Thanissaro Bhikkhu [info icon]
(Geoffrey DeGraff)
Alternate format: [SuttaReadings.net icon]

In addition to the titles listed below, Thanissaro Bhikkhu has also translated into English many books by masters of the Thai forest traditions, including Upasika Kee Nanayon and Ajaans Lee, Fuang, and Maha Boowa. An anthology of his sutta translations is available in a four-volume series of books entitled Handful of Leaves, distributed by the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies. He has also prepared a number of Study Guides on various topics of interest to Buddhist practitioners. Books that are available free of charge in printed form are marked thus: [book icon].

Note: For the most up-to-date collection of articles and books by Thanissaro Bhikkhu — including many that have been formatted for e-readers — please visit dhammatalks.org.

Adult Dhamma vs. Special Dhamma, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2015; 3pp./6KB) [PDF icon] [audio icon]
Dhamma practice means to learn a skill, a skill which secures you all the way to awakening. Many popular thought about the Dhamma are merely an kind of art and as it is with art, it attracts more then just a "simple" skill. But when times are growing more serious, art wouldn't supply you with the possibility to cross the flood. In this short talk, given in March 2015, the author gives some good reasons why it is better to stick with a firm skill.
Affirming the Truths of the Heart: The Buddhist Teachings on Samvega & Pasada, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1997; 5pp./14KB)
Popular interpretations of Buddhism today often ignore the importance of two powerful emotions, emotions that propelled the Buddha — and all those who have sought Awakening since — towards the goal of Awakening: samvega, a sense of urgency to escape the round of meaningless existence; and pasada, a clarity and serene confidence that allows one to proceed confidently towards the goal without lapsing into despair. In this short essay the author explores the meaning of these essential emotions and how we can encourage them to blossom in our lives.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Noble Strategy.

The Agendas of Mindfulness, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2002; 3pp./10KB)
Mindfulness meditation is sometimes described as a kind of "passive all-encompassing acceptance" of one's immediate experience. But, as the author reminds us in this essay, the Pali texts paint a very different picture of what meditation is all about: it is, in fact, a very pro-active process with a clear agenda.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book The Karma of Questions.

All About Change, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2004; 6pp./18KB)
What did the Buddha really have to say about anicca — inconstancy and change? Does the fact of impermanence tell us (as some popular teachings claim) that we should learn to "embrace our experiences without clinging," that we have the freedom to "create whatever world we want to live in"? In fact, the Buddha's teachings on anicca offer something far more useful and profound.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Purity of Heart.

The Atthaka Vagga: The Octet Chapter, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1997; 5pp./16KB)
An introduction to the author's sutta translations from the Sutta Nipata's fourth chapter, which consists of sixteen poems on the theme of non-clinging.
The Arrows of Thinking: Papañca & the path to end conflict, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2012; 8pp./44KB)
When discussing the sources of conflict—inner and outer—the Buddha pointed to a type of thinking he called papañca. This term is often translated as “conceptual proliferation,” but a survey of how it’s discussed in the Pali Canon shows that it has less to do with the amount of thinking and more with the way thinking is framed. This is an extract from daylong course, given in the IMC of the Mid-Peninsula, California, USA on 28. April 2012 which focus on understanding what papañca is, how it happens, when it has its uses, and how the need for it can eventually be overcome.

A audio file of the full talk is avaliable on audiodhamma.org.

Basic Breath Meditation Instructions, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1993; 3pp./8KB)
A guided meditation, from the talk, "Using Meditation to Deal with Pain, Illness & Death". (See also: "A Guided Meditation.")
Better to Give than to Consume, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2015; 3pp./7KB) [PDF icon] [audio icon]
Normally, when people meet each other, they would exchange about what and how they could consume there and here. In the decision if something would be worthy to dedicate ones time, the question "What do I get from it?", would suddenly arise. Often people bear such an attitude also in regard of a monastery of meditation center, but that is the wrong way to step into the practice. In this short evening talk the author explains how an attitude of giving and letting go - from the very beginning till the end of the path - is leading to joy and to another view of one self: "You could be of cause also a being which is not just consuming all the time."
The Buddhist Monastic Code I: The Patimokkha Training Rules Translated and Explained, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2007; 495pp./1KB) [PDF icon]
The 227 Patimokkha training rules, which are recorded in the Suttavibhanga (the first major section of the Vinaya Pitaka), affect every aspect of the daily life of the Theravada Buddhist bhikkhu (monk). The Patimokkha rules are presented here along with summaries of their "origin stories" and extensive commentary to help the monk-in-training master the fine points of monastic conduct. This book is now in widespread use at English-speaking Theravada monasteries around the world. This is the second (2007) edition, which has been extensively revised from the first (1996) edition.

