Of all the words we use to disguise the hollowness of the human condition, none is more influential than “myself.” It consists of a collage of still images—name, gender, nationality, profession, enthusiasms, relationships—that are renovated from time to time, but otherwise are each a relic from one particular experience or another. The defining teaching of the Buddhist tradition, that of non-self, is merely pointing out the limitations of this reflexive view we hold of ourselves. It’s not that the self does not exist, but that it is as cobbled-together and transient as everything else.

– Andrew Olendzki, “Self as Verb,” Tricycle, Summer 2005

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