Tuesday, October 29, 2013



One of the unique aspects of the Buddha’s teaching is its doctrine of “anatta,” the impersonal, essence less, ego-less or soul-less nature of all phenomena. This universal characteristic is difficult to comprehend as it is contrary to our deeply held assumption that “I” exist, that,”I” act and “I” feel.
Theri, Sakula, in the following lines of her poem in Therigatha, briefly expresses her understanding of the impersonal quality of all compounded things:
“Seeing the constituent elements as other, arisen causally, liable to dissolution, I eliminated all taints. I have become cool, quenched.” (v.101)

Theri Sakula has attained Nibbana because she saw with total clarity that everything normally taken to be “myself” is, in fact, devoid of any such self. She knew that all these phenomena arise and dissolve every moment strictly dependent on causes. What we need to understand that as Theri Sakula did is that none of these things is “me” or “my” self. All these phenomena – the aggregates, the elements, the spheres, arise because of certain conditions, and when these conditions end, naturally they also have to end. Suffering follows from the mistaken belief in an “I” technically called ‘Sakkayaditthi,” wrong view of a lasting self. On the basis of this idea the mind generates all its thoughts of cravings.

We can use this Theri’s words to stimulate our own personal meditative experience of the essence less nature of the five aggregates. If we are to eliminate all the dukka of existence, as Theri Sakula did, we must develop insight through Vipassana meditation to the point at which understanding of the ultimate truth about mind and body dissolves the mistaken belief in an “I.”

It is useful to remind ourselves in all waking moments that body, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness have no core substance, are all impermanent, changing from moment to moment. Whether we have had a direct vision of non self or just an understanding of it, we have to bring that realisation back into our minds and relieve it as often as possible. As we continue to do this, ordinary problems become less of an obstruction. If we remain aware of the impermanence of all that exists, our difficulties seem far less important, and the view of self subtly changes…


INSPIRATION FROM THE ENLIGHTENED NUNS – (Susan Elbaum Jootla, “Inspiration from
Enlightened Nuns” 


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