The teaching of anatta (“not-self”) points to one of the three fundamental areas of liberating insight taught by the Buddha (along with the teachings on impermanence and on suffering or dukkha). Yet anatta can very challenging and confusing for contemporary practitioners. Is there “no self” (as anatta is sometimes translated)? How do we make sense of our feelings of individuality, identity, ancestry, and vocation? How do we address our own personal experiences of woundedness, trauma, and oppression? Are these all simply to be “transcended”? How is a sense of self, as the Buddha taught, in many ways important for spiritual development, and how is working with our own individual conditioning, whether psychological or social in origin, central to our liberation? How do we integrate attending to such conditioning with opening as well beyond the habitual sense of self?
In this daylong, we will explore these vital questions primarily in a practical way. Using the metaphors of “thinning the self” and working with a “thick” sense of self, we will cover three aspects of practice: (1) cultivating, in several ways, the “thinning” of the self, both in meditation and in everyday life, including working with the Five Skandhas or “aggregates” of experience; (2) tracking and working with different manifestations of a “thick” sense of self, both as appearing in experience and as hidden to awareness; and (3) opening to experiencing beyond a fixed sense of self, as awareness, compassion, and responsiveness deepen.
Date: Saturday November 19, 2016
Time: 9:30am – 5:00pm
Cost: There is no charge, dana accepted.
How to Register: No registration required
Location: Insight Santa Cruz
Event Teacher: Donald Rothberg
Donald Rothberg, Ph.D., a member of the Teachers Council at Spirit Rock, has practiced Insight Meditation since 1976, and has also received training in Tibetan Dzogchen and Mahamudra practice and the Hakomi approach to body-based psychotherapy. He regularly teaches insight and lovingkindness meditation, transforming the judgmental mind, mindful communication and wise speech, working skillfully with conflict, and socially engaged Buddhism. He is the author of The Engaged Spiritual Life: A Buddhist Approach to Transforming Ourselves and the World.