The Quotable Thanissaro

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby kmath » Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:15 am

dhammapal wrote:
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:If there were nothing more important than life, then life itself would be pointless.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

With metta / dhammapal.


Kind of seems like the opposite of that is true. If there is nothing after this, better make this life count!
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:58 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:When you really understand the workings of karma, you see other people's suffering as an opportunity to help them.
From: The Sublime Attitudes by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:04 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Buddha also talks about the levels of jhana you can attain by developing goodwill and the other brahmaviharas. And if you do it right, it's also an exercise in discernment. You can't just sit there beaming out nice thoughts and think that that's going to take care of the problem. If, when you get up from meditation, you see that somebody has done something outrageous, then if you haven't really thought the matter through your immediate reaction will be to get upset again.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... alks_3.pdf
From: The Brahmaviharas on the Path by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:13 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Just as a muscle can stop responding to a particular exercise, your mind can hit a plateau if it's strapped to only one meditation technique. So don't let your regular routine get into a rut. Sometimes the only change you need is a different way of breathing, a different way of visualizing the breath energy in the body. But then there are days when the mind won't stay with the breath no matter how many different ways of breathing you try. This is why the Buddha taught supplemental meditations to deal with specific problems as they arise.

For starters, there's goodwill for when you're feeling down on yourself or the human race — the people you dislike would be much more tolerable if they could find genuine happiness inside, so wish them that happiness.

There's contemplation of the parts of the body for when you're overcome with lust — it's hard to maintain a sexual fantasy when you keep thinking about what lies just underneath the skin.

And there's contemplation of death for when you're feeling lazy — you don't know how much time you've got left, so you'd better meditate now if you want to be ready when the time comes to go.

When these supplemental contemplations have done their work, you can get back to the breath, refreshed and revived. So keep expanding your repertoire. That way your skill becomes all-around.
From: Strength Training for the Mind by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:24 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:It's important to have specific goals in your practice: That's something many people miss. They think that having a goal means you're constantly depressed about not reaching your goal. Well, that's not how to relate to goals in a skillful way. You set a goal that's realistic but challenging, you figure out what causes, what actions, will get you there, and then you focus on those actions.

You can't practice without a goal, for otherwise everything would fall apart and you yourself would start wondering why you're here, why you're meditating, and why you aren't out sitting on the beach. The trick lies in learning how to relate to your goal in an intelligent way. That's part of the discernment that forms this factor in determination.

Sometimes we're taught not to have goals in the meditation. Usually that's on meditation retreats. You're in a high-pressure environment, you have a limited amount of time, and so you push, push, push. Without any discernment you can do yourself harm. So in a short-term setting like that it's wise not to focus on any particular results you want to brag about after the retreat: "I spent two weeks at that monastery, or one week at that meditation center, and I came back with the first jhana." Like a trophy. You usually end up — if you get something that you can call jhana when you go home — with an unripe mango. You've got a green mango on your tree and someone comes along and says, "A ripe mango is yellow and it's soft." So you squeeze your mango to make it soft and paint it yellow to make it look ripe, but it's not a ripe mango. It's a ruined mango.

A lot of ready-mix jhana is just like that. You read that it's supposed to be like this, composed of this factor and that, and so you add a little of this and a pinch of that, and presto! — there you are: jhana. When you set time limits like that for yourself, you end up with who-knows-what.

Now, when you're not on a retreat, when you're looking at meditation as a daily part of your life, you need to have overall, long-range goals. Otherwise your practice loses focus, and the "practice of daily life" becomes a fancy word for plain old daily life. You need to keep reminding yourself about why you're meditating, about what the meditation really means in the long-term arc of your future. You want true happiness, dependable happiness, the sort of happiness that will stay with you through thick and thin.

Then, once you're clear about your goal, you have to use discernment both to figure out how to get there and to psyche yourself up for staying on the path you've picked. What this often means is turning your attention from the goal and focusing it on the steps that will take you there. You focus more on what you do than on the results you hope to get from what you do. For example, you can't sit here and say, "I'm going to get the first jhana," or the second jhana, or whatever, but you can say, "I'm going to stay here and be mindful of every breath for the next whole hour. Each and every one." That's focusing on the causes. Whether or not you reach a particular level of jhana lies in the area of results. Without the causes, the results won't come, so discernment focuses on the causes and lets the causes take care of the results.
From: Vows by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby fivebells » Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:53 am

That's the attitude which really drew me to Thanissaro. It's so easy to get nowhere in Buddhism because the ethic of "no goal, no striving" is introduced way too early.
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:48 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Buddha said that there are four types of action in the world: things we like to do that give good results, things we don't like to do that give bad results, things we like to do that give bad results, and things we don't like to do that give good results. The first two are no-brainers. Without even thinking, you do the things that you like to do and give good results. There's no conflict in the mind. The same holds true for things you don't like to do that give bad results. You don't want to do them. There's no discussion. The committee is unanimous.

