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Author Topic: [En/De] Respect, Confidence,Patient | Repekt, Zuversicht, Geduld, B. Thanissaro  (Read 952 times)

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Offline Johann

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Respect, Confidence and Patient

Evening talk by Bhante Thanissaro,

given in May 2003 at Wat Metta

~9,3 MB, ~18min

generously shared via dhammatalks.org

Online version is also avaliable, incl. pdf via: http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/lib/authors/thanissaro/respectconfidencepatient_en.html


Download: http://sangham.net/index.php?action=tpmod;dl=get532




Respect, Confidence & Patience
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
May, 2003

Ajaan Suwat often would begin his Dhamma talks by saying that we should approach the practice with an attitude of respect, an attitude of confidence. Now the respect and the confidence go both ways: respect for the path and respect for ourselves; confidence in the path, confidence in ourselves. Because, after all, what is the basic message of the Buddha’s teachings? It’s that through human effort we can achieve total happiness, an unconditioned happiness. The results of our efforts can go that far. So we should have respect for this potential within ourselves.

At the same time, we should have respect for the experience of people who have been on the path before us, because they can show us a lot, help us save a lot of time and a lot of grief, help keep us on the path. And then we should have respect for the principle of cause and effect itself, for that’s what the Buddha awakened to on the night of his Awakening: the role that human action plays in shaping our experience. It’s not an arbitrary role. It may be complex, but it does follow certain rules. We should have respect for that principle as well.

The principle of kamma means that sometimes our actions bear immediate results and sometimes they take time. In light of that fact, we have to bring not only an attitude of respect and confidence to the practice, but also one of patience. We’re here to learn, and it may take time to learn. So when things aren’t going well, remind yourself that this process takes time. That way you don’t browbeat yourself or get down on yourself. You can be more realistic about what you’re undertaking here, which is the total re-training of the mind, learning radically new habits in how you relate to the body, how you relate to your feelings, how you relate to your perceptions, your thought-constructs, even how you relate to consciousness.

The Buddha points out that we tend to relate to these things in unskillful ways, so we’ve got to learn new skills. Following the path means that, instead of making a burden out of these things, we actually turn them into the path of true happiness. Now that’s going to take time, because some of these issues are very subtle. What is your relationship to feelings? What is your relationship to consciousness? These are subtle issues. It takes time to work them through.

So before you settle down to the meditation, try to develop an attitude of patience, an attitude of respect, an attitude of confidence. We often think of patience and confidence as the end-products of the meditation, but we should have some skill in developing these attitudes already. In ordinary daily life, how do you build up an attitude of confidence? How do you build up an attitude of respect? How do you build up an attitude of patience? You’ve been doing it all along in some areas of your life to a greater or lesser extent, so try to bring these skills to bear on this practice. After all, this is a practice that requires precision. It’s not something you can rush into or bluff your way through. It takes time and patience to develop the kind of detailed skills, the detailed sensitivities that are really required.

When you’re clear about this fact, you find it a lot easier to overcome obstacles on the path. You’re here to learn a skill, and skills often require trial and error, learning from mistakes. A friend of mine once went to Japan to study pottery with one of the living national treasures they have over there. At the beginning of her stay she’d often get frustrated because she’d send her pots into the kiln every evening, and the next morning find that many of them had come out broken or unevenly burnt, whereas her teacher’s pots seemed to come out perfectly every time, every time. Then one morning she came into the studio and found him sitting in the middle of the kiln: Many of his pots from the previous night’s batch had exploded in the kiln, but he wasn’t upset. He was simply sitting there trying to figure out why. That’s what makes the difference between a person who really does develop a skill and a person who can’t quite make it: the ability not to get upset by your mistakes but simply to look at them as learning experiences. If you have that much respect for yourself, that much respect for the principle of cause and effect, you find it easier and easier to be patient.

