Ajahn Chah

Thai Buddhist monk
Ajahn Chah

Ajahn Chah (17 June 1918 – 16 January 1992) was a meditation teacher in the Thai Forest Tradition.

QuotesEdit

Bodhinyāna (1982)Edit

Bodhinyāna: A Collection of Dhamma Talks by Ajahn Chah (1982); translated by the Sangha of Bung Wai Forest Monastery
  • This mind is an uncertain thing. This body is uncertain. Together they are impermanent. Together they are a source of suffering. Together they are devoid of self. These, the Buddha pointed out, are neither a being, nor a person, nor a self, nor a soul, nor us, nor they. They are merely elements: earth, water, fire and wind. Elements only!
  • When the mind sees this, it will rid itself of attachment which holds that "I" am beautiful, "I" am good, "I" am evil, "I" am suffering, "I" have, "I" this or "I" that. You will experience a state of unity, for you'll have seen that all of mankind is basically the same. There is no "I." There are only elements.
  • So don't be in a hurry and try to push or rush your practice. Do your meditation gently and gradually step by step. In regard to peacefulness, if you want to become peaceful, then accept it; if you don't become peaceful, then accept that also. That's the nature of the mind. We must find our own practice and persistently keep at it.
  • It is not proper to watch other people. This will not help your practice. If you are annoyed, watch the annoyance in your own mind. If others' discipline is bad or they are not good monks, this is not for you to judge. You will not discover wisdom watching others. Monks' discipline is a tool to use for your own meditation. It is not a weapon to use to criticize or find fault. No one can do your practice for you, nor can you do practice for anyone else. Just be mindful of your own doings. This is the way to practice.

A Taste of Freedom (1988)Edit

A Taste of Freedom: Selected Dhamma Talks by Ajahn Chah (1988); translator unknown
  • If we have that presence of mind then whatever work we do will be the very tool which enables us to know right and wrong continually. There’s plenty of time to meditate, we just don’t fully understand the practice, that’s all. While sleeping we breathe, eating we breathe, don’t we? Why don’t we have time to meditate? Wherever we are we breathe. If we think like this then our life has as much value as our breath, wherever we are we have time.
  • Actually this practice is just about the mind and its feelings. It’s not something that you have to run after or struggle for. Breathing continues while working. Nature takes care of the natural processes—all we have to do is try to be aware. Just to keep trying, going inwards to see clearly. Meditation is like this.
  • One who studies and doesn’t practice is like a ladle of soup pot. It’s in the pot every day but it doesn’t know the flavor of the soup. If you don’t practice, even if you study till the day you die, you won’t know the taste of Freedom!
  • The real basis of Buddhism is full knowledge of the truth of reality. If one knows this truth then no teaching is necessary. If one doesn’t know, even if he listens to the teaching, he doesn’t really hear.
  • The mind and feeling are just like oil and water; they are in the same bottle but they don’t mix. Even if we are sick or in pain, we still know the feeling as feeling, the mind as mind. We know the painful or comfortable states but we don’t identify with them. We stay only with peace: the peace beyond both comfort and pain.

Seeing the Way (1989)Edit

Seeing the Way: Buddhist Reflections on the Spiritual Life by Ajahn Chah (1989); translator unknown
  • We use thinking as a tool, but the knowing that arises because of its use is above and beyond the process of thinking; it leads to our not being fooled by our thinking any more. You recognize that all thinking is merely the movement of the mind, and also that the knowing is not born and doesn't die. What do you think all this movement called "mind" comes out of? What we talk about as the mind—all the activity—is just the conventional mind. It's not the real mind at all. What is real just IS, it's not arising and it's not passing away.
  • Simply keep putting everything down, and know that that is what you are doing. You don't need to be always checking up on yourself, worrying about things like "How much samādhi"—it will always be the right amount. Whatever arises in your practice, let it go; know it all as uncertain, impermanent. Remember that! It's all uncertain. Be finished with all of it. This is the Way that will take you to the source—to your Original Mind.

Living Dhamma (1992)Edit

Living Dhamma by Ajahn Chah (1992); translator unknown
  • Therefore the practice is like a key, the key of meditation. If we have the right key in our hand, no matter how tightly the lock is closed, when we take the key and turn it the lock falls open. If we have no key we can’t open the lock. We will never know what it is in the trunk.
  • Have you ever seen flowing water?... Have you ever seen still water?... If your mind is peaceful it will be just like still, flowing water. Have you ever seen still, flowing water? There! You’ve only ever seen flowing water and still water, haven’t you? But you’ve never seen still, flowing water. Right there, right where your thinking cannot take you, even though it’s peaceful you can develop wisdom. Your mind will be like flowing water, and yet it’s still. It’s almost as if it were still, and yet it’s flowing. So I call it “still, flowing water.” Wisdom can arise here.
  • The source of all good, evil, weal and harm lies with actions, speech and thoughts. Did you bring your actions, speech and thoughts with you today? Or have you left them at home? This is where you must look, right here. You don’t have to look very far away. Look at your actions, speech and thoughts. Look to see if your conduct is faulty or not.
  • The value of Dhamma isn’t to be found in books. Those are just the external appearances of Dhamma, they’re not the realization of Dhamma as a personal experience. If you realize the Dhamma you realize your own mind, you see the truth there. When the truth becomes apparent it cuts off the stream of delusion.

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