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Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away: Teachings on Impermanence and the End of Suffering [Paperback]

Ajahn Chah
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 April 2005
Ajahn Chah (1919–1992) was admired for the way he demystified the Buddhist teachings, presenting them in a remarkably simple and down-to-earth style for people of any background. He was a major influence and spiritual mentor for a generation of American Buddhist teachers, including Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sharon Salzberg, and Jack Kornfield.

Previous books by Ajahn Chah have consisted of collections of short teachings on a wide variety of subjects. This new book focuses on the theme of impermanence, offering powerful remedies for overcoming our deep-seated fear of change, including guidance on letting go of attachments, living in the present, and taking up the practice of meditation. Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away also contains stories and anecdotes about this beloved master's life and his interactions with students, from his youth as a struggling monk to his last years when American students were coming to study with him in significant numbers. These stories help to convey Ajahn Chah's unique spirit and teaching style, allowing readers to know him both through his words and the way in which he lived his life.

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Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away: Teachings on Impermanence and the End of Suffering + Food for the Heart: The Collected Sayings of Ajahn Chah + Being Dharma: The Essence of the Buddha's Teachings
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Product details

  • Paperback: 163 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications Inc (5 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590302176
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590302170
  • Product Dimensions: 22.7 x 15.2 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 548,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buddhism illustrated for Thailand's rural poor 11 May 2007
By Daiho
Format:Paperback
Ajahn Chah was not a writer. He was born in a fishing village in northeast Thailand in 1918 and spent many years there speaking to the farmers and the fishermen. Many of these talks were recorded, transcribed and later translated and compiled by one of his western students, Paul Breiter.

Ajahn Chah spoke simply for a simple audience. To illustrate his points, he spoke of fields, ponds, rivers, fish, frogs, dogs, plowing, planting, and harvesting. He used folk tales and parables. Here he speaks of how we are responsible for our own suffering:

"Really, someone who suffers when living alone is foolish. Someone who suffers when living with others is foolish. It's like chicken turds: if you carry them around by yourself, they stink. If you keep them when you're among others, they stink. You carry the rotten things with you."

On the futility of becoming overly preoccupied in affairs of the world, he reminds his audience of the beetle, scratching in the earth:

"It can scratch up a pile that's a lot bigger than itself, but it's still only a pile of dirt. If it works hard, it makes a deep hole in the ground, but it's only a hole in dirt. If a buffalo drops a load of dung there, it will be bigger than the beetle's pile of earth, but it still isn't anything that reaches to the sky. It's all dirt. Worldly accomplishments are like this. No matter how hard the beetles work, they're just involved in dirt, making holes and piles"

Translating the colloquialisms must have been challenging, but, as you can see from the above, Paul Breiter has done a magnificent job capturing Ajahn Chah's voice, making "Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away" a wonderful volume for even those who may have been practicing the dharma for many years.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ajahn chah 17 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback
Further teachings of ajahn chah whose simplicity and directness almost make you miss the depth of them. As with buddhadasa bhikku, concerned with getting on with the practical application of the buddha's teaching, relating to things happening now, not in some ideal world. although mostly in a monastic setting, more concerned with day to day living.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ajahn Chah simple but profound. 19 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The collection of stories and talks given by Ajahn Chah found in this book offer a simple but deeply profound slice of the subject material. The book covers the topics well and suits a beginner to advanced practitioner alike.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul Breiter has done it again! 30 May 2005
By Sean Hoade - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I agree wholeheartedly with the Hawaii reviewer's statement that Mr. Breiter has once again brought forth the crystalline Dhamma from the late Ajahn Chah. Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away is another brilliant compilation of insights from this great teacher, but Breiter doesn't stop there.

No, in this new book, there are also stories about life with Ajahn Chah from this former monk who knew him as well as any Westerner, living and working with him and also translating for him in Thailand and when Ajahn Chah visited the U.S. These stories are just as enlightening as the Ajahn's direct teachings, but for those of us who like a little story here and there -- which was, after all, how the Buddha himself taught -- these little sprinklings of what it was like to be around this tough, enlightened being are a wonderful balm after the hard work of trying to internalize the Dhamma.

