What Ven.Ajahn Chah meant by "The Timeless Buddha"

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Rahula
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What Ven.Ajahn Chah meant by "The Timeless Buddha"

Post by Rahula »

I found the following in "A Still Forest Pool" book.
Page 179 & 180 (see attachments below).

He says;
So the Buddha was not enlightened in India. In fact he was never enlightened, was never born and never died.
further;
I live nowhere, There is no place you can find me, I have no age ...
... to think you exist is already a problem...etc.
Can you please teach me this in very simple terms?
:anjali:
Attachments
The Timeless Buddha by Ajahn Chah.png
I speak Zen by Ajahn Chah.png
May you be happy, healthy & successful in everything you do! :anjali:
befriend
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Re: What Ven.Ajahn Chah meant by "The Timeless Buddha"

Post by befriend »

I think he's talking about resting in awareness Ajahn sumedho talks about this a lot. Being instead of doing he would often say something like if you can't go forwards or backwards and you can't stand still where do you go? like a koan. The Buddha is used here as a metaphor as knowing the present moment. Seeing awareness as a refuge.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.
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bodom
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Re: What Ven.Ajahn Chah meant by "The Timeless Buddha"

Post by bodom »

He is talking about the emptiness of conventional reality and labels.

:anjali:
This is our foundation: to have sati, recollection, and sampajañña, self-awareness, whether standing, walking, sitting, or reclining. Whatever arises, just leave it be, don’t cling to it. Whether it’s like or dislike, happiness or suffering, doubt or certainty... Don’t try to label everything, just know it. See that all the things that arise in the mind are simply sensations. They are transient. They arise, exist and cease. That’s all there is to them, they have no self or being, they are neither ‘us’ nor ‘them’. None of them are worthy of clinging to.

- Ajahn Chah
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Rahula
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Re: What Ven.Ajahn Chah meant by "The Timeless Buddha"

Post by Rahula »

bodom wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 4:50 pm He is talking about the emptiness of conventional reality and labels.

:anjali:
I don't get it.

How can you explain,
So the Buddha was not enlightened in India. In fact he was never enlightened, was never born and never died.
using emptiness of conventional reality and labels?

Is he saying that Buddha was not physically born?
May you be happy, healthy & successful in everything you do! :anjali:
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Rahula
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Re: What Ven.Ajahn Chah meant by "The Timeless Buddha"

Post by Rahula »

befriend wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 4:34 pm The Buddha is used here as a metaphor as knowing the present moment. Seeing awareness as a refuge.
I still don't get it, can you please elaborate on what this means in simple terms.
Thanks!
May you be happy, healthy & successful in everything you do! :anjali:
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mjaviem
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Re: What Ven.Ajahn Chah meant by "The Timeless Buddha"

Post by mjaviem »

Rahula wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 5:12 pm
bodom wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 4:50 pm He is talking about the emptiness of conventional reality and labels.

:anjali:
I don't get it.

How can you explain,
So the Buddha was not enlightened in India. In fact he was never enlightened, was never born and never died.
using emptiness of conventional reality and labels?

Is he saying that Buddha was not physically born?
The self is a convention.
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammā Sambuddhassa
befriend
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Re: What Ven.Ajahn Chah meant by "The Timeless Buddha"

Post by befriend »

He used words to shock people in a good way. He doesn't literally mean there was no Buddha he's emphasizing the true refuge. The true refuge is always here and now. Not 2,500 years ago.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.
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bodom
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Re: What Ven.Ajahn Chah meant by "The Timeless Buddha"

Post by bodom »

Rahula wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 5:12 pm
bodom wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 4:50 pm He is talking about the emptiness of conventional reality and labels.

:anjali:
I don't get it.

How can you explain,
So the Buddha was not enlightened in India. In fact he was never enlightened, was never born and never died.
using emptiness of conventional reality and labels?

Is he saying that Buddha was not physically born?
Read this short talk from Ajahn Chah to explain the answer to your question:
Convention And Liberation

The things of this world are merely conventions of our own making. Having established them we get lost in them, and refuse to let go, giving rise to clinging to personal views and opinions. This clinging never ends, it is samsāra, flowing endlessly on. It has no completion. Now, if we know conventional reality then we’ll know liberation. If we clearly know liberation, then we’ll know convention. This is to know the Dhamma. Here there is completion.

