Chapter 15: Very Difficult to Do Good
26th October 1994
Today, I will give a meditation lesson about practising meditation to transfer merit to those who are still alive and those who have passed away. How do we transfer it? There are a lot of people who still do not understand. They cannot transfer merit because they do not know where the deceased are.
Meditation practice is the best method. Both the alive and the deceased can receive merit. Today I will give many examples to make you understand about merit correctly, so that you can pay attention to it and see what you can achieve.
The Buddha has taught a lot. But we have not practised enough, not well enough, not proper enough and not regular enough. So, how can we earn merit enough to transfer to others? We still have no result in our work because we have not practised fully. But we blame that meditation produces no result and the merit does not help us. This point is worth listening, thinking and considering very much.
From now on please pay attention because it is the Buddha’s principle to have faith, belief and be thoroughly convinced in order to obtain result. If there is no faith, there is no result. You can come to sit with closed eyes for a hundrend years, but you will never obtain result if you have no faith. If you come to practise because other people do, you will not get any thing with you into the future at all. Please carry on listening from now on. May every one of you be blessed and happy.
In this occasion today, I would like to explain so that some of you can understand that not every one can make merit. It is very difficult to do good. Why do I say so? Because there is an enemy in your mind. Enemy in mind is very important. The reason that you cannot obtain result from merit making is the existence of enemy in mind.
I would like to inform you that it is difficult to do good. It takes time and practice. It is not simple as when people say you get goodness wherever you do good.
In doing good thing, there must be obstacle which is mental enemy to block it. The mental enemy does not want us to do something good. So, it comes to contradict. This is worth thinking about.
Evil doers have no enemy in mind. They have nothing to block their thoughts, like flowing down stream. No one opposes of the thought. But if you come to do good deed, you will suddenly have mental enemy. It comes to oppose. It is merit destroyer.
All of you please make an inference on this. It does not mean that you will be comfort and live happily when you do good deed. That is not the case at all. If you want comfort in eating and sleeping, if you want to live happily, then you are doing evil deed.
The principle that I would like to explain is that you have to be able to endure hardship every way when you want to create merit. Those who make evil deeds like to act as the happy-go-lucky type. Mark their foreheads first. Eat comfortably. Sleep comfortably. Take no work seriously. This is worth considering. Use it to investigate a person.
Heroes and heroines in life dramas are never comfortable. All through the story they have to endure hardship, using idealistic principles.
If you were born as an orphan and had to support yourself since you were young, had all kinds of experience, then you will have a lot of principles. You will be idealistic, skilful, thoughtful and leading a meaningful life of a person who has produced a lot of work, according to the logic that I have explicated.
Wait and see what will happen to a person who has lived an easy going life, pampered by parents. When parents pass away, he sets up his own family he will not be able to endure hardship. This kind of person is not principal character in the drama of life. He is always a villain, tricky or minor character.
When all of you watch a movie or a play the hero and heroine always face a lot of hard work. But the villain always tries to convince us not to practise meditation because it is a waste of time being fatigued and stiff. This is the enemy. All devils whisper why do we practise since it is very stiff and worn out. It is not a good thing torturing ourselves. Is this an enemy? So, we believe the enemy who is evil tempatation.
Listen to the second point. Whithout obstructor, there can be no perfected virtue. There can be no excellence. So, if there is an obstructor, fight it. I would like to leave it with meditation kins. Why is this meaningful? There are plenty of enemies when we want to do good. It is like having merit yet blocked by fate. Obstructor blocks us from doing good.
Do you think you can gain anything if you just enjoy comfort when you practise meditation? Today my practice is comfortable, there has been no vedana- (feeling). That means the teacher has not come to give you a lesson. It is empty and comfortable. Your mind then wanders out sight-seeing. If you think that means attaining the meditation insight level or good work, I would say that is rubbish. You have attained nothing because the teacher is absent.
Either vedana- (feeling) teacher or incoherent teacher has not come to give a lesson. This is what it is. You have made a wrong inference, misunderstanding that sitting comfortably right through the whole session wiith no stiff or pain feeling means attaining jha-na state or insight meditation level. In fact you get nothing at all.
On the contrary, if we come to sit and one problem comes after another, from feeling pain to being incoherent, sad or happy, that means the teachers come to give lessons. You have to learn. This lesson is called samatha (tranquility).
Samatha means that you have to learn, to search for knowledge. When you certainly gain the real things, it becomes aniccam. (impermanence), dukkham. (suffering), anatta- (selflessness), or, vispassana- (insight). Please make a clearer inference on your own.
The mind is full of attachment. It clings to feelings. If it clings a lot, you feel very painful. If it clings a little, you feel a little painful. If it clings too much, you feel so painful that tears are about to run down. That is a lesson, searching for knowledge. It is called samatha (tranquility). When you can contemplate your mind, you can fight with vedana- (feeling). Then you know the nature of vedana- that it is uncontrollable. Vedana- cannot be forced or control. It has no form. But where does it ache? At the leg. What is the leg? It is sam. kha-ra (volitional activity) depending on the form in order to exist at the moment. So, it aches thus.
When you study enough, to understand the principle of dhamma (teaching), you contemplate ‘aching…thus’, ‘aching…thus’. You concentrate on this one point. It is then samatha (tranquility). After that, if you can pin point it, it will burst out as recognizing of form, name and the five aggregates. In other words you recognize aniccam. (impermanence), dukkham. (state of sufferfing) and anatta- (soullessness). Once you find that out, your mind will no longer cling to the pain. Then it will no longer ache.
