from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Hinduism The individual soul or essence.
- n. Hinduism The essence that is eternal, unchanging, and indistinguishable from the essence of the universe.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The soul; one's true self.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The life principle, soul, or individual essence.
- n. The universal ego from whom all individual atmans arise. This sense is a European excrescence on the East Indian thought.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The soul as it is conceived by the Brahman philosophers: the existence of it is denied by the Buddhists. The soul of the universe is equally called atman.
In the original, the word atman is used in various senses.
The non-Buddhist Indian schools talk about atman, which is roughly translated as "self" or "soul"; and in other non-Indian religious traditions we hear discussion about the "soul" of the being and so on.
Persons lack a “soul,” an atman, that is unaffected by anything, partless, and separable from a body and a mind, and which can be cognized on its own.
They also show that divinity, such as the deities of the temples, is pure like the atman, which is not affected by sexual desires and other characteristics of the physical body.
For the same reason in II, 3, 18 also the word 'atman' is in the singular.
The "atman" is part of God's own Spirit within us-the Quakers call it the "Inner Light", but the notion is that we are literally God's own offspring spiritually.
In other words, his perspective deviates from the core Vedic concepts of the individual atman as an emanation of the universal brahman.
In Buddhism, by abandoning the personal point of view that is the self atman, the Buddhist experiences a state that transcends dichotomies such as enemy and friend, orthodox and heretical, and thus clings to nothing from this conditioned world.
His Holiness expands on the concise verses that set forth the Madhyamika (Middle Way tenet system) view of ultimate reality by addressing topics including the lack of an eternal, autonomous, unitary self (atman) and logical fallacies in assertions of ultimate truth presented in other Buddhist tenet systems (Vaibashika, Sautrantrika and Cittamatrin/Mind Only).
On the whole, non-Buddhist Indian schools have more or less come to the conclusion that the "self" really refers to this independent agent or atman.