Saturday, March 7, 2020

Buddhism in a nutshell: Ajahn Chah

Ajahn Chah ( via Ven. Sujato, Ellie Askew, Dhr. Seven (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly

In a nutshell, the point of the teaching of the Buddha is to transform one's view. It is possible to change it. It only requires looking at things and then it happens.

Having been born we will experience aging, illness, death, and separation. These things are right here. We don't need to look up at the sky or down at the earth.

The Dharma that we need to see and to know can be seen right here within us, every moment of every day. When there is birth, we are filled with joy. When there is death, we grieve. That's how we spend our lives.

These are the things we need to know about, but we still have not looked into them sufficiently to see the truth. We are stuck deep in this ignorance. We ask, "When will we see the Dharma?" -- but it is right here to be seen in the present.

This is the Dharma (Teaching) we should learn about and see. This is what the Buddha taught about. He did not teach about gods and demons and nagas, protective deities, jealous demigods, nature spirits, and the like. He taught the things that one should know and see. These are truths that we really should be able to realize. External phenomena are like this. They exhibit the three characteristics: impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not-self.
  • [All phenomena are transient, disappointing, and impersonal. These are the three universal marks of all existence.]
If we really take an interest in all of this and contemplate seriously we can gain genuine knowledge. If this were something that could not be done, the Buddha would not have bothered to talk about it. How many tens and hundreds of thousands of his followers have come to realization?

If one is really keen on looking at things, one can come to know. The Dharma is like that. We are living in this world, we gain our knowledge from the world. The Buddha is said to be lokavidu, one who knows the world clearly.

It means living in the world but not being stuck in the ways of the world, living among attraction and aversion but not stuck in attraction and aversion. This can be spoken about and explained in ordinary language. This is how the Buddha taught.

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