Chapter 02: My Experiences in Dhamma Practice
Today I would like to talk about my life story and relate some of my experiences in the practice of Dhamma for your edification, as requested by my inviter.
My birth name is Jaran, my family name Janyaraks. His Majesty Phra Mongkutklao conferred this family name of my grandmother. I am a student of life, I have searched for knowledge on both worldly and the religious planes. I studied in primary school and secondary school and entered the Police Academy, but I never thought I would ordain as a monk because I was not a religious man from childhood.
In addition to the above, I also studied as a mechanic with Ajahn Leuan Pongsobhon and studied music with Luang Pradit Pairoh, and I was a friend of the late Dr, Utit Nagasavat. I had lived in monasteries, but not out of faith. I lived in them in order to pursue my studies, I used them as a second home. Eventually I made my way to Bangkok. By nature I was not particularly inspired by monks, I am of stubborn temperament. I didn’t like bowing or “wai”ing to monks, I only did so out of compulsion so that I could live in the monasteries. This is what I was like.
As time went of I finished my worldly studies, but I had not yet make any studies of the Dhamma. I was almost twenty years old, and my father and my mother wanted me to ordain as a monk in the Buddhist religion. Whenever they brought up the subject I would just shake my head, I wasn’t at all interested in ordaining as a monk. But I had to agree to it because my parents believed that all sons should ordain for at least some time in accordance with the ancient Thai tradition. My parents loved their children like their own eyes. These two eyes, everyone knows them, and everyone knows how precious they are.
Thinking carefully about the matter, I realized that if I refused to ordain as a Buddhist monk I would be an ungrateful son, blind to virtues of my esteemed parents, so I agreed to ordain. I didn’t become a novice first, I became a monk straight away at the age of 20. I intended to ordain for three months and ten days, or four months, 120 days, at the most. After that I wanted to disrobe and go back to the home life, to continue my studies or get a job in the world, in order to make a living.
Having made up my mind, I became ordained in the Consecration ground (baddhasima) of Wat Promburi, Amphur Promburi, Singhburi Province. My hometown was in the area of the border of Lopburi and Singhburi. The reason I ordained at Wat Promburi was because my family had moved to the Pak Bang market to get away from the thieves and bandits in our hometown. In accordance with the wishes of my father and mother, I followed them to live in the market, where they engaged in buying and selling. But I never helped my parents in their business because from an early age I had been intent on studying. By the time I had finished as much studies as I wanted I was 20 years old. I didn’t get a degree, but I finished the study of mechanics and, like I said, I also studied music.
To keep the matter brief, let it be said that I ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1948, and have been a monk now for 34, 35 years of uninterrupted time. In the first Rains Retreat I memorized all the teachings, and intended to disrobe after the end of the Rains, and the offering of the kathina robe. I got everything ready for disrobing on that day.
But a very unusual thing happened. A strange sound arose in my ears, and I became very sleepy. That sound was very loud: “You’ve ordained now that’s very good. It doesn’t matter if you disrobe, but you haven’t got the namo yet. You should memorize the namo first and then disrobe.” I thought about it: “Eh? Namotassa, I’ve memorized it already. Bhagavato…. I could chant all that from when I was a small child, I had learned them in school.” But still I couldn’t say for sure what the “namo” was. This miraculous sound has arisen: “You haven’t got the namo yet, and you’re going to disrobe. What a shame!” I was filled with trepidation and uncertainly. Where was the sound coming from? On top of it all, I was extremely sleepy. The sound arose again: “Sure, you can disrobe, it’s nothing. Disrobing is easy to do, what’s so difficult about that? But let me ask you, have you got the Buddhaguna (the virtues of the Buddha) yet? Have you got the Dhammaguna (the virtues of the Dhamma) yet? Have you got the Sanghaguna (the virtues of the Sangha) yet?”
