Chapter 02: The Pilgrim Birds at Wat Ambhavan
Today I am going to tell a wonderful story about birds that make merit at Wat Ambhavan. This story can signify the law of karma
There are six groups of ten thousand birds, mostly mynas, that fly to Wat Ambhavan every year for the past fifteen years. They come here on Asalhapuja Day ( the full moon day of the eight lunar month ) and stay until the middle of November. At the end of the rainy season, they fly back to their habitats.
They come from different areas, i.e., Chiangmai, Prae, Nan, Petchaboon, Chaibadan and Bang-Pa-In. They teach their offspring to keep this tradition. These birds have short lives because they are shot down by bad guys or die from diseases. Most of them die before they are 10 years old.
They perch on trees at six different places at this temple: beside the uposatha hall, the auditorium, my residence, the meditators’ residence, the kitchen and the dining hall. They make a lot of noise, communicating among themselves for three to four hours before they sleep.
During the day time they fly to Kampangpetch, Uttaradit, and Prae to get food. How do I know about this? Here is the incident.
Some birds had broken legs and I took care of them by putting some oil and wrapping the broken legs with yellow fabric stripes. One day I went to two army bases in Changwat Pitsanulok: King Naret Army Base and Prince Ekatotsarod Army Base. I taught the Dhamma to the soldiers there. On the way back, I stopped by a small forest along the side of the road near Changwat Nakornsawan. I saw a group of mynas and recognized that they were one of the six pilgrim bird groups from Wat Ambhavan. I recognized the yellow fabric wrapped around some of the birds’ legs. They flew about me, so I talked to them.
“Birds, go ahead to Wat Ambhavan.”
Later, we got in our car, continued our trip and arrived at Wat Ambhavan after the birds.
The birds wake up at 4 a.m., that is the same time as the monks. When the monks chant the morning ritual, the birds make some noise showing their welcome, they they fly away to seek for food.
When they come back in the evening, they leader of the group checks the birds to see how many have died. They make a lot of noise for a while before they sleep. After that the birds stay quietly throughout the night. The birds take care of each other. They have unity! Sometimes the birds wake up when thieves entered the temple.
Sometimes there are monks from other temples who do not behave properly. For example, they improperly wore their ropes, clasped hands and shouted. The birds flew up and asked each other:
“Eh! Our monks should not behave like this.”
“Look carefully, they are not monks of this temple,” the leader bird answered.
So the birds were quiet again.
How can they come here to make merit every year for fifteen years? They observe the precepts ( good conduct, morality ) while they are staying here.
They tell their offspring to come here.
“Dear kids, you have to come to Wat Ambhavan to observe precepts and make merit. You must come here every year even after we die.”
Parents die, their offspring keep the tradition of coming here every year. They stay here and observe precepts until the middle of November. They fly back to their habitats after the annual robe offering. The last group leaves for Bang-Pa-In.
There was a wonderful event that told us that the mynus from Bang-Pa-In, which is in the south of this temple.
On March 1989, Mrs. Talip Pansuphon from Bang-Pa-In came here and told us this wonderful true event about her talking myna.
Three years ago, a myna chick fell out of a tree in her back yard. Her son-in-law took care of its wounds and kept it. When it grew up, it could talk.
One day everybody went out to work in the rice paddy except Mrs. Talip, who was 75 years old. The myna talked to her.
“Old mother, please give me some rice. I am hungry.”
“Bird, I cannot get up because I ame very sick and tired. I have asthma, allergy and leg pain. I am not strong enough to bring you food,” she answered.
“Old mother, please eat first then bring me some rice,” the bird said.
“Bird, I really can’t get up. My legs are very painful. Wait until others come back then you can have your food.”
“Old mother, go to Wat Tippawan in Changwat Sard. You will get over this sickness,” the bird said.
When her daughter came back, Mrs, Talip told her about the bird.
“How can you believe it? It has never been out of the cage.”
“Well, then how can it tell me to go to Wat Tippawan.”
The following day, everybody went out to the rice paddy. The myna asked for food again, but Mrs. Talip could not get up.
“Old mother, please go to Wat Tippawan in Changwat Sard.”
She told her daughter again, but this time her niece, who was a student at Chomsurang School in Ayudhya, was visiting them. The girl knew Wat Ambhavan because she had joined in school activities there.
“It must be Wat Ambhavan in Changwat Singhburi. I practiced vipassana meditation there for many days,” she said.
“Bird, if I can find this temple and get cured, I will give you a big banana.”
