Ajahn Amaro Recalls Ajahn Chah

I enjoyed this talk by Ajahn Amaro about some of his recollections of Ajahn Chah. I especially liked the part about relationships with teachers.


During one of Ajahn Brahm’s talks on “Words of the Buddha” someone asked him about how Ajahn Chah was described by his various students. (There are 12 talks so far, it is in one of the earlier talks). In essence, Ajahn Brahm’s explanation is that people see what they wish to see, hear what they wish to hear, and so remember Ajahn Chah differently. He said that some of the descriptions of Ajahn Chah by his students bear very little resemblance to the Ajahn Chah he knew personally.

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Perhaps the more inclusive view would be that Ajahn Chah was different things to different people.

Go Left, Go Right.

A Western monk at Wat Ba Pong became frustrated by the difficulties of practice and the detailed and seemingly arbitrary rules of conduct the monks had to follow. He began to criticize other monks for sloppy practice and to doubt the wisdom of Achaan Chah’s teaching. At one point, he went to Achaan Chah and complained, noting that even Achaan Chah himself was inconsistent and seemed often to contradict him self in an unenlightened way.

Achaan Chah just laughed and pointed out how much the monk was suffering by trying to judge others around him. Then he explained that his way of teaching is very simple: "It is as though I see people walking down a road I know well. To them the way may be unclear. I look up and see someone about to fall into a ditch on the right-hand side of the road, so I call out to him, ‘Go left, go left’ Similarly, if I see another person about to fall into a ditch on the left, I call out, ‘Go right, go right!’ That is the extent of my teaching. Whatever extreme you get caught in, whatever you get attached to, I say, ‘Let go of that too.’ Let go on the left, let go on the right. Come back to the center, and you will arrive at the true Dharma. "
Ajahn Chah - A Still Forest Pool (((O)))

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