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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars

on May 6, 2007
Ajahn Chah was not a writer. He was born in a fishing village in northeast Thailand in 1918 and spent many years there speaking to farmers and fishermen. Many of these talks were recorded, transcribed and later translated and compiled by one of his western students, Paul Breiter.

Ajahn Chah spoke simply for a simple audience. To illustrate his points, he spoke of fields, ponds, rivers, fish, frogs, dogs, plowing, planting, and harvesting. He used folk tales and parables. Here he speaks of how we are responsible for our own suffering:

"Really, someone who suffers when living alone is foolish. Someone who suffers when living with others is foolish. It's like chicken turds: if you carry them around by yourself, they stink. If you keep them when you're among others, they stink. You carry the rotten things with you."

On the futility of becoming overly preoccupied in affairs of the world, he reminds his audience of the beetle, scratching in the earth:

"It can scratch up a pile that's a lot bigger than itself, but it's still only a pile of dirt. If it works hard, it makes a deep hole in the ground, but it's only a hole in dirt. If a buffalo drops a load of dung there, it will be bigger than the beetle's pile of earth, but it still isn't anything that reaches to the sky. It's all dirt. Worldly accomplishments are like this. No matter how hard the beetles work, they're just involved in dirt, making holes and piles"

Translating the colloquialisms must have been challenging, but, as you can see from the above, Paul Breiter has done a magnificent job capturing Ajahn Chah's voice, making "Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away" a wonderful volume for even those who may have been practicing the dharma for many years.

For those new to Buddhism, this would be an amusing and enlightening introduction, not only because of the colorful language but also for the way in which Ajahn Chah reduces the message of Buddhism to a few easy-to-grasp concepts. He seemed to like reminding his audience that Buddhism was not all that difficult to understand, and he did this through the message of impermanence. As he remarks in a teaching on meditation:

"The way I practice medication is not very complicated - just this. This is what it all comes down to: `It's uncertain'. Everything meets at this point."

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on February 11, 2009
These teachings of Ajahn Chah are about anicca, dukkha, and anatta, the contemplation of which are essential for knowing Dharma.
According to Ajahn Chah, the true and correct words of the sages will not lack mention of anicca (dukkha, and anatta). If there is no mention of such, it is not the speech of the wise. It is not the speech of the enlightened ones; it's called speech that does not accept the truth of existence.
The statement is supported by Veneral Ajahn Mun, the most renowned monk and teacher of many great meditation masters including Ajahn Chah, who once said, "The speech of arahants is Dharma, others' is worldly opinion."
Ajahn Chah also mentioned, "I've been teaching and training people almost thirty years now. If at least you can enter the stream to enlightenment and ensure there won't be an eighth rebirth, that would be pretty good."
Thus,for those who want to enter the stream and experience eternal peace - the end of suffering, this book is priceless!
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on October 30, 2015
Ajahn Chah is the Master Root teacher for quite a few of the well know American teachers

He is a very excellent resource for the Path and this book is quite good
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on July 25, 2017
As well as talking about impermanence, suffering and non-self, the book shows Ajahn Chah's weaknesses along with his strengths as a teacher.
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on January 15, 2015
This was a gift and liked by the recipient.
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on September 13, 2006
Although I actually practice Soto Zen Buddhism, the teachings on this book are invaluable. Ajahn Chah's honest, direct and bold approach in teaching the truth to his students is a great source of inspiration. His teachings will remain timeless and are a good addition to anyone's library.
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on May 10, 2013
One of my go to books on the Dhamma. A very clear and precise exploration of inpermanance. A must have for all Dhamma students.
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on February 10, 2014
We all know that nothing lasts for ever, but do we really feel the impact of that knowledge. This book will help you bring presence to everyday living an a new appreciation for all your experiences.
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on September 6, 2012
Ajahn Chah, guides you in his own words his understanding and experience of meditation in the Theravada forest tradition. Very helpful quite humorous teacher.
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on April 15, 2008
I am quite new to buddhism...but have gone through some teacher's teachings through their published books. I felt Ajahn Chah's teaching to be quite direct. He doesnt waste time in entertaining you, but feels like directly points out, this is where you are wrong and see yourself by meditation. Somewhere he mentioned: Meditation is like sitting in a huge hall with many windows and your job is to see who is coming who is going. Thats it! He probably explains buddhism in a very straightforward ways. I wish I would have gotten a chance to meet such great person. He is great.
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