During this daylong retreat, Ajahn Pasanno shares teachings and memories of his beloved teacher, Ajahn Chah. By the time of his passing in 1992, Ajahn Chah had become one of the most highly revered Buddhist meditation masters in Thailand. The readings come from a draft version of Ajahn Jayasaro's biography of Ajahn Chah that was published as Stillness Flowing in 2018.External website
Session 1: His Life and Teachings Part 1
Session 2: Meditation Instruction 1
Session 3: Walking Meditation
Session 4: Meditation Instruction 2
Session 5: Alms Reflection
Session 6: Mealtime Blessing
Session 7: His Life and Teachings Part 2
Session 8: Meditation Instruction 3
Session 9: Purpose of Walking
Session 10: Short readings
Session 11: His Life and Teachings Part 3
Jack Kornfield arrives with a large picture of Ajahn Chah.
10. [31:14] Reading from the draft biography: Ajahn Chah accepts his dying father's request to stay as a monk for life. [Family] [Monastic life/Motivation] [Sickness] [Death] [Determination] // [Mindfulness of body] [Sense of urgency] [Saṃsāra]
Quote: “I dedicate my body and mind, my whole life, to the practice of the Lord Buddha’s teachings in their entirety. I will realize the truth in this lifetime … I will let go of everything and follow the teachings. No matter how much suffering and difficulty I have to endure I will persevere, otherwise there will be no end to my doubts. I will make this life as even and continuous as a single day and night. I will abandon attachments to mind and body and follow the Buddha’s teachings until I know their truth for myself.” — Ajahn Chah [Ardency] [Patience] [Doubt] [Continuity of mindfulness] [Relinquishment] [Knowledge and vision]
The singular quality of Ajahn Chah's resolution. Reflection by Ajahn Pasanno.
12. [40:08] Reading from the draft biography: Ajahn Mun's character and legacy [Ajahn Mun] [Thai Forest Tradition] // [Culture/Thailand] [Perception of a samaṇa] [Great disciples] [Ascetic practices] [Rains retreat] [Almsround] [Psychic powers] [Discernment] [Liberation] [History/Thai Buddhism]
13. [45:12] Reading from the draft biography: Ajahn Chah visits Ajahn Mun. [Ajahn Mun] [Tudong] // [Relics] [Cleanliness] [Perception of a samaṇa] [Personal presence] [Vinaya] [Conscience and prudence] [Teaching Dhamma] [Knowing itself] [Nature of mind] [Conventions] [Unconditioned] [Faith]
1. [0:22] Aware of the in-breath, aware of the out-breath. Guided meditation from Ajahn Chah.
Reference: Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah, p. 255 "Just Do It!"
Quote: Ajahn Chah admonishes the monks: "I've looked at the huts in the forest where you monks live. I see the walking meditation paths, and I don't see human tracks. All I see are dog tracks!" [Fierce/direct teaching]
Reference: Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah, p. 258 "Just Do It!"
Quote: “Where we really start to see the Dhamma or taste the Dhamma is in that continuity of awareness.” [Dhamma]
2. [2:20] Teaching by Ajahn Chah: Skillful effort in meditation. [Meditation/General advice] [Determination] [Right Effort] // [Conceit] [Posture/Sitting] [Relinquishment] [Equanimity] [Tranquility] [Mindfulness of breathing] [Restlessness and worry] [Clinging] [Craving] [Judgementalism]
Reference: Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah, p. 467 "Unshakeable Peace"
4. [9:52] Teaching by Ajahn Chah: Meditation is like a single piece of wood. Insight is one end of the stick, and serenity is the other. [Similes] [Insight meditation] [Calming meditation] // [Naturalness]
5. [10:28] Quote: “I sacrificed my life for the Dhamma because I had faith in the reality of enlightenment and the path to get there.” — Ajahn Chah [Spiritual search] [Dhamma] [Faith] [Eightfold Path] // [Practicing in accordance with Dhamma] [Determination] [Courage]
2. [3:49] The monks' requisites sustain our livelihood and are a focal point for our cultivation of mindfulness and attention. Reflection by Ajahn Pasanno. [Requisites] [Almsbowl] [Mindfulness] // [Robes]
3. [5:00] Story: A group of military generals ask Ajahn Chah to bless amulets to create a kitchen fund. [Amulets] [Ajahn Chah] [Military] [Almsfood] [Wat Pah Pong] // [Culture/Thailand] [Saṅgha decision making] [Festival days] [Almsbowl] [Stupas/monuments]
Reference: Amaravati Chanting Book, p. 50
2. [1:03] Anumodana chanting: "Yathā vāri-vahāpūrā..." and "Bhavatu sabba-maṅgalaṃ..." (Amaravati Chanting Book, p. 50) offered by the Abhayagiri Saṅgha. [Chanting] [Almsfood] [Pāli] // [Gratitude] [Merit]
