Series: “Anatta – No Permanent Self”

02 SEPTEMBER 2020 – THE PALI LEAGUE – “SOTAPANNA”

“sotapanna” – one who has entered the stream of path; stream-entererKey Verse: (Please read the full sutta)  

 “Monks, a noble disciple who has four things is a stream-enterer (sotapanna), not liable to be reborn in the underworld, bound for awakening.

What four? It’s when a noble disciple has experiential confidence in the Buddha … the teaching … the Saṅgha … 

And they have the ethical conduct loved by the noble ones … leading to immersion. 

A noble disciple who has these four things is a stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in the underworld, bound for awakening.”

 Suddhaka Sutta SN 55.46, Bhante Sujato

https://suttacentral.net/sn55.46/en/sujato

Key Pali Phrase With English: 

“Bhikkhus, a noble disciple who has four things is a stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in the underworld, bound for awakening.

>>Catūhi, bhikkhave, dhammehi samannāgato ariyasāvako sotāpanno hoti avinipātadhammo niyato sambodhiparāyaṇo.

What four?Katamehi catūhi? It’s when a noble disciple has experiential confidence in the Buddha

>> Idha, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako buddhe aveccappasādena samannāgato hoti—itipi so bhagavā … pe … satthā devamanussānaṃ buddho bhagavāti.

the teaching>> Dhamme … pe …

the Saṅgha …>> Saṅghe … pe …

And they have the ethical conduct loved by the noble ones … leading to immersion (samadhi).

>> ariyakantehi sīlehi samannāgato hoti akhaṇḍehi … pe … samādhi saṃvattanikehi.

A noble disciple who has these four things is a stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in the underworld, bound for awakening.

>>“Imehi kho, bhikkhave, catūhi dhammehi samannāgato ariyasāvako sotāpanno hoti avinipātadhammo niyato sambodhiparāyaṇo” ti.

https://suttacentral.net/sn55.46/pli/ms

Key Insight #1: “Perfect Faith of Sotapanna”

The Buddha teaches that Sotapanna or Stream Entry has these four qualities.

1 – Experiential confidence in the Buddha

2 – Experiential confidence in the Dhamma teachings of The Buddha

3 – Experiential confidence in the Saṅgha 

4 – Ethical conduct (sila) loved by the noble ones … leading to immersion.  >> “aveccappasādena” – trust founded in faith; perfect faith

Key Insight #2: “Anatta and Sotapanna”

The Buddha teaches that a sotāpanna (stream-entrant) is a person who has experienced the Dhamma and as a result has dropped the first three fetters (samyojana) that bind a being to rebirth.These first three fetters that are absent in the ‘Stream-Entry” level of enlightenment are:
1. Self-view (sakkāya-ditthi) – They have a clear understanding of “anatta” and clear knowledge about the false concepts of ‘I’, ‘me’, or ‘mine’. A sotāpanna doesn’t actually have a view about self (sakkāya-ditthi), as that doctrine is proclaimed to be a subtle form of clinging.2. Clinging to rites and rituals (sīlabbata-parāmāsa)3. Skeptical doubt (vicikitsa
“A sotāpanna will be safe from falling into the states of misery (they will not be born as an animal, ghost, or hell being). Their lust, hatred and delusion will not be strong enough to cause rebirth in the lower realms. A sotāpanna will have to be reborn at most only seven more times in the human or heavenly worlds before attaining nibbāna.
It is not necessary for a sotāpanna to be reborn seven more times before attaining nibbāna, as an ardent practitioner may progress to the higher stages in the same life in which he/she reaches the Sotāpanna level by making an aspiration and persistent effort to reach the final goal of nibbāna.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sot%C4%81panna

Welcome to the Dhamma Study Series!


This is a very important dhamma study series about The Buddha’s teachings on the Pali word “anatta”.The Buddha gave three factors of existence that need to be understood in order to successfully end suffering. According to The Buddha, “anatta” is the third factor of existence. 

1> Anicca:  Impermanence (Pali – anicca, Sanskrit – anitya)

2> Dukkha:  Suffering (Pali – dukkha, Sanskrit – duhkha) 

3> Anatta: No permanent self or soul (Pali – anatta, Sanskrit – anatman) 

All existence is like the changing tides.

