Friday, January 8, 2010

Wat Luang Phor Ther in Chiang Mai

Last year, I visited Wat Luang Phor Ther. The abbot is Luang Phor Sang.

Luang Phor is 79 years old this year. He ordained when he was 18 years old and had remained in the robes ever since. He had gone tudong around Thailand when he was younger.

When our group was there, Luang Phor Sang was kind enough to give us a short talk. Do note that forest monks would generally give talk that is a bit tailormade to those who are there. And one need to read beyond the surface.

The talk was translated from Thai to Mandarin and I had tried to jot down as fast as I could. I do seek for your forgiveness if I had writen wrongly. I was going through the photos and my notebook which dates back to more than a year- and thought of publishing this post for the benefit of others. Well, here's the essence or at least what I managed to jot down:

Observing the sila (precepts) is very important ahd have to be done and nurtured everyday until it becomes automatic. Panna will arise and with meditation breakthrough can then happen.

It is similar to planting rice: sow the seeds, water it and take care of it everyday.
Young rice can be used.
Medium rice can be used to make rice water.
Old rice can be cooked and eaten.

After that can also take the rice to be sold.
Buddha's words is only in our hearts. No one could know it except for our own.
There are 4 types of lotus:
1. The ones that are eaten by animals
2. The ones that never got to see the sun
3. The ones that see the light but never got a chance to bloom
4. The full bloom lotus (that rose from the mud, go up above the surface of the water)
Use wisdom in the heart- with wisdom, one sees dukkha. From samatha (concentration), move over to vipassana. Once see impermenance, suffering and non-self, let go.

Luang Phor said that if we think of anything, we suffer. For example, if we are having leg pain, it is actually the feeling of leg pain from the heart. Look into the heart and realise that the body does not belong to us. Then, relax ourselves and be happy- our body will be happy and healthy.

Dhammanupassana- if what we think is good or no good, don't care whether it is good or bad. Our true wisdom will know if it is good or bad. If good, accept. If bad, let it go.

Once know good or no good, our heart is only ONE. Wisdom is # 1.... all pain or suffering- will automatically be known and we will let go.

You should always aim for your heart to be # 1, instead of other things. You must always examine your heart (not the physical one, but the heart that is often spoken in meditation- some call it citta, mind, etc)
Lotus will rise up and grow so we must always continue to do what we do. Don't stop. Just like the growing flower, the sun comes and shine and the lotus blossoms. The blossoming of the lotus is like us suddenly opening our eyes and truly understanding. Insects may come to eat the sweetness of the flower- just like there will be things to come and disturb our hearts- but like the blooming lotus, we need not bother about them.

Only you can realise Nibbana for yourself- it is not something that people can just teach you. We should be like lotus leaf, when water pours or drop on the leaf, it does not get absorbed in the leaf.
(He mentioned something else but I could not jot down in time)

Repeatedly keep observing the heart (some books use the word 'mind'). It does not mean that when panna (wisdom) comes, you stop. You have to keep repeating until it becomes automatic. Look at the hair, and other parts of the body.

Sometimes when meditate, it's like dreaming- it's seemed to be blur and unclear. But if you keep repeating, it becomes automatic and the wisdom is really real.

Only people with parami (past cultivated perfections) can see. Look at the heart and body- body is the same for all human beings.

One Thai girl who was present asked Luang Phor why her mind cannot get calm when she meditated. Luang Phor adviced her- if her mind cannot settle down, at least become aware of what she is thinking about.

Luang Phor's talk in Thai was translated in Mandarin by my teacher- then I write it down in English because I can understand Mandarin but cannot write the language. And my teacher actually is not fluent in Mandarin as well. So I also have to learn to listen with my heart instead of literally just translating what she said. As I was doing my best to write down- Luang Phor suddenly turned to me and smiled. He advised me to always write from the heart. He said with true wisdom, no words is enough to express the insight known (probably that time, I need not write so much).

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