73 Ajahn Chah Quotes on Meditation, Spirituality and Buddhism

Ajahn Chah was a renowned Buddhist monk from Thailand who was born on June 17, 1918,.

After a brief stint in lay life helping his parents, he chose monastic life and embarked on a spiritual journey.

He studied Buddhist teachings, the Pali scriptural language and was deeply moved by the death of his father, pushing him to seek the true meaning of life.

He embarked on a pilgrimage, studied monastic discipline and encountered Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta, a respected meditation master, who taught him the simplicity at the heart of Buddhism.


Ajahn Chah practiced in secluded locations, developing meditation and understanding the true essence of life.

He established the Ajahn Chah tradition at Wat Pah Pong and later welcomed American monk, Venerable Sumedho.

Also read: Sharon Salzberg Quotes on Love, Meditation and Faith and Meditation Quotes for Calmness and Peace of Mind

Under Chah’s rigorous training, Sumedho flourished and went on to run the first monastery for English-speaking monks in Thailand.

Ajahn Chah, despite his debilitating illness due to diabetes, continued to teach about the impermanence of life until his communication ability was hampered.

His teachings, dedicated to morality, meditation, wisdom and strict observance of monastic discipline, continue to inspire individuals around the world.

Let’s get started with the powerful quotes by Ajahn Chah.

Best Ajahn Chah Quotes


If it isn’t good, let it die. If it doesn’t die, make it good. ~ Ajahn Chah.


If we see everything as uncertain, then their I value fades away. ~ Ajahn Chah.


When sitting in meditation, say, That’s not my business! with every thought that comes by. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Wisdom is in yourself, just like a sweet ripe mango is already in a young green one. ~ Ajahn Chah.

A madman and an arahant both smile, but the arahant knows why while the madman doesn’t. ~ Ajahn Chah.


We protect virtue so that virtue will protect us. ~ Ajahn Chah.

At some point your heart will tell itself what to do. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Looking for peace is like looking for a turtle with a mustache: You won’t be able to find it. But when your heart is ready, peace will come looking for you. ~ Ajahn Chah.

All religions are like different cars all moving in the same direction. People who don’t see it have no light in their hearts. ~ Ajahn Chah.


We don’t meditate to see heaven, but to end suffering. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Letting go a little brings a little peace. Letting go a lot brings a lot of peace. Letting go completely brings complete peace. ~ Ajahn Chah.

There are two kinds of suffering. There is the suffering you run away from, which follows you everywhere. And there is the suffering you face directly, and so become free. ~ Ajahn Chah.

If you see certainty in that which is uncertain, you are bound to suffer. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Your doubts about your teacher can help you. Take from your teacher what is good, and be aware of your own practice. Wisdom is yourself to watch and develop. ~ Ajahn Chah.

We practice to learn how to let go, not how to increase our holding onto things. Enlightenment appears when you stop wanting anything. ~ Ajahn Chah.


Where does peace arise? Peace arises whenever we let something go. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Remember you don’t meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Dharma is in your mind, not in the forest. Don’t believe others, just listen to your mind. You don’t have to go anywhere else. Wisdom is in yourself, just like a sweet ripe mango is already in a young green one. ~ Ajahn Chah.

When we conquer ourselves, then everything will be conquered: oneself, others, and all the sense objects as well, coming in by way of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body – it will all get conquered like this. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Top Ajahn Chah Quotes

The Dharma Path is to keep walking forward. But the true Dharma has no going forward, no going backward, and no standing still. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Love and hate are both suffering, because of desire. Wanting is suffering, wanting not to have is suffering. Even if you get what you want, it’s still suffering because once you’ve got it, you then live in the fear of losing it. How are you going to live happily with fear? ~ Ajahn Chah.


When the heart truly understands, it lets go of everything. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment, the effort to overcome laziness and merit, the effort to make each activity of our day meditation. ~ Ajahn Chah.

To practice Dhamma means to observe and examine oneself. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Do everything with a mind that let’s go. Do not expect praise or reward. ~ Ajahn Chah.


If you haven’t wept deeply, you haven’t begun to meditate. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to color it. So let your mind be like a tightly woven net to catch emotions and feelings that come, and investigate them before you react. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Read yourself, not books. Truth isn’t outside, that’s only memory, not wisdom. Memory without wisdom is like an empty thermos bottle – if you don’t fill it, it’s useless. ~ Ajahn Chah.

If it shouldn’t happen, it wouldn’t happen. ~ Ajahn Chah.


Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to color it. ~ Ajahn Chah.

When we practice only when we’re feeling good, how are we going to get anywhere like that? ~ Ajahn Chah.

You are your own teacher. Looking for teachers can’t solve your own doubts. Investigate yourself to find the truth – inside, not outside. Knowing yourself is most important. ~ Ajahn Chah.