I was furious. “What’s this crazy sound, where is it coming from? I’ve got the Buddhaguna, I can chant ‘itipi so’ fluently. But may be it’s not yet fluent in my heart?” This is what the sound was telling me. At time same time I was feeling very uncomfortable. I thought of the old saying, “If your mind is in a bad state, don’t disrobe. If you do you will be like someone who is only ‘half-there’, you won’t be able to make a success of anything. You’ll go crazy.” This is what they say. So I postponed the time of my disrobing from the eleventh month to the twelfth month, I got everything ready. I had never intended to live the celibate life all my life. I figured I definitely had to disrobe, because I had work waiting for me, I was going to join the civil service. There were many things I could do because I had the education, what was there to worry about? That was how I thought. I’m reminded of the words of Sunthorn Phu, “With knowledge you can stand on your own feet, you don’t have to depend on others.” I had memorized these words since I was a child:
“What makes me free, that do I love. Even though I may lose honor and influence, They only desert me, after all, they do not stay, But knowledge with stay by me to my last breath.”
Having reached this point I would like to give you this piece of advice: if you have both sons and daughters, who should you give more attention to? You should give more attention to your daughter than your son. You should give more attention to your daughter than your son. You should train her, make her proficient, because if your daughter is not proficient in home care her husband is going to kick up a storm. I’ve seen it before: at four or five in the morning he sends her flying off the veranda. He didn’t have any conscience at all. That’s why I say to make your daughter proficient in her housework … you never hit your daughter, but if you saw her being beaten right in front of your eyes, wouldn’t you be furious? Even if you weren’t furious you certainly wouldn’t be pleased with your son-in-law.
At that time I thought to myself, “Eh? I haven’t got the namo yet … It’s true. Before, I refused to admit it, like a husband arguing with his wife: he never gives in. There was no pliancy, no submission. I was a stubborn and willful fellow. When you argue with your elders there is no song of namo in your heart. I realized then, “Oh, in ordaining I have to get the song of namo, is that it?”
Later on I translated the “song of namo” into such simple words that children could understand and remember it:
“Humble, obedient, gentle speech, gentle body, gentle hands, respectful and grateful, upholding order and discipline, pay attention to your studies, this will lead you from suffering and to eternal happiness. This is the great principle.”
So this is the namo? I’d been ignorant for so long. This is the song of namo. I’d only realized it over the last couple of years. Before I wouldn’t let anyone look me in the eye. If anyone dared to look at me I’d give them a punch in the face. That’s how stubborn I was, I didn’t have the namo.
LIVING WITH LUANG POH DERM
Having come to this understanding, I washed my robes and prepared myself for traveling through the forest. I met Luang Poh Derm, Phra Khru Nivasdhammakhan. At that time he was 105 years old. I stayed with him for six months and asked to study with him. The first thing he taught me was the study of Victory in War, which I gradually learned. He was skilled in the sword songs and the club songs. He was the fifth teacher of the Generals of Ayudhya. In 1767 many generals fled the sacking of Ayudhya by boat, making their way down to Nakornswan and all ordaining as monks.
I stayed at Wat Nong Pho in Nakornswan Province with Luang Poh. I thought I’d learn the Great Popularity Verse (gathamahaniyom) so that when I left the monkhood and began to make a living I would have lots of admirers and friends. But it turned out that he gave me techniques of elephant raising instead. I didn’t want that, but Luang Poh Derm said I should learn it: “Son, learn it, it will be useful in the future.” So I had to learn the technique of raising elephants, rounding up wild elephants, and how to handle elephants that were in rut. Later on I really did use this knowledge, with a nun who had been an elephant in the previous life at Phu Phan Mountain. It was only a few years ago. After interrogating her, and having some knowledge of elephants, I realized that she must have been an elephant in her previous life in Phu Phan Mountain, in the Northeast during the time of Luang Poo Mun (Bhuridatto) and Tong Dee the hunter, who used to round up elephants. I won’t go into the story in detail, but I mention it to point out how all learning is valuable, and you should take it all on. How did I study the Victory in War text? The text was at the Wat. The learning involved studying about swords and clubs.
In the ancient past our country was able to maintain its independence because the Thai people were trained as soldiers of the Buddha primarily, and secondarily as soldiers of the King. They studied the songs of sword and the club in the Wats. You must understand this, in the past there was always a “royal person” skilled in many branches of learning.
