Chapter 05: The Nimitta Image At The Rose Garden
December 9, 1987
Dear good fellows who behave well, today I will explain to you what “nimitta image” actually is.
There are two kinds of nimitta image.
1. An image that shows the three characteristics: impermanence, suffering and non-self. This image is a delusion.
2. An image that shows Dhamma or Dhamma riddle. We might see beautiful scenery of forests or mountains. It appears when people obtain insight. If we have full control of our mindfulness, then we gain insight or knowledge. This is wisdom that makes us understand cause and effect. The image we might see will foretell real events.
It is very important to practice telling yourself that you are seeing something and note (or acknowledge) “Perceiving, Perceiving” during your meditation. Do not think that it is non-sense? You should keep noting and strengthening mindfulness (awareness) in whatever you do or see. Do it regularly until you accumulate enough mindfulness and consequently gain wisdom, which will tell you what it really is.
As you are in an elementary stage of practicing vipassana meditation, you should train yourself all the time. When you go back to your home or work, you do not have to wait until you have some free time, but you can practice during work, noting what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel. Do it every moment. It is very useful to keep developing your mindfulness. It is the same as accumulating academic credits.
People are normally not interested in what they see or hear. In order to practice, you should try to concentrate your mind and use your mindfulness in noting “Perceiving, Perceiving” when you see someone walking towards you. Look at him normally. You do not have to stare. Continue doing is regularly. When you have sufficiently trained in mindfulness and have good concentration, you will see the image that signifies a real event.
Usually we seem to use both our hands and feet at the same time, when we move to grasp something. You should note “Wishing to gasp”. The word “Wishing” is mentality that has important meaning. If you practice until you are very keen at noting, your mindfulness will automatically tell you what you are doing. When you lift your hand up to grasp something, mindfulness will say “Wishing”. When you are holding a tea cup, it wall say “Holding”. What are you holding? It will say “Holding a tea cup”, “Drinking” and “Swallowing”. Oh! “Hot, hot” It will be aware of its own state. This phenomena can naturally happen, e.g., water is cold and fire is hot.
Next, I will tell a story of Mr. Charnsilp Yuwaboon, who was the son of Dr. Chumnarn and Khunying Walee Yuwaboon. His nimitta image foretold a real event. This phenomena clearly revealed itself to me at the Rose Garden, Changwat Nakornpathom. At that time I did not tell his parents because I realized the meaning of his nimitta image. No one need foretell such a sad incident. Dear friends, please listen carefully. It is all right to leave all your worries and not bother with other people, so your mindfulness can be concentrated. The Law of Karma informs everyone at every moment but we do not pay attention to it. You tend to be interested in something else outside your mind. You tend to be interested in something else outside your mind. You are busy with your work, writing, or carrying something, but never note your action. You will not know what is going to happen to you in this hour. You should continue practice noting and be aware at all times. It is like accumulating academic credits for your graduation. When you have accumulated enough credits, your mindfulness will automatically work for you. When you sit quietly and peacefully, your mindfulness will tell you the appropriate information at every moment, e.g., do not do this thing, do not touch, this is not proper, etc. It is very useful but you cannot realize it until you have regularly practiced noting.
Someone told me that she did not have time to practice.
“What do you do?” I asked
“I work,” she answered.
“Your work can be your practice,” I said.
“Keep noting every action you do. Hold your mindfulness and note “Picking up”, “Hearing”, “Sound”. Later you will realize how wonderful the mindfulness can be.”
“Nimitta” means sign, signal or mark. I am going to talk about a nimitta image that was a signal for a man whom I was interested in. Paying attention is very important. It helps you know other people. It is useless if you live together but you do not know each other because you do not pay attention to each other. So it is with your own “self”. If we do not pay attention to ourselves, we will not know ourselves.
The Buddha told us to “measure” ourselves, our body, speech and thought at every moment. Walking meditation is one exercise for gaining wisdom, the most important factor.
People pay all their attention to their job and forget about themselves. This is an example of lacking mindfulness. If you have good mindfulness and use it while you are working or writing, the work or paper will come out good. You know how to write a very good paper using the wisdom you have accumulated. This is an exercise for gaining the proper state of mind. When you work, you will gain experience that will be very useful for your job. For example, if you study medical science, you will “know” how to diagnose and cure disease from your experience.
