-self implies that whatever nibbana entails, it is certainly not the annihilation of something that previously existed, and it cannot involve extinction, as critics of Buddhist environmentalism might fear.
It is said that to fully discern not-self and thereby attain liberation will bring about a complete transformation in oneself and one's perception of the world, as well as in one's way of being 'in' the world (e.g., Anguttara Nikaya iv 53).
As we have seen, the doctrine of not-self suggests that there is no determinate, permanent, or substantial entity that lies behind the ever-changing and unsatisfactory phenomena that make up a person.
The second implication, then, is that the doctrine of not-self does not allow us to retain any final view.
It may be objected, here, that Buddhism contains several views too, such as the view of reality being marked by impermanence, suffering, and not-self, that is, the doctrine of the Three Marks of Existence, with which this paper has been concerned.
Holmes Rolston, for instance, says that it requires the 'pushy defense of individual integrity' that the doctrine of not-self seems to negate (Rolston 1987: 184).
If a thing needs the sort of fixed, objective identity that not-self negates in order for us to say that it has positive value, then it will also need it to have negative value.
The question of how this fts in with the doctrine of not-self is one that has arisen several times throughout the course of Buddhist history; what is certain is that the insubstantiality or indeterminateness of beings does not preclude our valuing them in the same way that it prevents our claiming that they have value.
I asked whether the doctrines of suffering, impermanence, and not-self as they appear in the Pali canon are consistent with an approach that ascribes value to nature.