The Quotable Thanissaro

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Anagarika » Sun Dec 23, 2012 4:51 am

At the moment, I can't add a particular excellent Ven. Thanissaro quote. I will offer this: I had the privilege to visit Wat Metta outside San Diego a time or two. On my first visit, I spoke with Ven. Thanissaro very briefly, as I had spent some time in Thailand, and greeted him initially in Thai. In any case, he presents as a combination of university dean, scholar/monk, and strict parent to the young monks and novices in his sangha. He's pleasant, but serious. The word "gravitas" comes to mind...this man defines gravitas. ("Gravitas was one of the Roman virtues, along with pietas, dignitas and virtus. It may be translated variously as weight, seriousness and dignity, also importance, and connotes a certain substance or depth of personality.")

Over time, as I hung out with some of the younger Bhikkhus (that's a story in an of itself...what an excellent group of young men), I felt as though Ven. Thanissaro opened up a bit, and listened in on our conversations about Dhamma, and even a discussion about Dhamma as it is discussed on this site. Again, gravitas. He's just such a compelling person to be around.

In any case, I was just one of many visitors to Wat Metta, and he was busy with other matters. People come and go to Wat Metta. A bit later in the day, after I had observed him with his serious demeanor, and his scholarly approach to discussing matters of interest, I went into the Sala to sit and do prostrations. There was Ajaan Thanissaro, sitting on the floor with some of the Thai folk from around San Diego that came to Wat Metta to help assemble a Thai calendar. Sitting with the Thai members of the community, he seemed a different man...smiling broadly, speaking in Thai, and joyfully helping assemble the calendars. I understood that this great man, this man of such scholarship, such gravitas, such merit, was happiest sitting with his beloved Thai people. I left Wat Metta that day believing him to be one of the most interesting and outstanding people I've ever met.

I also left that day with huge box of his books...a gift from Ven. Thanissaro to my farang Bhikkhu friends and their English Dhamma book library at Wat Sri Boen Ruang in Chiang Mai. Every book that he publishes, every single book, is freely given. http://www.watmetta.org
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 23, 2012 7:22 am

Nice recollections. Thanks.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Dhamma not without Economic Value just taught for no reward

Postby dhammapal » Mon Dec 24, 2012 10:37 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Buddha said at one point one of the ideal features of a Dharma teacher is not to expect material reward for the teaching. He never said that the Dharma is priceless. That's another misinformed phrase you hear a lot in dana talks. What he did say was that the teacher should not expect material reward. In other words, the teaching of Dharma should be a gift. When it's given as a gift, people receive it as a gift.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... alks_3.pdf
From: The Freedom to Give by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Kusala » Tue Dec 25, 2012 1:02 am

"Some people complain about the Buddha’s teachings on past lives and future lives, that
they’re a distraction from the present, but when he talks about past lives and
future lives he keeps coming down to the principle of kamma: that all the past,
all the future—everything—is shaped by your choices.

Okay, what choices are you responsible for right now? The ones in the present moment. He gives you
the teachings on what shapes the past and future in order to bring you back to
the present with an even greater sense of its importance."
- 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 piotr » Tue Dec 25, 2012 6:34 pm

Hi,

danieLion wrote:
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?


He's refering to Bhikkhu Sutta (SN 22.36) where the Buddha said:

    Monk, whatever one stays obsessed with, that's what one is measured by (or: limited to). Whatever one is measured by, that's how one is classified. Whatever one doesn't stay obsessed with, that's not what one is measured by. Whatever one isn't measured by, that's not how one is classified.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:13 am

piotr wrote:Hi,

danieLion wrote:
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?


He's refering to Bhikkhu Sutta (SN 22.36) where the Buddha said:

    Monk, whatever one stays obsessed with, that's what one is measured by (or: limited to). Whatever one is measured by, that's how one is classified. Whatever one doesn't stay obsessed with, that's not what one is measured by. Whatever one isn't measured by, that's not how one is classified.

Thanks piotr
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Kusala » Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:46 pm

"The practice of the Buddha’s teaching can been called the serious pursuit of
true happiness, with the emphasis on the serious and the true. Serious not in the
sense of grim but in the sense of sincere, unwilling to settle for anything less than
genuine.

True here means a happiness that doesn’t change, a happiness that
doesn’t let you down. This is why so many of the Buddha’s teachings focus on suffering,
because most of the happiness—or the things that we take for happiness
in daily life—really do end up causing suffering as they change. So many times the
happiness we gain turns into something else."
- 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 28, 2012 2:21 am

"Throughout its history, Buddhism has worked as a civilizing force. Its teachings on karma, for instance — the principle that all intentional actions have consequences — have taught morality and compassion to many societies. But on a deeper level, Buddhism has always straddled the line between civilization and wilderness. The Buddha himself gained Awakening in a forest, gave his first sermon in a forest, and passed away in a forest.

