Chapter 09: Four Foundations of Mindfulness Prevents Unhappy Existence
December 9, 1987
Dear fellows, please be aware that karma, virtue and sin do exist and have consequences. Lord of the Underworld or the ruler of the kingdom of death does not record these actions. It is everybody’s mind that records one’s action every single minute, at all times. When the consciousness leaves the body, the Law of Karma is at work. Virtue results in existence in heaven. Evil acts result in existence in hell.
I have thought about this phenomenon and I don’t think that heaven is in the sky, or hell is underground. There is an example that I taught my students. This incident happened when I stayed at Wat Promburi. A Chinese guy named Mr. Lenghuay had committed suicide by hanging himself. After that a strange phenomenon happened to a Thai woman named Mrs. Phao, who lived in Bang Samrong, Tambon Sawee, Amphur Tahgung, Changwat Lopburi. She had strange behavior, for she could suddenly speak Chinese, which she had never been able to speak before. After talking to her, the onlookers believed that she was possessed by Mr. Lenghuay’s spirit. They came to the temple and asked me to expel the ghost.
I do not have any Pali verse to expel ghost; however, I can be an exorcist by pouring sacred water on that person. He will cry and scream whether a ghost possesses him or not. This kind of person will cry when they are wet. I know how to handle both cases.
There is no need for any Pali verse in dealing with a person who has lost control of his mind. We have to just spray water on him and he will helplessly scream because he can’t hold conscious. Ghosts can easily possess people who lose control of their mind. People with good mindfulness will not scream. This is an advantage of maintaining mindfulness.
When I arrived at the scene, I found that Mrs. Phao could only speak Chinese. I had someone fetch my uncle-in-law, Mr. Liangkiak, to be an interpreter. Then I knew that the spirit of Mr. Lenghuay possessed Mrs. Phao. He said that there was no need to chase him away and that he stayed at a place near Wat Promburi with “Huay Sia Tao”.
“Who is Huay Sia Tao? Why do you stay with him?” I asked.
“He was Luang Tah Mod who used to be abbot of Wat Klang Promnakorn to the north of Paak Bang downtown. We now have to dig the ground and do road construction every day. If we stop, they will cane us,” he said.
I asked whether anybody knew anything about Luang Tah Mod. Mr. Buaheng, an old man from Paak Bang downtown, told me that there was a “Huay Sia Tao” named Abbot Mod who used to be an abbot of Wat Klang. The abbot wanted to build a building for the temple, but a temple warden cheated the temple out of all the donated money. He was so upset that he committed suicide by hanging himself.
It is a shame that an abbot committed suicide. If he had practiced vipassana meditation, he would never have killed himself. He has been dead for fifty years and his spirit is still in that area. The story matched with what Mr. Lenghuay had told us.
“Why are you here?” I asked.
“I want to tell my granddaughter that I can’t receive the merit she made for me. It is useless,” he said.
“Do you have anything to eat?” I continued asking.
“Huay Sia Tao and I have to look for food in the garbage. We eat with worms,” he said.
“Why can’t you eat good food?” I asked.
“No one gives us any food. Others who also help construct the roads can eat good food, but not us. We have to eat whatever is thrown away. Please tell my granddaughter, Jia, that I can’t receive the merit she made for me. Huay Sia Tao Mod tole me if my granddaughter wants to help me she should practice vipassana meditation and radiate the merit to me and then I can receive it,” he said.
Mr. Lenghuay told why he had committed suicide. His granddaughter had not given him money to buy opium. He needed five Baht every day to buy some. He had to carry water from the well for her to make goodies for sale. He received money when he did his chore, but didn’t get any if he didn’t carry water. He was so sorry and upset that he committed suicide. In the world of the death he was very hungry because nobody gave him any food.
Huay Sia Tao told him that he could receive merit when his relatives radiated the merit resulting from practiceing vipassana meditation. “Hual Sia Tao was a monk and abbot. Why did he not practice vipassana meditation but commit suicide?” I aslked.
