Chapter 12: Teaching newly ordained Monks in the Vassa of 1989
Today is the Buddhist holy day, the 8th lunar day of the month. So, it is not uposatha day. Thus, I would like to ask leave from the Sangha. I am going to give a sermon in Pitsanulok, starting from 8.30 am. After the sermon, I will be training them in walking meditation for an hour and sitting meditation for an hour. After that, I will return as soon as I can, leaving them to practice on their own in the afternoon. I would like to inform you that I hope to return in time to perform evening chanting together. If I can’t, please go ahead.
Yesterday I went to give a sermon and received the four requisites, amounting to almost 20,000 baht. I donated it to them, not bringing anything back. When I go out, please do not think I bring anything back. When I go out please do not think I get any money for the temple. On the contrary, I give it to them. Yesterday I also helped them with 12 bundles of tea leaves.
You can all remember my word “black stream”. A miser is similar to the inflow of water without drainage. When the well is full, no extra water can flow in. The water will become putrid. Suppose our house is a well of water. When water flows in and there is no way out, it will be stale before long. It is so full that no water can flow in anymore and the owner is so stingy as to not let it flow out. So, it will be stagnant before long.
Some monks collect so many things:- kerosene, powdered milk and plenty of the four requisites. They are bound to become putrid. I regard a miser who collects many things and does not want to make merit as having no drainage. One day or other he is bound to be smelly.
Yesterday they sympathized with me because I went to help teach for two and-a-half hours without taking any requisites at all. With faith, the patrons contributed towards construction of the Hall there. So, I get more merit. On top of that, faith happened to arise in the mind of the patrons in Bangkok who contributed 20,000 baht to build the Hall. I get the money without any effort. Just have faith and be kind hearted. Money and gold will stream in.
If you pay attention to meditation and are restrained, you will gain. Money will flood in and gold will stream in after you have disrobed.
Once you are a monk, it is more than enough if you observe the vinaya and the four precepts religiously. The four precepts are :-
1. Patimokkhasam. varasi-la (Restraint according to the Fundamental Precepts)
2. Indri-yasamvarasi-la (Sense-Restraint Precepts)
3. A-ji-vapa-risuddhisi-la (Purity of Conduct Connected with Livelihood)
4. Paccayasannissitasi-la (Conduct Connected with the Four Requisites)
If you do not observe the precepts, I shall not say anything. I shall let you do so. But you will be dirty corporeally, verbally and mentally. Your house will also be dirty. If you set up a family, hell creatures will be born as your children. They will be stubborn and keep arguing with you all the time. If you are clean and mindfully observe the precepts, when you disrobe and rejoin the laity, a sage will be born in your household. Your children will be important people. You have the right to choose. You can be jovial when you are a monk, be heedless of your preceptor’ s preaching and you will make your own karma.
I have said that I have never taken off my robes since I was ordained, except when taking a bath. I always wear them, even when it is so warm that I perspire a lot. I make it a habit to always wear my robes. Contemplate ‘Pat.isan.kha-yo ajamaya- yatha- paccayam. .’ Be restrained every day. If you practice so, I can assure you that your mind will be meritorous. You will be happy in the future.
If you contemplate on reviewing the Four Requisites all the time, then you will be graceful and behave well in whatever you do. After leaving the monkhood you will be wealthy. You will not be obstructed. Your life will be smooth. If you farm, you will get good crops. If you work in an orchard, your trees will be healthy. If you trade, you will make a lot of profit. If a civil servant, you will rise to a high rank.
Should you not observe the reviewing of the Four Requisites while being a monk, you will face a lot of obstacles. Even if you are a civil servant, you will not be given a good post. It is just like being an officer without a specific duty. You will have no authority. Sometimes you will even not have a desk in the office. If you are a teacher, your job will be so…so.
I used to tell participants in meditation training sessions why Mr. Saman Saengmali, who had been a primary school teacher, ended up being the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education. Why had he become powerful?
I have practiced the above since I was a newly ordained monk. I followed the instruction given by my preceptor, Luang Poh Dee at Wat Chaeng, the one to whom I took you to pay pamsukula homage. He would be more that a hundred years old if he were still alive now.
