Quotes & Stories

This is a collection of short translated quotes that are worth reading and reflecting on, or stories of Ajaans that I have translated or relate from my own recollection.

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The Greatest Waste

“Time that has passed and gone without us having done anything useful or beneficial for ourselves, in a life in which we have been born in this world and encountered these teachings of the Buddha, leaves us with a life that is an incredible waste...
Time, even a single minute, that passes us by in that way – even huge piles of money can't buy it back. Thus, of things that are a waste in this world, what waste can compare to letting our days and our time pass us by without any benefit, even if only a minute?”
– Luang Pu Sim Buddhācāro
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Nothing Compares

“Of difficult things, nothing compares to the difficulty of restoration.
In withdrawing things, nothing compares to the difficulty of withdrawing conceit.
In abandoning things, nothing compares to the difficulty of abandoning the channels of sensuality.
In goodness, nothing compares to the goodness of the 'going forth' ordination.
In searching for things, nothing compares to the difficulty of searching for oneself.
And in states of poverty, nothing compares to the difficulty of being poor in discernment.”
– Luang Pu Wan Uttamo
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The solution lies in the problem

“Suffering is constantly in our hearts...
What is suffering?
– We, here, are what suffering is.
What are we?
– This heart, here, is what we are.
What is the heart?
– This centred neutrality, here, is what the heart is.
What is centred neutrality?
– This knowing, here, is what centred neutrality is.
– Luang Pu Jaam Mahāpañño
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Spiritual Friendship

The story of Tan Chao Khun Upālī Guṇūpamājahn, Luang Pu Mun Bhūridatto, Kruba SiVichai Sirivijayo, and the most amazing and inspiring public works project. Spiritual friendship at the highest levels imaginable.

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Knowing and Mindfulness

“The citta is the one that naturally knows. It is only mere knowing – that is, knowing sensation, knowing conceptualising, knowing thinking, knowing hot, knowing cold, knowing seeing, knowing hearing or listening, and knowing smelling an odour or tasting a flavour – it makes genuine contact with all things of every kind. It doesn't know how to investigate or evaluate; it can't decide anything at all. Thus it is something which we say doesn't know good, doesn't know evil, doesn't know wrong, doesn't know right.
Sati (mindfulness) is what oversees. It has power over the citta. It is able to know the citta in real-time, and it can know the affairs of the citta well: "now the citta is in a good state", or "now the citta is not in a good state" – all of the time until it is truly able to look after and manage the affairs of our citta to make them good.
Practitioners in this dispensation of the Buddha thus determine to set up the substance of mindfulness, which has power over the citta, establishing it before them to do the applied work of knowing the citta...”
– Luang Pu Singh Khantayāgamo
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The Special Blessings of Dogs

The status of a dog is reviled in Asia, but Luang Pu Dteu Acaladhammo could see that they were better than people in many ways. A light-hearted but serious teaching on the dangers of contempt.
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The Importance of Virtue

“Keeping the eight-fold virtue: if we have full faith in it, then we won't see it as anything difficult. And this eight-fold virtue – when we keep it without blemish, then it is the virtue of a once-returner. As for the five-fold virtue, if we keep it without blemish, then it is the virtue of a stream-enterer. Whether it is the eight-fold virtue or the five-fold virtue, it simply becomes 'transcendent' virtue, because it is the beginning of accepting the Buddha, Dhamma and Saṅgha to the point of having an experience of Nibbāna....”
– Luang Pu Laa Khemapatto
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A Heart of Gratitude

Luang Pu Suwan Suciṇṇo was one of the earliest disciples of Luang Pu Sao Kantasīlo and Luang Pu Mun Bhūridatto. He was an unusual monk, and exemplified the true beauty of 'kataññū katavedi' – gratitude for the good that others have done for you, no matter where it comes from.

