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A Still Forest Pool
Achaan Chah
The Insight Meditations of Achaan Chah
Published by Quest Books in 1985
Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2002


This book title is a metaphor for its author Achaan Chah - he is truly a deep forest pool that one can stare into and see oneself. Or one can stamp and bluster and the reflection will be just as clear - always still. The questions to Chah on Dharma or practice or life all return the same answer, look to your self and let go. Let go of delusions, let go of thought, let go of expectations, cling only to the "suffering that ends all suffering." Do you wish to be enlightened - let go of that. Have you learned to sit in meditation and now enjoy it - let go of that. Let go of everything and be aware of what remains is Achaan Chah's simple message.

He describes four types of people as lotuses in various stages of development - these four are sorted into the Jungian types: those rooted in the bottom of the pond (the sensate), those striving upward in the water for the surface (the feeling), those who've broke through the surface to the air, but haven't bloomed (the thinking types), and those who have blossomed in the sunlight (the intuitive). These four map onto the four elements of earth, water, air, and fire. At the end of the book he talks of these four elements as the solid, the cohesive, the vibratory movement, and the temperature. These four aspects suggest that one look at the process (verb) that gets one from one state (or type) to another, e.g., from solid to cohesive - melt. Evaporate would be from water to temperature.

Which state was Chah's customary one? The one opposite the one you were in. Thus no matter what your question you would receive a reflection that would carry you back from the far reaches of the question's dimension to your own internal dimension - which was the source of the question. "You are the question and the answer," Achaan Chah would tell each person in so many words. To find the answer, you must shutdown the static of culture by your practice. Just that, just that.

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