Supposed into Being

Ajahn Chah

Supposed into Being

All things in the world are suppositions that we’ve supposed into being. Once we’ve supposed them, we fall for our own supposings, so nobody lets them go. They turn into views and pride, into attachment.

This attachment is something that never ends. It’s an affair of saṁsāra that flows without respite, with no way of coming to closure. But if we really know our suppositions, we’ll know release. If we really know release, we’ll know our suppositions. That’s when you know the Dhamma that can come to closure.

It’s all a matter of willingness—accepting, giving up, letting go. When you can do this, things are light. Wherever you’re clinging, there’s becoming right there, birth right there, poison and danger right there. The Buddha taught about suppositions and he taught to undo suppositions in the right way, to turn them into release. Don’t cling to them.

The things that arise in the world are all suppositions. That’s how they come into being. When they’ve arisen and been supposed, we shouldn’t fall for them, for that leads to suffering. The affairs of supposition and convention are extremely important. Whoever can let them go is free from suffering.

So we’re taught to be intelligent, to have a sense of suppositions and a sense of release. Understand them when you use them. If you use them properly, there’s no problem. If you don’t use them properly, it’s offensive. What does it offend? It offends people’s defilements; that’s all—because people live with defilement.

There are suppositions you have to follow with certain groups, certain people, at certain times and places. If you follow them appropriately, you can be said to be smart. You have to know where these things come from and how far they lead.

We have to live with suppositions, but we suffer when we cling to them. If you understand suppositions simply as suppositions and explore them until you come to release, there are no problems.

These reflections by Ajahn Chah Subhaddo are adapted from the chapter “Suppositions & Release,” in the Thai Forest Ajaans book, Still Flowing Water, translated from Thai by Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu.