- a nominal Buddhist ?
- a good Buddhist ?
- an excellent Buddhist?
Anattalakkhana sutta is the second discourse given by Buddha to his first five disciples and it talks about non-self .
Ashin Cakkapala explains more of what it means when he recited this sutta on a new moon day:
The Second Discourse (Anattalakkhana Sutta)
Today is New Moon Day. As usual we chanted a Sutta after our normal Puja. I was requested to lead chanting of the Anattalakkhana Sutta. I did not know which Sutta we are chanting today.
As soon as I know that we are chanting this Sutta tonight, two persons appeared in my mind at once: one person who died recently and one who is having a difficult time right now. While I was chanting, I dedicated all the good deed for them.
While I was chanting, I was thinking about this Sutta and expanding my thought.
We can divide three types of Buddhists.
1. A nominal Buddhist: go to temple, do generosity, perform rites and rituals (Such Buddhists will have difficulties to stand ups and downs of life.)
2. A good Buddhist: understand Kamma (actions and reactions) and fully accept it, put into practice loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy and equanimity. (Such Buddhists are able to endure ups and downs of life, but will have much difficulties when they encounter serious problem in life.)
3. An excellent Buddhist: understand and fully accept the teaching of Anatta. I want to define Anatta as 'thing that we cannot control'. There are many things that we cannot control in life such as old age, death, losing our beloved ones. That doesn't mean that we are passive. We must acknowledge and fully accept the real nature of these things. Then only we will be able to bear all the difficulties in life.
Anattalakkhana means 'the characteristic of non-self'. This Sutta is the second discourse of the Buddha and taught to a group of five monks. After hearing this discourse, they became Arahants (Fully Enlightened Ones). The teaching in this Sutta is the highest knowledge in Buddhism. This teaching makes Buddhism distinguish from other religions.