Only in Appearances
People are always looking outwards at people and things. They look at this hall, for example, and say, “Oh, it’s so big!” Actually it’s not big at all. Whether or not it seems big, depends on your perception of it. In fact this hall is just the size it is, neither big nor small. But people run after their feelings all the time. They are so busy looking around and having opinions about what they see that they have no time to look at themselves.
Actually, in truth, there isn’t anything to human beings. Whatever we may be, it’s only in the realm of appearances. However, if we go beyond appearances and see the truth, we will see that there isn’t anything there but the universal characteristics – birth in the beginning, change in the middle, and cessation in the end. This is all there is. If we see that all things are like this, then no problems arise. If we understand this, we will have contentment and peace.
These reflections by Ajahn Chah are from the book, No Ajahn Chah, (pdf) pp.186, 117, respectively.