“When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. And when we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy.” ~ Ajahn Chah
Ajahn Chah was born into a large and comfortable family in a rural village in North-East Thailand. He ordained as a novice in early youth and on reaching the age of twenty took higher ordination as a monk. As a young monk he studied some basic Dhamma, Discipline and scriptures. Later he practiced meditation under the guidance of several of the local Meditation Masters in the Ascetic Forest Tradition. He wandered for a number of years in the style of an ascetic monk, sleeping in forests, caves and cremation grounds, and spent a short but enlightening period with Ajahn Mun, one of the most famous and respected Thai Meditation Masters of this century.
After many years of travel and practice, he was invited to settle in a thick forest grove near the village of his birth. This grove was uninhabited, known as a place of cobras, tigers and ghosts, thus being as he said, the perfect location for a forest monk. Around Ajahn Chah a large monastery formed as more and more monks, nuns and lay-people came to hear his teachings and stay on to practice with him. Now there are disciples teaching more than forty mountain and forest branch temples throughout Thailand and in England.
Ajahn Chah’s simple yet profound style of teaching has a special appeal to Westerners, and many have come to study and practice with him, quite a few for many years. In 1975 Wat Pa Nanachat was established near Wat Pah Pong as a special training monastery for the growing numbers of Westerners interested in undertaking monastic training.
Ajahn Chah’s wonderfully simple style of teaching can be deceptive. It is often only after we have heard something many times that suddenly our minds are ripe and somehow the Teaching takes on a much deeper meaning.
In 1979 the first of several branch monasteries in Europe was established in Sussex, England by his senior Western disciples. Today there are branch monasteries in Europe, Australia, USA and New Zealand.
Ajahn Chah passed away in January, 1992 following a long illness.
Food for the Heart
The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah
” The untrained mind is stupid! Sense impressions come and trick it into happiness, suffering, gladness and sorrow, but the mind’s true nature is none of those things… really this mind of ours is already unmoving and peaceful…” – from Food for the Heart by Ajahn Chah
Ajahn Chah (1919-1992) was one of Thailand’s best-known Buddhist monks. Committed to a life of simplicity and renunciation, Ajahn Chah became a monk at age nine, and lived and practised in Thailand’s caves, forests and charnal grounds as an ascetic, wandering monk. Renowned for the clarity and directness of his Dharma teachings, a network of monasteries grew up around Ajahn Chah. He attracted a large following of Western disciples, who themselves have established several branch monasteries in various parts of the world.
For more information please see www.forestsangha.org