ajahn chah

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

ajahn chah

Postby befriend » Sat May 19, 2012 5:57 pm

what is ajahn chahs method of vipassana?
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Re: ajahn chah

Postby Cittasanto » Sat May 19, 2012 6:52 pm

befriend wrote:what is ajahn chahs method of vipassana?


Ajahn Chah does not seperate samatha and vipassana, and he doesn't teach a techneque which was called vipassana as in the modern usage from the Burmese Tradition.

That said, his main teachings revolved around impermanence, or as he prefered, "mai neir" (sorry if the spelling is not correct) "not-sure", the mind being a liar, his biography has an account of this practice, every time some thought came up he would say "liar".

but in essence calming the mind down, seeing the three characteristics, and seeing reality, were the main teachings on meditation. I would recoment getting the collected teaching of Ajahn Chah, there are some great talks included but not all talks, only those which have been translated at time of bringing them together.

EDIT - Just to add, his main interest was whether something had benefit.
Last edited by Cittasanto on Sat May 19, 2012 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: ajahn chah

Postby tiltbillings » Sat May 19, 2012 7:01 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
befriend wrote:what is ajahn chahs method of vipassana?


Ajahn Chah does not seperate samatha and vipassana, and he doesn't teach a techneque which was called vipassana as in the modern usage from the Burmese Tradition.

That said, his main teachings revolved around impermanence, or as he prefered, "mai neir" (sorry if the spelling is not correct) "not-sure", the mind being a liar, his biography has an account of this practice, every time some thought came up he would say "liar".
Which is a form of noting.

but in essence calming the mind down, seeing the three characteristics, and seeing reality, were the main teachings on meditation. I would recoment getting the collected teaching of Ajahn Chah, there are some great talks included but not all talks, only those which have been translated at time of bringing them together.
Despite not using a highly structured methodology, his teachings are in line with modern vipassana teachings.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: ajahn chah

Postby Mr Man » Sat May 19, 2012 7:38 pm

I would say that the the framework for Ajahn Chah's teaching was monasticism and monastic lifestyle. Living within that structure, fully committing oneself to the structure and working with whatever arises.
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Re: ajahn chah

Postby tiltbillings » Sat May 19, 2012 7:41 pm

Mr Man wrote:I would say that the the framework for Ajahn Chah's teaching was monasticism and monastic lifestyle. Living within that structure, fully committing oneself to the structure and working with whatever arises.
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Ajahn Sumedho explained to me at Wat Ba Pong in the mid 70's one of the major practices taught by Ajahn Chah was keeping the Vinaya.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: ajahn chah

Postby bodom » Sat May 19, 2012 7:45 pm

Everything you need to know about Ajahn Chah's teachings can be found here:

The Teachings of Ajahn Chah: All available Dhamma talks by Ajahn Chah
http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/index.php

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: ajahn chah

Postby Cittasanto » Sat May 19, 2012 9:42 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Which is a form of noting.


Despite not using a highly structured methodology, his teachings are in line with modern vipassana teachings.

being in line with a "highly structured methodology" doesn't mean he taught what is known as and called Vipassana, which has different origins than Tahn Ajahn Chah and his teachings. His teachings on practice have more in common with MN117 the great forty than DN22/MN10 The Satipatthana Sutta which is where Vipassana comes from.
Tahn Ajahn also tailored his talks to the audience, his emphasis was on vinaya for the monastics, but not for the lay followers, he taught sila for both, and encouraged everyone to practice with what was present.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: ajahn chah

Postby tiltbillings » Sat May 19, 2012 9:55 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Which is a form of noting.


Despite not using a highly structured methodology, his teachings are in line with modern vipassana teachings.

being in line with a "highly structured methodology" doesn't mean he taught what is known as and called Vipassana, which has different origins than Tahn Ajahn Chah and his teachings.
I did not say that he did, Also, keep in mind that the methodology is naught more than expedient means. What I was pointing to was the statement: "in essence calming the mind down, seeing the three characteristics, and seeing reality, were the main teachings on meditation." Ajahn Chah did not do that? That would be serious news to me.

