No Ajahn Chah
Compiled & Edited by
Transcribed to the Internet by
Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery
Once there was a layman who came to Ajahn Chah and asked him who
Ajahn Chah was. Ajahn Chah, seeing that the spiritual development
of the individual was not very advanced, pointed to himself and
said, "This, this is Ajahn Chah."
On another occasion, someone else asked Ajahn Chah the same
question. This time, however, seeing that the questionerís
capacity to understand the Dhamma was higher, Ajahn Chah answered
by saying "Ajahn Chah? There is NO Ajahn Chah."
The quotations in this collection have been taken from Bodhinayana,
A Taste of Freedom, A Still Forest Pool, Samadhi Bhavana, Seeing
the Way, Living Dhamma, Food for the Heart, and Venerable Father,
A Life with Ajahn Chah. Some quotations come from a personal
collection hitherto unpublished.
people would say to Ajahn Chah that they found it impossible to
practice in society, he would ask them, "If I poked you in the
chest with a burning stick, would you say that indeed you were
suffering, but since you live in society you canít get away from
it?" Ajahn Chahís response makes a point not unlike the Buddhaís
parable of the poisoned arrow. The Buddha tells of a man who had
been shot by an arrow and would not let anyone pull it out until
his questions about the arrow, the bow and the archer were all
answered. The only problem was that the wounded man would probably
die before he could get the replies to all his questions. What the
wounded man had to realize was that he was in pain and dying, and
he should do something about that right away.
Chah emphasized this point over and over again in his teachings:
youíre suffering; do something about it now! He wouldnít spend
much time talking about peace, wisdom, or Nibbanic states but
rather the practice of constantly being aware of what was
happening within the body and mind within the present moment,
learning how to simply watch and let go. Meditation, heíd say, was
not getting things, but getting rid of things. Even when asked
about the peace one could attain through practice, he would
instead rather speak of the confusion that one should first get
rid of, for, as he put it, peace is the end of confusion.
collection reflects not only on suffering and meditation practice
but also gives us some insight into impermanence, virtue, non-self
and so on. We hope that the reader with take this little book as a
companion and "good friend" for moments of quiet reflection, and
perhaps get a glimpse of the "no-Ajahn Chah" who used to say, "Iím
always talking about things to develop and things to give up, but,
really thereís Ďnothingí to develop and Ďnothingí to give up.
Birth and Death
good practice is to ask yourself very sincerely, "Why was I born?"
Ask yourself this question in the morning, in the afternoon, and
at nightÖevery day.
birth and death are just one thing. You canít have one without the
other. Itís a little funny to see how at a death people are so
tearful and sad, and at a birth how happy and delighted. Itís
delusion. I think that if you really want to cry, then it would be
better to do so when someoneís born. Cry at the root, for if there
were no birth, there would be no death. Can you understand this?
think that people could appreciate what it would be like to live
in a personís belly. How uncomfortable that would be! Just look at
how merely staying in a hut for only one day is already hard to
take. You shut all the doors and windows and youíre suffocating
already. How would it be to live in a personís belly for nine
months? Yet you want to stick your head right in there, to put
your neck in the noose once again.
are we born? We are born so that we will not have to be born
one does not understand death, life can be very confusing.
Buddha told his disciple Ananda to see impermanence, to see death
with every breath. We must know death; we must die in order to
live. What does that mean? To die is to come to the end of our
doubts, all our questions, and just be here with the present
reality. You can never die tomorrow; you must die now. Can you do
it? If you can do it, you will know the peace of no more
is as close as our breath.
youíve trained properly, you wouldnít feel frightened when you
fall sick, nor be upset when someone dies. When you go into the
hospital for treatment, determine in your mind that if you get
better, thatís fine, and that if you die, thatís fine, too. I
guarantee you that if the doctors told me I had cancer and was
going to die in a few months, Iíd remind the doctors, "Watch out,
because death is coming to get you, too. Itís just a question of
who goes first and who goes later." Doctors are not going to cure
death or prevent death. Only the Buddha was such a doctor, so why
not go ahead and use the Buddhaís medicine?
youíre afraid of illness, if you are afraid of death, they you
should contemplate where they come from. Where do they come from?
They arise from birth. So, donít be sad when someone dies - itís
just nature, and his suffering in this life is over. If you want
to be sad, be sad when people are born: "Oh, no, theyíve come
again. Theyíre going to suffer and die again!"
"One Who Knows" clearly knows that all conditioned phenomena are
unsubstantial. So this "One Who Knows" does not become happy or
sad, for it does not follow changing conditions. To become glad,
is to be born; to become dejected, is to die. Having died, we are
born again; having been born, we die again. This birth and death
from one moment to the next is the endless spinning wheel of
the body could talk, it would be telling us all day long, "Youíre
not my owner, you know." Actually itís telling it to us all the
time, but itís Dhamma language, so weíre unable to understand it.
Conditions donít belong to us. They follow their own natural
course. We canít do anything about the way the body is. We can
beautify it a little, make it look attractive and clean for a
while, like the young girls who paint their lips and let their
nails grow long, but when old age arrives, everyone is in the same
boat. That is the way the body is. We canít make it any other way.
But, what we can improve and beautify is the mind.
our body really belonged to us, it would obey our commands. If we
say, "Donít get old," Or "I forbid you to get sick" does it obey
us? No! It takes no notice. We only rent this "house", not own it.
If we think it does belong to us, we will suffer when we have to
leave it. But in reality, there is no such thing as a permanent
self, nothing unchanging or solid that we can hold on to.
are people who are born and die and never once are aware of their
breath going in and out of their body. Thatís how far away they
live from themselves.
is our present breath.
say that you are too busy to meditate. Do you have time to
breathe? Meditation is your breath. Why do you have time to
breathe but not to meditate? Breathing is something vital to
peopleís lives. If you see that Dhamma practice is vital to your
life, they you will feel that breathing and practicing the Dhamma
are equally important.
is Dhamma? Nothing isnít. 18
does the Dhamma teach the proper way of life? It shows us how to
live. It has many ways of showing it - on rocks or trees or just
in front of you. It is a teaching but not in words. So still the
mind, the heart, and learn to watch. Youíll find the whole Dhamma
revealing itself here and now. At what other time and place are
you going to look?
you understand the Dhamma with your thoughts. If you begin to
understand it, you will practice it. And if you practice it, you
will begin to see it, you are the Dhamma and you have the joy of
Dhamma has to be found by looking into your own heart and seeing
that which is true and that which is not, that which is balanced
and that which is not balanced.
is only one real magic, the magic of Dhamma. Any other magic is
like the illusion of a card trick. It distracts us from the real
game: our relation to human life, to birth, to death and to
Whatever you do, make it Dhamma. If you donít feel good, look
inside. If you know itís wrong and still do it, thatís defilement.
hard to find those who listen to Dhamma, who remember Dhamma and
practice it, who reach Dhamma and see it.