The nimitta image is very important. If you pay attention to yourself by continuously noting while you are doing something, I guarantee that you will understand what I am saying. The law of karma will notify you at every step.
When you pay attention to someone, he will pay attention to you, too. You should keep on noting : “Perceiving, Perceiving”. When you have good mindfulness, you will later see his nimitta image and how its meaning. For example, it can mean “death”
The nimitta image I saw at the Rose Garden appeared in 1975. Dr. Chamnarn and his wife, Khun Ying Walee Yuwaboon, the owners of the Rose Garden, Mr. Gate Deererk, the sheriff of Amphur Phranakorn and his wife, Mrs. Kanthong, invited me to preach at the Rose Garden, Changwat Nakornpathom, on January 3, 1975. The owner of the Rose Garden wanted me to teach about unity because their employees seemed to lack it and they could not do a good job without good cooperation. I agreed to preach and also said that I would like to stay overnight so may students could visit the Rose Garden.
We planned to arrive there on January 3, 1975, and leave in the afternoon on January 4, 1975. After preparing our gear for an over-night stay, we traveled by two pick-up trucks, because these were many people in our group.
We arrived at the Rose Garden on January 3, 1975, at 4 p.m. Khun Ying Walee welcomed us and showed us the accommodations where we would stay. My students were assigned to stay at two separated Thai-style buildings. I stayed at a house with indoor toilet facilities.
At 5 p.m., Dr. Chamnarn, Khun Ying Walee, their children, and Mrs. Thongjeu, Khun Ying Walee’s sister, came to pay respects.
Dr. Chamnarn introduced his sons to me. They were Charnsilp Yuwaboon, nickname Paor, and his older brother, Thanit Yuwaboon, nickname Joe. We talked about many things. Paor told me about himself.
Paor was studying at Washington D.C., and had returned home on December 23, 1974, for the holidays. He would also attend his older brother’s wedding on January 5, 1975. After that he would go back to the USA.
Paor had a very good personality and manners. He was a very good student, too. He had studied in England when he was eleven years old.
“I had never made merit in Buddhism because I have been studying at Christian schools since kindergarten,” he said”
I looked at him with admiration for his good manners and personality. His face showed intelligence. I was sure that he was capable of getting a Ph.D. degree like his father, Dr. Chamnarn. I continued looking at him while I was noting “Perceiving, Perceiving”. We talked about education until 6 p.m. He was very impressed with the educational guidelines I discussed.
“Luang Poh, what topic are you going to talk about tonight?” he asked.
“Your mother requested that I talk about unity,” I answered.
“I have never listened to a Buddhist monk’s teaching because I have been studying abroad since I was young. Although I have not adopted Western style, I have never listened to a Buddhist monk. This is my first time and I will listen to you.”
I looked at him while I was noting “Perceiving, Perceiving” and I saw some light at his face. I continued noting “Perceiving, Perceiving”. My mindfulness worked better. I saw a headless image overlap his body. One moment there was no head. The next moment there was a head that did not look like Paor. It was a new face. I noted “Perceiving, Perceiving” and the image disappeared.
Later, I saw a beautiful image. I felt something wrong, for I saw overlapping images. At first, I thought there was something wrong with my optic nerves. I recollected my mindfulness. What happened? Why did I see this image? I have never seen them before. I noted “Perceiving, Perceiving”. Then I saw a clear image over Paor’s body. That image wore a headdress, held a small sword in one hand and had flowers, joss sticks and candles in the other hand. He spoke to Khun Ying Walee.
“Khun Ying, I have come to pick up my son. His time is up and I have to take him back tonight an 1 a.m.”
I kept noting “Perceiving, Perceiving” and looked at the image. Had I ever seen him before? He had a golden face with glistening blue eyes. He continued talking.
“Khun Ying, my son is gifted and has virtue. I sent him to bring prosperity to the Yuwaboon family for twenty rains (20 years) and now the time is over. I will pick him up tonight at 1 a.m.” he said. The he pointed to Khun Ying’s other son, who was a police lieutenant.
“I will take him back later, but for now I will leave him here.”