The difficult actions are the ones you like to do but give bad results and the ones you don't like to do but give good results. The Buddha had an interesting comment on these two. He said they're a measure of a person's wisdom and discernment. He didn't say they're a measure of your willpower. You need to use discernment to do the things you don't like to do but give good results and to not do the things you like to do but give bad results. The discernment lies not only in seeing the connection between cause and effect in each case, but also in outmaneuvering the committee members who just want to do what they want to do regardless. It learns to see through the blockades that the mind puts up for itself, the difficulties it creates for itself, and figures out how to get past them.

One of the biggest difficulties we create for ourselves is our self-image. We notice that it's difficult to do things that are good for us and easy to do things that are not good for us, and we come to think that our nature is to be lazy, or that the lazy side of the mind is our true self, because the other side obviously takes effort. The lazy side of the mind is the one that just goes with the flow, so that must be who we truly are. That's what we think, but that kind of thinking is really self-destructive.

We may remember the times when we've done the right thing — when we've meditated, followed the precepts, lived in line with the Dhamma — but all we can think about is how much effort it took. So we say, "That must not truly be me. That must be somebody else. I must be the person who does things that are easy, I must be lazy, I must have very poor willpower." That kind of attitude is a huge misunderstanding. The things that are difficult are hard for everybody. Rather than creating a self-image about it, though, wise people just think, "How can I maneuver around this laziness? How can I maneuver around this negative attitude?" They experiment and try different approaches until they find what works.
From: The How & the Why by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:19 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Buddha's teachings on time are interesting in that even though they do talk about time, they don't talk about a beginning point in time. The beginning point for your experience is right here in the present moment. It all comes springing out of right here; so instead of trying to trace things back to first causes someplace way back in the past, the Buddha has you look for first causes right here and right now. Dig down deep inside into the area of the mind where intention and attention and perception play against each other, for that's the point from which all things are born.
From: The Sublime Attitudes by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:20 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:So as you really look into this process of breathing, there's an awful lot to see. If you're willing to stick with the ups and downs of that gradual slope, you find that there's always something to do, something to learn.
From: Adolescent Practice by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:So everything you need to know is right here. It's simply a matter of paying attention. See which perceptions work, which perceptions don't work, which ways of paying attention work, and which ones don't, which intentions work, and which don't. Just by exploring these issues, you can learn an awful lot about the mind — and make a big change in the mind as well.
From: One Point, Two Points, Many Points by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Which means that, in learning how to deal with distractions, you learn an awful lot about how the mind works, how states of becoming arise.
From: Always Willing to Learn by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:There’s an awful lot going on in the present, but for the most part we miss it. We sit here and we look and look and look and don’t see anything: just breath coming in, going out, then the mind wandering off some place, coming back a bit, grabbing a sandwich, then running out again. So we have to learn how to look more carefully, to be as sensitive as possible to what’s going on. First with the breath: The more you develop your sensitivity to the breath, the more you begin to open up to other things in the present moment as well.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/eDhammaTalks_1.pdf
From: Sowing Good Deeds by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:There’s an awful lot going on in the body. Think of all the parts you have in your body. Think about how the breath interacts with them. Ajaan Fuang once talked about feeling the breath in your bones. There’s the breath in your blood vessels. See if you can locate those sensations. Once you’ve located them and can stay with them for a while, what can you do with them next? What can you do with them to make them more pleasant, more interesting, more arresting?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/eDhammaTalks_2.pdf
From: Beginner's Mind by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:You’ve probably had the experience of lusting after somebody. If you step back and looked at the lust, you’d realize you’re focusing only on a few things in a narrow narrative that includes a few details of the other person’s body — and your body — but the narrative excludes an awful lot. After all, there’s an awful lot of oppression that goes on even in a consensual sexual relationship, but we don’t like to think about it, so we just block it out. There’s also the whole question of what that person contains right under the skin, what you contain right under your skin. Is that really worth lusting for? Again we block that out. So many of our sensory pleasures are just that: a blocked out, narrow, confined range of view. That’s why they’re intoxicating.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/eDhammaTalks_3.pdf
From: Two Kinds of Middle by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:05 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:At the same time, this combination of wariness and trust is what allows appamada to play such an important role in the practice, providing the motivation to get on the path of skillful action in the first place, and the inner checks and balances that can keep us on the path all the way to the Deathless [AN 4.37]. Without a strong sense of trust in the path, it's hard to attempt it; without a strong sense of the dangers inherent in any conditioned happiness, it's easy to fall off.
From: The Practice in a Word by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The first step to developing the path is to use your ingenuity to fight off the chorus of inner voices trying to dissuade you from making the effort to be skillful in the first place. These voices are like devious lawyers representing strongly entrenched interests: all your threatened unskillful desires. You have to be quick and alert in countering their arguments, for they can come from all sides, sounding honest and wise even though they're not.
From: Pushing the Limits: Desire & Imagination in the Buddhist Path by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:It is important to remember the Buddha's primary aim in presenting the doctrine of not-self in the first place: so that those who put it to use can gain release from all suffering & stress.
From: The Not-self Strategy by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Yet if we look at what the Pali canon has to say about devotionalism — the attitude it expresses with the cluster of words, respect, deference, reverence, homage, and veneration — we find not only that its theory of respect is rooted in the central insight of the Buddha's awakening — the causal principle called this/that conditionality (idappaccayata) — but also that respect is required to learn and master this causal principle in the first place.
From: Opening the Door to the Dhamma: Respect in Buddhist Thought & Practice by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:An understanding of karma helps to explain what we're doing as we develop the brahma-viharas and why we might want to do so in the first place.
From: Head & Heart Together: Bringing Wisdom to the Brahma-viharas by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Many people complain that the hardest part of living with a disease like AIDS or cancer is the feeling that they have lost control over their bodies, but once you gain more control over you mind, you begin to see that the control you thought you had over you body was illusory in the first place.
From: Using Meditation to Deal with Pain, Illness & Death by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:When discussing the Buddha's teachings, the best place to start is with his Awakening. That way, one will know where the teachings are coming from and where they are aimed. To appreciate the Awakening, though, we have to know what led Prince Siddhattha Gotama — the Buddha before his Awakening — to seek it in the first place. According to his own account, the search began many lifetimes ago, but in this lifetime it was sparked by the realization of the inevitability of aging, illness, and death.
From: Wings to Awakening by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:We often think that vipassana means seeing things as they are, the idea being that there's something already out there — things as they are — and they're all covered over by our preconceived notions, our mental fabrications. What we've got to do is clear those fabrications away and that will leave just the pristine things as they are. But that's not really how insight works. That understanding actually gets in the way of insight's arising because the Buddha didn't say, "things as they are." He said, "things as they've come to be": how they've come into being. That's a process of fabrication. It's not the case that fabrications lie on top of pristine things as they are. Fabrication is how those things have come into being in the first place.
From: Things as They've Come to Be by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Even the equanimity that comes when you let go of pleasure has a very strong sense of wellbeing. You feel perfectly satisfied. You can stay there with the stillness, and it feels deep down good.

