Anatta is typically translated as Non-Self; during this talk, Peter provides an alternative meaning: The absence of an enduring and autonomous self.  Another of the basic concepts of Buddhism, Anicca, the ever-changing nature of subjective experience, counters the illusion of an ongoing self (This topic is reviewed during the talk on May 5, 2021).  Even though a superficial view of experience strongly suggests that there is a separate self, close analysis reveals that self-experience is deeply conditioned by largely unaware memories from earlier in one’s life.  During the talk, Peter reviews contemporary psychological research, Attachment Theory, which strongly suggests that human personality dynamics emerge from the countless social exchanges we all experience from our earliest life experiences–this view suggests we are all “co-creating” each other throughout life, which counters the belief that we are autonomous beings.  The talk further reviews various ways that mindfulness meditation can “deconstruct” the illusion of an enduring, autonomous self (For more support, go to the archived “Guided Anatta Meditation”, recorded and posted the same day as this talk).  The presentation was followed by discussion among those participating in the Zoom meeting regarding this topic.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Buddhist Characteristics

Next week’s talk will begin a comprehensive review of the Satipatthana Sutta, using Analayo’s authoritative text “Satipatthana–The Direct Path To Realization” as a primary source.  His research finds the translation of Satipatthana to be “attending with mindfulness” rather than “the four foundations of mindfulness”.  The review will selectively emphasize those parts of the discourse that seem most relevant to contemporary practices, supplemented with current psychological and neurological research which is supportive of the discourse.