Itís all Dhamma if we have mindfulness. When we see the animals
that run away from danger, we see that they are just like us. They
flee from suffering and run towards happiness. They also have
fear. They fear for their lives just as we do. When we see
according to truth, we see that all animals and human beings are
no different. We are all mutual companions of birth, old age,
sickness, and death.
Regardless of time and place, the whole practice of Dhamma comes
to completion at the place where there is nothing. Itís the place
of surrender, of emptiness, of laying down the burden. This is the
Dhamma is not far away. Itís right with us. The Dhamma isnít about
angels in the sky or anything like that. Itís simply about us,
about what we are doing right now. Observe yourself. Sometimes
there is happiness, sometimes suffering, sometimes comfort,
sometimes pain Öthis is the Dhamma. Do you see it? To know this
Dhamma, you have to read your experiences.
Buddha wanted us to contact the Dhamma, but people only contact
the words, the books and the scriptures. That is contacting that
which is "about" Dhamma, and not contacting the "real" Dhamma as
taught by our Great Teacher. How can people say that they are
practicing well and properly if they only do that? They are a long
you listen to the Dhamma you must open up your heart and compose
yourself in the center. Donít try to accumulate what you hear or
make a painstaking effort to retain what you hear from memory.
Just let the Dhamma flow into your heart as it reveals itself, and
keep yourself continuously open to its flow in the present moment.
What is ready to be retained will be so, and it will happen of its
own accord, not through any determined effort on your part.
Similarly when you expound the Dhamma, you must not force
yourself. It should happen on its won and should flow
spontaneously from the present moment and circumstances. People
have different levels of re3feptive ability, and when youíre there
at that same level, it just happens, the Dhamma flows. The Buddha
had the ability to know peopleís temperaments and receptive
abilities. He used this very same method of spontaneous teaching.
Itís not that he possessed any special superhuman power to teach,
but rather that he was sensitive to the spiritual needs of the
people who came to him, and so he taught them accordingly.
Heart and Mind
one book is worth reading: the heart.
Buddha taught us that whatever makes the mind distressed in our
practice hits home. Defilements are distressed. Itís not that the
mind is distressed! We donít know what our minds and defilements
are. Whatever we arenít satisfied with, we just donít want
anything to do with it. Our way of life is not difficult. Whatís
difficult is not being satisfied, not agreeing with it. Our
defilements are the difficulty.
world is in a very feverish state. The mind changes from like to
dislike with the feverishness of the world. If we can learn to
make the mind still, it will be the greatest help to the world.
your mind is happy, then you are happy anywhere you go. When
wisdom awakens within you, you will see Truth wherever you look.
Truth us all there is. Itís like when youíve learned how to read -
you can then read anywhere you go.
youíre allergic to one place, youíll be allergic to every place.
But itís not the place outside you thatís causing you trouble.
Itís the "place" inside you.
at you own mind. The one who carries things thinks heís got
things, but the one who looks on only sees the heaviness. Throw
away things, lose them, and find lightness.
mind is intrinsically tranquil. Out of this tranquility, anxiety
and confusion are born. If one sees and knows this confusion, then
the mind is tranquil once more.
Buddhism is a religion of the heart. Only this. One who practices
to develop the heart is one who practices Buddhism.
the light is dim, it isnít easy to see the old spider webs in the
corners of the room. But when the light is bright, you can see
them clearly and then be able to take them down. When your mind is
bright, youíll be able to see your defilements clearly, too, and
clean them away.
Strengthening the mind is not done by making it move around as is
done to strengthen the body, but by bringing the mind to a halt,
bringing it to rest.
Because people donít see themselves, they can commit all sorts of
bad deeds. They donít look at their own minds. When people are
going to do something bad, they have to look around first to see
if anyone is looking: "Will my mother see me?" "Will my husband
see me?" "Will my children see me?" "Will my wife see me?" If
thereís no one watching, then they go right ahead and do it. This
is insulting themselves. They say no one is watching, so they
quickly finish their bad deed before anyone will see. And what
about themselves? Arenít they a "somebody" watching?
your heart to listen to the Teachings, not your ears.
are those who do battle with their defilements and conquer them.
This is called fighting inwardly. Those who fight outwardly take
hold of bombs and guns to throw and to shoot. They conquer and are
conquered. Conquering others is the way of the world. In the
practice of Dhamma we donít have to fight others, but instead
conquer your own minds, patiently resisting all our moods.
does rain come from? It comes from all the dirty water that
evaporates from the earth, like urine and the water you throw out
after washing your feet. Isnít it wonderful how the sky can take
that dirty water and change it into pure, clean water? Your mind
can do the same with your defilements if you let it.
Buddha said to judge only yourself, and not to judge others, no
matter how good or evil they may be. The Buddha merely points out
the way, saying, "The truth is like this." Now, is our mind like
that or not?
Conditions exist through change. You canít prevent it. Just think,
could you exhale without inhaling? Would it feel good? Or could
you just inhale? We want things to be permanent, but that canít
be. Itís impossible.
you know that all things are impermanent, all your thinking will
gradually unwind and you wonít need to think too much. Whenever
anything arises, all you need to say is "Oh, another one!" Just
speech which ignores uncertainty is not the speech of a sage. 48
you really see uncertainty clearly, you will see that which is
certain. The certainty is that things must inevitably be uncertain
and that they cannot be otherwise. Do you understand? Knowing just
this much, you can know the Buddha, you can rightly do reverence
your mind tries to tell you it has already attained the level of
sotapanna, go and bow to a sotapanna. Heíll tell you himself itís
all uncertain. If you meet a sakadagami, go and pay respects to
him. When he sees you, heíll simply say, "Not a sure thing!" If
thereís an anagami, go and bow to him. Heíll tell you only one
thing, "Uncertain!" If you meet even an arahant, go and bow to
him. Heíll tell you even more firmly, "Itís all even more
uncertain!" Youíll hear the words of the Noble Ones: "Everything
is uncertain. Donít cling to anything!"
Sometimes Iíd go to see old religious sites with ancient temples.
In some places they would be cracked. Maybe one of my friends
would remark, "Such a shame, isnít it? Itís cracked." Iíd answer,
"If they werenít cracked thereíd be no such thing as the Buddha.
