New to Ajahn Chah

Just started reading my first Ajahn Chah book. It is very insightful. I’ve noticing more and more that he is extremely revered and respected through out the Pali tradition community . Is there’d any reasons besides him being a great teacher?? Thanks guys

His down to earth wisdom which isn’t too lofty but straight to the point from his farmer background and the austerities and strict rules which he upheld wholeheartedly really propelled the monastic community in a dignified direction which continues until today. Food For The Heart edited by Jack Kornfield was my introduction and it really helped to develop my practice until today

Yes, it’s because he learned meditation through practice, not theory. He spent his formative years travelling and staying in forests and going for alms in villages. This is a meditation monk as contrasted with a scholar monk such as Bikkhu Bodhi. This is the actual ‘forest tradition,’ claimed but not really followed by some western monks.


I think mostly because he started a healthy and thriving order of Western monks (no small feat!)


I might be wrong, but here is my thoughts:

  1. Many modern meditation/ buddhist teachers in the west are his student. Naturally they revere him, and their communities followed.

  2. Many believed that he was an arahat.

  3. His teaching was simple and deep. In contrast to other theravada books which is scholarly, based on Abhidhamma tradition, his books stand out.
    It was more Zen flavored. I am not saying it is Zen, but it is similar. For the western buddhist which is enamored by Zen, it suits their palate.

When I was young and immature, I read his book and I cant understand it. It just seems like incomprehensible nonsense pretending to be wise. (To the point I was wondering why he is famous and have many published books)
Only when I mature more and have some meditation experience, I can appreciate the insight contain in his teachings.

In that sense, it is Zen-like, because it is a simple sayings hiding profound wisdom.
It is also practiced based because you can’t understand it if you don’t practice meditation.


I’ve always felt Ajahn Chah had a Zen flair about him. I can’t pinpoint what it is exactly. :thinking: Others have mentioned it too.

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If you’re interested, you can download Ajahn Chah’s collected teachings here or order a print copy for free:

The same for the excellent biography written by Ajahn Jayasaro:


I’m loving the Chah book I got. Speaking of Zen I just use the philosophy if we can call it that as meditation advise. But still consider myself a follower only of the pali traditions

Yes, based on his sayings I’d have assumed Ajahn Chah to be from a Zen school, if I hadn’t known about his background.