puggala »
  • puggala

'individual', 'person', as well as the synonyms: personality, individuality, being (satta), self (attā), etc., in short all terms designating a personal entity, hence also: I, you, he, man, god, etc., all these, according to Buddhism, are mere names for certain combinations of material and mental processes, and apart from them they have no real existence. They are to be considered as mere 'conventional modes of expression' (vohāra-vacana), and on that level they may be used, and are so used in the sutta texts, if taken "without misapprehending them" (s. quote from D. 9 under paramattha). With such tacit reservations, the term puggala occurs quite frequently in the suttas.

In the ultimate sense (paramattha, q.v.), however, there exist only ever-changing physical and mental phenomena, flashing up and dying every moment. - Kath., in its first section, discusses the question whether "in the absolute sense, any personality (puggala) can be found" (s. Guide, pp. 62ff). - See paramattha, anattā.


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