The other day I went to make merit in honour of the late Sangharaja, Somdej Phra Ariyavam. sa-gata๑a-n.a, of Wat Rajabopitara Sathitmahasimaram. I donated 20,000 baht to pay pamsukula homage and build a pagoda in commemoration of him. He stayed 90 years in the monkhood. I contributed toward building his image.
When he visited our temple, it didn’t matter to me if we are rich or poor. I told the Governor that I would help, contributing 700,000 baht to build the hospital in his honor. I was satisfied with the merit made. Then I could help more with the pagoda and hospital equipment. Mrs. Oonruan one of my disciples also helped a lot.
He had visited Oonruan’ s house. He felt sorry that her house had caught fire. At that time I had gone to China to chant in commemoration of the 1,200-year estblishment of Tai Ngang Temple. Here my disciple’s house burned down. The Supreme Patriarch offered his good will by renaming the shop “Ravi-apapun ” and presided over the opening ceremony.
This is continuity in the goodness of a person. Goodness of a person is like yeast. It can produce wine. Badness of a person is like bacteria, fermenting away to become vinegar. It cannot become wine at all. I would like to leave you this.
In your own mind, every one of you knows how well you behave. You know if you practise meditation or not, are composed or not, and are sinful or not. It depends on you. Your deeds are like your own shadow following you.
I have noticed several former novices. Some are now prosperous. When they left the monkhood to be traders, they became rich overnight. One of the novices from this temple went abroad after leaving the monkhood. He wrote me a letter asking me to send the Law of Karma volume III. He told me that he worked for a company as well as did trading on his own. Several of his relatives subsequently went to live with him. America allowed them to stay. Now he is very rich, with 3 houses. When he was a monk he was very attentive. Whatever he did in my presence, he also did in my absence. I can assure you that you can be really prosperous after leaving the monkhood.
Suppose you as an appointed Sangha member practise the Tisikkha‐ religiously according to what I as your preceptor have taught you on your ordination day. You will do well. If you are mindful when you turn or move, you will be graceful inside and outside. When you leave you will take wealth with you. Wherever you go and whatever you do you will be successful.
I thank those who observe the Tisikkha‐. You have not wasted your time becoming a monk. There are many such monks in this assembly. You will not waste your time at all. You will gain from being a monk. When you disrobe you will take merit with you to become wealthy. You will be rich.
Do all of you want to be rich? Do you want to have money? Since you are still in the world, not an arahant yet, you still want to be rich, beautiful and good. Does anyone want to wither or be impoverished?
It is important to establish the right cause. If we establish the cause for poverty, then it will make us poor. Being at our wits’ end, not being composed and not being mindful of our duty makes us completely poor. If we establish a good cause through meditation, our mind is good. We can be successful in everything we think about. If our mind is bad, we cannot be successful. We are bound to face obstacles and problems. You will realize that after leaving the monkhood. You will realize that you will not get the results of your effort like others.
Sometimes the adjacent farm has a good crop but yours is infected by plantlice. There is always difficulty. The next door shop has good sales but you cannot sell one thing even though you are selling the same product. Maybe your product quality is better, but the other shop can still sell more. If you reflect on why that is so, you will know the reason why.
So, people cannot be equally well off. It depends on their merit or demerit. If they have done good things, they will become happy and successful. If they have done bad things, they will become sad and full of grief. It boils down to this.
I have said that heaven is open as well as rich men’s houses. Doesn’ t anyone want to be born in such places. But the jail is shut. Why are a lot of people jailed? It is closed. How can people be jailed? People don’t really want to enter the places that are opened.
Doing good is not all that simple, yet not all that difficult. It is neither too hard nor too easy. Doing bad takes effort, just as doing good does. You can choose for yourself. Since you have to make effort anyway, spend your time anyway, it is better to be on the good side than the bad. No matter how much effort it takes, it is better to be good. Putting in so much effort to get the bad is not worth it.