The heart is the only book worth reading. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Happiness and suffering do not depend on being poor or rich, they depend on having the right or wrong understanding in our mind. ~ Ajahn Chah.

The one who recognizes the uncertainty of phenomena is the Dharma within you. ~ Ajahn Chah.

You should think about your own death 3 times per day at the very least. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Don’t be attached to visions or lights in meditation, don’t rise or fall with them. What’s so great about brightness? My flashlight has it. It can’t help us rid ourselves of our suffering. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Why are we born? We are born so that we will not have to be born again. ~ Ajahn Chah.


I know this glass is already broken, so I enjoy it incredibly. ~ Ajahn Chah.

To define Buddhism without a lot of words and phrases, we can simply say, ‘Don’t cling or hold on to anything. Harmonize with actuality, with things as they are.’ ~ Ajahn Chah.

When one does not understand death, life can be very confusing. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Mental activity is like a deadly poisonous cobra. If we don’t interfere with a cobra, how poisonous it may be, it simply goes its own away. ~ Ajahn Chah.


Anything which is troubling you, anything which is irritating you, that is your teacher. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Strengthening the mind is not done by making it move around as is done to strengthen the body, but by bringing the mind to a halt, bringing it to rest. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Famous Ajahn Chah Quotes

Do not be a bodhisattva, do not be an arahant, do not be anything at all. If you are a bodhisattva, you will suffer, if you are an arahant, you will suffer, if you are anything at all, you will suffer. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Meditation is like a single log of wood. Insight and investigation are one end of the log; calm and concentration are the other end. If you lift up the whole log, both sides come up at once. Which is concentration and which is insight? Just this mind. ~ Ajahn Chah.


If you want a chicken to be a duck, and a duck to be a chicken, you will suffer. ~ Ajahn Chah.

You should know both the universal and the personal, the realm of forms and the freedom to not cling to them. The forms of the world have their place, but in another way, there is nothing there. To be free, we need to respect both of these truths. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Look at your own mind. The one who carries things thinks he’s got things, but the one who looks on sees only the heaviness. Throw away things, lose them, and find lightness. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Only when the mind sees for itself, can it uproot and relinquish attachment. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it. ~ Ajahn Chah.


The heart is just the heart; thoughts and feelings are just thoughts and feelings. Let things be just as they are. ~ Ajahn Chah.

The mind is intrinsically tranquil. Out of this tranquility, anxiety and confusion are born. If one sees and knows this confusion, then the mind is tranquil once more. ~ Ajahn Chah.

But when I know that the glass is already broken, every minute with it is precious. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Anyone can build a house of wood and bricks, but the Buddha taught us that sort of home is not our real home. It’s a home in the world and it follows the ways of the world. Our real home is inner peace. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Some people are afraid of generosity. They feel they will be taken advantage of or oppressed. In cultivating generosity, we are only oppressing our greed and attachment. This allows our true nature to come out and become lighter and freer. ~ Ajahn Chah.


If you haven’t cried deeply a number of times, your meditation hasn’t really begun. ~ Ajahn Chah.

There are people who are born and die and never once are aware of their breath going in and out of their body. That’s how far away they live from themselves. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Inspirational Ajahn Chah Quotes

I am like a tree in a forest. Birds come to the tree, they sit on its branches and eat its fruits. To the birds, the fruit may be sweet or sour or whatever. The birds say sweet or they say sour, but from the tree’s point of view, this is just the chattering of birds. ~ Ajahn Chah.

If you are still following your likes and dislikes, you have not even begun to practise Dhamma. ~ Ajahn Chah.

If we want to really see the Buddha, we should observe his virtuous qualities. Whatever he taught, we should practise it. Only bowing to him is not enough. We need to renounce, give up, stop, so that we may see the Buddha. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. What you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. ~ Ajahn Chah.


To give up doing evil is more important than making merit. ~ Ajahn Chah.

When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. And when we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Motivational Ajahn Chah Quotes

Only one book is worth reading: the heart. ~ Ajahn Chah.


The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement. ~ Ajahn Chah.

The Dhamma is revealing itself in every moment, but only when the mind is quiet can we understand what it is saying, for the Dhamma teaches without words. ~ Ajahn Chah.

If we see suffering then we don’t have suffering. ~ Ajahn Chah.

If you let go a little you will have a little happiness. If you let go a lot you will have a lot of happiness. If you let go completely you will be free. ~ Ajahn Chah.

Mindfulness is life. Whenever we don’t have mindfulness, when we are heedless, it’s as if we are dead. ~ Ajahn Chah.


Time is our present breath. ~ Ajahn Chah.

If you have time to be mindful, you have time to meditate. ~ Ajahn Chah.

If you let go completely you will have complete peace. ~ Ajahn Chah.

So these were 73 top Ajahn Chah quotes on life, meditation, living, Buddhism.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Virgil Thomson quotes and Peter Kropotkin quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar