Saturday, September 30, 2023

anyone know the vinaya rules for fruit juice cider (1% to 5% alochol content)

anyone know the vinaya rules for fruit juice cider (1% to 5% alochol content)

I picked a bunch of grapes from my friend's vineyard, making lots of grape juice.

I'll boil some of it and can some of it, but there's still a lot of grape juice in the fridge to drink.

At some point, some of it may start fermenting and becoming cider.

When it's just starting to turn, I don't think there's high enough alcohol % to get drunk or affect your mental capacity, but I wonder what the official ruling on it for vinaya rules for monastics, and people keeping 5 and 8 precepts (no intoxicants such as alcohol).

Spirited_Ad8737·1 day ago·edited 1 day ago

According to a senior monk in a Q&A, if you can't taste or smell the alcohol then it's ok (for the 5 or 8 precept layperson who asked).

lucid24-frankkOP·23 hr. ago

the thing about fruit juice just starting to turn to cider, is you notice the carbonation bubbles, but you don't really taste the alcohol, but from science you know the fermentation process carbon dioxide (cider bubbles) and alcohol are the outputs.

so I can't taste the alcohol clearly yet, but from science I know there must be some alcohol.

Another borderline case, sometimes modern fruit, which is picked way underripe for longer shelf life and so forth, often doesn't ripen properly. For example, living in the USA eating imported mangoes from Mexio, sometimes when the mango ripens parts of it still taste raw, other parts taste too ripe and too sweet , and occasionally some of the overripe part is a little fermented and slight taste of alcohol.

Spirited_Ad8737·23 hr. ago·edited 23 hr. ago

Interesting, I didn't know any of that. The questioner was asking about off-the-shelf products which may be a bit more clear-cut. Tricky question.

Using the sniff test I go ahead and sometimes drink a glass of 0.5% "non-alcoholic" beer with a meal, but do not drink 2% light beer. I believe this is consistent with the monk's instruction I paraphrased above, and with keeping the fifth precept. The main non alcoholic beer I buy claims to be 0.0%, though I don't know if I believe it. My total consumption is something like two 33cl bottles a month.

CCCBMMR·1 day ago

If the juice isn't perceptibly alcoholic, it should be fine. Basically as long as one can't taste or feel the effects of alcohol, it is acceptable to consume. All juice contains some level of alcohol, and it is fine for monks to drink, because it is not perceptible. The same goes for things like bread and kombucha.

If it turns alcoholic, it would be considered fine to cook with it.

Look at the non-offense clause of pacittiya 51

CCCBMMR·1 day ago

The rule essentially applies to perceptibly alcoholic substances. It is saying don't drink something that is perceptibly alcoholic. Bread contains alcohol, but the alcohol is not perceptible nor intoxicating, so it is acceptable to consume.

lucid24-frankkOP·23 hr. ago

fruit juice just turning into cider still tastes very sweet, with carbonated bubbles, and alcohol not so perceptible. so is it more like the bread case?

CCCBMMR·23 hr. ago

You are going to have to use your own discernment as to when the juice has gone too far.

There is another monastic rule about when the acceptability of an action is in doubt one needs to refrain from the action.

If you are not confident in the contours of the rule, it is just better to act in a way you know is safe. If I had the doubt in my mind about the alcoholic content of what I was wanting to consume, I simply would not consume it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Why Chinese meditation masters (Buddhism and Taoism) tell you to touch tongue to roof and teeth don't touch

 I figured this out recently.

There's two things they tell you to do with your mouth area.

1. touch the tongue to the roof of your mouth during meditation

2. upper teeth and lower teeth don't touch, jaws are not clenched shut.

#1 becomes pretty obvious even after just a couple years of serious meditation.

When you touch the tongue to the roof of the mouth, you get a solid, energetic connection. 

At times, it can like you just touched your tongue to a nine volt battery and get an electric shock when the tongue connects to roof. 

Or just mild tingling vibrations.

It all depends on how saturated your jhāna battery is. 

If you have a big battery (from many years of dedicated meditation) and you're very charged up at the time, it won't feel much difference between touching the roof with your tongue or not.

It's like a free way with 10 lanes, if you open up an extra lane (touching tongue to roof), it won't affect the flow of traffic much.

But for a beginner meditator, whose energy channels are completely blocked, or clogged with lots of energetic gunk, their freeway only has one lane, and if you open up a second lane suddenly traffic flow can increase greatly.

#2 puzzled me for a long time. Why isn't it ok to touch the upper and lower teeth?

I just ignored those instructions all these years, since I never had any (negative) issues or could tell the difference if my upper and lower teeth were touching each other or not.

But recently I figured out why the masters gave that instruction.

It's because most meditators, will feel big energetic blockages in the chest, head, mouth areas.

And when you meditate with sufficient passaddhi (pacification/ relaxation), jhānic force will start clearing out blockages in the jhāna highway. 

You feel that as vibrations, force, feelings of tightness, compression, expansion, for many people discomfort and various degrees of pain.

Some (or maybe many) meditators will unconsciously clench their teeth in response to jhānic force trying to clear out the jhāna highway (loops of energy running through the body).

I've even read about some meditators who've had teeth fall out, from the forces experienced on their mouth and teeth.

I personally never had issues with unconsciously clenching my teeth, but I've definitely had stages where I feel strong forces pushing on the teeth from the roots, as if the teeth wanted to come out.

In conclusion, a better instruction from the Chinese meditation masters for #2, would be this:

Keep your mouth relaxed, tongue relaxed, teeth relaxed.

If you feel involuntary clenching of teeth, try not to close your jaw all the way, keep a little space so the teeth aren't touching.

If you don't have any tension in your mouth, teeth are completely relaxed, then touching upper and lower teeth and having jaw completely closed is not a problem.

So the error they made was not clearly explaining why they have that rule.

It all comes to the 7 awakening factors, especially the one on passaddhi (pacification/ relaxation).

Most meditators will feel pain in various parts of the body as jhānic force surges and tries to clear out and dissolve problems in the body. 

And most people will consciously and unconsciously respond to pain and discomfort by tensing up various parts of the body.

Even if they feel back pain, clenching their teeth or furrowing their brows and making angry faces doesn't help.

Tensing up those parts just blocks and hinders the passaddhi awakening factor, and slows the work of jhānic force healing your body.

I know it's hard, but you have to try to stay relaxed in every part of the body even when it hurts, if you want to progress the fastest way possible.

If pain becomes too hard to tolerate, doing accupressure, yoga, stretching, walking, dynamic stretching exercises, taiji and qigong type of exercises will help dissolve blockages faster than just sitting or standing in static meditation postures.

This is why step 3 of breath meditation (16🌬️😤‍ ) is so important to translate and interpret correctly.

You can't relax what you don't even realize is tense and not relaxed.

So learning to be sensitive to the entire physical body, every cell, every tooth, every body part, is how you discover where you're tense and blocking and hindering kāya-passaddhi (pacification) awakening factor. 

If you can feel/sense it, you can learn to relax it, whether it's teeth clenching, mouth tensing, etc.

And when you can feel the jhānic force dissolve tension and blockages, then you learn how to relax even more, both body and mind, to amp up the force and current flow. 


wouldn't you expect ariya-sāvaka by default, to be a disciple OF The Noble One(s) [The Buddha(s)]

The number in parenthesis is the number of occurrences in the suttas and vinaya using that term

If Buddha-sāvaka is a disciple OF the Buddha

buddha-sāvake (1)
buddha-sāvakehī-ti (5)
buddha-sāvako (2)

sammā-sam-buddha-sāvakaṃ (2)
sammāsambuddhasāvakanti (1)
sammāsambuddhasāvakā (1)
sammāsambuddhasāvako (7)
sammāsambuddhasāvakoti (1)

and if nigaṇṭha-sāvaka is a disciple OF Nigantha (leader of Jain religion)

nigaṇṭhasāvakaṃ (3)
nigaṇṭhasāvakānaṃ (1)
nigaṇṭhasāvakena (2)
nigaṇṭhasāvako (7)

and if tathāgata-sāvaka is a disciple OF the Tathāgata (the Buddha)

tathāgatasāvakaṃ (10)
tathāgatasāvakasaṅgho (4)
tathāgatasāvakassa (8)
tathāgatasāvakā (2)
tathāgatasāvakānaṃ (1)
tathāgatasāvake (7)
tathāgatasāvakena (10)
tathāgatasāvako (20)

and if gotama-sāvako is a disciple OF Gotama (clan name of The Buddha)

gotamasāvakā (9)
gotamasāvakāse (1)
gotamasāvakena (1)
gotamasāvako (1)

then wouldn't you expect ariya-sāvaka by default, to be a disciple OF The Noble One(s) [The Buddha(s)]

ariyasāvakassa (131)
ariyasāvakā (3)
ariyasāvakena (5)
ariyasāvako (591)
ariyasāvakopi (2)


Saturday, September 23, 2023

12ps dependent origination question: why phassa is meeting of three, not just "when eye contacts visible object, eye-consciousness arises"


There is this line:
"Dependent on the eye and forms, eye-consciousness arises; the meeting of the three is contact."
Why did the Buddha describe this process in this way? Why didn't he say "When there is contact between eye and form, eye-consciousness arises"? Is there any subtle difference?
I do understand that the eye must be capable of seeing (e.g. not blindfolded) for it to see forms.


Because an internal sense faculty contacting an external  sense object doesn't mean a moment of sense-consciousness will definitely arise.

Even very ordinary scenarios, say a mosquito bites you at the same moment you see something and hear a sound, you don't necessarily register all 3 sense base consciousness.

Maybe just the ear consciousness registered with ear contact, and you didn't notice the sight of a road sign you were looking for. 

Similar question about requisite conditions

The question is also similar to a common one with 12ps, it seems to say if there is vedana, then tanha (craving) will arise. 

The thing we have to remember about the suttas, it's an oral tradition, and often the formulas memorized are very terse outlines, or part of a matrix, not meant to be interpreted with strict logic or grammar rules. There are often implied assumptions we have to incorporate, extra information not in the bare sutta words.

What the 12ps formula says, is that for craving to arise, 
there must have been vedana that arose previously for the craving to be based on.

Vedana is a requisite condition for tanha to arise.

It doesn't mean that if there is vedana, then tanha will definitely arise right after.
Or if there is tanha, that upadana will definitely arise right after.

Friday, September 22, 2023

MN 18 must vedana precede sañña?

Interesting question a friend asked me:

I have a question. In MN 18 there is this formula:
eye + forms + consciousness → contact → feel → perceive → think → proliferate
But does this apply to all perceptions? For example, I see a red car on the street. Will there be any feeling that leads to the perception "This is a red car"?
If the perception is "This is a beautiful/ugly car" however, then I see why there is feeling first. Well, not sure. This matter is complex for me.

(6aya. Eye base)

Cakkhuñc-āvuso, paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhu-viññāṇaṃ,
Eye consciousness arises dependent on the eye and sights.
tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso,
The meeting of the three is contact.
phassa-paccayā vedanā,
Contact is a condition for feeling.
yaṃ vedeti taṃ sañjānāti,
What you feel, you perceive.
yaṃ sañjānāti taṃ vitakketi,
What you perceive, you think about.
yaṃ vitakketi taṃ papañceti,
What you think about, you proliferate.
yaṃ papañceti tato-nidānaṃ
What you proliferate about is the source
purisaṃ papañca-saññā-saṅkhā samudācaranti
from which a person is beset by concepts of identity that emerge from the proliferation of perceptions.
atīt-ānāgata-paccuppannesu cakkhu-viññeyyesu rūpesu.
This occurs with respect to sights known by the eye in the past, future, and present.

frankk response:

concsciousness is knowing at a raw sensory data level, 
vedana and perception happen after contact (phassa) whereas consciousness precedes contact, 
so vedana and sañña involve the 'knowing' from consciousness but with some thing extra added, such as memory associations, labeling, discrimination, etc.
There are suttas where it states phassa as the proximate cause for vedana and sañña indvidually, so I don't think vedana must precede sañña as MN 18 implies.

I think what the hierarchy from MN 18 is showing is that perception, to do its job, has more stuff added and processing to do its job, compared to vedana which adds less stuff to the cognized knowing to perform it's job. 

For your question example with the red car, I would argue that perception and feeling both are operating at the same hierarchy level, both adding information to basic cognition before contact.
You would have to perceive and understand the value of a red car to generate feelings of like or aversion, otherwise why would a hunk of red metal shaped like a car make you feel anything?

verb forms of consciousness, feeling, perception, wisdom

vijānāti 1
pr. (+acc) comprehends; understands; recognises; distinguishes; is aware (of) [vi + √ñā + nā + ti] ✓

vedeti 1
pr. (+acc) feels; experiences; senses; notices [√vid + *e + ti] ✓
grammarexamplesconjugationroot familyfrequencyfeedback
vedeti 2
pr. (+acc) knows; understands; learns about [√vid + *e + ti] ✓

pr. (+acc) knows; knows as; perceives; conceives; recognizes [saṃ + √ñā + nā + ti] ✓

pr. (+acc) knows; knows clearly; understands; distinguishes [pa + √ñā + nā + ti] ✓

Notice they all have the same root √ñā, except vedana has √vid


√vid 1
root. √vid・8 e, aya (know, sense, feel) 66

root. (gram) √ñā (know) [√ñā + ā] ✓

MN 43 probably gives the closest to an answer

43.2 - (Viññāṇa: Consciousness)

43.2.1 – (defined in terms of cognizing 3 types of vedana)

“‘Viññāṇaṁ viññāṇan’ti, āvuso, vuccati. Kittāvatā nu kho, āvuso, viññāṇanti vuccatī”ti?
“They speak of ‘consciousness’. How is consciousness defined?”
“‘Vijānāti vijānātī’ti kho, āvuso, tasmā viññāṇanti vuccati. Kiñca vijānāti? Sukhantipi vijānāti, dukkhantipi vijānāti, adukkhamasukhantipi vijānāti. ‘Vijānāti vijānātī’ti kho, āvuso, tasmā viññāṇanti vuccatī”ti.
“It’s called consciousness because it cognizes. And what does it cognize? It cognizes ‘pleasure’ and ‘pain’ and ‘neutral’. It’s called consciousness because it cognizes.”

43.2.2 – (viññāṇa can not be separated from pañña)

“Yā cāvuso, paññā yañca viññāṇaṁ— ime dhammā saṁsaṭṭhā udāhu visaṁsaṭṭhā? Labbhā ca panimesaṁ dhammānaṁ vinibbhujitvā vinibbhujitvā nānākaraṇaṁ paññāpetun”ti? Variant: vinibbhujitvā vinibbhujitvā → vinibbhujjitvā vinibbhujjitvā (mr)
“Wisdom and consciousness—are these things mixed or separate? And can we completely dissect them so as to describe the difference between them?”
“Yā cāvuso, paññā yañca viññāṇaṁ— ime dhammā saṁsaṭṭhā, no visaṁsaṭṭhā. Na ca labbhā imesaṁ dhammānaṁ vinibbhujitvā vinibbhujitvā nānākaraṇaṁ paññāpetuṁ. Yaṁ hāvuso, pajānāti taṁ vijānāti, yaṁ vijānāti taṁ pajānāti. Variant: Yaṁ hāvuso → yañcāvuso (bj, mr); yañca āvuso (sya-all, km)Tasmā ime dhammā saṁsaṭṭhā, no visaṁsaṭṭhā. Na ca labbhā imesaṁ dhammānaṁ vinibbhujitvā vinibbhujitvā nānākaraṇaṁ paññāpetun”ti.
“Wisdom and consciousness—these things are mixed, not separate. And you can never completely dissect them so as to describe the difference between them. For you understand what you cognize, and you cognize what you understand. That’s why these things are mixed, not separate. And you can never completely dissect them so as to describe the difference between them.”

43.2.3 – (viññāña should be known, pañña developed)

“Yā cāvuso, paññā yañca viññāṇaṁ— imesaṁ dhammānaṁ saṁsaṭṭhānaṁ no visaṁsaṭṭhānaṁ kiṁ nānākaraṇan”ti?
“Wisdom and consciousness—what is the difference between these things that are mixed, not separate?”
“Yā cāvuso, paññā yañca viññāṇaṁ— imesaṁ dhammānaṁ saṁsaṭṭhānaṁ no visaṁsaṭṭhānaṁ paññā bhāvetabbā, viññāṇaṁ pariññeyyaṁ. Idaṁ nesaṁ nānākaraṇan”ti.
“The difference between these things is that wisdom should be developed, while consciousness should be completely understood.”

43.3 - (vedana: sensation. Senses sukha, dukkha, neither)

“‘Vedanā vedanā’ti, āvuso, vuccati. Kittāvatā nu kho, āvuso, vedanāti vuccatī”ti?
“They speak of this thing called ‘feeling’. How is feeling defined?”
“‘Vedeti vedetī’ti kho, āvuso, tasmā vedanāti vuccati. Kiñca vedeti? Sukhampi vedeti, dukkhampi vedeti, adukkhamasukhampi vedeti. ‘Vedeti vedetī’ti kho, āvuso, tasmā vedanāti vuccatī”ti.
“It’s called feeling because it feels. And what does it feel? It feels pleasure, pain, and neutral. It’s called feeling because it feels.”

43.4 - (sañña: Perception)

43.4.1 – (perceives 5 colors)

“‘Saññā saññā’ti, āvuso, vuccati. Kittāvatā nu kho, āvuso, saññāti vuccatī”ti?
“They speak of this thing called ‘perception’. How is perception defined?”
“‘Sañjānāti sañjānātī’ti kho, āvuso, tasmā saññāti vuccati. Kiñca sañjānāti? Nīlakampi sañjānāti, pītakampi sañjānāti, lohitakampi sañjānāti, odātampi sañjānāti. ‘Sañjānāti sañjānātī’ti kho, āvuso, tasmā saññāti vuccatī”ti.
“It’s called perception because it perceives. And what does it perceive? It perceives blue, yellow, red, and white. It’s called perception because it perceives.”

43.4.2 – (sañña can not be separted from vedana)

“Yā cāvuso, vedanā yā ca saññā yañca viññāṇaṁ— ime dhammā saṁsaṭṭhā udāhu visaṁsaṭṭhā? Labbhā ca panimesaṁ dhammānaṁ vinibbhujitvā vinibbhujitvā nānākaraṇaṁ paññāpetun”ti?
“Feeling, perception, and consciousness—are these things mixed or separate? And can we completely dissect them so as to describe the difference between them?”
“Yā cāvuso, vedanā yā ca saññā yañca viññāṇaṁ— ime dhammā saṁsaṭṭhā, no visaṁsaṭṭhā. Na ca labbhā imesaṁ dhammānaṁ vinibbhujitvā vinibbhujitvā nānākaraṇaṁ paññāpetuṁ. Yaṁ hāvuso, vedeti taṁ sañjānāti, yaṁ sañjānāti taṁ vijānāti. Variant: Yaṁ hāvuso → yaṁ cāvuso (sya-all, km); yañcāvuso (mr)Tasmā ime dhammā saṁsaṭṭhā no visaṁsaṭṭhā. Na ca labbhā imesaṁ dhammānaṁ vinibbhujitvā vinibbhujitvā nānākaraṇaṁ paññāpetun”ti.
“Feeling, perception, and consciousness—these things are mixed, not separate. And you can never completely dissect them so as to describe the difference between them. For you perceive what you feel, and you cognize what you perceive. That’s why these things are mixed, not separate. And you can never completely dissect them so as to describe the difference between them.”

Forum discussion
level 1

Substantial-Deal3567·8 hr. ago

we have MN 148 which details the mental process from the sense bases contact to the underlying tendencies to greed, hatred and delusion. These tendencies lead to proliferated perception (SN 35.94).

SN 35.93 describes the activities that follow contact. It seems they happen at the same time.
Contacted, one feels. Contacted, one intends. Contacted, one perceives.
Aniccaṃ kho pana, bhikkhave, paccayaṃ paṭicca uppanno cakkhusamphasso kuto nicco bhavissati.
But since eye contact has arisen dependent on conditions that are impermanent, how could it be permanent?
Phuṭṭho, bhikkhave, vedeti, phuṭṭho ceteti, phuṭṭho sañjānāti.
Contacted, one feels, intends, and perceives.
Itthetepi dhammā calā ceva byathā ca aniccā vipariṇāmino aññathābhāvino … pe …
So these things are tottering and toppling; they’re impermanent, perishing, and changing.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

DWTD: Don't wag the Dhamma

 A collection of articles showing where the tail is wagging the dog,

or the dhamma is wagging The Dhamma.

Or people seeing a tree and missing the forest.

or a foot soldier is giving orders to the General.

The Dhamma is the General.

dhamma are soldiers, cannon fodder.

The Dhamma gives orders to the dhamma.

The dhamma is not qualified to tell Dhamma what to do.

DWTD: Don't wag the Dhamma

wagging the Dhamma: KN Ud 1.10 Bāhiya sutta is the same as the satipaṭṭhāna formula

wagging the Dhamma: KN Ud 1.10 Bāhiya sutta is the same as the satipaṭṭhāna formula

from a discussion here:

The famous "in the seen, there will only be the seen", is actually used in several other places throughout the suttas, especially the satipatthāna formula (which most people don't translate and interpret correctly).

“Tasmātiha te, bāhiya, evaṁ sikkhitabbaṁ: ‘diṭṭhe diṭṭhamattaṁ bhavissati, sute sutamattaṁ bhavissati, mute mutamattaṁ bhavissati, viññāte viññātamattaṁ bhavissatī’ti. Evañhi te, bāhiya, sikkhitabbaṁ. Yato kho te, bāhiya, diṭṭhe diṭṭhamattaṁ bhavissati, sute sutamattaṁ bhavissati, mute mutamattaṁ bhavissati, viññāte viññātamattaṁ bhavissati, tato tvaṁ, bāhiya, na tena; yato tvaṁ, bāhiya, na tena tato tvaṁ, bāhiya, na tattha; yato tvaṁ, bāhiya, na tattha, tato tvaṁ, bāhiya, nevidha na huraṁ na ubhayamantarena. Esevanto dukkhassā”ti.
“In that case, Bāhiya, you should train like this: ‘In the seen will be merely the seen; in the heard will be merely the heard; in the thought will be merely the thought; in the known will be merely the known.’ That’s how you should train. When you have trained in this way, you won’t be ‘by that’. When you’re not ‘in that’, you won’t be in this world or the world beyond or between the two. Just this is the end of suffering.”
Atha kho bāhiyassa dārucīriyassa bhagavato imāya saṅkhittāya dhammadesanāya tāvadeva anupādāya āsavehi cittaṁ vimucci.
Then, due to this brief Dhamma teaching of the Buddha, Bāhiya’s mind was right away freed from defilements by not grasping.

elephant and bodhi tree SN 47.2 defines 'sati' (mindfulness ) as doing this all the time (24/7 samādhi ):
kāye kāyā-(a)nu-passī viharati
He lives continuously seeing the body as a body [as it truly is].
vedanāsu vedanā-(a)nu-passī viharati
He lives continuously seeing sensations as sensations [as it truly is].
citte cittā-(a)nu-passī viharati
He lives continuously seeing a mind as a mind [as it truly is].
dhammesu dhammā-(a)nu-passī viharati
He lives continuously seeing ☸Dharma as ☸Dharma [as it truly is].
(… elided refrain from each way…)
[in each of the 4 ways of remembering]:
ātāpī sampajāno satimā,
he is ardent 🏹, he has lucid discerning 👁, he remembers 🐘 [to apply relevant ☸Dharma].
vineyya loke abhijjhā-do-manassaṃ;
he should remove greed and distress regarding the world.

MN 1

1.1.1 - (perceives [sañjānāti] form as form, conceives wrong ideas and identity around form)

“Idha, bhikkhave, assutavā puthujjano ariyānaṃ adassāvī ariyadhammassa akovido ariyadhamme avinīto, sappurisānaṃ adassāvī sappurisadhammassa akovido sappurisadhamme avinīto—
“Take an uneducated ordinary person who has not seen the noble ones, and is neither skilled nor trained in the teaching of the noble ones. They’ve not seen good persons, and are neither skilled nor trained in the teaching of the good persons.
pathaviṃ pathavito sañjānāti;
They perceive earth as earth.
pathaviṃ pathavito saññatvā pathaviṃ maññati, pathaviyā maññati, pathavito maññati, pathaviṃ meti maññati, pathaviṃ abhinandati.
But then they conceive earth, they conceive regarding earth, they conceive as earth, they conceive that ‘earth is mine’, they take pleasure in earth.

1.1.2 - (why? Because they don’t completely understand [A-pariññātaṃ] form)

Taṃ kissa hetu?
Why is that?
‘Apariññātaṃ tassā’ti vadāmi. (1)
Because they haven’t completely understood it, I say.
Āpaṃ āpato sañjānāti;
They perceive water as water.
āpaṃ āpato saññatvā āpaṃ maññati, āpasmiṃ maññati, āpato maññati, āpaṃ meti maññati, āpaṃ abhinandati.
But then they conceive water …

(earth is part of rūpa), MN 1 covers all 4 elements, all samādhi attainments, etc.

again, just satipatthana formula stated in slightly different way.

Again, same as satipatthana formula, just in terms of dukkha instead of "body, sensations,..." which is also part of 5uk aggregates.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Ajahn Tongrat's biography (One of Ajahn Chah's teachers)

Ajahn Tongrat's biography (Eng. - Unknown.pdf

book *Machine Translated by Google*

 [page] 1

 [page] Thai Edition, September 2009

Maneerat - Jewel of wealth

Wat Pah Munirat

Moo 4, Bahn Khum, Tambon Khok Sawang, Ampher Samrong Ubon Ratchathani – 34360


This issue, August 2019

Gem of Wisdom, Life of Ajahn Tongrat Kantasÿlo

Translation, art – Mudito Bhikkhu

Review – Antonio Dutra

Photo de capa - Benjamin Balázs

Copyright Sociedade Buddhista do Brasil, CNPJ 34021832000106



This translation is made available as a Dhamma offering.

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Translation note.

.............................................................................................................. 5

Introduction .

.................................................................................................................................. 6

Origin .

......................................................................................................................... 10

Waiver .

.................................................................................................................................. 14

He Who Shows the Path of Light .

............................................................ 16

Obstacles to the Practice of Dhamma .

............................................................................... 19

Three years in the Bang Bôt cave.

................................................................................ 21

Homecoming for the first time .

.............................................................................. 24

Bahn Chi Tuan .

............................................................................................ 44

Death of Ajahn Sao .

.................................................................................................. 65

Wat Pah Munirat .

............................................................................................. 69

End .

............................................................................................................................... 79

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translation note

O presente livro é uma versão resumida e reorganizada da biografia de Ajahn Tongrat intitulada Maneerat- Jewel of Precious.

The need to summarize was due to the fact that the original book puts a lot of emphasis on being a historical record, naming in detail places and people.

For example, it often tells a little about the history of how a monastery or village came to be established, or tells more about the personal lives of those who witnessed the stories contained in the book, etc.

 This does not disturb the Thai version of the book so much, but when translated, it generates a convoluted and confusing text for a Western audience, because it would often be necessary to stop the story and go into a long explanation of Thai customs and folklore, only then to make sense of the story of how the aforementioned village came to be – and it is not something directly related to the story of Ajahn Tongrat.

I also chose to omit many people's names, sometimes choosing to write "a disciple tells that.


 instead of giving the full name, place of birth, etc.

, of each.

Regarding the reorganization of the text, in the original the stories are not in a clear chronological order, which does not disturb the text in Thai much since the readers are already familiar with the environment and concepts being described.

 As for a foreign audience, which will already have difficulty imagining correctly what is being described in the different passages, I thought that, if the text did not have a chronological order, would make comprehension even more difficult and detract from the reading experience.

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The Thai forest tradition, as we know it today, emerged in the early 20th century, based mainly on the way of practice and teachings of Ajahn Man and Ajahn Sao, and popularized in Thailand and around the world by their disciples – in particular, Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Mahÿ Boowa.

One of the most striking features of the training given by these masters was the so-called monastic etiquette, or “korwat” in Thai.

 Most of this etiquette comes from the Buddha's own monastic rule, the Vinaya, but it often went beyond the traditional rule, demanding an even higher level of sophistication and attention from disciples.

This was nothing more than training for the student.

 In order to be able to observe this etiquette correctly, and not be scolded by the master, the student should always have a serene and attentive mind.

 Your movements should be smooth and silent, your composure elegant and understated.

 By looking at the disciples' behavior, the masters were able to know what level of mental refinement that student had already reached.

Despite attaching great importance to this training, these great masters were fully aware that it was just that:


This label was not synonymous with Dhamma or Nibbana – which, after all, was the real purpose they had in teaching their disciples.

 Therefore, when a disciple was not able to follow these rules of behavior strictly, but still managed to progress well with his Dhamma practice, it was common for teachers to be lenient with such students, and willing to tolerate behaviors in them that they would not be willing to tolerate in others.

Dentre os discípulos de Ajahn Man que demonstravam tais características, há três famosos:

 Ajahn Tü (Tue Atchalathammo), Ajahn Jia (Jia Jun Tho) e Ajahn Tongrat (Thongrat Kantasilo) – tema deste livro.

These three monks were sometimes called a "diamond wrapped in a floor cloth" by Ajahn Mun, signifying that despite their appearance

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Despite their outward appearance, and their inelegant demeanor, they possessed the pure and crystalline minds of true sÿvakÿs who have attained the highest Dhamma realization.

The truth is that even in ancient scriptures and commentaries examples like these are found – which shows that it is not a new or unusual phenomenon.

 In the other traditions of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism it is also possible to find both types of great practitioners:

 those who have impeccable behavior;

 and those who, despite possessing the highest levels of spiritual attainment, often have a way of behaving that defies established standards.

Ajahn Tongrat is an example of this last category of great masters.

 They were not the majority among Ajahn Mun's disciples, quite the contrary, if there was any characteristic that most defined the group of kammatthÿna monks, disciples of Ajahn Mun, it would be impeccable behavior worthy of praise.

Many are those who report that the first thing that caught their attention when coming into contact with such monks was the serene, composed, attentive and harmonious behavior of each one.

 But there were exceptions.

Ajahn Tongrat was one such exception and it is important for readers to bear this in mind when reading this book.

 As Ajahn Chah explains at one point in the text, he was not an example to be imitated.

 Those who try to imitate him will only harm themselves and those around them.

 But even so, Ajahn Tongrat is an invaluable source of wisdom if we are able to see the Dhamma behind his actions and above all a great reminder not to “judge a book by its cover”.

It is also quite inspiring to see the depth of Ajahn Man and Ajahn Sao, who despite being so strict with the way of practice, had the necessary wisdom to make exceptions when they encountered a practitioner whose talent did not fit into the common mold of other people, giving the opportunity for everyone to practice and reach the peak of human fulfillment.

 Everything reinforces even more the certainty that these were true

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masters, worthy of reverence, worthy of offerings, a veritable field of merit for those who seek the cultivation of the most excellent in the entire universe – Nibbÿna.

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Ajahn Tongrat Kantasÿlo was born Tongrat Nakajat into a large family on the banks of the Sri Somkram River in the year 1888, in the village of Sam Pong, Nakhon Phanom Province.

 Later, his father took the family to establish a new village in the forest of Panao, with a number of villagers.

 They named the village

“Sri Wen Chai” and it was about three kilometers from their home village.

Panao was a place of difficult access, a very dense forest inhabited by many species of animals.

 For this reason, it was also a preferred practice location for many great meditation masters.

 In the place it was possible to find old objects, such as utensils and Buddha images of different types, which made believe that in the distant past that area had been occupied by a monastery.

His father, Luang Kam Jat, was the government official who managed that region.

 His mother's name was Kéu Bupa.

 At that time, the use of surnames was not very common and there was no established pattern.

 It was up to each one to choose the name they liked the most, and so they chose the surname


 “naka” comes from Nakhon Phanom and “jat” was his father's name.

Luang Kam Jat had nine children:

1. Mr.

 Ta Nakajat (was the first to receive the position of administrator of the Sri Wen Chai village)

2. Sr.

 Sitat Nakajat

3. Sr.

 Ten Nakajat

4. Ajahn Tongrat Kantasÿlo

5. Ms.

 Upakeu Nakajat

6. Sra.

 Nu Tien Nakajat

7. Mrs.

 Kien Nakajat

8. Sr.

 Meng Nakajat

9.Sra. Wa Nakajat

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As a young man, Tongrat was very tall, strong, brave and resolute.

 He had a countenance that inspired respect, but he also liked to make jokes and pranks.

 He was responsible for collecting rent from tenants for his father and was an important source of support for the family.

People around were often shocked by his resolute behavior.

 For example, on one occasion there was a dog that stole the rice that was soaked in the morning.

 When the mother or sister went to cook it, they found only the empty bowl and shouted:

 “The dog stole and ate the rice again!” Young Tongrat heard that complaint so many times that at last, being a person of very resolute behavior, he managed to capture the dog and cut its mouth, saying:

“There! Now you won't eat as much."