 As always, we will be using the Pali Canon, Tipitaka suttas as the primary source for our study.In addition, we may other resources used to help with these teachings and studies. To help support all our members, we offer many translations of these teachings in the other albums. We encourage you to invite your friends to this study group and tag them in the preferred language album. 
We recognize that there are various opinions and views about this topic throughout the Buddhist schools and traditions. Even though we may occasionally refer to other schools and religions throughout the series, the study will primarily focus on the Pali Canon scriptures. These are the fundamental scriptures of the Theravada school. Even among Theravada scholars there are a variety of opinions and views about the “anatta” concepts. 
In this study series, we will discuss the following topics:

  • What are the three marks or factors of existence?
  • Anicca: Accepting Impermanence & Constant Change
  • Dukkha and the Four Noble Truths 
  • Anatta: No Permanent Soul or No Constant Self
  • Anatta, Illusion, and Wrong Views about Self
  • Anatta and Consciousness
  • Anatta, Kamma, and Rebirth
  • Letting Go of Illusions and Wrong Views of “Mine”
  • Anatta, Meditation, and Mindfulness
  • Anatta and the “Stream-Entry” (Sotapanna) Level of Enlightenment
  • Training the Mind, Daily Living as “No Self”

We hope you find this to be a meaningful and helpful study series. May this dhamma study help you be successful in your practice, help you find release from suffering, and help you achieve enlightenment. 

Warm regards,
Your Dhamma Study Team

24 August 2020 
DEEP DIG DHAMMA STUDYDAY 1: “Three Marks of Existence”
INTRODUCTION: 
Today we begin the study series on The Buddha’s teachings about “Anatta”.He says it is one of the three marks of existence. During this series, we will be learning the meaning the these three marks and also look more deeply into the third one, “Anatta”.This study series will be three weeks long which will help us give adequate research into several suttas, Pali words, and practical ways to dhamma in action. 
KEY SUTTA TEXT – Please read the full sutta. See link below. 

Dhammapada 277-279, Thanissaro Bhikkhu

“When you see with discernment, ‘All fabrications are inconstant’ — (Anicca) you grow disenchanted with stress. This is the path to purity. When you see with discernment, ‘All fabrications are stressful’ — (Dukkha) you grow disenchanted with stress. This is the path to purity. When you see with discernment, ‘All phenomena are not-self’ — (Anatta) you grow disenchanted with stress. This is the path to purity.”
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dhp.20.than.html (Thanissarro Bhikkhu)
https://suttacentral.net/dhp273-289/en/buddharakkhita (Buddharakkhita)

KEY PALI WORD:
>>  “Bhava” – state of existence, being

LESSON ONE: “Observing Existence with Discernment” 
“In Buddhism, the three marks of existence are three characteristics (Pali: tilakkhaṇa; Sanskrit: त्रिलक्षण, trilakṣaṇa) of all existence and beings.
1 – impermanence (aniccā),2 – unsatisfactoriness or suffering (duḥkha),3 – non-self (anattā).
These three characteristics are mentioned in verses 277, 278 and 279 of the Dhammapada.That humans are subject to delusion about the three marks, that this delusion results in suffering, and that removal of that delusion results in the end of suffering, is a central theme in the Buddhist Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_marks_of_existence

The Buddha greatly emphasized the importance of using wisdom and discernment to observe and understand existence. He says when we use discernment to understand these three we grow disenchanted, wearied of, and disgusted with stress and suffering. So during our dhamma study series, we need to seek and use discernment for learning and improving our practice.  
Pali Text – https://suttacentral.net/dhp273-289/pli/ms

 LESSON TWO: “Choosing the Path of Purity” 
The Buddha says that understanding the three marks of existence helps to grow disenchanted or disgusted (nibbindanti) with stress and suffering.  In addition, he says that understanding and discerning these three marks are significant in achieving the path of purity (visuddhiyā).  This is because the path of purity is one without attachment and clinging. 
Discernment helps us see that the those things that we crave and are attached to are impermanent. When we have cravings for the things that bring pleasure, we ignore the fact they are impermanent. That brings disappointment. When we have desires to escape those things that bring pain and dissatisfaction, we often ignore the fact that they are impermanent.  
Instead of attaching and clinging to these ideas, wisdom and discernment helps us see things as they really are. When we see things as they really are, we we can use wisdom to let go of them and fine a peaceful and pure mind. 
I love the last phrase of each stanza. When we understand the three marks of existence, then  … “This is the path to purity.”
Acharya Buddharakkhita translates “… when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.”
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dhp.20.budd.html

PERSONAL APPLICATION

Today’s Sutta has great insights for all of us to reflect upon. 

