It's just as well that I'm not perfect - otherwise you might think that the Buddha was to be found anywhere outside of your mind.
|The formation of a cult around a teacher would be very much against the way of the Buddha and the wishes of Ajahn Chah himself. He always regarded himself as a simple forest monk who, aware of his many human weaknesses, had surrendered himself to living under the Vinaya discipline to become one of the many disciples of the Buddha. His practice had great faith in the Buddha and a devotion that brought forth immense effort and resourcefulness. As a teacher he imparted these qualities to those who wished to receive his guidance, but without making any personal claims.|
Jack Kornfield, who trained as a bhikkhu under Ajahn Chah, tells of an occasion when he was having a lot of irritation with Wat Pah Pong, himself and Ajahn Chah. Going to see the Master, he let forth a diatribe against the monastery and the style of practice, finally criticising Ajahn Chah for some of his 'unenlightened' idiosyncrasies. Ajahn Chah was not living up to what Jack felt an enlightened master should look like. Luang Por laughed and replied: 'Good. It's just as well that I'm not perfect - otherwise you might think that the Buddha was to be found anywhere outside of your mind. Go back to your kuti and meditate.' With wisdom and humour, Ajahn Chah could even use his own limitations as a means of pointing to where the Dhamma is to be found.
It was also the case that his means of causing someone to review their own attachments could be stern. Just as it's not always so right to be strict, it's not always so kind to be sweet. A spiritual friend points out that the highest form of refuge is not any person, but one's own practice, independent of circumstances. Although not-self, there are loving-kindness, joyousness and wisdom in the heart. We should aspire to grow beyond seeking them elsewhere.
As long as we take even the Kalyanamitta to be outside of ourselves, eventually we're going to suffer when they leave, die or fail to live up to our image of them. The Kalyanamitta is always present in the pure and compassionate heart that is the result of years of letting go - in the detachment, dispassion and that cessation of self-view that allows the mind to rest in inner stillness. For those going forth, one can have no higher wish than that they realise that for and in themselves - and bring it forth in the hearts of others.
Kindred Sayings Vol. V: Chap. XLV; 1 (ii)
'It is the whole, not the half, of the holy life - this friendship, this association, this intimacy with what is lovely. Of a monk who is a friend, an associate, an intimate of what is lovely we may expect this - that he will develop the Ariyan eightfold way, that he will make much of the Ariyan eightfold way.