No announcement yet.

Ajahn Chah as portrayed in some books

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Ajahn Chah as portrayed in some books

    Dear Ajahn,

    I've been told that Ajahn Brahm is now in the sin city of Las Vegas, and hope that he will use his psychic powers to convert all those gamblers to donate money for a good cause rather than to a one-arm bandit.

    Since Ajahn Brahm is not available, can Ajahn Brahmali or anyone who is familiar with Ajahn Chah's teachings clarify the issue raised by a cyber friend of mine.

    He wrote:

    It is from the book THE PATH, circa 197-, USA. When the first permanent Insight Meditation Center opened in America Ajahn Cha was invited to the opening because so many of the founders had been students of his in Thailand. (Insight meditation = vipassana strippped of all it's Buddhist roots, I'm not kidding.)

    So he was staying at the house of a married couple while there and a discussion developed about sexual mores for unmarried laypersons, amongst the group. At this point Ajahn Cha went into a tirade saying that sexual intercourse is "filthy, disgusting and revolting". Remember some of the group were married persons. He then goes on to warn that all the women must be careful not to brush up against him, even accidentally. Finally he declares thet if he is served food by a woman it must be placed on a cloth at the opposite side of the table which he can then draw over to his side to eat. Now it seems to me, ignorant farang I may be, that after years of meditation he should be far beyond being aroused by the proximity of a woman. Then a couple of days later he asked the couple with whom he was staying why they didn't have any children as yet! In the US of A this is considered extremely rude; even a family member woulodn't think of talking like this.

    I think there must be some unclear message in the book that could cause misunderstanding or misrepresent Ajahn Chah.

    With great respect

  • #2
    Dear Dheerayupa,

    I've never heard of this book, nor does Google give any results for it. Are you sure there really is such a book? If there is, perhaps it was considered slightly off - for whatever reason - and therefore never reprinted.

    This description of Ajahn Chah is certainly not flattering, but we are so far removed from the scene that it is impossible to pass any judgment. It is well-known that Ajahn Chah could be very direct, but his directness was usually appropriate in the situation. You probably need to find someone else to ask who knows more about this than I do.

    With metta.


    • #3
      Thank you, Ajahn. _/\_


      • #4
        Dear Dheerayupa and Venerable Ajahn Brahmali,

        I don't wish to interject where I don't belong, and I apologize if this is out of place, but I believe I may have found a link to the text passage in question here: .

        It reads to me like a cultural miscommunication--or possibly a case of words being lost in translation. A quote from the Buddha describes sexual activity thus: "The pursuit of the enjoyment of one whose pleasure is linked to sensual desire - low, vulgar, coarse, ignoble and unbeneficial - is a state beset by suffering, vexation, despair and fever, and it is the wrong way." (Quotation from's article "Buddhist Sexual Ethics": Does this not look like a similar quote, albeit translated into different, perhaps less dramatic words? Could this have been a poor translation of what Ajahn Chah actually said, due to his use of a translator? I like Ajahn Brahm's advice to give people the benefit of the doubt. :-)


        • #5
          Dear Jenny,

          The sutta quoted on Buddhanet is a discourse given to the monks. As such they are celibate and should develop dispassion (or even revulsion) towards sensual happiness and in particular sex. Sex in lay life, as for nice food, music, movies, and so forth are considered "lower" than celibacy if only because there is something higher. It is this higher good, Nibbana, that we strive towards as monks, and in doing so we must give up all those things that gave us happiness in lay life.

          One of my favorite stories, and perhaps it is related to the words attributed to Ajahn Chah, was also reported from the USA. Ajahn Chah was amongst a group of people who had invited him to California. A woman said to him, "But isn't sex sacred?". At this point he began picking his nose rather obscenely. Then he said, "There is no difference, except what the mind adds."

          So, that's the Ajahn Chah I know. :-)

          With metta,



          • #6

            Dear Ajhan Jhanarato,

            Yes, I remember the story. Really funny and quite a 'rough' teaching to most people who don't understand Buddhism.

            Dear Jenny,

            Since I'm still defiled, I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to people I love . And I love and respect Ajahn Chah and his teachings. So, I agree with you that there might be some communication breakdown, or some crucial component of the message 'LOST in translation'. I posted the question here in hope that someone might have seen the book or know the story and can explain what 'could have gone wrong' so that I can explain to that online friend of mine, who sounds like a devoted Buddhist but seems to have a prejudice against Ajahn Chah and some of Ajahn Chah's disciples.

            Thank you, Ajahn. Thank you, Jenny.

            Much metta,


            • #7
              Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu. :-) With many thanks!



              Debug Information