1. [0:19] “You talked about having lost a gread deal of institutional knowledge in the Forest Tradition through not having monasteries. Do you think Ajahn Chah wanted to have the knowledge from Ajahn Mun passed down? Is that why he had lots of monasteries?” [Thai Forest Tradition] [Tudong] [Ajahn Mun] [Thai Ajahn Chah monasteries] [Learning] // [Culture/Thailand] [Commerce/economics] [Environment] [History/Thai Buddhism] [Politics and society]
Quote: “Nowadays there aren't any tudong monks left. There's only taludong (through the forest) monks.” — Ajahn Chah
2. [6:06] “When you and other Western seekers went to Thailand [and returned to teach], are the teachings of lay and monastic disciples of Ajahn Chah the same or different? How can we as laypeople relate to the teachings and tradition of the monastic establishment?” [Teaching Dhamma] [Ajahn Chah lineage] [Lay teachers] [Mutual lay/Saṅgha support] // [History/Thai Buddhism] [Military] [History/Western Buddhist monasticism] [Ajahn Sumedho] [Virtue] [Right View]
Story: Abhayagiri's bell is an American bomb casing. [Abhayagiri]
Diligent lay meditators attend Wat Pah Pong's all-night vigil on the lunar observance days. Recollection by Ajahn Pasanno. [Lay life] [Ardency] [Wat Pah Pong] [Devotion to wakefulness] [Lunar observance days]
Quote: “Mahānikāya needs good monks as well.” — Ajahn Mun to Ajahn Chah
5. [21:30] Reading from the draft biography: Ajahn Chah's mentors: Ajahn Tongrat and Ajahn Kinaree [Mentoring] [Ajahn Tongrat] [Ajahn Kinaree] // [Personality] [Respect for elders] [Upatakh] [Tudong] [Visiting holy sites] [Robes] [Relinquishment] [Monastic crafts] [Pace of life] [Craving]
Story: Ajahn Chah meets Ajahn Tongrat.
1. [0:00] Guided meditation: Resolve right now is the time for training the mind and nothing else. From "The Key to Liberation" by Ajahn Chah. [Calming meditation] [Proliferation] [Determination] // [Mindfulness] [Discernment] [Mindfulness of breathing] [Body scanning] [Relinquishment] [One pointedness] [Restlessness and worry] [Concentration] [Present moment awareness] [Clear comprehension] [Impermanence] [Continuity of mindfulness] [Sense restraint]
Simile: Chicken in a coop. [Similes]
Simile: Mindfulness, clear comprehension, and wisdom are like three workers lifting heavy planks.
1. [0:00] Guided meditation: The rythym of the sensation of the body as it is walking. [Posture/Walking] [Mindfulness of body] // [Calming meditation] [Present moment awareness] [Proliferation] [Tranquility] [Investigation of states]
1. [0:00] Reading: Beyond Doubt. [Doubt] // [Hearing the true Dhamma] [Teachers] [Buddha] [Spiritual search] [Relinquishment] [Present moment awareness] [Emptiness] [Characteristics of existence] [Conditionality] [Practicing in accordance with Dhamma] [Liberation]
Simile: A child learning to write. [Similes]
Quote: “You have to have an anchor in your own practice.” [Similes]
2. [7:28] “Did you as a Westerner have any difficulties meeting Ajahn Chah either with Buddhism or with Thailand? How did it get resolved or did it get resolved?” [Culture/West] [Theravāda] [Culture/Thailand]
Story: Ajahn Chah replies evasively when asked three straightforward questions to teach his translator (Ajahn Pasanno) a lesson. [Ajahn Pasanno] [Aversion] [Questions] [Simplicity] [Teaching Dhamma] [Food] [Suffering]
3. [15:06] “As an abbot taking care of a community, how do you handle it when a kerfluffle comes up?” [Abbot] [Ajahn Pasanno] [Community] [Conflict] // [Patience] [Views] [Skillful qualities] [Four Noble Truths]
Follow-up: “What are the antidotes to the next two Noble Truths?”
4. [18:42] “When I'm mindful, then I become more aware of suffering. I could just go into story and not know that I'm suffering, so why would we choose to become aware of the suffering?” [Mindfulness] [Suffering] [Proliferation] // [Cessation of Suffering] [Clinging]
Quote: “The flavor of the end of suffering—I like that.”
6. [23:17] Reading from the draft biography: Ajahn Chah in the early years: spare, stern, and vigorous. [Personality] [Personal presence] [Ardency] [Ascetic practices] // [Similes]
7. [26:22] Reading from the draft biography: Building the road to Tam Sang Pet. [Wat Tam Saeng Pet] [Work] // [Culture/Natural environment] [Ajahn Anek] [Patience] [Perception of a samaṇa] [Ardency]
Quote: “Patient endurance is the general of practice.” — Ajahn Chah
8. [29:28] Reading from the draft biography: Ajahn Chah's ability to draw people in and respond with compassion. [Personal presence] [Compassion] [Generosity] // [Wat Tam Saeng Pet] [Rains retreat] [Sickness] [Almsround] [Teaching Dhamma] [Similes] [Upatakh]
10. [40:53] Reading: Ajahn Gavesako's first impressions of Wat Pah Pong. [Ajahn Gavesako] [Wat Pah Pong] // [Almsround] [Perception of a samaṇa] [Cleanliness] [Humor] [Unwholesome Roots] [Dhamma] [Gratitude] [Upatakh]