The Quotable Thanissaro

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:28 am

Licking Yourself Clean
Ajaan Fuang once said that meditators tend to be like little puppies. They go out and defecate and then come running to their mothers to have their mothers lick them off. They haven't learned how to lick themselves off yet. So as a meditator you need to learn how to lick yourself off. If things don't go well, learn how to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and then figure out what went wrong. Take responsibility for your meditation. Take responsibility for your insights. This is what the Buddha did. This is what every meditator has to do.

If you go to a teacher, saying you've had a certain experience, and the teacher identifies it as a level of jhana or a level of insight, can you be sure? Do you really want to hand those judgments over to somebody else? Or do you want to learn how to judge things on your own, so that you can trust yourself? If you let the other people do the judging, there's always going to be an element of doubt: Do they know what they're saying? At the same time, you're absolving yourself of any responsibility. Discernment becomes their duty and not yours. That's not a good attitude for a meditator to take. You've got to learn to look, to try a few things.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#licking


My idea in starting this topic is for myself and others to not only drop Thanissaro quotes we like, but also the ones we find controversial, provocative, or downright heretical :twisted:/ :stirthepot: . I have no way to enforce this, but I ask that this topic just be for quoting and if discussing is to happen that it be made a new topic of its own (I suppose a few words about if you agree with/like the quote or think the Reverend's full of it's fine if it's brief).

I'll try and drop a new quote every other day or so (we'll see how it goes).

Kind regards,
Daniel
Last edited by danieLion on Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:58 am

Hi Daniel,
is this only for Thanissaro quotes?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5687
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby FatDaddy » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:50 pm

The following is from the introduction to Thanissaro's Wings to Awakening

Another example of an analogy drawn from modern science is the term "holographic," which I have used to describe some formulations of the Buddhist path. When a hologram is made of an object, an image of the entire object — albeit fairly fuzzy — can be made from even small fragments of the hologram. In the same way, some formulations of the path contain a rough version of the entire path complete in each individual step. In my search for an adjective to describe such formulations, "holographic" seemed the best choice.


This is my favorite description of faith in the Path based on preliminary experience.
Happy, at rest,
may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
long, large,
middling, short,
subtle, blatant,
seen & unseen,
near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.

Let no one deceive another
or despise anyone anywhere,
or through anger or irritation
wish for another to suffer.
— Sn 1.8
User avatar
FatDaddy
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:49 am
Location: Buckle of the Bible belt

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:33 pm

Cittasanto wrote:Hi Daniel,
is this only for Thanissaro quotes?

That's the idea, but I'm not going to police it as it's ultimately not my call.
Best,
Daniel
PS: My back's in flare up so it might be a while before I can get back to this.
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:34 pm

Thanks FatDaddy.
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:06 am

REFUGE

Buddhism is not a theistic religion — the Buddha is not a god — and so a person taking refuge in the Buddhist sense is not asking for the Buddha personally to intervene to provide protection. Still, one of the Buddha's central teachings is that human life is fraught with dangers — from greed, anger, and delusion — and so the concept of refuge is central to the path of practice, in that the practice is aimed at gaining release from those dangers. Because the mind is the source both of the dangers and of release, there is a need for two levels of refuge: external refuges, which provide models and guidelines so that we can identify which qualities in the mind lead to danger and which to release; and internal refuges, i.e., the qualities leading to release that we develop in our own mind in imitation of our external models. The internal level is where true refuge is found.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... e.html#ch1
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby drifting cloud » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:51 am

danieLion wrote:[Licking Yourself Clean
Ajaan Fuang once said that meditators tend to be like little puppies. They go out and defecate and then come running to their mothers to have their mothers lick them off. They haven't learned how to lick themselves off yet. So as a meditator you need to learn how to lick yourself off. If things don't go well, learn how to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and then figure out what went wrong. Take responsibility for your meditation. Take responsibility for your insights. This is what the Buddha did. This is what every meditator has to do.

If you go to a teacher, saying you've had a certain experience, and the teacher identifies it as a level of jhana or a level of insight, can you be sure? Do you really want to hand those judgments over to somebody else? Or do you want to learn how to judge things on your own, so that you can trust yourself? If you let the other people do the judging, there's always going to be an element of doubt: Do they know what they're saying? At the same time, you're absolving yourself of any responsibility. Discernment becomes their duty and not yours. That's not a good attitude for a meditator to take. You've got to learn to look, to try a few things.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .html#self



Oh my. This is priceless. :rofl: And good advice, of course.

