Ben wrote:Dear Bhantegavesako wrote:"Do not be a bodhisattva, do not be an arahant, do not be anything at all. If you are a bodhisattva, you will suffer, if you are an arahant, you will suffer, if you are anything at all, you will suffer."
That is an interesting quote from Luang Por Ajahn Chah. However, it appears to this deluded human being (me) that Ajahn is not only discouraging one from attaining the noblest aspirations, but also seems to be contra to the Buddha's teaching that ariya aṭṭhangika magga is the way to the end of suffering.
I would appreciate your comments.
Thank you for your kind consideration.
It all comes down to the language people use and also the conceptual framework that we use in order to interpret such statements. I noticed that some people's mind-set requires highly structured descriptions and detailed step-by-step explanations, and there danger there is rather than just taking them as pedagogical tools (i.e. approximations) they will be grasped as a particular "view" (ditthi-upadana) and will block someone's progress on the path, which requires loosening even more subtle forms of grasping. So this is what I see Ajahn Chah as doing, but it is also necessary to look at the context of course.
Compare this other quote from him about the eightfold path:
Today I would like to ask you all. ''Are you sure yet, are you certain in your meditation practice?'' I ask because these days there are many people teaching meditation, both monks and lay people, and I'm afraid you may be subject to wavering and doubt. If we understand clearly, we will be able to make the mind peaceful and firm.
You should understand the eightfold path as morality, concentration and wisdom. The path comes together as simply this. Our practice is to make this path arise within us. ...
Morality has one function, concentration has another function and wisdom another. These factors are like a cycle. We can see them all within the peaceful mind. When the mind is calm it has collectedness and restraint because of wisdom and the energy of concentration. As it becomes more collected it becomes more refined, which in turn gives morality the strength to increase in purity. As our morality becomes purer, this will help in the development of concentration. When concentration is firmly established it helps in the arising of wisdom. Morality, concentration and wisdom help each other, they are inter-related like this.
In the end the path becomes one and functions at all times. We should look after the strength which arises from the path, because it is the strength which leads to insight and wisdom.