Memorable Quote: “Anything that can be described, you let go. That’s how the path in-line with the dharma leads to freedom.”
Synopsis: Dharma (the teachings) is always there, all we have to do is listen, Thanissaro Bhikkhu says. The problem is that we prefer to hear delusions, because those are more comfortable. We spend time with people with similar delusions, who don’t challenge us. Instead, we need to practice with the goal of dispassion. We ought cultivate dispassion for our ideas of who we are, perceptions and constructs surrounding our selves. There is no stability to be found there. Nor is there stability to be found in the outside things we depend on for happiness. We need to give up all our assumptions about what we think will make us happy.
Dispassion is the highest aspiration; however, we need great passion to motivate us along this path. We need enthusiasm to rid ourselves of greed, anger and delusion. We need to be excited about developing mindfulness and discernment. When we feel tired or bored about the teachings, we need to cultivate our interest and engagement. The road to dispassion leads through passion, skillfully applied. At the end of this development, everything gets given back, and you develop dispassion more fully. You then have nothing to carry around; your mind is totally free of illusions, and nothing can threaten you.
I like: I liked Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s direct, unvarnished honesty.
I wish: I couldn’t quite follow what he meant by saying that we give up all of our assumptions about happiness; it seems like he wants us to retain some assumptions about the connection of delusion to unhappiness and clarity to happiness.
More about the speaker: Thanissaro Bhikkhu believes that “dharma practice is medicine for the mind — something particularly needed in a culture like ours that actively creates mental illness in training us to be busy producers and avid consumers. As individuals, we become healthier through our Dharma practice, which in turn helps bring sanity to our society at large.” For more of his talks, go to dharmaseed.org/teacher/179/