Buddhism, Guided Meditation, Hinduism / Sanatana Dharma, Philosophy, Society, Spirituality

Episode 54: Understanding “Not-self” in Buddhism


Good afternoon, and welcome to the Curious Bodhi Podcast!

On our show, we are talk about one of the most mysterious and misunderstood terms in Buddhism. This is the notion of “not-self” or Anatta.

The Buddha taught the Middle Way between eternalism and nihilism. In Zen, they say: “if your mind is leaning [to the left or right], then you have lost the Way”. We often forget this as our mind leans towards either philosophising/intellectualising or clinging to our notion of self (in the false way).

So, how do we explain what not-self is, if it’s not mere intellectual and not completely personal?

Firstly, the Buddha taught there are five aggregates which compose our everyday experience. They are:

  1. Form
  2. Sensation/feeling
  3. Perception
  4. Mental formations
  5. Consciousness

All of these make up each moment for us. However, when we don’t have enough distance from them (non-duality) or cling to them as definitely “me” and “my experience, as opposed to anything or anyone else” (duality), then our mind is leaning.

When we understand the Middle Way, composed of duality and non-duality simultaneously, then we can make light of our experience and stay in the moment.

Have a listen to our podcast for an in-depth explanation. Here is Sri Acharya’s video on Sanatana Dharma & Buddhism which I reference in our show:

*Please send your questions and comments to curiousbodhi@zoho.com and I will answer them on our next show.


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