The qualities of mind he needed in order to survive physically and mentally as he went, unarmed, into the wilds, were key to his discovery of the Dhamma. They included resilience, resolve, and alertness; self-honesty and circumspection; steadfastness in the face of loneliness; courage and ingenuity in the face of external dangers; compassion and respect for the other inhabitants of the forest. These qualities formed the "home culture" of the Dhamma."
- 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 30, 2012 9:26 am

"One of Ajaan Mun’s favorite topics for a Dhamma talk was the theme of practicing the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma—in other words, in accordance with what the Dhamma demands, not in accordance with what our likes and dislikes demand.

As the Dhamma comes to the West this is probably one of the hardest things for Westerners to appreciate. Everywhere you look, the Dhamma is being remade, recast, so that people will like it. Things that people don’t like are quietly cut away; and if things that people like are missing, they’re added on. And so the creature that comes out is like the old cartoon of a committee designing a bird: The bird looks pretty good to begin with, but then after the committee’s done with it, it looks like an ostrich with no legs. It can’t walk and it can’t fly, but it sells. In this country of ours, where democracy and the marketplace are all-powerful, the question of what sells determines what’s Dhamma, even if it can’t walk or fly. And who loses out? We lose out.

The Dhamma doesn’t lose out; it’s always what it is. But we like to add a little here, take away a little there, and as a result we end up with nothing but things we already like and already dislike. The Buddha pointed out the four ways that people get led off course. Two of them are following your likes and dislikes; the other two are giving in to delusion and fear. These things pull people off the path. We go wandering into the underbrush and then off to who-knows-where simply because we like to follow what we like and to avoid what we dislike—even though the things we dislike are often the things we’ve got to really look at carefully."

- 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 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:06 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:If you want to strengthen a muscle, you need to know where it is and what it moves if you're going to understand the exercises that target it. Only then can you perform them efficiently. In the same way, you have to understand the anatomy of the mind's suffering if you want to understand how meditation is supposed to work. Read up on what the Buddha had to say on the topic, and don't settle for books that put you at the far end of a game of telephone. Go straight to the source. You'll find, for instance, that the Buddha explained how ignorance shapes the way you breathe, and how that in turn can add to your suffering. This is why most meditation regimens start with the breath, and why the Buddha's own regimen takes the breath all the way to nirvana. So read up to understand how and why.
From: Strength Training for the Mind by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Kusala » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:15 am

"A lot of our suffering and stress come from the limitations we feel in our lives.
We’ve got this body that needs constant care, and even though we care for it,
what does it do? It starts getting old, it gets ill, it finally dies, no matter how well
we care for it. And it doesn’t ask permission before it does any of these things. It
doesn’t give any warning. Then there are financial limitations, social limitations.
You look around and it seems like we’re getting hemmed in all the time.

I had a dream once in which I died, and the experience of death was like the
world just closing in, closing in, closing in, until I had no room to stay anywhere
and I had to get out. That’s the way life is: It just keeps closing in, closing in –all
these limitations coming from outside. And not just outside limitations: The
really constraining limitations are the ones in our own minds, the ones we create
for ourselves.

The good news here is that we can learn not to create them. We can learn to
take down these barriers. In fact, the whole practice is one of taking down
barriers, taking down limitations, even from the very beginning, the very basic
levels."
- 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 Jan 06, 2013 6:13 am

"As the Buddha said, the purpose of the practice is to see what you’ve never
seen before, realize what you’ve never realized before, and many of these things
you’ve never seen or realized lie outside the limits of your imagination.

In order to see them, you have to learn how to push yourself more than you might
imagine. But this has to be done with skill. That’s why the Buddha said that a
good determination involves four qualities: discernment, truth, relinquishment,
and peace."
- 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 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:01 am

"One of the first things that attracted me to the Dhamma was seeing my teacher, Ajaan Fuang, living a very simple life—a little tiny monastery out in the hills of Rayong, just a couple of huts, not that many people—but he was happy. You could feel a very strong sense of wellbeing just emanating from him. And you realized that it didn’t depend on his being wealthy, it didn’t depend on his being famous or having a lot of students or friends or anything. It was simply because he had worked on his mind. As he said, he wasn’t born that way.

Whatever sense of wellbeing he had developed in the mind came through the practice. And as you come to know the practice, come to know the Dhamma, you realize exactly how all-encompassing it is. Once these qualities are developed in the mind, they take care of all kinds of situations. Qualities of mindfulness, discernment, and concentration are basic to any skill, basic to our ability to deal with any situation. So by focusing on these few things we really do cover all of our bases. They encompass everything."
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 Jan 11, 2013 8:59 am

They say that your brainwaves can be measured even in your little toe—
which shows that the energy of your thoughts fills your whole body, fills your
whole experience. Normally we don’t realize how much energy we’re giving off,
how much energy we’re radiating, and what the quality of that energy is. Only
when you make the mind really, really quiet can you begin to sense the shadow
radiation put off by the mind. Only then can you sense how much that energy
shapes your experience, how much it affects the experience of the people around
you.