[book icon] Printed copies of this book are available upon request. For delivery to the Americas and Africa please write to: Metta Forest Monastery, P.O. Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082, USA. For delivery to Europe please write to Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, St. Margarets Lane, Great Gaddesden, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire HP1 3BZ, England. For delivery to Asia, Australia, and the Pacific please write to: Wat Pah Nanachat, Bahn Bung Wai, Amper Warin, Ubon 34310, Thailand.

The Buddhist Monastic Code II: The Khandhaka Rules Translated and Explained, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2007; 472pp./1KB) [PDF icon]
Whereas the Patimokkha concerns the basic rules of Theravada Buddhist monastic life (see The Buddhist Monastic Code, Volume I), the Khandhaka (the second major section of the Vinaya Pitaka) concerns its customs, which are no less essential to monastic life. This landmark book organizes and explains the Khandhaka rules in a systematic and practical way, for the benefit of any Theravada monk-in-training. This is the second (2007) edition, which has been extensively revised from the first (2002) edition.

[book icon] Printed copies of this book are available upon request. For delivery to the Americas and Africa please write to: Metta Forest Monastery, P.O. Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082, USA. For delivery to Europe please write to Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, St. Margarets Lane, Great Gaddesden, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire HP1 3BZ, England. For delivery to Asia, Australia, and the Pacific please write to: Wat Pah Nanachat, Bahn Bung Wai, Amper Warin, Ubon 34310, Thailand.

Beyond All Directions: Essays on the Buddhist Path, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2013; 69pp./76KB) [PDF icon]
This is the fifth collection of essays of the author, which are dealing with essential issues for the practice. Some of the listed essays (linked essay are the previous versions) have been released before and are here in a revised form. The booklet contains: Beyond All Directions, Lost in Quotation, An All-around Eye, Metta Means Goodwill, On Denying Defilement, Virtue Without Attachment, The Limits of the Unlimited Attitudes, The Essence of the Dhamma, The Middles of the Middle Way, and The Arrows of Thinking.
Comfortable with the Truth, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2015; 3pp./6KB) [PDF icon] [audio icon]
This talk is a reminder where we actually are able to solve the problems of our world effectively. A eveningtalk given on 9. September 2005 at Wat Metta.
The Customs of the Noble Ones, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1999; 6pp./19KB)
Accordingly to one popular theory, the Buddha's teachings have survived all these years thanks to their ability to adapt to the customs of whatever culture they find themselves at each moment in history. The case of the Thai forest kammatthana tradition, however, offers a striking counterexample to this notion. As the author argues in this essay, history has shown that the true Dhamma survives only when people have been willing to adapt their own customs and habits so as to meet the Dhamma face-to-face, on its own terms.
De-perception, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2002; 5pp./14KB)
When we sit down to meditate we usually bring along a host of assumptions about what our perceptions are, what our experience of meditation is like, and what it should be. As meditators, our task is to learn to ask the right questions — questions that will help us break through layer after layer of these false preconceived notions. This article, based on a Dhamma talk, is full of practical advice for meditators of all levels.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book The Karma of Questions.

Dhamma for Laypeople, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2015; 4pp./8KB) [audio icon]
Letting go is the essence of the Dhamma. Even through we might not be ready to let go, the time will come that we must. In this short talk, Ven. Bhante explains how the aspects of the path are equal for everyone, independent of the fact that one lifes at home or has left into a monastery. A transcription of an evening talk given in April 2015 at Wat Metta.
Dhammapada, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2012; 126pp./2KB) [PDF icon]
The Dhammapada, an anthology of verses attributed to the Buddha, has long been recognized as one of the masterpieces of early Buddhist literature. Only more recently have scholars realized that it is also one of the early masterpieces in the Indian tradition of kavya, or belles lettres. This translation of the Dhammapada is an attempt to render the verses into English in a way that does justice to both of the traditions to which the text belongs. This translation also grew from the translator's conviction that the text deserved to be offered freely as a gift of Dhamma. As few good-quality translations of this beloved text are currently available as gifts, the translator was inspired to make his own. Thus was this translation born.
The Economy of Gifts, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1997; 4pp./12KB)
This short essay explores the vital role of giving (dana) in Theravada Buddhism, especially as it is expressed in the relation between the lay and monastic communities. These mutually dependent communities support one another by means of an economy based entirely on generosity itself, thus offering us a refreshing alternative to modern Western materialism.
Educating Compassion, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2006; 5pp./16KB)
How can we best serve a loved one who is sick or dying? In such situations simply acting with compassion and mindfulness is not enough; there are skills we must learn before we can truly be of compassionate service.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Purity of Heart.

ePublished Dhamma Talks (1), by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2011; 131pp./0.5MB) [PDF icon]
Thirty-seven Dhamma talks from the evening meditation sessions at Metta Forest Monastery. [Not available in HTML]
ePublished Dhamma Talks (2), by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2011; 87pp./481KB) [PDF icon]
Twenty-two Dhamma talks from the evening meditation sessions at Metta Forest Monastery. [Not available in HTML]
ePublished Dhamma Talks (3), by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2011; 338pp./1MB) [PDF icon]
Seventy-eight Dhamma talks from the evening meditation sessions at Metta Forest Monastery. [Not available in HTML]
Emptiness, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1997; 2pp./7KB)
In this short essay the author explains the role of emptiness in the practice of meditation.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Noble Strategy.

