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Buddhadharma : Spring 2014
SPRING 2 0 1 4 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 23 Just Do It AS I REMEMBER, the majority of the teachings that Ajahn Chah gave were not startlingly profound. They didn’t consist of things that you’d never heard of before, where you would say, “Wow, esoteric Buddhist teachings in the forest! If I hadn’t come here I would never have had the opportunity for this kind of initiation, or this kind of unheard revelation of the dhamma.” Instead, it was more that every single word he said struck home. It was as if we were hearing those teachings for the first time, but at the same time, it wasn’t new information needing an extensive vocabu- lary. Often he was able to express himself in very simple terms, and they struck home because of the relationship, the feelings of devotion and faith in him that we felt. So he was able to create a situation in which learning took place. Through his own example and his personal presence and power, we felt this great sense of chanda in practice. I don’t know how many people are familiar with this word, but it’s a vital word to understand. Western presentations of Buddhist teachings have often led to the misconception that because suffering arises out of desire, you shouldn’t desire anything. In fact, the Buddha spoke of two kinds of desire: desire that arises from ignorance and delusion, which is called tanha, craving, and desire that arises from wisdom and intelligence, which is called kusala-chanda, or dhamma-chanda, or most simply chanda. Chanda has a range of mean- ings, but in this case I’m using it to mean wise and intelligent desire and Whether you’re learning to meditate or ride a bike, says Ajahn Jayasaro, it’s not about how good you are or how far you get. The point is simply to practice with a sincere and consistent effort.