Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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scarface
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Re: Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby scarface » Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:32 pm

hmm...who is the translator?...must have a poor memory

hmm...much more going on here than subjective perception or sañña

:cookoo:

"Monks, whether or not there is the arising of Tathagatas, this property stands — this steadfastness of the Dhamma, this orderliness of the Dhamma: All processes are inconstant. All processes are stressful. All phenomena are not-self.

"The Tathagata directly awakens to that, breaks through to that. Directly awakening & breaking through to that, he declares it, teaches it, describes it, sets it forth. He reveals it, explains it, & makes it plain.
[/quote]

I think you're the one who needs to read a little more carefully. If you read the whole talk, then you'll see how he fits it into his thesis:

"Almost any book on Buddhism will tell you that the three characteristics—
the characteristic of inconstancy, the characteristic of stress or suffering, and the
characteristic of not-self—were one of the Buddha’s most central teachings. The
strange thing, though, is that when you look in the Pali Canon, the word for
“three characteristics,” ti-lakkhana, doesn’t appear. If you do a search on any
computerized version of the Canon and type in, say, the characteristic of
inconstancy, anicca-lakkhana, it comes up with nothing. The word’s not in the Pali
Canon at all. The same with dukkha-lakkhana and anatta-lakkhana: Those
compounds don’t appear. This is not to say that the concepts of anicca, dukkha,
and anatta don’t occur in the Canon; just that they’re not termed characteristics.
They’re not compounded with the word “characteristic.” The words they are
compounded with are perception, sañña—as in the perception of inconstancy, the
perception of stress, and the perception of not-self—and the word anupassana,
which means to contemplate or to keep track of something as it occurs. For
instance, aniccanupassana, to contemplate inconstancy, means to look for
inconstancy wherever it happens.
Now, it’s true that you’ll frequently find in the Canon the statements that all
things compounded or fabricated are inconstant, that they’re all stressful. And all
dhammas—all objects of the mind—are not-self. So if that’s the way things are,
why not just say that these are characteristic features of these things? Why make
a big deal about the language? Because words are like fingers, and you want to
make sure they point in the right direction—especially when they’re laying
blame, the way these three perceptions do. And in our practice, the direction
they point to is important for a number of reasons.
One is that the Buddha’s concern is not with trying to give an analysis of the
ultimate nature of things outside. He’s more interested in seeing how the
behavior of things affects our search for happiness. As he once said, all he taught
was suffering and the end of suffering. The suffering is essentially an issue of the
mind’s searching for happiness in the wrong places, in the wrong way. We look
for a constant happiness in things that are inconstant. We look for happiness in
things that are stressful and we look for “our” happiness in things that are notself,
that lie beyond our control. The three perceptions of inconstancy, stress, and
not-self are focused on our psychology, on how we can recognize when we’re
looking for happiness in the wrong way so that we can learn to look for
happiness in the right places, in the right ways. The contemplation of these three
themes, the use of these three perceptions, is aimed at finding happiness of a true
and lasting sort.

http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writ ... ptions.pdf

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Re: Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby scarface » Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:45 pm

...and before anyone says that this is the interpretation Thanissaro forces on the Thai Ajahns then I will offer some quotes from Ajahn Chah, Ajaan Lee, and Ajahn Maha Boowa that indicate that they regard them as meditative techniques that take you to the goal and nothing more:

"The original heart / mind shines like pure, clear water with the sweetest taste. But if the heart is pure, is our practice over? No, we must not cling even to this purity. We must go beyond all duality, all concepts, all bad, all good, all pure, all impure. We must go beyond self and no self, beyond birth and death. To see a self to be reborn is the real trouble of the world. True purity is limitless, untouchable, beyond all opposites and all creation."