Faith In Awakening, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2006; 10pp./31KB)
Is faith necessary? In this essay the author challenges three popular misconceptions concerning the role of faith in Buddhism.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Purity of Heart.

Fear of others, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2003; 3pp./7KB) , transcribed by lay people for ZzE [PDF icon] [audio icon]
This short Dhamma talk should give a small impression, how fear in daily live is actually self made and how preoccupations can determine our mind. The way to the path and the training according the Dhamma of the Buddha is pointed out as well, as how could one overcome this problem. This transcript origins from a collection of morning and evening talks and was shared on dhammatalks.org.
Five Piles of Bricks: The Khandhas as Burden & Path, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2002; 6pp./19KB)
When asked, "What am I?" Buddhist scholars and meditation teachers, alike, usually state that what we conventionally call a "person" is best understood in terms of the five khandhas: form, feeling, perceptions, mental fabrications, and consciousness. This understanding of the khandhas, which first emerged several centuries after the Buddha's death in the commentarial literature, differs significantly from the role of the khandhas as presented in the Pali canon. In this essay the author shows that the Buddha used the teachings of the khandhas not to define what we are, but rather as a tool to help us put an end to our suffering.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book The Karma of Questions.

Food for Awakening: The Role of Appropriate Attention, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2010; 9pp./26KB)
What is "bare attention"? The answer may surprise you.
Freedom From Buddha Nature, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2010; 6pp./18KB)
According to the early Buddhist teachings, the mind is neither innately good, innately bad, or innately Awakened; it is our choices and our actions that shape the development of the mind. In fact, if we make any assumptions about the mind's innate qualities, we only impede our progress towards a true and lasting freedom.
Freedom From Fear, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2002; 7pp./20KB)
Human beings have forever lived in fear: fear of change, of loss, of death. Unfortunately, we have also adopted a host of unskillful ways to deal with those fears. The author writes: "The most unskillful response to fear is when, perceiving dangers to our own life or property, we believe that we can gain strength and security by destroying the lives and property of others." In this essay the author describes the Buddha's prescription for overcoming fear once and for all, by uprooting its very cause.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book The Karma of Questions

Getting the Message, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2006; 7pp./21KB)
In today's climate of terrorism and war, we hear politicians, pundits, and even a few Buddhist teachers insisting that killing can be morally justified when it prevents others from killing. In this essay the author points out that the Buddha's teachings on the subject are uncompromising and crystal clear: killing is never skillful.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Purity of Heart.

A Guided Meditation, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1999; 4pp./11KB)
Basic instructions in the practice of breath meditation. (See also: "Basic Breath Meditation Instructions.")

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Noble Strategy.

Head & Heart Together: Bringing Wisdom to the Brahma-viharas, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2009; 8pp./24KB)
Good will, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity are all qualities that can be developed with practice. To elevate them fully to the level of brahmavihara, however, requires the hard work of bringing real intelligence to your heart.
Head & Heart Together: Essays on the Buddhist Path, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2011; ??pages/448KB) [PDF icon]
Thirteen essays, including: 'The Lessons of Gratitude', 'No Strings Attached', 'The Power of Judgment', 'Think like a Thief', 'Strength Training for the Mind', 'Mindfulness Defined', 'The Joy of Effort', 'Head & Heart Together', 'The Wisdom of the Ego', 'Ignorance', 'Food for Awakening', 'The Buddha via the Bible', and 'Freedom from Buddha Nature'. [Not available in HTML]
The Healing Power of the Precepts, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1997; 4pp./11KB)
Many people today have come to the Buddha's teachings in search of emotional and spiritual healing. In this short essay the author reminds us that the single most effective tool for healing a wounded heart may be found in the cultivation of sila, or virtuous conduct.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Noble Strategy.

Ignorance, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2008; 3pp./9KB)
We're ignorant not for lack of information or knowledge, but because of the unskillful ways in which we handle stress and suffering. Develop the proper skills and Awakening is sure to follow.
Infinite Good Humor, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2015; 6pp./8KB) [PDF icon] [audio icon]
A good portion of self ironic and humor which are based on "discernment in doing" are needed to help you to overcome the setback on the path so that you are able to lift your self up and walk on. So don't be shy to laugh about your foolishness and mistakes when ever it is proper. A transcription of an evening talk given in March 2015 at Wat Metta.
The Integrity of Emptiness, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2006; 10pp./30KB)
Much has been written about the Buddhist concept of emptiness — in particular, that it refers to a metaphysical principle of the absence of any inherent existence. In this essay the author points out that this notion has very little to do with what the Buddha himself actually said about emptiness. In fact, the Buddha's teachings on emptiness are of a fundamentally practical nature, having everything to do with how to choose your actions with care and how to relate to their results with wisdom.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Purity of Heart.