1) Did you know about these three marks of existence taught by The Buddha?

2) Which was did you know best? 

3) How would you describe ‘anatta’ or impermanence? 

4) Do you seek wisdom and discernment in your practice and study? 

5) What goals do you have for this series? 

6) What do you hope to accomplish in this study series? 

27 August 2020 
DEEP DIG DHAMMA STUDYDAY 1: “The Third Mark: Anatta”

INTRODUCTION: 
The last three days we have looked at The Buddha’s teachings on existence (bhava).In his sutta teachings, we learn that there are three marks or factors related to existence. 

1 – Existence is impermanent (anicca)

2 – Existence is suffering (dukkha)

3 – Existence is no soul or permanent self (anatta)

Today, we focus on the theme of this series, the third mark or factor. We will now begin our study of The Buddha’s teaching on “anatta”. 

KEY SUTTA TEXT – Please read the full sutta. See link below. 
“Koṭṭhita, you should give up desire for what is not-self. And what is not-self?The eye, sights, eye consciousness, and eye contact are not-self: you should give up desire for them. The pleasant, painful, or neutral feeling that arises conditioned by eye contact is also not-self: You should give up desire for it.The ear … nose … tongue … body … The mind, thoughts, mind consciousness, and mind contact … The pleasant, painful, or neutral feeling that arises conditioned by mind contact is also not-self: you should give up desire for it. Koṭṭhita, you should give up desire for what is not-self.”
https://suttacentral.net/sn35.164/en/sujato
https://suttacentral.net/sn35.164/pli/ms (Pali)

KEY PALI WORD:

>>  “anatta” – no soul, no permanent self

LESSON ONE: “Observing Existence with Discernment” 
“The Buddha teaches in this sutta that all the six sense media is not self (anatta). These are directly related to his teachings on Dependent Origination (paṭiccasamuppāda)
And what is not-self (anatta)?>>The eye, sights, eye consciousness, and eye contact are not-self: you should give up desire for them.>>The ear, hearing, ear consciousness, and ear contact are not-self: you should give up desire for them. >>The nose, smelling, nose consciousness, and nose contact are not-self: you should give up desire for them. >>The tongue, tasking, tongue consciousness, and tongue contact are not-self: you should give up desire for them.>>The body, touch, body consciousness, and body contact are not-self: you should give up desire for them. >>The mind, thoughts, mind consciousness, and mind contact are not-self: you should give up desire for them. 

LESSON TWO: “THREE FEELING TONES ARE ANATTA” 
The Buddha says that feeling tone arises in three ways. 

1 – Pleasant feeling tone

2 – Unpleasant feeling tone

3 – Neutral feeling tone

When these feeling tones arise, they are “anatta” or not-self. 
All six sense media can have these ‘impermanent” feeling tones arise. As the feeling tones arise, they are anatta. They are anicca (impermanent). 

One of the three feeling tones can arise when “eye makes contact with an object”.  One of the three feeling tones can arise when “ear makes contact with a sound”.  One of the three feeling tones can arise when “nose makes contact with a smell.” One of the three feeling tones can arise when “tongue makes contact with a taste.” One of the three feeling tones can arise when “body makes contact with an object”.  One of the three feeling tones can arise when “body makes contact with a thought or idea”. 

All of these are impermanent and are anatta (not self). The Buddha recognized that clinging to these results in bhava (existence) and jati (rebirth). If we see these things as self, then we will attach, crave, and cling. 

Today’s Sutta has great insights for all of us to reflect upon. 

31 August 2020 
DEEP DIG DHAMMA STUDY
“Anatta and Consciousness (Vinnana)”

INTRODUCTION: 

·         The past few days we have looked at The Buddh’as teachings on “existence” (Bhava) and “no self” (anatta).

·         Today we continue our study by looking at “consciousness” or vinnana in Pali.  
Consciousness exists beyond the body (rupa) and is influenced by past and present actions and thoughts. 

·         The kamma of intentional actions, intentional speech, and intentional thoughts create consciousness. 