On another occasion, during harvest time, a female buffalo1 had already given birth for two or three months and was still giving milk.

 In turn, the calf continued to follow its mother, nursing whenever possible.

 One day, the young Tongrat let the baby nurse for a long time, eventually it was necessary to take the mother to the corral to place the plow – however, the calf continued to follow behind to suckle.

 No matter how many times I tried to chase him away, he would only go away for a few moments, but then returned.

 There was no way to plow the field like that.

 Tongrat then took the plow from the buffalo's neck and hit the calf as hard as he could before the people around him had time to stop him.

 The cub fell unconscious from the blow, remaining motionless on the ground.

 The eldest brother, Ta, asked,

“Why did you hit him?”

, and young Tongrat replied with an impassive expression, “So he won’t be eating so much.”

Disciple of Ajahn Tongrat, Ajahn Ki tells that he told him that, when young, he had many abilities.

 It was easy for him to train the cows to pull carts, to the point that when he appeared on the road, they would go 1 It is still common today to use water buffaloes to plow the rice fields in thailand

 [page] 12

alone to the corral to receive the harnesses, without having to order or hit.

When he had to cross a stream, he ordered them to jump into the water and they obeyed.

 His family owned more than three hundred buffaloes and cows, it was necessary to release them to graze in the fields and forests.

 From time to time it was necessary to take some to the city to sell.

 There were so many head of cattle that, on these occasions, it was necessary to warn people to keep their belongings, close the doors and windows, because the passage of animals raised a lot of dust and made everything dirty.

A belief that young men of that time held (and still persists in part today) is the magical power of "mystical" tattoos, and young Tongrat believed in this too.

They believed that having tattooed the body with those magical symbols, they would be protected against dangers or would attract many women, and therefore, he also had tattoos on his body.

Whenever there was a celebration in his village, or one nearby, young Tongrat would cut a section of bamboo about a meter long to use as a bottle and fill it with alcoholic drink.

He carried it on his back with a tie and went to join the party – as was the custom of the boys in that region.

 But, even though young Tongrat had a taste for good food and drink, he never got involved in fights - which meant that, wherever he went, he was always in the eyes of young women.


Ajahn Tongrat once told Ajahn Pón that when he was first ordained as a novice, he could not stay for long, as he had to return home and help his family.

 The reason why he ordained himself a second time was because he had fallen in love with a girl from a nearby village, who, in turn, was shown to be in love with him.

 Many times she asked him to go to their respective families and make the formal proposal of marriage, according to custom - and if he didn't, she would run away to be with him.

The young man thought for several days.

 The idea of running away with the girl didn't appeal to him, but on the other hand, if he denied her the request, he was afraid that she would stay.

 [page] 13


 Finally, he decided that he would not ask for her hand in marriage yet, however, he feared that if he remained available he would not be able to resist the girl's advances.

 Therefore, he asked his father to take him to the temple to be ordained.

 The father did not want him to be ordained because he helped a lot with the family's work, so he wanted him to continue in the secular life, but he was forced to give in to his son's requests, who argued:

 "I still don't want to have a wife!"

So his father took him to a temple, but he didn't say anything to anyone.

 Even people in his own household did not know where he had taken his son to be ordained.

 It was only many years later, when his father, mother and a few other family members had passed away, that the villagers learned that he had ordained at Wat Boddhi Chai, in Ta Uten district, Nakhon Phanom, with Ajahn Khan Khantyo as upajjhÿya2 .

Youngest daughter of Ta Nakajat and niece of Ajahn Tongrat, Mé Yai Jantima recounts that after Luang Kam Jat took young Tongrat to be ordained, she only saw him again once, when she was about 23 years old.

 After that occasion, he never saw him again.

 Only many years later did he receive the news that he had died in Ubon Ratchathani, in 1956.

Also when his elder brother was ordained as a monk, the father took him to the same upajjhÿya, because at that time there were not many, and Ajahn Khan was in charge of the entire region of Sri Sonkram, Ban Péng and Ta Uten districts.

Only then did he learn of his younger brother's fate.

2 Upajjhÿya is the monk who presides over the monastic ordination ceremony.

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Ajahn Tongrat was ordained in 1916 at the age of 28. After the ordination, he never sent news to the family members, nor did he return to visit them.

Initially, he devoted himself to studying, researching the scriptures and other texts, such as the Navakaovÿda, and memorizing the Pÿtimokkha.

He stayed with his upajjhÿya for two years and thought he wanted to return to secular life.

 No matter what he was doing, he could only think of leaving the monastic life.

 He carried out all his tasks as a novice monk to perfection, but the desire to return to lay life did not disappear.

 All of this is considered normal for a young monk, but Ajahn Tongrat had a special determination to find a way to overcome this obstacle and manage to stay on the Dhamma path.

 So he asked his upajjhÿya for permission to leave the temple and go in search of a distant place to experience life in seclusion.

Ajahn Tongrat once told his nephew, Ajahn Dét, that on the occasion who wanted to give up the monastic life, when he had been a monk for only two years, he left his upajjhÿya in search of a secluded place, as a way of not leaving the monastic mantle.

 From his original temple, he traveled through forests and mountains, but the more he walked and the more he got tired, the more he wanted to return to secular life.

He walked to Pu Pân and looked for a place to set up his glot .

 He practiced walking and sitting meditation, following the instructions he had studied in the books

– and which I had practiced a little before – but which I still did not clearly understand.

Practiced for two days.

 In the morning, he went to ask for alms from the villagers who lived in barracks at the foot of the mountain.

 Having eaten, he practiced even more, and suffered even more, because he wanted very much to return to secular life.

3 A large umbrella, over which a screen to protect against mosquitoes is placed, which allows you to sleep and practice meditation in the forest.

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Then he made the following decision:

 “Since you want to drop the robe so much, let him die right here!”, and he made even more effort to practice meditation.

He practiced for six or seven days without eating and the urge to let go of the cloak gradually weakened, but it still didn't go away.

 As for several days he did not go to the village to collect alms, the villagers thought that something had happened and decided to climb the mountain to investigate.

 When they arrived, they saw him practicing walking meditation and went down to get water and food to offer him, but he refused.

 The laity asked and begged him to eat.

 During the conversation, they told him about Ajahn Sao and Ajahn Man.

Those two monks were said to be true practitioners, everyone respected them a lot.

 In the past they were there on pilgrimage4 . Ajahn Tongrat inquired further about this and found that they normally live in the region of Sakhon Nakhon and Nakhon Phanom.

 He immediately decided to go in search of the two masters so that they could teach him the Dhamma.

 So he came down from the mountain and began his search.

4 In Thai, “tudong”.

 Unlike the pilgrimage known in the West, it is not necessarily aimed at “paying a promise” or going to a sacred place.

 Monks simply lived out in the open, camping in forests and mountains, and carried on their practice there.

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The one who shows the way of light

And indeed Ajahn Tongrat travelled, sought, sought until he found Ajahn Man when he resided at Wat Pah Suthavát, in Sakhon Nakhon – an ancient forest very conducive to the practice of meditation.

Ajahn Tongrat remained with Ajahn Mun for three or four days.

 By order of Ajahn Mun, he would go out to practice alone the teachings he had received.

But during his practice he felt that the more he practiced, the heavier he felt.

Whether he was standing, sitting or lying down, this feeling of heaviness did not lessen.

 He remembered Ajahn Mun and decided to go back for directions.

When he met Ajahn Mun, the latter asked him, "How is the practice going?"

Ajahn Tongrat did not know what to say to Ajahn Mun, as he had not noticed anything arising in his practice;

 there was just that feeling of heaviness whether you walked, sat, or lay down.

Ajahn Mun spoke with a stern expression:

“Don't just want peace in your meditation!

If in your practice there is only greed,

what do you think you will find there?”


and then told him to leave again and

continue practicing.

Being a resolute and warlike person, upon

hearing Ajahn Mun's scolding, he felt


 He collected his belongings

and headed towards a dense forest,

determined to practice harder.

yet. He practiced meditation sitting and

walking, day and night without stopping, with

very little time for rest – and also decreases food consumption.

 He practiced in this way until one day the feeling of heaviness simply disappeared.

 In its place came a pleasant lightness in body and mind.

 Wherever he went, it was as if he were levitating in the air;

 did not have

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how to explain the feeling to anyone else.

 He practiced for a long time and that feeling continued, and he asked himself, "So this is what the masters call a peaceful mind?"

Decided to go back to consult Ajahn


When he returned on this occasion, his countenance was not what it had been before.

It was obvious that something wonderful had happened.

 He said to Ajahn Mun:

 "Now I see the peaceful mind."

“And how is this peaceful mind?”

 asked Ajahn Mun.

“Peaceful mind is light mind, light body.

 In any posture, there is only lightness, it cannot be described”, and then explained in more detail the experiences he had had during that period.

At this time Ajahn Mun further explained the path of practice to him.

He ordered him to contemplate the five khandhas5 so as to see them only as impermanent, suffering and not-self.

 Having done this, I told him to that would bring contemplation inward:

 in this body and mind, everything is impermanent, it is suffering, it is not an “I”, it should separate in that way.

Having received instructions from Ajahn Mun, he offered obeisance and departed again to continue his solitary practice.

 He followed Ajahn Mun's instructions and contemplated, as described, incessantly for several months, until the period near the beginning of vassa .

 This would be his third year as


At this time all sorts of things began to manifest in his heart.

Ecstasy surged through her mind.

 Everywhere he looked there was brightness and luminosity.

 He saw all things and everything looked the same to him.

 Did not have 5 Body aggregate, sensation aggregate, memory/ perception aggregate, aggregate of mental constructions and aggregate of consciousness.

6 Three-month period, during the monsoon season, in which monks must not travel but reside in one place.

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doubts about anything in this world, he thought in his heart that even if he were presented with a thousand or a million problems to solve, no agitation would invade his mind.

 The feeling of stillness and peace in her mind at that moment was incredible, as if nothing else could make her tremble.

 This feeling was even more difficult to describe than the previous occasion.

 As the scriptures say, something to be experienced individually by the wise.

One disciple recounts that he often heard Ajahn Tongrat say, “No matter how many teachings there are, they cannot compare to the practice that leads to seeing for yourself.”

 The disciple then asked:

 “What do you mean when you say that?”

Ajahn Tongrat replied:

 “From the speech of others we get only the path to be trodden, they are not able to express the results of practice in words.

 Those results come of themselves, if the practice that purifies the body, speech and mind is present.

 Sÿla, samÿdhi and paññÿ arise by themselves.

Don't neglect the little mental states that don't seem important to you.

 If sÿla is pure, samÿdhi and paññÿ will make progress.

 Sometimes, you sit in meditation and questions arise, and the answer to them at the same time.

 If sÿla is not pure, he will not be able to enter a forest like a kammatthÿna monk .

 Ghosts will strangle you, tigers will devour you.

If a monk does not have pure sÿla, tigers kill him.

 It is possible to find such bones around, at the foot of the mountains or inside the caves.”

After this experience, he continued on a pilgrimage alone through forests, mountains and caves.

 He walked with courage, he was not afraid of animals, ghosts or angels.

 Wherever he went, he felt no fear.

 It could be said that, from this point forward, fear and doubts were no longer matters that weighed heavily on his heart.

7 A monk dedicated to the practice of the path, as opposed to a monk dedicated to the study of the path (pariyatti monk)

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Obstacles in the practice of Dhamma

Ajahn Tongrat used to tell his disciples about his experiences with the practice, so that they could teach and encourage them to

personal development.

 And there were many obstacles he had to face.

 For example, on one occasion when I was camping on a mountain, I practiced walking meditation all day and night.


he had a vision of a gigantic yaka, as big as the mountain

– a very frightening sight.

 The yaka jumped up and landed on its feet, blocking the path that Ajahn Tongrat used to practice walking meditation, but he wasn't shaken.

 Just remembered a saying:

 ÿÿ Everything that arises, disappears.

 If it doesn't disappear, it's because it's fake.”

With this teaching in mind, he exclaimed aloud, “Stupid dog-faced ghost9

, you

are fake! Stupid dog-faced Yaka, you're fake!”, and after uttering those words, the vision disappeared.

On another occasion, he was camping on a certain mountain and, during a walking meditation session, he had a vision of the leaves of the bamboo plants around him all falling down, covering the entire surface of the ground.

 Then those leaves turned into fish, and the air around them turned into water, with those fish swimming everywhere.

 Ajahn Tongrat simply used the same technique as on the previous occasion and spoke aloud:

 “Stupid leaves,

dog face, damn your mother and father! You are a lie –

leaves are leaves, air is air.

 Don't try to deceive me! Everything that arises must disappear.”

8 A certain type of celestial being.

 They are not necessarily mean, but are often aggressive and possessive.

9 Calling or implying that someone is a dog is the worst form of offense in Thailand.

 [page] 20

He repeated that phrase until that vision disappeared.

 The leaves returned to normal leaves, there were no more fish swimming under the sea;

 and the air became air again, as usual.

Once, when he was practicing walking meditation, his mind became confused and dominated by sensual desire.

 As usual, Ajahn Tongrat dealt with the obstacle aggressively and resolutely:

 he picked up an old and rusty axe, walked straight towards a tree stump in the forest – as if he were going to murder someone.

 Arriving there, he began to hit the stump with all his strength, while saying:

 “Damn your father and mother! It's you who builds the world! He does not know that any world is full of suffering.

Cursed be your father and mother!” And he continued to attack the tree stump with the ax until he was exhausted.

 The tree stump still stood, as the ax was dull and rusty, but the sensual desire that dominated his mind disappeared.

 [page] 21

Three years in Bang Bot Cave

Ajahn Ki tells that during that period when Ajahn Tongrat was dedicating himself body and soul to the practice, he heard the news that Ajahn Man had left for the northern region of Thailand, in the province of Chiang Mai, and decided to leave in the same direction.

 Having met him in that area just before the start of that year's rains retreat.

Ajahn Man asked about the progress of his practice and Ajahn Tongrat related everything he experienced.

 At the beginning of the rains retreat, Ajahn Mun used to send some of his disciples to different places of practice, while others stayed with him.

 Ajahn Man recommended Ajahn Tongrat to go and practice in the Bang Bôt cave, but with one condition:

 he should remain there for three uninterrupted years.

 Ajahn Mun had already practiced in this cave and considered it suitable for a monk whose mind was firm and courageous.

 He also said that many monks had already died there.

 If he didn't possess a skillful mind, the chances of getting out alive would be slim.

Having received these instructions, Ajahn Tongrat set off towards the cave alone.

 Upon arrival, he looked for a place to hang his glot, cleared an area to practice walking meditation, and remained there for the next three years.

During a full moon night in the first year of his stay, after a session of walking meditation, he went to continue his practice in the sitting posture.

While practicing with a silent and peaceful mind, he heard a great noise that shook the entire region.

 I couldn't make out what that sound was.

 It was as if the sky was collapsing, the whole mountain seemed to shake, as if it were about to collapse.

 I could hear the sound of animals and people screaming everywhere.

He wondered if he should go out and find out what it was.

 The fear that seemed to have disappeared from his heart returned without warning, even though he had previously told himself that fear no longer existed within him.

 The recitation of the

“Buddho” mantra completely disappeared, there was only dread in her mind.

 [page] 22

Ajahn Tongrat told his disciples that he was so afraid that he couldn't describe it.

His hair and fur all over his body stood on end, to the point where he thought they would fall from his head.

 Her robe and sarong were soaked with sweat.

 Having reached the height of fear, something like a voice whispered in his ear:

 “In this world, all beings, including devas, brahmas, Yama and yakas, without exception, pay reverence and respect to the Buddhas.

 As a disciple of the Tathÿgata, why should I be afraid?”

Upon hearing this teaching, he began to regain his mental composure, and courage soon arose in his heart.

 The fear gradually receded and, in the end, disappeared without a trace.

 Ajahn Tongrat tried to get him to come back, but he couldn't.

 He imagined a tiger, an elephant, and he saw nothing much, there was nothing frightening.

 I had the feeling that this fading away of fear, on this occasion, had much more depth than on the previous occasion – it was hundreds, thousands of times deeper.

 I practiced sitting or walking meditation and there was only freshness and well-being, I didn't feel hungry or thirsty.

 He spent seven days and seven nights in that state, without sleeping.

After several days had passed, the laity went up the mountain to look for him, since it had been a long time since he had gone down to collect alms.

They thought something had happened to him.

 They asked him:

 “Are you sick?

Your eyes are red.”

He replied:

 “I am fine.”

“Not hungry or thirsty?

 He hasn't come to collect alms for days.

 We think something has happened to him, like the previous monks.”

The next day he went to collect alms in the village, however, he ate only two spoonfuls and had to stop.

