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No amount of words can possibly honour a gift
as precious as the Way of Truth itself.

Lives lived in harmony with this Ancient Way,
however, may do so.

This book is about a community of people endeavouring to do justice to the gift they have received. More precisely, it is a collection of transcribed talks, letters and essays offered by disciples of Luang Por Chah, who are now living at various monasteries around the world. These teachings have been gathered specifically for this publication. It seemed appropriate that a book published in the West to honour the Venerable Ajahn Chah's life should reflect the results of his years of teaching. These are some of the fruits of what he spent his life nurturing. Although some editing was required so that the oral teachings might be accessible in the written form, it is hoped that the spirit of the original presentation has been preserved: that is, the spirit of the living Truth.

The Buddha said that nobody else can walk the Way for us -- but they can point out the way we should go. The directions given will be different for each of us, depending on how far we must go and from where we are starting. There were occasions when people questioned Ajahn Chah about apparent contradictions in his advice. He replied that if he was standing at the end of a road and saw someone coming towards him veering off to the left, he would tell them to go right. If they were veering to the right he would tell them to move left. The instructions were different, but the ultimate direction was the same.

Style and emphasis also vary when the Teaching is presented by different individuals. This will become obvious as the reader progresses through this book. The reader may also come across inconsistencies and contradictions. If this is so, it should be remembered that such discrepancies are in appearance only. These words are not presented as the Truth itself but as reflections offered for consideration.

Many people have benefitted from Ajahn Chah's ability to point out the Way; and many of these same people have participated in offering this book in commemoration of their teacher. One of the deepest forms of gratitude is that which springs forth from a true appreciation for the beauty of the Way; it is with such gratitude that this offering is made. It is the wish of all who have contributed, that the readers may see, understand, and follow the Way about which all these words have been written.


A note on hierarchy and the order of presentation:
The Buddha instructed that repect should always be shown to those monks who have been in the Order the longest. This holds true regardless of other qualities any individual may possess. Hence, the sequence of this presentation is determined solely with respect for seniority in the bhikkhu-sangha. These talks are not offered as a progressive teaching. Accordingly, it is recommended that readers feel free to select and read, re-read or omit as they wish.

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