Tag Archives: Thanissaro-Bhikkhu

Don’t be fooled! There is a Way and We Can Walk It!

Mere belief and mental agreement with some metaphysical view—nirvana, emptiness, non-duality, the “way of no way,” the Tao, the “pathless path,” and all the other terms and concepts of spirituality — don’t do, pardon the language, a damned thing to change anything in us or in the world! The emptiness of Buddhism, for example, is not just a metaphysical view that […]

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The Skill in Looking at Emptiness as a Mode of Perception Rather Than a Worldview

Few words in Buddhism are more well-known, and more debated historically among Buddhists, than the word “emptiness.”  What do we find about “emptiness” in the Pali canon, the oldest records we have of the Buddha‘s teachings?  In this essay Buddhist monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu explains how Theravadan Buddhists understand the word in terms of these earliest […]

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How the Buddha looked at the “What is a Person?” Question

A recurring theme in Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s writing is his stress on how important it is to understand what kinds of questions the Buddha answered, and refused to answer, in his teachings. Many people think his new way of using the Pali word “khandhas” was the answer to the question, “Who am I” or “What is […]

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What Am I Doing Right Now? And Why Does it Matter?

In this essay Thanissaro Bhikkhu analyzes the profound importance of understanding the nature of our intentions and the actions that arise out of those intentions.  In many ways, as he points out, this issue is at the very heart of the Buddha’s teaching—looking deeply into intention, into cause and effect, and seeing how to “unbind” […]

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Chaos Theory and Buddhist Views of Causality

Samsara Divided by Zero by Thanissaro Bhikkhu “The goal of Buddhist practice, nibbana, is said to be totally uncaused, and right there is a paradox. If the goal is uncaused, how can a path of practice — which is causal by nature — bring it about? This is an ancient question. The Milinda-pañha, a set […]

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How the Buddha talked about “Not-self”

§ 128. “Form, monks, is not-self. If form were the self, this form would not lend itself to dis-ease. It would be possible (to say) with regard to form, ‘Let my form be thus. Let my form not be thus.’ But precisely because form is not-self, this form lends itself to dis-ease. And it is […]

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Meditation as Medicine-Learning to Be Your Own Breath Doctor

Meditation as Medicine Thanissaro Bhikkhu You all know the old image of the Buddha as a doctor and the Dhamma as medicine. When you come to practice the Dhamma, it’s as if you’re learning to be your own doctor, looking after the illnesses of your own mind. Everyone comes up here wounded in one way […]

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Look at Karma in Terms of What One is Doing Right Now

Karma—It’s About What We Can Do Now An excerpt about karma from “Noble Strategy” by Thanissaro Bhikkhu Karma is one of those words we don’t translate. Its basic meaning is simple enough—action—but because of the weight the Buddha’s teachings give to the role of action, the Sanskrit word karma packs in so many implications that […]

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Working with The Six Properties in Meditation-Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Space, and Consciousness

For the past few months I’ve really been focusing on “body work” in my dharma practice.  I’ve been working with full-body awareness and vipassana, as well as using deep loving-kindness meditation to embrace mental and physical pains.  This essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu has been especially helpful in getting in touch with the actual feelings of my […]

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The Importance of Alertness and Attention in Developing Concentration

As I have grown in my meditation practice, I have been able to develop deeper and deeper levels of concentration and corresponding insight. And yet, when I’ve read about some of the various deeper levels of jhana (deep concentration, or samatha) I’ve sometimes wondered about my progress and whether I’m going “deep” enough. This great […]

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The Dhamma Brothers-A Film to Inspire Your Meditation Practice

Last night my wife and I watched on of the most moving documentaries we have seen in a long time. It’s called The Dhamma Brothers, and I can’t recommend it enough. Brief Synopsis (from website) An overcrowded, violent maximum-security prison, the end of the line in Alabama’s prison system, is dramatically changed by the influence […]

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How Not to Get Swept Away by Mindstorms

Here is another skillful teaching by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.  We’ve all been swept away by the “storms” and epics stories and worlds we create in our minds.  Happily, the Buddha showed how we can not only find safe refuge from these storms, we can learn how to stop their creation. Mindstorms Thanissaro Bhikkhu There’s a part […]

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Life Isn’t Just Suffering-but Clinging Always Is

Here is another great teaching from Thanissaro Bhikkhu.  I have to admit that in my pre-dharma days, I too had the impression that Buddhism was “negative” or “pessimistic.”  Looking into Buddhism for myself and breaking free of the dogmatic beliefs of my religious upbringing, I found the way of the Buddha to be the happiest […]

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Why it’s Important to Know What Mindfulness Is and Is Not

Mindfulness Defined by Thanissaro Bhikkhu What does it mean to be mindful of the breath? Something very simple: to keep the breath in mind. Keep remembering the breath each time you breathe in, each time you breathe out. The British scholar who coined the term “mindfulness” to translate the Pali word sati was probably influenced […]

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Yes, God is Gay-and Straight, and Black, White, and a Flower!

The spate of suicides and deaths of gay and lesbian young people reported in the news recently has broken my heart and the hearts of many.  But these tragic stories are but the tip of the iceberg: In in “Death of California youth puts focus on rise in antigay bullying,” the Christian Science Monitor wrote: […]

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