The Quotable Thanissaro

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
dhammapal
Posts: 1820
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:16 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:When the Buddha talks about killing anger, he doesn’t say you should feel guilty about having anger. The Buddha doesn’t lay guilt trips on anybody. He simply reminds you that it’s not in your best interest to let the anger take over. In his words, if you can gain victory over your anger, it’s worth a lot more than victory over other people. One of the problems that can come up when we hold our anger in check is that we feel we’ve lost out to the other side. If we hold the anger in check unskillfully, it can lead to depression. So we’ve got to learn to think more strategically around the anger.

The wise strategy goes in two directions. One is looking at your assumptions. Which of your assumptions have been violated? When you can identify it, then you have to ask yourself, in all fairness, is it a good assumption? Sometimes it is; sometimes it isn’t. If you can begin to see that the assumption was unrealistic, you’ve got to turn around and deal with it. Ask yourself where it came from, why you’re holding onto it when it obviously causes a lot of problems. But if the assumption seems clear and aboveboard, then the next question is how do you skillfully apply that assumption, given that the situation you’re presented with doesn’t meet the standards set by your assumption? Is right now the time to speak, or do you want to wait a little while later? Is right now the time to act, or do you want to wait until later? And what would be the most skillful thing to say or do?

This is where it’s good to live around people who’ve learned to bring their anger under some control, who can deal with difficult situations, can deal with injustices, can deal with all the problems that really need to be dealt with in the world, in an effective way, without letting the anger take over. You can see from their example how it’s done. If you can’t live around people like that, try to read up on how the Buddha dealt with difficult people. Read up on other cases of how to deal with difficult people. Just because you’re getting some control over your anger doesn’t mean that you have to be a doormat, but it is important that you’re very clear that winning a victory over yourself is more important than winning a victory over others.

In this case, you’re winning a victory over your anger. You’re not losing out when you’re not showing or expressing your anger. You can think of it as a strategic move. The less you show your anger, the fewer people will know where your buttons are. They won’t be able to press them so easily. There are a lot of ways in which life is like a poker game. You don’t want to show your hand. You keep it close to your chest, and you want to keep a poker face so that no one else can read you.

So it’s not just out of general niceness that you want to control your anger. There are times when you’ve got to think strategically, and you can’t let your anger show — because it is a kind of weakness."
From: Reclaim Your Breath by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
Posts: 1820
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:15 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:We live in the world where there’s so much impermanence and we find somebody that we really like, that we love, that we get attached to, and there’s a lot of clinging there. The affection is not what the Buddha criticizes. He criticizes the clinging, because the clinging is where the suffering is. Clinging basically means that we’re feeding off of them. A large part of our happiness depends on them. In that way they become part of us, so when there’s a loss, we feel that a good part of us has been lost as well.

Think of all the unskillful things we do out of the concern to maintain a relationship, fear that we’re going to lose someone who’s dear to us. There are cases where people will kill and steal and lie and do all kinds of unskillful things in order to maintain a relationship. And then the relationship just gets pulled out of their hands — either one side dies or else the affection dies — but then they’re still left with the kamma. Kamma lasts a lot longer than affection: It can go from one life to many, many lifetimes down the line.
From: The Buddha's Relationship Advice by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
Posts: 1820
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Tue Sep 24, 2019 12:12 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:I was talking recently with someone who was reflecting on the whole problem of connecting compassion and wisdom. Often it seems as if they are two very different strains. In Buddhism you have the compassion strain where you have a big tender heart for all beings. And then there is the wisdom strain that tells you that there’s no self or that beings have no self-nature, that there’s nothing of any essence there — and the two teachings seem to have nothing to do with each other.

But if you look at the wisdom that the Buddha actually taught, you can see that it’s not about metaphysical issues; and the compassion is not just having a big tender heart. It means taking your compassion seriously enough that you want to understand what really works to help to put an end to suffering.

So you can’t just go on good intentions alone, or on a nice fuzzy warm feeling about people. You have to be responsible to see what works and what doesn’t work in putting an end to the causes of suffering: When is it better to be quiet; when is it better to be more proactive? The four noble truths provide the framework for that, looking to see — when there’s suffering — what’s causing the suffering and then attacking the problem right at the cause.