1. The “royal person” was skilled in what these days we might call political science, administration of self and others. This was the “royal person” in the Wat.
2. Law, customs and regulations were learned from the monastery, and they were incorporated into the Dhamma. Accounting, livelihood and work were all learned in the Wat. The Wat was the institute of learning, and the text was the Tipitaka. There were also teachings on pharmacy and medicine, the ways to grind and apply herbs. Fifty years ago all this was learned in the monastery.
Apart from these branches of learning, there were also the arts, handicrafts, architecture, the texts. All sciences were learned from the Wat, and so were the arts and crafts. The Wats have now handed these over to the Arts Department. Where did all the ornate artwork at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha come from? Didn’t it come from the Wat? Not only that, but even music, stringed and wind instruments, the text of Victory in War, the songs of swords and the songs of the clubs, came from the Wats, everything was there. The Wat was the institute for developing virtues, livelihood and society all rolled into one.
STUDYING THE ART OF “STRETCHING MEDALLIONS”
After that I wanted to seek out a monk in the forest just past Khon Kaen in an area that is now flooded. I wanted to go and study the art of “stretching medallions” into three lottery numbers, which was the subject of much talk. I got excited along with everybody else and wanted to go and study the art of “stretching medallions.”
I met a man who was the village head, 84 years old, and stayed at his house. While there I asked the village head where the monk who could stretch medallions was staying, and could he take me there? That man told me, “Every year this monk comes to stay at a large banyan tree. He stays for only one month each time, then He disappears. From the time I was a child running around naked, taking the cows out with my father, I have eaten the leftovers of his alms food. Now I am 84 years old. He is still alive, but I don’t know how old he is.” I asked the man to take me there. We had to walk a long way. In the morning he would go for alms round from the banyan tree to the village, a distance of about 4-5 kilometers. He stayed under a branch of the big banyan tree. You can’t go there now because the area is flooded by the big dam just north of Khon Kaen.
The 84 years old village head told me that he had a tobacco box. It was made of brass and had handles for threading a rope and tying around the waist. It had a lid and inside were cigarettes already rolled, a cigarette lighter—that is, a flint and a piece of metal for striking it and making a fire. It had been around from the time his father had been the kamnan or sub-district head—they used to call them dignitaries (khun bandasak). But there was a medallion that had been at the bottom of the tobacco case from the time he had asked for it from his father. He had forgotten all about it. It wasn’t a coin, like a baht coin, that people like to hold onto, it was a medallion conferred by the King, probably the fourth or fifth Reign. I can’t remember because there was no date on it.
This monk usually didn’t talk. But that day he spoke. He said, “you have something of value in your tobacco case, you shouldn’t just throw it away.” The man had forgotten al about it because it was just lying in the bottom of his case. Whenever the tobacco was finished he would just top it up without a second thought. He didn’t look at medallion. This Luang Poh said, “Take the medallion and revere it, your children and grandchildren will live comfortably. It’s royally conferred.” It was a medallion given to village heads of kamnans who had performed there duties well, looking after the people and maintaining peace and order in the village, as a gift on there retirement. That was how he had got the medal. It had three digits on it. Eventually the man told his children and grandchildren, “Oh, today Luang Poh said something! Usually he doesn’t say a word, he just sits in meditation under the banyan tree for a month and then goes away.”
When I went to that man’s house I asked to look at the medallion. It had a date, with three digits on it. And I went to meet the monk. When I met him I bowed to him. He was sitting with eyes closed, he didn’t say a word. From his appearance he looked about seventy years old. He still had all his teeth and hair wasn’t the slightest bit grey, it was black. His body was dark skinned and was very well built, not flabby, but well proportioned. I went to pay respects to him around 1954.
When I had paid respects I said to him, “Luang Poh, why don’t you talk? What monastery do you stay at? Luang Poh, I have traveled a long way, all the way from Singburi Province, to come to this banyan tree. I have to stay at the house of the village head. I’ve gone to a lot of trouble to get there. I want to learn the art of stretching medallions so that I get three lottery numbers. I am only a young monk, I’m still very much attached to the world, I want to learn this art of stretching medallions so that I can help my relatives to be rich and get the right lottery numbers.” This was my real intention.
