The Quotable Thanissaro

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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:38 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Because the attainment of stream-entry can make such an enormous difference in your life.... the question of the historical Buddha becomes irrelevant. If the genuine Deathless is not the historical Buddha's attainment, it's what a genuine Buddha would have attained.... As SN 22.87 quotes the Buddha as saying, "One who sees the Dhamma sees me," i.e., the aspect of the Buddha that really matters, the aspect signaling that total freedom, the total end of suffering, is an attainable goal.... Given that "dhamma" means both teaching and quality of mind, it stands to reason that truth of character is needed to measure the truth of the teaching.... The suttas say that the best things in life are available to those who are true.
From: ‘When you know for yourselves...’: The Authenticity of the Pali Suttas by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby perkele » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:38 pm

Hello dhammapal,

thank you for your dhamma quotes. They have been often helpful, just at the right time.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

_()_
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:38 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:But when you look inside for meaning, you find that there is a lot to learn, there is a lot to understand. Things do get accomplished. As you work on the path, you begin to see how the mind creates a thought world and you realize that you have the choice to go into that thought world or not. As you develop more and more mindfulness, more and more alertness, you understand these processes of the mind. Through understanding them, you can free yourself from them. You don't have to be their slave. The world that's a slave to craving: You don’t have to get into that world.
From: Giving Meaning to Life by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Wed Jul 02, 2014 10:40 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:An important part of mindfulness is to decondition yourself. The Buddha said, just look at the breath, look at the body in and of itself, putting aside greed and distress with reference to the world — in other words, putting aside your old habits of thinking about the world out there. Put aside your old ways of using your eyes and ears and nose, tongue, body, and mind to focus on issues outside there in the world, to get your knowledge about the world, to figure out how to gain what you want out of the world — and of course getting complacent and careless when you get what you want, and upset when you don't, and trying to find new ways of getting it.

Now we want to use our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind for other purposes, just to see the processes of the senses as they happen, in and of themselves. Look at them in a way that highlights the movements of the mind, how the mind makes a choice, and how it enforces that choice, how it justifies that choice to itself.

All these processes are going on all the time, but we usually don't look at them because our attention is focused somewhere else far away. So stay right here at the breath, because this is a great place to observe all these other things.
From: Questioning & Conviction by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:52 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Then there will be part of the mind that says, "I don't want to think about the Dhamma right now because it means I've been acting unskillfully in the past, and it just hurts too much to think about that." That's where the Buddha recommends developing the right attitude toward your past mistakes. It's not inevitable that you're going to have to suffer a lot from your past mistakes. As the Buddha said, if you can develop an attitude of limitless goodwill, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity, that'll mitigate the results of your past bad actions.

<snip>

So when you've lowered the walls, you can see back into the past and ahead into the future. You can start seeing the connections between actions and their results."
From: How to Feed Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby Kusala » Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:06 am

The Hunger of the Mind

"The human world is not an easy place to live in. That's because we're
all feeding. And it's not just physical food. We feed off emotional food, relationships,
power, status, wealth. In fact, the hunger of the body is almost nothing compared to the hunger of the mind.
As the Buddha once said, even if it rained gold coins we'd never have enough for our
sensual desires: the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations we'd like to feed off of.

And with each person's mind being so hungry, it's inevitable there's
going to be a lot of conflict as our unlimited desires meet up with the
limited source of food. The Buddha's image of the world was of a puddle
of water that was shrinking, and there were fish fighting over the last
bit of water, pushing one another out of the way for that last gulp of
water before it all dries up.

