The Quotable Thanissaro

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:17 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The same way with true friends: If they've helped you.... you show them gratitude because that's one of the most important lessons you can give to other people. It reminds them that there's something good in life, something that really should be valued, because it's so rare. That's friendship on the outside.
From: Cherish Your Friends by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:36 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Training in gratitude shows how powerful perception can be, for it requires developing a particular set of perceptions about life and the world. If you perceive help as demeaning, then gratitude itself feels demeaning; but if you perceive help as an expression of trust - the other person wouldn't want to help you unless he or she felt you would use the help well - then gratitude feels ennobling, an aid to self-esteem. Similarly, if you perceive life as a competition, it's hard to trust the motives of those who help you, and you resent the need to repay their help as a gratuitous burden. If, however, you perceive that the goodness in life is the result of cooperation, then the give and take of kindness and gratitude become a much more pleasant exchange."
From: The Lessons of Gratitude by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby binocular » Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:51 pm

Thank you for posting this!
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:07 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:When things grow very still and balanced in terms of these four properties, with this mist of potential sensations that can go in any direction, you can also focus on the space between the points. Realize that the space is boundless. It goes through the body and out in all directions. Just think that: "infinite space." Stay with the sensation of infinite space that comes along with the perception. The potential for it is always there; it's simply that the perception arouses it. It's a very pleasant state to get in. Things seem a lot less solid, a lot less oppressive. You don't feel so trapped in the body.
From: The Six Properties by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:47 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:A fully awakened person feels sympathy for others and seeks their well-being, experiencing a sense of satisfaction when they respond to his/her teachings, but otherwise he/she stays equanimous, untroubled, mindful, and alert. This passage shows that the even-mindedness of a fully awakened person is an attitude not of cold indifference, but rather of mental imperturbability. Such a person has found true happiness and would like others to share that happiness as well, but that happiness is not dependent on how others respond. This is the ideal state of mind for a person who truly works for the benefit of the world.
From: Wings to Awakening (Part III) by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:26 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:In the Buddha's case, all he asked was that people practice the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma. On the night of his death, when the devas were singing songs, throwing down flowers and incense in honor of him, he said, "This is not the way to pay homage to the Buddha. The way to pay homage is to practice the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma" which means practicing for the sake of dispassion, practicing for the sake of disenchantment with things, practicing for release.

In other words, you show homage to the Buddha by gaining release from suffering for yourself. That's all he asked for. His was the most compassionate of motives.
From: Gladdening the Mind by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:34 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/mp3_index.html
From: Gratitude to Things by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (September 2009 mp3 audio)

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Hiker » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:06 pm

I only discovered Thanissaro this last week. By accident I ran across a dharma talk of his on youtube about how the mind is trying to kill you.

Since then I've been on a Thanissaro podcast marathon, and I'm almost finished with his book on rebirth (written it seems as a thoughtful answer to Stephen Bachelor's "Confession of a Buddhist Atheist).

At first I asked myself, "Where has this guy been? Why didn't I discover him earlier?" Then I realized that it was only at this point in my journey, after developing a basic enough understanding of the dharma to have questions about it, that his explanations could be relevant to me.

All his materials, ebooks and podcasts, are offered free of charge at the site: http://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

I am thankful for his teaching.

I must donate to the Metta Forest Monastery and support this work.
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:18 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:As the Buddha said, the beginning of wisdom is when you go to people who've found true happiness and you ask them:
"What should I do that will lead to my long-term welfare and happiness?"
Notice that: My. Long-term. Welfare and happiness.
Those three categories are directly related to the three perceptions.
The "my" is related to not-self; "long-term" is related to inconstancy; "welfare-and-happiness" is related to stress.
The three perceptions act as ways of testing any happiness you find, to see if it measures up to the standards you've set. But they follow on the "what-should-I-do." That has to come first."
From: Three Perceptions by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:45 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Mindfulness is to remind you that you can make choices, and that you want to learn to make them skillfully. You can learn how to breathe in a comfortable way, to think in a comfortable way, to fashion your thoughts and your perceptions so as to shape a greater sense of well-being. You don't have to invest any money. Just take time and use your powers of observation. That's what it all comes down to.
From: Wisdom for Dummies by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:32 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The people for whom you feel trust: That’s a relatedness that’s very strong — the kind of relatedness that keeps the world going and gives us a sense that human society is a worthwhile thing.

