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Author Topic: [En/De] Respect, Confidence,Patient | Repekt, Zuversicht, Geduld, B. Thanissaro  (Read 1057 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

November 20, 2018, 12:39:06 PM
May all drive slowly and be attentive since Bhante Sreng (Indanano) will not miss one moment to teach.
 

Cheav Villa

November 20, 2018, 06:45:22 AM
ថ្វាយបង្គំ​ព្រះអង្គ​ _/\_
កូណាគួរនឹងបានទៅឱរ៉ាល់ស្អែក ជាមួយនឹងក្រុមព្រះអង្គស្រេង
 

Johann

November 20, 2018, 06:20:22 AM
ញោម មូ៉ក, ញោម វិល្លា៉
 

Cheav Villa

November 20, 2018, 05:57:49 AM
ជំរាប សួរ ពូ (ម៉ុក)
 _ / \ _
 

Cheav Villa

November 20, 2018, 05:56:53 AM
ជំរាប​សួរ​ ពូ(ម៉ូក)​
 _/\_
 

Cheav Villa

November 20, 2018, 04:32:00 AM
_/\_
 

Moritz

November 20, 2018, 01:04:26 AM
Good morning, Cheav Villa _/\_
 

Moritz

November 20, 2018, 12:42:27 AM
Good morning, Bhante. _/\_
 

Johann

November 19, 2018, 06:54:35 AM
Nyom Muk Sokha
 

Johann

November 18, 2018, 04:59:04 PM
Nyom Roman, Nyom Vithou.
 

Cheav Villa

November 18, 2018, 04:33:20 PM
Park Kuna Prah Ang _/\_
 

Khemakumara

November 18, 2018, 04:02:38 PM
 :-* :-*    :-*

Bhante
 

Johann

November 18, 2018, 03:29:08 PM
Nyom Villa
 

Johann

November 18, 2018, 03:08:35 PM
Bhante
 

Cheav Villa

November 17, 2018, 02:54:22 PM
កូ​ណា​ _/\_
 

Johann

November 17, 2018, 02:29:15 PM
Sadhu for steady care, and no problem, nothing to worry.
 

Cheav Villa

November 17, 2018, 02:07:11 PM
តែលោកនៅតែលេីកហេតុផល
មកបដិសេធដដែល
 

Cheav Villa

November 17, 2018, 02:05:33 PM
ព្រះអង្គ​ ខ្ញុំកូណាមិមទាន់អាចផុសរូបភាពបានទេ​ មួយវិញទៀតខ្ញុំកូណាបានទូលព្រះអង្គSreng​ អោយចូលមកប្រេីSangham.net​
២ដង
 

Johann

November 17, 2018, 12:54:00 PM
Nyom Villa. Sokh chamreoun.
 

Cheav Villa

November 17, 2018, 12:48:37 PM
ថ្វាយបង្គំ​ព្រះអង្គ​  _/\_
 

Johann

November 16, 2018, 01:00:45 AM
May all delight in observing this Sila-days inspirations of cleaning the mind.
 

Johann

November 15, 2018, 01:49:25 PM
Mag da Freude mit guten Unternehmungen sein.
 

Roman

November 15, 2018, 01:46:28 PM
ich gehe jetzt wieder an die Arbeit. ich wünsche allen einen friedevollen Tag!
 

Roman

November 15, 2018, 01:35:30 PM
ich würde mich sehr freuen dass mal mit eigenen augen zu sehen..habe auch geplant nächstes Jahr nach Kambodscha zu kommen.
 

Johann

November 15, 2018, 01:14:27 PM
Thmo Duk , zur Zeit und schon gute Weile, Nyom Roman.
 

Roman

November 15, 2018, 01:07:51 PM
Hello Cheav Villa

 

Roman

November 15, 2018, 12:57:27 PM
Johann wo leben sie eigentlich? Khemakumara erzählte mir dass sie eine Höle bewohnen im aural gebirge, wie ich mich erinneren kann
 

Roman

November 15, 2018, 12:53:28 PM
Hallo Johann
 

Johann

November 15, 2018, 12:52:15 PM
Nyom Roman
 

Cheav Villa

November 15, 2018, 09:03:03 AM
Kuna Prah Ang  :D _/\_
 

Johann

November 15, 2018, 08:56:25 AM
Everything fine now with Nyoms settings? (Nyom Sokdina is Nyom Villas husband, right? My person is very ignorant in remembering names and relations.)
 

