The Quotable Thanissaro

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

Post by dhammapal » Fri Apr 25, 2014 4:55 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The first step in that solution is symbolized in the Siddhartha story by the prince's reaction to the fourth person he saw on his travels outside of the palace: the wandering forest contemplative. The emotion he felt at this point is termed pasada, another complex set of feelings usually translated as "clarity and serene confidence." It's what keeps samvega from turning into despair. In the prince's case, he gained a clear sense of his predicament and of the way out of it, leading to something beyond aging, illness, and death, at the same time feeling confident that the way would work.
From: Affirming the Truths of the Heart: The Buddhist Teachings on Samvega & Pasada by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:37 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:If none of these approaches to the breath work, switch the topic of your focus to a theme that you find pleasurable and inspiring, such as goodwill, generosity (thinking of the times you were generous of your own free will), gratitude (thinking of people who went out of their way to help you), or virtue (thinking of cases where you or someone you admire behaved in ways you find noble and inspiring). Allow yourself to think about that theme for a while without paying attention to the breath. When the mind feels refreshed, try to notice how you’re breathing while you’re with that theme. The breath will have found a comfortable rhythm on its own. That will give you some ideas about how to breathe comfortably.
From: With Each & Every Breath: A Guide to Meditation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:16 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:There are interests out there that would actually lose if there were peace, if there were no suffering. And they fight back. The more you try to cause a revolution in the world outside, the more these powers fight back at you, try to divert your attention from the real issue. If they can’t do that, then it’s out-and-out battle.

So you need allies. It’s the same in the mind. If you are going to create a revolution in the mind where the mind can actually function without causing any harm to itself or other people, you need allies in the fight. This is why we meditate. This is why we develop right concentration. This is our main ally. In the comparison they have of the different qualities on the path, concentration is your food. It’s what gives your nourishment.
From: The Balance of Power by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:41 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Thus the scholastic attempt to identify such terms as the aggregates as dealing in ultimate realities — while other, more personal terms, deal only in conventional truths — is clearly misguided. All language, in the face of the experience of unbinding, is a matter of convention... The second reason for regarding the scholastic approach as misguided can be seen in all the evidence we have cited that the Buddha was not trying to build a systematic description of reality — or ultimate realities — as a whole. Thus to try to create one out of the raw materials of his words is a misapplication of his teaching — a form of inappropriate attention that distracts from the actual practice of his teachings, and one he would not condone.
From: Skill in Questions: How the Buddha Taught by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Thu May 01, 2014 6:49 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:...you can use the sensitivity you've developed in the meditation — along with the understanding of the Dhamma you've developed by reading and listening, gaining a perspective on the whole issue of suffering and the end of suffering — and apply them directly to your own, immediate sufferings. The Buddha wasn't talking about suffering in the abstract; he was talking about the sufferings lodged right here in each person's heart, right here in your heart, right now. And the tools he offered are meant to come here into the heart, to the particular sufferings in the heart, where they can make all the difference.
From: Close to the Heart by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Fri May 02, 2014 11:47 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:So basically you’re in charge of your world. You’re not a monad totally independent from influences from outside, but the choices you make are the ones that shape your life. If you make wise choices, generous choices, you protect yourself and you protect other people. On the surface it may sound selfish. Here you are trying to make sure your little world is okay, but the only way you can make sure your little world is okay is to act in a way that you’re not harming anybody else.... And not just harmless in the sense that you’re not going to hurt other people, but also that you’re going to positively do good by practicing generosity as an important part of the path. This is how the Buddha’s message is empowering. You can create a happy life by acting in ways that are noble and good.
From: In Charge of Your World by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Wed May 07, 2014 10:04 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:So as we practice, there are skillful attachments, there is skillful clinging. You’re trying to hold to right view, because that’s the kind of view that helps cut through all the things that focus our attention away from what we’re doing and from the results of what we’re doing. We hold to the precepts, we hold to the practice of concentration, because the precepts make life a lot easier, and concentration — when you can get the mind really, really still, with a sense of well-being and ease — really helps in seeing what’s going on in the mind. The well-being and ease are important, because they put you in the right mood for noticing what you doing that’s not skillful, and admitting it frankly with a good sense of humor, so that you can let those unskillful actions go in a good-natured way. Meanwhile, you hold on to the idea you are capable of doing this. You’re responsible for the choices you’re making. That’s the raft.
From: The Riddle of "I Am" by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Thu May 08, 2014 5:24 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:This is one of the reasons why we do walking meditation: to learn how to maintain that sense of balance and stillness even though the body is moving. And then from there you can add other activities on top of that. But always think of this as your foundation. It’s not just one more ball to keep in the air as you’re juggling all kinds of things. It’s the spot where you’re standing as you juggle. In other words, it’s an essential foundation for everything else you want to do.
From: A Gift of Stillness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Thu May 08, 2014 11:26 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Some people think they can short circuit the process of attachment to the body by going straight to their sense of self, thinking that by cutting out the sense of self they won't have to work on contemplation of the body because the work they're doing goes deeper, straight to the root. But attachment is like a vine: You can't find the root until you take hold of the nearest branch and trace it back. You can't really get to the root of your attachment to self until you've looked at where your most blatant day-to-day, moment-to-moment attachment is: right here at the body. The least little thing happens to your body and you can't stand it. A little bit of hunger, a little bit of thirst, too much heat, too much cold sets you running off. A little bit of illness and you go running for medicine. If that's not attachment, what is?...