Which relates to another topic: gratitude. There’s a saying that there are two people who are hard to find in the world. First is the person who’s an upakari: someone who helps you before receiving any help from you. Second is the person who’s received that kind of help and feels gratitude in response. Both of these people should be cherished.
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Gratitude: People have the power to make choices. When the Buddha talks about gratitude, the language he uses focuses on words that derive from the root for action: kar in Pali. There’s upakari, the person who helped you to begin with and to whom you owe a debt of gratitude. It literally means someone who acted first. And your response to that person should be that you are going to act in return, patikarosi. And even the word gratitude itself, kataññu, means that you know what was done, you appreciate what was done.

So gratitude is not just a general appreciation. It’s specifically an appreciation for actions, realizing that you have a debt coming from other people’s kind actions, a debt that requires you to do something in return. You have to return the goodness.
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But then there are cases where the people who helped you are no longer around, as in the case of Luang Pu Suwat, who was the first to think up the idea that we should have this monastery here. So how do you repay your debt to him? You think about his original intention and you try to maintain that intention: the goodness of his choice, the goodness of his ideas. You appreciate that goodness and then you try to act in a way that extends that goodness further through time.
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The Thai way of expressing this is that other people have started weaving something and so you continue the weaving. You don’t let the edges get all frayed. This is what gratitude is all about: It’s a sense not only that you appreciate the choices that people made but also that you need to respond. The word patikaroti means to repay or to make amends, but it can also mean to imitate. In other words, you imitate the goodness that they did, the intention that they had. You try to carry that out. That’s the response that keeps their goodness alive.

There’s that question that people would often ask Ajaan Fuang: “How can I repay you for having taught me?” and his response was, “Be really intent on the practice.” That’s the best repayment right there.

So this is why the Buddha’s teachings on gratitude are all surrounded by words that deal with action. You appreciate someone’s good actions and then you realize there’s an action that’s called for from you, an appropriate response. That’s what makes it different from appreciation or contentment. As the Buddha said, it’s a characteristic of a good person to feel gratitude and to want to repay that debt in one way or another.

This is why Ajaan Fuang would often say, if he saw someone who was ungrateful to his or her parents, that you don’t want to have anything to do with that person, for that person doesn’t value goodness. If that person doesn’t value the goodness of his or her parents, you can’t trust that person to be good to you. Gratitude means that you value goodness; you appreciate the difficulties that are involved in making the skillful choice and carrying it out. When you appreciate that and have gratitude for it, you’re more likely to make the same kind of effort yourself.

So keep in mind the distinction between gratitude on the one hand and attitudes like appreciation or contentment on the other. Someone said recently that gratitude is wanting what you have. That’s actually a description of contentment or appreciation.

Gratitude is more focused. It’s focused on actions: the actions you’ve benefited from and the actions you feel called on to make in response to repay your debt of gratitude and to try to continue this stream of goodness into the world, on into the future, so all of the benefits that have been entrusted to us will bear fruit. That’s how we show that we’re worthy of that trust.
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/meditations6_v140119.pdf
From: Gratitude & Trust by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:10 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:As for the recollection of the virtues of the devas, that’s useful if you want to raise the level of your mind here in present life. You don’t have to wait until you become a deva. Ajaan Suwat did make a statement once, saying that when you’re thinking about your next life, don’t make a determination to come back as a human being. The human world is going to go through a lot of difficulties. It’d be better to take rebirth as a deva. The belief that devas can’t practice is not true. There are lots of devas who practice. If they get the opportunity to hear the Dhamma, they can even gain the noble attainments.

But for right now, focus on those deva virtues right here. How do you make your mind a deva mind right now? How do you make your actions deva actions? Focus right now on conviction, generosity, virtue, learning, and discernment, regardless of whether you have visions or not. And that way recollection of the devas really can raise the level of your mind.
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/meditations6_v140119.pdf (new)
From: Recollecting the Devas by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:34 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The main external factor is friendship with admirable people, defined as those who live by the principle of kamma. From their teachings, one can learn the advisability of trying to develop skillfulness in the first place; in their behavior, one can see skillfulness in action. These internal and external factors reinforce one another, in that skillful attitudes lead one to seek out admirable people to begin with, and admirable people lead one by word and example to see the less obvious advantages of skillful attitudes. Fortunately, every human being alive has some skillful qualities in his or her mind, as well as access to people who are admirable on at least some level. Thus no one consciously starting on the Buddhist path is starting from scratch. Rather, each person is advised to make the most of opportunities that have already been present and to search for further opportunities to develop the mind in a skillful direction.
From: Wings to Awakening Part I by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Kusala » Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:59 am

