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  • Lama Jigme Gyatso

The Secret of No Self - 13dec22


It’s not fair! So many good hearted people have been given so much bad advice about the (so called) mystery of NO self. Let’s begin by viewing Anatta through the lens of the Tao Te Ching.


If we view the contemplations of NO self through the lens of being rigid, fearful, controlling, elitist, competitive, and cruel it could forever remain opaque.


Once we embrace the path of being flexible, loving, laid-back, egalitarian, cooperative and kind it will not take long to realize that the Anatta teachings were never meant to be taken literally but rather figuratively.


The second task is to allow our appreciation of the metaphor to be informed by our comprehension of the four noble truths.


FIRST – from the perspective of evolutionary biology we are subject to MANY stressors: circumstantial, physical, interpersonal, and mental. SECOND – our experience of our stressors is exacerbated by the degree to which we are controlled by our survival drives that resist the presence of what we hate, the absence of what we crave, and the loss of that to which we cling.


THIRD – we could let go of those drives, so that although we remain mindful of them, they NO longer control our choices, utterances, or deeds. FOURTH – silently and mentally reciting well-worded rhetorical questions in harmony with our inhalations and exhalations (and their respective tendencies to notice and relax) could make it easier and easier to let go of controlling drives and their seductive impulses.


Play with rhetorical questions such as: How could hateful thoughts/ feel stressful? How could craving thoughts/ feel stressful? How could clinging thoughts/ feel stressful? How could mind/ always change? How could mind/ NOT be me?


These questions could also be applied to our circumstance, body, and relationships (the remaining components of the four bases of mindfulness). Passively ask (without striving to answer) and you too could meditate like a Jedi.


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