I have always reviewed my teaching since I have been a preceptor. I have tried to teach the same thing. How should my pupils be composed, how to practice. I’ve taught you all. Can it inspire your thought?
I talk about it again now because I have pity. I don’t want you to be sinful.
After leaving the monkhood you can be rich and famous.
I can do everything I teach. I can really do it. If I have not finished my work, I do not eat. I haven’t had a meal for two days now. You can ask the boys. I have been writing all the time. Then I come down to greet visitors.
A certain officer of the rank of General brought his car to be anointed. I had helped him, until he has become a General. He thought of me and came to visit, telling me that though he had not enough cash on him he would transfer 10,000 baht to help building the Hall. You see! I gain every day. The mind of a good, wise person grows.
The mind of a bad, stupid person stagnates. Performing bad deeds causes the mind to stop. Then you will despair and end up as a vagabond. I have taught about this for a long time, not just today.
Talking about amulets, some come from an ancient cache yet are not popular. Look for a newer cache that is more popular. Choose the correct type. Is it good to follow the example of a useless old monk? If you do so, you will not gain or accomplish wisdom.
A good, wise person is composed and aware. Then an intelligent mind arises. “Who has sharpened the thorn? Who has lathed the perfectly round and smooth lime fruit?” A person who has good facial features cannot be bad. Any person who has the figure 16 in has birth chart always prospers either as a monk or a layperson. Talking about fortune telling, anyone who has the figure 16 or a line across zero will always become prosperous. But if the line is crooked, he cannot be good.
I always teach that everyone’s life chart line is crooked. We have to straighten it out. The mind goes up and down according to pre-destined fate, up and down, good and bad. Since our minds are crooked we have to use meditation to be aware of it. Use the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. Be mindful. Contemplate.
If you can contemplate, your life chart line will be straightened. Your mind will not go up and down anymore. Do good for your fate. Do not wait for the fate to become good.
A person has to be good all rounded, be able to face many kinds of environments, and have general knowledge. Not only specific knowledge, but you also have to have general knowledge as well. If people gamble on the lottery, you should know how. General knowledge is important. Piles of knowledge flooding one ’s head can drown a person. No knowledge can be better than education. Like Sunthorn Phoo’s verses tell us:
Being dependable, dependants love you.
Should your power dwindle
hey vanish, not being by your side.
But knowledge helps a person ‘til death
It is good to have knowledge. Wisdom is with you. Knowledge is in the textbook. Anyone who wants to be educated can study it.
But what kind of text would you like to study? Any branch of knowledge cannot beat the knowledge to save yourself. Know how to hide in the wing. Know how to avoid is the tail feather. I would like to leave you this so that you can escape from danger. Do not be stupid enough to be seen.
Being too unduly proud is not good either. I was scolded that I was conceited like a scorpion, uselessly arrogant. Luang Poh Derm used to scold me because he tried to give me the spells for keeping elephants, spells for attracting wild elephants and spells for taming elephants in rut. I did not want them then. I only wanted a lady-charming spell because I thought I would leave the monkhood soon. Luang Poh Derm said, “You are conceited like a scorpion. The elder gives it to you knowing that you have to use it. Are you still being conceited?” I relate to you what I have been through.
My grandfather taught me the saying “dog’s brain, buffalo’s wisdom”. I was scolded with that phrase. So, I relate to you bits and pieces. I will be contented if you can remember only one point. Hoping that you can pick up the temple’ s way as well.
I tell you this just in case it can be your food for thought taken with you because your disrobing day is coming soon.
So, you will love me later. When your tears run down from grief you will think of Luang Poh at Wat Ambavana. If you go out to be comfortable you may forget and never return. I don’t blame you. But come back if you are in trouble and cannot solve a problem on your own. Come back and I will help.
There is no such word as ‘wait a while’. Teach your descendants in the future. Do not wait and they will be rich and prosper. Every man of wisdom, scrutinize this with your own wisdom.
I have good wishes for you. I want everyone of you to prosper. I wish every one of my pupils to have large houses like manors, palaces or temples after leaving the monkhood.
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