The Quotable Thanissaro

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:42 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:We're creating our lives. And even when the mind seems to be simply spinning its wheels, it's not just idly spinning its wheels. It's creating new states of being, new possibilities — some of which are good, some of which are not so good. You have to keep that principle always in mind as you're meditating. You're not simply here innocently watching what's going on without any responsibility for what you're experiencing. You're responsible for your experiences — through your actions in the past and in the present moment. On the one hand, this sounds a little onerous because nobody likes to take responsibility. On the other hand, though, it's empowering. If you don't like the present moment, you can create a new present moment because the opportunities to do so are endless.
From: Producing Experience by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

With metta / dhammapal.

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:57 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Appropriate attention is the most crucial factor in the practice, the approach that looks at all of this as a skill that you’re working on in the hopes of becoming more and more skillful in how you act, more and more skillful in how you evaluate the results of your actions, and how you learn from your mistakes.

When you bring this quality of appropriate attention to the present moment, you’re setting your practice on the proper footing. And then in that context you develop mindfulness. In other words, you try to keep the breath in mind. You try to keep this perspective, the perspective of trying to be skillful in mind. And then you can be alert to what’s actually happening, interpreting it within that framework of what’s skillful and what’s not, the framework of that larger view that helps make sure that you don’t get tied up in how you’re a miserable meditator, or how this is never going to work. You just drop that. Everybody goes through the stage of being a miserable meditator. The good meditators are the ones who don’t stop there. They learn from their mistakes. So keep that perspective in mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... alks_3.pdf
From: Appropriate Attention by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:17 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Boredom. This usually comes from not paying careful attention to what you're doing. If you feel that nothing is happening in the meditation, remind yourself that you're right at the ideal spot to observe your mind. If you're not seeing anything, you're not looking. So try to look more carefully at the breath, or make an effort to see potential distractions more quickly. Remember that the boredom itself is a distraction. It comes, and then it goes. In other words, it's not the case that nothing is happening. Boredom is happening. The fact that you're identifying with it means that you missed the steps in its formation. Look more carefully the next time.

A useful perception to hold in mind is that you're like a wildlife observer. You can't make a date with the wildlife to come by a particular place at a particular time. You have to go to a place where the wildlife tends to pass by — such as a watering hole — and then sit there: very alert, so that you can hear them coming, but also very still, so that you don't scare them away. The breath in the present moment is the mind's watering hole — where the movements of the mind most clearly show themselves — so you're at the right spot. Now all you have to do is learn how to master the skill of staying both still and alert.
From: With Each & Every Breath: A Guide to Meditation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Buckwheat » Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:11 pm

:goodpost: That take on boredom was revolutionary for me. I used to think boredom was a lack of activity. He opened my eyes to the fact that I was actively "being bored", and it forced my awareness to a whole new level of detail. I don't think I really understood mindfulness until I caught onto that one.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:10 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:If you don't experiment, if you don't take an active attitude in being curious, being inquisitive, how are you ever going to learn? How's the meditation going to teach you anything new? It simply becomes a mechanical process and the question is: Are you willing to put your mind through the ringer like that, through an assembly line that somebody else has set up? That's a scary prospect. But if you think of it instead as being a prospect of exploring what's going on inside, gaining a sense of cause and effect inside your mind, you can sort out the causes that are really useful and the ones that aren't.

That's when the meditation really leads to insight — because after all, the insight here is to see what we haven't seen before, to realise what we haven't realised before, so that what we come to see and realise will lead us to attain what we've never attained before. The meditation is supposed to take you to a new place — and that can't happen unless you experiment and explore, unless you keep looking at things anew.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... alks_2.pdf
From: Beginner's Mind by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:29 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:So how are we going to know what works? We have to test things. We have to put ourselves to the test, and keep reminding ourselves that no matter how good things get in the meditation, we have to be wary, we have to watch out, because the ability of the mind to deceive itself is so pervasive, so prevalent. The only way we can get beyond that self-deception is by being very scrupulous, very careful, very clear about what we're doing. It's a quality the Buddha called by different names: ardency, alertness, intentness. But it all comes down to being heedful. This is what sees us through. This is why the Buddha made heedfulness his last message, because this quality will get all the good results we want. He could have ended his teaching career with some nice platitudes about emptiness or nirvana or the Deathless. But there was no need for that. He said that if you work on this quality of non-complacency, that's what's going to get you there, and then you can know nirvana and the Deathless for yourself.
From: Trust in Heedfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby binocular » Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:43 pm

I appreciate that he translates "metta" as 'goodwill.'

