The Book of Ajahn Char


(1918 - 1962)

(1918 – 1962)

Ajahn Char was a Buddhist monk in the Thai Forest Tradition and, like many Eastern mystics, his teachings are the essence of simplicity and contained in very few words. Here are some examples:

The Buddha was a very wise person; he’d learned how to stop thinking. 

This is the way it is and if it should have happened, it would have happened.

When you can’t go up, you can’t go down and you can’t move to the left or right, then your practice really begins.

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. Don’t fight with anything and don’t try to escape from anything. 

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? Do you dare? 

We don’t meditate to reach heaven. We meditate to end suffering. 

The heart is the only book worth reading. 

If it isn’t good, let it die. If it won’t die, make it good. 

Looking for peace is like looking for a turtle with a mustache.
You won’t be able to find it. But when your heart is ready,
peace will come looking for you.

Practice is like raising a duck.
If the duck grows fast or slow that is the duck’s business.
So let go and just do your own work.

Next, and I really like this, given the Buddhist pre-occupation with numbered teachings:

Traditionally the Eightfold Path is taught with eight steps such as Right Understanding, Right Speech, Right Concentration and so on. But the true Eightfold Path is within us – two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, a tongue and a body. These eight doors are our entire Path and the mind is the one that walks on the Path. Know these doors, examine them, and all the Dharmas will be revealed. 

Again, the practice of simplicity. And, lastly, here is this gem:

There are two kinds of suffering: the suffering that leads to more suffering and the suffering that leads to the end of suffering. If you are not willing to face the second kind of suffering, you will surely continue to experience the first.