45. Conditions exist through change. You can’t prevent it. Just think, could you exhale without inhaling? Would it feel good? Or could you just inhale? We want things to be permanent, but that can’t be. It’s impossible.
46. If you know that all things are impermanent, all your thinking will gradually unwind, and you won’t need to think too much. Whenever anything arises, all you need to say is "Oh, another one!" Just that!
47. Any speech which ignores uncertainty is not the speech of a sage.
48. If you really see uncertainty clearly, you will see that which is certain. The certainty is that things must inevitably be uncertain and that they cannot be otherwise. Do you understand? Knowing just this much, you can know the Buddha, you can rightly do reverence to him.
49. If your mind tries to tell you it has already attained the level of sotapanna, go and bow to a sotapanna. He’ll tell you himself it’s all uncertain. If you meet a sakadagami, go and pay respects to him. When he sees you, he’ll simply say, "Not a sure thing!" If there’s an anagami, go and bow to him. He’ll tell you only one thing, "Uncertain!" If you meet even an arahant, go and bow to him. He’ll tell you even more firmly, "It’s all even more uncertain!" You’ll hear the words of the Noble Ones: "Everything is uncertain. Don’t cling to anything!"
50. Sometimes I’d go to see old religious sites with ancient temples. In some places they would be cracked. Maybe one of my friends would remark, "Such a shame, isn’t it? It’s cracked." I’d answer, "If they weren’t cracked there’d be no such thing as the Buddha. There’d be no Dhamma. It’s cracked like this because it’s perfectly in line with the Buddha’s teaching."
51. Conditions all go their own natural way. Whether we laugh or cry over them, they just go their own way. And there is no knowledge of science which can prevent this natural course of things. You may get a dentist to look at your teeth, but even if he can fix them, they still finally go their natural way. Eventually even the dentist has the same trouble. Everything falls apart in the end.
52. What can we take for certain? Nothing! There’s nothing but feelings. Suffering arises, stays, then passes away. Then happiness replaces suffering - only this. Outside of this, there is nothing. But we are lost people running and grabbing at feelings continuously. Feelings are not real, only changes.
53. When those who do not understand the Dhamma act improperly, they look all around to make sure no one is watching. But our kamma is always watching. We never really get away with anything.
54. Good actions bring good results, bad actions bring bad results. Don’t expect the gods to do things for you, or the angels and guardian deities to protect you, or the auspicious days to help you. These things aren’t true. Don’t believe in them. If you believe in them, you will suffer. You will always be waiting for the right day, the right month, the right year, the angels, or the guardian deities. You’ll only suffer that way. Look into your own actions and speech, into your own kamma. Doing good, you inherit goodness, doing bad you inherit badness.
55. Through right practice, you allow your old kamma to wear itself out. Knowing how things arise and pass away, you can just be aware and let them run their course. It is like having two trees: if you fertilize and water one and do not take care of the other, there is no question which one will grow and which one will die.
56. Some of you have come from thousands of miles away, from Europe and America and other far-off places, to listen to the Dhamma here at Nong Pah Pong Monastery. To think that you’ve come from so far and gone through so much trouble to get here. Then we have these people who live just outside the wall of the monastery but who have yet to enter through its gate. It makes you apppreciate good kamma more, doesn’t it?
57. When you do something bad, there is nowhere you can go to hide. Even if others don't see you, you must see yourself. Even if you go into a deep hole, you’ll still find yourself there. There’s no way you can commit bad actions and get away with it. In the same way, why shouldn’t you see your own purity? You see it all - the peace, the agitation, the liberation, the bond age. You see all these for yourself.
58. If you want to wait around to meet the future Buddha, then just don’t practise. You’ll probably be around long enough to see him when he comes.
