Food for the Heart: The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah

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Renowned for the beauty and simplicity of his teachings, Ajahn Chah was Thailand's best-known meditation teacher. His charisma and wisdom influenced many American and European seekers, and helped shape the American Vipassana community. This collection brings together for the first time Ajahn Chah's most powerful teachings, including those on meditation, liberation from suffering, calming the mind, enlightenment and the 'living dhamma'. Most of these talks have previously only been available in limited, private ...
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Food for the Heart: The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah

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Renowned for the beauty and simplicity of his teachings, Ajahn Chah was Thailand's best-known meditation teacher. His charisma and wisdom influenced many American and European seekers, and helped shape the American Vipassana community. This collection brings together for the first time Ajahn Chah's most powerful teachings, including those on meditation, liberation from suffering, calming the mind, enlightenment and the 'living dhamma'. Most of these talks have previously only been available in limited, private editions and the publication of Food for the Heart therefore represents a momentous occasion: the hugely increased accessibility of his words and wisdom. Western teachers such as Ram Dass and Jack Kornfield have extolled Chah's teachings for years and now readers can experience them directly in this book.
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Editorial Reviews

Shambhala Sun
"Ajahn Chah was a prominent teacher in the Thai forest-dwelling tradition. Beginning in the mid-sixties, many Western students, including Jack Kornfield, studied with him at Wat Pa Pong. This anthology arrives on the tenth anniversary of Ajahn Chah's death. The talks in it cover a wide range of dharma topics, and have been skillfully translated and edited to preserve the vibrancy, directness and humor that he was known for. Though Ajahn Chah taught for over thirty years, his talks, unfortunately, were not systematically recorded and transcribed, which makes this collection from Wisdom all the more precious."
Inquiring Mind
"Like an expertly prepared and artistically presented feast, this compilation of Ajahn Chah's talks offers a tasty treat for just about anyone traveling the path to freedom. We see a master at work: Ajahn Chah offers teachings in his signature no-nonsense style, using simple language, humor, and delightful similes. One feels lifted up by the strength of his character, his unfailing confidence in dhamma, and by his earnest encouragement. This is one of those books that can be opened to any page to find a wise teaching. And at its end, one comes away with the feeling of having enjoyed a great meal."
Ajahn Brahm
"Ajahn Chah spoke no English, yet his deep clear teachings motivated thousands of Westerners to embrace the simple profundity of living Buddhism. In this book, you'll find Ajahn Chah's unique wisdom, which shone brilliantly from the stillness of his mind. These words will inspire, guide, and liberate you. It is Buddhism at its best."
"Ajahn Chah's wisdom, charisma, and simple teachings have had a profound effect upon the development of the Vipassana community in the West. Published on the tenth anniversary of his death, this collection brings together for the first time the dhamma talks of Thailand's best-known meditation teacher and forest monastic, talks previously available only in rare or limited editions. It presents Ajahn Chah's teachings on meditation, liberation from suffering, calming the mind, enlightenment, and the 'living dhamma'."
"Includes nearly forty teachings divided into three categories: conduct, meditation, and wisdom. Ajahn Chah presents these teachings in his beautifully simple and heartfelt style."
Joseph Goldstein
"Ajahn Chah's teachings are simple, clear and profoundly helpful. This book is a great contribution to the Dharma in the West."
Jan Chozen Bays Roshi
"Ajahn Chah's words have the sharp sting, salty tang and sand-dry wit of the old Zen masters. They will provide illumination and inspiration for all students of Buddhism."
Larry Rosenberg
"This rich collection is a real treasure. Profound, direct, earthy, and often funny, Food for the Heart will be especially precious for practitioners of vipassana meditation in all Buddhist lineages."
John Daishin Buksbazen
"Ajahn Chah stands out as a profound teacher in the best of Buddhist wisdom traditions. Compassionate, lucid, and far beyond any sectarian categorizing, Food for the Heart is all that and more. This humble and down-to-earth forest monastic has given us all a work which will stand the test of time with the world's great classics of spiritual literature. An important volume for all serious followers of the Way."
Publishers Weekly
The Buddhism practiced and preached at the monastery at Wat Pah Pong in northeast Thailand has grown in popularity in part because of its gifted leader and speaker, the late Ajahn Chah. This compilation of talks given by Ajahn (acharya or teacher in Sanskrit) Chah extols the virtues of practice over pedantry, and makes judicious use of the technical vocabulary of Buddhism, which can be daunting to casual readers. But even without the full glossary of terms and explanatory notes, Ajahn Chah' s humorous, analogy-laden narration of his tradition' s Buddhist practice a practice that is basic and almost reductionistic, similar to modern Zen makes these teachings accessible to beginners and appealing to serious practitioners. More troubling is the lack of context for Ajahn Chah' s talks: no dates or details are given. For instance, readers who encounter the injunction to renounce familial ties alongside a consideration of how spousal sexual relations may conform to the Four Noble Truths may be perplexed if they do not know that Ajahn Chah tailored his talks to the needs of both monastics and lay practitioners on quite separate occasions and in varying contexts. Also, there is very little introductory material about what distinguishes the Thai Forest tradition, other than a definition of tudong (forest pilgrimage and meditation) and the fact that it belongs to Theravada, the minority of the two great doctrinal divisions within Buddhism. However, this is a valuable collection of the Thai Buddhist master' s thoughts. (Sept.) Forecast: In a market saturated with new Buddhist releases, this solid exposition of basic Buddhist practice is a welcome addition, particularly since some of the Thai leader' s teachings are available here in English for the first time. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780861713233
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications MA
  • Publication date: 7/10/2005
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 424,660
  • Product dimensions: 5.96 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Ajahn Chah (1918-92) was part of a movement to establish simple monastic communities in the remote forests of Thailand. At this date over one hundred forest monasteries have been established that look to his teaching as their inspiration. Ajahn Chah's simple yet profound style of teaching has a special appeal to Westerners, and in 1979 the first of several branch monasteries in the West was established in England, and there are now more than ten monasteries in the United States, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Ajahn Amaro is abbot of the Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in southeast England and author of numerous books and articles on Buddhist themes across traditions. Born in England in 1956, Ven. Amaro received his BSc. in Psychology and Physiology from the University of London. He studied Buddhism in Thailand in the Forest Tradition and was ordained as a bhikkhu by Thai meditation master Ajahn Chah at Wat Pah Nanachat in 1979. He returned to England and joined Ajahn Sumedho at the newly established Chithurst Monastery. He resided for many years at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in England, and in 1996 he established Abhayagiri Monastery in Redwood Valley, California. He lived there until 2010, when he was called back to Amaravati to assume the duties of abbot.

