How do we develop discernment?

An interesting post at a fellow blog…

The Year of Discernment

…got me to thinking about discernment.  In Buddhism, what is discernment and is it something we can cultivate?

The question brought to mind a great essay on the subject by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, one of my favorite dharma teachers.  In an article entitled “Giving Rise to Discernment” he says:

“We meditate, developing mindfulness, developing concentration, and after a while we begin to wonder, “When is the discernment going to come? When are the insights going to come?” And it’s important to look at what the Buddha has to say about what gives rise to discernment…”

As always, Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s explanation is fully grounded in the Buddha’s own words and in decades of skillful practice.  Take a look at the whole article if you’d like to learn more.  And thanks again to my fellow blogger for making me take a fresh look at this important subject!

Giving Rise to Discernment

About Steven Goodheart

"I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them." Spinoza

3 Responses to “How do we develop discernment?”

  1. Thanks for a great Resource. Copied the 4-page printout and included it with my papers on meditation and EFT. Read it closely and can see where life should go, but realize how difficult it could be to let go of so many things I feel I can’t live without.

    Still trying. After all, I have a lifetime here to reach Nirvana and end the suffering before another life.

    Michael J.

    Whose picture is that above?

    You look pretty good Steve. You out to use that in your gravitar!

    Michael J

    • Thanks Michael J!

      That picture is of the wonderful teacher and monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu, whose article I posted. He has a beautiful face, doesn’t he? The light of the living dharma shines from it. If you want to see my mug, click on the About page of my site. 🙂

      No rush to give up things; just keep track of whatever causes stress and suffering and let your growing sense of love and light embrace it all compassionately. I find some things just naturally drop away, and some things are transformed into “newness of life” to use a Bible phrase. And some things are as stubborn as hell. They are all my “babies” to take care of. For me, the main thing is just to keep at it patiently, persistently, and to aspire to develop those skillful factors that Thanissaro talks about in this paper. Thanks again for your kind remarks. Steve


  1. “But, I didn’t ‘intend’ for that to happen!” « Contoveros' Blog - 2009/11/20

    […] you may ask, did I get to this point? I can trace it directly to an article on “discernment,” provided by my internet friend, Steven Goodheart. Your actions set in motion your […]

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