Son of Buddha wrote: The Buddha was clear that there is a self-doer.
This sutta is presented out of context.
What the Buddha explains in this sutta is a refuting of nihilism. Obviously, the experience of a doer arises.
The Buddha never suggested otherwise. Indeed, it is this arising experience which is at the core of suffering. But that is not the discussion here. This Brahman was suggesting than no experience
is even occurring. I had a discussion once with someone on a Theavadin discussion board who would not admit, even though he was posting to our discussion again and again, that he had any experience of a continuous self
There are people who assert this. "I am not here. I am not speaking these words"
...and this is the philosophical position that the Brahman was presenting to Gotama.
But the Buddha states over an over again in many teachings that there is nothing intrinsic that can be called a self. Nothing that is 'me' or "mine". He never says that there is an inherently self that experiences samsara, and then an inherently self that experiences nirvana.
And if it isn't inherently existing, it cannot be defined, in the Buddhist context, as a self.
The discussion is whether there is or is not a distinct 'self' that experiences nirvana.
And by self
is meant an essential, final individual being
which cannot be divided into dependent composite parts.
But wouldn't such a self depend on the exclusion of everything that it is not part of it?
And thus, wouldn't this dependence
on the relative exclusion of everything that is not part of it
contradict the idea that it is an independently occurring entity?
Yes. Such a 'self' that experiences nirvana
would have to have defining characteristics which distinguish it from everything else.
Tsongkhapafan wrote: How are they omniscient if they don't perceive anything? How do they even exist?
The omniscience occurs because it goes beyond the dualisms of self and other,
which is not possible if there is a self.
And if, as some might assert, a self does not have any defining characteristics,
then what constitutes a self?
Please tell me what constitutes a self, a self that experiences nirvana,
that is not conditionally arising?