Take One Seat by Ajahn Chah

This wonderful quote, Take One Seat by Ajahn Chah sounds a lot like Zen. But Ajahn Chah was a teacher in the Thai Forest Tradition of Theravada Buddhism. He was the root teacher of Jack Kornfield and many other Western teachers looked up to him.

Just go into the room and put one chair in the center. Take the seat in the center of the room, open the doors and windows, and see who comes to visit. You will witness all kinds of scenes and actors, all kinds of temptation and stories imaginable. Your only job is to stay in your seat. You will see it all arise and pass, and out of this, wisdom and understanding will come.

As I see it, the mind is like a single point, the center of the universe, and mental states are like visitors who come to stay at this point for short or long periods of time. Get to know these visitors well. Become familiar with the vivid pictures they paint, the alluring stories they tell, to entice you to follow them. But do not give up your seat — it is the only chair around. If you continue to occupy it unceasingly, greeting each guest as it comes, firmly establishing yourself in awareness, transforming your mind into the one who knows, the one who is awake, the visitors will eventually stop coming back. If you give them real attention, how many times can these visitors return? Speak with them here, and you will know every one of them well. Then your mind will at last be at peace.

Ajahn Chah

Ajahn Chah

The visitors to your chair consist of images, plans, memories, dreams, thoughts, emotions, and many others. Once you acknowledge their presence, they will be happy to leave. However, you will have to be sure to notice them and not let them take over the conversation going on in your mind.

How will you sit silently with these visitors? Do you watch them come and go or do you try to entertain them?

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