You are on page 1of 714


VVenerable Acariya Mun

[with Photographs]
[with Photographs][with Photographs]
A Spiritual Biography by
Acariya Maha Boowa Nanasampanno
B##$ %&B'A'(
)mail* b+ea,bu++hanet-net
.eb site* www-bu++hanet-net
Bu++ha Dharma +ucation Association &nc-
Venerable /cariyaMun
Bh0ri+atta !hera
Venerable /cariyaMun
Bh0ri+atta !hera
an+ printe+ 1or 1ree +istribution only2
Venerable /cariya Mun
Bh0ri+atta !hera
A Spiritual Biography
/cariya Mah3 Boowa 435asampanno
!ranslate+ 1rom the !hai
Bhi66hu Dic6 S7laratano
8orest Dhamma o1

.at Pa Baan !aa+
!H&S B##$ MUS! B 9&VN A.A( 8'
:opyright ;<<= > by
Venerable /cariya Mah3 Boowa 435asampanno
!his boo6 is a 1ree gi1t o1 Dhamma? an+ may not be
o11ere+ 1or sale? 1or as the Venerable /cariya Mah3
Boowa 435asampanno has sai+? @Dhamma has a
Aalue beyon+ all wealth an+ shoul+ not be sol+ li6e
goo+s in a mar6et place-B
'epro+uction o1 this boo6? in whole or in part? by
any means? 1or sale or material gain is prohibite+-
Permission to reprint in whole or in part 1or 1ree
+istribution as a gi1t o1 Dhamma? howeAer? is hereby
grante+? an+ no 1urther permission nee+ be obtaine+-
But 1or the electronic repro+uction or +istribution o1
this boo6? permission must 1irst be obtaine+-
&nCuiries may be a++resse+ to*
.at Pa Baan !aa+? Baan !aa+?
Ampher Meuang? U+orn !hani? DE<<< !hailan+
Venerable /cariya Mun Bh0ri+atta !hera* by
Venerable /cariya Mah3 Boowa 435asampanno-
8irst +ition* ;<<=
Printe+ by* Silpa Siam Pac6aging F Printing :o- %t+-
#11icial Mah3 Boowa .ebsite*
!ranslatorJs &ntro+uction ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Kii
About the Author ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KKiA
AuthorJs Pre1ace --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- E
!he arly (ears
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ;
!he Prophecy -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- D
!he Sign ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ L
/cariya Sao $antas7lo --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ;<
Sari6a :aAe --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- =M
!he S3Aa6a Arahants ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MN
!he Mi++le (ears ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ O;
!he Dhutanga Practices ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- L;
A Mon6Js 8ear o1 9hosts ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- ND
%ocal :ustoms an+ Belie1s --------------------------------------------------------------------- E<N
Har+ship an+ DepriAation ---------------------------------------------------------------------- E;L
9ra+uate+ !eaching ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ED=
!he Di11erence is in the Heart -------------------------------------------------------------- EMN
!he .ell)+igging &nci+ent ------------------------------------------------------------------------ EPM
An &mpeccable Human Being --------------------------------------------------------------- EL;
A Heart 'elease+ -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ;<<
!he Spiritual Partner --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ;;O
!he Most Kalte+ Appreciation ------------------------------------------------------------ ;=L
!he :hiang Mai (ears
-------------------------------------------------------------------- ;DN
!he BoKer ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ;P=
!igers in Disguise ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ;OE
Power1ul Magic ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ;LN
Big Brother lephant --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- =<;
(outh1ul Kuberance ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- =EE
!he Mysterious 11ects o1 $amma ------------------------------------------------------ =;E
Hungry 9hosts ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ===
!he Hypercritical N3ga ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- =M<
!he Death o1 the Arahant ----------------------------------------------------------------------- =P;
!he Spiritual .arrior ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- =PL
Unusual Questions? nlightening Answers
------------- =N;
:omplete Sel1)assurance ------------------------------------------------------------------------ =NP
Past %iAes ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- D<O
!he 8inal (ears ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------D;O
8ellowship with Pigs ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- D=O
Harsh !raining Metho+s ------------------------------------------------------------------------- DMP
!he !herapeutic Qualities o1 Dhamma ------------------------------------------ DO=
!igers Ma6e the Best !eachers ----------------------------------------------------------- DLP
His 8inal &llness -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- M<M
!he 8uneral ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- M=E
!he %egacy
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MM<
'elics !rans1orme+ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MM=
#ther Mysteries -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MPL
!he A+Aentures o1 /cariya :hob ------------------------------------------------------- MN<
:onclusion ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- P<L
Appen+iK & --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- P;M
Answering the S6eptics ------------------------------------------------------------------- P;M
Appen+iK && -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- P;N
:itta R !he Min+Js ssential $nowing Nature ------------------ P;N
Ac6nowle+gements --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- P=L
About the !ranslator ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- P=L
Notes -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- P=N
9lossary ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ PPL
During the M< years since his +eath? he has assume+ an
eKalte+ status in Bu++hist circles an+ thus remains an oAersha+owing
presence whose li1e an+ teachings haAe become synonymous
with the Bu++haJs noble Cuest 1or sel1)trans1ormation- &n
recent +eca+es? he has gaine+ recognition beyon+ the con1ines o1
his natiAe lan+ as one o1 the ;<th centuryJs truly great religious
!he story o1 Scariya MunJs li1e is a AiAi+ portrait o1 a consummate
spiritual warrior unriAale+ in mo+ern times who practice+
the Bu++haJs path to 1ree+om with such per1ection that he le1t
those who 6new an+ reAere+ him in no +oubt that he truly was a
Noble +isciple-
!ranslatorJs &ntro+uction
Venerable Scariya Mun BhTri+atta !hera is a towering 1igure in contemporary
!hai Bu++hism- He was wi+ely reAere+ an+ respecte+
+uring his li1etime 1or the eKtraor+inary courage an+ +etermination
he +isplaye+ in practicing the ascetic way o1 li1e an+ 1or his uncompromising
strictness in teaching his many +isciples- During the M< years
since his +eath? he has assume+ an eKalte+ status in Bu++hist circles
an+ thus remains an oAersha+owing presence whose li1e an+ teachings
haAe become synonymous with the Bu++haJs noble Cuest 1or sel1)
Although Scariya Mun Hpronounce+ to rhyme with @sunBI le1t
no written recor+ o1 his own? this biography? compile+ by one o1 his
close +isciples some ;< years a1ter his +eath? is largely responsible 1or
intro+ucing his li1e? his achieAements? an+ his teachings to a broa+
section o1 Bu++hist society- !hrough the wi+esprea+ popularity o1
this boo6? many !hai Bu++hists haAe been giAen 1resh hope that the
spiritual liberation which the Bu++ha proclaime+ to the worl+ oAer
;?M<< years ago? an+ which has been attaine+ by so many aspirants
oAer the succee+ing centuries? is still accessible in to+ayJs mo+ern age-
Many !hais haAe eKpresse+ the Aiew that they ha+ lost con1i+ence
that magga? phala? an+ Nibb7na were still releAant to+ay- But? by rea+ing
Scariya MunJs biography? they realiUe+ that accounts o1 these
eKalte+ attainments are not mere 1ragments o1 ancient history? +ea+
an+ +ry R but a liAing? luminous legacy o1 sel1)transcen+ence accessible
to any in+iAi+ual who is willing an+ able to put 1orth the e11ort
nee+e+ to achieAe them- !hey haAe come to un+erstan+ that Bu++hist
mon6s? with their +istinctiAe robes an+ monastic Aocation? are
not merely clerical 1igures representing the Bu++ha? Dhamma? an+
Sangha* some o1 them are in+ee+ liAing proo1 o1 the !ruth presente+
in the Bu++haJs teaching-
!he noble aim o1 spiritual liberation must be accomplishe+ by
the appropriate means* the Mi++le .ay as taught by the %or+ Bu++ha-
Although the Bu++ha 1orba+e the use o1 sel1)morti1ication as a means
to gain enlightenment? he neAertheless authoriUe+ an+ encourage+
those specialiUe+ ascetic practices? 6nown as +hutangas? that harmoniUe
e11ectiAely with this noble e11ort- !he true Mi++le .ay is not the
smooth path o1 least resistance negotiate+ with easy compromises
an+ happy me+iumsV but rather? it is that path o1 practice which most
e11ectiAely counters the mental +e1ilements that impe+e progress by
resisting the aspirant eAery step o1 the way- !he spiritual path is o1ten
ar+uous? being 1ull o1 har+ship an+ +iscom1ort? while the inner 1orces
oppose+ to success are 1ormi+able? an+ eAen intimi+ating- !hus the
wor6 o1 the spiritual warrior reCuires potent counter measures to subAert
the inertial powers o1 laUiness? craAing? pri+e? an+ sel1)importance-
So the Bu++ha encourage+ mon6s? who were truly 6een on eKtricating
their hearts 1rom the subtlest mani1estations o1 these insi+ious
+e1ilements? to practice the +hutangas- Such ascetic obserAances are
speci1ically +esigne+ to promote simplicity? humility? sel1)restraint? Aigilance?
an+ introspection in a mon6Js eAery+ay li1e? an+ the Bu++ha
was 6nown to praise those mon6s who un+ertoo6 their practice-
8or this reason? the li1estyle o1 a Bu++hist mon6 is 1oun+e+ on
the i+eal o1 li1e as a homeless wan+erer who? haAing renounce+ the
worl+ an+ gone 1orth 1rom the househol+? +resses in robes ma+e 1rom
+iscar+e+ cloth? +epen+s on alms 1or a liAing? an+ ta6es the 1orest as
his +welling place- !his i+eal o1 the wan+ering 1orest mon6 intent on
the Bu++haJs tra+itional spiritual Cuest is epitomiUe+ by the +hutanga
6amma00h7na way o1 li1e-
%i6e +hutanga? 6amma00h7na is a term +esignating a speci1ic
orientation share+ by Bu++hist mon6s who are +e+icate+ to maintaining
an austere me+itatiAe li1estyle- $amma00h7na Hlit- @basis o1
wor6BI +enotes an approach to me+itation practice that is +irecte+
towar+ uprooting eAery aspect o1 gree+? hatre+? an+ +elusion 1rom
the heart an+ thus +emolishing all bri+ges lin6ing the min+ to the
cycle o1 repeate+ birth an+ +eath- $amma00h7na? with its emphasis
on me+itatiAe +eAelopment? an+ +hutanga? with its emphasis on
the ascetic way o1 li1e con+uciAe to intensiAe me+itation? compliment
each other per1ectly in the noble e11ort to transcen+ the cycle
o1 rebirth- !hey? along with the co+e o1 monastic +iscipline? are the
cornerstones on which the e+i1ice o1 a mon6Js practice is erecte+-
Both the letter an+ the spirit o1 this ascetic li1e o1 me+itation
can be 1oun+ embo+ie+ in the li1e an+ teaching o1 Scariya Mun-
8rom the +ay he 1irst or+aine+ until the +ay he passe+ away? his
entire way o1 li1e? an+ the eKample he set 1or his +isciples? were mo+ele+
on the principles incorporate+ in these practices- He is cre+ite+
with reAiAing? reAitaliUing? an+ eAentually populariUing the +hutanga
6amma00h7na tra+ition in !hailan+- !hrough his li1e)long e11orts?
+hutanga mon6s Hor 6amma00h7na mon6s? the two are use+ interchangeablyI
an+ the mo+e o1 practice they espouse became? an+ still
remain? a prominent 1eature o1 the Bu++hist lan+scape there-
Scariya Mun was especially gi1te+ as a motiAator an+ teacher-
Many o1 the mon6s who traine+ +irectly un+er his tutelage haAe +istinguishe+
themselAes by their spiritual achieAements? becoming well)
6nown teachers in their own right- !hey haAe passe+ on his +istinctiAe
teaching metho+s to their +isciples in a spiritual lineage that eKten+s
to the present +ay- As a result? the +hutanga 6amma00h7na mo+e o1
practice gra+ually sprea+ throughout the country? along with Scariya
MunJs eKalte+ reputation- !his nationwi+e acclaim began to escalate
+uring the last years o1 his li1e an+ continue+ to grow a1ter his +eath
until he came to be consi+ere+ a national @saintB by almost unanimous
consent- &n recent +eca+es? he has gaine+ recognition beyon+
the con1ines o1 his natiAe lan+ as one o1 the ;<th centuryJs truly great
religious 1igures-
Scariya MunJs li1e epitomiUe+ the Bu++hist i+eal o1 the wan+ering
mon6 intent on renunciation an+ solitu+e? wal6ing alone
Mon6s i+enti1ication certi1icate o1 /cariya Mun
through 1orests an+ mountains in search o1 seclu+e+ places that o11er
bo+y an+ min+ a calm? Cuiet enAironment in which to practice me+itation
1or the purpose o1 transcen+ing all su11ering- His was a li1e
liAe+ entirely out o1 +oors at the mercy o1 the elements an+ the Aagaries
o1 weather- &n such an enAironment? a +hutanga mon6 +eAelope+
a +eep appreciation o1 nature- His +aily li1e was 1ull o1 1orests an+
mountains? riAers an+ streams? caAes? oAerhanging cli11s? an+ wil+
creatures large an+ small- He moAe+ 1rom place to place by hi6ing
along lonely wil+erness trails in remote 1rontier regions where the
population was sparse an+ Aillage communities 1ar apart- Since his
liAelihoo+ +epen+e+ on the alms 1oo+ he collecte+ 1rom those small
settlements? a +hutanga mon6 neAer 6new where his neKt meal woul+
come 1rom? or whether he woul+ get any 1oo+ at all-
Despite the har+ships an+ the uncertainties? the 1orest was a
home to the wan+ering mon6* it was his school? his training groun+?
an+ his sanctuaryV an+ li1e there was sa1e proAi+e+ that he remaine+
Aigilant an+ 1aith1ul to the principles o1 the Bu++haJs teaching- %iAing
an+ practicing in the relatiAely uncultiAate+? un+omesticate+ rural
bac6water that comprise+ most o1 !hailan+ at the turn o1 the ;<th century?
a +hutanga mon6 li6e Scariya Mun 1oun+ himsel1 wan+ering
through a centuries)ol+ setting little change+ 1rom the time o1 the
Bu++ha ;?M<< years ago-
&t is help1ul to un+erstan+ the temporal an+ cultural bac6groun+
to Scariya MunJs wan+ering li1estyle- !hailan+ in the late
ENth an+ early ;<th centuries was a loose con1e+eration o1 principalities
that were largely inaccessible to the central authority because
most o1 the lan+ was +ensely 1oreste+ an+ paAe+ roa+s were almost
noneKistent- During that perio+? L<W o1 !hailan+Js lan+mass was
blan6ete+ with pristine 1orests o1 mostly +eci+uous har+woo+s an+
thic6 sub)tropical un+ergrowth- !he liAes o1 people in the hinterlan+
areas were sustaine+ by subsistence 1arming an+ the hunting
o1 wil+ animals- !eeming with tigers an+ elephants? the Aast 1orests
were seen as being +angerous an+ 1rightening places? so the inhabitants
ban+e+ together in Aillage communities 1or the sa1ety an+
companionship they proAi+e+- &n the more remote 1rontier regions?
such settlements were o1ten a +ayJs wal6 1rom one another 1ollowing
trails that ma+e their way through uninterrupte+ woo+lan+-
8orests an+ the rhythms o1 nature were +e1ining 1eatures o1
the 1ol6lore an+ culture o1 those har+y people- !o the Aillagers liAing
together in isolate+ communities? the Aast tracts o1 wil+erness were
1orbi++ing? inhospitable territory where wil+ animals roame+ 1reely
an+ maleAolent spirits were sai+ to hol+ sway- !he huge Bengal tigers
in+igenous to that part o1 the worl+ were especially 1earsome- Such
creatures rule+ not only the 1orests but the 1ears an+ 1antasies o1 local
people an+ mon6s ali6e-
Popular 1ear o1 those impenetrable 1orest areas turne+ them
into places o1 isolation an+ solitu+e where no one +are+ to Aenture
alone- &t was in this remote wil+erness enAironment that Scariya
Mun an+ his +hutanga
mon6s liAe+ an+ wan+ere+? practicing the
ascetic way o1 li1e- !heir me+itation practice an+ the mental 1ortitu+e
it instille+ in them were their only +e1ences against the har+ships an+
potential +angers they 1ace+ eAery +ay- 8orests an+ mountains were
proAen training groun+s 1or such mon6s? who saw themselAes as spiritual
warriors battling their own mental +e1ilements 1or the sa6e o1
ultimate Aictory-
!he story o1 Scariya MunJs li1e is a AiAi+ portrait o1 a consummate
spiritual warrior unriAale+ in mo+ern times who practice+ the
Bu++haJs path to 1ree+om with such per1ection that he le1t those who
6new an+ reAere+ him in no +oubt that he truly was a Noble +isciple-
A beauti1ul story 1rom beginning to en+? his li1e is reminiscent o1 those
1ame+ accounts o1 the Bu++haJs great +isciples chronicle+ in the ancient
teKts- %i6e theirs? his li1e shows us that the spiritual i+eals taught by
the Bu++ha are achieAe+ by real human beings struggling against the
same 1un+amental hin+rances that we 1in+ within ourselAes- !hus we
are ma+e to 1eel that the Bu++haJs @ancientB path to spiritual liberation
is as wholly releAant to+ay as it was ;?M<< years ago-
!o this en+? this biography o1 Scariya Mun is less concerne+
with a precise account o1 eAents as they un1ol+e+ in Scariya MunJs
li1e an+ career than it is with proAi+ing a source o1 inspiration an+
e+i1ication 1or those +eAote+ to Bu++hist i+eals- !he authorJs perspectiAe
is that o1 an a11irmatiAe witness an+ a+Aocate rather than an
impartial obserAer chronicling eAents- Being a spiritual biography? it is
inten+e+ to giAe us an insight into a mo+el spiritual li1e- As such? this
boo6 shoul+ be Aiewe+ aboAe all as an eKercise in contemplation-
#ne aspect o1 Scariya MunJs teaching career +eserAes special
mention as it sur1aces time an+ again in the course o1 his biography-
Scariya Mun possesse+ a uniCue ability to communicate +irectly with
non)human beings 1rom many +i11erent realms o1 eKistence- He was
continually in contact with beings in the higher an+ lower celestial
realms? spirits o1 the terrestrial realms? n7gas? ya66has? ghosts o1 many
sorts? an+ eAen the +eniUens o1 the hell realms R all o1 whom are inAisible
to the human eye an+ inau+ible to the human ear but clearly 6nown
by the inner psychic 1aculties o1 +iAine sight an+ +iAine hearing-
!he comprehensiAe worl+Aiew un+erlying Bu++hist cosmology
+i11ers signi1icantly 1rom the Aiew o1 the gross physical uniAerse presente+
to us by contemporary science- &n the tra+itional Bu++hist
worl+Aiew? the uniAerse is inhabite+ not only by the gross physical
beings that comprise the human an+ animal worl+s but also by Aarious
classes o1 nonphysical? +iAine beings? calle+ +eAas? that eKist in
a hierarchy o1 increasing subtlety an+ re1inement? an+ by numerous
classes o1 lower beings liAing in the sub)human realms o1 eKistence-
#nly the human an+ animal worl+s are +iscernible to normal human
sense 1aculties- !he others +well in a spiritual +imension that eKists
outsi+e the range o1 human concepts o1 space an+ time? an+ there1ore?
beyon+ the sphere o1 the material uniAerse as we perceiAe it-
&t was Scariya MunJs remar6able? inherent capacity 1or commu
nicating with many classes o1 liAing beings that ma+e him a teacher
o1 truly uniAersal signi1icance- $nowing that liAing beings throughout
the sentient uniAerse share a common heritage o1 repeate+ eKistence
an+ a common +esire to aAoi+ su11ering an+ gain happiness? a
great teacher realiUes their common nee+ to un+erstan+ the way o1
Dhamma in or+er to 1ul1il their spiritual potential an+ attain en+uring
happiness- HaAing the eye o1 wis+om? he ma+e no 1un+amental
+istinction between the hearts o1 people an+ the hearts o1 +eAas? but
tailore+ his teaching to 1it their speci1ic circumstances an+ leAels o1
un+erstan+ing- Although the message was essentially the same? the
me+ium o1 communication was +i11erent- He communicate+ with
human beings through the me+ium o1 Aerbal eKpression? while he
use+ non)Aerbal? telepathic communication with all classes o1 nonhuman
!o appreciate Scariya MunJs eKtraor+inary abilities we must be
prepare+ to accept that the worl+ we perceiAe through our senses constitutes
only a small portion o1 eKperiential realityV that there eKists
this spiritual uniAerse o1 +eAas
an+ brahmas
which is beyon+ the range
o1 our limite+ sense 1aculties- 8or in truth? the uniAerse o1 the wise is
much Aaster than the one perceiAe+ by the aAerage person- !he wise
can 6now an+ un+erstan+ +imensions o1 reality that others +o not
eAen suspect eKist? an+ their 6nowle+ge o1 the principles un+erlying
all eKistence giAes them an insight into the phenomenal worl+ that
+e1ies conAentional limits-
Scariya MunJs 1inely)tune+ powers o1 perception contacte+ an
immense Aariety o1 eKternal phenomena? an+ in the best Bu++hist
tra+ition he spent a consi+erable amount o1 time an+ energy engage+
in teaching them Dhamma- Such beings were as much a part o1 his
personal worl+ eKperience as the wil+ animals in the 1orest an+ the
mon6s he traine+ so tirelessly- By Airtue o1 his unparallele+ eKpertise
in these matters? he always 1elt a special obligation towar+ their spiritual
Such phenomena are what Scariya Mun calle+ @mysteries o1
the heartBV 1or they are conscious? liAing beings +welling in spiritual
+imensions that are Xust as real as the one we inhabit? eAen though
those spheres lie outsi+e the realm o1 human eKistential concepts- !he
wor+s @heartB an+ @min+B are use+ interchangeably in !hai Aernacular-
@HeartB is o1ten the pre1erre+ term? as @min+B ten+s to eKclu+e the
emotional an+ spiritual +imensions associate+ with the heart- !he
heart is the essential 6nowing nature that 1orms the basic 1oun+ation
o1 the entire sentient uniAerse- &t is the 1un+amental awareness
un+erlying all conscious eKistence an+ the Aery basis o1 all mental an+
emotional processes- !he heart 1orms the core within the bo+ies o1
all liAing beings- &t is the center? the substance? the primary essence
within the bo+y- :onstantly emphasiUing its paramount signi1icance?
Scariya Mun always claime+ that the heart is the most important thing
in the worl+- 8or this reason? the story o1 Scariya MunJs li1e an+ teachings
is a story o1 the heartJs struggle 1or spiritual transcen+ence? an+
a reAelation o1 the ine11able mystery o1 the heartJs pure essence-
!he P7li term @cittaB is a wor+ that Scariya Mun o1ten use+
when re1erring to this essential 6nowing nature? commonly 6nown
as heart an+ min+- %i6e so many wor+s in the Bu++hist leKicon? it is
essentially a technical term use+ speci1ically in the science o1 Bu++hist
theory an+ practice- Since such terms represent salient aspects
o1 the subXect matter o1 this boo6? some o1 them haAe been 6ept in
their original 1orm- 9enerally? in cases where a suitably accurate
nglish translation eKists? that wor+ has been substitute+? with the
P7li term in Cuestion being annotate+ in an eKplanatory note- !here
are? howeAer? certain terms 1or which? +ue to the compleK an+ comprehensiAe
nature o1 the truths they represent? no truly a+eCuate
nglish wor+ eKists- !hose specialiUe+ terms haAe largely been le1t
in the original P7li- !hey may be 1oun+ eKplaine+ in the Notes an+
9lossary sections at the bac6 o1 the boo6? an+ the rea+er is encourage+
to ta6e 1ull a+Aantage o1 these re1erence materials-
About the Author
Venerable Scariya Mah7 Boowa Y75asampanno is himsel1 an outstan+ing
an+ +istinguishe+ 1igure in contemporary !hai Bu++hism-
He is well)6nown an+ respecte+ by people 1rom all wal6s o1 li1e 1or
his impeccable wis+om an+ his brilliant eKpository s6ills- By aptitu+e
an+ temperament? he is the i+eal person to recor+ 1or posterity
Scariya MunJs li1e an+ teachings- Spiritually? he is one o1 Scariya
MunJs eKceptionally gi1te+ +isciplesV +i+actically? he is one o1 the +hutanga
tra+itionJs truly master1ul spo6esmen- His no)nonsense? resolute
character? his eKtraor+inary charisma? an+ his rhetorical s6ills haAe
establishe+ him as Scariya MunJs natural successor-
Born in ENE= in the northeastern proAince o1 U+on !hani?
Scariya Mah7 Boowa was or+aine+ as a Bu++hist mon6 in EN=D-
HaAing spent the 1irst O years o1 his monastic career stu+ying the
Bu++hist canonical teKts? 1or which he earne+ a +egree in P7li stu+ies
an+ the title @Mah7B? he a+opte+ the wan+ering li1estyle o1 a +hutanga
mon6 an+ set out to search 1or Scariya Mun- 8inally meeting up
with him in END;? he was accepte+ as a +isciple an+ remaine+ liAing
un+er his tutelage until his +eath in ENDN-
&n the perio+ 1ollowing Scariya MunJs +eath? Scariya Mah7
Boowa? by then 1ully accomplishe+ himsel1? soon became a central 1igure
in e11orts to maintain continuity within the +hutanga 6amma00h7na 1raternity
an+ so preserAe Scariya MunJs uniCue mo+e o1 practice 1or 1uture
generations- He helpe+ to spearhea+ a concerte+ attempt to present
Scariya MunJs li1e an+ teachings to an increasingly wi+er au+ience o1
Bu++hist 1aith1ul- Aentually? in ENOE? he authore+ this biography to
showcase the principles an+ i+eals that un+erpin +hutanga 6amma00h7na
training metho+s an+ in1orm their proper practice-
By ENP<? the worl+ outsi+e the 1orest came to eKert a signi1icant
impact on the +hutanga tra+ition- !he rapi+ +e1orestation o1 that
perio+ cause+ +hutanga mon6s to mo+i1y? an+ eAentually curtail? their
wan+ering li1estyle- As the geographic enAironment change+? teachers
li6e Scariya Mah7 Boowa began establishing permanent monastic
communities where +hutanga mon6s coul+ conAeniently carry on
Scariya MunJs lineage? striAing to maintain the Airtues o1 renunciation?
strict +iscipline? an+ intensiAe me+itation- Practicing mon6s
graAitate+ to these 1orest monasteries in large numbers an+ trans1orme+
them into great centers o1 Bu++hist practice- At .at Pa Ban
!a+? Scariya Mah7 BoowaJs 1orest monastery in U+on !hani? a religious
center arose spontaneously? create+ by the stu+ents themselAes?
who came 1or purely spiritual motiAes in hopes o1 receiAing instruction
1rom a genuine master- &n the years that 1ollowe+? the many .estern
mon6s who came to Scariya Mah7 Boowa were able to share wholehearte+ly
in this uniCue religious eKperience- Some haAe liAe+ there
practicing un+er his tutelage eAer since? helping to spawn an international
1ollowing which to+ay spans the globe-
Highly reAere+ at home an+ abroa+? Scariya Mah7 Boowa
remains to this +ay actiAely engage+ in teaching both mon6s an+
laity? eluci+ating 1or them the 1un+amental principles o1 Bu++hism
an+ encouraging them to practice those bol+ an+ incisiAe techniCues
that Scariya Mun use+ so e11ectiAely- %i6e Scariya Mun? he stresses
a mo+e o1 practice in which wis+om remains a priority at all times-
Although ultimately pointing to the ine11able mysteries o1 the min+Js
pure essence? the teaching he presents 1or us is a system o1 instruction
that is 1ull o1 +own)to)earth? practical metho+s suitable 1or eAeryone
+esiring to succee+ at me+itation- Stu+ie+ care1ully? it may well o11er
+irection to persons who otherwise haAe no i+ea where their practice
is ta6ing them-
AuthorJs Pre1ace
!he li1e story that you are about to rea+ o1 Scariya Mun BhTri+atta
!hera? his way o1 practice an+ his moral goo+ness? is the result o1
eKtensiAe research which & con+ucte+ in consultation with many
7cariyas o1 his +iscipleship who liAe+ with him throughout Aarious
perio+s o1 his monastic li1e-
& sought out these 7cariyas? recor+e+ their memories o1 him? an+
compile+ their recollections to write this biography- !his account is
not as completely accurate as & wishe+? because it was Airtually impossible
1or the mon6s to remember all the many eKperiences that Scariya
Mun conAeye+ to them about his li1e as a wan+ering 1orest mon6- But?
i1 & were to wait 1or eAery +etail to be recalle+ be1ore writing this biography?
it woul+ only be a matter o1 time be1ore all in1ormation is 1orgotten
an+ 1oreAer lost- All hope o1 recor+ing his story 1or the e+i1ication
o1 intereste+ rea+ers woul+ then be surely lost as well- .ith great
+i11iculty? & compose+ this biographyV an+? although it is incomplete?
my hope is that it will proAe to be o1 some bene1it to the rea+er-
& shall attempt to +epict the many aspects o1 Scariya MunJs +aily
con+uct? as well as the 6nowle+ge an+ insights he attaine+ an+ eluci+ate+
to his +isciples- & inten+ to illustrate his Noble li1e in the style
o1 the Venerable Scariyas o1 antiCuity who transcribe+ the essence o1
the liAes o1 the Bu++haJs Arahant +isciples into ancient teKts? ensuring
that all 1uture generations will haAe some un+erstan+ing o1 the
results that are possible when the Dhamma is practice+ sincerely- May
the rea+er 1orgiAe me i1 my presentation o1 Scariya MunJs li1e appears
inappropriate in any way- (et the truth is that it is a 1actual account?
representing the memories o1 Scariya Mun BhTri+atta !heraJs li1e as
he himsel1 conAeye+ them to us- Although & am not wholly com1ortable
with the boo6? & haAe +eci+e+ to publish it anyway? because & 1eel
that rea+ers intereste+ in Dhamma may gain some Aaluable insight-
!he arly (ears
he Venerable Scariya Mun BhTri+atta !hera was a Aipastsan7
me+itation master o1 the highest caliber o1 this present
ageV one who is truly worthy o1 the eminent praise an+ a+miration
accor+e+ to him by his close +isciples- He taught the pro1oun+
nature o1 Dhamma with such authority an+ persuasion that
he le1t no +oubts among his stu+ents about the eKalte+ leAel o1 his
spiritual attainment- His +eAote+ 1ollowers consist o1 numerous
mon6s an+ laity 1rom Airtually eAery region o1 !hailan+- Besi+es
these? he has many more +eAotees in %aos? where both mon6s an+
lay people 1eel a +eep reAerence 1or him-
His story is truly a magni1icent one throughout* 1rom his
early years in lay li1e through his long en+eaAor as a Bu++hist
mon6 to the +ay he 1inally passe+ away- Nowa+ays? a li1e o1 such
unblemishe+ eKcellence is har+er to come by than a lo+e o1 precious
Scariya Mun was born into a tra+itional Bu++hist 1amily
on !hurs+ay? Zanuary ;<? ELO<? the (ear o1 the 9oat- His birthplace
was the Aillage o1 Ban $hambong in the $hongXiam +istrict
o1 Ubon 'atchathani proAince- His 1atherJs name was $ham+uangV
his motherJs ZunV an+ his 1amily surname $aen6aew- He
was the el+est chil+ o1 eight siblings? though only two o1 them
were still aliAe when he passe+ away- A chil+ o1 small stature with
a 1air compleKion? he was naturally Cuic6? energetic? intelligent?
an+ resource1ul- At the age o1 1i1teen he or+aine+ as a noAiceE in
his Aillage monastery where he +eAelope+ an enthusiasm 1or the
stu+y o1 Dhamma? memoriUing the teKts with eKceptional spee+-
A young noAice o1 a11able character? he neAer cause+ his teachers
or 1ellows any trouble-
!wo years into his new way o1 li1e his 1ather reCueste+ him
to giAe up the robes? an+ he was reCuire+ to return to lay li1e in
or+er to help out at home- HoweAer? his 1on+ness 1or the mon6Js
li1e was so pronounce+ that he was certain he woul+ or+ain again
some +ay- His goo+ memories o1 li1e in a mon6Js robes neAer 1a+e+-
!hus? he resolAe+ to enter the mon6hoo+ again as soon as possible-
!his strong sense o1 purpose was +ue? no +oubt? to the power o1
that in+omitable 1aith? 6nown as sa++h7? which was such an integral
part o1 his character-
.hen he reache+ age twenty)two? he 1elt an urge to or+ain
as a mon6- So? 1or that purpose? he too6 leaAe o1 his parents- Not
wanting to +iscourage his aspirations an+ haAing also 6ept the
hope that their son woul+ or+ain again some+ay? they gaAe their
permission- !o this en+? they proAi+e+ him with a complete set
o1 a mon6Js basic reCuisites 1or his or+ination- #n Zune E;? ELN=?;
he receiAe+ his Bhi66hu or+ination at .at %iap monastery in the
proAincial town o1 Ubon 'atchathani-
His upaXXh7ya was the Venerable Ariya6awiV his 6ammaA7cariya
was Phra $hru SithaV an+ his anus7san7cariya was Phra
$hru PraXu6 Ubon6hun-= He was giAen the monastic name @BhTri+attaB-
D A1ter his or+ination? he too6 resi+ence at .at %iap in
Scariya SaoJs Aipassan7 me+itation center-
!he Prophecy
.hen Scariya Mun 1irst began practicing Aipassan7 at Scariya
SaoJs center? he me+itate+ constantly? internally repeating the
wor+ @bu++hoB? the recollection o1 the Bu++ha? as he pre1erre+
this preparatory Dhamma theme aboAe all others- &n the beginning?
he 1aile+ to eKperience the +egree o1 calm an+ happiness
that he eKpecte+? which cause+ him to +oubt whether he was
practicing correctly- Despite his +oubt he +i+nJt 1lag in his persistent
use o1 the wor+ @bu++hoB? an+ eAentually his heart +eAelope+
a certain measure o1 calm-
#ne night he ha+ a +ream*
He wal6e+ out o1 a Aillage an+ entere+ a large? +ense Xungle
oAergrown with tangle+ un+ergrowth- He coul+ har+ly 1in+
a way to penetrate it- He struggle+ to 1in+ his way through
this Aast thic6et until he 1inally emerge+ sa1e at the other
en+- .hen he came out? he 1oun+ himsel1 at the e+ge o1
an immense 1iel+ that stretche+ as 1ar as the eye coul+ see-
He set out resolutely? wal6ing across this 1iel+ until he happene+
to come across a huge 1allen X7ti tree-M
8elle+ long ago? its trun6 was partially embe++e+ in the
groun+? an+ most o1 its bar6 an+ sapwoo+ ha+ alrea+y rotte+
away- He climbe+ upon this giant X7ti log an+ wal6e+ along
its 1ull length- As he wal6e+? he re1lecte+ inwar+ly- He realiUe+
that this tree woul+ neAer sprout an+ grow again- He
compare+ this with his own li1e which woul+ certainly not
rise again in any 1uture eKistence- He i+enti1ie+ the +ea+
X7ti tree with his own li1e in sa[s7ra- Seeing that the tree
ha+ rotte+ away? neAer to root an+ spring to li1e again? he
rec6one+ that? by 6eeping up his +iligent practice? he woul+
surely 1in+ a way to reach a +e1inite conclusion to his own
li1e in this Aery eKistence- !he Aast eKpanse o1 open 1iel+
symboliUe+ the nature o1 the neAer)en+ing cycle o1 birth
an+ +eath-
X7ti tree with his own li1e in sa[s7ra- Seeing that the tree
ha+ rotte+ away? neAer to root an+ spring to li1e again? he
rec6one+ that? by 6eeping up his +iligent practice? he woul+
surely 1in+ a way to reach a +e1inite conclusion to his own
li1e in this Aery eKistence- !he Aast eKpanse o1 open 1iel+
symboliUe+ the nature o1 the neAer)en+ing cycle o1 birth
an+ +eath-
stallion trotte+ up an+ stoo+ neKt to the 1allen X7ti tree- As
it stoo+ there? Scariya Mun 1elt an urge to ri+e it- So? he
mounte+ the mysterious horse which imme+iately race+ o11
at 1ull gallop- He ha+ no i+ea where he was being ta6en or
why- !he horse Xust continue+ galloping at 1ull spee+ without
showing any obAious sign o1 +irection or purpose- !he
+istance it traAele+ across the Aast 1iel+ seeme+ immeasurable-
As they stro+e along? Scariya Mun saw a beauti1ul
!ipi0i6a cabinetP in the +istance? a+orne+ with eKCuisite
silAer trim- .ithout gui+ance? the horse le+ him +irectly to
the enclose+ boo6case? an+ came to a halt right in 1ront o1
it- !he moment Scariya Mun +ismounte+ with the aim o1
opening the cabinet? the white stallion Aanishe+ without a
trace- As he steppe+ towar+s the boo6case? he notice+ that
it was stan+ing at the Aery e+ge o1 the 1iel+ with nothing
in the bac6groun+ but more o1 the +ense Xungle? entangle+
an+ smothere+ with un+ergrowth- He saw no way o1 penetrating
it- .hen he came to the !ipi0i6a cabinet? he reache+
out to open itV but? be1ore he ha+ a chance to +iscoAer the
contents insi+e? he wo6e up-
!his was a +ream nimitta? an omen con1irming his belie1 that i1 he
perseAere+ in his e11orts? he woul+ un+oubte+ly +iscoAer a path
1or attaining what he sought- 8rom then on? with renewe+ +etermination
Scariya Mun me+itate+ intensiAely? unrelenting in his
e11orts to constantly repeat @bu++hoB as he con+ucte+ all his +aily
a11airs- At the same time? he Aery care1ully obserAe+ the austere
+hutanga practices which he un+ertoo6 at the time o1 his or+ination?
an+ continue+ to practice 1or the rest o1 his li1e-O !he +hutangas
he Aoluntarily un+ertoo6 were* wearing only robes ma+e 1rom
+iscar+e+ cloth R not accepting robes +irectly o11ere+ by lay supportersV
going on almsroun+ eAery +ay without 1ail R eKcept those
+ays when he +eci+e+ to 1astV accepting an+ eating only 1oo+
receiAe+ in his alms bowl R neAer receiAing 1oo+ o11ere+ a1ter his
almsroun+V eating only one meal a +ay R neAer eating 1oo+ a1ter
the one mealV eating only out o1 the alms bowl R neAer eating
1oo+ that is not insi+e the one AesselV liAing in the 1orest R which
means wan+ering through 1oreste+ terrain? liAing an+ sleeping
in the wil+s? in the mountains or in the AalleysV some time spent
liAing un+er a canopy o1 trees? in a caAe? or un+er an oAerhanging
cli11V an+ wearing only his three principal robes R the outer robe?
the upper robe? an+ the lower robe?L with the a++ition o1 a bathing
cloth which is necessary to haAe nowa+ays-
Scariya Mun also obserAe+ the remain+er o1 the thirteen
+hutanga practices when circumstances were conAenientV but? he
uphel+ the aboAe seAen routinely until they became integrate+
into his character- !hey became so much a part o1 him that it
woul+ be +i11icult to 1in+ one who is his eCual these +ays-
#n his own accor+? he showe+ earnestness in 1in+ing meaning
in eAerything he +i+- He neAer approache+ his +uties hal1
hearte+ly- His sincere aim? always? was to transcen+ the worl+-
Aerything he +i+ was +irecte+ towar+ the noble e11ort o1 +estroying
the 6ilesasN within himsel1- Due to this sense o1 purpose? he
allowe+ no hi+ing room in his heart 1or arrogance an+ conceit?
+espite being eKpose+ to the same +e1iling in1luences as was
eAeryone else- &n one respect he +i11ere+ mar6e+ly 1rom the aAerage
person* instea+ o1 allowing his min+ 1ree reign 1or the 6ilesas
to trample all oAer? he always put up a 1ight? attac6ing them
at eAery opportunity-
%ater? when he 1elt con1i+ent that he ha+ +eAelope+ a su11iciently
soli+ 1oun+ation in his me+itation? he inAestigate+ the
+ream nimitta- !urning his attention to the +ream? he analyUe+
it until he gra+ually comprehen+e+ its 1ull meaning- He saw that
or+aining as a mon6 an+ practicing the Dhamma properly was
eCuiAalent to raising the leAel o1 the citta beyon+ the poisons o1
the worl+- !he +ense? entangle+ Xungle? where +angers o1 eAery
6in+ await to ambush? was the analogy 1or the citta? a repository
o1 pain an+ misery- !he citta must be li1te+ until it reaches the
Aast? wi+e open eKpanse R a sphere o1 Ultimate Happiness? an+
1ree+om 1rom all 1ear an+ concern-E<
!he maXestic white stallion symboliUe+ the path o1 practicing
Dhamma- He ro+e the horse as the means o1 transport to the
realm o1 complete contentment? where he encountere+ the beauti1ul
!ipi0i6a cabinet with an eKCuisite +esign- Able only to loo6
upon it? he lac6e+ the spiritual per1ection necessary to secure the
cabinetJs opening an+ a+mire its library to his heartJs content R
a 1eat accomplishe+ only by one who has acCuire+ catu pa0isambhi+7\75a-
A person en+owe+ with this 1our)1ol+ 6nowle+ge is
renown throughout the three worl+s 1or his brilliant wis+om an+
his comprehensiAe 6nowle+ge o1 teaching metho+s? eKtensiAe as
the sea an+ s6y- Such a one is neAer at a loss when teaching +eAas
an+ humans-
Because Scariya Mun lac6e+ a su11iciently high leAel o1 spiritual
per1ection? he was +enie+ the opportunity to open the cabinet?
an+ ha+ to be content with simply a+miring its beauty- :onseCuently?
he woul+ attain only the leAel o1 pa0isambhi+7nus7sana?
meaning that he ha+ su11icient wis+om an+ eKpository s6ills to
eluci+ate to others the basic path o1 Bu++hist practice? but not
its entire brea+th an+ +epth- Although he humbly state+ that
his teaching was merely su11icient to show the way? those who
witnesse+ his practice an+ hear+ the pro1oun+ Dhamma that he
taught throughout his li1e were so +eeply impresse+ that no wor+s
can +escribe it- &t woul+ certainly be +i11icult to witness or hear
anything comparable in this +ay an+ age R an age much in nee+
o1 such a noble person-
!he Sign
At one point +uring his me+itation training at .at %iap? Scariya
MunJs citta
]conAerge+J into a state o1 calmEE an+ a Aision arose
spontaneously- !he mental imageE; was o1 a +ea+ bo+y lai+ out
be1ore him? bloate+? ooUing pus? an+ seeping with bo+ily 1lui+s-
Vultures an+ +ogs were 1ighting oAer the corpse? tearing into the
rotting 1lesh an+ 1linging it aroun+? until what remaine+ was all
scattere+ about- !he whole scene was unimaginably +isgusting?
an+ he was appalle+-
8rom then on? Scariya Mun constantly use+ this image as
a mental obXect to contemplate at all times R whether sitting in
sam7+hi? wal6ing in me+itation? or engaging in other +aily actiAities-
He continue+ in this manner until? one +ay? the image o1 the
corpse change+ into a translucent +is6 that appeare+ suspen+e+
be1ore him- !he more he 1ocuse+ intensely on the +is6? the more
it change+ its appearance without pause- !he more he trie+ to
1ollow? the more it altere+ its 1orm so that he 1oun+ it impossible
to tell where the series o1 images woul+ en+- !he more he inAestigate+
the Aisions? the more they continue+ to change in character
R a+ in1initum- 8or eKample? the +is6 became a tall mountain
range where Scariya Mun 1oun+ himsel1 wal6ing? bran+ishing a
sharp swor+ an+ wearing shoes- !hen? a massiAe wall with a gate
appeare+- He opene+ the gate to loo6 insi+e an+ saw a monastery
where seAeral mon6s were sitting in me+itation- Near the wall he
saw a steep cli11 with a caAe where a hermit was liAing- He notice+
a conAeyance? shape+ li6e a cra+le an+ hanging +own the 1ace o1
the cli11 by a rope- :limbing into the cra+le)li6e conAeyance? he
was +rawn up to the mountain pea6- At the summit? he 1oun+
a large :hinese Xun6 with a sCuare table insi+e? an+ a hanging
lantern that cast a luminescent glow upon the whole mountain
terrain- He 1oun+ himsel1 eating a meal on the mountain pea6^
an+ so on? an+ so 1orth? until it was impossible to see an en+ to it
all- Scariya Mun sai+ that all the images he eKperience+ in this
manner were 1ar too numerous to recall-
8or a 1ull three months? Scariya Mun continue+ to me+itate
in this way- ach time when he +roppe+ into sam7+hi? he with+rew
1rom it to continue his inAestigation o1 the translucent +is6
which Xust 6ept giAing him a seemingly en+less series o1 images-
HoweAer? he +i+ not receiAe enough bene1icial results 1rom this
to be conAince+ that this was the correct metho+- 8or a1ter practicing
in this manner? he was oAersensitiAe to the common sights
an+ soun+s aroun+ him- Please+ by this an+ +isappointe+ by that?
he li6e+ some things an+ hate+ others- &t seeme+ that he coul+
neAer 1in+ a stable sense o1 balance-
Because o1 this sensitiAity? he came to belieAe that the
sam7+hi which he practice+ was +e1initely the wrong path to
1ollow- &1 it were really correct? why +i+ he 1ail to eKperience peace
an+ calm consistently in his practice_ #n the contrary? his min+
1elt +istracte+ an+ unsettle+? in1luence+ by many sense obXects
that it encountere+ R much li6e a person who ha+ neAer un+ergone
any me+itation training at all- Perhaps the practice o1 +irecting
his attention outwar+s towar+s eKternal phenomena Aiolate+
the 1un+amental principles o1 me+itation- Maybe this was the
reason he 1aile+ to gain the promise+ bene1its o1 inner peace an+
!hus? Scariya Mun came to a new un+erstan+ing about
himsel1- &nstea+ o1 1ocusing his min+ on eKternal matters? he
brought his citta bac6 insi+e? within the con1ines o1 his own physical
bo+y- 8rom then on? his inAestigations were centere+ only on
his own bo+y-
$eeping a sharp min+1ulness? he eKamine+ the bo+y 1rom
top to bottom? si+e to si+e? insi+e out an+ throughoutV eAery bo+y
part an+ eAery aspect- &n the beginning? he pre1erre+ to con+uct
his eKaminations while wal6ing in me+itation? pacing bac6 an+
1orth in +eep thought- Sometimes he nee+e+ to rest his bo+y 1rom
these eKertions- So? he sat in sam7+hi 1or awhile? though he absolutely
re1use+ to let his citta ]conAergeJ into its habitual state o1
calm- 'ather? he 1orce+ it to stay put within the bo+yJs +omain-
!he citta ha+ no other choice but to traAel aroun+ the many parts
o1 the bo+y an+ probe into them- .hen it was time 1or him to
lie +own? the inAestigation continue+ insi+e his min+ until he 1ell
!he citta ha+ no other choice but to traAel aroun+ the many parts
o1 the bo+y an+ probe into them- .hen it was time 1or him to
lie +own? the inAestigation continue+ insi+e his min+ until he 1ell
metho+* 1or? when his citta ]conAerge+J this time? his bo+y
appeare+ to be separate+ 1rom himsel1- &t seeme+ to split into two
at that moment- Min+1ulness was in 1orce +uring the entire time?
right to the moment that the citta +roppe+ into sam7+hi- &t +i+nJt
wan+er an+ waAer about as it ha+ preAiously- !hus? Scariya Mun
was conAince+ that his new1oun+ metho+ was the right one 1or
the preliminary wor6 o1 me+itation practice-
8rom then on? he continue+ to religiously practice bo+y
contemplation until he coul+ attain a state o1 calm wheneAer he
wante+- .ith persistence? he gra+ually became more an+ more
s6ille+ in this metho+? until the citta was 1irmly anchore+ in
sam7+hi- He ha+ waste+ three whole months chasing the +is6 an+
its illusions- But now? his min+1ulness no longer aban+one+ him?
an+ there1ore? he was no longer a+Aersely a11ecte+ by the in1luences
aroun+ him- !his whole episo+e clearly shows the +isa+Aantages
o1 not haAing a wise teacher to gui+e one- MisXu+gments
occur without timely a+Aice an+ +irection in me+itation- Scariya
Mun was a per1ect eKample o1 this- HaAing no teacher can lea+
to costly mista6es that can easily harm the me+itator? or? at the
Aery least? +elay his progress-
to costly mista6es that can easily harm the me+itator? or? at the
Aery least? +elay his progress-
in un1amiliar regions +uring their traAels? sel+om ha+ a
chance to as6 the locals 1or much nee+e+ +irections-
.omen 1rom the countrysi+e o1ten too6 their small chil+ren
on eKcursions into the surroun+ing hills to pic6 wil+ herbs
an+ e+ible plants? or to 1ish in outlying pon+s- Su++enly spotting
a party o1 +hutanga mon6s wal6ing towar+ them? they woul+
yell to each other in alarm? @Dhamma mon6s2 Dhamma mon6s
are coming2B .ith that they threw their bas6ets an+ other gear
to the groun+ with a thu+? an+ 1rantically rushe+ to 1in+ a sa1e
hi+ing)place- !heir +iscar+e+ belongings coul+ haAe been +amage+
or bro6en when 1lung to the groun+? but they too6 no noticeV
eAeryone simply 1le+ into the nearby 1orest? or i1 close by? to their
Aillage homes-
Meanwhile the chil+ren? who ha+ no i+ea what was happening?
starte+ crying an+ plea+ing 1or help when they saw their
mothers scream an+ run away- !oo slow to 6eep pace with the
a+ults? the little ones race+ aroun+ in con1usion- Stran+e+? they
ran bac6 an+ 1orth in the open 1iel+ while their mothers remaine+
in the 1orest? too 1rightene+ to emerge an+ retrieAe them- An
amusing scene o1 nee+less panic? but at the same time piti1ul* to
see innocent chil+ren so 1rightene+? running in circles? +esperately
crying in search o1 their mothers-
#bAiously the situation +i+nJt loo6 goo+? so the +hutanga
mon6s hurrie+ past lest their prolonge+ presence proAo6e eAen
more hysteria- Ha+ they ma+e any attempt to approach the chil+ren?
the inci+ent might haAe gotten out o1 control with terri1ie+
6i+s 1rantically scattering in all +irections? their shrill screams
ringing through the 1orest- &n the meantime? their anKious mothers
hu++le+? trembling? behin+ the trees? a1rai+ o1 the ]Dhamma
mon6sJ an+? at the same time? a1rai+ that their chil+ren might 1lee
in all +irections- !hey watche+ nerAously until the mon6s were
out o1 sight-
.hen the mon6s 1inally +isappeare+? a big commotion
erupte+ as mothers an+ chil+ren +ashe+ eKcite+ly about? trying to
1in+ one another- By the time the whole group was sa1ely reunite+?
it seeme+ as though the entire Aillage ha+ +isban+e+ 1or awhile-
!he reunion was accompanie+ by a hubbub o1 chatter? eAerybo+y
laughing about the su++en appearance o1 the ]Dhamma mon6sJ
an+ the chaos that 1ollowe+-
Such occurrences were common in those early years* women
an+ chil+ren were terri1ie+ because they ha+ neAer be1ore seen
+hutanga 6amma00h7na mon6s- #r+inarily people 6new nothing
about them an+ showe+ little interest? eKcept to 1lee at their sight-
!here are seAeral possible reasons 1or this- 8irstly? their appearance
was rather austere an+ reserAe+- !hey were unli6ely to show
much 1amiliarity with anyone they ha+nJt personally 6nown 1or a
long timeV someone who 6new their habits well- Also? their robes
an+ other reCuisites were an ochre color 1rom +ye ma+e 1rom the
heartwoo+ o1 the Xac61ruit tree R a color that was stri6ing but ha+
a ten+ency to inspire more 1ear than +eAotion-
much 1amiliarity with anyone they ha+nJt personally 6nown 1or a
long timeV someone who 6new their habits well- Also? their robes
an+ other reCuisites were an ochre color 1rom +ye ma+e 1rom the
heartwoo+ o1 the Xac61ruit tree R a color that was stri6ing but ha+
a ten+ency to inspire more 1ear than +eAotion-
as they wan+ere+ 1rom place to place practicing the ascetic way
o1 li1e- !hey carrie+ their umbrella)tents?E= which were consi+erably
larger than or+inary umbrellas? slung oAer one shoul+er-
#Aer the other shoul+er they carrie+ their alms bowls- .al6ing
in single 1ile an+ +resse+ in their yellowish)brown robes? they were
an eye)catching sight to those as yet un1amiliar with their mo+e o1
practice- 8in+ing a Cuiet spot? con+uciAe to me+itation? +hutanga
mon6s settle+ 1or a while in the outlying 1orests o1 rural communities?
allowing the locals a chance to get better acCuainte+
with them- By listening to their teachings? Cuestioning them? an+
receiAing their a+Aice? peopleJs liAes bene1ite+ in so many ways-
9ra+ually oAer time? their hearts grew to accept the reasonable
eKplanations they hear+? an+ 1aith issue+ naturally on its own-
.ith a belie1 in Dhamma thus instille+ in their hearts? ol+ suspicions
+ie+ away to be replace+ by a reAerence 1or the mon6s
whose teachings ma+e such an impression- !hen? to those well
acCuainte+ with their peace1ul temperament an+ eKemplary con+uct?
the mere sight o1 mon6s wal6ing across the countrysi+e
inspire+ +eAotion- During that early perio+? such enlightening
eKperiences were share+ by country people all oAer !hailan+-
!raAeling 1ar an+ wi+e? an+ +etermine+ to practice correctly
1or the sa6e o1 Dhamma? +hutanga
mon6s always manage+ to impress
people an+ +o them great serAice- !hey +i+nJt +epen+ on public
ity to get out their message- !hey relie+ instea+ on their eKemplary
behaAiority to get out their message- !hey relie+ instea+ on their eKemplary
behaAioras a natural means o1 gaining public interest-
A +hutanga
mon6 who is concentrate+ on Dhamma consi+ers
wan+ering in search o1 seclusion to be an in+ispensable part
o1 his personal practice- Seclu+e+ places o11er his min+ an+ bo+y
a calm? Cuiet enAironment- So it was with Scariya Mun- ach
year at the en+ o1 the rainy season retreat he starte+ traAeling?
hi6ing through 1orests an+ mountains in locales where he 1oun+
Xust enough small Aillages to support his +aily almsroun+- More
than any other part o1 the country? he enXoye+ wan+ering in !hailan+Js
Northeast region- Among his 1aAorites were the Aast 1orests
an+ mountain ranges in the proAinces o1 Na6hon Phanom?
Sa6on Na6hon? U+on !hani? Nong $hai? %oei? an+ %om Sa6V or
on the %aotian si+e o1 the Me6ong 'iAer in such places as !ha
$he6? Vientiane? an+ %uang Prabang- !hose locations with their
huge tracts o1 1orest an+ mountainous terrain were i+eally suite+
to practicing the ascetic way o1 li1e-
.hereAer he was? whateAer the time o1 +ay? Scariya MunJs
primary 1ocus remaine+ the same* wor6ing tirelessly to improAe
his me+itation practice- He 6new that this was his most important
tas6 in li1e- By nature? he +isli6e+ inAolAement in monastic
buil+ing proXects- He pre1erre+ to concentrate eKclusiAely on
the inner wor6 o1 me+itatiAe +eAelopment- He aAoi+e+ socialiUing
with 1ellow mon6s an+ remaine+ aloo1 1rom ciAil society? much
pre1erring li1e alone R a style o1 liAing that allowe+ him the 1ree+om
to 1ocus all his attention an+ energy on one main tas6* transcen+ing
+u66ha-EM arnestness an+ sincerity characteriUe+ eAerything
he +i+* neAer +eceiAing himsel1? he neAer misle+ others-
!he incre+ible energy? en+urance? an+ circumspection that
he put into his practice was truly amaUing- Qualities such as these
helpe+ to ensure that sam7+hi
an+ wis+om stea+ily progresse+?
neAer showing any signs o1 +ecline- Since the +ay he 1irst +iscoAere+
bo+y contemplation to be the right metho+ 1or the preliminary
wor6 o1 me+itation? he 6ept that contemplation always in
min+- Assi+uously maintaining that metho+? repeate+ly inAestigating
his bo+y? oAer an+ oAer again? he became Aery s6ille+ at
mentally +issecting the Aarious bo+y parts? large an+ small? an+
then brea6ing them apart with wis+om- Aentually? he coul+ +issect
his entire bo+y at will an+ then re+uce the whole lot to its
constituent elements-
!hrough perseAerance? Scariya Mun stea+ily an+ increasingly
attaine+ more peace1ul an+ calmer states o1 min+- He wan+ere+
through 1orests an+ oAer mountains? stopping at suitable
locations to intensi1y his practiceV but? neAer +i+ he relaK the persistent
e11ort he put into all his actiAities- .hether wal6ing 1or
alms? sweeping the groun+s? washing a spittoon? sewing or +ying
his robes? eating a meal? or simply stretching his legs? he was aware
o1 striAing to per1ect himsel1 at eAery wa6ing moment an+ in all
actiAities? without eKception- #nly when the time came to sleep
+i+ he relent- Aen then? he resolAe+ to get up imme+iately? without
hesitation? as soon as he awo6e- He ma+e sure that this habit
became ingraine+ in his character- !he moment he was conscious
o1 being awa6e? he rose Cuic6ly? washe+ his 1ace? an+ resume+ his
me+itation practice- &1 he still 1elt sleepy? he re1use+ to sit in me+itation
right away 1or 1ear o1 no++ing o11 to sleep again- &nstea+?
he practice+ wal6ing me+itation? stri+ing bac6 an+ 1orth to +ispel
the +rowsiness that threatene+ to oAerta6e him at the slightest
lapse in Aigilance- &1 wal6ing slowly proAe+ ine11ectiAe? he sought
to inAigorate himsel1 by Cuic6ening his pace- #nly when all +rowsiness
+isappeare+ an+ he began to 1eel tire+ +i+ he leaAe his me+itation
trac6 to sit +own to continue me+itating until +awn-
Shortly a1ter +awn? he prepare+ to go on his almsroun+-
.earing his lower robe? placing his un+er an+ upper robes together
an+ wrappe+ about him? his alms bowl hanging 1rom his shoul+er
by a strap? he wal6e+ to the nearest Aillage in a sel1)compose+
manner? care1ul to maintain min+1ulness the entire way- :onsi+ering
his hi6e to an+ 1rom the Aillage a 1orm o1 wal6ing me+itation?
he 1ocuse+ his attention inwar+ eAery step o1 the way? insuring
that his min+ +i+ not Aenture out to become inAolAe+ with
any emotionally)charge+ sense obXect along the route- 'eturning
to his campsite? or the monastery where he resi+e+? he arrange+
the 1oo+ he ha+ receiAe+ in his alms bowl- As a matter o1 principle?
he ate only the 1oo+ he was o11ere+ in the Aillage? re1using
to accept any 1oo+ brought to him a1terwar+- #nly much later? in
his Aery ol+ age? +i+ he relaK this practice somewhat? agreeing to
accept 1oo+ that the 1aith1ul o11ere+ him in the monastery- During
his early years? he ate only the 1oo+ he ha+ receiAe+ in his alms
.ith eAerything to be eaten place+ in the bowl? he sat contemplating
the true purpose o1 the 1oo+EP he was about to eat as
a means o1 +ousing the inner 1ires o1 hellV that is to say? any craAing
1or 1oo+ that might arise +ue to hunger- #therwise? the min+
might succumb to the power o1 craAing an+ in+ulge in the 1ine
taste o1 1oo+? when in 1act? it shoul+ be re1lecting on 1oo+Js essential
Cualities* how all 1oo+? being simply a composition o1 gross
elements? is inherently +isgusting by its Aery nature-EO .ith this
thought 1irmly 1iKe+ in his min+? he chewe+ his 1oo+ min+1ully
to +eny any opening to craAing until he ha+ 1inishe+ the meal-
A1terwar+s? he washe+ the bowl? wipe+ it +ry? eKpose+ it to +irect
sunlight 1or a 1ew minutes? then replace+ it in its cloth coAering?
an+ put it neatly away in its proper place- !hen? it was time once
again to resume the tas6 o1 battling the 6ilesas? with the aim o1
+estroying them gra+ually until they were thoroughly +e1eate+
an+ unable eAer again to trouble his min+-
&t must be un+erstoo+? howeAer? that the business o1
+estroying 6ilesas is an ineKpressibly +i11icult tas6 to accomplish-
8or though we may be +etermine+ to burn the 6ilesas to ashes?
what inAariably ten+s to happen is that the 6ilesas turn aroun+
an+ burn us? causing us so much har+ship that we Cuic6ly aban+on
those same Airtuous Cualities that we meant to +eAelop- .e
clearly see this negatiAe impact an+ want to get ri+ o1 the 6ilesasV
but then? we un+ermine our noble purpose by 1ailing to act +ecisiAely
against them? 1earing that the +i11iculties o1 such action
will proAe too pain1ul- Unoppose+? the 6ilesas become lor+ masters
o1 our hearts? pushing their way in an+ claiming our hearts as
their eKclusiAe +omain- Sa+ly? Aery 1ew people in this worl+ possess
the 6nowle+ge an+ un+erstan+ing to counteract these +e1ilements-
Hence? liAing beings throughout the three worl+s o1 eKistence
are 1oreAer surren+ering to their +ominance- #nly the %or+
Bu++ha +iscoAere+ the way to completely cleanse his heart o1
them* neAer again +i+ they +e1eat him-
A1ter achieAing that comprehensiAe Aictory? the %or+
Bu++ha compassionately turne+ his attention to teaching the way?
proclaiming the Dhamma to his +isciples an+ inspiring them to
resolutely 1ollow the same Noble Path that he ha+ ta6en- Practicing
thus? they were able to emulate his supreme achieAement?
reaching the Aery en+ o1 the Noble Path? the highest attainment*
Nibb7na- Dealing the all)power1ul 6ilesas a 1atal blow? these Noble
in+iAi+uals era+icate+ them 1rom their hearts 1oreAer- HaAing
eKtinguishe+ their 6ilesas? they became those Arahant +isciples
that people the worl+ oAer haAe worshippe+ with such +eAotion
eAer since-
reaching the Aery en+ o1 the Noble Path? the highest attainment*
Nibb7na- Dealing the all)power1ul 6ilesas a 1atal blow? these Noble
in+iAi+uals era+icate+ them 1rom their hearts 1oreAer- HaAing
eKtinguishe+ their 6ilesas? they became those Arahant +isciples
that people the worl+ oAer haAe worshippe+ with such +eAotion
eAer since-
later sitting? he pursue+ his me+itation until he 1elt the time
was right to ta6e a short rest- His strength renewe+? he resume+
his attac6 on the 6ilesas? creators o1 the en+less cycle o1 eKistence-
.ith such +etermination an+ stea+1ast application to the tas6? the
6ilesas were neAer giAen reason to sco11 at Scariya MunJs e11orts-
.hile practicing sam7+hi intensiAely? he also wor6e+ tirelessly to
+eAelop insight? his wis+om reAolAing relentlessly aroun+ whateAer
obXect he was inAestigating- &n that way? sam7+hi an+ Aipassan7
were +eAelope+ in tan+em? neither one lagging behin+ the otherV
an+ his heart remaine+ peace1ul an+ contente+ in his practice-
Still? perio+s o1 slow progress were ineAitable? 1or he ha+
no one to a+Aise him when he got stuc6- #1ten he spent many
+ays wor6ing his way through a speci1ic problem? painsta6ingly
1iguring out the solution 1or himsel1- He was oblige+ to eKhaustiAely
inAestigate these stumbling bloc6s in his practice? eKamining
eAery 1acet care1ully? because they were a hin+rance to his
progress an+ also potentially +angerous- &n such situations? the
a+Aice o1 a goo+ teacher can be inAaluable? helping the me+itator
to a+Aance Cuic6ly an+ con1i+ently without wasting time- 8or
this reason? itJs Aery important that me+itators haAe a 6aly75amitta-
Scariya Mun personally eKperience+ the +rawbac6s o1 not
haAing such a wise 1rien+ to giAe him timely a+Aice? insisting that
it was a +e1inite +isa+Aantage-
/cariya Sao $antas7lo
&n his early years o1 practice? Scariya Mun o1ten wan+ere+ +hutanga
in the company o1 Scariya Sao?EL com1orte+ in the 6nowle+ge
that he ha+ a goo+? eKperience+ teacher to len+ him support-
But when he as6e+ his teacher to a+Aise him on speci1ic
problems arising in his me+itation? Scariya Sao inAariably replie+*
@My eKperiences in me+itation are Cuite +i11erent 1rom yours- (our
citta is so a+Aenturous? ten+ing always towar+ eKtremes- #ne
moment it soars into the s6y? only to plunge +eep into the earth
the neKt- !hen? a1ter +iAing to the ocean 1loor? it again soars up
to wal6 me+itation high in the s6y- .ho coul+ possibly 6eep up
with your citta long enough to 1in+ a solution_ & a+Aise you to
inAestigate these matters 1or yoursel1 an+ 1in+ your own solutions-B
Scariya Sao neAer gaAe him enough concrete a+Aice to really help
him? so Scariya Mun was 1orce+ to solAe his own problems- Sometimes?
he nearly +ie+ be1ore +iscoAering a way past some o1 the
more intractable problems he 1ace+-
Scariya Mun +escribe+ his teacher as someone with a
smooth? serene temperament who inspire+ +eep +eAotion- A rather
strange 1eature o1 Scariya SaoJs practice was his ten+ency to leA
itate while in sam7+hi? his bo+y hoAering Cuite noticeably aboAe
the 1loor- At 1irst? +oubt1ul that his bo+y was in+ee+ 1loating? he
opene+ his eyes to see 1or himsel1- As soon as his eyes opene+? concern
about the con+ition o1 his bo+y cause+ his citta
to with+raw
1rom sam7+hi- He promptly 1ell bac6 to the 1loor? lan+ing har+ on
his buttoc6s which was sore an+ bruise+ 1or many +ays- &n truth?
his bo+y +i+ 1loat about three 1eet aboAe the 1loor- But by opening
his eyes to chec6? he lost the min+1ulness nee+e+ to maintain
his citta
in sam7+hi- .ith+rawing su++enly 1rom sam7+hi
him to come crashing to the 1loor? li6e any other obXect +roppe+
1rom a height- Practicing sam7+hi
later an+ 1eeling his bo+y leAitate
again? he 6ept min+1ulness 1irmly 1ocuse+ within that state
o1 sam7+hi? an+ then? care1ully opene+ his eyes to loo6 at himsel1-
&t was obAious to him then that he +i+ leAitate- !his time? howeAer?
he +i+nJt 1all bac6 to the 1loor? 1or min+1ulness was present
to maintain total concentration-
!his eKperience taught Scariya Sao a Aaluable lesson about
himsel1- (et being an eKceptionally care1ul? meticulous person? he
wasnJt entirely conAince+- So he too6 a small obXect? inserte+ it
into the un+ersi+e o1 the thatche+ roo1 in his hut? an+ continue+
to me+itate- .hen he 1elt his bo+y beginning to 1loat again? he
1irmly 1ocuse+ his citta
in sam7+hi? an+ he was able to 1loat upwar+
until he reache+ that small obXect in the thatch- Drawing leAel
with it? he slowly reache+ out an+ Aery min+1ully too6 it in his
han+ so that he coul+ bring it bac6 +own by means o1 sam7+hi-
!his meant that once he ha+ it in his grasp? he gra+ually with+rew
1rom sam7+hi
to the point where his bo+y coul+ slowly? an+
sa1ely? +escen+ to the 1loor R a point still short o1 complete with+rawal
1rom sam7+hi- Kperimenting li6e this? he became con
Aince+ o1 his ability to leAitate? though this +i+ not occur eAery
time he entere+ sam7+hi-
Aince+ o1 his ability to leAitate? though this +i+ not occur eAery
time he entere+ sam7+hi-
ten+e+ to haAe this smooth? imperturbable CualityV
in sharp contrast to the wholly a+Aenturous nature that characteriUe+
Scariya MunJs citta- Unli6e him? Scariya Sao was not
so motiAate+ to liAe +angerously? see6ing a+AentureV nor +i+ he
ten+ to perceiAe the Aariety o1 unusual phenomena that Scariya
Mun inAariably +i+-
Scariya Mun tol+ us that? once? in ages past? Scariya Sao
ha+ resolAe+ to become a Pacce6abu++ha-EN &ntensi1ying his
e11orts at me+itation cause+ him to recollect his longtime resolution?
an+ his lingering attachment to that goal ma+e him reluctant
to striAe 1or Nibb7na in the present- &t soon became apparent
that this Aow woul+ bloc6 any attempt to realiUe Nibb7na in his
li1etimeV there1ore? he imme+iately +eci+e+ to renounce the ol+
Aow- &n its place? he resolAe+ to attain Nibb7na as soon as possible-
He became +etermine+ to reach this goal within his present li1etime
in or+er to aAoi+ the misery o1 being reborn in the 1uture-
HaAing 1orsa6en his original Aow? an+ thus? unhin+ere+
by preAious commitments? his me+itation practice progresse+
smoothly until one +ay he 1inally reache+ the %an+ o1 Ultimate
Happiness that he ha+ been aiming 1or- HoweAer? his teaching
s6ill was Aery limite+? probably +ue to a natural pre+isposition
towar+ becoming a Pacce6abu++ha* someone who has no inclination
to teach others although he is able to 1ully enlighten himsel1-
8urthermore? the 1act that he coul+ so easily giAe up his original
resolAe an+ then achieAe his new goal meant that his preAious
Aow ha+ not yet mature+ to the stage o1 being irreAersible-
Scariya Mun relate+ that in ages past he ha+ ma+e a similar
resolution R in his case? a solemn Aow to become a Bu++ha-
As with Scariya Sao? intensi1ying his e11orts at me+itation cause+
Scariya Mun to recollect this long)stan+ing intention? an+ this
un+erlying attachment ma+e him reluctant to striAe 1or the attainment
o1 Nibb7na in his present li1e- Scariya Mun renounce+ his
Aow to be a Bu++ha only a1ter he began practicing +hutanga 6amma00h7na?
1or he then realiUe+ that its 1ul1illment woul+ ta6e 1ar
too long- &t reCuire+ eons o1 traAersing the roun+ o1 sa[s7ra* being
born? growing ol+? becoming ill? an+ +ying oAer an+ oAer again?
en+uring misery an+ pain in+e1initely-
'enouncing the original Aow relieAe+ Scariya Mun o1 this
concern? opening the way 1or his me+itation to progress smoothly-
!he 1act that he coul+ so easily aban+on the original Aow in+icates
that it was not yet so 1irmly 1iKe+ in his conscious being that
he coul+nJt +etach himsel1 1rom it-
Scariya Mun o1ten accompanie+ Scariya Sao on his eKcursions
wan+ering +hutanga across the proAinces o1 the Northeast
region- Due to +i11erences in personality? their me+itation eKperiences
Aarie+ in some respectsV but each Aery much enXoye+ the otherJs
company- By nature? Scariya Sao pre1erre+ to say Aery little- He was
a reluctant teacher? especially o1 the laity- #ccasionally oblige+ to
giAe instruction to lay supporters? he was always Aery 1rugal with
wor+s- !he little he +i+ say coul+ be summe+ up li6e this*
@(ou shoul+ renounce eAil an+ cultiAate goo+ness- Being
1ortunate enough to be born human? +onJt waste this goo+
opportunity now- #ur status as human beings is a Aery
noble oneV so? aAoi+ all animal)li6e behaAior- #therwise?
youJll sin6 below the animals? an+ be much more wretche+
as well- .hen you eAentually 1all into hell? your tortuous
eKistence there will be 1ar more grieAous than that o1 any
animal- So +onJt +o eAil2B
youJll sin6 below the animals? an+ be much more wretche+
as well- .hen you eAentually 1all into hell? your tortuous
eKistence there will be 1ar more grieAous than that o1 any
animal- So +onJt +o eAil2B
interest in anyone-
He always spo6e Aery sparingly- &n an entire +ay he might say
only a 1ew sentences- #n the other han+? he coul+ en+ure many
hours o1 sitting an+ wal6ing in me+itation- He ha+ a remar6ably
+igni1ie+? noble appearance that inspire+ respect an+ +eAotion-
Zust a glimpse o1 his serene? peace1ul countenance ma+e a lasting
impression- He was greatly reAere+ by mon6s an+ laity ali6e an+?
li6e Scariya Mun? he ha+ many +eAote+ +isciples-
&t was well 6nown that these two 7cariyas
share+ immense
loAe an+ respect 1or each other- &n the early years? they enXoye+
traAeling in each otherJs company- !hey spent most o1 the year
liAing together? both +uring an+ a1ter the annual rainy season
retreat- &n the mi++le years? they normally spent these retreats in
separate locations but close enough to each other to ma6e Aisiting
easy- Very sel+om? then? +i+ they spen+ a retreat together? 1or each
ha+ an increasingly large 1ollowing o1 +isciples? ma6ing it +i11icult
to 1in+ enough space to accommo+ate them all at one location-
%iAing separately eliminate+ the bur+en o1 haAing to arrange
liAing Cuarters 1or so many mon6s-
Aen when liAing apart? they o1ten thought o1 each other
with genuine concern- #n occasions when Scariya SaoJs +isciples
Aisite+ Scariya Mun? the 1irst Cuestion he as6e+ concerne+
the health an+ well)being o1 Scariya Sao? who in turn inAariably
reciprocate+ by inCuiring about Scariya MunJs well)being when
one o1 his +isciples pai+ a Aisit- !hrough such messengers? each
then conAeye+ his respect1ul greeting to the other? maintaining
contact in this way at eAery opportunity- ach o1 these great 7cariyas
ha+ enormous respect 1or the otherJs spiritual achieAements-
Both use+ wor+s 1ull o1 praise an+ a+miration when spea6ing to
their +isciples about each other- !heir comments neAer containe+
a hint o1 criticism-
S:A'&(A MUN .H#%HA'!D%( agree+ with Scariya SaoJs comment
about his citta being a+Aenturous? an+ ten+ing to go to
eKtremes* soaring high in the s6y one moment? then plunging
into the earth be1ore +iAing to the ocean 1loor- His citta truly
+i+ haAe such mercurial characteristics- Dropping into sam7+hi
in the early stages o1 his practice? his citta ten+e+ to 1ocus outwar+
then? perceiAing all manner o1 unusual phenomena R things
he ha+ neAer +reame+ o1 seeing- 8or eKample? he saw a bloate+
corpse lai+ out be1ore him- As & haAe mentione+ be1ore? when he
concentrate+ his attention on this image? it soon change+ into a
translucent +isc which in turn altere+ its 1orm? creating an en+less
series o1 images-
Aen a1ter +iscoAering the correct metho+ o1 practice? when
his citta ]conAerge+J into calm it was still incline+ to 1ocus outwar+?
perceiAing countless types o1 phenomena- Sometimes? he
1elt his bo+y soaring high into the s6y where he traAele+ aroun+
1or many hours? loo6ing at celestial mansions be1ore coming bac6
+own- At other times? he burrowe+ +eep beneath the earth to Aisit
Aarious regions in hell- !here he 1elt pro1oun+ pity 1or its un1or
tunate inhabitants? all eKperiencing the grieAous conseCuences o1
their preAious actions- .atching these eAents un1ol+? he o1ten lost
all perspectiAe o1 the passage o1 time- &n those +ays? he was still
uncertain whether these scenes were real or imaginary- He sai+
that it was only later on? when his spiritual 1aculties were more
mature? that he was able to inAestigate these matters an+ un+erstan+
clearly the +e1inite moral an+ psychological causes un+erlying
them- Any lapse in concentration as his citta ]conAerge+J into
calm create+ an opening through which it coul+ again 1ocus outwar+
to perceiAe such phenomena- His new1oun+ pro1iciency notwithstan+ing?
i1 his attention turne+ outwar+? his citta woul+ be
o11 in a 1lash-
Scariya Mun tol+ us that early on? +ue to ineKperience with
the mercurial nature o1 his own min+? when 1ocusing his citta to
eKamine the lower hal1 o1 his bo+y? instea+ o1 1ollowing the Aarious
parts +own to the soles o1 his 1eet? it woul+ shoot out through
his lower torso an+ penetrate +eep into the earth R Xust as Scariya
Sao ha+ so astutely remar6e+- No sooner ha+ he hurrie+ly with+rawn
the citta bac6 into his bo+y than it woul+ 1ly through the
top o1 his hea+? soaring high into the s6y where it pace+ bac6 an+
1orth contente+ly? showing no interest in returning to his bo+y-
:oncentrating with intense min+1ulness? he ha+ to 1orce the citta
to re)enter the bo+y an+ per1orm the wor6 he wante+ it to +o-
&n those early +ays his min+ +eAelope+ a ten+ency to +rop
so spee+ily into a state o1 calm R li6e 1alling 1rom a cli11? or +own
a well R that his min+1ulness coul+nJt 6eep up with it- 'esting
only brie1ly in complete stillness be1ore with+rawing slightly to the
leAel o1 upac7ra sam7+hi?;< his citta ten+e+ to Aenture out so o1ten?
an+ eKperience+ such a Aariety o1 strange things? that he became
Aery 1rustrate+- He trie+ to 1orce it to remain insi+e the con1ines
o1 his bo+y? but o1ten to no aAail- His citta was 1ar too 1leeting 1or
min+1ulness an+ wis+om to 6eep pace-
Aery 1rustrate+- He trie+ to 1orce it to remain insi+e the con1ines
o1 his bo+y? but o1ten to no aAail- His citta was 1ar too 1leeting 1or
min+1ulness an+ wis+om to 6eep pace-
techniCues? su11ering consi+erable mental strain be1ore 1in+ing
a Aiable means o1 controlling his a+Aenturesome citta- #nce
he clearly un+erstoo+ the correct metho+ o1 taming his +ynamic
min+? he 1oun+ that it was Aersatile? energetic? an+ eKtremely
Cuic6 in all circumstance- Aentually wor6ing in unison? min+1ulness
an+ wis+om blen+e+ so well with the citta that they merge+
to become one with it- !hus strengthene+? the citta 1unctione+
li6e a magic crystal ballV an+ he was 1ully capable o1 6eeping pace
with all the myria+ phenomena arising within it-
Scariya Mun possesse+ a bol+? 1earless character- He was also
eKtremely intelligent- Because his rigorous training metho+s +i11ere+
signi1icantly 1rom ones practice+ by other mon6s? his style o1
practice was uniCue R an+ incre+ibly +i11icult to imitate- 8rom my
own obserAations? & can uneCuiAocally state* He was a truly noble
character with a Cuic6? a+Aenturous min+ who traine+ himsel1 with
uncompromising resolAe- His harsh training metho+s were o1ten Cuite
uniCue- He ha+ an ingenious way o1 miKing coerciAe pressure an+ gentle
persuasion to tame a +ynamic min+ that? at the least lapse o1 concentration?
Aenture+ out to 1in+ things that coul+ easily cause him problems-
Struggling +esperately on his own to 1in+ ways to control his
unruly min+? practicing without a +epen+able gui+e an+ en+ur
ing +i11iculties? Scariya Mun sometimes 1elt that he was beating
his hea+ against a mountain- Unli6e so many others? he ha+
to manage without the ai+ o1 a wise teacherJs proAen me+itation
metho+s R a +isa+Aantage he o1ten warne+ others against later on-
!o his own stu+ents he always emphasiUe+ his rea+iness to clari1y
any problems they eKperience+ in me+itation? thus saAing them
the +i11iculty o1 haAing to waste time as he ha+ in his early years-
SH#'!%( A8!' H&S #'D&NA!&#N? Scariya Mun began wan+ering
+hutanga in Na6hon Phanom proAince? an+ eAentually crosse+
the Me6ong 'iAer to enter %aos? where he contente+ly practice+
the ascetic way o1 li1e in the mountainous +istrict o1 !ha $he6-
!his area o1 %aos aboun+e+ in large? 1erocious tigers R huge beasts
that were consi+ere+ 1ar more Aicious than tigers on the !hai si+e
o1 the riAer- 'epeate+ly they attac6e+ an+ 6ille+ the local inhabitants
an+ then 1easte+ on their 1lesh- Despite such brutality? those
people? mostly o1 Vietnamese +escent? werenJt nearly as a1rai+
o1 tigers as were their %ao an+ !hai neighbors- !ime an+ again
they watche+ these terrible beasts attac6 an+ 6ill 1rien+s an+ relatiAesV
yet? they seeme+ in+i11erent to the carnage- HaAing seen a
1rien+ 6ille+ right in 1ront o1 them? the 1lesh torn 1rom the bo+y
by a hungry tiger? the people woul+ casually Aenture bac6 into
that same tiger)in1este+ 1orest the neKt +ay? as though nothing
ha+ happene+- !he %ao an+ !hai communities woul+ haAe been
eKtremely upset? but the Vietnamese seeme+ strangely unmoAe+
by such occurrences- Perhaps they were so accustome+ to seeing
such things that it no longer a11ecte+ them-
!he Vietnamese ha+ another strange habit* .hen they saw
a man)eating tiger su++enly leap out to attac6 one o1 their companions?
no one in the group ma+e any e11ort to saAe their 1rien+Js
li1e- !hey simply aban+one+ their 1rien+ to his 1ate an+ ran 1or
their liAes- Suppose a group were sleeping in the 1orest oAernight-
&1 a huge tiger leape+ into the campsite an+ +ragge+ one o1 them
away? the others? awa6ene+ by the noise? woul+ Xump up an+ run
away? an+ then? calmly 1in+ another place close by to sleep- %i6e
chil+ren? they acte+ without much rhyme or reason in these matters-
!hey behaAe+ as though those huge beasts? which ha+ alrea+y
shown themselAes to be so a+ept at +eAouring human 1lesh? were
somehow too stupi+ to +o the same to them-
& am also 1amiliar with people who haAe no proper 1ear o1
tigers- .hen coming to liAe in our country? they li6e to settle in
+ense? oAergrown Xungle areas aboun+ing in tigers an+ other wil+
animal- Venturing +eep into the 1orest in search o1 timber? they
then spen+ the night there 1ar 1rom the Aillage? showing no signs
o1 1ear at all- Aen alone? these people can sleep +eep in the 1orest
at night without 1ear- &1 they wish to return to the Aillage late
at night? they haAe no Cualms about wal6ing alone through the
+ense un+ergrowth? an+ bac6 i1 necessary- &1 as6e+ why they arenJt
a1rai+ o1 tigers? their response is that? while the huge tigers in their
own country haAe a taste 1or human 1lesh? !hai tigers +onJtV an+
that theyJre eAen scare+ o1 people- :on+itions can be so +angerous
in their homelan+ that people staying oAernight in the 1orest
must buil+ an enclosure to sleep in that resembles a pigstyV otherwise?
they might neAer return home- Aen within the precincts o1
some Aillage communities? prowling tigers can be so 1ierce that no
one +ares leaAe home a1ter +ar6? 1earing an attac6 by a tiger leaping
out o1 the sha+ows- !he Vietnamese eAen chi+e the !hais 1or
being such cowar+ly people? always entering the 1orest in groups?
neAer +aring to Aenture out alone- 8or these reasons? Scariya
Mun claime+ that the Vietnamese lac6e+ an instinctiAe 1ear o1
being such cowar+ly people? always entering the 1orest in groups?
neAer +aring to Aenture out alone- 8or these reasons? Scariya
Mun claime+ that the Vietnamese lac6e+ an instinctiAe 1ear o1
an+ realiUe the Supreme Happiness o1 Nibb7na in
his li1etime-
.hen spea6ing o1 his eKcursions crossing the Me6ong
'iAer? he neAer mentione+ being a1rai+- He obAiously consi+ere+
such +angers to be a normal part o1 tre66ing through the
wil+s- &1 & ha+ been 1ace+ with those same +angers instea+ o1
Scariya Mun? surely the local Aillagers woul+ haAe ha+ to 1orm
a posse to rescue this cowar+ly +hutanga
mon6- .hen &Jm wal6ing
in me+itation in the 1orest at night? Xust the occasional roar
o1 a tiger so unsettles me that & can barely manage to 6eep wal6ing
to the en+ o1 the trac6- & 1ear coming 1ace to 1ace with one
o1 those beasts R an+ losing my wits- (ou see? since becoming
ol+ enough to un+erstan+ such things? & always hear+ my parents
an+ their neighbors Aoci1erously proclaim that tigers are Aery
1ierce animals? an+ eKtremely +angerous- !his notion has stuc6
with me eAer since? ma6ing it impossible not to be terri1ie+ o1
tigers- & must con1ess that &JAe neAer 1oun+ a way to counteract
this ten+ency-
S:A'&(A MUN SPN! most o1 the earlier years o1 his monastic career
traAeling at length through the Aarious proAinces o1 !hailan+Js
Northeast region- %ater? as he +eAelope+ enough inner stability to
withstan+ both eKternal +istractions an+ those mercurial mental
traits that were so much a part o1 his character? he wal6e+ +own
into the central proAinces? wan+ering contente+ly across the :entral
Plains region? liAing the +hutanga
li1estyle until eAentually he
reache+ the capitol? Bang6o6- ArriAing shortly be1ore the rainy
season? he went to .at Pathumwan monastery an+ entere+ the
retreat there- During the rains retreat he ma+e a point o1 regularly
going to see6 a+Aice 1rom :hao $hun Up7li 9u5Tpam7cariya;E at
.at Boromaniwat monastery to gain more eKtensiAe techniCues
1or +eAeloping wis+om-
Scariya Mun le1t Bang6o6 1ollowing the rains retreat? hi6ing
to %opburi proAince to stay awhile at Phai $hwang :aAe in the
Phra Ngam mountain range be1ore moAing on to Singto :aAe- %i1e
in such 1aAorable locations gaAe him an eKcellent? uninterrupte+
opportunity to 1ully intensi1y his spiritual practice- &n +oing so? he
+eAelope+ a 1earless attitu+e towar+ his min+ an+ the things with
which it came in contact- By then? his sam7+hi
was roc6)soli+-
Using it as the 1irm basis 1or his practice? he eKamine+ eAerything
1rom the perspectiAe o1 Dhamma? continually uncoAering
new techniCues 1or +eAeloping wis+om- A1ter a suitable interAal?
he returne+ to Bang6o6? once again Aisiting :hao $hun Up7li at
.at Boromaniwat- He in1orme+ his mentor o1 +eAelopments in
his me+itation practice? Cuestioning him about +oubts he still ha+
concerning the practice o1 wis+om- Satis1ie+ that the new inAestigatiAe
techniCues he ha+ learne+ were su11icient to 1urther his
progress? he 1inally too6 leaAe o1 :hao $hun Up7li an+ le1t to see6
seclusion at Sari6a :aAe in the $haw (ai mountains o1 Na6hon
Nayo6 proAince-
seclusion at Sari6a :aAe in the $haw (ai mountains o1 Na6hon
Nayo6 proAince-
Scariya Mun spent three years liAing an+ practicing in Sari6a
:aAe- His entire stay there was 1ille+ with the most unusual eKperiences?
ma6ing it a memorable episo+e in his li1e- !o the best
o1 my recollection? he 1irst arriAe+ at Ban 9luay Aillage? the Aillage
nearest the caAe an+ thus close enough to be conAenient 1or
almsroun+- Un1amiliar with the area? he as6e+ the Aillagers to
ta6e him to Sari6a :aAe- Straightaway they warne+ him that it
was a Aery special caAe possessing numerous supernatural powers?
insisting that no mon6 coul+ possibly liAe there unless his Airtue
was pure- #ther mon6s who ha+ trie+ to liAe there Cuic6ly 1ell ill
with a Aariety o1 pain1ul symptoms R many ha+ eAen +ie+ be1ore
they coul+ be brought +own 1or treatment- !hey tol+ him that the
caAe was the +omain o1 a spirit o1 immense siUe possessing many
magical powers- &t also ha+ a Aery 1oul temper- !his giant spirit
guar+e+ the caAe 1rom all intru+ers R mon6s being no eKception-
UneKpecte+ occurrences awaite+ all intru+ers into the caAe? many
o1 whom en+e+ up +ea+- !he spirit +elighte+ in testing any mon6
who came bragging about his mastery o1 magic spells 1or war+ing
o11 spirits- &nAariably? the mon6 woul+ su++enly 1all ill an+ +ie a
premature +eath- 8earing that Scariya Mun might +ie li6ewise?
the Aillagers plea+e+ with him not to go-
:urious about the tal6 o1 a huge? maleAolent spirit with
supernatural powers? Scariya Mun as6e+ an+ was tol+ that a
trespasser usually saw some sign o1 those powers on the Aery 1irst
night- An ominous +ream o1ten accompanie+ 1it1ul sleep* An
enormous blac6 spirit? towering oAerhea+? threatene+ to +rag the
+reamer to his +eath? shouting that it ha+ long been the caAeJs
guar+ian eKercising absolute authority oAer the whole area? an+
woul+ allow no one to trespass- So any trespasser was imme+iately
chase+ away? 1or it accepte+ no authority greater than its own?
eKcept that o1 a person o1 impeccable Airtue an+ a loAing? compassionate
heart? who eKten+e+ these noble Cualities to all liAing
beings- A person o1 such nobility was allowe+ to liAe in the caAe-
!he spirit woul+ eAen protect him an+ pay him homage? but it +i+
not tolerate narrow)min+e+? sel1ish? ill)behaAe+ intru+ers-
8in+ing li1e in the caAe a Aery uncom1ortable eKperience?
most mon6s re1use+ to remain 1or longV an+ 1earing +eath? they
ma+e a hurrie+ +eparture- 9enerally? no one manage+ a long stay
R only one or two +ays at most? an+ they were Cuic6ly on their
way- !rembling an+ almost out o1 their min+s with 1ear as they
climbe+ bac6 +own? they blurte+ out something about a 1ierce?
+emonic spirit- Scare+ an+ chastene+? they 1le+? neAer to return-
.orse still? some who went up to the caAe neAer came +own again-
!hus? the Aillagers worrie+ about the 1ate that awaite+ Scariya
Mun? not wanting him to become the neKt Aictim-
Scariya Mun as6e+ what they meant by saying that some
mon6s went up there neAer to return* .hy ha+nJt they come +own
again_ He was tol+ that? haAing +ie+ there? they coul+nJt possibly
come bac6 +own- !hey recounte+ a story o1 1our seemingly competent
mon6s who ha+ +ie+ in the caAe not long be1ore- Prior to
entering the caAe? one o1 them ha+ assure+ the Aillagers that he
was imperAious to 1ear? 1or he 6new a potent spell that protecte+
him against ghosts an+ other spirits? plus many other potent spells
as well- He was conAince+ no spirit coul+ threaten him- .arning
him repeate+ly about the +angers? the Aillagers trie+ to +iscourage
his intentions? but he reiterate+ that he ha+ no 1ear an+ insiste+
on being ta6en to the caAe- !he Aillagers were le1t with no other
choice? so they showe+ him the way- #nce there? he came +own
with a Aariety o1 a11lictions? inclu+ing high 1eAers? poun+ing hea+aches?
an+ terrible stomach pains- Sleeping 1it1ully? he +reamt that
he was being ta6en away to his +eath-
#Aer the years? many +i11erent mon6s ha+ trie+ to liAe there?
but their eKperiences were stri6ingly similar- Some +ie+? others
Cuic6ly 1le+- !he 1our most recent mon6s +ie+ within a relatiAely
short perio+- !he Aillagers coul+nJt guarantee that their +eaths
were cause+ by a maleAolent spiritV perhaps there was another
reason- But they ha+ always notice+ a power1ul presence connecte+
with the caAe- %ocal people werenJt so bol+ as to challenge
its power? 1or they were wary o1 it an+ enAisione+ themselAes being
carrie+ bac6 +own in critical con+ition R or as corpses-
Scariya Mun Cuestione+ them 1urther to satis1y himsel1 that
they were telling the truth- !hey assure+ him that such things
happene+ so o1ten it 1rightene+ them to thin6 about it- 8or this
reason? they warne+ any mon6 or lay person who came to search
the caAe 1or magical obXects or sacre+ amulets- .hether the caAe
actually containe+ such things is another matterV but? the 1act
that some people li6e+ to claim their eKistence meant that those
with a penchant 1or sacre+ obXects ineAitably went there to search
1or them- !he Aillagers themselAes ha+ neAer seen such obXects in
the caAeV nor ha+ they seen those see6ing them encounter anything
but +eath? or narrow escapes 1rom +eath- !hus? 1earing 1or
Scariya MunJs sa1ety? they begge+ him not to go-
Scariya MunJs sa1ety? they begge+ him not to go-
an opportunity to acCuire many new i+eas 1or contemplation-
He possesse+ the courage to 1ace whateAer was to happen?
as be1its someone genuinely intereste+ in see6ing the truth- So in
his own unassuming way? he in1orme+ the Aillagers that? although
the stories were Aery 1rightening? he still woul+ li6e to spen+ some
time in the caAe- Assuring them that he woul+ hurry bac6 +own
at the 1irst sign o1 trouble? he as6e+ to be escorte+ to the caAe?
which they obligingly +i+-
8#' SV'A% DA(S? Scariya MunJs physical con+ition remaine+
normal? his heart calm an+ serene- !he enAironment aroun+ the
caAe was seclu+e+ an+ Aery Cuiet? +isturbe+ only by the natural
soun+s o1 wil+ animals 1oraging 1or 1oo+ in the 1orest- He passe+
the 1irst 1ew nights contente+lyV but on subseCuent nights he began
to su11er stomach pains- Although such pains were nothing new?
this time? howeAer? the con+ition grew stea+ily worse? eAentually
becoming so seAere that he sometimes passe+ bloo+ in his stool-
Be1ore long his stomach re1use+ to +igest 1oo+ properly R it simply
passe+ straight through- !his ma+e him re1lect on what the Aillagers
ha+ sai+ about 1our mon6s +ying there recently- &1 his con+ition
+i+nJt improAe? perhaps he woul+ be the 1i1th-
.hen lay people came to see him at the caAe one morn
ing? he sent them to loo6 in the 1orest 1or certain me+icinal plants
that he ha+ preAiously 1oun+ bene1icial- !hey gathere+ Aarious
roots an+ woo+ essences which he boile+ into a potion an+ +ran6?
or else groun+ into pow+er? +rin6ing it +issolAe+ in water- He
trie+ seAeral +i11erent combinations o1 herbs? but none relieAe+ his
symptoms- !hey worsene+ with each passing +ay- His bo+y was
eKtremely wea6V an+ though his mental resolAe was not greatly
a11ecte+? it was clearly wea6er than normal-
ing? he sent them to loo6 in the 1orest 1or certain me+icinal plants
that he ha+ preAiously 1oun+ bene1icial- !hey gathere+ Aarious
roots an+ woo+ essences which he boile+ into a potion an+ +ran6?
or else groun+ into pow+er? +rin6ing it +issolAe+ in water- He
trie+ seAeral +i11erent combinations o1 herbs? but none relieAe+ his
symptoms- !hey worsene+ with each passing +ay- His bo+y was
eKtremely wea6V an+ though his mental resolAe was not greatly
a11ecte+? it was clearly wea6er than normal-
&JAe been ta6ing this me+icine now 1or many +ays- &1 it really is
an e11ectiAe stomach cure? then & shoul+ see some positiAe results by
now- But eAery +ay my con+ition worsens- .hy isnJt this me+icine
haAing the +esire+ e11ect_ Perhaps itJs not helping at all- &nstea+? it may
be aggraAating the symptoms an+ so causing the stea+y +eterioration-
&1 so? why continue ta6ing it_
#nce he became 1ully aware o1 his pre+icament? he ma+e
an emphatic +ecision- 8rom that +ay on he woul+ treat his stomach
+isor+er using only ]the therapeutic properties o1 DhammaJ-
&1 he liAe+? so much the betterV i1 he +ie+? then so be it- :onAentional
types o1 treatment proAing ine11ectiAe? he +etermine+ to
stop ta6ing all me+icines until he was cure+ by DhammaJs therapeutic
powers? or else +ie+ there in the caAe- .ith this 1irm resolution
in min+? he remin+e+ himsel1*
&Jm a Bu++hist mon6- &JAe certainly practice+ me+itation long
enough to recogniUe the correct path lea+ing to magga? phala? an+
Nibb7na- By now my practice shoul+ be 1irmly anchore+ in this conAiction-
So why am & so wea6 an+ cowar+ly when 1ace+ with a small
+egree o1 pain_ &tJs only a slight pain? a1ter all? yet & canJt seem to come
to grips with it- Becoming wea6 all o1 a su++en? & now 1eel +e1eate+-
%ater? when li1e reaches a critical Xuncture R at the moment o1 +eath
as the bo+y begins to brea6 up an+ +isintegrate R the onslaught o1 pain
will then crush +own mercilessly on bo+y an+ min+- .here shall & 1in+
the strength to 1ight it so & can transcen+ this worl+ an+ aAoi+ being
out+one in +eathJs struggle_
to grips with it- Becoming wea6 all o1 a su++en? & now 1eel +e1eate+-
%ater? when li1e reaches a critical Xuncture R at the moment o1 +eath
as the bo+y begins to brea6 up an+ +isintegrate R the onslaught o1 pain
will then crush +own mercilessly on bo+y an+ min+- .here shall & 1in+
the strength to 1ight it so & can transcen+ this worl+ an+ aAoi+ being
out+one in +eathJs struggle_
an+ began earnestly 1ocusing on me+itation as the sole
reme+y 1or all spiritual an+ bo+ily ailments- Discar+ing concern
1or his li1e? he let his bo+y 1ollow its own natural course? turning
his attention to probing the citta R that essential ]6nowing natureJ
which neAer +ies? yet has +eath as its constant companion- He
set to wor6 eKamining the citta? using the 1ull powers o1 min+1ulness?
wis+om? 1aith an+ perseAerance that he ha+ been +eAeloping
within himsel1 1or so long- !he seriousness o1 his physical con+ition
cease+ to interest himV concerns about +eath no longer arose-
He +irecte+ min+1ulness an+ wis+om to inAestigate the pain1ul
1eelings he eKperience+? ma6ing them separate the bo+y into its
constituent elements? an+ then thoroughly analyUing each one-
He eKamine+ the physical components o1 the bo+y an+ the 1eelings
o1 pain within it- He analyUe+ the 1unction o1 memory which
presumes that one or another part o1 the bo+y is in pain-;; An+ he
analyUe+ the thought processes which conceiAe the bo+y as being
in pain-;= All such Aital aspects were targete+ in the inAestigation
con+ucte+ by min+1ulness an+ wis+om as they continue+ to
probe into the bo+y? the pain? an+ the citta? relentlessly eKploring
their connections 1rom +us6 until mi+night- !hrough this process?
he succee+e+ in 1ully +isengaging the bo+y 1rom the seAere
pain cause+ by his stomach +isor+er until he un+erstoo+? with
absolute clarity? Xust how they are interrelate+- At that moment o1
realiUation? his citta ]conAerge+J into complete calm R a moment
that saw his spiritual resolAe immeasurably strengthene+? an+ his
bo+ily illness totally Aanish- !he illness? the pain? the min+Js preoccupations
R all +isappeare+ simultaneously-
'emaining only brie1ly in complete stillness? his citta with+rew
slightly? reaching the leAel o1 upac7ra sam7+hi- !his ]luminousJ
citta then le1t the con1ines o1 his bo+y an+ imme+iately
encountere+ an enormous? blac6 man stan+ing 1ully thirty 1eet
tall- !he towering 1igure carrie+ a huge metal club R twelAe 1eet
long an+ thic6 as a manJs leg- .al6ing up to Scariya Mun? he
announce+ in a menacing Aoice that he was about to poun+ him
right into the groun+- He warne+ Scariya Mun to 1lee that Aery
instant i1 he wishe+ to remain aliAe- !he metal club resting on his
shoul+er was so huge that a single blow 1rom it woul+ haAe been
enough to poun+ a large bull elephant into the earth-
Scariya Mun 1ocuse+ his citta on the giant spirit? as6ing
why he wante+ to club to +eath someone who ha+ +one nothing
to warrant such brutal treatment- He remin+e+ the giant that
he ha+ harme+ no one while liAing thereV that he ha+ cause+ no
trouble +eserAing o1 such +ea+ly punishment- !he giant replie+
by saying that he ha+ long been the sole authority guar+ing that
mountain an+ woul+ neAer allow anyone to usurp that authority-
He 1elt compelle+ to ta6e +ecisiAe action against all intru+ers-
Scariya MunJs response was reproach1ul* @& +i+ not come
here to usurp anyoneJs authority- & came to carry on the noble
wor6 o1 spiritual +eAelopment? 1or & aim to usurp the authority
that the 6ilesas eKercise oAer my heart- Harming a Airtuous mon6
in any way is an absolutely +espicable act- & am a +isciple o1 the
%or+ Bu++ha? that supremely pure in+iAi+ual whose all)power1ul
loAing compassion encompasses the whole o1 the sentient uniAerse-
Does the great authority you boast giAe you power to oAerri+e
the authority o1 Dhamma? an+ o1 6amma
R those immutable
laws that goAern the eKistence o1 all liAing beings_B
!he creature replie+* @No? sir-B
Scariya Mun then sai+* @!he %or+ Bu++ha possesse+ the
s6ill an+ the courage to +estroy those insi+ious mental +e1ilements
that li6e boasting o1 power an+ authority- !hus? he banishe+
1rom his heart all thoughts o1 beating or 6illing other people-
(ou thin6 youJre so smart? haAe you eAer giAen any thought to
ta6ing +ecisiAe action against the 6ilesas in your heart_B
!he creature a+mitte+* @Not yet? sir-B
@&n that case? such oAerbearing authority will Xust ma6e you
a cruel? saAage in+iAi+ual? resulting in Aery graAe conseCuences 1or
you- (ou +onJt possess the authority nee+e+ to ri+ yoursel1 o1 eAil?
so you use the 1ires o1 magic against others? unaware that youJre
actually burning yoursel1- (ou are creating Aery graAe 6amma
in+ee+- As though that werenJt ba+ enough? you want to attac6
an+ 6ill someone who represents the Airtues o1 Dhamma which
are central to the worl+Js well)being- How can you eAer hope to
lay claim to lau+able Airtues? when you insist on engaging in eAil
behaAior o1 such unparallele+ brutality_
@& am a man o1 Airtue- & haAe come here with the purest
intentions R to practice Dhamma 1or my own spiritual bene1it?
an+ the bene1it o1 others- Despite that? you threaten to poun+ me
into the groun+? giAing no thought to the conseCuences o1 such
an eAil +ee+- DonJt you realiUe that it will +rag you into hell where
you will reap the terrible misery you haAe sown_ 'ather than 1eel
concerne+ 1or mysel1? & 1eel Aery sorry 1or you R youJAe become so
obsesse+ with your own authority that itJs now burning you aliAe-
:an your potent powers withstan+ the e11ect o1 the graAe act you
are about to commit_ (ou say you eKercise soAereign authority oAer
this mountain? but can your magic powers oAerri+e Dhamma an+
the laws o1 6amma_ &1 your powers really are superior to Dhamma?
then go ahea+ R poun+ me to +eath2 &Jm not a1rai+ to +ie- Aen i1
& +onJt +ie to+ay? my +eath remains ineAitable- 8or the worl+ is a
place where all who are born must +ie R eAen you? blin+e+ as you
are by your own sel1)importance- (ou are not aboAe +eath? or the
laws o1 6amma that goAern all liAing beings-B
concerne+ 1or mysel1? & 1eel Aery sorry 1or you R youJAe become so
obsesse+ with your own authority that itJs now burning you aliAe-
:an your potent powers withstan+ the e11ect o1 the graAe act you
are about to commit_ (ou say you eKercise soAereign authority oAer
this mountain? but can your magic powers oAerri+e Dhamma an+
the laws o1 6amma_ &1 your powers really are superior to Dhamma?
then go ahea+ R poun+ me to +eath2 &Jm not a1rai+ to +ie- Aen i1
& +onJt +ie to+ay? my +eath remains ineAitable- 8or the worl+ is a
place where all who are born must +ie R eAen you? blin+e+ as you
are by your own sel1)importance- (ou are not aboAe +eath? or the
laws o1 6amma that goAern all liAing beings-B
him by means o1 sam7+hi
me+itation- He stoo+ so completely
still that i1 he were a human being we woul+ say that he
was so 1rightene+ an+ ashame+ he coul+ scarcely breath- But this
was a special non)human being? so he +i+nJt in 1act breathe- (et?
eAen though he manage+ to +o so a+mirably? his whole manner
clearly showe+ him to be so ashame+ an+ 1ear1ul o1 Scariya Mun
that he coul+ barely restrain his emotions-
Scariya Mun ha+ 1inishe+ spea6ing- Su++enly? the contrite
spirit 1lung the metal club +own 1rom his shoul+er an+ spontaneously
trans1orme+ his appearance 1rom a huge? blac6 creature into
a +eAout Bu++hist gentleman with a mil+? courteous +emeanor-
Approaching Scariya Mun with heart1elt respect? the gentleman
then as6e+ his 1orgiAeness? eKpressing +eep remorse- Here is the
gist o1 what he sai+*
@& was surprise+? an+ 1elt somewhat 1rightene+? the 1irst
moment & saw you- & imme+iately notice+ a strange an+ amaUing
ra+iance eKten+ing out all aroun+ you? a brilliance unli6e anything
& ha+ eAer seen- &t create+ such a pro1oun+ impact that in
your presence & 1elt wea6 an+ numb- & coul+nJt +o anything R so
captiAate+ was & by that ra+iant glow- Still? & +i+nJt 6now what it
was? 1or & ha+ neAer be1ore eKperience+ anything li6e it-
@My threats to 6ill you a moment ago +i+nJt come 1rom
my heartJs true 1eelings- 'ather? they stemme+ 1rom a long)hel+
belie1 that & possess unriAale+ authority oAer non)human beings?
as well as humans with eAil intent who lac6 moral principles- Such
authority can be impose+ on anyone? at any timeV an+ that person
will be powerless to resist- !his arrogant sense o1 sel1)importance
le+ me to con1ront you- 8eeling Aulnerable? & +i+nJt want to lose
1ace- Aen as & threatene+ you? & 1elt nerAous an+ hesitant? unable
to act on my threat- &t was merely the stance o1 someone accustome+
to wiel+ing power oAer others- Please be compassionate
enough to 1orgiAe my ru+e? +istaste1ul behaAior to+ay- & +onJt wish
to su11er the conseCuences o1 eAil anymore- As it is now? & su11er
enough- Any more? an+ & wonJt haAe the strength to bear it-B
Scariya Mun was curious about this* @(ou are a prominent
in+iAi+ual with enormous power an+ prestige- (ou haAe an nonphysical
bo+y? so you nee+nJt eKperience the human har+ships o1
hunger an+ 1atigue- (ou arenJt bur+ene+ haAing to ma6e a liAing
as people here on earth are? so why +o you complain about su11ering_
&1 a celestial eKistence isnJt happiness? then which type o1
eKistence is_B
!he spirit replie+* @#n a super1icial leAel? perhaps? celestial
beings with their ethereal bo+ies +o actually eKperience more happiness
than humans? whose bo+ies are much grosser- But spea6ing
strictly in spiritual terms? a celestial beingJs ethereal bo+y still
su11ers a +egree o1 +iscom1ort proportionate to the re1ine+ nature
o1 that state o1 eKistence-B
su11ers a +egree o1 +iscom1ort proportionate to the re1ine+ nature
o1 that state o1 eKistence-B
an+ compleK 1or me to capture its eAery +etail here? so &
hope the rea+er will 1orgiAe me 1or this shortcoming-
As a result o1 the +iscussion? the mysterious celestial being?
showing great respect 1or the Dhamma he hear+? a11irme+ his
+eAotion to the three re1uges* Bu++ha? Dhamma? an+ Sangha-
He let it be 6nown that he consi+ere+ Scariya Mun to be one
o1 his re1uges as well? as6ing Scariya Mun to bear witness to his
1aith- At the same time? he o11ere+ Scariya Mun his 1ull protection?
inAiting him to remain in the caAe in+e1initely- Ha+ his wish
been grante+? Scariya Mun woul+ haAe spent the rest o1 his li1e
there- !his being cherishe+ the opportunity to ta6e care o1 him R
he wante+ to ensure that nothing whatsoeAer +isturbe+ Scariya
MunJs me+itation- &n truth? he was not some mysterious being
with a huge? blac6 bo+y R that was merely a guise- He was the
chie1 lea+er o1 all the terrestrial +eAas liAing in that region-;D His
large entourage liAe+ in an area that centere+ in the mountains
o1 Na6hon Nayo6 an+ eKten+e+ oAer many o1 the surroun+ing
proAinces as well-
Scariya MunJs citta ha+ ]conAerge+J into calm at mi+night?
a1ter which he met the terrestrial +eAa? communicating by means
o1 sam7+hi me+itation until 1our A-M-? when his citta with+rew to
normal consciousness- !he stomach +isor+er that was troubling
him so much when he sat +own at +us6 ha+ completely +isappeare+
by that time- !he therapeutic power o1 Dhamma? a+ministere+
by means o1 me+itation? was the only reme+y he nee+e+
to e11ect a +ecisiAe cure R an eKperience that Scariya Mun 1oun+
incre+ibly amaUing- 8orgoing sleep? he continue+ striAing in his
practice until +awn- &nstea+ o1 1eeling tire+ a1ter a night o1 eKertion?
his bo+y was more energetic than eAer-
He ha+ passe+ a night 1ull o1 many amaUing eKperiences*
He witnesse+ DhammaJs power1ul ability to tame an unruly spirit?
trans1orming arrogance into 1aithV his citta remaine+ in a serenely
calm state 1or many hours? saAoring that won+er1ul sense o1 happinessV
a chronic illness was completely cure+? his +igestion returning
to normalV he was satis1ie+ that his min+ ha+ acCuire+ a soli+
spiritual basis R one he coul+ trust? thus +ispelling many o1 his
lingering +oubtsV he realiUe+ many unusual insights he ha+ neAer
be1ore attaine+? both those that remoAe+ +e1ilements an+ those
that enhance+ the special un+erstan+ing which 1orme+ an intrinsic
part o1 his character-
During the months that 1ollowe+? his me+itation practice
progresse+ smoothly? accompanie+ always by in+escribable peace
an+ tranCuillity- .ith his health bac6 to normal? physical +iscom1orts
no longer trouble+ him- Sometimes? late at night? he
met with gatherings o1 terrestrial +eAas who came 1rom Aarious
places to Aisit him- DeAas 1rom the surroun+ing area ha+ all hear+
o1 Scariya Mun? 1or the mysterious +eAa who ha+ engage+ him in
a war o1 wor+s was now announcing his presence to others? an+
escorting groups o1 them to meet him- #n nights when no Aisitors
came? he enXoye+ himsel1 practicing me+itation-
#N A8!'N##N H %8! his me+itation seat to sit in the open air
not 1ar 1rom the caAe? re1lecting on the Dhamma that the %or+
Bu++ha ha+ so compassionately giAen to man6in+- He 1elt this
Dhamma to be so Aery pro1oun+ that he un+erstoo+ how +i11icult
it was going to be to practice it to per1ection? an+ to 1ully
realiUe its essential truths- He 1elt a sense o1 satis1action? thin6ing
how 1ortunate he was to be able to practice Dhamma an+
realiUe its many insights an+ truths R an amaUing 1eeling- Aen
though he ha+ yet to reach the ultimate realiUation? a +ream heJ+
long +esire+ to 1ul1ill? still the spiritual contentment he eKperience+
was Aery rewar+ing- He was sure now that? unless +eath
interAene+? his hopes woul+ surely be realiUe+ one +ay- SaAoring
his contentment? he re1lecte+ on the path he too6 to practice
Dhamma an+ the results he hope+ to achieAe? procee+ing step by
step? until he reache+ a complete cessation o1 +u66ha? eliminating
all traces o1 +iscontent still eKisting within his heart-
Zust then? a large troop o1 mon6eys came 1oraging 1or 1oo+
in 1ront o1 the caAe- !he lea+er o1 the troop arriAe+ 1irst? a goo+
+istance in 1ront o1 the rest- 'eaching the area in 1ront o1 the
caAe? it spotte+ Scariya Mun who sat Aery still with eyes open?
glancing silently at the approaching mon6ey- !he mon6ey imme+iately
became suspicious o1 his presence- NerAous? worrie+ about
the sa1ety o1 its troop? it ran bac6 an+ 1orth along the branch o1
a tree? loo6ing warily at him- Scariya Mun un+erstoo+ its anKiety?
an+ sympathiUe+ with it? sen+ing out beneAolent thoughts
o1 loAing 6in+ness* &JAe come here to practice Dhamma? not to mistreat
or harm anyoneV so thereJs no nee+ to 1ear me- $eep searching
1or 1oo+ as you please- (ou can come 1oraging aroun+ here eAery +ay
i1 you li6e-
&n a 1lash? the lea+ mon6ey ran bac6 to its troop? which
Scariya Mun coul+ see approaching in the +istance- He watche+
what happene+ neKt with a sense o1 great amusement? combine+
with sincere compassion- As soon as the lea+er reache+ the others?
it Cuic6ly calle+ out* 9o6e? hey not so 1ast2 !hereJs something oAer
there- &t may be +angerous2 Hearing this? all the other mon6eys
began as6ing at once* 9o6e? go6e_ .here? where_ An+ simultaneously?
the lea+er turne+ his hea+ towar+ Scariya MunJs +irection
as i1 to say* Sitting oAer there R can you see_ #r something li6e
that? but in the language o1 animals? which is an un1athomable
mystery to most human beings- Scariya Mun? howeAer? un+erstoo+
eAery wor+ they spo6e-
#nce it ha+ signale+ Scariya MunJs presence to the group?
the lea+ mon6ey warne+ them to procee+ slowly an+ cautiously
until they coul+ +etermine eKactly what was up ahea+- &t then
hurrie+ o11 ahea+ o1 the group? warily approaching the 1ront o1
the caAe where Scariya Mun was seate+- Being concerne+ 1or
the sa1ety o1 those 1ollowing behin+? it was apprehensiAe? but also
curious to 1in+ out what was there- &t cautiously snuc6 up close
to Scariya Mun? Xumping up an+ Xumping +own 1rom branch
to branch? as mon6eys ten+ to +o? 1or they are Cuite restless as
eAerybo+y 6nows- !he lea+ mon6ey watche+ Scariya Mun constantly
until it was sure that he pose+ no +anger- !hen? it ran
bac6 an+ in1orme+ its 1rien+s* 9o6e? we can go- 9o6e? thereJs no
During this time? Scariya Mun sat per1ectly still? constantly
gauging the lea+ mon6eyJs inner 1eelings to Xu+ge its reaction to
him- !he way it ran bac6 to spea6 to its 1rien+s was Cuite comicV
yet? 6nowing eKactly what they sai+? Scariya Mun coul+nJt help
1eeling sorry 1or them- 8or those o1 us who +onJt un+erstan+ their
language? the calls they sen+ bac6 an+ 1orth to one another are
merely soun+s in the 1orest? much li6e the bir+ calls we hear eAery
+ay- But when the lea+ mon6ey ran bac6? calling out to its troop?
