Understanding the notion of ‘self’ ≈ atta
When the Sakya (i.e. the Scythian) Buddha (together with the fantasists who created the Upanishads) claimed that ‘things (i.e. dharmas, now more usefully called ‘emerging events’) are ‘not-atta’ or ‘not self’, i.e. because they don’t last and, as effects, are dependent, i.e. not own, therefore not free, he (and they) got it half right, half wrong. For his basic assumption was that for an atta to be a true self it had to be permanent (not transient) and essential to itself, i.e. fully self owned, hence independent.
Well yes! But it’s the time (≈ function) factor that is crucial for determining whether or not a dharma (or thing) has/is an atta or not. Note that the Old Buddha didn’t say dharmas didn’t have an atta. What he said (with his 2nd characteristic of arisen phenomena) was that they didn’t have an abiding (i.e. permanent, eternal) atta.
He also missed the basic requirement of identifiablity, unless he was taking about what the Vedantins called the Nirguna Brahman/atman.
The ancient Indians assumed, wrongly, that an atta (specifically the atman) exists as a permanent essence (or substance) or own (-ed) property. They did not realise that a true (Sanskrit: sat, meaning both real and true) atta (and the true (hence saguna) atman/brahman) happens (only when actively relativised).
An essence, that is to say a true, because real self (or atta) happens in the nano sphere, that is to say, as momentary event (i.e. a ‘little bang’) triggered by the collision of two random quanta. Moreover, an identifiable real self (or atta) happens as the affect of a quantised series (or cluster) of random quanta collisions. Each individual collision (in the series of unidentifiable quanta) provides the realness affect. The whole (hence quantised) series produces the identity (i.e. the series provides the shape or message).
In other words, a true/real atta or self happens as individual essence when two quanta (i.e. bits) collide (indeed, at random, therefore in a relativity vacuum). @ collision (or contact) a quantum collapses, in the act/explosion (i.e. the sammasambodhi (i.e. as maximum awakening ≈ arousal) affect) revealing (and transmitting) its current state, now its momentarily true essence, i.e. its momentarily real self, nowadays called a message or signal. This true/real self ceases immediately after impact.
The minimum task to be performed by a logic machine, i.e. by any ‘thing’, is to collide at random. Random collision alone produces basic logic (i.e. a moment of absolute realness). All things (actually ‘stilled’ events, i.e. as decided/ended series of random collisions) emerging from random collision are logic.
So the Old Buddha was right when he stated that in the long run, i.e. longer than a moment (hence in the sphere of relativity), all dharmas are without an ‘abiding self’ (i.e. sunja). But he was wrong (or perhaps chose not to comment) in that perfect attas (i.e. selves) happen from moment (contact) to moment (contact), and identifiable real/true attas (or selves) happen as moment to moment random collision of clustered quanta (i.e. as decided or sliced, hence ended series). At each new contact a new atta (self) happens (in fact, is born). And a string or series of contacts, ‘waiting’ still (hence in nirvana, i.e. @ rest in apparent ‘stand by’) within a colliding clustered (or complex) quantum, produces (complex quantum or bite) identity. The attas (selves) that emerge from such collisions are identifiable, real, true (because non-relative) and free (i.e. liberated), and, in the relativity excluded moment, permanent.
Hence to claim that all dharmas are not atta (i.e. not a true self) is false (indeed, incomplete). The Sakya Buddha flunked the test and by promoting his half-truth became the cause of a lot of unnecessary human suffering.