"Selves & Not-Self' - by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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A series of 3 Talks by Thanissaro Bhikkhu in MP3: The Buddha viewed perceptions of self and not-self as a form of karma, or action. Thus the question is not, "Do I have a self?" or "What is my true self?" Instead, it is "When is it skilful to perceive a self, and when is it more skilful to perceive not-self?" This series of three talks will explore this last question.
CONTENTS Of THE BOOK
Talk 1: Strategies of Self & Not-self
Talk 2: Out of the Thicket and onto the Path
Talk 3: Health Food for the Mind
Talk 4: A Healthy Sense of Self
Talk 5: The Ego on the Path
Talk 6: Not-self for Mundane Happiness
Talk 7: Not-self for Transcendent Happiness
Talk 8: Self, Not-self, & Beyond
Readings on Self & Not-self
In May of this year, members of Le Refuge, a Buddhist group located in Eguilles, near Aix-en-Provence, invited me to lead a ten-day retreat on the topics of breath meditation and anatta, or not-self. The retreat provided me with the rare opportunity to gather my thoughts on the topic of not-self under one framework. The result was a series of eight evening talks; edited transcripts of these talks form the body of this book.
The talks draw on passages from the Pali Canon and on the writings and talks of the ajaans, or teachers, of the Thai forest tradition, in which I was trained. For people unfamiliar with the Canon, I have added passages from the discourses at the back of the book to flesh out some of the points made in the talks. These are followed by a glossary of Pali terms.
For people unfamiliar with the Thai forest tradition, you should know that it is a meditation tradition founded in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century by Ajaan Mun Bhuridatto. The other ajaans mentioned in the talks trained under him. Of these, Ajaan Fuang and Ajaan Suwat were my teachers. Ajaan Fuang, although he spent some time training directly under Ajaan Mun, spent more time training under one of Ajaan Mun’s students, Ajaan Lee.
Many people have helped with the preparation of this book. I would like to thank the people of Le Refuge who made the retreat possible, and in particular Betty Picheloup, the founder of the group, and Claude LeNinan, my excellent and meticulous interpreter throughout my stay in Provence. Here at Metta, the monks at the monastery helped in preparing the manuscript, as did Michael Barber, Alexandra Kaloyanides, Addie Onsanit, Ginger Vathanasombat, and Josie Wolf.
A French translation of the all the talks and question-and-answer sessions during the retreat is currently in preparation. If you are comparing the talks here with their French equivalents, please be aware that the French is based on transcriptions that are closer to the original talks than are the versions presented here.
Thanissaro Bhikkhu / (Geoffrey DeGraff) / METTA FOREST MONASTERY / AUGUST,2011