 His body was not accepting the food intake, no matter what he ate, he threw up everything.

 It took several days for it to get back to normal.

He continued practicing there until he was three years old.

 At the end of the third rain retreat he descended from the mountain and went to seek Ajahn Mun once more.

 [page] 23

He told him about his experiences and Ajahn Man exclaimed:

 “Tongrat, now your mind is like mine! From now on, teach other people.

May you teach!”

 [page] 24

Homecoming for the first time

After all these years of practicing in forests and mountains, the robe he wore, which he had sewn together with his own hands, was worn out and the fabric frequently tore.

 Ajahn Tongrat was tired of mending10, mainly because he couldn't always find scraps to use.

 If I found scraps, I didn't have thread for sewing.

Sometimes he was forced to use tree bark fibers for lack of a better option.

 He was very meticulous in observing monastic rules, so even though his robe was faded and covered with gross patches, it was still beautiful in his eyes, for it was a living manifestation of his zeal and dedication to the way of practice established by the Buddha.

Since no layman had invited him to ask for requirements when he needed it, he thought of going to ask Ajahn Mun's permission to return to his home village to ask his relatives for fabric, and thus sew a new robe.

 According to the Vinaya, a monk can only ask a layman if he has previously made an invitation to do so – in Pÿli this invitation is called “pavÿranÿ”.

 If this does not exist, it is permissible to make requests to family members, even if they have not offered pavÿranÿ.

 Ajahn Tongrat wanted to go back to his house to ask for cloth and thread to sew a new set of robes.

When reporting his intention to Ajahn Mun, he said, “Hey, you became a monk because you wanted to see and experience the Dhamma, didn't you?

 Are you going to go back to screwing with the laity now?”

 But still, he gave permission for the trip.

Ajahn Tongrat understood the good intention behind the master's words, paid obeisance, and took the road towards his homeland.

10 According to the monastic rule, a monk cannot leave his robe torn, he has a duty to always mend it.

 [page] 25

The eldest daughter of Ta (Ajahn Tongrat's older brother), Jantima says that when he returned home for the first time, she was 27 years old.

 Upon arriving home, no one could recognize him, even his older brother.

 He arrived in the morning, walking and collecting alms.

As a rule, no monk passed by their house, so Ajahn Tongrat had to wait a long time before a neighbor noticed that there was a monk there and then knocked on the window, shouting:

 “Grandfather, grandfather! Do you not see the venerable one, your youngest brother, standing in front of your house?”

 Ta looked up from the porch, but she still didn't believe it, so she went downstairs to take a closer look.

 Upon arrival, he knelt down with his hands in añjali and said:

 “Welcome, venerable one.

 Where do you come from?”

Ajahn Tongrat replied:

 “I am from the same village, I am the son of Kam Jat.

I am staying at Wat Pah Han.”

 And he continued forward collecting alms, leaving Ta confused behind, who was trying to understand what it all meant.

 The more I thought, the less I could guess who that monk was:

 "This monk comes to say that he is the son of my father, Kam Jat.


After collecting alms, Ajahn Tongrat returned to the monastery and Ta went to talk to him to find out if, in fact, he was the son of Kam Jat.

 Upon arriving, he asked:

 “After all, who are you?”

“My name is Tongrat, at that time, father took me to Wat Boddhi Chai in Ta Uten to ordain me.”

 Only then did Ta believe that the monk who had asked for alms in front of his house was, in fact, his younger brother.

He was very happy to know that his brother was still alive, asking him about what had happened to him during all those years away.

 He didn't imagine that he would have the opportunity to talk again in this life.

 As for his father, mother and many other family members, they had long since passed away.

Prah Kru Dun recounts that “Wat Pah Han was established by Ajahn Wang and Ajahn Ma.

 In those days there was no hall, only a sun shelter and two or three thatched huts.

 The first time Ajahn

 [page] 26

Tongrat stayed here, he had to sleep in his glot under a Bodhi tree at the back of the monastery, which at that time was a forest.”

A few days later, Ta brought a cloth that had been spun and woven by his wife to offer to Ajahn Tongrat.

 He then sewed a mantle with that fabric by hand, dyeing it with natural dye, made from the pulp of the wood of the jackfruit tree.

Seeing his younger brother living under a glot, Ta gathered some villagers and built a thatched hut in which he could reside, but before it was ready, Ajahn Tongrat took his leave and returned to his wanderings.

 This aversion of Ajahn Tongrat's to permanent buildings continued throughout his life.

 Even when lay people offered to do all the building work, he still tried to discourage them.

 If he finally couldn't stop them from building it, he said they could build it, but he didn't guarantee he would live there.

 When he felt like leaving, he would leave.

Ajahn Uan says that Ajahn Tongrat did not like having a monastery as a fixed base.

 In general, it was under the trees of the forests and improvised shelters made of bamboo and straw.

 When he left, the shelter degenerated and was swallowed by nature, so it was difficult to find evidence of his passage anywhere.

 Even today, almost nothing can be found of the places where the vassas passed, such as Bahn Dong Chon, Bahn Dong Makua, Bahn Pai Long, Bahn Non Hóm, Wat Huei Sri Khun, in Cambodia;

 or Fang Khong in Laos.

The only places where there are still signs that a monk once lived there are Bahn Khum, where Wat Pah Munirat is located, and Bahn Khok Sawang, where there is a small stupa built by the locals to house part of his remains.

After his departure from his native village, Ajahn Tongrat continued his practice in seclusion.

 From time to time doubts arose about the practice which he either resolved alone or sought the help of Ajahn Sao or Ajahn Man.

 As soon as he consulted the masters, he left again, as he preferred to live alone.

 He didn't like living in groups, in communities, which was why the

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most of the monks in the group of disciples of Ajahn Sao and Ajahn Man did not know him or knew of his existence.

Many months passed between one visit and another, when he came to hear the Dhamma of the masters, and even on those occasions, it was common not even to sleep in the monastery, leaving as soon as the lecture ended.

 In general, remained in Nakhon Phanom, Sakhon Nakhon, Laos and Myanmar.

 On some occasions, he practiced in the company of other great monks such as Ajahn Wen, Ajahn Tü.

 He also spent time with Ajahn Mi during a pilgrimage through Myanmar.

Ajahn Tongrat was especially close to Ajahn

Tü with whom he enjoyed talking and telling


 They too had been ordained by the same


 When Ajahn Tü went on a pilgrimage,

he always liked to bring something with him

from the trip, especially Buddha images.


of the Buddha images displayed at Wat Boddhi

Chai were donated by him.

 Ajahn Tongrat said:

"In the future, Ajahn Tü will be a famous monk of great merit."

 Indeed, their words proved true, Ajahn Tü became a very famous and respected master throughout Thailand.

Once Ajahn Uan went on a pilgrimage to Laos and found that Ajahn Uan Tongrat was there too, for he had family on that side of the river.

 [page] 28


 He was staying at Don Chao Pu's forest cemetery11 , where villagers had built a small hut for monks who came to practice meditation.

 Ajahn Uan went to pay obeisances and asked to remain with him for five or six days.

During that period, a certain local merchant was taking elephants to sell in Vietiane, but when he got close to where Ajahn Tongrat was, all sixteen elephants refused to go on, no matter how much he pulled or hit them.

 The merchant didn't know what else to do and decided to go to the village to look for a sorcerer, who lived there, to advise him.

The sorcerer recommended that he prepare a platter with candles, flowers and incense, and ask the spirit that inhabited the region for forgiveness, as he suspected it was his work.

The merchant did as instructed, but there was no result – the elephants still refused to go any further.

 When everyone no longer knew what to do, one of his helpers said:

 “I wonder what it is in this forest that is scaring the elephants?”

 and the group went into the woods to try to find out.

 There they found Ajahn Tongrat practicing meditation and wondered if he was the cause of the problem.

 They went to pay him obeisance and he asked:

“Where are you going, what do you want here?”

“The elephants I lead have come this far and refuse to go any further, I don't know why.

 All grab the trees with their trunks and refuse to let go.

 No matter how hard we pull or hit them, they won't budge."

“Aren't they hungry?”

11 In the past, bodies were cremated, buried in shallow pits or even left on the ground in designated areas in the forest.

 It was generally believed that such places were haunted and therefore avoided by the locals, which made them very peaceful and suitable for monks who were interested in Dhamma practice, as well as a great place to contemplate death.

 [page] 29

“How can that be possible?

 We’ve been feeding them all the way, from morning until afternoon.”

Ajahn Tongrat continued talking in a playful tone and the merchants became even more suspicious that he knew something about it and they kept insisting for a long time:

“Luang Pó12, please help us, we already made offerings at the altar of spirits and got no result.”

“Aren’t the animals angry or tired?”

"It can't be, we take good care of them."

“Oh, they've already dropped the trees.

 You can go there and look.”

, said Ajahn Tongrat.

The merchants went to look at the elephants, and when they arrived, they found them quiet, eating grass as usual.

 Everyone was sure that this was the result of some psychic power of Ajahn Tongrat, so they went back to see him and asked for forgiveness for any offense they might have committed, and only then continued their journey with their elephants.

Once, Ajahn Sai told that Ajahn Tongrat went to practice in a forest, it is not known where, and skillfully managed to convince a person to abandon his evil intentions.

A certain street vendor was part of a group that used to go around the region selling their products, and most of the time, it took a month or two to return home, with the sales earnings.

 His wife took care of the home and was responsible for guarding and managing the money, which her husband always entrusted to her as soon as he returned from a trip, and she was a good wife in all respects.

 But on this last trip, upon returning home, the husband

12 Venerable Father

 [page] 30

he did not find the happiness and joy he was used to receiving.

 This time, upon his return, he was greeted with the news that his beloved wife had stolen all of the couple's money and had run off with her lover.

Dominated by rage and obsessed with getting revenge, the husband gathered some of his closest friends and, weapons in hand, they left the region, passing through all the places where they imagined it would be possible to find the traitorous couple.

By coincidence, at the end of a certain afternoon, Ajahn Tongrat was camped on the edge of a forest through which the group passed in search of their revenge.

When they noticed the presence of Ajahn Tongrat, they thought:

 “This pilgrim monk must travel through many regions.

 It is possible that he saw the people we are looking for.”

Because they had a certain respect for monks like him, they first hid their weapons in the bush and straightened their clothes.

 Those who once looked like hunters now looked like lay practitioners, with white cloths draped over their left shoulders.

 They walked up to him while he was practicing walking meditation and offered obeisance, but before they even had a chance to say anything, Ajahn Tongrat exclaimed, “Children, hey!

What you are planning to do is bad karma!”

The boys turned white with fright.

 After a moment, he continued:

 “Throw away the weapons, knives and clubs you have hidden, do not touch these things again.

 Children, I know all about why you came here, your hearts are burning like fire.

 There is no honor in 'washing your honor', it is just a way to increase your bad karma even more.

 In fact, you had a karmic debt with that wife of yours who ran away with her lover, if you go after her and manage to find her, you will end up resuming your relationship with that witch.

 Has she already cheated on you to this point, you're hurting until you're barely able to take it anymore, and you're still going to get her back?

 Son, hey! Let her go!”

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 [page] 32

Upon hearing these words, the man sat with his head down and reflected on what he had heard.

Then he prostrated his head at the feet of Ajahn Tongrat and wept with relief at having saved himself from performing such bad karma, and with sadness at accepting the reality of how people harm each other within this infinite

cycle of birth and death.

After calming down, he asked permission to become a monk so that he could live as a disciple with Ajahn Tongrat for the rest of his life.

 Already the friends who accompanied him, said goodbye, and returned to their homes.

 Ajahn Tongrat took that man to a monastery and left him there to be ordained and develop Dhamma practice, but he soon left alone to return to the forests and mountains, as it was his characteristic to like to live alone.

 He didn't like people following him, nor did he usually follow others, except when there was good reason.

Ajahn Tongrat used to tell his disciples that talking and talking more than necessary is not beneficial for the practice, even more so if it is talking about Buddhism.

 It is even more dangerous if the people talking do not have enough depth in the Dhamma, as the old Thai saying goes:

 "If you want to kill ten or twenty, at least have the honesty to use a club - don't use the scriptures as a weapon!"

Once, when he went to visit Ajahn Mun, there were two monks talking in a corner.

 As is common with people who still don't have depth in the Dhamma, when they started talking about the subject, there was fighting and disagreement, and they couldn't reach an agreement.

 The tone of voice started to get louder and more aggressive, and in the end, one of them went to get the Navakaovÿda to prove that he was right.

Even so, the dispute continued.

 I looked as if I was going to go beyond the level of discussion and turn into a fight;

 and from fight to aggression.

 When it looked like they were about to move on to punching and kicking, out of nowhere Ajahn Tongrat appeared.

 The latter walked straight between the two, took the book from the monk's hand and rubbed it on the

 [page] 33

behind like someone cleaning himself after defecating.

 He threw it on the ground and said:

 "Don't do like Ajahn, it's a sin."

Seeing this, the monks came to their senses and realized that using the scriptures to hurt each other is as disrespectful as using them to wipe one's bottom, and the fight ended right there.

Ajahn Kinari told his disciples that when Ajahn

Tongrat came to hear Ajahn Mun's teachings,

Ajahn Mun used to praise Ajahn Tongrat and

set him up as an example for younger monks to


 Because Ajahn Tongrat was very direct

and fearless, sometimes Ajahn Mun would give

him the responsibility of overseeing the behavior

of younger monks and correcting those who

misbehaved – and for this reason it was common

for many monks to dislike him very much.

Ajahn Man regularly assigned responsibilities to

Ajahn Tongrat during sangha meetings so that


hear the orders.

Once, Ajahn Man looked at Ajahn Tongrat and exclaimed in a loud voice:


“Yes, sir,” he replied.

“Nowadays our monks are not like they used to be.

 use soap, washing powder, and they are perfumed in a way that is not compatible with the way of being of a renunciate.

 I do not know what else to do."

A few days later, Ajahn Tongrat was sitting inside the monastery and a group of two or three monks passed by, leaving a trail of perfume from

 [page] 34

soap, as Ajahn Man had mentioned.

 Ajahn Tongrat exclaimed in a very loud voice:

 “Hmmmm, what a youthful smell!13”, which made the monks feel ashamed and did not have the courage to do that.


Ajahn Ki said that Ajahn Tongrat was very strict with soaps and washing powder.

 In particular, he didn't usually use soap.

 If I used it, I would only cut half of one to have with me, and only if it was unscented soap.

 He said that having a whole bar of soap would be able to stir up the kilesas in the mind.

In the biography of Ajahn Wen the attitude that Ajahn Mun had towards the two sects of Thai Buddhists is described.

 Ajahn Mun was from the Dhammayut sect, but most of the monks who came to study with him were from the Mahÿ

Nikÿya sect14 .

When Ajahn Wen was a young monk, he had a lot of worries about this issue, and he wondered whether he should change sects, to the point that this concern was becoming an obstacle in his practice.

 There was once a large number of Mahÿ Nikÿya disciples of Ajahn Man asking permission to move to the Dhammayut sect, and Ajahn Wen also joined them.

 Ajahn Mun gave permission to most of the monks, but ordered a small group to remain affiliated with the Mahÿ sect.

Nikÿya, justifying:

“If everyone changes to Dhammayut, there will be no one to teach the way of practice in the Mahÿ Nikÿya.

 Nibbana does not depend on sect but on correct practice according to the Dhamma and Vinaya taught by the Buddha.

13 It is likely that this was an advertising campaign slogan at the time.

14 In Thailand there are two Buddhist sects:

 Mahÿ Nikhÿya and Dhammayut.

 Both are equally Theravada, they differ only in administration.

 The Dhammayut group was created out of dissatisfaction with the level of conduct of the Mahÿ Nikhÿya.

 His proposal was to return Buddhism to its purest and most disciplined form.

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Abandon what must be abandoned, avoid what must be avoided, and develop what must be developed.

 This indeed is the path that leads to Nibbana.”

Ajahn Ki tells that once a group of monks were talking, belittling those who were not part of their sect, including criticizing Ajahn Tongrat, saying:

 “This Luang Ta15 is from the Mahÿ Nikÿya, he did not join Dhammayut like us.”

Ajahn Tongrat heard what was said, walked straight to the group, turned his back, lifted his sarong exposing his bottom and said, "Get off my ass, you turd!" Which made the group of monks immediately disperse, shocked by what they had witnessed.

At the time of the Buddha there was no sect, all monks were members of the same community, but thanks to the ignorance and bad behavior of the following generations, such separations began to emerge.