Thereíd be no Dhamma. Itís cracked like this because itís
perfectly in line with the Buddhaís teaching."
Conditions all go their own natural way. Whether we laugh or cry
over them, they just go their own way. And there is no knowledge
of science, which can prevent this natural course of things. You
may get a dentist to look at your teeth, but even if he can fix
them, they still finally go their natural way. Eventually even the
dentist will have the same trouble. Everything falls apart in the
can we take for certain? Nothing! Thereís nothing but feelings.
Suffering arises, stays, then passes away. Then happiness replaces
suffering - only this. Outside of this, there is nothing. But we
are lost people running and grabbing at feelings continuously.
Feelings are not real, only changes.
those who do not understand the Dhamma act improperly, they look
all around to make sure no one is watching. But our kamma is
always watching. We never really get away with anything.
actions bring good results; bad actions bring bad results. Donít
expect the gods to do things for you, or the angels and guardian
deities to protect you, or the auspicious days to help you. These
things arenít true. Donít believe in them. If you believe in them,
you will suffer. You will always be waiting for the right day, the
right month, the right year, the angels, or the guardian deities.
Youíll only suffer that way. Look into your own actions and
speech, into your own kamma. Doing good, you inherit goodness,
doing bad you inherit badness.
Through right practice, you allow your old kamma to wear itself
out. Knowing how things arise and pass away, you can just be aware
and let them run their course. It is like having two trees: if you
fertilize and water one and do not take care of the other, there
is no question which one will grow and which one will die.
of you have come from thousands of miles away, from Europe and
America and other far-off places, to listen to the Dhamma here at
Nong Pah Pong Monastery. To think that youíve come from so far and
gone through so much trouble to get here. Then we have these
people who live just outside the walls of the monastery but who
have yet to enter through its gate. It makes you appreciate good
kamma more, doesnít it?
you do something bad, there is nowhere you can go to hide. Even if
others donít see you, you must see yourself. Even if you go into a
deep hole, youíll still find yourself there. Thereís no way you
can commit bad actions and get away with it. In the same way, why
shouldnít you see your own purity? You see it all - the peace, the
agitation, the liberation, the bondage; you see all these for
you want to be around to meet the future Buddha, then just donít
practice. Youíll probably be around long enough to see him when he
heard people say, "Oh, this year was a bad year for me." "How
come?" I ask them. "I was sick all year," they reply. "I couldnít
practice at all." Oh! If they donít practice when death is near,
when will they ever practice? No! They only get lost in happiness.
If theyíre suffering, they still donít practice. They get lost in
that, too. I donít know when people think theyíre going to
already laid down the schedule and rules of the monastery. Donít
transgress the existing standards. Anyone who does is not one who
has come with a real intention to practice. What can such a person
ever hope to see? Even if he slept near me every day, he wouldnít
see me. Even if he slept near the Buddha, he wouldnít see the
Buddha, if he didnít practice.
think that only sitting with the eyes closed is practice. If you
do think this way, then quickly change your thinking. Steady
practice is keeping mindful in every posture, whether sitting,
walking, standing or lying down. When coming out of sitting, donít
think that youíre coming out of meditation, but that you are only
changing postures. If you reflect in this way, you will have
peace. Wherever you are, you will have this attitude of practice
with you constantly. You will have a steady awareness within
long as I have still not attained Supreme Enlightenment, I will
not rise from this place, even if my blood dries up." Reading this
in the books, you may think of trying it yourself. Youíll do it
like the Buddha. But you havenít considered that your car is only
a small one. The Buddhaís car was a really big one. He could do it
all at once. With only your tiny, little car, how can you possibly
take it all at once? Itís a different story altogether.
went all over looking for places to meditate. I didnít realize it
was already there, in my heart. All the meditation is right there
inside you. Birth, old age, sickness, and death are right there
within you. I traveled all over until I was ready to drop dead
from exhaustion. Only then, when I stopped, did I find what I was
looking for Ö inside me.
donít meditate to see heaven, but to end suffering.
be attached to visions or lights in meditation, donít rise or all
with them. Whatís so great about brightness? My flashlight has it.
It canít help us rid ourselves of our suffering.
Youíre blind and deaf without meditation. Dhamma isnít easily
seen. You must meditate to see what youíve never seen. Were you
born a teacher? No. You must study first. A lemon is sour only
when you have tasted it.
sitting in meditation, say, "Thatís not my business!" with every
thought that comes by.
we are lazy we should practice and not only when we feel energetic
or in the mood. This is practicing according to the Buddhaís
teaching. According to our own, we practice only when weíre
feeling good. How are we going to get anywhere like that? When are
we going to cut the stream of defilements when we practice only
according to our whims like that?
Whatever we do, we should see ourselves. Reading books doesnít
ever give rise to anything. The days pass by, but we donít see
ourselves. Knowing about practice is practicing in order to know.
course there are dozens of meditation techniques, but it all comes
down to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is
cool, out of the battle. Why not give it a try?
Merely thinking about practice is like pouncing on the shadow and
missing the substance.
I had been practicing for only a few years, I still could not
trust myself. But after I had experienced much, I learned to trust
my own heart. When you have this deep understanding, whatever
happens, you can let it happen, and everything will just rise and
pass away. You will reach a point where the heart tells itself
what to do.
meditation practice, it is actually worse to be caught in calmness
than to be stuck in agitation, because at least you will want to
escape from agitation, whereas you are content to remain in
calmness and not go any further. When blissful clear states arise
from insight meditation practice, do not cling to them.
Meditation is just about the mind and the feelings. Itís not
something you have to run after or to struggle for. Breathing
continues while working. Nature takes care of the natural
processes. All we have to do is try to be aware, going inwards to
see clearly. Meditation is like this.
practicing rightly is being heedless. Being heedless is like being
dead. Ask yourself if you will have time to practice when you die.
Constantly ask yourself, "When will I die?" If we contemplate in
this way, our mind will be alert every second, heedfulness will
always be present, and mindfulness will automatically follow.
Wisdom will arise, seeing all things as they really are very
clearly. Mindfulness guards the mind so that it knows when
sensations arise at all times, day and night. To have mindfulness
is to be composed. To be composed is to be heedful. If one is
heedful, then one is practicing rightly.
basics in our practice should be: first, to be honest and upright;
second, to be wary of wrongdoing; and third, to be humble within
oneís heart, to be aloof and content with little. If we are
content with little in regards to speech and in all other things,
we will see ourselves, we wonít be distracted. The mind will have
a foundation of virtue, concentration, and wisdom.
first you hurry to go forward, hurry to come back, and hurry to
stop. You continue to practice like this until you reach the point
where it seems that going forward is not it, coming back is not
it, and stopping is not it either! Itís finished. Thereís no
stopping, no going forward and no coming back. It is finished.
