... Ajahn Chah said years ago that though he once studied all the texts and scriptures, he couldn't remember much of it anymore. I recently listened to a tape of him talking informally with Western monks. 'The first level of enlightenment', he said, 'Stream Entry - how many things (i.e. fetters) do you get rid of?' Someone said 'Three'. 'Uuh, three... self-view, doubt, and...' 'Belief in rites and rituals,' someone added. To me, and to many others, this is so refreshing: while some people attach to the words and the concepts, a man who obviously knows Reality forgets the standard ways of describing it. When Ajahn Chah visited the USA in 1979, I eagerly questioned him with my newly acquired "knowledge" of Mahayana buddhism and its profound teachings. I found that although he had heard or read very little of it before, he comprehended instantly, and he taught me about it, because his understanding of it was infinetely deeper than mine. He surprised me and others by using the exact same similes of other masters, past and present, whom I am sure he never heard of.
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