 The ecclesiastical administration of the Dhammayut group forbade Mahÿ Nikÿya monks to participate in official sangha ceremonies, such as the recitation of the Pÿÿimokkha16, with the Dhammayut monks, but this was not a problem initially for Ajahn Tongrat, since he used to stay only for one or two nights in the monastery, listening to the teachings of Ajahn Mun, before returning alone to the forest.

However, as Ajahn Mun delegated more responsibilities to him, he sometimes stayed for many days, and this created unease among the other monks.

 On one occasion, the day of the recitation of the Pÿÿimokkha approached and a murmur began to spread through the monastery.

 The monks were concerned whether the presence of Ajahn Tongrat was appropriate, or whether it was not 15 An informal way of referring to an elder monk.

 On that occasion, disrespectful.

16 A list of 227 monastic rules, recited in Pÿli.

 [page] 36

it would cause problems if word got out that they had performed the ceremony together with a Mahÿ Nikÿya monk.

The day before the ceremony, when the monks were gathered for tea, Ajahn Mun asked Ajahn Tongrat:

"Tongrat, do you have any doubts about the validity of tomorrow's ceremony?"

“No sir, I have no doubt at all.”

“Eh, then it's fine.

 Come and join the Pÿÿimokkha recitation, okay?”

But Ajahn Tongrat did not want to cause the master unnecessary trouble, so he replied with his hands in Añjali:

 “It is not necessary.

 I ask permission to go perform the ceremony elsewhere.”

From that day forward, whenever new monks from the Mahÿ Nikÿya sect came to study with Ajahn Man or Ajahn Sao and asked to move to their sect, they refused and told them to go and study with Ajahn Tongrat.

 Ajahn Man no longer allowed anyone to change sects, arguing:

 “If we let people change, there will be fights, disputes, and the sangha will become even more fractured than it is today.”

 It was the wish of Ajahn Man and Ajahn Sao that both sects would once again become one.


In this way, it was as if Ajahn Tongrat was entrusted with being the general of the Dhamma army on the Mahÿ Nikÿya side.

 In addition to him, some examples of other great masters who were part of the group:

• Ajahn Mi, With Wat Pah Sung

• Ajahn Si Tao, Bahn Weng

• Ajahn Prom, Bahn Kôk Köng

• Ajahn Bun Mak, Wat Amata

• Ajahn Kinari, Wat Kantasilavassa

• Ajahn Sai, Wat Pah Hot Yau

• Ajahn Ta, Wat Tam Sap Müt

• Ajahn Uan, Wat Jantyava

 [page] 37

• Ajahn Chah, Wat Nong Pah Pong

Ajahn Uan tells that during the periods when he stayed in the monastery with Ajahn Mun, Ajahn Tongrat took care of the other monks even when Ajahn Mun did not assign duties to him.

 For example, Ajahn Mun would occasionally go many days without teaching his disciples, which would make the younger monks anxious as they missed the sublime sense of delight in the Dhamma they experienced during those lectures – and perhaps for this very reason, Ajahn Mun made a point of

of tormenting them and no longer teaching.

Once, there were visiting monks at the monastery who had not yet had the opportunity to hear Ajahn Mun speak.

 They asked Ajahn Tongrat for help, who asked them:

 “Do you really want to hear a lecture?”

“Many days ago we came here to practice with Ajahn Mun and we still haven't had the opportunity to hear a single teaching from him.

 We are already thinking about giving up and leaving.”

 [page] 38

"Easy! Tonight you will hear a sermon,” promised Ajahn Tongrat.

So when the monks went around the village collecting alms, one person donated fresh cucumbers to the monks.

 Ajahn Tongrat, who was walking right behind Ajahn Mun in the line of monks, took a cucumber from his bowl and began to eat it with a “crock, crunch, crunch” noise, but whenever Ajahn Mun turned to look at what was happening, he would close his mouth and keep walking;

 as if nothing was happening.

This type of behavior would certainly be cause for immediate expulsion, especially knowing the severe personality that Ajahn Man possessed.

But, as it came from one of his best disciples, it was not what

 [page] 39

it happened.

 Instead, upon his return, Ajahn Mun just called an evening meeting, at which he gave a long and stern sermon to all the monks present.

On other similar occasions, when younger monks wanted to hear a lecture, Ajahn Tongrat would sneak under Ajahn Mun's hut, which was built on stilts, and make sounds, kick and punch the air as if he were practicing muay-thai.

 It always worked:

 at night Ajahn Mun would call a meeting and give a long, piquant sermon to the monks.

This kind of event made the other monks respect Ajahn Tongrat a lot.

 First, for his courage in doing such a thing, when all were terrified of Ajahn Mun's fury;

 second, because anyone else in a similar situation would have been expelled screaming from the monastery,

never to return, which, to them, demonstrated that despite his eccentric behavior, he had all the respect and admiration of Ajahn Mun as a true practitioner of the Dhamma.

Ajahn Kinari relates that there was once an elderly monk in the monastery who, when he sat in meditation, to some extent, he was able to pacify his mind.

 One night, while practicing meditation, he had a vision in which he was a flying squirrel – a common animal in the region.

 Only, in this vision, he was a gigantic squirrel that was flying smoothly through a beautiful coconut grove.

 This vision made him very happy, thinking it a sign that his practice had made great progress.

When in the morning he went out to beg, he continued to be absorbed in that happiness, to the point of not wanting to talk to anyone.

 But when he returned to the monastery, still immersed in ecstasy, the first thing he heard was the voice of Ajahn Tongrat, shouting:

“Look there, look there, the squirrel has arrived!”

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Hearing this, the monk came to himself, and realized that he was getting carried away by mere images in his meditation.

On another occasion, when Ajahn Tongrat was vassaing with Ajahn Sao, all the monks were practicing meditation extremely diligently, to the point of complete silence – no one was talking to anyone.

 So it was for a long time, until one day, an elderly monk broke the silence to declare, before the sangha, that he had acquired the ability to levitate in space.

 Upon hearing this, Ajahn Sao looked at Ajahn Tongrat and said:

 "Take him, Tongrat, take him!"

Ajahn Tongrat got up, went to the monk, and punched him as hard as he could in the ear.

 The old monk fell to the ground with the force of the impact, and the time it took him to get up, was the time he needed to abandon that fantasy.

Another disciple tells that they once went on pilgrimage in a small group of monks, led by Ajahn Tongrat.

 As they passed through a village, they noticed some movement in one of the houses.

 As they approached, a middle-aged woman in tears and in total despair ran towards them, bowed and begged Ajahn Tongrat to come to her house, resurrect his son who had just died.

Ajahn Tongrat replied in an angry voice:

 "May father, mother and the whole family die!".

 Upon hearing this, the woman stopped crying, and stared at Ajahn Tongrat with deadly hatred in her gaze.

 Noticing that she had now forgotten some of the despair, and would be able to hear what she had to say, Ajahn began to teach about the suffering in the world and the inevitability of death.

Gradually, the woman's countenance changed, and at the end she was sitting on the ground, with her hands in añjali, with a peaceful face.

 [page] 41

and serene;

 unrecognizable when compared to a few minutes ago.

Finished, the group of monks moved on.

When they opened a meditation hall in Bahn Sam Pong, many great masters had been invited, among them Chao Khun Upali.

 As Ajahn Mun revered him a lot, he walked with Ajahn Tongrat and four or five other monks to the highway, because at that time there weren't many and they didn't reach everywhere.

 Therefore, even coming by car, it was still necessary to get off and walk a good few kilometers on foot to reach your destination.

During the walk, when they returned accompanied by the venerable master, they all froze when they came across a wild buffalo, in heat, obstructing the path.

 The animal looked aggressive and posed as if it was about to attack the group.

Immediately Ajahn Tongrat excused himself to go ahead17 and went to the buffalo.

 He kicked him in one of his front legs so hard that the noise was heard from afar.

 The buffalo was so frightened that even the others, who were eating grass in the distance, also fled in despair into the forest.

17 Etiquette dictates that the oldest monk walk in front and the others follow a few paces behind.

 [page] 42

Ajahn Ki tells that once Ajahn Man, Ajahn Tongrat and a small group of monks were walking on a pilgrimage through a mountain and climbing a very steep slope.

 The monks asked permission to carry Ajahn Mun's belongings, but he refused.

At one point in the walk, on that steep stretch, Ajahn Mun's alms bowl slipped off his shoulder, rolling down the hill.

 All the monks had their backs loaded with their belongings and they couldn't bend down fast enough to pick up the bowl with their hands (even because there was a risk that they would start rolling down the hill),

on the other hand, no one dared use their foot to hold the bowl, as they were afraid it would be disrespectful to the master.

Then the bowl rolled down the hill, past all the monks, until it reached Ajahn Tongrat who was behind.

 Without any ceremony, he simply stepped on top of the handle of the bowl, and thus, prevented it from falling.

 [page] 43


 Seeing this, Ajahn Man exclaimed:

 "See Tongrat, no one thinks of helping the master!"

 [page] 44

Bahn Chi Tuan

Years earlier, Ajahn Sao had lived in the village of Bahn Chi Tuan in Ubon Ratchathani.

When he was staying at Bahn Kha Khom, residents of Bahn Chi Tuan came to pay their respects and ask him to return to live with them, as they missed his teachings.

Ajahn Sao refused the request, as he had

already committed himself to spending

the vassa period in Bahn Kha Khom;


the visitors urged and pleaded until he

yielded, and,

at least send one of his disciples so that

they would have the opportunity to make

merit and hear teachings.

After much insistence, Ajahn Sao gave in:

“If they want a monk for now, it won’t be

possible, because he hasn’t arrived yet.”

The laymen saw that the monastery was

full of monks and did not understand why

Ajahn Sao had said that he had not arrived yet.

 They feared not getting a monk in time, since there were only three days left before the start of the rains retreat.

They asked:

 “Luang Pu18, excuse me, there are many monks in the monastery, would it not be possible to send one of them?”

18 Venerable Grandfather

 [page] 45

“Bahn Chi Tuan is a place full of 'scholars'19. If the monk does not have a high enough mental and Dhamma level, I am afraid he will not be able to stay.

Wait two more days, he's coming."

Upon hearing Ajahn Sao promise that he would send a monk, even though the day of the beginning of vassa was so close, the lay people were very happy and left immediately.

 Everyone in the group was very happy to know that they would have a kammatthana monk spending the next few months with them.

Upon returning to their village, they cleared an area, prepared a hut and a small hall for the monk's use.

Two days later, they prepared food and left at dawn for Bahn Kha Khom.

 They offered food for the meal, and when the monks had finished eating, they paid obeisance to Ajahn Sao and inquired about the monk who would vassa at Bahn Chi Tuan.

Ajahn Sao replied:

 “Ali, that is the monk who will spend vassa with you.”

, pointing to Ajahn Tongrat.

 The laity were happy to have a kammatthana monk to teach them, even though he was not Ajahn Sao, as they initially intended.

They went to Ajahn Tongrat, paid reverence, and invited him to spend the vassa with them, accompanied by three more monks, and he accepted.

Before Ajahn Tongrat left, Ajahn Sao warned:

 “At Bahn Chi Tuan they like to study very much, there are many 'mahÿ'20 there.

 If you just try to talk, without any gimmicks, it will be difficult for them to hear you.”

 In the past, Ajahn Sao had sent several monks and they all had to return with no results, because the villagers did not accept his teachings.

 When he first went to build a monastery there, even Ajahn Sao had not achieved results.

19 ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ – A rather difficult translation, a free translation would be something like

“people pretending to be smart because they read a lot of books”.

20 A title given to someone who has reached a certain level of graduation in the study of Buddhist scriptures.

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Many years later, he would state:

 "If it weren't for Venerable Tongrat, there would be no one who would have been able to teach the people of that village!"

During his stay at Bahn Chi Tuan, Ajahn Tongrat faced many challenges, just as Ajahn Sao had predicted.

 As soon as he arrived, the difficulties began.

 Some of the villagers were happy with his presence, while others were displeased, as they understood that kammatthana monks were good for nothing:

 “Monks who live in the forest live seated with their eyes closed.

 That way, how do you expect to see things that even people with good eyesight, with their eyes open, have difficulty seeing?”

A local resident, Mr.

 Khanha says:

 “If it was another monk and not Ajahn Tongrat, I wouldn't be able to stay because of the problems.

 It was very difficult and complicated to get the people there to abandon their arrogance and opinionated mind.”

Naquele vassa, Ajahn Sao was in Bahn Kha Khom, Ajahn Tongrat in Bahn Chi Tuan, Ajahn Bun Mák in Bahn Ta Sala and Ajahn Tóng in Bahn Suan Gnua.

When the day of uposatha21 arrived, they and their disciples gathered at Wat Pah Nong Ó for the recitation of Pÿÿimokkha, no matter whether they were Dhammayut or Mahÿ Nikÿya.

 The authorities heard the news and sent orders to Ajahn Sao for monks from both sects to perform the ceremony separately.

 So they started doing it that way, and meeting only when there was some celebration.

There weren't many people sympathetic to Ajahn Tongrat in that village, mainly because he was willing to do whatever it took to teach those people to be more generous.

 One of the things he did out of character was to call everyone “father”

and “mother”.

 A layman asked the reason for this and he explained that he had noticed that over there it was customary to use

21 Uposatha is the full moon or new moon day when monks recite the Pÿÿimokkha.

It is also common to have long lectures and practice periods for laypeople and monks on this date.

 [page] 47

the pronoun “ÿÿ” even to refer to the parents, and this, in general, It is only used for animals.

 So, he tried to set an example so that people would have more respect for each other, and especially for the elderly.

In general, monks should just walk around the village in silence, and only take food that people willingly offer.

 Asking directly, or in any way pressuring someone to donate, is considered extremely inappropriate.

 During his stay, if any house prepared food to offer, but forgot to look if the monk was already passing by, Ajahn Tongrat would stop in front and wait until the person came to offer.

If anyone lingered or showed ill will, he was not offended, at least On the contrary – he made an effort to win everyone's friendship and acted as informally as possible.

 If it rained, he would say:

 “Mom, you don’t need to go out to offer the food, it’s going to get wet, let me go in and get it.”

 And that bothered some, saying that the monk was not behaving properly.

If any household was not in the habit of donating, he would look for some way to make them change their habit.

 For example, if he saw a bunch of bananas near the person's house, he would shout, “Mom, do you see that bunch of bananas?

 Don't want to do a little merit?

 Then take some and put them in my bowl!”, and wait until the person brings the bananas.

 Upon arriving at the monastery, he did not eat the fruits because they had been obtained improperly – he did so only to teach people generosity.

There was a house that whenever he passed in front of it, he replied:

 “The rice is not cooked yet!” The next day he appeared with a bundle of firewood on his back and said:

 “Mother, turn up the fire! I hope to be ready.”

, and stood, waiting until they brought the food to offer.

 Upon reaching the monastery, he took the food from the bowl and did not eat.

 If a house never donated, or even go to the monastery, he ordered a nun to go to that house and ask for anything:

 betel, tobacco, it didn't matter – anything.

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When they brought what was donated, he did not use it, as it had been obtained incorrectly.

This way of acting made many criticize him, to the point of several times accusing him in the middle of the street, when he went out to collect alms, saying that he was not behaving correctly, but he did not mind.

 One day a person, instead of donating food, put a hammer in his bowl.

 Upon arriving at the monastery, Ajahn Tongrat said:

 “The person must have thought that the monastery did not have a hammer, so he donated one.”

, and continued to leave through the village in the morning, as if nothing had happened.

A few days later, that same person came to offer again.

He placed in Ajahn Tongrat's bowl a small bundle made of banana leaf – still a common method of wrapping food today – but of a slightly larger size than usual.

 On returning to the monastery, he told the

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other monks:

 “That person who donated the hammer, donated something else today.

What will it be?”

Usually, when he returned to the monastery, he would remove all the food from the bowl, separate those that were not fit for consumption (such as raw meat or things that had been donated because he asked), and the other foods that he did not want to eat.

 He left in the bowl only what he intended to consume, sharing the rest with the other monks.

 Since that day there was this big package, coming from that person who criticized him several times, he gradually opened it to see what was inside.

 When it opened, a frog jumped out, but Ajahn was quick and caught it before it touched the ground, saying:

 “Eh! If that layman hadn't put you in my bowl at this time,

it would already be boiling in the pot at his house.”

, and he ordered the monks to take the frog to release it in the woods next to the monastery.

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 [page] 51

The next day, he left in the morning as usual, as if nothing had happened.

 The layman who had placed the frog in the bowl watched from a corner, with a playful air, however, Ajahn Tongrat acted as if he didn't know anything.

 This time, during the alms collection, someone dropped a folded note into his bowl.

Upon returning to the monastery, Ajahn Tongrat formally donned his robe, called the other monks, and asked them to read the note aloud:

 “Children, read.