It aches because your mind clings to it. But clinging is necessary. This is like when you go up the staircase. There are 9 steps. You have to hold the rail before you make the first step. After you have gone up the second step you can let go of your hand. Then before going up another step you may hold it again and let go again when you have completed the step. You have to be at the top of the stairs before you let go of your hand completely. There has to be a place to cling to when you step.
There has to be a place to keep it when you make a clinging. This is very profound. But we are unable to crack this problem. We do not have an opportunity to do. So, we think the problem is difficult. Like what I have said the other day. It is difficult because we lack experience. If we have been doing it, it is very easy because every thing has to be trained. This is samatha (tranquility).
If you have been trained but not practised, I can assure that it will not work. Everything has to be practised.
I have said for a long time that you can race the boat, not the fate. If you are strong enough to paddle the boat but do not know how to, you will sink the boat when you are on board. So, how can you be impudent enough to race a boat?
If you do not practise paddling a boat, you cannot make it go, no matter how strong you are. It will only go around in circle. So, you have to practise achieving your goal. It is improtant to practise, train and reform character so that your mind will be in the path toward the goal.
‘Aching…thus’. Study it. Do not quit. What does dexterity refer to? It refers to new ideas, applying the old stories to modern time or adapting parrot stories in order to obtain the meditation insight. It will then be result of your work in life that you can remember well and be happy with it deep inside. It may come out this way, for example.
Sitting comfortably does not mean attaining this and that level of insight meditation. That means the teacher does not come to give a lesson. You have not learned anything at all. Like when you were at school, you enjoy it when the teacher was absent because you could play. But when the teacher came you began to get headache. When English teacher came, there might be terrible headache. That is like practising meditation. But you do not understand. You are thinking of attaining this and that insight level, going to heaven or attaining Nibba-na. Be careful that you will be pitily disappointed.
You have to begin with training your mind. Develop it until it is good. Good mind is full of wisdom. Automatically, the second route comes. That is developing education. You will want to learn to know, to look, to see and to be your own witness.
If the mind is not good, all will be bad. You do not want to learn anything or study anything. Comparing to a pupil, it is like bad school child who runs around like a monkey day by day without taking any lesson. This is an important point that we have to be trained since we are young.
Nissaya paccaya (aiding conditions of foundation) refers to model. Model is bad if the foundation is bad. If the mind is good, the model is beautiful and rich. Having plans and models in whatever you do is the method according to the Buddha’s teaching.
Many have misunderstood and set a regrettable goal of meditation practice. They want to go to heaven or attain Nibba-na in order to see the Buddha or exchange conversation with him. That will make them unbalanced.
A few days ago, a person came to see me saying, “Oh! Luang Poh. I was so glad I couldn’t sleep last night. The Buddha came. Very beautiful!” So, I graded him 60% mark of being nut. Plenty of them come here. If a person is about 60% halfcrazy, he cannot practise meditation.
Please listen to my first hand experience. A person whose conscience is not good cannot practise meditation. One doctorate degree graduate who had a stress from making a 15 million baht loss in business went to practise meditation in Bangkok. After a day of practice he could not remember his own wife and kids. Although he was a Ph.D. graduate, he went to see a fortune-telling monk who told that he had been possessed by an evil spirit. He could not be cured. So, Colonel Thongkam Sriyodhin brought him here.
I looked and saw that he was under stress until he was tense. He could not remember his own wife. What could they do? So, I told them to take my letter to Phyathai Neurological Hospital. The neurologist gave him two shots of medicine. He was cured on the instant.
If a person is in abnormal state, he cannot practise meditation. Be careful if you are tense in one minute and stress in the other. Mostly, it happens to school pupils or college students. It is not that insanity can be cured by meditation. Make a correct inference on this point.
How many types of unrestrainable mind are there? Please pay attention.
1. Power of greed. While the mind wants to have something, do not forbid it. Wait until the greed dies down. When the mind wants anything that belongs to others, it is restless and must have what it wants.
2. Power of anger. While the mind is being angry or about to put up a fight, it cannot be restrained.
3. Power of ignorance. When the mind is foolish until it does not look into any one ’s face, it cannot be taught. It is like a mole keep going down the hole. Very stubborn indeed! The most obstinate person is ignorant person, not angry person. Remember this! He cannot prosper because he does not take responsibility and changing of the world. I would like to leave this with the seniors. All respecting seniors, there is no need to teach the mole. Why? I have a text reference.
Do not mind the mad. Is there any mad man? What does mad mean? An ordinary person can be regarded as mad. When I give a sermon to you, I ravingly talk. You also listen ravingly. So, we are mad altogether. If you do not find madness in any person, he must have entered the nature of an Arahant.
Do not teach the obstinate. There are still a lot of stubborn people. Obstinate is the elder brother of callous. You can review how true is this statement. I am not talking non-sense.
You obtain no result from teaching the obstinate because he is stubborn and callous. There is no way to teach. It is a waste of time. For a person who does not have any grade point in life, any dedication or any merit in life, he does not have any model or pattern of good things in mind. It is so difficult that you might as well not teach him at all. It is useless.
Do not make friend with a vagabond.
Do not love a flatterer.
Do not keep silence to a greeting.
Do not be bored by a true person.
Do not tease a shy person.
Do not be angry with a person who tries to conciliate.
