Teachings offered by Upasaka Culadasa

Lecture at the University of West (Jan, 2009)

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  1. Matthew says:

    “No-Self as the Philosophical Core of Buddhism”
    This lecture starts with a question and discussion of the benefits of both the practice of virtue and meditation. Keeping of virtue (right speech, patience, etc) will have direct personal, psychological and social benefits. But the ultimate aim for maintaining a virtuous life is awakening, and, such awakening must be seen as an achievable goal.

    The majority of this lecture Culadasa discusses “no-self” as the primary philosophical core of Buddhism. He discusses the two predominant positions of eternalism and nihilism during the Buddhas time, which are also present today. The Buddha transcended these two positions by positing a self that neither continues into the future nor one that is annihilated at death. In other words, there is no-self in the first place. Culadasa continues by dividing the self into its conceptual and experiential components. Conceptually we can deconstruct the self fairly easily. But even with such an intellectual deconstruction, there remains a deeper level of “feeling” like a self. The practice of meditation, Culadasa states, allows us to directly see how the mind produces this feeling and thereby undermine this illusion to see clearly.

    Some follow up questions discussed are the relationship between no-self and moral behavior; the levels of realization of no-self at each Path Attainment (stream enterer, once returner, etc); a brief discussion about the physiological transformations that happen with practice and Path Attainment; and how the narrative about ourselves as individuals that need to maximize pleasure and minimize suffering is also a collective narrative that is bringing us to the brink of collective ruin. Many individual having enlightenment experiences may be our only hope to override such deep biological programming of ignorance, craving and aversion

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