Stepping Out of Self-Deception : The Buddha's Liberating Teaching of No-Self
Overview - Anatta is the Buddhist teaching on the nonexistence of a permanent, independent self. It's a notoriously puzzling and elusive concept, usually leading to such questions as, "If I don't have a self, who's reading this sentence?" It's not that there's no self there, says Rodney Smith. Read more...
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More About Stepping Out of Self-Deception by Rodney Smith; Joseph Goldstein
is the Buddhist teaching on the nonexistence of a permanent, independent self. It's a notoriously puzzling and elusive concept, usually leading to such questions as, "If I don't have a self, who's reading this sentence?" It's not that there's no self there, says Rodney Smith. It's just that the self that is reading this sentence is a configuration of elements that at one time did not exist and which at some point in the future will disperse. Even in its present existence, it's more a temporary arrangement of components rather than something solid. Anatta
is a truth the Buddha considered to be absolutely essential to his teaching. Smith shows that understanding this truth can change the way you relate to the world, and that the perspective of selflessness is critically important for anyone involved in spiritual practice. Seeing it can be the key to getting past the idea that spirituality has something to do with self-improvement, and to accessing the joy of deep insight into reality.
- ISBN-13: 9781590307298
- ISBN-10: 1590307291
- Publisher: Shambhala Publications
- Publish Date: July 2010
- Page Count: 224
- Dimensions: 8.56 x 5.54 x 0.64 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.72 pounds
Books > Religion > Buddhism - General
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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Rodney Smith (Lessons from the Dying), a Seattle insight meditation teacher and former hospice director, argues that the core of Buddhist wisdom is the nonexistence of the self (anatta). But even dedicated practitioners find this teaching difficult, he argues: “Through all our techniques and procedures, the sense–of-I remains the cornerstone of our existence.” Focusing on Buddhism’s eightfold path, Smith tries to jolt the reader out of this “belief in a separate self.” He emphasizes the importance of discovery and experimentation, following the Buddha’s dictum of testing principles rather than accepting dogma. A sometimes idiosyncratic terminology reflects Smith’s own journey from reliance on spiritual teachers to detailed investigation. Acute insights mingle with vague abstractions: “We only lose sight of unity; it never leaves us.” He critiques what the late influential Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa considered “spiritual materialism”--attachment to particular methods or experiential states, especially in the Western pursuit of psychological health. Additional concrete examples and tighter editing would have made this book more approachable, but Smith’s examination of a profound teaching is thought provoking. (July)