alan wrote:Tell me why I should keep reading.
I read the book too long ago to be able to give you an in-depth analysis of it, and nor would I presume to say why you
should keep reading it. What however led me to read the book to the end (despite the author being a projection-prone, delusional moron, not to mention a New Yorker) was that Ajahn Chah did actually strike me as rather admirable. In particular, in the way that he trained his monks Chah reminded me a little of how my favourite Roman Catholic saint used to go about the job. I mean St. Philip Neri, the founder of the Oratorians and the patron saint of laughter, humour and joy:
Humility was the most important virtue [St. Philip] tried to teach others and to learn himself. Some of his lessons in humility seem cruel, but they were tinged with humor like practical jokes and were related with gratitude by the people they helped. His lessons always seem to be tailored directly to what the person needed. One member who was later to become a cardinal was too serious and so Philip had him sing the Misere at a wedding breakfast. When one priest gave a beautiful sermon, Philip ordered him to give the same sermon six times in a row so people would think he only had one sermon.
Philip preferred spiritual mortification to physical mortification. When one man asked Philip if he could wear a hair-shirt, Philip gave him permission — if he wore the hair-shirt outside his cassock! The man obeyed and found humility in the jokes and name-calling he received.
There were unexpected benefits to his lessons in humility. Another member, Baronius, wanted to preach about nothing but hell and eternal punishment. Philip commanded him instead to speak about nothing but church history. For 27 years Baronius spoke to the Oratory about church history. At the end of that time he published his talks as a widely respected and universally praised books on ecclesiastical history.
Philip did not escape this spiritual mortification himself. As with others, his own humbling held humor. There are stories of him wearing ridiculous clothes or walking around with half his beard shaved off. The greater his reputation for holiness the sillier he wanted to seem. When some people came from Poland to see the great saint, they found him listening to another priest read to him from joke books.
But if the man's not your cup of tea, then as Bodom said: If you dont want to continue reading then don't.
Edith Clampton (Mrs)