11/17/2013 – Anatta Practice and Guided Meditation

Nancy led our practice for this meeting of the sangha, focusing on Anatta, or Non-Self, and drawing from several teachers.  Beginning with an understanding of Anatta as framed by Ayya Khema, in her book Who Is My Self?. Wisdom Publications, 1997. p 153- 154, we then moved to an extended guided meditation by Ayya Khema,  drawn from her book When the Iron Eagle Flies. p. 82-95.  Excerpts from John Peacock’s talk “Being a Not Self,” also helped develop  perspective.  That talk can be found at

And Thanisarro Bhikkhu, brought the whole question of ego-development as we understand it in the west into relation with the non-self as understood in Buddhism.  See his  Head and Heart Together: Bringing Wisdom to the Brahma Viharas. p. 60-61.  This entire book can be downloaded for free as a pdf file at

And finally, these words from Zen Master Dogen:

To study the Buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad
things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away.
No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.


Dōgen Zenji Dōgen Kigen (1200-1253) was the founder of the Soto School of Japanese Zen. Often considered the greatest philosopher of Japanese Buddhism, he was also a man of immense literary gifts. Dōgen’s masterwork Shōbōgenzō (“Treasury of the True Dharma Eye”), from which the present case is taken, is sometimes regarded as a treatise on deep ecology.


Dōgen isn’t deceived when people speak of the Buddha way. He knows it’s the self they’re really talking about. To study the way is another thing entirely.

Go for a walk in the woods, pick up a seashell on the shore—the earth rises to meet your feet, the shell carries itself from the beach in your palm.

We don’t do anything alone, because alone we aren’t anything. Everything together adds up to nothing, and that nothing continues endlessly—eternal, joyous, and free.

VERSE:Items on Dōgen’s
To-do list: Study the self
To forget the self,
Forget the self, and bring
Myriad beings back to life.))