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Luang Pu Mun's world

Once, when Luang Pu Mun Bhūridatto was living in Udon Thani, there were certain aspects of his behaviour that perplexed and amused the nearby villagers. They never bothered to ask him about it. Many years later, they finally understood...

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Luang Pu Kinaree

Luang Pu Kinaree was a great disciple of Luang Pu Sao Kantasīlo. He remained as a monk in the Mahā-Nikāya sect, lived simply and quietly, and almost nothing about him would be known to history if it weren't for his most famous disciple – Ajahn Chah. After his brief, transformative time with Luang Pu Mun, Ajahn Chah spent roughly a year training with Luang Pu Kinaree. A few of Ajahn Chah's recollections are presented here.

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Battling Defilement

“Ajahn Tongrat, who was one of my teachers, once wanted to disrobe. He wouldn't listen to anybody, he just wanted to disrobe. He then asked to borrow an ax from a villager and started to split wood. He did it for three days and nights until his hands started to bleed, until he was exhausted. He then asked, 'Now do you know who is the boss here?' – he asked his own defilements. All our teachers have been through this as well.”
– Luang Pu Chah Subhaddo
(translated by Mudito Bhikkhu)
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A Turning Point – part 1

You would never know it today, but the Thai Wilderness tradition was once regarded as a raggedy group of ignorant fools sitting uselessly in the forest – and this was the official opinion of the Thai Saṅgha! Things obviously changed dramatically at some point, and this story about Luang Pu Singh Khantayāgamo describes the moment that change began.

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A Turning Point – part 2

Continuing from part 1, this concerns the story of how Somdet Phra Mahā Wiriwong was moved to abandon his opposition to Luang Pu Sao and Luang Pu Mun, and what inspired him to become the greatest force in bringing the Wilderness tradition 'out of the wilderness' and into mainstream respectability in Thailand.

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The Novice Who Could Remember his Past Life

At Luang Pu Mun Bhūridatta's funeral in 1950, one of Luang Pu Mun's great disciples met a teenaged novice who could remember his previous life as a monk – and everything that happened in between. He questioned the novice about it and later wrote the whole account down himself. Perhaps he considered it important as a counter to the growing ideas about focusing on Dhamma solely with regard to this life, but he never published this account. It is presented here under a guise of slight anonymity, translated by A. Bhikkhu.

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Luang Pu Tongrat Testing Out his Disciples

When you go to stay with a great teacher in the Thai Wilderness tradition, you want to learn from their conduct and practise. But you have to be careful, because the teacher is also looking into you. A story about Luang Pu Tongrat Kantasīlo, an early disciple of Luang Pu Mun and Luang Pu Sao, and teacher to Ajahn Chah.

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Noble Beings and Common People

Is there a preferential option for the poor among wilderness monks? A few examples of a different take on 'liberation theology'.

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The Substance of Mindfulness

“Enduring patience — this is the substance of mindfulness.
If we don’t have enduring patience, mindfulness cannot arise. This enduring patience, this Dhamma of patience, is the substance of mindfulness. If someone trains and adapts themselves really in line with the Dhamma of patience, that’s called ‘having mindfulness and clear knowledge in the affairs of the heart’.
If this isn’t present?… woah! That’s trouble.”
– Luang Pu See Mahāvīro
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The Power of Practise

“Teachings – words – however much, can't compare with practising to see for oneself. Listening to someone else speak, all you can get from it is the gist of the path. Someone else can't speak the fruits of the practise as words. The things that arise from practise arise on their own. If there is a practise of making the body, speech and mind pure, virtue, concentration and discernment will thus arise on their own.
The minor issues of moods and mental objects – don't go over to them. If virtue and concentration are purified, sitting in meditation, sometimes a question and its answer will arise together.
If the mind and heart have no respect for virtue, you can't go into the forest as a practising monk. Spirits will break your neck, tigers will eat you... Monks without pure virtue get attacked and killed by tigers. In caves and on mountains, I've seen the piles of bones.
– Luang Pu Tongrat Kantasīlo

more coming...