KEY SUTTA TEXT – Please read the full sutta. See link below. 
“Monks, what you intend or plan, and what you have underlying tendencies for become a support for the continuation of consciousness. When this support exists, consciousness becomes established. When consciousness is established and grows, there is rebirth into a new state of existence in the future. When there is rebirth into a new state of existence in the future, future rebirth, old age, and death come to be, as do sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress. That is how this entire mass of suffering originates.”

https://suttacentral.net/sn12.38/en/sujato

https://suttacentral.net/sn12.38/pli/ms

KEY PALI WORD: “vinnana” – animation; consciousness 

LESSON ONE: “Intentional Kamma Creates Consciousness” 

The Buddha teaches that kamma of “intentional actions” creates or influences the continuation of consciousness.

This continuation is not a soul (atta), but rather no soul (anatta) or permanent identity. 

It seems that this consciousness is a constant shifting of mind collections based on kamma. 

1 – Kamma Intentions – Body Actions2 – Kamma Intentions – Speech Actions3 – Kamma Intentions – Thoughts Actions

“Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.”   AN 6.63
“When this support exists, consciousness becomes established.” SN 12.38

LESSON TWO: “Consciousness is not a Soul nor a Self” 

The Buddha says that kamma creates consciousness which is not a soul or self. 
However, this consciousness is impermanent and continuously shifts, changes, and is anicca (impermanent). 

He says, “When consciousness is established and grows, there is rebirth into a new state of existence in the future.” The Buddha continues, “That is how this entire mass of suffering originates.”

1 > Consciousness is established and grows from kamma and intentions. 
2 > This leads to rebirth into a new state of existence which happens in the future. 
3 > Future rebirth, old age, and death come to be, as do sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress. 

Past kamma, mind conditions, and present intentional kamma is what creates consciousness but there is no soul, no identify, and no self. 

PERSONAL APPLICATION
1 – Did you know that you are not a permanent self?

2 – Did you know that existence is evolving and changing consciousness?

3 – Are you aware that your “kamma intentions” influence future states of consciousness?

4 – Do you now realize why The Buddha says that “anatta” is so important to understand?

5 – Even though past kamma is part of consciousness, what kamma are you doing to influence future consciousness?



25 AUGUST 2020 – THE PALI LEAGUE – “BHAVA”

“bhava” – being, existence

“bhavo” – continued existence”jati” – rebirth

Key Verse: (Please read the full sutta about fear of death.)  
“Craving is a condition for grasping. Grasping is a condition for continued existence. Continued existence is a condition for rebirth (jati). Rebirth (jati) is a condition for old age and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress to come to be. That is how this entire mass of suffering originates. This is called dependent origination.”

Dependent Origination, Paticcasamuppada SN 12.1, Bhante Sujato https://suttacentral.net/sn12.1/en/sujato

Key Pali Phrase With English: 
“Grasping is a condition for continued existence.upādānapaccayā bhavo
Continued existence is a condition for rebirth.”bhavapaccayā jāti;https://suttacentral.net/sn12.1/pli/ms (Pali)

Key Insight #1: “Existence is Based (Dependent) upon Conditions”
The Buddha explained very clearly that the “three marks of existence” are part of the 12 links of “Dependent Origination”. Ongoing and evolving existence is the result of conditions. As long as those conditions continue, there will be existence. Notice that Bhava is number ten and has 9 other conditions before it. 

1 – Ignorance (avijja)

2 – Kamma/mind formations (sankhara)

3 – Consciousness (vinnana) – constantly changing (anicca)

4 – Name & Form (nama-rupa) – Identity emerges with birth and body

5 – Six sense bases (ayatana)

6 – Sense impressions (phassa) – constantly changing (anicca)

7 – Feeling tone (vedana) – constantly changing (anicca)

8 – Craving (tanha) 

9 – Clinging (upadana)

10 – Becoming (bhava) – existence 11 – Rebirth (jati)