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/giftoflov ... sage/12113

"Atta-Anatta are Dhammas that are paired off together until the ultimate limit of the mundane relative world (Sammuti) — until the Citta is free from the Kilesas and has become a special Citta, a special person. Atta and Anatta then disappear of themselves and there is no need to drive any of them out anywhere, for there is just the purity of the Citta entire which is "Eka-Citta," "Eka-Dhamma" [25] — no duality with anything further.
The word Anatta is a factor (Dhamma) of the Ti-Lakkhana [26] and someone who aims for purity, freedom and Nibbana should contemplate "Aniccam, Dukkham, Anatta" until they see and understand these Ti-Lakkhana clearly. Then it may be said that the Citta has "well gone free." Because Nibbana is not Anatta, for how can one force it to be Anatta which is one of the Ti-Lakkhana, which are the path for getting to Nibbana?"

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... ondon.html

"We may decide that nibbana is extinguished; that nibbana is null and void; that nibbana has no birth, aging, illness, or death; that nibbana is the self; or that nibbana is not-self. Actually, each of these expressions is neither right nor wrong. Right and wrong belong to the person speaking, because nibbana is something untouched by supposing. No matter what anyone may call it, it simply stays as it is. If we were to call it heaven or a Brahma world, it wouldn't object, just as we suppose names for "sun" and "moon": If we were to call them stars or clouds or worlds or jewels, whatever they really are stays as it is; they aren't transformed by our words. At the same time, they themselves don't announce that they are sun or moon or anything. They are thiti-dhamma — they simply are what they are."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... html#p2-29

The Commentary's treatment of this discourse is very peculiar. To begin with, it delineates three other "All's" in addition to the one defined here, one of them supposedly larger in scope than the one defined here: the Allness of the Buddha's omniscience (literally, All-knowingness). This, despite the fact that the discourse says that the description of such an all lies beyond the range of explanation.
Secondly, the Commentary includes nibbana (unbinding) within the scope of the All described here — as a dhamma, or object of the intellect — even though there are many other discourses in the Canon specifically stating that nibbana lies beyond the range of the six senses and their objects. Sn 5.6, for instance, indicates that a person who has attained nibbana has gone beyond all phenomena (sabbe dhamma), and therefore cannot be described. MN 49 discusses a "consciousness without feature" (viññanam anidassanam) that does not partake of the "Allness of the All." Furthermore, the following discourse (SN 35.24) says that the "All" is to be abandoned. At no point does the Canon say that nibbana is to be abandoned. Nibbana follows on cessation (nirodha), which is to be realized. Once nibbana is realized, there are no further tasks to be done.

Thus it seems more this discourse's discussion of "All" is meant to limit the use of the word "all" throughout the Buddha's teachings to the six sense spheres and their objects. As the following discourse shows, this would also include the consciousness, contact, and feelings connected with the sense spheres and their objects. Nibbana would lie outside of the word, "all." This would fit in with another point made several times in the Canon: that dispassion is the highest of all dhammas (Iti 90), while the arahant has gone beyond even dispassion (Sn 4.6; Sn 4.10).

This raises the question, if the word "all" does not include nibbana, does that mean that one may infer from the statement, "all phenomena are not-self" that nibbana is self? The answer is no. As AN 4.174 states, to even ask if there is anything remaining or not remaining (or both, or neither) after the cessation of the six sense spheres is to differentiate what is by nature undifferentiated (or to complicate the uncomplicated — see the Introduction to MN 18). The range of differentiation goes only as far as the "All." Perceptions of self or not-self, which would count as differentiation, would not apply beyond the "All." When the cessation of the "All" is experienced, all differentiation is allayed.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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Re: Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Reductor » Mon Sep 21, 2009 7:57 am

If you take you, subtract out all the things which are inconstant and stressful, what is left?
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72


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Re: Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Thanavuddho » Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:17 am

clw_uk,

clw_uk wrote:Im not trying to state that he does or doesnt its just I myself have never had this impression so was just wondering what is the reason for this?


Meaby this has something to do with the accusations that many of the Thai Forest Ajahns are eternalists. Venerable Thanissaro trained in this tradition. I have always maintained that these accusations are not well founded and are based on an intellectual study of the Buddhas teachings, not in the practice of them.

