Anatta? Sounds like a great name to have, doesn’t it?
Anatta (in Pali) simply means “no self”, in the Buddha’s teaching.
From my recent Meditation Retreat in Yangon, I saw a different perspective of the 4 elements, which the Buddha explains as one of the reasons of Anatta.
Yes, Buddha says there are 4 elements that made up our body ~ earth, water, wind and fire (which is different from the Chinese’s metal, wood, water, fire and earth ya…).
Earth is the hardness and softness of our body.
Water is the liquid flowing in our body ~ which gives shape to our body
Wind is the air that moves in our body ~ which allows us to move our body
Fire is the heat of our body ~ which gives life to our body
Without Fire or heat, there is no life
Without Wind or air, the body will not be able to move
Without Water or liquid, the body will not have a shape and
Earth will simply become dirt….
Just like a shadow of a tree that needs a tree and the sun to exist, all that exists depending on existence of others, are impermanent. And because of its impermanence in nature and that it is always changing, we cannot claim it as self.
If we cannot claim it as “self”, there is no “I”, no “my” and no “mine”.
We are simply an energy residing in a body, which we could not even take control of ~ everything within the body operates on its own. It will grow, discharge, perspire, sneeze and get sick and we cannot do anything about it. Eventually, it will age, die and decay…….
The person who we call “I” is simply the “ego”.
The more ego one person has, the bigger and more prominent the “I” will be.
The “I” has pride, is selfish and self centre; loves to be praised and will get hurt because it needs to be recognised as “I”.
This “I” has sufferings because it has unsatisfactory, cravings and attachments.
The more one understands the Dhamma (or Buddha’s teachings), the less one will suffer because of one’s ego.
I am in favour of Bhante Sujatha‘s “No ego, no ego” phrase used every time he is being praised. He explains that by saying so, he is reminding himself not to be take pride of the “I” and to remember “Anatta”.
Buddha has, in many of his Suttas, asked:
“Is it fitting to regard what is
subject to change,
‘this is I, this I am, this is my self’?”
How would you reply?