Venerable Ajahn Chah Take a look at the example of the Buddha. Both in his own practice and in his methods for teaching the disciples he was exemplary. The results will arise here, not at the teaching. Why not? The Dhamma arises at the practice.
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Living Dhamma, by Ajahn Chah Our real home A talk addressed to an aging lay disciple approaching her death Now determine in your mind to listen respectfully to the Dhamma. While I am speaking, be as attentive to my words as if it was the Lord Buddha himself sitting before you. Close your eyes and make yourself comfortable, composing your mind and making it one-pointed. Humbly allow the Triple Gem of wisdom, truth and purity to abide in your heart as a way of showing respect to the Fully Enlightened One.
Today I have brought nothing of material substance to offer you, only the Dhamma, the teachings of the Lord Buddha. You should understand that even the Buddha himself, with his great store of accumulated virtue, could not avoid physical death.
When he reached old age he ceded his body and let go of the heavy burden. Some are already broken, some have disappeared, and those that are left are wearing out, they have no stable form. Your body is the same You must accept this. The Buddha said that conditions, whether internal, bodily conditions or external conditions, are not self, their nature is to change. Contemplate this truth clearly. This very lump of flesh lying here in decline is reality. The Buddha taught us to contemplate this and come to terms with its nature.
We must be able to be at peace with the body, no matter what state it is in. Keep the mind separate. Give energy to the mind by realizing the truth of the way things are. Having been born it gets old and sick and then it dies. This is a great truth that you are presently witnessing. Look at the body with wisdom and realize this. If your house is flooded or burnt to the ground, whatever the threat to it, let it concern only the house. Let it be merely the house, that which is outside of you, that is flooded or burned.
Now is the time to allow the mind to let go of attachments. An ugly form is just an ugly form. A grating, discordant sound is simply that.
The Buddha said that rich or poor, young or old, human or animal, no being in this world can maintain itself in any single state for long. Everything experiences change and deprivation. But the Buddha said that what we can do is to contemplate the body and mind to see their impersonality, that neither of them is "me" nor "mine.
They differed from us only in one respect, and that was their acceptance of the way things are. They saw that it could be no other way.
So the Buddha taught us to probe and examine the body, from the soles of the feet up to the crown of the head, and then back down to the feet again. Just take a look at the body. What sort of things do you see? Is there anything intrinsically clean there? Can you find any abiding essence? This whole body is steadily degenerating. How else would you have it? In fact there is nothing wrong with the way the body is. It naturally flows downhill, it never flows uphill. If a person was to go and stand on the river bank and want the water to flow back uphill, he would be foolish.
Wherever he went his foolish thinking would allow him no peace of mind. He would suffer because of his wrong view, his thinking against the stream. If he had right view he would see that the water must inevitably flow downhill, and until he realized and accepted that fact he would be bewildered and frustrated. The river that must flow down the gradient is like your body. The Buddha told us to see the way things are and then let go of our clinging to them. Take this feeling of letting go as your refuge.
Keep meditating even if you feel tired and exhausted. Let your mind be with the breath. Take a few deep breaths and then establish the attention on the breath, using the mantra word Bud-dho. Make this practice continual. The more exhausted you feel the more subtle and focused your concentration must be, so that you can cope with any painful sensations that arise. When you start to feel fatigued then bring all your thinking to a halt, let the mind gather itself together and then turn to knowing the breath.
Just keep up the inner recitation, Bud-dho, Bud-dho. Let go of all externals. Let go. Let the mind unite in a single point and let that composed mind dwell with the breath. Let the breath be its sole object of knowledge. Concentrate until the mind becomes increasingly subtle, until feelings are insignificant and there is great inner clarity and wakefulness.
Then any painful sensations that arise will gradually cease of their own accord. When the relatives leave, you follow them out to see them off. We watch the breath in the same way. As it becomes increasingly fine we keep following it, the same time awakening the mind. Eventually the breath disappears altogether and all that remains is that feeling of alertness. This is called meeting the Buddha.
We have that clear, wakeful awareness called Bud-dho, the one who knows, the awakened one, the radiant one. This is meeting and dwelling with the Buddha, with knowledge and clarity. It was only the historical Buddha who passed away. The true Buddha, the Buddha that is clear, radiant knowing, can still be experienced and attained today. And if we do attain it, the heart is one. So let go, put everything down, everything except the knowing.
Lay them all down. The Buddha taught to empty yourself of everything in this way, not to carry anything around Realizing the Dhamma, the path to freedom from the round of birth and death, is a task that we all have to do alone. So keep trying to let go and understand the teachings. Put effort into your contemplation. At the moment they are as they are, in the future they will be like you.
The Buddha taught to lay down those things that lack a real abiding essence. If you think of your children, think of them with wisdom, not with foolishness. Whatever the mind turns to, think of it with wisdom, be aware of its nature.
To know something with wisdom is to let it go and have no suffering over it. The mind is bright, joyful and at peace.
It turns away from distractions and is undivided. Right now what you can look to for help and support is your breath. Leave others to do their own work. This letting go will make your mind calm. Your sole responsibility right now is to focus your mind and bring it to peace. Leave everything else to the others. Forms, sounds, odors, tastes Put everything behind you and do your own work, fulfill your own responsibility. What does the word dhamma refer to? Everything is a dhamma, there is nothing that is not a dhamma.
And what about "world"? The world is the very mental state that is agitating you at the present moment. How will they manage? Throw the world away! The world is the way it is.
What you can improve and beautify is the mind. Our real home is inner peace. An external, material home may well be pretty but it is not very peaceful.
Living Dhamma, by Ajahn Chah Our real home A talk addressed to an aging lay disciple approaching her death Now determine in your mind to listen respectfully to the Dhamma. While I am speaking, be as attentive to my words as if it was the Lord Buddha himself sitting before you. Close your eyes and make yourself comfortable, composing your mind and making it one-pointed. Humbly allow the Triple Gem of wisdom, truth and purity to abide in your heart as a way of showing respect to the Fully Enlightened One. Today I have brought nothing of material substance to offer you, only the Dhamma, the teachings of the Lord Buddha.
The Teachings of Ajahn Chah
Living Dhamma, by Ajahn Chah Toward the Unconditioned Today is the day on which we Buddhists come together to observe the Uposatha [ 22 ] precepts and listen to the Dhamma, as is our custom. We must rely on Dhamma talks to improve our understanding, and listening is the crucial factor. Now, all that remains is to establish your minds, making your minds firm in samadhi. The mind is the important ingredient. The mind is that which perceives good and evil, right and wrong. If we are lacking in sati for even one minute, we are crazy for that minute; if we are lacking in sati for half an hour we will be crazy for half an hour.