Take people, for instance. In reality people don’t have any names, we are born naked into the world. Our names arise only through convention. I’ve contemplated this and seen that if you don’t know the truth of this convention, it can be really harmful. It’s simply something we use for convenience. Without it we couldn’t communicate, there would be nothing to say, no language.
I’ve seen Westerners when they sit in meditation together in the West. When they get up after sitting, men and women together, sometimes they go and touch each other on the head! When I saw this I thought, ‘Ehh, if we cling to convention it gives rise to defilements right there.’ If we can let go of convention, give up our opinions, we are at peace.

Like the generals and colonels, men of rank and position, who come to see me. When they come they say, ‘Oh, please touch my head.’ If they ask like this, there’s nothing wrong with it; they’re glad to have their heads touched. But if you tapped their heads in the middle of the street it’d be a different story! This is because of clinging. So I feel that letting go is really the way to peace. Touching a head is against our customs, but in reality it is nothing. When they agree to having it touched there’s nothing wrong with it, just like touching a cabbage or a potato.

Accepting, giving up, letting go - this is the way of lightness. Wherever you’re clinging there’s becoming and birth right there. There’s danger right there. The Buddha taught about convention and he taught to undo convention in the right way, and so reach liberation.

This is freedom: not to cling to conventions. All things in this world have a conventional reality. Having established them we should not be fooled by them, because getting lost in them really leads to suffering. This point concerning rules and conventions is of utmost importance. One who can get beyond them is beyond suffering.
Full talk can be found here:

https://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Conventi ... ation1.php

:anjali:
This is our foundation: to have sati, recollection, and sampajañña, self-awareness, whether standing, walking, sitting, or reclining. Whatever arises, just leave it be, don’t cling to it. Whether it’s like or dislike, happiness or suffering, doubt or certainty... Don’t try to label everything, just know it. See that all the things that arise in the mind are simply sensations. They are transient. They arise, exist and cease. That’s all there is to them, they have no self or being, they are neither ‘us’ nor ‘them’. None of them are worthy of clinging to.

- Ajahn Chah
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bodom
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Re: What Ven.Ajahn Chah meant by "The Timeless Buddha"

Post by bodom »

More from Ajahn Chah:
Some people will hear the words, ‘Nothing is mine’, and they will get the idea they should throw away all their possessions. With only superficial understanding, people will get into arguments about what this means and how to apply it. ‘This is not my self’, doesn’t mean you should end your life or throw away your possessions. It means you should give up attachment. There is the level of conventional reality and the level of ultimate reality - supposition and liberation. On the level of convention, there is Mr. A, Mrs. B, Mr. L, Mrs. N, and so on. We use these suppositions for convenience in communicating and functioning in the world. The Buddha did not teach that we shouldn’t use these things, but rather that we shouldn’t be attached to them. We should realize that they are empty.
https://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Dhamma_Goes_Westward.php

:anjali:
This is our foundation: to have sati, recollection, and sampajañña, self-awareness, whether standing, walking, sitting, or reclining. Whatever arises, just leave it be, don’t cling to it. Whether it’s like or dislike, happiness or suffering, doubt or certainty... Don’t try to label everything, just know it. See that all the things that arise in the mind are simply sensations. They are transient. They arise, exist and cease. That’s all there is to them, they have no self or being, they are neither ‘us’ nor ‘them’. None of them are worthy of clinging to.

- Ajahn Chah
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bodom
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Re: What Ven.Ajahn Chah meant by "The Timeless Buddha"

Post by bodom »

More From Ajahn Chah:
Don’t be anything! Don’t be anything at all! Being a Buddha is a burden. Being a Pacceka is a burden. Just don’t desire to be. ‘I am the monk Sumedho,’ ‘I am the monk Ānando.’ That way is suffering, believing that you really exist thus. ‘Sumedho’ is merely a convention. Do you understand?

Believing you really exist, brings suffering. If there is Sumedho, then when someone criticizes you, Sumedho gets angry. Ānando gets angry. That’s what happens if you hold these things as real. Ānando and Sumedho get involved and are ready to fight. If there is no Ānando or no Sumedho, then there’s no one there - no one to answer the telephone. Ring ring - nobody picks it up. You don’t become anything. No one is being anything, and there is no suffering.

If we believe ourselves to be something or someone, then every time the phone rings, we pick it up and get involved. How can we free ourselves of this? We have to look at it clearly and develop wisdom, so that there is no Ānando or no Sumedho to pick up the telephone. If you are Ānando or Sumedho and you answer the telephone, you will get yourself involved in suffering. So don’t be Sumedho. Don’t be Ānando. Just recognize that these names are on the level of convention.

