Differences of the Self in the Upanishads with the Concept of the Self in Theravada Buddhism

An ultimate reality that is eternal and unchanging with a goal of liberation, or enlightenment, may be accepted by all world religions, but the ultimate goal of life is realized in various ways. Similarly, several differences can be easily recognized when comparing the concept and characteristics of the Self in the Upanishads with the concept of the Self in Theravada Buddhism. The two kinds of self frequently considered are the self that is the ego, or external, superficial Self of the mind and body that is learned, and the Self often referred to as the “True Self”, or spiritual self. Although these two religious traditions do share some similar views, theories and practices, they also clash in the way the self is related to the supreme reality. The realization of one’s true nature, and how one achieves liberation are as well disagreed upon.
Atman, the concept of the Self in the Upanishads is referring to individual self, or who you really are. This Self is One’s eternal soul or True Self. It is communicated as the universal life-principle, the animator of all organisms, and the world-soul. Also, this world is thought to be merely an illusion which inhibits humans from being able to see the true unity of the universe. It is essentially the entire world, above, below, and in the four directions. The soul of each individual human, or Atman, is believed to be equal to Brahman, or the Universal Spirit. Liberation is the realization that Atman and Brahman are essentially one. Brahman is the formless, eternal, unchanging impersonal ultimate reality. This Impersonal transcendent force is also thought of as the power behind and within the cosmos which causes it function and exist. In this religion, different personal gods and goddesses are the ways in which we can each come to the same, equal ultimate reality. Further, in the Upanishads, it is believed that the world is simply a deceptive vision or phenomenal glimpse of Brahman and not his transformation.