The Brightness of Life

"...One of the major misunderstanding of the Buddha's teachings is that there pessimistic - they see the world in dark terms. The Buddha has his focus on the suffering of the world because that is the big problem. He doesn't deny that there's pleasure to the aggregates, pleasure to the senses, but he pointed out that if you focus on the pleasures, you're gonna also be subject to the pains because they keep coming back, but if you can learn to focus on the drawbacks of these things, learn how to let go of them, the mind opens to something much bigger and much better - that's where the brightness lies..."
Image

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 » Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:25 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:To ensure that the donor feels glad before giving, monks and nuns are forbidden from pressuring the donor in any way. Except when ill or in situations where the donor has invited them to ask, they cannot ask for anything beyond the barest emergency necessities.

They are not even allowed to give hints about what they'd like to receive. When asked where a prospective gift should be given, they are told to follow the Buddha's example and say, "Give wherever your gift would be used, or would be well-cared for, or would last long, or wherever your mind feels inspired." This conveys a sense of trust in the donor's discernment — which in itself is a gift that gladdens the donor's mind.

To ensure that a donor feels inspired while giving a gift, the monks and nuns are enjoined to receive gifts attentively and with an attitude of respect. To ensure that the donor feels gratified afterward, they should live frugally, care for the gift, and make sure it is used in an appropriate way.

In other words, they should show that the donor's trust in them is well placed. And of course they must work on subduing their greed, anger, and delusion. In fact, this is a primary motivation for trying to attain arahantship: so that the gifts given to one will bear the donors great fruit.

By sharing these responsibilities in an atmosphere of trust, both sides protect the freedom of the donor. They also foster the conditions that will enable not only the practice of generosity but also the entire practice of Dhamma to flourish and grow.
From: No Strings Attached: The Buddha's Culture of Generosity by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:50 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:So that sense of well-being, the sense of self esteem that comes from knowing you've done something right: That's an important part of the path. Not only are you energized by it, but it also energizes the people around you. That's a real treasure. So make sure that you treasure it.
From: Right Livelihood by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (also in mp3 audio)

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:11 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Fortunately we do have the example of the Buddha to show us how it's done. When we talk about taking refuge in the Buddha, it's not that the Buddha is going to come down and do things for us. It means that he's given us an example of how people make their own decisions wisely, skillfully.

If you stop to think about the story of his life, it's amazing. He did one of the things society really comes down hardest on. He left his wife right after she'd given birth to a child. I can't think of any society anywhere in the world that condones that. And yet this is what he felt he had to do at that point.

It turned out ultimately that his decision was right. He was able to come back and offer something priceless to his wife and to his child: nibbana, arahantship. In the Therigatha there's a poem attributed to his wife, in which she says that all the suffering was worth it because he showed her how to be responsible for herself and to settle all her internal issues as well. The same goes for Rahula. He was able to settle all his issues, too.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/eDhammaTalks_1.pdf
From: Your True Responsibility by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:03 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:So instead of getting into a discussion as to which type of self is your true self or your ultimate self or your conventional self the Buddha is more interested in showing you how your sense of self is an action. The adjectives he uses to describe actions are not "ultimate" or "conventional." They're "skillful" and "unskillful." These are the terms in which he wants you to understand your selves: Are they skillful? Are they not? And because skill can be understood only through mastery, the Buddha wants you to master these actions in practice.
From Talk 2: Out of the Thicket and Onto the Path - Selves & Not-self: The Buddhist Teaching on Anatta by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:59 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:So what do you do with the fact that feelings are fabricated? You learn how to fabricate them well. Instead of trying to dig down and see what your real feelings are, notice if you can create comfortable feelings in the body, good feelings, happy feelings through the way you hold your face, the way you hold your body, the way you breathe. This can cause feelings of pleasure, refreshment, and rapture to pervade the body. Admittedly, they're fabricated, but so are other feelings. The important point is that these feelings have their uses. If you can maintain these kinds of feeling, the mind is in a much better position to look at things from a calm, steady point of view.
From: The Reality of Emotions by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:31 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Samsara literally means "wandering-on." Many people think of it as the Buddhist name for the place where we currently live — the place we leave when we go to nibbana. But in the early Buddhist texts, it's the answer, not to the question, "Where are we?" but to the question, "What are we doing?" Instead of a place, it's a process: the tendency to keep creating worlds and then moving into them. As one world falls apart, you create another one and go there. At the same time, you bump into other people who are creating their own worlds, too.
From: Samsara by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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