Metta means goodwill

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:06 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:...sometimes the word metta which I have been translating as goodwill is sometimes translated as loving-kindness. Loving-kindness I think is too intense because what we're talking about here is not so much that you are going to cherish other people or look after them, it is simply that you wish them well.

There are some passages in the Canon, there's a charm for the monks when they go out in the forest. There is a case where a monk is bitten by a snake and died and the monks bring news of this to the Buddha and the Buddha says well it is obvious that this monk did not spread goodwill to all the four families of snakes and so then he teaches the monks how to chant for developing goodwill for the snakes and it goes on from the snakes to scorpions and rats and all kinds of living beings whether they have no feet or two feet, four feet or many feet. And at the end of this it says here may all beings find and meet with good fortune and may they all go away. That's goodwill.

In other words you are not going to stay around and look after the scorpions and the lizards and the snakes but you don't wish them any harm. And when you think of goodwill in that way, you begin to realize it's a lot easier to wish that for other beings.
From: Discernment in the Ten Perfections by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby binocular » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:03 pm

/.../
The Buddha offered these teachings to people seeking advice on how to find true happiness. That's why he was able to avoid any coercion of others: His teachings assumed that his listeners were already involved in a search. When we understand his views on what it means to search — why people search, and what they're searching for — we can understand his advice on how to use faith and empiricism in a successful search. The best way to do this is to examine five of his similes illustrating how a search should be conducted.

The first simile illustrates search in its most raw and unfocused form:

Two strong men have grabbed another man by the arms and are dragging him to a pit of burning embers. The Buddha notes, "Wouldn't the man twist his body this way and that?"

The twisting of his body stands for the way we react to suffering. We don't bother to ask if our suffering is predetermined or our actions have any hope of success. We simply put up a struggle and do what we can to escape. It's our natural reaction.

The Buddha taught that this reaction is twofold: We're bewildered — "Why is this happening to me?" — and we search for a way to put an end to the suffering. When he stated that all he taught was suffering and the end of suffering, he was responding to these two reactions, providing an explanation of suffering and its end so as to do away with our bewilderment, at the same time showing the way to the end of suffering as a way of satisfying our search. He had no use for the idea — often advanced by later writers in the Buddhist tradition — that our suffering comes from our struggle to resist suffering; that the search for an end to suffering is precisely what keeps us from seeing the peace already there. In the light of the above simile, simply relaxing into a total acceptance of the moment means relaxing into the prospect of being burned alive. The present keeps morphing into the future, and you can't turn a blind eye to where it's taking you.

This simile also explains why the idea of a Buddhism without faith holds little appeal for people suffering from serious illness, oppression, poverty, or racism: Their experience has shown that the only way to overcome these obstacles is to pursue truths of the will, which require faith as their rock-solid foundation.
/.../


Faith In Awakening

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:49 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:We were talking today about the insight of seeing the world as perfect just as it is. That's directing your attention in the wrong direction. You're not supposed to think about the world as being perfect or imperfect. Instead, turn around and ask, "What did that just teach you about the mind?" It may have shown you how you've made the imperfection of the world into a burden. Do you feel personably responsible for it? Do you carry guilt around about it? Is it possible not to carry that guilt and still function skillfully, helpfully, in the world? That's the important question of the insight, because it then becomes a skill you can apply to other things.

If your attention gets directed out to the world, as to whether the world is perfect or not, you can argue for days and days and days and get nowhere at all. People in a comfortable position might say that it's perfect; people starving in Africa would say that it's not. But if you look at the insight as an opportunity to see that you've developed a new skill in the mind, you can drop the way of thinking that wants to pass judgment on the world. Then you can remember the new skill and apply it to how you function in other areas as well.
From: Exploring Possibilities by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby fivebells » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:09 am

Kusala wrote:"A lot of our suffering and stress come from the limitations we feel in our lives. - Thanissaro Bhikkhu


Hi, Kusala. Could you (or anyone else) give a citation for this excerpt? It looks like one I would like to read/hear all of.