Do not go near the fool.
Do not be afraid of the dead.
Do not pay attention to a sinful person.
Restraining the mind to practise meditation is to survey, to be cautious and aware. Those who have meditation attainment will be beautiful. They will be lovely wherever they go, completed with manner, proper because they have morality.
Will there be proper manner without morality? It is not possible. There is no need to look at their behind. It can be recognized just by looking at their face. The face can tell that a person is sharp and deep or good for nothing. It is useless to be sharp as the elephant’s heel. One must be sharp as a thorn. Regretfully, not every tree has thorns. Only some do.
Man is the same. Some has a thorn, some has not. Has any one sharpened the thorn or polished the round lime? But what if a person has no thorn? He has to be sharpened by teaching in order to become sharp.
If you have a child, you have to teach and sharpen him. If not, then it is impossible. Train him since he is still young, from the day he has been born even. Teach the bird while it is still in the cage. Teach him a lot. Do not try to teach him after his wings and tail are fully grown, flying out of the cage. You will only just be sorry.
The Buddha was the most excellent developer of man in this world. He woke man up and rigged man to know how to work. Before attaining this knowledge, he had to sit with closed eyes in the forest for 6 years and endured a lot of hardship.
Do not forget that the Buddha graduated in 18 branches of knowledge. Those who have studied know that the Buddha had learned for so many existences during uncountable period of time before coming to be enlightened as a Buddha.
It is not just coming for a few days, sitting unseriously and pronouncing that you have attained the sota-panna (a stream enterer). I think it is better not to mention sota-panna yet. Just do good first.
4. Being neurotic. When a person is being neurotic, he cannot restrain himself. Wait until he calms down first. I have noticed that some people reach for a microphone during the fair or the party. They are very angry when some one tries to take it away. This is neurosis.
5. The mind that thinks of going cannot be prohibited. Do you know this point? You have to understand this point also. No one can stop the mind that thinks of going. Excuse me! I would like to say that parents can only bring up children corporeally. Can you bring up their minds too? Can you tell if their minds will go with any one?
This is like all of you and me. The mind that thinks of going cannot be stopped at all. You can only stop it when the mind is in normal state. While a person is having a fit of anger, about to slap the other person, you are at risk of being slapped if you try to stop him. You can only stop him when he resumes the normal state.
So, meditation practice is like installing a brake system. If you have not installed the brake system, you cannot put it on. If you have not been trained, it is impossible to control it when you are angry. If you try to stop an angry person on the spot, he might put up a fight with you. He will not listen while he is angry.
When he calms down, his breathing will change from short to long breath. His mind is good and wisdom comes back. You then can reason with him. Do not talk to him when he is angry. Reasoning and understanding cannot be obtained.
You have to practise on this point. It takes a long time to practise, not just a few days or one session. It is a life time practice. Whatever happens, train your mind on it, so that your mind can enter the normal state. A neurotic person cannot be stopped. He cannot come to meditate either. He has to be in normal state first before he can meditate.
Some make a wrong teaching that a neurotic can be cured by meditation. It cannot be cured. Then neurosis intensifies, the ailing person cannot be trained to meditate lest he stands up to sing and dance, being half-crazy. There used to be such example at this temple.
Bad health for one, like being in menopausal state, is the reason not to come to meditate, if you have never been trained before. You might end up chiding your husband unceasingly. It comes out clear like this. If we have been trained beforehand, everything can be corrected.
If we have not, everything cannot be corrected. A person with bad health caused by blood disease or one who has a sudden illness without apparent cause may not be able to meditate during the first session. This blood disease can be mistaken as being attributed to maleficent magic. It is not that at all. It is bad health. This kind of person tosses about even when you sprinkle plain water on him.
There was a person living north of Wat Bao has this sudden illness without apparent cause. I tested by telling that I will make holy water to sprinkle on him. Then I fetched a bowl of water and moved my lips pretending to recite a magic spell without actually saying any meaningful words. When I sprinkled the water, he tossed about saying, “I’m afraid. I’m afraid.” I did not know what he was afraid of. It was just plain water without magic spell at all. I then became a witch-doctor. In fact I did not cast any spell at all.
A person who has mindfulness is the person who practises meditation. He will not be possessed by any spirit. I cannot believe in a person being possessed by spirits. Why? It happens mostly to female patrons.
Take an example that it is popular for many temples to recite Bhana Yakkha verse (holy-stanza safeguarding against demons). When the monk started ‘Namo…’ mimicking the demon voice, two women started to wriggle as if being possessed by bad spirits. Why do they not possess everybody? After making enquiry, one might learn that these two women are squeamish. They are not healthy and cannot be sprinkled with holy-water. Squeamish people can easily be possessed by spirits. Adamant person who practises meditation will not be possessed by spirits. There is no need to look for any spell at all.
Here is the syllabus of adament person. Practising meditation requires unyielding mind because you come to be trained to endure not come to chat leisurely. Mediation training is like an overture. If the overture is good, you will be good for all your life. If the overture is bad, the play of life will also be bad. When I look at such person, I know that he cannot seek prosperity. He came to practise meditation yet earned a sin instead of merit. It is not usful at all. This point is worth studying.
When you come to create merit, you have to fling away evil. When you come to do good, you have to foresake the sin. You have to come to make merit, yet with the sin in mind. I can assure that you cannot survive, no matter how many kathina robes you have presented it will be just a waste. What are you doing it for? You will not earn merit from it.
