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meditation Meditation Masters

Spiritual teachers of our time

Spiritual teachers & Guru’s in the 21st Century

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Quotes that make you laugh

The world has seen its fair share of spiritual teachers, as tribal groups there would always be someone we could seek advice, the shaman, witch doctors and wise sages. As humanity settled into greater societies we developed philosophy, meditation, and ever more sophisticated ways of exploring the mind and our consciousness. We have consistently and constantly throughout time sought advice from others. 

This ever changing impermanent world we populate has given rise to some amazing Guru’s, sages, philosophers and spiritual teachers through out the centuries. We have seen the birth of Socrates, Aristotle, the Buddha, Jesus Christ and Confucius to name just a mere few of these wonderful people who shared there knowledge and understanding to help others.

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Today’s spiritual teacher or guru can, as always, be difficult to separate from the hum drum of the real world. Some ask us to invest our time and energy into something they say produce staggering results in next to no time, but at a cost. Some seem to walk the walk or talk the talk but seldom practice that which they preach. personal development through mindfulness, words of wisdom, developing minds, spiritual enlightenment, inspirational advice, change your mindset, commit to sit, spiritual teachers of 21st Century, motivational quotes, changing thought patterns, spiritual awakening,

There are of course in the 21st century some wonderful teachers out there, it just may seem a little crowded with wanna be YouTube stars, or Pinterest and Facebook hero’s quoting or misquoting life lessons, people who may have little to no life experience.

My personal search

Before I became an ordained Buddhist Monk in North Thailand I went through many frustrating years following the advice of one teacher then the next, only to find my own life experience differed from those teachings.

I travelled in search of answers looking first towards South America and the Indian shaman’s, who taught me that The Earth is our Mother. I ventured further and sought out our ancestral roots within Africa, finding some of the indigenous tribes people still left who taught me wisdom doesn’t come from school.

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After all this searching, as if by chance, I met a simple Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the greatest spiritual teachers alive today. Thanks to his wonderful compassion, wisdom and guidance, I found my search for a teacher over. Every word he spoke to me resonated deep within my soul, sparking a realisation I had been seeking for years.

Now it’s your turn

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I really hope you find your spiritual teacher, someone that can also spark that magic Thich Nhat Hanh did for me. To help you out we thought it might be useful for a small list of trustworthy people, alive today, who really do know there stuff. Please feel free to help with any suggestions, someone special to you. Click on the highlighted name for more information.

Thich Nhat Hanh:

Is a Buddhist monk who set up Plum village monastery in France, as well as many others. He was nominated for the noble peace prize and a prolific author of some 100 books. A true real life saint.

Jack Kornfield:

A trained Buddhist monk under the tutelage of Ajahn Chah, one of the original 1960’s hippy trail travellers caving a path towards a spiritual East. A wonderful author of many many enlightening books of meditation and mindfulness.

Deepak Chopra:

Indian born American spiritual author, public speaker and advocate of alternative medicine, and a celebrated author in the self help category

Mooji:

Jamaican born Mooji is a spiritual guru filled with loving kindness. He became a spiritual teacher in 1999 when a group of spiritual seekers became his students, and began to produce books, CDs, and videos of his teachings

Ajahn Brahm

Is a British born Australian Buddhist monk from the Thai forest tradition and tutored under the auspicious Ajahn Chah. He now resides in Perth, Australia and Abbot Of Bodhinyana Monastery, a wonderfully entertaining and funny speaker and lecturer.

Dhali Lama

The 14th Dalai Lama, born as Tenzin Gyatso and is the current spiritual leader of Tibet. Tenzin was born in the small village of Taktser in Tibet and became the spiritual leader at the tender age of 15 years old. A remarkable man of humble origins.

How a spiritual teacher can help

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My life dramatically changed after meeting Thich Nhat Hanh and from that moment onwards. I committed wholeheartedly to practice meditation and mindfulness and discover the workings of my own mind. I travelled to Asia and ordained as a Buddhist monk, a journey that took many years in itself, I spent many happy years living and training in meditation and mindfulness within the monastic surroundings of Thailand.

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I decided to return to Europe, where I wander the countryside with my adopted street dog Marley Moo, together we teach and write moral stories, however it has come at the cost of loosing all monetary assistance from my monastery. This caused a few problem and made me question my beliefs and ideas, I am now in my 12th year, or 12th rains, as a Monk and I spend my days in continuous practice of the discovery of myself. It is again only by chance I find myself now in the position where it is I who can give back.

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Dhamma Tāpasā

Categories
meditation Meditation Masters

Meditation Masters Ajahn Chah

Meditation Masters

Ajahn Chah

Meditation Masters, Ajahn Chah, mindfulness, positivity, spirituality, spiritual, compassion, loving kindness,
Meditation Masters Ajahn Chah

Introduction

Ajahn Chah become one of the most celebrated Buddhist monks and meditation master of our time. A fully enlightened master who shared his wisdom with the west. Reading his biography you will get a feel for who this master was and what this great man achieved. If you keep reading the short stories gathered together from other monks who personally trained and knew the great man, then I think you will get a better understanding as to how supremely wise this minimally educated rice farmers son and Buddhist monk truly became.

Biography

Ajahn Chah 1918 – 1992

Was a Buddhist monk of the Thai forest tradition, respected and well loved in his own country as a man of great wisdom, it wasn’t until the arrival of the hippies of the 1960’s that the west finally got to hear of this great spiritual master.