 This surely is a teaching of the immortal Dhamma! An angel put it in my bowl.

 It’s hard to get the opportunity to hear something like that!”

As the monks read, Ajahn Tongrat held his hands in añjali:

 “Crazy monk, you call yourself a monk, but you are not circumspect, you have no sÿla, you have no Vinaya, you permissively make friends with the laity and bother them by making requests.

 Even if a monk like that were able to levitate in the air, he wouldn't count as a monk.

 You better get the hell out of here, because if you don't, next time we'll offer lead alms.”

Hearing this, he raised his hands to his forehead and exclaimed:

 “Sadhu! Keep this note at the foot of the Buddha image.

 There are the Eight Worldly Dhammas.

 Until today, I only heard about wealth and poverty, fame and anonymity, praise and criticism, pleasure and pain.

 Oh, very good this one.

Sadhu! I have just learned a little more about the core of the Dhamma.

 Keep that note, keep it!”

The next day, he left in the morning as usual.

 The person who had passed the note the day before was in front of his house, smiling, when Ajahn Tongrat passed, but the other monks did not notice the master showing any sign of anger or fear.

After a few days, there was some confusion within that person's family.

 They exchanged slaps and punches, and in the end, that layman ended up mentally disturbed.

 He stayed at home scared, saying they wanted to kill him;

 then he fled into the forest and refused to return, no matter how much his family tried to appease him.

 He talked nonstop that there was someone wanting to kill him.

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Finally, the family brought an offering of candles, flowers and incense to Ajahn Tongrat, and asked him to forgive their kinsman, thinking he had used some magic to drive him crazy.

 Ajahn Tongrat insisted that he had done nothing, but they were not believed.

 Then he explained to them about karma, the consequences of slandering others, and told them to go home.

When they arrived, they found the relative back and with his mental state recovered.

Those within the group who were happy with the presence of the monks could not bear to witness all the trials they were subjected to and one day a person asked:

 “Master, with your permission I would like to ask, does Ajahn not get angry at these daily provocations?

 If it was me, I would have left already;

 I wouldn't stay here for them to continue insulting me anyway and for so long!"

to which he jokingly replied:

 “As long as the residents of Chi Tuan do not burst into tears, I will not leave!”

Unable to get rid of him by any of the above methods, Ajahn Tongrat's enemies tried a new strategy:

 they took the matter to the religious authorities, who came to investigate the matter personally.

Some mentioned Ajahn Tongrat's inappropriate behavior, such as asking for things, or being overly informal when interacting with lay people.

About each item, the authorities asked:

 “Is what they say true?”

 and he always replied, “Yes, sir.”

“So how do you explain yourself, Mr.


“What is a bhikkhu?

 Not a beggar?

 I ask because I don't have it, so I ask.

 If I don't ask, I'll have to earn my own living, and that's the layman's way.

 If my behavior is wrong, I accept whatever punishment they decide.”

Everyone present was silent because they didn't know what to say, no one knew how that behavior could be wrong.

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But as time passed, the villagers who were unsympathetic to him began to change their minds and see his goodness.

After the event in which the person who threatened Ajahn Tongrat became temporarily mentally disturbed, other cases began to emerge of people who also attacked him and, suddenly, became sick or died for no apparent reason;

 others began to have all sorts of problems at home, nothing like this had ever happened before;

 and so on.

 This kind of event began to come up frequently among those who were against Ajahn Tongrat, to the point where the people of the region became afraid of the fruits of the bad karma they had performed.

One after the other came to bring flowers, candles and incense to ask the monk for forgiveness – even some, who had never done anything against him, came to ask forgiveness for having thought badly or if they had acted disrespectfully without realizing it.

No matter how much Ajahn Tongrat insisted that he wasn't offended or held a grudge against anyone, they wouldn't listen.

 In the end, even that person who had put the frog in Ajahn Tongrat's bowl came to ask for his forgiveness.

 I brought a platter with flowers, candles and incense, falling down in tears at his feet, regretting everything he had done.

Ajahn Tongrat tried to convince him that it wasn't necessary, that he had harbored no anger, but the layman insisted that he accept his offering and apology.

 Later on, that layman began to attend the monastery and regularly helped with chores and services for the monks.

 When Ajahn Tongrat and Ajahn Sao were on pilgrimage in Laos and resided in Bahn Khum, that layman heard the news, took his entire family to live in the same village, and had the opportunity to hear the teachings of both masters.

 Ajahn Tongrat used to call

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this layman from “Mahÿ Kéu”, since in the past he had been a monk and had studied the scriptures until he obtained the Prayôk 522 diploma .

One day, Ajahn Tongrat told the villagers that the previous night he had had a vision of the ghost of a pregnant woman with a child in her arms.

She carried the baby in her arms and asked him to give a message to his family, so that they would do good deeds and dedicate merits to both of them.

Ajahn Tongrat asked the ghost how long he had been in that state of existence, the woman sat on the floor, with her hands in añjali, and replied:

 “I married and lived with Kham La until I became pregnant, and I died when I was still pregnant.

 My husband found a new wife in Bahn Hua Dón.

 No one made merits to dedicate to me, I ask that you pass the message on to my family, please.”

When he told this to the villagers, they said that, indeed, they knew such people and indeed, after the death of his wife, Kham La moved with a new woman in Hua Dón, not far away.


the message was passed on to the family members who then made the dedication of merits, so that she and her son could overcome that painful state of existence.

As the situation of friction with the residents was resolved, and the more people's respect for Ajahn Tongrat increased, more and more invitations began to arrive for him to participate in ceremonies and celebrations in the region.

22 A high level of Pÿli language study.

 [page] 55

During the ceremony for the beginning of the rice harvest, the villagers invited monks from various temples and monasteries in the region, assigning a seat to each one, according to how many years of monastic life they had.

But when Ajahn Tongrat arrived, he did not sit in his assigned seat –

instead, he sat in another and chatted with the lay people present.

 As the other monks arrived, the lay people once again invited him to sit in their place, but he pretended not to hear and continued talking about other matters.

 The lay people invited him once more, twice, until finally he said:

 “Why do you want me to sit down so badly?

 Don't you know what's under that seat?"

Not understanding the meaning of that, they just said there was nothing there.

Ajahn Tongrat sent them to inspect.

 When the laymen lifted the cushion, they almost died of fright:

 a very poisonous snake had hidden itself under the seat, all coiled up, ready to strike!

With the end of the disagreements, another thing that happened was the desire to build a monastery, so that it could reside permanently in their village.

Several lay people came together to donate the land for the monastery –

those who had adjacent land traded with those who had land farther away and thus got a continuous piece of land big enough for the monastery.

 So they took the matter to Ajahn Tongrat who just said, “No need to build me a monastery, I already have my monastery right here:

 My begging bowl.”

A certain monk named Ajahn Si came to live in the same monastery as Ajahn Tongrat for the sole purpose of finding fault with him.

 He spent three years watching him, unable to find any real evidence of a breach of monastic precepts.

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One day, Ajahn Tongrat was walking towards a hole in the ground, which was used to urinate, to relieve himself, and he noticed Ajahn Si's gaze following him at every step he took.

 After urinating, Ajahn Tongrat spat into the hole.

 Ajahn Si soon went to him to complain:

 “Don't you say you are strict with the observation of the Vinaya?

 Why did you spit in the hole?

 Don't you know it's a breach of rule23?"

Ajahn Tongrat replied:

 “I feel sorry for you who have been trying to find fault for over three years.

 If indeed I am wrong, then tell me:

 What was it that you hid under your seat?

 Don't you know that a weapon is not something appropriate for a renunciate?"

When Ajahn Si heard that, he turned white with fright.

 I couldn't guess how Ajahn Tongrat knew he had hidden a knife in his hut.

Present during that period in Bahn Chi Tuan, Ajahn Tiap tells about the practice of the monastery.

During vassa, they read the biography of the Buddha and Sÿvakÿs and recited pÿjÿ translated into Thai.

 In the days of uposatha, he would teach lay people about the five precepts.

 He asked them to avoid the five forms of misconduct, because the reward of this practice is financial prosperity, physical well-being, mental well-being and the ability to progress on the path to enlightenment.

 Those who follow the path of evil, on the other hand, will have to bear the painful fruit of their behavior both in this life and in the ones to come, as this bad karma will follow them no matter where they are born.

Ajahn Tongrat placed great emphasis on the practice of the five and eight precepts.

 He said that for those who accumulate a lot of bad karma, they do a lot of evil, 23 The translator has detailed knowledge of the Vinaya, but cannot guess why they would think this is a breach of precepts.

 The only thing that is slightly similar is the offense of spitting on plants belonging to someone else, such as a garden or plantation, but this is clearly not the case reported above.

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do not observe the five precepts, a mental image arises at the moment of their death that is an expression of that bad karma, for example, the image of a fishing net, a hunter's trap, a knife, a shotgun or the image of animals they have killed.

 This image makes the mind

be inclined to be reborn in the lower realms.

If a person follows the five precepts, makes merit, is charitable, helps the sangha, builds a hut, a hall or a temple for the monastery, when he dies he sees an image of that temple, he sees an image of the Buddha, he sees an angel or an image that represents the goodness he performed while still alive, and when he dies he is reborn in a higher realm.

He warned people not to be careless and to train

die before you die, every day.

 For example, if you imagined that today at four in the morning you would die, how would you prepare for that event?

 Before going to bed, they should offer pÿjÿ and recite the five precepts.

 If the observance of all the precepts is impeccable, he should feel happiness and self-satisfaction, chant

“Buddho me nÿtho, Dhammo me nÿtho, Sangho me nÿtho”24

, and

then lay down to sleep with

the mind established in sati.

 As you inhale, recite “Bud”;

 as you exhale, recite “dho”

and continue like this until you fall asleep.

 It will bring you good dreams, good mental images, and if you die, you will die well.

 He will be born in a heavenly realm, but if he is reborn as a human being, it will be better than in the previous life, because he had buddhanusati as an object of mind just before passing away.

He taught:

 “Do not be negligent! Whether you are standing, walking, sitting or lying down, have 'Buddho' in mind at all times.

 Be one who died before dying, a person steadfast in being diligent.”

Ajahn Tongrat taught to practice meditation for at least three hours a day.

In addition, there were many other things that he taught clearly and simply, in a way that anyone could understand.

 For example,

24 To me, the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha are the most excellent.

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when a novice monk asked him about contemplating the five external parts of the body – hair, hair, nails, teeth and skin – Ajahn Tongrat explained that they are all impermanent, suffering and not-self.

 All are part of these three characteristics and are not “I”, “mine”;

 By reflecting like this you will be able to remove the attachment.

 In summary, the five aggregates, centers of attachment, are suffering.

“The five khandhas are part of the three characteristics.

 All things in this world, both living and inanimate, have the mark of the three characteristics stamped on them.

 Everything that is born settles down for a period, and then disintegrates.

 Nothing can stay forever in this world.”

After evening pÿjÿ, around 9 pm, he would talk about Dhamma and clarify doubts of those present.

He once received an invitation to attend a “two thammáts” lecture, so called because two thammáts (an elevated seat used on occasions when teaching the Dhamma) are placed back to back.

 Each monk holds a ceremonial fan, hiding his face – a symbolic way of removing the speaker from the equation, so that only pure Dhamma remains.

 One monk asks questions pertaining to the Dhamma and the other answers.

On that occasion, his thammát partner was the Jáo Kaná (chief) of the Küan Nai district, a learned monk who held the “mahÿ” degree of studies of Pÿli, and who was very sure about his knowledge and intellectual capacity.

Ajahn Tongrat, on the other hand, had almost no formal study, whether in worldly matters or Dhamma matters;

 but even so, he gladly received the invitation to participate in this event.

 Residents from all over the region came in large numbers to hear the lecture that would take place on Sunday at Wat Phra Thát Suan Tan.

 Many of those who came were directors and teachers of schools in the region.

 Everyone wanted to be present for that occasion.

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The Jáo Kaná began with the following question:

 “What did the Buddha accomplish?”

Ajahn Tongrat replied:

 "Realized the Four Noble Truths" and then explained in more detail about suffering, its cause, the cessation and the path to the cessation of suffering.

He spoke with a loud and firm voice, as only those who are sure about the truth of the teachings are able to do, his face was serene and happy.

 Every word he uttered was a direct expression of the Dhamma he had realized – he spoke directly, truthfully, without fear or shyness.

The next question was, “What did you teach the world?”

“Taught the Suttas, the Vinaya and Abhidhamma;

 taught 84,000 dhammas summed up in Sÿla, Samÿdhi and Paññÿ.

 He taught about the three characteristics:

 suffering, impermanence and not-self.

 Taught to practice according to the Noble Eightfold Path.”

“What did you teach to practice first?”

“He taught to practice the five precepts.

 The Bodhisatta has been teaching these five precepts for many kalpas before he attained enlightenment – ever since the Buddha Kakusandha's Sÿsanÿ, so that the people of that time could live in peace.

 These five precepts are the Dhamma that protects the world, so that there can be normality and happiness, so that there are no prisons or police.

If everyone followed the five precepts, everyone would be a good person.

 Any group that keeps these five precepts will be fine, if in a city everyone follows the five precepts, in that city there will be peace and well-being.”

“What kind of people are usually reborn in the celestial realms?

 What kind of people are reborn in the Hell Realms?”

“Respect the five precepts:

 do not kill, do not oppress living beings, do not steal what does not belong to you, do not commit adultery, do not tell lies, speak ill of others, use coarse language, talk idly, do not consume alcohol or any other intoxicant.

 Respecting the five precepts leads to success

material, happiness of body and mind, and dying leads to rebirth in heavenly realms.

But if you do not respect these five precepts, you will be born in the

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hell, such as ghost, asura or animal.

 Those who fall into the infernal realms are many, like the amount of hair on a cow;

 already those who ascend to the heavenly realms are few, like the number of horns on a cow.”

“When approaching death, what should we do so that we can be reborn in a good destination?”

“One should remember all the kindnesses and merits he performed in the past.

Remembering the Buddha as a father, the Dhamma as a mother, and the Sangha as an older brother who teaches us the way.

 As you inhale, think


 when exhaling, “dho” – at all times.

 When the mind leaves the body, it will go towards a good destination.”

The Q&A session ran from noon to late afternoon and showed no signs of ending.

 At a certain point, the Jáo Kaná probably got tired of it and gave up trying to find an answer that Ajahn Tongrat explained wrongly.

 He simply got up and retired to his quarters, without even receiving the money offer that the laity had prepared for his temple.

 They then combined that amount with what would be offered to Ajahn Tongrat, and the total came to 2000 baht (as a point of reference, at the time, a school principal earned about 12 baht a month, and a teacher about 8 baht).

They offered the amount to Ajahn Tongrat, who refused to accept it.

 Instead, he instructed the laity to donate everything to Jao Kaná's monastery, Wat Phra Thát Suan Tan, which gave a good idea of how unattached to material possessions and worldly things Ajahn Tongrat was.

 His only interest was in helping people understand the Dhamma, observe the five precepts, develop samadhi, and practice more and more kindness.

 Learn to die before you die, to practice ÿnÿpÿnasati, to have sati-sampajañña, to fix the mind on the breath continuously, so as to be diligent people in Dhamma practice.

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During the entire period that he remained in Bahn Chi Tuan at the behest of Ajahn Sao, Ajahn Tongrat interrupted his routine of travel and pilgrimage.

He stayed inside the monastery the whole time and only went out to visit Ajahn Sao in Bahn Khom.

 The laity asked him if he would no longer go to the forest on pilgrimage, and his answer was:

“Why do you ask me that?

! How can they expect me to disobey the master's order?

 Having he commanded me to remain, I remain.

 How could I leave if he still hasn't given me permission?"

"Couldn't you just go for a short time?"

"No! Don't try to instigate me to disrespect the venerable master.

If he comes to visit and doesn't find me here, it will be bad karma for me.

How could I disobey the master’s order?


In the end, the level of respect that the people of Bahn Chi Tuan gained for Ajahn Tongrat exceeded any expectations.

 Those who harassed him,

they came to respect him;

 those who already respected him became devout disciples.

One of the gentlemen who was present when they first invited Ajahn Sao to send a monk to live in his village, Pó Yai Kanha, decided to move with his family so that he could be close to Ajahn Tongrat,

even when it moved from Bahn Chi Tuan to Bahn Khum, some years later.

Sometimes Pó Yai Kanha would accompany Ajahn Tongrat practicing meditation in the nearby forests:

 “In general, he used to speak in a loud voice, as if he was not afraid of anyone.

 He liked to be under the trees, in the forest, and he wasn't used to staying in one place for long.