:anjali:
“Tasmātihānanda, attadīpā viharatha attasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā, dhammadīpā dhammasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā.”(DN16)
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Re: Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby piotr » Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:55 am

Hi, :smile:

As for bhante Thanissaro's take on anatta, take a look at his teachings from recent retreat in Vancouver:

http://dhammatalks.org/Archive/Retreats ... Audio.html

This seems to be one of the most comprehensive expositions on this topic, which leaves no doubt about bhante Thanissaro's position.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:13 am

Greetings Piotr,

Can you give us the gist of what is contained in the talks? Maybe a sentence or two?

(I can't access audio files from my current location) ;)

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby piotr » Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:39 am

Hi, :smile:

retrofuturist wrote:Can you give us the gist of what is contained in the talks? Maybe a sentence or two?


I can hardly summarize two days retreat in two sentences... :tongue: What's the most interesting for me in these talks is a Thanissaro's ability to explain as a means to the Arahantship passages which are commonly interpreted as ontological statements.

Whole retreat is based on a readings from the Pali Canon:

http://dhammatalks.org/Archive/Retreats ... Anatta.pdf

... And on a story from The Once and Future King by T. H. White :tongue:
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby manas » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:29 pm

I found this excerpt from Alagaddupama Sutta: The Water-Snake Simile
:
"And how is a monk a noble one with banner lowered, burden placed down, unfettered? There is the case where a monk's conceit 'I am' is abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. This is how a monk is a noble one with banner lowered, burden placed down, unfettered.

"And when the devas, together with Indra, the Brahmas, & Pajapati, search for the monk whose mind is thus released, they cannot find that 'The consciousness of the one truly gone (tathagata) [11] is dependent on this.' Why is that? The one truly gone is untraceable even in the here & now. [12]

"Speaking in this way, teaching in this way, I have been erroneously, vainly, falsely, unfactually misrepresented by some brahmans and contemplatives [who say], 'Gotama the contemplative is one who misleads. He declares the annihilation, destruction, extermination of the existing being.' But as I am not that, as I do not say that, so I have been erroneously, vainly, falsely, unfactually misrepresented by those venerable brahmans and contemplatives [who say], 'Gotama the contemplative is one who misleads. He declares the annihilation, destruction, extermination of the existing being.' [13]

"Both formerly and now, monks, I declare only stress and the cessation of stress. [14] And if others insult, abuse, taunt, bother, & harass the Tathagata for that, he feels no hatred, no resentment, no dissatisfaction of heart because of that. And if others honor, respect, revere, & venerate the Tathagata for that, he feels no joy, no happiness, no elation of heart because of that. And if others honor, respect, revere, & venerate the Tathagata for that, he thinks, 'They do me such service at this that has already been comprehended.' [15]

In this excerpt, the Buddha appears to be very clearly distancing himself here from annihilationists, not praising them in the slightest, and is promoting the Dhamma as somthing to be practically applied, for one's own and others' welfare, for the easing of stress. After reading it I will no longer try to excessively ponder what happens after final Nibbana, because my intellect with undoubtably get it wrong! :anjali:

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Re: Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby chandrafabian » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:35 pm

manasikara wrote:I found this excerpt from Alagaddupama Sutta: The Water-Snake Simile
:
"And how is a monk a noble one with banner lowered, burden placed down, unfettered? There is the case where a monk's conceit 'I am' is abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. This is how a monk is a noble one with banner lowered, burden placed down, unfettered.

"And when the devas, together with Indra, the Brahmas, & Pajapati, search for the monk whose mind is thus released, they cannot find that 'The consciousness of the one truly gone (tathagata) [11] is dependent on this.' Why is that? The one truly gone is untraceable even in the here & now. [12]

"Speaking in this way, teaching in this way, I have been erroneously, vainly, falsely, unfactually misrepresented by some brahmans and contemplatives [who say], 'Gotama the contemplative is one who misleads. He declares the annihilation, destruction, extermination of the existing being.' But as I am not that, as I do not say that, so I have been erroneously, vainly, falsely, unfactually misrepresented by those venerable brahmans and contemplatives [who say], 'Gotama the contemplative is one who misleads. He declares the annihilation, destruction, extermination of the existing being.' [13]