Scariya Mun un+erstoo+ the meaning o1 what was sai+ as clearly
as i1 they ha+ been conAersing in human language-
&n the beginning when the lea+ mon6ey 1irst spotte+ him?
it hurrie+ bac6 to its troop? warning its 1rien+s to ta6e care an+
pay care1ul attention to what it ha+ to say- Although it communicate+
this message in the go6e go6e soun+s that mon6eys ma6e?
the essential meaning was clear to the others* Hey? stop2 Not so
1ast2 !hereJs +anger up ahea+- Hearing the warning? the others
began won+ering what +anger there was- 8irst? one as6e+* 9o6e?
what is it_ !hen? another as6e+* 9o6e? whatJs the matter_ !he
lea+ mon6ey answere+* 9o6e ga6e? thereJs something up there R it
may be +angerous- !he others as6e+* 9o6e? where is it_ !he lea+er
replie+* 9o6e? right oAer there-
!he soun+s ma+e by this large troop o1 mon6eys? as they
Cuestione+ an+ answere+ one another? reAerberate+ through the
whole 1orest- 8irst? one calle+ out in alarmV then another? until
mon6eys? large an+ small? ran 1rantically bac6 an+ 1orth? see6ing
answers about their situation- 8ear1ul o1 the possible +anger they
all 1ace+? they yelle+ eKcite+ly to one another in a state o1 general
con1usion R Xust as we people ten+ to +o when con1ronte+ with an
emergency- !heir lea+er was oblige+ to spea6 up an+ to try to clari1y
the situation? cautioning them* 9o6e ga6e? eAeryone wait here
1irst while & go bac6 an+ chec6 to ma6e sure- .ith these parting
instructions? it hurrie+ bac6 to loo6 again- Approaching Scariya
Mun who was seate+ in 1ront o1 the caAe? it loo6e+ warily at him
while scurrying to an+ 1ro through the branches o1 the trees- &ts
eyes eKamine+ him with intense interest until it was satis1ie+ that
Scariya Mun wasnJt an a+Aersary- !hen? it hurrie+ly returne+ to its
troop an+ announce+* 9o6e ga6e? we can go now? itJs not +angerous-
!hereJs no nee+ to be a1rai+- So the whole troop moAe+ 1orwar+
until it reache+ the spot where Scariya Mun was seate+? all
o1 them cautiously peering at him in a way that signale+ their continuing
mistrust- As mon6eys ten+ to +o when their curiosity is
arouse+? the troop was Xumping about through the trees- !he go6e
ga6e soun+s o1 their Cueries echoe+ through the 1orest* .hat is it_
.hatJs it +oing here_ !he soun+s o1 their replies reAerberate+ in
the agitate+ tone o1 animals nee+ing to 1in+ out whatJs going on-
!his narration has a repetitiAe Cuality? 1or this is the narratiAe
style that Scariya Mun himsel1 use+ when telling this story-
He wante+ to emphasiUe the points o1 interest 1or his au+ience?
an+ thus clearly in+icate their signi1icance- He sai+ that wil+
mon6eys ten+ to panic when sensing +anger because? 1or ages?
human beings haAe use+ Aarious brutal metho+s to 6ill these animals
in countless numbers- So mon6eys are instinctiAely Aery +istrust1ul
o1 people-
!he 1low o1 an animalJs consciousness in1uses the +i11erent
soun+s it ma6es with the appropriate meaning R Xust as human
Aerbal eKpressions are +etermine+ by the 1low o1 human consciousness-
So? it is Xust as easy 1or mon6eys to un+erstan+ the
meaning o1 their common soun+s? as it is 1or people to un+erstan+
the same language- ach soun+ that issues 1rom an animalJs 1low
o1 consciousness is attune+ to a speci1ic meaning an+ purpose-
!hese soun+s communicate a clear message? an+ those who are
listening inAariably comprehen+ their precise meaning- So? eAen
though it has no +iscernible meaning 1or human beings? when
mon6eys emit a soun+ li6e go6e? they all un+erstan+ its inten+e+
meaning? since this is the language mon6eys use to communi
cate- Much the same applies to people o1 +i11erent nationalities?
each spea6ing their own national language- Zust as most nations
aroun+ the worl+ haAe their own speci1ic language? so too each
species o1 animal has its own +istinct means o1 communication-
.hether animals an+ humans can comprehen+ each othersJ language
ceases to be an issue when we accept that each group has
the prerogatiAe to +eci+e on the parameters o1 its speech an+ the
manner in which it is con+ucte+-
8inally oAercoming their 1ears? the mon6eys roame+ 1reely
in the area aroun+ the caAe? 1oraging 1or 1oo+ as they please+- No
longer were they on guar+? wary o1 the threat o1 +anger- 8rom
that +ay on? they 1elt right at home there? showing no interest in
Scariya MunV an+ he pai+ no special attention to them as he an+
they both went about their +aily liAes-
Scariya Mun sai+ that all the animals 1oraging 1or 1oo+ in
the area where he liAe+ +i+ so contente+ly? without 1ear- #r+inarily?
animals o1 all 6in+s 1eel com1ortable liAing in places where
mon6s haAe ta6en up resi+ence? 1or animals are Cuite similar to
human beings in emotion- !hey simply lac6 the same pre+ominant
authority an+ intelligence that humans possess- !heir leAel
o1 intelligence eKten+s only to the tas6s o1 searching 1or 1oo+ an+
1in+ing a place to hi+e in or+er to surAiAe 1rom +ay to +ay-
#N VN&N9 S:A'&(A MUN 1elt so moAe+ by a pro1oun+ sense o1
sa+ness that tears came to his eyes- Seate+ in me+itation 1ocusing
on bo+y contemplation? his citta
]conAerge+J into a state o1 such
total calm that it appeare+ completely empty- At that moment? he
1elt as though the whole uniAerse ha+ cease+ to eKist- #nly emp
tiness remaine+ R the emptiness o1 his citta- merging 1rom this
pro1oun+ state? he contemplate+ the teaching o1 the %or+ Bu++ha
which prescribe+ the means 1or remoAing the +e1iling pollutants
that eKist in the hearts o1 all liAing beings R a 6nowle+ge arising
1rom the incisiAe genius o1 the %or+ Bu++haJs wis+om- !he more
he contemplate+ this matter? the more he un+erstoo+ the amaUing
sagacity o1 the Bu++ha R an+ the more pro1oun+ly sa++ene+ he
was by his own ignorance- He realiUe+ the paramount importance
o1 proper training an+ instruction- Aen such common bo+ily
1unctions as eating 1oo+ an+ relieAing ourselAes must be taught
to us- .e learn to per1orm them properly by un+ergoing training
an+ instruction- .ashing an+ +ressing ourselAes? in 1act all o1 our
+aily actiAities? must be learne+ through e+ucation R otherwise?
they will neAer be +one correctly- .orse than +oing them incorrectly?
we may en+ up +oing something seriously wrong? which
coul+ haAe grieAous moral conseCuences- Zust as itJs necessary to
receiAe training in how to ta6e care o1 our bo+ies? so it is essential
to receiAe proper gui+ance in how to ta6e care o1 our min+s-
&1 our min+s +onJt un+ergo the appropriate training? then weJre
boun+ to ma6e serious mista6es? regar+less o1 our age? gen+er? or
position in society-
!he aAerage person in this worl+ resembles a young chil+
who nee+s a+ult gui+ance an+ constant attention to sa1ely grow
to maturity- Most o1 us ten+ to grow up only in appearance- #ur
titles? our status? an+ our sel1)importance ten+ to increase eAer
moreV but the 6nowle+ge an+ wis+om o1 the right way to achieAe
peace an+ happiness 1or ourselAes an+ others? +onJt grow to maturity
with themV nor +o we show an interest in +eAeloping these-
:onseCuently? we always eKperience +i11iculties whereAer we go-
!hese were the thoughts that moAe+ Scariya Mun to such a pro1oun+
sense o1 sa+ness that eAening-
A! !H 8##! #8 !H M#UN!A&N? where the path to the Sari6a :aAe
began? stoo+ a Aipassan7
me+itation center? the resi+ence o1 an
el+erly mon6 who was or+aine+ late in li1e? a1ter haAing ha+ a wi1e
an+ 1amily- !hin6ing o1 this mon6 one eAening? Scariya Mun
won+ere+ what he was +oing? an+ so? he sent out his 1low o1 consciousness
to ta6e a loo6- At that moment? the ol+ mon6Js min+
was completely +istracte+ by thoughts o1 the past concerning the
a11airs o1 his home an+ 1amily- Again? sen+ing out his 1low o1 consciousness
to obserAe him later that same night? Scariya Mun
encountere+ the same situation- Zust be1ore +awn? he 1ocuse+ his
once again? only to 1in+ the ol+ mon6 still busy ma6ing plans
1or his chil+ren an+ gran+chil+ren- ach time he sent out the
1low o1 his citta
to chec6? he 1oun+ the mon6 thin6ing incessantly
about matters concerne+ with buil+ing a worl+ly li1e now? an+
untol+ roun+s o1 eKistence in the 1uture-
#n the way bac6 1rom his almsroun+ that morning? he
stoppe+ to Aisit the el+erly mon6 an+ imme+iately put him on
the spot* @How is it going? ol+ 1ellow_ Buil+ing a new house an+
getting marrie+ to your wi1e all oAer again_ (ou coul+nJt sleep at
all last night- & suppose eAerything is all arrange+ now so you can
relaK in the eAenings? without haAing to get so wor6e+ up planning
what youJll say to your chil+ren an+ gran+chil+ren- & suspect
you were so +istracte+ by all that business last night you har+ly
slept a win6? am & right_B
mbarrasse+? the el+erly mon6 as6e+ with a sheepish smile*
@(ou 6new about last night_ (ouJre incre+ible? Scariya Mun-B
@(ou 6new about last night_ (ouJre incre+ible? Scariya Mun-B
with your thoughts you neglecte+ to lie +own an+ sleep all
night- Aen now you continue to shamelessly enXoy thin6ing about
such matters an+ you +onJt haAe the min+1ulness to stop yoursel1-
(ouJre still +etermine+ to act upon those thoughts? arenJt you_B
As he 1inishe+ spea6ing? Scariya Mun notice+ the el+erly
mon6 loo6ing Aery pale? as though about to 1aint 1rom shoc6? or
embarrassment- He mumble+ something incoherent in a 1altering?
ghostly soun+ing Aoice bor+ering on ma+ness- Seeing his con+ition?
Scariya Mun instinctiAely 6new that any 1urther +iscussion
woul+ haAe serious conseCuences- So he 1oun+ an eKcuse
to change the subXect? tal6ing about other matters 1or a while to
calm him +own? then he returne+ to the caAe-
!hree +ays later one o1 the ol+ mon6Js lay supporters came
to the caAe? so Scariya Mun as6e+ him about the mon6- !he
layman sai+ that he ha+ abruptly le1t the preAious morning? with
no intention o1 returning- !he layman ha+ as6e+ him why he
was in such a hurry to leaAe? an+ he replie+* @How can & stay here
any longer_ !he other morning Scariya Mun stoppe+ by an+ lec
ture+ me so poignantly that & almost 1ainte+ right there in 1ront
o1 him- Ha+ he continue+ lecturing me li6e that much longer? &J+
surely haAe passe+ out an+ +ie+ there on the spot- As it was? he
stoppe+ an+ change+ the subXect? so & manage+ to surAiAe some
how- How can you eKpect me to remain here now? a1ter that_ &Jm
leaAing to+ay-B
!he layman as6e+ him* @Di+ Scariya Mun scol+ you harshly_
&s that why you nearly +ie+? an+ now 1eel you can no longer stay
@He +i+nJt scol+ me at all? but his astute Cuestions were 1ar
worse than a tongue)lashing-B
@He as6e+ you some Cuestions? is that it_ :an you tell me
what they were_ Perhaps & can learn a lesson 1rom them-B
&s that why you nearly +ie+? an+ now 1eel you can no longer stay
@He +i+nJt scol+ me at all? but his astute Cuestions were 1ar
worse than a tongue)lashing-B
@He as6e+ you some Cuestions? is that it_ :an you tell me
what they were_ Perhaps & can learn a lesson 1rom them-B
weJre thin6ing- No scol+ing coul+ possibly be as ba+ as that-
&tJs Cuite natural 1or people to thin6 both goo+ thoughts an+ ba+
thoughts- .ho can control them_ But when & +iscoAer that Scariya
Mun 6nows all about my priAate thoughts R thatJs too much- & 6now
& canJt stay on here- Better to go o11 an+ +ie somewhere else than
to stay here an+ +isturb him with my waywar+ thin6ing- & mustnJt
stay here? 1urther +isgracing mysel1- %ast night & coul+nJt sleep at
all R & Xust canJt get this matter out o1 my min+-B
But the layman begge+ to +i11er* @.hy shoul+ Scariya Mun
be +isturbe+ by what you thin6_ HeJs not the one at 1ault- !he
person at 1ault is the one who shoul+ be +isturbe+ by what heJs
+one? an+ then ma6e a sincere e11ort to recti1y it- !hat? Scariya
Mun woul+ certainly appreciate- So please stay on here 1or awhile
R in that way? when those thoughts arise? you can bene1it 1rom
Scariya MunJs a+Aice- !hen you can +eAelop the min+1ulness
nee+e+ to solAe this problem? which is much better than running
away 1rom it- .hat +o you say to that_B
@& canJt stay- !he prospect o1 my +eAeloping min+1ulness to
improAe mysel1 canJt begin to riAal my 1ear o1 Scariya Mun* itJs
li6e pitting a cat against an elephant2 Zust thin6ing that he 6nows
all about me is enough to ma6e me shiAer? so how coul+ & possibly
maintain any +egree o1 min+1ulness_ &Jm leaAing to+ay- &1 & remain
here any longer? &Jll +ie 1or sure- Please belieAe me-B
all about me is enough to ma6e me shiAer? so how coul+ & possibly
maintain any +egree o1 min+1ulness_ &Jm leaAing to+ay- &1 & remain
here any longer? &Jll +ie 1or sure- Please belieAe me-B
Scariya Mun was +eeply +ismaye+ to see his beneAolent
intentions pro+ucing such negatiAe results? his compassion being
the cause o1 such un1ortunate conseCuences- &n truth? seeing the
el+erly mon6Js stunne+ reaction that Aery 1irst +ay? he ha+ suspecte+
then that this might happen- A1ter that +ay he was +isincline+
to sen+ out the 1low o1 his citta
to inAestigate? 1earing he
might again meet with the same situation- &n the en+? his suspicions
were con1irme+- He tol+ the layman that heJ+ spo6en with
the ol+ mon6 in the 1amiliar way that 1rien+s normally +o* play1ul
one minute? serious the neKt- He neAer imagine+ it becoming
such a big issue that the el+erly mon6 woul+ 1eel compelle+ to
aban+on his monastery an+ 1lee li6e that-
!his inci+ent became an important lesson +etermining
how Scariya Mun behaAe+ towar+ all the many people he met
throughout his li1e- He was concerne+ that such an inci+ent might
be repeate+ shoul+ he 1ail to ma6e a point o1 care1ully consi+
ering the circumstances be1ore spea6ing- 8rom that +ay on? he
neAer cautione+ people +irectly about the speci1ic content o1 their
thoughts- He merely allu+e+ in+irectly to certain types o1 thin6ing
as a means o1 helping people become aware o1 the nature
o1 their thoughts? but without upsetting their 1eelings- PeopleJs
min+s are li6e small chil+ren tottering uncertainly as they learn
to wal6- An a+ultJs Xob is to merely watch them care1ully so they
come to no harm- !hereJs no nee+ to be oAerly protectiAe all the
time- !he same applies to peopleJs min+s* they shoul+ be allowe+
to learn by their own eKperiences- Sometimes their thin6ing will
be right? sometimes wrong? sometimes goo+? sometimes ba+ R this
is only natural- &tJs unreasonable to eKpect them to be per1ectly
goo+ an+ correct eAery time-
!H (A'S S:A'&(A MUN spent liAing in Sari6a :aAe were 1ruit1ul-
He gaine+ many enlightening i+eas to +eepen his un+erstan+ing
o1 the eKclusiAely internal aspects o1 his me+itation practice
an+ many unusual insights concerning the great Aariety o1 eKternal
phenomena he encountere+ in his me+itation- He became so
pleasantly absorbe+ in his practice that he 1orgot about time* he
har+ly notice+ the +ays? the months? or the years as they passe+-
&ntuitiAe insights arose in his min+ continuously R li6e water
gently 1lowing along in the rainy season- #n a1ternoons when
the weather was clear? he wal6e+ through the 1orest a+miring
the trees an+ the mountains? me+itating as he went? absorbe+ in
the natural scenery all aroun+ him- As eAening 1ell? he gra+ually
ma+e his way bac6 to the caAe-
!he caAeJs surroun+ing area aboun+e+ in countless species
o1 wil+ animals? the abun+ant Aariety o1 wil+ plants an+ 1ruits
being a rich? natural source o1 sustenance- Animals such as mon6eys?
languars? 1lying sCuirrels? an+ gibbons? which +epen+ on
wil+ 1ruits? came an+ went contente+ly- Preoccupie+ with their
own a11airs? they showe+ no 1ear in Scariya MunJs presence- As
he watche+ them 1oraging 1or 1oo+ he became engrosse+ in their
play1ul antics- He 1elt a genuine spirit o1 camara+erie with those
creatures? consi+ering them his companions in birth? ageing? sic6ness?
an+ +eath- &n this respect? animals are on an eCual 1ooting
with people- 8or though animals an+ people +i11er in the eKtent
o1 their accumulate+ merit an+ goo+ness? animals nonetheless
possess these wholesome Cualities in some measure as well- &n
1act? +egrees o1 accumulate+ merit may Aary signi1icantly among
in+iAi+ual members o1 both groups- MoreoAer? many animals may
actually possess greater stores o1 merit than +o certain people? but
haAing been un1ortunate enough to be reborn into an animal
eKistence? they must en+ure the conseCuences 1or the time being-
Human beings 1ace the same +ilemma* 1or although human eKistence
is consi+ere+ a higher birth than that o1 an animal? a person
1alling on har+ times an+ into poAerty must en+ure that mis1ortune
until it passes R or until the results o1 that un1ortunate 6amma
are eKhauste+- #nly then can a better state arise in its place- &n
this way the e11ects o1 6amma
continue to un1ol+? in+e1initely- 8or
precisely this reason? Scariya Mun always insiste+ that we shoul+
neAer be contemptuous o1 another beingJs lowly status or state o1
birth- He always taught us that the goo+ an+ the ba+ 6amma?
by each liAing being? are that beingJs only true inheritance-
ach a1ternoon Scariya Mun swept the area clean in 1ront
o1 the caAe- !hen 1or the rest o1 the eAening he concentrate+ on
his me+itation practice? alternating between wal6ing an+ sitting
me+itation- His sam7+hi practice stea+ily progresse+? in1using his
heart with tranCuillity- At the same time? he intensi1ie+ the +eAelopment
o1 wis+om by mentally +issecting the +i11erent parts o1 the
bo+y? while analyUing them in terms o1 the three uniAersal characteristics
o1 eKistence* that is to say? all are impermanent? boun+
up with su11ering? an+ Aoi+ o1 any sel1- &n this manner? his con1i+ence
grew with each passing +ay-
!he S3Aa6a Arahants
%iAing in Sari6a :aAe? Scariya Mun was occasionally Aisite+ by
s7Aa6a Arahants?;M who appeare+ to him by means o1 sam7+hi
nimitta-;P ach s7Aa6a Arahant +eliAere+ 1or his bene1it a +iscourse
on Dhamma? eluci+ating the tra+itional practices o1 the Noble
#nes- Here is the substance o1 what was eKpresse+*
.al6ing me+itation must be practice+ in a calm? sel1)compose+
manner- Use min+1ulness to 1ocus your attention +irectly on the
tas6 you haAe set 1or yoursel1- &1 youJre inAestigating the nature o1
the 6han+has or the con+itions o1 the bo+y? or simply concentrating
on a speci1ic Dhamma theme? then ma6e sure min+1ulness
is 1irmly 1iKe+ on that obXect- DonJt allow your attention to +ri1t
elsewhere- Such negligence is characteristic o1 one haAing no soli+
spiritual basis to anchor him? an+ thus lac6ing a reliable inner
re1uge- Min+1ul awareness shoul+ atten+ each an+ eAery moAement
in all your +aily actiAities- DonJt per1orm these actions as
though you are so soun+ asleep that you haAe no min+1ul awareness
o1 how your bo+y tosses about? or how proli1ically your sleeping
min+ +reams- 9oing on your morning almsroun+? eating your
1oo+? an+ relieAing yoursel1* in all such basic +uties you shoul+
a+here strictly to the tra+itional practices o1 the %or+ Bu++haJs
Noble +isciples- NeAer behaAe as though you lac6 proper training
in the !eaching an+ the Discipline- Always con+uct yoursel1 in
the manner o1 a true sama5a;O with the calm? peace1ul +emeanor
eKpecte+ o1 one who or+ains as a +isciple o1 the %or+ Bu++ha-
!his means maintaining min+1ulness an+ wis+om in eAery posture
as a way o1 eliminating the poisons burie+ +eep within your
heart- !horoughly inAestigate all the 1oo+ you eat- DonJt allow
those 1oo+s that taste goo+ to a++ poison to your min+- Aen
though the bo+y may be strengthene+ by 1oo+ thatJs eaten without
proper inAestigation? the min+ will be wea6ene+ by its +amaging
e11ects- By nourishing your bo+y with 1oo+ that is eaten unmin+1ully?
you will? in e11ect? be +estroying yoursel1 with nourishment
that +epletes your mental Aitality-
A sama5a
must neAer en+anger his own well)being or the
well)being o1 others by shame1ully accumulating 6ilesasV 1or? not
only +o they harm him? but they can easily mushroom an+ sprea+
harm to others as well- &n the Aiew o1 the Bu++haJs Noble +isciples?
all mental +e1ilements are to be greatly 1eare+- Utmost care
shoul+ be ta6en to ensure that the min+ +oes not neglect to chec6
any out1low o1 the 6ilesas? 1or each one acts li6e a sheet o1 1ire
+estroying eAerything in its path- !he Noble Dhamma? practice+
by all o1 the %or+ Bu++haJs Noble +isciples? emphasiUes scrupulous
sel1)+iscipline at all times an+ un+er all con+itions R whether
wal6ing? stan+ing? sitting? lying +own? eating or relieAing onesel1V
an+ in all o1 oneJs conAersations an+ social interactions- &nattentiAe?
un+iscipline+ behaAior is a habit o1 the 6ilesas? lea+ing to
unwholesome thoughts? an+ thus? perpetuating the cycle o1 birth
an+ +eath- !hose wishing to escape 1rom the cycle o1 rebirth
shoul+ aAoi+ such +eplorable habits- !hey merely lea+ +eeper into
the abyss? eAentually causing one to become that most un+esirable
o1 persons R a wretche+ sama5a- No one wishes to parta6e o1
wretche+ 1oo+V no one wishes to resi+e in a wretche+ houseV an+
no one wishes to +ress in wretche+ clothes? or eAen loo6 at them-
9enerally? people +etest an+ shun wretche+ things R how much
more so a wretche+ person with a wretche+ min+- But the most
abhorrent thing in the worl+ is a wretche+ sama5a who is or+aine+
as a Bu++hist mon6- His wretche+ness pierces the hearts o1 goo+
an+ ba+ people ali6e- &t pierces the hearts o1 all +eAas an+ brahmas
without eKception- 8or this reason? one shoul+ striAe to be a
true sama5a eKercising eKtreme care to remain min+1ul an+ sel1)
+iscipline+ at all times-
#1 all the many things that people Aalue an+ care 1or in the
worl+? a personJs min+ is the most precious- &n 1act? the min+ is
the 1oremost treasure in the whole worl+? so be sure to loo6 a1ter
it well- !o realiUe the min+Js true nature is to realiUe Dhamma-
Un+erstan+ing the min+ is the same as un+erstan+ing Dhamma-
#nce the min+ is 6nown? then Dhamma in its entirety is 6nown-
ArriAing at the truth about oneJs min+ is the attainment o1 Nibb7na-
:learly? the min+ is a priceless possession that shoul+ neAer
be oAerloo6e+- !hose who neglect to nurture the special status
that the min+ has within their bo+ies will always be born 1lawe+?
no matter how many hun+re+s or thousan+s o1 times they are
reborn- #nce we realiUe the precious nature o1 our own min+s?
we shoul+ not be remiss? 6nowing 1ull well that we are certain
to regret it later- Such remorse being aAoi+able? we shoul+ neAer
allow it to occur-
Human beings are the most intelligent 1orm o1 li1e on earth-
As such? they shoul+ not wallow in ignorance- #therwise? they will
liAe an insu11erably wretche+ eKistence? neAer 1in+ing any measure
o1 happiness- !he manner in which a true sama5a con+ucts all
his a11airs? both temporal an+ spiritual? sets a trustworthy eKample
to be 1ollowe+ by the rest o1 the worl+- He engages in wor6 that
is pure an+ blamelessV his actions are both righteous an+ +ispassionate-
So? en+eaAor to cultiAate within yoursel1 the eKemplary
wor6 o1 a sama5a? ma6ing it 1lourish stea+ily? so that whereAer you
go? your practice will always prosper accor+ingly- A sama5a who
cherishes moral Airtue? cherishes concentration? cherishes min+1ulness?
cherishes wis+om an+ cherishes +iligent e11ort? is sure to
achieAe that eKalte+ status o1 a 1ull)1le+ge+ sama5a now? an+ to
maintain it in the 1uture-
!he teaching that & giAe you is the +ispensation o1 a man
o1 +iligence an+ perseAerance? a spiritual warrior who emerge+
Aictorious? a pre)eminent in+iAi+ual who completely transcen+e+
+u66ha? 1reeing himsel1 o1 all 1etters- He attaine+ absolute 1ree+om?
becoming the %or+ Bu++ha? the supreme gui+e an+ teacher
o1 the three worl+s o1 eKistence- &1 you can un+erstan+ the special
Aalue this teaching hol+s 1or you? be1ore long you too will
haAe ri+ yoursel1 o1 6ilesas- & entrust this Dhamma teaching to
you in the hope that you will giAe it the most care1ul consi+eration-
&n that way? you will eKperience incre+ible won+ers arising
within your min+? which by its Aery nature is a superb an+ won+er1ul
Scariya Mun humbly receiAe+ that Dhamma teaching- He care1ully
contemplate+ eAery aspect o1 it? isolating each in+iAi+ual
point? an+ then thoroughly analyUe+ them all? one by one- As
more an+ more s7Aa6a Arahants came to teach him in this way?
he gaine+ many new insights into the practice Xust by listening to
their eKpositions- Hearing their won+er1ul +iscourses increase+
his enthusiasm 1or me+itation? thus greatly enhancing his un+er
stan+ing o1 Dhamma-
Scariya Mun sai+ that listening to a +iscourse +eliAere+ by
one o1 the Bu++haJs Arahant +isciples ma+e him 1eel as i1 he was
in the presence o1 the %or+ Bu++ha himsel1? though he ha+ no
prior recollection o1 meeting the Bu++ha- %istening intently? his
heart completely 1ull? he became so absorbe+ in Dhamma that the
entire physical worl+? inclu+ing his own bo+y? cease+ to eKist 1or
him then- !he citta alone eKiste+? its awareness shining brightly
with the ra+iance o1 Dhamma- &t was only later? when he with+rew
1rom that state? that he realiUe+ the oppressiAe bur+en he
still carrie+ with him* 8or he became conscious again o1 his physical
bo+y R the 1ocal point where the other 1our 6han+has come
together? each one a heaAy mass o1 su11ering on its own-
During his lengthy soXourn at Sari6a :aAe? Scariya Mun
entertaine+ many s7Aa6a Arahants an+ hee+e+ their wor+s o1
a+Aice? ma6ing this caAe uniCue among all the places where he
ha+ eAer staye+- .hile liAing there? the Dhamma o1 unimpeachable
certainty arose in his heartV that is? he attaine+ the 1ruition
o1 An7g7m`-;L Accor+ing to Bu++hist scripture? the An7g7m` has
aban+one+ the 1iAe lower 1etters that bin+ liAing beings to the
roun+ o1 repeate+ eKistence* sa667ya+i00hi? Aici6icch7? s`labbatapar7m7sa?
67mar7ga? an+ pa0igha- Someone reaching this leAel o1
attainment is assure+ o1 neAer being reborn in the human realm?
or in any other realm o1 eKistence where bo+ies are compose+ o1
the 1our gross physical elements* earth? water? 1ire? an+ air- Shoul+
that in+iAi+ual 1ail to ascen+ to the leAel o1 Arahant be1ore +ying?
at the moment o1 +eath he will be reborn into one o1 the 1iAe Pure
Abo+es o1 the brahma worl+- An An7g7m` is reborn in the abo+e
o1 aAiha? atappa? su+assa? su+ass` or a6ani00ha? +epen+ing on the
in+iAi+ualJs leAel o1 a+Aancement along the Arahant path-
Scariya Mun reAeale+ that he attaine+ the stage o1
An7g7m` in Sari6a :aAe eKclusiAely to his close +isciplesV but? &
haAe +eci+e+ to +eclare it publicly here 1or the rea+erJs consi+eration-
Shoul+ this +isclosure be consi+ere+ in any way inappropriate?
& +eserAe the blame 1or not being more circumspect-
#N N&9H!? HAV&N9 :#N!&NUD to practice peace1ully 1or many
months? Scariya Mun eKperience+ an unusually strong 1eeling
o1 compassion 1or his 1ellow mon6s- By that time? amaUing
insights sur1ace+ nightly in his me+itation practice- He became
6eenly aware o1 many strange? won+er1ul things R things he ha+
neAer +reame+ o1 seeing in his li1e- #n the night that he thought
about his 1ellow mon6s? his me+itation ha+ an eKceptionally unusual
Cuality to it- His citta ha+ attaine+ an especially ethereal
re1inement in sam7+hi? resulting in many eKtraor+inary insights-
8ully realiUing the harm1ul e11ects that his own past ignorance
ha+ cause+ him? he was moAe+ to tears- At the same time? he
un+erstoo+ the Aalue o1 the e11ort he ha+ struggle+ so +iligently
to maintain until he coul+ reap the amaUing 1ruits o1 that +iligence-
A +eep appreciation 1or the %or+ Bu++haJs supreme importance
arose in his heartV 1or? it was he who compassionately proclaime+
the Dhamma so that others coul+ 1ollow in his 1ootsteps?
thus allowing them to un+erstan+ the compleK nature o1 their
own 6amma? an+ that o1 all other liAing beings as well- !hus the
Aital signi1icance o1 the Dhamma Aerse* All beings are born o1 their
6amma an+ 6amma is their one true possession? which succinctly
sums up practically all the Bu++haJs teachings-
!hose insights notwithstan+ing? Scariya Mun continue+ to
remin+ himsel1 that +espite their truly amaUing character he ha+
yet to reach the en+ o1 the path an+ the cessation o1 +u66ha- !o
accomplish that he woul+ nee+ to pour all his energy into the practice
R with unstinting resolAe- &n the meantime? he was please+
to see that the chronic stomach ailment which he ha+ su11ere+ so
long was now completely cure+- More than that? his min+ was now
1irmly anchore+ to a soli+ spiritual basis- Although he ha+ yet to
totally era+icate his 6ilesas? he was sure o1 being on the right path-
His me+itation practice? now progressing smoothly? ha+ none o1
the 1luctuations he ha+ eKperience+ earlier- Unli6e in the past?
when he was groping in the +ar6? 1eeling his way along? he now 1elt
certain o1 the path lea+ing to the highest Dhamma- He was absolutely
conAince+ that one +ay he woul+ transcen+ +u66ha-
His min+1ulness an+ wis+om ha+ reache+ a stage where
they wor6e+ ceaselessly in per1ect concert- He neAer nee+e+ to
urge them into action- Day an+ night? 6nowle+ge an+ un+erstan+ing
arose continuously R both internal spiritual insights an+
awareness o1 countless eKternal phenomena- !he more his min+
+elighte+ in such amaUing Dhamma? the more compassion he 1elt
1or his 1ellow mon6s* he was eager to share with them these won+rous
insights- &n the en+? this pro1oun+ 1eeling o1 compassion
precipitate+ his +eparture 1rom that auspicious caAe- .ith some
reluctance? he eAentually le1t to search out the +hutanga mon6s
he ha+ 6nown preAiously? when he was liAing in the Northeast-
SeAeral +ays prior to his +eparture 1rom Sari6a :aAe? a group
o1 terrestrial +eAas? le+ by the mysterious being he 1irst encountere+
there? came to hear a +iscourse on Dhamma- A1ter 1inishing
his +iscourse? Scariya Mun in1orme+ them o1 his +ecision?
saying he woul+ soon ta6e leaAe o1 them- Unwilling to see
him +epart? the large company o1 +eAas who were gathere+ there
beseeche+ him to stay on 1or the sa6e o1 their long)term happiness
an+ prosperity- Scariya Mun eKplaine+ that? Xust as he ha+
come to that caAe 1or a reason? so too he ha+ a reason 1or moAing
on R he +i+nJt come an+ go slaAishly? 1ollowing his +esires- As6ing
1or their un+erstan+ing? he cautione+ them against 1eeling +isappointe+-
He promise+ that? i1 the opportunity presente+ itsel1
in the 1uture? he woul+ return- !he +eAas eKpresse+ their sincere
regrets? showing the genuine a11ection an+ respect 1or him theyJ+
always 1elt-
At about ten P-M- on the night be1ore his +eparture? Scariya
Mun thought o1 :hao $hun Up7li at .at Boromaniwat monastery?
won+ering what was on his min+- So he 1ocuse+ his citta
an+ sent the 1low o1 his consciousness out to obserAe him- He
1oun+ that :hao $hun Up7li was at that moment contemplating
aAiXX7 in relation to pa0icca)samupp7+a-;N Scariya Mun too6 note
o1 the time an+ the +ate- .hen eAentually he arriAe+ in Bang6o6?
he as6e+ :hao $hun Up7li about what heJ+ obserAe+- .ith
a hearty laugh :hao $hun Up7li imme+iately ac6nowle+ge+ it to
be true? saying this in praise o1 Scariya Mun*
a hearty laugh :hao $hun Up7li imme+iately ac6nowle+ge+ it to
be true? saying this in praise o1 Scariya Mun*
#therwise? the true Dhamma will no longer arise in
the worl+? +espite the 1act that the Bu++ha proclaime+ it 1or
the bene1it o1 all man6in+- !he special 6nowle+ge you haAe
Xust +isplaye+ to me is most a+mirable- !his is the way the
%or+Js teaching shoul+ be +eAelope+ an+ put into practice-B
Scariya Mun state+ that :hao $hun Up7li ha+ the utmost a+miration
an+ respect 1or him- !here were certain occasions when he
sent1or Scariya Mun to help him solAe certain problems he was
unable to resolAe to his own satis1action- Aentually when the
time was right? Scariya Mun le1t Bang6o6 an+ returne+ +irectly
to the Northeast-
&N !H (A'S P'&#' to his soXourn at Sari6a :aAe? Scariya Mun
traAele+ into the neighboring country o1 Burma? later returning by
way o1 the northern !hai proAince o1 :hiang Mai- :ontinuing on
into %aos? he practice+ the ascetic way o1 li1e 1or some time in the
area aroun+ %uang Prabang? eAentually returning to !hailan+ to
spen+ the rains retreat near the Aillage o1 Ban $ho6 in %oei proAince?
Cuite close to Pha Pu :aAe- !he 1ollowing rains retreat was
spent at Pha Bing :aAe? also in %oei proAince- Bac6 then? these
places were all wil+erness areas? teeming with wil+ animals where
Aillage communities were locate+ 1ar an+ 1ew between* one coul+
wal6 all +ay without coming across a single settlement- A person
losing his way in that Aast wil+erness coul+ 1in+ himsel1 in the
precarious situation o1 haAing to sleep oAernight in an inhospitable
enAironment at the mercy o1 tigers an+ other wil+ beasts-
#n one occasion Scariya Mun crosse+ the Me6ong 'iAer
an+ settle+ in a large tract o1 mountainous 1orest on the %aotian
si+e- .hile he campe+ there? a huge Bengal tiger o1ten wan+ere+
into his liAing area- Always coming at night? it stoo+ some +istance
away watching him pace bac6 an+ 1orth in me+itation- &t
neAer +isplaye+ threatening behaAior? but it +i+ roar occasionally
as it wan+ere+ 1reely aroun+ the area- Being well accustome+ to
liAing in close proKimity to wil+ animals? Scariya Mun pai+ little
attention to the tiger-
During that eKcursion he was accompanie+ by another
mon6? Scariya Sitha? who ha+ been or+aine+ slightly longer than
he ha+- A contemporary o1 Scariya Mun? Scariya Sitha eKcelle+ in
the practice o1 me+itation- He li6e+ the type o1 seclusion that the
wil+erness o11ere+? pre1erring to liAe in the mountains stretching
along the %aotian si+e o1 the Me6ong 'iAer- #nly occasionally +i+
he cross the riAer into !hailan+? an+ then neAer 1or Aery long-
#n that occasion? Scariya Mun an+ Scariya Sitha were
campe+ some +istance apart? each +epen+ing on a separate Aillage
1or his +aily alms 1oo+- #ne night while wal6ing in me+itation?
Scariya Sitha was Aisite+ by a huge Bengal tiger- !he tiger crept
in an+ Cuietly crouche+ 1orwar+ to about siK 1eet 1rom his me+itation
trac6? right in between the lighte+ can+les at each en+ o1
the trac6 that allowe+ him to see as he pace+ bac6 an+ 1orth in
the +ar6- 8acing the me+itation trac6 while remaining motionless?
it sat there calmly li6e a house pet watching Scariya Sitha
intently as he pace+ bac6 an+ 1orth- 'eaching that place on the
trac6 opposite which the tiger was crouche+? Scariya Sitha sense+
something out o1 place- At once he became suspicious? 1or normally
nothing was at the si+e o1 his trac6- 9lancing oAer he saw
the huge Bengal tiger crouche+ there? staring bac6 at him R since
when he coul+nJt tell- Still? he 1elt no 1ear- He merely watche+ the
tiger as it sat motionless? loo6ing bac6 at him li6e a enormous
stu11e+ animal- A1ter a moment he continue+ pacing bac6 an+
1orth? passing each time in 1ront o1 the tiger R but thoughts o1
1ear neAer crosse+ his min+- He notice+? though? that it remaine+
crouche+ there 1or an unusually long time- 8eeling sorry 1or it? he
+irecte+ this train o1 thought at the tiger* .hy not go o11 an+ 1in+
something to eat_ .hy Xust sit there watching me_ No sooner ha+
this thought arisen? than the tiger let out a +ea1ening roar that
resoun+e+ through the whole 1orest- !he soun+ o1 its roar le1t
Scariya Sitha in no +oubt that it inten+e+ to stay? so he Cuic6ly
change+ tac6? thin6ing* & thought that only because & 1elt sorry 1or
you R & was a1rai+ you might get hungry sitting there so long- A1ter all?
you haAe a mouth an+ a stomach to 1ill? Xust li6e all other creatures-
But i1 you +onJt 1eel hungry an+ want to sit there watching oAer me?
thatJs 1ine? & +onJt min+-
!he tiger showe+ no reaction to Scariya SithaJs change o1
heart R it Xust crouche+ by the path an+ continue+ to watch him-
He then resume+ his me+itation? ta6ing no 1urther interest in it-
Some time later he le1t the me+itation trac6 an+ wal6e+ to a small
bamboo plat1orm situate+ close by to ta6e a rest- He chante+ suttas
there 1or awhile then sat peace1ully in me+itation until time to go
to sleep? which he +i+ lying on the bamboo plat1orm- During that
entire time the tiger remaine+ crouche+ in its original position?
not 1ar away- But when he awo6e at three A-M- to resume his wal6ing
me+itation? he saw no sign o1 the tiger anywhere R he ha+ no
i+ea where it ha+ gone- As it happene+? he saw it only that onceV
1rom then on until he le1t that place? it neAer appeare+ again-
!his inci+ent intrigue+ Scariya Sitha? so when he met with
Scariya Mun he +escribe+ to him how the tiger ha+ crouche+
there watching him- He tol+ Scariya Mun the tiger ha+ roare+ at
the precise moment the thought arose wishing it to go away- He
recounte+ how? although he wasnJt conscious o1 any 1ear? his hair
stoo+ on en+ an+ his scalp went numb? as i1 he were wearing a cap-
But soon he again 1elt Cuite normal? resuming his wal6ing me+itation
as though nothing ha+ happene+- Actually? there probably
was a subtle measure o1 1ear burie+ +eep insi+e that he was incapable
o1 perceiAing at the time- Although the tiger neAer returne+ to
his campsite? he o1ten hear+ the soun+ o1 its roars echoing through
the nearby 1orest- Still? Scariya SithaJs min+ remaine+ resolute an+
he continue+ to practice contente+ly? as he always ha+-
!he Mi++le (ears
n the early years when Scariya Mun 1irst began wan+ering
+hutanga? he starte+ in the northeastern proAince o1 Na6hon
Phanom- 8rom there he traAele+ across the proAinces o1
Sa6on Na6hon an+ U+on !hani? 1inally reaching Burma? where
he staye+ 1or awhile be1ore returning to !hailan+ by way o1 the
northern proAince o1 :hiang Mai- Staying brie1ly there he then
traAele+ into %aos? practicing the ascetic way o1 li1e in %uang
Prabang an+ later Vientiane be1ore eAentually returning to %oei
proAince- 8rom this northeastern locale? he wan+ere+ by stages
+own to Bang6o6? spen+ing a rains retreat at .at Pathumwan
monastery- 8ollowing that retreat perio+? he too6 up resi+ence in
Sari6a :aAe? remaining there 1or seAeral years- #nly upon leaAing
Sari6a :aAe +i+ he return to the Northeast region-
During all those years o1 eKtensiAe wan+ering? he almost
always traAele+ alone- #n only a 1ew occasions was he accompanie+
by another mon6? an+ eAen then they soon parte+ company-
Scariya Mun always practice+ with a single)min+e+ resolAe?
which 6ept him aloo1 1rom his 1ellow mon6s- He inAariably 1elt
it more conAenient to wan+er +hutanga
alone? practicing the
ascetic way o1 li1e on his own- #nly a1ter his heart ha+ been su11i
ciently strengthene+ by higher spiritual attainment +i+ the compassion
arise which ma+e teaching his 1ellow mon6s a priority-
Such compassionate consi+erations were the reason why he le1t
the peace an+ tranCuillity o1 Sari6a :aAe to Xourney bac6 to the
PreAiously? his early years o1 wan+ering +hutanga
in the
northeastern proAinces ha+ giAen him an opportunity to instruct
some o1 the 6amma00h7na
mon6s he met there- &n those +ays? he
ha+ 1oun+ a large number o1 +hutanga
mon6s practicing in Aarious
locations throughout the Northeast- &n ma6ing this return trip?
Scariya Mun was +etermine+ to teach the mon6s an+ laity who
truste+ his gui+ance? putting all his energy into the tas6- 'eturning
to the same proAinces he ha+ once wan+ere+ through? he
1oun+ that mon6s an+ lay people eAerywhere soon gaine+ 1aith in
him- Many o1 them? inspire+ by his teaching? or+aine+ as mon6s
to practice the way he +i+- Aen some senior 7cariyas? teachers in
their own right? +iscar+e+ their pri+e an+ renounce+ their obligations
to practice un+er his tutelage? their min+s eAentually becoming
so 1irmly establishe+ in me+itation that they were 1ully con1i+ent
o1 their ability to teach others-
Mon6s among the 1irst generatn o1 Scariya MunJs +isciplesinclu+e+
Scariya Suwan? the 1ormer abbot o1 .at Aranyi6awat
monastery in the !ha Bo +istrict o1 Nong $hai proAinceV
Scariya Singh $hantay76hamo?E the 1ormer abbot o1 .at Pa Salawan
monastery in Na6hon 'atchasimaV an+ Scariya Mah7 Pin
Pa\\7phalo?; the 1ormer abbot o1 .at Sa++haram monastery in
Na6hon 'atchasima- All three o1 these Aenerable 7cariyas
originally 1rom the proAince o1 Ubon 'atchathani R all haAe
now passe+ away- !hey were in1luential +isciples whose teaching
8rom le1t to right* /cariya 8an? /cariya Mah3 Pin? an+ /cariya Singh
careers helpe+ to perpetuate Scariya MunJs legacy 1or the bene1it
o1 1uture generations- Scariya Singh an+ Scariya Mah7 Pin were
brothers- Be1ore ta6ing up the way o1 practice? they thoroughly
stu+ie+ the Bu++hist canonical teKts- !hey were two o1 the senior
7cariyas who gaine+ 1aith in Scariya Mun? +iscar+ing their pri+e
an+ renouncing their obligations in or+er to 1ollow the practice as
he taught it- Aentually? through their teaching e11orts they were
able to assist many people 1rom all wal6s o1 li1e-
careers helpe+ to perpetuate Scariya MunJs legacy 1or the bene1it
o1 1uture generations- Scariya Singh an+ Scariya Mah7 Pin were
brothers- Be1ore ta6ing up the way o1 practice? they thoroughly
stu+ie+ the Bu++hist canonical teKts- !hey were two o1 the senior
7cariyas who gaine+ 1aith in Scariya Mun? +iscar+ing their pri+e
an+ renouncing their obligations in or+er to 1ollow the practice as
he taught it- Aentually? through their teaching e11orts they were
able to assist many people 1rom all wal6s o1 li1e-
who presently resi+es at .at Hin Ma6 Peng monastery in the Sri
:hiangmai +istrict o1 Nong $hai proAince- He is a senior +isciple
o1 Scariya Mun whose eKemplary mo+e o1 practice is so inspiring
that he is highly reAere+ by mon6s an+ laity in almost all parts o1
the country- His manner is always simple an+ +own)to)earth? as
one woul+ eKpect with his eKceptionally gentle? gracious? unassuming
character- He con+ucts himsel1 with per1ect +ignity? while
people 1rom all leAels o1 society are captiAate+ by his eloCuent +iscourse-
.hen it comes to temperament? or personal behaAior? senior
7cariyas +i11er in their natural Cualities o1 min+ an+ character-
!here are 7cariyas whose personal behaAior is an eKcellent eKample
1or eAeryone to emulate* those emulating them are boun+ to
behaAe in a pleasing? amicable manner thatJs in no way o11ensiAe
to other people- !he personal behaAior o1 some other 7cariyas?
howeAer? is pleasing an+ appropriate only when practice+ by
them personally- Shoul+ others a+opt the same style o1 behaAior
itJs boun+ to appear 1alse? imme+iately o11en+ing anyone eKpose+
to it- So it is ina+Aisable 1or most people to imitate the i+iosyncratic
behaAior o1 these 7cariyas-
!he personal con+uct o1 Scariya !het? howeAer? is unimpeachable
in this regar+- 8ollowing his sterling eKample? one is
boun+ to +eAelop the 6in+ o1 pleasing? amicable +emeanor appreciate+
by people eAerywhere- He has such a gentle? 6in+ly +isposition
that it can be easily emulate+ without the ris6 o1 o11en+ing
others- His eKample is especially appropriate 1or Bu++hist mon6s?
whose personal behaAior shoul+ always re1lect a truly calm an+
peace1ul 1rame o1 min+- Scariya !het is one o1 Scariya MunJs
senior +isciples who & belieAe +eserAes the highest respect- 8or as
long as & haAe 6nown him? & haAe always consi+ere+ him to be an
eminent teacher-
NeKt in line is Scariya 8an AX7roD who now resi+es at .at
U+omsomphon near the Aillage o1 Na Hua :hang in the Pannani6hom
+istrict o1 Sa6hon Na6hon proAince- He is wi+ely
6nown an+ lau+e+ throughout the country 1or his eKcellent spiritual
practice an+ his Airtuous con+uct- His min+ eKcels in noble
Cualities? the most prominent being his immense loAing 6in+ness
1or people o1 all classes- He is a mon6 truly worthy o1 the enthusiastic
+eAotion he receiAes 1rom people o1 eAery region o1 our country-
He genuinely puts his heart into helping people in any way he
can? whether materially or spiritually R li6e one whose beneAolence
6nows no boun+s-
!he neKt senior +isciple & shall mention is Scariya $hao
An7layoM who presently resi+es at .at !ham $long Phen monastery
in the Nong Bua %amphu +istrict o1 U+on !hani proAince- As
he is one o1 the 1oremost me+itation masters o1 our time? itJs Aery
li6ely that the rea+er is alrea+y 1amiliar with his outstan+ing reputation-
Both his mo+e o1 practice an+ his leAel o1 spiritual attainment
are worthy o1 the utmost respect- He has always pre1erre+
to practice in remote? seclu+e+ locations with such single)min+e+
resolAe that his +iligence in this respect is unriAale+ among his
peers in the circle o1 +hutanga mon6s- Aen to+ay? at the age o1
L;? he still re1uses to allow his +eclining health to curtail his customary
Ueal- Some people haAe as6e+ me? out o1 concern 1or his
1ailing health? why he continues to put such strenuous e11ort into
practice when in truth he has nothing 1urther to accomplish- !hey
canJt 1igure out why he remains so actiAe an+ energetic- & try to
eKplain to them that someone? who has completely eliminate+ the
contentious 1actors that eKploit eAery wea6ness to sap energy an+
hin+er progress? has no +ebilitating lethargy le1t to entrap his min+
in a web o1 +elusion- Meanwhile the rest o1 us haAe amasse+ such
a +ebilitating mountain o1 laUiness that it Airtually obscures us
1rom Aiew- As soon as we get starte+ on some worthwhile en+eaAor?
we become apprehensiAe lest the 1ruits o1 our e11orts oAerloa+
our capacity to store them- .e worry ahea+ o1 time about how
eKhauste+ weJll be when the wor6 becomes +i11icult- &n the en+
haAing 1aile+ to gather those wholesome 1ruits? we are le1t with
an empty bas6et? that is? an empty Xoyless heart? +ri1ting aimlessly
with no har+)earne+ store o1 merit to 1all bac6 on- &nstea+? we 1ill
our empty hearts with complaints about all the +i11iculties we 1ace-
So laUiness? this blight in our hearts? 6eeps throwing up obstacles
to bloc6 our way- !hose who haAe cleanse+ this blight 1rom their
hearts remain persistent? perseAering in times o1 har+ship- !hey
neAer worry about oAerloa+ing their capacity to store the 1ruits o1
their e11orts- !hose in+iAi+uals whose hearts are pure? unblemishe+
Dhamma? cleare+ o1 all worl+ly +e1ilements? stan+ out maXestically
in all situation- Somber? sullen moo+s neAer arise in their
hearts? ma6ing them per1ect eKamples 1or the worl+ to 1ollow-
ach o1 the aboAe)mentione+ +isciples o1 Scariya Mun
has certain brilliant Cualities burie+ +eep within his heart? shining
there li6e precious gems- People haAing the goo+ 1ortune to
meet such noble teachers are boun+ to be rewar+e+ with amaUing
insights to gla++en their hearts R an eKperience they will cherish
Scariya Mun taught seAeral +i11erent generations o1 +isciples?
many o1 whom haAe become important teachers in their
own right- Being a me+itation master o1 great stature rich in
noble Airtues? he was won+er1ully cleAer in the way he eluci+ate+
the path o1 practice an+ its 1ruits- &t was as though he
ha+ a miniature !ipi0a6a etche+ into his heart? as was so accurately
prophesie+ by the initial sam7+hi nimitta he saw when he
1irst began to practice- !raAeling to many regions o1 the country
+uring the course o1 his teaching career? he instructe+ large
numbers o1 mon6s an+ lay supporters? who in turn +eAelope+ a
+eep +eAotion 1or him an+ a genuine 1on+ness 1or the e+i1ying
Dhamma he taught- His spiritual impact was a +irect result o1
haAing realiUe+ within himsel1 the true nature o1 that Dhamma-
His wor+s thus represente+ that !ruth which he ha+ 1ully comprehen+e+
R not mere guesswor6? or conXecture about what the
truth shoul+ be or might be- Being absolutely certain about the
!ruth arising in his own heart? he taught this same !ruth to
others- .hen Scariya Mun le1t Sari6a :aAe to return to the
Northeast 1or the secon+ time? he was 1ully +etermine+ to teach
the way to as many mon6s an+ laity as possible R both his preAious
acCuaintances who ha+ alrea+y un+ergone some training?
as well as those who were Xust beginning to establish themselAes
in the practice-
!he Dhutanga Practices
Scariya Mun strongly belieAe+ that the obserAance o1 +hutanga
practices truly eKempli1ie+ the spirit o1 the ascetic way o1 li1e- He
strictly a+here+ to these ascetic practices throughout his li1e? an+
always urge+ those mon6s stu+ying un+er his tutelage to a+opt
them in their own practice-
9oing on almsroun+ eAery +ay without 1ail? eKcepting only
those +ays when a mon6 is +eliberately abstaining 1rom 1oo+-
Scariya Mun taught his +isciples that? when wal6ing to the Aillage
1or alms? they shoul+ always haAe min+1ulness present an+
remain properly restraine+ in bo+y? speech? an+ min+- A mon6
shoul+ neAer permit his min+ to acci+entally become prey to the
Aarious tempting sense obXects contacting his eyes? ears? nose?
tongue? bo+y? or min+ while wal6ing to an+ 1rom the Aillage on
almsroun+- He stresse+ that min+1ulness shoul+ bring their eAery
moAement? eAery thought? at eAery step o1 the route? un+er Aigilant
scrutiny- !his shoul+ be treate+ as a sacre+ +uty reCuiring
re1lection o1 the utmost seriousness each time a mon6 prepares to
go on his morning almsroun+-
ating only that 1oo+ which has been accepte+ in the alms bowl
on almsroun+- A mon6 shoul+ consi+er the Cuantity o1 1oo+ he
receiAes in his bowl each +ay to be su11icient 1or his nee+s? as be1its
one who is content with little? an+ thus easily satis1ie+- 8or him itJs
counter)pro+uctiAe to eKpect eKtra 1oo+ by accepting the generous
o11erings that are ma+e later insi+e the monastery- Such practices
easily encourage the insatiable gree+ o1 his 6ilesas? allowing
them to gain the strength to become so +omineering that theyJre
almost impossible to counteract- A mon6 eats whateAer 1oo+ is
o11ere+ into his bowl? neAer 1eeling anKious or upset shoul+ it 1ail
to meet his eKpectations- AnKiety about 1oo+ is a characteristic
o1 hungry ghosts R beings tormente+ by the results o1 their own
ba+ 6amma- NeAer receiAing enough 1oo+ to satis1y their +esires?
they run ma+ly aroun+? +esperately trying to 1ill their mouths an+
stomachs? always pre1erring the prospect o1 1oo+ to the practice
o1 Dhamma- !he ascetic practice o1 re1using to accept any 1oo+
o11ere+ a1ter almsroun+ is an eKcellent way o1 contraAening the
ten+ency to be gree+y 1or 1oo+- &t is also the best metho+ to cut o11
all eKpectancy concerning 1oo+? an+ the anKiety that it creates-
o11ere+ into his bowl? neAer 1eeling anKious or upset shoul+ it 1ail
to meet his eKpectations- AnKiety about 1oo+ is a characteristic
o1 hungry ghosts R beings tormente+ by the results o1 their own
ba+ 6amma- NeAer receiAing enough 1oo+ to satis1y their +esires?
they run ma+ly aroun+? +esperately trying to 1ill their mouths an+
stomachs? always pre1erring the prospect o1 1oo+ to the practice
o1 Dhamma- !he ascetic practice o1 re1using to accept any 1oo+
o11ere+ a1ter almsroun+ is an eKcellent way o1 contraAening the
ten+ency to be gree+y 1or 1oo+- &t is also the best metho+ to cut o11
all eKpectancy concerning 1oo+? an+ the anKiety that it creates-
&n this respect? the sa1eguar+s that society has intro+uce+
to protect itsel1 operate in much the same manner as the sa1eguar+s
o1 Dhamma- nemies o1 society are con1ronte+ an+ sub+ue+
whereAer they pose a threat to wealth? property? li1e an+
limb? or peace o1 min+- .hether it be 1ierce animals? such as
wil+ +ogs? sna6es? elephants an+ tigers? or pestilent +iseases? or
simply pugnacious in+iAi+uals? societies all oAer the worl+ possess
appropriate correctiAe measures? or me+icines? to e11ectiAely
sub+ue an+ protect themselAes against these threats- A +hutanga
mon6 whose min+ +isplays pugnacious ten+encies in its +esire
1or 1oo+? or any other unwholesome Cualities +eeme+ +istaste1ul?
nee+s to haAe e11ectiAe measures 1or correcting these threatening
ten+encies- !hus? he will always possess the 6in+ o1 a+mirable
sel1)restraint which is a blessing 1or him an+ a pleasing sight
1or those with whom he associates- ating only one meal per +ay
is an eKcellent way to restrain unwiel+ly mental states-
ating all 1oo+ +irectly 1rom the alms bowl without using any
other utensils is a practice eminently suite+ to the li1estyle o1 a
+hutanga mon6 who striAes to be satis1ie+ with little while wan+ering
1rom place to place- Using Xust his alms bowl means thereJs
no nee+ to be loa+e+ +own with a lot o1 cumbersome accessories
as he traAels 1rom one location to another? practicing the
ascetic way o1 li1e- At the same time? it is an eKpe+ient practice
1or mon6s wishing to unbur+en themselAes o1 mental clutterV 1or
each eKtra item they carry an+ loo6 a1ter? is Xust one more concern
that weighs on their min+s- 8or this reason? +hutanga mon6s
shoul+ pay special attention to the practice o1 eating eKclusiAely
1rom the alms bowl- &n truth? it giAes rise to many uniCue bene1its-
MiKing all types o1 1oo+ together in the bowl is a way o1 remin+ing
a mon6 to be attentiAe to the 1oo+ he eats? an+ to inAestigate its
true nature using min+1ulness an+ wis+om to gain a clear insight
into the truth about 1oo+-
Scariya Mun sai+ that? 1or him? eating 1rom the bowl was
Xust as important as any other +hutanga practice- He gaine+ numerous
insights while contemplating the 1oo+ he was eating each +ay-
!hroughout his li1e he strictly obserAe+ this ascetic practice-
&nAestigating the true nature o1 1oo+ miKe+ together in
the bowl is an e11ectiAe means o1 cutting o11 strong +esire 1or the
taste o1 1oo+- !his inAestigation is a techniCue use+ to remoAe
gree+ 1rom a mon6Js min+ as he eats his meal- 9ree+ 1or 1oo+
is thus replace+ by a +istinct awareness o1 the truth concerning
that 1oo+* 1oo+Js only true purpose is to nourish the bo+y? allowing
it to remain aliAe 1rom one +ay to the neKt- &n this way? neither
the pleasant 1laAor o1 goo+ 1oo+s? nor the unpleasant 1laAor o1
+isagreeable 1oo+s will cause any mental +isturbance that might
prompt the min+ to waAer- &1 a mon6 employs s6ill1ul inAestigatiAe
techniCues each time he begins to eat? his min+ will remain
stea+1ast? +ispassionate? an+ contente+ R unmoAe+ by eKcitement
or +isappointment oAer the taste o1 the 1oo+ he is o11ere+- :onseCuently?
eating +irectly 1rom the alms bowl is an eKcellent practice
1or getting ri+ o1 in1atuation with the taste o1 1oo+-
.earing only robes ma+e 1rom +iscar+e+ cloth is another +hutanga
obserAance that Scariya Mun practice+ religiously- !his
ascetic practice is +esigne+ to 1orestall the temptation to giAe in
to the heartJs natural inclination to +esire nice? attractiAe)loo6ing
robes an+ other reCuisites- &t entails searching in places? li6e
cemeteries? 1or +iscar+e+ pieces o1 cloth? collecting them little by
little? then stitching the pieces together to ma6e a usable garment?
such as an upper robe? a lower robe? an outer robe? a bathing cloth?
or any other reCuisite- !here were times? when the +ea+ personJs
relatiAes were agreeable? that Scariya Mun collecte+ the shrou+
use+ to wrap a corpse lai+ out in a charnel groun+- .heneAer
he 1oun+ +iscar+e+ pieces o1 cloth on the groun+ while on alms)
roun+? he woul+ pic6 them up an+ use them 1or ma6ing robes R
regar+less o1 the type o1 cloth or where it came 1rom- 'eturning
to the monastery? he washe+ them? an+ then use+ them to patch a
torn robe? or to ma6e a bathing cloth- !his he routinely +i+ whereAer
he staye+- %ater as more an+ more 1aith1ul supporters learne+
o1 his practice? they o11ere+ him robe material by intentionally +iscar+ing
pieces o1 cloth in charnel groun+s? or along the route he
too6 1or almsroun+? or aroun+ the area where he staye+? or eAen
at the hut where he liAe+- !hus his original practice o1 strictly
ta6ing only pieces o1 ol+? +iscar+e+ cloth was altere+ somewhat
accor+ing to circumstances* he was oblige+ to accept cloth the
1aith1ul ha+ place+ as o11erings in strategic locations- Be that as it
may? he continue+ to wear robes ma+e 1rom +iscar+e+ cloth until
the +ay he +ie+-
Scariya Mun insiste+ that in or+er to liAe in com1ort a mon6
must comport himsel1 li6e a worthless ol+ rag- &1 he can ri+ himsel1
o1 the conceit that his Airtuous calling ma6es him somebo+y
special? then he will 1eel at ease in all o1 his +aily actiAities an+
personal associations? 1or genuine Airtue +oes not arise 1rom such
assumptions- 9enuine Airtue arises 1rom the sel1)e11acing humility
an+ 1orthright integrity o1 one who is always morally an+ spiritually
conscientious- Such is the nature o1 genuine Airtue* without
hi++en harm1ul pri+e? that person is at peace with himsel1 an+
at peace with the rest o1 the worl+ whereAer he goes- !he ascetic
practice o1 wearing only robes ma+e 1rom +iscar+e+ cloth serAes
as an eKceptionally goo+ anti+ote to thoughts o1 pri+e an+ sel1)
A practicing mon6 shoul+ un+erstan+ the relationship
between himsel1 an+ the Airtuous Cualities he aspires to attain-
He must neAer permit pri+e to grab possession o1 the moral an+
spiritual Airtues he cultiAates within his heart- #therwise? +angerous
1angs an+ +aggers will spring up in the mi+st o1 those Airtuous
Cualities R eAen though intrinsically theyJre a source o1 peace
an+ tranCuillity- He shoul+ train himsel1 to a+opt the sel1)e11acing
attitu+e o1 being a worthless ol+ rag until it becomes habitual?
while neAer allowing conceit about his worthiness to come to the
sur1ace- A mon6 must cultiAate this noble Cuality an+ ingrain it
+eeply in his personality? ma6ing it an intrinsic character trait as
stea+1ast as the earth- He will thus remain una11ecte+ by wor+s o1
praise? or o1 criticism- MoreoAer? a min+ totally +eAoi+ o1 conceit is
a min+ imperturbable in all circumstances- Scariya Mun belieAe+
that the practice o1 wearing robes ma+e 1rom +iscar+e+ cloth was
one sure way to help attenuate 1eelings o1 sel1)importance burie+
+eep within the heart-
%iAing in the 1orest- 'ealiUing the Aalue o1 this +hutanga
obserAance 1rom the Aery beginning? Scariya Mun 1oun+ 1orest
+welling con+uciAe to the eerie? seclu+e+ 1eeling associate+ with
genuine solitu+e- %iAing an+ me+itating in the natural surroun+ings
o1 a 1orest enAironment awa6ens the senses an+ encourages
min+1ulness 1or remaining Aigilant in all o1 oneJs +aily actiAities*
min+1ulness accompanying eAery wa6ing moment? eAery wa6ing
thought- !he heart 1eels buoyant an+ care1ree? unconstraine+
by worl+ly responsibilities- !he min+ is constantly on the alert?
earnestly 1ocusing on its primary obXectiAe R the transcen+ence
o1 +u66ha- Such a sense o1 urgency becomes especially poignant
when liAing 1ar 1rom the nearest settlement? at locations +eep in
remote 1orest areas teeming with all 6in+s o1 wil+ animals- &n a
constant state o1 rea+iness? the min+ 1eels as though itJs about to
soar up an+ out o1 the +eep abyss o1 the 6ilesas
at any moment R
li6e a bir+ ta6ing 1light- &n truth? the 6ilesas
remain ensconce+
there in the heart as always- &t is the eAocatiAe 1orest atmosphere
that ten+s to inspire this sense o1 liberation- Sometimes? +ue to
the power o1 this 1aAorable enAironment? a mon6 becomes conAince+
that his 6ilesas
are +iminishing rapi+ly with each passing
+ay? while those remaining appear to be eAer more scarce- !his
un1ettere+ 1eeling is a constant source o1 support 1or the practice
o1 me+itation-
A mon6 liAing +eep in the 1orest ten+s to consi+er the wil+
animals liAing aroun+ him R both those inherently +angerous an+
those that are harmless R with compassion? rather than with 1ear
or apathy- He realiUes that all animals? +angerous an+ harmless? are
his eCuals in birth? ageing? sic6ness? an+ +eath- .e human beings
are superior to animals merely by Airtue o1 our moral awareness*
our ability to un+erstan+ +i11erence between goo+ an+ eAil- %ac6ing
this basic moral Xu+gment? we are no better than common animals-
Un6nown to them we label these creatures ]animalsJ? eAen
though the human species is itsel1 a type o1 animal- !he human
animal is 1on+ o1 labeling other species? but we haAe no i+ea what
6in+ o1 label other animals haAe giAen to us- .ho 6nows_ Perhaps
they haAe secretly labele+ human beings ]ogresJ?P since weJre
so 1on+ o1 mistreating them? slaughtering them 1or their meat R
or Xust 1or sport- &tJs a terrible shame the way we humans habitually
eKploit these creaturesV our treatment o1 them can be Cuite
merciless- Aen among our own 6in+? we humans canJt aAoi+
hating an+ harassing each other? constantly molesting or 6illing
one another- !he human worl+ is trouble+ because people ten+
to molest an+ 6ill each other? while the animal worl+ is trouble+
because humans ten+ to +o the same to them- :onseCuently? animals
are instinctiAely wary o1 human beings-
Scariya Mun claime+ that li1e in the 1orest proAi+es unlimite+
opportunities 1or thought an+ re1lection about oneJs own
heart? an+ its relation to many natural phenomena in the eKternal
enAironment- Anyone earnestly +esiring to go beyon+ +u66ha
can 1in+ plenty o1 inspiration in the 1orest? plenty o1 incentiAe to
intensi1y his e11orts R constantly-
At times? groups o1 wil+ boars wan+ere+ into the area where
Scariya Mun was wal6ing in me+itation- &nstea+ o1 running away
in panic when they saw him?
they continue+ casually 1oraging 1or
1oo+ in their usual way- He sai+ they seeme+ to be able to +i11erentiate
between him an+ all the merciless ]ogresJ o1 this worl+?
which is why they 6ept rooting aroun+ 1or 1oo+ so casually? instea+
o1 running 1or their liAes-
Here & woul+ li6e to +igress 1rom the main story a little to
elaborate on this subXect- (ou might be tempte+ to thin6 that
wil+ boars were una1rai+ o1 Scariya Mun because he was a lone
in+iAi+ual liAing +eep in the 1orest- But? when my own monastery?
.at Pa Ban !a+? was 1irst establishe+O an+ many mon6s were
liAing together there? her+s o1 wil+ boars too6 re1uge insi+e the
monastery? wan+ering 1reely through the area where the mon6s
ha+ their liAing Cuarters- At night they moAe+ aroun+ una1rai+?
only a 1ew yar+s 1rom the mon6sJ me+itation trac6s R so close
that they coul+ be hear+ snorting an+ thumping as they roote+ in
the groun+- Aen the soun+ o1 the mon6s calling to one another
to come an+ see this sight 1or themselAes 1aile+ to alarm the
wil+ boars- :ontinuing to wan+er 1reely through the monastery
groun+s eAery night? boars an+ mon6s soon became thoroughly
accustome+ to each other- Nowa+ays? wil+ boars only in1reCuently
wan+er into the monastery because ogres? as animals re1er to us
humans R accor+ing to Scariya Mun R haAe since 6ille+ an+
eaten almost all the wil+ animals in the area- &n another 1ew years?
they probably will haAe all +isappeare+-
groun+s eAery night? boars an+ mon6s soon became thoroughly
accustome+ to each other- Nowa+ays? wil+ boars only in1reCuently
wan+er into the monastery because ogres? as animals re1er to us
humans R accor+ing to Scariya Mun R haAe since 6ille+ an+
eaten almost all the wil+ animals in the area- &n another 1ew years?
they probably will haAe all +isappeare+-
o1 large metropolitan areas? animals R especially +ogs R
constantly 1in+ shelter- Some city monasteries are home to hun+re+s
o1 +ogs? 1or mon6s neAer harm them in any way- !his small
eKample is enough to +emonstrate the cool? peace1ul nature o1
Dhamma? a spirit o1 harmlessness thatJs o11ensiAe to no liAing
creature in this worl+ R eKcept? perhaps? the most har+)hearte+
Scariya MunJs eKperience o1 liAing in the 1orest conAince+
him Xust how supportiAe that enAironment is to me+itation practice-
!he 1orest enAironment is i+eal 1or those wishing to transcen+
+u66ha- &t is without a +oubt the most appropriate battle1iel+
to choose in oneJs struggle to attain all leAels o1 Dhamma? as
eAi+ence+ by the preceptorJs 1irst instructions to a newly or+aine+
mon6* 9o loo6 1or a suitable 1orest location in which to +o your
practice- Scariya Mun maintaine+ this ascetic obserAance to
the en+ o1 his li1e? eKcept on in1reCuent occasions when circumstances
mitigate+ against it- A mon6 liAing in the 1orest is constantly
remin+e+ o1 how isolate+ an+ Aulnerable he is- He canJt
a11or+ to be unmin+1ul- As a result o1 such Aigilance? the spirit
ual bene1its o1 this practice soon become obAious-
ual bene1its o1 this practice soon become obAious-
con+uciAe to constant introspection- A min+ possessing such
constant inner 1ocus is always prepare+ to tac6le the 6ilesas? 1or
its attention is 1irmly centere+ on the 8our 8oun+ations o1 Min+1ulnessL
R rTpa? Ae+an7? citta? an+ +hamma R an+ !he 8our Noble
!ruthsN R +u66ha? samu+aya? niro+ha? an+ magga- !ogether? these
1actors constitute the min+Js most e11ectiAe +e1ense? protecting
it +uring its all)out assault on the 6ilesas- &n the eerie solitu+e o1
liAing in the 1orest? the constant 1ear o1 +anger can motiAate the
min+ to 1ocus un+iAi+e+ attention on the 8oun+ations o1 Min+1ulness?
or the Noble !ruths- &n +oing so? it acCuires a soli+ basis
1or achieAing Aictory in its battle with the 6ilesas R such is the
true path lea+ing to the Noble Dhamma- A mon6 who wishes to
thoroughly un+erstan+ himsel1? using a sa1e an+ correct metho+?
shoul+ 1in+ an appropriate me+itation subXect an+ a suitable location
that are con+uciAe 1or him to eKert a maKimum e11ort- !hese
combine+ elements will help to eKpe+ite his me+itation progress
immeasurably- Use+ as an eKcellent means 1or +estroying 6ilesas
since the Bu++haJs time? the +hutanga obserAance o1 +welling at
the 1oot o1 a tree is another practice meriting special attention-
Staying in a cemetery is an ascetic practice which remin+s
mon6s an+ lay people ali6e not to be neglect1ul while they are
still aliAe? belieAing that they themselAes will neAer +ie- !he truth
o1 the matter is* we are all in the process o1 +ying? little by little?
eAery moment o1 eAery +ay- !he people who +ie+ an+ were relocate+
to the cemetery R where their numbers are so great thereJs
scarcely any room le1t to cremate or bury them R are the Aery
same people who were +ying little by little be1oreV Xust as we are
now- .ho in this worl+ seriously belieAes himsel1 to be so uniCue
that he can claim immunity 1rom +eath_
.e are taught to Aisit cemeteries so that we wonJt 1orget
the countless relatiAes with whom we share birth? ageing? sic6ness?
an+ +eathV so as to constantly remin+ ourselAes that we
too liAe +aily in the sha+ow o1 birth? ageing? sic6ness? an+ +eath-
:ertainly no one who still wan+ers aimlessly through the en+less
roun+ o1 birth an+ +eath woul+ be so uncommonly bol+ as
to presume that he will neAer be born? grow ol+? become sic6? or
+ie- Since they are pre+ispose+ towar+ the attainment o1 1ree+om
1rom this cycle by their Aery Aocation? mon6s shoul+ stu+y
the root causes within themselAes o1 the continuum o1 su11ering-
!hey shoul+ e+ucate themselAes by Aisiting a cemetery where cremations
are per1orme+? an+ by re1lecting inwar+ly on the crow+e+
cemetery within themselAes where untol+ numbers o1 corpses are
brought 1or burial all the time* such a pro1usion o1 ol+ an+ new
corpses are burie+ within their bo+ies that itJs impossible to count
them all-E< By contemplating the truly grieAous nature o1 li1e in
this worl+? they use min+1ulness an+ wis+om to +iligently probe?
eKplore? an+ analyUe the basic principles un+erlying the truth o1
li1e an+ +eath-
Aeryone who regularly Aisits a cemetery R be it an out+oor
cemetery or the inner cemetery within their bo+ies R an+ uses
+eath as the obXect o1 contemplation? can greatly re+uce their smug
sense o1 pri+e in being young? in being aliAe? in being success1ul-
Unli6e most people? those who regularly contemplate +eath +onJt
+elight in 1eeling sel1)important- 'ather? they ten+ to see their
own 1aults? an+ gra+ually try to correct them? instea+ o1 merely
loo6ing 1or an+ criticiUing other peopleJs 1aults R a ba+ habit that
brings unpleasant conseCuences- !his habit resembles a chronic
+isease that appears to be Airtually incurable? or perhaps it coul+
be reme+ie+ i1 people werenJt more intereste+ in aggraAating the
in1ection than they are in curing it-
sense o1 pri+e in being young? in being aliAe? in being success1ul-
Unli6e most people? those who regularly contemplate +eath +onJt
+elight in 1eeling sel1)important- 'ather? they ten+ to see their
own 1aults? an+ gra+ually try to correct them? instea+ o1 merely
loo6ing 1or an+ criticiUing other peopleJs 1aults R a ba+ habit that
brings unpleasant conseCuences- !his habit resembles a chronic
+isease that appears to be Airtually incurable? or perhaps it coul+
be reme+ie+ i1 people werenJt more intereste+ in aggraAating the
in1ection than they are in curing it-
ha+ to stu+y in the ]great aca+emyJ o1 birth? ageing? sic6ness?
an+ +eath until they ha+ mastere+ the entire curricula- #nly
then were they able to cross oAer with ease- !hey ha+ escape+
the snares o1 M7ra?EE unli6e those who? 1orgetting themselAes? +isregar+
+eath an+ ta6e no interest in contemplating its ineAitabilityV
eAen as it stares them in the 1ace-
Visiting cemeteries to contemplate +eath is an e11ectiAe
metho+ 1or completely oAercoming the 1ear o1 +yingV so that? when
+eath seems imminent? courage alone arises +espite the 1act that
+eath is the most terri1ying thing in the worl+- &t woul+ seem an
almost impossible 1eat? but it has been accomplishe+ by those who
practice me+itation R the %or+ Bu++ha an+ his Arahant +isciples
being the supreme eKamples- HaAing accomplishe+ this 1eat them
selAes? they taught others to thoroughly inAestigate eAery aspect o1
birth? ageing? sic6ness? an+ +eath so that people wanting to ta6e
responsibility 1or their own well)being can use this practice to correct
their misconceptions be1ore it becomes too late- &1 they reach
that ]great aca+emyJ only when their last breath is ta6en? it will
then be too late 1or reme+ial action* the only remaining options
will be cremation an+ burial- #bserAing moral precepts? ma6ing
merit? an+ practicing me+itation will no longer be possible-
Scariya Mun well un+erstoo+ the Aalue o1 a Aisit to the
cemetery? 1or a cemetery has always been the 6in+ o1 place that
encourages introspection- He always showe+ a 6een interest in Aisiting
cemeteries R both the eKternal Aariety an+ the internal one-
#ne o1 his +isciples? being terri1ie+ o1 ghosts? ma+e a Aaliant e11ort
to 1ollow his eKample in this- .e +onJt normally eKpect mon6s to
be a1rai+ o1 ghosts? which is eCuiAalent to Dhamma being a1rai+
o1 the worl+ R but this mon6 was one such case-
A Mon6Js 8ear o1 9hosts
Scariya Mun relate+ the story o1 a +hutanga
mon6 who ina+Aertently
went to stay in a 1orest locate+ neKt to a charnel groun+-E; He
arriAe+ on 1oot at a certain Aillage late one a1ternoon an+? being
un1amiliar with the area? as6e+ the Aillagers where he coul+ 1in+
a woo+e+ area suitable 1or me+itation- !hey pointe+ to a tract o1
1orest? claiming it was suitable? but neglecte+ to tell him that it was
situate+ right on the e+ge o1 a charnel groun+- !hey then gui+e+
him to the 1orest? where he passe+ the 1irst night peace1ully- #n
the 1ollowing +ay he saw the Aillagers pass by carrying a corpse?
which they soon cremate+ only a short +istance 1rom where he
was staying- As he loo6e+ on? he coul+ clearly see the burning
corpse- He starte+ to grow apprehensiAe the moment he saw the
co11in being carrie+ past? but he assume+ that they were on their
way to cremate the bo+y somewhere else- Still? the mere sight o1
the co11in cause+ him consi+erable consternation? as he thought
ahea+ to the coming night- He was worrie+ that the image o1 the
co11in woul+ haunt him a1ter +ar6? ma6ing it impossible 1or him
to sleep- As it turne+ out he ha+ campe+ on the e+ge o1 a charnel
groun+? so he was oblige+ to watch as the corpse was burne+
right in 1ront o1 him- !his sight upset him eAen more? causing
him seAere +iscom1ort as he contemplate+ the prospect o1 haAing
to spen+ the night there- 8eeling Aery uneasy 1rom the 1irst sight
o1 the corpse passing by? the 1eeling gra+ually intensi1ie+ until he
was so terri1ie+ that? by night1all? he coul+ har+ly breathe-
&tJs piti1ul to thin6 that a mon6 can be so terri1ie+ o1 ghosts-
& am recor+ing this inci+ent here so that those o1 my rea+ers
haAing a similar 1ear o1 ghosts may re1lect on the tenacity with
which this mon6 stroAe to con1ront his 1ear hea+ on? an+ so ta6e
a Aaluable lesson 1rom the past-
#nce all the Aillagers ha+ gone home? leaAing him alone?
his torment began in earnest- He coul+ not 6eep his min+ 1ocuse+
on me+itation because wheneAer he close+ his eyes to me+itate? he
saw a long line o1 ghosts moAing towar+ him- Be1ore long ghosts
hoAere+ aroun+ him in groups? an image which 1rightene+ him so
much that all presence o1 min+ +eserte+ him? throwing him into
a panic- His 1ear began in mi+)a1ternoon? at the 1irst sight o1 the
corpse- By the time +ar6ness 1ell all aroun+? his 1ear ha+ become
so intense he was Xust barely able to cope-
Since or+aining as a mon6? he ha+ neAer eKperience+ anything
li6e this long struggle with Aisions o1 ghosts- At least he was
min+1ul enough to begin re1lecting* !he 1ear? the ghosts R all o1 it
may simply be a +elusion- &t is more li6ely that these haunting images
o1 ghosts are creations o1 my own min+-
As a +hutanga mon6 he was eKpecte+ to be stea+1ast an+
1earless when 1acing +eath? ghosts? or any other +anger- So he
remin+e+ himsel1* People eAerywhere praise the 1earless courage o1
+hutanga mon6s? yet here & am shamelessly a1rai+ o1 ghosts- &Jm acting
li6e a total 1ailure? as though &JAe or+aine+ Xust to liAe in 1ear o1 ghosts
an+ goblins without any rhyme or reason- &Jm a +isgrace to my 1ellow
mon6s in the +hutanga tra+ition- & am unworthy o1 the a+miration o1
people who belieAe we are noble warriors 1earing nothing- How coul+
& let this happen_
HaAing remin+e+ himsel1 o1 the noble Airtues eKpecte+ o1 a
+hutanga mon6? an+ roun+ly criticiUing himsel1 1or 1ailing to liAe
up to these high stan+ar+s? he resolAe+ that he woul+ 1orce himsel1
to 1ace the 1ear +irectly 1rom then on- !he corpse that smol+ere+
be1ore him on the 1uneral pyre being the cause o1 his 1ear?
he +eci+e+ to go there imme+iately- Putting on his robe? he starte+
wal6ing straight 1or the 1uneral pyre? which he saw clearly glowing
in the +ar6ness- But a1ter a 1ew steps his legs tense+ up? an+
he coul+ har+ly moAe- His heart poun+e+? his bo+y began to perspire
pro1usely? as though eKpose+ to the mi++ay sun- Seeing that
this was not going to wor6? he Cuic6ly a+Xuste+ his tac6- Starting
with small? +eliberate steps? he place+ one 1oot Xust in 1ront o1
the other? not allowing his 1orwar+ motion to stop- By that time?
he was relying on sheer strength o1 will to push his bo+y 1orwar+-
8rightene+ to +eath an+ sha6ing uncontrollably? he neAertheless
6ept his resolAe to wal6 on R as though his li1e +epen+e+ on it-
Struggling the entire way? he eAentually reache+ the burning
corpse- But instea+ o1 1eeling relieAe+ that he ha+ achieAe+
his obXectiAe? he 1elt so 1aint he coul+ barely stan+- About to go
craUy with 1ear? he 1orce+ himsel1 to loo6 at the partially burne+
corpse- !hen? seeing the s6ull burne+ white 1rom long eKposure
to the 1ire? he got such a 1right that he nearly 1ainte+ straightaway-
BraAely suppressing his 1ear? he sat +own to me+itate Xust a short
+istance 1rom the burning pyre- He 1ocuse+ on the corpse? using it
as the obXect o1 his me+itation? while 1orcing his terri1ie+ heart to
mentally recite continuously* &Jm going to +ie R Xust li6e this corpse?
thereJs no nee+ to be a1rai+- &Jm going to +ie some+ay too R thereJs no
point in being a1rai+-
Sitting there grappling with his 1ear o1 ghosts an+ 1orcing
his heart to repeat this me+itation on +eath? he hear+ a strange
soun+ Xust behin+ him R the soun+ o1 approaching 1ootsteps2
!he 1ootsteps stoppe+? then starte+ again? slow an+ cautious as i1
someone were snea6ing up to pounce on him 1rom behin+ R or so
he imagine+ at the time- His 1ear now reaching its pea6? he was
poise+ to Xump up an+ run away? crying @9hosts2 Help2B But he
manage+ to control this impulse an+ waite+? listening nerAously
as the 1ootsteps slowly +rew nearer then stoppe+ a 1ew yar+s away-
Poise+ to run? he hear+ a strange soun+ R li6e someone chewing?
lou+ an+ crunchy- !his sent his imagination racing* .hatJs
it chewing on aroun+ here_ NeKt? itJll be chewing on my hea+2 !his
cruel? heartless ghost is sure to mean the en+ o1 me-
Unable to stan+ the suspense any longer? he +eci+e+ to
open his eyes- Shoul+ the situation loo6 +rastic? he was prepare+
to run 1or his li1e R a 1ar better option than Xust letting some ter
rible ghost +eAour him- scaping +eath now? he reasone+? will
giAe me the chance to resume my practice later with renewe+ +iligence?
whereas & gain nothing by sacri1icing my li1e to this ghost-
.ith that he opene+ his eyes an+ turne+ to loo6 in the +irection
o1 the chewing? crunching soun+s? all set to ma6e a +ash 1or his
li1e- Peering through the +ar6ness to catch a glimpse o1 the terrible
ghost he ha+ imagine+? he saw instea+ a Aillage +og? casually
eating the scraps o1 1oo+ le1t by the Aillagers as o11erings to
the spirits as part o1 the local custom- &t ha+ come scrounging 1or
something to 1ill its stomach? as hungry animals are wont to +oV
an+ it wasnJt the least bit intereste+ in him sitting there-
Su++enly realiUing that it was only a +og? the mon6 laughe+
at his own 1olly- !urning his attention to the +og? which showe+
no interest in him whatsoeAer? he thought* So2 (ouJre the almighty
specter that nearly +roAe me craUy- (ouJAe taught me the lesson o1
my li1e2 At the same time? he was +eeply +ismaye+ by his own
@Despite my +etermination to con1ront my 1ears li6e a warrior?
& was thrown into a panic as soon as & hear+ the soun+ o1
this +og scrounging 1or 1oo+ R a ma+ +hutanga mon6 1leeing 1rantically
1or his li1e2 &tJs a goo+ thing & ha+ enough min+1ulness to
wait that 1raction o1 a secon+ longer to +iscoAer the real cause
o1 my 1ear- #therwise? it woul+ probably haAe +riAen me ma+-
9osh2 Am & really so grossly stupi+ as that_ &1 so? +o & +eserAe to
continue wearing the yellow robes? the emblem o1 courage? 1or it
+enotes a +isciple o1 the %or+ Bu++ha? whose superior courage
transcen+s all comparison_ Being this useless? shoul+ & still wal6
1or alms? an+ thus +esecrate the 1oo+ that the 1aith1ul o11er with
such respect_ .hat can & +o now to re+eem mysel1 a1ter such a
+espicable +isplay o1 cowar+ice_ Surely no other +isciple o1 the
Bu++ha is as pathetic as & am- Zust one inept +isciple li6e mysel1
is enough to weigh heaAily on the s7sana
R shoul+ there be any
more? the bur+en woul+ be enormous- How am & going to tac6le
this 1ear o1 ghosts thatJs Xust ma+e me loo6 so 1oolish_ Hurry up2
!a6e a stan+? right this minute2 &t is better to +ie now than to
postpone this +ecision any longer- NeAer again can & allow this
1ear o1 ghosts to trample on my heart- !his worl+ has no place 1or
a mon6 who +isgraces himsel1 an+ the religion he represents-B
.ith this sel1)a+monition 1resh in his min+? the mon6
ma+e a solemn Aow*
@& will not leaAe this place until &JAe oAercome my 1ear o1
ghosts- &1 & haAe to +ie trying? then so be it2 &1 & canJt +e1eat this 1ear?
then & +onJt +eserAe to continue liAing in such +isgrace- #thers
might 1ollow my ba+ eKample? becoming useless people themselAes?
thus 1urther increasing the bur+en on the s7sana-B
So he Aowe+ to himsel1 that? 1rom that moment on? he
woul+ remain in that cemetery +ay an+ night as a way o1 +ealing
sternly with his 1ear- He 1ocuse+ on the corpse be1ore him? comparing
it with his own bo+y? seeing that they were both compose+
o1 the same basic elements- As long as consciousness is there in
the heart to hol+ eAerything together? then that person? or that
animal? continues to liAe- But as soon as consciousness +eparts?
the whole combination o1 elements begins to +isintegrate? an+ is
then re1erre+ to as a corpse-
&t was clear that his notion about the +og being a ghost was
shame1ully absur+V so he resolAe+ that he woul+ neAer again len+
any cre+ence to thoughts o1 being haunte+ by ghosts- As this inci+ent
clearly showe+? his min+ simply haunte+ itsel1 with ghostly
apparitions? an+ his 1ear was the outcome o1 this sel1)+eception-
!he misery he su11ere+ arose 1rom such 1aith in this +elusion that a
mere +og? harmlessly scrounging 1or 1oo+? almost became a matter
o1 li1e an+ +eath-
apparitions? an+ his 1ear was the outcome o1 this sel1)+eception-
!he misery he su11ere+ arose 1rom such 1aith in this +elusion that a
mere +og? harmlessly scrounging 1or 1oo+? almost became a matter
o1 li1e an+ +eath-
@Although theyJAe always been at wor6? this is the 1irst time
they haAe brought me so close to catastrophe- Dhamma
teaches us that sa\\7 is the master o1 +eception?E= but
until now &JAe neAer clearly un+erstoo+ what that means-
#nly now? inhaling the stench o1 my own liAing +eath? +o
& un+erstan+ its signi1icance* My 1ear o1 ghosts is nothing
more than sa\\7Js +eceptiAe tric6ery- 8rom now on? sa\\7
will neAer again tric6 me as it has in the past- & must stay
put here in this cemetery until the ]master o1 +eceptionJ is
+ea+ an+ burie+? so that the specter o1 ghosts will not continue
to haunt me in the 1uture- #nly then will & agree to
leaAe here- Now itJs my turn to torture to +eath this cunning?
+eceit1ul conXurer? then cremate its stin6ing corpse
li6e that 1leshly corpse &JAe Xust seen cremate+ here- Dealing
a +ecisiAe blow to sa\\7Js insi+ious tric6ery R this is the
only pressing matter in my li1e right now-B
!he mon6 too6 up this challenge with such earnest resolAe that
wheneAer sa\\7 cause+ him to suspect a ghost was lur6ing somewhere
aroun+ him? he imme+iately went to that spot? eKposing
the +eception- 8orgoing sleep? he 6ept up this Aigil throughout
the night? until 1inally sa\\7
no longer ha+ the strength to assert
its assumptions- &n the early hours o1 the eAening? he ha+ been
engage+ in a struggle with eKternal ghosts? in the guise o1 the
Aillage +og which ha+ nearly been his un+oing- %ater? when he
un+erstoo+ the situation an+ became conscious o1 his error? he
turne+ his attention inwar+? battling his inner ghosts into submission-
Beginning the moment he became aware o1 his 1olly? his 1ear
o1 ghosts subsi+e+ an+ cease+ to trouble him 1or the rest o1 the
night- #n subseCuent nights? he remaine+ alert? rea+y to con1ront
any hint o1 1ear using the same uncompromising stance- Aentually
he trans1orme+ himsel1 into a mon6 o1 incre+ible courage R
in all circumstances- !his whole eKperience ha+ a pro1oun+ an+
lasting impact on his spiritual +eAelopment- His 1ear o1 ghosts
gaAe rise to an outstan+ing lesson in Dhamma? thus conAerting
him into a truly authentic mon6-
& inclu+e this story in the biography o1 Scariya Mun in the
hope that the rea+er will gain some Aaluable insights 1rom it? Xust
as & trust the story o1 Scariya MunJs li1e will proAe to be o1 great
bene1it to people eAerywhere- As can be seen 1rom the aboAe story?
Aisiting cemeteries has always been an essential +hutanga
.A'&N9 #N%( !H !H' P'&N:&PA% '#BS is another +hutanga
obserAance that Scariya Mun 1ollowe+ religiously 1rom the +ay
he 1irst or+aine+ until ol+ age an+ +eclining health eAentually
1orce+ him to relaK his strict a+herence somewhat- &n those +ays?
mon6s rarely settle+ in one location 1or Aery long? eKcept
+uring the three months o1 the rainy season retreat- !hey wan+ere+
through 1orests an+ mountains? traAeling by 1oot the whole
way since there were no automobiles bac6 then- ach mon6 ha+
to carry his own belongings R he coul+ eKpect no help 1rom others-
8or this reason? each mon6 too6 with him only as much as he
coul+ conAeniently manage- Since it was aw6war+ to be loa+e+
+own with too many things? only absolute essentials were ta6en-
As time went on? this 1rugal attitu+e became an integral part o1 a
mon6Js character- Shoul+ someone giAe him something eKtra? he
woul+ simply giAe it away to another mon6 to aAoi+ accumulat
ing unnecessary possessions-
!he true beauty o1 a +hutanga
mon6 lies with the Cuality o1
his practice an+ the simplicity o1 his li1e- .hen he +ies? he leaAes
behin+ only his eight basic reCuisitesED R the only true necessities
o1 his magni1icent way o1 li1e- .hile heJs aliAe? he liAes maXestically
in poAerty R the poAerty o1 a mon6- Upon +eath? he is well)
gone with no attachments whatsoeAer- Human beings an+ +eAas
ali6e sing praises to the mon6 who +ies in honorable poAerty? 1ree
o1 all worl+ly attachments- So the ascetic practice o1 wearing only
the three principal robes will always be a ba+ge o1 honor complementing
+hutanga mon6s-
Scariya Mun was conscientious in the way he practice+ all
the +hutanga
obserAances mentione+ aboAe- He became so s6ill1ul
an+ pro1icient with them that it woul+ be har+ to 1in+ anyone
o1 his eCual to+ay- He also ma+e a point o1 teaching the mon6s
un+er his tutelage to train themselAes using these same ascetic
metho+s- He +irecte+ them to liAe in remote wil+erness areas?
places that were lonely an+ 1rightening* 1or eKample? at the 1oot o1
a tree? high in the mountains? in caAes? un+er oAerhanging roc6s?
an+ in cemeteries- He too6 the lea+ in teaching them to consi+er
their +aily almsroun+ a solemn +uty? a+Aising them to eschew
1oo+ o11ere+ later- #nce lay +eAotees in the Aillage became 1amiliar
with his strict obserAance o1 this practice? they woul+ put all
their 1oo+ o11erings into the mon6sJ bowls? ma6ing it unnecessary
to o11er a++itional 1oo+ at the monastery- He a+Aise+ his +isciples
to eat all 1oo+ miKe+ together in their bowls? an+ to aAoi+ eating
1rom other containers- An+ he showe+ them the way by eating
only one meal each +ay until the Aery last +ay o1 his li1e-
.AND'&N9 B( S!A9S across the Northeast? Scariya Mun gra+ually
attracte+ increasing numbers o1 +isciples at eAery new location
along the way- .hen he stoppe+ to settle in one place 1or
some time? scores o1 mon6s graAitate+ to those areas to liAe with
him- HaAing set up a temporary monastic community in the
1orest? siKty to seAenty mon6s woul+ gather there? while many
more staye+ close by in the surroun+ing area- Scariya Mun always
trie+ to 6eep his +isciples sprea+ apart? liAing in separate locations
that were not too close to one another? yet close enough to
his resi+ence so that they coul+ easily see6 his a+Aice when they
encountere+ problems in their me+itation- !his arrangement was
conAenient 1or all? 1or when too many mon6s are liAing in close
proKimity? it can become a hin+rance to me+itation-
#n the uposatha obserAance +ays? when the P70imo66haEM
was recite+? +hutanga mon6s came 1rom Aarious locations in his
Aicinity to assemble at his resi+ence- A1ter the recitation o1 the
P70imo66ha? Scariya Mun a++resse+ the whole assembly with a
+iscourse on Dhamma? an+ then answere+ the mon6sJ Cuestions?
one by one? until their +oubts cleare+ up an+ eAeryone was satis1ie+-
ach mon6 then returne+ to his own separate location?
buoye+ by the eKposition o1 Dhamma he ha+ Xust hear+? an+
resume+ his me+itation practice with renewe+ enthusiasm-
buoye+ by the eKposition o1 Dhamma he ha+ Xust hear+? an+
resume+ his me+itation practice with renewe+ enthusiasm-
Scariya Mun o1ten assemble+ the mon6s in the eAenings
at about +us6 to giAe a +iscourse on Dhamma- As the mon6s sat
together Cuietly listening? Scariya MunJs Aoice was the only soun+
they hear+- !he rhythm o1 his Aoice articulating the essence o1
Dhamma was at once lyrical an+ captiAating- :arrie+ along by
the 1low o1 his teaching? his au+ience completely 1orgot themselAes?
their weariness? an+ the time that passe+- %istening? they
were aware only o1 the 1low o1 Dhamma haAing an impact on their
hearts? creating such a pleasant 1eeling that they coul+ neAer get
enough o1 it- ach o1 these meetings laste+ many hours-
.ithin the circle o1 +hutanga
mon6s? listening to a Dhamma
+iscourse in this way is consi+ere+ another 1orm o1 me+itation
practice- Dhutanga
mon6s haAe an especially high regar+ 1or their
teacher an+ his Aerbal instructions- He constantly gui+es an+
a+monishes them to such goo+ e11ect that they ten+ to Aiew his
teachings as the li1ebloo+ o1 their me+itation practice- Showing
the utmost respect an+ a11ection 1or their teacher? they are eAen
willing to sacri1ice their liAes 1or him- !he Venerable Anan+a is an
eKcellent case in point* He ha+ such unwaAering a11ection 1or the
Bu++ha that he was willing to sacri1ice his li1e by throwing himsel1
into the path o1 the wil+? charging elephant that DeAa+atta
ha+ let loose in an attempt to 6ill the Bu++ha-
&n Scariya MunJs case? +hutanga
mon6s listene+ to his
instructions with great reAerence? enthusiastically ta6ing them
to heart- !his was especially eAi+ent when he a+Aise+ one o1 his
mon6s to go liAe in a certain caAe in or+er to giAe his practice new
impetus- Mon6s? single+ out in this manner? neAer obXecte+? but
1aith1ully 1ollowe+ his recommen+ations with genuine conAiction?
re1using to allow 1ear or concern 1or their sa1ety to become an issue-
&nstea+ they were please+? 1eeling that their practice was boun+
to be strengthene+ by liAing in the locations he recommen+e+-
!his in turn in1use+ them with +etermination to striAe relentlessly
both +ay an+ night- !hey were conAince+ that? i1 Scariya
Mun suggeste+ a certain location to them? then their e11orts there
were sure to be rewar+e+ with goo+ results R as though they ha+
receiAe+ an assurance o1 success 1rom him in a+Aance- !his coul+
be li6ene+ to the assurance that the %or+ Bu++ha gaAe to the
Venerable Anan+a? Xust prior to his Parinibb7na? when he tol+ him
that in three months time his heart woul+ be 1ree 1rom all 6ilesas-
He was pre+icting that the Venerable Anan+a was certain to
attain enlightenment? becoming an Arahant on the opening +ay
o1 the 8irst Sangha :ouncil-EP &tJs obAious that +eAout obe+ience
to the teacher is Aitally important- &t engen+ers an unwaAering
interest in practice? guar+s against carelessness an+ apathy? an+ so
helps to anchor the basic principles o1 Dhamma in the +iscipleJs
heart- &t 1acilitates the establishment o1 a common un+erstan+
ing between teacher an+ +isciple so that instructions nee+ not be
repeate+ oAer an+ oAer until it becomes annoying an+ tiresome
1or both parties-
ing between teacher an+ +isciple so that instructions nee+ not be
repeate+ oAer an+ oAer until it becomes annoying an+ tiresome
1or both parties-
the region- During that perio+? he traAele+ eKtensiAely teaching
in almost all the northeastern proAinces- He passe+ initially
through Na6hon 'atchasimaV then through Si Sa6et? Ubon 'atchathani?
Na6hon Phanom? Sa6on Na6hon? U+on !hani? Nong
$hai? %oei? %om Sa6? an+ Phetchabun? an+ occasionally crosse+
the Me6ong 'iAer into %aos to Aisit Vientiane an+ !ha $he6- He
criss)crosse+ these areas many times in those +ays? but he pre1erre+
to remain longer in proAinces that were mountainous an+
thic6ly 1oreste+ because they were especially suitable 1or me+itation-
8or instance? south an+ southwest o1 the town o1 Sa6on
Na6hon there were many 1orest)coAere+ mountain ranges where
he spent the rains retreat near the Aillage o1 Phon Sawang in the
+istrict o1 Sawang Dan Din- !he mountainous terrain in this area
is so con+uciAe to the ascetic way o1 li1e that it is still 1reCuente+
by +hutanga mon6s to+ay-
Mon6s wan+ering in such areas +uring the +ry season usually
slept out in the 1orest on small bamboo plat1orms- !hey were
ma+e by splitting sections o1 bamboo lengthwise? sprea+ing them
out 1lat? then securing them to a bamboo 1rame with legs? ma6ing
a raise+ sleeping sur1ace o1 about siK 1eet long? three or 1our 1eet
wi+e? an+ about one an+ a hal1 1eet aboAe the groun+- #ne plat1orm
was constructe+ 1or each mon6 an+ was space+ as 1ar apart
1rom another as the liAing area o1 the 1orest woul+ allow- A large
tract o1 1orest allowe+ spacing o1 at least E;< 1eet with the thic6
1oliage in between each plat1orm acting as a natural screen- &1 the
area was relatiAely small? or a large group o1 mon6s liAe+ together
in an area? then the spacing might be re+uce+ to N< 1eet interAals?
though the minimum +istance was usually E;< 1eet- !he 1ewer
the number o1 mon6s liAing in a particular area? the 1arther apart
they were in+iAi+ually R being close enough to one another only
to hear the +istant soun+ o1 a cough or a sneeUe- %ocal Aillagers
helpe+ each mon6 to clear a wal6ing me+itation trac6 approKimately
P< 1eet in length? which was locate+ besi+e his sleeping
plat1orm- !hese trac6s were use+ +ay an+ night 1or practicing
me+itation in a wal6ing mo+e-
.hen mon6s 1ear1ul o1 ghost or tigers came to train un+er
Scariya Mun? he usually ma+e them stay alone? 1ar 1rom the rest o1
the mon6s R a seAere training metho+ +esigne+ to +raw attention
to the 1ear so that the mon6 coul+ learn to come to grips with it-
He was reCuire+ to remain there until he became accustome+ to
the wil+erness enAironment? an+ inure+ to the tigers an+ ghosts
that his min+ conXure+ up to +eceiAe him- !he eKpectation was
that? in the en+? he woul+ achieAe the same goo+ results as others
who ha+ traine+ themselAes in this way- !hen he woul+nJt haAe to
carry such a bur+en o1 1ear in+e1initely- Scariya Mun belieAe+ this
metho+ accomplishe+ better results than simply leaAing a mon6
to his own +eAices? an+ to the Aery real prospect that he might
neAer 1in+ the courage to 1ace his 1ears-
Upon arriAing in a new location? a +hutanga
mon6 ha+ to
1irst sleep on the groun+? collecting Aarious 6in+s o1 leaAes? or in
some places straw? to ma6e a cru+e mattress- Scariya Mun sai+
that the months o1 December an+ Zanuary were especially +i11icult
+ue to the preAailing seasonal weather patterns? as the approaching
col+ weather met an+ miKe+ with the outgoing rainy weather-
.hen it +i+ rain +uring the winter months? a mon6 ineAitably
got +renche+- Sometimes it raine+ continuously all night? an+ the
umbrella)tent he use+ as shelter was no match 1or the +riAing rain
an+ high win+s- Still? he ha+ no choice but to sit shiAering un+er
this ma6eshi1t shelter? en+uring the +an6 col+ an+ unable to moAe
1or it was impossible to see in the +ar6- A +ownpour +uring the
+aylight hours was not Cuite so ba+- A mon6 still got wet? but at
least he coul+ see his surroun+ings an+ search 1or things in the
1orest to help shelter him 1rom the elements without 1eeling totally
blin+- ssential items li6e his outer robe an+ his matches ha+ to
be 6ept in his alms bowl with the li+ tightly secure+- 8ol+ing his
upper robe in hal1? he +rape+ it aroun+ himsel1 to 6eep out the
col+ an+ +amp- !he cloth mosCuito net that hung 1rom the suspen+e+
umbrella +own to the groun+ 1orme+ a tent)li6e shelter
that was in+ispensable 1or bloc6ing out the win+swept rain- #therwise?
eAerything got soa6e+ an+ he ha+ to en+ure the +iscom1ort
o1 haAing no +ry robe to wear in the morning 1or almsroun+-
!he months o1 8ebruary? March? an+ April saw the weather
change again? as it began to heat up- Normally +hutanga
then moAe+ up into the mountains? see6ing out caAes or oAerhanging
cli11s to shelter them 1rom the sun an+ the rain- Ha+ they
gone to these mountainous locations in December an+ Zanuary?
the groun+ woul+ still haAe been saturate+ 1rom the rainy season?
eKposing them to the ris6 o1 malarial in1ection- Malarial 1eAer was
neAer easy to cure- Many months coul+ pass be1ore the symptoms
1inally went away- &t coul+ easily +eAelop into a chronic con+i
tion? the 1eAer recurring at regular interAals- !his 6in+ o1 chronic
malaria was locally re1erre+ to as ]the 1eAer the in)laws +espiseJ?