Right there you will find that there is really nothing at all.
Remember you donít meditate to "get" anything, but to get "rid" of
things. We do it not with desire but with letting go. If you
"want" anything, you wonít find it.
heart of the path is quite easy. Thereís no need to explain
anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be.
Thatís all that I do in my own practice.
Asking the wrong questions shows that you are still caught in
doubting. Talking about practice is all right, if it helps
contemplation. But itís up to you yourself to see the Truth.
practice to learn how to let go, not how to increase our holding
on to things. Enlightenment appears when you stop wanting
you have time to be mindful, you have time to meditate.
Someone recently asked me, " As we meditate and various things
arise in the mind, should we investigate them or just note them
coming and going?" If you see someone passing by who you donít
know, you may wonder, "Who is that? Where is he going? What is he
up to?" But if you know the person, it is enough just to notice
him pass by.
Desire in practice can be a friend or an enemy. As a friend, it
makes us want to practice, to understand, to end suffering. But to
be always desiring something that has not yet arisen, to want
things to be other than they are, just causes more suffering, and
this is when desire can be a foe. In the end, we must learn to let
go of all our desires, even the desire for enlightenment. Only
then can we be free.
Someone once asked Ajahn Chah about the way he taught meditation:
"Do you use the method of daily interviewing to examine the
mind-state of a person?" Ajahn Chah responded by saying, "Here I
teach disciples to examine their own mind-states, to interview
themselves. Maybe a monk is angry today, or maybe he has some
desire in his mind. I donít know it but he should. He doesnít have
to come and ask me about it, does he?
life is an assembly of elements. We use conventions to describe
things, but we get attached to the conventions and take them to be
something real. For example, people and things are given names. We
could go back to the beginning, before names were given, and call
men "women" and women "men" - what would be the difference? But
now we cling to names and concepts, so we have the war of the
sexes and other wars as well. Meditation is for seeing through all
of this. Only then can we reach the unconditioned and be at peace,
not at war.
people enter the monkhood out of faith, but later walk all over
what the Buddha taught. They know better, but refuse to practice
rightly. Indeed, there are not many who really practice nowadays.
Theory and practice - the first knows the name of the medicinal
plant, and the second goes out to find it and uses it. 89
- you like the sound of birds but not that of cars. Youíre afraid
of people and noises, and you like to live alone in the forest.
Let go of the noise and take care of the baby. The "baby" is your
newly ordained novice asked Ajahn Chah what his advice was for
those new to meditation practice. "The same as for those whoíve
already been at it for a long time," he replied. And what was
that? "Just keep at it," he said.
People say that the Buddhaís teaching is right, but it is
impossible to practice in society. They say things like, "Iím
young, so I donít have the opportunity to practice, but when Iím
old Iíll practice." Would you say "Iím young, so I donít have time
to eat?" If I poked you with a stick that was on fire, would you
say "Iím suffering, itís true, but since I live in this society I
canít get away from it?"
Virtue, concentration, and wisdom together make up the heart of
Buddhist practice. Virtue keeps the body and speech intact. And
the body is the residence of the mind. So practice has the way of
virtue, the way of concentration, and the way of wisdom. Itís like
a piece of wood cut into three sections, but itís really only one
log. If we want to throw away body and speech, we cannot. If we
want to throw away mind, we cannot. We must practice with the body
and the mind. So in truth, virtue, concentration, and wisdom are
one harmonious union that work together.
devout elderly lady from a nearby province came on a pilgrimage to
Wat Pah Pong. She told Ajahn Chah she could stay only a short
time, as she had to return to take care of her grandchildren, and
since she was an old lady, she asked if he could please give her a
brief Dhamma talk. Ajahn Chah replied with great force, "Hay,
listen! Thereís no one here, just this! No owner, no one to be
old, to be young, to be good or bad, weak or strong. Just this,
thatís all - just various elements of nature going their own way,
all empty. No one born and no one to die! Those who speak of birth
and death are speaking the language of ignorant children. In the
language of the heart, of Dhamma, there are no such things as
birth and death."
real foundation of the teaching is to see the self as being empty.
But people come to study the Dhamma to increase their self-view,
so they donít want to experience suffering or difficulty. They
want everything to be cozy. They may want to transcend suffering,
but if there is still a self, how can they ever do so?
so easy once you understand. It is so simple and direct. When
pleasant things arise, understand that they are empty. When
unpleasant things arise, see that they are not yours. They pass
away. Donít relate to them as being you, or see yourself as the
owner of them. You think that papaya tree is yours, then why donít
you feel hurt when it is cut down? If you can understand this,
then this is the correct path, the correct teaching of the Buddha,
and the teaching that leads to liberation.
People donít study that which is beyond good and evil. This is
what they should study. "Iím going to be like this; Iím going to
be like that," they say. But they never say, "Iím not going to be
anything because there really isnít any ĎIí." This they donít
you understand non-self, then the burden of life is gone. Youíll
be at peace with the world. When we see beyond self, we no longer
cling to happiness and we can truly be happy. Learn to let go
without struggle, simply let go, to be just as you are - no
holding on, no attachment, free.
bodies are composed of the four elements of earth, water, wind and
fire. When they come together and form a body we say itís a male,
a female, giving it names, and so on, so that we can identify each
other more easily. But actually there isnít anyone there - only
earth, water, wind and fire. Donít get excited over it or
infatuated by it. If you really look into it, you will not find
Whatís peacefulness like?
Whatís confusion? Well, peacefulness is the end of confusion.
is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and
suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it
given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also
find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is
actually to run toward it.
you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a
lot, you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you
will have complete peace.
Actually, in truth, there isnít anything to human beings. Whatever
we may be, itís only in the realm of appearances. However, if we
go beyond appearances and see the truth, we will see that there
isnít anything there but the universal characteristics - birth in
the beginning, change in the middle, and cessation in the end.
This is all there is. If we see that all things are like this,
then no problems arise. If we understand this, we will have
contentment and peace.
what is good and bad, whether traveling or living in one place.
You canít find peace on a mountain or in a cave. You can even go
to where the Buddha attained enlightenment without getting closer
to the truth.
