Here’s one that is a bit shorter than usual. A little background on Ajahn Chah – he was a Thai forest monk who is considered one of the great contemporary Buddhist meditation masters. He was a teacher to many prominent Vipassana instructors as Ajahn Shumedo, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, etc.
by Ajahn Chah
People want to go to Nibbana but when you tell them that there is nothing there, they begin to have second thoughts. But there’s nothing there, nothing at all! Look at the roof and floor here. Think of the roof as a “becoming” and the floor as a “becoming”, too. You can stand on the roof and you can stand on the floor, but in the empty space between the roof and the floor there is no place to stand. Where there is no becoming, that’s where there’s emptiness, and to put it bluntly, we say that Nibbana is this emptiness. People hear this and they back up a bit. They don’t want to go. They’re afraid that they won’t see their children or relatives. That’s why whenever we bless the laity by wishing them long life, beauty, and strength, they become very happy. However, if we start talking about letting go and about emptiness they don’t want to hear about it. But have you ever seen a very old person with a beautiful complexion, or a lot of strength, or a lot of happiness? No! But we wish them long life; beauty, happiness and strength, and they are all pleased. They’re attached to becoming, to the cycle of birth and death. They prefer to stand on the roof or on the floor. Few are they who dare to stand in the empty space between.