But he didn’t say a word. He just sat there in meditation at the banyan tree. I looked at the belongings he had: just one bowl, a robe and a sanghati (outer robe), which he placed over his shoulder at all times. He had a glot (umbrella) hanging from a branch of the tree … and what else? He had a water kettle and a mug which he used for a drinking glass. The scooper was polished and shiny like a glass. That was all he had, nothing else. I paid respects to him, but he didn’t seem to be the slightest bit interested in me. He didn’t even open his eyes.
I changed my approach. I said, “Most Venerable Sir, whom I revere most highly, I am a new monk, I have only been ordained three years. I want to come and study the Dhamma.” This was my new approach. “I am still a new monk, I do not know the way of Dhamma or the practices for developing meditation. I want to come and learn this from the Most Reverend Luang Poh. Please instruct me.” He moved his eyes a little. I had been speaking for a long time but he had not even opened his eyes, but once I said that I wanted to study the Dhamma and seek instruction, he opened his eyes: but still he didn’t smile, his face was very stern.
He said, “It’s admirable that you’ve made such an effort to come and study the Dhamma.” Since he had agreed to speak, I asked him, “What instructions do you have?” He spoke so little that it was difficult to see what he was getting at. He said, “Do you know what the Buddha taught? If you don’t know what have you ordained for? What have you been striving for?” I told him I had studied the Navakovada, studied the Dhamma and the Vinaya. “You have studied too much, you know so much I think you will be impossible to teach.” This was his teaching. “If you know too much, you probably won’t get anywhere in the practice. Don’t forget what the Buddha taught. The Buddha taught about suffering and the way to quench suffering. This was his teaching. What else did he teach, do you know?” “I don’t know, sir.” “He taught not to harm yourself and not to harm others, not to make others suffer. Look for the source of suffering. Study this point within yourself. What is there? There is suffering. Look for its source and begin the practice of quenching it. And what is the practice? It is morality, concentration and wisdom.”
So now I had it. Was that all? “I’ve already learned that,” I thought to myself, “is this all there is to his teaching? I thought there would be more psychic wonders than this. I’ve heard about morality, concentration and wisdom before.” No sooner had these thoughts gone through my mind when the old monk pointed at me and said:
By that time it was getting dark, so I had told the village head that he didn’t have to wait for me, I would be sleeping there. I wanted to see whether during the night he would say more than this. During the day he didn’t talk much, may be he would talk at night. That’s what I thought. So I went to him again and said, “Most Revered Sir, I would like to offer myself as a disciple.” He opened his eyes, “Thank you very much for offering yourself as a disciple. You have to really offer yourself, you know.” On this day he pointed straight at me, “The mystic power of the teacher has turned on the disciple and deranged him, that is, you.” He pointed right at my face. How humiliating, he really knew how to abuse someone so it hurt. He said I was deranged, that upset me. He spoke sharp. I looked at him: he lived alone in the forest, yet he could say such sharp and profound things. I can still remember that his speech had three kinds of sharpness. It was razor sharp, in that if I asked anything that was off the beam he would just sit quietly and say nothing. It was neat in that he could turn my words around and hit me with them. And it was blade-sharp in that his words were certain. He had taken an axe and pounded me with it, he didn’t use knife to drive in this nail. So I say that he was razor sharp, neat and blade sharp.
I thought for a while and said, “I would like to stay here.” He wouldn’t have it. It was getting dark by that time, about six o’clock in the evening. The sun was going down and darkness was setting in. It would take me a good time to walk back to the layman’s house, about three or four kilometers away. He wouldn’t let me stay, so I said, “If you won’t let me stay, I would like to offer myself as an apprentice to your most Revered Sir. I wanted to come and learn the art of stretching medallions, but I haven’t realized my wish, so I would like to offer myself as a student of the Dhamma, and make a declaration to follow in your footsteps. Will you accept me? Please have pity on me.”