This point is an important milestone which can be the refuge of all Buddhists. But you have not taken it. You have taken irrelevant point and worked hard at what is outside the scope of your job. You prefer the unreal to the real thing. You reach out for what you cannot get instead of what you can. You have not worked for happiness and prosperity in your own life. This is very important. You should understand it.
I am worried about you on this point. You have to get right to the point, putting all concentration on it. If you intend to work, there are a lot of works to be done. There is always overload of work for the industrious person. The idle has nothing to do. The idle is of ignorant type. Those without wisdom are the laziest of all. They do not want to touch any work at all. Their houses are in a messy state like crow ’s nest. Yet they do not have work to do. The ignorant person should not be sent to work with any one. Even his house is still dirty. His eating place is not yet clean and good. His excreting place is not good either. If the orchard is untidy, clear it up and plant trees. That is called working person.
A person who has dhamma is industrious. A dhamma practitioner always works hard without being idle at all. Virtuous person is highly valued. If the mind has morality, it has its own value. Result of work follows. Life has value and time is useful.
We come to practise meditation. So, we have to attain dhamma. Do not be laxed on meditation at all. Concentrate on having mindfulness and clearconsciousness first. A person with mindfulness and clear-consciousness is really lovely, whether he walks, stands, sits, lies down, looks left, turns right, curls or stretches, it is methodical and well-mannered. It is clearly seen. He is able to control himself.
Neurotic person does not have mindfulness to control himself. That is why he cannot meditate. Some time he sits stiffly. This and that happens to him. Some has convulsion. When his mind is in a trance state during meditation session, he has spasm. Yet people said he had convulsion because he meditated. He had convulsion at Wat Ambavana. I said, “None the least, ask his mother.” His mother said that this child had had convulsion for a long time. It cannot be cured until death. It was a karmic disease. Now he had died of convulsion.
Do you see that parents cannot solve life’s problem at all? They cannot find the refuge for their children. If children are disabled or anything and parents combine effort to chant as well as meditate sometimes the children can be recovered. Some parents are useless because they create not enough merit. If merit is not enough or upto standard, how can children obtain it?
Parents bring up children without taking care of them because parents have not chanted or practise meditation. I hold on to the point as law of karma. Some sent their son to stay at the temple and never support his educational expense. There is an example at Panasnikom District, Chonburi Province. I had to solve the problem for the child by giving him scholarship. It is on a continuous basis which I have just given another amount today.
That boy cried saying, “Luang Poh is not related to me at all. Even my own father has never given me a penny.” “All right! I will support your education.” Now he is in the university. He has written me a letter that he will also find some job to do in order to help Luang Poh. When he has a job Luang Poh will pay less. It is his contribution. Good child will have this kind of character.
I have received letters from Chonburi constantly, telling that my child is now good. He has never argued with me. He pays me a salute before going to school and upon returning home. He no longer misbehaves. This is the praising for children who has come to be trained meditation practice.
Meditation is the best solution of all problems. The Buddha went to stay in the forest for six years to close his eyes and study a lesson to solve problems. Just studying a lesson to abolish suffering took six years. When he attained the knowledge he opened his eyes to see the world. He never went back to sit with closed eyes in the forest again.
The world was very dark. So, he brightened it. He is called ‘Lokavidu-’ , one who brightened the world. People had been in the dark, trouble and anxiety because they were under the power of defilement. They unceasingly assaulted each others in the dark world. Since then, the Buddha organized five Buddha’s duties in order to brighten the world. (The five Buddha’s duties are the five duties that the Buddha attended to each day. They are 1. Pubban.he pin.dapa-tan~ca. Go for an almsround in the morning. 2. Sa-yan.he dhamma desanam.. In the evening, he preached the doctrine. 3. Padose bhikkhu ova-dam.. Teach monks at night. 4. Ad.d.haratte devapan.hanam.. Answer questions from dieties at midnight. 5. Paccusseva gate ka-le bhabba-bhabbe vilokanam.. Before dawn he surveyed the world to see if there was any body, who would able to attain the doctrine that he should help in the morning.)
Make man a good person with job to do in order to create anupubbikatha-. (A sequence of preaching to purify the person’s disposition step by step, from easy to difficult, so as to prepare the listener’s mind ready to listen to the Noble Truths.) There are five steps in the series.
1. Da-nakatha- – explicate donation.
2. Si‐ lakatha- – explicate morality.
3. Saggakatha- – explicate heaven, which is happiness complete with sensual pleasures.
4. Ka-ma-di‐navakatha- – explicate ill effect of sensual pleasures.
5. Nekkhamma-nisam.sakatha- – Explicate the benefit of getting out of sensual pleasures.
The Buddha explicated virtues of donation and helping each other in this world until man pass away to another existence. He never went back to sit with closed eyes again. Monks nowadays do not teach. They go away to sit with closed eyes until they pass away without teaching anyone.
The Buddha was lokavidu-, brightened up the world. ‘The world’ refers to human beings who are still in the darkness of various defilements. The Buddha came to teach in order to brighten it up. This is the proper meaning of the word lokavidu-. But not everybody can be brightened up. The Buddha taught in order to make man have wisdom enough to solve problem and abolish suffering. That is brightening up the world. This method will only be beneficial to a person who practises meditation only. It will be useless for those who do not practise meditation.