In short, this book is absolutely vital for anyone who loves the Dhamma as taught in the Thai forest tradition, or for anyone who loves to hear stories about enlightened masters of any tradition. Another simply brilliant job of bringing Ajahn Chah's words to the West by Paul Breiter.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buddhism illustrated for Thailand's rural poor 7 May 2007
By Daiho - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ajahn Chah was not a writer. He was born in a fishing village in northeast Thailand in 1918 and spent many years there speaking to farmers and fishermen. Many of these talks were recorded, transcribed and later translated and compiled by one of his western students, Paul Breiter.

Ajahn Chah spoke simply for a simple audience. To illustrate his points, he spoke of fields, ponds, rivers, fish, frogs, dogs, plowing, planting, and harvesting. He used folk tales and parables. Here he speaks of how we are responsible for our own suffering:

"Really, someone who suffers when living alone is foolish. Someone who suffers when living with others is foolish. It's like chicken turds: if you carry them around by yourself, they stink. If you keep them when you're among others, they stink. You carry the rotten things with you."

On the futility of becoming overly preoccupied in affairs of the world, he reminds his audience of the beetle, scratching in the earth:

"It can scratch up a pile that's a lot bigger than itself, but it's still only a pile of dirt. If it works hard, it makes a deep hole in the ground, but it's only a hole in dirt. If a buffalo drops a load of dung there, it will be bigger than the beetle's pile of earth, but it still isn't anything that reaches to the sky. It's all dirt. Worldly accomplishments are like this. No matter how hard the beetles work, they're just involved in dirt, making holes and piles"

Translating the colloquialisms must have been challenging, but, as you can see from the above, Paul Breiter has done a magnificent job capturing Ajahn Chah's voice, making "Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away" a wonderful volume for even those who may have been practicing the dharma for many years.

For those new to Buddhism, this would be an amusing and enlightening introduction, not only because of the colorful language but also for the way in which Ajahn Chah reduces the message of Buddhism to a few easy-to-grasp concepts. He seemed to like reminding his audience that Buddhism was not all that difficult to understand, and he did this through the message of impermanence. As he remarks in a teaching on meditation:

"The way I practice medication is not very complicated - just this. This is what it all comes down to: `It's uncertain'. Everything meets at this point."

#
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Teachings and Wonderful Stories... 13 April 2006
By D. Buxman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sometimes Buddhist teachings can seem inaccessable to Westerners, but this book is an exception. It contains tremendous insights into uncertainty and impermanence and solid teachings on dealing with the unsatisfactory aspects of life. It is not, however, just a book of dry teachings. There are lively stories and snapshots of monastery life that add an extra dimension to the book. I also enjoyed the softly humorous aspects of many of Ajahn Chah's teachings. This book is well-written and hard to put down. While perhaps not appropriate as an introductory text, I give it my unreserved recommendation for people with any background knowledge of Buddhism.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Dhamma books currently available 29 April 2005
By R. Gowan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away is the perfect title for this work. This is truly a deep and important Dharma book. Paul Breiter has done it again , bringing the reader to the very feet of the great great master meditation teacher Luang Por Chah Subatto.

Ajahn Chah's being and character ring clear from every word , sometimes bringing a smile , sometimes a conviction . This is good Theravada wisdom , the Wisdom of the Buddha 100% , set forth an a very easy to read style. I will have to read this book at least a

half dozen times to absorb all that is richly contained therein .

My hat is off to this author who profoundly honors his late teacher with such an excellent presentation.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read 28 Mar 2008
By J. Yeh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I am a beginning Buddhism practitioner who started not too long ago. This is also the first Ajahn Chah book I have read.

I agree with most of the reviews already on Amazon. You will not find intellectual challenging philosophy of Buddhism on this book. Instead, you will find profound teachings lay out in the simplest form full of allegories to be easily comprehended by you.

I particularly enjoy the briefness of each teaching. Each teaching is no more than few pages long and can usually be read in few minutes. However, it usually takes me a few moments to contemplate after reading one whether I agree or disagree with the teaching. Even though I wholeheartedly enjoy the book, there are teachings which are hard to accept. The most memorable one is the analogy of the worldly activity to insects digging dirt on earth. Maybe one day when I am fully enlightened, I will see things as such.

There are also other teachings I find insightful. For example, his emphasis on practice in the midst of distractions and the fact that the state of tranquility is not permanent.

In short, this is a great book to read if you are looking for books that are simple to read but yet contains profound wisdoms.
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