1or its Aictims can eat well enough but they canJt +o any wor6
because the 1eAer is so +ebilitating- &n such cases? not only the
in)laws but also eAeryone else became 1e+ up- No e11ectiAe reme+ies
1or malaria eKiste+ thenV so those who caught it ha+ to Xust
let it run its course- & mysel1 Cuite o1ten su11ere+ 1rom such chastening
1eAers? an+ & too ha+ let them run their course as we ha+
no me+icines to treat malaria in those +ays- Scariya Mun use+ to
say that most o1 the +hutanga
mon6s he 6new +uring that perio+
ha+ been in1ecte+ with malaria? inclu+ing himsel1 an+ many o1
his +isciples- Some eAen +ie+ o1 it- %istening to those accounts?
one coul+nJt help 1eeling a pro1oun+ sympathy 1or him an+ his
mon6s* he nearly +ie+ be1ore gaining the necessary un+erstan+ing
to teach the way o1 Dhamma to his +isciples? so they too coul+
practice 1ollowing his eKample-
%ocal :ustoms an+ Belie1s
arlier? be1ore Scariya Mun an+ Scariya Sao began wan+ering
through the region to enlighten people about the nature o1 moral
Airtue an+ to eKplain the conseCuences o1 their actions an+ belie1s?
the worship o1 spirits an+ ghosts ha+ become en+emic in the Northeast
an+ a common aspect o1 eAery+ay Aillage li1e- .hether it was
planting the rice? putting in a gar+en? buil+ing a house? or ma6ing
a she+? an auspicious +ay? month? an+ year ha+ to be +etermine+
1or the start o1 eAery en+eaAor- Be1ore any type o1 wor6 coul+
begin? propitiatory o11erings were routinely ma+e to placate the
local spirits- Shoul+ those ritual o11erings be neglecte+? then the
least untowar+ thing R a common col+ or a sneeUe R was attribute+
to incurring the +is1aAor o1 the spirits- A local spirit +octor
was then calle+ in to +iAine the cause an+ paci1y the o11en+e+
spirit- Doctors in those +ays were much smarter than they are
to+ay* they unhesitatingly +eclare+ that this spirit? or that ghost?
ha+ been wronge+? claiming that a certain o11ering or sacri1ice
woul+ cure eAerything- Aen i1 the supplicant was hac6ing an+
sneeUing long a1ter o11ering the prescribe+ oblation? it ma+e no
+i11erence- Bac6 then? i1 the +octor +eclare+ you cure+? you were?
an+ you 1elt relieAe+ +espite the symptoms- !his is the reason &
can so bol+ly assert that both the +octors an+ the patients o1 that
era were Aery smart* whateAer the +octor +eclare+ was 1inal? an+
the patient accepte+ it without reserAation- &t was unnecessary
to search 1or me+ical cures? since the spirit +octor an+ his ghosts
coul+ cure eAerything-
%ater when Scariya Mun an+ Scariya Sao passe+ through
these areas? reasoning with local inhabitants? an+ eKplaining the
principles o1 truth? their preoccupation with the power o1 spirits
an+ the agency o1 spirit +octors gra+ually wane+- !o+ay it has
Airtually +isappeare+- Aen many o1 the spirit +octors themselAes
began ta6ing re1uge in the Bu++ha? Dhamma? an+ Sangha in
place o1 the Aarious spirits an+ ghosts they ha+ been worshipping-
Nowa+ays? har+ly anyone engages in such occult practices-
!raAeling 1rom Aillage to Aillage in the Northeast to+ay? we no
longer haAe to trea+ our way through o11erings lai+ out 1or the
spirits as we +i+ in the past- Kcept 1or the o++ group here or
there? spirit worship is no longer an issue in peopleJs liAes- &tJs truly
a blessing 1or this region that people no longer haAe to liAe their
whole liAes clinging to these belie1s- !he people o1 the Northeast
haAe long since trans1erre+ their 1aith an+ allegiance to the
Bu++ha? Dhamma an+ Sangha? than6s largely to the compassionate
e11orts o1 Scariya Mun an+ Scariya Sao to whom we all owe
an immense +ept o1 gratitu+e-
DU'&N9 H&S !&M &N !H '9&#N? Scariya Mun taught the local
people? applying all his strength an+ ability to ren+er them as genuine
human beings- He passe+ through some Aillages where the
local ]wise menJ as6e+ him Cuestions- !hey as6e+ Cuestions such
as* Do ghosts really eKist_ .here +o human beings come 1rom_
.hat is it that causes seKual attraction between men an+ women?
since theyJAe neAer been taught this_ .hy are male an+ 1emale
animals o1 the same species attracte+ to one another_ 8rom where
+i+ humans an+ animals learn this mutual attraction_ !hough &
canJt recall all the Cuestions he was as6e+? these & +o remember-
& accept blame 1or any inaccuracies in what is recor+e+ here as
my memory has always been somewhat 1aulty- Aen recalling my
own wor+s an+ other personal matters? & cannot aAoi+ ma6ing
mista6esV so my recollection o1 Scariya MunJs stories is boun+ to
be incomplete-
!o the Cuestion @Do ghosts really eKist_B Scariya MunJs reply
@&1 something truly eKists in the worl+? whether a spirit or
anything else? it simply eKists as it is- &ts eKistence +oes not +epen+
on the belie1 or +isbelie1 o1 anyone- People may say that something
eKists or +oesnJt eKist? but whether that thing actually eKists
or not is +epen+ent entirely on its own nature- &ts state +oes not
alter accor+ing to what people imagine it to be- !he same principle
applies to ghosts? which people eAerywhere are s6eptical about-
&n reality? those ghosts that 1righten an+ torment people are actually
creations o1 their own min+s- !heyJAe come to belieAe that?
here an+ there? +well ghosts that will harm them- !his in turn
causes 1ear an+ +iscom1ort to arise in them- #r+inarily? i1 a person
+oesnJt mentally conXure up the i+ea o1 ghosts? he +oesnJt su11er
1rom a 1ear o1 them- &n a maXority o1 cases? ghosts are Xust mental
images create+ by those who ten+ to be a1rai+ o1 them- As to
whether there really are such things as ghosts in the worl+ R eAen
i1 & were to say that they +o eKist? there is still not enough proo1
to ma6e s6eptics into belieAers? since people haAe a natural ten+ency
to +eny the truth- Aen when a thie1 is caught re+)han+e+
with stolen articles? he will o1ten re1use to a+mit the truth- More
than that? heJll 1abricate an alibi to get himsel1 o11 the hoo6 an+
+eny any wrong+oing- He may be 1orce+ to accept punishment
+ue to the weight o1 the eAi+ence against himV but? he will still
continue to protest his innocence- .hen he is imprisone+ an+
someone as6s him what he +i+ wrong to +eserAe that punishment?
he will Cuic6ly answer that he was accuse+ o1 stealing? but
insist that he neAer +i+ it- &t is rare 1or such a person to own up
to the truth- 9enerally spea6ing? people eAerywhere haAe much
the same attitu+e-B
!o the Cuestion +o human beings come 1rom_B Scariya
MunJs reply was*
@All human beings haAe a mother an+ 1ather who gaAe birth
to them- Aen you yoursel1 were not born miraculously 1rom a
hollow tree- .e all obAiously haAe parents who gaAe birth to us
an+ raise+ us? so this Cuestion is har+ly an appropriate one- .ere
& to say that human beings are born o1 ignorance an+ craAing?
this woul+ cause more con1usion an+ misun+erstan+ing than i1
& gaAe no answer at all- People haAe no 6nowle+ge whatsoeAer o1
what ignorance an+ craAing are? although they are present there
in eAeryone R eKcept? o1 course? in the Arahants- !he trouble is
people are not intereste+ enough to ma6e the necessary e11ort 1or
un+erstan+ing these things? so that leaAes the obAious answer*
we are born o1 our parents- !his then opens me up to the criticism
that &JAe answere+ too brie1ly- But it is har+ to giAe a reply
which goes to the truth o1 the matter? when the one as6ing the
Cuestion is not really much intereste+ in the truth to begin with-
!he %or+ Bu++ha taught that both people an+ animals are born
o1 aAiXX7 paccaya san6h7ra^ samu+ayo hoti-EO !he ceasing o1 birth?
which is the cessation o1 all +u66ha? stems 1rom aAiXX7ya tAeAa asesaAir7ga
niro+h7 san6h7r7 niro+ho^ niro+ho hoti-EL !his con+ition is
inherent within the heart o1 each an+ eAery person who has 6ilesas-
#nce the truth has been accepte+? it becomes clear that itJs
Xust this which lea+s to birth as a human being or an animal until
the worl+ becomes so crow+e+ one can har+ly 1in+ a place to liAe-
!he primary cause is Xust this ignorance an+ insatiable craAing-
!hough we haAenJt eAen +ie+ yet? we are alrea+y searching 1or a
place to be born into an+ where we can carry on liAing R an attitu+e
o1 min+ that lea+s human beings an+ animals all oAer the
worl+ to birth an+ constant su11ering- Anyone wishing to 6now
the truth shoul+ ta6e a loo6 at the citta thatJs 1ull o1 the 6in+ o1
6ilesas which are 1rantically loo6ing to a11irm birth an+ li1e at all
times- !hat person will un+oubte+ly 1in+ what heJs loo6ing 1or
without haAing to as6 anyone else- Such Cuestions merely +isplay
a leAel o1 ignorance that in+icates the inCuirer is still spiritually
ina+eCuate- !he citta ten+s to be the most unruly? conceite+ thing
in the worl+- &1 no interest is ta6en in reigning it in? we will neAer
become aware o1 how really stubborn it is? an+ all our noble hopes
an+ aspirations will come to nothing-B
a leAel o1 ignorance that in+icates the inCuirer is still spiritually
ina+eCuate- !he citta ten+s to be the most unruly? conceite+ thing
in the worl+- &1 no interest is ta6en in reigning it in? we will neAer
become aware o1 how really stubborn it is? an+ all our noble hopes
an+ aspirations will come to nothing-B
@'7gata5h7EN is not to be 1oun+ in any boo6? nor is it learne+
in school 1rom a teacher- 'ather? r7gata5h7 is a stubbornly shameless
con+ition that arises an+ eKists in the hearts o1 men an+
women? causing those who haAe this Aulgar con+ition to come
un+er its spell an+ become Aulgar themselAes without eAer realiUing
whatJs happening- '7gata5h7 ma6es no +istinction between
man? woman? or animal? nationality? social status or age group-
&1 it is strong it can easily cause +isaster in the worl+- &1 there is
insu11icient presence o1 min+ to restrain it an+ 6eep it within
acceptable limits? seKual craAing will become li6e runaway 1loo+water?
oAer1lowing the ban6s o1 the heart an+ sprea+ing out to
1loo+ towns an+ cities? leaAing ruin eAerywhere in its wa6e- Such
a con+ition has always been able to thriAe within the hearts o1
all liAing beings precisely because it receiAes constant nourishment
an+ support R things which giAe it the strength to assert
its su11ocating in1luence continuously? sowing haAoc an+ causing
misery throughout the worl+- .e hear only about 1loo+s occurring
in towns an+ cities? an+ how they cause +estruction to people
an+ their belongings- No one is intereste+ in noticing the 1loo+ o1
r7gata5h7 engul1ing the hearts o1 people who are Cuite content to
let themselAes an+ their belongings be raAage+ by those surging
1loo+waters all year roun+- :onseCuently? no one un+erstan+s the
real reason 1or the on)going +eterioration o1 worl+ a11airs because
each an+ eAery person is contributing to an+ encouraging this situation
by 1ailing to recogniUe that r7gata5h7 is +irectly responsible
1or the worsening situation- &1 we +o not 1ocus our attention
on the real cause? it will be impossible 1or us to 1in+ any genuine
sense o1 contentment-B
!he original Cuestion as6e+ only about that aspect o1 r7gata5h7
concerning the attraction between people? completely ignoring
the +estruction instigate+ by r7gata5h7 through hatre+ an+
anger- But in his eKplanation Scariya Mun touche+ on the 1ull
range o1 +etrimental results stemming 1rom r7gata5h7- He sai+
that it is r7gata5h7 which +ictates the passionate urges o1 men?
women? an+ all the animals? 1acilitating the pleasure they 1in+
in each others company R this is a principle o1 nature- Nothing
other than this giAes rise to mutual a11ection an+ mutual animosity-
.hen r7gata5h7 uses its +eceptiAe tric6s 1or passionate en+s?
people 1all in loAe- .hen it uses its +eceptiAe tric6s to bring 1orth
hatre+ an+ anger? they ineAitably hate? get angry? an+ harm each
other- Shoul+ it wish to control people using loAe as a means? then
people become so attracte+ to one another that thereJs no separating
them- Shoul+ it wish those same people to 1all un+er the
in1luence o1 hatre+ an+ anger? then theyJll 1eel an irresistible urge
to +o Xust that-
Scariya Mun as6e+ the lay people present* @HaAenJt you
eAer Cuarrele+ among yourselAes_ (ou husban+s an+ wiAes who
haAe been in loAe since be1ore you were marrie+_ (ou as6e+ me
about it? but you shoul+ 6now a lot more about this matter than
a mon6 +oes-B !o this they replie+* @(es? weJAe Cuarrele+ until we
are sic6 o1 it an+ neAer want to again? but still we haAe another
are sic6 o1 it an+ neAer want to again? but still we haAe another
e11ort shoul+ be enough to 6eep it un+er control- #therwise?
itJs li6e eating three meals a +ay* in the morning you Cuarrel?
in the a1ternoon you Cuarrel? an+ in the eAening you Cuarrel
R regularly aroun+ the cloc6- Some people eAen en+ up in +iAorce?
allowing their chil+ren to become caught up in the con1lagration
as well- !hey are innocent? yet they too must bear the bur+en o1
that ba+ 6amma- Aeryone is a11ecte+ by this blaUing 1ire* 1rien+s
an+ acCuaintances 6eep their +istance +ue to the shame o1 it all-
Assuming both parties are intereste+ in settling the issue? they
shoul+ be aware that an argument is a ba+ thing? an+ stop as soon
as it starts? an+ ma6e an e11ort to correct it at that point- !he
matter can then sort itsel1 out so that in the 1uture such problems
+onJt recur- 8or instance? when anger or aAersion arises? 1irst?
thin6 o1 the past you haAe share+ togetherV an+ then? thin6 o1
the 1uture you will share liAing together 1or the rest o1 your liAes-
Now compare this to the malice thatJs Xust arisen- !hat shoul+ be
enough to lay the matter to rest-
@Mostly? people who go astray +o so because they insist on
haAing their own way- .ithout consi+ering whether theyJre right
or wrong? they want to personally +ominate eAerybo+y else in the
1amily R something which Xust isnJt possible to achieAe- Such arrogance
sprea+s an+ rages? singeing others until eAeryone is scarre+-
Aen worse? they want to eKert their in1luence oAer eAeryone else
in the worl+? which is as impossible as trying to hol+ bac6 the
ocean with your han+s- Such thoughts an+ actions shoul+ be
strictly aAoi+e+- &1 you persist in them they will bring your own
+own1all- People liAing together must a+here to an+ be gui+e+ by
eCuitable stan+ar+s o1 behaAior when +ealing with their husban+s?
wiAes? chil+ren? serAants? or co)wor6ers- !his means interacting
with them in a reasonable? harmonious way- Shoul+ others not
accept the truth? it is they who are at 1ault 1or being so unreasonable?
an+ it is they who will pay the price R not those who a+here
1irmly to gui+ing principles-B
#N !H#S #::AS&#NS when Scariya Mun ha+ to teach large numbers
o1 lay supporters? as well as the mon6s liAing with him? he
woul+ allot separate times 1or giAing instructions- He instructe+
the laity 1rom 1our to 1iAe P-M- He taught the mon6s an+ noAices
1rom seAen P-M- onwar+s? at the en+ o1 which they returne+ to their
huts to practice me+itation- He ten+e+ to 1ollow this routine on
his 1irst an+ secon+ tours o1 the Northeast- #n his thir+ an+ 1inal
trip? a1ter returning 1rom :hiang Mai to U+on !hani? he change+
this routine consi+erably- 'ather than +isrupt the seCuence o1
eAents? & shall eKplain the a+Xustments he ma+e later-
Scariya MunJs chie1 concern was teaching mon6s an+ noAices-
He too6 a special interest in those stu+ents eKperiencing Aarious
insights in their me+itation by calling them in 1or a personal
interAiew- &tJs Cuite normal 1or those practicing me+itation to haAe
Aarying characters an+ temperaments? so the types o1 insights
arising 1rom their practice will Aary accor+ingly R although the
resulting cool? calm sense o1 happiness will be the same- Di11erences
occur in the practical metho+s they employ an+ in the
nature o1 insights that arise +uring me+itation- Some me+itators
are incline+ to 6now only things eKisting eKclusiAely within their
own min+s- #thers ten+ to 6now things o1 a more eKternal nature
R such as Aisions o1 ghosts or +eAas? or Aisions o1 people an+ animals
+ying right in 1ront o1 them- !hey may see a corpse carrie+
along an+ then +umpe+ right in 1ront o1 them or they may
haAe a Aision o1 their own bo+y lying +ea+ be1ore them- All such
eKperiences are beyon+ the capability o1 beginning me+itators to
han+le correctly with any certainty? since the beginner is unable
to +istinguish between what is real an+ what is not- People who
are not incline+ to analyUe their eKperiences care1ully may come
to a wrong un+erstan+ing? belieAing what they see to be genuine-
!his coul+ increase the li6elihoo+ o1 psychological +amage in the
1uture- !he type o1 person whose citta
ten+s to go out to perceiAe
eKternal phenomena when it ]conAergesJ into a state o1 calm is
Cuite rare R at most? about one in twenty people- But? there will
always be someone in whom this occurs- &t is crucial that they
receiAe a+Aice 1rom a me+itation master with eKpertise in these
%istening to +hutanga
mon6s as they relate their me+itation
results to Scariya Mun? an+ hearing him giAe a+Aice on ways to
+eal with their eKperiences was so moAing an+ inspirational that
eAeryone present became thoroughly absorbe+ in it- &n eKplaining
the proper metho+ 1or +ealing with Aisions? Scariya Mun categoriUe+
+i11erent types o1 nimittas
an+ eKplaine+ in great +etail
how each type shoul+ be han+le+- !he mon6s who listene+ were
+elighte+ by the Dhamma he presente+? an+ so gaine+ con1i+ence?
resolAing to +eAelop themselAes eAen 1urther- Aen those who +i+
not eKperience eKternal Aisions were encourage+ by what they
hear+- Sometimes the mon6s tol+ Scariya Mun how they ha+
achieAe+ a state o1 serene happiness when their hearts ]conAerge+J
into a state o1 calm? eKplaining the metho+s they ha+ use+- Aen
those who were as yet unable to attain such leAels became motiAate+
to try R or to eAen surpass them- Hearing these +iscussions
was a Xoyous eKperience? both 1or those who were alrea+y well
+eAelope+ an+ those who were still struggling in their practice-
.hen the citta
]conAerge+J into calm? some mon6s traAele+
psychically to the heaAenly realms? touring celestial mansions
until +awnV an+ only then +i+ the citta
return to the physical
bo+y an+ regain normal consciousness- #thers traAele+ to the
realms o1 hell an+ were +ismaye+ by the piti1ul con+ition o1 the
beings they saw? en+uring the results o1 their 6amma- Some Aisite+
both the heaAenly abo+es an+ the hells to obserAe the great
+i11erences between them* one realm was blesse+ with Xoy an+
bliss while the other was in the +epths o1 +espair? the beings there
tormente+ by a punishment that seeme+ to haAe no en+- Some
mon6s receiAe+ Aisits 1rom ethereal beings 1rom Aarious planes
o1 eKistence R the heaAens? 1or instance? or the terrestrial +eAas-
#thers simply eKperience+ the Aarying +egrees o1 calm an+ happiness
coming 1rom the attainment o1 sam7+hi- Some inAestigate+?
using wis+om to +iAi+e the bo+y into +i11erent sections? +issecting
each section to bits? piece by piece? then re+ucing the whole lot to
its original elemental state- !here were those who were Xust beginning
their training? struggling as a chil+ +oes when it 1irst learns
to wal6- Some coul+ not ma6e the citta
attain the concentrate+
state o1 calm they +esire+ an+ wept at their own incompetenceV
an+ some wept 1rom +eep Xoy an+ won+er upon hearing Scariya
Mun +iscuss states o1 Dhamma they themselAes ha+ eKperience+-
!here were also those who were simply li6e a la+le in a pot o1 stew*
although submerge+ there? it +oesnJt 6now the taste o1 the stew?
an+ eAen manages to get in the coo6Js way- !his is Cuite normal
when many +i11erent people are liAing together- &neAitably? both
the goo+ an+ the ba+ are miKe+ in together- A person haAing
e11ectiAe min+1ulness an+ wis+om will choose to 6eep only those
lessons which are +eeme+ to be really use1ul R lessons essential
to s6ill1ul practice- & regret & cannot guarantee my own s6ill1ulness
in this matter- &n 1act? itJs a problem we all 1ace occasionally?
so letJs pass on an+ not worry about it-
#n his secon+ trip? Scariya Mun remaine+ teaching in the
Northeast 1or many years- Normally? he +i+ not remain in the
same place 1or more than a single rains retreat- .hen the rainy
season was oAer? he wan+ere+ 1reely in the mountains an+ 1orests
li6e a bir+ bur+ene+ only by its wings? contente+ to 1ly whereAer
it wishes- No matter where it lan+s in its search 1or 1oo+ R a tree?
a pon+? or a marsh R it is satis1ie+ an+ simply leaAes all behin+
to 1ly o11 with no lingering attachment- &t +oesnJt thin6 that the
trees? bar6? 1ruit? pon+s? or marshes belong to it- %i6e a bir+? the
mon6 who practices Dhamma? liAing in the 1orest? lea+s a li1e o1
contentment- But itJs not easy to +o? 1or people are social animals
who enXoy liAing together an+ are attache+ to their homes
an+ property- &nitially? he 1eels a lot o1 resistance going out an+
liAing alone as Scariya Mun +i+ all his li1e- &t is sort o1 li6e a lan+
animal being +ragge+ into the water- #nce his heart has become
closely integrate+ with Dhamma? howeAer? the opposite is true* He
enXoys traAeling by himsel1 an+ liAing alone- His +aily routine in
eAery posture remains entirely his own? his heart unencumbere+
by +isturbing preoccupations- !hat leaAes Dhamma as his preoccupation
R an+ Dhamma promotes only contentment- !he mon6
who is occupie+ solely with Dhamma has a heart thatJs cheer1ul
an+ won+er1ully content- He is 1ree 1rom the 6in+ o1 hin+rances
which cause +ullness or con1usionV he is empty o1 all +e1iling preoccupations-
He bas6s in a 1ull)1le+ge+? natural inner peace? neAer
haAing to worry that it might alter or +iminish in any way- !his is
6nown as a67li6a
Dhamma* Dhamma which eKists beyon+ space
an+ time- &t eKists in the heart that has completely transcen+e+
conAentional reality?;< the source o1 all +eception- Scariya Mun
was one well)goneV;E one completely contente+ in all his actiAities-
:oming an+ going? sitting? stan+ing? wal6ing? or lying +own
R he remaine+ completely contente+- Although he le+ his +isciples
along this path? relatiAely 1ew o1 the mon6s reache+ a high
leAel o1 Dhamma- (et eAen this small number is o1 great bene1it
to people eAerywhere-
.HN S:A'&(A MUN le+ his +isciples on almsroun+ he too6 Aarious
animals along the way as obXects o1 contemplation? combining
them with his inner Dhamma? an+ s6ill1ully taught the mon6s
who were with him- !hey clearly hear+ his eAery wor+- !his was
his way o1 teaching his +isciples to be aware about the laws o1
6amma? in that eAen animals must receiAe the results o1 their
actions- He woul+ Xust point out an animal they came across as an
eKample- Scariya Mun insiste+ that animals shoul+ not be loo6e+
+own upon 1or their lowly birth- &n truth? animals haAe reache+
their time in the perpetual cycle o1 birth an+ +eath? eKperiencing
the results o1 a past 6amma- So it is with human birth as well- &n
1act? both animal li1e an+ human li1e consist o1 a miKture o1 pleasure
an+ pain? each liAing accor+ing to the conseCuences o1 their
own in+iAi+ual 6amma- &n one respect? Scariya Mun brought up
the subXect o1 animals such as chic6ens? +ogs? or cattle simply out
o1 compassion 1or their plight- &n another respect? he wante+ to
ma6e others un+erstan+ the Aariations in the conseCuences o1
in+icating that R Xust as we haAe been brought to human
birth by certain types o1 6amma
R we too haAe passe+ through
uncountable preAious births o1 all sorts- 8inally? he re1lecte+ alou+
upon the Aery mysterious nature o1 those things that are responsible
1or birth as an animal R things that are +i11icult to 1athom
+espite their presence in eAeryone- &1 we are uns6ill1ul in solAing
these problems? they will always be a +anger to us? an+ we
will neAer 1in+ a way to go beyon+ them- #n almost eAery alms)
roun+ Scariya Mun spo6e in this manner about the animals or
the people whom he encountere+ along the way- !hose who were
intereste+ in inAestigating these themes stimulate+ their min+1ulness
an+ wis+om? gaining use1ul i+eas 1rom him in this way- As
to those who were not intereste+? they +i+ not gain any bene1it-
Some probably won+ere+ who he was tal6ing about? since the
mon6s ha+ moAe+ on by then an+ the animals he spo6e about
were no longer present-
&N S#M #8 !H N#'!HAS! P'#V&N:S? Scariya Mun woul+ giAe
Dhamma instructions to the mon6s late at night on special occasions-
Visible to Scariya Mun? terrestrial +eAas
gathere+ at a
respect1ul +istance an+ listene+ to his tal6s- #nce he became
aware o1 them he calle+ o11 the meeting an+ Cuic6ly entere+
sam7+hi? where he tal6e+ priAately to the +eAas- !heir reticence
on those occasions was +ue to the pro1oun+ respect they ha+
1or mon6s- Scariya Mun eKplaine+ that +eAas
o1 all leAels were
care1ul to aAoi+ passing by the mon6sJ +wellings on the way to
see him late at night- Upon arriAing they circle+ aroun+ Scariya
Mun three times be1ore sitting +own in an or+erly 1ashion- !hen
the lea+er R +eAas
o1 eAery plane haAe a lea+er whom they obey
with great +e1erence R woul+ announce the realm 1rom which
they came an+ the aspect o1 Dhamma to which they wishe+ to
listen- Scariya Mun woul+ return their greetings an+ then 1ocus
his citta
on that aspect o1 Dhamma reCueste+ by the +eAas- As this
Dhamma arose within? he began the tal6- .hen they ha+ comprehen+e+
the Dhamma that he +eliAere+? they all sai+ @s7+huB
three times? a soun+ that echoe+ throughout the spiritual uniAerse-
;; !his eKclamation was hear+ by eAeryone with celestial
hearing? but not by those whose ears were li6e the ]han+les on a
pot o1 soupJ-
.hen his +iscourse on Dhamma en+e+? the +eAas
again circumambulate+
him three times? 6eeping him on their right? an+
then returne+ to their realms in an elegant 1ashion R Aery +i11erent
1rom we humans- Not eAen Scariya Mun an+ his mon6s coul+
emulate their grace1ul moAements- 8or thereJs a great +i11erence
between the grossness o1 our bo+ies an+ the subtle re1inement
o1 theirs- As soon as the +eAa
guests retreate+ to the e+ge o1 the
mon6sJ area? they 1loate+ up into the air li6e pieces o1 1lu11 blown
by the win+- #n each Aisit they +escen+e+ in the same manner?
arriAing outsi+e the mon6sJ liAing area an+ then wal6ing the
remain+er o1 the way- Always Aery grace1ul in their moAements?
they neAer spo6e ma6ing a lot o1 noise the way humans +o when
going to see an 7cariya they reAere- !his is probably +ue to the
re1ine+ nature o1 their celestial bo+ies? which restrict them 1rom
behaAing in such a gross manner- Here is an area in which human
beings can be consi+ere+ superior to +eAas R tal6ing lou+ly- DeAas
are always Aery compose+ when listening to a Dhamma? neAer
1i+geting restlessly or showing any conceit that coul+ +isturb the
spea6ing mon6-
they neAer spo6e ma6ing a lot o1 noise the way humans +o when
going to see an 7cariya they reAere- !his is probably +ue to the
re1ine+ nature o1 their celestial bo+ies? which restrict them 1rom
behaAing in such a gross manner- Here is an area in which human
beings can be consi+ere+ superior to +eAas R tal6ing lou+ly- DeAas
are always Aery compose+ when listening to a Dhamma? neAer
1i+geting restlessly or showing any conceit that coul+ +isturb the
spea6ing mon6-
by early eAening he was aware o1 it- #n some occasions he
ha+ to cancel a sche+ule+ meeting with the mon6s 1or that eAening-
At the appropriate hour Scariya Mun le1t his wal6ing me+itation
path an+ sat entering sam7+hi until the time approache+ 1or the
+eAas to come- He then with+rew his citta up to the access leAel?;=
sen+ing out the 1low o1 his citta to see i1 they ha+ arriAe+- &1 they
ha+ not arriAe+ yet? he continue+ with his sam7+hi practice be1ore
sen+ing his citta out again to chec6- Sometimes? the +eAas ha+
alrea+y arriAe+ or were Xust in the process o1 arriAing- At other
times? he ha+ to wait? continuing his sam7+hi practice 1or some
time be1ore they came- #n rare occasions? when he 6new that
they woul+ be arriAing late R li6e at one? two? or three A-M- R he
woul+ practice 1or a while an+ then ta6e a rest? getting up to rea+y
himsel1 Xust be1ore the +eAas were eKpecte+ to arriAe-
9atherings o1 +eAas? who came to see Scariya Mun? +i+ not
happen Aery o1ten nor in Aery large numbers while he liAe+ in the
Northeast- !hey came only in1reCuently to listen in on his tal6s
to the mon6s- But when they +i+? he woul+ +ismiss the mon6s
as soon as he became aware o1 their presence? entering Cuic6ly
into sam7+hi
to eKpoun+ on Dhamma 1or the +eAasJ
bene1it- A1ter
he 1inishe+ an+ the +eAas
ha+ +eparte+? he woul+ lie +own to
rest? arising in the morning as usual to continue his normal routine
o1 practice- Scariya Mun consi+ere+ receiAing +eAas
a special
responsibility- Since honoring oneJs promises is Aery important to
them? he was always care1ul to be punctual- !hey were li6ely to
be critical o1 a mon6 who misse+ an appointment unnecessarily-
Discussions between +eAas
an+ mon6s are carrie+ on entirely
in the uniAersal language o1 the heart? bypassing the multitu+e
o1 conAentional languages use+ by human beings an+ other types
o1 animals- Arising 1rom the citta? the substance o1 the inCuiries
turns into Cuestions in the language o1 the heart which the
inCuiring in+iAi+ual clearly un+erstan+s as i1 they were wor+s in
conAentional language- ach wor+ or phrase o1 the respon+ent
emanates +irectly 1rom the heart? so the Cuestioner in turn un+erstan+s
the reply per1ectly well- &n 1act? the language o1 the heart
+irectly conAeys the true 1eelings o1 the spea6er? eliminating the
nee+ 1or eKplanations to clari1y 1urther? as might be reCuire+ in
conAentional languages- Verbal communication is also a mechanism
o1 the heartV but? its nature is such that spo6en wor+s o1ten
+o not re1lect the heartJs true 1eelings? so mista6es are easily ma+e
in communicating its true intent- !his incongruity will remain so
long as conAentional language is use+ as a surrogate me+ium 1or
the heartJs eKpression- Since people are un1amiliar with the language
o1 the heart? their hearts cannot aAoi+ using normal speech
as a mechanism to 1acilitate communication? eAen though itJs not
Aery accurate in eKpressing the heartJs true meaning- !here is no
possible way to solAe this common +ilemma R unless people learn
the heartJs own language an+ eKpose its mysteries-;D
Scariya Mun was eKtremely pro1icient in all matters pertaining
to the heart? inclu+ing the s6ills nee+e+ to train others to
become goo+ people- !he rest o1 us? though we are Cuite capable
o1 thin6ing o1 these things 1or ourselAes? insist on going aroun+
borrowing 1rom others- !hat is? we ten+ to constantly traAel 1rom
place to place stu+ying un+er one teacher an+ then another- Aen
then? we 1ail to properly sa1eguar+ what weJAe learne+? letting it
slip through our grasp by 1orgetting what the teacher sai+- !hus
we are le1t Airtually empty)han+e+- !he things we +o not 1orget or
let +rop are our habitual 1ailings* a lac6 o1 min+1ulness? wis+om?
an+ contemplatiAe s6ill- %ac6ing the Aery Cualities o1 Dhamma
which instill a sense o1 hope in our liAes? we are constantly +isappointe+
in whateAer we +o in li1e-
S:A'&(A MUNJS #.N MD&!A!&#N practice? as well as his teaching
+uties? continue+ to progress smoothly? any un+ue +isturbances
haAing long since passe+- .hereAer he went he brought a re1reshing
calm an+ serenity with him- Mon6s an+ noAices eAerywhere
respecte+ an+ reAere+ him- As soon as the laity in an area hear+
o1 his arriAal? they were +elighte+ an+ rushe+ to pay him their
respects with heart1elt +eAotion- A case in point is Ban !hum
Aillage in the +istrict o1 !ha $he6 where both Scariya Mun an+
Scariya Sao resi+e+ at one time or another-
Shortly be1ore Scariya Mun arriAe+? the entire Aillage began
su11ering 1rom smallpoK- !he Aillagers were oAercome with Xoy at
the sight o1 Scariya MunJs arriAal? running out o1 their homes
to welcome him an+ begging him to remain as their re1uge- So
in place o1 the spirits the whole Aillage ha+ been worshipping?
Scariya Mun ha+ them ta6e re1uge in the Bu++ha? Dhamma? an+
Sangha- He gui+e+ them in the correct way to practice? such as
paying +aily homage to the Bu++ha an+ per1orming morning an+
eAening chanting? an+ they gla+ly 1ollowe+ his instructions- As
1or Scariya Mun? he per1orme+ a 6in+ o1 internal spiritual blessing
to help themV an+ the results were strange an+ marAelous to
witness- Be1ore his arriAal? many people +ie+ each +ay 1rom the
smallpoK- But 1rom his arriAal onwar+s? no one else +ie+V an+
those who were in1ecte+ Cuic6ly recoAere+- More than that? no
new instances o1 the +isease occurre+? which astoun+e+ the Aillagers
who ha+ neAer seen or imagine+ such a miraculous reAersal
o1 circumstances- As a result? the community +eAelope+ enormous
1aith in an+ +eAotion to Scariya Mun which haAe persiste+
un+iminishe+ through each generation to the present +ay- !his
inclu+es the local monasteryJs present)+ay abbot? who has a +eep
respect 1or Scariya Mun- He always raises his Xoine+ palms in
homage be1ore beginning to spea6 about him-
&nci+ents such as this were ma+e possible by the power o1
Dhamma in Scariya MunJs heart which ra+iate+ 1orth to giAe
com1ort an+ happiness to the worl+- Scariya Mun sai+ that he set
asi+e three times each +ay to eKten+ loAing 6in+ness to all liAing
beings- He woul+ +o this while sitting in me+itation at mi++ay?
be1ore retiring in the eAening? an+ a1ter rising in the morning- &n
a++ition to that? there were many times +uring the +ay when he
sent loAing 6in+ness out speci1ically to certain in+iAi+uals- .hen
ra+iating all)encompassing loAing 6in+ness? he +i+ so by 1ocusing
his citta eKclusiAely inwar+ an+ then +irecting the 1low o1 his citta
to permeate throughout all the worl+s? both aboAe an+ below? in
all +irections without interruption- At that time his citta ha+ the
power to eKten+ its aura o1 brilliance to all worl+s* limitless? all)
perAasiAe? an+ brighter than a thousan+ suns R 1or there is nothing
brighter than a heart thatJs entirely pure- !he uniCue properties
emanating 1rom a citta o1 such purity brighten the worl+
an+ imbue it with peace1ulness in an in+escribable an+ won+rous
way- A citta haAing absolutely no impurities possesses only
the cool? peace1ul Cualities o1 Dhamma- A compassionate? 6in+hearte+
mon6 with an absolutely pure heart can eKpect protection
an+ reAerential +eAotion 1rom people an+ +eAas whereAer he
stays? while members o1 the animal 6ing+om 1eel no 1ear or +anger
in his presence- His citta constantly sen+s 1orth a gentle compassion
to all beings eAerywhere without bias R much li6e rain 1alling
eAenly oAer hills an+ Aalleys ali6e-
Har+ship an+ DepriAation
Upon leaAing the proAince o1 Ubon 'atchathani? Scariya Mun
spent the neKt rainy season retreat at the Aillage o1 Ban Nong %at
in the .arichabhum +istrict o1 Sa6on Na6hon proAince accompanie+
by the many mon6s an+ noAices un+er his gui+ance- !he
lay men an+ women there reacte+ as i1 a truly auspicious person
ha+ arriAe+- !hey were all Aery eKcite+ R not in a 1renUie+ way? but
in an anticipatory way R at the prospect o1 +oing goo+ an+ aban+oning
eAil- !hey aban+one+ their worship o1 spirits an+ ghosts
to pay homage to the Bu++ha? Dhamma? an+ Sangha- At the en+
o1 the rains? Scariya Mun went wan+ering again until he arriAe+
in the proAince o1 U+on !hani where he traAele+ to the +istricts
o1 Nong Bua %amphu an+ Ban Pheu- He staye+ at the Aillage o1
Ban $ho 1or the rains retreat while spen+ing the 1ollowing rains
in the !ha Bo +istrict o1 Nong $hai proAince- He remaine+ practicing
1or some time in both these proAinces-
As mentione+ preAiously? Scariya Mun liAe+ mostly in wil+erness
areas where Aillages were space+ 1ar apart- Since the
countrysi+e was relatiAely unpopulate+ then? he coul+ easily put
the teaching into practice- Virgin 1orests aboun+e+? 1ull o1 great?
tall trees which were still uncut- .il+ animals were eAerywhere-
As soon as night 1ell? their myria+ calls coul+ be hear+ echoing
through the 1orest- %istening to such soun+s? one is carrie+
away by a sense o1 camara+erie an+ 1rien+liness- !he natural
soun+s o1 wil+ animals are not a hin+rance to me+itation practice?
1or they carry no speci1ic meaning- !he same cannot be sai+
1or human soun+s- Be it chatting? singing? shouting? or laughing?
the speci1ic meaning is imme+iately obAiousV an+ it is this signi1icance
that ma6e human soun+s a hin+rance to me+itation
practice- Mon6s are especially Aulnerable to the soun+s o1 the
opposite seK- &1 their sam7+hi
is not strong enough? concentration
can easily be +estroye+- & must apologiUe to women eAerywhere
because my intention here is not to criticiUe women in any way-
&t is the unsuccess1ul me+itator that & am a++ressing here so that
he may arouse min+1ulness as an anti+ote to counter these in1luences
an+ not merely surren+er mee6ly to them- &tJs possible that
one reason mon6s pre1er to liAe in mountains an+ 1orests is that
it allows them to aAoi+ such things in or+er to relentlessly pursue
the per1ection o1 spiritual Cualities until they reach the ultimate
goal o1 the holy li1e-;M Scariya Mun enXoye+ liAing in 1orests an+
mountains right up until the +ay he passe+ away? a pre1erence
which helpe+ him to attain the Dhamma he has so generously
share+ with all o1 us-
which helpe+ him to attain the Dhamma he has so generously
share+ with all o1 us-
to an illness? it woul+ be a near)1atal one? since the training
he un+ertoo6 resemble+ physical an+ mental torture- !here
was har+ly a single +ay when he coul+ Xust relaK? loo6 aroun+? an+
enXoy himsel1 as other mon6s seeme+ to +o- !his was because
the 6ilesas
became tangle+ up with his heart so Cuic6ly that he
barely ha+ a chance to catch them- Shoul+ his min+ wan+er 1or
only a moment? the 6ilesas
imme+iately gaAe him trouble- #nce
they ha+ establishe+ a hol+ on his heart? their grip became eAer
tighter until he 1oun+ it +i11icult to +islo+ge them- :onseCuently?
he coul+ neAer let his guar+ +own- He ha+ to remain totally alert?
always rea+y to pounce on the 6ilesas?
so they coul+nJt gain the
strength to bin+ him into submission- He practice+ +iligently in
this manner until he ha+ gaine+ su11icient contentment to be able
to relaK somewhat- #nly then +i+ he +eAelop the strength o1 heart
an+ ease o1 bo+y necessary to teach others- 8rom that time 1orwar+
R mon6s? noAices? an+ lay people 1rom all oAer the Northeast
sought him out- Scariya Mun un+erstoo+ their situation an+
was Aery sympathetic towar+ them all- At certain times? so many
people came to see him that there wasnJt enough room 1or them
to stay- He also ha+ to consi+er the sa1ety o1 others? such as the
women an+ nuns who came to Aisit him- 8or in those +ays? many
tigers an+ other wil+ animals were in the outlying areas? but there
were Aery 1ew people-
Scariya Mun once staye+ in a caAe near Ban Namee Nayung
Aillage in the Ban Pheu +istrict o1 U+on !hani proAince- Since
many large tigers 1reCuente+ the area aroun+ the caAe? it was +e1
initely not a sa1e place 1or Aisitors to remain oAernight- .hen
Aisitors came? Scariya Mun ha+ the Aillagers buil+ a Aery high
bamboo plat1orm R high enough to be beyon+ the reach o1 any
hungry tiger which might try to pounce upon the sleeping person-
Scariya Mun 1orba+e the Aisitors to come +own to the groun+ a1ter
+ar6? 1earing that a tiger woul+ carry them o11 an+ +eAour them-
He tol+ them to carry up containers 1or their toilet nee+s +uring
the night- .ith so many Aicious tigers there at night? Scariya
Mun re1use+ to allow Aisitors to stay long- He sent them away
a1ter a 1ew +ays- !hese tigers were not a1rai+ o1 people R especially
not o1 women R an+ woul+ attac6 i1 giAen the opportunity-
#n some nights when Scariya Mun was wal6ing in me+itation by
the light o1 can+le lanterns? he saw a large tiger bol+ly stal6 a bu11alo
her+ as it went past his area- !he tiger ha+ no 1ear o1 Scariya
Mun as he pace+ bac6 an+ 1orth- Sensing the tiger? the bu11aloes
instinctiAely hea+e+ 1or the Aillage- NeAertheless? the tiger was
still bol+ enough that it continue+ to 1ollow them? eAen while a
mon6 wal6e+ close by-
Mon6s who traine+ un+er Scariya Mun ha+ to be prepare+
1or anything? inclu+ing the possibility o1 +eath? 1or +anger was all
aroun+ the Aarious places where they practice+- !hey also ha+ to
giAe up any pri+e in their own sel1)worth an+ any sense o1 superiority
regar+ing their 1ellow mon6s? thus allowing 1or a harmonious
liAing situation as i1 they were +i11erent limbs on the same
bo+y- !heir hearts then eKperience+ a measure o1 contentment
an+? untrouble+ by mental hin+rances? their sam7+hi
+eAelope+- .hen a mon6 is constraine+ by liAing un+er certain
restrictions R 1or eKample? liAing in a 1rightening place where the
1oo+ is limite+ an+ the basic reCuisites are scarce R his mental
actiAity ten+s to be superAise+ by min+1ulness which continuously
restricts the thin6ing processes to the matter at han+- !he citta
is usually able to attain sam7+hi
1aster than woul+ normally be
eKpecte+- #utsi+e there is +anger an+ har+shipV insi+e min+1ulness
is 1irmly in control- &n such circumstances the citta
might be
compare+ to a prisoner who submits willingly to his 1ate- &n a++ition
to these 1actors? the teacher is also there to straighten him
out shoul+ he go astray- !he mon6 who practices while hemme+
in by har+ship on all si+es will see an improAement in his citta
that eKcee+s all eKpectations-
Nighttime in the 1orest is a 1rightening time? so a mon6
1orces himsel1 to go out an+ +o wal6ing me+itation to 1ight that
1ear- .ho will win an+ who will lose_ &1 1ear loses? then the citta
becomes courageous an+ ]conAergesJ into a state o1 calm- &1 the
heart loses? then the only thing that emerges is intense 1ear- !he
e11ect o1 intense 1ear in such a situation is a sensation o1 simultaneously
being both hot an+ col+? o1 nee+ing to urinate an+ +e1ecate?
o1 1eeling breathless an+ being on the Aerge o1 +eath- !he
thing that encourages 1ear is the soun+ o1 a tigerJs roar- !he soun+
o1 roaring may come 1rom anywhere R 1rom the 1oot o1 the mountain?
1rom up on the ri+ge? or out 1rom the plains R but the mon6
will pay no attention to the +irection- He will thin6 only* @A tiger
is coming here to +eAour me2B .al6ing all alone in me+itation
an+ so a1rai+ that heJs sha6ing an+ useless? he is sure that itJs
coming speci1ically 1or him- Not consi+ering the broa+ terrain? it
+oesnJt occur to him that the tiger has 1our 1eet an+ might Xust be
going somewhere else- His only thought is that the tiger is coming
straight 1or his tiny plot o1 lan+ R straight 1or this cowar+ly mon6
who is sha6en by 1ear- HaAing completely 1orgotten his me+ita
tion practice? he has only one thought in min+ which he repeats
oAer an+ oAer again li6e a mantra* @!he tigerJs coming here? the
tigerJs coming here-B !his negatiAe train o1 thought merely intensi1ies
his 1ear- !he Dhamma in his heart is rea+y to +isintegrate?
an+ i1? perchance? the tiger really were to wan+er acci+entally into
that place? heJ+ stan+ there min+lessly scare+ sti11 at bestV an+ at
worst? something Aery un1ortunate coul+ happen-
&tJs wrong to establish the citta
with such a negatiAe attitu+e-
!he ensuing results are boun+ to be harm1ul in some way- !he
correct approach is to 1ocus the citta
1irmly on some aspects o1
Dhamma? either the recollection o1 +eath or some other Dhamma
theme- Un+er such circumstances? one shoul+ neAer allow the
min+ to 1ocus outwar+ to imagine+ eKternal threats an+ then
bring those notions bac6 in to +eceiAe onesel1- .hateAer happens?
li1e or +eath? oneJs attention must be 6ept sCuarely on the me+itation
subXect that one normally uses- A citta
haAing Dhamma as
its mainstay +oesnJt lose its balance- MoreoAer? +espite eKperiencing
intense 1ear the citta
is clearly strengthene+? becoming courageous
in a way thatJs amaUing beyon+ +escription-
Scariya Mun taught his +isciples that becoming 1irmly
establishe+ in the practice means putting eAerything on the line
R both bo+y an+ min+- Aerything must be sacri1ice+ eKcept that
aspect o1 Dhamma which is the 1un+amental obXect o1 attention-
.hateAer occurs? allow nature to ta6e its course- Aeryone who
is born must +ie R such is the nature o1 this worl+- !hereJs no
point in trying to resist it- !ruth can not be 1oun+ by +enying
the natural or+er o1 things- Scariya Mun taught that a mon6
must be resolute an+ braAe in the 1ace o1 +eath- He was particularly
intereste+ in haAing his +isciples liAe in isolate+ wil+erness
areas in1este+ with wil+ animals so that they coul+ +iscoAer the
Airtues o1 me+itation- Such places encourage the +eAelopment o1
an+ intuitiAe wis+om- !igers can +e1initely help to stimulate
Dhamma in our hearts R especially i1 we +onJt stan+ in awe
o1 the %or+ Bu++ha because we 1ail to trust his teaching? but we
+o stan+ in awe o1 tigers because we are conAince+ how Aicious
they can be- !his conAiction is a Aery e11ectiAe ai+ 1or corralling
the min+ an+ 1ocusing it on Dhamma? using 1ear as an incentiAe
to me+itate until Dhamma arises within- :onseCuently? when
that inner Dhamma is 1inally realiUe+? belie1 in the %or+ Bu++ha
an+ the Dhamma he taught will arise naturally- At that critical
moment? when one is alone in the wil+erness? +ormant 1aculties
o1 sam7+hi
an+ wis+om will be stirre+ into action- &1 there is nothing
to put pressure on the citta? it ten+s to become laUy an+ amass
until it can barely 1unction- A tiger can help to remoAe
those 6ilesas
which 1oster such a laUy an+ easy)going attitu+e that
we 1orget ourselAes an+ our own mortality- #nce those insi+ious
+e1ilements +isappear? we 1eel a sense o1 genuine relie1 whateAer
we +o? 1or our hearts no longer shoul+er that heaAy bur+en-
Scariya Mun emphasiUe+ that mon6s shoul+ go to practice
me+itation in places that arouse 1ear an+ aAoi+ places that +o notV
otherwise? they were unli6ely to achieAe any strange an+ marAelous
results- More than that? the 6ilesas
might well lea+ them
so 1ar astray that they en+ up losing sight o1 the spiritual path?
which woul+ be regrettable- He assure+ his mon6s that unless
they liAe+ in an enAironment which 1orce+ them to 1ocus internally
on themselAes they woul+ 1in+ it +i11icult to attain a stable
state o1 calm an+ their me+itation practice woul+ su11er accor+ingly-
#n the other han+? the results were boun+ to be goo+ in
places where they were always alert to the possibility o1 +anger?
since min+1ulness R the s6ill1ul means 1or +irecting the e11ort R
was ineAitably close at han+- No one who genuinely hopes to transcen+
shoul+ succumb to the 1ear o1 +eath while liAing in
what are imagine+ to be 1rightening places R li6e remote wil+erness
areas- .hen 1ace+ with a real crisis situation? the 1ocus o1
attention shoul+ be 6ept on Dhamma an+ not sent outsi+e o1 the
sphere o1 oneJs own bo+y an+ min+? which are the +welling)place
o1 Dhamma- !hen the me+itator can eKpect to eKperience a perAa+ing
sense o1 security an+ an inspire+ mental 1ortitu+e that are
incontroAertible- &n any case? unless that personJs 6amma
that his time is up? he will not +ie at that time R no matter what
he thin6s-
Scariya Mun sai+ that his inspiration 1or me+itation was
+eriAe+ almost eKclusiAely 1rom liAing in +angerous enAironments?
which is why he li6e+ to teach his +isciples to be resolute
in threatening situations- &nstea+ o1 merely relying on something
Aague li6e ]inherent Airtuous ten+enciesJ R which are usually
more a conAenient 1iction than a reality R in this way? they ha+
a chance to realiUe their aspirations in the shortest possible time-
'elying on the rather Aague concept o1 Airtuous ten+encies 1rom
the past is usually a sign o1 wea6ness an+ resignation R an attitu+e
more li6ely to suppress min+1ulness an+ wis+om than to promote
!o say a mon6 has con1i+ence that Dhamma is the basic
guarantor o1 his li1e an+ practice means that he sincerely hopes to
liAe an+ +ie by Dhamma- &t is imperatiAe that he not panic un+er
any circumstance- He must be braAe enough to accept +eath while
practicing +iligently in 1ear1ul places- .hen a crisis looms R no
matter how serious it seems R min+1ulness shoul+ be in continuous
control o1 his heart so that it stays stea+1astly 1irm an+ 1ully
integrate+ with the obXect o1 me+itation- Suppose an elephant? a
tiger? or a sna6e threatens him* i1 he sincerely resolAes to sacri1ice
his li1e 1or the sa6e o1 Dhamma those things wonJt +are to
cause him any harm- HaAing no 1ear o1 +eath? he will eKperience
the courageous 1eeling that he can wal6 right up to those animals-
&nstea+ o1 1eeling threatene+? he will 1eel +eep within his
heart a pro1oun+ 1rien+ship towar+ them which +ispels any sense
o1 +anger-
As human beings we possess Dhamma in our hearts? in a
way that animals +o not- 8or this reason? our hearts eKert a power1ul
in1luence oAer animals o1 all types- &t ma6es no +i11erence
that animals are incapable o1 6nowing this 1actV there eKists in
our hearts a mysterious Cuality that has a soothing a11ect on them-
!his Cuality is the potent? protectiAe power o1 Dhamma which
so1tens their hearts to the point where they +onJt +are act threateningly-
!his mysterious power o1 the heart is something eKperience+
internally by the in+iAi+ual- #thers can be aware o1 it only
i1 they haAe special intuitiAe 6nowle+ge- Aen though Dhamma is
taught an+ stu+ie+ all oAer the worl+? it still remains a mystery i1
the heart has yet to attain any leAel o1 un+erstan+ing in Dhamma-
.hen the heart an+ Dhamma truly become one? all +oubts concerning
the heart an+ Dhamma +isappear on their own because
the nature o1 the heart an+ the nature o1 Dhamma share the same
eKCuisite? subtle Cualities- #nce that state is reache+? it is correct
to say that the heart is Dhamma an+ Dhamma is the heart- &n
other wor+s? all contra+ictions cease once the 6ilesas
haAe been
Normally the heart has become such an eKtension o1 the
6ilesas that we are unaware o1 its intrinsic Aalue- !his happens
because the heart is so thoroughly impregnate+ with 6ilesas that
the two become in+istinguishable- !he heartJs real Aalue is then
obscure+ 1rom Aiew- &1 we allow this con+ition to continue in+e1initely
because we are in+i11erent about 1in+ing a solution? neither
our hearts nor Dhamma will haAe any actual Aalue 1or us- Aen
were we to be born an+ +ie hun+re+s o1 times? it woul+ simply be
a matter o1 eKchanging one set o1 +irty clothes 1or another set o1
+irty clothes- No matter how many times we change in an+ out
o1 +irty clothes we cannot escape the 1act that we remain 1ilthy-
.hich is certainly Aery +i11erent 1rom someone who ta6es o11 his
+irty clothes an+ eKchanges them 1or nice clean ones- Similarly?
the interchange between goo+ an+ eAil within the heart is an
important problem that each o1 us shoul+ ta6e personal responsibility
1or an+ inAestigate within ourselAes- No one else can carry
this bur+en 1or us an+ so giAe us peace o1 min+- &tJs eKtremely
important that each an+ eAery one o1 us be aware that? in both
the present an+ the 1uture? we alone are responsible always 1or
our own progress- !he only eKceptions are those? li6e the %or+
Bu++ha an+ the Arahant +isciples? who care1ully +eAelope+ themselAes
spiritually until they attaine+ a state o1 total security- 8or
them the Xob is complete+? the ultimate goal secure- !hese are the
Noble in+iAi+uals that the rest o1 us ta6e as our re1uge? proAi+ing
us hope 1or the 1uture- Aen miscreants who still un+erstan+
the +i11erence between right an+ wrong will ta6e the Bu++ha?
Dhamma? an+ Sangha as their re1uge- !hey at least haAe enough
sense to 1eel some remorse- Zust as goo+ people an+ ba+ people
ali6e 1eel a natural +epen+ence on their parents? so people o1 all
6in+s instinctiAely loo6 to the Bu++ha as a +epen+able re1uge-
S:A'&(A MUN MP%#(D many training metho+s with his mon6s
to ensure that they saw clear results in their practice- !hose who
practice+ with unwaAering 1aith in his instructions were able to
achieAe such results to their own satis1action- By 1ollowing the
power o1 his eKample? they became 6nowle+geable? respecte+
teachers themselAes- !hey in turn haAe passe+ on these training
metho+s to their own +isciples? so that they too can witness 1or
themselAes? through their own e11orts? that the paths an+ 1ruits
o1 the Bu++haJs teaching are still attainable to+ayV that they haAe
not completely +isappeare+- .hen loo6ing at the li1e he liAe+ an+
the metho+s he employe+ in training others? it is 1air to say that
Scariya Mun 1ollowe+ a practice o1 +epriAation- He an+ his +isciples
liAe+ in con+itions o1 Airtual poAerty in places where eAen
the basic necessities were lac6ing- !he simple +aily reCuisites they
+epen+e+ on were usually in short supply- ncountering such an
uncertain eKistence? those accustome+ to liAing in care1ree abun+ance
woul+ probably be utterly +ismaye+- !here being nothing
in this +i11icult li1estyle to attract them? they woul+ surely 1in+ it
most +isagreeable- But the mon6s themselAes? though they liAe+
li6e prison inmates? +i+ so Aoluntarily 1or the sa6e o1 Dhamma-
!hey liAe+ 1or Dhamma? an+ accepte+ the inconAenience an+
har+ship associate+ with its practice- !hese con+itions? which are
seen as torture by people who haAe neAer submitte+ to them? were
actually a conAenient spiritual training groun+ 1or the mon6s who
practice+ in this way- Due to their +etermination to en+ure har+ship
an+ poAerty it is appropriate to call this the practice o1 +epri
1or such liAing con+itions naturally go against the grain-
Mon6s ha+ to literally 1orce themselAes to liAe in this way- During
all their normal +aily actiAities? they were reCuire+ to resist the
physical an+ mental pressure to simply 1ollow their natural inclinations-
Sometimes it was necessary to en+ure +ays o1 1asting an+
hunger 1or the purpose o1 accelerating the practice o1 me+itation-
!hese perio+s? when mon6s abstain 1rom 1oo+ altogether
+espite their hunger? are +ays o1 uninterrupte+ +e+ication to the
practice- !he physical +iscom1ort at such times is obAious? but
the purpose o1 en+uring hunger is to increase mental Aigilance-
&n truth? 1asting is a Aery suitable metho+ 1or certain temperaments-
Some types o1 people 1in+ that i1 they eat 1oo+ eAery +ay
their bo+ies ten+ to be Aigorous but the mental en+eaAor R me+itation
R 1ails to progress- !heir min+s remain sluggish? +ull an+
timi+? so a solution is nee+e+- #ne solution is to try either re+ucing
the inta6e o1 1oo+ each +ay or going without 1oo+ altogether?
1asting R sometimes 1or a 1ew +ays? sometimes 1or a longer perio+
R an+ care1ully obserAing all the while the metho+ that giAes the
best results- #nce it becomes apparent that a certain metho+ is
suitable? that metho+ shoul+ be pursue+ intensiAely- 8or instance?
shoul+ a mon6 +iscoAer that 1asting 1or many +ays at a stretch is
suitable to his temperament? then itJs imperatiAe that he accept
the necessity o1 1ollowing that path- !hough it may well be +i11icult?
he must put up with it because he ineAitably wants to gain
the appropriate 6nowle+ge an+ s6ill to go beyon+ +u66ha-
A person whose temperament is suite+ to long)term 1asting
will notice that the more he 1asts the more prominent an+
courageous his heart is in con1ronting the Aarious obXects o1 the
senses that were once its enemies- His mental attitu+e is bol+?
his 1ocus sharp- .hile sitting in sam7+hi
his heart can become
so absorbe+ in Dhamma that it 1orgets the time o1 +ayV 1or when
the heart contacts Dhamma there is no longer any concern with
the passage o1 time or pangs o1 hunger- At that time? he is aware
only o1 the +elight eKperience+ at that leAel o1 Dhamma which
he has achieAe+- &n this 1rame o1 min+? the con+itions are right
1or catching up with 6ilesas?
such as laUiness? complacency? an+
restlessness? since they are inactiAe enough then 1or the me+itator
to get the better o1 them 1or the time being- &1 we hesitate? waiting
aroun+ 1or a more auspicious time to tac6le them? the 6ilesas
will awa6en 1irst an+ giAe us more trouble- &tJs Cuite li6ely weJ+ be
unable to han+le them then- .e coul+ easily en+ up being ]elephantsJ
1or the 6ilesas? as they mount us? stra++le our nec6s? an+
beat us R our hearts R into submission- 8or in truth our hearts
haAe been the ]elephantsJ an+ the 6ilesas
the ]mahoutsJ 1or an in1initely
long time- A +eep)roote+ 1ear o1 this master ma6es us so
apprehensiAe that we neAer really +are to 1ight bac6 with the best
o1 our abilities-
8rom the Bu++haJs perspectiAe? the 6ilesas
are the enemies
o1 DhammaV yet? 1rom the Aantage point o1 the worl+? the 6ilesas
are consi+ere+ our heartsJ inseparable companions- &t is incumbent
upon us? who practice the Bu++haJs teaching? to battle the
thoughts an+ +ee+s that are 6nown to be our enemies? so that we
can surAiAe their onslaught? an+ thus become 1ree o1 their insi+ious
control- #n the other han+? those who are satis1ie+ to 1ollow
the 6ilesas
haAe no choice but to pamper them? +uti1ully obeying
their eAery comman+- !he repercussions o1 such slaAery are
all too obAious in the mental an+ emotional agitation a11ecting
those people an+ eAeryone aroun+ them- &neAitably? the 6ilesas
cause people to su11er in a multitu+e o1 harm1ul ways? ma6ing it
imperatiAe 1or someone sincerely caring about his own well)being
to 1ight bac6 +iligently using eAery aAailable means- &1 this means
abstaining 1rom eating 1oo+ an+ su11ering accor+ingly? then so be
itV one has no regrets- &1 necessary? eAen li1e itsel1 will be sacri1ice+
to honor the Bu++haJs teaching? an+ the 6ilesas will haAe no
share in the triumph-
&n his teachings? Scariya Mun encourage+ his mon6s to
be courageous in their e11orts to transcen+ the +u66ha oppressing
their hearts- He himsel1 ha+ thoroughly inAestigate+ the 6ilesas
an+ Dhamma? testing both in a most comprehensiAe 1ashion
be1ore he 1inally saw the results emerge clearly in his own heart-
#nly a1ter this attainment +i+ he return to the Northeast to teach
the incomparable Dhamma that he then un+erstoo+ so well-
#N P'#M&NN! ASP:! o1 Scariya MunJs teaching? which he
stresse+ continuously +uring his career? was the Dhamma o1 the
1iAe powers* 1aith? +iligent e11ort? min+1ulness? concentration? an+
wis+om- He sai+ the reason 1or emphasiUing these 1iAe 1actors was
that a person who possesse+ them woul+ always haAe something
worthwhile to count on? no matter where he wentV an+? there1ore?
coul+ always eKpect to ma6e stea+y progress in his practice-
Scariya Mun separate+ them accor+ing to their speci1ic 1unctions?
using them to inspire an in+omitable spirit in his +isciples- He
gaAe them his own heart1elt interpretation as 1ollows*
Sa++h7 is 1aith in the Dhamma that the %or+ Bu++ha presente+
to the worl+- !hereJs no +oubt that each o1 us in this worl+
is per1ectly capable o1 receiAing the light o1 Dhamma R proAi+e+
we practice the way in earnest- .e all accept the 1act that we will
haAe to +ie some +ay- !he 6ey issue is* will we +ie +e1eate+ by the
cycle o1 6ilesas an+ the cycle o1 6amma an+ its results_ #r? will we
oAercome them? +e1eating them all be1ore we +ie_ No one wants
to be +e1eate+- Aen chil+ren who compete at sports are 6een on
winning- So we shoul+ rouse ourselAes an+ not act as i1 +e1eate+
alrea+y- !he +e1eate+ must always en+ure su11ering an+ anguish?
accumulating so much +u66ha that they cannot 1in+ a way out-
.hen they +o see6 escape 1rom their misery? the only Aiable solution
seems to be* &tJs better to +ie- Death un+er those con+itions is
precisely +e1eat at the han+s o1 oneJs enemy- &t is a result o1 piling
up so much +u66ha insi+e that thereJs no room 1or anything else-
PositiAe results cannot be gaine+ 1rom abXect +e1eat-
&1 we are to +ie Aictorious? li6e the %or+ Bu++ha an+ the
Arahants? then we must practice with the same 1aith? e11ort? an+
1orbearance as they +i+- .e must be min+1ul in all our bo+ily an+
mental actiAities? as they were- .e must ta6e our tas6 Aery seriously
an+ not waAer uncertainly li6e someone 1acing a crisis without
min+1ulness to anchor him- .e shoul+ establish our hearts
1irmly in those causes that giAe rise to the satis1actory results that
the Bu++ha himsel1 attaine+- !he s7sana is the teaching o1 a great
sage who taught people that they too can +eAelop wis+om in all
its many aspects- So we shoul+ re1lect on what he taught- .e
shoul+ not wallow in stupi+ity? liAing our whole liAes in ignorance-
No one consi+ers the wor+ ]stupi+J to be a compliment- Stupi+
people are no use- A+ults? chil+ren? eAen animals R i1 they are
stupi+? they are har+ly any use at all- So i1 we remain stupi+? whoJs
going to a+mire us 1or it_ .e shoul+ all analyUe this matter thor
oughly to aAoi+ remaining bogge+ +own in ignorance- .allowing
in ignorance is not the way to oAercome +u66ha? an+ it is +e1initely
not becoming 1or a +hutanga mon6 R who is eKpecte+ to
s6ill1ully analyUe eAerything-
!his was Scariya MunJs own personal interpretation o1 the
1iAe powers- He use+ it e11ectiAely in his own practice an+ taught
it to his +isciples as well- &t is eKcellent instruction 1or inspiring
min+1ulness an+ wis+om? an+ an uncompromising attitu+e
towar+s practice- &t is highly suitable 1or +hutanga mon6s who are
1ully prepare+ to compete 1or the ultimate Aictory in the contest
between Dhamma an+ the 6ilesas- !his ultimate attainment is the
1ree+om o1 Nibb7na? the long)wishe+)1or supreme Aictory-;O
9ra+uate+ !eaching
#nce a senior +isciple o1 Scariya Mun recalle+ that the many
mon6s an+ noAices liAing un+er his gui+ance ten+e+ to behaAe as
though 1ree 1rom 6ilesas- Although they liAe+ together in a large
group? no one behaAe+ in an unseemly manner- .hether they were
on their own? in the company o1 others per1orming their +uties?
or atten+ing a meeting? all were calm an+ compose+- !hose? who
ha+ neAer hear+ the mon6s +iscuss their leAels o1 me+itation with
Scariya Mun? might well suspect 1rom obserAing them that they
were all 1ull)1le+ge+ Arahants- !he truth became apparent only
when he a+Aise+ the mon6s on how to solAe speci1ic problems in
their me+itation- ach mon6 was a+Aise+ accor+ing to his leAel
o1 achieAement* 1rom basic concentration an+ wis+om techniCues
to the higher leAels o1 concentration an+ insight-
o1 achieAement* 1rom basic concentration an+ wis+om techniCues
to the higher leAels o1 concentration an+ insight-
Scariya Mun mo+i1ie+ his tal6s accor+ing to the character
an+ the leAel o1 his listenersJ un+erstan+ing? so that eAeryone who
was present gaine+ some bene1it 1rom the assembly- He was care1ul
in eKplaining the teaching in all its stages? ensuring that listeners
at +i11erent leAels o1 me+itation were able to un+erstan+ an+
apply it to their in+iAi+ual practice in or+er to attain satis1actory
results- .hen teaching lay people? he usually emphasiUe+ aspects
o1 Dhamma that were suitable to their situation R such as? generosity?
moral Airtue? an+ me+itatiAe +eAelopment R as the basis
1or their practice- He eKplaine+ that these three +hammas are the
basic criteria nee+e+ 1or birth in the human worl+ an+ the 1oun+ation
o1 the s7sana- Someone born as a human being must necessarily
haAe cultiAate+ these three +hammas in the past- At least
one o1 them must haAe been preAiously +eAelope+ to serAe as a
catalyst 1or being born 1ully human-;L
9enerosity is a means o1 +emonstrating oneJs goo+will-
People? who are noble)hearte+ an+ consi+erate towar+ 1ellow
human beings an+ animals in)nee+? sacri1ice an+ share some o1
their own goo+ 1ortune accor+ing to their means- .hether itJs a
gi1t o1 material goo+s? a gi1t o1 Dhamma? or a gi1t o1 6nowle+ge o1
any sort? it is a gi1t 1reely giAen to bene1it others without eKpectation
o1 anything in return? eKcept the goo+ results o1 the act o1
giAing itsel1- !his also inclu+es the generous gesture o1 1orgiAing
those who behaAe wrongly or o11ensiAely- !hose who are beneAolent
an+ prone to sel1less giAing are boun+ to be gracious people
who stan+ out among their peers? irrespectiAe o1 their physical
appearance- DeAas? humans? an+ animals all reAere an+ cherish
them- .hereAer they go there will always be someone willing to
help them- !hey neAer su11er acute poAerty an+ har+ship- Quite
clearly? philanthropists in society are neAer out o1 1ashion an+
rarely +isli6e+- Aen a wealthy? but stingy person loo6s 1orwar+
to gi1ts 1rom others R not to mention the hapless poor who haAe
little hope o1 someone helping them- Due to the power o1 generosity?
those who haAe +eAelope+ a habit o1 giAing will neAer be born
into a worl+ where they must liAe in har+ship- Donors an+ their
generosity haAe always serAe+ to maintain balance an+ prosperity
in the worl+- As long as people still Aalue sel1)sacri1ice an+ eKten+
a helping han+ to one another? li1e on this earth will always haAe
meaning- 9enerous people are ineAitably hospitable an+ supportiAe
which ma6es the worl+ a better place to liAe- &n this sense?
generosity is absolutely essential 1or us all- .ithout it? li1e in this
worl+ woul+ be a parche+ an+ barren eKistence-
Moral Airtue is e11ectiAely a barrier that preAents people 1rom
abusing or +estroying each otherJs material an+ spiritual wealth-
&tJs the Aery basis o1 those special goo+ Cualities that eAery human
being shoul+ haAe? an+ shoul+ neAer let slip away- People who +o
not haAe moral Airtue to protect an+ maintain their inner wealth
are li6e a 1ire raging through human society- .ithout moralityJs
protectiAe restraint? mistreatment an+ +estruction woul+ run rampant
in the worl+ to the point where there woul+ har+ly be an
islan+ o1 security le1t where a person coul+ rest in peace- As long
as people belieAe that material wealth is more Aaluable than moral
Airtue? they will haAe no real security- &n such a case? eAen i1 the
worl+ economy were to 1lourish until material wealth was pile+ as
high as the sun? the sunJs heat woul+ be no match 1or the scorching
heat o1 an immoral worl+-
Moral Airtue is the true 1oun+ation o1 human per1ection
that was personi1ie+ by the %or+ Bu++ha- He uncoAere+ this truth?
presenting it as a means by which a worl+ con1use+ an+ 1ear1ul
o1 +u66ha
might rely on its restraining power to liAe in the cool?
soothing glow o1 trust- %e1t to their own +eAices? people with 6ilesas
will ten+ to thin6 in ways that ma6e the worl+ oppressiAely
hot- &1 these thoughts are allowe+ 1ree rein? powere+ by the 6ilesas
an+ untempere+ by eAen a hint o1 moral Airtue? they will surely
create innumerable poisonous ]monstersJ that will sprea+ throughout
the worl+ to +eAour eAerything in their path- !he thoughts o1 a
supremely Airtuous person li6e the %or+ Bu++ha? who totally eliminate+
the 6ilesas
1rom his heart? pro+uce only welcome peace an+
happiness in the worl+- :ompare this with the thought patterns
instigate+ by the 6ilesas
that cause us? an+ eAeryone else? unimaginable
trouble- !he +i11erence is obAious enough that we shoul+
want to search 1or a way to resolAe this problem an+ stem the ti+e
o1 such thoughts be1ore it is too late- Moral Airtue is li6e a me+icine
that counteracts in1ectious +iseases as well as chronic ones-
At the Aery least? a patient who is sic6 with the ]6ilesa)1eAerJ can
1in+ some measure o1 relie1 an+ hope o1 recoAery in the practice o1
moral Airtue- More than that? it may Xust e11ect a complete cure-
#ut o1 his compassion? Scariya Mun use+ to instruct lay
people on both the merits o1 moral Airtue an+ the 1aults o1 haAing
no moral stan+ar+- !hese instructions went straight to the heart
an+ were so impressiAe that? in hearing his a+Aice to lay people?
& 1oun+ mysel1 thin6ing that & too woul+ li6e to 6eep the 1iAe
moral precepts R 1orgetting that? as a mon6? & was alrea+y obserAing
;;O monastic rules2 & was oAercome with enthusiasm to hear
him tal6 an+ lost my min+1ulness 1or a moment- .hen & 1inally
came to my senses? & was rather embarrasse+? an+ +i+ not mention
it to anyone 1or 1ear that other mon6s might thin6 me a bit
craUy- &n 1act? & was a little bit craUy at that time since & 1orgot my
own shaAe+ hea+ an+ thought about 6eeping the laymanJs 1iAe
precepts- !his is a problem we all 1ace* when thin6ing in ways
that are wrong? we en+ up acting wrongly in that manner as well-
!here1ore? we shoul+ be aware o1 our thoughts at all times R aware
o1 whether they are goo+ or ba+? right or wrong- .e must constantly
rein in our own thoughtsV otherwise? they can easily spin
out o1 control-
Me+itatiAe +eAelopment means training the min+ to be cleAer
an+ unbiase+ with respect to basic principles o1 cause an+ e11ect?
so that we can e11ectiAely come to terms with our own inner processes?
an+ all other relate+ matters as well- &nstea+ o1 aban+oning
the min+ to unbri+le+ eKuberance? we rely on me+itation to
rein in our unruly thoughts an+ bring them into line with what
is reasonable R which is the path to calm an+ contentment- !he
min+ that has yet to un+ergo me+itation training is similar to an
untraine+ animal that cannot yet properly per1orm its appointe+
tas6s an+ is? there1ore? not as use1ul as it might be- &t must be
traine+ to +o those Xobs in or+er to gain maKimum bene1it 1rom
its wor6- %i6ewise? our min+s shoul+ un+ergo training as a means
o1 un+erstan+ing ourselAes as we carry out all our +aily tas6s? be
they mental or physical? signi1icant or triAial? gross or subtle-
tas6s an+ is? there1ore? not as use1ul as it might be- &t must be
traine+ to +o those Xobs in or+er to gain maKimum bene1it 1rom
its wor6- %i6ewise? our min+s shoul+ un+ergo training as a means
o1 un+erstan+ing ourselAes as we carry out all our +aily tas6s? be
they mental or physical? signi1icant or triAial? gross or subtle-
on the 1ruits o1 their labor- Since they are 1irmly groun+e+ in
reason? people who me+itate haAe no +i11iculty controlling themselAes-
!hey a+here to !ruth as the gui+ing principle 1or all they
+o? say? an+ thin6- !hey are min+1ul not to leaAe themselAes open
to the myria+ temptations that habitually arise 1rom the 6ilesa o1
craAing R wanting to go there? wanting to come here? wanting to
+o this? wanting to say this or thin6 that R which giAe no gui+ance
whatsoeAer to right an+ wrong? goo+ an+ ba+- :raAing is a
Aery +estructiAe +e1ilement that ten+s to lea+ us repeate+ly into
misery in countless ways- &n truth? we haAe no one to blame but
ourselAes? so we are le1t to accept the conseCuences as something
regrettable? trying to +o better the neKt time- .hen su11icient
min+1ulness is maintaine+ we can reAerse this tren+- But i1 we +o
not haAe enough min+1ulness to re1lect pru+ently on these matters?
eAerything we +o will haAe a+Aerse e11ects? sometimes irreAocably
so- !his is the real cruK o1 the 6ilesas R they ineAitably lea+
us towar+ mis1ortune-
Me+itation is a goo+ means 1or ma6ing a clean brea6 with
the unseemly business o1 the 6ilesas- Me+itation techniCues are
arguably somewhat +i11icult to practice? but thatJs because they are
+esigne+ to put pressure on the min+ an+ bring it un+er control?
much li6e trying to bring a mon6ey un+er control in or+er to tame
it- Me+itation techniCues are actually metho+s 1or +eAeloping sel1)
awareness- !his means obserAing the min+ which is not content
to Xust remain still but ten+s instea+ to Xump about li6e someone
whoJs been scal+e+ with hot water- #bserAing the min+ reCuires
min+1ulness to 6eep us aware o1 its moAement- !his is ai+e+ by
using one o1 a number o1 Dhamma themes as an obXect o1 attention
to 6eep the min+ stable an+ calm +uring me+itation- A Aery
popular metho+ an+ one that giAes goo+ results is min+1ulness o1
breathing-;N #ther popular themes inclu+e the use o1 a wor+ such
as @bu++hoB? @+hammoB? @sangho?=< or 6es7? lom7? na6h7? +ant7? taco
in 1orwar+ an+ reAerse or+er?=E or me+itation on +eath?=; or whateAer
theme seems most suitable- !he min+ must be 1orce+ to stay
eKclusiAely with that obXect +uring me+itation- :alm an+ happiness
are boun+ to arise when the min+ +epen+s on a particular
Dhamma theme as a goo+ an+ sa1e obXect o1 attention?
.hat is commonly re1erre+ to as a ]calm cittaJ or a ]citta
integrate+ in sam7+hiJ is a state o1 inner stability that is no longer
associate+ with the initial obXect o1 attention? which merely prepare+
the citta by hol+ing it stea+y- #nce the citta has entere+ into
sam7+hi? there eKists enough momentum 1or the citta to remain in
this state o1 calm? in+epen+ent o1 the preparatory obXect? whose
1unction is temporarily +iscontinue+ while the citta rests peace1ully-
%ater? i1 time permits? attention is re1ocuse+ on the initial
Dhamma theme when the citta with+raws 1rom sam7+hi- .hen
this is practice+ consistently with +e+ication an+ sustaine+ e11ort?
a min+ long steepe+ in +u66ha will gra+ually awa6en to its own
potential an+ aban+on its uns6ill1ul ways- !he struggle to control
the min+? which one eKperiences in the beginning stages o1 training?
will be replace+ by a 6een interest in the tas6 at han+-
!he citta becomes un1orgettably calm an+ peace1ul once it
enters sam7+hi- Aen i1 this happens only once? it will be an inAigorating
an+ in+elible eKperience- Shoul+ it 1ail to occur again in
subseCuent attempts at me+itation? an in+escribable sense o1 loss
an+ longing will linger in the citta 1or a long time- #nly with 1urther
progress? as one becomes more an+ more absorbe+ in increasingly
subtler states o1 calm? will the 1rustration o1 losing the initial
state o1 calm be 1orgotten-
.HN HA'&N9 AB#U! MD&!A!&#N? you may 1ret an+ 1eel mentally
an+ physically ina+eCuate to the tas6? an+ be reluctant to try- (ou
may be tempte+ to thin6*
8ate has surely conspire+ against me- & canJt possibly manage
it- My +uties an+ responsibilities both at home an+ at wor6 ma6e
it +i11icult- !here are all the social obligations? raising chil+ren
an+ loo6ing a1ter gran+chil+ren- &1 & waste time sitting with eyes
close+ in me+itation? &Jll neAer be able to 6eep up an+ ma6e en+s
meet an+ &Jll probably en+ up starAing to +eath2
!hus? you become +iscourage+ an+ miss a goo+ opportu
nity- !his way o1 thin6ing is burie+ +eep within eAeryoneJs psyche-
&t may be Xust the sort o1 thin6ing that has preAente+ you 1rom
ri++ing yoursel1 o1 +u66ha
all alongV an+ it will continue to +o so
i1 you +onJt try to reme+y it now-
Me+itation is actually a way to counteract an+ alleAiate all
the mental irritations an+ +i11iculties that haAe plague+ us 1or so
long- Me+itation is not unli6e other metho+s use+ in the worl+
to relieAe pain an+ +iscom1ortV li6e bathing when we 1eel hot?
an+ putting on warm clothes or lighting a 1ire when we 1eel col+-
.hen hungry? we eat an+ +rin6V when ill? we ta6e me+icine to
relieAe the symptoms- All these are metho+s that the worl+ has
use+ to relieAe pain an+ +iscom1ort oAer the ages without anyone
eAer +ismissing them as being too bur+ensome or to +i11icult to +o-
People o1 eAery ethnic an+ social group are oblige+ to loo6 a1ter
themselAes in this way- Aen animals haAe to ta6e care o1 themselAes
by searching 1or 1oo+ to alleAiate their +iscom1ort an+ surAiAe
1rom +ay to +ay- Similarly? mental +eAelopment through me+itation
is a Aery important means o1 ta6ing care o1 ourselAes- &t is
wor6 that we shoul+ be especially intereste+ in because it +eals
+irectly with the min+? which is the central coor+inator 1or all
our actions-
!he min+ is in the 1ront line when it comes to anything
relating to ourselAes- &n other wor+s? the citta
is absolutely essential
in eAerything- &t has no choice but to accept the bur+en o1
responsibility in all circumstances without +iscrimination or hesitation-
.hateAer happens? the min+ 1eels compelle+ to step in
an+ imme+iately ta6e charge? un1aUe+ by i+eas o1 goo+ an+ ba+
or right an+ wrong- Although some situations are so +epressing
theyJre nearly unbearable? the min+ still bol+ly rushes in to shoul
+er the bur+en? hee+less o1 the ris6s an+ its own inherent limitations-
More than that? it recites its litany o1 thoughts oAer an+ oAer
again until eating an+ sleeping become almost impossible at times-
Still? the min+ charges ahea+ re1using to a+mit 1ailure- .hen
engaging in physical actiAity? we 6now our relatiAe strengths an+
when the time is right to ta6e a rest- But our mental actiAities
neAer ta6e a brea6 R eKcept brie1ly when we 1all asleep- Aen then?
the min+ insists on remaining actiAe? subconsciously churning out
countless +ream images that continue oAerloa+ing its capacity to
cope- So the min+ liAes with a sense o1 intolerable +issatis1action?
neAer realiUing that this +issatis1action arises in +irect relationship
to its heaAy wor6 loa+ an+ the unbearable mental aggraAation
it generates-
Because it is always embattle+? the min+ coul+ well be
calle+ a ]warriorJ- &t struggles with what is goo+ an+ it struggles
with what is ba+- NeAer pausing to re1lect? it engages eAerything
that comes along- .hateAer preoccupations arise? it insists on
con1ronting them all without eKception? unwilling to let anything
pass unchallenge+- So itJs appropriate to call the min+ a ]warriorJ?
since it rec6lessly con1ronts eAerything that comes across
its path- &1 the min+ +oes not come to terms with this +ilemma
while the bo+y is still aliAe? it will 6eep on 1ighting these battles
in+e1initely? unable to eKtricate itsel1- Shoul+ the heartJs en+less
+esires be in+ulge+ in without Dhamma to act as a mo+erating
in1luence? real happiness will always be out o1 reach? regar+less o1
how abun+ant material wealth may be- Material wealth itsel1 is
not a true source o1 happiness? an+ can rea+ily become a source
o1 +iscontent 1or the heart lac6ing inner Dhamma to serAe as an
oasis o1 rest-
!he wise haAe assure+ us that Dhamma is the power which
oAersees both material wealth an+ spiritual well)being- 'egar+less
o1 how much or how little wealth we acCuire? we will enXoy
a su11icient measure o1 happiness i1 we possess some measure o1
Dhamma in our hearts- Unsupporte+ by Dhamma an+ le1t to its
own +esires? the heart will be incapable o1 1in+ing genuine happiness?
eAen with a mountain o1 Aaluable possessions on han+-
!hese are merely physical an+ emotional supports that intelligent
people can use wisely 1or their own pleasure- &1 the heart
is not intelligent in the way o1 Dhamma? or Dhamma is absent
altogether? the place where we liAe will resemble a wastelan+? no
matter what our choice- !he heart an+ all its wealth will then en+
up as Xust so much accumulate+ waste R stu11 that is useless 1or our
spiritual +eAelopment-
.hen it comes to being stoic in the 1ace o1 a+Aersity? nothing
is as tough an+ resilient as the heart- 'eceiAing proper assistance?
it becomes something marAelous in which we can ta6e
pri+e an+ satis1action un+er all circumstances- 8rom the time
o1 birth to the present moment? we haAe eKploite+ our hearts
an+ min+s R mercilessly- .ere we to treat a car li6e we treat our
min+s? it woul+ be pointless to ta6e to a garage 1or repairs? 1or
it woul+ haAe become a pile o1 scrap metal long ago- Aerything
that we utiliUe must receiAe some sort o1 up6eep an+ repair to
ensure that it continues proAi+ing use1ul serAice- !he min+ is
no eKception- &tJs an eKtremely important resource that shoul+
be well loo6e+ a1ter an+ maintaine+? Xust as we +o with all our
other possessions-
Me+itation is a therapy +esigne+ eKclusiAely 1or the min+-
All o1 us who are truly intereste+ in ta6ing responsibility 1or our
min+s R which? a1ter all? are our most priceless possessions R shoul+
care 1or them in the correct an+ proper way- !his means training
our min+s with suitable me+itation techniCues- !o use the car
comparison* it means eKamining the min+Js Aarious component
parts to see i1 anything is +e1ectiAe or +amage+V an+ then ta6ing
it into the garage 1or a spiritual oAerhaul- !his entails sitting in
me+itation? eKamining the mental components? or san6h7ras? that
ma6e up our thoughtsV then +etermining whether the thoughts
that sur1ace are 1un+amentally goo+ or harm1ul? a++ing 1uel to the
1ires o1 pain an+ su11ering- !hus? an inAestigation is un+erta6en
to ascertain which thoughts haAe Aalue an+ which are 1lawe+-
!hen we shoul+ turn our attention to the physical componentsV
that is? our bo+ies- Do our bo+ies 6eep improAing with age or are
they +eteriorating as time goes by R the ol+ year ineAitably turning
into a new one? oAer an+ oAer again_ Does the bo+y continue
regenerating or +oes it ineAitably wear +own an+ grow ol+er with
each successiAe +ay_ Shoul+ we be complacent about this by 1ailing
to mentally prepare ourselAes while thereJs still time_ #nce
we are +ea+? it will be too late to act- !his is what me+itation is
all about* cautioning an+ instructing ourselAes by eKamining our
shortcomings to +etermine what areas nee+ improAement- .hen
we inAestigate constantly in this manner? either while sitting in
me+itation or while going about our +aily tas6s? the min+ will
remain calm an+ unperturbe+- .e will learn not to be arrogantly
oAercon1i+ent about li1e? an+ thus aAoi+ 1ueling the 1lames o1 +iscontent-
An+ we will 6now how to eKercise proper mo+eration in
our thoughts an+ +ee+s so that we +onJt 1orget ourselAes an+ get
caught up in things which may haAe +isastrous conseCuences-
!he bene1its o1 me+itation are too numerous to a++ress? so
Scariya Mun 6ept his eKplanations to the lay au+ience at a leAel
appropriate to their practice- His eKplanations to mon6s an+ noAices
were o1 a Aery +i11erent caliber- & haAe written +own Xust enough
here to giAe the 1laAor o1 his teaching- Some people may 1in+ that
&JAe inclu+e+ certain things that seem eKcessiAe? or eAen +istaste1ulV
but the account woul+ be incomplete i1 & +i+ not conAey all
aspects o1 his teaching- & haAe ma+e the e11ort to compile these
teachings in the hope that the rea+ers will encourage me with the
bene1it o1 their criticism- So you are welcome to criticiUe me 1or
whateAer you 1in+ to be inappropriateV but? please +o not blame
Scariya Mun because he ha+ no part in writing the boo6-
Scariya Mun con+ucte+ higher Dhamma teaching only
within the circle o1 his close +isciples- But the author has somewhat
o1 an irrepressible nature an+ cannot sit stillV so? & haAe gone
aroun+? collecting oral accounts 1rom all the 7cariyas
to+ay who
liAe+ with Scariya Mun in the past an+ are his +isciples- &JAe
recor+e+ this in1ormation so that the rea+er may 6now something
o1 his practice? eAen though it is not a complete account- Scariya
MunJs mo+e o1 practice was so uniCuely resolute an+ uncompromising
that one coul+ almost say that none o1 his +isciples can
match him in the austerities he per1orme+? the noble Airtues he
per1ecte+? an+ the inner 6nowle+ge he so s6ill1ully mastere+- !o
this +ay he remains uneKcelle+-
S:A'&(A MUN SA&D that when he staye+ in the 1orests an+ mountains
o1 U+on !hani an+ Nong $hai? +eAas
1rom the upper an+
lower realms occasionally came to hear Dhamma 1rom him- Some
groups came regularly eAery two wee6s? others only once a month-
DeAas 1rom that area +i+ not come to see him nearly as o1ten
as those 1rom :hiang Mai proAince- & shall relate those eKperiences
in +ue courseV but? 1or now? let me continue 1ollowing the
seCuence o1 eAents so as not to con1use matters-
Scariya Mun spo6e o1 a huge city o1 n7gas? locate+ un+er
the mountain west o1 the %aotian city o1 %uang Prabang- .hile
he liAe+ there? the chie1 o1 those n7gas regularly brought his 1ollowers
to hear Dhamma? occasionally in large numbers- !he n7gas
ten+e+ to as6 1ar 1ewer Cuestions o1 him than the +eAas o1 the
upper an+ lower realms? who always ha+ many Cuestions 1or him-
All these groups? howeAer? listene+ to what he ha+ to say with
eCual respect- During the time Scariya Mun liAe+ at the base o1
that mountain? the chie1 n7ga came almost eAery night to Aisit
him- #nly on special occasions +i+ he bring a large 1ollowingV an+
in that case? Scariya Mun always 6new o1 their arriAal in a+Aance-
Due to the remote location? he ha+ little contact with people at
that time? so he was able to be o1 particular serAice to the n7gas
an+ +eAas- !he n7gas +i+ not Aisit Aery late at night R they came at
maybe ten or eleAen P-M- R which was probably +ue to his remote
location- As a sign o1 their pro1oun+ respect? the n7gas inAite+
Scariya Mun to remain liAing there out o1 compassion 1or them-
!hey eAen arrange+ to protect him both +ay an+ night? ta6ing
turns to 6eep watch- !hey neAer came too close? maintaining a
conAenient+istance always? yet close enough to obserAe anything
that might happen- !he +eAas? on the other han+? usually came
later than the n7gas R at about one or two A-M- &1 he was liAing in
the mountains? 1ar 1rom a Aillage? the +eAas sometimes came earlier?
say ten or eleAen P-M- !here was neAer a sure time? but normally
the +eAas came a1ter mi+night-
DU'&N9 M&DD% A9? Scariya MunJs normal +aily routine was as
1ollows* A1ter the meal he wal6e+ me+itation until noon an+
then too6 a short rest- 'este+? he sat in me+itation 1or an hour
an+ a hal1 be1ore continuing his wal6ing me+itation until 1our
DU'&N9 M&DD% A9? Scariya MunJs normal +aily routine was as
1ollows* A1ter the meal he wal6e+ me+itation until noon an+
then too6 a short rest- 'este+? he sat in me+itation 1or an hour
an+ a hal1 be1ore continuing his wal6ing me+itation until 1our
A1ter that? he swept the area aroun+ his +welling? bathe+?
an+ again practice+ wal6ing me+itation until about seAen or eight
P-M-? when he entere+ his hut to sit again- &1 it +i+ not rain a1ter
seate+ me+itation? he wal6e+ again? until late at night- #r? i1 it
was alrea+y Aery late? he retire+ 1or the night- He normally retire+
at eleAen P-M- an+ awo6e at three A-M- Scariya Mun usually 6new
in a+Aance when the +eAas
woul+ Aisit- &1 they were going to
arriAe later than mi+night? he reste+ be1ore receiAing them- &1
they were eKpecte+ to arriAe between eleAen P-M- an+ mi+night?
he 1irst entere+ into sam7+hi
an+ waite+ there 1or them- !his is
the +aily routine that he maintaine+ throughout that perio+ o1
his li1e-
.HN B#!H HAVN%( an+ terrestrial +eAas
wishe+ to come on
the same night? Scariya Mun woul+ receiAe the 1irst group? giAe
them a Dhamma tal6? answer their Cuestions? an+ then tell them
that another group was soon coming- !he 1irst group then le1t in
a timely manner an+ the other +eAas
entere+ 1rom where theyJ+
been respect1ully waiting at a +istance- He then began spea6ing
to the secon+ group? +iscoursing on a Dhamma theme he
+eeme+ suitable 1or their temperament an+ leAel o1 un+erstan+ing-
Sometimes the chie1 o1 the +eAa
group reCueste+ a certain topic-
Scariya Mun then 1ocuse+ his attention on that speci1ic Dhamma
theme- .hen he 1elt his heart in possession o1 this 6nowle+ge? he
began his +iscourse- Sometimes the +eAa lea+er reCueste+ a +iscourse
on a sutta? using an archaic title with which Scariya Mun
was un1amiliar- So Scariya Mun as6e+ an+ was tol+ the present)
+ay title- Usually Scariya Mun coul+ 1igure out 1or himsel1 the
suttas which were being reCueste+V but occasionally he ha+ to as6
1or clari1ication- At other times? the +eAas reCueste+ a sutta by a
title o1 which he 1elt certain- But? as soon as he began to eluci+ate
it? they in1orme+ him that he ha+ ma+e a mista6eV that it was
not the one they reCueste+- !o re1resh his memory? they recite+
some Aerses 1rom the sutta- A1ter one or two Aerses he coul+ usually
remember it correctly- He began his +iscourse only when he
was sure he ha+ the right topic-
#n rare occasions? the +eAas 1rom the upper an+ lower
realms all came to listen to Dhamma at the same time as the
n7gas- !his is not unli6e Aarious groups o1 humans all showing up
to Aisit a teacher simultaneously- .hen this happene+ o1ten? he
sche+ule+ their arriAals at +i11erent times 1or the conAenience o1
all concerne+- Accor+ing to Scariya Mun? eAen though he liAe+
+eep in the 1orests an+ mountains? he +i+ not haAe much 1ree
time because he ha+ to +eal with so many groups o1 +eAas 1rom
+i11erent realms o1 eKistence- &1 on a particular night no +eAas
1rom the celestial realms came to see him? then there were boun+
to be terrestrial +eAas 1rom one location or anotherV so? he ha+
little 1ree time at night- 8ortunately? there were 1ew human Aisitors
in those remote places- &1 he staye+ near a Aillage or a town?
howeAer? then human inhabitants 1rom the area came to see him-
He receiAe+ these people in the a1ternoon or early eAening? teaching
the mon6s an+ noAices a1terwar+s-
!he Di11erence is in the Heart
HaAing written about the +eAas? & shall now write about the human
Aisitors who came to see Scariya Mun- Being human? & am also
inclu+e+ in this matter? but & still wish to apologiUe to the rea+er
i1 there is anything unappealing or inappropriate in what 1ollows-
&n some ways & haAe an incurably roguish character? as you will
no +oubt notice- HoweAer? & 1eel it necessary to recor+ truth1ully
what Scariya Mun tol+ his +isciples priAately- & as6 1or your 1orgiAeness?
but & inclu+e this so that you may compare humans an+
+eAas an+ learn something 1rom it-
Scariya Mun sai+ there was a great +i11erence between
humans an+ +eAas
in the way they communicate+ with him an+
listene+ to his +iscourses on Dhamma- DeAas
o1 eAery realm? 1rom
the highest to the lowest? are able to comprehen+ the meaning
in a +iscussion o1 Dhamma much more easily than their human
counterparts- An+ when the +iscussion is oAer? their eKclamations
o1 approAal R @s7+hu? s7+hu? s7+huB R echo throughout the
spiritual uniAerse- DeAas
o1 eAery realm haAe enormous respect
1or mon6sV not one o1 them show any sign o1 impropriety- .hen
coming to listen to a mon6 +iscourse on Dhamma? their comportment
is always calm? or+erly? an+ eKCuisitely grace1ul- Human
beings? on the other han+? neAer really un+erstan+ the meaning
o1 a Dhamma +iscourse R eAen a1ter repeate+ eKplanations- Not
only +o they 1ail to grasp the meaning? but some are eAen critical
o1 the spea6er? thin6ing* .hat is he tal6ing about_ & canJt
un+erstan+ a thing- HeJs not as goo+ as that other mon6- Some
who themselAes haAe preAiously or+aine+ as mon6s cannot 6eep
their gross 6ilesas
1rom sur1acing? boasting* .hen & was or+aine+
& coul+ giAe a much better tal6 than this- & ma+e those listening
laugh a lot so they +i+nJt get tire+ an+ sleepy- & ha+ a special
rapport with the au+ience which 6ept them howling with laughter-
Still others thin6* &tJs rumore+ that this mon6 6nows the
thoughts o1 others- So whateAer we thin6? he 6nows imme+iately-
.hy? then? +oesnJt he 6now what &Jm thin6ing right now_ &1 he
6nows? he shoul+ giAe some sign R at least in+irectly? by saying
that this or that person shoul+nJt thin6 in such an+ such a way
because itJs wrong- !hen we woul+ 6now i1 he +eserAes his reputation-
Some people come rea+y to 1in+ 1ault so they can show o11
their own cleAerness- !hese types are not intereste+ in Dhamma
at all- Kpoun+ing Dhamma in their presence is li6e pouring
water on a +ogJs bac6 R they imme+iately sha6e it all o11? leaAing
not a +rop behin+-
Scariya Mun woul+ o1ten laugh when tal6ing about this
type o1 person? probably because he was amuse+ by his occasional
encounters with such ]cleAerJ people- He sai+ that some people
who came to see him were so opinionate+ they coul+ barely wal6?
the bur+en o1 their conceit being much heaAier than that which
an or+inary mortal coul+ carry- !heir conceit was so enormous
that he was more incline+ to 1eel trepi+ation than pity 1or them?
which ma+e him +isincline+ to tal6 to them about Dhamma- Still?
there were certain social situations where this was unaAoi+able? so
he struggle+ to say something- But as he was about to spea6? the
Dhamma seeme+ to Aanish an+ he coul+ thin6 o1 nothing to say-
&t was as i1 Dhamma coul+ not compete with such oAerbearing
conceit R an+ so? it 1le+- All that remaine+ was his bo+y? sitting
li6e a li1eless +oll? being stuc6 with pins? an+ ignore+ by eAeryone
as though he ha+ no 1eelings- At such times? no Dhamma arose
1or +iscourse? an+ he simply sat li6e a tree stump- &n cases li6e
that? where woul+ the Dhamma come 1rom_
Scariya Mun use+ to laugh as he +escribe+ those situations
to his +isciples? but there were some in his au+ience who actually
tremble+- Since they werenJt 1eAerish an+ the weather wasnJt col+?
we can only assume that they were shu++ering 1rom 1eelings o1
trepi+ation- Scariya Mun sai+ that he woul+ not teach Aery conceite+
in+iAi+uals unless absolutely necessary because his +iscourse
coul+ actually turn into something toKic 1or the heart o1 someone
who listene+ without any 1eeling o1 respect- !he Dhamma that
Scariya Mun possesse+ was truly o1 the highest or+er an+ o1 enormous
Aalue to those who establishe+ their hearts in the principle
o1 goo+will? not consi+ering themselAes superior to Dhamma
in any way- !his is a Aery important point to 6eep in min+- Aery
e11ect has its cause- .hen many people sit together listening to a
Dhamma tal6? there will be some who 1eel so uncom1ortably hot
they almost melt an+ there will be others who are so cool they
1eel as i1 they are 1loating in the air- !he +i11erence? the cause? is
right there in the heart- Aerything else is inconseCuential- !here
was simply no way he coul+ help lighten the bur+en o1 someone
whose heart re1use+ to accept Dhamma- #ne might thin6 that
i1 teaching them +oesnJt actually +o any goo+? it also woul+ not
+o any harm- But thatJs not really the case? 1or such people will
always persist in +oing things which haAe harm1ul repercussions
R regar+less o1 what anyone says- So itJs not easy to teach human
beings- Aen with a small group o1 people? inAariably there were
Xust enough noKious characters among them to be a nuisance- But
rather than 1eel annoye+ li6e most people? Scariya Mun woul+
simply +rop the matter an+ leaAe them to their 1ate- .hen no way
coul+ be 1oun+ to help re1orm such people? Scariya Mun regar+e+
it simply as the nature o1 their 6amma-
coul+ be 1oun+ to help re1orm such people? Scariya Mun regar+e+
it simply as the nature o1 their 6amma-
o1 searching 1or Dhamma? trusting in the goo+ conseCuences
o1 their actions R an+ these he greatly sympathiUe+ with R though
they were 1ar an+ 1ew between- HoweAer? those who were not
loo6ing 1or anything use1ul an+ ha+ no restraint were legion? so
Scariya Mun pre1erre+ to liAe in the 1orests an+ mountains where
the enAironment was pleasant an+ his heart was at ease- &n those
places he coul+ practice to the limit without being concerne+
with eKternal +isturbances- .hereAer he cast his glance? whateAer
he thought about? Dhamma was inAolAe+? bringing a clear
sense o1 relie1- .atching the 1orest animals? such as mon6eys? languars?
an+ gibbons? swinging an+ playing through the trees an+
listening to them call to one another across the 1orest gaAe rise
to a pleasant inner peace1ulness- He nee+ not be concerne+ with
their attitu+e towar+ him as they ran about in search o1 1oo+- &n
this +eep solitu+e? he 1elt re1reshe+ an+ cheer1ul in eAery aspect o1
his li1e- Ha+ he +ie+ then? he woul+ haAe been per1ectly com1ortable
an+ contente+- !his is +ying the truly natural way* haAing
come alone? he woul+ +epart alone- &nAariably all the Arahants
pass into Nibb7na in this way? as their hearts +o not retain any
con1usion or agitation- !hey haAe only the one bo+y? the one
citta? an+ a single 1ocus o1 attention- !hey +onJt rush out loo6ing
1or +u66ha
an+ they +onJt accumulate emotional attachments
to weigh them +own- !hey liAe as Noble #nes an+ they +epart
as Noble #nes- !hey neAer get entangle+ with things that cause
anKiety an+ sorrow in the present- Being spotlessly pure? they
maintain a +etachment 1rom all emotional obXects- .hich stan+s
in sharp contrast to the way people act in the worl+* the heaAier
their heartJs bur+en? the more they a++ an+ increase their loa+-
As 1or Noble #nes? the lighter their loa+? the more they relinCuish?
until thereJs nothing le1t to unloa+- !hey then +well in that emptiness?
eAen though the heart that 6nows that emptiness remains
R there is simply no more loa+ing an+ unloa+ing to be +one- !his
is 6nown as attaining the status o1 someone who is ]out o1 wor6J?
meaning that the heart has no more wor6 le1t to +o in the s7sana-
Being ]out o1 wor6J in this way is actually the highest 1orm o1 happiness-
!his is Cuite +i11erent 1rom worl+ly a11airs? where unemployment
1or someone with no means o1 ma6ing a liAing signi1ies
increase+ misery-
Scariya Mun relate+ many +i11erences between +eAas an+
humans? but &JAe recor+e+ here only those which & remember
an+ those which & thin6 woul+ bene1it the +iscerning rea+er-
Perhaps these asi+es? such as the +eAa episo+es? shoul+ all be presente+
together in one section accor+ing to the subXect matter-
But Scariya MunJs encounters with such phenomena stretche+
oAer a long perio+ o1 time an+ & 1eel it necessary to 1ollow his
li1e story as seCuentially as possible- !here will be more accounts
about +eAas laterV but & +are not combine the +i11erent episo+es
because the obXect is to haAe the parallel threa+s o1 the story conAerge
at the same point- & as6 1orgiAeness i1 the rea+er su11ers any
.hat Scariya Mun sai+ about +eAas an+ humans re1ers to
these groups as they eKiste+ many years be1ore? since Scariya
Mun? whose re1lections are recor+e+ here? +ie+ oAer ;< years ago-
!he +eAas an+ humans o1 that age haAe most probably change+
1ollowing the uniAersal law o1 impermanence- !here remains only
the ]mo+ernJ generation who haAe probably receiAe+ some mental
training an+ improAe+ their con+uct accor+ingly- As 1or the contentious
people whom Scariya Mun encountere+ in his li1e? probably
such people no longer eKist to clutter up the nation an+ the
religion- Since then? there has been so much improAement in the
e+ucation systemV an+ well)e+ucate+ people arenJt li6ely to harbor
such Aulgar ambitions- !his a11or+s people to+ay some relie1-
A8!' %&V&N9 AND !A:H&N9 the mon6s an+ the local population
in the U+on !hani an+ Nong $hai areas 1or a consi+erable
time? Scariya Mun moAe+ eastwar+ to the proAince o1 Sa6on
Na6hon- He traAele+ through the small Aillages in the 1orests an+
mountains o1 the .arichabhum? Phang $hon? Sawang Dan Din?
.anon Niwat? an+ A6at Amnuay +istricts- He then wan+ere+ to
Na6hon Phanom through the +istrict o1 Sri Song6hram? passing
through the Aillages o1 Ban Sam Phong? Ban Non Daeng? Ban
Dong Noi? an+ Ban $ham No66o6- All these places were +eep
in the wil+erness an+ in1este+ with malaria? which? when caught?
was Aery +i11icult to cure* a person coul+ be in1ecte+ the better
part o1 a year an+ still not 1ully recoAer- Assuming one +i+ not +ie?
liAing through it was still a torment- As &JAe alrea+y mentione+?
malaria was calle+ ]the 1eAer the in)laws +espiseJ? because those
who su11ere+ chronically 1rom this illness were still able to wal6
aroun+ an+ eat? but unable to +o any wor6- Some became permanent
inAali+s- !he Aillagers in that area? as well as the mon6s
an+ noAices who liAe+ in the same 1orests? were 1reCuently Aictims
o1 malaria- Some eAen +ie+ 1rom it- 8or three years Scariya
Mun spent successiAe rains retreats in the area aroun+ Ban Sam
Phong Aillage- During that time Cuite a 1ew mon6s +ie+ o1 the
illness- 9enerally? those mon6s were 1rom cultiAate+ areas where
there was little malaria R such as the proAinces o1 Ubon? 'oy t?
an+ Sara6ham R so they were not use+ to the 1orests an+ mountains-
!hey coul+ not liAe easily in those 1orests with Scariya Mun
because they coul+nJt tolerate the malaria- !hey ha+ to leaAe
+uring the rainy season? spen+ing their retreat near Aillages that
were surroun+e+ by 1iel+s-
Scariya Mun recounte+ that when he gaAe eAening Dhamma
tal6s to the mon6s an+ noAices near the Aillage o1 Sam Phong? a
1rom the Song6hran 'iAer came to listen almost eAery time-
&1 he 1aile+ to arriAe at the hour when the +iscourse too6 place? he
woul+ come later when Scariya Mun sat in sam7+hi- !he +eAas
1rom the upper an+ lower realms came only perio+ically? an+ not
as o1ten as they +i+ when he staye+ in the proAinces o1 U+on
!hani or Nong $hai- !hey were always particular about coming
on the three holiest obserAance +ays o1 the rains retreat R the
1irst? the mi++le an+ the last +ay- No matter where Scariya Mun
liAe+? whether in towns or cities? the +eAas
always came 1rom one
realm or another to hear his Dhamma- !his was true in the city o1
:hiang Mai while he was staying at .at :he+i %uang monastery-
!he .ell)+igging &nci+ent
A strange inci+ent occurre+ while he was staying near the Aillage
o1 Ban Sam Phong- &t was the +ry season- About P< to O< mon6s
an+ noAices were liAing there? an+ there was not enough clean
water aAailable- !he mon6s hel+ a meeting with the Aillagers an+
+eci+e+ that they woul+ haAe to +ig the eKisting well +eeper in
or+er to acCuire a clean? a+eCuate supply- A1ter the +ecision was
ma+e? a senior mon6 reCueste+ permission 1rom Scariya Mun to
procee+ with the wor6- A1ter listening to the reCuest? Scariya
Mun remaine+ Cuiet 1or a moment be1ore he answere+ sternly in
a rough Aoice? @No? it coul+ be +angerous-B !hat was all he sai+-
!he senior mon6 was puUUle+ by the wor+s @it coul+ be +angerous-B
A1ter paying his respects to Scariya Mun? he relate+ the conAer
sation to the mon6s an+ the lay people- &nstea+ o1 agreeing with
Scariya Mun? they +eci+e+ to procee+ secretly with the plan-
!he well was some +istance 1rom the monastery- At noon?
when they thought Scariya Mun was resting? they Cuietly went out
to +ig- !hey ha+ not +ug Aery +eep when the earth aroun+ the top
e+ge gaAe way an+ collapse+ into the well? leaAing a gaping hole
at groun+ leAel an+ ruining the well with loose earth- Aeryone
was terri1ie+* HaAing +isrespect1ully ignore+ Scariya MunJs warning?
an+ showing a lac6 o1 min+1ulness by 1ailing to call o11 the
proXect? they ha+ cause+ the earth to caAe in? almost 6illing someone
in the process- !hey were a1rai+ he woul+ 1in+ out what they
ha+ +one against his eKpress wishes- !hey were eKtremely worrie+
an+ 1elt chastene+ by their error- !ogether they Cuic6ly gathere+
woo+ to repair the mouth o1 the well? praying all the while 1or
Scariya MunJs assistance in their e11orts to +ig out the loose earth
an+ restore the well 1or use again- 8ortunately? once they appeale+
1or Scariya MunJs help? eAerything was put into goo+ or+er with
amaUing ease so that some o1 them eAen en+e+ up smiling-
As soon as the wor6 was complete+ eAeryone 1le+ the scene?
a1rai+ that Scariya Mun might su++enly show up- Bac6 in the
monastery the mon6s an+ noAices remaine+ in a state o1 con
stant anKiety about what they ha+ +one- !he closer it came to
the eAening meeting? the more apprehensiAe they became- !hey
coul+ all AiAi+ly remember Scariya MunJs scol+ings in the past
when something o1 this nature ha+ happene+- Sometimes when
they +i+ something inappropriate an+ then 1orgot? Scariya Mun
6new an+ eAentually brought it up as a way o1 teaching a lesson-
!he well inci+ent was a serious mis+ee+ that was committe+ by
the whole monastery behin+ his bac6- How coul+ he possibly haAe
not 6nown about it_ !hey were all certain that he 6new an+ that
he was boun+ to mention it that eAening? or at the latest? the Aery
neKt morning- !hey were preoccupie+ with these uncom1ortable
1eelings 1or the rest o1 the +ay-
stant anKiety about what they ha+ +one- !he closer it came to
the eAening meeting? the more apprehensiAe they became- !hey
coul+ all AiAi+ly remember Scariya MunJs scol+ings in the past
when something o1 this nature ha+ happene+- Sometimes when
they +i+ something inappropriate an+ then 1orgot? Scariya Mun
6new an+ eAentually brought it up as a way o1 teaching a lesson-
!he well inci+ent was a serious mis+ee+ that was committe+ by
the whole monastery behin+ his bac6- How coul+ he possibly haAe
not 6nown about it_ !hey were all certain that he 6new an+ that
he was boun+ to mention it that eAening? or at the latest? the Aery
neKt morning- !hey were preoccupie+ with these uncom1ortable
1eelings 1or the rest o1 the +ay-
about the inci+ent- Scariya Mun was Aery astute in teaching
his +isciples- He 6new Aery well about the inci+ent an+ about
many other mista6es ma+e by the mon6s an+ noAices- But he also
6new about their anKiety- Since they obAiously realiUe+ their mista6e?
scol+ing them at this point woul+ haAe nee+lessly increase+
their +eep remorse-
Scariya MunJs early morning routine was to rise 1rom seate+
me+itation at +awn? then +o wal6ing me+itation until it was time
to put on his robes at the meeting hall be1ore going 1or alms- !he
neKt morning? when Scariya Mun le1t his wal6ing path an+ entere+
the meeting hall? the mon6s were still worrie+ about how he woul+
+eal with them- .hile they waite+ in anKious anticipation? Scariya
Mun turne+ the whole a11air aroun+ by spea6ing gently an+ in a
com1orting manner +esigne+ to relieAe their +istress*
@.e came here to stu+y Dhamma- .e shoul+ not be unrea
sonably au+acious? nor shoul+ we be eKcessiAely a1rai+- Anyone
can ma6e a mista6e R the Aalue lies in recogniUing our mista6es-
!he %or+ Bu++ha ma+e mista6es be1ore us- He realiUe+ where
he ha+ gone wrong an+ stroAe to correct his errors as soon as he
became aware o1 them- !his 6in+ o1 intention is noble? but still
through ignorance mista6es can happen- 8rom now on you shoul+
all ta6e care to control yourselAes un+er all circumstances- Using
min+1ulness at all times to watch out 1or onesel1 is the way o1 the
sonably au+acious? nor shoul+ we be eKcessiAely a1rai+- Anyone
can ma6e a mista6e R the Aalue lies in recogniUing our mista6es-
!he %or+ Bu++ha ma+e mista6es be1ore us- He realiUe+ where
he ha+ gone wrong an+ stroAe to correct his errors as soon as he
became aware o1 them- !his 6in+ o1 intention is noble? but still
through ignorance mista6es can happen- 8rom now on you shoul+
all ta6e care to control yourselAes un+er all circumstances- Using
min+1ulness at all times to watch out 1or onesel1 is the way o1 the
A long time later? a1ter eAeryone ha+ 1orgotten about the
matter? it Cuite uneKpecte+ly croppe+ up- No one ha+ eAer tol+
him about the mishap? 1or the whole a11air ha+ been hushe+ up-
Scariya Mun himsel1 neAer went to the well? which was Cuite a
+istance 1rom the monastery- He began a Dhamma +iscourse as
he usually +i+? spea6ing about Aarious aspects o1 a mon6Js practice?
about being reasonable an+ about haAing respect 1or the
teacher an+ Dhamma- !hese? he sai+? le+ to the correct behaAior
o1 those coming to train an+ practice un+er a teacher- He stresse+
that they shoul+ especially ta6e the issue o1 cause an+ e11ect Aery
seriously? 1or this was the true Dhamma*
@Although youJre constantly un+er pressure 1rom your +esires?
you shoul+nJt allow them to sur1ace an+ intru+e into the sphere
o1 practice- #therwise? they will +estroy Dhamma? the trie+ an+
true way to go beyon+ +u66ha? gra+ually spoiling all o1 your hopes-
NeAer shoul+ you go against Dhamma? the monastic +iscipline? or
the wor+ o1 a respecte+ teacher? as this is eCuiAalent to +estroying
yourselAes- Disobe+ience merely giAes impetus to those ba+ habits
which are +estructiAe to you an+ others as well- !he earth aroun+
that well was more than Xust clay- !here was also san+ un+erneath-
Digging too +eeply can cause the san+? then the clay to collapse
into the well? possibly burying an+ 6illing someone- !hat was why
& 1orba+e it- & thoroughly inAestigate eAerything be1ore giAing or
re1using permission 1or any type o1 wor6- !hose who are here 1or
training shoul+ consi+er this- Some matters are eKclusiAely internal?
an+ & +onJt 1eel it necessary to reAeal eAery aspect o1 them-
@.hat & +i+ reAeal was clear enough 1or you to un+erstan+V
so why +i+ you behaAe as i1 you +i+nJt_ .hen & 1orbi+ something?
you go ahea+ an+ +o it anyway- &1 & tell you to +o something? you
+o the opposite- !his was not a matter o1 misun+erstan+ing R
you un+erstoo+ per1ectly well- Being contrary li6e this +isplays
the stubborn si+e o1 your character? +ating 1rom the time you
liAe+ with your parents who tolerate+ it Xust to 6eep you happy- &t
has now become an ingraine+ characteristic? burie+ +eep insi+e
mon6s who are now a+ults- !o ma6e matters worse? you 1launt it
in the 1ace o1 your teacher an+ the spiritual li1e you lea+- Stubbornness
in a mon6 o1 your age is un1orgiAable an+ cannot be tolerate+
as mere chil+ish behaAior- &t +eserAes a stern repriman+- &1
you persist in being stubborn? it will 1urther entrench this un1ortunate
trait in you? so that you will be appropriately bran+e+ as
]obstinate +hutanga
mon6sJ- !hus all your reCuisites shoul+ be
labele+ ]the belongings o1 an obstinate mon6-J !his mon6 is stubborn?
that mon6 is shameless? the mon6 oAer there is +aUe+ R
until the whole monastery en+s up +ogge+ly +isobe+ient- An+ &
en+ up with nothing but har+hea+e+ stu+ents- #nce obstinacy
becomes the norm? the worl+ will brea6 up 1rom the strain an+
the s7sana will surely be re+uce+ to ruin- .hich o1 you still want
to be a har+hea+e+ mon6_ &s there anyone here who wants me to
be a teacher o1 har+hea+e+ mon6s_ &1 so? go bac6 tomorrow an+
+ig out that well again? so the earth can collapse an+ bury you
there- !hen you will be reborn in a har+hea+e+ heaAenly para+ise
where the +eAas can all come an+ a+mire your true greatness-
Surely no group o1 +eAas? inclu+ing those in the brahma realms?
haAe eAer seen or liAe+ in such a peculiar para+ise-B
A1ter that the tone o1 his Aoice became gentler? as +i+ the
theme o1 his tal6? enabling his au+ience to wholehearte+ly re1lect
on the error o1 their stubborn +isobe+ience- During the tal6? it
seeme+ as i1 eAeryone ha+ 1orgotten to breathe- #nce the tal6 was
oAer an+ the meeting a+Xourne+? the mon6s eKcite+ly Cuestione+
one another to 1in+ out who might haAe +are+ in1orm Scariya
Mun o1 the inci+ent? prompting this seAere scol+ing which
nearly ma+e them 1aint- Aeryone +enie+ in1orming him? as each
+rea+e+ a scol+ing as much as another- !he inci+ent passe+ without
a +e1initiAe answer to how Scariya Mun 6new-
S&N: H&S !&M A! SA'&$A :AV? Scariya Mun possesse+ a mastery
o1 psychic s6ills concerning all sorts o1 phenomena- #Aer the
years? his pro1iciency grew to such an eKtent that there seeme+
to be no limit to his abilities- As the mon6s liAing with him were
well aware o1 these abilities? they too6 strict care to be mentally
sel1)controlle+ at all times- !hey coul+nJt a11or+ to let their min+s
wan+er carelessly because their errant thoughts coul+ become the
subXect o1 a Dhamma tal6 they might receiAe at the eAening meeting-
!hey nee+e+ to be especially Aigilant +uring the meeting
when Scariya Mun was actually spea6ing to them- &n those brie1
moments when he stoppe+ spea6ing R perhaps to catch his breath?
perhaps to obserAe something R i1 he +etecte+ any stray thought
among the mon6s? he imme+iately ma+e an issue o1 it- !he tone
o1 his Aoice change+ +ramatically as he mimic6e+ the unmin+1ul
thoughts o1 one o1 those present- Although Scariya Mun +i+
not mention anyone by name? his tone imme+iately startle+ that
in+iAi+ual who became Cuite 1rightene+ to eAer +are thin6 li6e
that again-
Another time to be care1ul was when they 1ollowe+ him on
almsroun+- !hose who were unmin+1ul then were boun+ to hear
about their waywar+ thoughts at the neKt meeting- Sometimes it
was Aery embarrassing to haAe to listen to a tal6 on oneJs own waywar+
thoughts as other mon6s cast si+elong glances aroun+ the
assembly? not 6nowing who among them was being repriman+e+-
But once +iscoAere+? all the mon6s an+ noAices ten+e+ to react
similarly in a positiAe manner- &nstea+ o1 1eeling angry or +isappointe+
a1ter leaAing the meeting? all woul+ appear cheer1ul an+
contentV some eAen laughe+ as they inCuire+ o1 each other* @.ho
was it to+ay_ .ho got caught to+ay_B &tJs remar6able how honest
they were with their 1ellow mon6s about their errant thoughts-
&nstea+ o1 trying to 6eep his in+iscretion a secret? the guilty mon6
woul+ con1ess as soon as someone as6e+* @&Jm really stubborn an+
& coul+nJt help thin6ing about^ eAen though & 6new & was boun+
to get tol+ o11 1or thin6ing li6e that- .hen those thoughts came
up? & 1orgot all about my 1ear o1 Scariya Mun an+ Xust 1elt 1ull o1
mysel1 thin6ing such craUy thoughts- & +eserAe+ eKactly what & got-
&t will teach me a goo+ lesson about losing my sel1)control-B
to get tol+ o11 1or thin6ing li6e that- .hen those thoughts came
up? & 1orgot all about my 1ear o1 Scariya Mun an+ Xust 1elt 1ull o1
mysel1 thin6ing such craUy thoughts- & +eserAe+ eKactly what & got-
&t will teach me a goo+ lesson about losing my sel1)control-B
in which a mon6 con1esses to a +isciplinary o11ense as a
means o1 eliminating any sense o1 guilt or anKiety about its recurrence
in the 1uture- !hus? & woul+ li6e to relate a 1ew inci+ents
1rom the past to serAe as 1oo+ 1or thought 1or all o1 you whose
thoughts may cause you similar problems-
&n most cases? practicing mon6s receiAe+ a seAere rebu6e
1rom Scariya Mun because o1 a11airs pertaining to eKternal sense
obXects- 8or eKample? sights an+ soun+s are the most li6ely sense
impressions to cause trouble- An+ the most li6ely occasion 1or
mon6s to be scol+e+ was the morning almsroun+- .al6ing to the
Aillage 1or alms is an essential +uty o1 eAery mon6- #n these occasions?
mon6s encounter sights an+ soun+s? an+ are boun+ to thin6
about them- Some become so in1atuate+ with what they encounter
that their thoughts swirl into +isarray without their actual 6nowle+ge-
!hese are the primary causes o1 mental +istraction? enticing
the min+ eAen when one has no +esire to thin6 about them- By
the time a mon6 regaine+ min+1ulness? it was time 1or the eAening
meeting an+ the tongue)lashing he receiAe+ woul+ prompt him
to try to be more controlle+- A1ter a time? he again encountere+
the same enticing obXects an+ reopene+ the sore- Upon return
ing to the monastery? he woul+ receiAe another +ose o1 ]strong
me+icineJ? in the 1orm o1 another scol+ing? to apply to his sore- A
great many mon6s an+ noAices liAe+ with Scariya Mun an+ most
o1 them ha+ such 1estering sores- &1 one mon6 +i+nJt get a +ose
o1 his me+icine then another +i+- !hey went to the Aillage an+
were con1ronte+ by attractiAe sights an+ soun+s until they were
unable to stay out o1 trouble- :onseCuently? upon their return to
the monastery? when the opportunity arose? Scariya Mun woul+
haAe another go at them- &tJs natural 1or someone with 6ilesas
haAe a miKture o1 goo+ an+ ba+ thoughts- Scariya Mun +i+ not
giAe a lecture 1or eAery ba+ thought- .hat he criticiUe+ was the
ten+ency to thin6 in harm1ul ways- He wante+ them to thin6 in
terms o1 Dhamma? using min+1ulness an+ wis+om? so that they
coul+ 1ree themselAes 1rom +u66ha- He 1oun+ that? instea+ o1
easing their teacherJs bur+en with right1ul thin6ing? mon6s pre1erre+
to thin6 in ways that trouble+ him- Since many such mon6s
liAe+ with him? there were scol+ings nearly eAery eAening-
All o1 this serAes to illustrate that Scariya MunJs subtle ability
to 6now the thoughts o1 others was Aery real-== As 1or those
reprehensible thoughts? they +i+ not arise intentionally but acci+entally?