In other words you don’t take it as a reflection on yourself that you made a mistake, because everybody makes mistakes. Look at the Buddha’s life up until the night of his Awakening: Many times it was one mistake after another. He tried different methods that just didn’t work out, didn’t work out. He listened to other people to learn what they had to offer, and then when that didn’t satisfy him he went off into the forest to make his own mistakes. Only after many years of mistakes did he finally get on the right path. What saw him through this period was his sense of confidence, that there must be a way to true happiness and that if it existed he was going to find it.

Patience, confidence, respect: These things all go together. So try to develop them as an attitude that you bring to the practice, every time, every time, every time.

We sometimes think of the bowing and the chanting here as something extraneous to the meditation, but that’s not the case at all. They help us to develop the right attitude. When we bow to show respect to the Buddha, we’re showing respect for the potential of human beings. It’s like a mirror that reflects back on us. We respect him because he teaches us to respect the best things in ourselves: our desire for true happiness, our abilities in terms of our powers of observation, mindfulness, concentration, compassion, and goodwill. So it’s good to bow down to that reminder everyday. As for the chanting—respect for the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, and then the various reflections we chant in translation—these remind of us of why we are practicing.

The chant this evening on aging, illness, and death encourages an attitude of samvega, which is difficult to translate. It means a combination of dismay over the meaninglessness of life as it’s ordinarily lived, coupled with a sense of awe and a sense of urgency to find a way out. But the chant doesn’t end there. It also reminds us of the principle of kamma in order to develop another attitude: one of confidence. Our actions, and nothing else, are the factors that are going to get us out of this dilemma. So our actions are important.

There are so many voices in the world telling us that our actions aren’t important: politicians who say that they don’t care about what people think, that they’re just going to do what they want to do; scientists who tell us that nothing we can do can change the general course of nature. Then there’s cosmological time, geological time, in which our efforts seem to be very puny and insignificant. But the teaching on kamma reminds us that cosmological time may apply to the world out there, but the world of your lived experience is shaped by your actions, and this is the world that matters. And it’s because it matters that we want to develop these skills, however much time it may take, however much patience it may require. These are skills that are worth mastering even if you don’t get all the way to the end of the path in this lifetime. Whatever progress you do make on the path means that much less suffering, that much more skill in how you relate to the things that would normally cause you to suffer or would normally bring about reactions that would make you suffer.

So a lot of the practice lies in the attitude, the right attitude that underlies all the other right factors of the path. If you catch yourself in the midst of the meditation with the wrong kind of attitude, stop. Think for a while about what you’re doing here and why you’re doing it. You can drop your meditation object for that period of time if you want to. You can change to another topic.

There are classical lists of topics for recollection when you find that you’re frustrated, when there’s aversion, lust, fear, anxiety. There are specific topics you can think about. You can think about the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha to develop a sense of confidence, to overcome any sense of aversion you may have either to your meditation object or to yourself. Think about the members of the Noble Sangha in the past who went through lots of difficulties, years of effort, and couldn’t make any headway, and yet ultimately were able to gain Awakening. They developed the patience needed to do that. They were human beings; you’re a human being. You can develop that patience as well. Once you find that your attitude is more appropriate, then you can get back to the breath.

All of the ten topics for recollection are types of meditation. We tend to think of meditation as only one or two vipassana techniques, but that’s not true. There are lots of techniques for dealing with all different kinds of problems in the mind. When teachers give you just one technique, it’s sort of one-size-fits-all, or Henry Ford’s old maxim: People can have whatever color car they want as long as it’s black. Given the complexity of the mind, there’s no way that one single technique is going to work in all cases, or that one particular person will have to stick to one technique all the time. You have to realize that the Buddha offers a whole toolbox here, lots of different methods, lots of different approaches.

Even within the one topic of breath meditation, Ajaan Lee’s Seven Steps provide many different ways of approaching the mind when it’s out of balance. Sometimes you need to focus on the length of the breath; other times you focus on spreading the breath throughout the body; other times you have to be very careful about where you’re focused in the body. All of these are component factors. Ajaan Fuang once noted that when someone is having trouble in concentration practice, or the concentration of the practice is getting out of balance, it’s usually because one of these factors is lacking.

