January 05, 2011

Download Skill in Questions by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Shortly after his awakening, the Buddha despaired of his ability to teach others what he had learned:

“The thought occurred to me, ‘This Dhamma I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. But this generation delights in attachment [alaya], is excited by attachment, enjoys attachment. For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality [idappaccayata] & dependent co-arising [paticca samuppada] are hard to see. This state too is hard to see: the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; unbinding (nibbana). And if I were to teach the Dhamma and others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me.‘" (Majjhima Nikaya 26)

Given the Buddha's initial reluctance to teach in general, it shouldn't surprise us that he didn't answer every question that came his way. Why wouldn't the Buddha answer every question that he was asked? Because there are some questions that do not lead toward the end of suffering.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu's new book Skill in Questions encourages us to follow the Buddha's advice. Just as he was discriminating in the questions we answered, so should we be skillful in the questions we ask. In January, to accompany Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Tricycle Retreat The Ten Perfections, we'll be offering Skill in Questions for download.

We are offering this special e-book edition for free and encourage a voluntary contribution of $5 to the Tricycle Teachers Fund, which benefits Buddhist teachers, who offer the teachings for free. All contributions made in January will be donated to the Metta Forest Monastery, where Thanissaro Bhikkhu serves as abbot.

Here’s how to get involved:
Join the Tricycle Community at any member level. To participate in Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s Tricycle Retreat, you must join at the Supporting or Sustaining Member level.
• Make a voluntary contribution of $5 to the Tricycle Teachers Fund. All contributions made in January will be donated to the Metta Forest Monastery.
• Download your e-book and start reading immediately.
 • Join Thanissaro Bhikkhu in his Tricycle Retreat on The Ten Perfections from January 3 through January 30.

Already a Tricycle Community Member?
Click here to take make a voluntary contribution to Metta Forest Monastery via the Tricycle Teachers Fund and download the e-book.

Share with a Friend

Email to a Friend

Already a member? Log in to share this content.

You must be a Tricycle Community member to use this feature.

1. Join as a Basic Member

Signing up to Tricycle newsletters will enroll you as a free Tricycle Basic Member.You can opt out of our emails at any time from your account screen.

2. Enter Your Message Details

Enter multiple email addresses on separate lines or separate them with commas.
Alex Kelly's picture

Have you've ever noticed how posing a really good question can lead to unexpected, outstanding and uplifting results? Highly recommended.

nipuna12000's picture

Great book. It presents a very skillful way of posing questions to oneself in the practice. Read the discussions first then go thru the Pali readings. That's what Ajahn Geoff suggested in the introduction. I fallowed his advise. If you try to read straight through, you might get overwhelmed or discouraged to finish, because of the tendacy for the suttas in the Pali canon to be repetitive (this is owing to them being derived from an oral dialect, repitition in oral dialect/chanting is an aid in memorization and hammering essential points home to those listening). patient forbearance is the foremost austerity. Peace.