+ue to occasional lapses in min+1ulness- NeAertheless? as
a teacher imparting 6nowle+ge an+ s6ill to his stu+ents? Scariya
Mun Cuic6ly soun+e+ a warning when he notice+ something
inappropriate? so that the perpetrator coul+ become conscious o1
his lapse an+ learn to be more sel1)controlle+ in the 1uture- He
+i+ not want his stu+ents to get trappe+ into such thin6ing again?
1or it promotes habitual thought patterns that lea+ +irectly to mis1ortune-
Scariya MunJs teaching 1or the mon6s was thoroughly metic
ulous? showing great attention to +etail- !he rules o1 monastic +iscipline
were taught in +etail an+ sam7+hi an+ wis+om? belonging
to the higher Dhamma? were taught in eAen greater +epth- During
the time he liAe+ in Sari6a :aAe? he ha+ alrea+y begun to master
all leAels o1 sam7+hi an+ all interme+iate leAels o1 wis+om- As
1or the highest leAels o1 wis+om? & shall write about them later in
the story when Scariya MunJs practice 1inally reache+ that stage-
A1ter continuing his training in the Northeast region 1or a while
longer? he became eAen more pro1icient- !his enable+ him to use
his eKpertise to teach the mon6s about all leAels o1 sam7+hi? plus
the interme+iate leAels o1 wis+om- !hey in turn listene+ intently
to his eKpositions? which neAer +eAiate+ 1rom the authentic prin
ciples o1 sam7+hi an+ wis+om-
Scariya MunJs sam7+hi was strange an+ Cuite eKtraor+inary?
whether it was 6ha5i6a sam7+hi? upac7ra sam7+hi or appan7
sam7+hi-=D .hen his citta entere+ into 6ha5i6a sam7+hi? it remaine+
only 1or a moment? an+ instea+ o1 returning to its normal state?
it then with+rew an+ entere+ upac7ra sam7+hi- &n that state? he
came into contact with a countless Aariety o1 eKternal phenomena-
Sometimes he was inAolAe+ with ghosts? sometimes +eAas?
sometimes n7gas R innumerable worl+s o1 eKistence were contacte+
by this type o1 sam7+hi- &t was this access leAel sam7+hi
that Scariya Mun use+ to receiAe Aisitors whose 1orms were inAisible
to normal sight an+ whose Aoices were inau+ible to normal
hearing- Sometimes his citta 1loate+ up out o1 his bo+y an+ went
o11 to loo6 at the heaAenly realms an+ the +i11erent leAels o1 the
brahma worl+V then? it traAele+ +own into the regions o1 hell to
loo6 at the multitu+e o1 beings tormente+ by the results o1 their
own 6amma-
!he terms ]going upJ an+ ]going +ownJ are relatiAe? conAentional
1igures o1 speech? re1erring to the behaAior o1 gross physical
bo+ies- !hey haAe Aery little in common with the behaAior o1
the citta? which is something so subtle that it is beyon+ temporal
comparison- &n terms o1 the physical bo+y? going up an+ going
+own reCuire a +egree o1 earnest e11ort? but in terms o1 the citta?
they are merely 1igures o1 speech with no +egree o1 e11ort inAolAe+-
.hen we say that the heaAens? the brahma realms? an+ Nibb7na
are progressiAely ]higherJ an+ more re1ine+ leAels o1 eKistence or
that the realms o1 hell consist o1 progressiAely ]lowerJ leAels o1
eKistence? we are in 1act using a physical? material stan+ar+ to
measure that which eKists in a spiritual? psychic +imension- .e
might say that hell an+ heaAen? which are consi+ere+ to be lower
an+ higher respectiAely? are in some respects analogous to har+ene+
criminals an+ petty o11en+ers who liAe together in the same
prison? which itsel1 is locate+ in a community o1 law)abi+ing citiUens-
!hereJs no +istinction in 6in+ between the two types o1
prisoners because they all liAe together in the same prison- An+
thereJs no +istinction in 6in+ between them an+ law)abi+ing citiUens
because they are all human beings liAing on the same lan+
in the same country- .hat +istinguishes them is the 1act that
theyJAe been 6ept separate+-
At least the prison inmates an+ the general public can use
their normal sense 1aculties to be aware o1 each other- But beings
in the +i11erent spheres o1 eKistence are unaware o1 each other-
!hose liAing in the hell realms are unable to perceiAe those who
are in the heaAenly realmsV an+ Aice Aersa- Both groups are unable
to perceiAe the brahma worl+- An+ human beings? in turn? are
unaware o1 all who are in these +i11erent realms o1 eKistence- Aen
though the 1lows o1 consciousness 1rom each o1 these beings intermingle
constantly as they pass through one anotherJs sphere o1
eKistence? they are as obliAious o1 others as i1 theirs is the only
group in eKistence-
#r+inarily? our min+s are unable to 6now the thoughts o1
others- Because o1 this inability? we might then reason that they
+o not really eKist-
No matter how persistent these +enials might
be? we woul+ be wrong because all liAing beings possess a min+-
Aen though we are not aware o1 the thoughts o1 other beings?
we haAe no right to +eny that they eKist simply because we canJt
perceiAe them- .e cannot a11or+ to hol+ hostage the eKistence
o1 things which are too subtle to see an+ hear within the limitations
o1 our sense 1aculties- &1 we +o? we are Xust 1ooling ourselAes-
.hen we say that the heaAens an+ the brahma
worl+s are
arrange+ Aertically in a series o1 realms? one shoul+nJt un+erstan+
this in the gross material sense R such as? a house with many stories
reCuiring the use o1 stairs or an eleAator- !hese realms eKist
in a spiritual +imension an+ they are ascen+e+ in the spiritual
sense by spiritual means* that is? by the heart which has +eAelope+
this sort o1 capability through the practice o1 Airtue- .hen
we say that hell is ]+own belowJ? this +oes not mean +escen+ing
into an abyss- 'ather? it re1ers to +escent by spiritual means to
a spiritual +estination- An+ those who are able to obserAe the
hell realms +o so by Airtue o1 their own internal psychic 1aculties-
But those beings who ]1allJ into these realms +o so through
the power o1 their own eAil 6amma- !hey remain there? eKperiencing
whateAer torment an+ agony is impose+ on them by their
own mis+ee+s? until they haAe complete+ their punishment an+
are release+? in the same way that prison inmates are release+ at
the en+ o1 their sentences-
are release+? in the same way that prison inmates are release+ at
the en+ o1 their sentences-
enough to ma6e his citta stay still or go out to eKperience
Aarious phenomena as he wishe+- 8rom then on it was easy
1or him to practice the sam7+hi o1 his choice- 8or instance? he
coul+ enter momentarily into 6ha5i6a sam7+hi an+ then moAe
out to access sam7+hi in or+er to eKperience Aarious phenomena?
or he coul+ 1ocus intensiAely an+ enter into the 1ull absorption
o1 appan7 sam7+hi? where he woul+ rest 1or as long as necessary-
Appan7 sam7+hi is a state o1 per1ect calm thatJs absolutely serene
an+ peace1ul- Because o1 this? me+itators may become attache+ to
it- Scariya Mun sai+ that he was attache+ to this type o1 sam7+hi
1or awhile? but not 1or long? since he was by nature incline+ towar+
wis+om- So he was able to resolAe this matter himsel1 an+ 1in+ a
way out be1ore complacency set in-
Anyone who is trans1iKe+ in appan7 sam7+hi will ma6e slow
progress i1 they +o not try to apply wis+om to eKamine it- Because
it 1ills one with such happiness? many me+itators are hel+ 1ast by
this 6in+ o1 sam7+hi- A strong? lingering attachment 1orms? an+
the me+itator yearns 1or more? oAerwhelming any inclination to
eKamine things with wis+om? which is the way to era+icate all
6ilesas- Me+itators who 1ail to receiAe timely a+Aice 1rom a wise
person will be reluctant to +isengage themselAes an+ realiUe the
path o1 wis+om- .hen the citta remains attache+ 1or a long time
in such sam7+hi? conceits o1 Aarious 6in+s may +eAelopV such as?
belieAing that this calm an+ happy state is none other than Nibb7na?
the en+ o1 +u66ha- &n truth? when the citta ]conAergesJ into
the one)pointe+ness o1 appan7 sam7+hi so that its 1ocal point is
eKperience+ with the utmost clarity? it +wells 1ully absorbe+ in
serene happiness- But? the 6ilesas that cause birth in all realms
o1 eKistence simultaneously conAerge at the same 1ocal point as
well- &1 wis+om is not use+ to penetrate an+ +estroy those 6ilesas?
there is no +oubt that 1uture rebirths will ta6e place- !here1ore?
regar+less o1 the leAel o1 sam7+hi one practices? wis+om shoul+ be
incorporate+ into the practice as well- !his is especially true o1
appan7 sam7+hi- #therwise? the citta will only eKperience tranCuility
without eAincing a capacity 1or resource1ulness an+ +iscernment-
B( !H !&M #8 H&S S:#ND !'&P to the Northeast? Scariya Mun was
well)eKperience+ in the interme+iate leAel o1 wis+om? since su11icient
wis+om is necessary 1or haAing a+Aance+ to the Anag7m`
leAel o1 Dhamma- #therwise? he woul+ not haAe been capable o1
e11ectiAe inAestigation at that leAel- Be1ore reaching that leAel? one
must employ wis+om to success1ully pass through bo+y contemplation-
!his reCuires seeing the attractiAe as well as the repulsiAe
aspects o1 the bo+y without getting caught up in either eKtreme-=M
!he citta uses wis+om to isolate the attractiAe an+ repulsiAe aspects
an+ then passes through the mi+point where these two eKtremes
meet? haAing resolAe+ all +oubt an+ attachment concerning the
bo+y- !his passage? howeAer? is nothing more than a transitional
stage along the way- &t is analogous to ta6ing an eKamination
an+ passing with the minimum reCuirement? necessitating 1urther
stu+y to achieAe the maKimum gra+e- !hose who haAe penetrate+
to the An7g7m` leAel o1 un+erstan+ing must still train their
wis+om until it reaches an eAen more re1ine+ +egree o1 eKpertise
be1ore it can be sai+ that they are 1ull)1le+ge+ An7g7m`s- Shoul+
such a person then +ie? he woul+ imme+iately be reborn in the
1i1th or a6ani00ha
plane o1 the brahma
worl+ without haAing to
pass through the 1our lower brahma planes-
Scariya Mun recounte+ how he was +elaye+ at that leAel
1or Cuite some time because he ha+ no one to a+Aise him- As he
struggle+ to 1amiliariUe himsel1 with the An7g7m` leAel o1 practice?
he ha+ to be Aery care1ul not to ma6e any mista6es- He 6new
1rom his eKperience in analyUing subtle aspects o1 Dhamma that
the 6ilesas
might un+ermine his e11orts? 1or they were as eCually
subtle as the min+1ulness an+ wis+om he was using to counter
them- !his ma+e it Aery +i11icult to penetrate each successiAe
leAel o1 Dhamma- He sai+ it was absolutely incre+ible how har+ he
struggle+ to negotiate that +ense? thorny thic6et- Be1ore he ma+e
his way through to come an+ 6in+ly teach the rest o1 us? he su11ere+
great har+ship? ma6ing the ar+uous Xourney all alone-
.hen the occasion was right? he use+ to +escribe this part
o1 his practice to us- & mysel1 was moAe+ to tears in two instances
while listening to his +escription o1 the terrible or+eal he 1ace+ at
that time? an+ the amaUingly subtle an+ pro1oun+ nature o1 the
Dhamma he attaine+- & won+ere+ whether & ha+ enough inherent
Airtue to enable me to crawl along in his 1ootsteps? or whether
& was +estine+ to go the way o1 or+inary people in the worl+- But
his wor+s were Aery encouraging an+ always helpe+ to sustain my
resolAe to perseAere- Scariya Mun sai+ that wheneAer he accelerate+
his e11orts to apply wis+om? his citta became weary o1 association
with others an+ he became eAen more committe+ to his
me+itation practice- He 6new at that stage that his practice still
nee+e+ strengtheningV yet he 1elt oblige+ to stay an+ train his +isciples
so that they might also +eAelop some Dhamma principles
in their hearts-
S:A'&(A MUN %&VD 1or three or 1our years in the area o1 Ban Sam
Phong Aillage in Sri Song6hram +istrict? Na6hon Phanom proAince-
He spent one year at Ban Huay Sai Aillage in $ham :ha)ee
+istrict o1 the same proAince? as well as the Aillages o1 Nong Sung
an+ $ho6 $lang- He particularly li6e+ staying in those places
since they were all Aery mountainous- Nearby in the Pa6 $ut
mountains were many +eAas R an+ tigers there were particularly
abun+ant- .hen night +escen+e+? tigers woul+ wan+er aroun+
his liAing area while the +eAas came to reXoice in hearing the
&n the mi++le o1 the night? the roars o1 huge tigers echoe+
through the 1orest close to where he liAe+- #n some nights a whole
host o1 them roare+ together? much li6e a crow+ o1 people yelling
bac6 an+ 1orth to one another- .hen the terri1ying soun+s o1
those enormous cats resoun+e+ through the +ar6ness? the e11ect
was in+ee+ Aery 1rightening- !here were nights when the mon6s
an+ noAices 1aile+ to get any sleep? 1earing that the tigers woul+
come to snatch an+ +eAour them- Scariya Mun cleAerly 1oun+
ways to use their 1ears o1 tigers to spur the mon6s to practice +iligently-
'ather enigmatically? he woul+ say* @Anyone whoJs e11orts
are laUy R watch out2 !he tigers in this mountain range really loAe
laUy mon6s- !hey 1in+ them especially tasty eating2 So i1 you want
to aAoi+ becoming a tasty meal 1or a tiger? you ha+ better be +iligent-
(ou see? tigers are actually a1rai+ o1 anyone whoJs +iligently
striAing? so they wonJt eat that person-B A1ter hearing this? all the
mon6s re+ouble+ their e11orts as though their Aery liAes +epen+e+
on it- !hey 1orce+ themselAes to go out an+ +o wal6ing me+itation?
+espite the roar o1 tigers all aroun+ the Aicinity- Although
they remaine+ a1rai+? they belieAe+ what Scariya Mun tol+ them*
that laUy mon6s coul+ eKpect to be a tigerJs neKt meal-
!heir precarious situation was ma+e eAen worse by the 1act
that they +i+nJt haAe huts as they woul+ in a monastery R only
small plat1orms Xust big enough to sleep on which were Aery low
to the groun+- &1 a tiger became hungry thereJ+ be no contest-
Scariya Mun relate+ that on some nights huge tigers wan+ere+
into the mon6Js area? but then simply wal6e+ harmlessly past- He
6new that tigers normally woul+ not +are +o anything 1or the
were always on guar+- .hen +eAas
came 1or a Dhamma
tal6? they mentione+ to him that they were protecting the area
an+ woul+ not let anything trouble the mon6s or cause them
harm- !hose +eAas
also inAite+ Scariya Mun to remain in the
area 1or a long time-
&n truth? Scariya MunJs a+monition to the mon6s was simply
a means o1 arousing 1ear so that they woul+ ta6e an increase+
interest in their practice- As 1or the tigers? they seeme+ to 6now
that the mon6sJ liAing area was a sa1e haAen- Various 6in+s o1
wil+ animals? too? 1elt no nee+ to be wary o1 hunters entering the
mon6sJ Aicinity? 1or when the Aillagers 6new where Scariya Mun
was staying? they rarely +are+ to hunt the area- !hey were con
cerne+ about the +rea+1ul moral conseCuences- !hey were terri1ie+
that i1 anyone shot a gun in that area it woul+ eKplo+e in
his han+s an+ 6ill him- Strangely enough? wheneAer he went to
stay in an area teeming with tigers? those beasts woul+ stop 6illing
the +omesticate+ cows an+ bu11aloes aroun+ the local Aillages-
Nobo+y 6new where they went to obtain their 1oo+- !hese
remar6able inci+ents were relate+ by Scariya Mun himsel1 an+
later con1irme+ by many Aillagers in those localities where he ha+
An &mpeccable Human Being
Another mysterious inci+ent happene+ when a gathering o1 +eAas
Aisite+ Scariya Mun- !heir lea+er began a conAersation with him?
@(our stay here has cause+ much +elight in all the +eAas-
.e all enXoy an eKtraor+inary sense o1 happiness +ue to your all)
embracing aura o1 compassionate loAe that permeates through the
heaAens an+ sprea+s across the earth- !his aura that ra+iates 1rom
you is in+escribable an+ won+er1ul beyon+ compare- Because o1
it? we always 6now where you are- !his aura o1 Dhamma emanates
1rom you an+ streams out in all +irections- .hen you are
teaching Dhamma to the mon6s? noAices an+ lay people? eAen the
soun+ o1 your Aoice resonates unboun+e+ through the higher an+
lower realms- .hereAer +eAas liAe they hear your Aoice R only the
+ea+ are +ea1 to it-B
& woul+ li6e to write a bit more about this conAersation
between Scariya Mun an+ the +eAa- Although & cannot Aouch 1or
its accuracy? & hear+ it 1rom a reliable source- Scariya Mun too6
up the conAersation with this Cuestion* @&1 my Aoice really resonates
as you say? why +onJt human beings hear it as well_B
!he lea+er o1 the +eAas replie+*
@.hat woul+ humans 6now about moral Airtue_ !hey
coul+nJt care less- !hey use their siK senses to ma6e eAil 6amma
an+ create the con+itions 1or hell within themselAes all the time-
!hey +o this 1rom the +ay they are born until the +ay they +ie-
!hey are not nearly as concerne+ about moral issues as they ought
to be? giAen their status as human beings- !here are Aery 1ew
in+ee+ who are intereste+ in using their senses in any morally
bene1icial way- !he amount o1 moral Airtue in their liAes is really
Cuite limite+- By way o1 comparison* in the time that it ta6es
one human being to +ie an+ be reborn? repeate+ly ten or eAen
one hun+re+ times? the aAerage +eAa has yet to pass away eAen
onceanot to mention the brahma +eAas who haAe eKceptionally
long liAes- !he population o1 human6in+ is Aast? an+ this in turn
means a Aast amount o1 negligence? 1or those who are hee+1ul are
1ew an+ 1ar between- Man6in+ is suppose+ to sa1eguar+ the s7sana?
an+ yet people themselAes 6now precious little about the s7sana or
moral eKcellence-
@Ba+ people 6now only eAil- !heir sole claim to being human
comes 1rom the 1act that they are breathing- As soon as their
breathing stops? they are imme+iately burie+ un+er the weight o1
their own wic6e+ness- !he +eAas 6now about this- .hy shoul+nJt
they_ &tJs no secret- .hen a person +ies? mon6s are inAite+ to
chant auspicious Aerses o1 Dhamma 1or the +ecease+- .hy woul+
an eAil person listen then_ 8rom the initial moment o1 +eath? his
consciousness is completely boun+ up by his eAil 6amma- So what
chance woul+ he haAe to come an+ listen to Dhamma_ Aen while
aliAe he wasnJt intereste+- #nly the liAing can hear Dhamma R
i1 they haAe the interest an+ +esire- But itJs obAious that theyJre
not really intereste+- HaAenJt you notice+ them_ .hen haAe they
eAer shown an interest when the mon6s chant Dhamma Aerses_
Because they show no interest? itJs obAious that the s7sana is not
truly embe++e+ in their hearts- !he things that theyJre most in1atuate+
with are sor+i+ an+ +isli6e+ eAen by some animals- !hese are
Xust the 6in+s o1 things that immoral people haAe always enXoye+
more than anything elseV an+ they neAer eAer grow tire+ o1 them-
Aen when they are near +eath they still han6er a1ter such things-
.e +eAas 6now much more about humans than humans 6now
about +eAas- (ou? Aenerable sir? are a Aery special mon6- (ou are
Cuite 1amiliar with humans? +eAas? creatures o1 hell? an+ beings o1
all sorts- !hat is why +eAas eAerywhere pay homage to you-B
.hen the +eAa ha+ 1inishe+ spea6ing? Scariya Mun as6e+
him 1or clari1ication* @DeAas possess +iAine sight an+ +iAine hearing?
enabling them to see an+ hear oAer great +istances- !hey
6now about the goo+ an+ ba+ o1 human a11airs better than +o
humans themselAes- :oul+nJt you 1in+ a way to ma6e humans
more aware o1 right an+ wrong_ & 1eel that you are more capable
o1 it than we human teachers are- &s there any way you coul+ +o
!he +eAa replie+*
@.e +eAas haAe seen many humans? but we haAe neAer seen
one as impeccable as you? sir- (ou haAe always eKten+e+ loAing
6in+ness to +eAas an+ humans ali6e while acCuainting them
simultaneously with the great Aariety o1 beings in eKistence? 1rom
the grossest to the most re1ine+- (ou haAe trie+ to teach them to
accept the 1act that +eAas? an+ countless other spheres o1 eKistence
really +o eKist in this worl+- But still? generation a1ter generation?
1rom birth to +eath? people haAe neAer actually seen these
beings- So what interest woul+ they haAe in +eAas_ At most? they
may catch a glimpse o1 something strange? an+? without consi+ering
the matter care1ully? claim they haAe seen a ghost- How coul+
they possibly hope to receiAe any a+Aice about matters o1 goo+ an+
ba+ 1rom us +eAas_ Although +eAas are constantly aware o1 them?
humans arenJt the least intereste+ in 6nowing anything about us-
By what means woul+ you haAe us teach people_ &tJs really a hopeless
situation- .e Xust haAe to let 6amma an+ its results ta6e their
course- Aen the +eAas themselAes constantly receiAe the results
o1 their 6amma- .ere we 1ree 1rom it? we woul+ all attain Nibb7na-
!hen we woul+nJt haAe to remain in this +i11icult situation
so long-B
@(ou say that one may attain Nibb7na when oneJs 6amma
is eKhauste+- Do +eAas 6now about Nibb7na_ Do they eKperience
pain an+ su11ering li6e other beings_B
@.hy shoul+nJt we? Aenerable sir_ All the Bu++has who haAe
come to teach the worl+ haAe taught without eKception that we
shoul+ transcen+ +u66ha- !hey neAer instructe+ us to remain mire+
in su11ering- But worl+ly beings are 1ar more intereste+ in their
1aAorite playthings than they are in Nibb7na- :onseCuently? not
one o1 them eAer consi+ers attaining Nibb7na- All +eAas remember
an+ are Aery impresse+ by the concept o1 Nibb7na as it was taught
by each an+ eAery Bu++ha to liAing beings eAerywhere- But +eAas
still haAe a +ense web o1 6amma to wor6 through be1ore they can
moAe clear o1 their celestial eKistence an+ go the way o1 Nibb7na-
#nly then will all problems cease an+ this oppressiAe? repetitiAe
cycle o1 birth? +eath an+ rebirth 1inally come to a halt- But as long
as some 6amma remains in an in+iAi+ual R be it goo+ 6amma or
ba+ 6amma R regar+less o1 his realm o1 eKistence +u66ha will be
present as well-B
cycle o1 birth? +eath an+ rebirth 1inally come to a halt- But as long
as some 6amma remains in an in+iAi+ual R be it goo+ 6amma or
ba+ 6amma R regar+less o1 his realm o1 eKistence +u66ha will be
present as well-B
@!here are a 1ew but not many- Mostly? they are mon6s who
li6e to practice liAing in the 1orests an+ mountains as you +oB
@Are there any lay people with this ability_B
@!here are some? but Aery 1ew- !hey must be people who
+esire the way o1 Dhamma an+ who haAe practice+ the way until
their hearts are bright an+ clear- #nly then can they haAe 6nowle+ge
o1 us- !he bo+ily 1orm o1 celestial beings appears relatiAely
gross to those beings themselAes? but is 1ar too subtle 1or the aAerage
human being to perceiAe- So only people whose hearts are
bright an+ clear can perceiAe +eAas without +i11iculty-B
@&n the scriptures it says that +eAas +o not li6e to be near
humans because o1 their repugnant smell- .hat is this repugnant
o+or_ &1 there is such an o+or? why +o you all come to Aisit me so
@Human beings who haAe a high stan+ar+ o1 morality are
not repugnant to us- Such people haAe a 1ragrance which inspires
us to Aenerate themV so we neAer tire o1 coming to hear you +iscourse
on Dhamma- !hose? eKu+ing a repulsiAe o+or? are people
whose morality stin6s? 1or they haAe +eAelope+ an aAersion to
moral Airtue eAen though it is consi+ere+ to be something eKceptionally
goo+ throughout the three worl+s- &nstea+? they pre1er
things that are repugnant to eAeryone with high moral stan+ar+s-
.e haAe no +esire to approach such people- !hey are really o11ensiAe
an+ their stench sprea+s 1ar an+ wi+e- &tJs not that +eAas +is
li6e humansV but this is what +eAas encounter an+ haAe always
eKperience+ with humans-B
li6e humansV but this is what +eAas encounter an+ haAe always
eKperience+ with humans-B
Hey? &Jm starting to get craUy- &nstea+ o1 thin6ing about 1ree+om 1rom
+u66ha? here & am chasing a1ter sha+ows o1 a past thatJs long gone-
&n this way he regaine+ his min+1ulness 1or a while? but as soon
as it slippe+ again he woul+ reAisit those same thoughts- 8or this
reason? many mon6s 1oun+ it necessary to censure themselAes on
a regular basis-
S:A'&(A MUNJS S!#'&S about the +eAas an+ other Aisiting spirits
were Cuite 1ascinating- &n particular? he spo6e about how the
ghost worl+ has its share o1 hooligans Xust li6e we +o- Ba+ characters?
who cause +isturbances? are roun+e+ up an+ imprisone+ in a
place which we humans woul+ call a Xail- Di11erent types o1 o11en+ers
are imprisone+ in +i11erent cell bloc6s? an+ all the cells are 1ull-
!here are male hooligan ghosts an+ 1emale hooligan ghosts- An+
then there are the Aery brutal types? again either male or 1emale-
Scariya Mun sai+ that it was clear 1rom the cruelty in their eyes
that they woul+ not respon+ to 6in+ness an+ compassion-
that they woul+ not respon+ to 6in+ness an+ compassion-
encountere+ in the ghost cities was 1urther eAi+ence o1 this-
!here are beings with accumulate+ merit who are nonetheless
born into the ghost state as a result o1 their 6amma? but? their
Airtuous characters neAer change? so they eKercise great authority-
#ne such in+iAi+ual is eAen capable o1 goAerning a large community-
!hese ghost communities +o not segregate into groups or
castes as humans +o- &nstea+? they a+here strictly to the authority
o1 Dhamma principles- !he e11ects o1 their 6amma
ma6e it impossible
1or them to hol+ the 6in+ o1 preXu+ice that people +o- !he
nature o1 their eKistence is goAerne+ by the nature o1 their 6amma
R this is a 1iKe+ principle- !he way we use authority in this worl+
cannot? there1ore? be applie+ in the worl+ herea1ter- Scariya Mun
eKplaine+ this matter in great +etail but? &Jm sorry to say? & can
remember only a little o1 it-
Scariya MunJs Aisits to the ghosts were +one psychically
through sam7+hi
me+itation- As soon as they saw him they hurrie+
to tell eAeryone to come an+ pay their respects to him? Xust
as we humans woul+ +o- !he chie1 ghost? who was Aery respect1ul
o1 Scariya Mun an+ ha+ great 1aith in him? gui+e+ him on a
tour past the many places where the ghosts liAe+? inclu+ing the
]XailJ where the male an+ 1emale hooligans were 6ept- !he chie1
ghost eKplaine+ to Scariya Mun the liAing con+itions o1 the +i11erent
types o1 ghosts? pointing out that the imprisone+ ghosts
were mean)hearte+ types who ha+ un+uly +isturbe+ the peace
o1 the others- !hey were sentence+ an+ Xaile+ accor+ing to the
seAerity o1 their o11ense- !he wor+ ]ghostJ is a +esignation giAen
to them by humansV but actually they are Xust one type o1 liAing
being among others in the uniAerse who eKist accor+ing to their
own natural con+itions-
S:A'&(A MUN &NVA'&AB%( li6e+ to remain in an+ aroun+ mountains
an+ 1orests 1or long perio+s o1 time- A1ter haAing been in
Na6hon Phanom 1or Cuite a while instructing the mon6s? he began
to necessarily consi+er his own position- He o1ten re1lecte+ on
the nature o1 his own practice- He 6new that he still lac6e+ su11icient
strength o1 purpose to 1inish the ultimate tas6 be1ore him-
&t became clear that as long as he continue+ to resist this call an+
remain teaching his +isciples? his own personal striAing woul+ be
+elaye+- He sai+ that eAer since he ha+ returne+ 1rom the :entral
Plains in or+er to instruct mon6s in the Northeast? he 1elt that
his citta
ha+ not a+Aance+ as 1ast as when he was liAing alone- He
1elt that he ha+ to accelerate his e11orts once more be1ore he coul+
achieAe the 1inal goal an+ be 1ree o1 all concerns about himsel1-
At that time? Scariya MunJs mother ha+ been liAing with him 1or
siK years as an up7si67-=P His concern 1or her ma+e it inconAenient
1or him to go anywhere- So? haAing secure+ her agreement? he
+eci+e+ to escort her to Ubon 'atchathani- He then le1t Na6hon
Phanom with his mother an+ a large 1ollowing o1 mon6s an+ noA
ices? cutting straight across the Nong Sung mountains? through
$ham :ha)ee? an+ coming out at the +istrict o1 %erng No6 !ha
in the proAince o1 Ubon 'atchathani- !hat year he spent the
rains retreat at Ban Nong $hon in the Amnat :haroen +istrict
o1 Ubon 'atchathani proAince- Many mon6s an+ noAices staye+
there with him? an+ he traine+ them Aigorously- .hile he was
there the number o1 mon6s an+ lay +eAotees? who gaine+ 1aith
an+ came to train un+er him? stea+ily increase+-
ices? cutting straight across the Nong Sung mountains? through
$ham :ha)ee? an+ coming out at the +istrict o1 %erng No6 !ha
in the proAince o1 Ubon 'atchathani- !hat year he spent the
rains retreat at Ban Nong $hon in the Amnat :haroen +istrict
o1 Ubon 'atchathani proAince- Many mon6s an+ noAices staye+
there with him? an+ he traine+ them Aigorously- .hile he was
there the number o1 mon6s an+ lay +eAotees? who gaine+ 1aith
an+ came to train un+er him? stea+ily increase+-
+roppe+ into calm a Aision appeare+ o1 many mon6s an+
noAices wal6ing respect1ully behin+ him in a nice? or+erly 1ashion
which inspire+ +eAotion- (et? there were other mon6s who hurrie+
past? wal6ing ahea+ o1 him without respect or sel1)control- #thers
loo6e+ 1or an opportunity to pass him in a completely un+iscipline+
manner- An+ 1inally? there were some who hel+ pieces o1
split bamboo? using it to pinch his chest so that he coul+ har+ly
breath- .hen he saw these +i11erent mon6s +isplay such +isrespect
R eAen cruelly tormenting him R he 1ocuse+ his citta
to loo6 into eAents o1 the 1uture- &mme+iately? he un+erstoo+
that those? who wal6e+ respect1ully behin+ him in a nice? or+erly
1ashion which inspire+ +eAotion? were the mon6s who woul+ con+uct
themselAes properly? 1aith1ully putting his teaching into practice-
!hese were the mon6s who woul+ reAere him an+ uphol+ the
s7sana? assuring that it woul+ 1lourish in the 1uture- !hey woul+
be able to ma6e themselAes use1ul to the s7sana
an+ to people
eAerywhere by maintaining the continuity o1 tra+itional Bu++hist
customs an+ practices into the 1uture- Honore+ an+ respecte+ by
people on earth an+ beings throughout the celestial realms? they
woul+ uphol+ the integrity o1 the s7sana
1ollowing the tra+ition o1
the Noble #nes? so that it +i+ not +ecline an+ +isappear-
.al6ing past him carelessly without respect were the pretentious
ones who thought they alrea+y 6new it all- !hey consi+ere+
their own me+itation to be eAen superior to that o1 their
teacher? +isregar+ing the 1act that he ha+ preAiously gui+e+ them
all in its proper practice- !hey were not the least bit intereste+ in
showing gratitu+e 1or his tutelage in matters o1 Dhamma because
they alrea+y consi+ere+ themselAes to be cleAer eKperts in eAerything-
An+ thus they behaAe+ accor+ingly? which was ruinous not
only to themselAes? but also to the entire s7sana? inclu+ing all the
people who might come to them 1or gui+ance- !heir min+s poisone+
by the errors o1 such mon6s? these people woul+ in turn
harm themselAes an+ others? inclu+ing 1uture generations? without
+iscoAering whether they were on the right path or not-
!he neKt group consiste+ o1 those who waite+ 1or the chance
to pass him? signaling the start o1 a ba+ attitu+e that woul+ +eAelop
an+ haAe repercussions 1or the 1uture s7sana- Much li6e the preAious
group? they hel+ a Aariety o1 erroneous Aiews? causing harm
to themselAes an+ the religion as a whole- !ogether? they were a
menace to the s7sana? the spiritual 1ocus o1 all Bu++hists- Because
they 1aile+ to rightly consi+er the conseCuences o1 their actions?
the s7sana was in +anger o1 being utterly +estroye+-
!he mon6s who pinche+ Scariya MunJs chest with pieces o1
split bamboo consi+ere+ themselAes to be astutely well)in1orme+
an+ acte+ accor+ingly- Despite their wrong1ul actions? they +i+
not ta6e right an+ wrong into consi+eration in thin6ing about
their behaAior- #n top o1 that? they were boun+ to cause Bu++hist
circles an+ their teacher a great +eal o1 +iscom1ort- Scariya Mun
sai+ that he 6new eKactly who were among this last group o1
mon6s? an+ that they woul+ cause him trouble be1ore long- He
was sa++ene+ that they woul+ +o such a thing since they were his
1ormer +isciples who ha+ his consent an+ blessing to spen+ the
rains retreat nearby- 'ather than treating him with all the respect
he +eserAe+? they planne+ to return an+ bother him-
circles an+ their teacher a great +eal o1 +iscom1ort- Scariya Mun
sai+ that he 6new eKactly who were among this last group o1
mon6s? an+ that they woul+ cause him trouble be1ore long- He
was sa++ene+ that they woul+ +o such a thing since they were his
1ormer +isciples who ha+ his consent an+ blessing to spen+ the
rains retreat nearby- 'ather than treating him with all the respect
he +eserAe+? they planne+ to return an+ bother him-
o11icials came to Aisit his monastery- !he +elegation was
accompanie+ by the Aery same +isciples who ha+ le+ the assault on
him in his Aision- .ithout reAealing his Aision to them? he care1ully
obserAe+ their actions- !ogether they reCueste+ his support
in soliciting money 1rom the local people in or+er to buil+ seAeral
schools in the area- !hey eKplaine+ that this woul+ help the goAernment-
!hey ha+ all agree+ to approach Scariya Mun 1or assistance
since he was highly reAere+ by the people- !hey 1elt that the
proXect woul+ surely be a success i1 he were inAolAe+- As soon as he
6new the reason 1or their Aisit? Scariya Mun imme+iately un+erstoo+
that these two mon6s were the principle instigators o1 this
troublesome business- &t was represente+ in his Aision o1 the assault-
%ater? he as6e+ both mon6s to come to him an+ instructe+ them
in appropriate behaAior 1or a practicing Bu++hist mon6 R someone
whoJs way o1 li1e is roote+ in sel1)restraint an+ tranCuillity-
!his story is recounte+ here to help the rea+er un+erstan+
the mysterious nature o1 the citta* how it is Cuite capable o1 6nowing
things both apparent an+ hi++en? inclu+ing 6nowle+ge o1
things past an+ 1uture? as well as o1 the present- Scariya Mun
eKempli1ie+ this ability on numerous occasions- He con+ucte+
himsel1 with total +etachment- His thoughts neAer conceale+
any ulterior? worl+ly motiAes- .hateAer he sai+ stemme+ 1rom
his 6nowle+ge an+ insights an+ was purpose1ully spo6en to ma6e
people thin6- His intention was neAer to 1ool cre+ulous people or
to cause harm-
any ulterior? worl+ly motiAes- .hateAer he sai+ stemme+ 1rom
his 6nowle+ge an+ insights an+ was purpose1ully spo6en to ma6e
people thin6- His intention was neAer to 1ool cre+ulous people or
to cause harm-
Among present)+ay 6amma00h7na
mon6s? Scariya MunJs
eKperiences stan+ out 1or being uniCuely broa+ in scope an+ truly
amaUing R both in the sphere o1 his me+itation practice an+ the
insights +eriAe+ 1rom his psychic 6nowle+ge- Sometimes? when
the circumstances were appropriate? he spo6e +irectly an+ speci1ically
about his intuitiAe 6nowle+ge- (et at other times? he re1erre+
only in+irectly to what he 6new an+ use+ it 1or general teaching
purposes- 8ollowing his eKperience with the el+erly mon6? whose
thoughts he rea+ +uring his stay at Sari6a :aAe? he was eKtremely
cautious about +isclosing his insights to others +espite his earnest
+esire to help his stu+ents see the errors in their thin6ing-
.hen he pointe+ out can+i+ly that this mon6 was thin6ing
in the wrong way? or that that mon6 was thin6ing in the
right way? his listeners were a+Aersely a11ecte+ by his 1ran6ness-
!hey inAariably misun+erstoo+ his charitable intent instea+ o1
bene1iting 1rom it as was his purpose- !a6ing o11ense at his wor+s
coul+ easily lea+ to harm1ul conseCuences- !hus? most o1 the
time Scariya Mun a+monishe+ mon6s in+irectly 1or he was concerne+
that the culprits woul+ 1eel embarrasse+ an+ 1rightene+
in 1ront o1 their 1ellows- .ithout i+enti1ying anyone by name? he
merely gaAe a warning in or+er to 1oster sel1)awareness- Aen so?
the culprit sometimes became terribly +istresse+? 1in+ing himsel1
rebu6e+ ami+st the assemble+ mon6s- Scariya Mun was Aery well
aware o1 this? as he was o1 the most eKpe+ient metho+ to use in
any giAen circumstance-
the culprit sometimes became terribly +istresse+? 1in+ing himsel1
rebu6e+ ami+st the assemble+ mon6s- Scariya Mun was Aery well
aware o1 this? as he was o1 the most eKpe+ient metho+ to use in
any giAen circumstance-
recor+e+ eAerything that Scariya Mun relate+ himsel1-
Many senior +isciples? who liAe+ un+er his tutelage? haAe con1irme+
an+ elaborate+ on these accounts? leaAing us with a Aast
array o1 stories-
9N'A%%( SPA$&N9? eKternal sense obXects pose the greatest
+anger to practicing mon6s- !hey enXoy thin6ing about sights?
soun+s? smells? tastes? bo+ily contact an+ mental images concerning
the opposite seK- !hough this is uninten+e+? the ten+ency to
+o it is +eeply ingraine+ in their personalities- &neAitably these
were the primary subXects o1 Scariya MunJs a+monitions? whether
giAen +irectly or in+irectly- Mon6s ha+ other 6in+s o1 thoughts o1
course? but unless they were particularly serious he woul+nJt ta6e
much notice-
!he eAening meeting was the most important time by 1ar-
Scariya Mun wante+ the members o1 his au+ience to be both
physically an+ mentally calm- He +i+nJt want anything to +isturb
them? or himsel1? while he was spea6ing? ensuring that his
+isciples receiAe+ maKimum bene1it 1rom listening- &1 someone
allowe+ wil+? unwholesome thoughts to arise at that time? he was
usually struc6 by a bolt o1 lightning R right in the mi++le o1 the
thoughts that absorbe+ him? right in the mi++le o1 the meeting-
!his ma+e the mon6? who +are+ to thin6 so rec6lessly? tremble
an+ almost 1aint on the spot- Although no name was mentione+?
Scariya MunJs +isclosure o1 the content o1 the o11ensiAe thoughts
was enough to sen+ a shoc6 through the guilty one- #ther mon6s
were also alarme+? 1earing that in a moment o1 carelessness they
themselAes might 1all prey to similar thoughts- .hen lightning
struc6 continuously +uring the course o1 a Dhamma tal6? his au+ience
succumbe+ to the pressure an+ sat Aery attentiAely on guar+-
Some mon6s actually entere+ into a me+itatiAe state o1 complete
tranCuillity at that time- !hose who +i+ not attain such a state
were still able to stay calm an+ cautious 1rom 1ear that lightning
might stri6e again i1 their thoughts straye+ R or perhaps the haw6
they 1eare+ was swooping +own to snatch their hea+s2
8or this reason? those mon6s resi+ing with Scariya Mun
gra+ually +eAelope+ a soli+ 1oun+ation 1or centering their hearts-
!he longer they remaine+ with him? the more their inner an+
outer +emeanors harmoniUe+ with his- !hose who committe+ to
stay with him 1or a long time submitte+ willingly to his Aigorous
teaching metho+s- .ith patience? they came to un+erstan+ all
the s6ill1ul means he use+? whether in the +aily routine or +uring
a +iscourse on Dhamma- !hey obserAe+ him tirelessly? trying to
thoroughly 1ollow his eKample as best they coul+- !heir ten+ency
to +esire Dhamma an+ be serious about all aspects o1 +aily practice
increase+ their inner 1ortitu+e little by little each +ay? until
they eAentually stoo+ on their own-
!hose mon6s who neAer achieAe+ positiAe results 1rom liAing
with him usually pai+ more attention to eKternal matters than to
internal ones- 8or instance? they were a1rai+ that Scariya Mun
woul+ berate them wheneAer their thoughts 1oolishly straye+- .hen
he +i+ rebu6e them 1or this? they became too scare+ to thin6 o1
solAing the problem themselAes? as woul+ be1it mon6s who were
training un+er Scariya Mun- &t ma+e no sense at all to go to an
eKcellent teacher only to continue 1ollowing the same ol+ ten+encies-
!hey went there? liAe+ there? an+ remaine+ unchange+*
they listene+ with the same pre1iKe+ attitu+es? an+ in+ulge+ in the
same ol+ patterns o1 thought- Aerything was +one in an habitual
manner? la+en with 6ilesas? so that there was no room 1or Scariya
MunJs way to penetrate- .hen they le1t him? they went as they ha+
comeV they remaine+ unchange+- (ou can be sure that there was
little change in their personal Airtue to warrant mentioning? an+
that the Aices that engul1e+ them continue+ to accumulate? unabate+-
Since they neAer tire+ o1 this? they simply remaine+ as so
many un1ortunate people without e11ectiAe means to oppose this
ten+ency an+ reAerse their course- No matter how long they liAe+
with Scariya Mun? they were no +i11erent than a la+le in a pot
o1 +elicious stew* neAer 6nowing the taste o1 the stew? the la+le
merely moAes repeate+ly out o1 one pot an+ into another-
Similarly? the 6ilesas
that amass immeasurable eAil? pic6 us
up an+ throw us into this pot o1 pain? that pot o1 su11ering- No
+oubt? & mysel1 am one o1 those who gets pic6e+ up an+ thrown
into one pot an+ then into another- & li6e to be +iligent an+ apply
mysel1? but something 6eeps whispering at me to be laUy- & li6e to
1ollow Scariya MunJs eKampleV an+ & li6e to listen an+ thin6 in
the way o1 Dhamma as he has taught- But again? that something
whispers at me to go an+ liAe an+ thin6 in my ol+ habitual way- &t
+oesnJt want me to change in any way whatsoeAer- &n the en+? we
trust the 6ilesas
until we 1all 1ast asleep an+ submit to +oing eAerything
in the ol+ habitual way- !hus? we remain Xust our ol+ habit
ual selAes? without changes or improAements to inspire sel1)esteem
or a+miration 1rom others- Habitual ten+encies are an eKtremely
important issue 1or eAery one o1 us- !heir roots are burie+ +eep
insi+e- &1 we +onJt really apply ourselAes conscientiously? obserAing
an+ Cuestioning eAerything? then these roots are terribly +i11icult
to pull out-
S:A'&(A MUN DPA'!D 1rom Ban Nong $hon with his mother at
the beginning o1 the +ry season- !hey staye+ one or two nights at
each Aillage until they arriAe+ at his home Aillage? where Scariya
Mun resi+e+ 1or a time- He instructe+ his mother an+ the Aillagers
until they all 1elt reassure+- !hen he too6 leaAe o1 his 1amily
to go wan+ering in the +irection o1 the :entral Plains region-
He traAele+ leisurely? in the style o1 a +hutanga
mon6* he
was in no particular hurry- &1 he came upon a Aillage or a place
with an a+eCuate supply o1 water? he hung up his umbrella)tent
an+ peace1ully practice+? continuing his Xourney only when
he regaine+ strength o1 bo+y an+ min+- Bac6 then? eAeryone
traAele+ by 1oot? since there were no cars- Still? he sai+ that he
wasnJt presse+ 1or timeV that his main purpose was the practice
o1 me+itation- .an+ering all +ay on 1oot was the same as wal6ing
me+itation 1or the same +uration o1 time- %eaAing his +isciples
behin+ to wal6 alone to Bang6o6 was li6e a lea+ elephant with+rawing
1rom its her+ to search alone 1or 1oo+ in the 1orest- He
eKperience+ a sense o1 physical an+ mental relie1? as though he
ha+ remoAe+ a AeKatious thorn 1rom his chest that ha+ seAerely
oppresse+ him 1or a long time- %ight in bo+y an+ light in heart?
he wal6e+ through broa+? sectione+ pa++y 1iel+s? absorbe+ in
me+itation- !here was Aery little sha+e? but he pai+ no attention
to the sunJs searing heat- !he enAironment truly seeme+ to
ma6e the long Xourney easier 1or him- #n his shoul+ers he carrie+
his bowl an+ umbrella)tent? the personal reCuisites o1 a +hutanga
mon6- Although they appeare+ cumbersome? he +i+nJt 1eel
them to be bur+ensome in any way- &n truth? he 1elt as though he
were 1loating on air? haAing relieAe+ himsel1 o1 all concern about
the mon6s he le1t behin+- His sense o1 +etachment was complete-
His mother was no longer a concern 1or him? 1or he ha+ taught
her to the best o1 his ability until she +eAelope+ a reliable? inner
stability- 8rom then on? he was responsible 1or himsel1 alone- He
wal6e+ on as he pon+ere+ oAer these thoughts? remin+ing himsel1
not to be hee+less-
He wal6e+ me+itation in this manner along paths 1ree o1
human tra11ic- By mi++ay the sun was eKtremely hot? so he woul+
loo6 1or a pleasant? sha+y tree at the e+ge o1 a 1orest to rest 1or
awhile- He woul+ sit there peace1ully? +oing his me+itation practice
un+er the sha+e o1 a tree- .hen late a1ternoon came an+
the heat ha+ relente+ somewhat? he moAe+ on with the composure
o1 one who realiUe+ the +angers inherent within all con+itione+
things? thus cultiAating a clear? comprehen+ing min+- All
he nee+e+ were small Aillages with Xust enough houses to support
his +aily almsroun+ an+? at interAals along his Xourney? suitable
places 1or him to conAeniently stay to practice that were 1ar
enough 1rom the Aillages- He resi+e+ in one o1 the more suitable
places 1or Cuite some time be1ore moAing along-
Scariya Mun sai+ that upon reaching Dong Phaya (en 1orest
between the Saraburi an+ Na6hon 'atchasima proAinces? he +iscoAere+
many 1oreste+ mountain ranges that brought special Xoy
to his heart- He 1elt incline+ to eKten+ his stay in the area in or+er
to strengthen his heart? 1or it ha+ long been thirsting to liAe again
in the solitu+e o1 the mountains an+ 1orests- Upon coming across
a suitable location? he woul+ +eci+e to remain awhile an+ practice
me+itation until the time came to moAe on again- Stea+ily
he wan+ere+ through the area in this way- He woul+ tell o1 the
regionJs 1orests an+ mountains aboun+ing in many +i11erent 6in+s
o1 animals? an+ o1 his +elight in watching the bar6ing +eer? wil+
pigs? sambor +eer? 1lying lemurs? gibbons? tigers? elephants? mon6eys?
languars? ciAets? Xungle 1owl? pheasants? bear? porcupine? tree
shrews? groun+ sCuirrels? an+ the many other small species o1 animals-
!he animals showe+ little 1ear o1 him when he crosse+ paths
with them +uring the +ay when they were out searching 1or 1oo+-
!hose +ays? the 1oreste+ terrain +i+nJt really contain any
Aillages- .hat 1ew there were consiste+ o1 isolate+ settlements o1
three or 1our houses bunche+ together 1or liAelihoo+- !he inhabitants
hunte+ the many wil+ animals an+ plante+ rice an+ other
crops along the e+ge o1 the mountains where Scariya Mun passe+-
Villagers there ha+ great 1aith in +hutanga
mon6s? an+ so he coul+
+epen+ on them 1or alms 1oo+- .hen he staye+ among them? his
practice went Aery smoothly- !hey neAer bothere+ him or waste+
his time- !hey 6ept to themselAes an+ wor6e+ on their own so
his Xourney progresse+ trouble)1ree? both physically an+ mentally?
until he arriAe+ sa1ely in Bang6o6-
A Heart 'elease+
enerable Scariya Mun sai+ that he o1ten traAele+ bac6 an+
1orth 1rom the Northeast to Bang6o6? sometimes ta6ing
the train to ]the en+ o1 the lineJ? which eKten+e+ only part
o1 the +istance in those +ays- All other times he wal6e+ +hutanga-
Upon arriAing in Bang6o6 on this trip? he went to .at
Pathumwan monastery? an+ staye+ there through the rains retreat-
During the rains he 1reCuently stu+ie+ Dhamma teKts with the
Venerable :hao $hun Up7li 9u5Tpam7cariya at his monastery?
.at Boromaniwat-E :hao $hun Up7li inAite+ Scariya Mun to
accompany him to :hiang Mai a1ter the rains- So? +uring the +ry
season? they went to :hiang Mai by train- #n the train Scariya
Mun remaine+ in sam7+hi
almost the whole time- Between Bang6o6
an+ %opburi he lai+ +own to restV but a1ter the train +eparte+
%opburi an+ reache+ the 1oothills o1 Uttara+it? he entere+ sam7+hi
an+ remaine+ there 1or the +uration o1 the trip to :hiang Mai- At
the start o1 his me+itation? he ma+e a +ecision to with+raw 1rom
it only upon arriAal at :hiang Mai? an+ then 1ocuse+ eKclusiAely
on his me+itation- A1ter approKimately twenty minutes? his citta
completely ]conAerge+J into the Aery base o1 sam7+hi- 8rom that
moment on? he was no longer aware o1 whether the train was
moAing or not- Absolute stillness was all that his heart 6newV all
awareness o1 eKternal phenomena? inclu+ing his bo+y? completely
cease+- Any perception? that might haAe +isturbe+ it? Aanishe+
1rom the citta? as though the worl+ no longer eKiste+? haAing +isappeare+
along with all thoughts an+ inner sensations- !he noise
o1 the train? the other passengers? an+ all the things that were
associate+ with the citta
earlier were eKtinguishe+ 1rom his awareness-
All that remaine+ was his state o1 sam7+hi- !he eKternal
enAironment 1a+e+ out o1 consciousness 1rom the moment his
1irst ]conAerge+J until he arriAe+ in :hiang Mai? where his
preAious +etermination restore+ him to his normal state o1 consciousness-
.hen he opene+ his eyes to loo6 aroun+? he saw the surroun+ing
buil+ings an+ houses o1 the city- As he began collecting
his things in preparation 1or leaAing the train? he notice+ that the
passengers an+ railway o11icials aroun+ him were staring at him in
astonishment- .hen it was time to +isembar6? the railway o11icials
approache+ him an+? smiling cheer1ully? helpe+ him with his
things? while eAeryone else in the passenger carriage stare+ curiously
at him- Aen be1ore he ha+ steppe+ o11 the train? he was
as6e+ what monastery he was 1rom an+ where he was going- He
replie+ that he was a 1orest)+welling mon6 without a 1iKe+ resi+ence?
an+ that he inten+e+ to go wan+ering alone in the remote
mountains o1 the North- &nspire+ by 1aith in him? some o1 them
as6e+ where he woul+ stay an+ whether anyone ha+ agree+ to
ta6e him there- He than6e+ them? replying that there was someone
to receiAe him since his traAeling companion was :hao $hun
Up7li? a Aery senior mon6 an+ one who was highly respecte+ by
all in :hiang Mai? 1rom the goAernor to the merchants an+ the
general public- So it happene+ that a crow+ o1 mon6s? noAices?
an+ lay supporters awaite+ to receiAe :hao $hun Up7li- !here
were eAen automobiles in waiting? which were Cuite rare in those
+ays- #11icial goAernment cars as well as priAate ones were there
to escort them to .at :he+i %uang monastery-
general public- So it happene+ that a crow+ o1 mon6s? noAices?
an+ lay supporters awaite+ to receiAe :hao $hun Up7li- !here
were eAen automobiles in waiting? which were Cuite rare in those
+ays- #11icial goAernment cars as well as priAate ones were there
to escort them to .at :he+i %uang monastery-
to the sincere regret o1 all who were absorbe+ in his presentation-
He then pai+ his respects to :hao $hun Up7li be1ore
he le1t center stage to 1in+ a place to relaK by himsel1- Meanwhile?
:hao $hun Up7li praise+ his tal6 be1ore the whole assembly*
@Scariya Mun eKpoun+s Dhamma so eloCuently that it is
+i11icult to 1in+ anyone to eCual him- He clari1ies mutto+aya R
the heart release+? the lan+ o1 absolute 1ree+om R in a way that
leaAes no room 1or +oubt- Aerything is so precisely illustrate+
that & mysel1 coul+nJt possibly match his uniCue? engrossing style-
!he rhetorical 1luency o1 this +hutanga mon6 is most eKtraor+inary-
%istening to him is a pleasurable? learning eKperience- His
+iscourses neAer become stale or boring- He spea6s o1 common?
eAery+ay things R things we see an+ hear all the time but neAer pay
attention to utiliUe- .e recall their signi1icance only a1ter he mentions
them- Scariya Mun is an important 6amma00h7na mon6 who
uses min+1ulness an+ wis+om to 1aith1ully 1ollow the path taught
by the Bu++ha- He neAer tramples upon it in an unseemly? worl+ly
manner- His tal6s employ a 1ull range o1 eKpression* sometimes
casual? sometimes serious? sometimes emphatic? stressing speci1ic
points- He elaborates the pro1oun+ compleKities o1 Dhamma in a
way the rest o1 us are har+ presse+ to +o so can+i+ly- He is Cuite
capable o1 analyUing the +isparate aspects o1 Dhamma an+ articulates
them in a way that +eeply a11ects our hearts- His commentary
is so brilliant that itJs har+ to 6eep up with him- & mysel1 haAe
nee+e+ to as6 him Cuestions about problems & coul+nJt solAe on my
own? an+ he Cuic6ly an+ a+eptly solAe+ those problems with his
wis+om- & haAe bene1ite+ in innumerable ways 1rom his counsel-
@Since & was coming to :hiang Mai & wante+ Scariya Mun
to accompany me? an+ he rea+ily agree+- Although he +i+ not
speci1ically mention this to me? he probably agree+ to come here
because he 6nows :hiang Mai aboun+s in mountains an+ 1orests
suitable 1or the spiritual li1e- Mon6s li6e Scariya Mun are
eKtremely har+ to 1in+- Aen though & am his senior? & wholly
reAere the Dhamma within him R an+ yet? he is still so humble
an+ gracious towar+s me that & sometimes 1eel embarrasse+- He
has inten+e+ to stay here 1or only a short while be1ore going o11 in
search o1 seclusion- & must allow my 1rien+ to 1ollow his inclinations
as & +are not contra+ict them? 1or it is rare in+ee+ to 1in+ such
a mon6- .ith his intentions being solely 1ocuse+ on Dhamma? we
shoul+ wish him the best as he striAes to improAe himsel1- He can
then be o1 greater bene1it to us all in the near 1uture-
@!hose o1 you who haAe problems with your me+itation practice?
please go to him an+ see6 his a+Aice- (ou certainly wonJt be
+isappointe+- But please +onJt as6 him 1or power1ul amulets? magic
spells? or luc6y charms to war+ o11 +anger? 1or they are all outsi+e
the way o1 practice- (ou will Xust ma6e yoursel1 a nuisance to him
1or no goo+ reason- (ou may well receiAe a repriman+ R +onJt say
& neAer warne+ you2 Scariya Mun is not that 6in+ o1 mon6- He
is a genuine mon6? sincerely teaching people to 6now the +i11erence
between right an+ wrong? goo+ an+ ba+? Airtue an+ eAil- His
teaching neAer +eAiates 1rom the path o1 Dhamma- His way o1
practice an+ 6nowle+ge o1 Dhamma are true to the teachings o1
the %or+ Bu++ha- No one else nowa+ays can conAey such incre+ible
i+eas as he has presente+ me 1rom our +iscussions on Dhamma-
!hat has been my eKperience- & hol+ an immense respect 1or him
in my heart? but? & haAe neAer tol+ him this- NeAertheless? he may
alrea+y 6now o1 it 1rom his powers o1 intuition-
@Scariya Mun is a mon6 truly worthy o1 the highest respect?
an+ is unCuestionably ]an incomparable 1iel+ o1 merit 1or the worl+J-
He himsel1 neAer ma6es claims o1 noble attainments? though this
is apparent to me when we +iscuss Dhamma in priAate- & am
wholly conAince+ that he is 1irmly establishe+ in the thir+ leAel o1
the Noble Dhamma- &t is obAious 1rom the way he eKpresses himsel1-
Although he has neAer ma+e statements o1 his speci1ic leAel
o1 attainment? & 6now 1or certain what it is* 1or the 6nowle+ge o1
Dhamma he has conAeye+ to me is absolutely consistent with that
leAel as +escribe+ in the Bu++hist teKts- He has shown me nothing
but loyalty an+ respect? an+ & haAe neAer 6nown him to be in any
way stubborn or +is+ain1ul- He con+ucts himsel1 with such humility
that & cannot help but a+mire him 1rom the bottom o1 my heart-B
!hese were the wor+s o1 praise that :hao $hun Up7li
a++resse+ to the lay 1ollowers? mon6s? an+ noAices a1ter Scariya
Mun gaAe his Dhamma tal6 an+ returne+ to his hut- A1terwar+s?
mon6s who were present reporte+ this speech to Scariya Mun? who
later recounte+ the story to his +isciples when a goo+ opportunity
arose- !he term mutto+aya means @a heart release+B- &ts mention
in the short biographical s6etch +istribute+ at Scariya MunJs cremation
stems 1rom that occasion in :hiang Mai when :hao $hun
Up7li praise+ his noble Airtues- !he name stuc6 an+ was then
passe+ +own to 1uture generations by wor+ o1 mouth- Accor+ing
to :hao $hun Dhammache+i o1 .at Bo+hisomphorn monastery
in U+on !hani? Scariya Mun remaine+ practicing in :hiang Mai
1rom EN;N to END< when he le1t 1or the proAince o1 U+on !hani-
More will be written later concerning his stay in U+on !hani-
HAV&N9 %&VD A! .at :he+i %uang monastery 1or some time?
Scariya Mun pai+ his respects to :hao $hun Up7li an+ too6
leaAe to wan+er in search o1 solitu+e in the remote wil+erness
areas o1 the North- :hao $hun Up7li rea+ily gaAe his permission?
an+ so Scariya Mun +eparte+ alone 1rom :hiang Mai? beginning
another Xourney- He ha+ eagerly awaite+ the i+eal seclusion he
nee+e+ 1or a long time? an+ the per1ect opportunity 1inally arose-
HaAing been long inAolAe+ in teaching others? it was the 1irst
time in many years that he ha+ time alone- &nitially? he wan+ere+
through the Mae 'im +istrict in :hiang Dao? staying in the 1or
este+ mountains there throughout the +ry an+ rainy seasons-
His e11orts ha+ reache+ the crucial? 1inal stage- He eKhorte+
himsel1 to striAe earnestly to reach the 1inal goal? whateAer happene+
R liAe or +ie- Nothing whatsoeAer woul+ be allowe+ to
inter1ere- #ut o1 compassion he ha+ taught his 1ellow mon6s to
the best o1 his ability R o1 this he ha+ no +oubt- !he results o1 his
gui+ance alrea+y began to show in some o1 his +isciples- Now it
was time to haAe compassion 1or himsel1? to e+ucate an+ li1t himsel1
aboAe an+ beyon+ those obscuring inner 1actors which still
nee+e+ to be oAercome-
!he li1e o1 someone with social obligations an+ responsibilities
is a li1e o1 +istraction an+ o1 almost unbearable stress? neAer
allowing a+eCuate time 1or being alone- #ne must a+mit that this
6in+ o1 li1e is a perpetual struggle to be en+ure+? eAen though a
person may haAe enough min+1ulness an+ wis+om to aAoi+ this
bur+en somewhat an+ alleAiate the stress so that it +oesnJt oAerwhelm
him- !he opportunities to practice me+itation are limite+V
the results are li6ely to be minimal an+ not worth all the +isappointments
an+ +i11iculties-
!his solitary eKcursion into the untame+ wil+erness was an
i+eal opportunity 1or him to +isengage an+ liAe alone? aloo1 1rom
all entanglements- .il+? remote 1orests are Xust the right 6in+s o1
places to liAe an+ practice 1or someone aiming to seAer all resi+ual
attachments? both internal an+ eKternal? 1rom his heart- He
can +iscar+ all the remaining concerns that might 1orm the see+s
o1 1uture eKistence R the source o1 all 1orms o1 +u66ha
that brings
menace in its wa6e an+ causes en+less su11ering- 'emote 1orests
are the right enAironment in which a persistent an+ +iligent
person can Uero in on the 1un+amental causes o1 eKistence R the
great internal masters o1 +eception lea+ing us astray R an+ eKcise
them Cuic6ly 1rom his heart- .hile one is still 1ar 1rom reaching
the shores o1 Nibb7na? little bene1it can be gaine+ 1rom inAolAement
in other peopleJs a11airsV 1or that is comparable to oAerloa+ing
a barge that is rea+y to sin6 eAen be1ore it starts going- .hen
the coAete+ goal o1 the holy li1e seeme+ within reach? Acariya
MunJs compassionate concern 1or others +roppe+ away? replace+
by motiAations o1 a more personal nature- He was no longer con
si+ering the su11ering o1 others- His resolAe was 1ocuse+ 1irmly on
the realm o1 purity an+ he was concerne+? lest he not reach it this
time- !hus he re1lecte+*
@Now & must worry about mysel1 R pity mysel1 R so that as
a +iligent +isciple o1 the !ath7gata? & can liAe up to his
eKalte+ Airtue o1 unwaAering perseAerance- Am & 1ully aware
that & haAe come here striAing to cross beyon+ the worl+ o1
sa[s7ra an+ attain the goal o1 Nibb7na R the 1ree+om 1rom
all anKiety an+ +u66ha_ &1 so? what metho+s shoul+ be use+
by someone attempting to cross beyon+ the conAentional
worl+_ !he %or+ Bu++ha 1irst le+ the way an+ then taught
us the Dhamma R what 6in+ o1 gui+ance +i+ he giAe_ Di+
he teach us to 1orget our purpose an+ start worrying about
this an+ that as soon as we haAe gaine+ a mo+est un+erstan+ing
o1 Dhamma_
@&n the beginning? the %or+ Bu++ha publicly proclaime+ the
s7sana with the help o1 a small number o1 Arahants? getting
his message rapi+ly sprea+ 1ar an+ wi+e R most properly
so- But & am not in the same eKalte+ position? so & must
Aiew my own +eAelopment as paramount right now- .hen
& haAe per1ecte+ mysel1? then bene1its to others will ineAitably
1ollow- !his Aiew be1its one who is circumspect an+
reluctant to waste time- & must re1lect on this care1ully? so &
can learn a lesson 1rom it-
@'ight now? & am striAing 1or Aictory in a battle between the
an+ magga? the way o1 Dhamma? in or+er to win 1ree+om
1or the citta- Until now its loyalties haAe been +iAi+e+
between these two riAals? but & aim to ma6e Dhamma its
un+ispute+ master- &1 my persistence slac6ens an+ my powers
o1 +iscernment are ina+eCuate? the citta
will slip 1rom my
grasp an+ 1all un+er the ignoble in1luence o1 the 6ilesasV
an+ they will ensure that the citta
6eeps turning in a neAer)
en+ing cycle o1 birth an+ +espair- But i1 & can 6eep up my
persistence an+ 6eep my wis+om sharp? the citta
will come
un+er my control an+ be my own priceless treasure 1or the
@!he time has come 1or me to put my li1e on the line an+
engage the 6ilesas
in a 1ierce all out assault? showing no hesitation
or wea6ness- &1 & lose? then let me +ie while battling
it out- & will not allow mysel1 to retreat in +isarray so that
the 6ilesas
can ri+icule me R that will be a lasting +isgrace-
&1 & am Aictorious? & shall remain per1ectly 1ree 1or all eternity-
So now? there is only one path 1or me to ta6e* & must
1ight to the +eath with all my might 1or the sa6e o1 this Aictory-
!here is no other choice-B
!his is the 6in+ o1 eKhortation that Scariya Mun use+ to embol+en
himsel1 1or the impen+ing realiUation o1 the goal he ha+ set 1or himsel1-
&t re1lecte+ his uncompromising +ecision to accept the obligation
o1 striAing 1or Nibb7na stea+1astly both +ay an+ night R
whether stan+ing? wal6ing? sitting? or lying +own- Kcept when
he reste+ to sleep? his time was wholly +eAote+ to +iligent e11ort-
His min+1ulness an+ wis+om circle+ aroun+ all eKternal sensa
tions an+ all internal thought processes? meticulously inAestigating
eAerything without leaAing any aspect uneKplore+- At this leAel
o1 practice? min+1ulness an+ wis+om act in unison li6e a .heel
o1 Dhamma? turning continuously in motion? irrespectiAe o1 the
bo+yJs action-
%ater? when Scariya Mun +escribe+ his tremen+ous e11orts
+uring that time? his au+ience was so awe)struc6 by his Dhamma
eKploits that they sat motionless with bate+ breath- &t was as
though Scariya Mun ha+ opene+ the +oor to Nibb7na? allowing
them a glimpse insi+e? without their haAing eAer eKperience+
Nibb7na be1ore- &n truth? Scariya Mun was then in the process
o1 accelerating his e11orts towar+ the realiUation o1 Nibb7na-
Although only a stage in the course o1 his +eAelopment? it neAertheless
moAe+ those who ha+ neAer be1ore hear+ o1 such a thing?
an+ they were always carrie+ away by the awesome power o1 his
S:A'&(A MUN SA&D that his citta
ha+ long attaine+ the thir+ ariya
leAel o1 An7g7m`V but? because o1 his continual obligations to his
1ollowers? he ha+ no time to spee+ up his e11orts as he wishe+-
#nly when he ha+ the opportunity to go to :hiang Mai was he
able to maKimiUe his practice an+ accomplish his obXectiAe-
:hiang MaiJs enAironment was con+uciAe an+ his citta
was well prepare+- Physically? he was in eKcellent shape? 1it to
eKert himsel1 in eAery actiAity- His 1erAent hope was li6e the ra+iant
sun? streaming 1orth continuously to reach the shore 1ree o1
in the shortest possible time- He compare+ his inner struggle
between Dhamma an+ the 6ilesas
to a hunting +og? which? at
1ull run? corners its prey? an+ it is only a matter o1 time be1ore the
prey is torn to shre+s in the Xaws o1 the chasing houn+- !here
coul+ be no other en+ing? 1or the citta was arme+ with mah7sati
an+ mah7pa\\7 R supreme)min+1ulness an+ supreme)wis+om-
!hey neAer lapse 1or a single moment? eAen when one has no
intent to be Aigilant- At this leAel? min+1ulness an+ wis+om are
1ully present? reacting automatically to all matters arising within
onesel1- As soon as their cause is 6nown an+ their true nature is
clearly un+erstoo+? one simply lets go o1 them- &t is not necessary
then to be in comman+? giAing or+ers? as is the case in the initial
stages o1 practice- .hen eCuippe+ with habitual min+1ulness
an+ wis+om? there is no nee+ 1or speci1ic +irections an+ calculate+
+ecisions to practice this or to inAestigate that? while haAing
to simultaneously guar+ against lapses in attention- @'eason an+
resultB are integrate+ into the nature o1 automatic min+1ulness
an+ automatic wis+omV so? it is unnecessary to search on oneJs
own 1or reasons an+ s6ill1ul metho+s to encourage their operation-
.ith the eKception o1 sleep? all +aily actiAities are the wor6ing
arenas 1or this leAel o1 mah7sati an+ mah7pa\\7- Zust li6e spring
water which 1lows stea+ily out o1 the groun+ all year roun+? they
wor6 ceaselessly-
!he thin6ing process is ta6en as the 1ocal point o1 the inAestigation?
in or+er to 1in+ the true source o1 these thoughts- !he
1our n7ma 6han+has R Ae+an7? sa\\7? san6h7ra? an+ Ai\\75a R are
the appropriate battlegroun+ 1or this superior +egree o1 min+1ulness
an+ wis+om- As 1or the rTpa 6han+ha R the physical bo+y
R it cease+ to be a problem when one achieAe+ the interme+iate
leAel o1 wis+om- !his 1orm o1 wis+om per1orms the tas6s necessary
1or realiUing the An7g7m` stage o1 the Nobel Path- !o attain
this eKalte+ leAel? one must 1ocus on the physical bo+y? inAestigating
it scrupulously in eAery +etail until all misun+erstan+ings an+
concerns about the bo+y are 1oreAer banishe+-
.hen one comes to the 1inal stage R the path to Arahantship?
it is absolutely essential to inAestigate the n7ma 6han+has so
that one gains a +eep an+ clear un+erstan+ing about how all phenomena
arise? brie1ly eKist? an+ then Aanish- !hese three aspects
o1 the inAestigation conAerge in the truth o1 anatt7- !his means
eKamining all phenomena as being empty o1 a permanent sel1*
empty o1 being a man or woman? empty o1 being me or them- No
sel1)entity R whatsoeAer R eKists anywhere within mental phenomena-
; !o comprehen+ the true nature o1 the n7ma 6han+has?
one must +iscoAer the 1un+amental principles un+erlying them
an+ un+erstan+ them +eeply an+ clearly with wis+om- &tJs not
enough that we anticipate results or speculate about their nature?
as is the common ten+ency o1 most people R people who Xust
pre1er to +o guesswor6-
A theoretical un+erstan+ing? acCuire+ 1rom learning? +i11ers
1rom a genuine un+erstan+ing base+ on wis+om as the earth +i11ers
1rom the s6y- People whose un+erstan+ing is 1oun+e+ upon
6nowle+ge gaine+ through memoriUation are Aery preoccupie+
with their own i+eas? always assuming that they are highly intelligent-
&n truth? they are completely +elu+e+- :onseCuently? they
become oAerly conceite+ an+ are reluctant to accept help an+
a+Aice 1rom anyone-=
!his arrogant ten+ency is Cuite apparent when a group o1
scholars +iscuss Dhamma? each one constantly trying to champion
his own intellectual theories- !hese meetings usually +egenerate
into Aerbal sparring matches? spurre+ on by this common
attitu+e o1 sel1)importance? until eAeryone R regar+less o1 age? race?
gen+er? or clan R 1orgets to obserAe the proper etiCuette eKpecte+
o1 such ]ciAiliUe+J people-
attitu+e o1 sel1)importance? until eAeryone R regar+less o1 age? race?
gen+er? or clan R 1orgets to obserAe the proper etiCuette eKpecte+
o1 such ]ciAiliUe+J people-
.is+om is prepare+ to 1erret out an+ eKpose these erroneous
Aiews? penetrating eAery niche until the whole e+i1ice o1 these
6ilesas comes crashing +own- !here is not one 6ilesa that can success1ully
withstan+ the penetration o1 the highest +egree o1 min+1ulness
an+ wis+om-
&n the DhammaJs arsenal? min+1ulness an+ wis+om are the
1oremost weapons- NeAer haAe the 6ilesas been intrepi+ enough
to +e1eat them- !he %or+ Bu++ha became the Supreme !eacher
because o1 min+1ulness an+ wis+om- His +isciples became Arahants
because o1 min+1ulness an+ wis+om- Because o1 min+1ulness an+
wis+om? they were able to see with insight into the true nature
o1 things- !hey +i+nJt uproot their 6ilesas by using learning? supposition?
or mere guesswor6- &n the initial stages o1 practice? concepts
recalle+ 1rom memory can be use+ to +elineate the boun+aries
o1 the way 1orwar+V but? one must eKercise great caution lest
this 6in+ o1 conXecture causes +elusion appearing in the guise o1
genuine truth-
.hen the %or+ Bu++ha an+ his Arahant +isciples proclaime+
the !ruth o1 his teaching to the worl+? they were proclaiming
the way o1 wis+om R the way that brings us to see the
true nature o1 all phenomena- .e practitioners o1 me+itation must
be eKtremely care1ul that the master o1 speculation +oesnJt snea6
in an+ conXure up his tric6s in place o1 wis+om- &1 we +onJt? we
will be le+ to mista6e mere concepts 1or true un+erstan+ing? with
out eAer remoAing a single 6ilesa
1rom our hearts- .e may 1in+
ourselAes inun+ate+ with 6nowle+ge about salAation? yet unable
to saAe ourselAes- !his is eKactly what the %or+ Bu++ha meant
when he a+Aise+ the people o1 $7l7ma not to belieAe in speculation
or conXecture? an+ not to belieAe teachings han+e+ +own
1rom the past or teachers who are consi+ere+ to be reliableV but
to belieAe that the principles o1 truth can be +iscoAere+ within
themselAes R by the wis+om within themselAes- !his is the surest
6in+ o1 6nowle+ge there is- !he %or+ Bu++ha an+ his Arahant
+isciples +i+nJt nee+ anyone to Aali+ate the authenticity o1 their
attainment? 1or san+i00hi6o
is there within eAeryone who practices
the Bu++haJs teaching in the right way-D
Scariya Mun sai+ that when he came to this last leAel o1
a+Aance+ practice? he became so intrigue+ with it that he lost
all sense o1 time- He completely 1orgot the time o1 +ay? 1orgot to
sleep? an+ then 1orgot how tire+ he was- 8earless an+ unsha6able?
his citta
was constantly in position to oppose eAery type o1 6ilesa?
rea+y to eKcise them by their roots- 8rom the time he le1t .at
:he+i %uang in :hiang Mai? he +i+ not allow a single +ay to pass
in Aain- An+ be1ore long? he reache+ the point o1 ultimate un+erstan+ing-
At the moment he set o11 alone? his citta
began to eKpress
the +ynamic characteristics o1 a +aring thoroughbre+ stallion- &t
wante+ to soar high an+ gli+e through the air? +iAe un+ergroun+
an+ then shoot up into the s6y again- &t 1elt incline+ to Aenture
out to eKperience the many countless Aariety o1 phenomena in
the uniAerse- He 1elt as i1 his citta
was about to +ig up an+ remoAe
all o1 the 6ilesas
in a single instant- !he a+Aenturous nature o1
his min+1ulness an+ wis+om ha+ long been hemme+ in by social
obligations- !hey were unable to moAe 1reely about in their pre1erre+
+omain R the obserAation an+ analysis o1 Xust those things
Scariya Mun ha+ wante+ to 6now about 1or such a long time-
Now he was blesse+ R blesse+ with the opportunity o1 leaping
away an+ Aanishing? 1inally able to giAe min+1ulness an+ wis+om
the chance to +isplay their consi+erable prowess as they eKplore+
throughout the three worl+s o1 eKistence-
Scariya Mun inAestigate+ thoroughly? internally an+ eKternally-
His min+1ulness an+ wis+om penetrate+ all aroun+ R constantly
moAing in an+ out? up an+ +own R all the while resolAing
issues? +etaching himsel1? an+ then letting go as he cut? slashe+?
an+ pulAeriUe+ eAery manner o1 1alsehoo+ with all the strength he
coul+ muster- 8eeling unboun+ as a giant 1ish swimming happily
in the ocean? he loo6e+ bac6 on his entire past an+ saw only +ar6
obstructiAe times lur6ing there? 1raught with all 6in+s o1 +angerous?
ineAitable conseCuences- His heart beat 1aster at the prospect
o1 1in+ing a way to saAe himsel1- %oo6ing to the 1uture? he saw
be1ore him only a maXestic? empty eKpanse o1 brilliant illumination
R a Aiew that completely surpasses any conAentional un+erstan+ing
an+ is utterly beyon+ all +escription- So much so? that
& 1in+ it +i11icult to elaborate any 1urther 1or the bene1it o1 the
rea+er- & sincerely regret that & am unable to +o Xustice to all the
inspiring things Scariya Mun sai+-
Scariya Mun sat in me+itation late that night? not too long
a1ter supreme)min+1ulness an+ supreme)wis+om ha+ reache+ the
pea6 o1 their per1ormance- %i6e a .heel o1 Dhamma? they moAe+
in unison as they rotate+ non)stop aroun+ the citta
an+ eAerything
relate+ to it- He was resi+ing at the base o1 a mountain? in
a broa+? open area coAere+ with enormous 1lat roc6s- :lear? open
space surroun+e+ him as he sat at the 1oot o1 a solitary tree R the
only tree in that entire area- !his tree ha+ abun+ant cool sha+e
+uring the +ay? so he sometimes went to me+itate un+er it-
space surroun+e+ him as he sat at the 1oot o1 a solitary tree R the
only tree in that entire area- !his tree ha+ abun+ant cool sha+e
+uring the +ay? so he sometimes went to me+itate un+er it-
that & 1aile+ to remember any o1 the pertinent +etails R what
+istrict an+ township he was in? or eAen the name o1 the mountain
range- Hearing him tal6 o1 his great Aictory? & coul+nJt help
thin6ing about mysel1- .as & going to simply waste my birth as a
human being? carelessly throwing away the won+er1ul opportunity
it gaAe me_ Di+ & haAe enough spiritual potential to one +ay
succee+ in realiUing that same Supreme Dhamma_ 'e1lecting in
this manner? & 1orgot eAerything else- & ha+ no i+ea that? some+ay?
& woul+ be writing his biography-
At +us6 Acariya Mun began wal6ing me+itation? 1ocusing
on pa0iccasamupp7+a? as the theme o1 primary releAance to this
leAel o1 contemplation-P Starting with aAiXX7 paccaya san6h7ra? he
became so intrigue+ by the subXect o1 ]+epen+ent originationJ that
he was soon inAestigating it to the eKclusion o1 all else- By the time
he sat +own at about nine oJcloc6? his min+ was concentrate+
solely on scrutiniUing aAiXX7? eKamining each o1 the inter+epen+ent
con+itions through to the logical conclusion? then reAersing
the or+er to arriAe bac6 at aAiXX7- :ontemplating thus? he +eliberate+
bac6 an+ 1orth? oAer an+ oAer R insi+e the citta R the 1ocal
point where birth? +eath? an+ 6ilesas conAerge with the principal
cause R aAiXX7-
Seate+ in me+itation late that night? the crucial moment ha+
arriAe+- !he battle lines were +rawn* supreme)min+1ulness an+
supreme)wis+om R the raUor sharp weapons R against aAiXX7? an
enemy especially a+roit at repulsing their a+Aances then counterattac6ing?
leaAing its opponents in total +isarray- Since time
immemorial no one has +are+ to challenge its might? allowing
aAiXX7 to reign supreme an+ unoppose+ oAer the ]6ing+om o1 birth
an+ +eathJ insi+e the hearts o1 all liAing beings- But at three A-M-
that night when Scariya Mun launche+ his 1inal? all out assault?
the result was the total +estruction o1 the 6ingJs mighty throne an+ the
complete oAerthrow o1 his reign in the ]6ing+om o1 birth an+ +eathJ-
Su++enly impotent an+ +epriAe+ o1 room to maneuAer? the 6ing coul+
not maintain his soAereignty- At that moment aAiXX7 perishe+? Aictim
to a lightning stri6e o1 magni1icent brilliance-
Scariya Mun +escribe+ how that 1ate1ul moment was accompanie+
by a tremor that appeare+ to sha6e the entire uniAerse-
:elestial beings throughout this Aast eKpanse imme+iately pai+
tribute to his supreme accomplishment? roaring an eKclamation
o1 approAal that reAerberate+ across the sentient uniAerse? an+
proclaime+ the appearance o1 another +isciple o1 the !ath7gatha
in the worl+- #AerXoye+ to haAe witnesse+ this eAent? they were
eager to o11er their congratulations- Human beings? howeAer? were
unaware o1 the momentous eAent that ha+ Xust ta6en place- #ccupie+
with worl+ly pleasures? they were too obliAious to care that?
only a moment be1ore? the Supreme Dhamma ha+ arisen in the
heart o1 a 1ellow human being-
.hen the awesome moment passe+? what remaine+ was
Aisu++hi)+hamma-O !his pure Dhamma R the true? natural state o1
the citta R su11use+ Acariya MunJs bo+y an+ min+? an+ eKten+e+
its light in all +irections- !he eKperience arouse+ an in+escribable
1eeling o1 great awe an+ won+er- His customary compassion 1or the
worl+ Airtually +isappeare+? an+ with it? his interest in teaching
other people- He was conAince+ that this Supreme Dhamma was
1ar too pro1oun+ an+ oAerwhelming in its greatness 1or people to
eAer truly un+erstan+- So he became +isheartene+ in this respect?
1eeling +isincline+ to teach others- He 1elt it was enough to simply
enXoy this won+er1ul Dhamma alone while still liAing in the mi+st
o1 the conAentional worl+-
worl+ Airtually +isappeare+? an+ with it? his interest in teaching
other people- He was conAince+ that this Supreme Dhamma was
1ar too pro1oun+ an+ oAerwhelming in its greatness 1or people to
eAer truly un+erstan+- So he became +isheartene+ in this respect?
1eeling +isincline+ to teach others- He 1elt it was enough to simply
enXoy this won+er1ul Dhamma alone while still liAing in the mi+st
o1 the conAentional worl+-
o1 the %or+ Bu++ha- !his Supreme !eacher? haAing 1ully
realiUe+ the !ruth? taught people who were receptiAe to his message
so that they too coul+ attain genuine +eliAerance- &t was obAious
that not a single 1alsehoo+ was conceale+ anywhere within
the Bu++haJs teaching- He spent the rest o1 that night tirelessly
paying homage to the supreme Airtues o1 the %or+ Bu++ha-
Scariya Mun ha+ always been compassionate R he was
+eeply sympathetic to the spiritual state o1 1ellow human beings-
But his citta ha+ Xust attaine+ a clarity that was so eKtraor+inary
in its brilliance an+ purity that he 1elt he coul+ not possibly
eKplain the true nature o1 this Dhamma to others- Aen i1 he
trie+? or+inary people with 6ilesas coul+ neAer hope to attain this
eKalte+ state o1 min+- More than that? hearing him spea6 in such
superlatiAes? they coul+ accuse him o1 insanity 1or +aring to teach
the worl+ something that no goo+? sane person woul+ eAer +iscuss-
He belieAe+ it unli6ely that there woul+ be enough sympathetic
people to generate his enthusiasm 1or teaching- He was 1ree
to liAe a li1e o1 solitu+e 1or the remain+er o1 his years- &t was su11icient
that he ha+ 1ully realiUe+ his li1e)long ambition- He saw no
reason to bur+en himsel1 with +i11icult teaching responsibilities- &t
coul+ en+ up being an eKample o1 goo+ causes with ba+ e11ects*
that is? his compassionate intentions coul+ well turn into harm1ul
results 1or contemptuous people-
Such was Scariya MunJs 1rame o1 min+ shortly a1ter attaining
the Supreme Dhamma R a time when he ha+ yet to 1ocus on
the wi+er picture- Aentually? his thoughts gathere+ on the %or+
Bu++haJs gui+ing role in reAealing the correct path o1 practice-
'eAiewing his attainment o1 Dhamma an+ the path he too6? he
saw that he? too? was a human being in the worl+ Xust li6e eAeryone
else? an+ un+istinguishe+ 1rom others by any special characteristic
that woul+ ma6e him the only person capable o1 un+erstan+ing
this Dhamma- :ertainly? others with strong spiritual ten+encies
were capable o1 this un+erstan+ing- By 1ailing to broa+en his
perspectiAe? his initial outloo6 ha+ ten+e+ to +isparage the spiritual
ten+encies o1 his 1ellow human beings R which was un1air-
!he %or+ Bu++ha +i+ not reAeal the path o1 practice lea+ing
to magga? phala an+ Nibb7na 1or the bene1it o1 only one in+iAi+ual-
!his reAelation was a gi1t 1or the whole worl+? both his
contemporaries an+ succee+ing generations- &n total? the number
o1 those who haAe reache+ magga? phala an+ Nibb7na? 1ollowing
the Bu++haJs teaching? is enormous beyon+ rec6oning- &n this
respect? Scariya MunJs achieAement was +e1initely not uniCue?
though he initially oAerloo6e+ the capacity o1 others 1or similar
:are1ully reAiewing all aspects o1 the Bu++haJs teaching? he
saw its releAance 1or people the worl+ oAer? an+ its accessibility
to anyone willing to practice correctly- !hese thoughts gaAe him
a renewe+ +esire to help others- #nce again? he 1elt com1ortable
with the i+ea o1 teaching people who came to him 1or gui+ance
an+ were receptiAe to his instructions- 8or in teaching Dhamma?
the teacher has an obligation to treat Dhamma with respect by
re1using to instruct anyone who is +isrespect1ul or in+i11erent to
what is being taught-
the teacher has an obligation to treat Dhamma with respect by
re1using to instruct anyone who is +isrespect1ul or in+i11erent to
what is being taught-
to where they are or how they are eKpecte+ to behaAe at that
time- Such people see Dhamma as something Cuite or+inary- !hey
haAe a+opte+ a typically worl+ly attitu+e o1 being thoroughly in+i11erent
to Dhamma? to the monastery? an+ to the mon6s- !hey see
the whole lot as Xust commonplace- Un+er such circumstances? it
is unconscionable to teach Dhamma* the teacher is then censurable
an+ the au+ience 1ails to gain any real bene1it-
Be1ore he realiUe+ the Supreme Dhamma an+ then ma+e it
aAailable to others? Scariya Mun nearly gaAe up his li1e in the 1orests
an+ mountains as he struggle+ relentlessly with eAery ounce
o1 strength- A1ter such heroic e11ort? the notion o1 bringing this
precious Dhamma an+ haAing it simply +issipate in the ocean was
inconceiAable- .hen has that eAer happene+_ A1ter all? a mon6 is
the type o1 person who consi+ers eAerything scrupulously be1ore
he acts- Dhamma eKists in a class by itsel1? so special attention
must be pai+ to when an+ how it is presente+ to a public au+ience-
Shoul+ these consi+erations be neglecte+ in the presentation o1
Dhamma? the outcome might well proAe harm1ul-
Dhamma is taught 1or the purpose o1 helping people in the
worl+ R much li6e a +octor? +esiring the well)being o1 his patients?
prescribes me+ications to cure sic6ness an+ relieAe pain- But when
people are unwilling to accept help? why shoul+ a mon6 worry
about teaching them_ &1 he really has true Dhamma in his heart?
he is per1ectly content to liAe in solitu+e- &tJs unnecessary 1or him
to see6 stu+ents in or+er to alleAiate the +iscom1ort an+ stress
cause+ by an irrepressible urge to teach others the way R an urge
which merely a++s to a personJs sense o1 +iscontent? anyway- %ac6ing
sincerity in the Dhamma that the %or+ Bu++ha stroAe so earnestly
to realiUe? such a person? though he calls himsel1 a teacher?
is one only in name-
Scariya Mun sai+ he ha+ complete con1i+ence that he was
mentally an+ physically attune+ to liAing alone because his heart
was supremely tranCuil? possessing genuine Dhamma- Dhamma
means tranCuillity- A heart 1ille+ with Dhamma is a heart whose
serenity transcen+s eAerything- Scariya Mun naturally pre1erre+
liAing in 1oreste+ mountain areas since these places were con+uciAe
to +welling sublimely with Dhamma-L He consi+ere+ teaching
others to be a special situation- &t was an obligation he per1orme+
occasionally an+ not an actual necessity as was liAing by
Dhamma R an essential aspect o1 his li1e to the Aery en+- #therwise?
he woul+ not haAe enXoye+ a conAenient +aily eKistence-
.hen we posses Dhamma? un+erstan+ Dhamma? an+ abi+e
in Dhamma? we are unperturbe+ by things in the worl+? an+ so +o
not go searching 1or +u66ha- .here Dhamma abi+es? there is happiness
an+ tranCuility- Accor+ing to natural principles? Dhamma
abi+es in the hearts o1 those who practice itV so happiness an+
tranCuility arise in the hearts o1 those practitioners- &t cannot
arise in any other place-
Scariya Mun was always eKtremely circumspect when teaching
Dhamma- He neAer taught in+iscriminately? 1or Dhamma itsel1
is neAer in+iscriminate- He neAer practice+ Dhamma in a ran+om
1ashion but always 1ollowe+ well)establishe+ principles? practicing
within the con1ines o1 the Noble tra+ition recor+e+ in the Bu++hist
scriptures- Un+erstan+ing +i+ not arise in him in a ran+om
1ashion either R it arose in progressiAe stages 1ollowing the principles
o1 truth- Scariya Mun a+Aise+ practicing mon6s to guar+
against being in+iscriminate by always 6eeping the strictures o1
the !eaching an+ the Discipline in min+? since they represent
the Bu++ha an+ the path o1 practice he 1ollowe+- He stresse+
that the mon6 who maintains magga
an+ phala
R an+ maintains
the !eaching an+ the Discipline R is one who is humble an+ unassuming?
an+ always care1ul not to let his actions? his speech? or
his thoughts go astray- Practicing thus? he will be able to stan+ on
his own R in+e1initely-
HaAing a++resse+ the issue o1 teaching Dhamma to others?
Scariya Mun again turne+ his attention to the nature o1 his inner
Dhamma- He sai+ that the moment o1 realiUation? when Dhamma
arises in all its glory within the citta?
is a moment thatJs completely
unimaginable- DhammaJs true nature reAeals itsel1 in a totally
uneKpecte+ manner? as it is inconceiAable an+ impossible to speculate
about be1orehan+- At that moment? he 1elt as though he
ha+ +ie+ an+ been born again into a new li1e R a uniCuely amaUing
+eath an+ rebirth- !he Cuality o1 awareness? intrinsic to this
trans1ormation? was a state o1 6nowing that he ha+ neAer be1ore
eKperience+? eAen though it ha+ always been there? unchanging-
Su++enly? then? it became apparent R spectacular? an+ inconceiAably
amaUing- &t was this Cuintessential Cuality that cause+
Scariya Mun to consi+er R somewhat unconAentionally R that it
woul+ not be possible to teach others this Dhamma because they
woul+ neAer be able to truly un+erstan+ it-
Since his early +ays o1 practice? Scariya Mun always pos
sesse+ a Aery +ynamic character- !hat +istinguishing characteristic
was eAi+ent at the moment o1 his 1inal attainment? which
was so un1orgettable 1or him that he woul+ later tell this story to
inspire his +isciples- #nce his citta ha+ completely oAerthrown
the cycle o1 repeate+ birth an+ +eath? it appeare+ to ma6e three
reAolutions? circling aroun+ the newly)arisen AiAa00a)citta-N Upon
conclusion o1 the 1irst reAolution? the P7li term lopo R cutting o11
R arose together with its essential meaning* at that moment the
citta ha+ complete+ the 1unction o1 totally eKclu+ing all Aestiges o1
relatiAe? conAentional reality- Upon conclusion o1 the secon+ reAolution?
the P7li term Aimutti R absolute 1ree+om R arose together
with its essential meaning* at that moment the citta ha+ complete+
the 1unction o1 attaining total release- Upon conclusion o1
the thir+ reAolution? the P7li term an7layo R total +etachment R
arose together with its essential meaning* at that moment the citta
ha+ complete+ the 1unction o1 wholly seAering all attachments-
:itta an+ Dhamma were then one an+ the same R e6acitta e6a+hamma-
!he true nature o1 the citta is synonymous with the true
nature o1 Dhamma- Unli6e relatiAe? conAentional reality? there is
no +uality- !his is Aimutti+hamma pure an+ simple-E< &t is absolute
in its singularity an+ +eAoi+ o1 any trace o1 relatiAe? conAentional
reality within- !his pure Dhamma is 1ully realiUe+ only once- &t
neAer reCuires 1urther per1ection-
!he %or+ Bu++ha an+ the Arahants become 1ully enlightene+
only once* the citta an+ Dhamma being eKactly o1 the same
nature? they haAe no nee+ to search 1urther- !he 6han+has? that
ma6e up their conAentional eKistence? are then Xust 6han+has
pure an+ simple R they contain no +e1iling elements- !he
6han+has o1 an Arahant remain the same as be1ore? 1or the
attainment o1 Nibb7na +oes not alter them in any way- 8or eKample?
those 6han+has responsible 1or thought processes continue
to per1orm this 1unction at the behest o1 their boss? the citta- By
nature? the release o1 Aimutti is alrea+y 1ree+ o1 any intermingling
with the 6han+has? the citta an+ the 6han+has each eKisting as
separate? +istinct phenomena? each one true within its own natural
state- !hey no longer see6 to +eceiAe or +isrupt one another-
Both si+es eKist peace1ully in their +istinct natural states? per1orming
their speci1ic 1unctions until? at +eath? each constituent
element goes its own separate way-EE
.hen the bo+y 1inally +ies? the puri1ie+ citta attains yath7+`po
ca nibbuto* Xust as the 1lame in a lamp is eKtinguishe+ when
all o1 the 1uel is eKhauste+? so too goes the citta accor+ing to its
true nature-E; 'elatiAe? conAentional realities li6e the 6han+has
are no longer inAolAe+ with the puri1ie+ citta beyon+ that point-
&n truth? nothing o1 the relatiAe? conAentional worl+ accompanies
this citta to create a cause 1or coming to birth in the 1uture-
Such was the essence o1 Dhamma that arose in Scariya MunJs
citta at the moment it complete+ the three reAolutions eKpressing
its +ynamic character- !hat was the 1inal occasion when the relatiAe
reality o1 the 6han+has an+ the absolute 1ree+om o1 the citta
Xoine+ 1orces be1ore 1inally separating to go their separate ways R
!hroughout the remain+er o1 that night Scariya Mun consi+ere+
with a sense o1 +ismay how pathetically ignorant he ha+
been in the past? being +ragge+ en+lessly 1rom one eKistence to
another R li6e a puppet- He wept as he thought o1 how he 1inally
came upon a pool o1 crystal)clear? won+rous)tasting water- He
ha+ reache+ Nong Aw?ED that spar6ling pool o1 pure Dhamma that
the %or+ Bu++ha an+ his Arahant +isciples encountere+ an+ then
proclaime+ to the worl+ oAer ;M<< years ago- HaAing at long last
encountere+ it himsel1? he tirelessly pai+ heart1elt homage? prostrating
himsel1 oAer an+ oAer again to the Bu++ha? the Dhamma?
an+ the Sangha- Shoul+ people haAe seen him then? tears streaming
+own his 1ace as he prostrate+ oAer an+ oAer again? surely
they woul+ haAe assume+ that this mon6 was su11ering immensely?
she++ing tears so pro1usely- !hey probably woul+ haAe suspecte+
him o1 beseeching the guar+ian spirits? liAing in all +irections? to
help ease his painV or else o1 being on the Aerge o1 ma+ness? 1or
his behaAior was eKtremely unusual- &n 1act? he ha+ Xust arriAe+
at the truth o1 the Bu++ha? Dhamma? an+ Sangha with utmost
clarity? as epitomiUe+ in the maKim* He who sees the Dhamma? sees
the !ath7gata? an+ thus abi+es in the presence o1 the Bu++ha? the
Dhamma? an+ the Sangha- Scariya Mun was simply engage+ in the
6in+ o1 con+uct be1itting someone who is oAerwhelme+ by a sincere
sense o1 gratitu+e-
!hat night celestial +eAas o1 all realms an+ terrestrial +eAas
1rom eAery +irection? pai+ tribute in a resoun+ing eKclamation
o1 approAal that reAerberate+ throughout the worl+ systems? an+
then gathere+ to listen to Scariya Mun eKpoun+ the Dhamma-
But being still 1ully engage+ in his imme+iate commitment to the
Supreme Dhamma? he was not yet rea+y to receiAe Aisitors- So? he
signale+ to the assemble+ +eAas that he was occupie+? in+icating
they shoul+ return on a later occasion- !he +eAas then le1t? thoroughly
+elighte+ that they ha+ seen a Aisu++hi)+eAa on the Aery
night when he attaine+ Nibb7na-EM
At +awn? Scariya Mun rose 1rom his me+itation seat? re1lecting
still on the un1orgettably amaUing Dhamma- !hin6ing bac6
to the moment o1 1inal release? he recalle+ the three reAolutions
together with the pro1oun+ subtlety o1 their essential meanings-
He also re1lecte+ with appreciation on the tree that ha+ sheltere+
him as he sat in me+itation? an+ the local Aillagers who ha+
always supporte+ him with 1oo+ an+ other basic nee+s-
At 1irst? Scariya Mun consi+ere+ 1oregoing his morning
almsroun+ that +ay- He rec6one+ that the happiness he 1elt 1rom
his attainment was all that he nee+e+ 1or sustenance- But he
coul+ not help 1eeling compassion 1or the local Aillagers who ha+
+one so much 1or him- So? while he ha+ no +esire to eat? he neAertheless
went on almsroun+- ntering the Aillage that morning he
1iKe+ his gaUe 1irmly on the people? haAing pai+ little attention to
them be1ore- As he gaUe+ intently at the people who came 1orwar+
to put 1oo+ in his bowl? an+ at those milling aroun+ the houses
with chil+ren at play in the +irt? he eKperience+ an eKtraor+inary
sense o1 loAe an+ compassion 1or them all- !he whole Aillage
appeare+ to be especially bright an+ cheer1ul that +ay? with smiling
1aces beaming at him as people saw him come-
Upon return at his mountain retreat? his heart 1elt replete
with Dhamma? while his bo+y 1elt 1ully satis1ie+ eAen though he
ha+ yet to eat- Neither bo+y nor citta was the least bit hungry-
Nonetheless? he 1orce+ himsel1 to eat 1or the bo+yJs sa6e? since
it reCuires nourishment to sustain its li1e- !he 1oo+? howeAer?
appeare+ to haAe no taste- !he taste o1 Dhamma alone permeate+
the whole o1 his bo+y R an+ his heart- As the Bu++ha sai+*
!he taste o1 Dhamma surpasses all other tastes-EP
ager to hear Dhamma? all the +eAas came to Aisit Scariya
Mun the 1ollowing night- Both terrestrial +eAas an+ celestial +eAas
arriAe+ in groups? hailing 1rom nearly eAery +irection- ach group
+escribe+ the amaUing ra+iance cause+ by the incre+ible power
o1 his Dhamma the preAious night- !hey compare+ it to a mag
ni1icent tremor that passe+ through all the celestial abo+es in the
Aast realms o1 all the worl+ systems- !his tremor was accompa
nie+ by a 1antastic incan+escence that ren+ere+ the length an+
breath o1 the upper an+ lower realms ine11ably translucent- !hey
tol+ him*
@!hose o1 us with intuitiAe 6nowle+ge were able to see unobstructe+
throughout the entire uniAerse +ue to the luminous
Cuality o1 the Dhamma pouring 1orth 1rom your person? Aenerable
sir- &ts brilliance was 1ar more ra+iant than the light
o1 a hun+re+ or eAen a thousan+ suns- &t is truly unbearable
to thin6 that there were those who misse+ seeing such a
won+er- #nly humans an+ animals? liAing 1utile earthboun+
eKistences? coul+ be so incre+ibly blin+ an+ unperceptiAe as
to haAe been unaware o1 last nightJs splen+or- DeAas eAerywhere
were so stunne+? astonishe+? an+ utterly amaUe+ that
they let out an emphatic eKclamation o1 approAal to eKpress
their eKultation at the per1ection o1 your achieAement- &1
it were not such an absolutely amaUing achieAement? how
coul+ 6nowle+ge o1 it haAe been so wi+esprea+_
@(ou? Aenerable sir? are a person o1 saintly Airtue? maXestic
power? an+ Aast in1luence? capable o1 being a re1uge to a
great number o1 beings in numerous realms o1 eKistence- All
will be able to 1in+ blesse+ com1ort in the sha+ow o1 your
greatness- Beings o1 eAery class R be they humans? +eAas?
or brahmas? liAing un+erwater? on lan+? or in the air R are
rarely 1ortunate enough to encounter such per1ection- .e
+eAas consi+er ourselAes especially blesse+ to haAe met you?
Aenerable sir? haAing the precious opportunity to pay our
respects to you an+ to receiAe your bene1icent teaching- .e
are grate1ul to you 1or eKpoun+ing the Dhamma to brighten
our hearts? lea+ing us on the path o1 practice so that we can
gra+ually become aware o1 how to improAe ourselAes-B
+eAas consi+er ourselAes especially blesse+ to haAe met you?
