Learning the Middle Path


Learning the Middle Path, the life of balance, allows the heart’s natural awareness and compassion to grow. We become free and gracious. I heard a story from the first Western monastery that Ajahn Chah set up in a forest two villages away from his main monastery. One December the Western monks there decided to have a Christmas tree. The villagers who built the monastery got upset and came to Ajahn Chah to complain. They said, “We have made a Buddhist monastery for the Western monks that we’re supporting, and they’re having a Christmas celebration. It doesn’t seem right to us.”

Ajahn Chah said, “Well, in the simple way I have been told, Christmas is a holiday that celebrates the renewal of generosity and kindness. As far as I’m concerned that is beneficial. It is very much the spirit of the teaching of Buddhism. But since you are concerned, the monks won’t celebrate Christmas anymore. Instead, we will call it ChrisBuddhamas.” With that, the villagers were content and they went back home. He taught us to be kind and flexible. “The point is to learn how to let go and be free, how to be happy,”

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