Posts Tagged ‘non-self’

One Purple Note

Tucked in my desk drawer, or somewhere, encased in a plastic sandwich bag and carefully dated, is a note. It is a note about anatta.

The night the note was dated I was shooting pool with an old friend, and being beaten, again and again. The hall cleared up and the people cleared out, walking into the dry early morning air that was rain-slick so recently. I walked back to my car and, pinned under my windshield wiper, was the note:


Written in purple ink, with big loopy letters.


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Recently, I have been reading Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj and, while reading it, I realized it was something that I very much enjoyed which had nothing to do with Buddhism.

I feel like Buddhists, myself included, frequently try to ‘claim’ Gandhi – to express our love for his ideals by scuttling him under the Buddhist umbrella. But I’m not sure that’s best for Buddhism, or for expressing a sincere respect for Gandhi.

I realize that this same kind of behavior happens in the larger Buddhist landscape, both when any old thing is shoehorned into Buddhism and when the Dharma is made to be compatible with any given thing.


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