Kong Sokdina

November 15, 2018, 08:18:06 AM
Because I Kuna cant go sangham.net
after move Gmail to mail Green.
 

Kong Sokdina

November 15, 2018, 08:13:31 AM
Prah Ang
I kuna Villa using his Acct _/\_
 

Johann

November 15, 2018, 08:04:33 AM
Nyom Kong Sokdina.
 

Johann

November 15, 2018, 03:16:45 AM
A fruitful Sila-observance day for those obsering it today.
 

Johann

November 14, 2018, 03:52:00 PM
Nyom Roman and Bhantes family will be surely happy and good that Bhante does not need to get much involved directly.
 

Cheav Villa

November 14, 2018, 03:40:07 PM
Kuna Prah Ang
 _/\_
The Kathina will be holding on Sat 17 and Sun 18. I kuna will meet both of Bhante Sreng and Bhante Khemearakuma to imform all about this, incl sharing much pictures.
 

Johann

November 14, 2018, 03:14:40 PM
Good if Nyom could explain Bhante Sreng how to use the online monastery. Sadhu! A topic on Bhante Khemakumaras going forth can be found here . Good also if informing and share date of Kathina at Wat Ayom, and much pictures to share
 

Cheav Villa

November 14, 2018, 02:55:43 PM
Kuna Prah Ang,
As I kuna knowing that Prah Ang Khemareakuma
was staying in Ork Yum Pagoda.
This Saturday or Sunday I kuna would join the Kathin there, but now I kuna will send some about Bhante Khemareakuma via FB Prah Ang Sreng.
 

Johann

November 14, 2018, 02:37:46 PM
Nyom Roman, Nyom Villa asked if she can help in something in regard of Bhante. Best when you talk in a new topic.
 

Johann

November 14, 2018, 02:36:12 PM
Nyom Roman , Bhantes twin brother and his family asked how Bhante is. They miss him much and Bhante praisworthy focus on practice.
 

Cheav Villa

November 14, 2018, 02:27:20 PM
ព្រះអង្គ  _/\_
តើខ្ញុំកូណានឹងអាចជួយអ្វីខ្លះអ្វីអំពីព្រះអង្គ​ Khemareakuma?
 

Cheav Villa

November 14, 2018, 02:15:11 PM
ជំរាបសួរលោក​ Moritz
_/\_
 

Cheav Villa

November 14, 2018, 02:12:59 PM
កូណាមិនបានដឹងទេ ព្រះអង្គ​
 

Moritz

November 14, 2018, 02:12:36 PM
ជំរាបសួរ Cheav Villa _/\_
 

Moritz

November 14, 2018, 02:12:29 PM
Auf Wiedersehen, Roman. Ich schreibe dir noch zurück per E-Mail und mache hier am besten noch ein Thema auf für später.

_/\_
 

Johann

November 14, 2018, 02:03:05 PM
Does Nyom Villa know Bhante Khemakumaras twin brother?
 

Johann

November 14, 2018, 02:01:43 PM
Eine Reihe der neuen Mitglieder hier, Nyom Villa, Puthy... sind öfter in Kontakt und in den Klöstern Ayum und in Phnom Penh. Mag sein, daß jemand von den Upasikas kürzlich Kontakt hatte. Gut auch wenn Nyom guten Kontakt zu anderen Laien vor Ort Pflegt, hallo sagt...
 

Roman

November 14, 2018, 02:01:26 PM
ich danke ihnen Johann und Motiz für die informationen und unterstützung.
 ich muss  jetzt weiter. ich  wünsche allen einen friedevolle tag
 

Johann

November 14, 2018, 01:46:29 PM
Ein paar generelle und erklärende Worte zum Thema Unterstützen hier: If willing to help the child, the "poor" the new, give to it's master, father!

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