12 – Aging & Death (jara-marana) – dukkha/suffering 

Key Insight #2: “Clinging is the Condition for Existence & Rebirth”
Even though there are many conditions before it, the primary condition for ongoing existence is “clinging” (upadanam). Before we can fully understand “anatta”, we need to understand the role of craving and clinging in existence. It seems that The Buddha says that “no permanent soul or self” exists. 
However, there are conditions that make it “seem like” that there is a self or soul. The Buddha taught differently. He taught there is no permanent soul. There is no permanent self. 
When we think or believe that our body, feelings, perceptions, thoughts are all permanent, the we tend to grasp and cling. It is then that we believe we are permanent and have a permanent soul and identity. It’s then that we something is mine and cling to it. We grasp for it and want more in order to extend existence. 
“What do you think of this, O monks? Is form (body) permanent or impermanent?” “Impermanent, O Lord.” “Now, that which is impermanent, is it unsatisfactory or satisfactory?” “Unsatisfactory, O Lord.””Now, that which is impermanent, unsatisfactory, subject to change, is it proper to regard that as: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’?””Indeed, not that, O Lord.” “What do you think of this, O monks? Is feeling (sensations) permanent or impermanent?” “Impermanent, O Lord.” “Now, that which is impermanent, is it unsatisfactory or satisfactory?” “Unsatisfactory, O Lord.” “Now, that which is impermanent, unsatisfactory, subject to change, is it proper to regard that as: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’?” “Indeed, not that, O Lord.”https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.059.mend.html Check this out further in yesterday’s DEEP DIG study. 

29 AUGUST 2020 – THE PALI LEAGUE – ” ITTHATTAM “
“itthattam” – present condition; existence in the world

“yati” – to undergo, goes on, to go away

“anatta” – no self, no soul, no permanent self

“passamana” – understanding clearly, seeing things as they really are

Key Verse: (Please read the full sutta about fear of death.)  
” Beggars, the eye is not-self. And what’s not-self should be truly seen with right understanding like this: ‘This is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self.’The ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind are not-self. And what’s not-self should be truly seen with right understanding like this: ‘This is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self.’Seeing this… They understand: ‘… there is no return to any state of existence.’ ”
Ajjhattānatta Sutta  SN 35.3, Bhante  Sujatohttps://suttacentral.net/sn35.3/en/sujato

Key Pali Phrase With English: 
Evaṃ  passed  …  pe  …Seeing this …

nāparaṃ  itthattāyāti  pajānātī ”ti.They understand: ‘… there is no return to any state of existence.’ ” https://suttacentral.net/sn35.3/pli/ms  (Pali)

Key Insight # 1: “Cannot Return to the Present State of Existence “
The Buddha was very clear that there is no permanent self. He was also very clear in many sutta’s that we cannot return to a past state of existence. It does not exist. Nothing in the past exists and therefore is not a self. 
In this sutta, he describes that this moment is constantly changing and impermanent.

This is true for any form of self.  Bhikkhu Bodhi translates the Pali into English,  “Seeing thus… He understands: ‘… there is no more for this state of being.’”https://suttacentral.net/sn35.3/en/bodhi

Key Insight # 2:  “Clearly Seeing Anatta”
Until  we clearly see and understand “anatta”, then we will be attached to the past with worries and regrets. Until we clearly see and understand there is no permanent self, then we will let the past determine our mind conditions. Until we clearly see and understand “anatta” we will find it impossible to reach nirvana, awakening, and enlightenment.

Clearly seeing “anatta” enables the mind to become free of attachments.

Clearly seeing “anatta” enables the mind to see the futility of cravings and desires. 

Clearly seeing “anatta” is deep vipassana insight that leads to emancipation and freedom.  

There are ten levels of knowledge in Vipassana, namely:

(i) Sammasana: theoretical appreciation of Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta by close observation and analysis.

(ii) Udayabbaya: knowledge of the arising and dissolution of Body and Mind (Rupa and Nama) by direct observation.

(iii) Bhanga: knowledge of the rapidly changing nature body and mind as a swift current or stream of energy; in particular, clear awareness of the phase of dissolution.

(iv) Bhaya: knowledge that this very existence is dreadful (dukkha).

(v) Adinava: knowledge that this very existence is full of evils.(vi) Nibbida: knowledge that this very existence is disgusting.

(vii) Muncitukamyata: knowledge of the urgent need and wish to escape from this very existence.

(viii) Patisankha: knowledge of the fact that time has come to work with full realization for salvation with anicca as the base.

(ix) Sankhara upekkha: knowledge that the stage is now set to get detached from all conditioned phenomena  (sankhara)  and to break away from egocentricity.

(x) Anuloma: knowledge that would accelerate the attempt to reach the goal. https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/khin/wheel231.html 

Check this out further in yesterday’s DEEP DIG study. 


