A Gift of Dhamma from Ajahn Chah

I came across this nice essay from Ajahn Chah. I will post some excerpts and you can check out the whole lot here…

http://hsuyun.org/features1/inspirational/724-giftofdhamma.html

Ajahn Chah was a Theravadan Buddhist teacher. This is the ”narrower” path than Vajrayana or Mahayana. It is often seen as stricter. They abide very closely to rules on begging and eating and ownership of goods for example…they are strictly monastic. I like him. i like his smile. 🙂 And he is kind. Here are many of his essays…

http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/index.php

Extracts from ”A Gift of Dhamma”

What is Dhamma? Dhamma is that which can cut through the problems and difficulties of mankind, gradually reducing them to nothing. That’s what is called Dhamma and that’s what should be studied throughout our daily lives so that when some mental impression arises in us, we’ll be able to deal with it and go beyond it.

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That which solves problems is wisdom and to have wisdom we must develop and train the mind.
The subject of practice isn’t far away at all, it’s right here in our body and mind. Westerners and Thais are the same, they both have a body and mind. A confused body and mind means a confused person and a peaceful body and mind, a peaceful person.

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 When a wind blows it flaps and flutters. The mind is similar to that leaf. When it contacts a mental impression, it, too, ”flaps and flutters” according to the nature of that mental impression. And the less we know of Dhamma, the more the mind will continually pursue mental impressions. Feeling happy, it succumbs to happiness. Feeling suffering, it succumbs to suffering. It’s constant confusion!

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In the end people become neurotic. Why? Because they don’t know! They just follow their moods and don’t know how to look after their own minds. When the mind has no one to look after it, it’s like a child without a mother or father to take care of him. An orphan has no refuge and, without a refuge, he’s very insecure.

Likewise, if the mind is not looked after, if there is no training or maturation of character with right understanding, it’s really troublesome.

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This mind doesn’t have any self or substance. It doesn’t have any form. It just experiences mental activities, that’s all! If we teach this mind to have right view, this mind won’t have any problems. It will be at ease.

The mind is mind. Mental objects are mental objects. Mental objects are not the mind, the mind is not mental objects. In order to clearly understand our minds and the mental objects in our minds, we say that the mind is that which receives the mental objects which pop into it.

When these two things, mind and its object, come into contact with each other, they give rise to feelings. Some are good, some bad, some cold, some hot, all kinds! Without wisdom to deal with these feelings, however, the mind will be troubled.

Meditation is the way of developing the mind so that it may be a base for the arising of wisdom. Here the breath is a physical foundation. We call it anapanasati or ”mindfulness of breathing”. Here we make breathing our mental object. We take this object of meditation because it’s the simplest and because it has been the heart of meditation since ancient times.

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When a good occasion arises to do sitting meditation, sit cross-legged: right leg on top of the left leg, right hand on top of the left hand. Keep your back straight and erect. Say to yourself, ”Now I will let go of all my burdens and concerns”. You don’t want anything that will cause you worry. Let go of all concerns for the time being.

Now fix your attention on the breath. Then breathe in and breathe out. In developing awareness of breathing, don’t intentionally make the breath long or short. Neither make it strong or weak. Just let it flow normally and naturally. Mindfulness and self-awareness, arising from the mind, will know the in-breath and the out-breath.

Be at ease. Don’t think about anything. No need to think of this or that. The only thing you have to do is fix your attention on the breathing in and breathing out. You have nothing else to do but that! Keep your mindfulness fixed on the in-and out-breaths as they occur. Be aware of the beginning, middle and end of each breath. On inhalation, the beginning of the breath is at the nose tip, the middle at the heart, and the end in the abdomen. On exhalation, it’s just the reverse: the beginning of the breath is in the abdomen, the middle at the heart, and the end at the nose tip. Develop the awareness of the breath: 1, at the nose tip; 2, at the heart; 3, in the abdomen. Then in reverse: 1, in the abdomen; 2, at the heart; and 3, at the nose tip.

Focusing the attention on these three points will relieve all worries. Just don’t think of anything else! Keep your attention on the breath. Perhaps other thoughts will enter the mind. It will take up other themes and distract you. Don’t be concerned. Just take up the breathing again as your object of attention. The mind may get caught up in judging and investigating your moods, but continue to practice, being constantly aware of the beginning, middle and the end of each breath.

You can read the rest at the source.

http://hsuyun.org/features1/inspirational/724-giftofdhamma.html

That was the most important bit 🙂

OM TAT SAT

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Generally just Being. Nothing in particular, no claims to fame. I like gardening and the sea, nature, art in all forms from poetry to films and everything in between, and being in the company of my family.

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