Jack Kornfield co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, in 1975 and later the Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California. He holds a PhD in clinical psychology. His books include After the Ecstasy, the Laundry and the national bestseller A Path with Heart.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 7
Introduction 9
1 About This Mind 41
2 Fragments of a Teaching 43
Part 1 Conduct--Virtue and the World of the Senses
3 Living in the World with Dhamma 53
4 Making the Heart Good 61
5 Sense Contact--the Fount of Wisdom 69
6 Understanding Vinaya 81
7 Maintaining the Standard 93
8 Why Are We Here? 101
9 The Flood of Sensuality 111
10 The Two Faces of Reality 119
Part 2 Meditation
11 A Gift of Dhamma 135
12 Inner Balance 141
13 The Path in Harmony 147
14 The Training of the Heart 153
15 Reading the Natural Mind 163
16 The Key to Liberation 179
17 Meditation (Samadhi Bhavana) 219
18 Dhamma Fighting 227
19 Just Do It! 231
20 Right Practice--Steady Practice 239
21 Samma Samadhi--Detachment Within Activity 249
22 In the Dead of Night 257
Part 3 Wisdom
23 What Is Contemplation? 275
24 Dhamma Nature 279
25 Living with the Cobra 287
26 The Middle Way Within 291
27 The Peace Beyond 297
28 Convention and Liberation 307
29 No Abiding 313
30 Right View--the Place of Coolness 319
31 Our Real Home 323
32 The Four Noble Truths 333
33 "Tuccho Pothila"--Venerable Empty Scripture 341
34 "Not Sure!"--the Standard of the Noble Ones 351
35 Still, Flowing Water 363
36 Transcendence 373
37 Toward the Unconditioned 383
38 Epilogue 395
Glossary 397
Notes 403
Sources of the Text 409
Index 415
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Customer Reviews

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( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 18, 2013

    "Food for the Heart" is a wonderful gift from my preci

    "Food for the Heart" is a wonderful gift from my precious guru, the late Ajahn Chah!!!! Having met him in person at the Insight Meditation Society in the late 1970s, I highly recommend this book not only as a heartfelt guide to meditation & Buddhism, but as a guidebook to compassion & understanding your heart's true purpose. Let these teachings resonate in your heart & soul & you will discover, as I did, the true meaning of the search for the end of suffering.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2007

    It's okay...

    This book is okay because in someplaces it can be inspirational for your meditation practice and at other places it will make you feel like a failure in meditation. This author was a Thai monk, and I don't really think he could relate to ordinary people living in the world today.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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