THE DAILY CUSHION

TOPIC: “Anatta and Consciousness”

DATE: 31-AUG-20

SUTTA STANZA

“At Savatthī. “Bhikkhus, what one intends, and what one plans, and whatever one has a tendency towards: this becomes a basis for the maintenance of consciousness. When there is a basis there is a support for the establishing of consciousness. When consciousness is established and has come to growth, there is the production of future renewed existence. When there is the production of future renewed existence, future birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair come to be. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.”

https://suttacentral.net/sn12.38/en/bodhi (Read full sutta.)

INSIGHTS FROM SUTTA

  • Future existence is determined by kamma and mind consciousness.
  • It is important to cultivate and train the mind to be free from kamma.
  • Daily kamma influences the mind conditions and consciousness.  

MEDITATION TRAINING FROM SUTTA

  • During our meditation, it’s important to release attachments and kamma.
  • In meditation, past mind conditions, kamma, and consciousness can be purified.
  • Purification happens by replacing bad kamma with good kamma.
  • Meditation is a time to observe the mind, gain insights, and purify the kamma by letting go.

MEDITATION TIPS & SUGGESTIONS

  • When meditating, you should contemplate that all clinging and grasping influences the future.
  • Train the mind to observe things that are attachments.
  • Be mindful throughout the day of things that are attachments.

GUIDED MEDITATION

“PREPARATION & WARM UP”

👉🏽 MEDITATION PLACE

Find a comfortable place that is quiet to sit and meditate with few interruptions and distractions to the senses.

👉🏽 RELAX

After sitting comfortably on a cushion or pillow or floor, place hands in lap and close the eyes.

🙏 TRIPLE GEM (1-2 min)Prepare the mind and concentration by taking “Refuge in the Triple Gem”.Visualize each one in the mind (as an object) and generate faith and warm feelings with each one. Don’t rush this.I take refuge in The Buddha.I take refuge in The Dhamma.I take refuge in The Sangha.

😌 SATIPATTHĀNA WARM UP (3-5 min) “The Breath”Begin to focus in the breathing without attaching or stressing about it. Just relax and observe the breath.As you breath in… observe it and release.As you breath out…observe it and release.Observing the rhythm of the breath is essential to relax the body and to practice releasing.Use the out breath to practice releasing.Relaxed smiling is good to use to help relax.I often will use the phrase “Peace” (in breath)“Release” (our breath)Continue observing breathing until it becomes very subtle or almost unnoticeable.

😌 SATIPATTHĀNA WARM UP (3-5 min)

“The Body”As the breath fades, the mind relaxes, the body also begins to relax.Observe the body as a (body) form. It’s not self, but only a shell, a rupa, that temporarily supports consciousness.As observing, the body, let the breath and body fade.

😌 SATIPATTHĀNA WARM UP (3-5 min)“The Mind”As the breath fades and the body relaxes, the mind tends to become active or stay busy.As thoughts arise, don’t engage with them. Observe them and then let them fade.They will rise and they will fall unless there is engagement to feed the thoughts.

GUIDED MEDITATION

• Contemplate those things that influence the future.

– What decisions are you making?

– What happened recently to affect today experiences?

• Observe kamma from past that had results today.

– What insights can you learn about those decisions?

• Observe possible decisions you will make today that have karmic results in the future.

• Observe any “tendency” to view all these as a “self”.

– If a self-notion appears, observe it and let it go.

– Train mind you see “cause and effect” and “kamma”, not self-notion.

>> THE DAILY CUSHION 01 SEPTEMBER 202

Mike DiMeo, Teacher

ANATTA & “SELF” INTENTIONS”

“If you don’t intend or plan or have underlying tendencies, this doesn’t become a support for the continuation of consciousness.

With no support, consciousness is not established. When consciousness is not established and doesn’t grow, there’s no rebirth into a new state of existence in the future.

When there is no rebirth into a new state of existence in the future, future rebirth, old age, and death cease, as do sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress. That is how this entire mass of suffering ceases.”

https://suttacentral.net/sn12.38/en/sujato 

VIPASSANA (Main Insight) Our kamma influences and fosters the growth of future consciousnessWhen consciousness is established and grows, there is continued existence, leading to rebirthWe should put an end to the growth of consciousness if we want to end continued existence and rebirth.