Itivuttaka: This Was Said by the Buddha, translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2001; 7pp./20KB)
 

[book icon] This book is no longer in print as a separate volume. It is available in Handful of Leaves (Vol. 4), distributed by the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies.

Jhana Not by the Numbers, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2005; 4pp./12KB)
The author recalls how Ajaan Fuang taught meditation to his students: he would give them just enough instruction to stay on-track, but would rarely "certify" them as having attained this or that level of jhana, thereby motivating them to develop self-reliance and ingenuity in their meditation. In the words of Ajaan Fuang: "If I have to explain everything, you'll get used to having things handed to you on a platter. And then what will you do when problems come up in your meditation and you don't have any experience in figuring things out on your own?"

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Purity of Heart

The Joy of Effort, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2010; 5pp./15KB)
On bringing a joyful, playful attitude to the serious practice of meditation.
Justice vs. Skillfulness, von Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2016; 4 S./8KB) [audio icon]
Transcript of a Dhamma talk, given at Wat Metta in July 2016.
Karma, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2000; 3pp./8KB)
This short introductory essay explains the nature of karma (Pali: kamma), or willful action. The process of karma is a complex interplay between the fruits of our past actions (over which we have no control in the present) and the choices we make in the present moment; it is not a convenient justification for the misfortune of others ("Oh, it's just their karma!").

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Noble Strategy.

The Karma of Questions: Essays on the Buddhist Path, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2002)
As the author writes in the Introduction: "There's no such thing as a totally idle question. Every question, even the most casual, carries an intention." Since one's intentions shape the course of one's entire spiritual journey, learning to ask the right kinds of questions plays an essential role in any spiritual practice. This collection of essays explores the nature of questions in the Buddhist path. Essays include: Life Isn't Just Suffering, Opening the Door to the Dhamma, Questions of Skill, Freedom from Fear, Samsara, Samsara Divided by Zero, The Agendas of Mindfulness, De-perception, The Weight of Mountains, File Piles of Bricks, and "When you know for yourselves...".

[book icon] Available in various formats at dharmatalks.org. To request a free printed copy of this book, please write to: Metta Forest Monastery, PO Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082 USA.

Legends of Somdet Toh, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2006; 7pp./20KB)
Somdet Toh (1788-1872) was one of nineteenth century Thailand's most famous and beloved meditation monks. In this short article the author recounts several anecdotal stories and legends that reveal the wit and wisdom of this extraordinary monk.
The Lessons of Gratitude, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2010; 7pp./22KB)
How to repay the kindness of others in the best possible way.
Lost in Quotation, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2012; 5pp./16KB)
A clarification of the Kalama Sutta, one of the most famous — and misquoted — suttas in the entire Tipitaka.
The Meaning of the Buddha's Awakening, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1997; 3pp./9KB)
Although the Buddha's Awakening took place long ago in ancient India, the fact of his Awakening is very much alive today and has profound implications for how we approach Buddhist practice. In this essay the author explores both the What and the How of the Buddha's Awakening: what he awakened to and how he did it.
Meditations 1: Forty Dhamma Talks, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2003; 151pp./454KB)
These short talks on meditation practice were given by Ajaan Geoff (Thanissaro Bhikkhu) during the evening meditation sessions at Metta Forest Monastery (California). Using breath meditation as the principal point of reference, these talks address a wide range of topics of practical interest to beginning and advanced meditators, alike. Topics range from the development of generosity, the cultivation of skillful qualities of mind, how to develop concentration, how to overcome fear, and so on — all the way to the opening to the transcendent itself. This book is highly recommended.

[book icon] To request a printed copy of this book, please write to: Metta Forest Monastery, P.O. Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082, USA.

Meditations 2: Dhamma Talks, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2006; 164pp./491KB)
More Dhamma talks from the evening meditation sessions at Metta Forest Monastery. This book is highly recommended.

[book icon] To request a printed copy of this book, please write to: Metta Forest Monastery, P.O. Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082, USA.

Meditations 3: Dhamma Talks, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2006; 154pp./461KB)
More Dhamma talks from the evening meditation sessions at Metta Forest Monastery. This book is highly recommended.

[book icon] To request a printed copy of this book, please write to: Metta Forest Monastery, P.O. Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082, USA.

Meditations 4: Dhamma Talks, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2010; 170pp./0.5MB)
More Dhamma talks from the evening meditation sessions at Metta Forest Monastery. This book is highly recommended.

[book icon] To request a printed copy of this book, please write to: Metta Forest Monastery, P.O. Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082, USA.

