The Quotable Thanissaro

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:16 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Laziness is a big one.
People often say:
'What's a good easy technique for overcoming laziness?'
And that's the problem right there.
http://www.dhammatalks.org/mp3_index.html
From: Above & Beyond Suffering by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:34 am

When the Buddha told his disciples to go meditate, he never said, “Go do samatha,” or, “Go do vipassanā.” He always said, “Go do jhāna;” get the mind in Right Concentration. In doing jhāna you develop samatha and vipassanā as qualities of mind. They’re not meditation techniques. They’re aspects of the practice of jhāna: qualities you need bring to the practice and qualities that get developed as you do more jhāna. It’s important to keep this point in mind, particularly as you’re focusing on the breath. The way the Buddha taught breath mediation was designed specifically to develop both samatha and vipassanā, a sense of calm and insight at the same time....

The first thing you want to look at is how the breath has an impact on the body. When you breathe in, where do you feel it, especially when you try to make yourself aware of the whole body? It’s not just at the nose. In face, it’s sometimes better not to call this “breath meditation” but breathing meditation. And you may want to stir it up a little bit; breath in a way that gives you a sense of fullness, so you get really sensitive to how the process feels and the impact it has on the body. And then the Buddha says, “Calm it.” Make it more refined. So you see this as a process and you begin to realize there is an intentional element in how you breath. Sometimes you’re told, “Don’t direct the breath, just let it come in and out on its own.” Well, the breathe is not going to come in and out on its own. The intention is either conscious or subconscious. So in order to understand it you try to make it as conscious as possible. And the best way to do that is to try to make it as comfortable as possible. Otherwise the intentional element takes over and it’s not really listening to what the body needs, and it gets uncomfortable; becomes disagreeable. But in order to understand what the body needs you try to listen to it. What feels best? How about deeper? How about more shallow? How about faster? Slower? There’s plenty to experiment with. This is how you understand fabrication; it’s through experimentation. Then you begin to notice the kinds of feelings the breath gives rise to, and you get more sensitive your perception of the breath, especially when you change it from a perception of air coming in and out of the nose to a perception of energy suffusing the body....

Ultimately you want to get to the point where the mind is so strong it doesn’t need to feed anymore. You find a happiness doesn’t require feeding. That’s where we’re headed. But before you get there you need to learn how to feed yourself well, and then learn how to watch yourself. This is why exercising your powers of judgment is absolutely necessary to the practice. All too often you hear, “You don’t want be judging; just accept whatever comes, whatever goes.” Well, you accept these things only to the extent of trying to understand them, and then you pass judgment on them. Are these things really skillful or not? If they’re not skillful, what can you do that’s more skillful. This is where discernment comes in. This is why evaluation is such an important part of that first jhāna....


Do Jhāna, October 2nd, 2012
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:24 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Some people say that our suffering is such a small selfish issue to be dealing with. Why can't we be dealing with larger issues like compassion, the world as a whole, the interconnectedness of everybody? Why? Because those issues tend to be vague and abstract. They really don't get to the main issue in life: why it is that the mind creates suffering for itself. That's the big issue. If, through our compassion, we could save other beings, then that would be a useful topic to focus on. But the problem is that each of us suffers because of our own lack of skill in dealing with pain. If we'd be willing to learn from the pain, then each of us could take care of our problems and there wouldn't be issues in life at all.
From: The Humble Way to Awakening by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:43 am

We're not here to focus on the factors of jhāna. We're here to focus on the breath. The factors of jhāna will take care of themselves.
9.18.12, "Thinking As Medicine" [12:53-ish to 13:07-ish]
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:23 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:It's hard to imagine what you could accomplish by saying that life is suffering. You'd have to spend your time arguing with people who see more than just suffering in life.

The Buddha himself says as much in one of his discourses. A brahman named Long-nails (Dighanakha) comes to him and announces that he doesn't approve of anything. This would have been a perfect time for the Buddha, if he had wanted, to chime in with the truth that life is suffering. Instead, he attacks the whole notion of taking a stand on whether life is worthy of approval. There are three possible answers to this question, he says: (1) nothing is worthy of approval, (2) everything is, and (3) some things are and some things aren't. If you take any of these three positions, you end up arguing with the people who take either of the other two positions. And where does that get you?
From: Life Isn't Just Suffering by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Kusala » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:40 pm

"...Buddhism does not have a will. It does not adapt; people adapt Buddhism to their various ends. And because the adapters are not always wise, there‟s no guarantee that the adaptations are skillful. Just because other people have made changes in the Dhamma doesn‟t automatically justify the changes we want to make..." - Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:54 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:People sometimes complain that the Buddha focuses an awful lot on suffering. That's because he has a cure. If you had a cure for suffering, wouldn't you want to talk about it too?