So it’s not that you blindly follow steps one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. You find which aspect of the mind is out of balance and then focus on the appropriate step until you find that you’ve got all of them covered. Again, this is a question of trial and error, testing to see which recommendation is appropriate for which particular problem. And as I said at the being, trial and error require patience. Equanimity. The willingness to learn. The ability to step back a bit from whatever is going on, when it’s not going well, and taking a good, long look at it.

And try and put yourself in good humor. One of the things I noticed about all the really great meditation teachers in Thailand was that they had good senses of humor. They found it easy to direct that humor at themselves. And as someone has pointed out, the ability to step back from things is what allows a sense of humor to begin with. If you’re totally immersed in your problem, you begin to lose perspective and nothing is funny at all. Step back a bit, learn to laugh at yourself in a good-humored way—not in a sarcastic way, but a good-humored way, a sympathetic way—and then get on with the practice. You’ll find then that things go a lot better.

So all of this comes under the issue of right attitude. It’s not listed as one of the factors of the path, but it underlies everything. After all, the Buddha taught the four noble truths because he had the right attitude toward suffering: that there must be a way for human beings to overcome suffering, to gain release from suffering. He had the right attitude toward the amount of work it might take to do this, at the same time seeing that once this task was accomplished it would be more than worth the effort. Once this one problem was dealt with, there would be no other problems in life.

All problems come down to this one: the unskillful ways we relate to the things we identify with as me or mine. The practice means learning to relate to those things in new ways that are skillful, so that instead of causing suffering they turn into the path to the end of suffering.

So look at this as a friendly path. Think of all the people who have tried the path before as your friends: They are happy to have you join them. And think of the things within body and mind that you’d like to be friendly with, too: your breath, the good qualities of your mind. This is a practice that allows you to develop those friendships—friendships that will never leave you, that will never turn on you, where your friends keep on giving. That kind of friendship takes time but it’s more than worth the effort. To develop that kind of friendship you have to be giving, too. What are you asked to give? You’re asked to give of your patience, give of your respect, give of your confidence. Those are good things to give, because you never run out. When you find the proper object for your respect, you find that respect becomes a strength—something you can rely on, something you can depend on, all the way to the end of suffering.

« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 03:09:28 PM by Johann »
This post and Content has come to be by Dhamma-Dana and so is given as it       Dhamma-Dana: Johann

Tags:
 

Plauderbox

 

Johann

October 12, 2018, 04:13:16 PM
Good to see Nyom Norum.
 

Johann

October 07, 2018, 10:38:10 AM
Maybe of support for lasting satifaction: Seeds of Becoming .
 

Johann

October 07, 2018, 06:57:38 AM
When ever love arises, dislike will be it's end. Who ever seeks out for friends, will get his enemy. Why? Because not willing to leave home. May wanderer gus find the way to never return. Mudita

gus

October 07, 2018, 03:38:58 AM
Vandami.

gus

October 07, 2018, 03:38:22 AM
Nevertheless my courage of active participation  has been fallen down. Anyway I hope to come time to time.
Okasa dwarattayena katam sabbam accayam khamata me bhante.

gus

October 07, 2018, 03:37:11 AM
Okasa bhante,

I didn't accepted Dymitros invitation to start a Theravada forum, because I thought this forum is pure Theravada. Now I regret about it, yet think this forum is comparatively good.  I learnt many valuable things from you and grateful to you. Nevertheless my courage of active partici
 

Johann

October 07, 2018, 02:20:29 AM
What ever one searches for, that he/she will find. Less are those seeing the nature of combined thing, leaving home and go beyond Maras domain.
 

Johann

October 06, 2018, 11:45:18 PM
 

Johann

October 06, 2018, 11:39:12 PM
When one is born in outer regions ... your island has drifted away.
 

