The Skill of Living
The Buddha’s Path for Developing Skillful Qualities
by Peter Doobinin
The Skill of Living explicates the Buddha’s path for developing the skillful qualities of generosity, ethical conduct, renunciation, truthfulness, effort, determination, discernment, lovingkindness, patience, and equanimity. These qualities are considered “skillful” because, when cultivated, they lead us to greater happiness. We build these qualities, Peter Doobinin emphasizes, by practicing skills. The Buddha taught skills. He didn’t say “practice generosity” and leave it at that. In The Skill of Living Peter shows us how to cultivate skills. Teaching the dharma, the Buddha’s path, in New York City for many years, Peter has learned how to help people cultivate these skills while living as householders, with jobs, families, and myriad responsibilities, amidst the speed and complexity of the modern world.
The Skill of Living exemplifies Peter’s clear, thorough, wholehearted, down-to-earth approach to dharma practice. The joy he finds in teaching the dharma shines through on every page. Whether you’re a long-term student or somebody who simply wants to have a better life, The Skill of Living offers a way to develop profound, life-changing skills. It is an invitation to explore a precious teaching, to know a greater happiness in your life.
From The Skill of Living…..
“Following the Buddha’s map, we develop the skills we need to make the journey toward a greater happiness in our lives. We cultivate joy, self-confidence, inner strength. We put ourselves in position to build concentration, gain insight. When we’re suffering, struggling, there may be the tendency to think we’ll be able to lessen our pain by practicing meditation, by putting more effort into meditation, but in order to meditate, in order to establish that kind of face-to-face encounter with ourselves, we need certain skills, we need to be developed in certain skillful qualities. Our capacity to meditate depends on the degree to which we’ve developed these skillful qualities.”
From The Buddha….
“Abandon what is unskillful, monks. It is possible to abandon what is unskillful. If it were not possible to abandon what is unskillful, I would not say to you, ‘Abandon what is unskillful.’ But because it is possible to abandon what is unskillful, I say to you, ‘Abandon what is unskillful.’ If this abandoning of what is unskillful were conducive to harm and pain, I would not say to you, ‘Abandon what is unskillful.’ But because this abandoning of what is unskillful is conducive to benefit and pleasure, I say to you, ‘Abandon what is unskillful.’
“Develop what is skillful, monks. It is possible to develop what is skillful. If it were not possible to develop what is skillful, I would not say to you, ‘Develop what is skillful.’ But because it is possible to develop what is skillful, I say to you, ‘Develop what is skillful.’ If this development of what is skillful were conducive to harm and pain, I would not say to you, ‘Develop what is skillful.’ But because this development of what is skillful is conducive to benefit and pleasure, I say to you, ‘Develop what is skillful.'”