He was born into poverty in the northeast region of Thailand, his parents were rice farmers surviving from day to day. With no real education to be had in the region the young Ajahn would start his monastic training a the age of nine. He spent three years in the monastery where he learnt to read and write. He returned to work on the land of his parents but returned to monastic life at the age of 17. He was ordained at a local monastery where he stayed and practiced meditation until 1946 when he decided to become a wandering ascetic monk, a practice called dutong. He wandered learning from teachers of the time, by far his biggest influence was Ajahn Mun a renowned enlightened meditation master. He spent this time of his life meditating in caves and forests until finally establishing a monastery near his home town where he taught his simple meditation techniques and started to gain a large following of disciples and lay people alike. The arrival of the first western disciple, Ajahn Sumedho saw the development of a new monastery focused purely for the western mind filled with knowledge, the first of its kind in Thailand. A few years later Ajahn Chah was invited to give talks in England where he was to form the very first monastery in the Thai forest linage, called Chittaviveka. Ajahn Chah’s health was in decline by the early 1980’s and he was to suffer a massive stroke leaving him bedridden and unable to speak for ten years. Still in this condition he transmitted the teachings of the Buddha using his own body as evidence enough of impermanence and the importance of seeking refuge within ourselves. Ajahn Chah’s legacy of students continues today with Ajahn Brahm, Jack Kornfield, Ajahn Summadho and Ajahn Amaro to name just a few. 

Personal Stories of Ajahn Chah

Most of these short excerpts into Ajahn Chah life are from the gifted monks that stayed for extended periods of time training under this great master.

Spitting on a generals head

While at his beloved monastery in Thailand, Ajahn Chah was visited on a daily basis by many different people, from all sorts of walks of life from business men to rice farmers. On this particular day, while Ajahn Chah is peacefully giving a talk to a few monks, the screeching of vehicles arrive at the front gate and an entourage of the Thai army come bounding in. A stately figure, possible a general, approaches Ajahn Chah and demands a holy blessing. Ajahn Chah calmly and politely explains that it’s all superstition and he doesn’t bless people. The general gets irate and demands a blessing. Again Ajahn Chah calmly and politely refuses saying that it’s all hocus pocus. The army general, arms now flailing, demands for a last time reminding Ajahn Chah who he is. Ahah Chah calmly smiles and gently pulls the mans head closer. In an instant Ajahn Chah cleared his throat and spat directly onto the generals head, and then proceeds to rub it in while saying a chat in Pali. The horror on the monks faces was priceless, but the generals reaction was better, he stood up with a smile as broad as day, brimming with pride. He was so happy he had been blessed and not just by any water but that of Ajahn Chah, pure holy water.

Burying a crazy women in a hole

While giving a talk one early evening in the grounds of the temple, there comes apparent there is a commotion outside, lots of hysterical screams and raised voices, Ajahn Chah sits calmly giving the talk, even using the disturbance as a lesson, suddenly the commotion makes its way through the temple gates and head towards Ajahn Chah. The crowd is screaming and demonstrating there anger at a young girl they said was possessed. The girl did look in a trance like state, eyes rolling and mumbles coming from her mouth. Ajahn Chah as calmly as ever, turns to his chief monk and orders him to get together shoves and a tape measure. The monk, Knowing not to ask questions, went away to fetch the said items. On his return Ajahn Chah orders a group of monks to start digging a hole to bury the girl in. The monks set to work, again Knowing not to ask questions. Ajahn Chah calmly walks up to the still uncontrollable girl and starts to measure her height. He then turns around and in a loud voice right next to the girl, announces the hole to bury this girl must be 6ft in length and 4ft deep. Hearing this the girl instantly came round, you could see in her eyes that she was alert and knew she did not want to be buried alive. Ajahn Chah told us all to leave him and for the next 4 hours chatted to the girl helping her in whatever way he could. A demonstration of how well Ajahn Chah knew the complexities of our minds.

Reading minds

Ajahn Chah was renowned for reading people’s minds. He would be able to know what your were saying as you formed the words in your mind. Ajahn Brahm tells a story, while he was standing waiting to get his chance to talk to the great master it occurred to him that this man can read minds, and just as a question formed in his mind, Ajahn Chah broke conversation and turn to Ajahn Brahm and told him the answer, stunning both the monk he was talking to and Ajahn Brahm. Ajahn Brahm said it made him realise how important it was to practice mindfulness at all times with this true master’s ability.

Speaking after taking his false teeth out.

As was often the case when asked questions that seemed just plain dumb or to infinitely complex, Ajahn Chah would often start speaking and while in the middle of the sentence take his teeth out and continue speaking in a slur so as not to be understood. If asked to repeat he would put them back in and repeat the process. He would then explain that the lessons is not to gather all this knowledge but to put into practice what you already know. Your cup is full as they say in Zen Buddhism.

The Legacy lives

In Ajahn Chah’s life time he wrote many books on meditation and its practices, opened monasteries, both in Thailand and abroad, and trained hundreds of monks in the ways of the Buddha and meditation, some of whom have gone on to become well know celebrities in the West, promoting meditation and mindfulness.

An excerpt from Ajahn Chah on meditation, of which the full article can be found hear

“To calm the mind means to find the right balance. If you try to force your mind too much it goes too far; if you don’t try enough it doesn’t get there, it misses the point of balance.

Normally the mind isn’t still, it’s moving all the time. We must strengthen the mind. Making the mind strong and making the body strong are not the same. To make the body strong we have to exercise it, to push it, in order to make it strong, but to make the mind strong means to make it peaceful, not to go thinking of this and that. For most of us the mind has never been peaceful, it has never had the energy of samādhi, so we must establish it within a boundary. We sit in meditation, staying with the ‘one who knows’.”

The majority of Ajahn Chah’s work can be found online and completely free, as is the way with Theravada Buddhism. The many talks he gave his monks during the rains retreats can also be found completely free online.

For more information on this great man or to follow up by reading some of his works on meditation and mindfulness then follow this link

https://forestsangha.org/ajahn-chah/biography