The Quotable Thanissaro

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:41 pm

Discussion about Thanissaro Bhikkhu split off here: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=19379

The intention of this thread was for quotes that members fine inspiring.

:anjali:
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:53 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:As for the third misinterpretation — that the five aggregates aren't a self because they aren't permanent, but nevertheless the five aggregates are what you are — the Buddha says repeatedly that it's not fitting to identify the aggregates as "what I am" [§19]. As we will see later, he explains the five aggregates as the raw material from which you create your sense of self, but that it's not skillful to think that they constitute what you are.

Another problem with this misinterpretation is that it opens the Buddha to charges of lying in the many passages where he does refer to the self in a positive way — as when he says that the self is its own mainstay. If there really is no self at all, why does he talk about it as if it exists?

To get around this problem, the interpretation introduces the distinction between two levels of truth: conventional and ultimate. Thus, it says, when the Buddha is talking about self, he's doing so only in a conventional way. On the ultimate level, no self exists.

The problem with this distinction is that the Buddha himself never uses it — it was introduced into the tradition at a much later date — and if it were so central to understanding his teachings, you'd think that he would have mentioned it. But he didn't.

There's also the problem that, if the aggregates were what you are, then — because nibbana is the ending of the aggregates — that would mean that when you attain nibbana you would be annihilated. The Buddha, however, denied that nibbana was annihilation.

At the same time, what good would be the end of suffering if it meant total annihilation? Only people who hate themselves or hate all experience would go for it.
From: Out of the Thicket and Onto the Path by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:01 am

Hi Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:The intention of this thread was for quotes that members fine inspiring.
:anjali:
Mike

The original post said:
danieLion wrote:My idea in starting this topic is for myself and others to not only drop Thanissaro quotes we like, but also the ones we find controversial, provocative, or downright heretical :twisted:/ :stirthepot:
Daniel

If you want the thread to be non-controversial let me know and feel free to delete any of my posts that are divisive.

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:09 am

Hi Mike,

A non-controversial, very inspiring teaching:
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:It can be a long path. It requires a lot of discipline. It requires persistence, patience - qualities that we in the modern world tend to have in only minimal amounts. So it's very easy to give up. You need to keep on generating that desire, keep on reminding yourself why you're here. You're here to learn about the potentials in the mind: How far toward true happiness can these potentials go?
From: Questioning & Conviction by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:44 am

Hi Mike,
dhammapal wrote:Hi Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:The intention of this thread was for quotes that members fine inspiring.
:anjali:
Mike

The original post said:
danieLion wrote:My idea in starting this topic is for myself and others to not only drop Thanissaro quotes we like, but also the ones we find controversial, provocative, or downright heretical :twisted:/ :stirthepot:
Daniel

If you want the thread to be non-controversial let me know and feel free to delete any of my posts that are divisive.

With metta / dhammapal.

So the General Theravada discussion forum is for inspiring quotes? :) Maybe we could create a new thread "Inspirational Thanissaro Bhikkhu quotes" and then rename this thread "Controversial Thanissaro Bhikkhu quotes" and move it the Open Dhamma forum. I'd be happy to do the work of sorting out the controversial quotes.

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:50 am

dhammapal wrote:Hi Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:The intention of this thread was for quotes that members fine inspiring.
:anjali:
Mike

The original post said:
danieLion wrote:My idea in starting this topic is for myself and others to not only drop Thanissaro quotes we like, but also the ones we find controversial, provocative, or downright heretical :twisted:/ :stirthepot:
Daniel

If you want the thread to be non-controversial let me know and feel free to delete any of my posts that are divisive.

With metta / dhammapal.

The key point is that it was not intended to be a thread for discussion. Any further discussion will be deleted or moved to the other thread.

:anjali:
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Mon Dec 16, 2013 3:08 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:This is another way the breath can be your friend. It's like having a friend who reminds you when you get angry that it's not in your best interest to be angry. It can soothe you when you're angry, put you in a better mood. It can be your friend when you're sick; it can be your friend when you're suffering from fear or any other strong, unpleasant emotion.
From: Befriending the Breath by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:56 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Stress (dukkha)
Alternative translations for dukkha include suffering, burdensomeness, and pain. However -- despite the unfortunate connotations it has picked up from programs in "stress-management" and "stress-reduction" -- the English word stress, in its basic meaning as the reaction to strain on the body or mind, has the advantage of covering much the same range as the Pali word dukkha. It applies both to physical and mental phenomena, ranging from the intense stress of acute anguish or pain to the innate burdensomeness of even the most subtle mental or physical fabrications.

