All of the essays on this page are by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, unless otherwise indicated.
Mostly these essays were first printed in one or another of the various Buddhist magazines, such as Tricycle, and have not yet been included into an essay collection such as Noble Strategy. (Note that there may have been some changes to the essays or their titles since publication.)
- Safety in a Duality. The Buddha taught that a teacher’s first duty was to give the student a firm grounding in how to decide what should and shouldn’t be done. This article explains the importance of this essential duality on all levels of the practice. (Also available as pdf format, though without hyperlinked cross-references)
- Talking about Nirvana. Although the Buddha refused to describe the arahant after death, he did provide descriptions of nibbāña (nirvāṇa) to show how it differed from the ordinary dimensions of the six senses. This essay explores the reasons for why he treated these two related issues in very different ways—and the implications that this differing treatment has for anyone who seriously practices. (Also available as pdf format, though without hyperlinked cross-references)
- The Buddha Teaches His Son: An Essay on Majjhima Nikāya 61. This essay draws out some of the implications of the Buddha’s seemingly simple instructions to his young son. (Also available as pdf format)
- Honest to Goodness. A discussion of how the Dhamma was originally taught and learned in a context of apprenticeship assuming certain qualities of character—both on the part of the teacher and of the student—and how those qualities are still an essential part of Dhamma practice. (Also available as pdf format)
- Names for Nibbāna. Although nibbāna is indescribable, the Buddha had many names for it to suggest why it’s a desirable goal. This short article discusses five aspects of nibbāna suggested by these names. (Also available as pdf format)
- All Winners, No Losers : The Buddha’s Teachings on Animosity & Forgiveness. A discussion of forgiveness in the context of the teaching on karma and other factors on the Buddhist path. (Also available as pdf format)
- Worlds & Their Cessation : The Buddha’s Strategic View of the Cosmos. The Buddha’s world view and the strategic reasons for adopting it. (Also available as pdf format)
- The Limits of Description : Not-self Revisited. A response to a critique of Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu’s essay, “The Not-self Strategy” (available in the essay collection, Noble & True). (Also available as pdf format)
- First Things First. (revised May 11, 2018) An essay on the primacy of the four noble truths as a guide to the rest of the path, determining the role and function of all the Buddha’s other teachings—including emptiness and the three perceptions. (Also available as pdf format)
- Wisdom over Justice. An essay on the Buddha’s approach to the pursuit of justice. (Also available as pdf format)
- In the Eyes of the Wise : The Buddha’s Teachings on Honor & Shame. An essay in praise of a healthy sense of shame. (Also available as pdf format)
- The Seeds of Karma : 21 Questions on Karma & Rebirth. This essay originally appeared in Tricycle under the title, “The Buddha’s Baggage.”
- How Pointy is One-pointedness? : An expostion of the term ‘One Pointedness’ as a factor of the first jhana.
- Under Your Skin: The Buddha’s Teaching on Body Contemplation
- Silence Isn’t Mandatory: Sensory Perception in the Jhanas
- The Buddha’s Last Word
- What’s Noble about the Noble Truths?
- Going for Refuge
- Hunting & Gathering the Dhamma
- The Customs of the Noble Ones
- The Economy of Gifts
- The Karma of Happiness
- The Traditions of the Noble Ones
The following essay was collected into the essay book “Head & Heart Together,” however in abridged form. The unabridged version is still available here as a .pdf file.