Insight inquiry for Order members explores the three laksanas in direct experience.
‘Direct experience’ is simply sense experience as it is in the present moment, without mental fabrication. The inquiry into anatta, in relation to the other two laksanas, explores the view or belief that there is a ‘me’ which exists as a substantial and potentially permanent and satisfactory self-entity. The object of the inquiry is to see that such a (relatively) permanent, (potentially) satisfactory and (apparently) substantial entity is not ‘me, myself, what I am’.
This is similar to the Buddha’s teaching in the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta. This sutta is interesting for presenting the Buddha as getting the bhikkhus to inquire in to each skandha as to whether it is under the control of a self, and whether it is a source of suffering - which it wouldn’t be if it was under such control.
So how do we conduct the process? What would you actually be doing if you took up insight inquiry?
Your mentor would first ask you what has brought you to this inquiry and if you have any expectations. This gives us a chance to clear up any misconceptions or fears about the process and clarifies your motive for doing it.
Then there are various simple exercises exploring the six senses in direct experience to clarify the difference between mental abstractions and direct experience. Inquiring in direct experience is vital as immediate sense arisings are ‘genuine’, as distinct from mental abstractions, like thinking, imagining or spinning off into stories etc.
We then explore our actual experience in relation to the laksanas, usually starting with anicca to discover whether there is any permanence at all in the sense fields. When this is experientially clear, we explore anatta and inquire into whether there is a ‘me’ in the form of an experiencer, a thinker of thoughts, a chooser, a decider, an observer, a doer of deeds - any agent or self-entity at all engendering thoughts, feelings and actions.
Finally, we explore dukkha by inquiring into how we condition suffering - i.e. ‘second arrow’ suffering - and begin to see directly how we can address the roots of suffering.
Quote from Dayaka after completing the process: “It is remarkable how much ground has been covered and how very deeply seeded old views have been uncovered and dug up during the process! I can’t imagine ever having explored this territory anything like as effectively in the normal process of things.”
To register your interest to be mentored on a dialogue contact Amitaratna (firstname.lastname@example.org)