Author Topic: A collection of sayings attributed to Ajahn Chah  (Read 796 times)

Offline Dharmakara

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A collection of sayings attributed to Ajahn Chah
« on: December 08, 2014, 04:11:26 pm »
If you want to wait around to meet the future Buddha, then just don't practice. You'll  probably be around long enough to see  him when he comes.


I've heard people say,  "Oh, this year was a bad year for me." 
"How come?"
"I was sick all year. I couldn't practice at all."
Oh! If they don't practice when death is near, when will they ever practice? If  they're  feeling well, do you think they practice? No. They only get lost in happiness. If they're suffering they still don't practice. They get lost in that, too. I don’t know when people think they're going to practice.


I've already laid down the schedule and rules of the monastery. Don't 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 ever day, he wouldn't see me. Even if he slept near Buddha, he wouldn't see the Buddha, if he don't practice.


Don’t' 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 mind full in every posture, whether sitting walking, standing or lying down. When coming out of meditation, but that you are only changing postures. If you reflect in this way,  you will have peace. Whenever you are, you will have attitude of practice with you constantly. You will have a steady awareness within yourself. 


"As 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 Buddha, But  you haven't considered that your car is only a small one. The Buddha's 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? It's a different story altogether.


I went all over looking for place to meditate. I didn't 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…inside me.


We don't meditate to see heaven, but to end suffering.


Don’t be attached to visions or lights in meditation, don't rise or fall with them. What's so great about brightness? 
My flashlight has it. It can't help us rid ourselves  of our suffering.


You're blind and deaf wihtout meditation. Dhamma isn't easily seen. You must meditate to see what you' ve never seen.  Were you born a teacher? No. You must study first. A lemon is sour only when you have tasted it.


When sitting in meditation, say " That's not my business! " with every thought that comes by.


When we are lazy we should practice and not only when we feel energetic or in the mood. This is practicing according to the Buddha's teaching. According to our own, we practice only when we're 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 doesn't ever rise to anything. The days pass by, but we don't see ourselves. Knowing about practice is practicing in order to know.


Of 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.


When 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 understand. 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.


In meditation practice, it is actually worse to be caught in calmness that 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 arise from insight meditation practice, do not cling to them.


Meditation is just about the mind and it's feeling . It's not something 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, going inwards to see clearly. Meditation is like this. 


Not practicing right 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 compose. To be composed is to be heedful. If one is heedful, then one is practicing rightly.


The basic in our practice should be first to be honest and upright; second, to be wary to  wrong doing; and third, to be humble within one's 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 won't be distracted. The mind will have a foundation of virtue, concentration, and wisdom.


At 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 forwards is not it, coming back is not it, and stopping is not it either! It's finished. There's no stopping, no going forward and no coming back. It's is finished .  Right there you will find that there is really nothing at all. 


Remember you don't 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 won't find it.


The heart of the path is quite easy. There's no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be . That 's all that I do in my own practice. 


Asking the wrong questions show that you are still caught in doubting. Talking about practice is all right, If it help contemplation. But it's up to you yourself to see the Truth.


We practice to learn letting go, not to increase our holding on. Enlightenment appears when you stop wanting anything.


If 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 whom you do not know, you may wonder, " Who is that? Where is he going? What is he up to? " But if we know the person, it is enough just to notice him pass by.


Desire in practice can be a friend or as 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 to 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 don't know it but he should. He doesn't have to come and ask me about it, does he?"


Our life is an assembly of the 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 sexed and other wars as well. Meditation is for seeing through all of this, then we can reach the unconditioned and be at peach, not at war.


Some people enter the monk-hood out of faith, but later trample on the teaching of Buddha. They know better, but refuse to practice rightly. Indeed, those who do  really practice are few these days.


Theory and practice - the first knows the name of a medicinal plant, and the second goes to find it and uses it.


Noise - you like the sound of birds but not that of cars. You're 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 practice.


A newly ordained novice asked Ajahn Chah what his advise was for those new to meditation practice. "The same as for those who've  already been at it for a long time. " he replied. And what was that? "Just keep at it." He said


People say that that Buddha's teaching is right, but it is impossible to practice in society. They say things, like "I'm young, so I don't have the opportunity to practice, but when I'm old, I'll practice." Would you say ""I'm young, so I don't have time to eat, but when I get older you'll eat? If I poked you with a stick that was on fire, would you say I'm suffering, it's true, but since you live in this society I can't get away from it?


Virtue, concentration, and wisdom together make up the heart of Buddha 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. It's like a piece of wood cut into three sections, but it's really only one log. If we want to throw away body and speech, 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.

Offline Marcus Epicurus

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Re: A collection of sayings attributed to Ajahn Chah
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2014, 06:20:44 pm »
I like Ajahn Chahs way of thinking and teaching.

Kudos to Dk for providing this to us. :jinsyx:
The non-doing of any evil,
the performance of what's skillful,
the cleansing of one's own mind:
this is the teaching of the Awakened.

Offline dmac1725

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Re: A collection of sayings attributed to Ajahn Chah
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2015, 08:35:26 am »
Always had a lot of respect for Ajahn Chah's down to earth teaching style, very difficult to argue with a lot of what he says.   :yes:

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: A collection of sayings attributed to Ajahn Chah
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2015, 03:34:21 pm »
Needless to say, my own preference has always been for Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, almost right from the beginning, but Ajahn Chah would certainly be a close second or runner-up, especially his ability to present the teachings in a simple and straight-forward way that's easy to understand --- he was a major influence and spiritual mentor for a generation of American Buddhist teachers, including Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sharon Salzberg, and Jack Kornfield.




 


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