 Said it creates attachment to the place.

 Nor was he attached to dwellings – whenever he went on a trip and returned to the monastery, he chose a hut different from the one he inhabited before.

When he traveled with him, we took shelter under the trees.

 When he sat down, he first bowed;

 when he left, he again paid obeisance.

 To the

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sometimes the sun was very hot, or late in the afternoon, and he would sit down to rest under a tree.

 When he sat down, he bowed;

 when he left, he paid obeisance.

 So I asked, 'What do you obeisance to?'

 and he replied:

 'To the tree.

 The tree is like the Buddha.

 It works to nourish itself, but when it bears fruit, it doesn't get attached – birds can eat it, people can pick it up and eat it all they want.'

 When he paid obeisance in the open, he sometimes paid obeisance to the Buddha's purity, saying that the Buddha's mind was not attached to any object.

 During the whole period I spent with him, he maintained this habit of prostrating himself whenever he sat down or got up.”

As far as housing goes, he didn't like living with too many people around, preferring to be alone.

 He lived in the forest, and every two or three days he changed his location.

 He didn't like being in the city, he said it makes the mind get attached to the taste of food;

 but in the forest he ate heavenly food.

When asked what this heavenly food was, he would list the leaves, roots and mushrooms that poor people in the area gathered to eat.

 He said it was clean food, it didn't cause illness or generate attachment.

 When accepting an invitation to eat at someone's house, before eating, he would put twenty bitter seeds in his mouth and drink water afterwards.

 If asked why, he would say it was to spoil the taste of the food.

When the day of uposatha arrived, and the monks gathered in the refectory, he would instruct them to eat mindfully and reflect on why they were doing so.

eating. “To kill hunger, continue life or out of greed?

 To beautify the body, out of desire?

 When you feel that with five more spoonfuls you will be satisfied, stop eating and drink water until you are satisfied.

 If you obey greed and eat until your belly is full, when you drink water your stomach will feel tight, uncomfortable, and in the end you will not be able to stand it and you will have to stick your finger in your throat to vomit.

 This is not in accordance with the Vinaya established by the Buddha.

 Eating without thinking is a bad deed, dying will cause you to be reborn as a buffalo to help plow the land.”

In addition to explaining to his disciples how to eat, he also set an example.

When he ate, he ate one type of food at a time, not caring

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with the taste.

 For example, first he ate all the rice, then he ate the vegetables, then he went on to the meat, etc.


 until satisfied.

But sometimes, on purpose, he did the opposite.

 He once taught his disciples to be circumspect at mealtimes, not to make noise, not to chew with their mouths open, not to speak during meals;

 however, he himself did none of that.

He ate by spilling food on the floor, talked with his mouth full and ate as if he were distracted.

 A disciple seeing this, thought to himself, “Ajahn teaches others, but he does not teach himself.”

 At the end of the meal, Ajahn Tongrat gave a short teaching about what the disciple was thinking and concluded:

“Clinging to the master instead of clinging to the Dhamma!”

In Bahn Chi Tuan there was a layman who taught the scriptures following a very old textbook.

 This person understood that he had a lot of knowledge and used to criticize the forest monks.

 He once said that nowadays no matter how much meditation is practiced, it is no longer possible to achieve enlightenment, as the period of time in which enlightenment is possible has ended.

 Ajahn Tongrat replied, “Do you want to see an arahant?

 Go shave your head and come back here.

 I'll take you to practice, do whatever I say.

 I pledge my life that you will see an arahant.

 If you don't, you won't see it.

 Obsessed with hugging books like that, how will you be able to see anything?

 It won't be long and these books will crush you to death!"

At the end of the 1937 rainy retreat, Ajahn Sao received news that one of the monks who had officiated at his ordination ceremony had died at Wat Dón Hi in Laos.

 Ajahn Sao felt like going to pay obeisances and make a meritorious dedication to the late monk.

As he neared the end of the vassa, he sent news to Ajahn Tongrat to join the party.

 In total there would be eleven monks, some Mahÿ

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Nikaya, other Dhammayut, and five other lay disciples.

 Besides Ajahn Sao and Ajahn Tongrat, there were also some other great masters like Ajahn Di, Ajahn Bua Pha and Ajahn Kong Kéu.

On the last day of the vassa, Ajahn Tongrat said goodbye to the lay people and prepared their few belongings for the journey.

 But before he could leave, an agitated visiting monk arrived, asking to speak with him:

 “I left my wife to become a monk.

 In my heart I want to go out practicing following the venerable master, however my wife does not approve.

 She only gave me permission to ordain if it was for a short period.

 Last night I ran away from my monastery without anyone knowing it, because I was afraid they would try to stop me.

 I didn't bring anything with me, yesterday was my ordination day.

 I want to offer myself as a disciple of the venerable one for life.”

Ajahn Tongrat replied:

 “Eh, it seems that you still have some merit, you hardly find me here.

 I was already on my way out.

 Since you're here, sit down and bow."

 Then he taught him about the practice, and in the end, he concluded, pointing to a tree stump that had been dead for many years:

“See this tree stump?

 Make yourself like this tree stump.”

, and set off on his journey, leaving the novice monk behind, not quite understanding what he had been taught.

The other monks also left, leaving him alone in the monastery at Bahn Chi Tuan.

 Every morning, he would walk past the tree stump and look.

 Several times a day he would look at the tree stump, trying to figure out why.

why Ajahn Tongrat had told him to make himself like that stump.

 At end, solved the riddle:

 “A tree is born from a sprout and grows until it is big and useful for people.

 Those then go to it and knock it down to use the wood, leaving only the stump which is useless, but that is why no one is interested in the stump and they leave it alone.”

 He then took the tree stump as a teacher and resolved never to give up the monastic life.

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Death of Ajahn Sao

The group left for Muang Kong, but stopped and visited different locations, often at the invitation of residents of the region, and did not manage to arrive before the 1938 rains retreat.

 As he fell, the bees began to attack him and he suffered numerous stings before he was able to take shelter under his glot.

 As a result, he had a very severe allergic reaction, with a high fever, and has remained in poor health ever since.


At the end of the vassa, the lay disciples organized a car for him to continue his journey because they feared that, with his poor health, he would not be able to make the trip by boat, mainly because the current of the river towards Laos was strong and dangerous.

The rest of the group split up and each continued traveling on foot.

 Ajahn Ki and Ajahn Bun Mák headed towards Bahn Huei Sahua.

 Ajahn Pêng went by boat with Ajahn Jia;

 Arriving at Wat Amatyaram, he met Ajahn Tongrat's group who had already arrived a few days earlier.

 Ajahn Jia inquired about Ajahn Sao, and was told that Sao had left instructions not to go after him, but to await his return at Wat Amatyaram.

 All the monks and novices in the group were supposed to meet there on the day of Maghÿ Pÿjÿ for the

uposatha celebration.

Ajahn Sao, Ajahn Di and the lay people

accompanying them made the offerings at Wat

Dón Hi.

 Then, they went for a walk in the Li Pi

waterfall, and then they left towards the Mó Óm


 Knowing this, Ajahn Tongrat, Ajahn

Bun Mák and Ajahn Ki went to meet him there.

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Upon arrival, they were informed that Ajahn Sao's health was not good at all, and his condition was worrying.

 He was very weak, and they feared that if he continued his journey, he would suffer some crisis in the middle of the road.

 They suggested that he return, but Ajahn Sao did not want to.

 Ajahn Di was worried that if something happened to him there, the disciples who weren't present would put the blame on him, so he asked Ajahn Tongrat and Ajahn Bun Mák to help convince him to leave.

The disciples consulted about what to do.

 They didn't know if it was better to go to Ubon Ratchathani, to Wat Pah Salawan, the monastery that Ajahn Ki and Ajahn Bun Mák built and where Ajahn Ki had relatives, which would make it easier to get medical care for Ajahn Sao.

 But in the end, they decided that they should go to Wat Amatyaram.

It fell to Ajahn Tongrat to talk to Ajahn Sao.

 He went into his room, bowed, and with his hands in añjali, said, “Excuse me, the presence of the master here is worrying.

 In what way?

 The district administrator is a new person, he came to establish a new city, we don't know him well, and we don't know if we can count on his help.

 Residents of the region are Cambodian, many do not speak Laotian;

 among those who speak, we cannot count on them, as they live in much poverty and suffering.

 If the master's illness takes a turn for the worse, it will not be possible to bring a car to pick him up.

 By boat it is also not possible, because of the dangerous rapids.

 Therefore, I would like to invite Ajahn to return to Ubon, Dón Sai or Ven's village.

 Ki, Bahn Nong Pam.

Dón Sai has a beautiful forest, suitable to be transformed into a forest monastery, as there are many villages nearby.

 Wat Pah Salawan is home to Ven.

 Bun Mak and Ven.

 Ki. It is a forest monastery with a pleasant temperature, suitable for an elderly person.

 Or we can go to Wat Amatyaram.”

Despite previously having refused the request, this time he decided to accept it, saying:

 “Well, if we are going to go, then let's go.

 We are already close to the third month.

 Tell Ven.

 Bun Mak and Ven.

 Ki go get a boat.

 Tell the monks that they are

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hoping, that if we do not arrive before the day of uposatha, that they will recite it alone.”

Ajahn Bun Mák left for Dón Sai, with the intention of warning the sangha there to prepare to receive Ajahn Sao, who was on his way but would only stay for a few days.

 Ajahn Ki, on the other hand, went towards Wat Pah Salawan to get a boat, but it took much longer than expected as he couldn't find enough people to operate the oars.

 In the end, it was not possible to leave before the day of Maghÿ Pÿjÿ.

When the day of uposatha and Maghÿ Pÿjÿ arrived, even though he was quite weak, Ajahn Sao joined in the recitation of Pÿÿimokkha, as he always did.

 After that date, his health began to deteriorate rapidly, suffering severe diarrhea.

 The disciples then tried to ask the authorities and lay disciples to provide a boat to transport him.

Thus, they began the journey, stopping overnight to rest and changing boats in the morning to continue the journey.

 In the meantime, Ajahn Ki had finally got the boat to go get Ajahn Sao.

However, he took a detour to fetch Ajahn Bun Mák, so the two groups missed each other at the river.

Ajahn Jia waited many days for the group to arrive.

Finally, he got tired and went to Wat Amatyaram.

 There he was informed of the delicate situation of Ajahn Sao's health and that the group would arrive at the monastery that same afternoon.

 Around four in the afternoon,

heard the noise of the boat's engine

approached, but he did not stop at the monastery

harbor, as it was not big enough for that type of boat.

He went further and stopped at the port of the public office, where Ajahn Sao had to change boats to, only then, manage to reach the monastery.

 Ajahn Di took

advantage of the stop in the city to send a

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telegram to the disciples in Ubon, reporting the master's condition.

 He said that his ears and lips were completely yellowed, his face showed deep exhaustion.

When the boat finally arrived at the monastery, Ajahn Kóng Kéu and Ajahn Bua Pha lifted the body of Ajahn Sao and deposited it in a bamboo palanquin, built for the occasion.

 Ajahn Bua Pha, Ajahn Kóng Kéu, Ajahn Pêng and Ajahn Kham carried the palanquin into the uposatha hall of the monastery.

 Ajahn Sao sat with his eyes closed, neck drooping over his chest, demonstrating how weak he was.

 Ajahn Bua Pha se

He approached and said in a low voice, "Excuse me, master, at this moment you are sitting in the uposatha hall of Wat Amatyaram."

Ajahn Sao slowly raised his face and saw the small Buddha statue.

He asked that his outer robe be brought to him and draped over his shoulder.

Then he prostrated himself three times at the altar, and again his neck fell on his chest as before.

 Ajahn Bua Pha approached to try to help him lie down on the ground, but when he touched his body, he knew that he had died.

 He was 83 years old, 63 lived under the monastic mantle.

The disciples began to make arrangements to send the body back to Ubon, however the lay people in the area objected as they wanted the opportunity to make offerings.

 They then agreed on a compromise that satisfied both of them:

 the body would remain at Wat Amatyaram for three nights, and then would leave for Ubon.

 Ajahn Tongrat and Ajahn Bun Mák led the procession that took the body to Wat Burapha in Ubon Ratchathani, where it remained until all arrangements for cremation could be made.

Ajahn Man presided over the cremation ceremony, Ajahn Sing played the role of master of ceremonies.

 An exorbitant number of monks and lay people came to participate in the cremation, causing Wat Burapha – normally large and spacious – to become small, to the point where it was almost impossible to walk.

 At the end of the ceremony, Ajahn Tongrat returned to the life of wandering through the forests and mountains of the region.

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Wat Pah Munirat

In the dry season of 1943, Ajahn Tongrat and another monk passed through the village of Bahn Na Bodhi Nói in Ubon.

 The villagers, seeing Kammatthana monks resting near their village, called everyone and hurried to prepare water and refreshments to offer them.

As they approached, they bowed and talked with the monks for a while.

 Inspired by their behavior, a village elder invited them to stay in the village to teach them the Dhamma, as it was rare for monks like them to pass through those parts.

 Ajahn Tongrat contemplated the situation and decided that the place was suitable for monastic practice, moreover, it was apparent that the people were sincere and deeply devout, so he accepted the invitation.

Ajahn Tongrat noticed a young pregnant woman among the laity and said:

 “Eh, you who are pregnant must come often.

 Do not be shy.

 Thus, the child who is born will have a good character, if born a man, he will follow the monastic path for the rest of his life.”

Years later, both mother and son ordained with Ajahn Chah at Wat Nong Pah Pong.

The son became known as Ajahn Khun, and at the time of publication of this issue (2019), he is the most senior living disciple of Ajahn Chah, Abbot of Wat Pah Bodhisuvanna, in Ubon Ratchathani.

About a month after his arrival, Ajahn Tongrat set out on the road.

One day, Ajahn Tongrat was passing near Bahn Khum, and the sunset.

 He consulted the other monk traveling with him, and they decided to spend the night there, so that in the morning they could collect food as alms, and then move on.

 They asked a resident who was herding cattle if there was a nearby forest cemetery where they could spend the night.

 The resident replied that it was too far away, it would be better to go back a little, and

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camp in a forest there called Non Bak Bá.

 The monks accepted the suggestion, and the layman hurried to call more villagers to help prepare the place, offer water and other necessities to the monks.

 Soon there was a group clearing the forest floor for them to install their glotts and clearing areas for walking meditation practice.

Ajahn Tongrat was asked where he came from and where he was going, but no one knew the names of the places he mentioned.

 In the morning, the monks collected alms and upon returning to their camp, several lay people came along to offer more dishes and to have the opportunity to talk with the monks.

 Eventually, they invited him to spend that year's vassa with them, but he declined.

 I just said I would stay more days, without making specific plans for how much longer I would stay.

 In this way, everyone's expectation was that he could leave at any moment, no one knew that, in the end, he would spend the rest of his life there.

Initially, not many people came to him to hear teachings, but over time his reputation spread and the number of people began to increase progressively.

Gradually, a kind of monastery began to spontaneously create around it.

 Even people from far away came to seek his teachings, ask to be ordained, and be his disciples.

Those who wanted to be disciples first had to shave their heads and eyebrows, wear the white robes of an anagÿrika, and follow the eight precepts.

 They should remain seven to fifteen days that way to test their behavior and dedication.

 If they passed the test, permission was given for them to be ordained as novices, and thereafter

study in more detail the monastic rule.

 They were only allowed to be ordained as monks when they demonstrated good behavior and satisfactory knowledge of the rules of the Vinaya.

 Ajahn Tongrat understood that a monk who does not behave properly is a great disservice to himself and Buddha Sÿsanÿ.

 If a person is ordained a monk but does not

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behaves accordingly, instead of gaining merit, it completely destroys itself and will have no other fate than a birth in one of the realms.


He attached importance even to the smallest rules, such as those regulating meals, sleeping, sitting, talking, defecating, etc.

 Everyone should have care and reverence for monastic symbols such as the alms bowl and the robe.

The monastic rule does not allow using the bowl to collect garbage and Ajahn Tongrat took this rule to a higher level, not even allowing the use of the lid of the bowl to put leftover food during the meal.

For Ajahn Tongrat, a monk's main work should be to practice sitting and walking meditation.

 At three in the morning the bell was rung, and everyone gathered to practice meditation and recite pÿjÿ.

 So he would speak until the sun rose and then they would go around the village collecting alms.

 Upon returning, all the food was taken from the bowls and placed on platters, so that everyone could share.

At eight o'clock the meal began.

 The monks could not choose what they would eat, the ajahn would pass in front of each one and put a little of each dish in the monks' bowls.

