Goodreads helps you follow your favorite authors. Be the first to learn about new releases!
Start by following Nanamoli Thera.

Nanamoli Thera Nanamoli Thera > Quotes


Nanamoli Thera quotes Showing 1-30 of 61

“Authoritative people bore me: but what bores me even more are those swarms of little people who love authority and in virtue of whom the authority of the authoritative can be exercised.”
Nanamoli Thera
“Odd how people interested in religion spend so much time trying to convert the obvious meaning of their texts that are their authority.”
Nanamoli Thera
“As electricity is made up of positive and negative current - so is human life a system of attraction and repulsion. - Turn off the current if you want quiet. - Yes, but where is the switch?”
Nanamoli Thera
tags: dhamma
“Whatever is will be was.”
Nanamoli Thera
“People tend to fall into two main types: those dominated by feeling and those dominated by intellect. (It is a common notion that women belong to the former and men to the latter). The former being guided by feeling, use intellect as a subordinate means to justify the impulsive feeling, and so tend to be inconsistent logically, self-contradictory and adaptable. Those dominated by intellect tend to use the subordinated feeling as a means to justify choice guided by logical formalism, and so they tend to be ambivalent to things and persons, being more interested in principles than in things. Just as the former try and convince others and themselves that their impulsive choice is right by isolated logical argument, so do the latter by trying to force what their line of argument had led to upon others and themselves.”
Nanamoli Thera
“What we are not at all interested in may be what we are.”
Nanamoli Thera
“There are two ways of attempting to deal with the appalling difficulties of choice on the higher ethical levels (Truth/beauty/goodness; family/country, war/peace, principles/persons.. ): (1) one can attempt to justify a one-sided choice, and this is what philosophies of value and religions attempt to do through reason and faith (feeling,) respectively. But this always founders or is never safe from foundering. (2) Or the dialectic can be squarely faced in the fact that no one-sided solution of it is ever justifiable by reason or by faith. And here enters the question not of acceptance or refusal, nor of affirmation or denial, but of letting-go. The letting-go, however, is limited, in life at least (and without taking death into account) by the boundary of ability to let go.”
Nanamoli Thera
tags: let-go
“Ignorance screens the truth. It is on that screen that people paint pictures and write underneath their labels "god" and "not-god" and "theism.' and "atheism" .”
Nanamoli Thera
“Two demons: one who insists that what is to be inferred by verbal processes must correspond to experience; and one who 'insists that what cannot be arrived at by verbal processes cannot correspond to experience.”
Nanamoli Thera
“Where would I be (and what would happen to me), if I could see all round me and above and below at once ?”
Nanamoli Thera
“I have always felt doubtful about those people who try to get one to give up one's own bunkum and accept their debunkum instead.”
Nanamoli Thera
“Just as one can arrange bits of iron, etc, into a hermetically sealed box which imprison other pieces of matter, so one can arrange thoughts into a box too, which effectively imprisons other thoughts.”
Nanamoli Thera
“All the world's a stage, and all the men and women actors on it" says Shakespeare. But actually only the men and women in the public gaze are actors on it. I, for instance, whom — and this I hold one of my greatest blessings while it is so — the public does not gaze on, am not an actor, but only a scene-shifter: the stage is curtained when I and those like me move on it.

(Addition:) Or that is how I should like it to be always”
Nanamoli Thera
“From the 18th to the 20th Century it was the boast that human thought had at least come out of the dark woods of medieval superstition, credulity and obscurantism, into the sunshine of clear thinking where the dry breezes of skepticism blow unhindered. 'Fell the trees and level the hills that still obscure the view; let the winds drive off the mist' — they said. But now that much of this work has been accomplished it is beginning to be felt that there is no shade in all these flat plains of perpetual parching wind and sunshine, and through this desert no flooding Nile flows. There are those who, secretly, would like, if they could, to reconstruct the dim, wet, haunted woods before they die of thirst.”
Nanamoli Thera
“The dependent origination, or structure of conditions, appears as a flexible formula with the intention of describing the ordinary human situation of a man in his world (or indeed any conscious event where ignorance and craving have not entirely ceased). That situation is always complex, since it is implicit that consciousness with no object, or being ( bhava— becoming, or however rendered) without consciousness (of it), is impossible except as an artificial abstraction. The dependent origination, being designed to portray the essentials of that situation in the limited dimensions of words and using only elements recognizable in experience, is not a logical proposition (Descartes’ cogito is not a logical proposition). Nor is it a temporal cause-and-effect chain: each member has to be examined as to its nature in order to determine what its relations to the others are (e.g. whether successive in time or conascent, positive or negative, etc., etc.). A purely cause-and-effect chain would not represent the pattern of a situation that is always complex, always subjective-objective, static-dynamic, positive-negative, and so on. Again, there is no evidence of any historical development in the various forms given within the limit of the Sutta Piþaka (leaving aside the Paþisambhidámagga), and historical treatment within that particular limit is likely to mislead, if it is hypothesis with no foundation.

