April             2008                             2551                      Number     83
The Forest Sangha is a worldwide Buddhist monastic
community in the Thai forest tradition of Ajahn Chah

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Some words from Ajahn Chah

ajahn chah

The following are some quotations taken from various published talks given by
Venerable Ajahn (Luang Por) Chah related to the general theme of ‘teaching’.

‘Some of us start to practise, and even after a year or two, still don’t know what’s what. We are still unsure of the practice. When we’re still unsure, we don’t see that everything around us is purely Dhamma, and so we turn to teachings from the Ajahns (teachers). But actually, when we know our own mind, when there is sati (awareness) to look closely at the mind, there is wisdom. All times and all places become occasions for us to hear the Dhamma (the Buddha’s teaching; the truth of the way things are).’

‘In the beginning you must rely on a teacher to instruct and advise you. When you understand, then practise. When the teacher has instructed you follow the instructions. If you understand the practice it’s no longer necessary for the teacher to teach you; just do the work yourselves.’

‘Whenever heedlessness or unwholesome qualities arise, know for yourself, teach yourself. Do the practice yourself. The mind is that which knows, the witness. The mind knows for itself if you are still very deluded or only a little deluded.’

‘You may wish to travel, to visit other teachers and try other systems. This is a natural desire. You will find out that a thousand questions asked and knowledge of many systems will not bring you to the truth. Eventually you will get bored. You will see that only by stopping and examining your own mind can you find out what the Buddha talked about. No need to go searching outside yourself. Eventually you must return to face your own true nature. Here is where you can understand the Dhamma.’


‘If you have any questions, you’re welcome to come and ask them any time. But we don’t need daily interviews here. If I answer your every little question, you will never understand the process of doubt in your own mind.’

‘Even if the teacher speaks the truth, don’t just believe it, because you don’t yet know the truth of it for yourself.’

lang por chah



Luang Por Chah



‘It’s essential that you learn to examine yourself, to interview yourself. Listen carefully to the lecture every few days, then use this teaching to compare with your own practice. Is it still the same? Is it different? Why do you have doubts? Who is it that doubts? Only through self-examination can you understand.’


‘If you just follow your own views and try to practise accordingly, you’ll start thinking and doubting a lot. These doubts will never vanish through thinking, through theorizing, through speculation or through discussion. Nor will doubts disappear by doing nothing.’

‘When we listen to Dhamma maybe we want to listen until all our doubts are cleared up. But doubt is not overcome simply by listening or thinking: we must first clean out the mind.’

‘No matter how long we listen to a teacher talk about the truth we won’t know or see that truth just from listening. If we did it would be only through guesswork or conjecture.’

‘Even though simply listening to the Dhamma may not lead to realization, it is beneficial. In the Buddha’s time there were those who arrived at the highest realization while listening to a discourse. But those people were already highly developed. It’s like a football. When a football is pumped up with air it expands. Now the air in that football is all pushing to get out, but there’s no hole for it to do so. As soon as a
no needle punctures the football the air comes bursting out.’


‘Don’t be in a hurry to judge whether this teaching is right or wrong. Just listen to it first. If I were to give you all a fruit and tell you it’s delicious, you should take note of my words, but don’t believe me offhand, because you haven’t tasted it yet. The teaching I give you today is the same. If you want to know whether the fruit is sweet or sour you have to slice a piece off and taste it. Then you will know its taste for yourself.’


‘So whether you’re talking about the Dhamma or listening to it, you needn’t wonder where the Dhamma is: it’s right here. No matter where you go to study the Dhamma, it’s really in the mind. The mind is the one who clings, the mind is the one who speculates, the mind is the one who transcends, who lets go.’
‘To talk about the Dhamma we use similes, because the Dhamma has no form. Is it square or is it round? You can’t say. Don’t think that the Dhamma is far away from you. It lies right with you, all around. Take a look ... one minute happy, the next sad, the next angry ... it’s all Dhamma. Look at it and understand. Whatever it is that causes suffering you should remedy.’

‘If you practise like this you will have sati at all times, in all postures. With sati, recollection, and sampajañña, self awareness, you will know right and wrong, happiness and suffering. Knowing these things, you will know how to deal with them.’



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