The Quotable Thanissaro

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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

dhammapal wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 12:06 pm
Question: If any unskillful thought arises and you acknowledge it as unskillful, does it still have negative kammic effects?

Thanissaro Bhikkhu: No.

Question: In other words, does the arising of unskillful thoughts cause bad kamma or is it just our reaction to them?

Thanissaro Bhikkhu: It’s our reaction to them that can cause bad kamma. The fact that the thought arises is the result of old kamma. What you do with it is your new kamma. If you simply acknowledge it and it goes away, or if you think skillful thoughts that counteract it and make it go away, then the new kamma is good new kamma.

From: Persistence by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Good quote. It remainds me of MN5.
"Herein, the person with a blemish who does not understand it as it actually is thus, ‘I have a blemish in myself’ is called the inferior of the two persons with a blemish. Herein, the person with a blemish who understands it as it actually is thus, ‘I have a blemish in myself’ is called the superior of these two persons with a blemish.
http://www.buddhasutra.com/files/anangana_sutta.htm
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal »

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:When the ajaans talk about conventional truths, they don’t contrast them with ultimate truths. In other words, they don’t maintain, for example, that to say that there’s such a person as Lionel or Isabella or Than Isaac, or whoever, is just a conventional truth; whereas saying that they’re aggregates is an ultimate truth. Instead, the ajaans contrast conventional truths with release, which means that even talking about everybody here in terms of aggregates would still be a convention. So these are conventions. They’re to be used. When properly used, they lead to something that’s not words, but we need to use the words to get there. We need to use the truths.
From: Right View about Right View by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal »

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:So we start by developing mettā for ourselves. It’s good to reflect on ways in which we’re behaving unskillfully so that we can change them. If you really seriously want to be happy, do you want to continue acting the way you are? Or is there anything you want to change?

This means that mettā is not an idle thought. It’s a motivator, but also a reality check. Are your actions in line with the statement, “May I be happy”? What kind of thoughts do you indulge in? What kind of words do you indulge in? What kinds of actions do you indulge in that are actually going to prevent happiness? How about changing them?

This means that mettā is not a thought of cotton-candy spread around the world. It’s a measuring stick: Are you really serious about happiness? If so, look at your actions, look at your words, look at your thoughts. What needs changing?

Now when you spread goodwill to others, you think about what other people are doing around you: To what extent could you actually have a good influence on them? Of course, the best way to be a good influence is to set a good example. But sometimes there are other ways that you can actually be of help.

This takes mettā out of the realm of the airy-fairy and puts it in a very real and practical context. It’s the motivation for the practice. It’s reminding ourselves that there are ways in which our practice has an impact, not only on ourselves but also on other people. You want that impact to be good.
From: Goodwill in Action by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal »

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Relationships, like things, end. And just as with things, our culture has a lot of pressure to go for relationships. We’re not doing our duty as members of our culture if we’re not looking for a relationship, and we don’t look good in the eyes of other people. If we can enjoy not having to look good in their eyes or to meet with their approval, then we’re that much closer to freedom.
From: Contentment by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal »

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Looking at the situation in the world, it just seems to be like a slow-motion train wreck — it’s very easy to feel powerless, to feel there’s nothing you can do. This is why this is an especially good time to think about the Buddha’s teachings, to take them to heart, because they’re all about the amount of power you *do* have. Now, sometimes we hear the opposite. They teach you about how everything is inconstant, stressful, and not-self, beyond your power to make permanent. And although it’s true that you can’t make a fabrication permanent, you *can* make fabrications that lead to well-being in this life, in future lifetimes, and the ultimate well-being, which is nibbana. In fact, the teachings are all about the powers we can develop.
From: You Are Not Powerless by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, April 29th 2020
dhammapal
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Re: The Quotable Thanissaro

Post by dhammapal »

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:One of the things that we want to try to do as we meditate is to get [the mind] to stay in one place, to save some energy. As long as you’re going to have a sense of self, keep it solid — rock solid — immersed in the body.

Breath meditation is one way of staying immersed in the body. The term in Pali is kayagatasati, mindfulness immersed in the body. And the quality of immersion is important. You want to fill the whole body, occupy the body, inhabit the whole body, as much as you can.

Where is your observer right now? For many of us, it’s like a weird bird perched on our shoulders and peering through our eyes. It watches the body as if the body were something separate. But as we meditate, we’re trying to get away from identifying with that particular observer; we want to be an observer filling the whole body. Your feet fill your feet, your hands fill your hands. Your entire sense of who you are fills the entire body.

This puts you in a position of strength, because if you’re leaving big gaps of unoccupied territory in your body, other things will occupy it — different thoughts, different defilements. But if your awareness occupies your whole body, other things can’t get in so easily. The image in the Canon is of a solid wooden door: a ball of string thrown at the door won’t leave a dent at all. Even if things do come in and make a dent on the mind, you’re going to know it, you’re going to see it because you’re right there. You’re not off in some other corner of the body looking at something else.

So as you focus on the breath, try to get past the idea that you’re in one part of the head watching the breath in other parts of the body. You want to occupy the whole body, bathed in the whole breath. The breath and the body should be surrounding your sense of where you are. And then you want to maintain that sense of being centered in the body like this, filling the whole body with your awareness as you breathe in, as you breathe out.

Why? For one thing, this sense of filling the body helps you stay in the present moment. When the mind goes off thinking thoughts about past and future, it has to shrink its sense of awareness, shrink its sense of itself, down to a small enough dot so that it can slip into the past or slip into the future. In other words, you latch onto the part of the body that you use as a basis for thinking about the past or the future, while other parts of the body get blotted out. But if you’re filling the body with your awareness and can maintain that full awareness, you can’t slip off into the past and future unless you want to. So this is one way of nailing yourself down to the present moment. Your inner hands are nailed to your physical hands, your feet to your feet. You can’t move.

Think of the breath coming into the *whole* body. Every cell of the body is participating in the breathing process, and you’re sitting here in the midst of it. This gives your sense of observing self a greater solidity, so that when thoughts come into the mind you’re not knocked off balance by them. You’ve got a solid foundation. The word they use for the object of meditation in Pali, arammana, literally means “support,” the idea being that your mind is standing firm on something. You’re standing here in the body. This is your location. This is where you take your stance. And when your stance is solid, nobody can kick you over or knock you down.
From: Immersed in the Body by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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