Aenerable sir? haAing the precious opportunity to pay our
respects to you an+ to receiAe your bene1icent teaching- .e
are grate1ul to you 1or eKpoun+ing the Dhamma to brighten
our hearts? lea+ing us on the path o1 practice so that we can
gra+ually become aware o1 how to improAe ourselAes-B
he ha+ eKperience+ in his e11ort to realiUe this Dhamma-
Because his practice ha+ entaile+ such eKceptional har+ship? he
regar+e+ it as Dhamma at the threshol+ o1 +eath- Ha+ he not come
so close to +eath? while struggling to reach 1ree+om 1rom +u66ha?
then surely he woul+ neAer haAe attaine+ that 1ree+om-
!he Spiritual Partner
Sitting in me+itation a1ter his 1inal attainment? Scariya Mun
recalle+ a certain personal matter 1rom his past R one which he
ha+ not ta6en much interest in be1ore- Here & woul+ li6e to tell a
story releAant to Scariya MunJs past- & 1eel it woul+ be a shame to
leaAe out such an intriguing story? especially as this type o1 relationship
may be 1ollowing eAery one o1 you li6e a sha+ow? eAen
though you are unaware o1 it- Shoul+ the story be +eeme+ in
any way unseemly? please blame the author 1or not being properly
circumspect- As you may alrea+y haAe guesse+? this is a priAate
matter that was +iscusse+ only by Scariya Mun an+ his inner
circle o1 +isciples- & haAe trie+ to suppress the urge to write about
it here? but the more & trie+ to suppress it? the stronger this urge
became- So & 1inally gaAe in an+? a1ter writing it +own? the urge
gra+ually subsi+e+- & must con1ess that &Jm at 1ault here? but & hope
the rea+er 1orgiAes me- Hope1ully? it will proAi+e eAeryone? caught
in the perpetual cycle o1 birth an+ +eath? something worthwhile
to thin6 about-
it here? but the more & trie+ to suppress it? the stronger this urge
became- So & 1inally gaAe in an+? a1ter writing it +own? the urge
gra+ually subsi+e+- & must con1ess that &Jm at 1ault here? but & hope
the rea+er 1orgiAes me- Hope1ully? it will proAi+e eAeryone? caught
in the perpetual cycle o1 birth an+ +eath? something worthwhile
to thin6 about-
EO Scariya Mun sai+ that in preAious liAes he an+ his spiritual
partner ha+ both ma+e a solemn Aow to wor6 together towar+ the
attainment o1 Bu++hahoo+- During the years prior to his 1inal
attainment? she occasionally came to Aisit him while he was in
sam7+hi- #n those occasions? he gaAe her a brie1 Dhamma tal6?
then sent her away- She always appeare+ to him as a +isembo+ie+
consciousness- Unli6e beings 1rom most realms o1 eKistence? she
ha+ no +iscernible 1orm- .hen he inCuire+ about her 1ormless
state? she replie+ that she was so worrie+ about him she ha+ not
yet +eci+e+ to ta6e up eKistence in any speci1ic realm- She 1eare+
that he woul+ 1orget their relationship R their mutual resolAe to
attain Bu++hahoo+ in the 1uture- So out o1 concern? an+ a sense
o1 +isappointment? she 1elt compelle+ to come an+ chec6 on him
1rom time to time- Scariya Mun tol+ her then that he ha+ alrea+y
giAen up that Aow? resolAing instea+ to practice 1or Nibb7na in
this li1etime- He ha+ no wish to be born again? which was eCuiAalent
to carrying all the misery he ha+ su11ere+ in past liAes in+e1initely
into the 1uture-
Although she ha+ neAer reAeale+ her 1eelings? she remaine+
worrie+ about their relationship? an+ her longing 1or him neAer
wane+- So once in a long while she pai+ him a Aisit- But on this
occasion? it was Scariya Mun who thought o1 her? being con
cerne+ about her plight? since they ha+ gone through so many
har+ships together in preAious liAes- :ontemplating this a11air
a1ter his attainment? it occurre+ to him that he woul+ li6e to
meet her so they coul+ reach a new un+erstan+ing- He wante+ to
eKplain matters to her? an+ thus remoAe any lingering +oubts or
anKieties regar+ing their 1ormer partnership- %ate that Aery night
an+ soon a1ter this thought occurre+ to him? his spiritual partner
arriAe+ in her 1amiliar 1ormless state-
cerne+ about her plight? since they ha+ gone through so many
har+ships together in preAious liAes- :ontemplating this a11air
a1ter his attainment? it occurre+ to him that he woul+ li6e to
meet her so they coul+ reach a new un+erstan+ing- He wante+ to
eKplain matters to her? an+ thus remoAe any lingering +oubts or
anKieties regar+ing their 1ormer partnership- %ate that Aery night
an+ soon a1ter this thought occurre+ to him? his spiritual partner
arriAe+ in her 1amiliar 1ormless state-
She reiterate+ that she was waiting in that realm because
o1 anKiety concerning him- HaAing become aware o1 his +esire to
meet her? she came to him that night-
#r+inarily? she +i+nJt +are to Aisit him Aery o1ten- !hough
sincerely wanting to see him? she always 1elt shy an+ hesitant- &n
truth? her Aisits were in no way +amaging to either o1 them 1or
they were not o1 such a nature as to be harm1ul- But still? her
long)stan+ing a11ection 1or him ma+e her hesitant about coming-
Scariya Mun ha+ also tol+ her not to Aisit too o1ten? 1or although
not harm1ul? such Aisits coul+ neAertheless become an emotional
impe+iment? thus slowing his progress- !he heart being Aery sensitiAe
by nature? it coul+ well be a11ecte+ by subtle emotional attachments?
which coul+ then inter1ere with the practice o1 me+itation-
:onAince+ that this was true? she sel+om came to Aisit him-
She was Cuite aware that he ha+ seAere+ his connection to
birth an+ +eath? inclu+ing 1ormer 1rien+s an+ relatiAes R an+ o1
course the spiritual partner who was counting on him R with no
lingering regrets whatsoeAer- A1ter all? it was an eAent that ha+
a +ramatic e11ect throughout the worl+ systems- But rather than
reXoice with +elight? as she woul+ haAe +one in the past when
they were together? this time she 1elt slighte+? prompting an unortho+oK
reaction- She thought instea+ that he was being irresponsible?
neglecting to consi+er the loyal spiritual companion who
ha+ share+ his su11ering? struggling together with him through
so many li1etimes- She 1elt +eAastate+? now le1t alone in mis1ortune?
clutching +u66ha
but unable to let go- He ha+ alrea+y gone
beyon+ +u66ha? leaAing her behin+ to en+ure the bur+en o1 su11ering-
!he more she thought about it? the more she 1elt li6e one
bere1t o1 wis+om who? nonetheless? wante+ to reach up to touch
the moon an+ the stars- &n the en+? she 1ell bac6 to earth clutching
her misery? unable to 1in+ a way out o1 such grieAous mis1ortune-
Despon+ent? hapless being that she was? an+ struggling to
en+ure her misery? she plea+e+ with him 1or assistance* @& am +esperately
+isappointe+- .here can & possibly 1in+ happiness_ & so
want to reach up an+ touch the moon an+ the stars in the s6y2 &tJs
Xust terrible? an+ so pain1ul- (ou yoursel1 are li6e the moon an+
the stars up in the s6y shining brightly in eAery +irection- HaAing
establishe+ yoursel1 in Dhamma? your eKistence is neAer blea6?
neAer +reary- (ouJre so completely content an+ your aura ra+iates
throughout eAery part o1 the uniAerse- &1 & am still 1ortunate
enough? please 6in+ly show me the way o1 Dhamma- Please help
me bring 1orth the bright? pure 6nowle+ge o1 wis+om?EL releasing
me Cuic6ly 1rom the cycle o1 repeate+ birth an+ +eath? to 1ollow
you in the attainment o1 Nibb7na so that & will not haAe to en+ure
this agony much longer- May this Aow be strong enough to pro
+uce the results my heart +esires? allowing me to attain the grace
o1 enlightenment as soon as possible-B
+uce the results my heart +esires? allowing me to attain the grace
o1 enlightenment as soon as possible-B
Scariya Mun replie+ that his intention in wishing to see her
was not to elicit regrets about the past* @People who wish each
other well shoul+ not thin6 in that way- HaAenJt you practice+ the
1our brahmaAih7ras* mett7? 6aru57? mu+it7? an+ upe66h7_EN
!he 1ormless spirit replie+* @& haAe practice+ them 1or
so long that & canJt help thin6ing about the closeness we once
share+ practicing them together- .hen a person saAes only himsel1?
as you haAe? it is Cuite natural 1or those le1t behin+ to be +isappointe+-
&Jm in misery because & haAe been aban+one+ without
any concern 1or my wel1are- & still canJt see any possibility o1
easing my pain-B
He cautione+ her* @.hether practicing on your own or in
concert with others? goo+ness is +eAelope+ 1or the purpose o1 re+ucing
anKiety an+ su11ering within yoursel1? not 1or increasing them
until? being agitate+? you become all upset- &snJt that right_B
@(es? but the ten+ency o1 people with 6ilesas is to somehow
mu++le through? not 6nowing which path is the right one 1or a
smooth? sa1e passage- .e +onJt 6now i1 what we are +oing is right
or wrong? or whether the result will be happiness or su11ering- .e
6now the pain in our hearts? but we +onJt 6now the way out o1 it- So
we are le1t to 1ret about our mis1ortune? as you see me +oing now-B
Scariya Mun sai+ that the 1ormless spirit was a+amant in
her complaints about him- She accuse+ him o1 ma6ing his escape
alone? showing no pity 1or her R she who 1or so long ha+ struggle+
together with him to go beyon+ +u66ha- She complaine+ that he
ha+ ma+e no e11ort to assist her so that she too coul+ gain release
1rom su11ering-
He trie+ to console her* @.hen two people eat 1oo+ together
at the same table? ineAitably one will be 1ull be1ore the other- &tJs
not possible 1or both to be 1ully satiate+ at the same moment- !a6e
the case o1 the %or+ Bu++ha an+ his 1ormer spouse? (aso+hara-
Although 1or many ages they ha+ Xointly +eAelope+ goo+ness o1 all
6in+s? the %or+ Bu++ha was the 1irst to transcen+ +u66ha? returning
then to teach his 1ormer spouse so that later she also crosse+
oAer to the other shore- (ou shoul+ consi+er this lesson care1ully
an+ learn 1rom it? instea+ o1 complaining about the person whoJs
right now trying his best to 1in+ a way to help you- & am earnestly
searching 1or a means to help you cross oAer? yet you accuse me
o1 being heartless an+ irresponsible- Such thoughts are Aery inappropriate-
!hey will merely increase the +iscom1ort 1or both o1 us-
(ou shoul+ change your attitu+e? 1ollowing the eKample o1 the
%or+ Bu++haJs 1ormer spouse R an eKcellent eKample 1or eAeryone?
an+ one giAing rise to true happiness-
@My reason 1or meeting you is to assist you? not to +riAe you
away- & haAe always supporte+ your +eAelopment in Dhamma- !o
say that & haAe aban+one+ you an+ no longer care 1or your wel1are
is simply not true- My a+Aice to you emanates 1rom a heart whose
loAing 6in+ness an+ compassion are absolutely pure- &1 you 1ollow
this a+Aice? practicing it to the best o1 your ability? & will reXoice
in your progress- An+ shoul+ you receiAe completely satis1actory
results? & will rest contente+ in eCuanimity-;<
@#ur original aspiration to achieAe Bu++hahoo+ was ma+e
1or the eKpress purpose o1 crossing beyon+ the cycle o1 rebirth-
My subseCuent +esire to attain the status o1 s7Aa6aMy subseCuent +esire to attain the status o1
s7Aa6ainstea+? was
actually a +esire aime+ towar+ the same goal* a state 1ree o1 6ilesas
an+ 7saAa?;; 1ree o1 all +u66ha? the Supreme Happiness? Nibb7na-
As &JAe 1ollowe+ the righteous path through many +i11erent
liAes? inclu+ing my present status as a Bu++hist mon6? & haAe
always +one my utmost to 6eep in touch with you- !hroughout
this time? & haAe taught you as best & coul+ with the immense
loAing compassion that & 1eel 1or you- NeAer was there a moment
when & thought o1 1orsa6ing you to see6 only my own salAation R
my thoughts were constantly 1ull o1 concern? 1ull o1 sympathy 1or
you- & haAe always hope+ to 1ree you 1rom the misery o1 birth in
sa[s7ra? lea+ing you in the +irection o1 Nibb7na-
@(our abnormal reaction R 1eeling o11en+e+ because you suppose
that &JAe aban+one+ you without any concern 1or your wellbeing
R is o1 no bene1it to either o1 us- 8rom now on? you shoul+
re1rain 1rom such thin6ing- DonJt allow these thoughts to arise?
trampling all oAer your heart? 1or they will bring only en+less
misery in their wa6e R a result incompatible with my obXectiAe? as
& striAe with heart1elt compassion to help you out-
@scaping without a care_ .here haAe & escape+ to_ An+
who is it & +onJt care about_ At this moment & am +oing my utmost
to giAe you eAery possible assistance- DoesnJt eAerything &JAe taught
you arise solely out o1 such compassionate concern as & am showing
you right now_ !he constant encouragement & haAe proAi+e+
comes straight 1rom a heart 1ull to the brim with a compassion
that eKcee+s all the water in the great oceans? a compassion that
pours 1orth unsparingly? without concern that it might run +ry-
Please un+erstan+ that helping you has always been my intention
an+ accept this Dhamma teaching that & o11er- &1 you Xust trust me
an+ practice accor+ingly? you will eKperience the 1ruits o1 inner
happiness 1or yoursel1-
an+ practice accor+ingly? you will eKperience the 1ruits o1 inner
happiness 1or yoursel1-
the trembling o1 the uniAerse that night as a +ecisiAe 1actor
in your 1aith? an+ ta6e com1ort in the 1act that you still haAe great
resources o1 merit- (ou are still able to listen to a timely eKposition
o1 Dhamma? eAen though your birth in that 1ormless realm
o1 eKistence shoul+ ren+er such a thing impossible- & consi+er it
my goo+ 1ortune to be able to teach you now- (ou shoul+ 1eel
prou+ o1 your own goo+ 1ortune in haAing someone to come an+
rescue you 1rom the hopeless gloom that your misgui+e+ thin6ing
has cause+- &1 you can thin6 positiAely li6e this? & shall be
Aery please+- Such thin6ing will not allow +u66ha
to bin+ you so
tightly that you canJt 1in+ a way out- &t wonJt allow Dhamma to
be seen as something mun+ane? or compassionate concern to be
seen as something maleAolent-B
As she listene+ to Scariya Mun present these reasone+ arguments
with such loAing compassion? his spiritual partner 1elt as
though she was being bathe+ in a stream o1 celestial water- 9ra+
ually she regaine+ her composure- nchante+ by his +iscourse? her
min+ soon became calm? her manner respect1ul-
ually she regaine+ her composure- nchante+ by his +iscourse? her
min+ soon became calm? her manner respect1ul-
.hen she 1inishe+ spea6ing? Scariya Mun a+Aise+ her to
ta6e birth in a more appropriate realm o1 eKistence? telling her
to cease worrying about the past- 'espect1ully? she promise+ to
1ollow his a+Aice? then ma+e one 1inal reCuest* @#nce & haAe ta6en
birth in a suitable realm? may & come an+ listen to your a+Aice as
be1ore_ Please giAe me your blessing 1or this-B #nce Scariya Mun
ha+ grante+ her reCuest? she imme+iately Aanishe+-
!he 1ormless spirit haAing +eparte+? Scariya MunJs citta
with+rew 1rom sam7+hi-
&t was nearly 1iAe A-M- an+ almost light- He
ha+ not reste+ the entire night- HaAing begun sitting in sam7+hi
at aroun+ eight P-M-? he ha+ spo6en with the 1ormless spirit 1or
many hours into the night-
Not long a1terwar+s? the same spirit came to Aisit him again-
!his time she came in the bo+ily 1orm o1 a beauti1ul +eAa? although
in +e1erence to the especially reAere+ mon6 she was Aisiting? she
was not a+orne+ in the ornamental style customary o1 the +eAas-
Upon arriAing? she eKplaine+ to him her new situation*
was not a+orne+ in the ornamental style customary o1 the +eAas-
Upon arriAing? she eKplaine+ to him her new situation*
heaAenly realm R a celestial sphere 1ull
o1 +elight1ul pleasures? all o1 which & now enXoy as a result o1 the
goo+ness we per1orme+ together as human beings- Although &
eKperience this pleasant eKistence as a conseCuence o1 my own
goo+ +ee+s? & canJt help remembering that you? Aenerable sir? were
the one who initially encourage+ me to +o goo+- #n my own? &
woul+ neAer haAe ha+ the wis+om capable o1 accomplishing this
to my complete satis1action-
@8eeling 1ortunate enough to be reborn in heaAenly splen+or?
& am wholly contente+? an+ no longer angry or resent1ul- As
& re1lect bac6 on the immense 6in+ness youJAe always shown me?
it becomes apparent to me how important it is 1or us to choose
+iscretely in our liAes R concerning eAerything 1rom our wor6 to
our 1oo+ to our 1rien+s an+ companions? both male an+ 1emale-
Such +iscretion is crucial 1or lea+ing a smooth? untrouble+ eKistence-
!his is especially true when choosing a spouse to +epen+ on?
1or better or 1or worse- :hoosing a spouse merits special attention?
1or we share eAerything with that person R eAen our Aery breath-
Aery happiness an+ eAery sorrow along the way will necessarily
a11ect both parties-
@!hose who haAe a goo+ partner? eAen though they may be
ina+eCuate in terms o1 their intelligence? their temperament? or
their behaAior? are still blest to haAe someone who can gui+e an+
encourage them in +ealing with all their a11airs R both their secular
a11airs? which promote peace an+ stability in the 1amily? an+
their spiritual a11airs? which nourish the heart- All other matters
will bene1it as well? so they wonJt 1eel they are groping blin+ly in
the +ar6? neAer certain how these matters will turn out- ach partner
being a goo+ person? they compliment each other to create a
Airtual para+ise within the 1amily? allowing eAeryone to remain
peace1ul? contente+? an+ 1ree 1rom stri1e at all times- Always cheer1ul?
such a househol+ is un+isturbe+ by temperamental outbursts-
All members contribute in creating this atmosphere* each is calm
an+ compose+? 1irmly establishe+ in the principles o1 reason R
instea+ o1 Xust +oing whateAer they li6e? which is contrary to the
Aery moral principles that insure their continue+ peace an+ contentment-
Marrie+ couples wor6 together to construct their own
1uture- !ogether they create goo+ an+ ba+ 6amma- !hey create
happiness an+ misery? Airtue an+ eAil? heaAen an+ hell? 1rom the
Aery beginning o1 their relationship onwar+s to the present an+
into the 1uture R an unbro6en continuum-
@Being blesse+ with the chance to accompany you through
many liAes? &JAe come to realiUe this in my own situation- By your
gui+ance? Aenerable sir? & haAe ma+e goo+ness an integral part o1
my character- (ou haAe always steere+ me sa1ely through eAery
+anger? neAer letting me stray in the +irection o1 eAil or +isgrace-
:onseCuently? &JAe remaine+ a goo+ person +uring all those li1etimes-
& cannot tell you how +eeply moAe+ & am by all the 6in+ness
youJAe shown me- & now realiUe the harm cause+ by my past
mista6es- Please 6in+ly 1orgiAe my transgressions so that no lingering
animosity remains between us-B
Assenting to the +eAaJs
reCuest? Scariya Mun 1orgaAe her- He
then gaAe her an inspiring tal6? encouraging her to per1ect hersel1
spiritually- .hen he ha+ 1inishe+? she pai+ him her respects?
moAe+ o11 a short +istance? an+ 1loate+ bliss1ully up into the s6y-
Some o1 the resent1ul comments she ma+e when she was
still a 1ormless spirit were too strange to recor+ here? so &JAe been
unable to recount eAery +etail o1 their conAersationV an+ 1or that
& as6 your 1orgiAeness- & am not really that satis1ie+ with what
has been written here either? but & 1eel that without it a thought)
proAo6ing story woul+ haAe been le1t out-
!he Most Kalte+ Appreciation
#n the nights subseCuent to Scariya MunJs attainment o1 Aimutti?
a number o1 Bu++has? accompanie+ by their Arahant +isciples?
came to congratulate him on his Aimutti+hamma- #ne night? a
certain Bu++ha? accompanie+ by tens o1 thousan+s o1 Arahant
+isciples? came to AisitV the neKt night? he was Aisite+ by another
Bu++ha who was accompanie+ by hun+re+s o1 thousan+s o1
Arahant +isciples- ach night a +i11erent Bu++ha came to eKpress
his appreciation? accompanie+ by a +i11erent number o1 Arahant
+isciples- Scariya Mun state+ that the number o1 accompanying
Arahant +isciples Aarie+ accor+ing to each Bu++haJs relatiAe
accumulation o1 merit R a 1actor that +i11ere+ 1rom one Bu++ha to
the neKt- !he actual number o1 Arahant +isciples accompanying
each Bu++ha +i+ not represent the total number o1 his Arahant
+isciplesV they merely +emonstrate+ the relatiAe leAels o1 accumulate+
merit an+ per1ection that each in+iAi+ual Bu++ha possesse+-
Among the Arahant +isciples accompanying each o1 those
Bu++has were Cuite a 1ew young noAices-;= Scariya Mun was s6ep
tical about this? so he re1lecte+ on it an+ realiUe+ that the term
@ArahantB +oes not apply eKclusiAely to mon6s- NoAices whose
hearts are completely pure are also Arahant +isciples? so their
presence +i+ not raise issue with the term in any way-
Most o1 the Bu++has who came to show their appreciation
to Scariya Mun a++resse+ him in much the 1ollowing manner*
@&? the !ath7gata? am aware that you haAe escape+ 1rom the harm1ul
e11ects o1 that monstrous su11ering which you en+ure+ in the prison
o1 sa[s7ra?;D so & haAe come to eKpress my appreciation- !his prison
is enormous? an+ Cuite impregnable- &t is 1ull o1 se+uctiAe temptations
which so enslaAe those who are unwary that it is eKtremely
+i11icult 1or anyone to brea6 1ree- #1 the Aast number o1 people liAing
in the worl+? har+ly anyone is concerne+ enough to thin6 o1 loo6ing
1or a way out o1 +u66ha that perpetually torments their bo+ies
an+ min+s- !hey are li6e sic6 people who cannot be bothere+ to ta6e
me+icine- Aen though me+icines are plenti1ul? they are o1 no use to
a person who re1uses to ta6e them-
@Bu++ha)Dhamma is li6e me+icine- Beings in sa[s7ra are
a11licte+ with the pain1ul? oppressiAe +isease o1 6ilesas? which causes
en+less su11ering- &neAitably? this +isease can be cure+ only by the me+icine
o1 Dhamma- %e1t uncure+? it will +rag liAing beings through an
en+less succession o1 births an+ +eaths? all o1 them boun+ up with physical
an+ mental pain- Although Dhamma eKists eAerywhere throughout
the whole uniAerse? those who are not really intereste+ in properly
aAailing themselAes o1 its healing Cualities are unable to ta6e a+Aantage
o1 it-
@Dhamma eKists in its own natural way- Beings in sa[s7ra spin
aroun+? li6e wheels? through the pain an+ su11ering o1 each successiAe
li1e R in the natural way o1 sa[s7ra- !hey haAe no real prospect o1
eAer seeing an en+ to +u66ha- An+ there is no way to help them unless
they are willing to help themselAes by hol+ing 1irmly to the principles o1
Dhamma? earnestly trying to put them into practice- No matter how
many Bu++has become enlightene+? or how eKtensiAe their teachings
are? only those willing to ta6e the prescribe+ me+icine will bene1it-
li1e R in the natural way o1 sa[s7ra- !hey haAe no real prospect o1
eAer seeing an en+ to +u66ha- An+ there is no way to help them unless
they are willing to help themselAes by hol+ing 1irmly to the principles o1
Dhamma? earnestly trying to put them into practice- No matter how
many Bu++has become enlightene+? or how eKtensiAe their teachings
are? only those willing to ta6e the prescribe+ me+icine will bene1it-
more eKceptional than this* 8or eAen the most eKceptional 6ilesas
in the hearts o1 liAing beings are not so eKceptional that they can
transcen+ the power o1 Dhamma taught by all the Bu++has- !his
Dhamma in itsel1 is su11icient to era+icate eAery 6in+ o1 6ilesa there is
R unless? o1 course? those practicing it allow themselAes to be +e1eate+
by their 6ilesas? an+ so conclu+e that Dhamma must be worthless-
@By nature? 6ilesas haAe always resiste+ the power o1 Dhamma-
:onseCuently? people who +e1er to the 6ilesas are people who +isregar+
Dhamma- !hey are unwilling to practice the way? 1or they Aiew
it as something +i11icult to +o? a waste o1 the time they coul+ otherwise
spen+ enXoying themselAes R +espite the harm such pleasures cause
them- A wise? 1ar)sighte+ person shoul+ not retreat into a shell? li6e a
turtle in a pot o1 boiling water R it is sure to +ie because it canJt 1in+
a way to escape- !he worl+ is a caul+ron? boiling with the consuming
heat o1 the 6ilesas- arthly beings o1 eAery +escription? eAery where?
must en+ure this torment? 1or there is no sa1e place to hi+e? no way
to elu+e this con1lagration burning in their own hearts R right there
where the +u66ha is-
@(ou haAe seen the truly genuine !ath7gata? haAenJt you_
.hat is the genuine !ath7gata_ !he genuine !ath7gata is simply
that purity o1 heart you haAe Xust realiUe+- !he bo+ily 1orm in which
& now appear is merely a mani1estation o1 relatiAe? conAentional
& now appear is merely a mani1estation o1 relatiAe? conAentional
reality-!his 1orm +oes not represent the true Bu++ha? or the true
Arahant? it is Xust our conAentional bo+ily appearance-B
Scariya Mun replie+ that he ha+ no +oubts about the true nature
o1 the Bu++ha an+ the Arahants- .hat still puUUle+ him was* how
coul+ the Bu++ha an+ the Arahants? haAing attaine+ anup7+isesanibb7na;P
without any remaining trace o1 relatiAe? conAentional
reality? still appear in bo+ily 1orm- !he Bu++ha eKplaine+ this
matter to him*
@&1 those who haAe attaine+ anup7+isesa)nibb7na wish to interact with
other Arahants who haAe puri1ie+ their hearts but still possess a physical?
mun+ane bo+y? they must temporarily assume a mun+ane 1orm
in or+er to ma6e contact- HoweAer? i1 all concerne+ haAe alrea+y
attaine+ anup7+isesa)nibb7na without any remaining trace o1 relatiAe?
conAentional reality? then the use o1 conAentional constructs is completely
unnecessary- So it is necessary to appear in a conAentional 1orm
when +ealing with conAentional reality? but when the conAentional
worl+ has been completely transcen+e+? no such problem eKists-
@All Bu++has 6now eAents concerning the past an+ the 1uture
through nimittas that symboliUe 1or them the original conAentional
realities o1 the occurrences in Cuestion-;O 8or instance? when a Bu++ha
wishes to 6now about the liAes o1 the Bu++has who prece+e+ him? he
must ta6e the nimitta o1 each Bu++ha? an+ the particular circumstances
in which he liAe+? as a +eAice lea+ing +irectly to that 6nowle+ge-
&1 something eKists beyon+ the relatiAe worl+ o1 conAentional
reality? that being Aimutti? then there can be no symbol representing
it- Because o1 that? 6nowle+ge about past Bu++has +epen+s on
mun+ane conAentions to serAe as a common basis 1or un+erstan+
ing? as my present Aisit illustrates- &t is necessary that & an+ all o1
my Arahant +isciples appear in our original mun+ane 1orms so that
others? li6e yoursel1? haAe a means o1 +etermining what our appear
ance was li6e- &1 we +i+ not appear in this 1orm? no one woul+ be able
to perceiAe us-;L
@#n occasions when it is necessary to interact with conAentional
reality? Aimutti must be ma+e mani1est by the use o1 suitable conAen
tional means- &n the case o1 pure Aimutti? as when two puri1ie+ cittas
interact with one another? there eKists only the essential Cuality o1
6nowing R which is impossible to elaborate on in any way- So when
we want to reAeal the nature o1 complete purity? we haAe to bring in
conAentional +eAices to help us portray the eKperience o1 Aimutti- .e
can say that Aimutti is a ]sel1)luminous state +eAoi+ o1 all nimittas rep
resenting the ultimate happinessJ? 1or instance? but these are Xust wi+ely)
use+? conAentional metaphors- #ne who clearly 6nows it in his heart
cannot possibly haAe +oubts about Aimutti- Since its true character
istics are impossible to conAey? Aimutti is inconceiAable in a relatiAe?
conAentional sense- Vimutti mani1esting conAentionally an+ Aimutti
eKisting in its original state are? howeAer? both 6nown with absolute
certainty by the Arahant- !his inclu+es both Aimutti mani1esting itsel1
by means o1 conAentional constructs un+er certain circumstances? an+
Aimutti eKisting in its original? uncon+itione+ state- Di+ you as6 me
about this matter because you were in +oubt? or simply as a point o1
@& haAe no +oubts about the conAentional aspects o1 all the
Bu++has? or the uncon+itione+ aspects- My inCuiry was a con
Aentional way o1 showing respect- Aen without a Aisit 1rom you
an+ your Arahant +isciples? & woul+ haAe no +oubts as to where
the true Bu++ha? Dhamma? an+ Sangha lie- &t is my clear conAiction
that whoeAer sees the Dhamma sees the !ath7gata- !his means
that the %or+ Bu++ha? the Dhamma? an+ the Sangha each +enote
the Aery same natural state o1 absolute purity? completely 1ree o1
conAentional reality? collectiAely 6nown as the !hree Zewels-B
@&? the !ath7gata? +i+ not as6 you that Cuestion thin6ing you
were in +oubt? but rather as a 1rien+ly greeting-;N
#n those occasions when the Bu++has an+ their Arahant
+isciples came to Aisit? only the Bu++has a++resse+ Scariya Mun-
None o1 the +isciples accompanying them spo6e a wor+ as they
sat Cuietly compose+? listening in a manner worthy o1 the highest
respect- Aen the small noAices? loo6ing more a+orable than
Aenerable? showe+ the same Cuiet composure- Some o1 them were
Cuite young? between the ages o1 nine an+ twelAe? an+ Scariya
Mun 1oun+ them truly en+earing-
#r+inarily? the aAerage person woul+ see only bright)eye+?
a+orable chil+ren- Being unaware that they were Arahants? one
woul+ most probably be tempte+ to 1ool aroun+? reaching out play1ully
to stro6e their hea+s? without realiUing the impertinence o1
+oing so- .hen Scariya Mun spo6e about this? & thought mischieAously
that & woul+ probably be the 1irst to succumb to the
urge to reach out an+ play with them? +espite the conseCuences-
A1terwar+s? & coul+ always beg their 1orgiAeness-
Scariya Mun sai+ that? although they were young noAices?
their behaAior was Aery mature- !hey were as calm? compose+?
an+ impressiAe to see as all the other Arahant +isciples-
&n short? all the Arahant mon6s an+ noAices who accompanie+
each Bu++ha eKhibite+ impeccable behaAior worthy o1 the high
est respect- !hey were neat? or+erly? an+ pleasing to the eye R li6e
immaculately 1ol+e+ robes-
Scariya Mun ha+ always been curious to 6now how wal6ing
an+ sitting me+itation were practice+ at the time o1 the
Bu++ha- He also ha+ Cuestions about the proper etiCuette to be
use+ between Xunior an+ senior mon6s? an+ whether it was necessary
1or a mon6 to wear his 1ormal robes while +oing me+itation-
.hen such Cuestions arose in his min+? inAariably one o1
the Bu++has? or an Arahant +isciple? appeare+ to him in sam7+hi
an+ +emonstrate+ how these practices were originally per1orme+
in the Bu++haJs +ay- 8or eKample? Scariya Mun was curious to
6now the correct manner o1 practicing wal6ing me+itation so as
to show proper respect 1or Dhamma- A Bu++ha or an Arahant
then appeare+? +emonstrating in +etail how to place the han+s?
how to wal6? an+ how to remain sel1)compose+- Sometimes? these
+emonstrations inclu+e+ eKplicit instructionsV at other times? the
metho+s were +emonstrate+ by eKample- !hey also showe+ him
such things as the proper way to sit in sam7+hi? inclu+ing the most
suitable +irection to 1ace an+ the best seate+ posture to assume-
Scariya Mun ha+ some strange things to say about how Xunior
an+ senior mon6s showe+ their respect 1or each other- Scariya
Mun wante+ to 6now how mon6s at the time o1 the Bu++ha con+ucte+
themselAes with appropriate respect towar+ one another-=<
Shortly a1ter this thought arose? the Aision o1 a Bu++ha an+ many
Arahant +isciples appeare+ to him- !he Arahants were o1 all
+i11erent ages R some were young? others ol+er? a 1ew being so
ol+ that their hair ha+ turne+ completely white- A consi+erable
number o1 small noAices o1 all ages accompanie+ them- HoweAer?
the Bu++ha an+ his +isciples +i+ not arriAe together R each
Arahant arriAe+ in+iAi+ually- !hose arriAing 1irst sat in the 1ront?
while those arriAing later sat 1urther away R without regar+ 1or
seniority- Aen those noAices who arriAe+ earlier sat ahea+ o1 the
mon6s who arriAe+ later- 8inally the last mon6? a Aery el+erly
man? arriAe+ to ta6e the last aAailable seat R way in the bac6V but
the others showe+ no sign o1 shame or embarrassment- Aen the
Bu++ha himsel1 sat +own in whicheAer seat was aAailable at the
time he arriAe+-
Arahant arriAe+ in+iAi+ually- !hose arriAing 1irst sat in the 1ront?
while those arriAing later sat 1urther away R without regar+ 1or
seniority- Aen those noAices who arriAe+ earlier sat ahea+ o1 the
mon6s who arriAe+ later- 8inally the last mon6? a Aery el+erly
man? arriAe+ to ta6e the last aAailable seat R way in the bac6V but
the others showe+ no sign o1 shame or embarrassment- Aen the
Bu++ha himsel1 sat +own in whicheAer seat was aAailable at the
time he arriAe+-
an+ then eKpect
people to haAe 1aith in it when the s7sanaJs
lea+er an+ his closest
+isciples behaAe+ in such an in+iscriminate 1ashion_ &nstantly? the
answer arose in his heart without the Bu++ha an+ his +isciples
haAing o11ere+ any comment* !his was an instance o1 pure Aimutti+hamma
+eAoi+ o1 any trace o1 relatiAe? conAentional reality R so
there was no 1iKe+ or+er o1 propriety- !hey were +emonstrating
the true nature o1 Absolute Purity?=E being per1ectly eCual 1or all?
irrespectiAe o1 conAentional +esignations such as young an+ ol+?
or high an+ low- 8rom the %or+ Bu++ha on +own to the youngest
Arahant noAice? all were eCual with respect to their state o1 purity-
.hat Scariya Mun ha+ witnesse+ was a conclusiAe in+icator that
all the Arahant mon6s an+ noAices were eCually pure-
!his haAing been ma+e clear to him? he won+ere+ how
they +e1erre+ to each other in the conAentional worl+- No sooner
ha+ this thought arisen? than the Aision o1 the Bu++ha an+ the
Arahants seate+ be1ore him change+- .hereas be1ore they ha+
been sitting together in no special or+er? now the Bu++ha sat at
the hea+ o1 the assembly? while the small noAices? preAiously in the
1ront? sat in the last seats- &t was an impressiAe sight R worthy o1
the highest respect- At that moment Scariya Mun clearly un+erstoo+
that this image represente+ the tra+itional way in which
mon6s at the time o1 the Bu++ha showe+ each other respect- Aen
Arahants who were Xunior in ran6 were oblige+ to respect those o1
their seniors who were practicing correctly but still ha+ 6ilesas in
their hearts-=; !he Bu++ha then elaborate+ on this theme*
@!he !ath7gataJs mon6s must liAe in mutual respect an+ 1rien+ship? as
though they were all one single entity- !his +oes not mean that they
are 1rien+ly in a worl+ly way? but rather that they are 1rien+ly in the
eCual? unbiase+ way o1 Dhamma- .hen my mon6s liAe together? eAen
in large numbers? they neAer Cuarrel or +isplay arrogance- Mon6s who
+o not respect their 1ellows accor+ing to the principles o1 the !eaching
an+ the Discipline o1 the Bu++ha? are not worthy o1 being calle+
the !ath7gataJs mon6s- Aen though those mon6s may imitate the +isciples
o1 the Bu++ha? they are merely impostors ma6ing 1alse claims-
As long as mon6s respect each other accor+ing to the principles o1 the
!eaching an+ the Discipline R which substitute 1or the Bu++ha himsel1
R an+ neAer Aiolate these principles? then whereAer those mon6s liAe?
wheneAer they were or+aine+? whateAer their race? status? or nationality?
they remain true +isciples o1 the !ath7gata- An+ whoeAer is a true
1ollower o1 the !ath7gata must surely see the en+ o1 +u66ha one +ay-B
!he Bu++ha an+ all his +isciples Aanishe+ instantly the moment
he 1inishe+ spea6ing- As 1or Scariya Mun? all his +oubts ha+ Aanishe+
the moment that Aision appeare+ to him so clearly-
:oncerning Scariya MunJs +oubts about the necessity o1
wearing the 1ormal robes when +oing me+itation* one o1 the
Arahant +isciples appeare+ to him? +emonstrating how it was
unnecessary to wear them eAery time- He personally +emonstrate+
when an+ how sitting an+ wal6ing me+itation shoul+ be practice+
while wearing the 1ormal robes? as well as the instances when it
was unnecessary to wear them- Aery aspect o1 a mon6Js robes was
ma+e clear to him? inclu+ing the correct color 1or a mon6Js three
principal robes- He showe+ Scariya Mun ochre)colore+ robes that
were +ye+ 1rom the heartwoo+ o1 the Xac61ruit tree in three +i11erent
sha+es R light? me+ium? an+ +ar6 brown-==
:are1ul consi+eration o1 these episo+es is enough to conAince
usthat Scariya Mun always ha+ soun+? ac6nowle+ge+ prece+ents
1or the way he practice+- He neAer Xeopar+iUe+ his Aocation
by merely guessing about things he was unsure o1- :onseCuently?
his practice was always smooth? consistent? an+ irreproachable
1rom beginning to en+- :ertainly? it woul+ be har+ to 1in+ his
eCual nowa+ays- !hose a+opting his mo+e o1 practice are boun+
to eKhibit a grace1ulness be1itting +isciples o1 such a 1ine teacher?
an+ their own practice is sure to progress Aery smoothly- HoweAer?
those who pre1er to 1lout conAention are li6e ghosts without
a cemetery? or orphans without a 1amily- HaAing 1orsa6en their
teacher they may well mo+i1y the practice to suit their own opinions-
Scariya Mun possesse+ a mysterious? ine11able inner compass
to +irect him in these matters? one which none o1 his +isciples
coul+ eAer match-
!he :hiang Mai (ears
enerable Scariya Mun wan+ere+ +hutanga
in the northern
proAince o1 :hiang Mai 1or many years? spen+ing the
annual rains retreat in a +i11erent location each year- He
spent one rains retreat in each o1 the 1ollowing places* Ban :hom
!aeng in the Mae 'im +istrict? Ban Pong in the Mae !aeng +is
trict? Ban $loi in the Phrao +istrict? Ban Pu Phraya in the Mae
Suai +istrict? an+ Mae !hong !hip in the Mae Sai +istrict o1
:hiang 'ai proAince- He also spent rains retreats at .at :he+i
%uang in the city o1 :hiang MaiV in the mountains o1 Mae Suai
+istrictV an+ in the neighboring proAince o1 Uttara+it- #utsi+e o1
the retreat perio+? he wan+ere+ eKtensiAely through the proAinces
o1 :hiang Mai an+ :hiang 'ai 1or a total o1 eleAen years? ma6ing
it impossible to giAe a strict chronological account o1 all the Ail
lage communities he passe+ through on his traAels- &n the 1ollow
ing account? & shall mention by name only those Aillages haAing
a +irect bearing on the story as it un1ol+s-
Kcept 1or his stay at .at :he+i %uang monastery? Scariya
Mun always wan+ere+ in solitu+e? staying in the wil+erness? moun
tainous areas where +anger was eAer)present- &t is the eKceptional
nature o1 his wan+ering +hutanga
practice an+ the many insights
into Dhamma? that arose along the way? which ma6e Scariya
MunJs li1e story so signi1icant- !his strange an+ won+er1ul tale
is uniCue among the stories o1 all the +hutanga
mon6s who wan+ere+
alone- #r+inarily? such a li1estyle is belieAe+ to be blea6
an+ lonely- %iAing in an inhospitable enAironment? oppresse+ by
+anger? an+ unable to eat or sleep normally? the sense o1 1ear can
be sti1ling- But Scariya Mun was per1ectly content liAing a solitary
eKistence- He 1oun+ it con+uciAe to his e11orts to remoAe the
1rom his heart? haAing always relie+ on the metho+ o1 striAing
in seclusion to accomplish that goal-
&t was only later that other mon6s began to see6 him out-
8or eKample? Scariya !het o1 !ha Bo +istrict in the proAince o1
Nong $hai? Scariya Saan? an+ Scariya $hao o1 .at !ham $long
Phen monastery liAe+ with him 1or short perio+s o1 time- A1ter
training them 1or a while in the way o1 practice? he sent them o11
alone to 1in+ seclu+e+ places in sparsely populate+ 1orests where
Aillages were 1ar apart R perhaps at the 1oot o1 a mountain? perhaps
on a mountain ri+ge- Villages in that region were Cuite small?
some consisting o1 only D or M houses? others N to E< houses R Xust
enough to support an almsroun+ 1rom one +ay to the neKt-
!he 6amma00h7na
mon6s who 1ollowe+ Scariya Mun +uring
that perio+ were eKtremely resolute? 1earless in+iAi+uals- !hey constantly
showe+ a willingness to put their liAes on the line in their
search 1or Dhamma- !here1ore? Scariya Mun pre1erre+ to sen+
them to liAe in places teeming with wil+ animals? such as tigers?
1or such places ten+e+ to automatically +ispel complacency an+
stimulate min+1ulness an+ wis+om? boosting the strength o1 the
citta 1aster than coul+ otherwise be eKpecte+-
Scariya Mun himsel1 thriAe+ com1ortably in the peace an+
Cuiet o1 these Airtually unpopulate+ mountain regions- !hough
human contact was scarce? communication with +eAas? brahmas?
n7gas? an+ other spirits 1rom Aarious realms o1 eKistence was
normal 1or him R much in the same way that a person 6nowing
1oreign languages regularly communicates with people 1rom other
countries- Due to his long)stan+ing 1luency in this type o1 communication?
his time spent liAing in mountainous regions was o1
special bene1it to celestial beings-
&t was also bene1icial to the local hill tribes? who ten+e+
to be straight1orwar+? honest? eAen)tempere+ people- #nce they
came to 6now his character an+ to appreciate his Dhamma? they
reAere+ him so much that they were willing to sacri1ice their liAes
1or him- Hill tribes an+ 1orest peoples such as the 6or? $hamu?
Museur? an+ Hmong are generally consi+ere+ to be rather scru11y?
unattractiAe? primitiAe people- But Scariya Mun 1oun+ them to
be han+some? clean)loo6ing people who were courteous an+ well)
behaAe+? always treating their el+ers an+ local lea+ers with great
respect- !hey maintaine+ a goo+ community spirit? an+ there
were har+ly any troublema6ers in their Aillages bac6 then- !hey
place+ so much trust in their el+ers? especially the Aillage hea+man?
that when he spo6e eAeryone pai+ attention an+ obe+iently
complie+ with his wishes- An+ they were not opinionate+?
ma6ing them easy to teach-
!hose so)calle+ wil+? unciAiliUe+ Xungles were actually inhabite+
by goo+? honest? moral people- !here? unli6e in the Xungles
o1 human ciAiliUation? the1t an+ robbery were Airtually un6nown-
Zungles consisting o1 trees an+ wil+ animals arenJt nearly so +angerous
as the ciAiliUe+ Xungles o1 human society R places teeming
with all 6in+s o1 perilous 6ilesas
where gree+? hatre+? an+ +elusion
are constantly on the assault- !hey in1lict +eep internal woun+s?
gra+ually ero+ing a personJs physical an+ mental health until the
+amage becomes acute- Such woun+s are eKtremely +i11icult to
treat- &n any case? most people canJt eAen be bothere+ to loo6 1or
suitable care- !hough such 6ilesa)in1licte+ woun+s ten+ to 1ester
menacingly? those who are a11licte+ usually neglect their inXuries?
hoping they will somehow heal by themselAes-
are constantly on the assault- !hey in1lict +eep internal woun+s?
gra+ually ero+ing a personJs physical an+ mental health until the
+amage becomes acute- Such woun+s are eKtremely +i11icult to
treat- &n any case? most people canJt eAen be bothere+ to loo6 1or
suitable care- !hough such 6ilesa)in1licte+ woun+s ten+ to 1ester
menacingly? those who are a11licte+ usually neglect their inXuries?
hoping they will somehow heal by themselAes-
Scariya Mun sai+ that he use+ li1e in the wil+s as a
means o1 cutting bac6 this wil+ inner Xungle? which otherwise
coul+ be so saAage an+ +isturbing that the heart neAer eKperience+
any peace an+ Cuiet- At least by liAing alone in the wil+erness
he coul+ Cuell the 6ilesas
enough to 1eel com1ortable an+
relaKe+- He 1elt that this was the only sensible way to use our natural
human intelligence? an+ thus not sCuan+er the goo+ 1ortune
inherent in human birth-
Mon6s who sought out Scariya Mun in the wil+erness ten+e+
to be especially courageous an+ sel1)sacri1icing? so he traine+ them
in ways that suite+ their uncompromising attitu+e an+ the harshness
o1 their enAironment- !raining metho+s that he 1oun+ appropriate
1or himsel1 were suitable 1or them as well- &1 necessary? they
were willing to +ie to achieAe their goal- As long as they liAe+? they
were +e+icate+ to the struggle 1or Dhamma in or+er to transcen+
the worl+ an+ en+ the perpetual cycle o1 birth an+ su11ering-
!he training metho+s that Scariya Mun employe+ with the
mon6s he encountere+ in :hiang Mai +i11ere+ 1rom those he preAiously
use+- !hey were 1ar more rigorous an+ uncompromising-
!he mon6s who came to train un+er his gui+ance were mostly
resolute in+iAi+uals- !hey pai+ scrupulous attention to the 6ilesas
arising within themselAes in an attempt to re+uce their strength
an+ cho6e them o11- !hey were not concerne+ that his a+monitions
might be too harsh or too intense- &n 1act? the intensity
o1 his tone increase+ as the Dhamma un+er +iscussion became
more pro1oun+- !hose 1ocusing on a certain leAel o1 tranCuility
were rein1orce+ in that calm state? while those concentrating on
inAestigatiAe analysis 1ollowe+ eAery nuance o1 his reasoning to
+iscoAer new techniCues 1or +eAeloping wis+om-
!he +iscourses that Scariya Mun +eliAere+ to his stu+ents
in :hiang Mai were especially pro1oun+ because his 6nowle+ge
o1 Dhamma was by then complete- Another 1actor was the high
+egree o1 un+erstan+ing that the mon6s who sought his gui+ance
alrea+y possesse+- !hey were absolutely +etermine+ to striAe 1or
higher an+ higher leAels o1 Dhamma until they reache+ the ultimate
goal- Besi+es his usual a+monitions? Scariya Mun also ha+
some Aery unusual techniCues 1or thwarting the mon6s whose
thoughts ten+e+ to go astray- He use+ these techniCues to trap
]thieAesJ an+ catch them in the act- But these were no or+inary
thieAes- !he thieAes that Scariya Mun caught lur6e+ insi+e the
hearts o1 mon6s whose thoughts li6e+ to steal away to eAerything
imaginable R in the usual way o1 the 6ilesas-
A S!'AN9 &N:&DN! occurre+ while Scariya Mun was staying in
the mountains o1 :hiang Mai R an inci+ent that shoul+ neAer
haAe happene+ in the circle o1 6amma00h7na
mon6s- & hope you
will 1orgiAe me 1or recounting what & hear+- & 1eel it may be a
thought)proAo6ing lesson 1or anyone who 1in+s himsel1 in a sim
ilar situation- !his story was 6nown eKclusiAely within the inner
circle o1 Scariya MunJs senior +isciples? an+ Scariya MunJs own
assessment o1 the whole matter was crucial- A certain senior mon6
liAing with him at the time relate+ the story as 1ollows*
ilar situation- !his story was 6nown eKclusiAely within the inner
circle o1 Scariya MunJs senior +isciples? an+ Scariya MunJs own
assessment o1 the whole matter was crucial- A certain senior mon6
liAing with him at the time relate+ the story as 1ollows*
which was Cuite a long +istance away- .hile they were bathing?
a group o1 young women happene+ to pass by on their way
to wor6 in the 1iel+s R something that ha+ neAer be1ore occurre+
while they were bathing- .hen the other mon6 spie+ them wal6ing
past? his min+ imme+iately wobble+? his min+1ulness 1ailing
him as the 1ires o1 lust 1lare+ up an+ began smol+ering insi+e
him- !ry as he might? he coul+nJt manage to reAerse this situation-
.hile 1ear1ul that Scariya Mun might become aware o1 his
pre+icament? he was eCually a1rai+ that he might +isgrace himsel1-
8rom that moment on? his min+ was constantly 1luctuating
as he +esperately trie+ to come to grips with the problem- Nothing
li6e this ha+ eAer happene+ to him be1ore? an+ he 1elt miserable
about it-
!hat same night Scariya Mun? inAestigating on his own?
became aware that this mon6 ha+ encountere+ something uneKpecte+
an+ was conseCuently Aery +istraught? caught between 1eelings
o1 in1atuation an+ apprehension- !he mon6 struggle+ through
a sleepless night? trying to resolAe the +ilemma- !he neKt morning
Scariya Mun +i+ not say anything about it? 1or he 6new that
the mon6 was alrea+y 1ear1ul o1 himV con1ronting him woul+ only
ma6e matters worse- .hen they met? the mon6 was so ashame+
an+ apprehensiAe he was almost tremblingV but Scariya Mun Xust
smile+ amicably as though he +i+nJt 6now what ha+ happene+-
.hen it came time to go on almsroun+? Scariya Mun 1oun+ an
eKcuse to a++ress the mon6-
.hen it came time to go on almsroun+? Scariya Mun 1oun+ an
eKcuse to a++ress the mon6-
practice? so you nee+nJt go on almsroun+ to+ay- !he rest
o1 us will go? an+ we will share our 1oo+ with you when we return-
ProAi+ing 1oo+ 1or one eKtra mon6 is har+ly a problem- 9o an+
continue your me+itation practice so that the rest o1 us may share
the merit you ma6e as well-B
He sai+ this without loo6ing +irectly at the mon6? 1or
Scariya Mun un+erstoo+ the mon6 better than the mon6 un+erstoo+
himsel1- Scariya Mun then le+ the others on almsroun+
while the mon6 1orce+ himsel1 to +o wal6ing me+itation- Since
the problem arose +ue to a chance encounter an+ not an intentional
one? it ha+ been impossible to preAent- 'ealiUing that?
Scariya Mun +i+ what he coul+ to assist him- He was well aware
that the mon6 was +oing his utmost to solAe the problemV so? he
was oblige+ to 1in+ a cleAer means o1 helping him without 1urther
upsetting his mental state-
.hen they returne+ 1rom almsroun+? the mon6s share+
their 1oo+ with the mon6? each putting some in his bowl- Scariya
Mun sent someone to in1orm the mon6 that he coul+ ta6e his
meal with them or alone in his hut? whicheAer he pre1erre+- Upon
hearing this? the mon6 Cuic6ly went to eat with his 1ellow mon6s-
Scariya Mun ignore+ him when he arriAe+? but? later spo6e gently
to him in or+er to soothe his inXure+ psyche an+ mitigate his sense
o1 remorse- Although he sat with the other mon6s? he ate only a
to6en amount o1 1oo+ so as not to appear impolite-
%ater that +ay? the other mon6? who ha+ also bathe+ at the
roc6 pool R the one who woul+ later tell this story R became sus
picious? being as yet unaware o1 the whole story- He won+ere+
why Scariya Mun treate+ that mon6 with a +e1erence he ha+
neAer seen be1ore- He 1igure+ that since Scariya Mun was being
so supportiAe? his 1rien+Js me+itation practice was un+oubte+ly
Aery goo+- .hen he 1oun+ the opportunity? he went to as6 about
his me+itation- @Scariya Mun sai+ that you +i+nJt haAe to go on
almsroun+ because youJre intensi1ying your e11orts? but he +i+nJt
in+icate how goo+ your me+itation is- So? how is your me+itation
going_ Please tell me about it-B
!he mon6 gaAe a wry smile- @How coul+ my me+itation be
goo+_ Scariya Mun saw a poor? miserable soul an+ heJs Xust trying
to help? using his own s6ill1ul metho+s- !hatJs all-B
His 1rien+ persiste+ in attempting to get to the truth? but
the mon6 continue+ to +e1lect his Cuestions- 8inally his 1rien+
con1ronte+ him +irectly- He as6e+? @.hat +i+ you mean when
you sai+ that Scariya Mun saw a poor? miserable soul_ An+ how
is it that heJs trying to help_B Kasperate+? the mon6 relente+-
@!here is no nee+ to tell Scariya Mun about this- Anyway? he
alrea+y 6nows me better than & 6now mysel1? so & 1eel 1ear1ul an+
ashame+ in his presence- Di+ you notice anything unusual when
we were bathing together at the roc6 pool yester+ay_B
!he other mon6 sai+ that he ha+nJt notice+ anything?
eKcept 1or a group o1 women passing by- So? the mon6 con
1esse+? @!hatJs Xust it- !hatJs why &Jm so miserable right now? an+
why Scariya Mun woul+nJt let me go on almsroun+ this morning-
He was a1rai+ & woul+ pass out an+ +ie right there in the Aillage
shoul+ & happene+ to see her again- How coul+ my me+itation be
any goo+_ Do you un+erstan+ now how goo+ the me+itation
o1 this miserable 1ellow is_B
!he other mon6 was stunne+- @#h? my gosh2 .hat is it
between you an+ those women_B
!he other mon6 was stunne+- @#h? my gosh2 .hat is it
between you an+ those women_B
crushing +own on my heart all night long- Aen now this
ma+ness continues unabate+? an+ & Xust +onJt 6now what to +o
about it- Please? can you +o something to help me_B
@(ou mean it still isnJt any better_B
@No-B !he mon6Js Aoice soun+e+ wretche+ly pathetic-
@&n that case? & haAe a suggestion- &1 you canJt suppress this
thing? then it is not pru+ent 1or you to stay here any longer R
things will only get worse- & thin6 itJs better that you moAe away
1rom here an+ 1in+ another place to +o your practice- &1 you +onJt
1eel up to as6ing Scariya Mun about this? then & will spea6 to
him 1or you- &Jll in1orm him that you wish to go loo6 1or another
seclu+e+ place because you +onJt 1eel so well here- &Jm sure he will
imme+iately giAe his permission because he is well aware o1 whatJs
happening to you- He Xust hasnJt sai+ anything about it yet 1or 1ear
o1 shaming you-B
!he mon6 rea+ily agree+- !hat eAening his companion
went to spea6 with Scariya Mun? who imme+iately gaAe his consent-
But there was a caustic element latent here- Scariya Mun
sai+ rather cryptically* @A +isease arising 1rom 6armic attraction
is har+ to cure- :ontagions sprea+ Cuic6ly when their original
cause still remains-B An+ that was all he woul+ say on the matter-
Aen the mon6 who went to spea6 with him +i+nJt un+erstan+
his connotation-
Aeryone 6ept Cuiet about this matter- !he mon6 neAer spo6e
+irectly to Scariya Mun about itV his 1rien+ neAer mentione+ it to
anyone elseV an+ Scariya Mun 6ept the whole thing to himsel1-
Although 1ully aware o1 the truth o1 the matter they all behaAe+ as
i1 nothing ha+ happene+- No one spo6e openly about it-
+irectly to Scariya Mun about itV his 1rien+ neAer mentione+ it to
anyone elseV an+ Scariya Mun 6ept the whole thing to himsel1-
Although 1ully aware o1 the truth o1 the matter they all behaAe+ as
i1 nothing ha+ happene+- No one spo6e openly about it-
things turne+ out eKactly as Scariya Mun ha+ suggeste+-
Shortly a1ter the mon6 le1t Scariya Mun? the young woman? who
share+ the same 6armic connection? en+e+ up moAing to the
other Aillage by a 1ortuitous coinci+ence? an+ their paths crosse+
again- !his itsel1 is Aery interesting? since it was most unusual 1or
hill tribe women to stray so 1ar 1rom home-
%ater? a1ter Scariya Mun an+ his group o1 mon6s ha+ +eparte+
1rom the 1irst Aillage? they hear+ that the mon6 ha+ +isrobe+?
returning to lay li1e because he coul+nJt put up with the constant
strain- His 6amma ha+ come 1ull circle* he marrie+ the pretty
Museur woman an+ settle+ in that Aillage-
!his was a genuine case o1 mutual 6amma- .ithout such a
6armic connection? how coul+ it haAe been possible_ !he mon6
who tol+ this story insiste+ that his 1rien+ became in1atuate+ the
moment he saw the woman? haAing neAer seen or spo6en with her
be1ore- !his was con1irme+ by the other mon6s who were liAing
there- !hey liAe+ together in the monastery the whole time? neAer
haAing any occasion to get inAolAe+ with the Aillagers- Besi+es
that? they were liAing with Scariya Mun in a place sa1e 1rom such
liaisons- !here can be no +oubt that an en+uring 6armic bon+
eKiste+ between them- !he mon6 once tol+ his 1rien+ that mere
eye contact with her was enough to ma6e him 1eel gi++y an+
lose all presence o1 min+? an+ an irresistible passion grippe+ his
heart so tightly he coul+ scarcely breath- !hose power1ul emotions
plague+ him relentlessly? leaAing him in such an emotional
Cuan+ary that he 1elt completely +emoraliUe+- 'ealiUing his pre+icament?
he trie+ to escape- But 1ate pursue+ him? again casting
its spell oAer him- An+ that was it R he succumbe+-
!hose who haAe neAer ha+ such an eKperience may smileV
but others who haAe? 6now that we cannot all imitate the Arahant
Sun+ara Samu++a by simply 1loating up an+ out to sa1ety-E Normally?
hill tribe people are not oAerly 1amiliar with mon6sV but i1
is inAolAe+? then such inci+ents can happen- No one is
eKempt 1rom 6amma? 1or 6amma
has Xuris+iction oAer those who
create it- Scariya Mun was 1ully aware o1 this truth- Although he
trie+ using s6ill1ul means to help the mon6? the outcome was probably
ineAitable- 8or this reason? he +i+nJt ma6e any +irect attempt
to interAene- &n the 1inal analysis? in a worl+ where eAeryone liAes
un+er the authority o1 6amma?
matters must be allowe+ to ta6e
their natural course- & haAe inclu+e+ this story in the hope that
it may serAe as a timely remin+er 1or anyone 1in+ing himsel1 in a
similar situation- As always? & trust you will 1orgiAe any in+iscretion
on my part-
P'V&#US%( & MN!&#ND Scariya MunJs special talent 1or catching
]thieAesJ? a techniCue 1or rea+ing min+s an+ catching stray thoughts
that 6ept his stu+ents watch1ul an+ alert- .hen a 6amma00h7na
mon6 with an especially bol+? resolute character came to see him
in :hiang Mai? Scariya Mun use+ this teaching techniCue to
goo+ a+Aantage- Unli6e those less earnestly committe+? these
mon6s were not apt to react in a negatiAe way- Being 1ully +e+icate+
to the cause o1 Dhamma? as soon as Scariya Mun a+monishe+
them about their 1aults? they were willing to +o their best
to recti1y them- No matter how pointe+ly he a+monishe+ them?
they +i+ not 1eel ashame+ or apprehensiAe when their mista6es
were eKpose+-
Scariya Mun was a consummate teacher an+ his message
went straight to the heart o1 his listeners- .hether sharing his
own personal 6nowle+ge or pointing out the shortcomings o1
his stu+ents? he was always 1ran6 an+ outspo6en- He remaine+
can+i+ an+ impartial in his criticism with the intention o1 giAing
as much help as he possibly coul+- His stu+ents were in no way
contemptuous- !hey neAer re1use+ to accept the truthV nor were
they conceite+ about their own achieAements? as o1ten happens
in a group o1 me+itators-
His Dhamma eKplanations were inAariably a+apte+ to the
in+iAi+ual nee+s o1 his stu+ents? touching only on the points that
were essential to the in+iAi+ualJs leAel o1 practice- .hen he +etermine+
that a stu+ent was practicing correctly? he encourage+ him
to step up his e11orts- But when he 1elt that someoneJs me+itation
was 1aulty or potentially +angerous? he pointe+ this out as a way
o1 encouraging the stu+ent to aban+on that practice-
8or mon6s who went to him with +oubts or Cuestions? his
eKplanations were unerringly right to the pointV an+? as 1ar as &
6now? his stu+ents were neAer +isappointe+- &tJs sa1e to say that
eAeryone who went to him with a Cuestion about me+itation prac
tice? coul+ haAe eKpecte+ to receiAe eKpert a+Aice? 1or me+itation
was his 1iel+ o1 greatest eKpertise- His 6nowle+ge an+ un+erstan+ing
o1 eAery aspect o1 me+itation were unparallele+- Aery 1acet o1
his Dhamma teaching bene1ite+ 1rom his lyrical presentation? captiAating
the listener an+ +emonstrating an eloCuence which no
one to+ay can eCual- His comments on moral Airtue were engrossing
to his listeners? while his +iscourses on the +i11erent leAels o1
an+ wis+om were eKceptional- His au+ience became so
absorbe+ that? being satiate+ in the Dhamma they hear+? their
1eeling o1 satis1action o1ten laste+ 1or +ays therea1ter-
DU'&N9 !H P'&#D when Scariya Mun pushe+ himsel1 relentlessly
towar+ realiUation o1 the Supreme Dhamma? he liAe+ alone in
mountain caAes or 1orest retreats- As he wage+ an all out assault
on the 6ilesas? his e11orts were +irecte+ inwar+ at all times- #nly
+uring hours o1 sleep +i+ he relaK this persistent introspection-
Min+1ulness an+ wis+om were his constant companions throughout
that eKhaustiAe inAestigation to uproot the 6ilesas- He carrie+
on a continuous +ialogue with the 6ilesas? mentally attac6ing an+
counterattac6ing them with min+1ulness an+ wis+om- His sheer
+etermination to go beyon+ +u66ha
was the catalyst 1or these conAersations?
which were not rhetorical encounters- 'ather? they
were internal contemplations using min+1ulness an+ wis+om to
rebut the 6ilesas- No matter how they trie+ to eAa+e him? no matter
what tric6s they use+ to rebu11 or entangle him? Scariya Mun
use+ min+1ulness an+ wis+om at each step o1 the way to 1ollow
their moAements? an+ to corner an+ crush them into submission R
until? 1inally? he emerge+ Aictorious- .hereAer he 1oun+ the 6ilesas
still haAing the upper han+? he ma+e an e11ort to upgra+e his
arsenal R min+1ulness? wis+om? 1aith? an+ perseAerance R increasing
their strength with each new challenge until it eKcee+e+ that
o1 his archenemy- !riumphant at last? as we alrea+y 6now? the
worl+ insi+e his heart shoo6 R magga\75a ha+ +estroye+ the 6ing
o1 the Aa00a)citta-;
!his was how Scariya Mun applie+ himsel1 in the ultimate
battle- He +i+ not place any time constraints on his wal6ing
an+ sitting me+itation as he stroAe +ay an+ night? wiel+ing
min+1ulness an+ wis+om to secure Aictory- HaAing 1inally
cleare+ through the +ense Xungle o1 6ilesas? supreme)min+1ulness
an+ supreme)wis+om? that were his weapons o1 choice in this
campaign? cease+ to be meaning1ul or releAant- Min+1ulness an+
wis+om became routine 1aculties to be engage+ in normal mental
processes- He use+ them to thin6 about one o1 the many aspects
o1 Dhamma or to engage in other mental actiAities? letting them
1a+e away when their serAices were no longer reCuire+- PreAiously?
they nee+e+ to be in a constant state o1 alert to combat the 6ilesas-
#nce Aictory was achieAe+? i1 nothing came along to stimulate
his thoughts? he eKiste+ much as though he were mentally
i+le R a simpleton- Min+1ulness an+ wis+om? which ha+ been
caught up so long in the heat o1 intense struggle? were nowhere
to be 1oun+- All that remaine+ was a timeless tranCuillity that
nothing coul+ +isturb? eclipsing eAerything else in his heart- %e1t
totally to itsel1? 1ree o1 all eKternal in1luences? his heart +i+ not
thin6 about a11airs o1 the past or the 1uture- &t was as though
eAerything ha+ +isappeare+ along with the 6ilesas R only emptiness
!he BoKer
.hen Scariya Mun accepte+ a group o1 mon6s as his stu+ents?
he hel+ regular meetings where he instructe+ them in the way
o1 practice- &1 he notice+ that a mon6Js attitu+e was unbecoming?
or his behaAior o11ensiAe? he too6 the opportunity to openly
rebu6e him- .hile in me+itation? 6nowle+ge about the unseemly
behaAior o1 his stu+ents might arise in his min+ as Aisual images?
or else he might psychically rea+ their errant thoughts- He then
+eAise+ some cunning metho+ to bring this to the culpritJs attention?
assuring that greater care an+ restraint was eKercise+ in the
!he Aisual nimittas
that arose in Scariya MunJs citta
me+itation Aarie+ accor+ing to the oAerall situation o1 the person
who was the principal cause o1 that Aision- !o giAe you an i+ea
o1 the nature an+ the scope o1 his nimittas? there is the story o1
the mon6 who was a rather 1amous boKer as a layman- 9iAing up
his pro1ession to or+ain as a mon6? he +eAelope+ a strong 1aith
an+ +eci+e+ to practice 6amma00h7na- Aware o1 Scariya MunJs
eKcellent reputation as a reAere+ me+itation master? he set out to
1in+ the place where Scariya Mun was staying- But as he set o11?
he unwittingly carrie+ ten pictures o1 boKers in Aarious boKing
poses in his bag- .ith these photos? he traAele+ 1rom Bang6o6
to :hiang Mai? searching 1or Scariya Mun in that mountainous
region- 8inally arriAing at Scariya MunJs wil+erness retreat? he
pai+ his respects an+ eKplaine+ his reasons 1or coming- Scariya
Mun accepte+ him without o11ering any comments-
During the night Scariya Mun must haAe thoroughly inAestigate+
this mon6V 1or? the 1ollowing morning? when all the mon6s
gathere+ to eat? he came in an+ imme+iately began spea6ing about
the new arriAal-
gathere+ to eat? he came in an+ imme+iately began spea6ing about
the new arriAal-
R itJs commen+able- .hy then +i+ he eKhibit such +rea+1ul
con+uct last night_ As & sat in me+itation? he approache+ an+
stoo+ right in 1ront o1 me? Xust a 1ew 1eet away- He then procee+e+
at some length to assume Aarious boKing poses? be1ore gra+ually
bac6ing away- As he slowly 1a+e+ 1rom my Aiew? he continue+ to
sha+ow boK? 6ic6ing 1irst right an+ then le1t as he went-= .hatJs
the story with this mon6_ .as he a boKer be1ore he or+aine+ as
a mon6_ &s that the reason he gaAe me a lengthy boKing eKhibition_B
.hile he spo6e? all the mon6s? inclu+ing the 1ormer boKer?
sat motionless in bewil+ere+ silence- Scariya Mun turne+ to the
1ormer boKer? whose 1ace ha+ gone pale-
@.hat +o you haAe to say 1or yoursel1_ .hat +i+ you haAe
in min+? behaAing in such a manner_ At least you +i+nJt ta6e a
punch at me2B
As it was time to go on almsroun+? Scariya Mun sai+
nothing more that morning- Nor +i+ he bring the matter up later?
when instructing the mon6s at the eAening meeting- But +uring
the night he was again con1ronte+ with the same problem- So? he
brought it up again the 1ollowing morning-
@.hatJs your real purpose 1or coming to me_ %ast night?
there you were again? +isplaying your boKing s6ills? Xumping an+
6ic6ing all oAer the place- &t laste+ nearly all night- Such behaAior
is not normal 1or someone whose intentions are noble- .hat
+i+ you haAe in min+ be1ore you came to see me_ An+ what are
your thoughts now that you are here_ Please tell me the truth? or
else & wonJt be able to let you stay on here- &JAe neAer eKperience+
anything Cuite li6e the eAents o1 the last two nights-B
!he mon6 sat trembling? his 1ace ashen? as though he was
rea+y to 1aint- #ne o1 the other mon6s? noticing his worsening
con+ition? reCueste+ an opportunity to spea6 priAately with him-
@Please be 1orthcoming an+ tell Scariya Mun your true 1eelings
about this matter- HeJs as6ing you about it only because he
wants to ascertain the truth? not because he has any intention
to hurt you- None o1 us? who are liAing here with him? are saints?
1ree o1 6ilesas- .e are boun+ to ma6e mista6es an+ so must accept
his a+monitions- All o1 us liAe here as his +isciples- Being our
teacher? heJs li6e a 1ather an+ a mother to us- As a teacher? he has
an obligation to repriman+ anyone who +oes something noticeably
wrong- A teacher must 6eep an eye on his stu+ents R 1or their
own sa6e? e+ucating them by Cuestioning an+ criticiUing them as
circumstances reCuire- & mysel1 haAe been subXecte+ to many such
castigationsV some eAen more seAere than the one you receiAe+-
Scariya Mun has eAen or+ere+ some mon6s to leaAe the premises
imme+iately? only to relent an+ allow them to stay on when they
realiUe+ their 1aults an+ accepte+ the blame- Please thin6 care1ully
about what he Xust sai+ to you- My own 1eeling is that you
shoul+nJt be unreasonably a1rai+- &1 you haAe anything on your
min+? Xust eKpress it truth1ully- &1 you 1eel you haAe +one nothing
wrong? or you cannot recall where you ma+e a mista6e? tell him
straight out that you cannot seem to recollect your past errors-
!hen put your 1ate in his han+s? letting him ta6e what action
he sees 1it? an+ accept the conseCuences- !he matter will then
resolAe itsel1-B
.hen the other mon6 1inishe+ spea6ing Scariya Mun continue+*
@So what +o you haAe to say 1or yoursel1_ &tJs not that & want
to 1in+ 1ault with you 1or no goo+ reason- But as soon as & close
my eyes & haAe to watch your antics bloc6ing my Aiew 1or the rest
o1 the night- .hy woul+ a mon6 behaAe li6e that_ &t +ismays me
to see it eAery night- & want to 6now what 6in+ o1 sinister motiAes
you may haAe 1or persisting in such con+uct- #r +o you thin6 that
my own intuition? which has always been reliable in the past? is
now playing tic6s on me? an+ contaminating you in the process_
& want you to tell me the truth- &1 it turns out that youJre innocent?
my intuition being at 1ault? then that means &Jm Xust a craUy
ol+ mon6 who +oesnJt +eserAe to liAe with a group o1 stu+ents
li6e this R & will only lea+ them astray- &Jll haAe to run o11 an+
hi+e mysel1 away li6e some lunatic? an+ imme+iately stop teaching
others- Shoul+ & persist in teaching such craUy 6nowle+ge to
the worl+? the conseCuences woul+ be +isastrous-B
!he other mon6 again encourage+ his 1rien+ to spea6 up-
8inally? the 1ormer boKer moAe+ to answer Scariya Mun- &n a
ghostly? trembling Aoice? he blurte+ out? @&Jm a boKerB? an+ then
1ell silent-
Scariya Mun sought con1irmation* @(ouJre a boKer? is that
@(es-B An+ that was all he sai+-
@'ight now youJre a mon6V so? how can you also be a boKer_
Do you mean you traAele+ here boKing 1or money along the way?
or what_B
By this time? the mon6Js min+ was in a +aUe- He coul+ o11er
no coherent response to Scariya MunJs inCuiries- !he other mon6
too6 up the Cuestioning in an e11ort to help him regain his mental
1ocus* @DonJt you mean that you were a boKer in lay li1e? but now
that you are a mon6 you no longer +o that_B
too6 up the Cuestioning in an e11ort to help him regain his mental
1ocus* @DonJt you mean that you were a boKer in lay li1e? but now
that you are a mon6 you no longer +o that_B
Scariya Mun saw that his con+ition +i+nJt loo6 Aery goo+?
so he change+ the subXect? saying it was time to go on almsroun+-
%ater? he tol+ the other mon6 to go an+ Cuestion him priAately?
since his 1ear o1 Scariya Mun preAente+ him 1rom being coherent-
A1ter the meal this mon6 1oun+ an opportunity to put his
Cuestions in priAate- He +iscoAere+ that the new mon6 ha+ preAiously
been a well)6nown boKer in the Suan $ulap boKing camp-
Becoming +isillusione+ with lay li1e? he or+aine+ as a mon6 an+
set o11 to 1in+ Scariya Mun-
#nce he ha+ the whole story? the mon6 relate+ it to Scariya
Mun? who ma+e no 1urther comment- &t was assume+ that this
woul+ be the en+ o1 the matter? especially since Scariya Mun
spo6e +irectly to the 1ormer boKer +uring the eAening meeting-
But that wasnJt to be the case- !hat night? Scariya Mun again
inAestigate+ the matter 1or himsel1- &n the morning? he con1ronte+
the 1ormer boKer once more in 1ront o1 eAeryone-
@&tJs not merely that you were once a boKer R something else
is hi++en there as well- (ou shoul+ go an+ care1ully reconsi+er this
whole a11air- &1 it was simply a matter o1 being a boKer in lay li1e?
the matter shoul+ haAe been settle+ by now- &t shoul+ not 6eep
recurring in this way-B
!hat was all he sai+-
%ater? the mon6 who ha+ become 1amiliar with the 1ormer
boKer went to see him- A1ter 1urther Cuestioning he +iscoAere+
that the new mon6 ha+ the ten pictures o1 boKers in his possession-
A1ter loo6ing at them? his 1rien+ became conAince+ that they
were the cause o1 all the trouble- He a+Aise+ him to either throw
them away? or burn them- !he boKer mon6 agree+? an+ together
they burne+ the whole lot- A1ter that? eAerything returne+ to
normal an+ this matter neAer sur1ace+ again-
!he 1ormer boKer was +iligent in his practice? always con+ucting
himsel1 a+mirably- He liAe+ contente+ly with Scariya
Mun 1rom then on- Scariya Mun was always especially 6in+ to
him R neAer again +i+ he allu+e to his past- A1terwar+s? when the
opportunity arose? his 1ellow mon6s tease+ him about that inci+ent-
'e1erring to his scol+ing 1rom Scariya Mun? he sai+? @& was
hal1)+ea+ an+ in such a +aUe & +i+nJt 6now what was what? so &
answere+ him li6e a hal1)+ea+ i+iot-B A++ressing the mon6 who
helpe+ him? he continue+? @&1 you ha+nJt been so 6in+? &J+ probably
haAe gone hopelessly ma+- But Scariya Mun was remar6ably cleAer
R as soon as he saw & was losing my wits? he Cuic6ly put a stop to
the whole a11air? acting as though nothing ha+ eAer happene+-B
!his is an eKample o1 the type o1 Aisual nimitta
that might
arise in Scariya MunJs me+itation- He regularly use+ the 6nowle+ge
he gaine+ 1rom such Aisions to teach his stu+ents R a means no
less signi1icant than his ability to rea+ the thoughts o1 others-D
S:A'&(A MUN HAD M#' sensational eKperiences while liAing in
:hiang Mai than +uring any other perio+ o1 his li1e- Some o1 these
phenomena appeare+ eKclusiAely within his cittaV others sur1ace+
in the worl+ aroun+ him- !hey inclu+e+ many amaUing? stimulating
insights R 6nowle+ge o1 a 6in+ neAer occurring to him be1ore-
%iAing alone in particular? he encountere+ a myria+ o1 mysterious
phenomena 1ar too numerous to mention- !he citta in its natural
state o1 6nowing is li6e that* 6nowle+ge an+ un+erstan+ing arise
continuously? both +uring me+itation an+ in engagement with
normal +aily actiAities- &tJs strange? an+ truly won+rous? consi+ering
that the citta ha+ preAiously been blin+ an+ ignorant? neAer
imagining it possesse+ the ability to perceiAe the phenomena that
arise each moment- &t was as i1 such phenomena Xust came into
being? eAen though they haAe actually eKiste+ since time immemorial-
#nly when the citta enters into a state o1 total calm +o these
1unctions cease- All manner o1 phenomena are eKclu+e+ 1rom the
sam7+hi state? so nothing arises to a11ect the citta in any way- As
the citta rests with Dhamma? Dhamma an+ the citta merge- !he
citta is Dhamma? Dhamma is the citta- !his is a state o1 complete
unity where the citta an+ Dhamma are one an+ the same? without
any trace o1 +uality- :onceptual reality +oes not eKist* all concepts
o1 time an+ space are transcen+e+- !here is no awareness o1 the
bo+y? or the min+? an+ concepts o1 pain an+ pleasure +o not arise-
As long as the citta remains there an+ +oesnJt with+raw 1rom that
state R whether itJs 1or a perio+ o1 +ays? months? years? or eons R
then conAentional realities such as anicca? +u66ha? an+ anatt7 will
not +isturb it? 1or it is a state in which all +uality ceases R entirely-
&1? 1or instance? the mun+ane physical bo+y were to brea6 up an+
+isintegrate while the citta remaine+ Cuiescent in niro+ha+hamma
R meaning the cessation o1 conAentional reality R the citta in that
state woul+ be completely unaware o1 what was happening-M
&n truth? the state o1 niro+ha is one in which the cessation
o1 conceptual reality is only temporary R not lasting 1or years? as
that is highly unli6ely- &t may be compare+ to a +eep? +reamless
sleep- During that time? the sleeper is completely unaware o1 bo+y
an+ min+- No matter how long he remains in +eep? +reamless
sleep? that con+ition stays the same- #nly a1ter wa6ing up +oes
one become aware o1 normal physical an+ mental sensations-
that is highly unli6ely- &t may be compare+ to a +eep? +reamless
sleep- During that time? the sleeper is completely unaware o1 bo+y
an+ min+- No matter how long he remains in +eep? +reamless
sleep? that con+ition stays the same- #nly a1ter wa6ing up +oes
one become aware o1 normal physical an+ mental sensations-
as those con+itione+ phenomena R that woul+ or+inarily be
inAolAe+ with the citta R temporarily +isappear- %ater when the
citta has with+rawn 1rom +eep sam7+hi into upac7ra sam7+hi? or
bac6 into the normal state o1 Aisu++hi)citta? it 1unctions normally?
receiAing an+ processing sense +ata as it sees 1it-P
.hether in upac7ra sam7+hi? or in its normal wa6ing state?
Scariya MunJs citta was always receptiAe to a multitu+e o1 phenomena-
!he +i11erence was in the +epth? scope? an+ Cuality o1
the eKperience- &1 wishing to inAestigate something thoroughly?
he woul+ enter into upac7ra sam7+hi to get a more eKtensiAe Aiew-
:lairAoyance an+ clairau+ience? 1or eKample? reCuire a state o1
upac7ra sam7+hi- &n this calm state one can perceiAe whateAer
one wishes to 6now about the 1orms an+ soun+s o1 people an+
animals R an+ much? much more- 8un+amentally? itJs no +i11erent
1rom seeing with the physical eyes an+ hearing with the physical
!igers in Disguise
Scariya Mun sai+ that? eKcepting the 1ew who ha+ Aisite+ large
towns in the region? most o1 the hill tribe people in :hiang Mai
ha+ neAer seen mon6s be1ore- arly in his traAels? Scariya Mun
an+ another mon6 went to liAe in the mountains about a mile
an+ a hal1 1rom a hill tribe Aillage- !hey campe+ in the 1orest?
ta6ing shelter un+er the trees- &n the morning? when they went to
the Aillage 1or alms 1oo+? the Aillagers as6e+ why they ha+ come-
Scariya Mun sai+ they ha+ come to collect alms- PuUUle+? the Aillagers
as6e+ him what that meant- Scariya Mun eKplaine+ that
they ha+ come to collect o11erings o1 rice- !hey as6e+ him i1 he
wante+ coo6e+ rice or uncoo6e+ rice- .hen he sai+ coo6e+ rice?
they got some an+ put a little in each o1 their alms bowls- !he two
mon6s then returne+ to their camp an+ ate the plain rice-
%ac6ing 1aith 1rom the Aery beginning? the Aillagers were
Aery suspicious o1 the mon6s- !hat eAening the Aillage hea+man
soun+e+ the bamboo clapper to call eAeryone to a meeting- 'e1erring
to Scariya Mun an+ his +isciple? he announce+ that there
were now two ]tigers in +isguiseJ staying in the nearby 1orest- He
sai+ that he ha+ yet to +etermine what 6in+ o1 tigers they were?
but they werenJt to be truste+- He 1orba+e the women an+ chil+ren
to enter the 1orest in that areaV an+ men who went were
warne+ to go arme+ an+ in groups lest they shoul+ be attac6e+ by
the two tigers-
warne+ to go arme+ an+ in groups lest they shoul+ be attac6e+ by
the two tigers-
@%ast night the Aillage hea+man assemble+ eAeryone an+
announce+ that we are ]tigers in +isguiseJ- .e were both accuse+
o1 being tigers who are +isguise+ as mon6s in or+er to +eceiAe
them into trusting us so that we can then +estroy both their persons
an+ their properties- Because o1 this? they haAe no 1aith in
us at all- &1 we were to leaAe here now while they still harbor these
negatiAe thoughts? they may all be reborn as tigers when they +ie
R a grieAous 6amma
in+ee+- So 1or their bene1it? & thin6 itJs incumbent
on us as mon6s to remain here an+ put up with the situation
1or a while- .e must en+ure the ensuing har+ships until theyJAe
change+ their attitu+e be1ore we moAe to another location-B
Not only +i+ the Aillagers +istrust them? but groups o1 three
or 1our arme+ men o1ten came to 6eep an eye on them- Sometimes?
they stoo+ watching 1rom a +istance- But at other times? seeing
Scariya Mun wal6ing me+itation? they came closer an+ stare+ at
him 1rom the en+ o1 his wal6ing path? or 1rom the si+e o1 it? or
eAen stoo+ right in the mi++le o1 it- !hey glance+ aroun+? surAeying
the whole area 1or about E< to EM minutes? then le1t- !his surAeillance
routine continue+ +ay a1ter +ay 1or many wee6s-
!he Aillagers showe+ no concern whatsoeAer about the personal
wel1are o1 these two ]tigersJ- !hey were not intereste+ in
whether or not they ha+ enough 1oo+ an+ other necessities to surAiAe-
!hus? the liAing con+itions o1 these two tigers were +i11icult
in the eKtreme- !he most they receiAe+ on almsroun+ was plain
rice- #n some +ays? it was Xust barely enough to satis1y themV on
other +ays? it wasnJt nearly enough? eAen though they +ran6 a lot
o1 water with it as well-
Since there was no caAe or cli11 oAerhang in which they
coul+ ta6e shelter? they liAe+ an+ slept un+er the trees? putting
up with eKposure to the sun an+ the rain- .hen it raine+ in that
area? it ten+e+ to rain all +ay- A1ter the rain abate+ an+ things
+rie+ out a bit? they went loo6ing 1or +ry leaAes an+ grasses to
construct a ma6e)shi1t thatche+ roo1? giAing them some limite+
protection against the weather- &t proAi+e+ enough coAer to surAiAe
1rom +ay to +ay? albeit with much +iscom1ort- .hen it raine+
heaAily? they sheltere+ un+er their tent)umbrellas with the cloth
sheeting hanging +own aroun+ them as protection against the
col+ win+-O #1ten the rain was accompanie+ by strong win+s that
came howling +own out o1 the mountains? blowing their umbrellas?
soa6ing their belongings? an+ leaAing both mon6s +renche+
an+ shiAering- &1 it happene+ +uring the +aytime? they coul+ at
least see what they were +oing while collecting their reCuisites to
loo6 1or some coAer- But when it occurre+ at night? the situation
was eKtremely trying- !hey were unable to see eAen as the rain
poure+ +own an+ the col+ win+ blaste+ through the trees? caus
ing branches to brea6 o11 an+ crash +own aroun+ them- !hey
were neAer sure o1 surAiAing this onslaught o1 rain? win+? col+?
an+ loose +ebris 1lying at them 1rom all +irections- During such
har+ships? they Xust en+ure+ the best they coul+- !hey ha+ to
abi+e the heat? the col+? the hunger? the thirst? an+ the uncertainty
o1 their eKistence while they waite+ 1or the AillagersJ mistrust
to subsi+e- Aen though they receiAe+ only plain rice? their
supply was? at best? erratic- Drin6ing water was har+ to come
byV so they ha+ to wal6 +own to the 1oot o1 the mountain to 1ill
their 6ettles? carrying the water bac6 up to serAe their +aily nee+s-
Despite such an impoAerishe+ eKistence? the Aillagers showe+ no
sympathy 1or their plight-
&n spite o1 the har+ships? Scariya Mun 1elt 1ree o1 anKieties
an+ responsibilities as his me+itation practice progresse+ unhin+ere+-
He too6 great pleasure 1rom listening to the calls o1 the
Aarious wil+ animals in the surroun+ing 1orest- Seate+ in me+itation
un+er the trees late at night? he constantly hear+ the soun+s
o1 tigers roaring close by- :uriously? those huge tigers rarely Aenture+
into the area where he was seate+- #ccasionally? a tiger +i+
approach Scariya Mun- Perhaps? suspecting him to be wil+ game?
it snuc6 in to haAe a loo6- But as soon as the tiger saw him ma6e
a moAe? it leapt o11 into the 1orest in alarm? an+ was neAer seen
Nearly eAery a1ternoon? three or 1our men came to chec6
them out- !hey stoo+ aroun+ whispering among themselAes without
a wor+ to Scariya Mun? who? in turn? ignore+ their presence-
.hen they arriAe+? Scariya Mun 1ocuse+ his citta
on their
thoughts- !hey? o1 course? neAer suspecte+ that he 6new what they
were thin6ing or what they were whispering about- &tJs unli6ely
they eAen consi+ere+ the possibility that someone coul+ be priAy
to their thoughts? which they in+ulge+ in unrestraine+ly- Scariya
Mun 1ocuse+ his attention on eAeryone who came- As was to be
eKpecte+ o1 a reconnaissance party? he +iscoAere+ that they were
primarily loo6ing to 1in+ 1ault with him in some way- &nstea+ o1
ta6ing precautions against such 1in+ings? Scariya Mun respon+e+
with great compassion- He 6new that a maXority o1 the Aillagers
were subXect to the corrupting in1luence o1 a small minority-
they eAen consi+ere+ the possibility that someone coul+ be priAy
to their thoughts? which they in+ulge+ in unrestraine+ly- Scariya
Mun 1ocuse+ his attention on eAeryone who came- As was to be
eKpecte+ o1 a reconnaissance party? he +iscoAere+ that they were
primarily loo6ing to 1in+ 1ault with him in some way- &nstea+ o1
ta6ing precautions against such 1in+ings? Scariya Mun respon+e+
with great compassion- He 6new that a maXority o1 the Aillagers
were subXect to the corrupting in1luence o1 a small minority-
to this? they neAer trie+ to chase him away* they merely too6
turns spying on him- !he Aillagers must haAe been surprise+ that
+espite their consistent surAeillance 1or months? they still coul+nJt
catch him +oing anything wrong-
#ne eAening while sitting in me+itation? Scariya Mun
became psychically aware that the Aillagers were assemble+ 1or
a meeting concerning his case- He coul+ hear the Aillage hea+man
Cuestioning the others about the results o1 their surAeillance*
.hat ha+ they been able to +etermine so 1ar_ !hose? who ha+
ta6en turns obserAing the two mon6s? sai+ the same thing* they
coul+ 1in+ no eAi+ence to con1irm their suspicions- !hey were
worrie+ that their suspicious attitu+e might be +oing them more
harm than goo+-
@.hy +o you say that_B !he hea+man wante+ to 6now-
!hey replie+* @As 1ar as we can tell? thereJs nothing in their
con+uct to con1irm our assumptions about them- .heneAer we
go to chec6 them out? either they are sitting still with their eyes
close+? or theyJre calmly pacing bac6 an+ 1orth? not loo6ing here
an+ there li6e most people +o- People who are tigers in +isguise?
poise+ to attac6 their prey? woul+ har+ly behaAe li6e that- !hese
two mon6s shoul+ haAe eKhibite+ some sort o1 incriminating
behaAior by now? but weJAe seen nothing so 1ar- &1 we 6eep treating
them li6e this? we may su11er the conseCuences- !he correct
approach woul+ be to spea6 with them to 1in+ out about their
motiAes- Presuming their motiAes to be sinister may well re1lect
ba+ly on us all-
@9oo+ mon6s are har+ to 1in+- .e haAe enough eKperience
to tell goo+ mon6s 1rom ba+ ones- !hese mon6s +eserAe our
respect- %etJs not hastily accuse them o1 treachery- !o 1in+ out the
whole story? letJs go spea6 with them- %etJs as6 them why they sit
still with their eyes close+? an+ why they pace bac6 an+ 1orth R
what are they searching 1or_B
A +ecision was reache+ at the meeting to sen+ a representatiAe
to Cuestion the mon6s- &n the morning? Scariya Mun spo6e
to his companion* @!he Aillagers are beginning to haAe a change
o1 heart- %ast night they hel+ a meeting about their surAeillance
o1 us- !hey haAe +eci+e+ to sen+ someone here to Cuestion us
about their suspicions-B
Zust as Scariya Mun 1oresaw? a Aillage representatiAe arriAe+
that Aery a1ternoon to Cuestion him* @.hat are you searching 1or
when you sit still with your eyes close+? or pace bac6 an+ 1orth_B
Acariya Mun replie+? @&JAe lost my bu++ho- &Jm searching 1or
bu++ho while sitting an+ wal6ing-B
@.hat is this bu++ho_ :an we help you 1in+ it_B
@Bu++ho is the most precious gem in the three worl+s o1
eKistence R a Xewel o1 all)perAa+ing 6nowle+ge- &1 you help me
1in+ it? thatJll be eKcellent- !hen we will all see bu++ho
an+ easily-B
@Has your bu++ho been missing long_B
@!o begin with? sit or wal6 1or about EM to ;< minutes at a
time- Bu++ho
+oesnJt want you to spen+ too much time searching
1or it yet- &tJs a1rai+ youJll grow tire+ an+ so be unable to 6eep
up with it- %osing interest? you will not want to search anymore-
!hen youJll miss it altogether- !his is enough to get you starte+-
&1 & elaborate any 1urther? you wonJt remember it all? thus Xeopar+iUing
your chances o1 meeting bu++ho-B
.ith these instructions in min+? the Aillager returne+ home-
He +i+nJt ta6e leaAe o1 Scariya Mun in any special way? because
that was not the hill tribe custom- Deci+ing that it was time to
go? he simply got up an+ le1t- As soon as he arriAe+ at the Aillage?
eAeryone gathere+ aroun+ to hear what ha+ ta6en place- He
eKplaine+ why Scariya Mun sat still with his eyes close+ an+
why he pace+ bac6 an+ 1orth* he was searching 1or the precious
gem bu++ho
an+ not? as they ha+ presume+? because he was a
]tiger in +isguiseJ- He then eKplaine+ Scariya MunJs brie1 instructions
on how to 1in+ bu++ho- #nce the Aillagers 6new the metho+?
eAeryone R 1rom the hea+man on +own to the women an+ ol+er
chil+ren R began to practice? mentally repeating ]bu++hoJ-
SeAeral +ays later? something truly amaUing happene+- !he
Dhamma o1 the %or+ Bu++ha arose clearly in the heart o1 one o1
the Aillagers- .hile mentally repeating the wor+ @bu++hoB
an+ oAer again as Scariya Mun ha+ suggeste+? one man in the
Aillage 1oun+ Dhamma* his heart attaine+ a state o1 peace an+
calm- A 1ew +ays earlier? the man ha+ +reame+ that Scariya Mun
was placing a Aery large? bright)shining can+le on top o1 his hea+-
!he moment Scariya Mun set the can+le on his hea+? his whole
bo+y? 1rom the hea+ on +own? was brightly illuminate+- He 1elt
oAerXoye+ as the ra+iance? sprea+ing out aroun+ him? illuminate+
the surroun+ing area as well- Soon a1ter he attaine+ this state
o1 tranCuility? he went to tell Scariya Mun about his achieAement?
an+ about the amaUing +ream he ha+ prior to it- Scariya
Mun then gaAe him a++itional instructions on how to procee+
with his practice- As it turne+ out? his progress was Aery Cuic6*
he was soon able to psychically 6now other peopleJs thoughts- He
in1orme+ Scariya Mun o1 this Aery matter)o1)1actly in the 1orthright
manner typical o1 1orest people-
Sometime later? this man +eclare+ to Acariya Mun that he
ha+ eKamine+ Scariya MunJs citta
an+ ha+ clearly seen its characteristics-
Play1ully? Scariya Mun as6e+ i1 he coul+ see much eAil
in his citta- !he man answere+ without hesitation? @(our citta
no 1ocal point whatsoeAer R only an absolutely incre+ible ra+iance
shining within- (our preeminence is unriAale+ anywhere
in the worl+- &JAe neAer seen anything li6e it- (ouJAe been here
about a year now? why +i+nJt you teach me about this right 1rom
the beginning_B
@How coul+ & teach you_ (ou neAer came to as6 me any
@& +i+nJt 6now you were a supreme master- Ha+ & 6nown? &J+
haAe come 1or sure- Now we all 6now youJre an eKtremely cleAer
person- .hen we came as6ing you why you sat still with your eyes
close+ an+ what you were loo6ing 1or as you pace+ bac6 an+ 1orth?
you tol+ us your bu++ho
was lost an+ as6e+ us to help you 1in+
it- .hen as6e+ to +escribe it? you sai+ bu++ho
is a bright? spar6ling
Xewel? but in truth the real bu++ho
is your heart- !he miss
ing bu++ho was simply a cleAer ploy to persua+e us to me+itate on
bu++ho so that our hearts coul+ become bright li6e yours- Now
we realiUe that youJre a supremely wise person whose only +esire
was 1or us to +iscoAer the supreme bu++ho in our own hearts? thus
ensuring our long)term wel1are an+ happiness-B
ing bu++ho was simply a cleAer ploy to persua+e us to me+itate on
bu++ho so that our hearts coul+ become bright li6e yours- Now
we realiUe that youJre a supremely wise person whose only +esire
was 1or us to +iscoAer the supreme bu++ho in our own hearts? thus
ensuring our long)term wel1are an+ happiness-B
through the community? 1urther arousing eAeryoneJs interest
in bu++ho me+itation so that eAen small chil+ren too6 it up-
!heir 1aith in Scariya Mun thus rein1orce+? their reAerence 1or
his teaching stea+ily increase+- No one eAer mentione+ ]tigers in
+isguiseJ again-
8rom that time on? the man who ha+ learne+ to me+itate
carrie+ Scariya MunJs alms bowl bac6 to his 1orest retreat eAery
+ay a1ter the almsroun+- A1ter Scariya Mun 1inishe+ eating? he
woul+ then see6 a+Aice on his practice- #n the +ays when he ha+
business to atten+ to? he tol+ someone to in1orm Scariya Mun
that he woul+nJt be aAailable to carry the alms bowl- Although
Cuite a 1ew men an+ women in the Aillage learne+ to me+itate?
this 1irst man was the most accomplishe+-
.hen people are satis1ie+? eAerything else naturally 1alls
into place- 8or instance? preAiously these people were not the least
bit intereste+ in how Scariya Mun ate or slept? or eAen whether
he liAe+ or +ie+- But later when 1aith an+ respect arose in them?
those things that preAiously were scarce soon became plenti1ul-
.ithout haAing to be as6e+? the Aillagers Xoine+ 1orces to ma6e
him a wal6ing path- !hey also built him a hut an+ a plat1orm on
which to sit an+ haAe his meal- .hen they came to help? they +isguise+
their praises o1 him in reproach1ul tones-
@%oo6 at that wal6ing me+itation path- &tJs all oAergrown
with Aegetation- (ouJ+ haAe to be a wil+ boar to penetrate that
thic6et- An+ yet? you still insist on wal6ing there- (ouJre really
weir+? you 6now- .hen we as6 you what the path is 1or? you say
itJs a place to search 1or bu++ho
R &JAe lost my bu++ho- .hen as6e+
why you sit still with your eyes close+? again you say youJre loo6ing
1or bu++ho- Here you are a supreme master? yet you +onJt tell
anyone about it- (ouJre the strangest person weJAe eAer 6nown?
but we li6e you Xust the way you are- (our be+ is a carpet o1 mol+y
smelling leaAes strewn oAer the groun+- How coul+ you stan+ it
all these months_ &t loo6s li6e a pigJs lair- %oo6ing at it now? we
1eel so sorry 1or you we coul+ cry- .e were Aery stupi+? all o1 us-
.e +i+nJt realiUe what a won+er1ul person you are- .orse than
that? a 1ew o1 us accuse+ you o1 haAing sinister motiAes? conAincing
the rest to +isli6e an+ +istrust you- 8inally now the whole Aillage
trusts an+ reAeres you-B
Scariya Mun sai+ that? when hill tribe people +eci+e+ to
trust an+ respect someone? their belie1 was heart1elt an+ uneCuiAocal-
!heir loyalty was uncon+itional R they woul+ sacri1ice their
liAes i1 they ha+ to- !hey too6 what they were taught to heart?
con+ucting themselAes accor+ingly- As they became more 1amiliar
with the metho+ an+ more pro1icient in their practice? Scariya
Mun taught them to stea+ily increase the amount o1 time they
spent +oing bu++ho me+itation-
Scariya Mun staye+ with those people 1or oAer a year R
1rom 8ebruary o1 one year to April o1 the 1ollowing year R until
he 1inally le1t- HoweAer? because o1 his great compassion 1or them?
ta6ing leaAe o1 them was Aery +i11icult 1or him- !hey were Aery
reluctant to see him go- !hey assure+ him that? were he to remain
there until he +ie+? the whole community woul+ arrange 1or his
cremation- !hose people were willing to put their complete trust
in him out o1 a +eep sense o1 loAe an+ +eAotion- Unmista6ably?
they ha+ seen 1or themselAes the goo+ results o1 his teaching- An+
to their cre+it? they were smart enough to see their own 1aults
as well- #nce they came to 6now him as a truly Airtuous? highly
respecte+ mon6? they realiUe+ their mista6e an+ so begge+ his
1orgiAeness- He 1orgaAe them? later telling his +isciple that their
amen+s were complete- !his meant that the two o1 them were
then 1ree to go somewhere else-
cremation- !hose people were willing to put their complete trust
in him out o1 a +eep sense o1 loAe an+ +eAotion- Unmista6ably?
they ha+ seen 1or themselAes the goo+ results o1 his teaching- An+
to their cre+it? they were smart enough to see their own 1aults
as well- #nce they came to 6now him as a truly Airtuous? highly
respecte+ mon6? they realiUe+ their mista6e an+ so begge+ his
1orgiAeness- He 1orgaAe them? later telling his +isciple that their
amen+s were complete- !his meant that the two o1 them were
then 1ree to go somewhere else-
by the commotion- &t soun+e+ as though they were mourning
the +ea+- .hile eKplaining his reasons 1or leaAing? he trie+ to
com1ort them? assuring them that such +istress was unwarrante+-
He counsele+ sel1)restraint? which is the way o1 Dhamma-
.hen they calme+ +own? seemingly resigne+ to his +eparture?
he began to leaAe his 1orest retreat- !hen? something totally
uneKpecte+ happene+- All the Aillagers? inclu+ing the chil+ren?
ran a1ter him- Surroun+ing him on the path? they procee+e+ to
snatch away his reCuisites- Some grabbe+ his umbrella? his bowl?
an+ his water 6ettle? while others clutche+ at the robes he wore or
clung to his arms an+ legs? trying to pull him bac6 again R acting
Xust li6e chil+ren- !hey were +etermine+ to not let him go-
Scariya Mun was oblige+ once again to eKplain his reasons
1or leaAing? consoling them until they calme+ +own- 8inally they
agree+- But no sooner ha+ he starte+ wal6ing o11 than the crying
began an+ they rushe+ to +rag him bac6 again- SeAeral hours
passe+ be1ore he eAentually got away- Meanwhile? the whole 1orest
was +isturbe+ by noisy scenes o1 hysteria that were heart)ren+ing
to watch- !he initial epithet ]tigers in +isguiseJ meant nothing to
them then- &n its place ha+ arisen +eep reAerence an+ attachment
1or a man o1 supreme Airtue- &n the en+? these hill tribe people
coul+nJt hol+ bac6 their emotions- As they gathere+ aroun+ him
crying an+ plea+ing? their many Aoices merge+ into a crescen+o*
@Hurry bac6 to Aisit us again- Please +onJt be gone long? we miss
you so much alrea+y itJs brea6ing our hearts-B
HaAing arriAe+ in the area surroun+e+ by suspicion an+
+issatis1action? Scariya Mun +eparte+ ami+ emotional scenes
o1 a11ection an+ attachment- He ha+ manage+ to turn something
unseemly into something beauti1ul? so enhancing its Aalue
immensely R as be1its one or+aine+ as a +isciple o1 the Bu++ha-
!he Bu++haJs +isciples neAer hol+ gru+ges or loo6 to blame others-
Shoul+ anyone +isli6e them? they will try to help that person with
loAing compassion- !hey neAer ta6e o11ense at other peopleJs misbehaAior
nor +o they harbor 1eelings o1 animosity that coul+ lea+
to mutual recriminations- A heart 1ull to oAer1lowing with loAing
compassion inspires 1aith in those ablaUe with 6ilesas
by proAi+ing
them with a peace1ul? +epen+able re1uge- A heart o1 such
loAing grace possesses Airtuous Cualities that are unparallele+ in
the worl+-
%ater when listening to Scariya Mun tell this story? we
coul+nJt help sympathiUing with the hill tribe people- .e 1orme+
in our min+s a clear image o1 those chaotic scenes in the 1orest R
as though we were watching a moAie- .e coul+ imagine the Ail
lagersJ potent 1aith? rea+y to sacri1ice anything 1or this man o1
supreme Airtue- All they as6e+ was a chance to bas6 in his aura
o1 loAing 6in+ness? thus continuing to enXoy a li1e o1 prosperity-
So they crie+ an+ plea+e+ with him? clutching at his arms an+
legs? pulling on his robes an+ other reCuisites? until he returne+ to
the small eating plat1orm with the thatche+ roo1 that ha+ been a
source o1 such contentment- !hough an incre+ibly moAing occasion?
the time ha+ come 1or him to moAe on- No one can possibly
negate the transient nature o1 the worl+- !he +riAing principle o1
constant change 6eeps eAerything moAing R nothing can halt its
progress- 8or this reason? when the right time came? Scariya Mun
ha+ to leaAe? though he 1ully un+erstoo+ the position o1 those
1aith1ul Aillagers who were so emotionally attache+ to him-
Although Scariya Mun was once labele+ a ]tiger in +isguiseJ
by the hill tribe people? it is well 6nown that he was? in truth? a
]pure oneJ who eKiste+ as ]an incomparable 1iel+ o1 merit 1or the
worl+J-L Scariya Mun le1t that mountain community in or+er to
1ollow his natural inclination R to be o1 the most bene1it to the
greatest number o1 people-
Bu++hism is a priceless inheritance that has always been an
integral part o1 our Aery eKistence- But? perhaps it too coul+ 1all
prey to insi+ious accusations o1 being a ]tiger in +isguiseJ much in
the same manner that Scariya Mun +i+- &t coul+ en+ up being
seAerely +amage+ by people whose Aiews are hostile to Bu++hist
principles an+ tra+itions- &n truth? this process has alrea+y begun?
so we shoul+ not be complacent- &1 we 1ail to 1ul1ill our obligations?
we may 1or1eit this inheritance? only to regret it later-
S:A'&(A MUN 8#%%#.D the way o1 sugato-N .hen liAing +eep in
the 1orests an+ mountains he was constantly o1 serAice to the hill
tribesmen? or else the +eAas? brahmas? ghosts? n7gas? an+ garubas-
He was always compassionately assisting the worl+ in some way
or other- &n human society he taught mon6s? noAices? nuns? an+
lay people 1rom all wal6s o1 li1e without eKception- People eAerywhere
sought him out to hear his instructions- !hey all gaine+
an enormous bene1it 1rom his teachings? always +eliAere+ in a
thorough? coherent manner that woul+ be har+ 1or anyone else
to eCual-
.hile he liAe+ in the mountains o1 :hiang Mai? the hill
tribe people receiAe+ great Xoy? listening to his Dhamma +iscourses
in the late a1ternoons- %ater at night? he taught Dhamma to +eAas
1rom Aarious leAels o1 eKistence? always respon+ing to their many
inCuiries- !eaching +eAas was a heaAy responsibility? since it was
+i11icult to 1in+ another mon6 with the same psychic s6ills to
stan+ in 1or him- !eaching people was a responsibility that coul+
be +elegate+ to others R at least the people listening woul+ gain
enough un+erstan+ing to +eriAe some bene1it i1 they ma+e the
e11ort- Scariya MunJs relationship with +eAas o1 all realms was o1
primary importance to him- So his biography is intersperse+ with
stories about them at +i11erent times in +i11erent places? right to
the Aery en+-
Not so long ago & went to pay my respects to a Aipassan7
6amma00h7na 7cariya o1 the highest caliber? a senior mon6 with
an eKceptionally 6in+? gentle +isposition who is greatly reAere+
by mon6s an+ lay people all oAer !hailan+-E< .hen & arriAe+ he
was +iscussing Dhamma with seAeral o1 his close +isciples? so &
too6 the opportunity to Xoin them- .e began by +iscussing Aarious
practical aspects o1 Dhamma? eAentually coming aroun+ to
the subXect o1 Scariya Mun? who ha+ been his teacher- &n the past?
he liAe+ un+er Scariya MunJs tutelage in the remote mountains
o1 :hiang Mai? training with him at a 1orest retreat that was seAeral
+ays wal6 1rom the nearest town- &tJs har+ to 1in+ wor+s to
+escribe the many remar6able? amaUing stories he tol+ me that
+ay- & shall relate the ones & 1eel are appropriate here? while the
others & shall s6ip? 1or reasons & eKplaine+ earlier-
!his 7cariya
sai+ that? besi+es his un+oubte+ purity o1 heart?
Scariya Mun also possesse+ many uniCue abilities that inspire+
awe in his stu+ents an+ assure+ their Aigilance at all times- He
sai+ he coul+nJt possibly remember all o1 the strange? unusual stories
he ha+ hear+ 1rom Scariya MunV so? & urge+ him to tell me
what he coul+ remember- His wor+s woul+ serAe as a memorial
R a source o1 inspiration 1or 1uture generations- !his is what he
@Scariya Mun 6new eAerything & was thin6ing R what more
can & say_ & 1elt as though & were on a tight leash +ay an+ night?
such was the Aigilance & applie+ to obserAing my min+- Despite
my best e11orts? he coul+ still catch my errant thoughts? publicly
eKposing them 1or eAeryone to hear- My me+itation was actually
Cuite goo+ while staying with him? but & coul+nJt always preAent
stray thoughts 1rom arising- .e shoul+ neAer un+erestimate
the min+Js ability to thin6 incessantly? +ay an+ night R non)stop-
How many o1 us can catch up with our thoughts long enough to
restrain them e11ectiAely_ So & was constantly on guar+? 1or he was
better at catching my thoughts than & was2 Sometimes? he brought
up thoughts that &J+ 1orgotten haAing- Su++enly? & was ma+e to
recall thoughts that ha+ long since past-B
& as6e+ the 7cariya
i1 Scariya Mun ha+ eAer scol+e+ him-
He tol+ me*
He tol+ me*
& wante+ to 6now why he thought Scariya Mun scol+e+
him sometimes- He sai+*
@Do you 6now the wor+ puthuXXana_EE &t means a min+ +enser
than a mountain o1 stone? careening out o1 control- &t +oesnJt consi+er
whether thoughts are goo+ or ba+? right or wrong R which
was a su11icient reason 1or him to giAe a scol+ing-B
& as6e+ him i1 he 1elt a1rai+ when Scariya Mun scol+e+
@.hy shoul+nJt & haAe been a1rai+_ My bo+y may not haAe
been sha6ing? but my min+ certainly was- & almost 1orgot to
breathe at times- & haAe no +oubt that Scariya Mun truly +i+
6now the min+s o1 others
R & eKperience+ it mysel1- He coul+ literally collect all my
thoughts? then con1ront me with them later- 8or eKample? 1rom
time to time & rather 1oolishly thought about going o11 on my
own- &1 such a thought occurre+ to me at night? early the neKt
morning? as soon as & encountere+ him? Scariya Mun imme+iately
starte+ lecturing me* ]Zust where +o you thin6 youJre going_
&tJs 1ar better here than anywhere else- &tJs best that you stay here
with me ^J an+ so on- He neAer let these thoughts pass un+etecte+-
]&tJs more enXoyable here- Staying here an+ listening to the
Dhamma is better than going o11 on your own-J He neAer woul+
consent to my going- & belieAe he was worrie+ that my me+itation
practice might +eteriorate? so he trie+ to 6eep me un+er his tutelage
the whole time-
@!he thing that terri1ie+ me about him was? +ay or night?
wheneAer & +eci+e+ to 1ocus my cittaJs
attention on him? & saw him
staring bac6 at me- &t seeme+ he neAer too6 a rest2 !here were
nights when & +i+nJt +are lie +own because & coul+ AisualiUe him
sitting right in 1ront o1 me? scrutiniUing me eAery moment- .heneAer
& 1ocuse+ my citta
on eKternal obXects? & inAariably 1oun+ him
there loo6ing at me- Because o1 this? my min+1ulness was constantly
@As his stu+ents? we were 1orce+ to be min+1ul- 8ollowing
him on almsroun+? we care1ully 6ept our thoughts un+er control?
restraining our min+s 1rom straying beyon+ the con1ines o1 our
bo+ies- .ere we careless? we coul+ eKpect to hear about it R sometimes
imme+iately- :onseCuently? we eKerte+ min+1ulness oAer our
thoughts R at all times- Aen then? he coul+ usually 1in+ something
to lecture us about? an+ always with goo+ reason- &neAitably?
at least one mon6 among us gaAe Scariya Mun cause to spea6 out-
During the eAening meeting? Scariya Mun might spea6 in a scol+ing
tone about some rather strange a11air that seeme+ to ma6e no
sense- As soon as the meeting a+Xourne+? the mon6s woul+ Cuietly
as6 aroun+ to 1in+ out whose thoughts he was censuring that +ay-
Aentually one o1 the mon6s con1esse+ that? as strange as it might
seem? he actually ha+ been thin6ing such nonsense- %iAing with
Scariya Mun was a won+er1ul eKperience? 1or 1ear o1 him always
promote+ a min+1ul attitu+e within each o1 us-B
!his 7cariya
tol+ me that when he 1irst arriAe+ in :hiang
Mai? he went to stay at one o1 the local monasteries- HaAing been
there less than an hour? he saw a car pull into the monastery
groun+s an+ come to a stop right in 1ront o1 the hut he ha+ Xust
moAe+ into-
@.hen & loo6e+ out to see who ha+ come? there was Scariya
Mun2 Hurrying +own to receiAe him? & respect1ully as6e+ why he
ha+ come- He replie+ without hesitation that he came to pic6 me
up- He sai+ that he 6new the night be1ore that & woul+ be coming-
& as6e+ i1 someone ha+ in1orme+ him that & woul+ be arriAing
in :hiang Mai- He replie+ that it was besi+e the point how he
learne+ o1 it R he 6new about it an+ wante+ to be here? so he Xust
came on his own- Hearing that? & became apprehensiAe- An+ the
more & consi+ere+ the implications? the more apprehensiAe & grew-
%ater? when & was liAing with him? all my 1ears were con1irme+-
@&1 our min+s were 1ree o1 conceite+ opinions when we
receiAe+ his Dhamma +iscourse? then we became pleasantly
absorbe+ in listening- His entire +iscourse was Dhamma R pure
an+ simpleV an+ it engage+ our 1ull attention more than anything
else we ha+ eAer hear+- #n the other han+? i1 a mon6 listene+
hal1)hearte+ly? bur+ene+ by the weight o1 worl+ly thoughts? then
we soon perceiAe+ 1ire in his +iscourse? an+ the o11en+ing mon6
woul+ promptly 1eel the heat- &n giAing a tal6? Scariya Mun was
not concerne+ about whose 6ilesas
his wor+s might +isturb R his
Dhamma rushe+ to con1ront the 6ilesas
at Xust that point where
they were most proli1ic-
@#ccasionally? he +i+ i+enti1y a mon6 by name? con1ronting
him +irectly- ].hy were you me+itating li6e that last night_
!hatJs not the right way to me+itate? you must +o it this wayJ #r?
].hy were you thin6ing li6e that this morning_ &1 you want to
aAoi+ being ruine+ by such harm1ul thin6ing? then +onJt thin6
li6e that again- .hy +onJt you thin6 an+ act in ways that the
%or+ Bu++ha has taught us_ .hatJs the matter with you_ .eJre
here to train ourselAes in the way o1 Dhamma in or+er to get ri+
o1 wrong attitu+es an+ erroneous thin6ing- .e are not here to
in+ulge our thoughts? burning ourselAes with them the way youJAe
been +oing-J !hose who wholehearte+ly accepte+ the truth? liAe+
contente+ly with him? an+ he +i+nJt say much to them- But any
1urtiAeness cause+ him +eep misgiAings? as though the o11en+ing
thoughts were 1ire burning him? an+ he woul+ su++enly ma6e a
surprising comment about it- &1? howeAer? the mon6 realiUe+ his
mista6e an+ change+ his attitu+e? then nothing 1urther was sai+
an+ the matter reste+ there-B
li6e that again- .hy +onJt you thin6 an+ act in ways that the
%or+ Bu++ha has taught us_ .hatJs the matter with you_ .eJre
here to train ourselAes in the way o1 Dhamma in or+er to get ri+
o1 wrong attitu+es an+ erroneous thin6ing- .e are not here to
in+ulge our thoughts? burning ourselAes with them the way youJAe
been +oing-J !hose who wholehearte+ly accepte+ the truth? liAe+
contente+ly with him? an+ he +i+nJt say much to them- But any
1urtiAeness cause+ him +eep misgiAings? as though the o11en+ing
thoughts were 1ire burning him? an+ he woul+ su++enly ma6e a
surprising comment about it- &1? howeAer? the mon6 realiUe+ his
mista6e an+ change+ his attitu+e? then nothing 1urther was sai+
an+ the matter reste+ there-B
#ne eAening? a group o1 hill tribesmen 1rom a Aillage near Scariya
MunJs resi+ence began won+ering among themselAes whether
Scariya Mun ha+ any magic 1ormulas to war+ o11 an+ chase away
ghosts- So they +eci+e+ to go the neKt +ay to as6 i1 he ha+ anything
he coul+ giAe them- arly the neKt morning? Scariya Mun
relate+ this inci+ent to the mon6s liAing with him*
@%ast night while sitting in me+itation & oAerhear+ a group
o1 hill tribesmen in the Aillage won+ering i1 we mon6s might haAe
some magic 1ormula 1or war+ing o11 an+ chasing away ghosts- !hey
inten+ to come here to+ay to as6 us about it- Shoul+ they come?
giAe them the 1ormula @bu++ho? +hammo? sanghoB to me+itate on-
&tJs an eKcellent 1ormula against ghosts? 1or the only things that
ghosts 1ear in this worl+ are the Bu++ha? the Dhamma? an+ the
Sangha- Not a single ghost woul+ +are stan+ against them-B
ghosts 1ear in this worl+ are the Bu++ha? the Dhamma? an+ the
Sangha- Not a single ghost woul+ +are stan+ against them-B
.ith Scariya MunJs instructions 1resh in their min+s? they
began what they thought to be a ritual 1or war+ing o11 ghosts?
unaware that? in truth? he ha+ giAen them a me+itation subXect-
Using this metho+? they attaine+ sam7+hi be1ore long- !he neKt
morning they rushe+ o11 to see Scariya Mun an+ tol+ him what
ha+ happene+- He assure+ them that they were practicing the
1ormula correctly? an+ because o1 that? ghosts in the area were
terri1ie+ an+ boun+ to run away- Now protecte+ by the power
o1 Dhamma? they no longer ha+ to 1ear ghosts- &n 1act? ghosts
ha+ alrea+y begun to 1ear eAen those people in the Aillage who
coul+nJt yet me+itate-
Being inherently goo+? honest 1ol6s? hill tribe people were
easy to teach- .hen Scariya Mun instructe+ them to me+itate each
+ay? they too6 up the practice with such sincerity that be1ore long
some o1 them were getting eKceptionally goo+ results- !heir hearts
became brightly illuminate+ an+ they were able to 6now the min+s
o1 other people? inclu+ing those o1 the mon6s in the monastery? Xust
li6e the man in the preAious story about ]tigers in +isguiseJ-
#n Aisits to the monastery they spo6e to Scariya Mun about
their me+itation practice? +escribing their eKtraor+inary perceptual
abilities- Some o1 the mon6s were astonishe+? an+ worrie+
that these people might be able to rea+ their thoughts- !hough
timi+ by nature? they nonetheless wante+ to 1in+ out what the
people 6new- !hey coul+nJt resist the temptation o1 as6ing 1or
speci1ic in1ormation about their own thoughts- !he hill tribesmen
tol+ them the truth- Still unconAince+? the mon6s challenge+
them- Un1aUe+ by a +isplay o1 their own ignorance? they
cross)eKamine+ the hill tribesmen closely to 1in+ out i1 they truly
coul+ rea+ thoughts- &t was as though they belieAe+ that their
min+s were tightly seale+ by hun+re+s o1 impenetrable layers- !he
hill tribesmen answere+ with the customary 1ran6ness o1 1orest
people who are uninhibite+ by social 1ormalities R answers which
le1t the mon6s 1eeling Aery Aulnerable- A1ter that? they remaine+
apprehensiAe that these people might haAe access to eAerything
they were thin6ing-
!hese same hill tribesmen casually in1orme+ Scariya Mun
that they 6new about the state o1 his citta? haAing chec6e+ it out
1irst? be1ore chec6ing on that o1 the other mon6s-
@.hatJs my citta li6e R is it a1rai+ o1 ghosts_B
@(our citta is +eAoi+ o1 all traces o1 conAentional reality- All
thatJs le1t is Nibb7na in a human bo+y- (our citta is absolutely
supreme R it 1ears nothing-B
A1ter that? the Aillagers ma+e no 1urther mention o1 ghosts-
!hose accomplishe+ in me+itation in1orme+ the others who gra+ually
came to haAe 1aith in Scariya Mun an+ the Bu++has7sana?
thus losing interest in the business o1 ghosts- Aery morning they
gathere+ together in the Aillage center to o11er alms to the mon6s-
HaAing place+ some 1oo+ in each mon6Js bowl? they receiAe+ a
blessing 1rom Scariya Mun- He taught them to show their appreciation
by eKclaiming @s7+huB together in a lou+ Aoice? allowing
the +eAas
to reXoice in their o11erings an+ receiAe a portion o1 the
merit as well- ach +ay the Aillagers respon+e+ 1aith1ully by lou+ly
calling out @s7+huB-
Scariya Mun ha+ them eKclaim @s7+huB? 1or
he 6new 1rom the +eAas?
who came to hear his Dhamma tal6s
eAery night? that this soun+ reache+ them in the realms where
they liAe+- Hearing this soun+? they 6new that Scariya Mun was
liAing in the area-
DVAS .H# V&S&!D Scariya Mun were inAariably escorte+ by a
lea+er who was in charge o1 the group- !hese groups represente+
many +i11erent realms o1 eKistence- Some were terrestrial +eAas
1rom near an+ 1ar- Many were 1rom the Aarious celestial realms
mentione+ in the Bu++hist teKts- .hen a group o1 +eAas
to pay Scariya Mun a Aisit? he always 6new their time o1 arriAal in
a+Aance- &1 he 6new? 1or instance? that a group inten+e+ to arriAe
at two or three A-M-? he woul+ ta6e some rest be1orehan+? getting
up to enter sam7+hi
only when the time approache+ to receiAe
them- &1? howeAer? they were sche+ule+ to arriAe aroun+ mi+night?
he woul+ 1irst enter an+ then wait 1or them in sam7+hi- !his was
accomplishe+ in two stages- 8irst? he practice+ normal me+itation
until he attaine+ a +eep state o1 calm? where he reste+ 1or a
while- !hen? as the time approache+? he with+rew to Xust the right
me+itatiAe leAel to receiAe his inten+e+ Aisitors- !here? he 6new
intuitiAely whether or not they ha+ arriAe+? or whether they were
still on their way- HaAing ac6nowle+ge+ their arriAal? he then +iscusse+
with them whateAer seeme+ appropriate 1or their particular
circumstances- Ha+ he remaine+ in a +eep state o1 sam7+hi? his
Aisitors woul+ not haAe been able to haAe access to him- &n normal
wa6ing consciousness? on the other han+? one woul+ haAe to be a
Aery s6ille+ person in+ee+ to be able to ac6nowle+ge an+ interact
with beings 1rom other realms- Aen were he able to ac6nowle+ge
them? it woul+ still be easier to accomplish this at the appropriate
leAel o1 sam7+hi- 8or this reason? upac7ra sam7+hi R the access
gate R is a leAel suitable to nearly eAery eAentuality-
Scariya Mun became an eKpert in these matters +uring his
soXourn at Sari6a :aAe many years be1ore- At that time? he ha+
been an or+aine+ mon6 1or twenty)two years- By the time he
passe+ away? a1ter spen+ing a total o1 siKty years in the robes? he
ha+ become a true master o1 these matters- Aeryone in the worl+
has the same potential 1or perceiAing such phenomena as Scariya
Mun ha+ R they nee+ only to +eAelop it- But? Aery 1ew can +eAelop
his eKceptional s6ills- HoweAer? eAen though they 1ell short o1 his
total mastery? i1 people coul+ +eAelop at least some s6ill? it woul+
be su11icient 1or witnessing such things- &nstea+? being unable to
see them? people ten+ to belieAe that such phenomena +o not
actually eKist in the worl+ aroun+ them-
&tJs +i11icult to conAince people who lac6 su11icient 6nowle+ge
o1 Dhamma 1or en+owing their hearts with a strong spiritual
basis- Shoul+ our hearts +eAelop the principles o1 Dhamma
R principles certi1ying the true nature o1 all phenomena R an+
gain the necessary s6ills? then no amount o1 +enial coul+ possibly
negate what we clearly see 1or ourselAes- Aen i1 eAeryone on
earth insiste+ on +enying the eKistence o1 such things? it woul+
merely be an empty +enial- !he true nature o1 what we perceiAe
remains unchange+ R nothing can possibly alter it- !ruth +oes not
+epen+ on belie1s or opinions o1 any 6in+- &t is true accor+ing to
immutable natural principles-
S:A'&(A MUN .AND'D 1ar an+ wi+e throughout most o1 the
remote an+ mountainous +istricts o1 :hiang Mai proAince? traAeling
more eKtensiAely there than in any other proAince- He remaine+ in
:hiang Mai much longer than he +i+ in other places? largely because
it was suitable 1or me+itation- &t was con+uciAe to the many 6in+s o1
insights that were a uniCue 1eature o1 his practice- He claime+ there
were many reasons 1or his long soXourn there- 8irst o1 all? the enAironment
was suitable to me+itation- Secon+ly? he 1elt sorry 1or the
hill tribes people who nee+e+ his assistance? an+ was reluctant to
aban+on them- Although it was sparsely populate+? many eKtraor+inary
in+iAi+uals liAe+ in that area- !hey nee+e+ proper training
an+ encouragement to insure their stea+y progress an+ to aAert +isappointment
an+ reAersal to their ol+ ways- An+ then there were
all the +eAas
whom he was +etermine+ to assist-
9roups o1 +eAas
an+ n7gas
usually came to as6 Cuestions
an+ listen to his +iscourses at least twice a month- He sai+ that? at
night? he was always busy receiAing Aisitors 1rom all oAer the celestial
an+ terrestrial realms- Be1ore spea6ing with Scariya Mun? the
lea+er o1 each group woul+ announce the approKimate number
o1 +eAas
present on that occasion* 1or instance? ten or a hun+re+
thousan+ celestial +eAas
are here to+ay? or one to ten thousan+
terrestrial +eAas? or 1iAe hun+re+ to a thousan+ n7gas-
Almost +aily? when he wal6e+ me+itation in the late a1ternoon?
