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Tue Dec 18, 2012, 02:06 PM

Ajahn Chah talk on letting go

It's a last teaching for someone who is dying (and although that seems timely, this particular talk doesn't work as well for the deaths of children as for people who have lived a long life), but it's also about letting go in general, of things, of attachments, of youth....

I liked the advice about intrusive thoughts, but the part that really resonated for me was the part about letting go without gladness; we learn that we should let go without sadness, but I always kind of got the impression that we should let go easily and happily if we were good little Buddhists. Somehow the point that we should let go, without either gladness or sadness, makes it clearer that the process is about letting go and not about trying to have the "correct" emotions surrounding that.

If any preoccupation comes in to bother the mind, just say in your heart, “Leave me alone. Don’t bother me. You’re no affair of mine.” If any critical thoughts come up—fear for your life, fear that you’ll die, thinking of this person, thinking of that person—just say in your heart, “Don’t bother me. You’re no affair of mine.”

What’s the world? The world is any preoccupation that gets you stirred up, that disturbs you right now. “How is that person going to be? How is this person going to be? When I die, will anyone look after them?” All of this is the world. Whatever we think up—fear of death, fear of aging, fear of illness, whatever the fear—it’s all world. Drop the world—it’s just world. That’s the way the world is. If it arises in the mind, make yourself understand: The world is nothing but a preoccupation. Preoccupations obscure the mind so that it can’t see itself.


This home you live in here—and this applies to every home—is lovely, but it’s not very peaceful. First this, then that; you’re worried about this, you’re worried about that. This isn’t your real home. It’s not your inner home. It’s an outer home. Someday soon you’ll have to leave it. You won’t be able to live here anymore. It’s a worldly home, not yours.

When you sense that the world is like this, you see that it’s disenchanting. There’s nothing that’s really you or yours. You’re disenchanted—nibbida. Disenchantment isn’t disgust, you know. It’s just the heart sobering up. The heart has seen the truth of the way things are: There’s no way you can fix them. They’re just the way they are. You let them go. You let go without gladness. You let go without sadness. You just let things go as fabrications, seeing with your own discernment that that’s the way fabrications are.


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