59. I’ve heard people say, "Oh, this year was a bad year for me." "How come?" "I was sick all year. I couldn’t practise at all." Oh! If they don’t practise when death is near, when will they ever practise? If they’re feeling well, do you think they practise? No. They only get lost in happiness. If they’re suffering, they still don’t practise. They get lost in that, too. I don’t know when people think they’re going to practise.
60. I’ve already laid down the schedule and rules of the monastery. Don’t transgress the existing standards. Anyone who does is not one who has come with a real intention to practise. What can such a person ever hope to see? Even if he slept near me every day, he wouldn’t see me. Even if he slept near the Buddha, he wouldn’t see the Buddha, if he didn’t practise.
61. Don't think that only sitting with the eyes closed is practice. If you do think this way, then quickly change your thinking. Steady practice is keeping mindful in every posture, whether sitting, walking, standing or lying down. When coming out of sitting, don’t think that you’re coming out of meditation, but that you are only changing postures. If you reflect in this way, you will have peace. Wherever you are, you will have this attitude of practice with you con-stantly. You will have a steady awareness within yourself.
62. "As long as I have still not attained Supreme Enlightenment, I will not rise from this place, even if my blood dries up." Reading this in the books, you may think of trying it yourself You’ll do it like the Buddha. But you haven’t consi-dered that your car is only a small one. The Buddha’s car was a really big one. He could do it all at once. With only your tiny, little car, how can you possibly take it all at once? It’s a different story altogether.
63. I went all over looking for places to meditate. I didn’t realise it was already there, in my heart. All the meditation is right there inside you. Birth, old age, sickness, and death are right there within you. I travelled all over until I was ready to drop dead from exhaustion. Only then, when I stopped, did I find what I was looking for...inside me.
64. We don’t meditate to see heaven, but to end suffering.
65. Don’t be attached to visions or lights in meditation, don’t rise or fall with them. What’s so great about brightness? My flashlight has it. It can’t help US rid ourselves of our suffering
66. You’re blind and deaf without meditation. Dhamma isn’t easily seen. You must meditate to see what you’ve never seen. Were you born a teacher? No. You must study first. A lemon is sour only when you have tasted it.
67. When sitting in meditation, say "That’s not my business!" with every thought that comes by.
68. When we are lazy we should practise and not only when we feel energetic or in the mood. This is practising according to the Buddha’s teaching. According to our own, we practise only when we’re feeling good. How are we going to get anywhere like that? When are we going to cut the stream of defilements when we practise only according to our whims like that?
69. Whatever we do, we should see ourselves. Reading books doesn’t ever give rise to anything. The days pass by, but we don’t see ourselves. Knowing about practise is practising in order to know.
70. Of course there are dozens of meditation techniques, but it all comes down to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. Why not give it a try?
71. Merely thinking about practice is like pouncing on the shadow and missing the substance.
72. When I had been practising for only a few years, I still could not trust myself But after I had experienced much, I learned to trust my own heart. When you have this deep understanding, whatever happens, you can let it happen, and everything will just rise and pass away. You will reach a point where the heart tells itself what to do.
73. In meditation practice, it is actually worse to be caught in calmness than to be stuck in agitation, because at least you will want to escape from agitation, whereas you are content to remain in calmness and not go any further. When blissful clear states arise from insight meditation practice, do not cling to them.
74. Meditation is just about the mind and its feelings. It's not something you have to run after or struggle for. Breathing continues while working. Nature takes care of the natural processes. All we have to do is try to be aware, going inwards to see clearly. Meditation is like this.
75. Not practising rightly is being heedless. Being heedless is like being dead. Ask yourself if you will have time to practise when you die? Constantly ask yourself, "When will I die?" If we contemplate in this way, our mind will be alert every second, heedfulness will always be present, and mindfulness will automatically follow. Wisdom will arise, seeing all things as they really are very clearly. Mindfulness guards the mind so that it knows when sensations arise at all times, day and night. To have mindfulness is to be composed. To be composed is to be heedful. If one is heedful, then one is practising rightly.