Meditations 5: Dhamma Talks, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2011; 189pp./0.6MB)
More Dhamma talks from the evening meditation sessions at Metta Forest Monastery.

[book icon] To request a printed copy of this book, please write to: Metta Forest Monastery, P.O. Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082, USA.

Metta Means Goodwill, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2011; 5pp./16KB) [PDF icon]
In this short essay, the author proposes a translation of the Pali term "metta" that is more in keeping with the Buddha's early teachings.
Mind Like Fire Unbound: An Image in the Early Buddhist Discourses (Fourth Edition), by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff) (1999; 4pp./11KB)
Early Buddhism borrowed two of its central terms from the workings of fire. Upadana, or clinging, originally referred to the fuel that kept fire burning; nibbana, the name of the goal, to a fire's going out. This is the first book to examine these terms from the perspective of how the early Buddhists themselves viewed fire — what they saw happening as a fire burned, and what happened to the fire when it went out — to show what light this perspective throws on Buddhist doctrine in general, and the practice of meditation in particular. With extensive quotations from the Pali canon, newly translated, this is also a useful sourcebook for anyone who wants to encounter Buddhist teachings in their earliest known context.

[book icon] To request a printed copy of this book, please write to: Metta Forest Monastery, P.O. Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082, USA.

Mindfulness Defined, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2008; 6pp./18KB)
Over the years the word sati has accumulated a host of meanings that go far beyond the Buddha's original definition of the word. Meditation practice calls for a clear understanding of what sati is and how to use it skillfully in concert with other mental qualities.
Nibbana, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1996; 2pp./5KB)
This short essay sketches the use of fire imagery in early Buddhism to describe Nibbana, the goal of Buddhist practice. This essay is a good starting point before tackling the more comprehensive book on the same subject: The Mind Like Fire Unbound: An Image in the Early Buddhist Discourses.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Noble Strategy.

Noble & True: Essays on the Buddhist Path, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2016; 79pp./283KB) [PDF icon]
This is the sixth collection of essays of the author. The booklet contains: Danger is Normal, What's Noble About the Noble Truths, Truths With Consequences, We Are Not One, Under Your Skin, Silence Isn't Mandatory, The Not-Self Strategy (an earlier version can be found here as well as a single document here) and The Buddha's Last Word.
No Strings Attached: The Buddha's Culture of Generosity, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2009; 6pp./19KB)
Have you ever felt vaguely uneasy upon hearing the 'dana talk' that often accompanies the beginning or end of a Western-style meditation retreat? If so, you're not alone. Such fundraising appeals have little in common with the Buddha's original teachings on generosity.
Noble Strategy: Essays on the Buddhist Path, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2011; 1p./3KB) [PDF icon]
A collection of essays concerning the Buddhist path of practice. The essays, which are available online individually, include: "Affirming the Truths of the Heart", "Karma", "The Road to Nirvana Is Paved with Skillful Intentions", "The Healing Power of the Precepts", "Right Speech", "Trading Candy for Gold", "A Guided Meditation", "The Path of Concentration & Mindfulness", "One Tool Among Many", "What Is Emptiness?", "No-self or Not-self?", and "Nibbana".

[book icon] To request a free copy of this book, please write to: Metta Forest Monastery, PO Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082 USA.

No-self or Not-self?, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1996; 3pp./8KB)
Is the central Buddhist teaching of anatta (not-self) a statement of metaphysical truth, or is it a strategy for gaining release from suffering? Through a careful study of the key passages from the Pali canon on the subject of anatta, the author here demonstrates the latter to be the case. (This is Ven. Thanissaro's second essay on the subject. For a more expanded treatment, containing supporting quotes from the Pali canon, see his essay, "The Not-self Strategy.")

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Noble Strategy.

The Not-self Strategy, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1993; 10pp./31KB)
Is the central Buddhist teaching of anatta (not-self) a statement of metaphysical truth, or is it a strategy for gaining release from suffering? Through a careful study of the key passages from the Pali canon on the subject of anatta, the author here demonstrates the latter to be the case. (This is Ven. Thanissaro's first essay on the subject, with supporting quotes from the Pali canon. It originally appeared in the magazine "Insight" in 1994. For a more concise treatment see , "No-self or Not-self?.")
One Tool Among Many: The Place of Vipassana in Buddhist Practice, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1997; 7pp./22KB)
What is the relationship between calm (samatha) and insight (vipassana) in Buddhist meditation? A careful reading of the suttas in the Pali canon suggests that the two are not separate meditation methods (as many commentators — classical and contemporary — suggest), but two aspects of a single, unified practice. According to the suttas, correct meditation practice thus calls for us to develop both aspects and to bring them into balance.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Noble Strategy.