In this way you find that there are alternative ways for finding happiness in life, finding pleasure in life. You look back at your old addictions, and they seem not to make much sense any more. From your new perspective, you wonder why you would have felt so addicted to them in the first place. In this way the Buddha doesn't ask you just to go cold turkey, with no gratification, nothing to replace your old addiction. He gives you something new and viscerally pleasing to hold on to.
From: Levels of Addiction by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:25 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:So if we're not here just for our own personal pleasures or to leave a mark in the world, what are we here for? Well, the teaching on the perfections points you to the mind. You want to be here to develop qualities of the mind. You may not want to be here, but here you are, so what are you going to do about it? What are you going to get out of this? There's a lot of suffering involved in being a human being — and this is one of the better planes of existence — so what will you have to show for your life? If you've worked on qualities of the mind, they carry over. They're an accomplishment that's entirely within your power.
From: Perfections as Priorities by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:This is why a large part of the practice is focused on the issue of perception: the way you label things, how they fit into the larger picture of your thoughts. And this is why the Buddha didn't just sit people down, and say, "Okay, just be in the present moment and don't think about anything else." He would often start his instructions by leading up to an understanding of why we're in the present moment, exactly what we're trying to look for in the present moment, what we're going to do about it when we see it.
From: Guardian Meditations by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:So whenever you find yourself asking, "Why me?" the answer is always, "Well, why not you? It happens to everybody." And what are you going to do about it? You can't just stew around in your own personal problems. You can deal with them, but the only way to do that is to open up to the larger perspective that enables you to get something out of the grief, to get something out of the disappointment.
From: The Human Condition by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:How are you suffering right now? What can you do about it? Those are the questions the Buddha has you ask: suffering, its cause, its cessation, and the path to its cessation. These are the Buddha’s truths, but not his own personal truths. These are the only truths to which he gave the name ariya sacca, or noble truth. In other words, these are standard all across the board. And all of his teachings are centered on just these issues.