His teachings on practice have more in common with MN117 the great forty than DN22/MN10 The Satipatthana Sutta which is where Vipassana comes from.
You are splitting hairs.

Tahn Ajahn also tailored his talks to the audience, his emphasis was on vinaya for the monastics, but not for the lay followers,
Of course the Vinaya is for monastics.

he taught sila for both, and encouraged everyone to practice with what was present.
Yep.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: ajahn chah

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 19, 2012 10:03 pm

Hi Cittasanto,
Cittasanto wrote:
Despite not using a highly structured methodology, his teachings are in line with modern vipassana teachings.

being in line with a "highly structured methodology" doesn't mean he taught what is known as and called Vipassana, which has different origins than Tahn Ajahn Chah and his teachings.

I think you may be confusing structure with content. The "vipassana" approaches tend to be structured when they are dealing with large groups of people, for purely practical, not essential, reasons. If you're working with a teacher in a small group it tends to be much less structured.
Cittasanto wrote: His teachings on practice have more in common with MN117 the great forty than DN22/MN10 The Satipatthana Sutta which is where Vipassana comes from.
Tahn Ajahn also tailored his talks to the audience,

Indeed, so it is not easy to discern an actual "approach", but he does seem to encourage building up some concentration and then applying it to insight (just as the "vipassana" approaches I am familiar with).

Certainly many of his students teach an approach that is very similar to what I'm familiar with in a "vipassana" context. Ajahn Tiradhammo, for example, who was in New Zealand for several years until recently.
Cittasanto wrote:his emphasis was on vinaya for the monastics, but not for the lay followers, he taught sila for both, and encouraged everyone to practice with what was present.

Indeed!

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Re: ajahn chah

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 19, 2012 10:11 pm

These Ajah Chah instructions to lay people sounds familiar from interactions with Ajahn Tiradhammo, and have the same essence as other approaches I've seen:

http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Fragments_Teaching1.php
When the mind is peaceful and concentrated, release it from the breath as the object of concentration. Now begin to examine the body and mind comprised of the five khandhas: material form, feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness. Examine these five khandhas as they come and go. You will see clearly that they are impermanent, that this impermanence makes them unsatisfactory and undesirable, and that they come and go of their own - there is no ''self'' running things.

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Re: ajahn chah

Postby Cittasanto » Sat May 19, 2012 11:24 pm

tiltbillings wrote:I did not say that he did, Also, keep in mind that the methodology is naught more than expedient means. What I was pointing to was the statement: "in essence calming the mind down, seeing the three characteristics, and seeing reality, were the main teachings on meditation." Ajahn Chah did not do that? That would be serious news to me.

so Ajahn Chah did not teach samadhi, investigating using the three characteristics or seeing things as they are?

Clarity of Insight wrote:A further aspect of mental development that leads to clearer and deeper insight is meditating on an object to calm the mind down. The calm mind is the mind that is firm and stable in samādhi (concentration). This can be khanika samādhi (momentary concentration), upacāra samādhi (neighbourhood concentration) or appanā samādhi (absorption). The level of concentration is determined by the refinement of consciousness from moment to moment as you train the mind to maintain awareness on a meditation object.


The further you go investigating the mind itself, the clearer and more profound the insight that emerges. This is something I emphasize when teaching, because understanding this point is crucial to the practice. Normally, when you experience sense contact and receive impingement from different objects, the mind is just waiting to react with attraction or aversion.


he did not teach people to call the mind a liar?
Also from Clarity of Insight
"vipassana meditation is similar because you use the reflection 'don't believe it' as you make contact with the sense objects"

I have also heard this from direct students of his!

from knowing the world
"This is a question for us practitioners. There are many factions of teachers promoting their different methods of meditation. it can get confusing. But the real point of it all is to be able to recognise the truth, see things as they really are and being free of doubt."