Opening the Door to the Dhamma: Respect in Buddhist Thought & Practice, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2001; 8pp./23KB)
In order to succeed at learning a new skill, one must first muster sufficient respect for oneself, the subject under study, and one's teacher. In this essay the author demonstrates that the same holds true when approaching the Buddha's teachings — the ability to learn depends upon the proper respect for three things: yourself, the principle of kamma, and other people's insights into that principle.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book The Karma of Questions.

The Paradox of Becoming, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2011; 136pp./0.6MB) [PDF icon]
The Buddha's second Noble Truth states that the cause of suffering is any kind of craving that stimulates becoming (bhava; the process by which we continually fabricate new states of mind, from moment to moment and lifetime to lifetime). Yet this Noble Truth also states that the desire for non-becoming is one of the three basic forms of craving. Thus the paradox: How can we attain the end of suffering if the desire to end it is itself a cause of suffering? In this book the author explores the Buddha's own resolution of this paradox: how, through the practice of jhāna, we can create a unique state of becoming whereby the mind does not add further fuel to its desires. Eventually, this intentionally fabricated state of becoming itself comes to an end, providing the long-sought opening to the Deathless. [Not available in HTML]
The Parayana Vagga: The Chapter on the Way to the Far Shore, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1997; 1p./4KB)
An introduction to the author's translations of suttas from the Parayana Vagga, the fifth chapter of the Sutta Nipata.
Parents: Two short Talks on Gratitude, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2015; 4pp./6KB)
In this two short morning talks, given at Wat Metta, Ajahn Thanissaro points to the nessesary gratitude in regard of our parents and how we are able to pay them back if we develope ourselves in virtues, for us and generations to come.
The Path of Concentration & Mindfulness, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1997; 7pp./21KB)
Are concentration and mindfulness two distinct paths of meditation or are they inseparable parts of a single unified path of practice? In this article, adapted from a talk given at CIMC in 1996, Thanissaro Bhikkhu suggests that the heart of insight practice as taught by the Buddha consists of the skillful development of both jhanic concentration and mindfulness.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Noble Strategy.

The Power of Judgment, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2011; 6pp./19KB)
Developing good judgment is the key to becoming a true friend — first to yourself and then to those around you.
The Practice in a Word, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1999; 3pp./8KB)
Appamadena sampadetha! — such was the dying Buddha's parting instruction, which has often been translated as "Practice diligently!" But a wider reading in the suttas reveals that that crucial word appamada has a far more nuanced and significant meaning. According to the author, the Buddha's real message was, "Don't be complacent. Watch out for danger. Protect the mind's good qualities. Don't let your guard down."

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Purity of Heart.

Purity of Heart, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2006; 2pp./7KB)
What does it take to become a truly trustworthy person?
Purity of Heart: Essays on the Buddhist Path, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2006)
A collection of thirteen essays including the following, which are available online here: Purity of Heart; Faith in Awakening; Untangling the Present; Pushing the Limits; All About Change; The Roots of Buddhist Romanticism; Reconciliation, Right & Wrong; Getting the Message; Educating Compassion; Jhana Not by the Numbers; The Integrity of Emptiness; A Verb for Nirvana; and The Practice in a Word.

[book icon] Available in print only. To request a free copy of this book, please write to: Metta Forest Monastery, PO Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082 USA.

Pushing the Limits: Desire & Imagination in the Buddhist Path, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2006; 7pp./21KB)
One popular misconception of Buddhism maintains that the Buddha's teachings basically boil down to ridding ourselves of desire. In this essay the author reminds us that the path to liberation is, in fact, firmly rooted in desire—in skillful desire. Says the author: "The path to liberation pushes the limits of skillful desires to see how far they can go."

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Purity of Heart.

Questions of Skill, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2001; 5pp./15KB)
"The Buddha wasn't the sort of teacher who simply answered questions. He also taught which questions to ask." So begins the author, who explains here how the essence of Buddhist practice consists in learning how to ask skillful questions.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book The Karma of Questions.

Reconciliation, Right & Wrong, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2004; 4pp./13KB)
The Buddha's many teachings include detailed instructions on conflict resolution. This essay explores how the Buddha's insights into the fundamental differences between forgiveness and true reconciliation form the cornerstone of a skillful approach to restoring and preserving communal harmony.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Purity of Heart.

Refuge: An Introduction to the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2001; 74pp./222KB) [PDF icon]
This short book provides an excellent introduction to the most basic principles of Buddhism: the Buddha, Dhamma & Sangha, collectively known as the Triple Gem or Triple Refuge. The material is divided into three parts: (I) an introductory essay on the meaning of refuge and the act of going for refuge; (II) a series of readings drawn from the earliest Buddhist texts illustrating the essential qualities of the Triple Gem; and (III) a set of essays explaining aspects of the Triple Gem that often provoke questions in those who are new to the Buddha's teachings.

[book icon] To request a printed copy of this book, please write to: Metta Forest Monastery, P.O. Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082, USA.