The people who are afraid to talk about suffering: they're the ones who don't have a cure. They always try to cover things up, pretend it's not really that bad a situation: "This is the ordinary life that everybody lives, this is as good as it gets - so you might as well enjoy it, make the best of it." That's desperation.

The Buddha wasn't desperate. He was coming from a position of total freedom. He said "Look, if you really sit down and with the proper tools and the proper approach try to discern suffering, get to the point where you really comprehend it, and let go, you've solved all your problems in life."

So, who's pessimistic and who's optimistic? We might say that the Buddha's realistic, but realistic in a way that sees through all the problems the mind creates for itself. Once the mind isn't creating anymore problems for itself, you're free to go wherever you like.
From: The Bright Tunnel by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:30 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:...unlike psychotherapy —
which tries to trace your thoughts back to their origins,
where they're coming from in time —
the Buddha focuses on where they're going, where they lead.
Do they lead you where you want to go?
And he gives some recommendations
on ways of thinking that really help you go in the right direction.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Present-Moment/message/30
From: Resistance by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Kusala » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:48 am

"...But one of the central features of the Buddha’s strategy as a teacher was that even though his primary focus was on the mind, he nowhere stated any assumptions about what the mind is. As he said, if you define yourself, you limit yourself. So instead he focused his assumptions on what the mind can do.

To begin with, the mind can change quickly. Normally a master of the apt simile, even the Buddha had to admit that he could find no adequate analogy for how quickly the mind can change. We might say that it can change in the twinkling of an eye, but it’s actually faster than that.

And it’s capable of all sorts of things. Neither inherently good nor inherently bad, it can do a huge variety of good and bad actions. As the Buddha said, the mind is more variegated than the animal kingdom. Think of the many species of fish in the sea, birds in the sky, animals on the land and under the ground, whether extant or extinct: All of these species are products of minds, and the mind can take on a wider variety of forms than even that..."


- Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Kusala » Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:30 am

"The Buddha's Awakening challenged many of the presuppositions of Indian culture in his day; and even in so-called Buddhist countries, the true practice of the Buddha's teachings is always counter-cultural. It's a question of evaluating our normal concerns — conditioned by time, space, and the limitations of aging, illness, and death — against the possibility of a timeless, spaceless, limitless happiness.

All cultures are tied up in the limited, conditioned side of things, while the Buddha's Awakening points beyond all cultures. It offers the challenge of the Deathless that his contemporaries found liberating and that we, if we are willing to accept the challenge, may find liberating ourselves."
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby gavesako » Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:40 pm

"We are learning to give up restrictions, learning to get out of those chains that we've become so used to, that we become distrustful of the idea that anybody could be happy outside those chains. But this freedom is just what the Buddha is talking about, all of his teachings have the taste of release just as the ocean has the taste of salt. So we need to take the Buddha at his word, in spite of our unwillingness and fear of what it might be to give things up, to show restraint. As they say: When the saints are crying, we'd rather be laughing with the sinners who are laughing. But the sinners aren't laughing all that long, and the saints don't cry ... because they are totally free. So allow the space in your imagination for that possibility that the Buddha was right, that in renunciation there is freedom, that all these practices really have the taste of freedom."

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Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:35 pm

dhammapal wrote:
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:...unlike psychotherapy —
which tries to trace your thoughts back to their origins,
where they're coming from in time —
the Buddha focuses on where they're going, where they lead.
Do they lead you where you want to go?
And he gives some recommendations
on ways of thinking that really help you go in the right direction.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Present-Moment/message/30
From: Resistance by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

With metta / dhammapal.

only some forms of psychotherapy...CBT, RET, DBT also focus on where thoughts lead, but more importantly, and like the Buddha, where they lead to...Rev. Thanissaro probably meant to say psychoanalysis
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:43 pm

Kusala wrote:As he [the Buddha as paraphrased by Rev. Thanissaro] said, if you define yourself, you limit yourself.
One of my favorite Thanissaro sayings. The Buddha didn't actually say that, though, right? Which sources do you suppose the Reverend is pharaphrasing?
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:47 pm