The bird looked happy.
Later, Mrs. Talip asked a neighbor to accompany her and found their way to Wat Ambhavan. They finally arrived here at 2 a.m. and met me. I thought she could be cured. So, I gave her some herbal medicine; dry lemon grass tea, a bottle of oil for rubbing and two packs of powdered medicine. I followed up her case and discovered that she was healthy again.
The myna could tell Mrs. Talib to come here and get cured. I think this is because it learned from its parents. I feel sorry for the mynas and want to honor them for teaching their offspring to keep the tradition of retreat here fro more than ten years.
I had audio-recorded the conversation between me and Mrs. Talip of Bang-Pa-In about her talking myna. It is one evidence of the “law of karma”. The birds came here to do good deeds but many humans, do not want to practice meditation, which is good for their own wisdom.
Now, it is getting late and I am going to finish my talk soon. Tonight I must work until 3 a.m. in order to get all my work done. I have to do it even if I am not as young as you are. This is because it is very important to keep my word. Please keep your word, do what you promise. Your word will have its own power and you will be successful. If you can’t, you will not get what you want nor you will be rich.
I bless you with happiness, prosperity, good health, long life, wisdom and wealth.
Everybody knows that Luang Poh Jarun’s Wat Ambhavan in Singhburi has another name, “Wat Pamamuong” ( Mango Forest ). However, a grateful myna called it “Wat Tippawan”, the wat where angels stay.
If you are interested in this event, please read the following story.
Mrs. Talip Pansuphon, aged 75 years old, of House Number 35, Moo Number 8, Tambon Klong Jig, Amphur Bang-Pa-In, Changwat Ayudhya and her neighbor Mrs. Thongproey Suvannuj visited the abbot of Wat Ambhavan on March 24, 1989. Believing in the information from her talking myna, they found their way to Wat Ambhavan. Luang Poh had taped-recorded their conversation. Here is the manuscript of this record.
Mrs. Talip : Luang Poh, I am sick. I have seen a doctor but that didn’t help. Luang Poh : (Phra Rajsuddhinanamonkol) : What did he say?
Mrs. Talip : She said that my illness could not be cured.
Luang Poh : What are your symptoms?
Mrs. Talip : I am very tired and always choke.
Luang Poh : Can you eat?
Mrs. Talip : I can’t because I feel very full.
Luang Poh : Do you have constipation?
Mrs. Talip : No sir. One time I was so tired that I passed out. The doctor gave me tow shots. Excuse me sir, I woke up the next morning with stool under me and I didn’t know how it happened.
Luang Poh : Where were you, at the hospital or at home?
Mrs. Talip : At home, sir.
Luang Poh : Who was the doctor?
Mrs. Talip : She was a public health nurse, named Ta.
Luang Poh : Oh!
Mrs. Talip : I have a wonderful myna.
Luang Poh : What about it?
Mrs. Talip : A few years ago, it rained so hard that a twig broke and a myna chick fell from that tree. My son-in-law picked it up and wrapped it with cloth to keep it warm. The following morning we fed it rice. It had a white beak and had almost no feathers. We raised it up until it is full grown. This year it talked to me.
“Old mother, please give me some rice.”
“Bird, I am so sick and tired that I could not walk.”
“Please eat, please eat.”
“I could not eat anything.”
“Go to Wat Tippawan at Changwat Sard,” the bird said.
I told the event to my daughter in the evening
“I do not believe it because it has never been out of its cage. How can it know? It think it just babbles,” she said.
I was not sure what to believe, so I stopped talking about this event. Last week, my granddaughter visited me. She is a student at Chomsurang Uppatum School in Ayudhya. She joined in her school activities, that is coming here for practicing vipassana meditation. She thought that Wat Tippawan might be the same wat as Wat Ambhavan, in Changwat Singhburi. She told me about Wat Ambhavan and Luang Poh, the abbot of this temple and the amazing tamarind tree. She had picked some of the fruits from that tree and opened it at home. She found strange figures inside. It looked like a head and two ears. I want to come here because I respect you. I asked my neighbor, Mrs. Thongproey Suvannuj, to accompany me in travelling to this temple.
“Have you ever gone to that temple?” she asked.
“No, but I really want to go there. The myna said the temple’s name and my granddaughter suggested that it might be this temple.”
Luang Poh : Can the myna talk?
Mrs. Talip : Yes, Luang Poh.
Luang Poh : What did it say?