I do not quite believe relatives and patrons who say they undertake the precepts. Actually, the precepts can be undertaken in any temple around Thailand. But does your mind accept them? After undertaking the precepts, people still go out to kill, to persecute other’s asset, to commit adultery, to tell lies and to take alcoholic drinks. How can we solve this point?
You have to practise meditation in order to ensure that the precepts are observed. What does si‐la (precept) mean? It means normal. Where does normality come from? It comes from having mindfulness and clearconsciousness to contemplate your mind on it. That is observing the precepts.
If you believe in this logic, observing the precepts is abiding by truthfulness. Having mindfulness and clear-consciousness from meditation practice, will bring up loving-kindness in your mind. So, you will no longer kill, but will sympathize with others instead. This is putting precepts observation into practice. If you have mindfulness and wisdom, you can compile your grade points in the computer. When you have suffering, this wisdom will come out to help you solve the problem. It is not that you obtain wisdom after a sitting now. No, you have to collect them in order to compile them. Compilation refers to mindfulness, which is recollect in advance; sam.vara (constraint), which is clear-consciousness, being aware at the present moment all the time. This is the concentration of insight knowledge.
If you still sit with swaying to and fro, or swinging back and forth, you are not good at it yet. Your concentration is more than your mindfulness. Put in the mindfulness. You will come down to earth. Now you have wisdom which is called constraint. You will not be careless wherever you go. This is called awareness or wisdom. When it occurs to you like this, you will then get the benefit of meditation practice.
Some patrons come to practise for a few days, yet claim that they have obtained this and that. I do not believe you at all. I have been practising for a long time, teaching for more than forty years. So, I have knowledge of several manners of experience as I have said. It is not that you come to sit for awhile and become sota-panna (a Stream Enterer) or attaining this and that insight level. Just attain the ‘standing…thus’ for five times first. Stand with mindfulness attached to your mind. Tie down your mind with the Four Foundations of Mindfulness in order to create merit for yourself. Accomplish it.
Once mindfulness is adhered well with your mind, I can assure that you will know all. You can even know other’s mind what he wants, whether you should give or which way you should help him. It will tell you automatically. This automatic telling is called paccattam. veditabbo vin~n~u-hi, can be known only to oneself. Others do not know.
Meditation is person’s fortune. A person without fortune will not be interested in meditation. You can walk from here to Nakornsawan Province and see if any temple or any home practise meditation at all. There is only a few. Usually they are good at observing the Eight Precepts, cramming in the Hall and looking at the announcement board to see which monk will come to preach, without practising meditation. Is it good?
When you come to practise you have to be serious at it. Eat little. Sleep little. Speak little. Practise a lot. That will be correct and you will get something home more or less.
Religious activity has to be done both on the Scriptures studying side and Meditation practising side. You have to have knowledge in order to practise. It takes academic knowledge to confirm whether your practice is correct or not. You have to have a map to indicate your way. It is like having two feet. One foot is academic knowledge. The other is practising according to that knowledge. In other word, you have to have theory and practice. This is quite meaningful. Meditation practice is there to make us do our work correctly. The work that we do must not have ill effect. The work that is finished on scheduled is a good job well done.
Meditation practice is not easy. You have to be fortunate enough to be able to come. All of you are considered fortunate. Do not throw your merit and fortune away. Fortune is happiness. When you come to look for happiness you have to purify your mind by practising meditation. That is merit. If your mind is always dirty and obscene, will you be happy? You will not obtain merit at all.
The second happiness is natthi santi param. sukham. – no other happiness is beyond peace. If there is no peace, there’s only chaos, you will not encounter the right peace. It will only be happiness that mixes with suffering, not happiness according to the Buddha’s teaching. Happiness according to the Buddha’s teaching must not be mixed with defilement.
We have come to scrub out our defilement, wanting it to be reduced. Although defilement does not vanish, it is still good that we realize what is right or wrong, what is correct time and place according to our present perception. That will be useful.
Meditation practice requires predicament of life and to know the right duty in order to prove if one is good or bad. Others do not know. One only realizes by oneself. If you practise meditation, you will realize that you have been wrong by yourself. This is certainly recollecting the past existences. Secondly, you will think of previous benefactors. You will not forget your mother and your father, the state of goodness in life, school or the place that has provided you good turn.
Thirdly, you will know the law of karma that you have done. You will know for sure what sin you have committed and what will be the fruit of it.
Even if I had not accomplished much, I still know that I would die from a car accident on the 14th October 1978. My leg and arm had been broken before that. I had been scorched by a fire. I had even been struck by a lightning in my residence. Do not forget what deed you have done.
There was a Malaysian who had suffered from leg pain for seven years. It was a torture for her. She could not speak Thai at all when she came to practise meditation at this temple. She contemplated on ‘aching…thus’ only. It was so painful that she had to shed tears. When it ached so much, she set her mindfulness on it. Aching is upada-na (attachment). Setting the mindfulness on it, is keeping to the studying method called samatha (tranquility). This is a study in order to accomplish an insight.
Once insight is accomplished, there will be a realisation of arising, sustaining and ceasing. Instantly, the pain vanished. The mind is then meritorious and, wisdom occurs. She could fold her legs and sat with both legs tucked back to one side instantly. Before that she could not fold her leg. She had to sit with one leg stretch out. At that moment, mental culture arose to inform the story of the law of karma.