76. The basics in our practice should be first, to be honest and upright; second, to be wary of wrongdoing; and third, to be humble within one’s heart, to be aloof and content with little. If we are content with little in regards to speech and in all other things, we will see ourselves, we won’t be distracted. The mind will have a foundation of virtue, concentration, and wisdom.
77. At first you hurry to go forward, hurry to come back, and hurry to stop. You continue to practise like this until you reach the point where it seems that going forward is not it, coming back is not it, and stopping is not it either! It’s finished. There’s no stopping, no going forward and no coming back. It is finished. Right there you will find that there is really nothing at all.
78. Remember you don't meditate to "get" anything, but to get "rid" of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you "want" anything, you won't find it.
79. The heart of the path is quite easy. There's no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That's all that I do in my own practice.
80. Asking the wrong questions shows that you are still caught in doubting. Talking about practice is all right, if it helps contemplation. But it’s up to you yourself to see the Truth.
81. We practise to learn letting go, not to increase our holding on. Enlightenment appears when you stop wanting anything.
82. If you have time to be mindful, you have time to meditate.
83. Someone recently asked me, "As we meditate and various things arise in the mind, should we investigate them or just note them coming and going?" If you see someone passing by whom you do not know, you may wonder, "Who is that? Where is .he going? What is he up to?" But if we know the person, it is enough just to notice him pass by.
84. Desire in practice can be a friend or an enemy. As a friend, it makes US want to practice, to understand, to end suffering. But to be always desiring something that has not yet arisen, to want things to be other than they are, just causes more suffering, and this is when desire can be a foe. In the end, we must learn to let go of all our desires, even the desire for enlightenment. Only then can we be free.
85. Someone once asked Ajahn Chah about the way he taught meditation: "Do you use the method of daily interviewing to examine the mind-state of a person?" Ajahn Chah responded by saying, "Here I teach disciples to examine their own mind-states, to interview themselves. Maybe a monk is angry today, or maybe he has some desire in his mind. I don't know it but he should. He doesn’t have to come and ask me about it, does he?"
86. Our life is an assembly of the elements. We use conventions to describe things, but we get attached to the conventions and take them to be something real. For example, people and things are given names. We could go back to the beginning before names were given, and call men "women" and women "men" - what would be the difference? But now we cling to names and concepts, so we have the war of the sexes and other wars as well. Meditation is for seeing through all of this. We can then reach the unconditioned and be at peace, not at war.
87. Some people enter the monkhood out of faith, but later trample on the teachings of the Buddha. They know better, but refuse to practise rightly. Indeed, those who do really practise are few these days.
88. Theory and practice - the first knows the name of a medicinal plant, and the second goes out to find it and uses it.
89. Noise - you like the sound of birds but not that of cars. You’re afraid of people and noises, and you like to live alone in the forest. Let go of the noise and take care of the baby. The "baby" is your practice.
90. A newly ordained novice asked Ajahn Chah what his advice was for those new to meditation practice. "The same as for those who’ve already been at it for a long time," he replied. And what was that? "Just keep at it," he said.
91. People say that the Buddha’s teaching is right, but it is impossible to practise in society. They say things, like "I’m young, so I don’t have the opportunity to practise, but when I’m old I’ll practise." Would you say you’re young so you don’t have time to eat, but when you get older you’ll eat? If I poked you with a stick that was on fire, would you say you’re suffering, it’s true, but since you live in this society you can’t get away from it?
92. Virtue, concentration, and wisdom together make up the heart of Buddhist prac- tice. Virtue keeps the body and speech intact. And the body is the residence of the mind. So practice has the way of virtue, the way of concentration, and the way of wisdom. It’s like a piece of wood cut into three sections, but it’s really only one log. If we want to throw away body and speech, we cannot. We must practice with the body and the mind. So in truth, virtue, concentration, and wis- dom are one harmonious union that work to- gether.