Mrs. Talip : It said, “Old mother, Tabtim,” “Saichon eat rice”
Luang Poh : It can talk and it also told you to come to this temple?
Mrs. Talip : Yes, Luang Poh. It told me to go to Wat Tippawan at Changwat Sard, but I did not know where it is.
Mrs. Thongproey : I asked several people where Wat Tippawan was. Nobody knew. However, they know Wat Ambhavan in Changwat Singhburi
Luang Poh : Yes, there is only Wat Ambhavan that is very old because it was built in the Ayudhya Period.
Mrs. Talip : I wanted to tell you about this bird if I could find you.
Luang Poh : Does the myna often talk, or it talked only when you got sick?
Mrs. Talip : Yes, it talked when I got sick. It asked for rice but I could not give any to it. It told me to to to Wat Tippawan at Changwat Sard.
Luang Poh : The bird seems to know something.
Mrs. Talip : Yes, Luang Poh. We have never let it out of its cage.
Luang Poh : It must be tame.
Mrs. Talip : Yes, Luang Poh.
Luang Poh : Do you do housework?
Mrs. Talip : No, Luang Poh. My children do not let me work or cook. They say that I am very old.
Luang Poh : Did you find your way here because you believe the myna?
Mrs. Talip : Yes, Luang Poh. It said, “Old mother please go there.”
Luang Poh : O.K. I will give you an ancient medicinal cure, so you can prepare it yourself at your home. Chop lemon grass stems. Use only the stems. Do not use leaves or roots. Dry them in the sunlight. Roast them on a pan until they are yellow. Keep them in a container. Make a hot drink by brewing some with hot water. Brew it in the same way as you make hot tea. Drink it often. You will soon recover from your tiredness and leg pain. Do you think you can find lemon grass? It is the same one that you use for cooking.
Mrs. Talip : Luang Poh, I really want to get over this illness because I do not want to be a burden to my children.
Luang Poh : Do you have rice paddy?
Mrs. Talip : No, Luang Poh, I do not own any rice paddy. I used to have twenty-five rai, but I gave eleven rai to my son and fourteen rai to my daughter. My son sends me few a hundred Baht every month.
Luang Poh : Don’t forget to chop the lemon grass stems, dry in the sunlight, bake or roast until they are yellow. Brew them in the same way as you brew tea. Drink it regularly, like drinking water.
Mrs. Talip : Luang Poh, one time I went to a temple in Ayudhya, and a man said to me, “Old lady, in your past birth you used to give money to your daughter and she buried it in the ground somewhere. It is still there, even after she died. If you build a spirit house, she will return the money to you.” Do you think what the man said is true?
Luang Poh : No! It is non-sense. We are Buddhist, we respect the Buddha and chant the Buddhist verses. Why do we have to build a spirit house? For whom? Oh! Humans! They have so mny tricks to cheat others.
Mrs. Talip : Oh! Then it is not true.
Luang Poh : I will give you two bags of powdered medicine that I made. It will help blood circulation. You have to mix it with honey and take it before bedtime. Take the yellow powder every morning.
Mrs. Talip : I heard that you have some rubbing oil.
Luang Poh : Yes, I have. You can get some from my assistant tomorrow morning. Rub the oil into your arms and legs to relieve the pain. And if you regularly drink the lemon grass tea, you will get over the pain soon.
Mrs. Talip : My relative also has numbness in her legs.
Luang Poh : Drink a lot of lemon gress tea. You will get over this illness. This lemon grass tea drink can help clear your bronchitis. If you cannot breath well, you will have asthma.
Mrs. Talip : Oh! I know how tiring it is.
Luang Poh : Keep on drinking the lemon grass tea and you will no longer faint.
Mrs. Talip : After all, I want to tell you that I came here because the myna said to come to this temple.
Luang Poh : It is good that the myna told you to come here, and it is your own virtue that will help you get over your illness soon. Tomorrow morning, please ask my assistant for two bottles of rubbing oil, one for each of you. And don’t forget to drink a lot of lemon grass tea. It can cure many diseases, such as leg pain, fainting, cancer and digestive system disorders. Drink it instead of drinking water.
Mrs. Talip : Yes, Luang Poh.
Tape-recorded on 11th May, 1989.
Later; we visited Mrs. Talip at Ayudhya. We met her, her daughter, her grand children and neighbors. We took pictures of the myna and Mrs. Talip. We also talked to it.
“Bird, we came from Wat Ambhavan and want to take your pictures. So, Dress up!”
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