Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Only Here

Ajahn Chah: deceptively simple

One of my favorite anecdotes of Ajahn Chah’s penetrating yet deceptively simple teaching style is the following tale. Ajahn Chah was constantly visited by people seeking guidance in their Dharma practice, including established Buddhist teachers. One such teacher that came to see Ajahn Chah was a teacher of Buddhist psychology and Abhidharma (Buddhist philosophy). She asked him if he thought that it was important for his students to understand Buddhist psychology as she did. Ajahn Chah agreed that he did. She then asked the forest monk if he had his students study Abhidharma. Ajahn Chah stated that he did. She next asked him where he had his students begin, which books and studies where best. “Only here,” replied Ajahn Chah, pointing to his heart. “Only here.”

The above post first appeared on the blog 'Forest Wisdom,' which was reborn as this one.


Anonymous said...

Very beautiful post, Gary! I admire the simplicity and significance of Ajahn Chah's teachings. He knows how to say the most important in a few simple words. I once studied Tibetan Buddhism for one and a half years and I learned about the definition of products,things aso but after that time I knew nothing about Buddhism... Thank you for all your posts, Gary! Renée

G said...

Sorry to read that after studying Tibetan Buddhism you felt you knew nothing about Buddhism, only learning the definition of products & things, Renee. (And ironic, perhaps, as it was the famous Tibetan Buddhist Rinpoche Chogyam Trungpa who wrote about 'Cutting through Spiritual Materialism'!) I'm sure others have had more spiritually productive encounters with the Tibetan tradition, but it can't be everyone's cup of tea, can it?

And, yes, Ajahn Chah had a real Dharma-eye for cutting through every kind of materialism, spiritual or otherwise, to get to the heart of the matter, for sure. We are blessed to have his teachings.