I don't really have any favorite quotes, per se, but I am going to start the Wings to Awakening soon and have found TB's commentary to be invaluable when it comes to sorting out the meanings of nibbana and kamma, so if I come up with any I will be sure to post them here.
User avatar
drifting cloud
 
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:24 am

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:10 am

Thanks drifting cloud.
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Kamran » Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:43 am

Great idea! I listen and re-listen to his talks every day. Its seems most of his talks have not been transcribed, though.
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
User avatar
Kamran
 
Posts: 188
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:14 am

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:29 am

Kamran wrote:Great idea! I listen and re-listen to his talks every day. Its seems most of his talks have not been transcribed, though.

Thanks Kamran.
True, but the ones that have appear in his Meditations series which is up to five volumes and which I intend to draw on heavily. Next time you hear a good one quote, drop it on us.
Best,
Daniel
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:35 am

RETREAT?

Many people think that once the mind is in concentration you can't let it rest there; you've got to do vipassana right away. Well, yes, you do need to develop insight, but before you get to the really subtle work of insight, you've got other issues in your life that you have to sort out first. There's a tendency called spiritual bypassing, where people don't want to face the big issues in their lives, so they use the meditation as an escape, an avoidance strategy, claiming that if they can solve the subtle issues of insight, that'll solve their issues when they're off the cushion. But you can't really deal honestly with the subtle issues of inconstancy, stress, and not-self when you haven't sorted through the blatant problems you cause in daily life.

This is one of the reasons why traditionally they didn't have such things as meditation retreats. You went to monasteries. And in monasteries, there was time to meditate, but there were also other duties in the course of the day. There was work to be done. You had to interact with the other people in the monastery to at least some extent. And in the course of that work and those interactions, you learned a lot about the Dhamma: the Dhamma of generosity, the Dhamma of virtue, the Dhamma of patience, equanimity, goodwill — all these other virtues that are an essential part of training the mind.

The idea of creating meditation retreats came basically in the late 19th or early 20th century, the same time when the assembly line was invented, breaking jobs down into little tiny parts that you do repetitively. This approach to physical work was efficient and effective, so it became the model for a lot of meditation retreats and for the methods taught on those retreats. You take one method and you just apply it again and again and again. But a lot gets left out in that approach. It's like exercising only one muscle in your body, so that the muscle gets strengthened all out of proportion to the rest of your body. And that can't be healthy.

It's better to think of meditation as a training for the whole mind, as exercise for the whole mind. You have to train the whole mind in all the virtues of maturity and heedfulness. In other words, you need to develop the ability to anticipate dangers, particularly dangers in your own behavior, and to figure out what you can do to prevent them.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... kingathome
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:43 am

BE YOUR OWN TEACHER

Sometimes you read about teachers who turn out to be major disappointments. They do really horrible things to their students, and the students complain that they've been victimized. But in nearly every case, when you read the whole story, you realize that the students should have seen this coming. There were blatant warning signals that they chose to ignore. You have to be responsible in choosing your teachers, choosing your path. Once you've chosen the path that looks likely, you have to be responsible in following it, in learning how to develop your own sensitivity in following it. Because after all, what is the path that the Buddha points out? There's virtue, there's concentration, and there's discernment. These are all qualities in your own mind. We all have them to some extent. Learning how to develop what's in your own mind is what's going to make all the difference. The Buddha's discernment isn't going to give you awakening; his virtue and concentration aren't going to give you awakening. You have to develop your own. Nobody else can develop these things for you. Other people can give you hints; they can help point you in the right direction. But the actual work and the actual seeing is something you have to do for yourself.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... dultdhamma
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:43 pm

danieLion wrote:BE YOUR OWN TEACHER

That's basically a more formal version of your first quote.
That's an observation, not a complaint - they are both good, both valid.
:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 2989
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Dmytro » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:55 pm

danieLion wrote:Learning how to develop what's in your own mind is what's going to make all the difference. The Buddha's discernment isn't going to give you awakening; his virtue and concentration aren't going to give you awakening. You have to develop your own. Nobody else can develop these things for you. Other people can give you hints; they can help point you in the right direction. But the actual work and the actual seeing is something you have to do for yourself.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... dultdhamma


IMHO, this is about learning from own experience, which requires learning how to learn.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experiential_learning
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Gallwey

Ven. Thanissaro explains this in detail:

Suppose that anger is interfering with your concentration. Instead of getting involved in the anger, you try simply to be aware of when it's there and when it's not. You look at the anger as an event in and of itself — as it comes, as it goes. But you don't stop there. The next step — as you're still working at focusing on the breath — is recognizing how anger can be made to go away. Sometimes simply watching it is enough to make it go away; sometimes it's not, and you have to deal with it in other ways, such as arguing with the reasoning behind the anger or reminding yourself of the drawbacks of anger. In the course of dealing with it, you have to get your hands dirty. You've got to try and figure out why the anger is coming, why it's going, how you can get it out of there, because you realize that it's an unskillful state. And this requires that you improvise. Experiment. You've got to chase your ego and impatience out of the way so that you can have the space to make mistakes and learn from them, so that you can develop a skill in dealing with the anger. It's not just a question of hating the anger and trying to push it away, or of loving the anger and welcoming it. These approaches may give results in the short run, but in the long run they're not especially skillful. What's called for here is the ability to see what the anger is composed of; how can you take it apart.