So what do you do? You've got the choice: You can just continue
feeding, feeding, feeding, or you can step back and look at your hunger.
This is one of the purposes of meditation: to give you a place to step
back, to give you better food - food that comes from inside, rather than
from outside. Food that you don't have to fight off anybody or you
don't have to go harming anyone else to get."
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 » Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:17 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:This need to remember is one of the reasons why we have to study the texts at least to some extent. A couple of months back I was asked to give a talk on the topic of whether it really is necessary to know anything about what the Buddha said if you’re going to meditate. If you think of mindfulness simply as being aware, there’s not that much that you would need to study. Your awareness is right here, it’s happening all the time, so what else do you need to know? But when you realize that mindfulness means keeping something in mind, you realize that you need to study some to know what things are the right things to keep in mind while you practice.
From: The Message of Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:24 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:There's the phrase in the description of jhana, "secluded from sensuality." Some people interpret that as meaning totally cut off from any input from the physical senses. Some interpret it as meaning secluded from sensual pleasures, so that you have to meditate in a place that's unpleasant or a place that's very boring. But neither of those interpretations is what the Buddha means. Sensuality, in his sense of the word, is your passion for your sensual thoughts and plans; the extent to which you love to obsess about those things. So in being secluded from sensuality you're not trying to close off any contact with outside senses and you're not trying to put yourself in a dull, boring place. You're trying to develop a more internal seclusion: If you see any sensual passion coming up, you sidestep it. You put it aside.
From: Right Concentration by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:03 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Buddha tends to avoid talking about metaphysical issues, but kamma is the one big metaphysical issue he talks about a lot. The nature of action, what action does, when it gives its results, the fact that action is real, that it gives results both immediately and over time: These are metaphysical issues. And the reason the Buddha focuses on these and not on other issues is because the nature of action is important for understanding why we suffer and how we can stop suffering. There’s the kamma that leads to suffering; there’s the kamma that leads to its end.
From: Becoming by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sun Jul 06, 2014 2:38 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The question remains: how does this strategy of skillful renunciation and skillful indulgence translate into everyday practice? People who ordain as monastics take vows of celibacy and are expected to work constantly at renouncing sensual passion, but for many people this is not a viable option. The Buddha thus recommended that his lay followers observe day-long periods of temporary renunciation. Four days out of each month — traditionally on the new-, full-, and half-moon days — they can take the eight precepts, which add the following observances to the standard five: celibacy, no food after noon, no watching of shows, no listening to music, no use of perfumes and cosmetics, and no use of luxurious seats and beds. The purpose of these added precepts is to place reasonable restraints on all five of the senses. The day is then devoted to listening to the Dhamma, to clarify Right View; and to practicing meditation, to strengthen Right Concentration. Although the modern work-week can make the lunar scheduling of these day-long retreats impractical, there are ways they can be integrated into weekends or other days off from work. In this way, anyone interested can, at regular intervals, trade the cares and complexities of everyday life for the chance to master renunciation as a skill integral to the serious pursuit of happiness in the truest sense of the word. And isn't that an intelligent trade?
From: Trading Candy for Gold: Renunciation as a Skill by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sun Jul 06, 2014 2:39 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:As the Buddha says, you’ve been shaping your life in an unskillful way, but if you learn how to shape it in a better way, it turns into the path. You get more sophisticated about how you shape things. You get more sensitive, until you finally reach the point where you discover how not to fabricate anything at all. That’s difficult. It requires a real leap of the imagination that that could be a possibility, too. But you get there by learning from your experiments. And you keep experimenting because it’s fun. You learn a lot. It’s the learning that comes from experimentation and playing around that brings a real sense of accomplishment — a sense of accomplishment in finding a solid well-being and developing your discernment at the same time.
From: Supervised Play by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:55 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:What's interesting here is that when the Buddha presents this introduction to his teaching on kamma, he focuses on two types of good actions to stress their importance: gratitude to your parents and generosity. These things really do have merit; they really do have value. The fact that your parents gave birth to you was not just a set of impersonal processes that just happened to happen. It's not the case that you don't owe any debt of gratitude to your parents for having gone through all the pain of giving birth to you and then raising you once you were born. There really is a personal debt there. They made choices, sometimes difficult choices, that allowed for your survival. Generosity is one of the ways you pay off that debt, and it's also one of the valuable ways you interact well with other beings, benefiting both them and yourself in the process.
From: The Buddha's Shoulds by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:20 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:You have to ask yourself: "What do you really want out of life? What's your highest goal?" And then you have to look at the way you live. Is it in line with your highest goals or is it wandering off someplace else? Sometimes it wanders off because you don't have any clear idea about what your goals are. Other times you have a clear idea but you're not attentive to what you're doing: your mindfulness slips, you forget your goals and go wandering off after something else. And so the meditation is a good time to reflect on both of those issues.
From: Life Well Lived by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (mp3 audio)
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:37 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:I once knew a journalist in Bangkok who asked me why Buddhism focuses so much on suffering. He said, “I don’t have any suffering in my life. Why all the talk about suffering?” So I asked him if he had any stress in his life and he said, “Oh yeah, lots and lots of stress.” And he proceeded to tell me all the different things in his family and his work that were stressing him out.

