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  • Writer's pictureUttamayanmuni

A Still Forest Pool

The Insight meditation by Ajahn Chah

"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 SH the nature of all things. You will see many strong and wonderful things come and go; but you will be still This is the happiness of the Buddha"..........Ajahn Chah

The Simple Path

Traditionally the Eightfold Path is taught with eight steps such as Right Understanding , Right Speech, Right Concentration and so forth. But the true Eightfold Path is within us - two eyes, two ears, two nostrils,a tongue and a body. These eight doors are our entire Path and the mind is the one that walks on the Path. Know these doors,examine them and all the dharmas will be revealed.

The heart of the Path is so simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they ere. That is all I do in my own practice.

Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself Into anything. Do not be a mediator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing.

Of course,there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi (concentration) and many kinds of vipassana (insight). But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here it is cool, out of the battle.

Why not give it a try? Do you dare?

The Middle Way

The Buddha does not want us to follow the double path - desire and indulgence on the one hand and fear and aversion on the other. Just be aware of pleasure, he teaches. Anger, fear, dissatisfaction are not the path of the yogi but the path of worldly people. The tranquil person walks the Middle Path of right practice, leaving grasping on the left and fear and aversion on the right.

One who undertakes the path of practice must follow this Mddle Way. 1 v.iU not take interest inpleasure or pain. I v.ill lay them dowi.But,of course,itis hard at first. Itis as thoughwe are being kicked on both sides. Like a cowbell or a pendulum,we are knocked back and forth. When Buddha preached his first sermon, he discoursed on these two extremes because this is where attachment lies. The desire for happiness kicks from one side;suffering and dissatisfaction kick from the other. These two are always besieging us. But when you walk the Mddle Path,you put them both down.

Don't you see? If you follow these extremes,you will simply strike out when you are angry and grab for what attracts you, without the slightest patience or forbearance. How long can you go on being trapped in this way? Consider it: if you like something,you follow after it when liking arises,yet it is just drawing you on to seek suffering. This mind of desire is really clever. Where will it lead you next?

The Buddha teaches us to keep laying down the extremes. This is the path of right practice, the path leading out of birth and becoming. On this path, there is neither pleasure nor pain, neither good nor evil. Alas,the mass of humans filled with desiring just strive for pleasure and always bypass the middle, missing the Path of the Excellent One, the path of the seeker of truth. Attached to birth and becoming,happiness and suffering, good and evil, the one who does not travel this Middle Path cannot become a wise one, cannot find liberation. Our path is straight,the path of tranquility and pure awareness.calmed of both elation and sorrow. If you heart is like this,you can stop asking other people for guidance.

You will see that when the heart/mind is unattached,it is abiding in its normal state. When it stirs from tho normal because of various thoughts and feelings, the process of thought construction takes place, in which illusions are created. Learn to see through this process. When the mind has stirred from normal,it leads away from right practice to one of the extremes of Indulgence or aversion,thereby creating more illusion, more thought construction. Good or bad only arises in your mind. If you keep a watch on your mind,studying this one topic your whole life, I guarantee that you will never be bored.

Ending Doubts

Many people who have studied on an university level and attained graduate degrees and worldly success find that their lives are still lacking Though they think high thoughts and are intellectually sophisticated, their hearts are still filled with pettiness and doubt. The vulture flies high, but what does it feed on?

Dharma is understanding that goes beyond the conditioned, compounded, limited understanding of worldly science. Of course, worldly wisdom can be used to good purpose,but progress in worldly wisdom can cause deterioration In religion and moral values. The important thing is to develop super mundane wisdom that can use such technology while remaining detached from it.

It is necessary to teach the basics first - basic morality, seeing the transitoriness of life, the facts of aging and death. Here is where we must begin. Before you drive a car or ride a bicycle,you must learn to walk. Later,you may ride in an airplane or travel around the world in the blink of an eye.

Outward,scriptural study is not important. Of course,the Dharma books are correct, but they are not right. They cannot give you right understanding. To see the word hatred in print is not the same as experiencing anger,just as hearing a person's name is different from meeting him. Only experiencing for yourself can give you true faith.

There are two kinds of faith. Ono is a kind of blind trust in the Buddha,the teachings, the master,which often leads one to begin practice or to ordain. The second is true faith·certain,unshakable·which arises from knowing within oneself. Though one still has other defilements to overcome, seeing clearly all things within oneself makes it possible to put an end to doubt, to attain this certainty In one's practice.

Go Beyond Words - See for Yourself!

In my own practice, I did not know or study much. I took the straightforward teachings the Buddha gave and simply began to study my own mind according to nature. When you practice,observe yourself. Then gradually knowledge and vision will arise of themselves. If you sit in meditation and want it to be this way or had better stop right there. Do not bring ideals or expectations to your practice. Take your studies,your opinions,and store them away.

You must go beyond all words ,all symbols,all plans for your practice. Then you can see for yourself the truth,arising right here. If you do not turn inward, you will never know reality. I took the first few years of formal Dharma text study,and when I had the opportunity, I went to hear various scholars and masters teach, until such study became more of a hindrance than a help I did not know how to listen to their sermons because I had not looked within.

The great meditation masters spoke about the truth within oneself. Practicing, I began to realize that It existed in my own mind as well. After a long time, I realized that these teachers have really seen the truth and that if we follow their path,we will encounter everything they have spoken about. Then we will be able to say, "Yes. they v.ere right. What else could there be? Just this." When I practised diligently,realization unfolded like that.

If you are interested in Dharma, just give up, just let go. Merely thinking about practice is like pouncing on the shadow and missing the substance. You need not study much. If you follow the basics and practice accordingly,you will see the Dharma for yourself. There must be more than merely hearing the words . Speak just with yourself, observe your own mind. If you cut off this verbal,thinking mind, you will have a true standard for judging. Otherwise,your understanding will not penetrate deeply. Practice In this way and the rest will follow.

Right Understanding

One develops right understanding by seeing impermanence,suffering,and non-self in everything, which leads to detachment and loss of infatuation. Detachment is not aversion. An aversion to something we once liked is temporary, and the craving for it will return.

Imagine some food that you like,bamboo shoots or sweet curry,for example. Imagine having it everyday for five or six years;you would get tired of them. If someone were to offer you some,you would not get excited. In the same way,we should see impermanence,suffering and emptiness in all things at all times: bamboo shoots!

We seek not for a life or pleasure, but to find peace. Peace is within oneself, to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop,nor is it given by a teacher.

Where you experience suffering,you can also find freedom from suffering. To try to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it. lnvestigate suffering,see its causes, and put an end to them right now, rather than merely dealing with their effects.

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