He then turned towards me and paid respect, he smiled and suddenly disappeared.
After the overlapping image disappeared, Charnsilp looked like the same man with his long hair. Khun Ying Walee continued talking to me. I did not think she heard the divine being’s conversation. I was sure that Charnsilp was going to die that night at 1 a.m. This is the benefit of “Perceiving, Perceiving”. Charnsilp did not come from hell but he was a virtuous man.
I took notes of the event, Khun Ying Walee’s son was a virtuous man whom divine beings ha sent to stay with Khun Ying for twenty years and promote the prosperity of the Yuwaboon family. When the time was up, the divine being would take him back.
“Could it be true? Khun Ying was sitting there, but she could not hear the conversation. The nimitta image should be true because I had seen and heard it when I had good mindfulness.
It was fortunate that Charnsilp and Thanit could listen to a Buddhist monk’s preaching that night. Charnsilp continued his questions.
“Dear Luang Poh, what did The Buddha teach?” he asked.
I answered his question and talked to the hosts until it was 7.30 p.m. when we had to prepare for my sermon at the auditorium. Charnsilp paid respect to me and said:
“Dear Luang Poh, I am very impressed with your teaching. I have never talked to anybody who can give me such understanding like this. I have studied at Christian schools all my life and never listened to my parents nor gone to any temple. This is the first and last time I will be able to listen to you,” he said.
Thanit did not say anything.
It was almost 8 p.m. The audience was ready inside the auditorium. Dr. Chumnarn came to invite me to the auditorium.
“Please go ahead. I have to use the toilet and will follow you,” I said.
After Dr. Chamnan left, Sheriff Gate Deererk and Mrs. Kanthong arrived. When I came out of the toilet, I asked one of my students to call an urgent meeting.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Be quiet! I will tell you after all the hosts go to the auditorium.”
After the hosts left, I continued my conversation to my student.
“When I go inside the auditorium, you must tell all my students to pack up everything and load them on our trucks. We are going back tonight,” I said.
“Oh! I have not toured the garden yet. I want to see the elephant show,” he said.
“We cannot stay because we have urgent business at our temple,” I said.
“Please! I have not seen anything yet.”
“Be obedient! When I finished preaching you should have the truck ready in front of the auditorium.”
After that I went to the auditorium. When I arrived there I called Sheriff Gate Deererk to see me privately.
“Dear Sheriff please have someone tape-record my preaching tonight and make sure that you take pictures of the audience.”
“Yes Sir,” he answered and hold his wife, Mrs. Kanthong, to get a tape recorder. The he drove out to get a photographer.
At 8 p.m., the ceremony began. The audience requested the five precepts (the rules of morality) and I gave the verses to them the five precepts and the Dhamma. Khun Ying Walee asked for a Dhamma talk on unity. I preached for one hour.
The Yuwaboon family sat in the front row. Charnsilp paid full attention the entire time. Then he told his father.
“Father I would like to be the sponsor of this preaching.”
Dr. Chamnarn was puzzled because Paor had never listened to a Dhamma teaching before and never showed enthusiasm for listening to the teachings.
“Mother I want to present the offerings to Luang Poh,” he told his mother.
“Oh you don’t have to do it. Your father can do it,” she said.
“Please mother I really want to be the sponsor tonight,” he said and donated some money and walked around the auditorium to collect contributions. His parents did not know how much money he donated. The Rose Garden employees were inspired by the enthusiasm of the young man who had never listened to Dhamma teaching, so everybody donated money. The total amount was around ten thousand baht.
Paor presented the money to me, and said:
“Dear Luang Poh I am very glad that I listened to all your preaching. I have never been so impressed like this before.”
However, Khun Ying Walee asked me to teach about unity, she wondered why I had talked about something else, such as parents’ perseverance in struggling with difficulties in bringing up their children from birth to adulthood. The content was not exactly what she had asked for but it seemed appropriate for a funeral.
The nimitta image had clearly signified something to me. I kept noting “perceiving” while I was talking to Paor. I used my mindfulness to note everything at all times. For example, it was the same as noting sound when my ears hear something, noting form when my eyes see something, noting hot or cold when my body feels it. Please remember you should always continue noting. Do not give up. It is very useful.