Scariya Mun woul+ be in1orme+ o1 the hour o1 arriAal
o1 one group or another 1rom these +i11erent realms- #ccasionally?
he receiAe+ the in1ormation later on +uring seate+ me+itation-
!here were nights when seAeral +i11erent groups announce+
their impen+ing AisitV an+ he ha+ to arrange speci1ic times 1or
each group so that their Aisits +i+ not oAerlap- He +i+ not haAe
them come simultaneously? because relatiAe spiritual +eAelopment
Aarie+ among the +i11erent realms an+ his Dhamma teaching
ha+ to Aary accor+ingly to be appropriate 1or each group-
Since one group pre1erre+ hearing a certain aspect o1 Dhamma?
while another group pre1erre+ something +i11erent? Scariya Mun
arrange+ separate Aisits to ensure that his +iscourse was suitable
to eAeryone present- !his was +one 1or his own conAenience? as
well as that o1 his Aisitors- Such obligations were a maXor part o1
the reason 1or his long stay in :hiang Mai- As a matter o1 1act? the
number o1 +eAas o1 all types who Aisite+ him there well eKcee+e+
the number o1 people? n7gas? garubas? an+ other spirits combine+-
&n reality? Aery 1ew in+iAi+uals can achieAe telepathic communication
with +eAas? which is essential 1or teaching them-
DeAas o1ten complaine+ to Scariya Mun that? unaware
o1 the eKistence o1 +eAas? human beings haAe no un+erstan+ing
about +eAas an+ are not intereste+ in 6nowing that +eAic
eKistence is another state o1 sentient eKistence a+hering to the
principles o1 6amma- DeAic eKistence is irreleAant to most human
beings? who 1ail to recogniUe that +eAas also haAe hopes an+
aspirations? Xust li6e eAeryone else- 'arely +i+ +eAas encounter a
man o1 supreme Airtue? li6e Scariya Mun R a man who possesse+
the intuitiAe insight to realiUe that animals? humans? +eAas? an+
all other 1orms o1 eKistence are un+eniably real an+ shoul+ be
honore+ as such- !hey coul+ not help 1eeling an oAerwhelming
sense o1 Xoy upon meeting him- !hey so enXoye+ coming to pay
him their respects? as6 him Cuestions an+ listen to his teaching-
!hey wante+ to imbibe his eKCuisite Dhamma to nourish
their hearts? thus increasing their happiness an+ well)being
an+ sustaining their whole eKistence- 8or this reason? +eAas
eAerywhere Aenerate anyone possessing eKtremely high Airtue-
'elating that +eAas are Xust as important as all other liAing
beings? Scariya Mun un+erstoo+ their intentions an+ sympathiUe+
with their meritorious aspirations- He state+ that? intent
on improAing themselAes? the +eAas who came to him 1or assistance
greatly outnumbere+ the human beings who Aisite+ him-
Still? they remain a mystery to people who lac6 the proper psychic
s6ills- !hough appearing on the sur1ace to be an insoluble problem
1or human society? it nee+ not be an insurmountable obstacle
1or a person wishing to truly 6now an+ un+erstan+ these things-
8or those s6ille+ in the ways o1 the citta? psychic communication
is Xust as normal as any other aspect o1 human eKperience- :ertainly
Scariya Mun consi+ere+ it commonplace? allowing him to
1unction e11ectiAely with +eAas throughout his li1e- 'egar+less o1
where he liAe+? he always remaine+ in contact with +eAas reCuiring
his assistance- !his was especially true in :hiang Mai proAince?
because such beings pre1erre+ to contact him when he was
liAing in remote? isolate+ places? 1ree 1rom human congestion- !he
1orests an+ mountains o1 :hiang Mai were i+eal in this respect-
Scariya Mun ha+ 1ew social obligations there? so he coul+ +eAote
more time to his +eAa Aisitors-
A S!'AN9 &N:&DN! occurre+ while he was liAing among the
Musuer people +eep in the mountains near &6aw Village- A group
o1 +eAas came to Aisit him 1rom 9ermany- !hey wishe+ to hear
a +iscourse that woul+ giAe them a ]Aictory 1ormulaJ- 8ocusing
his citta on their reCuest? an appropriate Dhamma Aerse arose*
@a66o+hena Xine 6o+ha[-B &t means conCuer anger with lac6 o1 anger-E;
Scariya Mun elaborate+ on this theme with the assemble+ +eAas-
@:onCuer anger with lac6 o1 anger? remember this- 8or
anyone hoping to achieAe Aictory? this is the most important
Dhamma to practice- :onsi+er it well R it is the main
source o1 peace an+ happiness in the worl+- %oAe an+ 6in+ness
R these are e11ectiAe +eterrence against an eAil such as
anger- By helping to re+uce angerJs power to +estroy human
an+ +eAic societies ali6e? loAing 6in+ness 1osters peace an+
prosperity eAerywhere- !hus? this loAing attitu+e is a prereCuisite
1or social harmony R one we shoul+ all striAe to
+eAelop- &n a worl+ lac6ing this Aictory 1ormula? +issatis1action
an+ unrest will arise at the Aery least- At the eKtreme?
the worl+ will be consume+ by mortal stri1e- Anger an+
resentment can neAer +e1eat our enemies? 1or they are eAils
that succee+ only in in+iscriminately +estroying us an+
eAeryone close to us- !he more anger is use+? the more the
worl+ we liAe in becomes a sea o1 1lames? burning uncontrollably
towar+ total annihilation-
@Anger is actually a type o1 1ire thatJs inherent in the nature
o1 this worl+- Although it has no physical properties? it
+oes succee+ in creating haAoc in its wa6e- So anyone
+esiring a stable? sensible worl+ R a place worth liAing
in R shoul+ realiUe the +isastrous harm that the 1ires o1
anger an+ resentment can causeV an+ re1rain 1rom eAer
using them- Starting a 1ire li6e this merely causes onesel1
an+ eAeryone else to su11er- Mutual 1eelings o1 a11ection
an+ loAing 6in+ness among all liAing beings maintain the
worl+ in its proper eCuilibrium- #ppressiAe 1orces o1 unrestraine+
anger an+ sel1ish pri+e shoul+ neAer be allowe+ to
run rampant? causing a neAer)en+ing cycle o1 +estruction-
run rampant? causing a neAer)en+ing cycle o1 +estruction-
harm cause+ by anger- He saw the Aalue o1 loAing
6in+ness as a gentle 1orce that can spontaneously Xoin all
liAing beings in a sense o1 mutual harmony an+ goo+will?
1or all share a common +esire 1or happiness an+ a common
+isli6e o1 pain- 8or this reason? he taught that loAe an+
6in+ness were power1ul means o1 maintaining peace an+
security in the worl+- So long as liAing beings still haAe
loAing 6in+ness in their hearts? thereJs eAery chance that
their +esire 1or happiness will be 1ul1ille+- But shoul+ their
hearts become estrange+ 1rom thoughts o1 loAing 6in+ness?
then eAen with all the material com1orts? their liAes will still
be +eAoi+ o1 genuine peace an+ happiness- Angry? hate1ul
people ten+ to encounter only trouble? 1eeling resent1ul an+
annoye+ whereAer they go-
@#nce we 6now with certainty that Dhamma is something
truly bene1icial to us? we can clearly see that a heart 1ull o1
brutality is li6e a blaUing 1ire gra+ually +estroying eAerything
in its path- .e must then urgently striAe to oAercome
these +angers as best we can- (ou may neAer again get such
a goo+ opportunityV so? ta6e a+Aantage o1 it now an+ aAoi+
regrets in the 1uture- !he worl+ is in a constant state o1
change an+ that changing worl+ is situate+ right here in
the bo+ies an+ min+s o1 us all-B
Such was the essence o1 the ]Aictory 1ormulaJ that Scariya Mun
gaAe to the +eAas 1rom 9ermany- As soon as Scariya Mun 1inishe+
spea6ing? they gaAe a thun+erous @s7+huB in unison that
echoe+ throughout the worl+ systems- Scariya Mun as6e+ how
they 6new where he was staying since? in human terms? they liAe+
so 1ar away- !hey replie+ that they always 6new precisely where
he was staying- More than that? +eAas 1rom !hailan+ regularly
Aisit the +eAas o1 9ermany- &n truth? +eAas +onJt consi+er the +istance
between countries li6e !hailan+ an+ 9ermany to be Aery
great? the way human beings +o- !hey simply thin6 o1 it as an
area through which they can easily an+ naturally pass bac6 an+
1orth- .hereas humans traAel by 1oot or by Aehicle? +eAas transport
themselAes by means o1 a supernormal power that is eCuiAalent
to trans1ering consciousness to a particular +estination R
it arriAes there instantly- So +eAas can moAe aroun+ much more
easily than human beings-
Scariya Mun sai+ that the +eAas 1rom 9ermany regularly
came to listen to his Dhamma tal6s? much in the same way that terrestrial
+eAas came 1rom all oAer !hailan+ to hear him- Both celestial
an+ terrestrial +eAas ten+e+ to show their respect 1or him in a
similar 1ashion- &1 Scariya Mun was liAing with a group o1 mon6s?
+eAas who came to see him neAer passe+ through the area where
the mon6s ha+ their liAing Cuarters- Besi+es that? they ten+e+ to
arriAe Aery late at night when all the mon6s were asleep- Upon
arriAal? they circumambulate+ Scariya Mun cloc6wise? three times
in a calm? compose+ manner- .hen they +eparte+ R again circumambulating
him cloc6wise three times R they 1irst with+rew to
a respect1ul +istance- .hen they reache+ the e+ge o1 his liAing
area? they simply 1loate+ into the air li6e pu11s o1 cotton- All types
o1 +eAas +emonstrate+ their respect 1or him in this 1ashion-
S:A'&(A MUN 8#UND the mountains o1 :hiang Mai to be an i+eal
enAironment 1or me+itation- Heart 1ree an+ min+ unencumbere+?
he liAe+ a li1e o1 complete ease? abi+ing sublimely in Dhamma R
Dhamma was the en+uring source o1 com1ort in his li1e- .ith no
intrusions ta6ing up his time? he was 1ree to me+itate wheneAer
he wishe+- He liAe+ a Aery healthy? contente+ li1e there- As 1or
his teaching obligations? the +eAas? who came only at night? were
beings o1 a re1ine+ nature? so they were har+ly a bur+en- Sometimes
in the a1ternoon or early eAening he gaAe help1ul a+Aice
to the local lay community- !he mon6s liAing un+er his tutelage
assemble+ 1or instruction in the eAening? at about seAen P-M-
Most o1 his stu+ents ha+ alrea+y achieAe+ a certain leAel o1 pro1iciency
in the practice o1 sam7+hi
an+ in the Aarious stages o1
wis+om- Being wholly committe+ to the practice? they listene+ to
his teaching? striAing to attain magga? phala? an+ Nibb7na-
.hen Scariya Mun taught a group o1 mon6s? whose in+iAi+ual
leAels o1 mental +eAelopment Aarie+? he always structure+ his
+iscourses to encompass all leAels o1 practice? 1rom basic sam7+hi
through the higher leAels o1 wis+om to the most subtle leAel o1 all R
the realiUation o1 Nibb7na- Mon6s? s6ille+ in me+itation? became so
absorbe+ in the successiAe stages o1 his +iscourse that they lost all
sense o1 time an+ place- Practicing mon6s were usually giAen a tal6
lasting 1or at least two hours- But the mon6s were less intereste+
in the time than they were in the 1low o1 his Dhamma +iscourse?
as they were able to gra+ually increase their own un+erstan+ing
with each successiAe stage- :onseCuently? listening to Dhamma
in an attentiAe? thought1ul manner is itsel1 a Aaluable me+itation
practice? one that is eCually as important as other metho+s- 8or
his part? the teacher is +etermine+ that his au+ience realiUe the
truth o1 what he teaches R eAery step o1 the way- He points out the
6in+ o1 thoughts that are truly harm1ul? as well as those that are
truly bene1icialV so? his stu+ents will un+erstan+ which thin6ing is
1aulty an+ shoul+ be aban+one+? an+ which has merit an+ shoul+
be +eAelope+ 1urther- More than at any comparable time? those
1ocusing their un+iAi+e+ attention on the citta
R the 1ocal point o1
Dhamma R can eKpect to attain some +egree o1 calm in sam7+hiV
or receiAe Aarious techniCues 1or inAestigating with wis+om? while
they listen to the teacher +iscuss these topics- !hus? the +iligent
me+itator can progress step by step while listening to his teacherJs
instructions- 'eceiAing an insight into one aspect o1 Dhamma
to+ay? another aspect o1 Dhamma tomorrow? stu+ents manage to
strengthen their min+1ulness an+ wis+om eAery time they listen-
Since the teacher has realiUe+ the !ruth o1 Dhamma within himsel1?
he can point +irectly to that same !ruth eKisting within his
stu+ents- %istening to his +etaile+ eKplanations? they can progressiAely
+eAelop their s6ills in all aspects o1 sam7+hi
an+ wis+om?
allowing them to success1ully pass through each leAel o1 me+itation
practice until they reach the highest Dhamma-
mon6s haAe always consi+ere+ hearing Dhamma
an essential part o1 their practice? one they see6 to maintain as
long as there is a s6ille+ teacher to whom they can listen- 8or
this reason? truly +e+icate+ +hutanga
mon6s li6e to search out a
teacher who can gui+e them in their me+itation practice- !hey
cherish an+ reAere a teacher in whom they 1eel they can put their
complete trust- His a+Aice is sincerely ta6en to heart? care1ully
contemplate+? an+ wholehearte+ly put into practice- !hey routinely
consult with him? as6ing 1or speci1ic a+Aice on any +oubt1ul
points arising in their practice? then a+Xust their practice accor+
ing to his recommen+ations- 8or this reason? +hutanga mon6s haAe
always pre1erre+ to gather aroun+ eminently Cuali1ie+ me+itation
masters? such as Scariya Mun an+ Scariya Sao- Both o1 those
great teachers ha+ unusually large numbers o1 +isciples among the
+hutanga mon6s o1 !hailan+Js Northeast region-
ing to his recommen+ations- 8or this reason? +hutanga mon6s haAe
always pre1erre+ to gather aroun+ eminently Cuali1ie+ me+itation
masters? such as Scariya Mun an+ Scariya Sao- Both o1 those
great teachers ha+ unusually large numbers o1 +isciples among the
+hutanga mon6s o1 !hailan+Js Northeast region-
R o1 any 6in+ R remaine+ in his heart- 8rom that time on? he neAer
mentione+ anything about lac6ing su11icient strength-
Big Brother lephant
#nce Scariya Mun was wan+ering +hutanga in the :hiang Mai
mountains with two other mon6s? Scariya $hao o1 .at !ham
$long Phen monastery in U+on !hani proAince an+ Scariya
Mah7 !hongsa6 o1 .at Su++hawat monastery in Sa6on Na6hon
proAince- As they reache+ a narrow gap in the path lea+ing up
the mountain? they chance+ upon a large? solitary elephant whose
owner ha+ release+ it an+ then wan+ere+ o11 someplace- All they
coul+ see there was a gigantic elephant with huge siK)1oot tus6s
searching 1or 1oo+ R Cuite a 1earsome sight- !hey con1erre+ among
themselAes about how to procee+- !his was the only path up the
mountain? an+ it allowe+ no room 1or going aroun+ the elephant-
Scariya Mun tol+ Scariya $hao to spea6 with the elephant? which
was eating bamboo leaAes at the si+e o1 the path- Stan+ing about
twenty yar+s away with its bac6 to them? it ha+ yet to notice their
approach- Scariya $hao a++resse+ the elephant*
owner ha+ release+ it an+ then wan+ere+ o11 someplace- All they
coul+ see there was a gigantic elephant with huge siK)1oot tus6s
searching 1or 1oo+ R Cuite a 1earsome sight- !hey con1erre+ among
themselAes about how to procee+- !his was the only path up the
mountain? an+ it allowe+ no room 1or going aroun+ the elephant-
Scariya Mun tol+ Scariya $hao to spea6 with the elephant? which
was eating bamboo leaAes at the si+e o1 the path- Stan+ing about
twenty yar+s away with its bac6 to them? it ha+ yet to notice their
approach- Scariya $hao a++resse+ the elephant*
@Big brother elephant? we wish to spea6 with you- (ou are so
Aery big an+ strong- .eJre Xust a group o1 mon6s? so wea6 an+
so Aery 1rightene+ o1 you? big brother- .e woul+ li6e to wal6 past
where youJre stan+ing- .oul+ big brother please moAe oAer a bit
so that we haAe room to pass by_ &1 you 6eep stan+ing there?
it really 1rightens us? so we +onJt +are wal6 past-B
As soon as he 1inishe+ spea6ing? the elephant imme+iately
turne+ to the si+e an+ thrust its tus6s into the mi++le o1 a clump
o1 bamboo? signaling its intention to let them pass? unharme+-
Seeing it 1acing the clump o1 bamboo? Scariya Mun tol+ the others
that they coul+ continue on as it woul+ not bother them now- !he
two mon6s inAite+ Scariya Mun to wal6 between them? Scariya
$hao wal6ing in 1ront an+ Scariya Mah7 !hong Sa6 1ollowing
behin+- !hey wal6e+ past in single 1ile only siK 1eet 1rom the ele
phantJs rear en+? without inci+ent- But as they were wal6ing away?
the hoo6 on Scariya Mah7 !hong Sa6Js umbrella got tangle+
by chance in some bamboo Xust a 1ew yar+s past the elephant- &t
+e1ie+ all attempts to eKtricate it? so he was 1orce+ to struggle with
it 1or Cuite some time- !erri1ie+ o1 the elephant R which was now
loo6ing right at him R he was soon +renche+ in sweat- 8ighting
+esperately to +isentangle the hoo6? he glance+ up at the eyes o1
the elephant? which stoo+ there li6e a huge stu11e+ animal- He
coul+ see that its eyes were bright an+ clear- &n truth? its countenance
inspire+ a11ection rather than 1ear? but at that moment his
1ear remaine+ strong- .hen he 1inally +i+ get 1ree? his 1ear subsi+e+?
an+ he realiUe+ that this elephant was a Aery en+earing
animal- Seeing that they were all sa1ely past? Scariya $hao turne+
to the elephant-
@Hey? big brother? weJAe all passe+)by now- Please relaK an+
eat in peace-B
As soon as he 1inishe+ spea6ing? the soun+ o1 crunching?
brea6ing bamboo 1ille+ the air-
%ater the mon6s praise+ this intelligent elephant? agreeing
it was an animal that inspire+ a11ection an+ sympathy- !he only
1aculty it lac6e+ was the ability to spea6- As they were +iscussing
this? Scariya Mah7 !hong Sa6 was curious to hear Scariya MunJs
reaction? so he as6e+*
@.ere you able to rea+ that elephantJs min+ the whole time?
1rom the moment we spo6e to it until we passe+ clear o1 it_ Since
it was so en+earing? &J+ really li6e to 6now- .hen it 1irst hear+ us
call out? su++enly turning aroun+ to 1ace us in an agitate+ 1ashion?
& was sure it was about to charge an+ crush us to pieces right
then an+ there- But as soon as it un+erstoo+ the situation? it ha+ a
change o1 heart R almost li6e a person in an animalJs bo+y R an+
Cuic6ly thrust its tus6s into the mi++le o1 that clump o1 bamboo?
stan+ing Aery still- :learly it seeme+ to be telling us* ](ou little
brothers can come now- Big brother wonJt +o anything- Big brother
has put away his weapons- BelieAe me? come along-J @
change o1 heart R almost li6e a person in an animalJs bo+y R an+
Cuic6ly thrust its tus6s into the mi++le o1 that clump o1 bamboo?
stan+ing Aery still- :learly it seeme+ to be telling us* ](ou little
brothers can come now- Big brother wonJt +o anything- Big brother
has put away his weapons- BelieAe me? come along-J @
@Scariya $hao is really amaUing? spea6ing with an animal as
though it was Xust another human being* ]Big brother? your little
brothers are 1rightene+ an+ +are not pass- Please ma6e way so that
we can go by without 1earing big brother-J As soon as it receiAe+
this bit o1 1lattery? it was so please+ that it imme+iately prepare+
to ma6e way 1or us- But this little brother was really clumsy- & got
past big brother only to get my umbrella hoo6 caught up in the
bamboo- !ry as & might & coul+nJt get it 1ree- &t was +etermine+ to
6eep me there with big brother- My heart san6 at that moment R
& was a1rai+ that big brother woul+nJt play 1air-B
Scariya Mun laughe+ heartily hearing Scariya Mah7 !hong
Sa6 teasing Scariya $hao about being cleAer enough to tal6 to an
elephant- He assure+ them that he ha+ been paying attention to
the elephantJs mental state-
@#1 course & was 1ocusing my attention there- &JAe rea+ the
min+s o1 bir+s an+ mon6eys with 1ar less reason than this- !his
was a matter o1 li1e an+ +eath? how coul+ & aAoi+ it_B
Scariya Mah7 !hong Sa6 wante+ to 6now what the elephant
was thin6ing when Scariya Mun 1ocuse+ on it-
@.hen it 1irst hear+ us? it was startle+ R thatJs why it turne+
aroun+ so Cuic6ly- &t thought only o1 preparing to 1ight- But seeing
us +resse+ in yellow robes? it 6new instinctiAely that we coul+ be
truste+? 1or itJs Cuite use+ to seeing mon6s- &ts owner has long
since traine+ it not to en+anger them- So when Scariya $hao
a++resse+ it in a pleasant tone? calling it ]big brotherJ? it was hugely
please+ an+ imme+iately got out o1 the way-B
since traine+ it not to en+anger them- So when Scariya $hao
a++resse+ it in a pleasant tone? calling it ]big brotherJ? it was hugely
please+ an+ imme+iately got out o1 the way-B
@#1 course it +i+- #therwise? how coul+ it be traine+ to
haul logs +own 1rom the mountains_ &1 it coul+nJt un+erstan+? it
woul+ probably haAe been +ispose+ o1 as useless long ago- !his
6in+ o1 animal must be traine+ until it 6nows manJs language well
be1ore it can be ma+e to per1orm Aarious tas6s- !his particular
elephant is oAer a hun+re+ years ol+- %oo6 at its tus6s R theyJre
almost siK 1eet long- &t must haAe liAe+ among people 1or a long
time- &ts owner is relatiAely young? yet heJs still able to +riAe it to
wor6- How coul+ it not un+erstan+ human speech_ &tJs certain to
haAe no problem-B
@.hat was it thin6ing when it turne+ an+ stuc6 its tus6s
into the clump o1 bamboo_B
@.ell? it un+erstoo+ the situation? as & sai+? an+ so was
giAing way to us- &t +i+nJt thin6 o1 +oing anything else-B
@Di+ you 1ocus on its min+ the whole time we were wal6ing
past it_ .hat was it thin6ing Xust as we wal6e+ by_B
@All & saw was the elephant giAing way- &t wasnJt thin6ing
about anything else-B
@!he reason & as6e+* & was worrie+ that as we were wal6ing
past it might haAe thought it woul+ li6e to attac6 us R Xust 1or
sport? as animals sometimes +o-B
@(ou haAe an uncommonly proli1ic imagination? Mah7
!hong Sa6- &1 you enXoye+ thin6ing an+ as6ing probing Cuestions
li6e this about matters o1 substance then you coul+ certainly
eKpect to transcen+ +u66ha
one +ay- But youJre li6e most people
all night without the slightest regar+ 1or Dhamma_B
.ith this warning? Scariya Mah7 !hong Sa6 +roppe+ the
whole a11air- He was a1rai+ that pressing the matter 1urther woul+
result in an eAen more seAere rebu6e-E=
MAN( M#N$S .' 'BU$D 1or spea6ing carelessly to Scariya
Mun or spea6ing without goo+ reason- Some eAen went ma+
a1terwar+s- #ne rather obtrusiAe mon6 liAe+ with Scariya Mun
1or a short while- .hen Scariya Mun ma+e a comment? this
mon6 li6e+ to chime in eKpressing his own Aiews- .hen he 1irst
arriAe+? Scariya Mun 1reCuently warne+ him to min+ his own
business- He a+Aise+ him to 6eep a close watch on his thoughts
an+ restrain the impulse to spea6 out- Mon6s +e+icate+ to the
practice must 6now how to properly con+uct themselAes- !hose
who are min+1ul will see the ina+eCuacies o1 a min+ that wants
to 1low out- But it seems that this mon6 was not as intereste+ as
he shoul+ haAe been in Scariya MunJs teaching-
Scariya Mun ha+ a uniCue habit o1 ta6ing the animals? or
the people? that he encountere+ on almsroun+ as obXects o1 contemplation?
using them to teach the mon6s wal6ing behin+ him-
He commente+ out lou+ on what he obserAe+? as though spea6ing
to no one in particular- #ne +ay? he spie+ a cute little cal1 play1ully
running aroun+ its mother- At 1irst it +i+nJt see the mon6s
approachingV but as they came abreast? it loo6e+ aroun+ startle+
an+ race+ to its motherJs si+e? nuUUling in un+er her nec6? then
peering out to loo6 at the mon6s with 1ear in its eyes- Seeing
the cal1 run up to her? the cow Cuic6ly turne+ her hea+ to loo6
in the +irection o1 the mon6s? then remaine+ impassiAe? as ani
mals +o when they are accustome+ to seeing mon6s +aily- But the
cal1 remaine+ un+er her chin? staring out +istrust1ully- #bserAing
them? Scariya Mun commente+ in a general way about the +i11er
ence between the reaction o1 the cal1 an+ that o1 its mother-
@!hat cow is Cuite unperturbe+? but its cal1 is so 1rightene+
it loo6s li6e it wants to pic6 her up an+ 1lee-ED As soon as
it got a glimpse o1 us? it ran bawling to its mother 1or help-
People are Xust the same R they rush to 1in+ a reliable re1uge-
&1 they are near their mother? they will run to her- &1 they
are near their 1ather? they will rush to him- People inAariably
lean on 1amily an+ 1rien+s 1or support- 'arely +o they
thin6 about relying on themselAes- .hen we are young? we
eKpect to rely on other people in one wayV when we grow
up? we eKpect to rely on them in another wayV an+ when we
grow ol+? we still eKpect to rely on others in yet a +i11erent
way- Very 1ew o1 us turn inwar+? loo6ing 1or support within
ourselAes- By constantly loo6ing 1or someone else to lean
on? we ten+ to 1oster our own wea6ness an+ so neAer allow
ourselAes to become truly sel1)reliant-
@.e mon6s are the same as lay people- HaAing or+aine+? we
become laUy about stu+ying- .orrying that it will be pain1ul
an+ +i11icult? we become laUy about practicing the way-
.e neAer seem to 1inish what we start? 1or no sooner +o we
haAe a goo+ i+ea an+ begin to put it into practice than laUi
ness creeps in? bloc6ing our progress- %ac6ing the ability to
help ourselAes? we haAe to loo6 to others 1or support- #therwise?
we coul+nJt carry on in this li1e- !he maKim* att7hi
attano n7tho R onesel1 is oneJs own re1uge R is meaningless
1or us i1 we cannot breath through our own noses- Dhutanga
mon6s who are +e+icate+ to the practice shoul+nJt always
haAe to +epen+ on others 1or li1e an+ breath-
@%isten to your teacher? thin6 about what he teaches? an+
commit yourselAes to attaining it- DonJt let his teaching Xust
slip through your grasp to no aAail- Be persistent- :onsi+er
what he says an+ 1ollow his eKample until you see the bene1its
within yourselAes- !hen you no longer nee+ to lean on
him 1or support- (ouJll be breathing through your own noses?
meaning you will haAe +eAelope+ the 6nowle+ge an+ wis+om
nee+e+ to ri+ yourselAes o1 +u66ha- 9ra+ually? you will become
more con1i+ent? more sel1)reliant? until 1inally you become
1ull)1le+ge+? 1ully)in+epen+ent mon6s in your own right-B
Scariya Mun brought up this matter to giAe the mon6s on alms)
roun+ with him something to contemplate- As he pause+ 1or a
moment? the rather obtrusiAe mon6 began to prattle away on his
own without consi+ering the impropriety o1 such an intrusion-
Perhaps this mon6Js i+iocy struc6 a +issonant chor+ +eep within
Scariya Mun? 1or he turne+ aroun+ an+ gaAe him a seAere rebu6e
that too6 the other mon6s abac6? ma6ing them all somewhat
@(ou must be ma+2 (ouJre li6e a rabi+ +og that pounces an+
chews 1uriously on any ol+ piece o1 woo+ tosse+ at it- .hy +onJt
you loo6 insi+e yoursel1 where this ma+ness arises- (ouJll go craUy
i1 you +onJt curtail this sort o1 min+less prattle-B
you loo6 insi+e yoursel1 where this ma+ness arises- (ouJll go craUy
i1 you +onJt curtail this sort o1 min+less prattle-B
+eliriously about? mumbling something about being sorry 1or
o11en+ing Scariya Mun so ru+ely- Shoc6e+ by this sight? some
o1 them hurrie+ o11 to get the local Aillagers to help ta6e care o1
him- !hey brought some herbal reme+ies 1or him to ta6e? then
massage+ his limbs 1or a while until he 1inally calme+ +own an+
1ell asleep 1or the rest o1 the night- !he neKt morning someone
too6 him to a +octor 1or treatment- His con+ition soon improAe+?
though he +i+ haAe occasional relapses- .hen he was well enough
to traAel? they sent him home- !here was no 1urther news about
his con+ition a1ter that-
Scariya MunJs repriman+s Aarie+ with circumstances- A
mil+ scol+ing was usually su11icient to promote min+1ulness in the
present an+ increase Aigilance in the 1uture- HoweAer? i1 someone
+i+ something that prompte+ a seAere repriman+? but lac6e+ the
goo+ Xu+gment to ma6e use o1 it? then it coul+ well be +amaging?
as we haAe seen- So mon6s liAing with Scariya Mun ten+e+ to be
eKcee+ingly Aigilant an+ always sel1)controlle+- Zust because they
ha+ liAe+ with him 1or a long time +i+nJt mean they coul+ eKpect
to get oAerly 1amiliar with him? 1or he was the type o1 person who
+i+nJt rea+ily countenance 1amiliarity in anyone- His stu+ents
coul+ neAer a11or+ to be complacent R sometimes eAen the +eer
thatJs wary o1 hunters gets shot-
ha+ liAe+ with him 1or a long time +i+nJt mean they coul+ eKpect
to get oAerly 1amiliar with him? 1or he was the type o1 person who
+i+nJt rea+ily countenance 1amiliarity in anyone- His stu+ents
coul+ neAer a11or+ to be complacent R sometimes eAen the +eer
thatJs wary o1 hunters gets shot-
#ccasionally? when the mon6s liAing with him were highly
attaine+ in+iAi+uals? Scariya Mun con+ucte+ himsel1 in a naturally
easy)going an+ relaKe+ manner? as one woul+ eKpect among
people o1 eCual status who are all well)acCuainte+- He was not
so stern an+ strict at such times- But his whole +emeanor coul+
change +ramatically accor+ing to the situation- He behaAe+ Cuite
+i11erently in one set o1 circumstances than he +i+ in another?
treating each in+iAi+ual as a separate case- His +isciples were constantly
amaUe+ at the Cuic6ness an+ noAelty o1 his responses to
the situations that emerge+ aroun+ him-
Scariya Mun use+ to tell the mon6s an amusing story about
his youth that illustrates his +ynamic character- & shall retell it
here 1or it +emonstrates the incre+ible changes that a person can
go through-
Bac6 in the +ays when Scariya Mun was still a young
layman? he use+ to compete in local 1ol6 singing contests 6nown
as maw lam- #ne +ay he atten+e+ a large 1air in a neighboring
Aillage where thousan+s o1 people ha+ gathere+- Su++enly? he 1elt
embol+ene+ to get up on stage an+ sing in competition with a
talente+ young woman who was a renowne+ 1ol6 singer in those
parts- Perhaps he thought it woul+ be 1un to haAe a go at her on
stage? or perhaps he 1elt a little bit in loAe R who 6nows_ At any
rate? Xumping up on stage? he 1oun+ the young woman Cuite willing
to accept his challenge- By the time they sang through seAeral
sets o1 Aerses? it became clear that young Mun was losing the contest-
As it happene+? a saAior appeare+ Xust in time- :hao $hun
Up7li?EP who was then a young man seAeral years ol+er than young
Mun? ha+ come to the same 1air an+ was in the au+ience at the
competition- #bAiously his 1rien+ was losing ba+ly? an+ things
were getting worse with each new set o1 Aerses- :ontinue+ much
longer? the girl woul+ probably haAe +riAen him o11 the stage in
+isgrace? 1or she was a seasone+ per1ormer an+ young Mun was
a mere noAice- Acting on a bol+ impulse? Mun ha+ leapt up on
the stage only to meet a 1erocious tigress? her mouth 1ull o1 1angs?
while he was Xust a pup sporting a 1ew baby teeth- Zan? as :hao
$hun Up7li was calle+ then? anKiously thought that i1 his 1rien+
persiste+? she woul+ s6in him aliAe? then sell his hi+e- He thought
to himsel1* Mun +oesnJt 6now a tiger when he sees one- He Xust sees
a young la+y R he +oesnJt realiUe heJs about to be slaughtere+- &Jll haAe
to +o something now to saAe his hi+e- &1 & +onJt? itJll be on sale in the
mar6et 1or sure- HaAing thought this? Zan Xumpe+ up on the stage
an+ began shouting*
@Dammit Mun2 &JAe been loo6ing 1or you all oAer the place2
(our mother 1ell 1rom the top o1 the house R &Jm not sure i1 sheJs
still aliAe or not- & saw her lying there in a heap on the groun+
an+ trie+ to help? but she insiste+ & go loo6 1or you- &JAe been running
aroun+ all +ay trying to 1in+ you- & haAenJt eaten a thing an+
&Jm worn out-B
Both Mun an+ the young la+y were stunne+ into silence by
this ruse- Mun imme+iately as6e+ about his motherJs con+ition-
@Zan? how is my mother_B
Zan preten+e+ to be so eKhauste+ he coul+ har+ly spea6-
@& thin6 sheJs probably +ea+ by now- &Jm about to +ie mysel1
now 1rom hunger an+ eKhaustion-B
Both Mun an+ the young la+y were stunne+ into silence by
this ruse- Mun imme+iately as6e+ about his motherJs con+ition-
@Zan? how is my mother_B
Zan preten+e+ to be so eKhauste+ he coul+ har+ly spea6-
@& thin6 sheJs probably +ea+ by now- &Jm about to +ie mysel1
now 1rom hunger an+ eKhaustion-B
@.hat was my mother +oing on the top o1 the house to
ma6e her 1all_B
@& +onJt really 6now what cause+ her to 1all- Seeing her lying
there on the groun+? & rushe+ to help- But she sent me right o11
to loo6 1or you? so & came straight away- & +i+nJt haAe a chance to
get the 1ull story-B
@As 1ar as you coul+ tell? was my mother going to +ie_B
@.eJre on our way now to 1in+ that out 1or ourselAes-B
.hen they ha+ wal6e+ su11iciently 1ar 1rom the Aillage that
Zan rec6one+ Mun woul+nJt +are go bac6 alone at such a late
hourEO his whole +emeanor abruptly change+ as he 1ran6ly tol+
Mun that nothing ha+ happene+ to his mother-
@& put on that act because & coul+nJt bear to see your ol+ la+y
mop the 1loor with you- & was a1rai+ sheJ+ s6in your hi+e an+ sell it
in the mar6et- !hat woul+ haAe been humiliating 1or me? an+ 1or
our whole Aillage- She was about to emasculate you there Xust 1or
the 1un o1 it- So & tric6e+ you both into belieAing this story? at the
same time conAincing the crow+ that you ha+ to 1lee the scene
because o1 a real emergency R not because youJ+ lost the will to
1ight- & rushe+ you away be1ore anyone ha+ a chance to catch on
to my ruse- Aen that 1eisty ol+ la+y o1 yours coul+nJt help being
oAerwhelme+ by my ingenious scheme- Di+ you see how ta6en in
she was_ Alarme+ by what & sai+? she watche+ us leaAe with heart1elt
sympathy 1or you an+ your mother- & saAe+ you 1rom the hell
she ha+ in store 1or you- Now what +o you thin6? wasnJt that an
ingenious scheme_B
@#h no2 .hat a shame2 Damn you Zan? loo6 what youJAe
+one to me2 & was haAing a great time chopping her to pieces2 By
+ragging me away? you spoile+ my 1un- & neAer imagine+ youJ+ +o
this to me- &J+ li6e to haAe another go at her right now- &J+ be the
one sen+ing her hi+e to the mar6et2B
@Ha2 (ou were being slaughtere+? an+ & saAe+ your li1e2 An+
now youJre bragging about how goo+ you were- Maybe & shoul+
ta6e you bac6 right now so your ol+ la+y can put you on the chopping
bloc6 again-B
@%oo6? seeing she was a woman? & 1igure+ &J+ go easy on her
at 1irst? hoping sheJ+ get oAercon1i+ent- .hen & ha+ her where &
wante+ her? & planne+ to tie her up? throw her in a sac6? an+ sell
her to the highest bi++er- (ou 1aile+ to un+erstan+ my strategy R
& was baiting her? li6e a tiger luring a mon6ey-B
@&1 youJre so smart then how come you 1ell 1or my little sham
to pull you away 1rom her +eAilish clutches- (ou were so shoc6e+
you almost starte+ crying shamelessly right in 1ront o1 your la+y
1rien+- .hoJ+ haAe eAer consi+ere+ you capable o1 bagging the
ol+ girl_ &t was obAious R she was about to tie you up an+ throw
you o11 the stage in 1ull Aiew o1 thousan+s o1 people- Stop bragging
so much Mun2 (ou shoul+ appreciate my brotherly e11orts to
saAe you 1rom +e1eat at the han+s o1 that woman-B
!hat night Mun an+ Zan both en+e+ up missing the 1air
they ha+ so loo6e+ 1orwar+ to atten+ing-
!hat night Mun an+ Zan both en+e+ up missing the 1air
they ha+ so loo6e+ 1orwar+ to atten+ing-
.hen Scariya Mun relate+ stories about the two o1 them?
we became so absorbe+ listening that we coul+ almost AisualiUe
them as they spo6e- !here are lots o1 stories about these two
men matching wits? but a 1ew eKamples shoul+ be enough to giAe
the rea+er an i+ea o1 what & mean- !he cleAer ploys they use+ as
young men gaAe an early in+ication o1 their intelligence- Aentually
entering the mon6hoo+? both became great sages- :hao $hun
Up7li 9u5Tpam7cariya an+ Scariya Mun BhTri+atta !hera are
renowne+ throughout !hailan+ as present +ay sages o1 the highest
& haAe use+ the +iminutiAes Zan an+ Mun because thatJs how
Scariya Mun himsel1 tol+ the story to his stu+ents +uring relaKe+
moments when there was a brea6 in the usual tense? guar+e+
atmosphere the mon6s 1elt when they were aroun+ him- & sincerely
apologiUe to both o1 these esteeme+ Aenerables? an+ to the
rea+ers as well? i1 anything &JAe written is +eeme+ inappropriate-
Ha+ & written the story in a more 1ormal style? the meaning woul+
not haAe come across so e11ectiAely- Such 1amiliarity implies a
mutual respect among peers an+ is commonly use+ between close
1rien+s o1 all ages- MoreoAer? & 1in+ it conAenient to write the
story the way & originally hear+ it- &t allows us a glimpse o1 these
two renowne+ el+ers as high)spirite+ youths haAing a goo+ time?
which we can then compare with our usual image o1 them as
absolutely amaUing mon6s who completely renounce+ the worl+-
Although Scariya Mun pre1erre+ to 6eep to the present?
rarely spea6ing about the past? he li6e+ to sing the praises o1
:hao $hun Up7liJs cleAerness 1rom time to time- #n one occasion?
when they were +iscussing the story o1 %or+ Vessantara?EL
he as6e+ :hao $hun Up7li about the mother o1 %a+y Ma+r`? a
character in the story- He ha+nJt seen her name mentione+ in
the scriptures? an+ thought perhaps he ha+ misse+ it- :hao $hun
Up7liJs response was imme+iate*
@.hat? youJAe neAer seen or hear+ o1 Ma+r`Js mother_
Aeryone in town 6nows about her- .hereJAe you been loo6ing
that you haAenJt come across her yet_B
A+mitting that he ha+nJt come across her name in the
scriptures? Scariya Mun won+ere+ where it was mentione+-
@Scriptures_ .hat scriptures_ .hat about that lou+mouth
Mrs- #p who liAes in the big house at the crossroa+s on the way
to the monastery_B
Scariya Mun was puUUle+- He coul+nJt recall any mention
o1 a monastery in the story- .hich crossroa+s an+ what monastery
was he re1erring to-
@(ou 6now? Ma+r`Js mother whose house is right neKt to
yours- How coul+ you not 6now Ma+r` an+ her mother_ How piti1ul
R Ma+r` an+ her mother liAe in your own home Aillage an+
you +onJt eAen recogniUe them- &nstea+? you go searching in the
scriptures- & 1eel embarrasse+ 1or you-B
!he moment :hao $hun Up7li sai+ that Ma+r` an+ her
mother liAe+ in his home Aillage? Scariya Mun caught on an+ was
able to recollect them- Prior to that he was puUUle+? 1or he 6ept
thin6ing o1 the Vessantara Z7ta6a story- He sai+ that :hao $hun
Up7li was Aery cleAer at s6ill1ully matching wits? using wor+play
an+ riposte in uneKpecte+ ways to 6eep his listeners o11 balance?
thus ma6ing them use their intelligence- Scariya Mun use+ to
laugh when he tol+ us about 1alling Aictim to :hao $hun Up7liJs
little arti1ice-
able to recollect them- Prior to that he was puUUle+? 1or he 6ept
thin6ing o1 the Vessantara Z7ta6a story- He sai+ that :hao $hun
Up7li was Aery cleAer at s6ill1ully matching wits? using wor+play
an+ riposte in uneKpecte+ ways to 6eep his listeners o11 balance?
thus ma6ing them use their intelligence- Scariya Mun use+ to
laugh when he tol+ us about 1alling Aictim to :hao $hun Up7liJs
little arti1ice-
with him- Aen in the +ry season? when he went o11 into the
mountains alone an+ staye+ in Do6 $ham :aAe? Sa66a brought
his 1ollowers to Aisit him there- Usually numbering well oAer one
hun+re+ thousan+ on those occasions? they came more o1ten an+
in larger numbers than other groups o1 +eAas- &1 some in his ret
inue ha+ neAer come be1ore? Sa66a 1irst eKplaine+ to them the
proper way to listen to Dhamma- Scariya Mun usually too6 mett7
appama\\7 brahmaAih7raEN as the theme o1 his +iscourse because
these +eAas were especially 1on+ o1 that subXect-
Being Aery isolate+? tranCuil places? Ban Nam Mao an+
Do6 $han :aAe brought more groups o1 +eAas 1rom many +i11erent
realms to Aisit Scariya Mun than +i+ any o1 his other locations-
!hese beings showe+ great respect 1or Scariya Mun? an+
1or the place where he liAe+- Upon entering the area? they were
always care1ul to bypass his wal6ing me+itation path which the
Aillagers ha+ smoothe+ out with san+* it was sacrosanct- N7gas?
too? aAoi+e+ passage across the path when arriAing 1or a Aisit- #n
occasions when their lea+er ha+ to pass through that area? he
always circle+ aroun+ the hea+ o1 the me+itation path- Sometimes
the n7gas
sent a messenger to inAite Scariya Mun to atten+
a 1unction? much as humans +o when they inAite mon6s to local
1unctions- !he messengers always aAoi+e+ crossing his me+itation
path- #ccasionally? when they were unable to aAoi+ crossing oAer
some o1 the san+ that the Aillagers ha+ scattere+ aroun+ that area?
they woul+ 1irst sweep the san+ away with their han+s? an+ then
crawl across- Stan+ing up again? they wal6e+ to Scariya MunJs
resi+ence- !heir behaAior was always won+er1ully compose+-
Scariya Mun belieAe+ that i1 human beings? the custo+ians
o1 the s7sana? haAe a true interest in Dhamma an+ a +eeply)
roote+ 1eeling o1 genuine sel1)respect? they shoul+ eKhibit the
same reAerential behaAior towar+ the s7sana
as +eAas
an+ n7gas
+o- Although weJre unable to see 1or ourselAes how those beings
show their respect? the teachings o1 Bu++hism a++ress all such
matters in 1ull- Un1ortunately? we humans are not as intereste+ in
them as we shoul+ be- .e seem more intent on creating a sti1ling?
negligent attitu+e within ourselAes? thus 1ailing to eKperience the
6in+ o1 happiness we coul+ otherwise eKpect- &n truth? the s7sana
is the wellspring o1 all Airtuous con+uct? which assures happiness
to those a+hering to the Aenerable principles o1 Bu++hism-
Scariya Mun continually emphasiUe+ that the heart is the
most important thing in the worl+- A heart that is Aulgar en+s up
AulgariUing eAerything with which it comes into contact- Much
li6e a 1ilthy bo+y? it soils whateAer it touches R no matter how nice
an+ clean it may initially be R ma6ing it 1ilthy too in the en+- So
Dhamma cannot escape being tainte+ by a Aulgar heart- Aen
though Dhamma itsel1 is per1ectly pure? it becomes tarnishe+ as
soon as itJs embrace+ by someone with a corrupt heart R li6e a
clean cloth being rubbe+ in the +irt- 8or eKample? when a wic6e+
person tries to impress others with his 6nowle+ge o1 the Bu++hist
scriptures R nothing goo+ eAer comes o1 it- Vulgar people who are
stubborn an+ unyiel+ing about religious matters are Xust the sameV
an+ no matter how eKtraor+inary Bu++hism is? they are unable
to +eriAe any o1 its bene1its- !hey merely proclaim themselAes to
be Bu++hists but they neAer un+erstan+ the real signi1icance o1
Bu++hism an+ how it applies to them personally-
soon as itJs embrace+ by someone with a corrupt heart R li6e a
clean cloth being rubbe+ in the +irt- 8or eKample? when a wic6e+
person tries to impress others with his 6nowle+ge o1 the Bu++hist
scriptures R nothing goo+ eAer comes o1 it- Vulgar people who are
stubborn an+ unyiel+ing about religious matters are Xust the sameV
an+ no matter how eKtraor+inary Bu++hism is? they are unable
to +eriAe any o1 its bene1its- !hey merely proclaim themselAes to
be Bu++hists but they neAer un+erstan+ the real signi1icance o1
Bu++hism an+ how it applies to them personally-
is this* we ourselAes are
the s7sana- No matter how goo+ or ba+ our actions are? whateAer
subseCuent +egree o1 happiness or su11ering we eKperience R all
+irectly a11ect the s7sana- !he wor+ @s7sanaB
means the correct
way o1 liAing as practice+ by each in+iAi+ual- &1 we thin6 the s7sana
eKists outsi+e o1 ourselAes? then our un+erstan+ing is wrong? an+
so our practice too is boun+ to be wrong- Anything which is wrong
is more or less useless- &t can be ma+e use1ul only at the eKpense
o1 the righteousness? +ignity? an+ integrity o1 each in+iAi+ual- Put
simply an+ clearly* i1 we are wrong in our hearts? then whateAer
we +o turns out wrong- 8or instance? calculations +onJt a++ upV
clothes +onJt 1it properlyV tra11ic regulations are ignore+V marrie+
couples +eAiate 1rom accepte+ norms? 1ailing to honor their AowsV
parents an+ chil+ren are at logger)hea+sV wealth is ill)gotten? its
+istribution ineCuitableV the authorities 1lout the laws o1 the lan+
which are +esigne+ to 6eep peaceV rulers an+ their constituents
cannot seem to wor6 together 1or the common goo+ accor+ing to
the law? an+ so become +istrust1ul? behaAing li6e enemies-
'egar+less o1 how we eKperience the harm1ul conseCuences?
the +isappointment an+ mis1ortune that result 1rom wrong actions
will ineAitably arise right where they are committe+ R in the
heart- !he cause being wrong? the e11ect is boun+ to be harm1ul-
.hen we wrong someone? the harm1ul conseCuences 1rom
that action are unaAoi+able? eAen in cases where we are unaware
o1 haAing wronge+ that person- !he wrong+oer must necessarily
receiAe the 1ull results o1 his actions- &tJs no use thin6ing that
we can somehow aAoi+ the unpleasant conseCuences R whateAer
they are? they will +e1initely mani1est themselAes some+ay- By
remaining in+i11erent or negligent about wrong+oing? we 1ace the
clear prospect o1 personal mis1ortune here an+ now in this li1etime-
%oo6ing any 1urther ahea+ than this woul+ merely amount
to grasping at sha+ows an+ missing the real issue- !he s7sana
not a sha+owy specter? +elu+ing people into ignorance- &tJs a path
that unerringly reAeals the !ruth in all its many aspects- 8ollowers
o1 the s7sana?
who +eAiate 1rom the path an+ then un1airly
accuse it o1 haAing 1aile+ them? are ineKtricably compoun+ing
their own miserable pre+icament- !he s7sana? as always? remains
pure an+ unperturbe+-
Scariya Mun always stresse+ that people who accept the
!ruth? embo+ie+ in Bu++hist principles? receiAe the blessings o1
Dhamma- Being cool an+ calm themselAes? all their relationships
ten+ to be the same as well- !he worl+ they liAe in is a peace1ul
place where they are unli6ely to su11er the 6in+ o1 contentious
bic6ering that causes acrimony an+ engul1s both parties in heate+
recriminations- !he reason people neAer eKperience the happiness
they long 1or is that they allow a 1iery? in1lame+ mentality
to +ictate their attitu+e in eAerything 1rom business +ealings to
wor6place? 1rom legal procee+ings to mar6etplace- .hereAer they
go? whateAer they +o R they are as hot as 1ire? so they 1in+ it har+
to maintain a balance in their liAes- Such people neAer seem to
consi+er +ousing the bon1ire they constantly carry in their hearts
so as to gain enough breathing room to relaK? balance themselAes?
an+ 1in+ some measure o1 happiness-
to maintain a balance in their liAes- Such people neAer seem to
consi+er +ousing the bon1ire they constantly carry in their hearts
so as to gain enough breathing room to relaK? balance themselAes?
an+ 1in+ some measure o1 happiness-
so inconceiAably pro1oun+ an+ subtle that itJs Airtually impossible
to inAestigate eAery aspect o1 itV an+ the results attaine+ 1rom
each successiAe stage o1 the practice are so amaUing that they
+e1y +escription- He insiste+ that only his concern that others
woul+ thin6 him craUy 6ept him 1rom continuously prostrating
himsel1 to the Bu++ha? Dhamma? an+ Sangha- He woul+ consi+er
it his occupation otherwise? per1orming it easily an+ Xoy1ully
without eAer eKperiencing 1atigue or bore+om- He was absolutely
certain that? whateAer happene+? he woul+ always be inseparable
1rom the Bu++ha? Dhamma? an+ Sangha R a67li6o- &n star6 contrast?
the worl+ o1 anicca? +u66ha? an+ anatt7
constantly smothers
the hearts o1 liAing beings? leaAing them 1oreAer +istresse+
an+ resent1ul-
!he Mysterious 11ects o1 $amma
#nce while he was me+itating? +eep in the :hiang Mai mountains?
Scariya Mun saw a Aision o1 a woman an+ a small noAice
wal6ing bac6 an+ 1orth through the area? nearly eAery night in the
late hours- Becoming suspicious a1ter a while? he as6e+ why they
were there- !hey tol+ him that they were worrie+ about the 1ate o1
an un1inishe+ stupawere there- !hey tol+ him that they were worrie+ about the 1ate o1
an un1inishe+ stupawhich they were buil+ing together when they
+ie+- !he small noAice was the womanJs younger brother? an+
they ha+ wor6e+ together to construct the stupa- !heir concern
about the stupa
an+ their regrets at haAing +ie+ be1ore its completion
ma+e them 1eel a strong? persistent obligation to it- Although
reborn into a state o1 anKiety? they were not as tormente+ by it as
might be eKpecte+- Still? they coul+ not 1eel +ecisiAe about being
reborn into another realm o1 eKistence-
So Scariya Mun a+Aise+ them* @(ou shoul+ not be concerne+
about things that haAe alrea+y come an+ gone? 1or they
are truly irre+eemable- No matter how conAince+ you may be
that you can turn bac6 the cloc6 R itJs Xust not possible- Anyone
supposing they can will eKperience nothing but 1rustration when
their hopes 1ail to materialiUe- !he 1uture? haAing yet to come?
shoul+nJt be clung to either- .hat has alrea+y happene+ shoul+
be let go o1 as being past- .hat has yet to arriAe shoul+ be let go
o1 as its time is not yet ripe- #nly in the present is it possible to
accomplish something meaning1ul-
@&1 your +ream o1 buil+ing that stupa
were meant to come
true? then you woul+ haAe ha+ a chance to 1inish it 1irst instea+ o1
+ying uneKpecte+ly- Now you are trying to +eny +eath- Not only
that? you still long to complete the stupa
eAen though it is now
wholly impossible- So? now you haAe erre+ twice in your thin6ing-
&1 you continue on hoping to 1ul1ill this wish? you will compoun+
your mista6e yet a thir+ time- Not only is your thin6ing a11ecte+
by this? but your 1uture state o1 birth an+ your well)being in that
state will also be a+Aersely a11ecte+- Such an unreasonable aspiration
shoul+ not be allowe+ to continue-
@&n buil+ing a stupa? we hope to acCuire merit an+ goo+ness
R not bric6s an+ mortar- !he Aalue you obtain 1rom buil+ing
a stupa is the merit that you gain 1rom this action R merit
which results 1rom your e11orts an+ which rightly belongs to you-
(ou shoul+nJt worry about gross material things li6e bric6s an+
mortar that can neAer 1ul1ill your +esires anyway- People eAerywhere
who gain merit by +oing goo+ +ee+s ta6e with them only
the merit theyJAe thus acCuire+? not the material things they gaAe
away as +onations- 8or eKample? contributing to the construction
o1 a monastery? a mon6Js resi+ence? an assembly hall? a roa+?
a water tan6? a public buil+ing? or any other o11ering o1 material
goo+s? are simply the outwar+ mani1estations o1 the goo+ intentions
o1 those wishing to be generous- !hey are not the actual
rewar+s o1 generosity? meaning that material o11erings themselAes
are not merit or goo+ness or heaAen or Nibb7na? nor are they the
recipient o1 such rewar+s- 8or? oAer time? all material things +isintegrate
an+ 1all apart-
@!he spiritual Cualities that are gaine+ 1rom the e11ort an+
the generosity reCuire+ to +o charitable wor6s are eKperience+
internally as merit an+ goo+ness- !he inspiration behin+ the goo+
intentions to ma6e such +onations is the heart o1 each in+iAi+ual
+onor- !he heart itsel1 is Airtuous- !he heart itsel1 is meritorious- &t
is the heart that eKists as heaAen or magga? phala an+ Nibb7na? an+
the heart that achieAes these attainments- Nothing else coul+ possibly
achieAe them-
@!he un1inishe+ stupa that you two were buil+ing lac6e+ the
conscious capacity to haAe goo+ intentions 1or its own spiritual
improAement- (our concern 1or it stems 1rom a coAetous mentality
that is a hin+rance to you eAen though it is +irecte+ at hol+ing
on to something goo+- :linging to it is not in your best interest-
(our procrastination here is retar+ing your progress to a 1aAorable
rebirth- &nstea+ o1 trying to ta6e the whole thing with you? ha+
you two been satis1ie+ with the merit you ma+e 1rom wor6ing on
that stupa? you woul+ both haAe com1ortably gone on to a 1aAora
ble eKistence long ago R 1or merit is the mainstay o1 a goo+ rebirth-
An+ merit is neAer trans1orme+ into something ba+- &t remains
Airtuous 1oreAer R a67li6o-
@&tJs a mista6e to be un+uly concerne+ 1or things past- !here
is no way you can possibly 1inish that stupa
now? so you shoul+nJt
set your hearts on such a hopeless en+eaAor- !he power o1 the
merit you haAe ma+e impacts you here in the present- So? +onJt
waste your time thin6ing about the past or the 1uture when now
you shoul+ be reaping the goo+ results o1 what youJAe alrea+y
+one- :orrect your thin6ing an+ soon you will be able to pass on?
1ree o1 anKiety- !urn your attention to the present- &t contains all
the Airtues necessary 1or magga? phala? an+ Nibb7na- !he past an+
the 1uture are impe+iments you must oAercome without wasting
any more time-
@& 1eel really sorry 1or you two- (ouJAe +one some Aery meritorious
wor6 1or the sa6e o1 a happy 1uture? only to get so bogge+
+own in your attachment to mere bric6s an+ mortar that you canJt
1reely moAe on- &1 you both ma6e the e11ort to cut these attachments
1rom your hearts? be1ore long you will be 1ree o1 all bin+ing
ties- !he strength o1 your accumulate+ merit is rea+y an+ waiting
to ta6e you to the rebirth o1 your choice-B
Scariya Mun then eKplaine+ to them the essential meaning
o1 the 1iAe moral precepts? a co+e o1 con+uct applying eCually
to all liAing beings-
c Secon+* All beings cherish their own possessions- Aen i1
they +onJt appear to haAe much Aalue? the owner Aalues them
nonetheless- 'egar+less o1 its worth? nothing belonging to
another person shoul+ be +ebase+ by the1t or robbery- 8or
such actions +ebase not only their possessions? but their hearts
as well- Stealing is a terrible act R so neAer steal-
!hir+* Husban+s an+ wiAes? chil+ren an+ gran+chil+ren? all
loAe each other +early- !hey +o not want to see anyone ta6ing
liberties with their loAe+ ones- !heir personal rights shoul+ be
respecte+ an+ their priAate space shoul+ be o11 limits to others-
Spousal in1ringement is eKtremely +amaging to peopleJs hearts?
an+ as such is an act o1 incalculable eAil-
8ourth* %ies an+ preAarication +estroy other peopleJs trust? causing
them to lose all respect- Aen animals abhor +eceit? so one
shoul+ neAer hurt others by using 1alse? +eceit1ul language-
8i1th* Alcohol is by its Aery nature intoKicating an+ immensely
harm1ul- Drin6ing it can cause a per1ectly normal person to
go craUy an+ stea+ily waste away- Anyone wishing to remain
a normal? sane human being shoul+ re1rain 1rom +rin6ing
any 1orm o1 liCuor because it +amages physical an+ mental
health? eAentually +estroying people an+ eAeryone else aroun+
ach o1 these 1iAe moral precepts has its own special bene1its- By
maintaining the 1irst one? we can eKpect to enXoy goo+ health an+
longeAity- By the secon+? our wealth an+ property will be sa1e 1rom
criminal attac6 or other mis1ortune- By the thir+? 1amily members
will 6eep 1aith with each other? an+ liAe contente+ly without
unwante+ inter1erence- .ith the 1ourth? we will be truste+
because o1 our integrity- .hen our speech is charming an+ pleasant?
humans an+ +eAas
ali6e will respect an+ cherish us- Honest
people pose no threat to themselAes or anyone else- An+ by maintaining
the 1i1th precept? we will be cleAer? intelligent people who
are not easily misgui+e+ nor rea+ily thrown into con1usion-
People who maintain moral Airtue ten+ to reassure liAing
beings eAerywhere by promoting a sense o1 satis1action an+ mutual
trust- &mmoral people? on the other han+? cause untol+ su11ering
by harming people an+ animals all oAer the worl+- !hose
who Aalue their own eKistence shoul+ un+erstan+ that all people
Aalue themselAes similarly? an+ shoul+? there1ore? re1rain 1rom
harming others in any manner- Due to the supportiAe? protectiAe
power o1 moral Airtue? honest? Airtuous people can eKpect to be
reborn into an eleAate+? heaAenly eKistence- !hus it is Aital to
maintain high moral stan+ar+s R the result will surely be a heaAenly
+estination in the neKt li1e- 'emember this Dhamma teaching?
practice it +iligently? an+ your 1uture prosperity is assure+-
By the time Scariya Mun 1inishe+ a+Aising the small noAice
an+ his sister? both were +elighte+ by his teaching an+ reCueste+
the 1iAe moral precepts 1rom him? which he gaAe them- HaAing
receiAe+ the moral precepts? they respect1ully too6 leaAe o1 Scariya
Mun? an+ imme+iately Aanishe+- !he power o1 their accumulate+
merit an+ the goo+ness they cultiAate+ 1rom atten+ing to his +is
course an+ ta6ing the 1iAe precepts? le+ the two to be Cuic6ly
reborn in the !7Aati[sa heaAenly realm-
course an+ ta6ing the 1iAe precepts? le+ the two to be Cuic6ly
reborn in the !7Aati[sa heaAenly realm-
#n their 1irst Aisit they than6e+ him 1or his 6in+ assistance in
illuminating the way out o1 the Aicious cycle they were in? allowing
them to 1inally enXoy the pleasure o1 the heaAenly eKistence
they ha+ anticipate+ 1or so long- !hey tol+ him that they now realiUe+
the great +anger that attachments pose to the heart? an+ the
+elay they can cause in moAing on to a 1aAorable birth- HaAing
receiAe+ his compassionate a+Aice? they were able to transcen+ all
their concerns an+ be reborn in a heaAenly realm-
Scariya Mun eKplaine+ the nature o1 emotional attachments
to them? pointing out that they are a hin+rance in many
+i11erent ways- !he wise always teach us that at the moment o1
+eath we shoul+ be care1ul not to haAe emotional attachments
to anything whatsoeAer- !he +anger is that we may recall? then?
an in1atuation o1 some 6in+? or eAen worse? angry? reAenge1ul
thoughts about a particular person- !he moment when the citta is
about to leaAe the physical bo+y is crucial- &1 at that moment the
citta latches on to a pernicious thought? it may get burne+ an+ en+
up being reborn into a realm o1 misery? such as one o1 the hells?
or a worl+ o1 +emons? ghosts? or animals R all miserable? un1aAorable
So when weJre in a goo+ position to train the citta R when
we are in human birth an+ 1ully cogniUant o1 ourselAes R we must
ta6e +ecisiAe a+Aantage o1 it- As human beings? we can realiUe
our shortcomings an+ Cuic6ly act to correct them? so that? later?
when our bac6s are against the wall R at the time o1 +eath R we
will be 1ully prepare+ to 1en+ 1or ourselAes- .e nee+ not be wor
rie+ about 1alling prey to the +estructiAe 1orces o1 eAil- !he more
we train ourselAes to seAer all emotional attachments? both goo+
an+ ba+? the better our position will be-
rie+ about 1alling prey to the +estructiAe 1orces o1 eAil- !he more
we train ourselAes to seAer all emotional attachments? both goo+
an+ ba+? the better our position will be-
an+ +issatis1action by means o1 the heart- .hen we +ie? we
+epart by means o1 the heart- .e are then born again accor+ing
to our 6amma
R with the heart as the sole cause- As it is the sole
source o1 eAerything that be1alls us? we shoul+ train our hearts
in the right way so that we can con+uct ourselAes properly now
an+ in the 1uture-
.hen Scariya Mun 1inishe+ spea6ing the newly reborn
were oAerXoye+ by his teaching- Praising it highly? they sai+
they ha+ neAer hear+ anything Cuite li6e it be1ore- Upon their
+eparture? they circumambulate+ him three times? then with+rew
to the e+ge o1 his liAing area be1ore 1loating up into the air li6e
wisps o1 cotton borne by the win+-
#N:? .H&% %&V&N9 in a +eep mountainous region o1 :hiang Mai?
1ar 1rom the nearest Aillage? Scariya Mun saw an eKtraor+inary
arise in his me+itation- !he hour was three A-M-? a time
when the bo+y elements are especially subtle- He ha+ Xust awo6en
1rom sleep an+ was sitting in me+itation when he notice+ that his
wante+ to rest in complete tranCuility- So? he entere+ into
a +eep state o1 sam7+hi where he remaine+ 1or about two hours-
!hen? his citta began with+rawing gra+ually 1rom that state an+
pause+ at the leAel o1 upac7ra sam7+hi instea+ o1 returning to
normal? wa6ing consciousness- &mme+iately? he became aware o1
certain eAents-
a +eep state o1 sam7+hi where he remaine+ 1or about two hours-
!hen? his citta began with+rawing gra+ually 1rom that state an+
pause+ at the leAel o1 upac7ra sam7+hi instea+ o1 returning to
normal? wa6ing consciousness- &mme+iately? he became aware o1
certain eAents-
were also Aery large? though slightly smaller than the one
he was ri+ing- !he three elephants appeare+ Aery han+some an+
maXestic? li6e royal elephants that possess human)li6e intelligence
an+ 6now their masterJs wishes- .hen the two elephants
reache+ him? he le+ them towar+ a mountain range that was Aisible
+irectly ahea+? about hal1 a mile away-
Scariya Mun 1elt the whole scene to be eKceptionally maXestic?
as though he were escorting the two young mon6s away 1rom
the worl+ o1 conAentional reality 1oreAer- Upon reaching the
mountain range? his elephant le+ them all to the entrance o1 a
caAe that was situate+ on a hill a short +istance up the mountainsi+e-
As soon as they arriAe+? it turne+ aroun+? placing its rear to
the entrance- .ith Scariya Mun still stra++ling its nec6? it bac6e+
into the caAe until its rear was touching the bac6 wall- !he other
two elephants with the two young mon6s astri+e wal6e+ 1orwar+
into the caAe an+ each too6 a place on either si+e o1 Scariya
MunJs elephant? 1acing inwar+ as he 1ace+ outwar+- Scariya Mun
then spo6e to the two mon6s as i1 he were giAing them his 1inal?
parting instructions-
@& haAe reache+ my 1inal hour o1 birth in a human bo+y-
HaAing been completely cut o11? perpetual eKistence in the
conAentional worl+ will soon cease altogether 1or me- NeAer
again shall & return to the worl+ o1 birth an+ +eath- & want
you both to return an+ 1ully +eAelop yourselAes 1irstV then?
be1ore long? you will 1ollow in my 1ootsteps? +eparting this
worl+ in the same manner as & am preparing to +o now-
scaping 1rom the worl+? with its multitu+e o1 lingering
attachments an+ all o1 its +ebilitating pain an+ su11ering? is
an eKtremely +i11icult tas6 that +eman+s unwaAering commitment-
(ou must eKert yourselAes an+ pour eAery ounce
o1 energy into the struggle 1or this righteous cause R inclu+ing
crossing the Aery threshol+ o1 +eath R be1ore you can
eKpect to attain 1ree+om 1rom +anger an+ anKiety- #nce
1ree+? you will neAer again haAe to +eplore +eath an+ grasp
at birth in the 1uture-
@HaAing completely transcen+e+ eAery resi+ual attachment?
& shall +epart this worl+ unperturbe+? much li6e a prisoner
release+ 1rom prison- & haAe absolutely no lingering regrets
about losing this physical bo+y R unli6e most people whose
+esperate clinging causes them immense su11ering at the
time o1 +eath- So you shoul+ not mourn my passing in any
way? 1or nothing goo+ will come o1 it- Such grie1 merely promotes
the 6ilesas? so the wise haAe neAer encourage+ it-B
.hen he 1inishe+ spea6ing? Scariya Mun tol+ the two young
mon6s to bac6 their elephants out o1 the caAe- Both elephants ha+
been stan+ing per1ectly still? one on either si+e? as though they too
were listening to Scariya MunJs parting wor+s an+ mourning his
imminent +eparture- At that moment? all three elephants resemble+
real? liAing animals? rather than mere psychic images- At his
comman+? the two elephants? carrying the young mon6s? slowly
bac6e+ out o1 the caAe? 1acing Scariya Mun with an imperiously
calm +emeanor all the while- !hen? as Scariya Mun sat astri+e
its nec6? the hin+Cuarters o1 Scariya MunJs elephant began to
bore its way into the caAe wall- .hen hal1 o1 the elephantJs bo+y
ha+ penetrate+ the wall o1 the caAe? Scariya MunJs citta began to
with+raw 1rom sam7+hi- !he nimitta en+e+ at that point-
HaAing neAer eKperience+ such an unusual nimitta be1ore?
Scariya Mun analyUe+ it an+ un+erstoo+ its meaning as being
two1ol+- 8irstly? when he +ie+? two young mon6s woul+ attain
Dhamma a1ter him? though he +i+nJt speci1y who they were-
Secon+ly? samatha an+ Aipassan7 are Aaluable assets 1or an Arahant
to haAe 1rom the time o1 his initial attainment until the time he
passes away- During this whole perio+? he must rely on samatha
an+ Aipassan7 to be his ]Dhamma abo+esJ?;E easing the +iscom1ort
that is eKperience+ between the citta an+ the 1iAe 6han+has? which
remain inter+epen+ent until that moment R popularly 6nown as
]+eathJ R when the mun+ane 6han+has an+ the transcen+ent citta;;
go their separate ways- At +eath? samatha an+ Aipassan7 cease to
1unction? +isappearing li6e all other mun+ane phenomena- 8ollowing
that? nothing 1urther can be sai+-
Most people woul+ haAe been terri1ie+ to see the elephant
they were ri+ing bore its rear en+ into the wall o1 a caAe- But in
the eAent? Scariya Mun 1elt unperturbe+ R he simply allowe+ the
elephant to complete its appointe+ tas6- At the same time? it was
heartening 1or him to 6now that two young mon6s woul+ realiUe
Dhamma aroun+ the time o1 his +eath? either Xust be1ore or soon
a1ter- He sai+ it was Aery strange that? in his parting instructions
to them? he spo6e about his own impen+ing +eath as though his
time ha+ alrea+y come-
Dhamma aroun+ the time o1 his +eath? either Xust be1ore or soon
a1ter- He sai+ it was Aery strange that? in his parting instructions
to them? he spo6e about his own impen+ing +eath as though his
time ha+ alrea+y come-
No one has a+mitte+ to being one o1 those mon6s R which
is un+erstan+able- .ho woul+ publiciUe their attainments li6e
that_ Such achieAements are not rotten 1ish to be pe++le+ about
merely to attract a swarm o1 1lies- Anyone attaining that leAel o1
Dhamma must possess a Aery high +egree o1 intelligence an+ propriety-
.oul+ he then be so stupi+ as to broa+cast his achieAements
so that 1ools coul+ laugh at him while the wise +eplore it_
#nly the gullible woul+ get eKcite+ about such news R li6e those
in the story o1 the panic)stric6en rabbit who? hearing a lou+ thu+?
imagine+ the s6y was caAing in-;D
My own 1oolishness about this matter has eAentually subsi+e+?
so & haAe written it +own 1or your consi+eration- & +eserAe
blame 1or any impropriety here? 1or such stories are usually share+
only between a teacher an+ his inner circle o1 +isciples so that
no one is a+Aersely a11ecte+- & 6now & +eserAe the criticism? an+ &
hope? as always? that you will be 6in+ enough to 1orgiAe me-
Hungry 9hosts
9iAing help1ul a+Aice to nonphysical beings 1rom many +iAerse
realms o1 eKistence was a serious responsibility that Scariya Mun
continue+ to 1ul1ill right up to the time o1 his +eath- He was in
constant communication with such beings whereAer he liAe+? but
more so in the mountain regions- !here? in remote wil+erness
areas? 1ar 1rom human habitation? one group or another Aisite+
with him almost eAery night- Aen hungry ghosts? awaiting o11erings
o1 merit +e+icate+ to them by their liAing relatiAes? came to
see6 his assistance- &t was impossible to tell how long they ha+
been +ea+? what 1amily or nationality they ha+ once belonge+ to?
or eAen whether or not those ghosts ha+ any liAing relatiAes le1t
at all- &n contacting Scariya Mun they hope+ that? out o1 compassion?
he woul+ assist them by 1in+ing their liAing relatiAes an+
telling them to ma6e +onations? +e+icating a portion o1 the merit
to the +ea+ to help lessen their torment an+ su11ering an+ ma6e
their liAes more bearable- Many o1 them ha+ alrea+y su11ere+ unspea6able
miseries in hell 1or such a long time that it was impossible
to calculate the length o1 their stay in terms o1 human
eKistence- .hen they were 1inally able to rise clear o1 the hell
realms? they still coul+ not eAa+e such mis1ortune su11iciently
to eKperience some measure o1 com1ortV instea+? their su11ering
continue+ unabate+- 8or beings who are stuc6 with the conseCuences
o1 their eAil 6amma? it matters little which state o1 eKistence
they are born into? since Aery little changes to help alleAiate
their su11ering-
Hungry ghosts use+ to tell Scariya Mun they ha+ no i+ea
how long it woul+ ta6e them to wor6 their way through the con
seCuences o1 their eAil +ee+s- !hey clung to one +esperate hope*
i1 he coul+ 6in+ly in1orm liAing relatiAes o1 their plight? those relatiAes
might be willing to share the merit o1 their goo+ +ee+s with
them? allowing them to escape 1rom such unbearable torment-
.hen he Cuestione+ the hungry ghosts about their relatiAes? they
tal6e+ about another worl+ altogether? one that was incomprehensible
to him- HaAing +ie+ an+ been reborn in one o1 the realms o1
hell? some ha+ remaine+ there 1or tens or eAen hun+re+s o1 thousan+s
o1 years in nonphysical eKistence be1ore being release+ into
another lesser state where they ha+ to wor6 through the remain+er
o1 their eAil 6amma- !heir ghostli6e eKistence then laste+
another 1iAe hun+re+ to a thousan+ nonphysical years? so it was
Cuite impossible to trace their 1amily lineage- Such was the cruel
irony o1 their 6armic +ilemma* by the time that the most seAere
conseCuences o1 their 6amma
were eKhauste+ an+ only the lesser
aspects remaine+ R a state where they coul+ 1inally receiAe assistance
1rom their relatiAes R they ha+ lost all trac6 o1 their 1amilies-
So they ha+ no choice but to su11er that 6armic misery in+e1initely?
without any i+ea when it woul+ en+- Such ghosts resemble+
stray animals who haAe no owners to care 1or them-
#ther hungry ghosts coul+ be helpe+ somewhat? 1or they
+ie+ only recently an+ their 6amma
was not so seAere R meaning
that they were in a position to receiAe merit +e+icate+ to them by
their relatiAes- Since they ha+ liAing relatiAes whose names an+
a++resses they coul+ recall? Scariya Mun was able to giAe them
some assistance as long as their 1amilies liAe+ in the Aicinity where
he was resi+ing- #nce he 6new who they were? he loo6e+ 1or an
opportunity to spea6 with them- He a+Aise+ them to +e+icate
to their +ea+ relatiAes? who awaite+? the merit they ma+e by per
1orming special religious 1unctions R or more commonly? by +aily
o11erings o1 1oo+ to the mon6s- Some ghosts are able to receiAe a
portion o1 the merit ma+e by generous people eAerywhere eAen
though it is not speci1ically +e+icate+ to them- !here1ore? Scariya
Mun always ma+e such +e+ications while eKten+ing loAing 6in+ness
to all liAing beings- Accor+ing to the speci1ic nature o1 their
6amma? some ghosts can receiAe merit +e+icate+ by anyone? while
others can receiAe only the merit that is personally +e+icate+ to
them by their relatiAes-
Scariya Mun sai+ that ghosts liAe a Aery peculiar type o1
eKistence- 8rom his eKtensiAe eKperience with them? he always
1oun+ ghosts 1ar more bothersome than any other class o1 nonphysical
beings- HaAing no recourse to merit o1 their own? ghosts
+epen+ on an+ always 1eel in+ebte+ to others 1or their surAiAal-
Shoul+ these others 1ail them? the ghosts are le1t completely +estitute-
!heir +epen+ence on others puts them in the eKtremely +i11icult
position o1 neAer being able to stan+ on their own-
9enerosity an+ other 1orms o1 merit)ma6ing are Aitally important
as the 6ey elements 1or laying a 1oun+ation o1 in+iAi+ual
sel1)reliance in this an+ in all 1uture liAes- All liAing beings
are the pro+uct o1 their 6amma- !hey themselAes must ta6e 1ull
responsibility 1or the conseCuences they encounter- No one else
can accept that responsibility because no one can eKperience the
generate+ by another- Births? both goo+ an+ ba+? an+ the
relatiAe +egrees o1 com1ort an+ pain one eKperiences therein? are
the sole responsibility o1 the in+iAi+ual who create+ the circumstances
that pro+uce+ these outcomes- No being can substitute
1or another in this regar+- Aen those who eKpect no bene1it 1rom
their actions still receiAe the 6armic cre+it 1or them-
Scariya Mun was an eKpert in matters concerning ghosts?
+eAas? brahmas? ya66has? n7gas? an+ garubas- Although he +i+ not
always reAeal the eKtent o1 his 6nowle+ge? he ha+ the ability to
eKplore en+less Aarieties o1 phenomena within the many gross
an+ re1ine+ nonphysical states o1 eKistence that lie beyon+ the
range o1 human perception- His stories about ghosts were Cuite
hair)raising R eAen those without 1ear o1 ghosts coul+nJt help but
1eel trepi+ation about the mysterious powers o1 6amma- He sai+
that i1 only people coul+ see their own an+ other peopleJs goo+
an+ ba+ 6amma in the way they see substantiAe things? li6e water
an+ 1ire? no one woul+ +are +o eAil anymore than they woul+ +are
wal6 into a blaUing 1ire- &nstea+? they woul+ be eager to +o only
goo+ R which has the cool? re1reshing Cuality o1 water- !rouble
woul+ gra+ually +iminish in the worl+ as each person wor6e+ to
guar+ himsel1 against the +angers o1 eAil-
Scariya Mun was an eKpert in matters concerning ghosts?
+eAas? brahmas? ya66has? n7gas? an+ garubas- Although he +i+ not
always reAeal the eKtent o1 his 6nowle+ge? he ha+ the ability to
eKplore en+less Aarieties o1 phenomena within the many gross
an+ re1ine+ nonphysical states o1 eKistence that lie beyon+ the
range o1 human perception- His stories about ghosts were Cuite
hair)raising R eAen those without 1ear o1 ghosts coul+nJt help but
1eel trepi+ation about the mysterious powers o1 6amma- He sai+
that i1 only people coul+ see their own an+ other peopleJs goo+
an+ ba+ 6amma in the way they see substantiAe things? li6e water
an+ 1ire? no one woul+ +are +o eAil anymore than they woul+ +are
wal6 into a blaUing 1ire- &nstea+? they woul+ be eager to +o only
goo+ R which has the cool? re1reshing Cuality o1 water- !rouble
woul+ gra+ually +iminish in the worl+ as each person wor6e+ to
guar+ himsel1 against the +angers o1 eAil-
nonphysical beings li6e ghosts? +eAas? garubas? an+ n7gas? they
canJt 1ully un+erstan+ the ultimate conseCuences o1 their actions-
But you can see all those things? so woul+nJt it be a goo+ i+ea
1or you to eluci+ate them 1or the bene1it o1 people eAerywhere_
All are natural phenomena which were clearly un+erstoo+ by the
%or+ Bu++ha an+ his Arahant +isciples- No one has eAer 1aulte+
the Bu++ha an+ his +isciples 1or teaching people about them? so
& +onJt see why anyone shoul+ obXect to your +oing so- People are
li6ely to show the same appreciation 1or your amaUing talents as
we? your +isciples? +o-B
Scariya Mun was a+amant in his response*
@!he 6in+ o1 craUiness that you suggest will +estroy us both-
& haAe neAer consi+ere+ spea6ing out publicly about this matter-
Shoul+ & +o so? you an+ & an+ the rest o1 the mon6s sitting here
woul+ en+ up being a bunch o1 lunatics- An+ once the whole
monastery has gone ma+? what 6in+ o1 monastic asylum +o you
thin6 woul+ accept us all_ !he s7sana
was proclaime+ an+ taught
with +iscretion R to be practice+? un+erstoo+? an+ spo6en about
with +iscretion- !his nonsense you suggest R is it really a matter
o1 +iscretion? or is it something 1oolhar+y_ !hin6 about it- &n my
opinion? the Aery thought o1 it is craUy? let alone actually suggesting
it- Aen though people might surAiAe listening to us tal6 about
it? we ourselAes woul+ surely be +oome+- So why bring it up_
@&1 you consi+er the tangible? Aisible things all aroun+ us?
people eAerywhere are Cuite capable o1 +ealing with them in
an appropriate? reasonable manner- Although Dhamma is the
Supreme !ruth? it still counts on the inAolAement o1 people in the
worl+? so we shoul+ always wor6 to harmoniUe the proprieties o1
society with the !ruth o1 Dhamma- !he Bu++ha was the 1irst to
clearly 6now an+ un+erstan+ the true nature o1 all phenomena-
He spo6e about them with absolute assurance? but he was always
impeccably +iscreet in the way he han+le+ these issues- Spea6ing
publicly about any o1 them? he inAariably too6 the speci1ic circumstances
an+ the people he was a++ressing into consi+eration- He
spo6e then only with the utmost +iscernment an+ +iscretion-
@$nowle+ge an+ un+erstan+ing about the +iAerse nature
o1 nonphysical phenomena is a prerogatiAe o1 the one who has
attaine+ that 6in+ o1 perception- But tal6ing away in+iscriminately
about such 6nowle+ge is Cuite abnormal? so normal people
are reluctant to listen- !his is not inten+e+ to be a criticism o1
anyone- 'ather? whatJs important to 6eep in min+ here is that
those who +o possess such 6nowle+ge shoul+ act properly accor+ing
to the principles o1 Dhamma R 1or their own bene1it an+ 1or
the bene1it o1 eAeryone associating with them- Being conAince+
o1 the amaUing nature o1 what we haAe perceiAe+ is not su11icient
reason to spea6 out about things which may encourage others
to go ma+- !hose people? who are 6een on listening to such tal6
simply because their religious conAiction is +epen+ent on hearing
about amaUing phenomena? are alrea+y on the roa+ to ma+ness-
So & +onJt approAe o1 conAiction an+ amaUement o1 this 6in+- &J+
pre1er that the 6in+ o1 +iscernment the %or+ Bu++ha taught us be
use+ by people in their conAictions? an+ in their sense o1 amaUement-
Aen though we arenJt all eKceptionally wise? at least thereJs
hope that enough goo+ Xu+gment will be shown to maintain the
s7sana? preserAing it 1or the 1uture-
@%et me as6 you this* Suppose you ha+ a certain amount o1
money which coul+ be use1ul to you i1 you were cleAer? but harm1ul
to you i1 you werenJt- How woul+ you han+le it when going
into a crow+ o1 people to insure that both you an+ your money
were sa1e_B
!he senior +isciple replie+* @&J+ ta6e eAery reasonable precaution
to loo6 a1ter my money-B
@How eKactly woul+ you go about loo6ing a1ter it in a large
crow+ o1 people to aAoi+ any possible +anger_B
@&1 & 1elt it was appropriate to spen+ some o1 my money there?
&J+ ta6e care to count out an+ han+ oAer the necessary amount
without allowing anyone to see the larger amount that & still ha+
with me- !hat amount &J+ 6eep well hi++en 1rom Aiew to aAoi+
any possible +anger-B
without allowing anyone to see the larger amount that & still ha+
with me- !hat amount &J+ 6eep well hi++en 1rom Aiew to aAoi+
any possible +anger-B
which coul+ be harm1ul to both you an+ the s7sana_B
@&J+ haAe to use the same 6in+ o1 care in han+ling such
6nowle+ge that &J+ use in han+ling my money-B
@Zust a moment ago? you implie+ that & shoul+ broa+cast my
6nowle+ge about such phenomena to the general public without
eAer consi+ering the conseCuences- .hy was that_ & 1igure
that the aAerage +iscriminating person woul+ neAer suggest what
you Xust +i+? an+ yet you spo6e right up- &1 you +onJt eAen haAe
the common sense o1 the aAerage person? what will anyone 1in+
to a+mire in you_ & 1ail to see anything at all a+mirable in your
thin6ing- Shoul+ someone reproach you 1or lac6ing Xu+gment?
how woul+ you +e1en+ yoursel1 when con1ronte+ with the truth
o1 this accusation_ !hin6 about it* .hich are the greater in this
worl+? the wise or the 1oolish_ An+ how woul+ anyone be able to
reasonably maintain the s7sana
an+ preserAe its continue+ wel1are
by 1ollowing the suggestion you ma+e to me Xust now_B
His +isciple replie+* @!hin6ing about it now? & 1eel that what
& suggeste+ was totally wrong- & spo6e up because hearing about
such amaUing things has so inspire+ me that & wante+ to share
this 6nowle+ge with people eAerywhere- & assume+ they woul+
probably be inspire+ as well an+ so bene1it enormously 1rom it- But
& neAer consi+ere+ the obAious a+Aerse conseCuences that such a
+isclosure woul+ haAe 1or the whole s7sana- Please be 6in+ enough
to 1orgiAe me R & +onJt want to see this ten+ency to be in+iscreet
become ingraine+ in my character- & shall try to be more circumspect
in the 1uture so that it +oesnJt happen again-
@&1 someone reproaches me 1or lac6ing Xu+gment? & will gla+ly
a+mit my mista6e 1or & clearly +eserAe the criticism- Until you
as6e+ me Xust now? & ha+ neAer really consi+ere+ whether or not
the 1ools outnumber the wise- Now & realiUe that there must be
many more 1ools in this worl+? since in our Aillage communities
there are Aery 1ew wise people who care about moral issues- Mostly?
people +onJt seem to 6now what theyJre here 1or an+ where they
are going- !hey arenJt Aery intereste+ in thin6ing about why they
+o things an+ whether they +o right or wrong? goo+ or ba+- Being
satis1ie+ with whateAer is easy an+ conAenient at the moment?
they simply let 1ate +eci+e their 1uture- & un+erstan+ all this a lot
better now- !hose people who are capable o1 reasonably maintaining
the s7sana
an+ preserAing its continue+ wel1are must be wise
an+ +iscerning people who lea+ others in an eAen? harmonious
manner so that eAeryone can bene1it 1rom their eKample- A wise?
+iscerning teacher is the cornerstone o1 success in the same way
that a capable lea+er is essential to all a11airs in all wal6s o1 li1e-B
Scariya Mun too6 up the +iscussion at this point*
@Since youJre capable o1 un+erstan+ing that a wise person
is essential to the success o1 eAery en+eaAor? why +onJt you thin6
about whatJs important in your own en+eaAors as a practicing
mon6_ Spiritual en+eaAors? being Aery subtle? are +i11icult to 1ully
un+erstan+- 8or this reason? only cleAer? +iscerning people can
uphol+ the s7sana
to per1ection- Here &Jm not re1erring to the 6in+
o1 cleAerness that causes +estruction in the worl+ an+ +amage to
the s7sana? but cleAerness that +iscriminates wisely? ma6ing +ecisions
1aAorable to oneJs material an+ spiritual prosperity- &tJs this
type o1 cleAerness thatJs implicit in the 1irst two 1actors o1 the
Noble ight1ol+ Path* Samm7)+i00hi an+ Samm7)san6appo R 'ight
View an+ 'ight !hought- An+ these 1actors are personi1ie+ by
someone whose wor+s an+ actions always 1ollow the principles o1
@Aen 'ight Sam7+hi is +epen+ent on the analytical? probing
wis+om o1 'ight View to aAoi+ becoming ]comatose sam7+hiJ-
.hen the citta conAerges into a state o1 calm? wis+om shoul+
always be there? playing a supportiAe role- #therwise? how coul+
those +e+icate+ to un+erstan+ing the true nature o1 all phenomena
+eal correctly with the 6nowle+ge arising within the citta?
or the eKternal phenomena with which it comes into contact_ &1
wis+om is not there to help? one is boun+ to ma6e mista6es in
@!he +iAersity o1 internal an+ eKternal phenomena that can
become inAolAe+ with sam7+hi is limitless? the perception o1 them
being limite+ only by each in+iAi+ualJs natural inclinations- !hose
so incline+ will naturally perceiAe such phenomena an+ nothing
can preAent them 1rom +oing so- But the 6ey 1actor here is wis+om-
.is+om analyUes arising phenomena an+ then chooses the ones
that are suitable to 1ocus on? so that the rest can be allowe+ to
pass by without causing trouble- !hose lac6ing wis+om will eAen
haAe a har+ time success1ully getting through the sam7+hi practice*
they will 1in+ themselAes being please+ with this perception
or +isplease+ with that one? ecstatic about this? +espon+ent about
that R all are emotional reactions impinging on the heart? causing
it to become attache+- Unless wis+om is present to e11ectiAely +eal
with them? such +isturbing emotional attachments can neAer be
eliminate+- .is+om can to be selectiAe? ignoring what is super1luous
to 1ocus on what is essential thus in+icating the +irection
in which oneJs practice shoul+ procee+-
@#ur purpose in being or+aine+ as Bu++hist mon6s is to
search 1or 6nowle+ge an+ wis+om so that we can +eAelop those
Airtuous Cualities a+mire+ by people eAerywhere- .e arenJt here to
para+e our ineptitu+e in 1ront o1 the 6ilesas
by succumbing to their
+eAious tric6s? but rather to +eAelop cleAer tactics o1 our own to
outmaneuAer the 6ilesas? thus countering their tric6s- %iAing without
an a+eCuate means o1 protection? we leaAe ourselAes in a Aery
precarious position- !he principles o1 Dhamma an+ the monastic
+iscipline are a mon6Js protectiAe armor? while min+1ulness an+
wis+om are his pre1erre+ weapons- &1 we want to remain stea+y in
our practice an+ be constant in all situations? we must maintain
min+1ulness an+ wis+om in all our +aily actiAities- Min+1ulness
an+ wis+om must permeate all that we thin6? say? or +o R without
eKception- #nly then can we be certain o1 our mo+e o1 practice-
@&J+ really li6e to see all my stu+ents +isplay uncompromising
+iligence in their e11orts to transcen+ +u66ha? using min+1ulness
an+ wis+om to oAersee this wor6- (ou will thus ma6e
yourselAes worthy recipients o1 the Bu++haJs outstan+ing teaching
which stresses the importance o1 using s6ill1ul means in all circumstances-
& haAe no +esire to see my stu+ents 1loun+ering 1oolishly
in a state o1 con1usion about emotional attachments because
complacency an+ laUiness 6eep them 1rom +oing the wor6 necessary
to carry them beyon+ these +angers- So +onJt be in+i11erent
to the wor6 at han+-
@A practicing mon6 who is striAing to cross beyon+ the
worl+ o1 sa[s7ra
is engage+ in the noblest 1orm o1 en+eaAor- No
other 6in+ o1 wor6 is more +eman+ing than the tas6 o1 li1ting the
heart beyon+ the pain an+ su11ering eKperience+ in sa[s7ra-;M &t
reCuires unstinting e11ort on all 1ronts R inclu+ing a willingness
to sacri1ice your li1e- ntrust your li1e to your own +iligent e11orts
as they attempt to pull you 1rom the abyss o1 the 6ilesas- Unli6e
other types o1 wor6? there is no room 1or ambiguity here- &1 you
want to realiUe the won+rous results that you haAe yet to eKperience?
you must persist in putting your li1e on the line 1or the
sa6e o1 Dhamma- No other metho+ can be eKpecte+ to achieAe
the right result- (ou must be willing to giAe your li1e to transcen+
the worl+ o1 sa[s7ra- #nly then will you be 1ree o1 the bur+en o1
+u66ha in 1uture births-
@& mysel1 neAer eKpecte+ to surAiAe an+ become a teacher? 1or
my +etermination to transcen+ sa[s7ra
was much stronger than
my concern 1or staying aliAe- All my e11orts in all circumstances
were +irecte+ towar+ a goal beyon+ li1e- & neAer allowe+ regrets
about losing my li1e to +istract me 1rom my purpose- !he +esire
to maintain my course on the path to liberation 6ept me un+er
constant pressure an+ +irecte+ my eAery moAe- & resolAe+ that i1
my bo+y coul+ not withstan+ the pressure? & woul+ Xust haAe to
+ie- & ha+ alrea+y +ie+ so many countless times in the past that &
was 1e+ up with +ying anyway- But were & to liAe? & +esire+ only to
realiUe the same Dhamma that the Bu++ha ha+ attaine+- & ha+
no wish to achieAe anything else? 1or & ha+ ha+ enough o1 eAery
other type o1 accomplishment- At that time? my oAerri+ing +esire
was to aAoi+ rebirth an+ being trappe+ once more in the cycle o1
birth an+ +eath-
@!he e11ort that & put 1orth to attain Dhamma can be compare+
to a turbine? rotating non)stop? or to a ].heel o1 DhammaJ
whirling ceaselessly +ay an+ night as it cuts its way through eAery
last Aestige o1 the 6ilesas- #nly at sleep +i+ & allow mysel1 a temporary
respite 1rom this rigorous practice- As soon as & wo6e up? &
was bac6 at wor6? using min+1ulness? wis+om? 1aith? an+ +iligence
to root out an+ +estroy those persistent 6ilesas
that still remaine+-
& perseAere+ in that pitche+ battle with the 6ilesas
until min+1ulness?
wis+om? 1aith an+ +iligence ha+ utterly +estroye+ them all-
#nly then coul+ & 1inally relaK- 8rom that moment on? & 6new 1or
certain that the 6ilesas
ha+ been AanCuishe+ R categorically? neAer
to return an+ cause trouble again- But the bo+y? not haAing +isintegrate+
along with the 6ilesas? remaine+ aliAe-
@!his is something you shoul+ all thin6 about care1ully- Do
you want to a+Aance 1earlessly in the 1ace o1 +eath? an+ striAe
+iligently to leaAe behin+ the misery thatJs been such a pain1ul
bur+en on your hearts 1or so long_ #r +o you want to persist in
your regrets about haAing to +ie? an+ so be reborn into this miserable
con+ition again_ Hurry up an+ thin6 about it2 DonJt allow
yourselAes to become trappe+ by +u66ha? wasting this opportunity
R youJll regret it 1or a long time to come-
@!he battle1iel+ 1or conCuering the 6ilesas
eKists within each
in+iAi+ual who practices with wis+om? 1aith? an+ perseAerance
as weapons 1or 1ighting his way to 1ree+om- &t is Aery counterpro+uctiAe
to belieAe that you haAe plenty o1 time le1t since youJre
still young an+ in goo+ health- Practicing mon6s shoul+ +ecisiAely
reXect such thin6ing- &t is the heart alone that engen+ers
all misXu+gment an+ all wis+om? so you shoul+ not 1ocus your
attention outsi+e o1 yoursel1- Since they are constantly actiAe? pay
close attention to your actions? speech? an+ thoughts to +etermine
the 6in+ o1 results they pro+uce- Are they pro+ucing Dhamma?
which is an anti+ote to the poisons o1 apathy an+ sel1)in+ulgenceV
or are they pro+ucing a tonic that nourishes the +elusions that
cause +u66ha? giAing them strength to eKten+ the cycle o1 eKistence
in+e1initely_ .hateAer they are? the results o1 your actions?
speech? an+ thoughts shoul+ be thoroughly eKamine+ in eAery
+etailV or else? youJll encounter nothing but 1ailure an+ neAer rise
aboAe the pain an+ misery that haunt this worl+-B
Scariya MunJs response to the mon6? who suggeste+ that
he teach people in+iscriminately about the unusual phenomena
he eKperience+? was 1ierce an+ uncompromising- !he gist o1 his
reply ma6es 1or a remar6able Dhamma teaching R one that is
sel+om hear+- &t seems unli6ely that the mon6 +eserAe+ a con+emnation
as strong as Scariya MunJs stirring rebu6e might haAe
suggeste+- Perhaps spea6ing up was his way o1 prompting Scariya
Mun into giAing us a tal6- As 1ar as & coul+ tell? i1 nothing out o1
the or+inary happene+ to stri6e his heart an+ proAo6e a response?
Scariya Mun pre1erre+ to spea6 in a smooth? easy manner R especially
when the subXect was Aery pro1oun+- At such times? howeAer?
his listeners o1ten 1elt something missing an+ were not 1ully
satis1ie+ with his teaching- But i1 someone starte+ something by
as6ing him a Cuestion? or i1 he became annoye+ hearing some
mon6s tal6 ambiguously about Dhamma? or i1 their +iscussion
piCue+ his interest? then the Dhamma in his heart began to stir
an+ stream 1orth? eKpressing itsel1 in unusual ways that lent 1ire
an+ eKcitement to our listening-
ach time Scariya Mun +eliAere+ a +eclamation o1 this 6in+
his au+ience 1elt +eeply moAe+ in a way thatJs +i11icult to +escribe-
& mysel1? haAing a rather rough temperament? always pre1erre+ listening
to his 1iery eKhortations since they 1it so well with my natural
+isposition- 8or this reason? & rec6on that those mon6s who
employe+ Aarious means to proAo6e Scariya Mun into 1iery tal6s
were in 1act using their ingenuity to come up with cleAer proAocations-
Since they probably inten+e+ to bene1it 1rom his response?
they were not entirely in the wrong- !he resolute Dhamma eKpositions
that inspire+ me the most inAariably occurre+ when &
as6e+ him probing? pro++ing Cuestions- His eKplanations then
were boun+ to be +irecte+ personally at me? unli6e the general
eKplanations meant 1or all the mon6s- #nce & ha+ liAe+ with him
1or some time? & came to 6now many +i11erent ways o1 eliciting his
comments without waiting 1or him to bring these matters up himsel1
in a general monastic meeting-
#N: S:A'&(A MUN an+ three or 1our mon6s were liAing in a
seclu+e+ caAe in :hiang Dao proAince- A1ter passing three nights
there? Scariya Mun tol+ the mon6s that? in his me+itation? he
ha+ seen a spacious? inAiting caAe situate+ high up a steep mountain
slope in the area nearby- He tol+ them that many Pacce6abu++has;P
ha+ resi+e+ there in the past? but that nowa+ays mon6s
coul+nJt liAe there* the ascent was too steep an+ the location too
high 1or 1in+ing a place within wal6ing +istance where they coul+
obtain alms 1oo+- He tol+ the mon6s to climb up the mountain to
loo6 at the caAe? an+ insiste+ they ta6e a supply o1 1oo+ with them-
Since there was no path lea+ing up to the mountain? they woul+
haAe to climb as best they coul+ until they reache+ the summit-
!he caAe was situate+ a short +istance 1rom the Aery top-
!a6ing seAeral lay people along? the mon6s ma+e the climb
to the summit where they 1oun+ a beauti1ul? spacious caAe? eKactly
as Scariya Mun ha+ pre+icte+- !he air was clear an+ the ambiance
pleasant an+ inAiting- !he mon6s were so please+ with their
+iscoAery that they +i+nJt want to leaAe- !hey woul+ haAe pre1erre+
to remain there in+e1initely? practicing me+itation- Un1ortunately?
the caAe was so high up an+ so 1ar 1rom the nearest Aillage
that they ha+ no place to go 1or almsroun+- .hen the 1oo+
they brought was nearly eKhauste+? they ha+ to come bac6 +own
to the caAe where Scariya Mun resi+e+- Upon their return? he
as6e+ them about their impressions-
@.ell? how was the caAe? nice an+ inAiting_ Seeing an image
o1 it in my me+itation? & 1elt it was so beauti1ul an+ spacious that
& wante+ you all to go up an+ ta6e a loo6- & was sure youJ+ li6e it-
.hen we 1irst arriAe+? & +i+nJt thin6 to eKamine this mountain to
see whatJs here- .hen inAestigating it a 1ew +ays later? & +iscoAere+
how many strange? amaUing things it contains- !hat caAe you
went to is constantly protecte+ by terrestrial +eAas- Anyone acting
improperly there can eKpect to 1eel the conseCuences- .hen &
sent you up there? & 1orgot to mention that the caAe is protecte+
by +eAas
an+ to warn you to restrain yourselAes an+ behaAe properly
the whole time- & +i+nJt want you to be lou+ an+ noisy? which
is unacceptable behaAior 1or a mon6- & was a1rai+ that i1 the +eAas
protecting the caAe were +isplease+? they might cause you +iscom1ort
by precipitating something unpleasant-B
!he mon6s in1orme+ Scariya Mun that theyJ+ pre1er to
spen+ a longer time in the caAeV but he insiste+ that? no matter
how attractiAe the place was? it woul+ not be possible to liAe there
because no 1oo+ was aAailable- Scariya Mun spo6e o1 the caAe in
a Aery matter)o1)1act way? as though he ha+ actually seen it many
times- #1 course? he ha+ neAer gone up there? the climb being too
steep an+ +i11icult- Nonetheless? he spo6e about it with the assurance
o1 someone who 6new 1or certain that the 6nowle+ge arising
in his me+itation was no mere illusion-
Scariya Mun constantly warne+ his mon6s to behaAe in
a care1ul? restraine+ manner whereAer they went? 1or the +eAas
liAing in those remote places pre1er eAerything to be or+erly an+
Aery clean- .hen terrestrial +eAas
witness such sloAenly behaAior
as a mon6 sleeping carelessly? lying on his bac6 sprea+)eagle+
li6e a corpse? tossing an+ mumbling in his sleep li6e an i+iot?
they 1eel Cuite +isguste+ R regar+less o1 the 1act that itJs impossible
1or a sleeping person to control his actions- DeAas
approache+ Scariya Mun to eKplain how they 1elt about this
@Mon6s occupy positions o1 reAerence an+ esteem in the
hearts an+ min+s o1 liAing beings eAerywhere? so their
+eportment shoul+ be guar+e+ an+ restraine+ at all times
R eAen while sleeping- As 1ar as possible? a mon6Js appearance
shoul+ be attractiAe an+ pleasing? neAer +isagreeable
or o11ensiAe- .e hate to see mon6s behaAing intemperately
R li6e or+inary lay people showing little concern 1or the
conseCuences- specially since the circumspection nee+e+
to act with restraint is well within their capabilities- &tJs
not our intention to be critical o1 all mon6s- DeAas
are grate1ul 1or the opportunity to pay homage to
those mon6s eKhibiting eKemplary behaAior because we all
appreciate Airtue an+ +early wish to uphol+ the s7sana- .e
mention this to you so you can warn your +isciples to con+uct
themselAes in a restraine+ manner thatJs appealing to
human beings an+ +eAas
ali6e- Mon6s? who are worthy o1
respect? will cause +eAas
o1 all realms to 1eel an eAen +eeper
reAerence 1or the s7sana-B
&n response to what the +eAas
tol+ him? Scariya Mun always cautione+
his +isciples to 6eep all their reCuisites in a neat? or+erly
1ashion when staying in remote mountainous areas 1aAore+ by
terrestrial +eAas- Aen the 1oot)wiping rags ha+ to be neatly
1ol+e+ an+ not Xust tosse+ in a heap- His mon6s were reCuire+
to relieAe themselAes in appropriate places? an+ latrines were
+ug only a1ter care1ul consi+eration o1 the surroun+ing area-
Sometimes Scariya Mun eKplicitly tol+ the mon6s not to ma6e
a latrine un+er a certain tree? or in a certain area? because the
resi+ing there? or passing through on their way to Aisit him?
woul+ be +isplease+-
Mon6s who were alrea+y well acCuainte+ with the +eAa
worl+ nee+e+ no such caution? 1or they were 1ully aware o1 the
correct way to behaAe- Many o1 Scariya MunJs +isciples +o possess
this capability- HoweAer? because their pro1iciency in such matters
is +eAelope+ in the wil+s? they are reluctant to spea6 about
it openly? 1earing that learne+ people eAerywhere will ma6e 1un
o1 them- But within the circle o1 6amma00h7na
mon6s? itJs easy to
+etermine their i+entity simply by listening to their +iscussions
about Aarious +eAas
who came to Aisit them an+ the nature o1
their conAersations with these nonphysical beings- At the same
time? we can get an insight into each mon6Js leAel o1 spiritual
!he Hypercritical N3ga
At one point Scariya Mun spent some time liAing in :hiang Dao
:aAe R not the long caAe in the mi++le o1 the mountain that has
become popular with tourists? but one higher up the mountain-
!his caAe was home to a great n7ga;O who ha+ 6ept guar+ oAer it
1or a Aery long time- Apparently this n7ga
was rather conceite+
an+ ha+ a ten+ency to be oAerly critical o1 mon6s- During his
stay in the caAe? Acariya Mun became the obXect o1 this n7gaJs
constant criticism- &t 1oun+ 1ault with nearly eAerything he +i+- &t
appeare+ incapable o1 accepting Scariya MunJs thoughts o1 loAing
6in+ness? probably as a conseCuence o1 its long)stan+ing enmity
towar+ mon6s-
At night when Scariya Mun wore his san+als to +o wal6ing
me+itation? the n7ga
complaine+ about the soun+ o1 his 1ootsteps*
@.hat 6in+ o1 a mon6 are you? stomping aroun+ li6e an unbri+le+
race horse_ !he soun+ o1 your san+als stri6ing the earth sha6es
the whole mountain- Di+ you eAer thin6 you might be annoying
somebo+y with all that noise_B
&t raise+ these complaints +espite Scariya MunJs compose+
manner o1 pacing so1tly bac6 an+ 1orth- Hearing the criticisms? he
too6 care to wal6 eAen more so1tly than be1oreV but still? the n7ga
wasnJt satis1ie+* @.hat 6in+ o1 a mon6 are you? wal6ing me+itation
li6e somebo+y snea6ing aroun+ hunting bir+s_B #ccasionally?