We know this, we’ve heard it many times. The Buddha says that all he teaches is suffering and the end of suffering — yet when you look in the books, there seems to be so much more. People are often tempted to try to create a systematic philosophy out of what the Buddha taught, but all his many teachings are basically different approaches to these two issues: how to understand suffering, how to put an end to it.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/eDhammaTalks_1.pdf
From: Guiding Truths by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:We also want to practice the right attitude that no matter how bad things get, there’s still something we can do about it. If you haven’t developed the skills to deal with this particular problem facing you right now, well, use your ingenuity. Try to remember what different Dhamma teachings you’ve learned and see what might be relevant.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/eDhammaTalks_3.pdf
From: The Best of a Bad Situation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:As we sit here, we’re trying to figure out what that “something wrong” is and also figuring what to do about it. The breath gives you a handle, gives you something to do in the present moment so that you can stay here and not feel at loose ends. In the beginning stages it’s difficult to look your mind straight in the face, or to even figure out where you would look for it.

So the breath gives you something to do. You work with the breath. As long as you’re with the breath, you know you’re in the present moment. And after a while you begin to learn a very important lesson: that if you’re going to watch the mind, you watch it in its actions. You watch it in the act of dealing with the breath, trying to stay with the breath and then wandering off, coming back, trying to stay with it again and suddenly losing all sense of where you are and finding yourself someplace else.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/eDhammaTalks_3.pdf
From: Facing Your Responsibilities by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:40 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The usual culprits to begin with are distractions, either internal or external. The internal ones are other thoughts, other intentions. At first you hardly realize that they're intentions. You're focusing on the breath, everything seems fine and then suddenly you're someplace else, half a world away. It's as if someone snuck up behind you, threw a sack over your head, dragged you off, and then dumped you on another continent. You don't know what happened in the meantime. You don't catch sight of the fact that an intention triggered the slipping away. There was one brief moment when you decided, "I'm out of here." Something else popped up in the mind and you went for it. There was a choice.
From: The Karma that Ends Karma by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:You’re sitting here meditating, minding your own business, very dutifully working with the breath, and then suddenly you find yourself off someplace else. The fact that there was the initial impulse to go someplace else: That’s past karma. The present karma is your decision at some point to go along with it.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/eDhammaTalks_3.pdf
From: Feeding your Attack Dogs by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:When you can anticipate that it's about to happen, you'll notice it's because of a sense of irritation or boredom or antsiness in the mind. Even though you're standing with the breath, the mind is beginning to look someplace else. When you can catch that happening, remind yourself that it's a sign the breath isn't interesting and comfortable enough. Start asking yourself more questions about the breath. How could it be more comfortable? What kind of breathing would feel really, really good, gratifying, refreshing right now? You can ask the different parts of the body. "Hand, what kind of breathing would feel good for you? Left hand, right hand, stomach, legs, chest, abdomen: What kind of breath would you like?" And then let them breathe in whatever way they like.
From: The Uses of Fear by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:As for what is your task, you learn to stitch together moments of concentration. To begin with, they may seem like momentary blips on the screen. The mind settles down for a bit and, oops, there it’s gone, off someplace else. It all seems so hopeless and inconsequential. But you want to learn how to appreciate those little blips of stillness. They’re small and unassuming to begin with, like house elves, but without them the mind would go crazy. Many people come to meditation wondering, “When is the mind going to settle down? I don’t see any concentration at all.” The problem is that it does settle down in little bits and pieces, but then we trash those little bits and pieces of concentration, those little bits and pieces of stillness. They don’t seem impressive. They don’t seem like anything we could rely on, so we throw them away.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/eDhammaTalks_3.pdf
From: The Wisdom of Tenacity by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Meditation is work, and there’s a lot of grunt work in just getting the mind to settle down and stay still. It’s important that you not get bored by it. You sit here with the breath and sometimes it seems like it’s the hardest place to stay. The mind is off someplace else, and you’ve got to pull it back. It stays for a breath or two, and then it’s off someplace else again. You’ve got to pull it back. It’s the pulling back that’s an important part of the meditation. That’s mindfulness and alertness in action. That’s directed thought and evaluation in action. Directed thought means just keeping your thoughts with the breath. In the process of strengthening those qualities in the mind, that’s when you develop the foundation for good concentration practice.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/eDhammaTalks_3.pdf
From: Practicing Your Scales by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Mkoll » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:44 pm

dhammapal wrote:
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Buddha said that there are four types of action in the world: things we like to do that give good results, things we don't like to do that give bad results, things we like to do that give bad results, and things we don't like to do that give good results.

