The Quotable Thanissaro

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

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Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The fifth precept we chanted just now is against taking intoxicants. You might say with the other precepts other people are being harmed but when you take some intoxicant it's just your own business, no one else is being harmed. But that's not the case. You're crippling your mind and you're adding more intoxication onto the intoxication that's already there. That makes you more heedless, and again, that means you're going to do less to develop skillful qualities of the mind. And when that happens, everybody suffers. You suffer and the people around you suffer.
From: Ardent about Your State of Mind by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

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Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The part of the mind that keeps shaping experience is something that lies very deep. And it’s something we’re often not paying attention to. We’re more interested in the effects outside — so interested in things outside that we lose touch with where they come from. The part of the mind that shapes things is responsible for things we’re doing right now, and in the past, of course, it was responsible for things we were doing then. And what we’re experiencing right now on another level is the combination of all the results of all those choices, all those ideas, all those intentions. This is why when you go deep in your meditation, it’s not so much a matter of hiding out or curling up. You’re going in to find out what is it inside the mind that keeps pushing you to shape this, shape that, fabricate this, fabricate that.
From: Turn Off the Automatic Pilot by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

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Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:We have a tendency here in the West to divorce the [meditation] technique from the background — the assumption being that you give the technique to anybody and they’re going to all come to the same realizations. But experience hasn’t borne this out. If you come with different expectations, different assumptions, you’re going to end up with different results. This is where the other parts of the training come in....
From: Technique & Attitude by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

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Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Buddha did teach a skill. He approached happiness as a skill. And it’s a choice: You can choose to be happy.

Some people don’t like to hear that, because it makes it sound like the people who are unhappy are at fault. But the Buddha’s not trying to assign blame to anybody. He’s simply pointing out a possibility: that you can choose to develop the skills that will lead to happiness, because the causes for your suffering lie inside.

Now, he’s not saying that you simply have to accept things the way they are, that the problem is with you while the world is fine. He doesn’t say that. The world has lots of problems, there’s a lot of suffering out there, there’s a lot of cruel and unjust behavior out there. But he says you can train the mind so that it doesn’t have to suffer from those things.

And even more directly, the fact that your body ages, grows ill, and dies: You can learn how not to suffer from that, either. But here again, it’s not simply a matter of accepting. To one extent you do accept these things, but to another extent you can say, “The things that my mind does around that to make me suffer, I can’t accept those. I’ve got to change those.” That’s what we’re doing as we practice meditation: We’re changing our minds.
From: Happiness is a Skill by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

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Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Walking meditation gets you used to maintaining your center in other activities as well, so that even when you’re engaged in complex activities, even when you’re thinking about things, you can still have a sense of inhabiting the body, being centered within the breath. You may have so many other things going on that you can’t keep track of when the breath is coming in or going out, but you should be able to maintain a sensitivity to the energy tone in the body — where it’s relaxed, where it’s tight, what you can do to keep it relaxed and comfortable in all situations. You’re inhabiting the body. You’re not going off entirely into some other thought world. This keeps you grounded.
From: Walking Meditation: Stillness in Motion by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

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Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:You have to ask yourself: Are those boxes — TVs, radios, computers — your friends or not? When you hang around with them, what kind of friends are you hanging around with? What kinds of ideas, what kinds of values are you picking up from them? Because it’s not just the flesh and blood people you associate with who create your mental environment. You also associate with the people who wrote the books you read, who produced all the shows you see, who made the video games you play. The question you always have to ask is: “Why is there somebody out there who wants me to believe this? And exactly what are they asking me to believe? What assumptions am I accepting when I accept their ideas or even start thinking in-line with them?”"
From: In the Land of Wrong View by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

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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 influences spread around. If you act in a noble way even in the midst of danger and destruction, that’s a good example to other people. Other people want to join in.
From: In Charge of Your World by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

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Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:When you look at the Buddha’s similes for people who practice, or at the similes given by the great ajaans, you never find the image of someone relaxing his or her way to awakening, or just sitting back and saying, “I’ll be okay the way I am right where I am.” The similes all have to do with people who are searching, people developing skills, warriors going into battle: people who have a goal and who will do everything they can to reach that goal. The people searching are searching either to get away from suffering [dukkha] or to get toward something that they can use to assuage their suffering. As the Buddha said, all our searches begin from suffering. From pain. We get mystified by pain.
From: Skills for Awakening by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

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Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:There’s a lot to be covered in training the mind. It’s not just a matter of mastering one single technique. I was once asked the question, “How does someone who’s mastered meditation overcome the problem of pride?” After all, you’ve been able to master this technique; you’re pretty sharp. Well, that happens mainly in places where everything is reduced to //a// meditation technique, in meditation centers where the people who meditate don’t have anything else to do. Everything gets channeled into that one shoot at the end of the banana tree. Things may happen fast, but there’s no shade. It’s an incomplete training.

The complete training has to go all around. It has to deal with the way you treat other people, how you handle difficult situations. Your whole life is part of the training, and in the course of the whole-life aspect of the training, you need to learn how to see how you’ve been sloppy, how you’ve been stupid, how you’ve been ignorant, how you’ve been thoughtless and careless. If you don’t see those things, you’re not going to learn anything. The experience is chastening instead of pride-inducing. When the training is complete, every aspect of the mind has been trained, so that you’re skilled at all kinds of activities, with an attitude nicely balanced between humility and pride.
From: Cleanliness is Next to Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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