If someone calls you good, don’t be that. Don’t think, ‘I am good.’ If someone says you are bad, don’t think, ‘I’m bad.’ Don’t try to be anything. Know what is taking place. But then don’t attach to the knowledge either
http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books/Ajahn_ ... Enough.htm

:anjali:
This is our foundation: to have sati, recollection, and sampajañña, self-awareness, whether standing, walking, sitting, or reclining. Whatever arises, just leave it be, don’t cling to it. Whether it’s like or dislike, happiness or suffering, doubt or certainty... Don’t try to label everything, just know it. See that all the things that arise in the mind are simply sensations. They are transient. They arise, exist and cease. That’s all there is to them, they have no self or being, they are neither ‘us’ nor ‘them’. None of them are worthy of clinging to.

- Ajahn Chah
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Rahula
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Re: What Ven.Ajahn Chah meant by "The Timeless Buddha"

Post by Rahula »

befriend wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 5:24 pm He used words to shock people in a good way. He doesn't literally mean there was no Buddha he's emphasizing the true refuge. The true refuge is always here and now. Not 2,500 years ago.
Yes, this makes sense.
But what was in the book sounds different.
I don't know if they are translating it properly.
May you be happy, healthy & successful in everything you do! :anjali:
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Rahula
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Re: What Ven.Ajahn Chah meant by "The Timeless Buddha"

Post by Rahula »

mjaviem wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 5:18 pm
Rahula wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 5:12 pm
bodom wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 4:50 pm He is talking about the emptiness of conventional reality and labels.

:anjali:
I don't get it.

How can you explain,
So the Buddha was not enlightened in India. In fact he was never enlightened, was never born and never died.
using emptiness of conventional reality and labels?

Is he saying that Buddha was not physically born?
The self is a convention.
Yes, but some people seems to get convention and physical reality messed up. They talk about it as all is a projection of the mind. I wondered if Ven. Ajahn Chah also holds the same opinion.
As I understood, conventional reality was taught as a way of letting go self. As some people find it very hard to let go attachment to self. But unfortunately, those same people get the wrong view, that there is no physical reality at all, and they go further away from letting go self, lost in their dream world.
May you be happy, healthy & successful in everything you do! :anjali:
Alino
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Re: What Ven.Ajahn Chah meant by "The Timeless Buddha"

Post by Alino »

As I understand he talked about unconditioned dhamma, that the true refuge is when we find this dhamma in our hearts and take refuge in it. Also he said that this dhamma is anatta and every sentient being have it.

Buddha means Awakened One, so by saying "Buddha is timeless" he said that "Nibbana/Unconditioned element is timeless" etc
We don't live Samsara, Samsara is living us...

"Form, feelings, perceptions, formations, consciousness - don't care about us, we don't exist for them"
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bodom
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Re: What Ven.Ajahn Chah meant by "The Timeless Buddha"

Post by bodom »

Rahula wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 6:51 pm
mjaviem wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 5:18 pm
Rahula wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 5:12 pm

I don't get it.

How can you explain,

using emptiness of conventional reality and labels?

Is he saying that Buddha was not physically born?
The self is a convention.
Yes, but some people seems to get convention and physical reality messed up. They talk about it as all is a projection of the mind. I wondered if Ven. Ajahn Chah also holds the same opinion.
As I understood, conventional reality was taught as a way of letting go self. As some people find it very hard to let go attachment to self. But unfortunately, those same people get the wrong view, that there is no physical reality at all, and they go further away from letting go self, lost in their dream world.
That's called Emptiness sickness and is common in the Mahayana schools. Obviously this is not what Ajahn Chah was saying or teaching. His teaching is to see through the labels and conventions. Not to deny reality but to engage with it skillfully.

:anjali:
This is our foundation: to have sati, recollection, and sampajañña, self-awareness, whether standing, walking, sitting, or reclining. Whatever arises, just leave it be, don’t cling to it. Whether it’s like or dislike, happiness or suffering, doubt or certainty... Don’t try to label everything, just know it. See that all the things that arise in the mind are simply sensations. They are transient. They arise, exist and cease. That’s all there is to them, they have no self or being, they are neither ‘us’ nor ‘them’. None of them are worthy of clinging to.

- Ajahn Chah
SarathW
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Re: What Ven.Ajahn Chah meant by "The Timeless Buddha"

Post by SarathW »

There is a Sutta which Buddha telling some one “How can you find Thathagatha after his death, let alone you can’t find him when he is alive” or similar words.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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