As a Buddhist monk for over two decades (in the Thai Forest meditation tradition, in the lineage of Venerable Ajahn Chah) I am very aware that my life is blessed with many supports for cultivating meditation and insight. Naturally I feel tremendous gratitude for this – in particular, towards the Buddha for having worked so hard to realise what he did, and to His Teachings, that is, to the deep Truth (Dhamma) of nature itself. I am also grateful to have been able to live, study and practise with the superb monks who are now my teachers. The guidance they selflessly offered (and continue to offer) has encouraged me to continue deepening these practices in the monasteries where I have stayed over the years, including the small one in which I now act as abbot.
Why should I feel so grateful? It is because the teachings and practices handed down to us by Lord Buddha and his disciples really do work.
At certain points in my life as a monk I have wondered what would have become of me if at a young age I had not met with sound Wisdom Teachings and reliable meditation instructions. I was a somewhat reckless, artistically-minded young man, both sensitive and confused. If I had not found disciplines and teachings to help me to polish (at least to some degree) this rough diamond, it’s quite likely that I would have wound up somewhere sad and sorry. Recognising this has motivated me to produce teaching aids and resources that might help others to “find their way” – away from confusion and fear and towards clarity and inner confidence.
Discovering from our own experience that it is possible to suffer much less, reveals, like nothing else can, the tremendous value of what we have received and put into practice. The aspiration to share such precious teachings with others is a natural step to take, one that accounts for the Dhamma being handed down through each generation since the Buddha’s time. The material that I have produced and that has been presented here, therefore, is another modest yet earnest instance of this ongoing expression of gratitude. May we all benefit from, and share the benefits of the study and practice of the transformative and ultimately liberating Buddha-Dhamma.
This reflection by Ajahn Achalo is from the website, Peace Beyond Suffering.