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The middle way is beyond birth and death, high and low, happiness and suffering, good and bad.

The place where there is no becoming and birth, humans don’t really notice. The unenlightened mind fails to see it and consequently just passes back and forth over it. Samma patipada is the middle way which the Buddha followed until he was liberated from becoming and birth. It is abayakata dhamma – neither good or bad – because the mind has let everything go. This is the way of the samana. One who doesn’t follow this way cannot be a true samana, because they won’t experience true inner peace. Why is that? Because they are still involved in becoming and birth; they are still caught up in the cycle of birth and death. But the middle way is beyond birth and death, high and low, happiness and suffering, good and bad. It is the straight way and the way of calm and restraint. It is a calm that lies beyond happiness and suffering, good moods and bad moods. This is the nature of the practice. If your heart has experienced this true peace, it means you are able to stop. You are able to stop asking questions. There’s no longer any need to ask anybody. This is why the Buddha taught that the Dhamma is paccatam veditabbo vinnuhi – it’s something which each individual has to know clearly for themselves. You see how it all accords exactly with what the Buddha taught and then you’ve no need to ask anybody else.

Ajahn Chah

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