He sat quietly for a while, and then opened his eyes and said, “You should wait until you are 45 years old, then come and see me again. You are still very young, you are not yet stable. How can I accept you when you are so sloppy? I can only accept one disciple, no more. Do you have sincerity, goodwill and harmony yet? If you don’t yet have sincerity how can goodwill arise? If you don’t have goodwill, how can harmony of body and mind arise, how can you see mentality and materiality?” He really spoke sharp, going right to my heart. He told me to come back when I was 45 years old, and he gave three special techniques for getting to meet him. However, I can’t reveal them here.
I went back to stay at the village head’s house, and the children and grandchildren talked all about their medallion until daybreak. They would say, “Here, I got the lottery three times. Before my fields were only twenty rai—now I have 400, 500 rai of land—through paying reverence to the medallion and chanting as Luang Poh instructed I’ve got the lottery three times.” It seems this was the least intelligent of the children: he went to buy the lotteries at random, and managed to win three times with those three digits. I wasn’t too interested about that but I was worried about this other thing. Think about it, I went to learn the art of stretching medallions but instead I got the Dhamma. At first I was searching for the false Dhamma, but I ended up finding the real thing. He pointed out the way for me, to practice morality, concentration and wisdom, to develop insight meditation. But he didn’t tell me how to do it. He just said to practice morality, meditation and wisdom and pointed out what the Buddha taught. The Buddha taught about suffering, he didn’t teach about fun. He taught the way to quench suffering. This was how the monk taught me, very brief.
I went back to my monastery and devoted myself to studying the Dhamma. I traveled around to learn meditation with this and that Ajahn. I went to study with Luang Poh Lee of Wat Asokaram before he had built Wat Bahng Ping. When he went wandering to Chantaburi and Lopburi I went with him. I followed him to the Northeast and up north. These days I haven’t kept in touch and I don’t know anybody at his monasteries. He’s passed away many years now. I practiced meditation: “Bud” on the in-breath and “dho” on the out-breath, according to the technique. And I met another monk who was very skilled with the kasina meditation. He could fix his mind on a flame and expand it. I met another monk who had developed the manomayiddhi (astral traveling), he could talk with the devas. That sounded like a lot of fun. And he could go and talk with the Hell realms.
I went and met the Lord of Death (yomabahl), I said I was coming to pay a bribe in return for letting my relatives out of Hell. The Lord of Death said “Venerable sir, how do you think you can help your relatives? I can’t even help my own motherin-law. I really can’t. My wife asked me to help her mother, she felt sorry for her. Her mother had killed a lot of ducks, chickens and pigs, she was ruthless and cruel. She killed them to eat. My wife asked me to help her.” This is what the Lord of Death told me. He wanted to help his mother-in-law out a little, but there were so many plaintiffs, the geese were squawking, the ducks were quacking, the pigs were squealing. They said “Lord of Death, you can’t help her, she caused us a lot of suffering.” The Lord of Death saw that the situation was getting ugly so he gave up in his attempts. He couldn’t help her I tried out manomayiddhi and everything else but it was all wrong. I couldn’t find the true path which would really be of used to me. I tried find the true path which would really be of use to me. I tried everything: manomayiddhi, did it have any use? Did it really help me? No it didn’t. Could it help to be free of suffering? No it couldn’t. I tried it out already. I’m a monk, I wouldn’t lie to you.
As time went on I reached the age of forty-five and made up my mind to try to meet the Luang Poh from the forest. I chanted and meditated according to the method and went to meet him at Khao Yai Mountain. I had to travel there on foot and go to a big tree. It was a little past Khao Yai Mountain, between Nakorn Rachasima and Saraburi. The foreast there was called “Forest of the Fire-King” (dong phra-yah fai) King Chulalongkorn changed the name of that forest to “Forest of the Cool-King” (dong phra-yah-yen) I met him there and stayed with him for one night. He talked about Dhamma to me from 10 at night till 4 in the morning, instructing me about everything. The Luang Poh in the forest taught according to the scriptures. He said, “Now all that you’ve done is good, it can lead to vipassana, insight, but listen, you must turn around. What help has it been to you? Can it help to extinguish suffering? No it can’t”. He immediately began telling me this path. “Don’t forget the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.” That’s what he said. He said, “It isn’t that going to learn about manomayiddhi wasn’t good, but it cannot help you, it cannot quench suffering. You’ve just increased your suffering. You’ve gone to talk with the Lord of Death. Do you understand? Through the power of exceptionally strong rapture and faith, adhering to onepointedness, you can immediately perform the psychic wonder of manomayiddhi. I’ve done it before.” He said that I should take the Path that leads to the transcendence of suffering, developing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.
