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resist nothing

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Related to yesterday’s post, our friend Bill sent a quote by Ajahn Chah:

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.

I’m struck by a boundless notion of non-clinging, much larger than anything I’d hitherto envisioned. Till now I’d thought that ‘letting go of’ pertained to things negative. Something like if I could stop self-loathing the world would be a better place with me a happy camper in it? Well yes …. but Ajahn Chah points way beyond that familiar scenario. He’s telling us that hoping for happiness and love and acceptance is simply one more trap.

‘Suffering’ as I understand it arises whenever I get frustrated with the cards I’m dealt with. Grasp at nothing, resist nothing. That’s how you’ll be free from suffering. Let go of wishing to be loved, hoping to be healthy, or counting on prosperity. You might also be able to let go of the fear of death.

source: Chah, A. (1985). A still forest pool. The insight meditation of Achaan Chah. Jack Kornfield (ed). Theosophical Publishing House. Full text. YouTube.


5 responses »

  1. I like this wisdom on a personal basis. Wanting and becoming are sure ways to denigrate plain old, lovely being. But I always end up with the same questions when I think about my place in the world of others:

    If I accept all and attach value to nothing, how to act?

    Where does “reducing suffering” stand in terms of “grasping at nothing”?

    What are my responsibilities?

    I expect there are no simple answers, but as talking points I’d love to get deeper into them.

    • Well my answer to your first and third questions Dan, is simply Be the truth of you are and behave Authentically (no masks) with all other beings. Put another way, it is all about Awareness rather than doing

    • Here are some ideas I’ve had:

      If I accept all and attach value to nothing, I will act in new ways—a leap of faith that they will be loving ways

      “Reducing suffering” happens with letting go and letting life/Buddha nature do all

      My responsiblities are to not think I know what to do–but what some call Buddha nature knows (and so therefore, that which is real in me knows what ego doesn’t)

      I think the answers are so simple that our minds have a hard time conceiving of such pure simplicity.

      Fior whatever it is worth, friend. May we all experience loving-kindlness.

  2. I think it is also kind of neat that the chant that we read at last night’s sitting was, in a way, all about the impermanence of everything. So, in that sense, there is really nothing to grasp or resist because it is just going to disappear anyway!

  3. I have heard, but can’t verify by my reading or listening to videos, that the Dalai Lama has said that he won’t let the Chinese disturb his happiness.


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