"Both formerly and now, monks, I declare only stress and the cessation of stress. [14] And if others insult, abuse, taunt, bother, & harass the Tathagata for that, he feels no hatred, no resentment, no dissatisfaction of heart because of that. And if others honor, respect, revere, & venerate the Tathagata for that, he feels no joy, no happiness, no elation of heart because of that. And if others honor, respect, revere, & venerate the Tathagata for that, he thinks, 'They do me such service at this that has already been comprehended.' [15]

In this excerpt, the Buddha appears to be very clearly distancing himself here from annihilationists, not praising them in the slightest, and is promoting the Dhamma as somthing to be practically applied, for one's own and others' welfare, for the easing of stress. After reading it I will no longer try to excessively ponder what happens after final Nibbana, because my intellect with undoubtably get it wrong! :anjali:


Dear friends,
The Buddha denied He is annihilitionist, because he teaches no self. If there is no self and only aggregates, what do you annihilate? That's why in many Sutta's it often say "cessation" not destruction or annihilation.

What do you annihilate in feeling?
what do you annihilate in consciousness?
what do you annihilate in memory/perception?
what do you annihilate in thoughts?
what do you annihilate in bodies?

Only cessation of feeling
Only cessation of consciousness
only cessation of memory/perception
only cessation of thoughts
only cessation of bodies.

There is only cessation of aggregates, not annihilation of aggregates.
Only cessation of attachment, not annihilation of attachment.

Mettacittena,
fabian

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Re: Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Zom » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:08 pm

Bhikkhu Santi wrote a long criticism


Ow, I liked that small essay -) Agreed 100%.

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Re: Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:19 pm

chandrafabian wrote:The Buddha denied He is annihilitionist, because he teaches no self. If there is no self and only aggregates, what do you annihilate? That's why in many Sutta's it often say "cessation" not destruction or annihilation.


The Buddha himself said that we could still call him an annihilationist... but only in that he recommends us to destroy the hatred, greed, and ignorance. It has nothing to do with self, or no self. It's in at least one of the suttas (Ven. Bodhi's translation).

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Re: Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby IanAnd » Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:24 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Piotr,

Can you give us the gist of what is contained in the talks? Maybe a sentence or two?

(I can't access audio files from my current location) ;)

Metta,
Retro. :)

Returning to the topic.

While I can't quote from the talks linked to, perhaps this excerpt from the other PDF linked to will suffice to summarize Thanissaro's position on this matter. It occurs in the last paragraph of page four (4):

So remember: We’re not here to arrive at the true nature of things in and of
themselves, aside from seeing how their behavior makes them inadequate as
sources for true happiness.
The emphasis always points back to using the
perceptions to counteract unskillful tendencies in the mind, because the issues of
the mind are paramount.


And there is this other quote, just beyond the previously mentioned quotation, on page five:
Ajaan Fuang once had a student in Singapore who wrote him a letter
describing how his meditation had reached the point where it was concerned
solely with seeing the three characteristics in everything he encountered. Ajaan
Fuang had me write in reply: “Don’t focus on things outside. Keep looking back
at the mind, to see what it is that keeps complaining that they’re stressful,
inconstant, and not self—because the fault lies not with the things: The fault lies
with the mind that’s looking for happiness in the wrong place.”


So that’s where your attention should always be focused: on the
machinations of the mind.
Use whatever perceptions and means of
contemplation that can cut through the mind’s unskillful habits, and apply them
in a way that leads to the goal of the teachings: an unconditioned happiness
where you can put all perceptions, skillful and unskillful, aside.

Understanding these, perhaps this questioning of Thanissaro's position on this matter is cleared up.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

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Re: Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby chandrafabian » Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:16 am

beeblebrox wrote:
chandrafabian wrote:The Buddha denied He is annihilitionist, because he teaches no self. If there is no self and only aggregates, what do you annihilate? That's why in many Sutta's it often say "cessation" not destruction or annihilation.


The Buddha himself said that we could still call him an annihilationist... but only in that he recommends us to destroy the hatred, greed, and ignorance. It has nothing to do with self, or no self. It's in at least one of the suttas (Ven. Bodhi's translation).


Yes agree annihilating hatred, greed and ignorance, but not annihilating five aggregates.


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