You are splitting hairs.

am I?
Tahn Ajahn didn't teach the Vipassana method which stems from Burma, which was my point. we could call every meditation which includes vipassana "Vipassana Meditation" but this takes away and add onto what is already going by that name and the other teachers methods.

Of course the Vinaya is for monastics.

yes, and he taught in line with who was there, you were using a quote from a monastic as evidence of a emphasis which was contextual.
Tahn Ajahn commended monastic training, but knew fully well that it was not for everyone.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: ajahn chah

Postby tiltbillings » Sat May 19, 2012 11:37 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I did not say that he did, Also, keep in mind that the methodology is naught more than expedient means. What I was pointing to was the statement: "in essence calming the mind down, seeing the three characteristics, and seeing reality, were the main teachings on meditation." Ajahn Chah did not do that? That would be serious news to me.

so Ajahn Chah did not teach samadhi, investigating using the three characteristics or seeing things as they are?
You are grossly misreading what I wrote.

You are splitting hairs.

am I?
Yes.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: ajahn chah

Postby Cittasanto » Sat May 19, 2012 11:56 pm

Hi Mike,
No not confusing, just clarifying, what is not being talked about - initially - and the second time (your quote), simply using words used by Tilt to make the same point, which is the vipassana tradition as in Goenka, Mahasi and other Burmese teachers is not what Ajahn Chah taught specifically, not trying to say that there would be no similarities, formal/informal.... The vipassana tradition is diverse enough without throwing every meditation teacher in it!

like I say in the edit Tahn Ajahn was more concerned whether something had benefit, there are plenty of examples of this, and pointing out whatever is useful is a skilful means.

but last time I point out what tradition someone doesn't teach for clarity with what I say!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: ajahn chah

Postby Cittasanto » Sun May 20, 2012 12:12 am

Hi Tilt,
What exactly are you saying then?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: ajahn chah

Postby tiltbillings » Sun May 20, 2012 12:31 am

Cittasanto wrote:Hi Tilt,
What exactly are you saying then?
When you stated: "so Ajahn Chah did not teach samadhi, investigating using the three characteristics or seeing things as they are?" What did you think I said?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: ajahn chah

Postby mikenz66 » Sun May 20, 2012 2:09 am

Cittasanto wrote:Hi Mike,
No not confusing, just clarifying, what is not being talked about - initially - and the second time (your quote), simply using words used by Tilt to make the same point, which is the vipassana tradition as in Goenka, Mahasi and other Burmese teachers is not what Ajahn Chah taught specifically, not trying to say that there would be no similarities, formal/informal....
The vipassana tradition is diverse enough without throwing every meditation teacher in

Well, I guess some people just like to see differences, perhaps because they want to see something "special" about particular teachers. Ajahn Chah was clearly an extremely gifted and creative in his teaching but since it's all application of Buddha-Dhamma it's not surprising that his teachings look quite familiar to those of us who come from slightly different backgrounds.

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Re: ajahn chah

Postby Cittasanto » Sun May 20, 2012 8:35 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:Hi Mike,
No not confusing, just clarifying, what is not being talked about - initially - and the second time (your quote), simply using words used by Tilt to make the same point, which is the vipassana tradition as in Goenka, Mahasi and other Burmese teachers is not what Ajahn Chah taught specifically, not trying to say that there would be no similarities, formal/informal....
The vipassana tradition is diverse enough without throwing every meditation teacher in

Well, I guess some people just like to see differences, perhaps because they want to see something "special" about particular teachers. Ajahn Chah was clearly an extremely gifted and creative in his teaching but since it's all application of Buddha-Dhamma it's not surprising that his teachings look quite familiar to those of us who come from slightly different backgrounds.

:anjali:
Mike

Hi Mike,
you and I are similare, a certain amount of cross over could be seen, but that doesn't mean you are me and I am you, we are not Identical, or the same.
but what is my background; what do you think I have been saying; and what are the three kinds of conceit?

