State of the Arahat Part 2
Here, arising refers to birth, passing away refers to death, and that determined thing that is born and dies and changes while standing between birth and death is this apparent ‘self’—more pointedly, ‘my self’. Between the appearance of this ‘self’ (birth) and its disappearance (death), this ‘self’ is changing or becoming different. And it is precisely because there is a ‘self’ that is changing that there is a problem. There is a problem because something or other is taken as ‘self’ but, unlike what ‘self’ claims to be, it is changing, becoming different. It is precisely in this too that the problem of dukkha lies. When the whole state of affairs is reckoned, this determined thing is the ‘person’ (sakkāya) simply because the five clinging-aggregates are taken as being this ‘my self’.
In the eyes of the puthujjana there is a ‘self’, a subject that always is, hence an unchanging or a standing (thiti), remaining the same or unchanging. But in the eyes of him who sees rightly, who sees impermanence, there is only ‘self’, only ‘being’, only a ‘standing’, all more or less inauthentic. So actually and in truth (saccato thetato) there is no self or being self; there is only a ‘self’ and being ‘self’, which the puthujjana takes for actual self or being self. But the puthujjana does not see this; only the noble disciple (ariyasāvaka) sees it because of his perception of impermanence. He also sees that this being ‘self’ is nothing by dukkha.
In the arahat in whom no dukkha arises anymore, there is no notion of ‘I’ or ‘self’. In him the latent tendency toward ‘I’-making and ‘mine’-making, or the involuntary and instinctive conceiving of ‘I’ and ‘mine’, is cut off, never to arise again. And since there is no notion of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ arising, there is nothing being conceived as ‘I’ or ‘mine’, or viewed as ‘self’. Consequently, with the arahat there is no ‘person’, no ‘being’, no ‘remaining the self-identical subject’.
Monks, there are these three non-determined characteristics of the non-determined. What three? Arising is not manifest, passing away is not manifest, changing while standing is not manifest. These indeed, monks, are the three non-determined characteristics of the non-determined. — Asaṅkhatalakkhaṇa Sutta (Aṅguttara-Nikāya 3.48)
There is an arahat-ness (arahattaya) that is being experienced, which we refer to as the ‘living experience of the arahat’, or the ‘arahat’s life’. That is all; no ‘person’ or ‘self’ is to be found with regard to the arahat. This means that no ‘person’ or ‘self’ is determined or fabricated. For this reason the Buddha refers to arahat-ness as the non-determined (asankhata). Being non-determined, there can be no appearance, no disappearance and no change while standing.