Scariya MunJs 1oot woul+ stumble on a stone in the me+itation
path? causing a slight thumping soun+ which elicite+ another
reproach* @.hat 6in+ o1 a mon6 are you? buc6ing up an+ +own
your me+itation path li6e a chorus +ancer_B
!here were times when Scariya Mun leAele+ out the sur
1ace o1 his me+itation path to 1acilitate smooth? easy wal6ing- As
he moAe+ stones aroun+ an+ put them neatly into place? the n7ga
complaine+* @.hat 6in+ o1 a mon6 are you? always moAing things
aroun+ R youJre neAer satis1ie+- DonJt you realiUe that all your 1ussing
about giAes others a splitting hea+ache_B
Scariya Mun ha+ to eKercise special care with whateAer he
+i+ at that caAe- Aen then? this opinionate+ n7ga
woul+ 1in+ an
eKcuse to criticiUe him- Shoul+ his bo+y moAe slightly while he
slept at night? he coul+ sense psychically upon awa6ening that the
ha+ been criticiUing him 1or tossing? turning? wheeUing? snoring?
an+ so on- 8ocusing his attention on this angry? hypercritical
n7ga? Scariya Mun always 1oun+ its hea+ stic6ing out? peering
at him intently? as though it neAer too6 its eyes o11 him- Vicious)
loo6ing an+ mean)spirite+? it re1use+ to accept any merit +e+icate+
to it an+ was +etermine+ to in+ulge in 1eelings o1 anger that
burne+ li6e a 1ire insi+e its heart- Seeing that it compoun+e+ its
eAil 6amma
all the time? Scariya Mun 1elt truly sorry 1or the n7ga-
But as long as it showe+ no interest in reasonable +iscourse? it was
impossible 1or him to help in any way- All it coul+ thin6 about
was 1ault)1in+ing-
#n one occasion? Scariya Mun eKplaine+ the general principles
un+erlying a mon6Js li1e? speci1ically mentioning his own
purpose an+ intentions*
@My purpose 1or being here is not to cause trouble to somebo+y
else? but rather to wor6 as best & can 1or my own bene1it
an+ the bene1it o1 others- So you shoul+ not entertain ignoble
thoughts? thin6ing that &Jm here to cause you harm or +iscom1ort-
& am here consciously trying to +o goo+ so that & can share
the merit o1 my actions with all liAing beings without eKception-
!hat inclu+es you as well? so you nee+nJt be upset thin6ing that
&JAe come Xust to annoy you-
!hat inclu+es you as well? so you nee+nJt be upset thin6ing that
&JAe come Xust to annoy you-
1roUen sti11 li6e a corpse? neAer moAing a muscle_ Human
beings +onJt behaAe li6e that-
@& try har+ to wal6 as care1ully an+ so1tly as possible? but still
you complain that & wal6 li6e a race horse- &n truth? an animal li6e
a race horse an+ a Airtuous mon6 min+1ully wal6ing me+itation
coul+ not be more +i11erent? one 1rom the other- (ou shoul+ aAoi+
ma6ing such comparisons- #therwise? you become a wretche+
in+iAi+ual aiming 1or a berth in hell- &tJs impossible 1or me to satis1y
all your unreasonable whims- &1? li6e eAeryone else? you eKpect
to 1in+ happiness an+ prosperity? then consi+er your own 1aults 1or
awhile an+ stop lugging the 1ires o1 hell aroun+ in your heart all
the time- #nly then will you 1in+ a way out-
@:riticiUing other peopleJs 1aults? eAen when they really are
wrong? merely serAes to increase your own irritation an+ put you
in a ba+ moo+- My behaAior here is in no way improper 1or a
mon6? yet you 6eep carping about it constantly- &1 you were a
human being? youJ+ probably be incapable o1 liAing in normal
society R youJ+ see the worl+ as one big garbage +ump an+ yoursel1
as pure soli+ gol+- Such 1eelings o1 alienation are +ue to emotional
turmoil cause+ by your hypercritical attitu+e R which giAes
you no peace- !he wise haAe always con+emne+ unXusti1ie+ criticism
o1 others? saying it brings terrible moral conseCuences- So
why +o you enXoy +oing it with such a Aengeance R an+ such
in+i11erence to the pain1ul conseCuences_ &Jm not the one who
su11ers 1rom your criticism R it is your own emotional health thatJs
a+Aersely a11ecte+- Such ill e11ects are Cuite obAious? so how can
you be unaware that your whole attitu+e is wrong_ &Jm 1ully cogniUant
o1 eAerything you are thin6ing? an+ at the same time? & haAe
always 1orgiAen you- (ou concentrate on +oing terrible things that
consume your min+ an+ raAage your heart as though you canJt get
enough o1 +oing eAil- .ere your con+ition a +isease? it woul+ be
an untreatable one-
@& haAe been trying to change your mental attitu+e? Xust as &JAe
long been trying to help many other liAing beings- Human beings?
ghosts? +eAas? brahmas? ya66has? an+ eAen great n7gas
1ar more
power1ul than yoursel1? haAe all accepte+ the truth o1 the %or+
Bu++haJs teaching on 6amma- None? eKcept you? haAe angrily criticiUe+
the Aalue o1 Dhamma? which is reAere+ throughout the worl+
systems- An+ youJre so peculiar that you wonJt accept the truth o1
anything at all- !he only pleasure you ta6e is in ma6ing +erogatory
remar6s an+ angrily censuring people who haAe +one nothing
wrong- (ou +eAote yoursel1 to these as though they were propitious
actions- But the wise haAe neAer thought that such actions
1oster peace an+ security- .hen you 1inally slough o11 the s6in o1
this ill)1ate+ eKistence? you wonJt encounter a pleasant? pain)1ree
eKistence? una11ecte+ by the eAil conseCuences o1 your actions-
@& apologiUe 1or spea6ing so can+i+ly about the principles
o1 Dhamma? but my intentions are goo+- Nothing malicious is
inten+e+ in my remar6s? regar+less o1 what misconceptions you
may haAe- Since the Aery beginning o1 my stay here? & haAe trie+
to +o eAerything in a care1ul? restraine+ manner? 1or & 6now that
this is your home an+ &Jm concerne+ that my presence here may
inconAenience you- Although & am well aware that youJre an in+iAi+ual
who +elights in loo6ing 1or things to criticiUe? & still canJt
seem to aAoi+ being seen in a +isparaging light- & mysel1 eKperience
genuine contentment? una11ecte+ eAen by constant criticism-
But? & worry that the repercussions o1 your +ogge+ pursuit o1 eAil
will be eKtremely unpleasant 1or you- & +i+ not come here in search
o1 wic6e+ness or eAil- Being Cuite sure that eAerything & +o an+
say emanates 1rom a pure heart? & haAe no 1ear that my actions
will incur any unpleasant moral conseCuences-
@As soon as intelligent people begin to un+erstan+ the +i11erence
between secular matters an+ spiritual ones? they ten+ to
appreciate Airtuous con+uct? a+miring all wholesome? meritorious
actions per1orme+ 1or the sa6e o1 peace an+ happiness- 8rom ages
past? the wise haAe always taught liAing beings to 1eel goo+ about
being Airtuous- So why +o you a+here to the maAeric6 notion that
itJs all right to strip yoursel1 o1 Airtue an+ wallow in eAil_ (ou seem
to +etest Airtue so +rea+1ully much that you canJt be bothere+ to
re1lect on your own Aices- Although & wonJt be eKperiencing the
+ire conseCuences that await you? still & 1ear 1or you in that miserable
state- (ou must stop thin6ing in ways that are harm1ul? 1or
the mean intent behin+ your actions has the power to +epriAe
you o1 all moral Aalue- Such un+esirable conseCuences? bringing
unimaginable torment? are what & 1ear more than anything else
in the worl+- !he whole worl+ +rea+s ol+ age? sic6ness? an+ +eath?
but & +onJt 1ear them nearly so much as & 1ear eAil an+ its atten+ant
@People with 6ilesas
ten+ to eschew spiritual principles?
pre1erring instea+ the things that religious tenets proscribe- So
or+aining as a Bu++hist mon6 to practice the !eaching an+ the
Discipline reCuires us to un+ergo an agoniUing character trans1ormation-
Aen though & 6new how +i11icult it woul+ be to oppose
the 6ilesas? & nonetheless 1elt compelle+ to Xoin the mon6hoo+ an+
en+ure the seAere har+ship- !he eKtreme +iscom1ort cause+ by
constantly opposing the 6ilesas
R thatJs what ma6es the practice
so +i11icult- But i1 we +esire to transcen+ 6amma
an+ the +e1iling
that create it? we must en+ure such torment R 1or 6ilesas
always stea+1astly resist the teachings o1 the %or+ Bu++ha-
@&JAe come here to practice? liAing in this caAe li6e a worthless
social outcast? solely because & 1ear eAil an+ its conseCuences-
& +i+ not come here to harm or trouble anyone- Nor +o & 1eel contempt
1or any liAing being- & respect them all as 1rien+s whose
liAes are also subXect to the law o1 6amma? an+ who are thus all
o1 eCual intrinsic Aalue- & +e+icate the merit o1 my actions eCually
to all beings with the hope that they may liAe in contentment
whereAer they may be- & haAe neAer ta6en the arrogant attitu+e
that &Jm a human being or+aine+ as a Bu++hist mon6 an+ there1ore
superior to my companions in birth? ageing? sic6ness? an+
@(ou too eKist within the sphere o1 6amma? so you ought
to humbly re1lect on how your own 1aults a11ect you- :riticiUing
others without proper consi+eration will neAer bring you goo+
results R it merely piles up the ill e11ects o1 ba+ 6amma? which then
linger on in+e1initely- (ou shoul+ 1eel +ismaye+ by your errant
behaAior an+ +rop this +angerous practice- #nly then can you
hope to become a goo+ in+iAi+ual with a chance 1or a better? happier
birth in the 1uture- !hen your mean? angry heart will so1ten?
an+ you can aAoi+ being engul1e+ in misery 1oreAer-
@All liAing beings in the uniAerse R 1rom humans an+ animals
to +eAas? brahmas? an+ ya66has
R cherish happiness an+ loathe su11ering-
!hey +o not haAe an aAersion 1or Dhamma simply because
they canJt yet put it into practice- Dhamma has always been the
Cuintessential nature o1 the uniAerse- !hose beings who are in
a position to practice Dhamma 1in+ great satis1action in it R 1or
instance? human beings- !heir state o1 birth ma6es them well
suite+ to the practice o1 Dhamma-
@(ou yoursel1 are a liAing being whoJs 1ully capable o1 +istinguishing
between goo+ an+ ba+? an+ thus choosing whatJs
most bene1icial 1or you- So why +o you +o Xust the opposite_ &Jm
puUUle+ that you seem content to reAel in those things which the
wise abhor while scorning those which the wise applau+- (ou
6now about +u66ha
an+ you hate it? yet you striAe to pro+uce
the Aery causes that bring you great unhappiness an+ +iscom1ort-
!he wise tell us that our e11orts to 1in+ 1ault with others
pro+uce conseCuences that cause greater an+ greater unhappiness
R eKactly what you shamelessly +o all the time- (ou may
not be intereste+? but although &Jm 1ully aware o1 your +espicable
thoughts? &JAe always 1orgiAen you- &Jm not angry or o11en+e+? but
& +o 1eel sorry 1or you- !hus? & haAe +eci+e+ to tell you the plain
truth- Shoul+ it proAe use1ul to you? & shall be please+ 1or your
sa6e- & receiAe no unpleasant conseCuences 1rom your thoughts
1or &Jm not the one who engages in them- All & eKperience are
peace? serenity? an+ loAing compassion that haAe long been my
heartJs abo+e-B
peace? serenity? an+ loAing compassion that haAe long been my
heartJs abo+e-B
these Aarious aspects o1 Dhamma? but it +i+ eKperience
the rise o1 some salutary thoughts while listening* !his mon6
tal6s a lot o1 sense- But right now &Jm unable to +o as he says? being
still too content with my ol+ ways- Perhaps &Jll haAe more interest
in my neKt eKistence- !his mon6 has many awesome Cualities R he
eAen perceiAes things that shoul+ be un6nowable- How can he 6now
my priAate thoughts_ & liAe in a hi++en worl+? yet somehow he sees
me- #Aer the years? many mon6s haAe come to stay in this caAe? but
none haAe 6nown about my eKistence? much less my thoughts- &JAe
eAen 1orce+ some o1 them to 1lee because & coul+nJt stan+ haAing
them aroun+-;L But this mon6 6nows eAerything? inclu+ing my
thoughts- Aen while sleeping he remains aware- %ater? he can
tell me eKactly what & was thin6ing? as i1 he ha+nJt been asleep
at all- .hy am & so opinionate+ that & canJt ta6e what he teaches
to heart an+ put it into practice_ %i6e he sai+* & must surely haAe
some Aery graAe 6amma- Despite 6nowing the +espicable nature
o1 my min+? he still ma6es an e11ort to eKplain how his +aily
actiAities are not inten+e+ to bother me- My present state o1 eKistence
is certainly un1ortunate- HeJs right when he says that &Jm Cuite
capable o1 +istinguishing between goo+ an+ ba+- (et &Jm hampere+
by my wretche+ conceit? meaning that my neKt li1e will probably be
Xust as un1ortunate as this one R an+ so on in+e1initely-
A1ter a short pause Scariya Mun as6e+ the n7ga i1 it ha+
manage+ to un+erstan+ any o1 his eKplanations on Dhamma-
!he n7ga replie+* @& un+erstan+ eAerything you so 6in+ly
eKplaine+ to me- But un1ortunately? &Jm bur+ene+ by some Aery
graAe 6amma an+ &JAe yet to grow weary o1 my wretche+ con+ition-
&Jm still +ebating this matter with mysel1 an+ & haAenJt come
to any +e1inite conclusions- My heart ten+s to graAitate towar+ a
state o1 +egra+ation? as it always has? so it bal6s at listening to the
Dhamma you are teaching-B
Scariya Mun as6e+ the n7ga what it meant by saying that
its heart li6e+ to graAitate towar+ a state o1 +egra+ation-
!he n7ga answere+* @My heart enXoys 1in+ing 1ault with you
all the time? eAen though youJAe +one nothing wrong R thatJs Xust
the way my heart is- & +onJt 6now how to conAince mysel1 o1 the
harm1ul e11ects o1 this ten+ency so that & can correct it an+ practice
the way o1 Airtue 1rom now on-B
Scariya Mun o11ere+ some encouragement*
@:are1ul consi+eration will conAince you that such ba+ ten+encies
are truly harm1ul- #nce you are persua+e+? then eAil will
naturally begin to 1a+e 1rom your heart? ceasing to be so conspicuous
in the 1uture- But by assuming that these ten+encies are
bene1icial an+ then encouraging them? you will naturally ten+ to
thin6 in an en+less Aariety o1 ways that are +etrimental to you-
Unless you hurry to improAe things now? youJll 6eep on +oing
eAil until you are completely beyon+ help- & cannot +o this Xob
1or you- & can giAe some gui+ance? but itJs up to you to ma6e the
necessary a+Xustments in your character- !he onus is on you to
press ahea+? trying to accomplish this as best you can- #nce you
+o? you will see the +angerous aspects o1 your character gra+ually
+iminish as bene1icial Cualities +eAelop? +isplacing them until all
thatJs le1t is pure? simple Airtue? untainte+ by any 1orm o1 eAil- By
placing your 1aith in the Dhamma o1 the %or+ Bu++ha? which has
always helpe+ liAing beings to transcen+ +u66ha? you will always
be contente+ liAing un+er its protectiAe in1luence- NeAer 1eeling
+istraught? neAer +isturbe+? you will remain eAen)tempere+ in
eAery situation- (ou wonJt be moAe+ to praise one thing as goo+ or
criticiUe another as ba+? an+ so su11er the resulting conseCuences
be contente+ liAing un+er its protectiAe in1luence- NeAer 1eeling
+istraught? neAer +isturbe+? you will remain eAen)tempere+ in
eAery situation- (ou wonJt be moAe+ to praise one thing as goo+ or
criticiUe another as ba+? an+ so su11er the resulting conseCuences
con+uct thatJs contrary to the way o1 the wise-B
At the conclusion o1 these remar6s? the n7ga promise+ to
ma6e an e11ort to 1ollow Scariya MunJs a+Aice- &n the +ays that
1ollowe+? Scariya Mun 6ept an eye on it as he continue+ with his
own practice- He notice+ some improAement? as the n7ga was able
to restrict its hypercritical ten+encies by eKercising some measure
o1 control oAer them- But he also notice+ that this e11ort cause+
the n7ga much consternation- So 1in+ing some eKcuse to leaAe
the caAe? he moAe+ on R which please+ the n7ga- His association
with it en+e+ there-
8rom that time on? Scariya Mun allu+e+ to the story o1
this n7ga as a means o1 elaborating on Aarious aspects o1 human
nature? 1or the personal bene1it o1 those listening- !he gist o1 what
he sai+ is worth repeating here? hope1ully so that the rea+er can
learn some Aaluable lessons 1rom his teaching-
Scariya Mun eKplaine+ that goo+ an+ eAil +o not arise on
their own but are +epen+ent on habitual ways o1 behaAing that
gra+ually become part o1 oneJs character- &1 our ten+ency is to
+o eAil? it is Aery +i11icult to reme+y because eAerything we +o
ten+s to 1low in that +irection- &1 it is our ten+ency to +o goo+?
we become more an+ more s6ill1ul an+ assertiAe as we progress
in that +irection- 8or this reason? cleAer parents will try to train
their chil+ren in the way o1 goo+ness 1rom a Aery early age R
be1ore it becomes too late- .hen necessary they will entrust
them to the care o1 someone who is suitably supportiAe so that
their chil+renJs upbringing is not simply le1t to chance-
their chil+renJs upbringing is not simply le1t to chance-
than any o1 their school subXects? 1or these things eKist all
aroun+ them R at home? in school? an+ eAerywhere else- :hil+ren
are constantly ta6ing lessons 1rom what they see? hear? taste?
smell? an+ touch in the worl+? remembering well what they haAe
learne+- A chil+Js senses are its natural blac6boar+- !he impressions
imprinte+ there are pregnant with moral signi1icanceV that
is? matters o1 goo+ an+ eAil- !hey constantly pic6 up impressions
1rom their playmates an+ the a+ults in their liAes? as well as 1rom
moAies an+ other entertainment that is normally aAailable to
them- Such eAery+ay impressions are a chil+Js true teachersV an+
chil+ren are all too willing to learn new i+eas that are constantly
conAeye+ to them- :ontact with eAil a11airs can +e1initely in+uce
a chil+ to 1ollow eAil ways? while goo+ in1luences can +e1initely
in+uce a chil+ to go the way o1 Airtue- :hil+ren naturally ta6e the
things they see an+ hear as eKamples to emulateV an+? oAer time?
this establishes a pattern o1 behaAior that +e1ines a chil+Js character-
#nce these patterns haAe become ingraine+? the chil+ren
will spea6 an+ act accor+ing to the goo+ or eAil orientation thus
!he 1act that some people rea+ily ta6e satis1action in +oing
eAil an+ are unwilling to change? while others Xust as rea+ily ta6e
satis1action in +oing goo+ an+ cherish moral Airtue all their liAes?
in+icates the 1un+amental importance o1 character +eAelopment-
!hose le1t to their own +eAices easily aban+on the e11ort to resist
their ba+ ten+encies R eAen be1ore they haAe seen enough satis1actory
results to encourage perseAerance- :onseCuently? basic
character +eAelopment is absolutely essential 1or all people- !his
means that nothing shoul+ be +one carelessly or thoughtlessly? 1or
once such ten+encies become habitual they are +i11icult to correct-
!he importance o1 this principle becomes apparent as we striAe
to +eAelop positiAe character traits until they become part o1 our
Aery natureV 1or instance* being reasonable about how an+ where
we traAelV being reasonable about how we spen+ our money so
that eAeryone in the 1amily bene1itsV an+ being reasonable in our
eating an+ sleeping habits so that we +o not oAerin+ulge in them-
All such eKemplary behaAior patterns shoul+ be enthusiastically
+eAelope+ until they become instinctiAe- !he inner resistance we
meet in the early stages o1 training will naturally giAe way to a
smooth? easy character trans1ormation- !his trans1ormation itsel1
is su11icient proo1 that character training is well within our capa
bilities- But we must be willing to perseAere in the beginning-
!raining is reCuire+ to ma6e any 6in+ o1 wor6 success1ul-
Zust as we must un+ergo training in or+er to succee+ in our pro1essions?
so the heart an+ min+ must be traine+ in or+er to obtain
optimum results- #nly a1ter +eath are we beyon+ the nee+ 1or
training- .ishing to gain pro1iciency in something? we must wor6
at it? practicing until we are well)s6ille+ in it- :haracter training
+eAelops a s6ill which is synonymous with Airtue- !a6e this
message to heart? consi+er it well? an+ put it into practice R your
e11orts will surely be rewar+e+ with a wealth o1 personal Airtue-
Such was the gist o1 Scariya MunJs teaching on character training-
& haAe inclu+e+ it here to help those who are +eAeloping Dhamma
in this way-
!he Death o1 the Arahant
.hile Scariya Mun liAe+ in :hiang Dao :aAe? numerous nimittas
appeare+ in his me+itation? some o1 them Cuite eKtraor+inary- Here
& shall mention only a 1ew- &n the late hours o1 almost eAery night
he receiAe+ a wi+e range o1 +eAa Aisitors 1rom the upper an+ lower
celestial realms who arriAe+ in groups o1 Aarying siUes at appointe+
times- Arahants also came regularly to hol+ inspirational conAersations
on Dhamma with Scariya Mun- ach Arahant showe+
him the manner in which his passing away into total Nibb7na
ha+ occurre+-;N Some were Arahants who ha+ passe+ away in the
:hiang Dao :aAe? while others ha+ attaine+ total Nibb7na elsewhere-
Such +emonstrations were accompanie+ by an inspiring
eKplanation o1 the seCuence o1 eAents that ha+ ta6en place-
Hearing Scariya Mun tal6 about those Arahants? & 1elt +ismaye+
an+ somewhat +iscourage+ by my own un1ortunate circumstances-
!here & was a human being with eyes? ears? an+
mental 1aculties Xust li6e Scariya MunV yet? & coul+nJt accomplish
the things that he +i+- #n the one han+? & was elate+ to hear his
storiesV on the other? & 1elt +isheartene+- & 1oun+ mysel1 laughing
an+ crying at the same time? but & 6ept my tears to mysel1 1or 1ear
that my 1ellow mon6s woul+ thin6 & was ma+- &n 1act? at that time?
+eep insi+e? & really was a bit ma+-
!he inspirational conAersations that Scariya Mun ha+ with
the Arahants were so captiAating that itJs har+ to 1in+ anything
else in the worl+ that compares with them- & shall try to 1aith1ully
recreate the essence o1 those conAersations here? though &
1ear & may not +o them proper Xustice- Here is the gist o1 what the
Arahants sai+ to Scariya Mun-
@(ou yoursel1 haAe now complete+ the tas6 o1 1iltering 1rom
your heart all possible causes o1 eKistence? thus becoming one o1
the Arahants- Being one whose heart will neAer again giAe rise to
birth an+ eKistence? you haAe become another incomparable source
o1 merit 1or the worl+ to Aenerate- So weJAe come to Aisit you now
to show our appreciation 1or your achieAement? which because o1
its enormous +i11iculty? is sel+om accomplishe+- Although many
people +esire to attain what you haAe? Aery 1ew succee+ when they
are 1ace+ with the +i11iculties- People born into this worl+ instinctiAely
cling to their parents an+ relatiAes 1or support- Har+ly any
o1 them realiUe the importance o1 relying on their own hearts as
their mainstay- !he Aast maXority o1 people Xust +ri1t aimlessly?
accomplishing nothing o1 real Aalue R their numbers are beyon+
rec6oning- So the appearance in the worl+ o1 a 1ully)enlightene+
Arahant is a remar6able eAent that bene1its liAing beings throughout
all the worl+ systems- (our attainment o1 purity has ma+e you
an enormous boon 1or humans? +eAas? an+ brahmas
ali6e- (ou are
also well)Aerse+ in the uniAersal language o1 the heart? which is 1ar
more important than any other 1orm o1 communication- All the
Bu++has? an+ certain categories o1 Arahants? use the language o1
the heart when giAing assistance to liAing beings? 1or it is the uniAersal
language o1 sentient beings throughout the uniAerse- :ontacting
an+ teaching nonphysical beings is achieAe+ eKclusiAely by
means o1 this uniAersal 1orm o1 communication- !hose communicating
in the language o1 the heart can un+erstan+ each other
much more Cuic6ly an+ easily than woul+ normally be the case-B
A1ter conclu+ing his inspirational conAersation with Scariya Mun?
each Arahant woul+ then +emonstrate the manner in which he ha+
passe+ away into total Nibb7na- Nearly eAery Arahant who came
allowe+ him to obserAe the posture in which this was achieAe+-
Some Arahants +emonstrate+ how they ha+ +ie+ an+ passe+ into
total Nibb7na while sitting cross)legge+ in sam7+hi-
Some +emonstrate+
how they were reclining on their right si+e in the ]lionJs
postureJ =< at that time- #thers showe+ him how they were stan+ing
still in the mi++le o1 the me+itation pathV still others reAeale+
how they were pacing bac6 an+ 1orth in me+itation at the time
o1 their total Nibb7na- !he sitting an+ reclining postures were
the most common R relatiAely 1ew Arahants passe+ into Nibb7na
while wal6ing or stan+ing-
!heir +eaths were +emonstrate+ in a precise manner? show
ing eAery +etail right up to the 1inal moment- As a seate+ Arahant
passe+ away? he slumpe+ oAer gently li6e so1t cotton? while his
bo+y cease+ to 1unction an+ became per1ectly still- &t was more
+i11icult to +iscern the eKact moment when an Arahant reclining
in the ]lionJs postureJ passe+ away- His breathing was the only Aisible
sign o1 li1e an+ that became eAer more re1ine+ as he lay Cuietly?
as i1 asleep? without the slightest moAement in any part o1
his bo+y? until his breathing gra+ually cease+ altogether- !hose
Arahants who +emonstrate+ +eath in a stan+ing posture stoo+
erect? assuming a re1lectiAe pose with the right han+ place+ on
the le1t han+? hea+ slightly bowe+ an+ eyes 1irmly close+- !hey
appeare+ to re1lect momentarily be1ore slowly slumping into a
heap on the groun+ R 1irst in a sitting position? then slumping
gra+ually 1urther? until? so1tly? li6e cotton wool? they lay on the
groun+- Arahants? who +ie+ while wal6ing in me+itation? pace+
bac6 an+ 1orth about siK or seAen times be1ore gently slumping to
the groun+ where they lay per1ectly still-
.hen giAing these +emonstrations? the Arahants came to
within siK 1eet o1 Scariya Mun so he coul+ clearly Aiew eAery aspect
o1 their passing away? which create+ a lasting impression in his heart-
%istening to him recount those episo+es? & 1elt the urge to she+ tears-
& ha+ to turn my 1ace to the wall as this strange 1eeling oAercame me-
#therwise? & might haAe create+ a stir? which coul+ haAe become
an embarrassing epilogue to this story- !he total Nibb7na o1 those
Arahants was accomplishe+ with a serene grace1ulness that stan+s
in mar6e+ contrast to the +istress typically su11ere+ by most people
at the time o1 +eath- & was so moAe+ by hearing how each Arahant
passe+ away that & simply coul+nJt hol+ bac6 my tears- !hose amaUing
in+iAi+uals were ta6ing 1inal leaAe o1 the worl+ o1 conAentional
reality with all its chaos an+ con1usion R which is an amaUing thing
to contemplate- & am sure that anyone else who listene+ woul+ haAe
been +eeply a11ecte+ in the same way-
!hree Arahants attaine+ total Nibb7na at the caAe in
:hiang Dao R two while reclining in the ]lionJs postureJ an+ one
while wal6ing me+itation- Prior to giAing Scariya Mun a Aisual
+emonstration o1 how his +eath ha+ occurre+? each Arahant gaAe
him a +etaile+ eKplanation o1 why he ha+ chosen to pass away in
that posture- Very 1ew +ie+ while stan+ing or wal6ing- Many more
+i+ so while sitting? but the maXority passe+ away while reclining-
#n the basis o1 what he ha+ seen? Scariya Mun came to the conclusion
that oAer the centuries many Arahants ha+ passe+ away
in !hailan+- As 1ar as & can remember? they inclu+e+ the three
Arahants at the caAe in :hiang Dao? one in the .ong Phra :han
mountains? one at !ago :aAe in %opburi proAince? one at $how
(ai in Na6hon Nayo6 proAince? an+ one at .at Dhatuluang monastery
o1 $o $ha +istrict in %ampang proAince- !here were others
as well? but un1ortunately & can no longer recall them-
@Nibb7naB is a term use+ eKclusiAely with re1erence to Bu++has?
Pacce6abu++has? an+ Arahants? all o1 whom haAe eKpunge+ 1rom
their hearts eAery trace o1 the 6ilesas
lea+ing to 1uture birth- &t
is not a term associate+ with liAing beings who still haAe 6ilesas?
1or those beings continue to accumulate the see+s o1 1uture births
in their hearts constantly? thus ma6ing the +esignation @Nibb7naB
entirely inappropriate 1or them- HaAing +ie+ here? they are reborn
thereV +ying there? theyJre reborn somewhere else- Negligent human
beings whoJAe ma+e no e11ort to +eAelop Airtuous Cualities in this
li1e so as to enhance their 1uture liAes? may well be reborn as animals
a1ter they +ie- !he opportunities 1or birth as an animal are
more numerous than those 1or birth in the much higher human?
+eAa? an+ brahma
realms- So those who pre1er ma6ing ba+ 6amma
may be on one o1 the many paths to rebirth in the animal 6ing+om?
which is 1ar more +iAerse an+ eKtensiAe than the higher realms- But
animals? humans? an+ +eAas
all haAe one thing in common* the
bur+en o1 emotional attachments that cause them to be reborn oAer
an+ oAer again R in+e1initely- :onseCuently? the term Nibb7na +oes
not apply to them-
!he only ones who +eserAe the +esignation @Nibb7naB are
those in+iAi+uals who haAe completely era+icate+ the 6ilesas
their hearts R eKtinguishing them 1oreAer? eAen while they are
physically aliAe- At the moment o1 passing away? they haAe no lingering
attachments that coul+ bin+ them to the roun+ o1 sa[s7ra
R not eAen to the bo+y thatJs starting to +ecompose- Absolutely
no attachment or concern 1or anything anywhere eKist in their
hearts- !hus they bi+ 1inal 1arewell to the worl+ with no trepi+ation?
haAing no eKpectations o1 eKperiencing 6armic conseCuences
in another realm o1 eKistence R a source o1 en+less 1rustration-
!he heart that has attaine+ absolute 1ree+om is constant?
unchanging? an+ wholly contente+- &t harbors no eKpectations at
all concerning conAentional realities such as the bo+y- !here1ore?
not eAen an atom o1 the conAentional worl+ coul+ enter an+ a11ect
the heartJs state o1 total purity- !he wor+ @Nibb7naB re1ers to the
total purity o1 one who is neAer agitate+ or melancholy R neither
sorrow1ul in li1e nor regret1ul at +eath R but always imperturbably
unchanging throughout-
Nibb7na is a special term use+ with re1erence to a special
type o1 in+iAi+ual- No one who has yet to puri1y his heart woul+
+are assume this title- Nibb7na is not a 6in+ o1 personal property?
li6e an orchar+ or a 1arm? which can be ta6en oAer by power1ul
interests eAen without the ownerJs consent- .hoeAer wants
to ta6e possession o1 Nibb7na must ma6e the e11ort to +eAelop
it within the heart R there is no hope 1or those who merely lie
aroun+ waiting 1or it to appear-
it within the heart R there is no hope 1or those who merely lie
aroun+ waiting 1or it to appear-
Dhamma 1rom many Arahants- He has receiAe+
national acclaim an+ respect 1rom 1aith1ul Bu++hists eAerywhere-
He achieAe+ this renown by 1aith1ully practicing the Dhamma
until he realiUe+ the !ruth in his own heart? where nothing 1alse
eKiste+- He was able to see those things that are inherently 1alse?
li6e organic li1eV an+ as such? let go o1 them so they no longer
bur+ene+ his heart- !he true Scariya Mun? no longer subXect to
change? was the !ruth o1 the Dhamma he realiUe+- !hat Dhamma
remains true R 1oreAer- Unli6e all other things which are inherently
unstable an+ so o1 limite+ +uration? the passage o1 time has
no e11ect whatsoeAer on it-
!he Spiritual .arrior
Scariya Mun became seriously ill on many occasions while liAing
+eep in the wil+erness areas o1 :hiang Mai R sometimes he came
Aery close to +eath- Ha+ he been li6e most people? totally +epen+ent
on +octors an+ their me+icines? he woul+ probably haAe succumbe+
long be1ore- But Scariya Mun was able to surAiAe by using the curatiAe
powers o1 Dhamma to treat himsel1- He sai+ that as soon as
the symptoms o1 illness began to appear the ]therapeutic Cualities o1
DhammaJ imme+iately arose in response an+ began to e11ect a cure-
Such was his temperament that normally he showe+ little interest
in conAentional me+icines- Aen in ol+ age when his Aitality was
stea+ily +eclining? he continue+ to pre1er the ]therapeutic Cualities
o1 DhammaJ to maintain well)being in his bo+y elements-
Scariya Mun once staye+ with seAeral other mon6s in a
mountainous area 1ull o1 malaria- #ne o1 the mon6s happene+
to contract the +isease? but not a single me+icine was aAailable to
treat it- .hen the 1eAer was at its worst? it rage+ continuously all
+ay- Scariya Mun Aisite+ the mon6 eAery morning an+ eAening
to instruct him in the use o1 inAestigatiAe techniCues 1or re+ucing
1eAer R me+itation metho+s he himsel1 always use+ with goo+
results- But since their leAels o1 spiritual attainment were so +i11erent?
this mon6 was incapable o1 inAestigating in the same way
as Scariya Mun coul+- ach time his 1eAer intensi1ie+? he ha+ to
simply wait 1or it to abate on its own- He ha+ +eAelope+ no e11ectiAe
metho+s 1or bringing it +own himsel1- Aentually becoming
rather eKasperate+? Scariya Mun scol+e+ him*
@&t seems youJre a Mah7=E in name only? since the 6nowle+ge
you haAe learne+ is obAiously o1 no help when you
really nee+ it- .hatJs the point o1 stu+ying to be a Mah7
i1 youJre Xust going to waste a lot o1 paper an+ then come
away empty)han+e+_ !he 6nowle+ge gaine+ 1rom stu+ying
shoul+ bene1it you in some way? so & cannot 1igure out what
youJAe been learning thatJs so completely useless- Here you
are Airtually +ying o1 1eAer? but your learning canJt help alleAiate
your con+ition eAen a little bit- .hatJs the purpose
o1 all that learning anyway_ &t +oesnJt ma6e sense to me- &
canJt 1igure it out- & haAenJt learne+ any gra+e o1 P7li stu+ies
R not one- & haAe learne+ only the 1iAe 6amma00h7na=;
that my preceptor gaAe me at my or+ination? which & still
haAe with me to+ay- !hey are all & nee+ to ta6e care o1
mysel1- !hey +onJt ma6e me wea6 li6e you R youJre as wea6
as you are e+ucate+- &n 1act? you are wea6er than a woman
with no e+ucation at all2 (ouJre a man an+ a Mah7? so
why all this wea6ness_ .hen you get sic6? you eKhibit no
manly characteristics? nor any in+ication o1 the Dhamma
you learne+- (ou shoul+ ta6e all your masculine eCuipment
an+ eKchange it 1or a womanJs? thus completing your metamorphosis-
Maybe then the 1eAer will abate a bit- Seeing
that youJre a woman? the 1eAer may be reluctant to torture
you so much-
@&nstea+ o1 seeing some reassuring signs o1 +e1iance an+ courage
when & Aisit you? all & see is a wea6 +isplay o1 sel1)pity-
.hy +onJt you inAestigate those 6amma00h7na in the P7li
stu+ies youJAe learne+_ .hat +oes +u66ha[ ariyasacca[
mean to you_ Does it mean wea6ness_ .hen haAing a 1eAer?
Xust cry an+ long 1or your parents? is that what it means_ &1
you cannot bear eAen the pain1ul 1eelings arising 1rom a 1eAer?
in a truly li1e)threatening crisis youJll be oAerwhelme+ an+
unable to cope- Aen now you canJt manage? so how can you
eAer hope to un+erstan+ the true nature o1 the Noble !ruth
o1 Du66ha_ Anyone wanting to transcen+ the mun+ane
worl+ must realiUe uneCuiAocally the truth inherent in each
o1 the Noble !ruths- But as soon as the !ruth o1 Du66ha
awa6ens an+ begins to become a little actiAe? you lie +own
an+ a+mit +e1eat- .hat +o you eKpect to gain 1rom that_B
HaAing giAen this 1iery piece o1 a+Aice to probe the mon6Js character?
Scariya Mun pause+ Cuietly 1or a moment- He then notice+
that the mon6 was sobbing? tears streaming +own his 1ace- So
Scariya Mun Cuic6ly 1oun+ an eKcuse to leaAe an+ return to his
hut? telling the mon6 not to worry R he woul+ soon get better- He
assure+ him that he ha+ only preten+e+ to giAe him a har+ time-
'econsi+ering the matter that night? Scariya Mun +eci+e+
to try a +i11erent type o1 me+icine? since the reme+y he ha+ Xust
prescribe+ was probably too harsh 1or the patient R he Xust was
not strong enough to ta6e it- 8rom the neKt morning onwar+?
he change+ his approach completely? neAer again +isplaying any
1ierceness with that mon6- 8rom then on he assume+ a sympathetic?
com1orting attitu+e? pampering the mon6 in a way that
was Aery uncharacteristic o1 him- His speech was sweet an+ gentle?
li6e large Cuantities o1 molasses being poure+ out eAery morning
an+ eAening? until the whole area seeme+ sweet an+ 1ragrant? suiting
that mon6Js outbrea6 o1 wea6ness per1ectly- He watche+ oAer
his patientJs progress? giAing him these sugarcoate+ pills eAery
morning an+ eAening until it was clear that both the patient
an+ his 1ellow mon6s were contente+- !he patient continue+ to
improAe with each passing +ay until 1inally he ma+e a complete
recoAery? a process that laste+ many months- #bAiously this particular
me+icine was e11ectiAe beyon+ all eKpectations-
Such are the therapies o1 a cleAer +octor who always has the
intelligence to a+Xust his treatments accor+ing to the circumstances
an+ then a+minister them appropriately- :onseCuently? he is an
eKcellent eKample 1or the rest o1 us who are searching 1or wis+om?
which is why & haAe inclu+e+ the prece+ing inci+ent- !hose who
are intereste+ shoul+ be able to gain some bene1it 1rom rea+ing it?
1or it concerns the s6ill1ul means o1 a cleAer man whose wis+om
was so sharp that he was neAer stymie+ by any turn o1 eAents-
'ather than remaining passiAe in a critical situation? Scariya
Mun instinctiAely pre1erre+ to analyUe the crisis with min+1ulness
an+ wis+om- .hen he was sic6? or when his inAestigations uncoAere+
some particularly insi+ious 6ilesas
that he 1oun+ to be especially
obstructiAe R these constitute+ critical situations- &nstea+
o1 1eeling resigne+? his citta
respon+e+ by circling the problem +ay
an+ night until he 1oun+ an ingenious metho+ to +eal with the
crisis? allowing him to oAercome it gra+ually an+ moAe on unhin+ere+-
8rom the beginning stages o1 his practice to the Aery en+?
he inAariably eKperience+ goo+ results 1rom this approach-
.hen the mon6s liAing with him became ill? he usually
a+Aise+ them to +eAelop me+itatiAe techniCues 1or relieAing the
symptoms so they woul+ not become oAerly +epen+ent on me+ications-
At the same time? he wante+ them to +eAelop those
techniCues into metho+s 1or inAestigating Dhamma- Scariya Mun
belieAe+ that physical an+ mental pain are +irect mani1estations
o1 the !ruth o1 Du66haV an+ as such? they shoul+ be inAestigate+
until that !ruth is un+erstoo+- He +i+ not eKpect his mon6s to
simply succumb to pain as though they ha+ neAer be1ore receiAe+
training in Dhamma-
Scariya Mun acCuire+ many techniCues 1rom the illnesses
he su11ere+- He neAer let the pain o1 his illness sub+ue him without
probing into the nature o1 that pain as best he coul+- At such
times? he belieAe+ it imperatiAe to inAestigate pain to the Aery
limit o1 oneJs ability in or+er to +etermine whether or not min+1ulness
an+ wis+om can cope with the tas6 at han+- .hen 1oun+
to be +e1icient? they coul+ be mo+i1ie+ an+ improAe+ until their
per1ormance is +eeme+ satis1actory- .hen the highly traine+
1orces o1 min+1ulness an+ wis+om enter into combat with 1eelings
o1 seAere pain? the heart will not be apprehensiAe as it con
1ronts the !ruth o1 Du66ha
R which is a genuine !ruth- Min+1ulness
an+ wis+om are then 1ully up to the tas6- !hey remain
unsha6able while being bu11ete+ on all si+es by an onslaught o1
pain coming 1rom eAery conceiAable +irection- &n the mi+st o1 this
intense pain? they are able to narrow +own the scope o1 their inAestigation
until it 1ocuses sharply on the Aery principles o1 !ruth-
Such mental training employs the 1actors o1 min+1ulness? wis+om?
1aith? an+ e11ort? instilling them with greater strength an+ courage-
8or precisely this reason? Scariya Mun li6e+ to emphasiUe
the inAestigation o1 pain1ul 1eelings to his +isciples- .hen the
moment o1 truth arriAes an+ the bo+y is about to brea6 up? one
shoul+ eKperience no 1ear o1 the agoniUing pain that emerges at
that moment- &nAestigating as prescribe+? the me+itator clearly
perceiAes the true nature o1 both bo+y an+ 1eelings? meaning that
he liAes in com1ort an+ +ies triumphant- Such is the path o1 the
warrior who emerges truly Aictorious to become a superior in+iAi+ual-
He conCuers himsel1? becomes superior within himsel1 R
an+ is 1ully contente+-
Scariya Mun was an eKemplary teacher in eAery aspect o1
his practice- His persistence? 1ortitu+e? courage? 1rugality? an+ all)
roun+ ingenuity were outstan+ing Cualities that put him in a class
o1 his own in the present +ay an+ age- &t woul+ be Aery +i11icult
1or any o1 his +isciples to surpass him- He possesse+ celestial hearing
an+ celestial sight? as well as paracittaAiXX7* the ability to communicate
psychically with beings as +iAerse as animals? humans?
ghosts? +eAas? brahmas? yamas? an+ n7gas-== He coul+ see not only
animals an+ humans with their gross physical bo+ies? but also
the subtle nonphysical 1orms o1 ghosts an+ +eAas- He 6new the
intimate Xoys an+ sorrows o1 human beings an+ coul+ rea+ their
innermost thoughts-
innermost thoughts-
unusual 1rom Scariya Mun when eAentually they met- But
especially at ris6 were those who +are+ to let their min+s wan+er
in his presence- &t +i+nJt matter what he was +oing at the time R
he might be instructing the mon6s? or haAing a conAersation? or
whateAer- He woul+ giAe the culprit a tongue)lashing or use some
unusual ploy to get his attention- #nly when he 1elt +isincline+ to
respon+ +i+ he allow such thoughts to pass unchallenge+-
Accor+ing to the accounts o1 many senior +isciples who liAe+
with him in :hiang Mai? Scariya MunJs mastery o1 such 1aculties
as celestial hearing? celestial seeing? an+ thought rea+ing? was so
amaUing it coul+ be 1rightening- His ability to rea+ thoughts was
so lightning Cuic6 that those entertaining unwholesome thoughts
almost inAariably hear+ about it- :onseCuently? mon6s who liAe+
with him nee+e+ to guar+ their sense 1aculties Aery care1ully- &1
not? they certainly got caught 1or they coul+ not elu+e his penetrating
genius an+ 1in+ a sa1e way to hi+e-
#nce? +ue to his 1ear o1 Scariya Mun? a mon6 thought
about the 1erocity Scariya MunJs a+monitions- .hen the mon6
neKt saw him? Scariya Mun imme+iately a++resse+ the Cuestion-
@Almost eAerything we use R 1rom our 1oo+ to our reCuisites
to the robes we wear R must pass through Aarious stages
o1 preparation be1ore being turne+ into use1ul items- 'ice
must be plante+? harAeste+? an+ coo6e+V woo+ must be
cut? sawe+? an+ plane+V an+ cloth must be woAen an+ sewn
into robes- &snJt that right_ !hese things +onJt become 1inishe+
pro+ucts rea+y 1or use or consumption unless a lot o1
wor6 is +one on them- 8oo+ an+ shelter are the pro+uct o1
manJs labor- !hey +o not simply materialiUe 1rom nowhere-
#nly corpses are totally inactiAe? lying li1eless an+ haAing
no nee+ to proAi+e 1or their own liAelihoo+- .ith no reason
to a+Xust their behaAior? they haAe no nee+ 1or a teacher to
scol+ them an+ giAe instructions- But you are aliAe an+ still
see6ing a teacherJs gui+ance- (et youJre unreasonably a1rai+
o1 your teacher? citing his 1ierce a+monitions as a rationale-
!hen again? i1 your teacher simply 6ept his mouth shut?
you woul+ probably accuse him o1 1ailing to teach you an+
thus be eAen more upset- &n the 1inal analysis? nothing Cuite
suits you- (our thoughts Xump aroun+ li6e a mon6ey Xumping
up an+ +own in the trees- &1 it 6eeps Xumping about
long enough? it will Xump on a rotten branch an+ en+ up
in a heap on the groun+- .hich +o you want to be_ Do
you want to be a mon6ey Xumping on a rotten branch? or a
mon6 with a teacher to gui+e you_B
Sometimes? he con1ronte+ the culprit +irectly? motiAating him
to become more min+1ully aware o1 his own thoughts- At other
times? he simply ma+e some obliCue? sarcastic re1erence to a mon6Js
thoughts- !he obXectiAe in either case was to warn a stu+ent that
his thoughts ha+ not passe+ into obliAion? but coul+ return again
to haunt him- He was ma+e aware o1 his mista6e so that in the
1uture he coul+ eKercise more restraint in his thin6ing-
Sometimes? in or+er to inspire his +isciples in their practice?
Scariya Mun gaAe a 1iery +iscourse in which he o11ere+ himsel1 as
liAing proo1 o1 what coul+ be achieAe+ through perseAerance an+
courage in the 1ace o1 +eath-
@&1 you allow the 1ear o1 +eath to stop you 1rom practicing
me+itation with uncompromising +iligence? you will be
oblige+ to come bac6 an+ +ie time an+ time again in 1uture
births- !hose who can oAercome their 1ear o1 +eath will be
able to re+uce the number o1 1uture births until eAentually
they transcen+ birth an+ +eath altogether- NeAer again will
they return to bear the bur+en o1 +u66ha- .hile perseAering
un1linchingly in the 1ace o1 eKcruciating pain? & mysel1
passe+ out three times R yet & +i+ not +ie- & manage+ to
surAiAe an+ become your teacher- None o1 you haAe eAer
persiste+ in your e11orts to the point where you passe+ out?
unconscious- So? what ma6es you so a1rai+ o1 +ying_ &1 you
+onJt actually eKperience what itJs li6e to +ie? it is unli6ely
youJll eAer see the won+ers o1 Dhamma- .hether you belieAe
it or not? this is the metho+ & use+ to realiUe Dhamma- So
there is no way & can teach you to merely ta6e it easy* at a
lot? sleep a lot? an+ be laUy R then the 6ilesas
will ta6e 1right-
& cannot teach that because thatJs not the way to instill 1ear
in the 6ilesas- Such an attitu+e will only amuse the 6ilesas*
].e thought these mon6s ha+ come to be +iligent? so why
are they lying aroun+ li6e breathing corpses_ !hese breath
ing +ea+ are har+ly worthy o1 a+mirationJ-B
ing +ea+ are har+ly worthy o1 a+mirationJ-B
thought to himsel1 that perseAering to the point o1 passing
out was eKcessiAe* &1 & haAe to reach the point where & pass out?
unconscious? & +onJt want to go to Nibb7na yet- &Jll Xust put up with
the pain an+ su11ering o1 this worl+ li6e eAeryone else- &JAe got lots o1
company- &1 going to Nibb7na means pushing onesel1 to the eKtent o1
passing out? then whoeAer wants to go is welcome to +o so? but &Jm not
going R thatJs 1or sure- %i1e in the worl+ is surely pain1ul? but not nearly
as pain1ul as being ren+ere+ unconscious- Besi+es? i1 we haAe to pass
out be1ore we can attain Nibb7na that means thereJs not much +i11erence
between Nibb7na an+ a +rug)in+uce+ coma- .ho wants that_ &
certainly +onJt- & haAe no +esire to pass out- Zust seeing someone else
1aint scares me to +eath? let alone haAing it happen to me-
Be1ore long Scariya Mun began spea6ing again? this time
in heate+ tones that penetrate+ 1orcibly into the mon6Js reAerie-
@(ou +onJt belieAe me? huh_ Do you thin6 &Jm lying to you
Xust 1or 1un? or what_ &1 you +o not trust me? please leaAe2
.hy stay here being a bur+en on this monastery_ & +i+ not
inAite you to come here R you came on your own? so you
shoul+ leaAe on your own- DonJt wait to be thrown out2 &tJs
useless 1or you to stay here anyway R the Bu++haJs teaching
wasnJt proclaime+ 1or i+iots li6e you2 (our way o1 thin6ing is
entirely inappropriate 1or a mon6 wearing the yellow robes-
A Bu++hist mon6 is one who puts his 1aith in Dhamma- But
since your i+eas contra+ict the %or+ Bu++haJs path to liberation?
it is obAious that you +onJt trust me or the Dhamma-
(ou are welcome to go anywhere to eat an+ sleep in com1ort
without haAing to trouble yoursel1 with me+itation practice-
&1 you come to realiUe the !ruth o1 Dhamma using this
metho+? please come bac6 an+ haAe mercy on this stupi+
ol+ mon6- & shall raise my claspe+ han+s to the heaAens to
honor your gracious maXestyJs bene+iction2
@& teach the truth when & say that anyone eKpecting to transcen+
must be 1earless when 1acing +eath- But you
+onJt belieAe itJs true- (ou 1igure it is better to +ie an+ be
reborn in this worl+ so you can continue carrying your
bur+en o1 misery whereAer you go- &1 you want to go on li6e
this? thatJs your business- But? +onJt come here an+ contra+ict
the teaching o1 the %or+ Bu++ha- &1 you +o? you will be a
thorn in the Bu++haJs si+e an+ an obstacle bloc6ing the path
o1 those truly wishing to 1ollow him- #pinions li6e yours are
not only wrong? but? shoul+ you +eci+e to giAe Aoice to them?
you will become an enemy o1 Bu++hism an+ religious people
eAerywhere- & assume+ that you came here to +eAelop yoursel1
spiritually an+ so uphol+ the s7sana- & neAer imagine+ you
were going to ruin yoursel1 an+ then +estroy the s7sana
+eAote+ 1ollowers o1 the %or+ Bu++ha as well- But now & realiUe
that you haAe come li6e an eKecutioner to +estroy eAerything-
(ouJ+ better change your attitu+e right away- #therwise?
you will certainly ruin yoursel1 an+ ta6e a lot o1 other
people with you R an+ that woul+ be a terrible shame-
@!he %or+ Bu++ha is sai+ to haAe passe+ unconscious
three times as he striAe+ to attain enlightenment- DonJt
you belieAe it is true_ &1 you +onJt? perhaps you suppose the
Bu++ha was lying to us- A person li6e you? who or+ains
as a +hutanga
mon6 but still re1uses to trust the Bu++ha
an+ his Dhamma? is someone +eAoi+ o1 intrinsic human
Aalue- (our opinions ma6e you no +i11erent than a breathing
corpse R a liAing? stin6ing corpse that somehow manages
to 6eep breathing 1rom one +ay to the neKt- .hat +o
you say_ .hich path are you going to choose 1or your own
sa1e passage_ & haAe no better path to o11er you than the one
& haAe alrea+y speci1ie+- &t is the path that the %or+ Bu++ha
an+ all the Arahants haAe ta6en- !here is no easier? more
esoteric path- & haAe 1ollowe+ this path 1rom the time o1
my or+ination up to the present? an+ it is the source o1 the
Dhamma that & teach to all my +isciples-B
!his was one o1 the most impassione+ +eclamations eAer giAen
by Scariya Mun R right to the point an+ 1ull o1 1irewor6s- .hat
& haAe recreate+ here is merely a sample? not the 1ull substance o1
what he sai+ by any means- !hose listening were so sha6en an+
intimi+ate+ they nearly san6 through the 1loor- NeAer in their
liAes ha+ they hear+ anything li6e it- By going straight to the
point? these 1iery eKpositions cause+ his au+ience to see the truth
o1 his wor+s? an+ thus submit to it? eAen as they 1elt 1rightene+ to
+eath o1 him-
'ealiUing the truth o1 what he hear+? the mon6? whose
thoughts proAo6e+ this barrage? gra+ually acCuiesce+ until he
accepte+ it totally an+ without reserAations- As that happene+?
the intensity in Scariya MunJs Aoice gra+ually subsi+e+ until he
soun+e+ Cuite conciliatory- .hen he was conAince+ that the
mon6 ha+ accepte+ the truth? he 1inishe+ spea6ing an+ a+Xourne+
the meeting-
mon6 ha+ accepte+ the truth? he 1inishe+ spea6ing an+ a+Xourne+
the meeting-
Normally +hutanga
mon6s +i+ not conceal their thoughts
an+ opinions 1rom one another- &1 their thoughts became the
subXect o1 Scariya MunJs rebu6e? they inAariably a+mitte+ their
lapses in Xu+gment when they were Cuestione+ later- Although the
mon6s usually 1oun+ it amusing when a 1ellow)mon6 was roaste+
by Scariya Mun? they also became conscious o1 their own shortcomings-
Such shortcomings coul+ be easily eKpose+ on alms)
roun+? or on some other erran+ outsi+e the monastery? where a
mon6 encountere+ an emotionally stimulating obXect that stuc6
in his min+ an+ became a preoccupation- Such in+iscretion was
li6ely to elicit the 6in+ o1 1ierce response that 1rightene+ eAeryone
within earshot an+ prompte+ nerAous glances all aroun+- !erri1ie+
o1 Scariya Mun? ashame+ in 1ront o1 his 1rien+s? the culprit
was usually sha6ing as he sat? roote+ to his seat? with his hea+
bowe+ an+ not +aring to loo6 up- .hen the meeting was oAer? the
mon6s woul+ as6 aroun+ an+ 1in+ out that? as always? there was
in+ee+ one in their group whose thoughts cause+ Scariya MunJs
rebu6e- &t was rather a pity? 1or those mon6s ha+ no intention
o1 o11en+ing Scariya Mun- %i6e people eAerywhere with 6ilesas?
they were emotionally susceptible to things in their enAironment-
!heir min+1ulness was simply too slow in catching up with the
lightning Cuic6ness o1 their min+s R thus? Scariya MunJs 1reCuent
o1 o11en+ing Scariya Mun- %i6e people eAerywhere with 6ilesas?
they were emotionally susceptible to things in their enAironment-
!heir min+1ulness was simply too slow in catching up with the
lightning Cuic6ness o1 their min+s R thus? Scariya MunJs 1reCuent
us about them with unerring accuracy- #nly on occasions?
when he coul+ not be bothere+ to say anything? +i+ he remain
Cuiet- !hough his rebu6es were 1reCuent? he +i+ relaK occasionally
to let us catch our breath- #therwise? weJ+ probably haAe su11ocate+
to +eath- Because o1 my incurable restlessness? & mysel1
was chastise+ more o1ten than most- But those o1 us who en+ure+
an+ liAe+ patiently with him oAer a long perio+ o1 time were usually
energiUe+ in our me+itation practice- .e +eAelope+ a 1irm
anchor in our hearts as a result o1 his eKhortations which constantly
1orge+? tempere+? an+ beat our practice into shape- :onstant
Aigilance? an+ the restraint it 1ostere+? ma+e it possible to
cultiAate the min+1ulness an+ wis+om necessary to resist inci+ental
temptations- &n the conteKt o1 the art o1 magic? it can be compare+
to learning the necessary s6ills an+ then testing them out
against the teacher until one is imperAious to attac6- :alm an+
secure in the 6nowle+ge that their harm1ul potential has been
neutraliUe+? one can withstan+ guns an+ swor+s? unperturbe+-=D
&n the conteKt o1 Dhamma practice? it means one can stan+ 1irm
in the 1ace o1 eAocatiAe emotions an+ temptations that normally
arouse +esire? without 1ear o1 being in1luence+ or se+uce+- &n
other wor+s? remaining unperturbe+ in all situations-
!he trouble is? most people react to tal6 about Nibb7na by
1eeling o++ly +eXecte+ an+ +ismaye+- &t +oesnJt put them in a goo+
moo+ as +oes tal6 about worl+ly matters- HaAing no personal
eKperience o1 Nibb7na? they probably thin6 that itJs not as enXoyable
as the hum+rum things they are accustome+ to- Not only has
the present generation lost interest in Nibb7na R eAen our parents
an+ gran+parents were not much intereste+? nor +i+ they encourage
others to ta6e an interest- At most? they may haAe encourage+
their 1amily to go to the local monastery 1rom time to time to ta6e
the precepts an+ hear Dhamma- Perhaps they sometimes encourage+
their 1amilies to +o me+itation practice to calm them +own
a bit an+ 6eep their behaAior within acceptable limits- #1 course?
one way or another they +i+ manage to a+Aise their 1amily an+
1rien+s to +o Xust about eAerything else? until 1e+ up with hearing
their a+Aice? most people no longer bothere+ to ta6e it-
Un+oubte+ly? most people haAe alrea+y +eci+e+ that Nibb7na
must be a Aery silent place? there being no music or entertainment
an+ no one to in+ulge them in their 1aAorite pastimes- !hey probably
see it as a place +eAoi+ o1 anything stimulating or eKciting? an+
there1ore? they +onJt want to go there- !hey 1ear +ropping into a
still? silent hell without a soul in sight* !here woul+ be no 1amily?
no 1rien+s? an+ no soun+s? eAer? o1 bir+s an+ cars? or laughter an+
crying- &t appears to be a rather blea6? un+esirable place in eAery
way- So people who still harbor ambitions +o not want to go to
Nibb7na- An+ eAen i1 they +i+? they woul+ be unable to go? 1or
their ambitions woul+ hol+ them bac6 an+ ma6e them hesitate-
People who can truly attain Nibb7na are those who haAe
absolutely no worl+ly ambitions or inAolAements- Being neither
passionate nor impassiAe? neither relaKe+ nor tense? but remain
ing per1ectly balance+? they are naturally centere+ in the Mi++le
.ay- HaAing no +esires? no eKpectations? an+ no longings? they
ta6e no enXoyment 1rom worl+ly pleasures? which merely agitate
the heart an+ cause 1rustration- Always imperturbable? they eKperience
only an eKCuisite? serene happiness that contrasts sharply
with the happiness o1 those whose hearts are corrupte+ by worl+ly
concerns- Such mun+ane happiness? being ambiguous an+ 1luctuating?
is always 1leeting? an+ unreliable- &t resembles mur6y? mu++y
water- &tJs li6e 1oo+ thatJs spicy? sour? blan+? an+ salty all at once-
Besi+es causing in+igestion an+ uncom1ortable +rowsiness? it is
not Aery appetiUing- So people shoul+ care1ully eKamine the things
they encounter eAery +ay an+ test them to +iscoAer which ones
are a+Aantageous an+ which are not- !hen they can 1ilter out the
unwholesome elements an+ preAent them 1rom piling up in their
hearts until their numbers oAerwhelm an+ there is no room to
store them all- #therwise? whereAer they loo6? they will see only
this accumulation o1 misery that theyJAe collecte+-
.hen it comes to sel1)+iscipline? the wise are much more
cleAer than we are- Aerything they +o? say? or thin6 is +irecte+
precisely towar+ achieAing their inten+e+ obXectiAe- !hey are not
at o++s with the !ruth? nor arrogant or conceite+ about their
achieAements- .hen cautione+? they Cuic6ly ta6e the warning
to heart as a use1ul lesson? which is Cuite +i11erent 1rom the way
the rest o1 us react- By 1ollowing the eKample o1 the wise? we will
become reasonable? mo+erate people who re1use to 1ollow those
+esires that haAe rule+ oAer our hearts 1or so long- #ur e11orts to
oAercome those +esires will thus trans1orm our hearts in a way
that +e1initely results in a +egree o1 contentment thatJs clearly eAi+ent
to us- Aen without millions in the ban6? our own eKemplary
con+uct? plus what little wealth we +o possess? will be su11icient
to 6eep us happy-
con+uct? plus what little wealth we +o possess? will be su11icient
to 6eep us happy-
con+emns such gains? bestowing 1ruits o1 misery as Xust
rewar+s 1or the 1uture- .ise people Aiew this prospect with great
trepi+ation? but we? o1 lesser intelligence? still pre1er to scramble
hea+long a1ter our +esires? sel1ishly in+ulging in pleasures that
come along without eAer getting enough to satis1y our appetites-
No matter how har+ we try? we neAer seem to eKperience the 6in+
o1 contentment that we long 1or-
DU'&N9 H&S (A'S in :hiang Mai? Scariya Mun receiAe+ numerous
letters 1rom :hao $hun Dhammache+i o1 .at Bo+hisomphon
monastery in U+on !hani proAince- &n his letters? :hao
$hun Dhammache+i? who ha+ been a +isciple o1 Scariya Mun
since his youth? always inAite+ him to return to U+on !hani-
Scariya Mun neAer replie+ to those letters? nor +i+ he accept the
inAitation- !hen in the year END<? :hao $hun Dhammache+i
traAele+ 1rom U+on !hani all the way to the isolate+ region where
Scariya Mun liAe+ to inAite him personally? an+ thus gaAe him a
chance to answer all the correspon+ence he ha+ receiAe+- He tol+
:hao $hun Dhammache+i that he ha+ rea+ all his letters? but he
rec6one+ they were small an+ insigni1icant compare+ to the ]big
letterJ that ha+ Xust arriAe+V so? now he was rea+y to reply- !hat
sai+? both mon6s laughe+ heartily-
chance to answer all the correspon+ence he ha+ receiAe+- He tol+
:hao $hun Dhammache+i that he ha+ rea+ all his letters? but he
rec6one+ they were small an+ insigni1icant compare+ to the ]big
letterJ that ha+ Xust arriAe+V so? now he was rea+y to reply- !hat
sai+? both mon6s laughe+ heartily-
inAite+ Scariya Mun to return to the proAince o1 U+on !hani
where he once liAe+ so many years be1ore- :hao $hun Dhammache+i
in1orme+ him that his +isciples in U+on !hani? missing
him Aery much? ha+ as6e+ him to inAite Scariya Mun on their
behal1- !his time he coul+ not obXect R he ha+ to accept- :hao
$hun Dhammache+i suggeste+ they wor6 out a timetable 1or
pic6ing up Scariya Mun an+ escorting him bac6 to U+on !hani-
!hey +eci+e+ on the beginning o1 May END<-
As his +eparture 1rom the mountain retreat became imminent?
large groups o1 terrestrial +eAas
plea+e+ with him to stay-
Being Aery reluctant to see him leaAe? they tol+ him that +eAas
1rom all realms eKperience+ peace an+ contentment while he
liAe+ there? +ue to the power o1 loAing 6in+ness which emanate+
1rom him an+ issue+ in all +irections R +ay an+ night- 8eeling
Aery happy in his presence? they all greatly reAere+ him- !hey
were unwilling to haAe him leaAe 1or they 6new that their sense o1
contentment 1rom his presence woul+ soon 1a+e- Aen their social
cohesion coul+ be a11ecte+ as a result-
Scariya Mun tol+ them that? haAing giAen his wor+? he must
leaAe- He must honor his promise R he coul+nJt possibly renege
on it- Unli6e most people? a mon6Js wor+ is a solemn coAenant-
A mon6 is a man o1 Airtue so he must remain true to his wor+- &1
he goes bac6 on a promise? his Airtue imme+iately +isappears an+
his worth as a mon6 is then +eAalue+- So a mon6 must preserAe
his moral integrity-
his worth as a mon6 is then +eAalue+- So a mon6 must preserAe
his moral integrity-
him to U+on !hani le1t their mountain retreat an+ began
the long tre6 to the city o1 :hiang Mai where they staye+ at .at
:he+i %uang monastery- Scariya #on o1 .at !ipayaratananimit
monastery arriAe+ with some lay supporters at about the same
time to receiAe Scariya Mun an+ to escort him to U+on !hani-
Scariya Mun remaine+ at .at :he+i %uang monastery 1or about
one wee6- During that time? a large group o1 his local +eAotees
came to persua+e him to eKten+ his stay in :hiang Mai 1or the
bene1it o1 eAeryone there- But haAing accepte+ the inAitation to
U+on !hani? he coul+ not +elay his +eparture-
Be1ore he le1t? :hao $hun '7Xa6awi as6e+ him to giAe a special
tal6 on the occasion o1 Vis76ha PTX7=M to serAe as a remembrance
1or his many +eAotees- At that time? & ha+ Xust mysel1
arriAe+ in :hiang Mai an+ so listene+ to this +iscourse with great
interest- He spo6e 1or eKactly three hours that +ayV an+ what he
sai+ was so impressiAe that & haAe neAer 1orgotten it- Here is the
essence o1 what he sai+*
@!o+ay is Vis76ha PTX7- &t celebrates the +ay the %or+ Bu++ha was
born? the +ay he attaine+ enlightenment? an+ the +ay he passe+
away into Parinibb7na- !he birth o1 a Bu++ha stan+s in mar6e+
contrast to the births o1 all other beings- &n being born? the
Bu++ha +i+ not succumb to worl+ly illusions about birth? li1e? or
+eath- More than that? through the power o1 his all)encompassing
wis+om? he was able to realiUe the true nature o1 birth? li1e? an+
+eath R attaining what we call ]enlightenmentJ- At the appropri
ate time he bi+ 1arewell to his 6han+has?
which were the tools he
relie+ on to +eAelop Airtue to per1ectionV an+ then passe+ away R
as be1its a worl+ teacher who is absolutely beyon+ reproach-
Be1ore +eparting his physical bo+y? which ha+ reache+ the en+ o1
its natural li1e? he beCueathe+ the Dhamma to the worl+? inten+ing
that it represent him an+ 1ul1ill the role o1 teacher in his stea+-
Such a gi1t is worthy o1 our complete 1aith? an+ worthy o1 any
@As you 6now? we are born as human beings because we possess
su11icient inherent goo+ness to ma6e it possible- But we shoul+nJt
ta6e ourselAes an+ our inherent goo+ness 1or grante+ by neglecting
to +eAelop Airtuous Cualities in this li1e to enhance our 1uture liAes-
#therwise? the human status we enXoy may +isappear to be irreAocably
eclipse+ by a low? un+esirable birth- Be it high status or low
status R with happiness o1 eAery possible +egree up to the Ultimate
Happiness? or pain an+ su11ering o1 eAery possible +egree +own to
the most eKcruciating R we ourselAes are responsible 1or our own
li1e circumstances- DonJt thin6 that only those presently a11ecte+
by a+Aerse circumstances eKperience such things- As potential li1e
situations? they are share+ in common by eAeryone? becoming our
own personal heritage i1 an+ when we create the con+itions 1or
them- 8or this reason? the Bu++ha taught that we shoul+ neAer
loo6 +own on other people? hol+ing them in contempt- Seeing
someone liAing in misery or abXect poAerty? we shoul+ re1lect on
the possibility that one +ay we coul+ also 1in+ ourselAes in such a
position? or one eAen worse- At the moment o1 rec6oning? none o1
us has the power to aAoi+ the conseCuences o1 our actions- All o1
us share the same capacity to ma6e goo+ an+ ba+ 6amma? so itJs
possible that some +ay we will be in their position an+ they will be
in ours- !he s7sana
is a +octrine that we can use to eKamine ourselAes
an+ others? enabling us to correctly choose the best possible
way 1orwar+- &n this respect it has no eCual-
@!hroughout my many years as a mon6 & haAe remaine+
1irmly committe+ to the practice o1 eKamining mysel1? striAing
always to +iscriminate between the goo+ an+ the ba+ things arising
within me 1rom moment to moment- & now clearly realiUe that
the heart is the principal instigator in the creation o1 6amma- &n
other wor+s? our hearts are the source o1 all 6amma
R 6amma
that belongs solely to the one who ma6es it- !here shoul+ be no
+oubt about this- !hose +oubting the eKistence o1 6amma
R an+
so? +isbelieAing o1 its e11ects R blin+ly ta6e their own situation
1or grante+ until theyJre beyon+ re+emption- Although theyJAe
been born an+ raise+ by their parents? such people 1ail to see the
Aalue o1 the mother an+ 1ather who gaAe them li1e an+ sustenance-
!hey loo6 no 1urther than their own sel1ish eKistence? unaware o1
how aw1ul it really is? 1or they care little that they were born an+
raise+ by parents who supporte+ their growth an+ +eAelopment in
eAery way- A chil+Js bo+y is nourishe+ by the 1oo+ an+ +rin6 its
parents proAi+e? allowing it to grow up strong an+ healthy- &1 such
actions are not 6amma? what then shoul+ they be calle+_ An+ i1
the nourishment the bo+y receiAes in this way is not the 1ruit o1
6amma? then what else? in truth? coul+ it be_
@#bAiously there is a root cause 1or all the goo+ness an+
eAil? all the happiness an+ su11ering eKperience+ by people eAerywhere
in the worl+- .hen someoneJs rec6less thin6ing lea+s him
to commit suici+e R thereJs a reason behin+ it- !he root cause?
6amma? mani1esting itsel1 within the heart? can haAe such an
impact on a person that he actually ta6es his own li1e without
realiUing that the 6amma
he has alrea+y create+ is playing a role-
.hat is that but total blin+ness_
eKists as a part o1 our Aery being- .e create 6amma
eAery moment? Xust as the results o1 our preAious 6amma
arise to
a11ect us eAery moment- &1 you insist on +oubting the eKistence o1
an+ its results? then you are stuc6 at a +ea+ en+- $amma
not something that 1ollows us li6e a +og 1ollowing its master- #n
the contrary? our Aery thoughts? speech? an+ actions are 6amma-
!he true results o1 6amma
are the +egrees o1 happiness an+ su11ering
eKperience+ by all beings in the worl+? inclu+ing those beings
who liAe out their liAes unaware o1 6amma- Such ignorance is also
a 6armic conseCuence-B
& mysel1 listene+ to this tal6 with heart1elt satis1action as & ha+
long been 6eenly intereste+ in Scariya Mun- & eKperience+ such
a +eep sense o1 Xoy about him an+ his Dhamma that & 1elt as i1
& were 1loating on air- & 1elt that & simply coul+nJt hear enough- &
haAe giAen you the gist o1 what he sai+ so that all o1 you? who
ha+ no opportunity to hear him spea6? may un+erstan+ something
about the nature o1 your 6amma- $amma
being something
common to us all? it is possible you may recogniUe you own 6amma
in his wor+s-
.hen he 1inishe+ spea6ing? Scariya Mun rose 1rom his seat
an+ prostrate+ himsel1 in 1ront o1 the main Bu++ha image- :hao
$hun '7Xa6awi tol+ him how much eAeryone ha+ enXoye+ the
outstan+ing +iscourse he ha+ Xust +eliAere+- Scariya Mun replie+
that it might well be his @1inal encoreB since he probably woul+nJt
return to giAe another tal6 +ue to his +eclining years- !his was
his way o1 telling eAeryone present that he woul+ not return to
:hiang Mai again be1ore he +ie+- As it turne+ out? this was true
R Scariya Mun neAer again returne+ to :hiang Mai-
A1ter remaining seAeral more +ays at .at :he+i %uang monastery?
Scariya Mun 1inally le1t? hea+ing 1irst 1or Bang6o6- Som+et
Phra Mah7 .irawong an+ the other senior mon6s? together with
scores o1 lay supporters? escorte+ him 1rom the monastery to the
train station- Also present was a host o1 +eAas- Scariya Mun sai+
that +eAas
1ille+ the s6y aroun+ him in eAery +irection as they?
too? came to escort him to the station- !hey remaine+? hoAering
in the s6y? eAen a1ter he reache+ the station? waiting to sen+ him
o11 be1ore returning to their respectiAe realms- A chaotic scene
ensue+ as he ha+ to greet the scores o1 mon6s an+ lay people
who were gathere+ there? while he simultaneously trie+ to psychically
bestow his blessing upon all the +eAas
who hoAere+ in the
air 1or a 1inal blessing 1rom him- &n the en+? he was able to turn
his un+iAi+e+ attention to the +eAas
an+ bestow his 1inal blessing
only a1ter he ha+ 1inishe+ spea6ing to all the people an+ the train
began pulling out o1 the station-
He sai+ he truly 1elt sorry 1or those +eAas
who hel+ him
in such high esteem that they were reluctant to see him leaAe-
!hey showe+ all the same signs o1 +istress an+ +isappointment
that human beings +o- Some eAen continue+ to hoAer behin+ the
train as it spe+ +own the trac6s? until 1inally Scariya Mun 1elt it
necessary to tell them to return to their respectiAe realms- !hey
+eparte+ reluctantly? won+ering i1 he woul+ eAer come bac6 to
assist them again- &n the en+ they were to be +isappointe+? 1or
he neAer +i+ return- He neAer mentione+ whether the terrestrial
o1 :hiang Mai came to Aisit him later on when he liAe+ in
the proAinces o1 U+on !hani an+ Sa6on Na6hon-
Unusual Questions?
nlightening Answers
pon arriAing in Bang6o6? Scariya Mun went to stay at
.at Boromaniwat monastery? 1ollowing the instructions
telegramme+ 1rom Som+et Phra Mah7 .irawong- Be1ore
he +eparte+ 1or U+on !hani? many people came to see him at
.at Boromaniwat with Cuestions- Some o1 these Cuestions were
rather unusual? so & haAe +eci+e+ to inclu+e them-
Question* @& un+erstan+ that you maintain only one rule
instea+ o1 the 1ull ;;O monastic rules that all other mon6s 6eep-
&s that true_B
Scariya Mun* @(es? & maintain only the one rule-B
Question* @.hich one +o you maintain_B
Scariya Mun* @My min+-B
Question* @So? you +onJt maintain all ;;O rules_B
Scariya Mun* @& maintain my min+ by not allowing any
wrong thoughts? speech? or actions that woul+ Aiolate the prohibitions
lai+ +own by the Bu++ha? be they ;;O in number or eAen
more than that- !hose who +oubt whether or not & maintain the
;;O monastic rules can thin6 an+ say what they please- As 1or me?
1rom the +ay o1 my or+ination & haAe always maintaine+ strict
control oAer my min+? as it is the master o1 bo+y an+ speech-B
Question* @(ou mean we haAe to maintain our min+s in
or+er to maintain the moral precepts_B
1rom the +ay o1 my or+ination & haAe always maintaine+ strict
control oAer my min+? as it is the master o1 bo+y an+ speech-B
Question* @(ou mean we haAe to maintain our min+s in
or+er to maintain the moral precepts_B
R & must maintain my min+ in moral Airtue-B
Question* @&JAe hear+ it sai+ that 6eeping our actions an+
speech in goo+ or+er is calle+ morality? which lea+ me to un+erstan+
that itJs not really necessary to loo6 a1ter the min+- !hatJs
why & as6e+-B
Scariya Mun* @&t is Cuite true that morality entails 6eeping
our actions an+ speech in goo+ or+er- But be1ore we can put
our actions an+ speech in goo+ moral or+er? we must consi+er the
source o1 moral Airtue- &t originates with the master o1 bo+y an+
speech R the min+ R which ma6es them behaAe properly- #nce
we haAe establishe+ that the min+ is the +etermining 1actor? we
must ascertain how it relates to action an+ speech so that they
stay in goo+ moral or+er that is a source o1 com1ort to us an+
others ali6e- &tJs not only moral Airtue that the min+ must +eal
with- !he min+ superAises the per1ormance o1 eAery actiAity we
engage in? ma6ing sure that itJs +one in a proper? or+erly 1ashion
to pro+uce eKcellent results each time-
@!reating an illness reCuires +iagnosing its cause? then +eAising
an e11ectiAe cure be1ore it +eAelops into a chronic con+ition-
!a6ing care o1 morality reCuires the min+ to be in e11ectiAe control-
#therwise? the result will be tarnishe+ morality thatJs patchy?
an+ 1ull o1 holes- Such splintere+? inconsistent Airtue is truly piti1ul-
&t moAes people to liAe an aimless eKistence an+ ineAitably
causes an a+Aerse e11ect on the entire religion- Besi+es that? itJs not
a source o1 com1ort to the person practicing it? nor is it a+mire+
by his peers-
@& haAe neAer +one much stu+ying- A1ter & or+aine+? my
teacher too6 me as a wan+ering mon6 into the mountains an+
1orests- & learne+ Dhamma 1rom the trees an+ grasses? the riAers
an+ the streams? the cli11s an+ the caAes- & learne+ it 1rom the
soun+s o1 bir+s an+ wil+ animals? 1rom the natural enAironment
aroun+ me- & +i+nJt stu+y the scriptures long enough to become
well)Aerse+ in the teaching on moral AirtueV an+ my answers to
your Cuestions ten+ to re1lect that primitiAe e+ucation- & 1eel
rather ina+eCuate 1or my inability to proAi+e answers that woul+
be suitably eloCuent 1or your e+i1ication-B
Question* @.hat is the nature o1 morality an+ what constitutes
genuine moral Airtue_B
Scariya Mun* @Being min+1ully aware o1 our thoughtsV
6nowing which things are appropriate to thin6 about an+ which
are notV ta6ing care how we eKpress ourselAes by way o1 bo+y?
speech? an+ min+V controlling these three 1actors so that they
remain within the con1ines o1 what is morally acceptable- By
properly a+hering to these con+itions we can be con1i+ent that
the moral nature o1 our behaAior is eKemplary an+ we are neAer
unruly or o11ensiAe- Apart 1rom such eKemplary con+uct in bo+y?
speech? an+ min+? itJs +i11icult to say what genuine moral Airtue is?
since itJs impossible to separate its practice 1rom the person who
maintains it- !hey are not +istinct entities? li6e a house an+ its
owner R the house on one han+? the owner on another- !rying
to +istinguish between moral Airtue an+ the person who maintains
it is Aery problematic? so & woul+nJt want to +o it- Aen the
peace o1 min+ resulting 1rom the practice o1 moral Airtue cannot
actually be separate+ 1rom that moral Airtue- &1 morality coul+ be
isolate+ in this manner? it woul+ probably haAe been on sale in
the stores long ago- &n such a case? peopleJs moral Airtue woul+
probably become a lucratiAe target 1or thieAes to steal an+ sell o11
to the highest bi++er? leaAing many people totally +epriAe+- %i6e
all other possessions? moral Airtue woul+ then become a source
o1 anKiety- &t woul+ cause Bu++hists to become weary o1 striAing
1or it? an+ insecure about hol+ing onto their acCuisition- :onseCuently?
the inability to 6now what precisely constitutes genuine
moral Airtue is a way to aAoi+ the +angers arising 1rom moral
issues? thus allowing Airtuous in+iAi+uals a cleAer way to gain
peace o1 min+- Being Aery wary o1 the inherent +angers? & haAe
neAer thought o1 separating mysel1 1rom the moral Airtue that &
practice- !hose unwilling to ma6e this separation remain content
whereAer they go? whateAer they +o? 1or they neAer haAe to
worry about losing their moral Airtue- !hose who see it as something
separate 1rom themselAes might worry so much that they
en+ up coming bac6 as ghosts a1ter +eath to anKiously watch oAer
their store o1 accumulate+ Airtue- &t woul+ be li6e +ying people
who 1ret about their wealth? an+ there1ore? get stuc6 in a 1rame
o1 min+ where they return as ghosts to 6eep anKious watch oAer
their accumulate+ riches-B
:omplete Sel1)assurance
#ne +ay the abbot o1 .at Boromaniwat monastery inAite+ Scariya
Mun 1or a priAate conAersation with him-E He began with a Cuestion-
@.hen you are liAing alone in the mountains an+ 1orests?
pre1erring not to be bothere+ by mon6s or lay people? whom +o
you consult 1or solutions when a problem arises in your practice_
Aen though & liAe in the capitol? which is 1ull o1 learne+ scholars
who can help me clear up my +oubts? still there are times when
& 1in+ mysel1 so completely ba11le+ that no one is able to help me
resolAe those +ilemmas- & 6now that you usually liAe aloneV so
when Cuestions arise? who +o you consult or how +o you +eal with
them_ Please eKplain this to me-B
Bol+ly? Scariya Mun replie+*
@Please allow me to answer you with complete sel1)assurance
which & gaine+ 1rom stu+ying 1un+amental natural principles* &
consult Dhamma? listening to it both +ay an+ night in all my +aily
actiAities? eKcept in sleep- As soon as & wa6e up? my heart is imme+iately
in contact with Dhamma- As 1or problems? my heart carries
on a constant +ebate with them- As ol+ problems are resolAe+?
new ones arise- &n resolAing one problem? some o1 the 6ilesas
+estroye+? while another that emerges starts another battle with
the 6ilesas
that remain- Aery conceiAable type o1 problem? 1rom
the grossest to the subtlest? 1rom the most circumscribe+ to the
most comprehensiAe? all o1 them arise an+ are 1ought within the
heart- :onseCuently? the heart is the battlegroun+ where 6ilesas
con1ronte+ an+ then eliminate+ each time a problem is resolAe+-
@& am not so intereste+ in thin6ing about whom & woul+
consult i1 problems arise in the 1uture- &Jm much more intereste+
in attac6ing the imme+iate ones that set the stage 1or the 6ilesas
lur6ing in the bac6groun+- By +emolishing them at eAery turn? &
gra+ually eliminate the 6ilesas 1rom my heart- So? & +o not concern
mysel1 with consulting other mon6s to help solAe my problems an+
ri+ my 6ilesas? 1or itJs much Cuic6er to rely on the min+1ulness an+
wis+om that arise continuously in my heart- ach time &Jm 1ace+
with a problem? & am clearly conscious o1 the maKim att7hi attano
n7thoin attac6ing the imme+iate ones that set the stage 1or the 6ilesas
lur6ing in the bac6groun+- By +emolishing them at eAery turn? &
gra+ually eliminate the 6ilesas 1rom my heart- So? & +o not concern
mysel1 with consulting other mon6s to help solAe my problems an+
ri+ my 6ilesas? 1or itJs much Cuic6er to rely on the min+1ulness an+
wis+om that arise continuously in my heart- ach time &Jm 1ace+
with a problem? & am clearly conscious o1 the maKim att7hi attano
n7thoR onesel1 is oneJs own re1uge R so & use metho+s & +eAise
1rom my own min+1ulness an+ wis+om to imme+iately solAe that
problem- &nstea+ o1 trying to glean answers 1rom the scriptures? &
+epen+ on Dhamma? in the 1orm o1 min+1ulness an+ wis+om? that
arise within me? to accept the challenge an+ 1in+ a solution that
allows me to procee+? unimpe+e+- Although some problems are so
pro1oun+ an+ compleK they reCuire a sustaine+? meticulous inAestigatiAe
e11ort? they are no match 1or the proAen e11ectiAeness o1
min+1ulness an+ wis+om in the en+- So they too +issolAe away-
@& haAe no +esire to see6 the companionship o1 my 1ellow
mon6s Xust so they can help me solAe my problems- & much pre1er
to liAe alone- %iAing all alone? solitary in bo+y an+ min+? means
contentment 1or me- .hen the time comes 1or me to +ie? & shall
pass away unencumbere+ by concerns 1or the past or the 1uture-
At the moment my breath ceases? all other matters will cease with
it- & apologiUe 1or answering your Cuestion so unintelligently- &Jm
a1rai+ my reasoning wasnJt Aery eloCuent-B
!he abbot? who ha+ listene+ attentiAely? was so wholehearte+ly
conAince+ by what he hear+ that he complimente+ Scariya
@(ou are an eKceptional person? as be1its one who truly li6es
liAing alone in the mountains an+ 1orests- !he Dhamma that you
haAe presente+ here cannot be 1oun+ in the scriptures because
the Dhamma recor+e+ in the teKts an+ the natural principles o1
Dhamma arising in the heart are really Cuite +i11erent- !o the
eKtent that the Dhamma in the teKts was recor+e+ +irectly 1rom
the mouth o1 the %or+ Bu++ha by those possessing a leAel o1 purity
eCual to his? to that eKtent? it is pure an+ una+ulterate+- But transcribers
o1 the teKts in later generations may not haAe been so
genuinely pure as the original ones? so the oAerall eKcellence o1
the Dhamma as subseCuently recor+e+ may haAe been mo+erate+
by its transcribers- 8or this reason? it is un+erstan+able that
Dhamma arising 1resh 1rom the heart woul+ be +i11erent 1rom
what is recor+e+ in the scriptures? eAen though they are both
within the scope o1 what we consi+er @DhammaB-
@& haAe no more +oubts concerning the Cuestion & rather stupi+ly
as6e+ you- Still? such stupi+ity +oes haAe its own bene1its? 1or
ha+ & not ma+e a stupi+ inCuiry? & woul+ not haAe hear+ your sagacious
reply- Not only haAe & sol+ my stupi+ity to+ay? but & haAe also
bought a lot o1 wis+om- (ou might also say that &JAe +ischarge+ a
loa+ o1 ignorance to acCuire a wealth o1 wis+om-
@& +o haAe one other Cuestion though- A1ter the %or+ Bu++haJs
+isciples too6 leaAe o1 him to go out an+ practice on their own? they
returne+ to as6 his a+Aice when problems arose in the course o1
their practice- #nce he helpe+ clear up their +oubts? they again
returne+ to their respectiAe locations- .hat was the nature o1
those problems that the Bu++haJs +isciples sought his a+Aice on_B
Scariya Mun replie+*
@.hen someone is aAailable 1or help with Cuic6? timely
results? people? who by nature pre1er to +epen+ on others? will opt
1or the shortcut? certain that it is better than trying to go it alone-
Kcept? o1 course? when the +istances inAolAe+ ma6e traAeling
there an+ bac6 entirely impractical- !hen they are oblige+ to
struggle as best they can? relying on the strength o1 their own
min+1ulness an+ wis+om? eAen i1 this +oes mean slower results-
Kcept? o1 course? when the +istances inAolAe+ ma6e traAeling
there an+ bac6 entirely impractical- !hen they are oblige+ to
struggle as best they can? relying on the strength o1 their own
min+1ulness an+ wis+om? eAen i1 this +oes mean slower results-
problems an+ resolAe their +oubts much more clearly an+
Cuic6ly than they coul+ eKpect to +o on their own- :onseCuently?
+isciples o1 his? who eKperience+ problems or ha+ +oubts? 1elt
oblige+ to see6 his a+Aice in or+er to resolAe them as Cuic6ly an+
+ecisiAely as possible- &1 the %or+ Bu++ha were aliAe to+ay an+ &
was in a position to Aisit him? & too woul+ go to as6 him Cuestions
that & haAe neAer been able to resolAe to my satis1action- &n that
way & coul+ aAoi+ haAing to tru+ge along laboriously? wasting precious
time as &JAe +one in the past-
@Still? reaching +e1inite conclusions on our own? while practicing
alone? is a laborious tas6 that we must all un+erta6e? 1or?
as &JAe mentione+? we must ultimately +epen+ on ourselAes- But
haAing a teacher who eluci+ates the correct way o1 practice an+
then recommen+s the right metho+s to 1ollow helps us see practical
results Cuic6ly an+ easily- !his contrasts sharply with results
we achieAe 1rom guesswor6 when we are practicing alone- & haAe
seen the +isa+Aantages o1 such uncertainty in my own practice?
but it was an unaAoi+able situation as & +i+ not haAe a teacher to
instruct me in those +ays- & ha+ to ma6e my way tentatiAely? stumbling
an+ pic6ing mysel1 up? ma6ing numerous mista6es along the
way- !he crucial 1actor was my resolAe? which remaine+ single)
min+e+ an+ unyiel+ing- Because it neAer lapse+? neAer wane+? &
was able to smooth out the rough patches in my practice? little by
little? until & gra+ually achieAe+ a true sense o1 satis1action- !hat
contentment gaAe me the opportunity to get my balance on the
path o1 practiceV an+ this? in turn? allowe+ me to loo6 +eeply into
the nature o1 the worl+ an+ the nature o1 Dhamma in the way
&JAe alrea+y mentione+-B
contentment gaAe me the opportunity to get my balance on the
path o1 practiceV an+ this? in turn? allowe+ me to loo6 +eeply into
the nature o1 the worl+ an+ the nature o1 Dhamma in the way
&JAe alrea+y mentione+-B
.H&% S!A(&N9 &N BAN9$#$? Scariya Mun was regularly inAite+ out
to eat in priAate homes? but he +ecline+? 1or he 1oun+ it +i11icult
to ta6e care o1 bo+ily necessities a1ter he 1inishe+ eating-
.hen he 1elt the time was appropriate? Scariya Mun le1t
Bang6o6 an+ hea+e+ 1or $orat where he ha+ been inAite+ to stay
by +eAotees in Na6hon 'atchasima- Staying at .at Pa Salawan
monastery? he receiAe+ numerous Aisitors who came to as6 him
Cuestions- !here was one which was especially interesting that
Scariya Mun himsel1 recounte+ to me R one which & haAe neAer
1orgotten eAen though & ten+ to be 1orget1ul- Perhaps & suspecte+
it woul+ one +ay 1orm part o1 his biography2 !his Cuestion was
as6e+ as a means o1 +iscoAering the true nature o1 Scariya MunJs
attainment? an+ whether he was actually worthy o1 the popular
acclaim he receiAe+- !he Cuestioner was an ar+ent stu+ent o1 the
way o1 6amma00h7na who earnestly sought the truth-
Questioner* @.hen you accepte+ the inAitation to come
to $orat? was it simply because you want to help your +eAotees
here? or haAe you also come hoping to striAe 1or the attainment
o1 magga? phala? an+ Nibb7na_B
Scariya Mun* @Being neither hungry nor +elu+e+? & am not
searching 1or anything that woul+ create +u66ha
an+ cause me
trouble- Hungry people are neAer content as they are? so they
run aroun+ searching here an+ there? latching on to whateAer
they 1in+ without consi+ering i1 their behaAior is right or not- &n
the en+? their acCuisitiAeness scorches them li6e a blaUing 1ire-
Delu+e+ people are always searching 1or something- But & haAe
no +elusion? so & am not searching- !hose who are not +elu+e+
haAe no nee+ to search- Aerything is alrea+y per1ect within their
hearts? so why shoul+ they bother_ .hy shoul+ they get eKcite+
an+ grasp at sha+ows when they 6now per1ectly well that sha+ows
are not genuine truths- 9enuine truths are the 8our Noble !ruths?
an+ they are alrea+y present within the min+s an+ bo+ies o1 all
liAing beings- HaAing 1ully un+erstoo+ these truths? & am no longer
+elu+e+V so what else woul+ you haAe me see6_ &Jm still aliAe an+
people nee+ my help? so & assist them R itJs as simple as that-
run aroun+ searching here an+ there? latching on to whateAer
they 1in+ without consi+ering i1 their behaAior is right or not- &n
the en+? their acCuisitiAeness scorches them li6e a blaUing 1ire-
Delu+e+ people are always searching 1or something- But & haAe
no +elusion? so & am not searching- !hose who are not +elu+e+
haAe no nee+ to search- Aerything is alrea+y per1ect within their
hearts? so why shoul+ they bother_ .hy shoul+ they get eKcite+
an+ grasp at sha+ows when they 6now per1ectly well that sha+ows
are not genuine truths- 9enuine truths are the 8our Noble !ruths?
an+ they are alrea+y present within the min+s an+ bo+ies o1 all
liAing beings- HaAing 1ully un+erstoo+ these truths? & am no longer
+elu+e+V so what else woul+ you haAe me see6_ &Jm still aliAe an+
people nee+ my help? so & assist them R itJs as simple as that-
that a bene1icent person can- Zust one such in+iAi+ual is
capable o1 bringing so much en+uring peace an+ happiness to the
worl+- !he %or+ Bu++ha an+ the Arahants are eKcellent eKamples
o1 this- ach Airtuous person is more precious that any amount o1
wealth? an+ each realiUes that goo+ +ee+s haAe 1ar greater Aalue
than money- As long as they remain Airtuous an+ people aroun+
them are contente+? they +onJt care i1 they are poor- But 1ools? pre1erring
money oAer Airtue an+ Airtuous people? will +o anything
to get money- !hey canJt be bothere+ about the conseCuences
o1 their actions? no matter how wic6e+ or +epraAe+ they may be-
Aen the +eAil is so +isguste+ an+ so 1ear1ul they will wrea6 haAoc
among the +eniUens o1 hell that heJs reluctant to accept them as
inmates- But such 1ools care about only one thing* getting their
han+s on some money? no matter how ill)gotten- %et eAil settle
the accounts? an+ to hell with the +eAil2 Virtuous people Aersus
wic6e+ people? material wealth Aersus the Airtues o1 Dhamma?
this is how they +i11er- Sensible people shoul+ thin6 about them
right now be1ore itJs too late to choose the correct path-
inmates- But such 1ools care about only one thing* getting their
han+s on some money? no matter how ill)gotten- %et eAil settle
the accounts? an+ to hell with the +eAil2 Virtuous people Aersus
wic6e+ people? material wealth Aersus the Airtues o1 Dhamma?
this is how they +i11er- Sensible people shoul+ thin6 about them
right now be1ore itJs too late to choose the correct path-
we ma6e- .e haAe no choice but to accept the
conseCuences +ictate+ by our 6amma
R remonstrations are o1 no
aAail- &tJs 1or this Aery reason that liAing beings +i11er so wi+ely in
eAerything 1rom the type o1 eKistence they are born into? with
their +i11erent bo+ily 1orms an+ emotional temperaments? to the
+egrees o1 pleasure an+ pain they eKperience- All such things
1orm part o1 oneJs own personal ma6eup? a personal +estiny 1or
which each o1 us must ta6e 1ull responsibility- .e must each bear
our own bur+en- .e must accept the goo+ an+ the ba+? the pleasant
an+ the pain1ul eKperiences that come our way? 1or no one
has the power to +isown these things- !he 6armic law o1 cause
an+ e11ect is not a Xu+icial law* it is the law o1 our Aery eKistence R
a law which each one o1 us creates in+epen+ently- .hy haAe you
as6e+ me this Cuestion anyway_B
!his remar6ably robust response? which & hear+ about 1rom
Scariya Mun as well as 1rom a mon6 who accompanie+ him on
that occasion? was so impressiAe that & haAe neAer 1orgotten it-
Questioner* @Please 1orgiAe me? but & haAe hear+ your eKcellent
reputation praise+ 1ar an+ wi+e 1or a long time now- Mon6s
an+ lay people ali6e all say the same thing* Scariya Mun is no or+inary
mon6- & haAe longe+ to hear your Dhamma mysel1? so & as6e+
you that Cuestion with this +esire in min+- Un1ortunately? the lac6
o1 +iscretion in the way & as6e+ may haAe +isturbe+ you somewhat-
&JAe ha+ a 6een interest in practice 1or many years? an+ my heart
has +e1initely become more an+ more peace1ul throughout that
time- & 1eel that my li1e has not been waste+? 1or & haAe been 1ortunate
enough to encounter the Bu++has7sana an+ now haAe pai+
homage to a renowne+ teacher reAere+ 1or his eKcellent practice
an+ superb Airtue- !he clear? precise answer you gaAe me a moment
ago eKcee+e+ my eKpectations- !o+ay my +oubts haAe been allaye+?
at least as 1ar as is possible 1or one still bur+ene+ with 6ilesas- &tJs
now up to me to carry on with my own practice as best & can-B
Scariya Mun* @!he way you phrase+ your Cuestion prompte+
me to answer as & +i+? 1or in truth & am neither hungry nor +elu+e+-
.hat else woul+ you haAe me search 1or_ & ha+ enough o1 hunger
an+ +elusion bac6 in the +ays when & was still ineKperience+ in
the way o1 practice- Bac6 then? no one was aware o1 how & nearly
+ie+ striAing in the mountains an+ 1orests be1ore & 1elt secure in my
practice- &t was only later as people began to see6 me out that my
1ame starte+ to sprea+- But & +i+nJt hear anyone praising me at the
time when & passe+ out? unconscious? three times an+ barely surAiAe+
to tell about it- !his renown came only long a1ter the eAent-
Now eAeryone lau+s my achieAements? but whatJs the use in that_
@&1 you want to +iscoAer the superior Cualities latent within
yoursel1? then you must ta6e the initiatiAe an+ practice- &tJs no use
waiting until you are +ea+ an+ then inAite mon6s to chant auspicious
Aerses 1or your spiritual bene1it- !hatJs not what we call
]scratching the place that itchesJ R +onJt say & +i+nJt warn you- &1
you want to get ri+ o1 that itch? you must hurry an+ imme+iately
scratch the right placeV that is? you must intensi1y your e11orts to
+o goo+ in or+er get ri+ o1 your attachment an+ concern 1or all
material things o1 this worl+- Possessions li6e wealth an+ property
+o not really belong to us R we lay claim to them in name only-
&n +oing so? we oAerloo6 our true worth- !he wealth we accumulate
in this worl+ can be use+ wisely to bring us some measure o1
happiness- But i1 weJre Aery stupi+? it can soon become a blaUing
1ire that completely +estroys us-
@!he Aenerable in+iAi+uals who transcen+e+ +u66ha
in ages
past +i+ so by accumulating Airtuous Cualities within themselAes
until they became an important source o1 re1uge 1or all o1 us- Perhaps
you thin6 they ha+ no cherishe+ possessions in those +ays-
Do you honestly belieAe that wealth an+ beauty are something
uniCue to the present +ay an+ age_ &s that why youJre so immo+erate
an+ sel1)in+ulgent_ &s our country so lac6ing in cemeteries
to cremate or bury the +ea+ that you 1igure you wonJt haAe to
+ie_ &s that why youJre so rashly oAercon1i+ent_ (ou are constantly
worrie+ about what you will eat an+ how you will sleep an+ how
to 6eep yoursel1 entertaine+? as i1 the worl+ were about to Aanish
at any moment an+ ta6e eAerything with it- So you rush aroun+
scooping up such a mass o1 useless stu11 that you can har+ly lug it
all aroun+- Aen animals +onJt in+ulge themselAes to that eKtent?
so you shoul+nJt assume that you are so much more eKalte+ an+
cleAer than they are- Such blin+ ignorance will only ma6e matters
much worse- Shoul+ you 1all on har+ times in the 1uture? who
6nows_ (ou may 1in+ yoursel1 eAen more +estitute than the animals
you +isparage- (ou shoul+ start laying the groun+wor6 1or a
proper un+erstan+ing o1 this matter right now? while you are still
in a position to +o so-
@& must apologiUe 1or spea6ing so harshly? but it is necessary
to use harsh language to persua+e people to aban+on eAil an+ +o
goo+- .hen nobo+y is willing to accept the truth? this worl+ o1
ours will see the s7sana
come to an en+- Virtually eAeryone has
+one a certain amount o1 gross? eAil 6amma
in the past 1or which
they must ineAitably su11er the conseCuences- People who still +o
not un+erstan+ this are unli6ely to see their own 1aults enough to
reme+y the situation- &nstea+? they ten+ to 1ault the !eaching 1or
being too seAere R an+ so the situation remains hopeless-B
At this point the author woul+ li6e to apologiUe to all you
gentle rea+ers 1or haAing been so presumptuous an+ in+iscreet in
what &JAe Xust written- My purpose was to preserAe 1or posterity
the way that Scariya Mun taught Dhamma on certain occasions-
& trie+ to present it in a manner that re1lecte+ his speech as accurately
as possible- & wante+ to recor+ it 1or the sa6e o1 those wishing
to contemplate the truth o1 his teaching- Being thus reluctant
to re+uce the 1orce1ulness o1 his remar6s? & trie+ to +isregar+ any
Cualms & ha+ an+ wrote precisely what he sai+-
.hereAer Scariya Mun soXourne+? people constantly came
to see him about Dhamma Cuestions- Un1ortunately? & cannot
recall all the Cuestions an+ answers that haAe been recounte+ to
me oAer the years by mon6s who were present on those occasions-
& note+ +own an+ remember only those answers which especially
impresse+ me- & haAe 1orgotten those that 1aile+ to ma6e a strong
impressionV an+ now they are gone-
A8!' A SU&!AB% &N!'VA%? Scariya Mun le1t Na6hon 'atchasima
to resume his Xourney to U+on !hani- .hen his train pulle+ into
the station at $hon $aen? a crow+ o1 local people were waiting
to inAite him to brea6 his Xourney there an+ stay in $hon $aen
1or awhile- Since he was unable to accept the inAitation? his +eAotees
in $hon $aen were +isappointe+ at missing the opportunity
to meet with him-
8inally arriAing in U+on !hani? Scariya Mun went to stay
with :hao $hun Dhammache+i at .at Bo+hisomphon monastery-
People 1rom the proAinces o1 Nong $hai an+ Sa6on Na6hon? as well
as U+on !hani? were waiting there to pay their respects- 8rom there
he procee+e+ to .at Non Niwet monastery where he remaine+ 1or
the rainy season retreat- #nce a wee6 on obserAance +ay? +uring
the rains retreat that year? :hao $hun Dhammache+i too6 a group
o1 public o11icials an+ other lay supporters to hear Scariya MunJs
Dhamma tal6s in the eAening- &t was? o1 course? :hao $hun Dhammache+i
himsel1 who ha+ ta6en so much trouble to inAite Scariya
Mun to return to U+on !hani- He ha+ tre66e+ through the thic6
1orests o1 :hiang Mai to personally o11er that auspicious inAitation-
All o1 us? who met Scariya Mun an+ hear+ his Dhamma a1ter he
arriAe+ in U+on !hani? owe :hao $hun Dhammache+i a sincere
+ebt o1 gratitu+e- :hao $hun Dhammache+i was always 6eenly
intereste+ in the way o1 practice- He neAer tire+ o1 tal6ing about
Dhamma? no matter how long the conAersation laste+- He was especially
appreciatiAe when the Dhamma +iscussion +ealt with me+itation
practice- He 1elt great respect an+ a11ection 1or Scariya Mun-
!here1ore? he too6 a special interest in his well)being while he staye+
in U+on !hani? constantly as6ing people who ha+ seen Scariya
Mun recently how he was getting along- &n a++ition? he always
encourage+ people to meet with Scariya Mun an+ get to 6now him-
He woul+ eAen tirelessly escort those who +i+ not +are go alone- His
e11orts in that respect were outstan+ing an+ truly a+mirable-
During the +ry season 1ollowing the rains retreat? Scariya
Mun pre1erre+ to wan+er o11 into the countrysi+e? see6ing seclusion
where he coul+ practice the way o1 Dhamma in a manner
most suitable to his character- He li6e+ to stay in the Aicinity o1
Ban Nong Nam $hem Aillage? which was locate+ about seAen
miles 1rom the town o1 U+on !hani- He liAe+ 1or long perio+s in
this area because it ha+ pleasant 1orests that were con+uciAe to
me+itation practice-
His presence in U+on !hani +uring the rains retreat greatly
bene1ite+ both the mon6s an+ the general public 1rom the town
an+ surroun+ing +istricts- As news o1 his arriAal sprea+? mon6s
an+ lay people 1rom the area gra+ually began to conAerge on the
monastery where he resi+e+ in or+er to practice with him an+
hear his Dhamma- Most o1 these people ha+ been +isciples o1 his
1rom the time he liAe+ in the area be1ore going to :hiang Mai-
Upon receiAing wor+ that he ha+ returne+? they were oAerXoye+
at the prospect o1 seeing him again? o11ering him alms? an+ hearing
his a+Aice- He was not Aery ol+ yet? being only about O< then-
He was still able to get aroun+ without much trouble- By nature
he ten+e+ to be Cuic6 an+ agile anyway? always rea+y to get up
an+ moAe on? neAer staying too long in one place- He much pre1erre+
to wan+er with no speci1ic +estination? hi6ing through the
mountains an+ 1orests where li1e was peace1ul an+ un+isturbe+-
Past %iAes
&n U+on !hani? Xust as they ha+ in other places? the local people
o1ten came to Scariya Mun with Cuestions- .hile some o1 their
Cuestions were Aery similar to the ones that he ha+ receiAe+
many times be1ore? the more unusual ones arose 1rom the Aiews
an+ opinions o1 certain in+iAi+uals- Among the more commonly
as6e+ Cuestions were those +ealing with past)li1e associationsmany times be1ore? the more unusual
ones arose 1rom the Aiews
an+ opinions o1 certain in+iAi+uals- Among the more commonly
as6e+ Cuestions were those +ealing with past)li1e associationso1 liAing beings who haAe +eAelope+
Airtuous Cualities together
oAer a perio+ o1 many liAes? an+ how such inherent character
traits haAe continuity in their present liAes- #ther Cuestions +ealt
with past)li1e associations o1 husban+s an+ wiAes who ha+ liAe+
together happily 1or many li1etimes- Scariya Mun sai+ that people
ha+ more +oubts about these Cuestions than any others-
As 1or the 1irst Cuestion? Scariya Mun +i+ not speci1y the eKact
nature o1 what he was as6e+- He merely mentione+ the Cuestion o1
past)li1e associations in a general way an+ gaAe this eKplanation*
@!hings li6e this must originate with the establishment o1
Aolitional intent? 1or that +etermines the way the liAes o1 speci1ic
in+iAi+uals become interrelate+-B
!he secon+ Cuestion was more speci1ic* How is it possible
to +etermine whether the loAe between a man an+ a woman has
been preor+aine+ by preAious association in liAes past_ How can
we +istinguish between a loAing relationship base+ on past)li1e
connections an+ one which is not_
Scariya Mun replie+*
@&t is Aery +i11icult to 6now with any certainty whether or not
our loAe 1or this person or our relationship with that person has
its roots in a mutual a11inity +eAelope+ oAer many li1etimes- 8or
the most part? people 1all in loAe an+ get marrie+ rather blin+ly-
8eeling hungry? a personJs ten+ency is to Xust reach out an+ grab
some 1oo+ to satis1y that hunger- !hey will eat whateAer is aAailable
as long as it is su11icient 1or their +ay)to)+ay nee+s- !he same
can be applie+ to past)li1e associations as well- Although such
relationships are a common 1eature o1 li1e in this worl+? it is not
at all easy to 1in+ genuine cases o1 people who 1all in loAe an+ get
marrie+ simply +ue to a long)stan+ing past)li1e association- !he
problem is? the 6ilesas
that cause people to 1all in loAe +onJt spare
anyoneJs blushes? an+ they certainly +onJt wait patiently to giAe
past)li1e a11inities a chance to haAe a say in the matter 1irst- All
the 6ilesas
as6 is that there be someone o1 the opposite seK who
suits their 1ancy R thatJs enough 1or passion to arise an+ impulsiAely
grab a hol+- !hose 6ilesas
that cause people to 1all in loAe
can turn or+inary people into ]1ightersJ who will battle +esperately
to the bitter en+ without respect 1or mo+esty or mo+eration?
no matter what the conseCuences might be- Aen i1 they see they
haAe ma+e a mista6e? they will still re1use to a+mit +e1eat- Aen
the prospect o1 +eath cannot ma6e them aban+on their 1ighting
style- !his is what the 6ilesas
that cause people to 1all in loAe are
all about- Displaying themselAes conspicuously in peopleJs hearts?
they are eKtremely +i11icult to control-
@Anyone who wants to be a reasonable? responsible person
shoul+ aAoi+ giAing these 6ilesas
their hea+? neAer permitting them
to charge on ahea+ unchec6e+- So you must eKercise enough sel1)
control to insure that? eAen i1 you 6now nothing about your past)
li1e associations? you will still haAe an e11ectiAe means o1 reining
in your heart R a means o1 aAoi+ing being +ragge+ through the
mire an+ +own a steep? +ar6 precipice- Unless you are an accomplishe+
me+itator with an aptitu+e 1or perceiAing Aarious types
o1 phenomena? you will 1in+ it Aery +i11icult to access 6nowle+ge
about your past liAes- .hateAer the case? you must always haAe
enough presence o1 min+ to maintain proper sel1)control- DonJt
let those o11ensiAe 6ilesas
burst their ban6s? pouring out li6e 1loo+
waters with no leAee to contain them- !hus you will be able to
aAoi+ sin6ing +eep into the great Cuagmire o1 unbri+le+ loAe-B
waters with no leAee to contain them- !hus you will be able to
aAoi+ sin6ing +eep into the great Cuagmire o1 unbri+le+ loAe-B
again in 1uture liAes_B
Scariya Mun* @!hat +esire merely creates the prospect o1
achieAing oneJs inten+e+ obXectiAeV but i1 that +esire is not accompanie+
by concrete action it will not bring the eKpecte+ results-
!a6e the eKample o1 someone who +esires to be rich- &1 that person
is too laUy to go out an+ earn his wealth? then there is no way
heJll eAer be rich- !o stan+ any chance o1 success? an intention
must be supporte+ by a concerte+ e11ort towar+ reaching that
goal- &tJs the same with a husban+ an+ wi1e who wish to maintain
their loAing relationship? liAing together happily in each successiAe
li1e- !o aAoi+ being separate+? their Aiewpoints must be analogous?
an+ they must remain 1aith1ul to each other- !hey must
re1rain 1rom ta6ing a+Aantage o1 each other because this +estroys
their mutual trust an+ lea+s to +issatis1action- !hey must cherish
Airtue? behaAe properly? an+ trust each other- By establishing
a mutual un+erstan+ing about their partnership an+ then ma6ing
a sincere e11ort to 1oster their 1uture together by +oing what is
bene1icial to it? they can eKpect to 1ul1ill that +esire 1or it is well
within their power to +o so- #n the other han+? shoul+ the opposite
hol+ true R with either the husban+ being goo+ while the
wi1e is ba+? or Aice Aersa? with one or the other +oing only that
which pleases him or her R then no matter how many hun+re+s
o1 resolutions they ma6e together? they will all come to naught-
!heir Aery actions will per1orce un+ermine their +esire- An+ what
about you_ Do you cherish the +esire to be together with your wi1e
aboAe all other wishes_B
!heir Aery actions will per1orce un+ermine their +esire- An+ what
about you_ Do you cherish the +esire to be together with your wi1e
aboAe all other wishes_B
Scariya Mun laughe+* @!hat being the case? you haAe to
ta6e your wi1e whereAer you go? right_B
Questioner* @&Jm ashame+ to say that itJs really concern
about my wi1e that has preAente+ me 1rom or+aining as a mon6
all this time- & am worrie+ that sheJ+ be aw1ully lonely with no
one there to a+Aise an+ reassure her- My chil+ren Xust bother her
1or money to buy things? ma6ing a nuisance o1 themselAes all the
time- & +onJt see how they can o11er her any security or peace o1
min+- & canJt help worrying about her-
@!hereJs another thing & +onJt un+erstan+- !he Dhamma
teaches that the heaAenly realms are inhabite+ by both male an+
1emale +eAas? much li6e the human worl+- Beings there liAe a bliss1ully
happy eKistence? enXoying a Aariety o1 pleasures that ma6e it
a Aery inAiting place to liAe- But? unli6e here on earth or in the
heaAens? it seems that no +istinction is ma+e between male an+
1emale beings in the brahma realms- DoesnJt it get 6in+ o1 lonely
there_ & mean? they haAe no one to cheer them up or humor them
when they get in a ba+ moo+- An+ Nibb7na is eAen worse R there
is no inAolAement with anything whatsoeAer- #ne is absolutely
sel1)reliant in eAery way- .ithout the nee+ to +epen+ on anyone
or anything 1or help? there is no nee+ 1or one to become inAolAe+
with others in anyway- #ne is truly in+epen+ent- But how can
one possibly ta6e pri+e in anything there_ #r+inarily? someone
reaching an eKalte+ state li6e Nibb7na shoul+ eKpect to be honore+
an+ praise+ by the other beings who liAe there- At least in
the worl+? a prosperous person who has wealth an+ social status
receiAes praise an+ a+miration 1rom his 1ellow human beings- But
those going to Nibb7na 1in+ only silence R thereJs no Cuestion o1
receiAing praise an+ a+miration 1rom their peers- .hich ma6es
me won+er how such total silence can truly be a state o1 happiness-
Please 1orgiAe me 1or as6ing such a craUy? unortho+oK Cuestion?
but unless & 1in+ out 1rom someone who really 6nows the
answer? this +ilemma will continue to trouble me to no en+-B
Scariya Mun* @!he heaAenly realms? the brahma
realms? an+
Nibb7na are not reserAe+ 1or s6eptics li6e you- !hey are reserAe+
1or those who can realiUe their own true inner worth- #nly such
people realiUe the Aalue o1 the heaAenly realms? the brahma
an+ Nibb7na because they un+erstan+ that the Aalue o1 each successiAe
realm increases relatiAe to the Airtuous Cualities inherent
in those who woul+ attain them- Somebo+y li6e you can har+ly
+ream o1 attaining such states- Aen i1 you wante+ to? you woul+nJt
be able to go as long as your wi1e was still aroun+- .ere she to +ie?
you woul+ still be unable to stop yearning 1or her long enough to
start wishing 1or a heaAenly eKistence- !he way you 1eel? eAen the
eKalte+ brahma
realms an+ Nibb7na cannot compare with your
wi1e? since those states cannot ta6e care o1 you li6e she can- !hus?
you +onJt want to go? because you are a1rai+ that you will lose the
one who ta6es care o1 all your nee+s-B
wi1e? since those states cannot ta6e care o1 you li6e she can- !hus?
you +onJt want to go? because you are a1rai+ that you will lose the
one who ta6es care o1 all your nee+s-B
here in the human worl+ Aary wi+ely accor+ing to in+iAi+ual
pre1erences- &t is comparable to the way our sense 1aculties? which
coeKist in the same physical bo+y? +eal with +i11erent types o1 sensations-
8or eKample? the eyes pre1er to see 1orms? the ears pre1er
to hear soun+s? the nose pre1ers smells? the tongue pre1ers tastes?
