The Quotable Thanissaro

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:03 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:People have tried to import Western ideas of objective justice into the Buddha’s teachings — some have even suggested that this will be one of the great Western contributions to Buddhism, filling in a serious lack — but there is no way that those ideas can be forced on the Dhamma without doing serious damage to the Buddhist worldview. This fact, in and of itself, has prompted many people to advocate jettisoning the Buddhist worldview and replacing it with something closer to one of our own. But a careful look at that worldview, and the consequences that the Buddha drew from it, shows that the Buddha’s teachings on how to find social harmony without recourse to objective standards of justice has much to recommend it.
From: Wisdom over Justice by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Tue Oct 23, 2018 9:31 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Buddha gives you the Dhamma, he gives us the Dhamma to learn about how to separate yourself from the body so even when the body's aging, the mind you remind yourself is not aging. The body may be growing ill but the mind doesn't have to be ill. The body may die but the mind doesn't die. Remember that, always keep that in mind so you don't get too tied up in the pain and the worry that comes with these things.

That way you've got your weapons inside to protect yourself, and to protect yourself from thoughts coming in from outside. There's so much garbage in the media these days, you need the teachings of the Buddha to remind you that what's really important in life is looking after your own mind. The media says that the important things in life are what other people are doing someplace else, their only concern for you is for you to buy their goods. But the Buddha had a lot more concern for you than that. His concern was, “Why are you making yourself suffer? Here's a way to think, here's a way to train your mind so it doesn't have to suffer.”

Even though we're born into a world of aging, illness and death, the mind doesn't need to suffer. That's something you always want to keep in mind, that's your protection.
From: Weaponize Good Thoughts by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:45 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Some people often complain that the precepts are too narrow. For instance, there is a precept against killing, but no precept against eating meat. People say, “Well, if you’re eating meat, then you’re encouraging other people to kill the animals.” But the precepts focus on the area where you are absolutely in control, where you are in charge. And that means that they focus specifically on what you do and what you tell other people to do. You can control that.

Beyond that, you cannot control. All too often, when we focus on things that are beyond our control, we forget to look at what we can control. So the precepts are there to focus on what you can control. If you decide that you don’t want to eat meat, that’s perfectly fine, but the precepts start with what you are doing and what you are telling other people to do. That’s what you are responsible for. And again, that is focusing yourself back on the way your life is shaped by your intentions and your desires. You have to be responsible for those.
From: The Wisdom of Goodness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:55 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Buddha never said that life is suffering. He said there is suffering in life. That was his first noble truth. And he identified what that suffering is, but he went on to say that there is a cause for suffering that you can abandon, and there is a path to the end of suffering that you can develop, so that you can reach the end of suffering, all of which can be found in life.

So life isn’t just suffering. It’s important to underline that point, because so many people misunderstand the Buddha’s attitude toward happiness and suffering. Just this last weekend, I heard someone saying that the Buddha’s basic teachings are that all things are inconstant and all things are suffering. That’s not the case, either. As the Buddha once said, if there were no pleasure in the five aggregates, we wouldn’t be attached to them. They do offer pleasure. And we need to understand the different kinds of pleasure they offer, so we can use that pleasure as a means to the highest happiness or the highest pleasure: nibbana.
From: A Connoisseur of Happiness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:43 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Other ajaans talk about getting angry at their defilements, and that’s perfectly fine. As you get more skilled, you begin to see where the anger is unnecessary and then you can drop it. But don’t get waylaid by the type of thinking that criticizes you for being awfully passionate about your practice, or awfully attached to concentration, or awfully negative about a person you don’t want to associate with. Well, if you realize that associating with that kind of person is going to take you off the path, you’ve got to be careful. Heedfulness requires that you learn to be wary.

We’re often taught that the Dhamma’s all about trusting. And it’s true that you have to learn how to trust the Buddha and trust your desire for true happiness. But there are things you have to be wary of, both inside and out. I mean, that’s what heedfulness means. So we’re not being unkind when we decide that certain relationships have to be put on hold. And we haven’t wandered too far off the path if we decide that we really are sick and tired of having our sensual desires take us over, and we want something better than that. That’s how you motivate yourself.

So there are times when you use unskillful qualities to get rid of other unskillful qualities. Then, gradually, things will get more and more refined — especially as the path picks up momentum. The concentration itself becomes your motivation. The mindfulness becomes your motivation. Your insight becomes your motivation. All this is achieved by success through approximation.

So as Ajaan Lee points out in his talk on the various demons of defilement, some of them have their uses. You’re a fighter as you meditate, and some of the most intelligent fighters are the ones who not only beat the enemy, but can also actually convert the enemy to their side.

You do have to be wary about these things. But as long as you’re alert, you’re heading in the right direction.
From: Success by Approximation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:12 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:You sometimes hear that everyone deserves your compassion because they all have Buddha-nature. But this ignores the primary reason for developing compassion as a brahmavihāra in the first place: You need to make your compassion universal so that you can trust your intentions. If you regard your compassion as so precious that only Buddhas deserve it, you won’t be able to trust yourself when encountering people whose actions are consistently evil.
From: Head & Heart Together: Bringing Wisdom to the Brahmavihāras by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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