:goodpost:
gavesako wrote:"We are learning to give up restrictions, learning to get out of those chains that we've become so used to, that we become distrustful of the idea that anybody could be happy outside those chains. But this freedom is just what the Buddha is talking about, all of his teachings have the taste of release just as the ocean has the taste of salt. So we need to take the Buddha at his word, in spite of our unwillingness and fear of what it might be to give things up, to show restraint. As they say: When the saints are crying, we'd rather be laughing with the sinners who are laughing. But the sinners aren't laughing all that long, and the saints don't cry ... because they are totally free. So allow the space in your imagination for that possibility that the Buddha was right, that in renunciation there is freedom, that all these practices really have the taste of freedom."

http://soundcloud.com/ambientdharma/sai ... -love-song
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Kusala » Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:26 am

"The Buddha never asks anyone to adopt a world-negating — or world-affirming, for that matter — frame of mind. Instead, he asks for a "world-exploring" attitude, in which you use the inner world of full-body breathing as a laboratory for exploring the harmless and clear-minded pleasures the world as a whole can provide. You learn skills to calm the body, to develop feelings of refreshment, fullness, and ease. You learn how to calm the mind, to steady it, gladden it, and release it from its burdens." - Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:10 am

Reverend Thanissaro wrote:And the word is goodwill. There’s another word in Pāli, pema, which means “love.” But the Buddha’s not talking about universal love, it’s universal goodwill; because love, as the pointed out is--unreliable. There are bound to be people you love and people you don’t love, and he often talks about how sometimes hatred can be based on love. In other words, when someone does something really bad to people you love, then it’s hard to love that person. Goodwill, however, is more of an attitude; less of an emotion and more of an attitude.

-Profound Goodwill: October 21, 2012 (2:11 to 2:31/-10:55 to -10:25)
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:13 am

Reverend Thanissaro wrote:If you think about people at work who’ve been unfair to you, and you’re all worked up about that, well, try to remind yourself this is the human condition. The Buddha gives lots of ways of counteracting ill-will. The Buddha said this is normal in the human realm; if you want to live in a place where everyone is fair you’re in the wrong place. And you’re not the only one that’s been the victim of unfair treatment. So you decide not to get worked up about it. Not that you become a doormat for other beings, but for the time being, at least, let those thoughts ]go..

-Right Resolve, Right Concentration: September 1, 2012 (6:14 to 7:04/-6:30 to -5:48).
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:24 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:And equanimity, too, is something you have to will — the ability to stay unperturbed with the things you like and the things you don't like; not getting excited when things go well, not getting depressed when they don't. In other words, you train yourself to have a certain amount of independence. Discernment is needed to perfect and understand this quality, and the equanimity helps foster the discernment, allowing you to see things more clearly, as well. The two qualities go hand-in-hand.

There are times in the meditation where you do simply have to sit and watch. Some of your defilements really will go away just when you watch them — but not all of them. One of the points of developing equanimity is so you begin to see where the difference lies.

So the Buddha is not recommending a blanket passivity here. He's telling you to develop equanimity when it's appropriate. You develop equanimity when you need to see things that you don't yet understand. When you understand, sometimes equanimity is still appropriate, and sometimes you need to do something more forceful to deal with the problem at hand.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... alks_3.pdf
From: The Will to Awaken by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Kusala » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:40 am

"Buddhism doesn’t teach heartlessness. It starts out with goodwill. Look at the path: It’s a way of working for your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around you, a way of putting an end to suffering. That’s goodwill put into action in spades. The teaching on equanimity is meant to make sure that your goodwill doesn’t run off the road, doesn’t burn out, doesn’t waste time getting lost in unskillful byways." - Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Kusala » Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:30 am

"You all know the old image of the Buddha as a doctor and the Dhamma as
medicine. When you come to practice the Dhamma, it’s as if you’re learning to be
your own doctor, looking after the illnesses of your own mind. Everyone comes up
here wounded in one way or another, suffering either from things outside or from
things inside.

At the time of the Buddha people were suffering from greed, anger,
and delusion just as we are. With modern culture, modern society, it seems as if
we have more diseases of the mind, more complex ways of getting involved in
creating delusion, but they all basically come down to the same three roots."
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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