I will tell you I have not been critisising the Vipassana tradition, or saying there is no cross over, similarities or what ever; only he (Ajahn Chah) doesn't teach a techneque which was called vipassana as in the modern usage from the Burmese Tradition, one particular use of the term.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: ajahn chah

Postby reflection » Sun May 20, 2012 12:38 pm

This may be of interest.

Meditation is like a single stick of wood. Insight (vipassan?) is one end of the stick and serenity (samatha) the other. If we pick it up, does only one end come up or do both? When anyone picks up a stick both ends rise together. Which part then is vipassan?, and which is samatha? Where does one end and the other begin? They are both the mind. As the mind becomes peaceful, initially the peace will arise from the serenity of samatha. We focus and unify the mind in states of meditative peace (sam?dhi). However, if the peace and stillness of sam?dhi fades away, suffering arises in its place. Why is that? Because the peace afforded by samatha meditation alone is still based on attachment. This attachment can then be a cause of suffering. Serenity is not the end of the path. The Buddha saw from his own experience that such peace of mind was not the ultimate. The causes underlying the process of existence (bhava) had not yet been brought to cessation (nirodha). The conditions for rebirth still existed. His spiritual work had not yet attained perfection. Why? Because there was still suffering. So based on that serenity of samatha he proceeded to contemplate, investigate, and analyze the conditioned nature of reality until he was free of all attachments, even the attachment to serenity. Serenity is still part of the world of conditioned existence and conventional reality. Clinging to this type of peace is clinging to conventional reality, and as long as we cling, we will be mired in existence and rebirth. Delighting in the peace of samatha still leads to further existence and rebirth. Once the mind's restlessness and agitation calms down, one clings to the resultant peace.

So the Buddha examined the causes and conditions underlying existence and rebirth. As long as he had not yet fully penetrated the matter and understood the truth, he continued to probe deeper and deeper with a peaceful mind, reflecting on how all things, peaceful or not, come into existence. His investigation forged ahead until it was clear to him that everything that comes into existence is like a lump of red-hot iron. The five categories of a being's experience (khandhas) are all a lump of red-hot iron. When a lump of iron is glowing red-hot, is there anywhere it can be touched without getting burnt? Is there anywhere at all that is cool? Try touching it on the top, the sides, or underneath. Is there a single spot that can be found that's cool? Impossible. This searing lump of iron is entirely red-hot. We can't even attach to serenity. If we identify with that peace, assuming that there is someone who is calm and serene, this reinforces the sense that there is an independent self or soul. This sense of self is part of conventional reality. Thinking, "I'm peaceful", "I'm agitated", "I'm good", "I'm bad", "I'm happy", or "I'm unhappy", we are caught in more existence and birth. It's more suffering. If our happiness vanishes, then we're unhappy instead. When our sorrow vanishes, then we're happy again. Caught in this endless cycle, we revolve repeatedly through heaven and hell.


http://www.amaravati.org/index.php/teac ... eace.html/


So Ajahn Chahs 'vipassana' method is inseperable from the 'samatha' side.
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Re: ajahn chah

Postby bodom » Sun May 20, 2012 3:51 pm

a story recounted by Ajahn Amaro:

I have heard Ajahn Sumedho recount a few times over the years that, for the first year of his monastic life, he had been practising using the instructions from a Ch'an meditation retreat given by the Ven. Master Hsu Yun, and that he had used the Dharma talks from that retreat given in China as his basic meditation instruction. When he went to Wat Pah Pong, Ajahn Chah asked him what kind of meditation he had been doing, at first he thought, "Oh no, he's going to get me to give this up and do his … method." But, when Ajahn Sumedho described what he had been doing and mentioned that it had had excellent results, Ajahn Chah said, "Oh, very good, just carry on doing that."


http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha082.htm

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: ajahn chah

Postby befriend » Sun May 20, 2012 4:37 pm

it might help to see how ajahm sumedho teaches meditation.
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