Johann

October 06, 2018, 11:30:00 PM
macchariya, a boarder hard to cross to the middle way, abounding home, sakayaditthi, doubt and rituals.

gus

October 06, 2018, 02:33:02 PM
However much one say, West is West, East is East.
 

Johann

October 06, 2018, 02:28:29 PM
Where ever there is east, there is west. And vici versa. Where ever there is nama, there is rupa. Where ever one seeks for a home, there he will suffer.

gus

October 06, 2018, 02:03:31 PM
West is West

gus

October 06, 2018, 09:56:42 AM
belief of kamma, gratitude, independence, honesty, devotion : These are hard to find in people
 

Johann

October 06, 2018, 05:49:14 AM
Again, a latin proverb mit be useful: Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi , patisota is always harmful if not just one own defilements or having a proper stand to help. Sota is the virtue required to resist in borderlands.
 

Johann

October 06, 2018, 05:41:52 AM
If in a borderland it's better to simply serve and support the Sangha. It's not smart to seek for other householders to nurish on traced imperfections of something required to uphold, wanderer gus.

gus

October 06, 2018, 04:54:48 AM
Okasa, happy to hear such things reagarding kamma. Many monks I have met don't directly speak about kamma because they have been tired after practicing some years and now bit relaxed.
 

Johann

October 06, 2018, 04:17:26 AM
Such can be total kusala and total akusala or simply defuse. Set your mind right and be mindful, that nothing will be of harm for yourself and others.
 

Johann

October 06, 2018, 04:15:27 AM
There is nothing not permitted. Merits or demerits are the actors responsibility. One is full in charge of ones action in this Domain here, wanderer gus.

gus

October 06, 2018, 03:50:00 AM
Bhante, is it permitted to ask questions or post things on behalf of other/future people ?

gus

October 05, 2018, 09:19:32 AM
We have been advised like this:
"No matter however much monks reject you,
Never leave the place."
 

Johann

October 05, 2018, 09:09:37 AM
It's good when wanderer gus takes a rest, turns to a lonly place, enjoys the merits done and find a good place for his mind and fixes possible open wholes when clear where he likes to go some hours later.
 

Johann

October 05, 2018, 08:59:03 AM
Wanderer Gus knows how foolish this statement is. That is not the way to get out of a hole.

gus

October 05, 2018, 08:42:59 AM
okasa,
falling down from a status is suffering.
So, if I could stay in the hell-being status from the beginning, then no suffering.
 

Johann

October 05, 2018, 07:33:20 AM
From a state of a young Bhikkhu equal tradition...to householder... ...asura (now) on the border to animal, peta, hell-state. It can go quick if not having firm nissaya.
 

Johann

October 05, 2018, 07:29:27 AM
Aniccam vatta samsara...

gus

October 05, 2018, 06:56:28 AM
Evolution:
Bhante subhuti =>
Upasaka gus =>
Deva gus =>
Asura gus.

In the future:
Asura gus =>
Peta gus =>
Animal gus =>
Hell-being gus ???

gus

October 05, 2018, 05:51:42 AM
Okasa, I think bhante thinks me as a patriot because of some content of my posts. But it is not.
Vandami.
 

Johann

October 05, 2018, 05:41:33 AM
What ever one likes to, not touched like the moon, does not mean to praise what is blameworthy and vici-versa and to have metta not to let people run into hell if ways can be pointed out. Yet other choices at least are their. Be quick, your island drifts away!

gus

October 05, 2018, 05:34:15 AM
Okasa,
As long as I don't do exactly what you say, I think I'll not be able to make you happy or satisfied.
Vandami.
 