This is why the Buddha put so much emphasis on the question of intention,
because that’s where the energy shaping our lives really lies, in the intentions of
the mind. What we experience consists of the intentions themselves together
with the energy they create, the ripple effect they create—from intentions in the
present and intentions in the past—as those ripple patterns intersect and
interfere. That’s what shapes our experience. And one of the main lessons in
meditation lies in seeing how that happens.

But even before you see it happen, the Buddha’s training gets you to develop
skillful intentions, both because they have a good effect on your life, and also
because they make it easier to see what’s going on. Unskillful intentions put up a
lot of interference, make it hard to see. You do things and say things that are
really unskillful and you don’t realize what you’ve done because you’ve created
such turbulence. This is why the Buddha teaches us to practice generosity, to
observe the precepts, because the intentions that go into generosity and virtue
are skillful in and of themselves and also allow us to see more and more of
what’s going on, to gain an appreciation of how much our intentions do shape
everything.
- 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 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:11 am

Kusala wrote:...They say that your brainwaves can be measured even in your little toe—which shows that the energy of your thoughts fills your whole body, fills your whole experience....Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Where the mind goes, the Qi flows.
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby bazzaman » Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:07 am

Apologies for butting in here... I will post in a new thread if moderators so advise... but, since this is where the Thaan Geoff boffins seem to be hanging out, then maybe my question could get answered most easily here.
Thaan Geoff, when speaking on the subject of renunciation, has often said that the Buddha's heart did not leap up at the thought of renunciation (i.e. before he was the Buddha).
Can anyone give a sutta reference to this? Or vinaya pitika?
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Benjamin » Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:16 am

bazzaman wrote:Apologies for butting in here... I will post in a new thread if moderators so advise... but, since this is where the Thaan Geoff boffins seem to be hanging out, then maybe my question could get answered most easily here.
Thaan Geoff, when speaking on the subject of renunciation, has often said that the Buddha's heart did not leap up at the thought of renunciation (i.e. before he was the Buddha).
Can anyone give a sutta reference to this? Or vinaya pitika?



Could you provide a reference to where this was mentioned? I think it may help to see his words in a larger context.


:smile:
"Don't believe everything you read."
-The Buddha
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby danieLion » Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:44 am

bazzaman wrote:Apologies for butting in here... I will post in a new thread if moderators so advise... but, since this is where the Thaan Geoff boffins seem to be hanging out, then maybe my question could get answered most easily here.
Thaan Geoff, when speaking on the subject of renunciation, has often said that the Buddha's heart did not leap up at the thought of renunciation (i.e. before he was the Buddha).
Can anyone give a sutta reference to this? Or vinaya pitika?

Tapussa Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya 9.41

Reverend Thanissaro, last time I checked, does not use the internet and if he did I'd be surprised to find him here as Dhammawheel can be very unfriendly towards him at times.

Last I checked, he does have "phone hours". Just Google Wat Metta (his monastery) and call the number that comes up within the hours given.

Boffins huh? I guess that works--if you believe, as I do, that there's a science to Dhamma.
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby bazzaman » Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:52 am

Benjamin wrote: "Could you provide a reference to where this was mentioned? I think it may help to see his words in a larger context."

Sorry, I can't give a specific reference. It is a recurring theme in his Dhamma talks, though. I have listened to something in the neighbourhood of 2,000 of his daily talks, but have no way of tracking the themes.


:smile:[/quote]
Last edited by bazzaman on Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby bazzaman » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:09 am

danieLion wrote:Tapussa Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya 9.41

Reverend Thanissaro, last time I checked, does not use the internet and if he did I'd be surprised to find him here as Dhammawheel can be very unfriendly towards him at times.

Last I checked, he does have "phone hours". Just Google Wat Metta (his monastery) and call the number that comes up within the hours given.

Boffins huh? I guess that works--if you believe, as I do, that there's a science to Dhamma.


Thank you danieLion... this theme has been on my mind a lot lately, and now I can reflect on the sutta. "The Case of the Reluctant Bodhisatta"...
Sorry if I misused the term "boffins"... I shouldn't go outside my cultural boundaries, especially with my aged brain functioning at less than optimum efficiency.
Also, lest my manner of speech gave the wrong impression, I have much respect for Ven. Thanissasro. Listening to his recorded talks has been beneficial to me. His use of themes, such as this one of "reluctance", and others like "the inner commitee" and others, have continued to provoke questioning in my practice.
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