SELF-REFLEXIVITY AND ITS PHILOSOPHICAL DIMENSION IN THE TEACHINGS OF AJAHN CHAH

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Dipti Visuddhangkoon

Abstract

This paper analyzes the philosophical dimension of self-reflexivity as  reflected in the teachings and practices of the Thai Forest Tradition monks, especially in the teachings of Ajahn Chah (Phra Bodhinyana Thera). Regular practice of meditation, strict adherence to the vinaya, or monastic disciplinary codes, a highly regimented life-style founded on austerity in living conditions, have made the Forest Tradition monks accomplished meditation masters. Their collected teachings form a corpus of guidelines for the cultivation of mental well-being and
reflexive thinking that have inspired the Buddhist and the non-Buddhist alike, from prison inmates in the West to monastics and lay devotees in Southeast Asia. A mindful deconstruction of dichotomous thought-processes has been rigorously put into practice by almost all the Forest Tradition monks. As for instance, in the teachings of Ajahn Chah it is not just language, but the human Ego in all its kammic dimensions – linguistic, ethico-spiritual, and socio-cultural orientations – get dismantled time and again, as do all dualistic mental states arising from attachment to ‘me’ and ‘mine’, ‘Self’ and the ‘Other’. By consciously defying reification of all mental formations, conditioned states, dichotomous predilections and
conventional signs – be it the written word in its varied embodied textuality, or a concept in its mere conceptuality – the simple, direct, and profound teachings bring to the fore the effectual significance of cultivation of self-reflexivity in daily life. 

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