Looking outside the self is to compare and to discriminate. You
will not find happiness that way. Nor will you find peace, if you
spend more time looking for a perfect person or the perfect
teacher. The Buddha taught us to look at the Dhamma, the truth,
and not to look at other people. 105
Anyone can build a house of wood and bricks, but the Buddha taught
us that sort of home is not our real home. Itís a home in the
world and it follows the ways of the world. Our real home is inner
forest is peaceful, why arenít you? You hold on to things causing
your confusion. Let nature teach you. Hear the birdís song then
let go. If you know nature, youíll know Dhamma. If you know
Dhamma, youíll know nature.
Looking for peace is like looking for a turtle with a mustache.
You wonít be able to find it. But when your heart is ready, peace
will come looking for you.
Virtue, concentration, and wisdom together make up the Path. But
this Path is not yet the true teaching, not what the teacher
actually wanted, but merely the Path that will take you there. For
example, say you traveled the road from Bangkok to Wat Pah Pong;
the road was necessary for your journey, but you were seeking Wat
Pah Pong, the monastery, not the road. In the same way, we can say
that virtue, concentration, and wisdom are outside the truth of
the Buddha but are the road that leads to truth. When you have
developed these three factors, the result is the most wonderful
are two kinds of suffering: the suffering, which leads to more
suffering, and the suffering, which leads to the end of suffering.
The first is the pain of grasping after fleeting pleasures and
aversion for the unpleasant, the continued struggle of most people
day after day. The second is the suffering, which comes when you
allow yourself to feel fully the constant change of experience -
pleasure, pain, joy, and anger - without fear or withdrawal. The
suffering of our experience leads to inner fearlessness and peace.
want to take the easy way, but if thereís no suffering, thereís no
wisdom. To be ripe for wisdom, you must really break down and cry
in your practice at least three times.
donít become monks or nuns to eat well, sleep well, and be very
comfortable, but to know suffering:
how to accept itÖ
how to get rid of itÖ
how not to cause it.
donít do that which causes suffering, like indulging in greed, or
it will never leave you.
truth, happiness is suffering in disguise but in such a subtle
form that you donít see it. If you cling to happiness, itís the
same as clinging to suffering, but you donít realize it. When you
hold on to happiness, it is impossible to throw away the inherent
suffering. Theyíre inseparable like that. Thus the Buddha taught
us to know suffering, see it as the inherent harm in happiness, to
see them as equal. So be careful! When happiness arises, donít be
overjoyed, and donít get carried away. When suffering comes, donít
despair, donít lose yourself in it. See that they have the same
suffering arises, understand that there is no one to accept it. If
you think suffering is yours, happiness is yours, you will not be
able to find peace.
People who suffer will accordingly gain wisdom. If we donít
suffer, we donít contemplate. If we donít contemplate, no wisdom
is born. Without wisdom, we donít know. Not knowing, we canít get
free of suffering - thatís just the way it is. Therefore we must
train and endure in our practice. When we then reflect on the
world, we wonít be afraid like before. It isnít that the Buddha
was enlightened outside of the world but within the world itself.
Sensual indulgence and self-mortification are two paths the Buddha
discouraged. This is just happiness and suffering. We imagine we
have freed ourselves from suffering, but we havenít. If we just
cling to happiness, we will suffer again. Thatís the way it is,
people think contrarily.
People have suffering in one place, so they go somewhere else.
When suffering arises there, they run off again. They think
theyíre running away from suffering, but theyíre not. Suffering
goes with them. They carry suffering around without knowing it. If
we donít know suffering, then we canít know the cause of
suffering. If we donít know the cause of suffering, then we canít
know the cessation of suffering. Thereís no way we can escape it.
Students today have much more knowledge than students of previous
times. They have all the things they need; everything is more
convenient. But they also have a lot more suffering and confusion
than before. Why is this?
not be a bodhisatta; do not be an arahant; do not be anything at
all. If you are a bodhisatta, you will suffer; if you are an
arahant, you will suffer; if you are anything at all, you will
and hate are both suffering because of desire. Wanting is
suffering; wanting not to have is suffering. Even if you get what
you want, itís still suffering because once you have it, you then
live in the fear of losing it. How are you going to live happily
youíre angry, does it feel good or bad? If it feels so bad, then
why donít you throw it away? Why bother to keep it? How can you
say that you are wise and intelligent if you hold on to such
things? Some days the mind can even cause the whole family to
quarrel or cause you to cry all night. And, yet, we still continue
to get angry and suffer. If you see the suffering of anger, then
just throw it away. If you donít throw it away, itíll go on
causing suffering indefinitely, with no chance of respite. The
world of unsatisfactory existence is like this. If we know the way
it is, we can solve the problem. 121
woman wanted to know how to deal with anger. I asked her when
anger arose whose anger it was. She said it was hers. Well, if it
really was her anger, then she should be able to tell it to go
away, shouldnít she? But it really isnít hers to command. Holding
on to anger, as a personal possession will cause suffering. If
anger really belonged to us, it would have to obey us. If it
doesnít obey us, that means that itís only a deception. Donít fall
for it. Whether the mind is happy or sad, donít fall for it. Itís
all a deception.
you see certainty in that which is uncertain, you are bound to
Buddha is always here teaching. See for yourself. Here is
happiness and there is unhappiness. There is pleasure and there is
pain. And theyíre always here. When you understand the nature of
pleasure and pain, there you see the Buddha, there you see the
Dhamma. The Buddha is not apart from them.
Contemplating them together, we see that happiness and suffering
are equal, just as hot and cold are. The heat from a fire can burn
us to death, while the coldness from ice can freeze us to death.
Neither is greater. Itís the same with happiness and suffering. In
the world, everyone desires happiness and no one desires
suffering. Nibbana has no desire. There is only tranquility.
are your own teacher. Looking for teachers canít solve your own
doubts. Investigate yourself to find the truth - inside, not
outside. Knowing yourself is most important.
of my teachers ate very fast. He made noises as he ate. Yet he
told us to eat slowly and mindfully. I used to watch him and get
very upset. I suffered, but he didnít! I watched the outside.
Later I learned that some people drive very fast but carefully;
others drive slowly and have many accidents. Donít cling to rules,
to outer form. If you watch others at most ten percent of the time
and watch yourself ninety percent of the time, you practice is
Disciples are hard to teach. Some know but donít bother to
practice. Some donít know and donít try to find out. I donít know
what to do with them. Why is it that humans have minds like this?
