Anatta – The Impersonal Nature of Experience

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:

Study Materials:

Additional Audio/Video:


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.