The Buddhist Studies Program is designed for people who have attended three or more mindfulness meditation retreats and have a commitment to daily meditation practice. The course includes dharma talks, small and large group discussions, and guided sitting time. Participants will be expected to use the teachings as a focus of their meditation and daily life practice. Led by Mark Nunberg.
Welcome to folks participating from out of town! All Common Ground programs are offered freely in the spirit of generosity. To learn more about supporting the center and our teachers, click here.
Anatta: The Impersonal Nature of Experience – Led by Mark Nunberg
Eight Mondays, January 13th – March 2nd, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. Optional sitting period, 7:00 – 7:30 p.m. Register Here
In this course we investigate the Buddha’s teachings on anatta, the impersonal nature of experience. Insight into the changing and conditioned nature of phenomena weakens the mind’s habit of taking things personally. We often live our lives through the lens of self-centered fear and longing. We are so busy reacting to our likes and dislikes that we miss how much stress is involved whenever the mind identifies with experience. Only when the mind realizes that it can relate to inner and outer experience as the natural unfolding of impersonal causes and conditions can it experience the liberating freedom of a mind free from grasping.
Course Meditations and Talks:
- Busy Life, No-Self: Everyday Practices to Realize Anatta, Recent thoughts from Joseph Goldstein, taken from Insight Newsletter, Fall/Winter 2011/2012
- Self as Verb: Unraveling the Buddha’s teachings on how we construct ourselves, by Andrew Olendzki, Tricycle, Summer 2005
- Seeing the Silliness of Me, by Buddhist Nun Ajahn Sundara
- Emptiness: A Practical Guide for Meditators by Guy Armstrong
- Anatta and the four noble truths by Gil Fronsdal
- The Buddha’s Discourse on the Not-self Characteristic, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
- Meditating on No-Self: A Dhamma Talk Edited for Bodhi Leaves, by Sister Khema
- No-self or Not-self?, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
- The Not-self Strategy, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
- The Limits of Description – NOT-SELF REVISITED, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
- Anatta as Strategy and Ontology – A response to “The Not-self Strategy by Thanissaro”, by Bhikkhu Bodhi
- NIBBANA FOR EVERYONE: A Truth Message from Suan Mokkh, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu (adapted and translated by Santikaro Bhikkhu)
- We Are Constructed Through Metaphor, by Arnold Kozak
- The Not-Self Strategy, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
- The Response to Thanissaro Bhikkhu Not-Self Strategy Article
- The Limits of Description – Not-Self Revisited, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
- Sutta Study Discussion Forum
- Concepts and Reality, from The Experience of Insight, by Joseph Goldstein
- Excerpt from Stepping Out of Self Deception, by Rodney Smith
- Introduction to the Integral Anatomy Series, Volume 1, Skin and Superficial Fascia, by Gil Hedley
- Hang on to Your Ego, by Ajahn Thanissaro
- Muccalinda Sutta, Udana 2.1, translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
- AN 3.32; Ananda
- Using non-self to let go, by Ajahn Brahmavamso
- ANATTA (NON-SELF), by Ajahn Brahmavamso
- Free of “I”- making, AN 3.32, translated by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi and Ven. Nyanaponika Thera
- The Scale of the Universe
- One Dharma, by Joseph Goldstein
- Meghiya Sutta, by The Buddha
- Anatta , Talk given by Carline Jones on September 20, 2019
- The Brahmavihara and Anatta – A Practice for our Times of Transition, Talk given at Spirit Rock by Ayya Santacitta on August 31, 2019
Here are some themes for reflection for the upcoming weeks:
- 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.
- Notice how it is that happiness, lightness, and ease arise/are present when self centered dramas are abandoned or not present.
- 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.