Right Mindfulness: Memory & Ardency on the Buddhist Path, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2012; 178pp./1.2MB) [PDF icon]
An exploration of the nature of mindfulness and its role in the Buddhist path to Awakening. [Not available in HTML]
The Roots of Buddhist Romanticism, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2012; 9pp./27KB)
Sometimes it is difficult to appreciate the extent to which one's attitudes towards meditation practice can be influenced by modern cultural trends. In this short excursion into Western cultural history, the author explores the origins of such familar notions as interconnectedness, oneness, and ego-transcendence—ideas popularly attributed to the Buddha—and finds that their roots lie instead in the 18th and 19th century movements of Romanticism and Transcendentalism.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Purity of Heart.

Right Speech, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1999; 2pp./5KB)
For many of us, right speech is the most challenging of the precepts to honor. Yet practicing right speech is fundamental both to helping us become trustworthy individuals and to helping us gain mastery over the mind. So choose your words — and your motives for speaking — with care.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Noble Strategy.

The Road to Nirvana Is Paved with Skillful Intentions, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1999; 5pp./16KB)
According to the basic principle of karma, our underlying intentions play a crucial role in determining the ultimate fruits of our actions. As the author explains in this essay, if we're genuinely interested in pursuing the goal of the Buddha's teachings, it's not enough that we act merely with good intentions; rather, we must learn, through honest self-reflection and association with virtuous and wise friends, to cultivate skillfulness in our intentions.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Noble Strategy.

Samsara, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2002; 2pp./6KB)
Is samsara (the wearisome "wandering-on" from birth to death to rebirth) a place, or is it the process by which we create and re-create our own suffering? Here the author likens samsara to an addiction that we can choose to give up — or not. Which one shall it be?

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book The Karma of Questions.

Samsara Divided by Zero, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2000; 2pp./7KB)
How can the path of practice, which is fabricated, ever hope to deliver us to the goal — nibbana — which is itself unfabricated? A striking analogy from modern chaos theory sheds light on this ancient paradox.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book The Karma of Questions.

The Shape of Suffering: A Study of Dependent Co-arising, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2011; 112pp./0.8MB) [PDF icon]
In this book the author examines the nature of dependent co-arising (paticca samuppada) — the complex causal structure by which dukkha arises and ceases. It also shows how the factors of the path address the causes of suffering in a way that leads to its cessation. [Not available in HTML]

[book icon] To request a printed copy of this book, please write to: Metta Forest Monastery, P.O. Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082, USA.

Selves & Not-self: The Buddhist Teaching on Anatta, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2011; 79pp./241KB) [PDF icon]
Five talks on the topic of not-self (anattā), from a ten-day meditation retreat held in France.
Skill in Questions: How the Buddha Taught, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2011; 404pp./2.3MB) [PDF icon]
This book offers an in-depth exploration of the role of questions in the Buddha's teaching, organized around the four classes of questions that the Buddha addressed: questions that call for a direct, categorical answer; those that must be reframed; those that call for cross-questioning; and those that should be put aside altogether. This book serves as a valuable guide to understanding the crucial part that spiritual questioning plays in the practice of Dhamma. [Not available in HTML]

[book icon] To request a printed copy of this book, please write to: Metta Forest Monastery, P.O. Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082, USA.

Strength Training for the Mind, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2007; 5pp./14KB)
Taking the lessons of physical training to heart.
That the True Dhamma Might Last a Long Time: Readings Selected by King Asoka, selected and translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1993; 20pp./60KB)
A collection of short readings from the Pali canon, which King Asoka (India, 273-232 B.C.E) selected as representative of the essence of the Dhamma. (See also The Edicts of King Asoka, by Ven. S. Dhammika.)
Think Like a Thief, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2011; 2pp./7KB)
When problems arise in Dhamma practice, it pays to be imaginative and know how to come up with your own solution.
The Thinking cure, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2015; 3pp./6KB) [PDF icon] [audio icon]
Bhante Thanissaro explains not only that the way to peace is not archived by stopping thinging but also gives some useful ways to change ways of it for a good. A eveningtalk given on 18. September 2006 at Wat Metta.
Trading Candy for Gold: Renunciation as a Skill, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1999; 4pp./13KB)
Which would you rather have: an unquenchable thirst for sense-gratification, or a stable, true, and lasting happiness? The choice is yours.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Noble Strategy.

Train Your Hunger (The Sea Squirt), by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2017; 5pp./10KB) [PDF icon] [audio icon]
Replacing the truth of hunger with philosophies of existenc might be not enought. Bhante Thanissaro gives advices how training ones hunger may lead to go beyond it. An eveningtalk give on November 11., 2017 at Wat Metta.
The Truth of Rebirth: And Why it Matters for Buddhist Practice, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2012; 47pp./145KB) [PDF icon]
An exploration of the Buddha's teaching on rebirth.

