In a philosophical context, the concept of an independent, unchanging, and eternal identity at the core of individuals and entities.
Normally the existence of such a self is denied in Buddhism (see anātman) although a minority of modern scholars have claimed that the Buddha merely denied a lower ego-self. Additionally, some later Mahāyāna texts, such as the Nirvāṇa Sūtra, speak of a transcendent Buddha-nature as the true self.
Atman, usually translated "Soul" but better rendered "Self." In the Hindu religion, Atman means the union of the collective human soul with God (Brahma), eventually merged in the absolute totality of Brahman. It is believed that the soul is neither body nor mind, nor even thought, but that these are merely conditions by which the soul is clouded so that it loses its sense of oneness with God. In the Upanishads it is said, "The Self, smaller than small, greater than great, is hidden in the heart of the creature" and "In the beginning there was Self."