11 May 2010
This podcast was spurred by a question from our philosopher Ilse asking about the difference of “Identitylessness” [or non self] and “Personhood” (as she put it).
There are many misconceptions about Buddhism and the theme of the “Non-Self,” and here B. Alan Wallace breaks it down skillfully and with his characteristic [irony alarm went off], funny and good-humored but extremely wise and accurate examples. This is really recommended if you have any doubts (as many of us do) on this topic! It is explained extremely clearly.
As a bonus within a bonus, Ilse comments that the practice of Shamatha in this retreat so far is starting to weaken her sense of identity. Alan quickly says it’s a good thing then talks about how Shamatha can and does weaken the sense of identity (and the suffering it entails) and breaks down the “fortress” of ignorance and delusion, along with their derivative afflictions such as craving, aversion, anger, hostility, etc. At the end it gets very philosophical (and nicely so). All in all a great podcast for reflexion.
In the spirit of this podcast, do you know who is in the picture? You might say, “What kind of stupid question is that?... That’s Alan!” But what is it that you call Alan? The pixels on the screen? Your appearance of Alan? The voice? A dharma teacher? A friend? Do you see the same Alan that I am seeing as I add the picture? How many Alans are there? Is there an Alan (I hope so!) ?
Have fun with that one!
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