He began teaching as follows: Stand like this, wit right hand holding the left hand. Just stand for one hour without moving. Now I was really in trouble. I had never stood still for one hour. This is the wonder that happened on that night. I stood for one hour: right hand grasping the left hand behind me, the weight of both hands coming to balance at the waist. Standing for one hour was really difficult, may arms were getting stiff. “Don’t put your hands in front of your chest, you won’t be able to breathe normally and it may lead to lung diseases.” He gave really detailed teachings.
Then he taught “Kesa, loma, nakha, danta, taco, taco, danta, nakha, loma kesa” (hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin; skin, teeth, nails, hair of body, hair of the head). Bringing the mind together, establishing mindfulness from the tips of the hair on downward, upwards from the tips of the toes up to the tips of the hair, downward from the tip of the hair to the tips of the toes. This is where I began to enter into the Buddha’s teaching, the point at which I became really “gone forth” in the most complete sense. I stood for one hour. After forty minutes my legs were shaking, things were starting to happen. He said just to look at it, to stand mindfully sweeping from the head to the feet and then count “one;” from the feet up to the head, “two;” surveying the body with mindfulness from the head down to the feet, “three.” “Bring up your mindfulness. Didn’t your preceptor teach you on the day of your ordination? From the lower part up to the upper part, from the upper part down to the lower part. You’ve learned too much. You have too much knowledge, you have gone beyond the practice of the Buddha, that’s why you haven’t gotten anywhere”
I stood observing, direction my mindfulness to a mirror image of myself standing for one hour. I knew that I was standing with mindfulness. Oh, standing with mindfulness, I could read myself, I could see myself, I could use my self. I could show the psychic power of standing by standing gracefully, with full mindfulness in the act of standing. Kayanupassanasatipatthana (mindfulness on the body), the base upon which the mind shows its power by having full awareness, thinking with wisdom. Standing this way is really useful. This is what I obtained from the forest, I stood with mindfulness. “Oh, that’s it. This is how (reflecting on) kesa, loma, nakha, danta, taco leads to benefit.” Standing, walking, sitting, reclining, the four postures. Any of the four foundations of mindfulness. Standing with mindfulness. Seeing a person walking towards us, watching them from the head down to the feet, we know immediately what their mind is like. These things are related, we can know them only through the wisdom-eye. This is really a useful thing.
Second stage: he taught to walk with mindfulness, stepping out with the foot, having mindfulness in every movement. This is the teaching he gave at Khao Yai Mountain when I was 45 years old. It was very appropriate as I had already developed calm meditation, I had already developed samadhi. I used this to upturn the world, establishing mindfulness on the material form adhered to by convention as meditation object. Doing so, convention disappeared and immediately became instead the five aggregates (Khand has).
Then he continued his teaching. He said to me, “Do you know what your mind state is like?” “I don’t know, Luang Poh.” “Remember your meditation object. When you wake up in the morning, what is your meditation object? Be skilled in entering and leaving (the meditation object). When you get some money, or lose some money, the memory lingers. What happens then? It’s like we’re businessmen.” This is how the forest monk taught, really practical. I can clearly remember his words. “Do you know your meditation object? It is the short breaths and long breaths. The natural function of the mind is to read mental states, it can record mental states for a long period of time, like a tape recorder. You can’t touch the mind, it doesn’t have any material form, it’s an abstract condition (namadhamma). And what kind of mental state is it holding onto? If the mood is anger or fury, it is like a businessman making a transaction. It’s useless. And remember this mental state. Make contact with you mental states from the people that approach you. Experience the mental states, the stream of mental states that allow you to live. If our mindfulness is fully developed we will know how light, subtle or heavy is the stream of thinking of other people.