 In the early years, Ajahn Tongrat distributed the food himself, later he delegated it to another monk.

 At the end of the meal, everyone would bow together and go to practice walking meditation.

 At eleven o'clock they rested.

 At three o'clock, everyone left to clean the monastery.

Ajahn Tongrat also participated in this activity every time.

 At the end, they took a bath, and went back to practicing meditation in their huts.

At seven o'clock they assembled for the evening pÿjÿ.

 Ajahn did not usually speak at night.

 By eight o'clock everyone was free to return to their huts and continue their meditation practice.

 Around 9 pm, or 10 pm, he used to walk around the monastery to see who was practicing and who had already gone to bed.

 If he saw someone practicing, he would say:

 “Keep it up!”, but if he reached a hut and saw no sign of life, he would call two or three times.

 If he did not receive an answer, he would shout:


 [page] 72

asshole was ordained a monk and only eats and sleeps! What will you be able to see that way?”

He said that if a person is ordained and practices less than three hours a day, it is better to drop the mantle and return to secular life to help parents earn a living.

You shouldn't be a hindrance to your own progress - when you make up your mind to do something, really do it.

 If any monk did not attend the activities, he did not directly criticize, but cited examples of what should not be done, and warned:

 “May this not happen in our monastery!”

When teaching, he always emphasized reason.

 He did not expect or encourage the disciples to simply believe what he said without question.

First, they should analyze the reasoning behind the teaching until they decide whether it is valid or not, and only then do they decide – and that decision should be in accordance with the Dhamma.

Ajahn Tongrat told Ajahn Ki that if a person is ordained in Buddha Sasana, he must remain with a master.

 This is necessary because he is the one who will check that person's behavior and personality, and then decide on the best way to teach the student.

 That's because everyone's arrogance/stubbornness is different from others.

He said that when he came to live with Ajahn Man and Ajahn Sao, he was very stubborn – he had no one to compare to – but thanks to the efforts of both masters, he managed to overcome it.

 Sometimes they scolded him, sometimes they told him something to think about, sometimes they told him to go live in a place where no one went, but thanks to the respect and devotion he had for both of them, he was able to endure, persevere, carry out their orders and teachings.

 If they said not to do it, don't do it – no matter how difficult the temptation.

 He said that if it weren't for Ajahn Man and Ajahn Sao, he would have given up a long time ago.

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When teaching monks, Ajahn Tongrat used to place special emphasis on restricting the six senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch and mind.

“Do not be heedless and get carried away by the kilesas.

 If you have sati-sampajañña controlling the six senses in all postures – standing, walking, sitting and lying down – you will be able to keep all 227 rules of Vinaya perfectly.”

If a monk was walking around asking for alms and needed to urinate, Ajahn Tongrat taught him to go into the bush, pick up a dry leaf from the ground and urinate on it.

 If you urinated directly on the floor, it would be possible that the hot urine would kill an insect or a plant.

 If he was going to spit, it was the same thing, he had to do it on a dry leaf.

He didn't allow talking in a loud voice, it wasn't allowed to shout to call someone

– you had to go up to the person and call him close in a low voice.

 In the same way, you shouldn't throw something to someone else, the right thing to do was walk up to them and hand it over in person.

If a more senior monk gave something to a more junior monk, he would kneel on the ground, do añjali and only then receive it, using both hands.

 If a more senior monk was walking, the junior monk would step aside and let the one walk in front.

When collecting alms, they should practice meditation with each step.

It was forbidden to talk during the walk.

 If it was necessary to talk, they should stop, turn off the road, and only then talk in a low voice.

These were ways of training the mind to be respectful, humble, mindful, and to be a careful person with regard to Dhamma and Vinaya.

 In this way practice progresses, wisdom and right view arise.

 Whenever Ajahn Tongrat saw any wrong or inattentive behavior in the monks, he immediately brought it to their attention.

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With regard to diligence, he used to say:

 “He who is diligent and not lazy, who is not careless day and night, will experience

progress in the Dhamma.

 Like Ven.

 Kaccÿyana, whom the Buddha commended for his diligence.”

 Ajahn Tongrat gave this sÿvakÿ as an example for everyone to dedicate themselves and practice a lot, for them to develop wisdom, for them to see the Way within their minds.

 He said that those who are diligent have a cheerful, good mind, they are always in a good mood.

Ajahn taught to practice chanting “Buddho” with each breath and with each step.

When walking with the right leg, recite “bud”, when walking with the left leg, recite


 If you manage to practice in this way without interruptions, it promised that in one year you would see what is fantastic hidden behind the mantra “Buddho”.

When paying obeisance to an image of the Buddha, one should imagine who was prostrating himself to the Buddha as if he were standing or sitting right in front of him, like a father who accompanies us and takes care of us all the time.

When paying obeisance to the Dhamma, one should think of it as a mother who protects and cares for her child at all times.

 When paying obeisance to the Sangha, one should think of him as an older brother who teaches us to think, speak and act correctly in all situations.

 The qualities of the Three Jewels will make us more and more happy and successful in our lives.

Whether sitting or walking, one should always reflect on the purity of its precepts.

“If the observance of the precepts is defective, we have to be aware of it.

 This is what is called living with sÿla.

 kammatthana monks

should be careful with sÿla, even the smallest rules.

 If the precepts are not pure, entering a forest or mountain will be devoured by tigers.

 If that's the case, it's better not to be a monk, better to go and lie down in a house and look after the cattle, like everyone else.

 Being a monk like that leads to being reborn in hell for having accepted the offerings that people have made, desiring to gain merit.

 If sÿla is tainted, he can practice meditation until his hair falls out and he will not see the Dhamma.”

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The monks and novices were very afraid of him because he always knew if someone had broken any rules of conduct.

 He drew attention in front of the community, scolded the person to feel ashamed.

 If he had already called attention to himself and the person continued to do wrong, he expelled him from the monastery.

 He said he was an ordained person, but he had no respect for the Buddha's teaching, ordaining for self-interest.

If he was a visiting monk, when he sat down he would call him by name and ask where he came from, where he was going and for what purpose.

 If it was a monk with a lot of theoretical study, who tried to show off or boast about his erudition, he would say without worrying about what the monk's reaction would be:

 “All this study for what?

 He's studied all this, but he still can't take care of himself, he's full of offenses against the monastic rule from head to toe and he doesn't even notice! He uses a begging bowl and gets food, but he has no respect for the alms bowl, he has no gratitude to the Buddha.”

Ajahn Uan tells that he once said goodbye to Ajahn Kinari to go practice for a while with Ajahn Tongrat.

 Ajahn Kinari warned him:

 “If you are going to visit Ajahn Tongrat, beware;

 for he will put you to the test, put your attention to the test.”

Having arrived at the monastery, after a few days, Ajahn Tongrat ordered Ajahn Uan to go into the forest to cut wood.

 Ajahn Uan was fully aware that monastic rule forbids monks from destroying plants, but, still, he took an ax and went into the forest, returning later with some firewood.

Contrary to what others might think, Ajahn Uan only cut firewood from already dead trees on the forest floor.

 Seeing that, Ajahn Tongrat praised:

 “Eh! This is how one earns the name 'disciple of the Buddha'!”

Other monks were not so perceptive, when Ajahn Tongrat ordered them to do something that went against the monastic rule, they did as he ordered.

 When they did, they immediately got a spicy scolding and

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long, for not having respect for the Vinaya.

 He said that the master should be respected, but not to the detriment of Dhamma and Vinaya.

Among the many great meditation masters who studied with Ajahn Tongrat, there is one in particular who ended up breaking all regional barriers in northeastern Thailand and attracting many disciples, both from other parts of the country and from all over the world.

Ajahn Chah was never an ordinary disciple.

 Of the three monks he named as his teachers, Ajahn Man, Ajahn Tongrat and Ajahn Kinari, only Ajahn Kinari lived continuously for any length of time.

 As for Ajahn Mun and Ajahn Tongrat, he was only with them on a few occasions, but he always mentioned the importance of such an opportunity.

Specifically about Ajahn Tongrat, the entire behavior etiquette established in Wat Pah Pong by Ajahn Chah is almost an exact copy of the way of practice in his monastery.

 Another thing they had in common was the playful and unusual way of teaching the Dhamma.

Ajahn Chah often mentioned Ajahn Tongrat in his teachings:

 “There are two things:

 emulate and imitate.

 One should not imitate, one should emulate.

For example, Tahn Ajahn Tongrat who is a great master of the past.

 People who were not intelligent could not receive the Dhamma from him, because they ended up imitating him.

 They did not emulate him, but imitated him.

Tahn Ajahn Tongrat's habit was to talk carelessly, it was his behavior, he often asked for things.

 When he scolded in public, it was incredible scolding.

 His behavior was like that.

 But in his mind there was nothing, deep down he already had nothing, that was just talk, the aim was the Dhamma.

In fact, whatever he said or did, his aim was the Dhamma.

– we didn’t understand anything.

 His aim was the Dhamma, not to cause harm, and indeed, he did not.

 Walked up and down, wasn't it

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circumspect, wherever he went.

 His behavior was like that, some 'Luang Ta'

imitated and harmed each other.”

When teaching on how to overcome sensual desires, Ajahn Chah said:


Ajahn Tongrat, one of my kammatthÿna teachers, once thought of dropping the robe.

 I didn't listen to anyone, I just wanted to drop the cloak and nothing else.

He then borrowed an ax from a layman and started chopping wood.

 It cracked for three days and three nights, until his hands began to bleed and he was exhausted.

 So he asked himself, 'So who's the boss here?'

 – he asked his own kilesas.


It was common for Ajahn Tongrat to teach people without them realizing it.

Sometimes, they got angry with him, but in the end, they realized they were wrong and came to thank him for the teaching they received.

Every day, when I went out to collect alms, there was a man who donated only pure rice.

 One day, after receiving it, Ajahn Tongrat complained:


Only a dog can eat plain rice!” Hearing this, the man said nothing, but was deeply offended and angry.

 The other monks, on the other hand, thought nothing of it, as they were already used to the master's way of being.

At nightfall, that man came to the monastery bringing with him a platter with flowers, candles and incense to ask Ajahn Tongrat for forgiveness:


Forgive me for thinking badly of the venerable master this morning.

 After offering the food, I went to the field to take the cattle to pasture and my wife forgot to put the mixture in my lunchbox.

 When lunchtime came, I had nothing to eat but plain rice.

 I ate two or three spoonfuls but couldn't get it down so I threw it all to the dogs.

They ate everything, even fought over the food.

 Then I understood that I was wrong to be angry with Ajahn, because what I said was correct:

 plain rice, unmixed, is dog food.

 I almost fell into hell today!”

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Ajahn Chah said that many could not understand Ajahn Tongrat's teachings and sometimes thought he was crazy.

 Once, Ajahn Tongrat was walking on a pilgrimage with a group of monks and they saw a female buffalo eating grass by the roadside.

 Ajahn Tongrat said “Eh! Why did this male buffalo come to eat so close to the road?”

 and went on.

 Further ahead, there was a male buffalo in the middle of the field and he said:

 “Hey, go eat in the middle of the field, like that female buffalo!”

He called male female and vice versa.

 Those who didn't understand the meaning thought he was crazy, but he was actually teaching monks not to cling to conventions.

 Ultimately, there is no male or female, and if one does not have a deeper understanding of the Dhamma, one will never understand its true meaning.

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A few months before the death of Ajahn Tongrat, the lay people of Bahn Khum decided that it would be a good idea to formalize the existence of the monastery, buy the areas adjacent to the forest and register the new Wat with the authorities.

 They took the matter to Ajahn Tongrat who initially refused the offer, but thanks to the persuasion of the locals, he ended up giving in and decided to name the monastery Wat Pah Munirat, which means “Jewel of Wisdom Forest Monastery”.

This was the first time he had done something like this.

 On all other occasions when he stayed in a certain place, he only allowed temporary buildings to be built of bamboo and straw, and with the departure of the monks, the forest soon claimed the place without leaving any traces that anyone had inhabited it.


If we consider from when he first arrived there, Wat Pah Munirat was where he lived for the longest uninterrupted time.

 Aside from his teachings that took deep root in the minds of his disciples and future generations, this monastery is the only evidence of his passage through the world.

About a month before his death, Ajahn Tongrat gave orders to collect firewood, clear a road and prepare the site, as if some great event were to take place in the monastery.

 Everyone was wondering what it could be, but when they asked, he just said to hurry up, or it wouldn't be ready in time.

He ordered them to open a wide road so that cars could pass, since, on those sides, almost never happened to pass a car.

 Many of the residents never even had the opportunity to see one in person.

 The field was all rutted after the rice harvest, and he gave the order for everything to be tidied up.

 They worked for a month on preparations, but could not get any information about what event or celebration was to come.

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One day, he went with the lay people to look for firewood in the forest and they passed by a stream.

He spoke half seriously, half jokingly:

 “The only thing I fear is that when I die, they will want to sell my bones as medicine25. If so, it would be more helpful for you to take the cremation remains and throw them here for these fish to eat.”

Ajahn Tongrat was a strong person, tall, thick-skinned and dark, his voice like the roar of a lion and his health like a bull.

 He was such an energetic person that it was even difficult to find anyone who had ever seen him resting, lying down.

 So it's easy to imagine the shock everyone got when one night he just fell ill;

 without any previous signs or progression of symptoms.

 That night he was in bed feeling very weak, with a high fever, yet he told his disciples, "You don't need to stay here and watch over me, it's no big deal."

 However, everyone was very worried, because they saw how weak he was and they knew that, since the end of the afternoon, he had been suffering from severe and uninterrupted diarrhoea.

All the disciples spent the night taking care of the master and prayed that the day would come soon, so that, finally, they could bring a doctor.

Interestingly, that night, the roosters who always crowed at one o'clock or at four in the morning preferred to remain silent.

 The same happened with the village dogs, not a single noise was heard.

The symptoms continually worsened and those present became more and more agitated.

 They began to make plans to fetch a doctor from Bahn Khok Sawang, but Ajahn Tongrat insisted:

 "No need, it's nothing serious."

 and so all remained silent, watching the progress of the disease.

 When the color completely drained from his face and his lips became dry, a lay disciple could no longer contain himself, he dashed off towards Bahn Khok Sawang, but he did not arrive in time – at sunrise,

25 Many people have the belief that the relics of masters like him possess miraculous capabilities.

 [page] 81

Ajahn Tongrat passed away.

 He died on October 21, 1956, aged 68, 41 of them as a monk.

Before Ajahn Tongrat passed away, Ajahn Bun

Mák had a vision of a mountain

trembling with an earthquake, and took it as a

sign that the death of Ajahn Tongrat was near.

That's why,

he hurried towards Bahn Khum but did not

arrive in time.

 Still, it was he who presided

over and organized all the funeral arrangements.

The village received a very large number of

lay and monastic devotees, who came to pay

their respects, as soon as they received the

news of the death of the great master.

At that time there were no modern preservation techniques to corpses, and the local tradition was to keep the body for several days before cremation.

 So the natural process of decomposition goes on and one of the first things that happens is the degeneration of the inner and outer tissue walls of the body, allowing the liquid components to

started to leak.

 Upon hearing the news of the death, some people rushed to the place to collect them, believing that their possession would bring power or good luck.

 The closest disciples denied the request, which ended up causing a lot of fighting, as many had a lot of greed for this type of “sacred object”.

Seeing that the disciples were not afraid and were even willing to die to prevent the master's memory from being tainted in such a base way, the other people relented, demanding, however, that they at least have access to the body so that they could paste sheets of golden metal over the corpse, which, they believed, would bring great fortune.

 The disciples accepted the demand.

 It was agreed that a coffin would be built with a lid

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glass on the side that could be opened for people to perform their rituals.

Finally, in March 1957, the cremation took place.

 The amount of monks and lay people who attended was so large that there was not enough open space for the monks to camp and people had to improvise cups and plates with banana leaves, because there were not enough for everyone.

 People came from all neighboring provinces, experiencing many difficulties to arrive, since there were still no roads built.

 Among the monks who attended was also Ajahn Chah;

 Ajahn Kinari was unable to attend as he was very ill at the time.

It is likely that most people do not know the name "Ajahn Tongrat" even though he was a prodigal in Dhamma practice in the lineage of Ajahn Sao and Ajahn Man, to the point that he was recognized and appointed by both masters to become the "general" of their army of disciples, on the part of the Mahÿ Nikhÿya sect.

 He lived simply, frugally, recluse, far from the confusions of the world.

 He practiced the Dhamma for his own benefit and that of others in an incomparable way.

When he died, the only possessions they found in his possession were his monk's bowl, an old shoulder bag, and a razor so old that it was worn down to the point where there was almost no blade left.