When wisdom is expressed in this way, you can see the obvious connection between wisdom and compassion. The two have to go together. After all, goodwill is what underlies the teachings on the four noble truths. If there weren’t the desire for happiness, why would suffering and its end be the central issue of the teaching? The motivation for teaching the four noble truths had to be based on goodwill. The wisdom here is actually training your goodwill, training your compassion, both for yourself and for other people, so that your choice of when to be passive and when to be proactive really is conducive to happiness, really is conducive to the end of suffering."
From: Bare Attention by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
Posts: 1820
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:40 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:[The Buddha] simply taught basic principles for people who want to wise up: The first principle is to realize that your actions are important, that they make a difference, that they come from your ideas and intentions, and that they can be changed for the better. Second, focus on what really is your responsibility, and let go of things that are not. Third, train your mind to develop better and better answers to the question that focuses on what you're really responsible for: what you can do that will lead to your long-term welfare and happiness. Then take advantage of the tools the Buddha offers so that it's easier to give up the things that you like doing that are harmful, and to get yourself to do the things that are difficult but will lead to the long-term happiness you want.
From: Wisdom for Dummies by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
Posts: 1820
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:05 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Goodwill [mettā] is something you can make universal. In fact, you have to make it universal if you want to get the most benefit out of it. But this doesn’t mean you’re going to go around protecting everybody. That’s a huge misunderstanding that comes from the passage in the Karaṇīya Mettā Sutta about developing an unlimited mind of unlimited goodwill for the world in the same way you a mother would protect her only child. This doesn’t mean that you try to protect the entire world as a mother would protect her child. There’s no way you can do that. It’s humanly impossible. What the Buddha’s saying is you protect your goodwill as a mother would protect her child. In other words, no matter how badly people behave, you need to have goodwill for them.
From: Your Goodness Is Your Protection by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
Posts: 1820
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:42 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:This is another point that’s often missed: Meditation is a skill. It’s not a process of simply being open to whatever comes. It means noticing that your actions really do have an impact on shaping your present experience, and you can learn from watching your actions, watching their results, learning to refine how you approach the present moment, so that there’s less and less ignorance in what you are doing. That way the meditation leads to the happiness, to the well-being you really want.
From: A Meditator's Vocabulary by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
Posts: 1820
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:36 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The ajaans, following the Buddha, are quite frank about the fact that you want to acquire good qualities and that they are really valuable, really worth aspiring to. Ajaan Lee has a nice way of putting it. He says when you let go, you want to let go like a wealthy person and not like a pauper. The pauper doesn’t have a Mercedes and he brags, “I’ll just let go of any desire to have a Mercedes.” That’s nothing compared to a wealthy person who has worked to get the Mercedes and is willing to let it go. Because there’s a real Mercedes there, other people can benefit from it. In other words, the good qualities you develop in the mind are not only for your own good. If you go down the list of noble treasures, you’ll see that they spread their benefits around.
From: The Gift of Spiritual Materialism by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
Posts: 1820
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Sat Nov 16, 2019 10:21 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:When an intention comes up to do or say or think something, you want to know what that intention is. It's a teaching that the Buddha teaches his son Rahula, to look at his actions and look especially at his intentions before he does or says or thinks anything. Now I've heard a lot of people say, “Gee, that's an awful lot of attention to something like that,” and they have so many other things they have to pay attention to. Well, it turns out that the other things you're paying attention to are the results many times of your own past actions. It's much better to start at the very beginning to make sure that the new intentions coming out are well-formed.
From: Straightened Intentions by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
Posts: 1820
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Mon Nov 25, 2019 5:31 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:One of the first stumbling blocks in understanding Buddhism is the teaching on anattā, often translated as no-self. This teaching is a stumbling block for two reasons. First, the idea of there being no self doesn’t fit well with other Buddhist teachings, such as the doctrine of karma and rebirth: If there’s no self, what experiences the results of karma and takes rebirth? Second, it seems to negate the whole reason for the Buddha’s teachings to begin with: If there’s no self to benefit from the practice, then why bother?

Many books try to answer these questions, but if you look at the Pali Canon [SN44:10] you won’t find them addressed at all. In fact, the one place where the Buddha was asked point-blank whether or not there was a self, he refused to answer. When later asked why, he said that to answer either yes, there is a self, or no, there isn’t, would be to fall into extreme forms of wrong view that make the path of Buddhist practice impossible. So the question should be put aside.
From: No-self or Not-self by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
Posts: 1820
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal » Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:43 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Mindfulness is what keeps the practice in mind and allows you to remember what you did so you can understand the connection between what you did and the results you're getting. Alertness is what allows you to see what you're doing right now. When you develop the resolve to act only on skillful intentions, and the proper understanding of how your actions shape your life, those are the conditions that feed mindfulness, that allow mindfulness and alertness to grow strong.

So it's not the case that people can just walk in off the street, sit down, and develop mindfulness. It takes the ability to look at your life and make some decisions about how you're going to live, and how you understand the best way of living. That's when mindfulness has a chance.
From: How to Feed Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: anthbrown84, binocular, Majestic-12 [Bot] and 256 guests