Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

Tricycle Talks: What Do Buddhists Mean When They Talk About Not-Self?

Guy Armstrong

The foundational Buddhist concept of anatta—usually translated as “no-self,” “nonself,” or “not-self”—can be a headbanger for practitioners. What does it mean that our self is fundamentally empty? And if that’s true, who are we?

In our latest Tricycle Talks podcast, Insight meditation teacher Guy Armstrong explains the concept to Tricycle contributing editor Amy Gross. Drawing from his book Emptiness: A Practical Guide for Meditators, he breaks down what happens when we stop constructing a sense of “I, me, mine” and begin to let go of the extraneous mental activity that leads to unnecessary suffering. When we start to understand and experience not-self, Armstrong says, we find a trustworthy space that will lead us instead to the “highest levels of happiness and freedom.”

Tricycle Talks is a podcast series featuring leading voices in the contemporary Buddhist world.

You can listen to more Tricycle Talks on iTunes or SoundCloud.