Being ignorant is not good, but even if I tell them, they still
donít listen. People are so full of doubts in their practice. They
always doubt. They want to go to Nibbana but they donít want to
walk the path. Itís baffling. When I tell them to meditate,
theyíre afraid, and if not afraid, then just plain sleepy. Mostly
they like to do the things I donít teach. This is the pain of
being a teacher.
could see the truth of the Buddhaís teaching so easily, we
wouldnít need so many teachers. When we understand the teachings,
we just do hat is required of us. But what makes people so
difficult to teach is that they donít accept the teachings and
argue with the teacher and the teachings. In front of the teacher
they behave a little better, but behind his back they become
thieves! People are really difficult to teach.
donít teach my disciples to live and practice heedlessly. But
thatís what they do when Iím not around. When the policeman is
around, the thieves behave themselves. When he asks if there are
any thieves around, of course they all say there arenít; that
theyíve never seen any. But as soon as the policeman is gone,
theyíre all at it again. It was like that even in the Buddhaís
time. So just watch yourself and donít be concerned with what
teacher speak only of the difficult practice of giving up or
getting rid of the self. Whatever may happen, do not abandon the
teacher. Let him guide you, because it is easy to forget the Path.
doubts about your teacher can help you. Take from your teacher
what is good, and be aware of your own practice. Wisdom is for you
to watch and develop.
just believe in the teacher because he says a fruit is sweet and
delicious. Taste it for yourself and then all the doubting will be
Teachers are those who point out the direction of the Path. After
listening to the teacher, whether or not we walk the Path by
practicing ourselves, and thereby reap the fruits of practice, is
strictly up to each one of us.
Sometimes teaching is hard work. A teacher is like a garbage can
that people throw their frustrations and problems into. The more
people you teach, the bigger the garbage disposal problems. But
teaching is a wonderful way to practice Dhamma. Those who teach
grow in patience and in understanding.
teacher cannot really clear up our difficulties. He is just a
source to investigate the Path. He canít make it clear. Actually
what he says is not worth listening to. The Buddha never praised
believing in others. We must believe ourselves. This is difficult,
yes, but thatís really how it is. We look outside but never really
see. We have to decide to really practice. Doubts donít disappear
by asking others, but through our own unending practice.
Understanding and Wisdom
one and nothing can free you but your own understanding.
madman and an arahant both smile, but the arahant knows why while
the madman doesnít.
clever person watches others, but he watches with wisdom, not with
ignorance. If one watches with wisdom, once can learn much. But if
one watches with ignorance, one can only find faults.
real problem with people nowadays is that they know but still
donít do. Itís another matter if they donít do because they donít
know, but if they already know and still donít do, then whatís the
Outward scriptural study is not important. Of course, the Dhamma
books are correct, but they are not right. They cannot give you
right understanding. To see the word "anger" in print is not the
same as experiencing anger. Only experiencing for yourself can
give you true faith.
you see things with real insight, then there is no stickiness in
your relationship to them. They come - pleasant and unpleasant -
you see them and there is no attachment. They come and they pass.
Even if the worse kinds of defilements come up, such as greed and
anger, thereís enough wisdom to see their impermanent nature and
allow them to just fade away. If you react to them, however, by
liking or disliking, that isnít wisdom. Youíre only creating more
suffering for yourself.
we know the truth, we become people who donít have to think much,
we become people with wisdom. If we donít know, we have more
thinking than wisdom or no wisdom at all. A lot of thinking
without wisdom is extreme suffering.
days people donít search for the Truth. People study simply in
order to find the knowledge necessary to make a living, raise
their families and look after themselves, thatís all. To them
being smart is more important than being wise.
careful about observing our precepts. Virtue is a sense of shame.
What we have doubts about; we should not do or say. This is
virtue. Purity is being beyond all doubts.
are two levels of practice. The first level forms the foundation,
which is the development of virtue, the precepts, in order to
bring happiness and harmony among people. The second level is the
practice of Dhamma with the sole goal of liberating the heart.
This liberation is the source of wisdom and compassion and is the
true reason for the Buddhaís teaching. Understanding these two
levels is the basis of true practice.
Virtue and morality are the mother and father of the Dhamma
growing within us. They provide it with the proper nourishment and
Virtue is the basis for a harmonious world in which people can
live truly as humans and not as animals. Developing virtue is at
the heart of our practice. Keep the precepts. Cultivate compassion
and respect for all life. Be mindful in your actions and speech.
Use virtue to make your life simple and pure. With virtue as a
basis for everything you do, your mind will become kind, clear,
and quiet. Meditation will grow easily in this environment. 148
after your virtue as a gardener takes care of his plants. Do not
be attached to big or small, important or unimportant. Some people
want shortcuts. They say, "Forget concentration, weíll go straight
to insight; forget virtue, weíll start with concentration." We
have so many excuses for our attachments.
effort and virtue are not a question of what you do outwardly but
of constant inner awareness and restraint. Thus, charity, if given
with good intention, can bring happiness to oneself and to others.
But virtue must be the root of this charity for it to be pure.
Buddha taught us to refrain from what is bad, to do good, and to
purify the heart. Our practice, then, is to get rid of what is
worthless and keep what is valuable. Do you still have anything
bad or unskillful in your heart? Of course! So why not clean
house? But true practice is not only getting rid of what is bad
and cultivating the good. This is only part of it. In the end we
must go beyond both good and bad. Finally there is a freedom that
includes all and a desirelessness from which love and wisdom
must start right here where we are, directly and simply. When the
first two steps, virtue and right view, have been completed, then
the third step of uprooting defilement will naturally occur
without deliberation. When light is produced, we no longer worry
about getting rid of the darkness, nor do we wonder where the
darkness has gone. We just know that there is light.
Following the precepts has three levels. The first is to undertake
them as training rules given to us by our teachers. The second
arises when we undertake and abide in them by ourselves. But for
those at the highest level, the Noble Ones, it is not necessary to
speak of precepts, of right and wrong. This true virtue comes from
wisdom that knows the Four Noble Truths in the heart and acts from
monks disrobe to go to the front where bullets fly past them every
day. They prefer it like that. They really want to go. Danger
surrounds them on all sides and yet theyíre pre3pared to go. Why
donít they see the danger? Theyíre prepared to die by the gun but
nobody wants to die developing virtue. This is really amazing,
of Ajahn Chahís disciples had a knee problem that could only be
corrected by surgery. Although the doctors assured him that his
knee would be well in a couple of weeks, months went by and it
still hadnít healed properly. When he saw Ajahn Chah again, he
complained saying, "They said it wouldnít take this long. It
shouldnít be this way." Ajahn Chah laughed and said, "If it
shouldnít be this way, it wouldnít be this way."
someone gives you a nice fat, yellow banana thatís sweet and
fragrant but poisonous, will you eat it? Of course not! Yet though
we know that desire is poisonous, we go ahead and "eat" it anyway!
your defilements; know them like you know a cobraís poison. You
wonít grab the cobra because you know it can kill you. See the
harm in things harmful and the use in things useful.
are always dissatisfied. In a sweet fruit, we miss the sour; in a
sour fruit, we miss the sweet.
you have something bad smelling in your pocket, wherever you go it
will smell bad. Donít blame it on the place.