Then he taught to know the sense bases. Where are they studied? They are studied at ourselves. This is how he said it. He taught really briefly and simply. When the eye sees form, is there moral restraint (sila) at the eye? When the ear hears sound, is there moral restraint at the ears? When the nose experiences a smell is there moral restraint at the nose? When the tongue tastes a flavor is there moral restraint at the tongue? When the body experiences feelings at heat, cold, hardness, and softness is there moral restraint? I listened to him talking. “When you see forms is there mindfulness?” “Yes there is, Luang Poh.” “That’s right, mindfulness. Morality has to have an abode to live in,” he said, “You have to live in a hut, right? The householders have to have a house, a place to live. They can’t just sit under the sun and rain. They must have a place to live. There must be a place to live—when eye sees form, have mindfulness.
Then he said, “Wherever you go the eyes and ears are most important. Don’t give the importance to your mouth. Your mouth is only a small teacher, it is not the big teacher. Mostly we give importance to our mouths. The eyes see, the ears hear, the mind creates and begins to work, speech comes afterwards.” Here, his teaching was really good. I got a lot from this teaching. He said when the eyes have morality wealth will follow. When you hear others abusing you, if your ears do not have morality, when you lose mindfulness for a moment, you have a problem. The abuse us once, we abuse them twice. We let our mouths lead us. This is our ears having no morality. Set up mindfulness. When the ears have mindfulness the ears will have wealth because they will have morality. When you speak in the present moment you mouth has morality. You speech is silver and gold. Wealth comes, your speech is silver and gold, through the power of mindfulness.
Remember this. What color car is the best, what model is the best? This color really crashes well. Good color which has good luck, which doesn’t crash, doesn’t exist. Don’t forget. It’s all in the heart. The car leaves all the care and its fate into the hands of its owner. If the owner has bad luck, what does the car know about it? The car meets utter ruin because of its owner. You don’t have to choose a color, just take the one you like, you don’t have to go looking for a fortune. Whatever color is appealing, take that one. If the fortune teller tells you to get a red one, but you like green, don’t force yourself. You buy a red one but after you have it repaired you won’t feel so good. You can give up believing the fortune tellers. Just believe in what is comfortable for you.
Sunakkhattam sumangalam supabhatam….Is it convenient? The auspicious time is the auspicious occasion. Auspicious time is free time. If you are not free the time is not good. Before you can conduct your work the tools have to be in order. When everything is in order, that is the right time. These days, you can’t even be free on Saturdays or Sundays, you have to find other work to do. Just go ahead. When everything is in order, just go ahead and do it, and it is done quickly and properly, everything in order. Remember, if the fortune teller tells you to get red but you like green, if a read color is not pleasing to you, why should you buy it? Isn’t it better to choose the color that pleases you? This is the teaching of the Buddha.
Being such, I would like to leave this with all of you. Developing insight meditation, concentration meditation, generosity, morality and meditation, you must know the proper method. When making offerings, you must have intention. You all know what I mean without me having to explain it. Look at you intention before doing it. When you’ve done it you feel good. If you’ve done it for a long time you feel even better. Take this principle when you make merit. Making merit until your purses are worn out, do you get any merit for it? Here is another way to make merit in which you don’t have to give up you work or you money, but you have to give up time. Just practicing meditation regularly you can solve the problems that arise before you without having to use any money—but you have to give up some time. You can do it at all moments. When you leave you house problems may arise, but you can solve them on the way. You solve problems at the eyes, the nose, the tongue, the body and the mind. When a problem arises you solve it straight away. When you go into your house a problem may arise, when you arrive at you destination a problem may arise, when a businessman reaches his office a problems may arise. Problems can always arise, but if we have good mindfulness and wisdom we will not create problems but work to rectify them the minute they arise, in the present moment. If you have nay kind of problem, if you can’t solve it but keep making more problems and making more trouble, how can you be said to have mindfulness and concentration?
