The crude, beginning level of the practice is a little hard to maintain, but the refined levels of virtue, concentration, and discernment all come out of this. It’s as if they’re distilled from this same thing. To put it in simple terms, it’s like a coconut tree. A coconut tree absorbs ordinary water up through its trunk, but when the water reaches the coconuts, it’s sweet and clean. It comes from ordinary water, the trunk, the crude dirt. But as the water gets absorbed up the tree, it gets distilled. It’s the same water but when it reaches the coconuts it’s cleaner than before. And sweet. In the same way, the virtue, concentration, and discernment of your path are crude, but if the mind contemplates these things until they’re more and more refined, their crudeness will disappear. They get more and more refined, so that the area you have to maintain grows smaller and smaller, into the mind. Then it’s easy.
Download PDF copy of It’s Like This, by Ajahn Chah
Ajahn Chah was a master at using the apt and unusual simile to explain points of Dhamma. The translations of these similes have been polished as little as possible, for their unpolished nature is precisely what reveals unexpected layers of meaning.
Year Published: 2013
With thanks to Abhayagiri
This book is a companion to In Simple Terms.