Tag Archives: Stepping out of self-deception: The Buddha’s Liberating Teaching of No-Self

Rodney Smith’s Talk and Booksigning will be on Saturday, December 4 6-7:30 pm at Banyen Books Vancouver. As Buddhism integrates into Western cultures, it is important that we do not compromise the depth and direction of the teaching. The West is built upon individuality and self-initiative, but the central teachings of the Buddha are selflessness and interdependent existence. These two competing imperatives begin to conflict when we sincerely long for the resolution of our dissatisfaction and suffering. We realize that since our suffering is self-inflicted, we cannot carry the very cause of that suffering, the sense-of-self, into the practices that intend to resolve it, or we will be reinforcing our belief in separation and move in the opposite direction of the freedom of the Buddha.

The spiritual journey is often depicted as a long and laborious path containing endless lifetimes and holding a complexity that bewilders our intentions, but the journey simplifies when we are willing to pare the intricacies of practices back to the Buddha’s core teaching on selflessness. Spiritual practice is simply stepping out of self-deception, and all authentic methods and techniques have only this intended purpose.

Rodney Smith spent several years as a Buddhist monk in Asia, ordaining with Mahasi Sayadaw in Burma and practicing with Ajahn Buddhadassa in Thailand. He disrobed as a monk in 1983 and, after returning to the West, worked in hospice care in a variety of positions for 17 years while also teaching Insight Meditation throughout the US. Since leaving his position as Director of Hospice of Seattle, he has been the Founding and Guiding Teacher of Seattle Insight Meditation Society (www.seattleinsight.org) and is currently a Guiding Teacher for the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. He is also author of Lessons From the Dying.