You don’t have to think in terms of going to the Wat. Go to your own Wat. If you don’t have time to go to the Wat that is a building, a place, go to your own Wat, measure (wat) yourself. Measure yourself whenever you stand, walk, sit or lie down, whenever you are going to pick up something or sell something, establish mindfulness and you will always have good sales. Remember this. Can you remember the Buddha’s teaching of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness? The one path, what is it called, what is the city? It is the city of the body (kayanagara). It’s there within us. For whoever has mindfulness and clear comprehension fully developed from practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, money will flow. That is if your mindfulness is fully developed. Only if the mindfulness is fully developed can it be said that one has the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. Such a person is fully developed. If he is a merchant he will be rich through his perfect mindfulness. He sells with mindfulness and has wisdom, he knows what will lead to profit and what will lead to loss. And he knows it in advance. That is having perfectly developed mindfulness.
It all comes down to these Four Foundations of Mindfulness, developing them to perfection, having perfect mindfulness. When mindfulness is good, money follows. Without mindfulness, your money will only disappear, it will surely go away. Viradayo viragonayam: you chant this verse for bringing in the money, but does the money come? If the Westerners ask what you are doing, don’t tell them that you are chanting to get rich. Why are you chanting? If you chant and the money doesn’t come they will just ridicule you. You chant to bring the mind to fruition. When the mind comes to function, money comes to fruition. If your chanting just makes the mind shrink, your money will shrink also. It’s not that you just chant and money will com. One the mind comes to fruition, it sends out branches of shade of the wisdom tree, and then money will shrink also, you food supplies will shrink, everything shrinks. Thus I say that viradayo viragonayam is chanted to raise the mind up. When the mind is at ease and replete within itself, when mindfulness is perfected, you will get your money. Just think of money and it will come streaming in.
Remember this. You chant to make the mind grow. If all of you make your minds grow, I guarantee that you will succeed in all your undertakings. If you mind shrinks, your battery runs flat, how will your car run? If you don’t look after the battery your mind will run out of energy. If you don’t use a battery, if you don’t run the engine, the battery run flat. Eventually it gets ruined. When the cells are ruined what do you do? You have to throw the battery out and buy a new one, and that costs money. That is what I mean by the mind running out of energy. If you boost your mental power by developing mindfulness in all your activities, that is all you need to do. Increase your mindfulness, increase your charge, then your battery will be recharged.
Just have mindfulness. The Buddha taught 84,000 sections of Dhamma, but in brief it is just morality (sila) concentration (samadhi) and wisdom (panna). This is what the monk in the forest taught me, very pithy teachings. To put it even more briefly, it is just mindfulness and clear comprehension. Even two is too many. Have only one: the apex of the cetiya is heedfulness. Have mindfulness, morality. Clear comprehension. Even two is too many. Have only one: the apex of the cetiya is heedfulness. Have mindfulness, morality. Clear comprehension (sampajanna) is concentration. You know yourself, your mind is clearly established, you are possessed on concentration. When your mind is thus well established, what follows is wisdom. When that arises all that is left is the one condition of heedfulness in all activities. There is only one thing left in the practice. If you think there is too much to Dhamma practice, just remember not to be neurotic and not to he heedless. But you can’t just walk that way, you must begin at the beginning, with morality, concentration and wisdom. From there leave only two, mindfulness and clear comprehension, knowing yourself in all situations and not being heedless. When heedfulness arises there is just this one factor. This is how the monk taught.
I caught the gist of his teaching, and returned to my monastery, I understood his teaching and obtained a lot of other tricks in the practice. If you want to get these tricks, if you want to know about them, you must come and ask me about them personally. For today I will just give this brief description, my meeting with a certain Luang Poh in the forest. I don’t know what his name was, but form his appearance I would say he was about 70 years old, but he must have been older because the village headman had seen him since he was a youngster running around naked until he was 84 years old. That headman has died now. If that headman was still alive—don’t forget, in 1950 this man was 84 years old—then he would now be over a hundred. He must be dead by now. As for me, I am now almost 60…..
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