We're not bad-mouthing the body, we're just looking at it for what it is. Ultimately we want to learn how to use it simply as a tool without attachment, but to counteract the attachment you've got to go very far in the other direction to counteract all the hype, all the slick advertising slogans you've used to sell yourself on the body: about how important it is, how essential it is, all the good things that come from looking after it very carefully, doing all the yoga, giving it exercise, eating all the right foods. You can do those things and yet still it's going to age, grow ill, and die.... Then the desire for an ideal body,... You see how deluded and futile it is. This is not to encourage you not to take care of the body, but simply to watch out for any delusion that gets built up around it, so that when aging, illness, and death come you're more prepared.
From: Contemplation of the Body by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Fri May 09, 2014 5:48 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:If, in your pursuit of the Buddhist path, your self-respect outweighs your respect for the truth of causality or the insights of others, you'll find it hard to take criticism or to laugh at your own foolishness. This will make it impossible for you to learn. If, on the other hand, your respect for your teachers outweighs your self-respect or your respect for the truth, you can open yourself to charlatans and close yourself to the truth that the canon says 'is to be seen by the wise for themselves.'
From: Opening the Door to the Dhamma: Respect in Buddhist Thought & Practice by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Fri May 09, 2014 6:09 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:So reflection on bodies inside and out is meant to be an equalizer and to give you a sense of samvega. Not to say that the body is bad — just that it’s not the sort of thing you want if you’re looking for something beautiful.
From: Bodies & Minds Outside by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Sat May 10, 2014 10:24 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:We may want to come here just to tune out and relax for a bit. But for meditation to be genuinely relaxing with a sense of clarity, wellbeing, and strength requires work. It’s like visiting the gym. If you want to come away feeling strong, you have to be willing to exercise. Here, the work or exercise is directed thought and evaluation around the breath. Establish a beachhead in the body, an area of the body where you feel at ease and confident. Then learn how to expand from there, listening to the needs of the body.
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writ ... 140119.pdf
From: Concentration Work by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Sun May 11, 2014 5:36 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:It's the steady progress that makes all the difference, that turns out to be the winner in the end. So sacrifice whatever attitudes get in the way of looking at the issues staring you right in the face, because those are the genuine article. They're right here. They're not abstractions. We can sit around and think about Dhamma abstractions from dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn, but the problems in the mind aren't composed of abstractions. They're not composed of memories. They're composed of movements in the mind right now. Look at what the mind is doing, how it moves. Can you change the way it moves?
From: The Stairway Up by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Sun May 11, 2014 10:44 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:We may want to come here just to tune out and relax for a bit. But for meditation to be genuinely relaxing with a sense of clarity, wellbeing, and strength requires work. It’s like visiting the gym. If you want to come away feeling strong, you have to be willing to exercise. Here, the work or exercise is directed thought and evaluation around the breath. Establish a beachhead in the body, an area of the body where you feel at ease and confident. Then learn how to expand from there, listening to the needs of the body.
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writ ... 140119.pdf
From: Concentration Work by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Tue May 13, 2014 9:20 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:This is why simply stating, "I don't know," is not an adequate response to the questions of rebirth and the efficacy of karma.... It's like having money: Regardless of what you do with it — spending it, investing it, or just stashing it away — you're making an implicit wager on how to get the best use of it now and into the future. Your investment strategy can't stop with, "I don't know." If you have any wisdom at all, you have to consider future possibilities and take your chances with what seems to be the safest and most productive use of the resources you've got.
From: The Truth of Rebirth: And Why it Matters for Buddhist Practice by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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