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. It's just that the self that is reading this sentence is a configuration of elements that at one time did not exist and that 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.
©2010 Rodney Smith (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
I've always had a lot of questions that I couldn't find answers to, about notion of self in Buddhism, etc. This book addresses a lot of my doubts!
I would add though, that some of the concepts can be unusual for a unprepared reader. But I'm sure that anybody would find this book useful!
I wish only that the author himself narrated this book. For me the narrator sounded a little tired...
Otherwise a very profound book for anybody who is seeking spiritual growth.
I liked the focus on the examination of wording and how our language limits our understanding. This small awakening itself is a huge breakthrough if you can 'get it'. I disliked some of the redundant concepts that were repeated over and over in different ways, but I understand the reasoning for it. Sometimes it's the last version of the concept that gets the point through. This audible is for someone who can devote the attention. I did this audible injustice by listening to it while driving. I wish I was able to take notes on some profound truths, but learning to live in the moment is really the key. To paraphrase a sentence in the book, 'You can't focus on the drive while looking in the rear view mirror. You have to learn to be present in the here and now.'
If you can start with the idea that we don't have an inherent separate self, but what we really are is everything, we can begin the process of creating a state of being free from suffering. This can be very hard to do. Understanding this concept is only the beginning of the journey. Books that help us in the beginning to head in the right direction are invaluable. Rodney Smith has written such a book.
There were three chapters that offered practical advice, the rest were mainly philosophical/theoretical.
Way too wordy. Each chapter's foundation for the topic was good but way too long for what little if any advice was provided. If the book was meant to talk about things that make the reader say, "hmm" instead of "ahh-ha", Smith nailed it.
The book could have been half the size and still conveyed the message.
One of the best and most incisive
guides to the spiritual path. Reminiscent of Rinpoche's critique of spiritual materialism, except without the Tantric dogma.
I'd advise getting a hard copy. The narrator, perhaps in an attempt to sound "spiritual," speaks as if he is whispering to you at a funeral. Not only is that frustrating and difficult to listen to, but it's a bit embarrassing to be interested in a genre of books that makes the "hushed tones" nonsense acceptable.
I know from personal experience that the message of "no self" is an important one. I just couldn't get through the narration.
Hire a publisher who hires a narrator who receives the explanation that there is no inherent difference in whether you speak as softly as the wind or you narrate with a booming, authoritative voice. If you have to act spiritual then you don't get the message the book contains.
No. This subject is not new, except perhaps in Western Buddhist circles. For a more experiential (as experiential as you can get from a book) discovery of some of what this book points to, I recommend the Book of est, by Luke Rhinehart.
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