A person can only know the law of karma through vedana- (feeling). Vedana- makes you realize the law of karma. It is not closing your eyes and seeing the karma. ‘Aching…thus’, ‘aching…thus’. It aches so much. If you are going to die, let it be. Pin point your mind to the pain as a tranquility studying method. Once the vedana- (feeling) has been studied to the end, you will realize arising, sustaining and ceasing. Since the insight is accomplished, the mind will not be attached. Meditation practitioners please remember this point. With an insight, there is no attachment. With an insight, there is more tranquility. If any one does not really know, his mind will not be calm. Theoretical knowledge alone is usless. That lady realized the arising, sustaining and ceasing, was able to fold her leg at once. She has had no more pain until now.
The law of karma revealed to her that she hurled a knife at a pig’s leg that hurt it so bad that maggots were hatched in the wound. Then she sold it to be slaughtered. This happened since she was a young girl. That caused her leg pain. By the time she came to meditate she was more than fifty years old. So, she rediated loving-kindness to the pig.
Her son accompanied her here. He saw it as a miracle that his mother was cured within seven days. So, he offered his pledge to me that he would stop pig farming. He would build a Chinese temple and teach meditation like this temple. Before that he was a Christian descendant. Now he is fully Buddhist.
Whatever you do, be serious at it. If you are serious you will reap the fruit within seven days. A lot of examples occurred at this temple. If you are not serious, doing just like that, you will get nothing except the sin. Do not disparage meditation. Do not think ‘thus’ is nonsense. Be careful. ‘Thus’ is valued several millions.
‘Thus’ is translated from Pa-li word vata. This word has the same meaning as in, “This place is chaotic, thus.” “This place is not chaotic, thus. You are welcome at any time.” (This is a quote from famous conversation between Yasa Kulaputra and the Buddha. – Translator). ‘Thus’ is used to restrain the mind with mindfulness.
Always take a long breath. Do not take a short breath. A person with short breath is full of egotism and can be angry easily. Contemplate on long ‘rising…thus’, ‘falling…thus’. Some recites ‘rising…’ the belly falls even before he recites ‘…thus’. So, he shortens it to ‘rise…fall’, ‘rise…fall’. There is nothing to be gained then. He has gone far astray. Heedless. Covetous. So, he cannot gain prosperity for lacking of the Eightfold Path. Once a person lacks morality, concentration and wisdom, he is heedless and covetous. He does not care of anything much. It comes out in this form. So, a neurotic person cannot meditate because he cannot control himself. Mindfulness cannot control the mind. Do not let him practise. Would the chaplains see to it. If you let him, it will give ill-effect to your reputation.
There was an example at this temple. A lecturer who was a Master Degree graduate came with the Young Buddhists Association many years ago. After practising for three days he came to sit with me saying that he is a sota-panna (a Stream Enterer). He had been all right the day before, how come he became a sotapanna the day after. People said he was harmed by the ghost at the pikul (mimusop elengi) tree or other ghosts in Wat Ambavana. So, I asked his relatives where he came from. They said he has just been discharged from Sri Dhanya (insane asylum) for not more than three years.
Remember! A person who has been discharged from Sri Dhanya for less than three years cannot practise meditation. Some came dancing nicely. After dancing, she came to sit on my seat, saying, “Thou have not attained. I have.” So, those with sixty per cent sanity do not practise meditation.
A certain lady looked attractive, speaking sweet words, yes sir and the like. I contemplated ‘perceiving…thus’ and wondered why her eyes were crossed. So, I told Mae Yai (Mrs. Soom Tongying) not to admit her. Mae Yai said not to mind. She was socially prominent. Just admit her. After three days she performed a miracle saying that she was a diety, dancing about. That was bad. It is not that a person becomes half-crazy or insane after practising meditation. That is not the case. But the problem is, is he or she normal. If he cannot control himself, if cannot control his mind, do not ever let him practise meditation. It is strictly forbidden.
Some do not understand, thinking that meditation practice can cure it. You have to take it on a case by case basis. A person’s karma varies. I leave this with you all. Always take a long breath as habit. A person with anxious mind takes short breath. Same applies to a person who cannot solve the problem.
We come here to be trained on breathing which is called a-na-pa-nasati (mindfulness on breathing). But we concentrate at the belly so that we can see it clearly. Be mindful when you breathe in. Be mindful when you breathe out. How do you be mindful? Use the mindfulness to follow the breath. Realize it when the breath arrives at the belly and make it rise. Rising…thus. Falling…thus. That is called ana-pa-nasati. Take the Four Foundations of Mindfulness as a standard of practice, complete with mindfulness. Do not abandon mindfulness. I can assure that you will get the result according to your wish.
Training requires endurance as well. Put up a fight with situation that will come to face us, which is obstacle. So we can take on solving problems yet to come.
I have been telling this story for a long time. But no one is interested. A tiny girl called Dassanee had a lot of faith. Her mother had cancer, about to die in three months. But she was grateful to her mother as well as had a lot of faith. She came to practise meditation seriously, transferring merit to her mother’s karmic creditors. Her mother got so well as one should rejoice with. It is impossible to tell this to any one who is not fortunate. What good comes out of telling this to a sinful person. It depends on your own merit and fortune. I do not force. The Buddha never forced any one.
If you make merit until you earn merit, or, your meditation practice is up to standard, someone might come to ask for your merit. If your trade is not good, no one comes to collect the debt. Once business is good, then debt collectors come. This is the law of karma. There bounds to be a case of jealousy.
Coming to practise meditation at this temple and earn merit, there might be hungry ghost coming to ask for part of your merit. There is another legend at this temple.