Buddhism in the East today is like a big tree, which may look
majestic, but can only give small and tasteless fruit. Buddhism in
the West is like a sapling, not yet able to bear fruit, but having
the potential to give large sweet ones.
People nowadays think too much. There are too many things for them
to get interested in, but none of them lead to any true
because you go and call alcohol "perfume" doesnít make it become
perfume, you know. But, you people, when you want to drink
alcohol, you say itís perfume, then go ahead and drink it. You
must be crazy!
People are always looking outwards, at people and things around
them. They look at this hall, for example, and say, "Oh, itís so
big!" Actually itís not big at all. Whether or not it seems big,
depends on your perception of it. In fact this hall is just the
size it is, neither big nor small. But people run after their
feelings all the time. They are so busy looking around and having
opinions about what they see that they have no time to look at
people get bored, fed up, tired of the practice, and lazy. They
canít seem to keep the Dhamma in mind. Yet, if you go and scold
them, theyíll never forget that. Some may remember it for the rest
of their lives and never forgive you for it. But when it comes to
the Buddhaís teaching, telling us to be moderate, to be
restrained, to practice conscientiously, why do they keep
forgetting these things? Why donít people take these things to
Seeing that we are better than others is not right. Seeing that we
are equal to others is not right. Seeing that we are inferior to
others is not right. If we think that weíre better than others,
pride arises. If we think that we are equal to others, we fail to
show respect and humility at the proper times. If we think that we
are inferior to others, we get depressed thinking about it and try
to blame our inferiority on having been born under a bad sign, and
so on. Just let all of that go!
must learn to let go of conditions and not try to oppose or resist
them. And yet we plead with them to comply with our wishes. We
look for all sorts of means to organize them or make a deal with
them. If the body gets sick and is in pain, we donít want it to be
so, so we look for various suttas to chant. We donít want to
control it. These suttas become some form of mystical ceremony,
getting us even more entangled in clinging. This is because we
chant them in order to ward off illness, to prolong life and so
on. Actually The Buddha gave us these teachings in order to help
us know the truth of the body, so that we can let go and give up
our longings, but we end up chanting them to increase our
your own body, heart, and mind. Be content with little. Donít be
attached to the teachings. Donít go and hold on top emotions.
people are afraid of generosity. They feel that they will be
exploited or oppressed. In cultivating generosity, we are only
oppressing our greed and attachment. This allows our true nature
to express itself and become lighter and freer.
you reach out and grab a fire in your neighborís house, the fire
will be hot. If you grab a fire in your own house, that, too, will
be hot. So donít grab at anything that can burn you, no matter
what or where it is.
People outside may call us mad to live in the fore4st like this,
sitting like statues. But how do they live? They laugh, they cry,
and are so caught up in greed and hatred that at times they kill
themselves or one another. Now, who are the mad ones?
than merely teaching people, Ajahn Chah trained them by creating a
general environment and specific situations where they could learn
about themselves. He would say things like, "Of what I teach you,
you understand maybe 15%," or "Heís been a monk for five years, so
he understands 5%." A junior monk said in response to the latter.
"So I must have 1% since Iíve been here one year." "No," was Ajahn
Chahís reply. "The first four years you have no percent, then the
fifth year, you have 5%."
of Ajahn Chahís disciples was once asked if he was ever going to
disrobe, if he was going to die in the yellow robes. The disciple
said that it was hard to think about, and that although he had no
plans to disrobe, he couldnít really decide that he never would.
When he looked into it, he said, his thoughts seemed meaningless.
Ajahn Chah then replied by saying, "That they are meaningless is
the real Dhamma."
someone asked Ajahn Chah why there was so much crime in Thailand,
a Buddhist country, or why Indochina was such a mess, he said,
"Those arenít Buddhists who are doing those unwholesome things.
That isnít Buddhism. Buddha never taught anything like that.
People are doing those things!"
a visitor asked Ajahn Chah if he was an arahant. He said, "I am
like a tree in a forest. Birds come to the tree; they sit on its
branches and eat its fruit. To the birds the tree may be sweet or
sour or whatever. But the tree doesnít know anything about it. The
birds say sweet or they say sour, but from the treeís point of
view, this is just the chattering of birds."
Someone commented, "I can observe desire and aversion in my mind,
but itís hard to observe delusion." "Youíre riding on a horse and
asking where the horse is?" was Ajahn Chahís reply.
people become monks out of faith but then trample on the teachings
of the Buddha. They donít know themselves better. Those who really
practice are few these days for there are too many obstacles to
overcome. But if it isnít good, let it die; if it doesnít die,
then make it good.
say you love your girlfriend one hundred percent. Well, turn her
inside out and see how many percent of her you still love. Or if
you miss your lover so much when sheís not with you, then why not
ask her to send you a vial of her feces in it. In that way,
whenever you think of her with longing, you can open the vial and
smell it. Disgusting? What is it, then, that you love? What is it
that makes your heart pound like a rice pounder every time a girl
with a really attractive figure comes walking along or you smell
her perfume in the air? What is it? What are these forces? They
pull and suck you in, but you donít put up a real fight, do you?
Thereís a price to pay for it in the end, you know!
day Ajahn Chah came upon a large, heavy branch that was lying in
his path and which he wanted to move out of the way. He motioned
to a disciple to get hold of one end while he lifted the other.
Then when they held it ready to throw, he looked up and asked, "Is
it heavy?" And after they had flung it into the forest, he asked
again, "Now, is it heavy?" It was like this that Ajahn Chah taught
his disciples to see Dhamma in everything they said or did. In
this case, he demonstrated the benefit of "letting go".
of Ajahn Chahís disciples was unplugging a tape recorder when he
accidentally touched the metal prongs of the plug while it was
still connected. He got a shock and dropped it immediately. Ajahn
Chah noticed and said, "Oh! How come you could let go of that so
easily? Who told you to?"
was Christmas and the foreign monks had decided to celebrate it.
They invited some laypeople as well as Ajahn Chah to join them.