After the preaching at the Rose Garden that night, everybody went home at 10 p.m. Joe and Paor left together. When I came out of the auditorium, the trucks were waiting for me in the front of the auditorium.
“Why do you have to leave tonight? Please stay, I have already prepared the offerings and told the cook to prepare for your breakfast,” Dr. Chumnan and Khun Ying Walee said.
“Excuse me, I have some work to do at Wat Ambhavan,” I said.
How could I stay over night after I knew that there would be an emergency at 1 a.m. and the hosts would be very sad and busy?
So I left there and arrived at Wat Ambhavan at 1 a.m. I prayed, meditated and radiated merit and loving-kindness to Joe and Paor. I knew from my meditation insight that Paor died at that time. How did I know? My mindfulness told me that they had an accident. Their car hit a man and collided with an electricity pole on the side of the road and broke into flame. Paor died instantly. His body was taken to a hospital. Joe was seriously injured. His skull was broken. They had to use plastic to protect his brain. Paor’s body was taken to Wat Tartthong in Bangkok.
Charnsilp Yuwaboon, Paor, was an intelligent and a very grateful man. He appreciated Dhamma teaching. He was 20 years, 3 months and 27 days old when he died. It was true according to the divine being who took him back after 20 rains.
I knew about his accident while I was practicing meditation at Wat Ambhavan and planned to attend his funeral at Wat Tartthong on the following day. When I arrived, I met Chao Khun Dhammaratanakorn, the abbot of Wat Mahadhatu, who had helped Dr. Chamnarn when he was young.
“It was very good that Paor tha listened to your preaching before he died,” he said to me.
Dr. Chamnarn and Khun Ying Walee were very sad but they also felt relief that their son had listened to Dhamma before he died. The wondered why I did not teach about unity and suddenly left after the preaching.
Dr. Chamnarn spoke to me.
“Dear Luang Poh, Joe is still in a coma. The doctor is not sure he will survive because his skull burst and they have to use plastic to protect his brain.”
“Don’t worry too much. Please wait until Charnsilp’s funeral is over,” I said.
I had asked Sheriff Gate Deererk to record my preaching and take pictures on that day. The recording was transferred into script on the following day. The pictures were developed and put in the memorial book for Paor,s funeral on January 5, 1975. The book was printed in Thai, and in English for his friends abroad.
After the funeral, I visited Dr. Chamnarn.
“Do you want Joe to survive. If so, you have to promise me two things.
1. Do not get involve in politics.
2. Both you and your wife should recite the verse, The Virtues of the Buddha, as many times as your age plus one and practice vipassana meditation.
Dedicate the merit to Joe. Do not worry about Paor for he is in a good place. A divine being has taken your son back,” I said.
“Dear Luang Poh I am worried about Joe. He is a kind and good boy. He takes his responsibilities seriously and also is a very good student,” Khun Ying Walee told me.
“Oh, yes, he should be good because he is a divine being’s son. Do not be too sad. Do what I told you to,” I said.
“Why do you ask me not to take part in politics?” Dr. Chamnarn asked me.
“Think about it yourself. You are a doctor,” I said.
Dr. Chamnarn promised not to take part in politics and the couple started reciting the verses and meditating. Dr. Chamnarn kept his word and never took part in politics.
Later I visited Joe at the hospital. I saw a nurse who was taking care of him. I looked at her and noted “Perceiving”, then I knew that she would soon marry him. Later it turned out true, according to my “Perceiving”, they were married. This is the benefit of “Perceiving” with mindfulness.
I also visited Dr. Chamnarn at his house. At the same time there were many people from several political parties who came to invite him to be the leader of the parties.
Dr. Chamnarn looked at me. I smiled and said to him:
“Do whatever you think you should do.”
“Dear friends, from today I am quitting any political activities for the sake of my son’s life.” Dr. Chamnarn told all of them.
He did what he said. Have you ever heard of him taking part in politics after that?
The couple became religious and meditated. Sometime after that, Joe got better. It was quite wonderous because the doctors had said he would not recover. He could be released from the hospital but with a bad arm. They had to put some plastic inside that arm. Later, he was married to that nurse and had two children. I have not seen them since.
