Anatta – The Impersonal Nature of Experience

In this seven-week course, we will investigate the Buddha’s teachings on anatta, the impersonal nature of experience. Insight into the changing and conditioned nature of phenomena weakens themind’s habit of taking things personally. We often live our lives through the lens of self-centered fear and longing. We are so busy pursuing our attachments that we miss how much stress is involved when the mind identifies with thoughts and emotions. When the mind understands the impersonal nature, then it is possible to live without being confused by the habits of the mind.

Audio

(Recorded during January – February 2014 Class)

Week 1 – Intro and Meditation, Talk
Week 2 – Meditation, Talk
Week 3 – Meditation, Talk
Week 4 – Meditation, Talk
Week 5 – Meditation, Talk
Week 6 – Meditation, Talk
Week 7 – Meditation, Talk

Readings and Resources for Anatta

Additional Reading

Additional Study Materials

Reflections

Here are some themes for reflection for the upcoming weeks:

1. Notice the connection between moments of stress and the arising of a strong sense of self. Notice that even when we recognize that our mind is caught and stressing, the pain in the body and mind continues to trigger mental proliferation and thus the arising of more stress.

2. Notice how it is that happiness, lightness, and ease arise/are present when self centered dramas are abandoned or not present.

3. Spend time reflecting on experience in terms of the five aggregates (body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness) or six sense gates. This reflection will gradually undermine identification with self view. You might want to use a meditation phrase such as, “Sensations are like this” or “Sensation are being known”. “This is not self, this is just sensation arising and passing away, it is just sensation being known.” And then of course continue through all of the aggregates or the six sense gates. Remember the “body” aggregate includes the five physical senses.