Doctor Boonyium came to practise meditation here. It was around four o ’clock in the morning and the light was on. I was about to go to the Uposatha Hall for morning chant. She waited for me in front of my residence saying, “Luang Poh, I have already been here 3 – 4 days practising meditation. I would like to ask you something. There was a monk walking in front of my residence. He was large, stout built. He said, ‘Patron, can I ask for part of your merit?’ his robe was torn and ragged. This monk’s name is Fueng. Is there any, Luang Poh? He said he was ordained here and now dead.” Doctor Boonyium did not know him.
Phra Fueng was a Police Sergeant in Nakornrajsima. His home was next door to the temple. He came to be ordained here. He has become a hungry ghost after death. At present, there are many monks who have become hungry ghosts here.
Doctor Boonyium was going to practise walking meditation. The light was on so she could see clearly. The monk said, “Patron, you have come to practise meditation and received good result. I ask of you. I have been to many residences but they do not give me. Now, I have to leave.” Then he faded away and vanished.
Doctor Boonyium asked me what she should do. I told her to offer Sanghadana and transfer merit to him. The Sanghada-na should include a set of robe. After that, two days before she left, the hungry ghost came again wearing new robe to thank her. He chanted yatha- for her. After Doctor Boonyium accepted the blessing, he faded away again. Before he left he said, “Thank you very much. I would like to rejoice with your merit.”
Why did he become a hungry ghost? I can relate to you. A Luang Ta On grew a lot of custard apple trees in this temple. Now there is no custard apple orchard any more. In the evening, Luang Ta Fueng stole the fruits to give them to his grandchildren at home every day. Do not forget that, even it was Luang Ta On who planted the tree, but the temple land belonged to the Sangha. He could not take the fruits without the Sangha’s permission. He passed away at the small room in the Hall. I arranged his funeral. Now he is still here.
Radiation of loving-kindness and transference of merit can best be done after meditation practice. It can help parents who are still alive. Even the living parents are far, far away, their child can help them by practice of meditation and transfer merit to them. It does not cost any money. Bring the merit into mind in order to fill it with contentment and transfer the merit to parents or children. The merit will arrive at once.
If you make merit by offering Sanghada-na, but you have never practised meditation, the fruit of your merit will not be achieved. If you only have da-na (donation) without morality, the fruit of your da-na will not be achieved. Ordinary donation, like giving assistance, does not bear fruit. You have to have mindfulness and morality first. It is like before offering da-na or making merit, you have to invite the Precepts. This is the method. You have to have full mindfulness and clearconsciousness before you do anything. I can assure that the result can be achieved as you wish. This is important.
Having morality, mindfulness and clear-consciousness, your meditation practice will be powerful. You can transfer the merit to your parents or children, wherever they are, like going by an airplane. This is meditation. Ordinary donation is like going by paddle boat. With morality, the donation is like going by car. With meditation arisen clean and clear, the donation is achieved quickly like going by air, promptly. It comes out in this manner. Very useful!
If you have attained meditation up to standard level, after you transfer merit to your child in, say, America, it will reflect back if your child has received it or not. Your mind will realize that your child is all right and has received the merit you have made. It can tell you this much. But if you have not trained yourself up to that standard, you will know nothing.
I radiated loving-kindness to Europe for seven days and nights without knowing anyone there. It arrived in the homes of Vietnamese, Kampuchean, westerners. Several of them came to greet me. A Laotian daughter of sixteen said that this monk had taught her the walking meditation for two nights. So, I asked her to show me the practice. She could do ‘standing…thus’ for five times. This is telepathy, which is called radiation of loving-kindness. Whoever was our relative came to greet us. That girl was very good at schooling and spoke politely. She always put up her hands palm to palm saluting me every time she spoke to me. Her parents were glad, followed me. So, I did not sleep that night but stayed up till dawn. I got the lesson to organize as the text to teach younger generations.
When you want to clear the ground, practise walking meditation first. Then practise sitting meditation until you have good mindfulness and wisdom. Radiate loving-kindness after you have finished the meditation session. It is useless to radiate while practising at the same time.
It is like you are in the middle of trading, whom will you give profit to? You might make a loss unknowingly. Do not give during the meditation session. Suppose the leader says walk for one hour, sit for one hour. When you finish the session, your mind is clear. It has powerful transmitting capacity then. Radiate your loving-kindness at once. Transfer merit to whoever you want to give. It will be powerful then.
Once I met an old person of more than a hundred years old. When someone gave her some food, she chanted ‘Itipi so bhagava- araham. samma-sambuddho’ one round for herself. Then she chanted another round for the giver and return the dish. I got the secret key. If you want to give to someone, you have to have the fund first. That is why it is called chanting the Buddha’s virtues for your age plus one time.
Talking about radiation of loving-kindness, I want to summarize the result of work in Khonkaen. The son was drug addicted. Parents did not know how to chant. They had never been to the temple. He was even engaged in heroine trade. How could it be solved? The police warned the parents that they would liquidate the son if he was still in drug trade. So the son escaped to Bangkok. Parents were so distressed that they joined the meditation training session at Veluvana, Dhamma Practice Centre in Khonkaen. In the beginning, they just followed the chanting and paying homage to the Buddha like what others do. Once they were fluent at the verses, the minds were concentrated and good. They then thought of the son, radiated lovingkindness to wish him happy.