It also has the advantage of being universally recognized as something directly experienced in all life, and is at the same time a useful tool for cutting through the spiritual pride that keeps people attached to especially refined or sophisticated forms of suffering: once all suffering, no matter how noble or refined, is recognized as being nothing more than stress, the mind can abandon the pride that keeps it attached to that suffering, and so gain release from it.

Still, in some of the verses of the Itivuttaka, stress seems too weak to convey the meaning, so in those verses I have rendered dukkha as pain, suffering, or suffering & stress.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/iti/iti.intro.than.html

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:35 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Anguttara Nikaya 5.75
Yodhajiva Sutta: The Warrior (1)
Translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Translator's Note
This discourse is addressed to monks, and deals with their battle to maintain their celibacy and to come out victorious in the practice. The Buddha compares the victorious monk to a victorious warrior, an analogy that was probably intended to appeal to the monks' masculine pride (see AN 7.48).

In this analogy, a celibate is not a wimp, but is instead a warrior to the highest degree. Because the first confrontation for a man trying to maintain his celibacy involves his attraction to women, women play the role of first-line enemy in this discourse.

Unfortunately, we don't have any record of how the Buddha advised his nun followers on how to maintain their celibacy, so we don't know if he would have used a woman-warrior analogy when teaching them to resist their attraction to men, or if he would have replaced it with another analogy to appeal more specifically to their feminine pride (again, see AN 7.48). However, there are discourses in the Pali canon that depict nuns as successfully maintaining their celibacy when confronted by men in the forest. A prime example is Therigatha XIV; there are other examples of nuns resisting temptation in the Bhikkhuni Samyutta.

Ultimately, of course, the true enemy lies, not without, but within. This is shown by the fact that the monk in this discourse has to go off alone and put an end to the fermentation of sensual passion in his own mind before he can be considered truly victorious.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.075.than.html

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby gavesako » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:55 pm

(Left to right:) Ajahn Nyanadhammo, Ajahn Sumedho, Ajahn Thanissaro in Wat Pah Ratanawan (วัดป่ารัตนวัน) on 10 Dec 2013.

Puja ca pujaniyanam etam mangalamuttamam
"To revere those worthy of reverence is the highest blessing"
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:07 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:In order to learn how to let go of something, you've got to learn how to do it skillfully. This principle doesn't apply to sex, but it does apply to a lot of other things.
From: The Path of Questions by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:51 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:I once heard of a tennis pro whose game had gone into a slump. He tried everything he could imagine to get his game back: fired his trainer, got another trainer, tried different rackets. Then one day he realized he'd forgotten the number one lesson in tennis: Keep your eye on the ball.

The same sort of thing often happens in meditation. You start out with a very simple process and then it gradually grows more complicated. After a while you forget the first principles: i.e., stay with your breath. So try to spend the whole hour staying with the breath, no matter what.
From: A Private Matter by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Tue Dec 31, 2013 9:14 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The desire for true happiness is nothing to feel ashamed about. In fact, the whole teaching of the Dhamma is based on that desire, recognizing that if you follow through with your desire for true happiness intelligently, if you really are careful about how you go about finding it, you'll actually find it and won't harm anyone in the process. It's a desire that should be respected.
From: Befriending the Breath by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:05 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:When you remind yourself of the happiness that comes from giving, the interest in gaining sensual pleasures and feeding on sensual pleasure gets lessened. When it's lessened, you find yourself less irritable, less bored, less restless, less uncertain. This is one of the many techniques available for dealing with the hindrances.
From: Barriers in the Heart by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:40 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:And as for the baggage we carry around: If we had to go back and straighten out all the horrible things we did in the past before we could gain Awakening, we'd never be done. But it turns out that when you simply learn to drop old habits, Awakening is possible. After all, the suffering you're experiencing right now is a combination of things coming from the past and things you're doing right now, including the way you're perceiving things right now.

