How to Lose Yourself: An Ancient Guide to Letting Go

    Translated with commentary by
  • Jay L. Garfield
  • Maria Heim
  • Robert H. Sharf

Inviting new translations of classical Buddhist texts about why the self is an illusion—and why giving it up can free us from suffering


Jan 28, 2025
4.5 x 6.75 in.
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From self-realization and self-promotion to self-help and the selfie, the modern world encourages us to be self-obsessed. We are even told that finding ourselves is the key to happiness. Better to lose yourself! More than 2,500 years ago, the Buddha argued that the self is an illusion—and that our belief in it is the cause of most, if not all, of our suffering. How to Lose Yourself presents lively, accessible, and expert new translations of ancient Buddhist writings about the central, unique, and powerful Buddhist teaching of “no-self.”

Drawn from three important Buddhist traditions, these essential Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese writings provide a rich sampling of the ways Buddhist philosophers have understood the idea that we are selfless persons—and why this insight is so therapeutic. When we let go of the self, we are awakened to the presence of all things as they truly are, and we let go of the anxiety, fear, greed, and hatred that are the source of all suffering.

Complete with an introduction and headnotes to each selection, and the original texts on facing pages, How to Lose Yourself is a concise guide to a transformative idea.