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Deconstructing the Self

Module 10 of An Introduction to Buddhism.

We use the sword of wisdom to cut our stubborn attachment to who and what we think we are.

Photo by Gary Todd

Assigned Readings

Chapter 6 introduces the Buddhist concept of anatta or “Non-Self”

Chapter 11 explains the “Three Characterists” (of which anatta is the third)

Chapter 10 covers “The Five Aggregates” which are, in brief, the body and mind which we cling to as if they were “us”

Biography of Shakyamuni Buddha – Ven Master Hsing Yun (.pdf) (.pdf)

Chapters 27–31 cover the Buddha winning over several wealthy and powerful patrons, despite his “world-renouncing” teachings

The Buddha gives a vivid simile which illustrates the Buddhist outlook on life in this memorable sutta.

Buddhist Art

Art can be a powerful way to convey religious feeling. How would you depict the above sutta? Consider making your own work of Buddhist Art inspired by the above (or something from a previous lesson). If you do, please share your poem, doodle or whatever to the SuttaCentral Forum so we can rejoice in your work!

Lecture

Bhikkhu Bodhi discusses the Five Aggregates and what Buddhists mean by “Emptiness.”

Further Reading

The best book for understanding Dependent Origination and Emptiness is The Heart of Understanding by Thich Nhat Hanh. Unfortunately, this book is under copyright so you’ll have to find a copy wherever you normally get books.

Homework

You can, however, get this module’s homework questions for free, right here!

If you’re brave enough to keep going after this lesson, click below to…