[book icon] To request a printed copy of this book, please write to: Metta Forest Monastery, P.O. Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082, USA.

Udana: Exclamations, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2012; 148pp./0.9MB) [PDF icon]
A translation of the third book of the Khuddaka Nikaya, with introduction and notes. [Not available in HTML]
Untangling the Present: The Role of Appropriate Attention, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2006; 7pp./20KB)
The key to success in Buddhist practice lies in your ability to frame the problem of suffering correctly, in terms of the Four Noble Truths.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Purity of Heart.

Using Meditation to Deal with Pain, Illness & Death, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1993; 11pp./33KB)
A talk given to a conference on AIDS, HIV and other Immuno-deficiency Disorders in Long Beach, CA, Nov. 13, 1993.
A Verb for Nirvana, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2005; 9pp./28KB)
As long as we think of Nirvana (Nibbana) as a place — as a destination localized somewhere in space and time — we misunderstand its fundamental significance. In this essay (backed by a selection of sutta excerpts) the author shows that Nirvana is the ending of the entire samsaric process of becoming that creates time and space in the first place. Upon enlightenment one doesn't "enter" or "reach" Nirvana; one simply "nirvanas."

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book Purity of Heart.

The Weight of Mountains, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2001; 6pp./18KB)
Why do we keep creating suffering for ourselves? How do we bring it to an end? The key is to learn some better feeding habits for the mind.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book The Karma of Questions.

‘When you know for yourselves...’: The Authenticity of the Pali Suttas, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2002; 17pp./52KB)
For centuries scholars have argued over which parts of the Pali canon — if any — contain an accurate record of the Buddha's teachings. The texts themselves state that doubts about the Dhamma can be decisively resolved only if one puts the teachings into practice to the point of attaining stream-entry, the first stage of enlightenment. In this essay the author explains the qualities that (according to the texts) one must develop in order to authenticate the Dhamma for oneself.

[book icon] A printed copy is included in the book The Karma of Questions.

Wings to Awakening: An Anthology from the Pali Canon, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff) (2011; 302pp./1KB) [PDF icon]

The "Wings to Awakening" (bodhipakkhiya-dhamma) is the Buddha's own list of his most important teachings. It includes teachings on the Four Frames of Reference, the Four Right Exertions, the Four Bases of Power, the Five Faculties, the Five Strengths, the Seven Factors for Awakening, and the Noble Eightfold Path. Toward the end of his life, the Buddha stated several times that as long as the teachings in this list were remembered and put into practice, his message would endure. The Buddha himself described the Wings to Awakening as being what was most worth mastering and passing along to others.

The material gathered in this anthology consists of more than 200 newly translated passages from the suttas, along with extensive commentary to help the reader grasp their full meaning and their relation to the practice of meditation. This volume is thus both a treasure-house of important passages from the Canon covering the key points of the Buddha's teachings, as well as a practical manual to help the serious meditation student navigate through some of the most fundamental and profound points of Dhamma.

[book icon] To request a printed copy of this book, please write to: Metta Forest Monastery, P.O. Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082, USA.

Wisdom over Justice, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2017; 17p./90kB) [PDF icon]
Bhante Thanissaro gives here a patiently talk, in form of an essay, why skillful means are more important then to pursuit a certain right or a final objectivity and points out generosily, why so many practicing people have a hardship in regard of central worldview, so that it could be possible understood in it's details. Engaged Buddhism is against usual views and means around it not a tabu, following the Buddhas ideas about it.
Seeds of Becoming, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2003; 3pp./21KB) [PDF icon] [audio icon]
The author points out the place where we are able to lean to understand all issues which are moving this world. A Dhammatalk on Bhava (Becoming) and how we are able to transcendent birth, aging, sickness and death, exactly here and now.
Cutting New Paths in the Mind , by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2011; 3pp./19KB) [PDF icon] [audio icon]
Here the author explains that we mostly think in rut ways and the only protection so that we do not endanger ourselves constantly and finally stab ourselves in our ways is to take on new habits of thinking. One means to counteract is Right Effort and this would help us to walk aside of our usual tendencies in objectification.
Sweet the Small Stuff , by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2008; 2pp./6KB) [PDF icon] [audio icon]
A transcription of a short Dhamma-talk pointing out the importance that one does not get lost in the big stuff but better chooses the small issues and make them to the object of oberservation: "We’re dealing with a large issue: suffering. But you’re not going to see suffering if you just think about large issues all the time."
Sensitivity through Generosity, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2013; 3pp.) [PDF icon] [audio icon]
Generosity is not only an outwardly practice but the coarse training, as the foundation for later meditation, in every day life. Here the author explains that one can, through learning generosity and letting go, get more familiar with things that come up in one's mind and get to know them, and thereby become more sensitive in everyday life and in interaction with others. As it is often said in South East Asia, the path is nothing else but letting go and giving, from the coarse to the refined.