Rodney Smith’s Tricycle Retreat, “Selfless Practice,” ends this week. Over the last month, through his videos and discussion comments, Smith has been investigating the Buddha’s teaching of anatta, or no-self. Smith has invited us to discover the truth of anatta for ourselves by offering us advice on what to be on the lookout for when dealing with the subtle ways of the ego. Paradoxically, sometimes trying too hard to understand anatta can become an obstacle for understanding.
In Week 4 of the retreat, “Applying the Practice,” Smith makes the following statement in the discussion:
When we “force” ourselves to be present, the present moment carries “me” along within it because the effort to wake up was “my” effort. So part of the present moment is then based in ignorance because the sense-of-self is an unconscious tendency. When part of the present is not being seen, then the part unseen will eventually lead the entire present into the past or future, carried away in time. That is why it is necessary for us to make the sense-of-self conscious. When the sense-of-self is unseen, it becomes the focal point of our identity and refuses to allow wakefulness to expand beyond its own control thus inhibiting our growth.
Hopefully during this retreat you’ve been able to make your sense-of-self more conscious without having to “force” the moment.
To participate in this retreat you must be a Tricycle Community Supporting or Sustaining Member. Below is a preview of Week 4 of the retreat.
Also, when you become a Tricycle Community Member, you can join a Special Community Discussion with Robert Chodo Campbell and Koshin Paley Ellison, the founders and co-executive directors of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care.