Dr. Chamnarn devoted himself to Buddhism.
“Please tell us whatever you require,” he said to me.
“Thank you very much. I don’t need anything,” I answered. He believed in my teaching from that time.
Two days ago, Mr. Thanasak Yuwaboon, the governor of Changwat Singburi, show is forty-four years old, visited people in Singburi.
“You are such a young governor, he was not even forty years old. I am a governor at an older age than my father was when he was a governor,” he replied.
So I had just discovered that Dr. Chamnarn was a governor when he was only thirty-eight years old! The governor said to me.
“Dear Luang Poh, from the time that my parents started meditation, the Rose Garden got better. All the conflicts were resolved.”
Finally, Thanit Yuwaboon, Joe, recovered and his health became better and better from the virtues of his parents who recited the virtues of the Buddha, the virtues of the Dhamma, the virtues of the Sangha, practices vipassana meditation and radiated their merit and loving-kindness to all beings.
In 1973, they attended vipassana meditation course taught by Khun Mae Siri Karinchai.
I have told this story to you so that you should learn and keep it in mind.
The editors of this book have included some important articles from the memorial book of Mr. Charnsilp Yuwaboon’s funeral.
The following paragraphs are the articles from the memorial book of Mr. Charnsilp Yuwaboon’s funeral. The editor reproduced some parts to support this article, The Nimitta Image At The Rose Garden
The Yuwaboon family had printed the transcription of the preaching of Phra Khru Bhavanaivsuddhi (the previous Sangha name of Phra Rajsuddhinanamongkol), Wat Ambhavan, Changwat Singburi in the memorial book of Mr. Charnsilp Yuwaboon. The reason for this printing is as follows.
Rose Garden Management had invited this respected monk to preach for all the employees and workers on January 3, 1975, at 8 p.m. The sermon was one hour long. We asked Dr. Taweerat Tanakom to summarize the actual preaching for the convenience of the readers who might not have time to read the entire script. The deceased had listened to the entire sermon. After the preaching all the employees and workers donated money, adding to the Rose Garden contribution. This was to share in making merit. The deceased had told his sister that he was very impressed with the preaching. He also told his friends.
“Tonight I am very happy and I have made merit by donating five hundred baht..”
So the family learned that Mr. Charnsilp Yuwaboon had joined the employees in donating money. The family had the sermon printed in this memorial book because Mr. Charnsilp Yuwaboon had faith in this preaching.
Mr. Charnsilp Yuwaboon (Paor) was born on Sunday September 6, 1954, at Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok Noi, Bangkok. He was the son of Dr. Chamnarn and Khun Ying Walee Yuwaboon.
Paor had been a very lovely and good boy since his youth. He was the youngest son and much younger than his brothers and sisters, so he was treated as a small child and he was quite happy with that. But he was a respectful brother to his only sister, Poom, who was a few years younger than him.
He started kindergarten at Watana Witayalai School because he followed his older sisters to this school for girls. The school allowed boys to study there up to the second grade. After that he studied at Sriwikorn School until he finished fourth grade. He went to Aymestrey School, Worchester and Rendcomb College, Gloncester, England from 1965 to 1973. He came back to Thailand and planned to go to college in the United States of America. But his family business needed his help with international relations and service. Paor willingly undertook his duties and did them very well. This made his parents and relatives very proud of him. He worked for his family in Thailand and abroad for one year. On August 1974, he went to the United States of America to continue his studies at American University, Washington D.C. He studied political science, which was suitable to his personality and behavior. During one school holiday, he came home (December 23, 1974) and attended his older brother’s Paeh’s, wedding on January 5, 1975. He was scheduled to go back to the United States of America on January 18, 1975.
Paor had been a cute boy since he was young. Not only his family but also his relatives and friends loved him. He liked beautiful things. He always dressed neatly and had good manners. Khun Ying, his mother, always called him “my soothing water”. On some occasions when his parents, brothers, sisters and relatives had to correct him, he willingly listened and never showed any bad manners. He willingly helped others. He had been a very good person since his youth. The last time he came home, he showed that he had become mature both in his thoughts and speech. He liked his college and his studies. He decided that he would not come home during summers so he could graduate within three and a half years.