“He just didn’t do it,” he answered.
I took note and have remember this until present.
“Where do you stay?” I continued asking.
“I stayed right here and see you every day. I greet you and ask you where you are going, but you do not answer me,” he said.
Then I realized that he saw and greeted us when we walked by, but we did not know.
“Where is the road that you are constructing?” I asked.
He pointed at some place, but I did not see any road in that direction.
“Tell me about you condition,” I continue the conversation.
“They allowed us to stop working on holy day and the day before holy day. Today is the day before holy day and we are allowed to rest. I ran away and came here to tell what I need. I must hurry back before they know that I am here. If they know this, they will cane me,” he said.
This is how this event happened. That day Mrs. Phao rowed her boat to Paak Bang market in order to buy ingredients for making a special Thai desert, rice crispy, which is normally made in the tenth month of the Lunar calendar for the Sart ceremony. She happened to dock her boat at the place where Mr. Lenghual had hanged himself. He simply jumped onto he boat and possessed her.
After the ghost had left Mrs. Phao, I spoke a little Chinese to her, but she could not understand any and she could not speak Chinese. I also told Mrs. Jia, Mr. Lenghuay’s granddaughter, that he wanted her to help him by practicing vipassana meditation and dedicating the merits to him. Anyway she did not believe me and said that I was out of my mind.
The reason why I had acted as if I were an exorcist was I wanted to prove whether ghosts really exist. From the event, I can conclude that people who committed suicide cannot receive the merit that their relatives do for them. They can only receive the merit when their relatives practice vipassana meditation and dedicate the merit to them. It is all right, whether you believe or not. You can simply practice vipassana meditation and obtain the advantage of the merit.
I have another example of the merit of practicing vipassana meditation. There was a convicted man to whom we taught vipassana meditation and practiced in jail. After practicing for a while, he had terrible pains in his neck and legs. His neck was also bruised. After he acknowledged that pain, he could recall the bad karma he did. He stole a heavy golden necklace by violently snatching it from the owner’s neck, also kicking his victim. After recognition of his bad karma, he was very sorry and apologized for his bad karma. He vowed that he would never do such a cruel thing anymore. The pain suddenly went away. This is the Law of Karma that reveals itself as “vedana”.
“Luang Poh I would like to express my impression. I have thoroughly thought of what I will do after I serve my term in the jail. I will ask for forgiveness from the victim whom I had hurt. Then, I will visit and pay respect to my parents. After that I will honestly earn my living and take good care of my wife and children,” he said to me.
Now he is liberated and has done what he told me. I would like you to think about what I have taught you. I have evidence for both events.
Today I am glad for you because you have done great merit by practicing vipassana meditation, especially by the method of the Four Foundation of Midfulness. Using this method, you use you wisdom to observe the body, feelings, mind and Dhamma (your understanding of nature consequence). You have full mindfulness when you observe yourself in standing, walking, sitting and lying down.
If you heartily practice until you reach the fruitful state of vipassana meditation, I can guarantee that you can close the door on Unhappy Existence. You will never be born in hell, as a hungry ghost existence, a demon existence or and animal.
Why is that? It is because you can acknowledge defilements. As soon as the defilement, such as greed, anger and ignorance, arise in your mind, you acknowledge it and it will cease.
When someone dies while his spirit is being possessed with greed, he will be born as a hungry ghost. While the spirit is being possessed with anger, he will br botn in hell. If the spirit accumulates much ignorance, he will be born as an animal.
If you maintain the Four Foundations of Mindfulness and have good mindfulness, you will never be born in the four evil states. Your sense-fields are closed from being a hell creature, a hungry ghost, a demon and an animal.
May the merit you have performed during this two to three days of meditation bless you with eternal happiness. May all of you have perseverance in fighting with all sufferings and problems until you reach the shore of success, which is the Final Goal.
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