One technique I like to use — when anger is present and you're in a situation where you don't immediately have to react to people — is simply to ask yourself in a good-natured way, "Okay, why are you angry?" Listen to what the mind has to say. Then pursue the matter: "But why are you angry at that? " "Of course, I'm angry. After all..." "Well, why are you angry at that?" If you keep this up, the mind will eventually admit to something stupid, like the assumption that people shouldn't be that way — even though they blatantly are that way — or that people should act in line with your standards, or whatever the mind is so embarrassed about that it tries to hide from you. But finally, if you keep probing, it'll fess up. You gain a lot of understanding of the anger that way, and this can really weaken its power over you.

In terms of the positive qualities like mindfulness, serenity, and concentration, it's a similar sort of thing. First, you're aware of when they're there and when they're not, and then you realize that when they're there it's much nicer than when they're not. So you try to figure out how they come, how they go. You do this by consciously trying to maintain that state of mindfulness and concentration. If you're really observant — and this is what it's all about, being observant — you begin to see that there are skillful ways of maintaining the state without getting all tied up in failure or success in doing it, without letting the desire for a settled state of mind actually get in the way of the mind's settling down. You do want to succeed, but you need a balanced attitude toward failure and success so that you can learn from them. Nobody's keeping score or taking grades. You're here to understand for your own sake. So this process of developing your foundation of mindfulness or developing your frame of reference is not "just watching." It's more a participation in the process of arising and passing away — actually playing with the process — so that you can learn from experience how cause and effect work in the mind.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... cmind.html
User avatar
Dmytro
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:19 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
danieLion wrote:BE YOUR OWN TEACHER

That's basically a more formal version of your first quote.
That's an observation, not a complaint - they are both good, both valid.
:namaste:
Kim

To be fair, I need to add some quotes of the tremendous faith he had in his own teacher (Rev. Fuang). When he was here in Portland last Autumn (during a talk at Friends of the Dhamma), someone asked him something about his dedication level and he solely attributed to, "faith in my teacher."
Best,
Daniel
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:37 am

Thanks Dmytro,
Kind wishes,
Daniel
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:30 am

Introduction. to SN 22.60 To Mahāli: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Rev. Thanissaro wrote:Some schools of Buddhism teach that people are attached to things because they believe those things to have an inherent essence or existence. Here, however, the Buddha points out that people are attached to things because they pay attention to the pleasure offered by those things, and ignore the stress they cause. If, however, you turn our attention to the stress, you can gain release.

Handful of Leaves 5, p. 230 (this little introduction is not included online & IDK why).
Best,
Daniel
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:31 am

From his introduction to Majjhima Nikaya 1
Rev. Thanissaro wrote:Although at present we rarely think in the same terms as the Samkhya philosophers, there has long been — and still is — a common tendency to create a "Buddhist" metaphysics in which the experience of emptiness, the Unconditioned, the Dharma-body, Buddha-nature, rigpa, etc., is said to function as the ground of being from which the "All" — the entirety of our sensory & mental experience — is said to spring and to which we return when we meditate. Some people think that these theories are the inventions of scholars without any direct meditative experience, but actually they have most often originated among meditators, who label (or in the words of the discourse, "perceive") a particular meditative experience as the ultimate goal, identify with it in a subtle way (as when we are told that "we are the knowing"), and then view that level of experience as the ground of being out of which all other experience comes.

Any teaching that follows these lines would be subject to the same criticism that the Buddha directed against the monks who first heard this discourse.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Reductor » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:04 am

So whatever comes up in the practice, you take note of it and let it pass. If it’s
important, it’ll shift the ground under your feet. If it’s not, then why bother with
it? Just let it go. Your one job is to stick with the basic steps of the practice.
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writ ... yFlame.pdf


It was my signature for some time. I like it still.

Great thread topic, by the way.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

User avatar
Reductor
 
Posts: 1272
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:52 am
Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby marc108 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:48 am

great idea!

also: http://www.facebook.com/groups/102608566443956/

"Sometimes we're told we're not supposed to judge as we meditate, but that's not what the Buddha taught. He wants you to use your powers of judgement properly.. Not on whether this person is good or that person is good, or whether you're a good person or a bad person. That's not useful judgement at all. The judgement is of actions and results... because those things can be changed." -Thanissaro Bhikkhu
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
User avatar
marc108
 
Posts: 464
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:10 pm

Next

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: lyndon taylor and 15 guests