On January 3, 1975, Rose Garden Management had invited Phra Khru Bhavanavisuddhi, the abbot of Wat Ambhavan, Changwat Singburi to preach for the garden employees. Paor and his family had listened to the preaching from the beginning, at 8 p.m., to the end, at 10 p.m. After the preaching the family went back to Bangkok in separate cars. Paor went with his older brother Joe (Thanit Yuwaboon). At 3 a.m., we were informed that Paor had passed away at the Police Hospital. He was 20 years, 3 months and 27 days old.
The Preaching of Phra Rajsuddhinanamongkol
Dr. Chamnarn and Khun Ying Walee were introduced to Phra Khru Bhavanavisuddhi (Phra Rajsuddhinanamongkol), the abbot of Wat Ambhavan, Changwat Singburi, by Mr. Gate Deererk, who was the sheriff of Amphur Promburi. The first time Phra Khru visited the Rose Garden, he was very impressed with its beauty, neatness and how well organized it is. So he visited the garden for a second time, before Dr. Chamnarn Yuwaboon invited him to preach for the employees and workers at the Rose Garden on January 3, 1975, during the occasion of the New Year session.
Phra Khru praised the owner for his creative idea in constructing the Rose Garden and his capability in managing the garden successfully. Phra Khru’s impression was as natural as any human, who wants to be rich, beautiful and good. Beauty is one kind of goodness.
Phra Khru got ideas from the Rose Garden to develop Wat Ambhavan and to make it resemble the Rose Garden. Actually, the neatness, the order and the cleanness in a temple area are important to the peaceful atmosphere o every temple.
The traditional New Year blessing for everyone is to wish them beauty, health and prosperity. Everyone is to live long, be attractive, be healthy and be prosperous. However, the people who receive this blessing should be good, too. They should also respect the right people, those who have the three good qualifications: good birth, good age and morals. The respect should be given physically, verbally and mentally. The audience should always respect those people in or outside their presence. Moreover, they should have gratitude and return favors to those who have helped or been good to them.
Respect consists of five aspects: paying homage, courtesy, worship, esteem and obedience. Paying homage means paying respect by using joss sticks and candles, or it can simple mean paying attention. Courtesy means bowing or being grateful to persons who do favors for you. Esteem means using the respected man’s good behavior as your guide or following his principle of life as your role model. Obedience means following his direction. You should be grateful to him, too.
There are four kinds of persons or things that are good or useful to you: humans, animal, homeland and utensils. Humans have to rely on each other. Even bodily organs have to co-operate. For example, you have to use your five fingers together to pick up things. Body and mind have to work together in order to have a successful result. Everybody has equal human rights but people can be different in their prestige. Some people do not have prestige, so they do not have perseverance to help them accomplish a successful work. Animals have feelings too. They can be useful to their owners. Our homeland is good to us because it provides jobs and can make us wealthy. All utensils are useful and provide convenience to us. If they are broken we will not have anything to help us. All these things are useful.
Beside these four good things, we must live our lives meaningfully. Have hope, work eagerly, do not do a job just to get it done. The results, good or bad, belong to us. Therefore, we should work at full capacity. Let the others see the benefits of our work. If we are not well known for our good work, nobody will offer a job to us. Money, fame and love can be considered as our capital. We should have love so we can happily work with others. We should build up these three kinds of capital, especially, fame and respect. We must keep our word and be honest too.
The Buddha taught us to be diligent. Some people like to rest all the time. Please do not forget that the more we sharpen our knife, the sharper it becomes. The more we use our brain, the more effective the brain is. The more we rest, the more foolish we become. The more we work, the longer live we will live. The job you do will make you become wiser. You should remember these good principles of life: “Diligence, clean work, cleverness, carefulness, honesty, morality, right behavior, effective mindfulness and good thought.” If you can maintain all these nine principles, you will be prosperous and successful.
One’s prosperity results from his or her gratitude, and returning the favor to the person who has been good to or done favors for them. You should work hard no matter whether your employers are present or not. The Rose Garden will be prosperous and the owner will be happy. I hope everybody lives his life toward success. If you can do what I have taught, I am sure you will obtain the four blessings: long life, beauty, good health and prosperity…..
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