A Still Forest Pool: The Insight Meditation of Achaan Chah by Jack Kornfield, Paul Breiter

By Jack Kornfield, Paul Breiter

Buddhist grasp Achaan Chah spent years meditating in a woodland monastery of Thailand. This outstanding booklet displays his easy and strong message in addition to the quiet, pleased Buddhist perform of dhudanga, or "everyday mindfulness," with profound insights for the West.

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The trouble with this kind of appeal is that after a few weeks, date palms begin to cloy, and you find yourself wanting to change to some other mantram. I wouldn’t suggest making up your own mantram, either. ” Peace is a beautiful word, I agree, but not just any beautiful word will do as a mantram. Choose a mantram of proven power, one which has enabled many men and women before you to realize for themselves the unity of life. The roots of such a mantram are far deeper than we can know when we first begin to use it, and this is what enables it to grow in our consciousness.

In Western mysticism, there is a similar saying that God incarnates as a human being so that humans can be lifted to become divine. “He became man that we might be made God,” said Saint Athanasius. Though Rama undergoes many trials, he is always the ideal son, brother, husband, king. He is an ideal, and yet he is one of us. In our early days as children in India, when we hear the story of the Ramayana from our parents or grandparents, it’s not the story of God that we listen to. It is not the story of so m e gr e at m a ntr a m s • 41 an extraordinary leader.

I would say, turn off the television, lie back, and repeat the mantram; the silence and the mantram will speed your recovery much more than a soap opera. I am particularly grieved when I hear of elderly people in retirement homes and convalescent hospitals parked in their wheelchairs in front of a blaring television set. I think, if only they had the mantram, what a good companion it would be for them. My mother, who lived with me in her last years, devoted hours each day to the mantram. If she 60 • c h a p t e r f o u r had been asked – and if she could have spoken English – she would have told you without hesitation that she didn’t know the meaning of boredom.

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