A frequent image in meditation instructions is that all you have to do is turn on a light and the darkness goes away. No matter how many eons the darkness has reigned, all you have to do is turn on the light once and that's the end of the darkness. All you have to do is work on how you're perceiving things in the present moment - and when things finally click, you don't have to worry about what other people tell you, you don't have to worry about the world, you don't have to worry about the self, you don't have to worry about what you've done in the past, for you've learned a new habit, you've developed a new skill. And the development of that new skill changes everything.
From: Habits of Perception by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:38 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:You don’t want self-discipline just to be the ability to push yourself through drudgery. You want to be able to make the meditation as entertaining as possible, as interesting as possible, as enjoyable as possible, to bring as much enthusiasm as you can to a process which, without the enthusiasm, simply dries right up.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/eDhammaTalks_3.pdf
From: Overwhelmed by Freedom by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:See what you can do to keep yourself entertained with the breath, to gladden the mind. Become more proactive toward the pain, investigate it, be curious about it, instead of just passively suffering from it. Keeping a good humor helps to put you in a position of power. That's one attitude to ease the burden of endurance.
From: Endurance Made Easier by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:If you sit down and you feel yourself totally disinclined to meditate, don't just force yourself to do it. Remind yourself of the good reasons for why you're doing it. Think of ways to make it interesting, ways to make it entertaining. You can do all kinds of things with the breath.
From: In the Mood by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:06 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:You're here because you want to find true happiness. Whether other people approve or not, that's their business. When you think in this way, you can start making choices that really are in your true best interest without getting snagged on whether other people approve, whether it looks strange in their eyes, or you think it might look strange in their eyes. When you can cut through these eight ways of the world, you find that a lot of the obstacles to practice get cleared out of the way.
From: An Anthropologist from Mars by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Having the breath as a way of training yourself to be kind to yourself is an important aspect of developing goodwill: It helps you realize that you really do have a role in shaping your present experience, starting with the breath and then moving into other areas of the present. There's nobody forcing you to breathe in an uncomfortable way, or in a way that puts yourself to sleep, or in a way that gets you anxious and on edge. And yet we allow these things to happen because we're distracted, often about things that are really none of our business. But the breath is something that really is your responsibility. Nobody else can breathe for you. And nobody else can tell you what kind of breathing is going to be comfortable. You have to pay attention yourself.
From: Wisdom for Dummies by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:So pay attention: What are you putting into the system right now? This is the important thing to focus on. Whatever other people do to you, whatever arises in your body in terms of pains, illnesses, aging, death, or whatever: That's old kamma that you simply have to learn to take with good humor, with a sense of equanimity. As for what you're putting into the system right now, that's serious business. That's where your attention and efforts should be focused.
From: Skills to Take With You by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The fact that trees and mountains are fabricated: That's their business, their issue. Our issue is the fabrications coming up in the mind: what they do to us, and what we do to them.
From: Standing Where the Buddha Stood by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:...any desire to compare your level of virtue or concentration with that of others is detrimental to the practice, and so appropriate attention focuses on turning attention away from questions that would involve comparing yourself with others. You’re here to cure your own unskillful mental qualities, so the question of whether you’re better than others is really none of your business.
From: The Middles of the Middle Way by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:37 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Be grateful to the people for the things, rather than being grateful to the things themselves. If you feel gratitude to your bed, then it is hard not to get attached to your bed and to think that the goodness lies in the thing. Whereas if you're grateful to the people the goodness lies in the action, the goodness lies in the intention. This helps you reflect that our society is held together not by good things but by good intentions.
<....>
Appreciation is for the things and gratitude is for the actions, because that focuses you on your own actions, what you're going to do in response. And that's how gratitude keeps you focused on the practice.
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/y2009/090919%20Gratitude%20to%20Things.mp3
From: Gratitude to Things by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (7min mp3 audio)

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:29 am

Question: Is the word insight and awakening used interchangeably?
Thanissaro Bhikkhu: No. An insight is seeing any point where you're causing yourself unnecessary stress or suffering and you can drop it. And then there's certain levels of insight that would actually constitute Awakening where you actually have absolutely dropped that kind of unskillful action for good. You'll never pick it up again. That's an Awakening moment. Because the Awakening involves opening up to the Deathless.
http://www.audiodharma.org/teacher/16/
From: Iddhipada - The Bases for Success (Part 5) by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:45 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:…just keep tabs on the breath, all the way in, all the way out. This requires desire; it’s going to involve some attachment, and it’s going to involve deciding which thoughts to identify with and which ones not to identify with. In other words, you are going to be working on a sense of self here, all of which seems to fly in the face of what we’ve heard about the Buddha’s teachings, after all desire is bad, efforting is bad, attachment is bad, self is bad.

But the Buddha never said those things; he was a lot more specific. He didn’t deal in such broad generalizations. There are skillful and unskillful desires, skillful and unskillful attachments. A skillful sense of self and an unskillful sense of self, or many skillful and unskillful senses of self. And so it’s important as we learn how to practice to be specific, make these distinctions. Because otherwise, it becomes impossible to practice…
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http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/y201 ... hments.mp3
From: Skillful Attachments by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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