Does anyone have a sutta reference for this?

:anjali:
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby binocular » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:58 pm

Mkoll wrote:
dhammapal wrote:
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Buddha said that there are four types of action in the world: things we like to do that give good results, things we don't like to do that give bad results, things we like to do that give bad results, and things we don't like to do that give good results.

Does anyone have a sutta reference for this?

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Mkoll » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:08 pm

Thank you. Beautiful sutta.

:anjali:
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:25 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Buddha had discovered that there are two kinds of suffering: the stress in the changefulness in things in life, but also the unnecessary stress and suffering we cause ourselves over those changes. That’s the issue, because once that second suffering is wiped out, the changes don’t impinge on the mind at all.
<...>
We have that chant, “May I be happy, may I be free from stress and pain.” We chant that every night before the meditation to remind ourselves of why we’re here: for true happiness. And it reminds us to look at all the things we do throughout the day that get in the way of that wish.

It’s one our most sincere wishes, and yet we’re always doing things to block it, to get in its way. So try to keep this in mind. Keep checking, “What are you doing that’s getting in the way of true happiness? What are the unnecessary things you feel you just can’t do without, that are a built-in part of your personality?” They don’t have to be. They may have deep roots, but they can be uprooted, these habits we have.

We’re working on the skills right now that can uproot them until we reach the point where we’re not causing ourselves or the people around us any unnecessary stress or pain. It may sound simple. It may even sound small-minded and small-hearted for a spiritual goal, but if you actually follow the process you see that it takes you beyond what you might have imagined.

How true is true happiness? Well, follow the process, be sensitive, be observant, be ingenious in the practice, and you’ll find out.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/eDhammaTalks_1.pdf
From: The Pursuit of True Happiness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:32 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The whole purpose of this practice is to focus on what's actually happening in your mind. The big questions are,
"What are you doing that's causing unnecessary suffering for yourself or for other people?
What can you do to stop doing that?"
These questions apply not only to things you do and say, but also the way your mind operates, the way the mind treats itself, the way it deals with its own thoughts and feelings. You want these questions to take charge.
From: Freedom Undefined by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Is human action real or illusory? If real, is it effective? If it is effective, does one have a choice in what one does? If one has a choice, can one choose to act in a way that will lead to genuine happiness? If so, what is that way? These are questions that lie at the heart of the way we conduct our lives. The way we answer them will determine whether we look for happiness through our own abilities, seek happiness through outside help, or abandon the quest for a higher-than-ordinary happiness altogether.
From: A Refuge in Skillful Action by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:39 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The mind is the chief producer of all the happiness and suffering we experience in the world. That's why, when the Buddha gave his first sermon, started out with the issue of suffering. That, he said, is the big problem in life. And it's to be solved right here, in the mind in the present moment, because the suffering isn't something coming from outside. The real problem in life is the suffering that comes from craving. And you can't work on craving until you're really mindful and alert, and have the steady concentration that allows you to look at it calmly to see it in action.
From Basics by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:23 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:People sometimes ask:
With all the evil out there in the world, with people willing to kill in order to maintain their power and wealth, how can you sit here with your eyes closed?
There are two answers to that. One is that we're not just sitting here with our eyes closed. We're training the mind. When you understand that, the other answer is:
How can you not sit here and train your mind given all the bad examples out there in the world, all the dangers out there in the world?
Where else are you going to find the strength to maintain your virtue, to keep your goodness alive? The nourishment that keeps your goodness alive has to come from within.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/eDhammaTalks_3.pdf
From: True Protection for the World by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby manas » Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:07 pm

No quote from me, just a testimonial. The translations and elucidations of the Dhamma by Thanissaro Bhikkhu have, over the last few years, been like a light that makes the Dhamma clearer to me, and have been able to rouse and lift me from heedlessness, back into the practice, in difficult times also. I feel very grateful for all his efforts in translation and teaching.

With much respect,
manas.
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