Ajahn Chah (1918 – 1992 ) was the father of modern day Insight Meditation. A Thai Forest monk, he influenced a number of the current shining lights in Insight Meditation worldwide. U.S. teacher and author Jack Kornfield ordained and lived with Ajahn Chah for a number of years.
Ajahn Sumedho, one of the first Western monks in the Thai Forest Tradition studied under Ajahn Chah as well. Under the guidance of Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Sumedho established monasteries in the Thai Forest Traditions in the west. One of the monasteries, Bodhinyanarama, is close by to where I live. The Abbot there studied under Ajahn Chah as well. He was said to have a tremendous, palpable presence that influenced those around him and he was clearly awakened.
If it were nto for Ajahn Chah and his lineage, I doubt if I would have discovered meditation so for his passion and wisdom and teaching ability I am tremendously grateful. Here are some more words for wisdom from him.
“Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it. So let your mind be like a tightly woven net to catch emotions and feelings that come, and investigate them before you react.”
“With even a little intuitive wisdom we will be able to see clearly the ways of the world. We will come to understand that everything in the world is our teacher.”
“A visiting Zen student asked Ajahn Chah, How old are you? Do you live here all year round? I live nowhere, he replied. There is no place you can find me. I have no age. To have age, you must exist, and to think you exist is already a problem. Don’t make problems, then the world has none either. Don’t make a self. There’s nothing more to say.”
“Only one book is worth reading, the heart.”
“Try to be mindful, and let things take their natural course. Then your mind will become still in any surroundings, like a clear forest pool. All kinds of wonderful, rare animals will come to drink at the pool, and you will clearly see the nature of all things. You will see many strange and wonderful things come and go, but you will be still. This is the happiness of the Buddha.”
“Do everything with a mind that lets go. Do not expect any praise or reward. If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you will know complete peace and freedom. Your struggles with the world will have come to an end.”