Courtesy: Vesak Lipi
There are three types of teachers; the first one teaches that the Ego or the Self is real now as well as in the future (here and hereafter);
the second one teaches that the Ego is real only in this life but not in the future;
the third one teaches that the concept of an Ego is an illusion and is not real either, in this life or hereafter.
The first one is the Eternalist, the second one is the Annihilationist, and the third one is the Buddha who teaches the middle way of avoiding the extremes of eternalism and annihilationism.
The middle way is the doctrine of dependent arising, or causal conditioning.
All theistic religions teach that the Ego survives after death in some way or other, and is not annihilated.
The materialist’s concept is that the Ego is annihilated at death.
The Buddhist view is that is no Ego, or anything substantial or lasting, but all things conditioned are subject to change, and they change not remaining the same for two consecutive moments, and that there is continuity but no identity.
So long as man cherishes the idea of a lasting Self or Ego, it will not be possible for him to conceive the idea that all things are impermanent, that there is, in reality, an
arising and a ceasing of things. The understanding of the Anatta doctrine which is exclusively Buddhist is indispensable in the understanding of the four noble truths and the other principal tenets of Buddhism.