Most of the talks in this collection were originally taken from old cassette tape recordings of Venerable Ajahn Chah, some in Thai and some in the North-Eastern Dialect, most recorded on poor quality equipment under less than optimum conditions. This presented some difficulty in the work of translation, which was overcome by occasionally omitting very unclear passages and at other times asking for advice from other listeners more familiar with those languages.
As regards the translations, the various translators have tried to be as exact as possible with the content of the teachings but have omitted much of the repetition inevitably arising in oral instruction. Pāli words absorbed into the Thai language have, in the course of time, acquired additional meanings: e.g., the Thai ''arome'' refers to the Pāli ''ārammana'' - sense object or mental impression, but its common meaning is ''mood'' or ''emotion''. The Venerable Ajahn uses these words in both ways and we have translated accordingly.
Pāli words have occasionally been left as they are, in other cases translated. The criteria here has been readability. Those Pāli words which were considered short enough of familiar enough to the reader already conversant with Buddhist terminology have generally been left untranslated. This should present no difficulty, as they are generally explained by the Venerable Ajahn Chah in the course of the talk. Longer words, or words considered to be probably unfamiliar to the average reader, have been translated. Of these, there are two which are particularly noteworthy. They are Kāmasukhallikānuyogo and Attakilamathānuyogo, which have been translated as ''Indulgence in Pleasure'' and ''Indulgence in Pain'' respectively. These two words occur in no less than five of the talks included in this book, and although the translations provided here are not those generally used for the words, they are nevertheless in keeping with the Venerable Ajahn's use of them.
Finding the middle way between a dull, over-literal approach and a more flowing, but less precise rendering hasn't always been easy. Each of the various translators has compromised in different ways. Hopefully we have managed to bring out both the clear simplicity, the directness and the humor of these talks on the one hand, and at the same time, the profundity that underlies and inspires them.
Venerable Ajahn Chah always gave his talks in simple, everyday language. His objective was to clarify the Dhamma, not to confuse his listeners with an overload of information. Consequently the talks presented here have been rendered into correspondingly simple English. The aim has been to present Ajahn Chah's teaching in both the spirit and the letter.
The translators would like to apologize for any passages which remain unclear, or for clumsiness of style. We trust that this material will provide nourishing contemplation for the growing number of meditators.
May all beings be free from suffering.
Wat Pah Nanachat.