Chapter 11: Merits of Building Toilets
by Phra Rajsuddhinanamongkol
There are more than three hundred toilets at Wat Ambhavan. Anybody who visits Wat Ambhavan knows the convenience of using these toilets and are grateful to the Abbot. Phra Rajsuddhinanamongkol who has made these toilets available.
The World Buddhist Organization organized a meeting in Sri Lanka. There were delegations from many countries, from all over the world. I was one of the delegates from Thailand. On Sunday, the organizer had arranged a visit to a national park. There would be elephant shows, monkey shows, bird singing shows and so on.
That Sunday morning, we were invited for a breakfast with Saddha Tissa Maha Thera, who was a great preacher. We had roti and butter. After that we went to the national park. Our guides were some Thai monks who were studying at Sri Lanka. (There is a Thai monks foundation that gives scholarships to study for a Ph.D.degree in Sri Lanka and India. I had taken part in raising funds and setting up this foundation.) When we arrived at the park entrance, my stomach was upset because I was not used to greasy food, such as roti and butter.
“Please show me the way to the toilet,” I asked the guide monks.
“Not now, we have to catch up with the rest of our group, otherwise we will miss all the programs,” they answered.
I definitely had to use the toilet! I think you understand that urgent feeling. So I left the group and looked for a toilet on my own. I could not find one! I was in big trouble.
When I was a child, I traveled in a boat that transported rice along the river. The boat owner suggested to me to put a bucket on my head and sit on the side of the boat. I could not find any bucket in Sri Lanka!
I kept on walking and thought about using some big tree as a toilet. I could not do it because there were a lot of people passing by. They were Japanese and Western people. I was a Thai monk and I could not do anything to ruin my country’s reputation. It was almost eleven a.m. and I could not find any toilet. I had to pray.
“I have had as many as two thousand toilets built at different temples. If there is some merit by building these toilets, please help me find a toilet. Divine beings please send me a toilet. If I cannot hold any longer and make my robes dirty, when I go back to Wat Ambhavan, I will destroy the toilets there.”
I kept on walking back and forth. My face was red. My body was soak with perspiration.
The divine beings must have heard my urgent request and sent me a toilet. If you want to know how the divine beings dropped a toilet down to me, please continue listening.
There was a three story house across the street, in front of the park. The owners were a rich couple who were Buddhists. I knew that they were Buddhists from the flags in front of their house. There were two flags. One was a lion flag; the other was a Buddhist flags. In Sri Lanka, if a house has a Buddhist flag in front, the occupants must be Buddhists.
The husband had some feeling that made him look toward the park. So, he saw me walking back and forth. He did not have a clear view because of the street between his house and the park. He asked his wife to bring him binoculars.
“I have seen this monk before. He sat near me during the Buddhist meeting. Yes! It is him. Why is he walking back and forth like that?” he said to his wife.
“Oh! His face is also red and he is perspiring a lot,” he said.
Then the couple walked across the street towards me and talked to me in Singhalese, and gestured to me to follow them. I did not understand his Singhalese but I understood his body language all right. So I followed him to their house. When we arrived he showed me the toilet and suggested I take a shower. This was how the divine being sent me a toilet.
I went inside the bathroom. It was a very comfortable restroom, with carpet and air-conditioning. There were towels, soap, toothbrushes, a bath tub, a chair and newspapers. The commode was modern Western style which was quite comfortable to sit on. What a relief! After that, I took a shower. There was hot and cold tap water.
When I came out of the bathroom, they greeted me with their kind hospitality. They had prepared a comfortable sofa and pillow for me to rest. They showed me the time, which was five minutes to eleven a.m., the regulated lunch time for Buddhist monks.
“We would like to invite you to have lunch at our house,” they said.
Therefore, I had a good lunch with them. During the meal, I thought about the other monks in the group. How were they? Where would they have their lunch? I thought about their well being, while I was comfortable. They did not care about me when they left me.
We had conversation, even though there was a language barrier. We used some English and guessing. When they spoke long sentence, I had to concentrate and catch up with their next sentence. He asked questions that impressed me.
“Why did you walk back and forth? Why was your face red?” he asked.
I pointed to the toilet. “Oh, it was because you had to use the toilet,” he understood.
“Please rest and relax at our house for a while. At 4.30 p.m., I will drive you back to Suddha Tissa Maha Thera’s temple,” he said.
He knew where I stayed because he remembered me. We had sat nearby during the meeting, but I could not remember him.
After the conversation, I rested for a while. At 4.30 p.m., he drove me back to the temple. The last two days of the program he came to see me and helped me get around. We became good friends, and have remained so.
This is how the divine being sent me a toilet. The divine being did not send it down to me but this case happened in such a way that I got help unexpectedly. The divine being has somehow caused the couple to turn their attention to look at the park. Thus they saw me and helped me out of trouble. Merit does exist.
May the power of goodness and merit make you, who are now practicing vipassana meditation, be able to work hard and be successful in your meditation. May you be able to maintain yourself in charity, precepts and meditation. In order to reach one place, charity or giving can be compared to traveling in row boat. Precepts can be compared to traveling by motor boat. Meditation can be compared to traveling by airplane. You can reach the destination or wisdom and enlightenment in the fastest way.
Wat Ambhavan, Singburi
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