Somehow, the son wandered to meet a book of dhamma. After reading, he quitted the drug. It takes truthfulness only, if you can do it. He then came home. Now he helped his parents’ business. His parents can go to the temple. From not knowing how to chant, now they know well.
In order to radiate loving-kindness you have to have concentration first, so as to have transmitting power. You have to have loving-kindness in yourself first, then you can radiate it and transfer to others. That will work. If you do not have loving-kindness, do not transfer. It will not work, really. I have done it. In order to obtain the result, you have to have at least eighty per cent of lovingkindness. Otherwise, it does not go. It is like firing a gun and the bullet drops in front of the muzzle. It does not have sending power because it lacks concentration, wisdom, calibre and proficiency from training.
You have to train every day in order to familiarize with it. Not everybody gains from learning to meditate. Otherwise all will go to heaven and attain Nibba-na. It is normal for man that some has to go to hell. Not everybody can go to heaven because factors are not complete. Foundation of each person varies. That is why men are not alike, including their happiness and suffering also. Recently, there was a story. Transference of merit from meditation practice could help mother, who had committed a suicide, from hell.
There was a patron, whose name not to be mentioned. She was a civil servant of C7 rank, not married yet, living with her mother in a large house in Bangkapi area. She had neither known the truth that her mother was actually her aunt, nor where her father lived. She just knew that her father had divorced her mother and lived around Sukhumvit Road.
She came to practise meditation at this temple twice, seven days at a time, taking annual leave without knowing anything else. The first time nothing happened. The second time she came to practise meditation, the story revealed it self upon her return. Her real mother came to see her in her dream, at about 3 – 4 o’clock in the morning, wearing white clothes, embracing her and said, “My dear, I can be released from hell now. I am your real mother. Do you know that I have hung myself to death on the bed you are sleeping? I hung myself. Your practice of meditation has helped me up from hell.” I have noticed so many cases. If a person commits suicide, do not make merit and transfer to him. It certainly will never reach him.
The highest merit is merit from meditation practice, surely. This patron added that her mother came to embrace her saying, “I will tell you the truth. Your father had had an affair with another woman. So, your aunt chased him away by a gun fire. Your father could not come home. So, he never came back. He had got a new wife around Sukhumvit Road. Your aunt was stern. She took all the assets in her name.
You have come to practise meditation. Now I have been released from hell. I was tormented, my dear. They punished me to dig up the earth and sand. The meal had to be dug and scratched out from garbage dump. It was a real torture, my dear. When you come to practise meditation, I am now released from hell. So, I have come to thank you.”
This is a text. Many cases are confirmed at this temple, such as Mr. Lenghuay had hung himself. An abbot called Luang Ta Mod of Wat Klang Promnakorn also hung himself. Now they are still there, not being born yet. No one transfers merit from meditation practice to them. They have no living relatives left.
This patron carried on that her mother asked, “My dear, has your aunt given you 4 gold bracelets and 3 diamond rings that I asked her to keep them for you? Also, can you repay my debt for me? Before dead, I borrowed 480 baht from a friend at Suan Kularb School. Please repay her for me.”
All patrons can remember this. A deceased person coming to see you in a dream looks the same as before he or she pass away, not getting older because it is the figure of a departed-being. There was her mother’s photograph at home. But she had not realized that it was her mother. She mistook it as a photo of her aunt whom she thought was her mother, because they look so much alike.
She woke up at a startle and went to rouse her aunt asking if she was really the aunt. The aunt was surprised how she knew. So, she told of her dream. The aunt cried. This patron asked if the jewelleries that her mother had left for her were still kept. The aunt confirmed that they are. But she would not give her then because she was not married yet.
Later, she took one day off from work to find her mother’s friend, telling that her mother wanted to repay the debt. The friend said, “There is no need for that. Your mother had been conferred the cremation at Wat Somanasa. I had forgiven her. Tell your mother’s consciousness that I no longer hold any grudge against her.” She called me by phone to tell me this. Last Sunday she came to the temple telling that she practised meditation and transfered merit to her mother every day.
Do you see? I leave this with relatives and patrons. No other method is as good as meditation practice, when you want to transfer merit to the deceased. The result is achieved as you wish. You will also know where the departed-being has gone to.
If they have gone to heaven, you make merit by offering Sanghada-na, they can express gratitude. But they cannot consume food. They consume celestial food. If they go to hell, lokanta level, or very deep level of hell, other merits cannot reach them. You have to transfer merit from meditation practice only.
I would like to conclude a few points as your food for thoughts. A neurotic person cannot practise meditation because he does not have enough mindfulness. He has to be treated until becomes normal before he can practise.
No other method of transfering merit is as good as meditation practice. You can transfer to the deceased. It will be revealed if the departed-being has gone to hell or heaven.
Meditation practice is akin to Buddhism. If you do not meditate, being ordained corporeally, verbally and mentally combined as threefold-training, you will not be akin to Buddhism at all. Although you build a hundred halls, you do not have a chance to be related. I leave this to meditation practitioners to infer it to your own case.
Today, I would like to rejoice with nationwide network or Buddhist Association, by patron chaplain Colonel Pan Candaranuj and all Buddhist communion. Create a result of work for your lives. This life is valuable. So, time will be useful to it in the future and beyond.
May happiness and prosperity be with dhamma practitioners and good duty practitioners. May each and every one of you be prospered with age, complexion, happiness, energy, wit and wealth. May all your wishes come true.
Credit: eBooks. Wat Amphawan.