the bo+y pre1ers tactile sensations? while the min+ pre1ers to perceiAe
mental obXects R each accor+ing to its own natural bias-
!hey canJt all be eKpecte+ to haAe the same pre1erence- Parta6ing
o1 a goo+ meal is one way to 1in+ pleasure- %iAing happily marrie+
together is yet another 1orm o1 pleasure- !he worl+ has neAer been
short o1 pleasant eKperiences? 1or they are an in+ispensable part
o1 li1e that liAing beings eAerywhere 1eel oblige+ to pursue- !here
are 1orms o1 happiness eKperience+ here on earthV there are others
eKperience+ in the heaAenly realms? an+ still others in the brahma
realms- !hen there is the @happinessB o1 Nibb7na which is eKperience+
by those who haAe totally era+icate+ the AeKatious 6ilesas
1rom their hearts- !heir happiness is something entirely +i11erent
1rom the worl+ly happiness o1 those with 6ilesas-
@&1 the happiness you receiAe 1rom your wi1eJs company is
really all you nee+? then why bother loo6ing at sights an+ listening
to soun+s_ .hy bother eating or sleeping_ .hy bother +eAeloping
Airtuous Cualities by giAing +onations? maintaining morality?
or +oing me+itation_ All you nee+ +o is liAe with your wi1e an+ let
that happiness be the sum o1 all happiness you woul+ otherwise
receiAe 1rom these sources- (ou coul+ saAe yoursel1 a lot o1 trouble
that way- But can you actually +o it_B
Questioner* @#h no? Sir2 How coul+ & possibly +o that_
.hat about all those times when we Cuarrel with each other_
How coul+ & ma6e all my happiness +epen+ent on her alone_ !hat
woul+ Xust complicate my li1e eAen more-B
Scariya Mun sai+ this man ha+ a rather bol+? 1orthright
character an+? 1or a layman? he ha+ a Aery 6een interest in moral
Airtue- He was +eeply +eAote+ to Scariya Mun who usually ma+e
an e11ort to giAe him special attention- !his man use+ to come to
see Scariya Mun an+ casually start up a conAersation when there
were no other Aisitors aroun+- Normally? other people coul+ not
bring themselAes to as6 Scariya Mun the 6in+s o1 Cuestions he
+i+- He was eKtremely 1on+ o1 his wi1e an+ chil+ren? while his
1on+ +eAotion 1or Scariya Mun ma+e him a 1reCuent Aisitor at
the monastery- &1 he came an+ 1oun+ Scariya Mun with Aisitors?
he woul+ simply pay his respects? then go o11 to help the mon6s
with the air o1 someone who 1eels Cuite at home in a monastery-
He chose those occasions when no Aisitors were present to as6 the
Cuestions that intrigue+ him- An+ Scariya Mun was 6in+ enough
to oblige him nearly eAery time-
Scariya Mun was eKceptionally cleAer at recogniUing a personJs
basic character traitsV an+ treate+ each in+iAi+ual accor+ing
to his assessment- .hether spea6ing casually or giAing a +iscourse?
he always tailore+ his remar6s to 1it the au+ience? as you
can no +oubt see 1rom what & haAe written so 1ar-
.H&% S:A'&(A MUN liAe+ at .at Non Niwet monastery in U+on
!hani? numerous mon6s came to see6 his gui+ance? an+ many
spent the rains retreat un+er his tutelage- &n those +ays? .at Non
Niwet monastery was a much Cuieter place than it is to+ay- !here
was Aery little tra11ic bac6 then an+ Aery 1ew people came to Aisit-
By an+ large? people who +i+ come to the monastery were those
with a genuine interest in ma6ing merit an+ +eAeloping Airtuous
Cualities R unli6e nowa+ays when people ten+ to come an+ +isturb
the mon6sJ peace1ul enAironment whether they inten+ to or
not- Bac6 then? mon6s coul+ practice as they please+ without +isturbance-
:onseCuently? many mon6s +eAelope+ themselAes spiritually?
becoming a source o1 contentment not only to themselAes?
but also to the local people who loo6e+ to mon6s 1or re1uge-
Scariya Mun instructe+ the mon6s in the eAening- He usually
began with a general eKplanation o1 moral Airtue? 1ollowe+ by
an+ then wis+om? going brie1ly through them stage by
stage until the highest leAel o1 absolute 1ree+om R the essential
goal o1 Dhamma- He then went bac6 an+ gaAe a comprehensiAe
eKposition o1 how a mon6 shoul+ practice to attain the Aarious
stages o1 Dhamma that he ha+ outline+- 8or mon6s engage+ in
me+itation practice? he always emphasiUe+ the Aital importance
o1 min+1ul a+herence to the monastic co+e o1 +iscipline-
@#nly a mon6 who is 1irm in his +iscipline an+ respect1ul
o1 all the training rules can be consi+ere+ a 1ull)1le+ge+
mon6- He shoul+ not transgress the minor training rules
merely because he consi+ers them to be somehow insigni1icant-
Such negligence in+icates someone who 1eels no
shame about immoral behaAior? an+ it may eAentually lea+
to more serious transgressions- A mon6 must strictly a+here
to the monastic co+e o1 +iscipline to ma6e sure that his
moral behaAior is not punctuate+ with unsightly blemishes
or gaps- &n that way? he 1eels com1ortable an+ con1i+ent
liAing among his peers- He nee+ neAer be concerne+ that
his teacher or his 1ellow mon6s will be critical or reproach1ul-
8or the inner mon6 in your heart to reach per1ection?
starting 1rom Sot7panna an+ progressing to Arahant? you
must be stea+y an+ relentless in your e11ort to attain each
successiAe leAel o1 both sam7+hi an+ wis+om- &1 you perseAere
in this manner? these 1aculties will arise an+ continue
to +eAelop until they are able to scrub clean that 1ilthy mess
o1 +e1ilements in your heart-
@A mon6Js con+uct an+ speech shoul+ be absolutely aboAe
reproach- His citta shoul+ be absolutely superb by Airtue o1
the Dhamma Cualities that he +eAelops step by step* sam7+hi?
pa\\7? Aimutti? an+ Aimutti\75a+assana-DA mon6 shoul+
neAer be +reary or sa+- He shoul+ neAer appear un+igni1ie+?
shunning his 1ellows because a guilty conscience is eating
away insi+e him? troubling his heart- !his is contrary to the
way o1 the %or+ Bu++ha? whose splen+i+ internal con+uct
an+ eKternal behaAior were irreproachable- 8ollowing in his
1ootsteps? a mon6 must muster the resolute courage to aban+on
all eAil an+ +o only goo+- He must be a man o1 integrity
who is honest with himsel1 an+ his peers while being 1aith1ul
to the Dhamma an+ the Discipline- He will thus be supporte+
by his eKemplary practice eAerywhere he goes- !he
brightness o1 his min+1ulness an+ wis+om will light the way
as his heart will be su11use+ with the taste o1 Dhamma- He
will neAer 1in+ himsel1 trappe+ in a state o1 +elusion with no
means o1 escape- Such are the characteristics inherent in a
true +isciple o1 the %or+ Bu++ha- Stu+y them care1ully an+
ta6e them to heart- A+here closely to them as the basis 1or
a bright? trouble)1ree 1uture when you can claim them as
your own Aaluable? personal possessions-B
means o1 escape- Such are the characteristics inherent in a
true +isciple o1 the %or+ Bu++ha- Stu+y them care1ully an+
ta6e them to heart- A+here closely to them as the basis 1or
a bright? trouble)1ree 1uture when you can claim them as
your own Aaluable? personal possessions-B
M#N$S .H# HAD D#UB!S or Cuestions about their practice coul+
consult in+iAi+ually with Scariya Mun +uring the +ay when the
time +i+ not con1lict with his +aily routine- His +aily li1e ha+ a
regular pattern which he ten+e+ to 1ollow without 1ail whereAer
he staye+- 'ising 1rom his me+itation seat early in the morning?
he wal6e+ me+itation outsi+e his hut until it was time to
go on almsroun+- A1ter collecting alms 1oo+ in the Aillage an+
eating his morning meal? he again wal6e+ me+itation until noon
an+ then too6 a short rest- #nce reste+? he sat in me+itation 1or
awhile be1ore continuing his wal6ing me+itation until 1our P-M-
At 1our? he swept the open areas aroun+ his resi+ence- .hen he
1inishe+? he bathe+? an+ again practice+ wal6ing me+itation 1or
many hours- Upon leaAing his me+itation trac6? he entere+ his
hut to +o seAeral hours o1 chanting- 8ollowing that? he again sat
in me+itation late into the night- Normally? he slept no more than
1our hours a night- #n special occasions he went entirely without
sleep? sitting in me+itation until +awn- .hen he was young? he
+isplaye+ a +iligence in his practice that none o1 his contemporaries
coul+ match- Aen in ol+ age he maintaine+ his characteristic
+iligence? although he +i+ relaK a bit +ue to his strength? which
+ecline+ with each passing +ay- But he +i11ere+ signi1icantly 1rom
the rest o1 us in that his min+ showe+ no signs o1 wea6ness eAen
as his health gra+ually +eteriorate+-
the rest o1 us in that his min+ showe+ no signs o1 wea6ness eAen
as his health gra+ually +eteriorate+-
1or us all- He neAer neglecte+ his personal responsibilities? nor
+i+ he relaK the relentless e11ort which ha+ been such an important
source o1 strength? spurring him on to that grati1ying Aictory
+eep in the mountains o1 :hiang Mai? as we haAe seen- As
human beings? we all possess attributes that shoul+ allow us to
+uplicate Scariya MunJs achieAement- &n actual practice? those
able to achieAe the 6in+ o1 unCuali1ie+ success that he +i+ are 1ar
an+ 1ew between- Despite the 1act that the worl+ is now grossly
oAerpopulate+? Aery 1ew people in+ee+ will see their hopes 1ul1ille+
by attaining this eKalte+ goal- &n the present age? such an
attainment is Aery rare-
!he outstan+ing +i11erence between someone li6e Scariya
Mun an+ the rest o1 us is the +egree o1 +iligence an+ +etermination
he applie+ to the pursuit o1 6nowle+ge an+ un+erstan+ing? an
e11ort 1irmly groun+e+ in the 1our i++hip7+a* chan+a? Airiya? citta?
an+ Aima[sa- An+ when the causes are so +i11erent? the results are
boun+ to be ra+ically +i11erent as well R so much so that itJs almost
unbelieAable how Aarie+ they can be 1rom one person to the neKt-
But the goo+ an+ ba+ results that people receiAe 1rom their actions
are eAi+ent eAerywhere in the worl+ aroun+ us? an+ they cannot
be +enie+- .e must ac6nowle+ge the obAious* that a miKture o1
goo+ness an+ eAil? happiness an+ su11ering arises in each an+ eAery
one o1 us- !here is no way we can +iAest ourselAes o1 them-
Among mo+ern)+ay 7cariyas? Scariya MunJs li1e story is
splen+i+ly uniCue- A rich story? it 1lowers an+ bears 1ruit 1rom
beginning to en+- Magni1icent eAery step o1 the way? it is a li1e
worthy o1 eAeryoneJs heart1elt respect- He is now reAere+ 1ar an+
wi+e in places where people haAe hear+ about his eKcellent reputation-
&tJs a great shame that so many Bu++hists who were 6eenly
intereste+ in Dhamma neAer hear+ o1 him while he was still aliAe-
Although they might haAe Aery much wante+ to meet a man o1
such eKceptional Airtue? they neAer ha+ a chance to +o so- !his
was largely because he +i+ not li6e to 1reCuent crow+e+ places li6e
towns an+ cities- He 1oun+ li1e in the mountains an+ 1orests 1ar
more satis1actory his entire li1e-
Many mon6s who were +e+icate+ to the practice o1 Dhamma
also eKperience+ great +i11iculty in reaching him- !he +irt roa+s
were har+ly passable in those +ays R an+ anyway? there were no
Aehicles- !hey ha+ to hi6e 1or +ays in or+er to reach the places
where he li6e+ to stay- !hose who were unaccustome+ to hi6ing
Xust coul+nJt manage it- !heir eKcuses 1or not going Aarie+- Some
mon6s were simply not courageous enough to accept the plain
truth about Dhamma that he taught- Some were a1rai+ that 1oo+
an+ other necessities woul+ be in short supply an+ o1 poor Cuality-
Some were a1rai+ they coul+ not eat Xust one meal a +ay as he +i+-
.here Scariya Mun was concerne+? mon6s ten+e+ to create any
number o1 obstacles 1or themselAes? most o1 them appearing insurmountable-
Although their aspirations were sincere? such concerns
amounte+ to sel1)impose+ barriers that preAente+ them 1rom
gaining the bene1it o1 their goo+ intentions- &n the en+? they realiUe+
the 6in+ o1 mon6 he really was only long a1ter he ha+ passe+
away an+ they hear+ the story o1 his li1e- He epitomiUe+ the s7sana
which has preserAe+ magga
an+ phala
1rom %or+ Bu++haJs initial
attainment +own through the countless number o1 Arahants who
haAe maintaine+ magga
an+ phala
to this +ay- !he essence o1 the
s7sana has been transmitte+ by means o1 supa0ipanno? uXu? \7ya?
s7m`cipa0ipanno s7Aa6asanghos7sana has been transmitte+ by means o1 supa0ipanno? uXu? \7ya?
s7m`cipa0ipanno s7Aa6asanghoas practice+ by all those who haAe
attaine+ magga? phala? an+ Nibb7na- !hey are li6e a Aast stream
o1 the great +eathless ocean o1 Nibb7na? shimmering 1orth 1rom
the pristine nature o1 those who haAe practice+ to per1ection what
the Bu++ha taught-
Scariya Mun was one o1 the Arahants o1 this present age-
He passe+ away not so long ago on NoAember E<? ENDN? about
;< years ago-O !he story o1 his passing away will be +escribe+ later
when we reach the 1inal chapter o1 his li1e- &n any case? physical
+eath has eKiste+ since time immemorial an+ will continue to
eKist as long as some 1orm o1 conAentional reality still remains-
.hat arises must pass away- .hat remains uncon+itionally is
the pro+igious won+er o1 the %or+ Bu++haJs in1inite compassion?
wis+om? an+ absolute 1ree+om? all o1 which are enshrine+ in the
s7sana- Such intrinsic Cualities being eKactly the same? Scariya
MunJs unCuali1ie+ compassion? wis+om? an+ absolute 1ree+om
remain unchange+ in the same way as those o1 the %or+ Bu++ha-
8or us? it is essential that we 1aith1ully practice the way lai+ +own
by the Bu++ha R the +egree o1 success we haAe will +epen+ on
the amount o1 time an+ e11ort we put into the practice- !his is
something we shoul+ all ta6e an interest in while we are still aliAe-
.ithout ma6ing an e11ort to practice? no results can be achieAe+?
an+ the opportunity will be irreAocably lost-
#N #8 !H ANS.'S that Scariya Mun gaAe to the people o1
Na6hon 'atchasima especially caught my attention- Here is a
summary o1 what he sai+*
@DonJt thin6 an+ act as i1 you? your 1amily an+ 1rien+s? an+
the society you liAe in will neAer haAe to 1ace the cemetery-
#therwise? when +eath comes R as it +oes to eAeryone in the
worl+ R you will 1in+ yoursel1 hopelessly unprepare+ an+ so
ris6 sin6ing into the 6in+ o1 un1aAorable state no one woul+
wish 1or- .hateAer you thin6? say? or +o shoul+ be accompanie+
by some recollection o1 the cemetery? which symboliUes
+eath? 1or cemeteries an+ 6amma
go han+ in han+-
'e1lection on +eath will encourage re1lection on 6amma?
which in turn will cause you to re1lect bac6 on yoursel1-
@DonJt get coc6y? thin6ing youJre so smart? when in truth
you are always at the mercy o1 6amma- Such arrogance will
merely lea+ to your own mis1ortune- (ou shoul+ neAer ta6e
the attitu+e that you are smarter than the Bu++ha R that
great? all)6nowing teacher who? unli6e people with 6ilesas
who 1eel Aery coc6y? neAer relie+ on conXecture- &n the en+?
such people become trappe+ in the ba+ 6amma
that their
own arrogant assumptions haAe create+ 1or them-B
Such straight tal6 can be Cuite startling in its e11ect? in+ucing
the listener to submit wholehearte+ly to the truth about 6amma-
&t cuts through all the sel1)importance that causes us to oAerloo6
our true place in this worl+- & haAe reAisite+ the subXect o1 6amma
here 1or & 1eel that what & preAiously wrote on the subXect is ina+eCuate?
since it 1aile+ to capture the 1ull impact o1 what Scariya
Mun taught- !his oAersight has Xust come to my attention? which
shows Xust how unreliable our memories are- &n 1act? they easily
mislea+ us? bloc6ing the truth 1rom Aiew- So please 1orgiAe me 1or
going oAer the same material again 1rom time to time-
S:A'&(A MUN HAD the 6nowle+ge an+ the ability to con1er Dhamma
eKcellence on his mon6 +isciples- As a result? many o1 them +eAelope+
into Aeritable Bo+hi treesL in their own right- !his type o1
Bo+hi tree is eKtremely +i11icult to plant an+ nurture to maturity
1or it ten+s to be surroun+e+ by haUar+s- Many +isciples o1 his
who became senior 7cariyas are still aliAe to+ay- Some o1 them &
haAe alrea+y mentione+ by name- Scariya MunJs senior +isciples
inclu+e such well)6nown 7cariyas as Scariya Sing an+ Scariya
Mah7 Pin 1rom Ubon 'atchathani? Scariya !het 1rom !ha Bo in
Nong $hai? Scariya 8an 1rom Sa6on Na6hon? Scariya $hao o1
.at !ham $long Phen in U+on !hani? Scariya Phrom 1rom Dong
(en Aillage o1 Nong Han +istrict in U+on !hani? Scariya %ee o1
.at Aso6aram in Samut Pra6an? Scariya :hob an+ Scariya %ui
1rom %oei proAince? Scariya Sim an+ Scariya !ei 1rom :hiang
Mai? an+ Scariya $ongma 1rom Sa6on Na6hon-N !here are still
many others whose names & cannot recall- ach o1 these 7cariyas
possesses certain eKceptional Cualities setting him apart 1rom the
ach is outstan+ing in his own +istinct way? an+ all are worthy
o1 the highest respect- Some being Cuite 1amous? they are well)
6nown to mon6s an+ lay people across the country- Some by nature
pre1er to liAe in Cuiet seclusion- !here are senior +isciples o1 Scariya
Mun possessing eKceptionally Airtuous Cualities who remain Airtually
un6nown because they naturally pre1er to liAe in anonymity-
More than any other teacher in the Northeast region o1
!hailan+ Scariya Mun was able to 1irmly establish mon6s in bo+hi+hamma-
Bo+hi means wis+om- !he Bo+hi o1 the %or+ Bu++ha is
calle+ nlightenmentV but in the case o1 these 7cariyas & woul+
pre1er to simply call it bo+hi+hamma? as be1its their humble status
an+ the 1orest tra+ition to which they belong- stablishing a mon6
in bo+hi+hamma
is Aery similar to raising a chil+- 8irst the mon6 is
taught how to +eAelop a 1irm basis in moral +iscipline- !hen heJs
taught how to use that moral eKcellence as a basis 1or his me+itation
practice? 1ocusing inwar+ to +eAelop su11icient 6nowle+ge
an+ un+erstan+ing that will allow him to sa1ely loo6 a1ter himsel1-
!he spiritual +eAelopment o1 each an+ eAery mon6 represents an
eKtremely +i11icult challenge because implanting Airtuous Cualities
+eeply into the heart o1 someone who is oppresse+ by the 6ilesas
is always a Aery +eman+ing tas6- !he teacher must be on his
guar+ at all times? eKercising complete mastery oAer eAery type o1
so that the stu+ent remains earnestly motiAate+ to un+ergo
the training- Persistent practice un+er a goo+ teacher allows the
stu+ent a chance to bring his own character into harmony with
Dhamma an+ so stea+ily grow in con1i+ence an+ +etermination-
#n our own? we all su11er 1rom 6ilesas- Aeryone coming
to train un+er a teacher is eCually 1ull o1 6ilesas- So it is +i11icult
1or them to 1in+ the strength necessary to +rag one another
to sa1ety- & belieAe the most +i11icult tas6 any human being can
un+erta6e is that o1 trying to trans1orm an or+inary mon6 into a
mon6 whoJs truly worthy o1 the highest respect- !hat tas6 is 1urther
complicate+ when the teacher tries to encourage the stu+ent
to shi1t 1rom his original? mun+ane position up to the transcen+ent
leAels o1 Sot7panna? Sa6a+7g7m`? An7g7m` an+ Arahant-E<
!he +egree o1 +i11iculty increases +ramatically with each successiAe
leAel o1 attainment- &n all li6elihoo+? insects will come along
an+ chew at its roots? boring into them until the whole tree topples
to the groun+ be1ore the nascent Bo+hi tree has a chance to
sprout an+ branch out? +eAeloping into a use1ul specimen- !his
/cariya $hao an+ /cariya 8an Hseate+ le1t on secon+ rowI?
/cariya Mah3 !hong Sa6 an+ /cariya $ongma Hseate+ right on
secon+ rowI? /cariya Mah3 Boowa Hstan+ing 1ar rightI-
is what we usually see happen- Sel+om +o the roots grow +eep
enough to resist the raAages o1 win+? rain? an+ insects- .hen we
plant an or+inary tree in the groun+ we can eKpect it to soon bear
1ruit- .hen? howeAer? we try to establish a mon6 in Dhamma? he
always appears on the Aerge o1 1alling oAer- Aen i1 no apparent
+angers are on the horiUon? he will go out loo6ing 1or something
to trouble him? thus causing himsel1 a lot o1 harm- All o1 which
ma6es +eAeloping a mon6 +i11icult in+ee+- &1 you +onJt belieAe me?
Xust giAe it a try* or+ain as a mon6 an+ try 1ollowing the monastic
+iscipline lai+ +own by the Bu++ha- .hatJs the bet youJll be
hungry 1or supper be1ore the sun has eAen set- 8orgetting all about
your newly)shaAe+ hea+? you will be itching to traAel about all
the time? sight)seeing? listening to soun+s? smelling this? tasting
that? an+ touching things that are nice an+ so1t- Morning? noon?
an+ eAening R neAer will there be enough to satis1y your appetite-
Soon youJll 1orget all about your status as a mon6- &tJs unli6ely
that you will eAer ta6e an interest in cultiAating that inner Bo+hi
tree? 1or your heart will neAer accept reason an+ perseAere with
the mon6Js training long enough to gain genuine peace o1 min+-
%e1t unatten+e+? the Bo+hi tree o1 the heart will gra+ually
wither an+ shriAel up- Harm1ul in1luences will then haAe the
upper han+- .hat Bo+hi tree coul+ stan+ erect against such an
onslaught_ !he bo+hi
o1 a mon6 is sensitiAe to those in1luences? so
his heart may easily be swaye+ by such +iscor+ant elements- &1 his
cannot withstan+ the pressure? it will topple hopelessly to
the groun+- !hus it is an eKtremely +i11icult tas6 to establish bo+hi
properly- !hose who haAe neAer trie+ to establish bo+hi
in their
hearts +onJt 6now how potent those negatiAe in1luences can be-
!hey attempt to 1ertiliUe the nascent Bo+hi tree with substances
that only serAe to stunt its growth? eAentually ruining it altogether-
:onseCuently? such Bo+hi trees ten+ to haAe a +reary loo6 about
them? as i1 they were going to +ie at any moment 1rom a pro1oun+
shortage o1 noble Airtue-
that only serAe to stunt its growth? eAentually ruining it altogether-
:onseCuently? such Bo+hi trees ten+ to haAe a +reary loo6 about
them? as i1 they were going to +ie at any moment 1rom a pro1oun+
shortage o1 noble Airtue-
a1ter them- An+ +ue to a lac6 o1 soun+ Xu+gment? &JAe ha+ my
share o1 +isappointments- So & am well aware o1 how +i11icult they
are to establish an+ ta6e care o1- !hey always seem to be on the
Aerge o1 withering up an+ +ying- Aen to+ay & cannot say 1or sure
whether or not this Bo+hi tree o1 mine will grow an+ mature nicely?
or simply +eteriorate? since as a rule it threatens to ta6e a turn
1or the worse- &n 1act? & haAenJt seen enough progress to be able to
gauge the leAel o1 +ecline R stea+y +ecline seems to be the norm-
Pre1erring to loo6 1or stimulation that is inAariably harm1ul? this
type o1 bo+hi
can easily +estroy itsel1 without any outsi+e help-
Anyone who ma6es the agoniUing e11ort to oppose his
heartJs natural inclinations until it submits to the authority o1
Dhamma is able to +eAelop bo+hi
to per1ection- Such a person is
truly worthy o1 Aeneration- Scariya Mun was a classic eKample
o1 a teacher who +eAelops bo+hi
so thoroughly that he becomes
a reassuring source o1 com1ort to all his +isciples- Scariya Mun
care1ully cultiAate+ his Bo+hi tree until the trun6 was strong? the
branches eKtensiAe? the 1oliage thic6? an+ the 1ruits an+ 1lowers
abun+ant- &t was always a peace1ul source o1 sha+e 1or those who
sought to shelter there- Although he has alrea+y passe+ away? Xust
rea+ing the story o1 his li1e is enough to arouse 1aith in him an+
the Dhamma he practice+- &tJs almost as though he neAer passe+
away at all-
!he 8inal (ears
1ter +eparting :hiang Mai? Scariya Mun staye+ two rains
retreats at .at Non Niwet monastery in U+on !hani-
8ollowing the secon+ retreat? a group o1 lay +eAotees
1rom Sa6on Na6hon? hea+e+ by a longtime +isciple? $hun Mae
Num :huwanon? came an+ inAite+ him to return with them 1or
the spiritual bene1it o1 people there- .hen he rea+ily agree+? all
concerne+ were +elighte+? an+ arrangements were ma+e to escort
him there- Upon arriAing in Sa6on Na6hon in late ENDE? Scariya
Mun 1irst resi+e+ at .at Su++hawat monastery- Soon mon6s an+
laity were arriAing +aily to pay their respects an+ see6 his a+Aice-
.hile at .at Su++hawat? somebo+y came with a camera
an+ as6e+ permission to ta6e his photograph to 6eep as an obXect
o1 worship- &n all? Scariya Mun allowe+ his picture to be ta6en
three times* on this occasion in Sa6on Na6honV preAiously? when
he was staying in Na6hon 'atchasimaV an+ later? at Ban 8ang
Daeng in !hat Phanom +istrict o1 Na6hon Phanom proAince on
his return 1rom Scariya SaoJs 1uneral-E !he photographic prints
that his +eAotees collect as obXects o1 worship to+ay are repro+uctions
o1 pictures ta6en on these three occasions- But 1or these?
there woul+ be no photographic images to remin+ us what he
loo6e+ li6e- &t was not easy to get permission to ta6e Scariya
MunJs picture- !hose who trie+ were on pins an+ nee+les? 1i+geting
nerAously as they waite+ +renche+ in sweat? loo6ing 1or a goo+
opportunity to broach the subXect with him- .ell aware that he
rarely gaAe permission 1or such actiAities? they were a1rai+ that i1
they +i+ not han+le the situation properly? then he might simply
+ismiss them with a curt retort-
Scariya Mun staye+ at .at Su++hawat monastery 1or awhile
be1ore moAing to a small 1orest monastery near the Aillage o1 Ban
Na Mon which? being Aery Cuiet an+ seclu+e+ both +ay an+ night?
suite+ him per1ectly- !he mon6s an+ noAices liAing with him
were an impressiAe sight R they sai+ Aery little? but pac6e+ Cuite a
punch- !hat is to say? instea+ o1 chatting among themselAes? they
pre1erre+ to put e11ort into their practice? each mon6 sitting in his
own hut or wal6ing me+itation out in the 1orest- At 1our oJcloc6 in
the a1ternoon they all emerge+ 1rom their liAing Cuarters to sweep
the groun+s together- .ith the whole area swept clean? they +rew
water 1rom the well an+ carrie+ it aroun+ to 1ill up the water barrels
use+ 1or cleaning their 1eet an+ washing their alms bowls-
!hese chores complete+? eAeryone bathe+ together at the well
in an a+mirably Cuiet? compose+ manner- !hey per1orme+ each
+aily chore with a remar6able sel1)control? always applying min+1ulness
an+ wis+om to analyUe the nature o1 the tas6s at han+ R
no one absentmin+e+ly engage+ in i+le conAersation- As soon as
the +ayJs +uties were 1inishe+ they separate+? each mon6 returning
to his hut to sit or wal6 in me+itation as he saw 1it-
.hen the mon6s returne+ to their huts? the monastery
appeare+ +eserte+- A Aisitor happening to arriAe then woul+ not
haAe seen a single mon6 simply stan+ing aroun+ or sitting i+ly- Ha+
the Aisitor Aenture+ into the surroun+ing 1orest? he woul+ haAe +iscoAere+
some o1 the mon6s pacing bac6 an+ 1orth on their me+itation
trac6s? an+ others sitting peace1ully in their small huts? all
pre1erring to practice Cuietly? in solitu+e- !hey came together 1or
almsroun+ an+ the morning meal? or when there was an eAening
meeting? an+ only occasionally 1or other reCuire+ +uties- Aen on
almsroun+? each mon6 wal6e+ to an+ 1rom the Aillage with cautious
restraint? min+1ully intent on his me+itation practice- !hey
were not negligent? wal6ing along casually gaUing here an+ there?
chatting with anyone who chance+ to pass by- His mon6s truly
were an inspirational sight to see as they wal6e+ 1or alms with such
+igni1ie+ composure-
Bac6 in the monastery? the mon6s sat together inAestigating
the 1oo+ in their alms bowls as they prepare+ to eat- !hey
re1lecte+ on the +angers inherent in attachment to 1oo+- 'emaining
min+1ul as they ate? they gaAe no in+ication that they were
enXoying the 1oo+- .ith their attention 1ocuse+ on the contents
o1 their alms bowls? they re1raine+ 1rom tal6ing an+ +i+ not allow
their gaUe to stray 1rom the tas6 o1 eating- !hey chewe+ their 1oo+
care1ully to aAoi+ ma6ing lou+? impolite noises that coul+ +isturb
the others- !he meal oAer? they helpe+ each other put eAerything
neatly away an+ swept the place clean- ach mon6 washe+
his alms bowl? +rie+ it with a cloth? an+ care1ully place+ it in the
sun 1or a 1ew minutes- #nly then +i+ he put his alms bowl away
in the appropriate place-
!hese +uties complete+? each mon6 returne+ to the seclusion
o1 his own liAing Cuarters? turning his 1ull attention to training
his heart an+ min+ in the manner o1 practice best suite+ to
him- Sometimes a mon6 eKerte+ himsel1 to the limitV at other
times? less so- &n either case? he concentrate+ solely on his practice?
unconcerne+ about how many hours passe+ or how much
energy he eKpen+e+- Basically? his obXectiAe was to ma6e sure his
min+ remaine+ 1ocuse+ on the me+itation subXect he ha+ chosen
to control it until that 1ocus o1 attention became a mental obXect
he coul+ rely on to +irect his heart towar+ peace an+ calm- Such
calm? in turn? helpe+ him to concentrate his mental 1ocus on
the cause an+ e11ect relationships inherent within whicheAer phenomena
his wis+om then chose to inAestigate? allowing him to
gra+ually attain increasingly more subtle leAels o1 Dhamma as
he progresse+ towar+ the ultimate goal- .hile applying himsel1
assi+uously? he always trie+ to ma6e sure that his mo+e o1 practice
was correct 1or the leAel o1 Dhamma he was wor6ing on-
&t is eKtremely important that a mon6 haAe min+1ulness
at eAery stage o1 his practice- &t is also essential that a mon6 use
wis+om when his practice reaches those leAels o1 Dhamma where
wis+om is in+ispensable- Min+1ulness? howeAer? is always in+ispensable
R at all times? in all actiAities- .heneAer min+1ulness is
missing? e11ort also is missing- %ac6ing min+1ulness? wal6ing an+ sitting
me+itation are Xust empty postures Aoi+ o1 anything that coul+
be calle+ @right e11ortB- 8or this Aery reason? Scariya Mun stresse+
min+1ulness more than any other aspect o1 a mon6Js practice- &n 1act?
min+1ulness is the principal 1oun+ation supporting eAery aspect on
eAery leAel o1 me+itation practice- Practice+ continuously? it eAentually
+eAelops into the 6in+ o1 supreme)min+1ulness that 1osters the
highest leAels o1 wis+om- Min+1ulness must be use+ intensiAely at the
preliminary leAel o1 +eAeloping me+itatiAe calm an+ concentration-
&n all succee+ing leAels o1 practice? min+1ulness an+ wis+om must be
+eAelope+ in tan+em? wor6ing as a team-
Scariya Mun taught his mon6s to be Aery resolute an+ courageous
in their practice- Anyone who was not earnestly committe+
to the practice was unli6ely to remain with him 1or long-
About once a wee6 he calle+ a meeting an+ gaAe a tal6V on other
nights he eKpecte+ the mon6s to eKpe+ite their e11orts on their
own- !hose with +oubts or Cuestions about their practice coul+
consult him without haAing to wait 1or the neKt meeting- An aura
o1 Dhamma perAa+e+ the atmosphere aroun+ him? giAing his stu+ents
the 1eeling that magga? phala? an+ Nibb7na were truly within
their reach- His reassuring presence gaAe them the +etermination
an+ courage necessary to pursue their practice to the limit? con+ucting
themselAes in a manner that suggeste+ they ha+ the highest
attainments in their sights- .hen me+itating? they ma+e little
+istinction between +ay an+ nightV each mon6 striAe+ in earnest
regar+less o1 the hour- #n moonless nights? can+le lanterns illuminate+
me+itation trac6s aroun+ the whole area- #n moonlit
nights? mon6s wal6e+ me+itation by the light o1 the moon? each
practicing with a sense o1 urgency that allowe+ him Aery little
time 1or sleep-
S:A'&(A MUNJS P'#8&:&N:( in chanting the suttas was unriAale+-
He chante+ suttas alone 1or many hours eAery night without 1ail-
He woul+ chant long +iscourses? li6e the Dhamma)ca66a)paAattana
Sutta an+ the Mah7 Sam7ya Sutta? nearly eAery night- #ccasionally?
he translate+ the meaning o1 the suttas 1or our bene1it?
translations base+ on his own personal eKperience- He spo6e
+irectly to their essential meaning? o1ten bypassing the strict rules
o1 P7li grammar normally use+ to maintain uni1ormity in transla
tions- !he un+eniable clarity o1 his translations allowe+ his au+ience
to glimpse the 1un+amental message o1 the ancient teKts
he Cuote+- AmaUingly? he translate+ P7li better than the accomplishe+
scholars? though he ha+ neAer stu+ie+ P7li in any 1ormal
way- No sooner ha+ he mentione+ a P7li phrase than? without
eAen a pause? he ha+ translate+ it as well in a Cuic6? 1luent style
that +e1ie+ belie1- 8or instance? when citing passages 1rom the
Dhamma)ca66a)paAattana Sutta or the Mah7 Sam7ya Sutta +uring
the course o1 his tal6s? he gaAe 1ast? simultaneous translations
worthy o1 a tenth gra+e P7li scholar-; & say the tenth gra+e because
& haAe hear+ ninth gra+e P7li scholars translate an+ they ten+
to be slow an+ plo++ing- !hey +eliberate Cuite a long time oAer
each passage an+ eAen then they are not Aery sure o1 their translations-
Not only was Scariya Mun Cuic6? he also was bol+ly con1i+ent
o1 the truth o1 his wor+s- HaAing clearly eKperience+ the
truth o1 their essential meaning himsel1? he was certain o1 his
translations- P7li Aerses arose spontaneously in his heart? which
he then elaborate+ on in a way that +i11ere+ somewhat 1rom classical
interpretations- 8or eKample? A7t7 ru66h7 na pabbato? which
he translate+ as* @gale 1orce win+s can uproot whole trees? yet
they canJt moAe a mountain o1 stone-B !his is an eKample o1 one
Dhamma Aerse that arose spontaneously in his heart? along with
the translation? while he was giAing a tal6 to the mon6s-
.hat & Xust wrote about the ninth an+ tenth gra+es o1 P7li
scholarship shoul+nJt be ta6en too seriously- &t is merely a 1igure
o1 speech use+ by mon6s in the 1orest tra+ition R no o11ense is
inten+e+- .e 1orest mon6s ten+ to act a bit li6e mon6eys that
haAe grown accustome+ to liAing in the wil+* eAen i1 they are
caught an+ raise+ as pets? they still retain their ol+ habits- !hey
can neAer really a+apt to human behaAior- Please eKcuse me 1or
presuming to compare Scariya MunJs translations with those o1
P7li scholars- Some rea+ers may 1eel that & haAe oAersteppe+ the
mar6 here-
caught an+ raise+ as pets? they still retain their ol+ habits- !hey
can neAer really a+apt to human behaAior- Please eKcuse me 1or
presuming to compare Scariya MunJs translations with those o1
P7li scholars- Some rea+ers may 1eel that & haAe oAersteppe+ the
mar6 here-
was locate+ only hal1 a mile 1rom the Aillage- Still? the place
was Aery Cuiet- Not more than eleAen or twelAe mon6s staye+ with
him at any one time in either o1 those places +ue to the limite+
number o1 aAailable huts- &t was while he resi+e+ at Ban $ho6 that
& arriAe+- He was 6in+ enough to accept me as a stu+ent? although
& was about as use1ul as an ol+ log- & liAe+ there li6e a la+le in a
pot o1 stew- & 1eel ashame+ Xust thin6ing about it now* this useless
log o1 a mon6 staying with an absolutely brilliant sage o1 such
uniAersal renown-
All the same? & +o 1eel easier about writing his story 1rom
this perio+ onwar+- Up to this point in the story & haAe 1elt somewhat
hampere+? an+ not a little 1rustrate+? by the 1act that most
o1 my in1ormation comes secon+han+ 1rom senior +isciples who
liAe+ with him in the early years- &n preparation 1or writing this
biography? & spent many years going aroun+ to meet those 7cariyas?
interAiewing them an+ writing +own their memories? or taping my
conAersations with them- All this material then nee+ to be care1ully
arrange+ in chronological or+er be1ore it coul+ be presente+
in a meaning1ul? rea+able 1ormat R a Aery +eman+ing tas6- 8rom
now on & shall be writing about what & mysel1 witnesse+ in the
1inal years o1 Scariya MunJs li1e- Although this part o1 the story
may not impress the rea+er as much as what has gone be1ore? as
the author & 1eel relieAe+ to be writing 1rom personal eKperience-
now on & shall be writing about what & mysel1 witnesse+ in the
1inal years o1 Scariya MunJs li1e- Although this part o1 the story
may not impress the rea+er as much as what has gone be1ore? as
the author & 1eel relieAe+ to be writing 1rom personal eKperience-
with a small group o1 mon6s? all o1 whom remaine+ healthy
an+ contente+ throughout the three months- Scariya Mun calle+
a meeting about once a wee6? both +uring the retreat perio+ an+
a1ter it was oAer- Although his +iscourses usually laste+ 1or two to
1our hours? his au+ience was so completely absorbe+ in me+itation
practice that thoughts o1 weariness an+ 1atigue neAer crosse+
their min+s- 8or his part? Scariya Mun was completely absorbe+
in +eliAering the Dhamma? eKpoun+ing the nature o1 cause an+
e11ect in a reasonable way that struc6 a chor+ with his listeners?
all o1 whom were genuinely searching 1or !ruth- !he Dhamma
he presente+ was +eliAere+ straight 1rom a heart that ha+ realiUe+
this !ruth with absolute clarity R leaAing no room 1or +oubt- #nly
one +oubt remaine+* :oul+ the mon6s actually +o the practice
the way he +escribe+ it-
He +eliAere+ his +iscourses in a manner reminiscent o1
times past when the %or+ Bu++ha +eliAere+ a +iscourse to a gathering
o1 mon6s- .e can be sure that the %or+ Bu++haJs +iscourses
were concerne+ solely with the great treasures o1 DhammaV that
is? he spo6e only on subXects +irectly relate+ to magga? phala?
Nibb7na- !hus? mon6s listening to him were able to attain magga?
phala? an+ Nibb7na one a1ter another? in stea+y succession? right
up until the +ay o1 his 1inal passing away- Because the Bu++haJs
teaching emanate+ +irectly 1rom an absolutely pure heart? the
Dhamma he +eliAere+ was incomparably superb- !his was magga
an+ phala? pure an+ simple? an+ his listeners were able to emulate
his teaching to per1ection-
teaching emanate+ +irectly 1rom an absolutely pure heart? the
Dhamma he +eliAere+ was incomparably superb- !his was magga
an+ phala? pure an+ simple? an+ his listeners were able to emulate
his teaching to per1ection-
Dhamma o1 the present moment R re1ine+ an+ puri1ie+ in
his heart- He +i+ not theoriUe or speculate when he spo6e- His
au+ience alrea+y ha+ their own +oubts an+ uncertainties about
the practice? an+ 1urther speculation woul+ only haAe serAe+ to
increase those +oubts- &nstea+? as they listene+? his Dhamma
gra+ually +ispelle+ their +oubts- !hose who hear+ his won+er1ul
eKpositions were able to use them as a way to signi1icantly re+uce
their 6ilesas- Beyon+ that? they coul+ be use+ to conclusiAely eliminate
all +oubts-
S:A'&(A MUN :HAN!D suttas eAery night 1or seAeral hours- #n
a night when no meeting was hel+? he le1t his me+itation trac6
at about eight oJcloc6 an+ entere+ his hut to Cuietly chant suttas
at length be1ore resuming seate+ me+itation until it was time to
retire- #n meeting nights? his chanting began later? a1ter the meeting
was oAer- !his meant that his normal sche+ule was +elaye+
when there was a meeting so that he retire+ later than usual? at
mi+night or one A-M-
#ne eAening? hearing him so1tly chanting in his hut? & ha+
the mischieAous urge to snea6 up an+ listen- & wante+ to 1in+ out
what suttas he chante+ at such length eAery night- As soon as &
crept up close enough to hear him clearly? howeAer? he stoppe+
chanting an+ remaine+ silent- !his +i+ not loo6 goo+? so & Cuic6ly
bac6e+ away an+ stoo+ listening 1rom a +istance- No sooner ha+
& bac6e+ away than the low ca+ence o1 his chanting starte+ up
again? now too 1aint to be hear+ clearly- So again & snea6e+ 1orwar+
R an+ again he went silent- &n the en+? & neAer +i+ 1in+ out what
he was chanting- & was a1rai+ that i1 & stubbornly insiste+
on stan+ing there eaAes+ropping? a bolt o1 lightning might stri6e
an+ a sharp rebu6e thun+er out- Meeting him the neKt morning
& glance+ away- & +i+ not +are to loo6 him in the 1ace- But he
loo6e+ +irectly at me with a sharp? menacing glare- & learne+ my
lesson the har+ way* neAer again +i+ & +are to snea6 up an+ try to
listen in on his chanting- & was a1rai+ & woul+ receiAe something
seAere 1or my trouble- 8rom what & ha+ obserAe+ o1 him? i1 & persiste+
there was a real chance &J+ get Xust what & was as6ing 1or-
&t was only later? a1ter long association with him? that &
clearly un+erstoo+ Xust how well he perceiAe+ eAerything going on
aroun+ him- !hin6ing about it now? how coul+ he possibly haAe
been unaware that & was stan+ing there li6e an i+iot an+ listening
so intently- &tJs obAious R he was 1ully aware- But be1ore ma6ing
any comment? he wante+ 1irst to wait an+ chec6 out this stubborn?
silly mon6- Any 1urther such behaAior was boun+ to inAo6e
a seAere response- .hat amaUe+ me was* each time & crept close
to his hut he stoppe+ chanting straight away- He obAiously 6new
eKactly what was going on-
8ellowship with Pigs
#ne +ay? shortly a1ter my arriAal R +uring a time when & was
eKtremely wary o1 Scariya Mun R & lai+ +own in the mi++le o1
the +ay an+ +oUe+ o11- As & slept? Scariya Mun appeare+ in my
+ream to scol+ me* @.hy are you sleeping li6e a pig_ !his is no
pig 1arm2 & wonJt tolerate mon6s coming here to learn the art o1
being a pig- (ouJll turn this place into a pigsty2B His Aoice bellowe+?
1ierce an+ menacing? 1rightening me an+ causing me to
wa6e with a start- DaUe+ an+ trembling? & stuc6 my hea+ out the
+oor eKpecting to see him- & was generally Aery 1rightene+ o1 him
anywayV but? & ha+ 1orce+ mysel1 to stay with him +espite that-
!he reason was simple* it was the right thing to +o- Besi+es? he
ha+ an e11ectiAe anti+ote 1or pigs li6e me- So? & was in a panic- &
stuc6 my hea+ out? loo6ing aroun+ in all +irections? but & +i+nJt
see him anywhere- #nly then +i+ & begin to breathe a bit easier-
%ater when & ha+ a chance? & tol+ Scariya Mun what happene+-
He Aery cleAerly eKplaine+ my +ream in a way that relieAe+ my
+iscom1ort R a tolerant approach that & +onJt always agree with?
since soothing wor+s can easily promote carelessness an+ complacency-
He eKplaine+ my +ream li6e this*
@(ouJAe Xust recently come to liAe with a teacher an+ you are
really +etermine+ to +o well- (our +ream simply mirrore+ your
state o1 min+- !hat scol+ing you hear+? reproaching you 1or acting
li6e a pig? was the Dhamma warning you not to bring pig)li6e ten+encies
into the mon6hoo+ an+ the religion- Most people +o only
what they 1eel li6e +oing? 1ailing to ta6e into account the Aalue
o1 their human birth an+ the conseCuences o1 their actions- !his
ma6es it +i11icult 1or them to 1ully realiUe their human potential-
!hereJs an ol+ saying that someone is ]not all thereJ- &t re1ers to
a basic lac6 o1 human potential arising 1rom callous insensitiAity
to the 1act that human beings possess intrinsic Cualities that are
superior to those o1 animals- !his attitu+e promotes such +egra+
ing behaAior that some people en+ up +amage+ almost beyon+
repair R an empty human shell lac6ing all intrinsic goo+ness- Aen
then? they are unaware o1 what has happene+ to them? or why-
ing behaAior that some people en+ up +amage+ almost beyon+
repair R an empty human shell lac6ing all intrinsic goo+ness- Aen
then? they are unaware o1 what has happene+ to them? or why-
youJre 1eeling laUy you can use it as a means o1 stirring up
the min+1ulness necessary to oAercome your in+olence- !his type
o1 +ream is eKceptionally potent- Not eAeryone has a +ream li6e
this- & appreciate such +reams 1or they e11ectiAely stimulate min+1ulness?
6eeping it constantly Aigilant- !his in turn accelerates
progress in me+itation? allowing the heart to attain calm with relatiAe
ease- &1 you ta6e this lesson that Dhamma has proAi+e+ an+
put it consistently into practice? you can eKpect to Cuic6ly achieAe
me+itatiAe calm- .ho 6nows? you may eAen penetrate the true
nature o1 Dhamma ahea+ o1 those who haAe been practicing me+itation
1or many years- !hat +ream o1 yours was Aery worthwhile-
&t wasnJt a ba+ omen by any means-
@DonJt be eKcessiAely 1rightene+ o1 your teacher R it will only
cause you to 1eel uncom1ortable all the time- Nothing o1 bene1it
can be gaine+ 1rom unreasonable 1ear o1 the teacher- He has a
moral obligation to e+ucate his stu+ents? using eAery means aAailable
to him- &tJs not your teacher you shoul+ 1ear? but eAil? 1or eAil
lea+s +irectly to su11ering- & +onJt accept mon6s as my stu+ents Xust
so & can castigate them 1or no goo+ reason- !he training a mon6
un+erta6es is a stringent one? 1ollowing principles lai+ +own by
the Bu++ha- A teacherJs gui+ance must 1ollow the strict logic o1
these principles- &1 he +eAiates 1rom this path? neither he nor the
stu+ent bene1its in any way-
@So put your min+ at ease an+ wor6 har+ at your practice-
11ort is 6ey R +onJt become +iscourage+ an+ ease up- Dhamma
belongs to eAeryone who truly +esires it- !he Bu++ha +i+ not limit
the possession o1 Dhamma to a particular in+iAi+ual- Aeryone
who practices in the right way enXoys the same right o1 ownership-
DonJt 1orget that auspicious +ream- 'e1lect on it o1ten? an+
all pig)li6e ten+encies will 1a+e into the bac6groun+ R as magga?
phala? an+ Nibb7na +raw eAer closer- !hen itJs only a matter o1
time be1ore the +omain beyon+ +u66ha
appears- &tJs ineAitable-
&Jm truly please+ about your +ream- & haAe traine+ mysel1 with a
similar 1iery intensity an+ &JAe always ha+ goo+ results- & 1oun+
it imperatiAe to use such metho+s throughout my years o1 practice?
an+ now occasionally & must use similar metho+s to train
my stu+ents-B
Scariya Mun use+ this interpretation o1 my +ream to console
a youngster who was new to the training- He was concerne+
this 6i+ might lose heart an+ giAe up trying to ma6e an e11ort?
thus reXoining the 1raternity o1 pigs- !hatJs why he resorte+ to
this metho+ o1 teaching- His teaching metho+s always +isplaye+
an unparallele+ ingenuity- & o1ten went to spea6 with him +uring
that early perio+ when my mental state was 1luctuating between
perio+s o1 progress an+ perio+s o1 +ecline R a time o1 particular
stress an+ uneasiness 1or me R an+ he a+Aise+ me in the same
com1orting manner- As soon as & pai+ my respect to him? he as6e+
me how my citta
was +oing- &1 it happene+ to be a time when my
me+itation was progressing nicely? & tol+ him so- He then Aoice+
his approAal an+ encourage+ me to 6eep up the goo+ wor6 so that
& coul+ Cuic6ly transcen+ +u66ha- &1 my me+itation was +eteriorating?
& replie+ that my min+ was so ba+ it seeme+ all traces o1
happiness ha+ gone- He then a+opte+ a sympathetic attitu+e*
happiness ha+ gone- He then a+opte+ a sympathetic attitu+e*
1ollows its owner whereAer he goes- &t wonJt Xust run away-
&ntensi1y your practice an+ the citta is boun+ to return on its own-
DonJt waste time thin6ing about where itJs gone to- .hereAer itJs
gone? it canJt possibly run away- &1 you want it to return Cuic6ly?
concentrate your e11orts- Any +iscouragement will only boost the
cittaJs ego- !hin6ing you really miss it so much? it will play har+)
to)get- So stop thin6ing about the citta youJAe lost- &nstea+? thin6
@bu++hoB? repeating it continuously? oAer an+ oAer again- #nce the
wor+ @bu++hoB has been mentally establishe+ by repeating it con
tinuously in rapi+ succession? the citta will hurry bac6 o1 its own
accor+- Aen then? +onJt let go o1 bu++ho- Bu++ho is the cittaJs 1oo+
R as long as there is 1oo+? it will always come running bac6- So
repeat @bu++hoB constantly until the citta has eaten its 1ill? then it
will haAe to ta6e a rest- (ou too will 1eel satis1ie+ while the citta
rests calmly- .hen itJs calm? it ceases to run ma+ly about loo6ing
to cause you trouble- $eep this practice up until you cannot chase
it away? eAen i1 you want to- !his is the per1ect metho+ to use with
a min+ whose raAenous appetite is neAer satiate+- As long as it
has enough 1oo+? it will not leaAe eAen i1 you try to +riAe it away-
8ollow my a+Aice an+ the state o1 your citta will neAer again +eteriorate-
Bu++ho is the 6ey- So long as its 1oo+ is there? it wonJt stray-
Do as & say an+ youJll neAer again eKperience the +isappointment
o1 seeing your citta get worse time an+ time again-B
!his was yet another techniCue employe+ by Scariya Mun
to teach those o1 us who were really stupi+- But at least & belieAe+
him R in my own stupi+ way- #therwise? & woul+ probably still
be chasing a1ter a min+ in perpetual +ecline without any chance
o1 eAer catching it- &JAe written about this matter 1or the sa6e o1
those rea+ers who may glean some use1ul i+eas 1rom the way a
cleAer person teaches a stupi+ one- &t is not my intention to glori1y
my own stupi+ity or the lenient treatment that & receiAe+ 1rom
Scariya Mun at that time-
8#%%#.&N9 !H 'A&NS '!'A!? Scariya Mun returne+ brie1ly to
Ban Na Mon an+ then moAe+ on to Ban Huay $aen? settling in
the nearby 1orest 1or awhile- 8rom there he moAe+ to an aban+one+
monastery at the base o1 a mountain near the Aillage o1
Ban Na Sinuan? remaining there 1or seAeral months- .hile he was
there? he came +own with a 1eAer which laste+ 1or +ays? curing
himsel1 as usual with the ]therapeutic power o1 DhammaJ-
&n April END; he traAele+ to Ubon 'atchathani to atten+
the 1uneral o1 his teacher? Scariya Sao- #nce the cremation ceremony
was complete+? he returne+ to Ban Na Mon 1or the rains
retreat- During that retreat Scariya Mun employe+ a wi+e Aariety
o1 metho+s to press his stu+ents to maKimiUe their e11orts? eKhorting
them to be +iligent in their practice- He calle+ a meeting once
eAery 1our +ays throughout the entire rains perio+? helping many
mon6s to +eAelop in Dhamma an+ attain inner strength- Many
eKperience+ unusual insights which they reporte+ to Scariya Mun-
& ha+ the priAilege o1 listening to those eKperiences? although & was
not as accomplishe+ in my practice as many o1 the others- Many
memorable things occurre+ +uring that rains retreat R things that
& haAe neAer 1orgotten- & will remember those outstan+ing eKperiences
1or the rest o1 my li1e-
During that retreat perio+ Scariya Mun began to use tough?
coerciAe measures with us? treating us more li6e ol+ 1ootrags- Until
then? he ha+ use+ relatiAely gentle metho+s? turning a blin+ eye
to our shortcomings- He probably +eci+e+ that the time was right
to get tough with us- &1 he continue+ to tolerate our lapses in+e1initely?
he woul+ 1eel bur+ene+ all the time an+ his stu+ents woul+
neAer awa6e 1rom their slumber long enough to open their eyes
an+ see the earth? the s6y? the moon an+ the stars- As a result?
all the mon6s were eager to +o me+itation practice an+ eKcite+
about the insights they gaine+ 1rom their e11orts- Mon6s routinely
+escribe+ their inner eKperiences to Scariya Mun so that
he coul+ help them to 1urther their un+erstan+ing- At the same
time? he woul+ point out how they coul+ per1ect those aspects o1
their practice that still nee+e+ improAement- He +i+ his best to
answer eAery Cuestion that was put to him- !hose Cuestion)an+answer
sessions? when he gaAe a+Aice to speci1ic in+iAi+uals? were
engrossing eKpositions on the practical aspects o1 Dhamma- His
responses to the mon6s who approache+ him about their me+itatiAe
eKperiences were neAer pre+ictable? being +ictate+ by the
speci1ic nature o1 the eKperience or the Cuestion un+er +iscussion-
He always answere+ in the manner best suite+ to the in+iAi+ual
stu+ent? eluci+ating points o1 practice an+ recommen+ing techniCues
appropriate 1or his speci1ic leAel o1 practice- !hose o1 us?
who ha+ the priAilege o1 listening in? especially enXoye+ hearing
about the me+itation eKperiences an+ Cuestions pose+ by mon6s
whose practice ha+ reache+ an a+Aance+ stage- .e were truly
captiAate+ then? wishing 1or those +iscussions neAer to en+- .e
were 6een to hear such eKchanges Aery o1ten an+ so imbibe this
Dhamma to our heartJs content-
were 6een to hear such eKchanges Aery o1ten an+ so imbibe this
Dhamma to our heartJs content-
stages o1 his own practice? inclu+ing insights into Aarious phenomena
arising in his me+itation- He elaborate+ on the metho+s
he use+ in his struggle to eKtricate himsel1 1rom the Cuagmire o1
to the point where he Aerge+ on transcen+ing the worl+
o1 conAentional reality? an+ how that 1inal transcen+ence actually
occurre+- !al6 o1 his supreme attainment ma+e those o1 us?
who yearne+ 1or this transcen+ent Dhamma? eager to attain it
ourselAes- !his prompte+ some o1 us to 1eel a bit +eXecte+? won+ering
i1 we really ha+ enough inherent potential to success1ully
reach that sphere o1 Dhamma that he ha+ realiUe+ to per1ection-
Perhaps we woul+ remain stuc6 in this Cuagmire 1oreAer? unable
to escape 1rom the +eep pit o1 sa[s7ra- How is it he can attain
1ree+om? yet we still cannot arouse ourselAes 1rom sleep_ .hen
will we be able to realiUe the same transcen+ent 1ree+om he has_
!his sort o1 thin6ing ha+ the a+Aantage o1 awa6ening a persistent
+etermination in us to tolerate the +i11iculties an+ press ahea+
with our e11orts- !his in turn 1acilitate+ eAery aspect o1 the practice-
.e were so inspire+ an+ energiUe+ by the Dhamma he so
6in+ly eluci+ate+ 1or us that all sense o1 weariness an+ 1atigue
Aanishe+- #ur 1aith in him gaAe us the necessary strength to willingly
shoul+er the heaAiest bur+ens-
!he %or+ Bu++ha taught us to associate with the wise- !he
truth o1 this is obAious to stu+ents liAing in the presence o1 a
goo+ teacher? listening +ay in an+ +ay out to his upli1ting instructions-
!heir enthusiasm gains momentum as his teaching gra+ually
permeates +eep into the 1abric o1 their being? an+ his Airtuous
Cualities eAentually in1use their characters- Although they cannot
hope to match him in eAery respect? at least they eKempli1y their
teacherJs Airtues- !he opposite also hol+s true* the more we associate
with 1ools? the worse o11 we are- !hese two teachings o1 the
Bu++ha are eCually Aali+* we can become goo+ through association
with goo+ people? or we can su11er harm through association
with ba+ people- &1 we obserAe someone who has spent a long time
training un+er a goo+ teacher? it is eAi+ent that he has gaine+
some stea+1ast principles 1rom that relationship- :onAersely? itJs
obAious that those who get miKe+ up with 1ools will eAentually
+isplay the same 1oolish characteristics R or perhaps worse ones-
Here & am re1erring to the eKternal 1ools we meet in society-
But you shoul+ un+erstan+ that there are still other? internal
1ools burie+ +eep within the personalities o1 each an+ eAery
one o1 us R eAen well)mannere+ people li6e mon6s an+ nuns
who wear the sacre+ Bu++hist robes? openly proclaiming themselAes
to be +isciples o1 the %or+ Bu++ha- By inner 1ool? & mean
the craAen stupi+ity an+ timi+ness that ma6es us shrin6 1rom
1acing up to the min+Js baser instincts? which are Xust waiting to
eKpress themselAes in ignoble? +egra+ing ways- Many people are
unaware o1 the repugnant 1orces burie+ within their min+s- But
eAen people who are aware o1 them ten+ to belieAe that as long as
those things remain hi++en insi+e an+ +o not eKpress themselAes
in speech or actions? then their repugnance is not really an issue-
&n truth? all ba+ things? regar+less o1 where they eKist? are intrinsically
repugnant by nature- &tJs not necessary 1or ba+ instincts to
eKpress themselAes eKternally to be consi+ere+ repugnant- !hey
are alrea+y 1right1ully repugnant in an+ o1 themselAes an+ must
be +ealt with as such-
!hat wisest o1 sages? the %or+ Bu++ha? taught us to
renounce all ba+ things an+ root them out? completely era+icating
them 1rom our hearts- !he %or+ Bu++ha an+ his Arahant +isciples
were per1ect eKamples o1 this* Both their hearts an+ their
con+uct were 1ree 1rom blemish- .hereAer they liAe+ they always
remaine+ unperturbe+ an+ sublimely contente+- &n my opinion?
base+ on personal obserAation? Scariya Mun was another mon6
1ree 1rom blemish- & say this with complete con1i+ence? accepting
1ull responsibility? 1or & am certain that it is true- Any s6epticism
shoul+ be +irecte+ at me? not Scariya Mun R his escape 1rom the
snares o1 M7ra is alrea+y well complete+-
A8!' !H 'A&NS '!'A!? Scariya Mun continue+ liAing at Ban
Na Mon 1or many months- Zust prior to the neKt retreat he moAe+
bac6 to Ban $ho6? but not to the same 1orest monastery where he
preAiously liAe+- He staye+ in a new monastery? built an+ o11ere+
to him by Scariya $ongma :hirapu\\o- He 1oun+ the location
Cuite suitable? com1ortably spen+ing the rains retreat there in
goo+ health- As usual? he hel+ regular meetings to instruct the
&n summary? Scariya Mun staye+ continuously in the area
aroun+ Ban Huay $aen? Ban Na Sinuan? Ban $ho6? an+ Ban
Na Mon in the !ong $hop +istrict o1 Sa6on Na6hon proAince
1or three successiAe years? inclu+ing three rainy season retreats-
As usual he taught the nonphysical beings who contacte+ him?
though 1ewer +eAas came in Sa6on Na6hon an+ their Aisits were
1ar less 1reCuent than those o1 +eAas in :hiang Mai- &t was probably
because the region was less remote? an+ thus less seclu+e+-
!hey ten+e+ to come only on religious 1estiAal +ays? such as M7gha
PTX7? Vis76ha PTX7 an+ the obserAance +ays at the beginning? the
mi++le? an+ the en+ o1 the rains retreat- #ther than that? relatiAely
1ew +eAas came to Aisit him-
#nly a small group o1 mon6s actually spent these rains
retreats with him +ue to a limite+ number o1 aAailable huts- He
coul+ not accept new arriAals unless there were Aacancies- !he
situation was +i11erent outsi+e o1 the retreat perio+- !hen mon6s
1rom many +i11erent places came to train un+er him- 8ollowing
the retreat? a stea+y 1low o1 mon6s came an+ went at his monastery?
an+ he always Aery 6in+ly ma+e a special e11ort to instruct
them in their practice-
&n the +ry season? 1ollowing the thir+ rains retreat? a group
o1 lay people 1rom the Aillage o1 Ban Nong Pheu Na Nai went to
see Scariya Mun? an+ inAite+ him to return with them to liAe
near their Aillage- He accepte+ their o11er? an+ was escorte+ to
their Aillage in the Na Nai sub)+istrict o1 Phanna Ni6hom in
Sa6on Na6hon proAince? where he spent the neKt rains retreat-
He traAele+ the +istance 1rom Ban $ho6 to Ban Nong Pheu
hi6ing through thic6 1orest? camping out along the way each
night- Ma6ing his way through rough? woo+e+ terrain the entire
way? he 1inally arriAe+ seAeral +ays later-
Soon a1ter his arriAal? he came +own with a seAere case o1
malaria- !he symptoms o1 this strain o1 malaria alternate between
bouts o1 Aery high 1eAer an+ shiAering col+ chills- &tJs a punishing
a11liction that lasts 1or months- Anyone 1alling Aictim to such
seAere malaria liAes to +rea+ it because the 1eAer neAer Cuite seems
to go away- &t may last 1or years? the symptoms returning again an+
again a1ter apparently haAing been cure+- !he 1eAer can +isappear
1or 1i1teen +ays? or maybe a monthV an+ then? Xust when one
thin6s itJs 1inally cure+? it resur1aces- Sometimes seAeral months
may elapse be1ore it returns-
& preAiously +escribe+ how malarial 1eAer cause+ in)laws to
lose patience with each other- &1 the son)in)law came +own with it?
his wi1eJs parents soon became 1e+ up with him- &1 one o1 his wi1eJs
parents ha+ it? the son)in)law soon got 1e+ up- !he patient became
a bur+en on the rest o1 the 1amily because R although he coul+nJt
+o any heaAy wor6 R he still ate a lot? slept constantly? an+ then
complaine+ bitterly no en+- Malaria is a most tiresome illness
which tries eAeryoneJs patience- &ts e11ect was compoun+e+ by the
1act that in those +ays there were no e11ectiAe me+icines 1or curing
malaria as there are to+ay- A person contracting it Xust ha+ to
wait 1or it to +isappear on its own- &1 it re1use+ to go away? it coul+
easily become a chronic con+ition? +ragging on 1or years- (oung
chil+ren who became in1ecte+ usually ha+ swollen? +isten+e+ bellies
an+ pale? anemic compleKions- NatiAes o1 the low)lying plains?
who ha+ moAe+ to settle in 1oreste+ areas? ten+e+ to be the worst
Aictims o1 this strain o1 malaria- &n+igenous 1orest inhabitants
were not immune? though their symptoms were sel+om so seAere
as those o1 people who came 1rom open? lowlan+ areas-
Malaria was also common among +hutanga
mon6s? as they
normally li6e+ to wan+er eKtensiAely through 1oreste+ mountain
areas- .ere this +rea+e+ +isease something Aaluable? something
to boast about? then & mysel1 coul+ boast with the best o1 them?
haAing su11ere+ its +eAastating e11ects many times- &t scares me
Xust thin6ing about it now- & was hit with a case o1 malaria my Aery
1irst year at Ban Nong Pheu? an or+eal that seAerely chastene+ me-
8eAer plague+ me the entire rainy season? then lingere+ on intermittently
into the +ry season? re1using to completely go away- How
coul+ & 1ail to be chastene+_ Being 1ully sensitiAe to pleasure an+
pain li6e eAerybo+y else? mon6s naturally +rea+ the thought o1
pain an+ +iscom1ort-
#nce Scariya Mun became settle+ at Ban Nong Pheu? the
number o1 mon6s coming to stay with him on a regular basis stea+ily
increase+- As many as twenty to thirty mon6s came each year
to spen+ the rains retreat with him- &n a++ition to the mon6s who
liAe+ in the monastery? many others staye+ close by in the Aicinity
o1 other small Aillages- A 1ew mon6s liAe+ together in some locations?
1iAe or siK in others? an+ occasionally nine or ten in some
places- ach o1 these groups staye+ in separate places? all within
wal6ing +istance o1 Scariya MunJs monastery- As many as thirty
to 1orty mon6s 1rom the surroun+ing area use+ to assemble at his
monastery on uposatha obserAance +ays- :ombine+ with resi+ent
mon6s? the total assembly easily reache+ 1i1ty or siKty- #utsi+e
the retreat perio+? it sometimes eKcee+e+ that number? as mon6s
continuously arriAe+ at Ban Nong Pheu see6ing Scariya MunJs
gui+ance- During the +ay they +isperse+ into the thic6 1orest? surroun+ing
the monastery groun+s? to +o their practice in solitu+e-
!he 1orest in this region was many tens o1 miles wi+e? while its
length was almost unlimite+ as it eKten+e+ along a series o1 oAerlapping
mountain ranges that seeme+ to stretch on 1oreAer-
&n those +ays? Airtually the whole region 1rom the +istrict
o1 Phanna Ni6hom south to the proAince o1 $alasin was blan6ete+
by 1orests- 8or this reason? Scariya MunJs monastery at Ban
Nong Pheu proAe+ to be an eKcellent central location 1or +hutanga
mon6s o1 the 6amma00h7na tra+ition who were oblige+ to
atten+ regular recitations o1 the P70imo66ha= an+ receiAe Dhamma
instructions 1rom their teacher- !hose wanting to come with Cuestions
about their me+itation practice coul+ easily +o so- During
the +ry season? his +isciples wan+ere+ o11 into the surroun+ing
mountains? liAing an+ practicing in the many caAes an+ un+er
the oAerhanging roc6s scattere+ throughout the rugge+ terrain-
Numerous small settlements o1 thatche+ huts +otte+ the mountain
ri+ges where 1iAe or siK 1amilies e6e+ out a liAing? growing
crops- Many +hutanga mon6s relie+ on those communities 1or
their +aily alms 1oo+- But they coul+ liAe conAeniently anywhere
in the regionJs thic6 1orests since small Aillage communities o1 ten
to thirty houses were scattere+ throughout-
!he Aillage o1 Ban Nong Pheu was situate+ in a rather broa+
Aalley completely surroun+e+ by mountains- !he Aillagers ma+e a
liAing by 1arming the lan+ they coul+ clear- Beyon+ that? 1oreste+
mountain ranges stretche+ in eAery +irection? ma6ing it an i+eal
place 1or +hutanga mon6s who easily 1oun+ the 6in+s o1 seclu+e+
sites they pre1erre+-
:onseCuently?largenumberso1 +hutanga mon6sliAe+throughout
the region? in the rainy an+ the +ry seasons ali6e- Many went
to see Scariya Mun regularly? an+ then wan+ere+ o11 again to practice
in the mountains? wal6ing +own 1rom there to hear his instructions?
then returning to continue their practice- Some traAele+ 1rom
other proAincial +istricts? or eAen other regions? to train with him
at Ban Nong Pheu? especially in the +ry season when traAel was
more conAenient-
%ay people also ma+e the ar+uous Xourney to pay their
respects to him an+ hear his a+Aice- !hey traAele+ by 1oot 1rom
locations all aroun+ the region? some? Cuite 1ar away- Aeryone
came by 1oot? eKcept 1or the el+erly an+ women who? unaccustome+
to hi6ing? hire+ oK carts to ta6e them to the monastery- !he
+irt trac6 eKten+ing 1rom the main +istrict o1 Phanna Ni6hom
to Ban Nong Pheu was about twelAe miles long? 1ollowing a path
that cut straight up through the mountains- 8ollowing a more circuitous
route aroun+ the base o1 the mountains? the +istance was
about 1i1teen miles- !hose unaccustome+ to hi6ing woul+ neAer
ma6e it i1 they too6 the +irect route? since there were no Aillages
along the way where they coul+ 1in+ 1oo+ an+ shelter- !he
more circuitous route ha+ only a 1ew Aillages? sprea+ 1ar apartV so
it wasnJt Aery conAenient either- Mon6s traAeling to see Scariya
Mun went on 1oot? there being no roa+ to Ban Nong Pheu that
was suitable 1or motoriUe+ tra11ic- .hat public transport there
was in those +ays went along the main proAincial highways? an+
then only in1reCuently- %atecomers usually misse+ their ri+e an+
waste+ a whole +ay waiting 1or the neKt one-
DHU!AN9A M#N$S P'8''D traAeling by 1oot- !hey 1oun+ ri+ing
in Aehicles inconAenient? since they were usually crow+e+ with
people- A +hutanga
mon6 consi+ere+ hi6ing 1rom place to place
simply another aspect o1 his me+itation practice- #nce he +etermine+
which mountain range or 1orest he wante+ to hea+ 1or? he
1ocuse+ on his practice an+ starte+ his Xourney as though he were
wal6ing in me+itation an+ the 1orest trails were his trac6- He
+i+ not 1ret about where the neKt Aillage might be or whether he
woul+ reach it be1ore +ar6- He resolAe+ to wal6 until +us6? then
1or the morning meal an+ eAening meetings
/cariya Mah3 Boowa stan+ing in 1ront o1 a typical 1orest mon6Js hut
loo6 1or a place to rest 1or the night- !he neKt morning he wal6e+
on until he reache+ the nearest Aillage- !here he collecte+ alms
1oo+ 1rom the local inhabitants as he passe+ through- He was satis1ie+
to eat whateAer they o11ere+- !he Cuality o1 the 1oo+ was
usually poor? but that +i+nJt worry him R i1 it was su11icient to 6eep
him going 1rom one +ay to the neKt? he was contente+- HaAing
eaten his meal? he continue+ on his Xourney peace1ully until he
reache+ his +estination- !here he searche+ until he 1oun+ a site in
the 1orest that best suite+ his personal reCuirements- He pai+ special
attention to the aAailability o1 water R a Aital reCuisite when
liAing in the wil+s-
HaAing set up camp in a suitable location? the +hutanga
mon6 turne+ his attention to the tas6 o1 intensi1ying his e11orts
internally? alternating wal6ing an+ sitting me+itation aroun+ the
cloc6? +ay an+ night- Bolstere+ by min+1ulness an+ ai+e+ by the
contemplatiAe 1aculties o1 wis+om? he concentrate+ on a Dhamma
theme that suite+ his temperament? thus in+ucing his heart to +rop
into the peace1ul calm o1 sam7+hi- .ith+rawing 1rom sam7+hi? he
1ocuse+ on +eAeloping wis+om by inAestigating whicheAer phenomena
arose in his 1iel+ o1 awareness- SubXects inclu+e+ impressions
1rom the eKternal enAironment that constantly impinge+ on
his sense 1aculties? an+ aspects o1 his internal enAironment? such
as the physical elements an+ the sense organs? which continually
1luctuate as they remain constantly in motion- He me+itate+ on
that all things perpetually come an+ go? subXect
to the instability o1 constant change- He coul+ not a11or+ to
be apathetic towar+ anything that might entangle his heart- He
use+ wis+om to thoroughly analyUe his bo+y an+ min+ to clearly
un+erstan+ their true nature? gra+ually letting go o1 any attach
ment to them- .is+om was the tool he use+ to eKcaAate the entire
root system o1 the 6ilesas? relentlessly +estroying them trun6? roots?
an+ all- His min+ was 1iKe+ on a single purpose* inAestigating all
arising phenomena- Aerything that ma+e contact with the min+
was scrutiniUe+ in terms o1 the ti)la66ha5ament to them- .is+om was the tool he use+ to eKcaAate the
root system o1 the 6ilesas? relentlessly +estroying them trun6? roots?
an+ all- His min+ was 1iKe+ on a single purpose* inAestigating all
arising phenomena- Aerything that ma+e contact with the min+
was scrutiniUe+ in terms o1 the ti)la66ha5ato gain insight into its
true nature? thus eliminating the 6ilesas associate+ with it- Any
+hutanga mon6 who 1elt uncertain about his mo+e o1 practice
returne+ to Scariya Mun as Cuic6ly as possible to as6 him 1or clari1ication-
As soon as his +oubts were cleare+ up? he le1t? returning
to the seclusion o1 the mountains to press ahea+ with his spiritual
Many +hutanga mon6s relie+ on Scariya Mun to giAe them
gui+ance in me+itation- !here was not su11icient room in his monastery
to accommo+ate them all- So? a1ter receiAing his instructions?
they went to liAe in the surroun+ing hills an+ 1orests- Sprea+ing
out in +i11erent +irections? either alone or in pairs? each mon6
loo6e+ 1or a seclu+e+ place to set up camp that was within wal6ing
+istance o1 Scariya MunJs monastery- &n that way they coul+
return to see him with minimum inconAenience- Depen+ing on
in+iAi+ual pre1erences? some mon6s liAe+ three or 1our miles away?
others between 1iAe to eight miles? while a 1ew might haAe liAe+
as 1ar as twelAe to 1i1teen miles 1rom him- Mon6s traAeling a +istance
o1 twelAe miles or more to consult Scariya Mun remaine+
oAernight in his monastery be1ore wal6ing bac6 to their respectiAe
!he trails that connecte+ 1orest an+ mountain hamlets then
were Aery +i11erent 1rom the proAincial roa+s seen eAerywhere
to+ay- !hey were mere +irt trac6s that those communities ha+
use+ 1or ages to 6eep in touch with one anotherV an+ all the local
people were 1amiliar with the routes- Since the Aillagers sel+om
ma+e long tre6s to Aisit one another? the trails were o1ten oAergrown
an+ obscure+ by un+ergrowth- Anyone un1amiliar with
this networ6 o1 trails ha+ to be Aery care1ul not to ta6e a wrong
1or6 an+ get lost in the +ensely 1oreste+ terrain- #ne might well
en+ up in an area where there were no settlements at all- !he +istance
between some communities coul+ be twelAe to 1i1teen miles
o1 uninterrupte+ Xungle- Such lengthy trails reCuire+ special caution?
1or any traAeler who lost his way woul+ almost surely en+ up
spen+ing the night in the wil+erness without any 1oo+- Besi+es
that? he might neAer sa1ely 1in+ his way out unless he chance+
upon a hunter who pointe+ him in the right +irection or con+ucte+
him bac6 to the main trail to his +estination-
Harsh !raining Metho+s
Dhutanga 6amma00h7na mon6s were motiAate+ by their great
enthusiasm 1or Dhamma- !hey regularly en+ure+ many har+ships*
in their wan+ering li1estyle? in their liAing con+itions? an+
in their mo+e o1 practice- &t was +i11icult 1or them to 1in+ an eKcellent
teacher li6e Scariya Mun? a teacher capable o1 training them
in the authentic way? thus bringing Xoy to their practice- .heneAer
they met him? they were as eKcite+ as small chil+ren greeting
their parents- !he +eAotion an+ a11ection they 1elt combine+
to giAe them a 1eeling o1 complete con1i+ence in him- !heir liAes
an+ well)being were place+ solely in his han+s- Dhutanga mon6s
naturally ten+e+ to haAe immense 1aith in their teacher? reAering
him so much that they woul+ willingly giAe up their liAes 1or him
without regrets- Aen when liAing apart 1rom him? they continue+
to 1eel an eKtraor+inary sense o1 obligation to their teacher- No
matter how much har+ship they en+ure+? or how +i11icult their
training was? they were contente+ to perseAere so long as their
teacher was supportiAe- !hey coul+ manage to put up with the
+epriAations they su11ere+ +aily R going without? as o1ten as not
without regrets- Aen when liAing apart 1rom him? they continue+
to 1eel an eKtraor+inary sense o1 obligation to their teacher- No
matter how much har+ship they en+ure+? or how +i11icult their
training was? they were contente+ to perseAere so long as their
teacher was supportiAe- !hey coul+ manage to put up with the
+epriAations they su11ere+ +aily R going without? as o1ten as not
because they were conAince+ in their hearts that Dhamma was
more important than anything else- !here were times when they
ha+ to sleep in the pouring rain through the night? shiAering li6e
little bir+s- Still? their +etermination to en+ure a+Aersity 1or the
sa6e o1 Dhamma neAer waAere+-
&t was always Aery interesting to hear +hutanga
mon6s +iscuss
their eKperiences o1 wan+ering through remote 1orest areas-
!he way they practice+? the way they en+ure+ R it was pitiable
how? +ue to eKtreme +epriAations? they liAe+ in the 1orest li6e
wil+ animals? o1ten sleeping on the groun+ without shelter- !hey
use+ a Aariety o1 techniCues to intensi1y their me+itation? eKperimenting
until they 1oun+ the ones that best suite+ their character-
!hey trie+* going without sleepV re+ucing the amount o1 1oo+
they ateV 1asting entirely 1or as many +ays as they coul+ reasonably
manageV wal6ing in me+itation all night? 1rom +us6 until +awnV
sitting in sam7+hi
1or many hours at a stretchV sitting in sam7+hi
all night? 1rom +us6 to +awnV sitting in sam7+hi
on a trail use+
by tigers when entering their lairV sitting in sam7+hi
at night on
1orest trails 1reCuente+ by tigersV sitting in sam7+hi
in a cemetery
on the +ay a corpse was being cremate+V sitting in sam7+hi
at the
e+ge o1 a precipiceV Aenturing +eep into the mountains at night
loo6ing 1or a particularly scary place to sit in sam7+hiV sitting in
late at night at the 1oot o1 a tree in a tiger)in1este+ area?
relying on the threat o1 +anger to help the citta
attain calm- !hese
metho+s were all practice+ with the same aim in min+ R to torment
the citta? an+ so 1orcibly tame its unruly nature-
.hen a mon6 +iscoAere+ that any one or more o1 these
techniCues matche+ his in+iAi+ual temperament? he use+ it to
goo+ e11ect? 1ocusing his min+ an+ strengthening his resolAe? thus
achieAing his obXectiAe an+ learning many Aaluable lessons in the
process- 8or this reason? +hutanga
mon6s actually pre1erre+ such
harrowing practices- Scariya Mun himsel1 ha+ use+ them an+ so
li6e+ to encourage his mon6s to +o li6ewise? insisting that this
was the way cleAer people traine+ themselAes- !hese techniCues
haAe neAer been aban+one+ R they are still being practice+ by
+hutanga mon6s to+ay-
!he training we un+erta6e to +eAelop our spiritual worth
reCuires a 1air amount o1 coercion to be success1ul- !he har+ships
we eKperience are insigni1icant when compare+ with the
goo+ results we gain* Airtue? contentment? +iscipline? an+ 1irm
Dhamma principles to superAise an+ maintain our liAes R all Cualities
that people highly Aalue- #nly useless Xun6 an+ ca+aAers
reCuire no maintenance- !he personal worth we hope to realiUe
will only arise through conscientious sel1)improAement? so we
shoul+ wor6 to maintain this purpose in our liAes- By this means?
we will be goo+? happy? prosperous people now an+ in the 1uture-
mon6s there1ore +eserAe a lot o1 respect 1or re1using to
allow a+Aersity an+ har+ship to hin+er their practice? thus clearing
the way 1or Dhamma to +eAelop in their hearts-
So long as people are intereste+ in practicing Dhamma
properly? the Bu++haJs s7sana
will last in+e1initely in the worl+-
!he s7sana
rewar+s those truly +esiring Dhamma who practice
accor+ingly? giAing eKcellent results at eAery step along the path-
!his principle was embo+ie+ in the %or+ Bu++ha? who was earnest
in his pursuit o1 !ruth R a !ruth that he 1ully realiUe+ an+
then taught to the worl+- !hose who truly belieAe in Bu++hism
are those who earnestly pursue !ruth- !hey neAer practice in a
hal1hearte+? inept manner? thus impe+ing the s7sanaJs progress
an+ +eAaluing it to the eKtent that non)Bu++hists 1in+ cause to
be contemptuous- !he genuine s7sana are the Aery Noble !ruths
that +eserAe to be proclaime+ an+ accepte+ throughout the uniAerse
without concern about their Aali+ity? since they are true
natural principles emanating +irectly 1rom the Bu++haJs absolute
purity R unless? o1 course? one is unintereste+ in !ruth or unable to
un+erstan+ it- &n that case? the s7sana may simply be hel+ hostage
within the countless +iAerse opinions o1 people whose hearts are
totally obscure+ by a mass o1 +eep)roote+ 6ilesas R a Aeil o1 +e1ilements
that the s7sana has long since thoroughly penetrate+-
Please eKcuse me 1or this lengthy +igression R it shows & lac6
the 1irm principles nee+e+ to restrain my waywar+ ten+encies- &
woul+ li6e to continue +iscussing those harsh training metho+s
that +hutanga mon6s ten+e+ to use until they became secon+
nature- Diligently practice+? each o1 these metho+s pro+uces
clear)cut results- !hey help +iminish the unruly? arrogant nature
o1 the min+? a con+ition eKacerbate+ by eKcessiAe physical Aitality-
'e+ucing the inta6e o1 1oo+? 1asting? going without sleep? or other
harsh metho+s? such as wal6ing or sitting in me+itation continuously
1or long perio+s o1 time R all o1 these practices proAi+e the
heart with the strength reCuire+ to a+Aance easily on the path o1
Dhamma- #ther practices are +esigne+ 1or those who are scare+
o1 tigers or ghosts? which when practice+ un1linchingly? 1orce the
heart to turn inwar+ where its true sanctuary lies? remaining there
until calm an+ courage arise- 8ears can be alleAiate+? or eAen
banishe+? by such means- !he citta
then comes to realiUe its own
strength an+ ability so that when it is +riAen into a corner at a
truly critical Xuncture R 1or eKample? when the bo+y is rac6e+ by
eKcruciating pain R it has the means to emerge Aictorious? an+
surAiAe- Normally? min+1ulness an+ wis+om are 1ully arouse+ only
when the citta
is place+ in a critical situation- #therwise? they
neAer haAe a chance to realiUe their 1ull potential-
An eKcellent way to +eAelop the capacity o1 min+1ulness
an+ wis+om to act bol+ly in 1ull 6nowle+ge o1 their true potential
is to use our basic ingenuity? eKperimenting with Aarious 1orce1ul
techniCues until we 1in+ those that best suit us- #ur hearts then
remain unperturbe+? regar+less o1 what happens- ach o1 these
metho+s brings its own +istinct results- !hose who haAe long su11ere+
1rom 1ear o1 ghosts can ri+ themselAes o1 this +ebilitating
1ear by 1orcing themselAes to spen+ the night in a cemetery- !hose
who are terri1ie+ o1 wil+ animals? li6e tigers? can oAercome this
1ear by 1orcing themselAes to spen+ the night alone in terri1ying
wil+erness- !hose who haAe persistent craAing 1or 1oo+ can alleAiate
it? or eAen oAercome it? by +rastically re+ucing the amount
they eat? or by going on 1ast-
.e all appreciate goo+ 1oo+- .e ten+ to belieAe that eating
a lot o1 goo+? tasty 1oo+ will ma6e us happy- !he trouble is* gree+
neAer accepts that itJs ha+ enough- &t always han6ers 1or more-
No matter how much +iscontent it causes us? we 1ail to consi+er
that the +issatis1action stems 1rom our ten+ency to oAerin+ulge-
So? those o1 us practicing Dhamma 1or the sa6e o1 un+erstan+ing
ourselAes an+ our attachments must inAestigate such +esires an+
eKercise some 1orce1ul restraints on their eKcesses- &n the case o1
mon6s? this sometimes ta6es the 1orm o1 sel1)impose+
austerities- .hen a mon6 notices that a certain type o1 1oo+ 6in+les
an unseemly craAing in his heart? he punishes the craAing
by re1using to eat that 1oo+- &nstea+? he eats things that he 1eels
no +esire 1or- &1 he 1eels that heJ+ li6e to eat a lot? he eats only a
little instea+- #r he may eat only plain rice? eAen though there are
plenty o1 other 1oo+s to choose 1rom- !hose 1oo+s which inAigorate
the bo+y may hamper his citta
by oAerwhelming its mental 1aculties?
thus ma6ing me+itation more +i11icult- His practice then
1ails to progress as it shoul+? +espite the 1act that he is striAing
with the same intensity as eAer- #nce he realiUes the cause o1 the
problem? he striAes to eliminate it by a+amantly re1using to 1ollow
the gree+ in his heart- !his is the attitu+e o1 a mon6 truly committe+
to training himsel1 un+er the gui+ance o1 a goo+ teacher*
he resists any temptation to 1ollow his usual sel1)in+ulgent ten+encies-
Zust as a +hutanga
mon6 trains himsel1 to be mo+erate an+
restraine+ in what he eats? so too? when he goes to sleep? he +etermines
to awa6en at a pre+etermine+ time- He +oesnJt Xust let sleep
ta6e its course? wa6ing him up ran+omly wheneAer it so +esires-
He trains himsel1 to care1ully consi+er the appropriateness o1
his actions- He resists +oing anything that may Aiolate the ethical
principles o1 Dhamma an+ there1ore be inappropriate? eAen
though it may not strictly be in Aiolation o1 the +isciplinary rules-
He striAes to inculcate Dhamma within his heart so that it stea+ily
1lourishes? neAer +eteriorating R an eKtremely +i11icult tas6- So
+i11icult? in 1act? that no other en+eaAor can compare with it-
.hen? howeAer? we inculcate the ways o1 the worl+ in our
hearts? +e1ilements easily arise an+ 1lourish? then wait there rea+y
to cause harm wheneAer weJre o11 guar+- .e can neAer manage
to bring them un+er control- &n an instant? they 1urtiAely in1iltrate
our hearts an+ multiply until we cannot 6eep trac6 o1 them
all- .e can be sure they will cause us nothing but trouble- !hey
arise an+ 1lourish so Cuic6ly that? within the blin6 o1 an eye? they
are eAerywhere? an+ we are helpless to catch them- SeKual craAingM
is one such +e1ilement R Aery easy to arise but so +i11icult
to purge- SeKual craAing creates a +estructiAe? o11ensiAe state o1
min+ that ten+s to eKpress itsel1 with unriAale+ au+acity- Because
eAeryone in the worl+ is so 1on+ o1 it? it becomes embol+ene+?
causing +estruction eAerywhere while ignoring the moral conseCuences-
&t +oes show some 1ear o1 people with Dhamma in their
hearts- But? more than anything else? it is terri1ie+ o1 the %or+
Bu++ha an+ the Arahants- Since these Noble #nes haAe completely
+emolishe+ its normal playgroun+? seKual craAing +oes not
+are enter their hearts to prowl aroun+- But it still creates plenty
o1 trouble 1or the rest o1 us who remain un+er its power-
mon6s are aware that these oppressiAe 6ilesas
obstructing their spiritual progress- !hatJs the reason they torture
themselAes with such ar+uous training practices- 8or 6ilesas
not in the least +isconcerte+ by the 1act that mon6s haAe or+aine+
into the holy li1e an+ wear the yellow robes* the +istinctiAe ]ba+ge
o1 AictoryJ 1or those who +e1eat the 1orces o1 M7ra- !hey inAariably
try to conAince mon6s to giAe up the yellow robes an+ the spiritual
Cuest they symboliUe? re1using to a+mit +e1eat regar+less o1 a
mon6Js age or seniority- 8or this reason? +hutanga
mon6s 1eel compelle+
to use coerciAe metho+s in their struggle to era+icate the
1rom their hearts- !hey en+ure an+ press ahea+ in spite o1
the +i11iculties? battling pain an+ +iscom1ort but neAer reAersing
course- #therwise? the 6ilesas
will ma6e 1un o1 them as they +isgrace
themselAes an+ the yellow robes they wear- Aen more +amaging
is the +iscre+it they +o to the mon6hoo+ R an or+er o1 spiritual
warriors who neAer accept +e1eat R an+ the s7sana
which is
the principal basis 1or all man6in+- Better they sacri1ice their liAes
to re+eem themselAes an+ the yellow robes? than allow themselAes
to perish in +isgrace- &n that way? they re+eem the mon6hoo+ an+
the religion as well-
mon6s use such eKhortations to embol+en themselAes
to striAe 1or Aictory? thus honoring the Dhamma that some
+ay will un+oubte+ly lea+ them to that sublime +omain beyon+
+u66ha- #nly the Dhamma o1 the %or+ Bu++ha is capable o1
showing the way to that sublime transcen+ence- &t is without a
+oubt the one straight path lea+ing to the lan+ beyon+ su11ering-
!here is not a more esoteric way that can be ta6en to aAoi+ the
+i11iculty o1 putting maKimum e11ort into the practice- AlternatiAe
paths are all littere+ with stumbling bloc6s that constantly
thwart the way1arerJs hopes o1 success- !hey ineAitably cause pain
an+ 1rustration? lea+ing to +espair an+ a lac6 o1 con1i+ence that
the chosen way will eAer lea+ to a state o1 total 1ree+om-
Be1ore emerging as a reAere+ teacher o1 such renown? Scariya
Mun practice+ with the attitu+e that cemeteries were irreleAant
to him- !hat is? he was prepare+ to +iscar+ his bo+y whereAer
he happene+ to be when he breathe+ his last breath- He 1elt no
Cualms about +ying 1or the sa6e o1 Dhamma- %ater? when instructing
his stu+ents? he taught them in a 1orce1ul? +ynamic 1ashion
that stresse+ the sharp? incisiAe tactics he ha+ hone+ to per1ection
in his own practice- His teaching was mentally stimulating?
helping his stu+ents constantly +eAelop new s6ills to see through
the cunning tric6s o1 the 6ilesas an+ thus uproot an+ +estroy them
once an+ 1or all- #nly then woul+ they be sa1ely out o1 +anger?
liAing contente+ly without +u66ha- !hey woul+ no longer mean+er
through the roun+ o1 sa[s7ra? where one birth changes into
another continuously? but the +u66ha? that is carrie+ aroun+ in
the heart? remains unchange+ R regar+less o1 how many times
one is reborn- Since each new li1e is merely a new instrument 1or
oneJs own +estruction? no one shoul+ be satis1ie+ with birth in any
realm o1 eKistence- &t is eCuiAalent to a prisoner changing cells
within the same prison* as long as he remains imprisone+? there
is no 1un+amental improAement- !he wise well un+erstan+ the
+angers o1 the cycle o1 repeate+ birth an+ +eath- &tJs as though
with each new birth the heart has moAe+ into yet another house
that is on 1ire* no matter where itJs reborn it can neAer escape the
threat o1 +anger- !his is but a small taste o1 how Scariya Mun
routinely taught his +hutanga +isciples- Perhaps some o1 my rea+ers
will +iscoAer an a11inity 1or his style o1 teaching-
#N UP#SA!HA #BS'VAN: +ays? when as many as 1orty to 1i1ty a++itional
mon6s atten+e+ 1rom Aarious locations? Scariya Mun gaAe
+iscourses on Dhamma that generally +i11ere+ 1rom those he gaAe
eKclusiAely to the mon6s who regularly liAe+ with him- Although
his uposatha +iscourses were o1ten 1orce1ul an+ pro1oun+? they
coul+ not match the ones giAen regularly to the mon6s liAing in
his monastery- !hose tal6s were truly +ynamic? an+ penetrating-
ach time he spo6e? the impact o1 his Dhamma was so power1ul
it seeme+ to +ispel the 6ilesas 1rom the hearts o1 his listeners? as i1
the whole worl+ ha+ momentarily Aanishe+ 1rom their awareness-
.hat remaine+ was an awareness o1 the heart unite+ in per1ect
harmony with Dhamma? an eKperience so amaUing an+ grati1ying
it +e1ies +escription- 8or +ays therea1ter the +ynamic power
o1 his Dhamma seeme+ to sub+ue their 6ilesas? as though he ha+
issue+ them all a +e1iant challenge- &neAitably? their 6ilesas
reemerge+ a1ter seAeral +ays? until they were 1inally bac6 in
1ull 1orce- By then? another meeting ha+ been sche+ule+ where
Scariya Mun sub+ue+ them once more? giAing the mon6s a 1ew
more +ays o1 relie1-
All +hutanga
mon6s earnestly striAing to reach the Dhamma
that transcen+s +u66ha
1eel an eKceptionally strong boun+ with
their teacher- ra+icating the 6ilesas
reCuires that in+iAi+ual
e11ort be ineKtricably combine+ with the help an+ a+Aice o1 a
goo+ teacher- .hen con1ronte+ with an intractable problem?
a mon6 practicing on his own will hurry bac6 to consult his
teacher who clari1ies the nature o1 the problem? allowing the stu+ent
to un+erstan+ its un+erlying causes an+ so oAercome his
+oubts- Sometimes while a mon6 is struggling with a problem
which is too compleK 1or him to resolAe on his own? his teacher
uneKpecte+ly eKplains the solution o1 that Aery problem to him?
imme+iately eliminating that obstacle so his stu+ent can procee+
Practicing mon6s are able to +etermine the precise leAels o1
Dhamma that their 1ellows? an+ eAen their teacher? haAe attaine+
by listening to their +iscussions about me+itation practice- !his
6nowle+ge helps to 1oster an atmosphere o1 mutual trust within
the circle o1 practice- .hen a mon6 eKplains the nature o1 his
eKperiences an+ the stages he has passe+ through? it is possible
to imme+iately +etermine the leAel o1 Dhamma he has realiUe+
1rom that +escription- .hen a stu+ent tells the teacher about his
eKperiences in me+itation? or when he as6s a+Aice about a speci1ic
problem? he can assess his teacherJs leAel o1 attainment at that
time by gauging his responses- &1 the teacher has passe+ beyon+
that point himsel1? he is alrea+y 1amiliar with those eKperiences?
an+ he is able to use them as a starting point to a+Aise his stu+ent
on how to procee+- #r? in the case o1 a speci1ic problem? he
is able to pinpoint the nature o1 the problem in such a precise way
that the stu+ent accepts his a+Aice without reserAation- Perhaps
a stu+ent +elu+es himsel1 into thin6ing he has reache+ the highest
leAel o1 Dhamma? haAing completely transcen+e+ the +i11erent
stages- But? the teacher? through his own eKperience? 6nows this
to be untrue- !he teacher must then eKplain to his stu+ent why
he is wrong? pointing out eKactly where his thin6ing went astray-
#nce he is willing to accept the Aali+ity o1 his teacherJs reasoning?
he can sa1ely aAoi+ such +angers-
#nce +hutanga
mon6s haAe +iscusse+ the Aarious aspects o1
me+itation practice among themselAes an+ reach the point where
they 6now an+ accept the truth o1 their respectiAe leAels o1 attainment?
there is then no nee+ 1or 1urther con1irmation- !he principles
o1 truth that haAe been +iscusse+ constitute their own proo1-
Practicing mon6s use this 6nowle+ge to +etermine one anotherJs
leAel o1 Dhamma- 8rom the teacher on +own to the Xunior mon6s?
they all rely on eAi+ence gathere+ in this way- As 1or intuitiAe
6nowle+ge o1 these matters? it reCuires an inner 1aculty to which &
can lay no claim- & shall leaAe this matter to those with the appropriate
eKpertise- &t is a special case reCuiring in+iAi+ual s6ill-
!he regular conAersations on me+itation that Scariya Mun
hel+ with his +isciples enable+ them to +eAelop close personal
relationships with him- Due to the pro1oun+ respect this tutelage
inspire+? they willingly entruste+ their liAes to his care- !his
+eep 1aith in+uce+ them to unreserAe+ly accept as true whateAer
he tol+ them? 1or he always spo6e about principles o1 truth? neAer
presenting mere opinions or guesswor6 base+ on in1ormation 1rom
other sources-
& mysel1 haAe always been someone with strong Aiews? being
reluctant to submit to anyoneJs Xu+gment- So & li6e+ to argue with
him- &n this respect? & a+mit to being one o1 Scariya MunJs more
annoying an+ contentious +isciples- Sometimes & was so caught
up in +isputing an issue with him that & 1orgot & was a stu+ent
see6ing his gui+ance R not a teacher instructing him- & still pri+e
mysel1 on my au+acity to spea6 up? haAing no sense o1 misgiAing-
Although he then slappe+ me +own an+ choppe+ me to pieces? the
important thing was* & was able to learn 1or mysel1 whether the
truth lay in my opinions? or in the wis+om o1 my teacher- .hen
& argue+ with him? it soun+e+ li6e a shouting match- !he more
& presse+ my case? the more & realiUe+ that he ha+ all the truth
on his si+e- & ha+ only my inane 1allacies? pile+ up all aroun+ me-
& always 1ought a losing battle- .hen the +ust settle+? & thought
long an+ har+ about what he sai+? respect1ully accepting its truth
with all my heart- At the same time? & ma+e a mental note o1 my
misconceptions- #n occasions when & re1use+ to yiel+ to his reasoning
because & still coul+nJt un+erstan+ what he was getting at?
& woul+ wait 1or another opportunity to +ebate with him- But &
always came away bruise+ an+ battere+ by the power o1 his reasoning?
my opinions tie+ in 6nots- Still? & coul+ not resist smiling
to mysel1? +elighte+ by the mighty power o1 his Dhamma-
Although Scariya Mun realiUe+ 1ull well that & was wil+ly
opinionate+? he +i+ not scol+ me or try to 1orce me to change
my attitu+e- &nstea+? he coul+ not help but smile when loo6ing
at me- He may haAe been thin6ing how insu11erable & wasV or he
may haAe 1elt sorry 1or this i+iot who li6e+ 1ighting with such +iehar+
assurance- & must a+mit* & was neAer a Aery 1ine person- Aen
to+ay? & still shamelessly argue with senior 7cariyas- But itJs pai+
o11 1or me in the sense that &JAe learne+ many unusual lessons this
way which 1orm a Aaluable part o1 my e+ucation to this +ay- !hese
mon6s neAer seem to min+ my intrusionsV in 1act? they are o1ten
amuse+ by them- &tJs not so o1ten that a stubborn ol+ mon6 +rops
by to stir things up- #r+inarily? no one +ares come an+ argue with
one o1 these 7cariyas- So when the mon6s in his monastery hear
whatJs going on? they become rather puUUle+ R an+ more than a
little alarme+-
A8!' %AV&N9 :H&AN9 MA&? where he passe+ beyon+ the thic6
Xungle o1 repeate+ birth an+ +eath? he inAariably ha+ a pro1oun+
reason in min+ when he +eci+e+ to liAe in any one place 1or a long
time? although he 6ept these reasons to himsel1- Na6hon 'atchasima
was a case in point- Many mon6s an+ lay people there ha+
long +eAelope+ a true +eAotion to DhammaV so? many o1 them
came to stu+y with him as accomplishe+ me+itators- %ater? some
1ollowe+ him to U+on !hani an+ Sa6on Na6hon where they continue+
to stu+y with him until he +ie+- !he mon6s an+ laity
1rom Na6hon 'atchasima who 6ept in contact with him were
all well establishe+ in me+itation practice- Some o1 those mon6s
haAe since become 1amous 7cariyas
who possess a 1irm basis o1
Dhamma in their hearts? an+ are still teaching mon6s an+ laity
to+ay- Many lay +eAotees haAe continue+ to see stea+y progress
in me+itation- !o+ay? they show the way o1 generosity an+ spiritual
+eAelopment to other +eAotees in the area in a truly commen+able
He neKt settle+ at U+on !hani? where he spent the rains
retreat- :hao $hun Dhammache+i? the abbot o1 .at Bo+hisomphon
monastery? was an in1luential mon6 with a large 1ollowing
o1 mon6s an+ lay supporters- He praise+ Scariya MunJs preeminence?
encouraging them all to ma6e his aCuaintance? o11er +onations
an+? aboAe all? hear his teaching- Since his or+ination? :hao
$hun Dhammache+i ha+ been a +eAote+ +isciple? an+ Scariya
Mun reciprocate+ by showing unusual 6in+ness an+ a11ection
towar+ him R thus? his willingness to stay seAeral years in U+on
%ater a1ter moAing to Sa6on Na6hon an+ liAing at Ban
Na Mon? Scariya Mun met an el+erly? white)robe+ nun who ran
a small conAent in the Aillage- She was a maXor reason why he
remaine+ there as long as he +i+* her me+itation was eKceptionally
goo+- She ha+ +eAelope+ a 1irm basis in Dhamma? so Scariya
Mun gaAe her regular instructions on practice- He sai+ it was rare
to 1in+ someone so accomplishe+-
Scariya MunJs lengthy resi+ence at Ban Nong Pheu was
prompte+ by both the signi1icance o1 the location an+ the people
liAing in the Aillage- !he place was centrally situate+ in a Aery
broa+ Aalley? completely surroun+e+ by mountains? ma6ing it an
i+eal enAironment 1or the +hutanga
li1e- %iAing in the Aillage was
an el+erly white)robe+ lay woman who was approaching eighty-
Much li6e the el+erly nun at Ban Na Mon? she was an accom
plishe+ me+itator who always receiAe+ special attention 1rom
Scariya Mun- She consulte+ him o1ten? wal6ing with +i11iculty
1rom her home to the monastery- Shu11ling slowly along? supporte+
by a cane? she ha+ to stop 1or rest three or 1our times be1ore she
1inally arriAe+ at the monastery? eKhauste+ an+ out o1 breath- .e
all truly 1elt sorry 1or her- Seeing her struggle so pain1ully? Scariya
Mun woul+ 1eign +isapproAal* @.hy come all the way out here_
DonJt you realiUe how eKhauste+ you are_ Aen chil+ren 6now
when theyJre tire+- Here you are eighty? ninety years ol+? yet you
still +onJt 6now when youJre worn out- .hy +o you ta6e all the
trouble to come here_B
plishe+ me+itator who always receiAe+ special attention 1rom
Scariya Mun- She consulte+ him o1ten? wal6ing with +i11iculty
1rom her home to the monastery- Shu11ling slowly along? supporte+
by a cane? she ha+ to stop 1or rest three or 1our times be1ore she
1inally arriAe+ at the monastery? eKhauste+ an+ out o1 breath- .e
all truly 1elt sorry 1or her- Seeing her struggle so pain1ully? Scariya
Mun woul+ 1eign +isapproAal* @.hy come all the way out here_
DonJt you realiUe how eKhauste+ you are_ Aen chil+ren 6now
when theyJre tire+- Here you are eighty? ninety years ol+? yet you
still +onJt 6now when youJre worn out- .hy +o you ta6e all the
trouble to come here_B
1earless- He then inCuire+ about her me+itation an+ eKplaine+ Aar
ious aspects o1 Dhamma relating to it- Not only ha+ this woman
+eAelope+ a soli+ 1oun+ation 1or her me+itation? she also pos
sesse+ paracittaAiXX7? the psychic ability to 6now the 1un+amental
moral bias o1 a personJs heart- #n top o1 that? she ha+ a 6nac6
1or perceiAing unusual eKternal phenomena- A++ressing Scariya
Mun? she recounte+ these eKtraor+inary perceptions with a +aring
sel1)assurance that amuse+ him? causing him to laugh about her
in+omitable spirit-
@(our citta
has long since gone beyon+B? she bol+ly +eclare+-
@&JAe been aware o1 your citta
1or a long time R itJs absolutely with
out parallel- Since your citta
is alrea+y so supreme? why +o you
continue to me+itate_B
Scariya Mun laughe+- @& will resolutely continue me+itat
ing until the +ay & +ie- A +isciple o1 the Bu++ha neAer allows his
resolAe to wea6en-B
!o this she sai+* @&1 you still ha+ more to accomplish? & coul+
un+erstan+ that- But your heart is alrea+y 1ille+ by an eKcee+ingly
luminous ra+iance- How can you go 1urther than that with
me+itation_ & loo6 at your citta
an+ see its ra+iance encompassing
the whole worl+- (our awareness eKten+s eAerywhere R nothing
can possibly obstruct its scope- But my own citta
sa+ly lac6s
such supreme Cualities? which is why & must come to as6 your help-
Please tell me* how shoul+ & practice to attain the same preeminence
you haAe_B
Hearing her +iscussions with Scariya Mun? one sense+ that
her me+itation was truly eKceptional- Upon encountering a problem?
she ineAitably starte+ +ragging hersel1 slowly +own the path
to the monastery? with her cane 6eeping her company- Scariya
Mun was especially 6in+ to her* he ma+e a point o1 a+Aising her
eAery time she came- #n such occasions? the mon6s woul+ snea6
up to listen Cuietly at one si+e o1 the meeting hall where their +iscussions
were hel+? eager to hear her Cuestions an+ his answers-
Because her Cuestions arose +irectly 1rom her own eKperiences in
me+itation? these eKchanges 1ascinate+ the mon6s- Some o1 her
+oubts concerne+ internal matters? 1ocusing on intrinsic Noble
!ruthsV other Cuestions relate+ to eKternal a11airs an+ 1ocuse+ on
the +eAa
an+ brahma
realms- &1 Scariya Mun accepte+ her un+erstan+ing
o1 these matters as being correct? he encourage+ her
to continue her inAestigations- But i1 he +i+ not agree with the
course she was pursuing? he a+Aise+ her to 1orgo that approach?
eKplaining how she shoul+ a+Xust her practice to set it right-
Her claims to 6nowing their min+s intrigue+ the mon6s
who? though eager to hear her insights? were also rather apprehensiAe
about what they might reAeal- But she always +escribe+
an impressiAe Aision* ra+iant auras o1 increasing brilliance? 1rom
the young noAices on up to Scariya Mun? resembling the night
s6yJs array o1 stars an+ planets* some were bright? some less so- &t
was a maXestic sight? 1or not eAen the Xunior mon6s or young noAices
ha+ somber? gloomy states o1 min+- ach being a+mirable?
eAery mon6 was worthy o1 respect in his own way as he stroAe to
improAe an+ re1ine himsel1 spiritually- Sometimes she recounte+
her Aisits to the brahmalo6a? +escribing how she saw large num
bers o1 mon6s? but no lay people- !his puUUle+ her? so she as6e+
Scariya Mun to eKplain R which he +i+-
@!he brahmalo6a is mostly inhabite+ by mon6s who haAe
alrea+y attaine+ the leAel o1 An7g7m`? thatJs why- .hen a mon6
who has attaine+ An7g7m` +ies? he is reborn in the brahmalo6a-
Very 1ew lay people +eAelop themselAes to that leAel? so they rarely
gain access to the brahma realms- !hus you saw only mon6s there?
but no lay people- Another thing* i1 youJre so curious? why +i+nJt
you as6 one o1 the mon6s you saw_ Neglecting to as6 them while
you were there? you now want to come an+ as6 me-B
She laughe+- @& 1orgot to as6 them- & +i+nJt thin6 about it
until &J+ come bac6 +own? so & +eci+e+ to as6 you- &1 & remember?
neKt time & go up &Jll as6 those mon6s-B
Scariya MunJs eKplanations usually ha+ a +ual purpose*
to eKpoun+ the truth o1 the matter? an+ then to clear up her
+oubts- %ater he +iscourage+ her 1rom sen+ing out her awareness
to perceiAe eKternal phenomena? 1or it use+ up the Aaluable time
she nee+e+ to spen+ inAestigating internal phenomena an+ the
basic principles un+erlying them R inAestigations lea+ing +irectly
to the realiUation o1 magga an+ phala- #be+iently? she practice+
as he a+Aise+- He o1ten praise+ this womanJs me+itation practice?
telling his mon6s o1 her high achieAements in Dhamma R a leAel
o1 success that many o1 them coul+ not emulate-
o1 success that many o1 them coul+ not emulate-
mon6s liAing an+ wan+ering in the surroun+ing area- .ell
within wal6ing +istance o1 his monastery were many seclu+e+
places? suitable 1or practice- Mon6s ha+ a choice o1 staying in
woo+e+ lowlan+s? high mountains? or caAes R all being enAironments
con+uciAe to the ascetic way o1 li1e-
Scariya Mun liAe+ at Ban Nong Pheu monastery 1or 1iAe
years- Because o1 his a+Aance+ age R he was seAenty)1iAe years ol+
with 1ailing health when he began staying there R he remaine+
within the con1ines o1 the monastery all year? unable to wan+er
eKtensiAely as he ha+ in the past- He was content to proAi+e sanctuary
to all his +isciples earnestly see6ing Dhamma- .hile he was
liAing there? the +eAas
sel+om contacte+ him? ten+ing to Aisit only
on certain special occasions- So he concentrate+ his e11orts on
assisting the mon6s an+ laity more than he ha+ at other places-
!he !herapeutic Qualities o1 Dhamma
Ban Nong Pheu monastery was situate+ in a +ense 1orest? ri1e with
malaria- As the rainy season approache+? Scariya Mun a+Aise+
mon6s? who came simply to Aisit him? to hurry an+ leaAe be1ore
wet weather arriAe+- &n the +ry season they coul+ stay without
ris6- Mon6s who 1ell Aictim to malaria Xust ha+ to put up with the
+ebilitating symptoms- !hey ha+ no access to anti)malarial me+icines
R such me+icines being scarce eAerywhere bac6 then- So?
they ha+ to rely on the ]therapeutic Cualities o1 DhammaJ instea+-
!his meant inAestigating pain1ul 1eelings as they arose with an
intense? incisiAe +egree o1 min+1ulness an+ wis+om- #therwise?
they ha+ no e11ectiAe means o1 alleAiating the pain- &1 success1ul?
they re+uce+ the 1eAer? thus e11ecting a cure much Cuic6er than
coul+ normally be eKpecte+-
they ha+ to rely on the ]therapeutic Cualities o1 DhammaJ instea+-
!his meant inAestigating pain1ul 1eelings as they arose with an
intense? incisiAe +egree o1 min+1ulness an+ wis+om- #therwise?
they ha+ no e11ectiAe means o1 alleAiating the pain- &1 success1ul?
they re+uce+ the 1eAer? thus e11ecting a cure much Cuic6er than
coul+ normally be eKpecte+-
at the time when +eath is imminent? he will not 1eel wea6
an+ +isheartene+? an+ thus not be oAerwhelme+- HaAing succee+e+
in establishing total mastery o1 the truth about +u66ha? he
bol+ly 1aces the natural process we call ]+eathJ- Min+1ulness an+
wis+om haAe taught him to recogniUe +u66haJs
intrinsic nature?
so he neAer again worries about pain- He always maintains the
1irm basis o1 truth he achieAe+ through his inAestigations- %ater?
when a critical situation +oes arise? the min+1ulness an+ wis+om
that he has traine+ to pro1iciency will come to his rescue- He
can utiliUe their inAestigatiAe s6ills to oAerri+e the pain? allowing
him to imme+iately reach sa1ety- !hus traine+? min+1ulness an+
wis+om will not aban+on their +uty? leaAing him simply to wallow
in misery as he +i+ be1ore he came to realiUe the true nature
o1 +u66ha- #n the contrary? they will imme+iately engage the
enemy- His eKternal mani1estations o1 illness will resemble those
o1 any other sic6 person* that is? he will appear Xust as wea6 an+
eKhauste+ as anyone else- But internally? min+1ulness an+ wis+om
will mani1est within his heart li6e sol+iers preparing to +o battle-
!hen no amount o1 pain will a11ect his state o1 min+- His only
consi+eration will be the inner search 1or the true causal basis o1
the physical bo+y? the pain1ul 1eelings? the citta? an+ the mental
phenomena arising in conXunction with itV
consi+eration wi