The laypeople were generally upset and skeptical. Why, they asked,
were Buddhists celebrating Christmas? Ajahn Chah then gave a talk
on religion in which he said, "As far as I understand,
Christianity teaches people to do good and avoid evil, just as
Buddhism does, so what is the problem? However, if people are
upset by the idea of celebrating Christmas, that can be easily
remedied. We wonít call it Christmas. Letís call it ĎChrist-Buddhamasí.
Anything that inspires us to see what is true and do what is good
is proper practice. You may call it any name you like."
During the time refugees were pouring into Thailand from Laos and
Cambodia, the charitable organizations that came out to help were
many. This made some ordained Westerners think it was not right
that Buddhist monks and nuns should just sit in the forest while
other religious organizations were so actively participating in
alleviating the plight of the refugees. So they approached Ajahn
Chah to express their concern, and this is what he said, "Helping
in refugee camps is good. It is indeed our natural human duty to
each other. But going through our own madness so that we can lead
others through, thatís the only cure. Anyone can go out and
distribute clothes and pitch tents, but how many can come into the
forest and sit to know their minds? As long as we donít know how
to Ďclotheí and Ďfeedí peopleís minds, there will always be a
refugee problem somewhere in the world."
Chah listened to one of his disciples recite the Heart Sutra. When
he had finished, Ajahn Chah said, "No emptiness eitherÖ no
bodhisatta." He then asked, "Where did the sutra come from?" "Itís
reputed to have been spoken by the Buddha," the follower replied.
"No Buddha," retorted Ajahn Chah. Then he said, "This is talking
about deep wisdom beyond all conventions. How could we teach
without them? We have to have names for things, isnít that so?"
become a Noble One, we have to continuously undergo changes until
only the body remains. The mind changes completely but the body
still exists. There is hot, cold, pain, and sickness as usual. But
the mind has changed and now sees birth, old age, sickness and
death in the light of truth.
Someone once asked Ajahn Chah to talk about enlightenment; could
he describe his own enlightenment? With everyone eagerly waiting
to hear his answer, he said, "Enlightenment isnít hatd to
understand. Just take a banana and put it into your mouth, then
you will know what it tastes like. You have to practice to
experience realization, and you have to persevere. If it were so
easy to become enlightened, everyone would be doing it. I started
going to the temple when I was eight years old, and I have been a
monk for over forty years. But you want to meditate for a night or
two and go straight to Nibbana. You donít just sit down and - zip!
- there you are, you know. You canít get someone to blow on your
head and make you enlightened either.
worldly way is to do things for a reason to get something in
return, but in Buddhism we do things without any idea of gain. But
if we donít want anything at all, what will we get? We donít get
anything! Whatever we get is just a cause for suffering, so we
practice not getting anything. Just make the mind peaceful and
have done with it.
Buddha taught to lay down those things that lack a real abiding
essence. If you lay everything down you will see the truth. If you
donít, you wonít. Thatís the way it is. And when wisdom awakens
within you, you will see Truth wherever you look. Truth is all
"empty" heart doesnít mean itís empty as if there were nothing in
it. Itís empty of evil, but itís full of wisdom.
People donít reflect on old age, sickness and death. They only
like to talk about non-aging, non-sickness, and non-death, so they
never develop the right feeling for Dhamma practice.
peopleís happiness depends on having things go to their liking.
They have to have everybody in the world say only pleasant things.
Is that how you find happiness? Is it possible to have everybody
in the world say only pleasant things? If thatís how it is when
will you ever find happiness?
Trees, mountains, and vines all live according to their own truth.
They appear and die following their nature. They remain impassive.
But not we people. We make a fuss over everything. Yet the body
just follows its own nature: itís born, grows old and eventually
dies. If follows nature in this way. Whoever wishes it to be
otherwise will just suffer.
go thinking that by learning a lot and knowing a lot youíll know
the Dhamma. Thatís like saying youíve seen everything there is to
see just because you have eyes, or that youíve heard everything
there is to hear just because you have ears. You may see but you
donít fully see. You see only with the "outer eye", not with the
"inner eye". You hear with the "outer ear", but not with the
Buddha taught us to give up all forms of evil and cultivate
virtue. This is the right path. Teaching in this way is like the
Buddha picking us up and placing us at the beginning of the path.
Having reached the path, whether we walk along it or not is up to
us. The Buddhaís job is finished right there. He shows us the way,
that which is right and that which is not right. This much is
enough; the rest is up to us.
must know the Dhamma for yourself. To know for yourself means to
practice for yourself. You can depend on a teacher only fifty
percent of the way. Even the teaching I have given you is
completely useless in itself, even if it is worth hearing. But if
you were to believe it all just because I said so, you wouldnít be
using the teaching properly. If you believed me completely, then
youíd be foolish. To hear the teaching, see its benefits, put it
into practice for yourself, see it within yourself Ö this is much
Sometimes when doing walking meditation, a soft rain would start
to fall and Iíd want to quit and go inside, but then Iíd think of
the times I used to work in the rice paddies. My pants would be
wet from the day before but Iíd have to get up before dawn and put
them on again. Then Iíd have to go down below the house to get the
buffalo out of its pen. It was so muddy in there. Iíd grab its
rope and it would be covered in buffalo dung. Then the buffaloís
tail would swish around and spatter me with dung on top of that.
My feet would be sore with athleteís foot and Iíd walk along
thinking, "Why is life so miserable?" And now here I wanted to
stop my walking meditationÖwhat was a little bit of rain to me?
Thinking like that I encouraged myself in the practice.
donít know how to talk about it. We talk about things to be
developed and things to give up, but thereís really nothing to
develop, nothing to give up.
that I have said up to now has merely been words. When people come
to see me, I have to say something. But it is best not to speak
about these matters too much. Better to begin practice without
delay. I am like a good friend inviting you to go somewhere. Do
not hesitate, just get going. You wonít regret it.
Unless indicated otherwise, the words below are in the Pali
Anagami: "Non-returner", the third stage in the realization of
Arahant: "Holy One", an enlightened being free from all
delusion through the realization of Nibbana in the fourth and
final stage and who is free from rebirth.
Bodhisatta: In the Theravadin School, this refers to a being
destined for enlightenment.
Dhamma: the Buddhaís Teaching; Ultimate Truth
Four Noble Truths: Buddhaís first teaching in which he pointed
out the truths of suffering, its cause, its cessation, and the
path leading to its cessation.
Sakadagami: "Once-returner", the second stage in the
realization of Nibbana.
Samsara: cycle of rebirth
Sotapanna: "Stream-entrant", the first stage in the
realization of Nibbana.
Wat: (Thai) monastery; temple