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby kirk5a » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:41 am

fivebells wrote:
Kusala wrote:"A lot of our suffering and stress come from the limitations we feel in our lives. - Thanissaro Bhikkhu


Hi, Kusala. Could you (or anyone else) give a citation for this excerpt? It looks like one I would like to read/hear all of.

Looks like this
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writ ... 0Heart.pdf
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby fivebells » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:08 pm

Thanks, kirk5a.

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Thu May 02, 2013 12:21 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Buddha never said nirvana is the ultimate equanimity. He said it's the ultimate happiness. You don't turn your mind into a resigned oatmeal kind of state. You find that by letting go, things open up immensely. No limits of space or time. And no need to put in any effort.
From: A Soiled, Oily Rag (Three Perceptions in Context) by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby retrofuturist » Thu May 02, 2013 1:45 am

Greetings,

Ven T's translator note for SN 22.36 wrote:Some people have said that the Buddha's teachings on the aggregates constitute his analysis of what we truly are; and that because the aggregates are impermanent and interdependent, we have an impermanent, interdependent self. This sutta, however, shows that we can be analyzed into the aggregates only if we feel obsession or attachment for them. If we don't feel these things, there's no way we can be measured, classified, or defined.

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby SarathW » Thu May 02, 2013 10:00 am

Hi Retro
Ven Thanissaro said:
"we have an impermanent, interdependent self"
-----
The way I understand is we do not have an interdependent self. Am I missing something here. :juggling:
I agree that there is no unchanging everlasting entity.

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby retrofuturist » Thu May 02, 2013 11:58 am

Greetings SarathW,

Re-read the sentence, paying careful attention to the first four words.

:reading:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby SarathW » Fri May 03, 2013 12:01 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings SarathW,

Re-read the sentence, paying careful attention to the first four words.

:reading:

Metta,
Retro. :)

Thank God it is my falult. :) I had a bad day yesterday.
Thanks my friend.

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Tue May 14, 2013 8:09 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Even something as innocent as listening to the news: There's not only the bias of the particular newscaster but also a deeper bias that underlies all the news that you get through the media — which is that the most important things happening in the world right now are things that other people are doing someplace else. And that right there flies in the face of the Dhamma. The Buddha's teaching is that the most important thing in life is what you're doing right now. And you want to be skillful about it.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... alks_3.pdf
From: In the Land of Wrong View by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Kusala » Sun May 19, 2013 12:17 pm


"If you read a lot books about the Dhamma, it can get pretty confusing after a while, for there are so many different takes on exactly what the Dhamma is. On top of that, there are people who will tell you it's all very complex, very subtle; only a very erudite scholar or subtle logician could figure it all out. With so many teachings, it's hard to figure out which ones to hold on to. Of course, some people will tell you can't hold onto anything at all. That makes it even more confusing and obscure.

So it's good to remember the Buddha taught the Dhamma in very simple terms. And all the teachings derived from a very few basic, very commonsensical principles. You might call it wisdom for dummies: the kind of wisdom that comes from looking at what's actually going on in your life, asking some very basic questions, and applying a few basic principles to solve your big problems.

When you use wisdom for dummies, it doesn't mean you're dumb. It means you recognize that you've been foolish and you want to wise up. As the Buddha once said, when you recognize your foolishness, you are to that extent wise. This may sound obvious, but when you think about it, you see that it teaches you some import things about wisdom. In fact, the realization that you've been foolish contains within itself many of the basic principles of the Dhamma.

To begin with, this kind of realization usually comes to you when you see you've made a mistake that could have been avoided. In recognizing that much, you recognize your actions do make a difference: Some actions are more skillful that others. In recognizing that the mistake came from your foolishness, you recognize the principle that your ideas and intentions played a role in your actions, and that you could have operated under other ideas and intentions. You could have been wiser--the mistake wasn't preordained--and you got something to learn. That right there is the beginning of wisdom."
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