So regardless of what you call it, suffering or stress, if you’re not an arahant, you’re suffering from it. And it’s good to recognize that everybody is suffering in the same way. There are differences in the particulars, but deep down inside everybody has that same sense of being burdened, being overcome: pushed in ways they’d rather not be pushed, weighed down in ways they’d rather not be weighed down.
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/meditations6_v140119.pdf
From: The Particulars of Your Suffering by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:12 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Buddha was not trying to build a systematic description of reality — or ultimate realities — as a whole. Thus to try to create one out of the raw materials of his words is a misapplication of his teaching — a form of inappropriate attention that distracts from the actual practice of his teachings, and one he would not condone.
From: Skill in Questions: How the Buddha Taught by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (430 page pdf)
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:09 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:It might seem strange that the Buddha would be asking his listeners to bring right view to his teaching even before they had heard his teaching, but he was depending on the fact that all people have experienced stress, and all search for someone who knows a way to put an end to stress (AN 6:63, Chapter One). This is the primal search, beginning in early childhood, from which all other searches grow. The question embodied in this search — "Who knows a way or two to stop this pain?" — is probably the most earnest question we ask. In advising his listeners to bring right view to his teaching, the Buddha was simply recommending that they approach it from the viewpoint of this earnest, primal search, and not through the lens of less primal issues. For anyone sensitive to the problem of stress, this is not too much to ask.
From: Skill in Questions: How the Buddha Taught by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (430 page pdf)
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:27 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The first step in being judicious is understanding what it means to judge in a helpful way. Think, not of a Supreme Court justice sitting on her bench, passing a final verdict of guilt or innocence, but of a piano teacher listening to you play. She's not passing a final verdict on your potential as a pianist. Instead, she's judging a work in progress: listening to your intention for the performance, listening to your execution of that intention, and then deciding whether it works. If it doesn't, she has to figure out if the problem is with the intention or the execution, make helpful suggestions, and then let you try again. She keeps this up until she's satisfied with your performance. The important principle is that she never directs her judgments at you as a person. Instead she has to stay focused on your actions, to keep looking for better ways to raise them to higher and higher standards.
From: The Power of Judgment by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:20 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:However, once the commentaries used the khandhas to define what a person is, they spawned many of the controversies that have plagued Buddhist thinking ever since: "If a person is just khandhas, then what gets reborn?" "If a person is just khandhas, and the khandhas are annihilated on reaching total nibbana, then isn't total nibbana the annihilation of the person?" "If a person is khandhas, and khandhas are interrelated with other khandhas, how can one person enter nibbana without dragging everyone else along?"

A large part of the history of Buddhist thought has been the story of ingenious but unsuccessful attempts to settle these questions. It's instructive to note, though, that the Pali canon never quotes the Buddha as trying to answer them. In fact, it never quotes him as trying to define what a person is at all. Instead, it quotes him as saying that to define yourself in any way is to limit yourself, and that the question, "What am I?" is best ignored. This suggests that he formulated the concept of the khandhas to answer other, different questions. If, as meditators, we want to make the best use of this concept, we should look at what those original questions were, and determine how they apply to our practice.

The canon depicts the Buddha as saying that he taught only two topics: suffering and the end of suffering (SN 22.86). A survey of the Pali discourses shows him using the concept of the khandhas to answer the primary questions related to those topics: What is suffering? How is it caused? What can be done to bring those causes to an end?
From: Five Piles of Bricks: The Khandhas as Burden & Path by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:08 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:So have a strong sense that your actions really do make a difference. The fact that we’re meditating here does make a difference. Every aspect of the path makes a difference. Because after all, we do start out with a difference: There is pleasure and there is pain. And there’s a lot of needless pain in the world. If we don’t do something about our unskillful actions we’re going to be adding more unnecessary pain to the world. And we’ll never reach the ultimate happiness that the Buddha said is a possibility for human beings.
From: Making a Difference by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (save as a pdf file)
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Postby dhammapal » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:28 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The four noble truths are not just truths about something; they're ways of looking, categories you can apply to anything going on in the mind. You can watch all the crazy thoughts in the mind and, if you do it from the perspective of the four noble truths, knowledge can arise. Learn to find what in the mind you can rely on as a path factor that will give you the strength you need to withstand the negative factors. The ability not to get discouraged by events comes down to your ability to keep talking to yourself with the right tone of voice, saying the right things to yourself. That's what right view is all about. Remind yourself that no matter how bad things get or how long the dry stretches seem to last, it's not the end. The possibility for knowledge is always there. This is one of the amazing things about the mind: It's always aware. There's always that potential for knowledge, for understanding. Sometimes it may seem weak, but it's there, and you can encourage it.

That's how, when things get bad, you can become your own best counselor, your own best advisor, so that when things crash, not everything gets demolished. Your determination not to keep on suffering: That'll see you through.
From: When Things Aren't Going Well by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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