MIND TRAINING Having established that our kamma causes our consciousness to grow, we should be mindful of our thoughts all throughout the day.Anger, stress, greed, and other defilements should be let go of so that we can stop the fostering of kamma and growth of consciousness.Reflect upon the truth of impermanence (Anicca) during the day. Most importantly, reflect upon the impermanence of the body. The body grows old and wears down more and more as time goes on. You are not in control of your body. This will give you insight into the truth of Anatta, meaning not self. Nothing is permanent, unchanging, or a self.

PREPARATION Find a comfortable place to meditate. It should be quiet, secluded, and dark. It should also not be too hot or too cold.Sit in lotus position with your legs crossed. You can also sit in a chair if you are unable to sit down on the ground. Place your hands in your lap and close your eyes.METTA WARM-UPLet’s start our meditation practice today by radiating metta towards ourselves and all other beings. Say to yourself “may all beings be well, happy and peaceful”. Say this several times. After that, recite the words “may I be well, may I be happy and peaceful”. Say this several times as well. Then, spend the next few minutes alternating between these two recitations.THE BREATHBring your attention to your nostrils, lungs, or abdomen. Notice the air going in and out of your nostrils or lungs or your abdomen expanding and contracting. Note “rising” in your mind every time the air goes into your nostrils or lungs or every time your abdomen expands and “falling” in your mind every time the air comes out of your nostrils or lungs or every time your abdomen contracts. Keep your attention here. Do not let your mind wander here and there. Remain concentrated on your breath. You will begin to notice your body and mind calm down and relax. Observe the rhythm of your breath. At the beginning of your meditation practice, it may be faster. As your body and mind calm down and relax, your breath will become calmer and more subtle.THE BODYWhen your mind begins to calm down and your breath begins to become more subtle, your body will begin to relax.The Buddha teaches us the truth of Anatta (not self). It’s important that we get rid of our belief in a self.To do this, briefly observe your head hair, body hair, nails, teeth, or skin. Understand it’s function (i.e. to help you chew food or to protect you from sun rays), and then remember how skin color changes and gets darker or pale depending on the seasons and how your skin wrinkles as you grow older, how head hair becomes white and falls out as you age, how body hair falls out frequently, how nails can fall out and change size all on their own, and how teeth can fall out, break, and rot all on their own.This practice will give us insight into the impermanence of the body, and then we will be able to see it as “rupa”, meaning form, and not self.THE MINDEven as your mind calms down, your breath becomes more subtle, and your body relaxes, your mind stays active, thinking about this and that.When thoughts arise, try not to follow them. Just observe them as they come and go. Try to keep your mind concentrated on the breath. If you follow your thoughts, they will stay in your mind and you will become distracted.

MEDITATION TIPS When you meditate, make sure to focus on removing your belief in a self.Understanding the truth of Anatta can help us to overcome our fostering of kamma and craving for continued existence. This will in turn slow the growth of consciousness, which will lessen our chances of being reborn.During your meditation, reflect upon the suffering that comes from craving, clinging, and attachment. When we crave for sexual pleasure, we can become addicted to sex and if we are in a relationship, it can ruin our relationship. When we crave for good food, we can become addicted to eating or eat too much and this will cause us to gain weight and be unhealthy. When we cling to beauty and youth, we will be disappointed when we grow old and unattractive. Often times we crave, cling, and attach without even realizing the suffering that comes from it. There is not a permanent or unchanging self, and believing that we can have what we want without suffering is wrong view. Believing in a permanent or unchanging self is not understanding the truth, and will lead you to crave, cling, and attach, which will lead to anger, stress, and problems in your life. This will in turn foster kamma and growth of consciousness which will result in rebirth at the end of your life.

SELF-GUIDED MEDITATION During our meditation, let’s first focus on our breath. Let’s notice how we breathe, and how breathing is natural and happens without our consent.This will help us to understand that there is not a permanent or unchanging self.We should also focus on how our body and mind change over time, and this change is uncontrollable.This also lets us know that there is not a permanent or unchanging self.We should also focus on how impermanence and suffering are realities of the world we live in, which we do not have any control over.This also lets us know that there is not a permanent or unchanging self. We cannot always have our way.Let us understand the truth of Anatta or not self, let us understand the suffering that comes from craving, clinging, and attaching, and let us understand that we need to let go and remove our defilements if we want to stop fostering kamma and craving for continued existence, which will cause the growth of consciousness and cause us to be reborn at the end of our life.

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