Parallels with European thought have been avoided in this translation. But perhaps an exception can be made here, with due caution, in the case of Descartes. The revolution in European thought started by his formula cogito ergo sum (“I think, therefore I am”) is not yet ended. Now, it will perhaps not escape notice that the two elements, “I think” and “I am,” in what is not a logical proposition parallel to some extent the two members of the dependent origination, consciousness and being (becoming). In other words, consciousness activated by craving and clinging as the dynamic factory, guided and blinkered by ignorance (“I think” or “consciousness with the conceit ‘I am’”), conditions being (“therefore I am”) in a complex relationship with other factors relating subject and object (not accounted for by Descartes). The parallel should not be pushed too far. In fact it is only introduced because in Europe the dependent origination seems to be very largely misunderstood with many strange interpretations placed upon it, and because the cogito does seem to offer some sort of reasonable approach.”
Nanamoli Thera
“Forgetting is a very useful kind of ignorance: it wipes the bad sums off our slates.”
Nanamoli Thera
“To be is to be contingent: nothing of which it can be said that "it is" can be alone and independent. But being is a member of paticca-samuppada as arising which contains ignorance. Being is only invertible by ignorance.

Destruction of ignorance destroys the illusion of being. When ignorance is no more, than consciousness no longer can attribute being (pahoti) at all. But that is not all for when consciousness is predicated of one who has no ignorance than it is no more indicatable (as it was indicated in M Sutta 22).”
Nanamoli Thera
“Odd that „now and here” is „nowhere”.”
Nanamoli Thera
“It is our eyes that blind us and our ears that deafen us.”
Nanamoli Thera
“Sati—sampajanna ("Mindfulness and clear comprehension") should be examined carefully from the point of view of the centipede who could not walk when she thought about how she moved her limbs. And also from the point of view of absorption in, say artistic creation and detached observation of it. Absorption in piano playing or painting seems to be "successful" but detached observation or enjoyment of "my playing" or "my painting" seems to have the centipede effect. What are the facts here and what is the lesson to be drawn?”
Nanamoli Thera
“Much of what is asserted as true is so asserted, not as a declaration of what the speaker knows but rather as a defence against doubt in the hope that the opposite proposition may be thereby excluded.”
Nanamoli Thera
tags: views
“Wandering in deserted places there are found many traces and tracks from which we deduce the movements of heroes and gods and so we w
eave history. Yet were our vision to become a little clearer we might discover that all these tracks are merely made by ourselves during our own earlier wanderings.”
Nanamoli Thera
“In a syllogism (1. All men are mortal, 2. Socrates is a man, 3. Therefore Socrates is mortal), the generalization (all men are mortal) must have been arrived at by induction. No inductive process is ever absolutely certain. There is always the leap, the assumption, of generalizing and therefore one of the premises of a syllogism must have an element of uncertainty. So it cannot prove anything with certainty.

A syllogism is therefore a signpost pointing where to look for direct experience, but can inherently never give information that is 100% certain. But a syllogism (on metaphysical subjects) can also point to what can, inherently, never be experienced; then it is an anomaly.”
Nanamoli Thera
tags: death
“All the questions asked about death are wrongly put.”
Nanamoli Thera
tags: death
“Everyone knows that border across which he cannot go, even in thought, and it is that, not the former, that people automatically shut out and cannot face. Yet one knows at times (in the middle of the night, perhaps, when one is sleepless, or on encountering some revolting experience) that this horror haunts every form of experience (always and ever), and hastily one readjusts the blinkers that had slipped. Put the beautiful before you and the horror behind you. Yes, but then I shall not dare to turn round.

The world is a bad place. Is it? But it seems that this haunting, this self-delusion by wearing blinkers, is not an attribute of the world. The haunting is in consciousness itself, in its very nature. Just as when I set up any object in the sunlight a shadow is cast (because it is the nature of sunlight to cast shadows), so anything that comes into the light of consciousness casts a shadow of the unknown. It is in the unknown that the horror resides in the dark of knowledge where the patterns can no longer be traced, where chaos resides, and whence utterly hostile systems may emerge, devour, and digest us.”
Nanamoli Thera
“Certainty is absence of infinity, infinity is presence of uncertainty.”
Nanamoli Thera
“Dhamma has no conflict with Science proper. Its methods are much the same (i. e. investigation of experience, remembering what has been investigated and forming a true view to accord with the factuality of experience investigated): but the material is different. Reputable science (Physics) confines itself to the outside world and all science restricts itself (or should do) to publicly observable behaviour. Dhamma is concerned with investigating subjective mind, recognizing the outside material sphere, but leaving it to those who are interested in it. The purposes are different. Science is or should be guided by curiosity only and has no ethics; any ethics it employs are unfounded in it or borrowed from religions or philosophies which it rejects. It has no techniques for handling the subjective (pain, etc.) and can only handle behaviour illegitimately equatedwith pain (illegitimately because a scientist only knows of the existence of pain (inhimself) by taking an unauthorized look into his own subjective unscientific experience). Dhamrna is concerned solely with the elimination of pain, to which all else is subordinated.”
Nanamoli Thera
tags: dhamma
“Unambiguous is nonexistent.”
Nanamoli Thera
“How does the body come to be apprehended as a body? Why does it not fall apart into the seen and the heard, the smelt, the tasted and the touched?”
Nanamoli Thera
“One of the most remarkable facts of this age is the negligible direct personal power which scientists have in the control of the world's affairs. The marvelous means they so successfully produce are always used by non-scientists against whom the scientists themselves seem to be powerless and even purposeless. What clever sheep they are.”
Nanamoli Thera

« previous 1 3

All Quotes | Add A Quote