The Non-Existence (Anatta) Doctrine

Individual existence, as well as the whole world, are in reality nothing but a process of ever changing phenomena which are all comprised in the five Groups of Existence. This process has gone on from time immemorial, before one’s birth, and also after one’s death it will continue for endless periods of time, as long, and as far, as there are conditions for it.

The Five Groups of Existences, either taken separately or combined, in no way constitute a real Ego-entity or subsisting personality, and outside of these Groups too, no self, soul or substance can be found as their “owner.” In other words, the five Groups of Existence are ‘not self (anatta), nor do they belong to a Self (anattaniya). ln view of the impermanence and conditionality of all existence, the belief in any form of Self must be regarded as an illusion.

Dust as that what we designate by the name of “chariot”, had no existence apart from axle, wheels, shaft, carriage, and so forth; or, as the word “house” is merely a convenient designation for various materials put together after a cel1ain fashion, so as to enclose a portion of space, and there is no separate house entity in existence. In exactly the same way, that which we call a “being”, or an “individual”, or a “person”, or by the name. “I”, is nothing but a changing combination of physical and psychic phenomena, and has no real existance in itself.