by Ajahn Chah 2018 English

This book is part of a set of 6 titles reprinted to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of Ajahn Chah, made available for free distribution on 17th June 2018.


Introduction

One of the most notable features of Venerable Ajahn Chah’s teaching was the emphasis he gave to the San ̇gha, the monastic order, and its use as a vehicle for Dhamma practice. This is not to deny his unique gift for teaching lay people, which enabled him to communicate brilliantly with people from all walks of life, be they simple farmers or University professors. But the results he obtained with teaching and creating solid San ̇gha communities are plainly visible in the many monasteries which grew up around him, both within Thailand and, later, in England, Australia, Europe and elsewhere. Ajahn Chah foresaw the necessity of establishing the San ̇gha in the West if long-term results were to be realized.

This book is a collection of talks he gave to the monastic communities in Thailand. They are exhortations given to the communities of bhikkhus, or Buddhist monks, at his own monastery, Wat Ba Pong, and some of its branches. This fact should be born in mind by the lay reader. These talks are not intended to, and indeed cannot, serve as an introduction to Buddhism and meditation practice. They are monastic teachings, addressed primarily to the lifestyle and prob- lems particular to that situation. A knowledge of the basics of Buddhism on the part of the listener was assumed. Many of the talks will thus seem strange and even daunting to the lay reader, with their emphasis on conformity and renunciation.

For the lay reader, then, it is essential to bear in mind the environment within which these talks were given – the rugged, austere, poverty-stricken North-East corner of Thailand, birth place of most of Thailand’s great meditation teachers and almost its entire forest monastic tra- dition. The people of the North-East are honed by this environment to a rugged simplicity and gentle patience which make them ideal candidates for the forest monk’s lifestyle. Within this environment, in small halls dimly lit by paraffin lamps, surrounded by the assembly of monks, Ajahn Chah gave his teachings. [..]

 

Excerpt From: Ajahn Chah. “Food for the Heart.”