Johann

October 04, 2018, 02:12:55 PM
If thinking that this is for sure, if delighting in believing that connected things are a refuge and give space to rest: one may do so. Ones own choice. When ever one stops to nurish inwardly, ouwardly path and fruits die. Good as well as bad.

gus

October 04, 2018, 11:28:51 AM
If bhante didn't let the weak person to live in avatar/deva mode, then he will lose both openness and connection. Up to now I have secured at least the connection.
Vandami.

gus

October 04, 2018, 11:22:24 AM
Yet I appreciate and pay vandana for your care and advice on openness.
Vandami.

gus

October 04, 2018, 11:19:56 AM
Please forgive me  bhante if I have made you tired. I don't like to accumulate akusala by making a monk tired in expecting a naughty chicken to be a good duck.
Okasa dwarattayena katam sabbam accayam Khamtu me bhante!
 

Johann

October 04, 2018, 11:07:06 AM
 

Johann

October 04, 2018, 11:01:00 AM
Differnt asked "why is Bhante not happy, dwell not in outwardly seeming being not touched?" Because it would not only confirm and show sign of aggreement of unwise acts, but also very incompassionate and cruel. Also place for suspecting corrupt ways and invite others to follow the comfortable dwelli
 

Johann

October 04, 2018, 10:54:12 AM
No one is able to make my person angry, which does not mean that he would not appear angry so to possible prevent from doing what is not conductive for liberation, even lead in lower states. Nothing to worry, but also no invitation to test it foolish since it could hurt one self and others.

gus

October 04, 2018, 10:46:39 AM
Okasa bhante, Isn't there at least single way to stay anonymous without making you angry?
Vandami.
 

Johann

October 04, 2018, 10:33:12 AM
corr: "it's, the domain of the Noble Ones, is nobody's personal domain" there are no wards around fields for merits and no tickets to pay
 

Johann

October 04, 2018, 10:29:31 AM
What ever Deva gus feels inspired. It's oneones personal domain and all giving is good in the distance of the brigh cool moon. One should not fear, should not be shy to do what is good and praised by the wise but be quick!

gus

October 04, 2018, 10:21:39 AM
Bhante, is that mean you don't like me to talk about higher subjects and like to talk about basics only?
 

Johann

October 04, 2018, 10:02:12 AM
It would be more than good if teaching others a lot on the topic vandami (paying respect) and khamatu (asking for forgiviness) since unknown and not practiced here around this field of merits in compassion to former relatives, Deva gus.
 

Johann

October 04, 2018, 09:55:38 AM
...total no problem to dwell and lay down in the cool shadow to heal at all and no need to ask for pardon when intended for progressing and to get fit for the battles so hard to win.
 

Johann

October 04, 2018, 09:52:39 AM
But they would not feed them in ways which might look as nurishing relations for wordly sake directly, for people not understanding would think "look, he is herding, carry for his cattle, he wasts the gift of the land, the heritage of the Gems for his becoming and own gain. Understood? Total no prob
 

Johann

October 04, 2018, 09:45:29 AM
Never would people of integrity send away pets, petas or sick, for they are not able to change for now but possible can gain of what they need to change.
 

Johann

October 04, 2018, 09:42:28 AM
If, just to think about, one lives deliberatly with sign showing a rejection of firm trust in kamma, one lives in nurishing the danger of falling into grave wrong views and give ways that others follow what is improper to do. Just to reflect. How ever wishing to do.
 

Johann

October 04, 2018, 09:36:03 AM
What ever one does, holds as refuge or abounds, either good or bad refuge, one does for one self. Ones own choices, ones own fruits, ones own limitations, hindrences.

gus

October 04, 2018, 09:28:15 AM
Khamatu me bhante!
My previous  post was this.
"Please forgive me and give birth to kindness ao as to let me live here anonymous "
 

Johann

October 04, 2018, 09:21:35 AM
... doing so based on gratitude without just trading in giving, or out of duty in a relation one resits, one is able to get not only to the borders, but into Noble ones domain.
 

Johann

October 04, 2018, 09:19:27 AM
And to put much into such sacrifies of giving ones honor, ones dwelling, ones source of food (family), one possession (even intelectual), the Dhamma one has made his own

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