A. The great advantage of using the lakkhanas in practice is that they have infinite levels of contemplation. To take on the basic truth of existence – that everything is impermanent, unsatisfactory and not-self – can be seen as laying down an important part of the framework of practice anyway. So just to become familiar with them through reading and study, then superficially noticing the truth of these signs in our experience of life is a good and useful beginning.

The result of a deeper insight contemplation is that it breaks up the tightly-held view of a permanent self, as it reveals that life as experienced is really no more than a collection of conditions that are in perpetual change. This undermines the firmly-held belief of a permanent ‘I’, which most of us are convinced we are. If a deeper insight practice using the lakkhanas is used before we are ready for such revelations, it could quite easily have a disastrous effect on our mental well being. In order to ensure we are ready for such profound insights we first need to put in place a proper framework of practice that is honed and fashioned over a good period of time. To make sure we do this properly, we should if at all possible take on a teacher that themselves have made the journey that will instruct and guide whilst we build this framework. Crucially a sangha should also be in place as this will act as a support and barometer as our developing understanding of the Dharma and practice deepens.