THE BIOGRAPHY OF LUANG POR TEEAN
Luang por Teean was born in the village Boo Hom, Chiang Kahn district, Loei province on Tuesday 5th of September 1911. His father's name was Jeen, his mother’s was Som and his family name was Indhaphiew.
Luang por's real name was Phun Indhaphiew. The reason that he is known as Luang por Teean is that in the area where he lived, it was the custom to call somebody according to one's first born child. Luang por's first son was named "Teean" and so relatives and friends call him "Por-Teean" the father of Teean. His wife's was Horm, and she was called "Mae-Teean" the mother of Teean. Luang por had four siblings, three brothers namely: Sai, Pui and Oon and one sister named Whun. His sister, now called "Pa-nhom", is the only one still alive; the others have all passed away.
Luang por's childhood was pretty much the same as that of other children who live out in the country far from the city. On waking up in the morning, he would help his parents with working on the fields and looking after the cows and buffaloes. In the evening, he would herd them back home.
Luang por said that he never had a chance to study in a school because there was no school near where he lived. To study, one had to travel to a more developed area and commuting at that time was not yet convenient. So Luang por was not able to travel to a school, far away from his village. Luang por said that in the area he lived, there was hardly any material development; he had never seen a train, a car, an airplane or even a bicycle.
When Luang por was about ten years old, his uncle who was a monk and had been studying in Ubon Rachathani province, came to ask his parents to let him be ordained as a novice so he could help and serve the uncle. The name of the uncle-monk was Ya-ku-phong Jansuk, he had been ordained since he was very young and had stayed in the robes.
Before Luang por was ordained as a novice, he used to go to the monastery where his uncle stayed every morning and evening. This monastery was called Wat Phoo or Wat Banphotkiri, not far from his home. Before going to the fields, Luang por would take food and flowers to his uncle and paid respects. In the evening after hauling water from the stream, he'd go to the monastery. While he was a novice, his uncle taught him to do morning-chanting and evening-chanting, how to request for precepts and for a Dhamma-talk. He also taught him about lucky signs and how to practice meditation, including walking-meditation. Luang por learned the Lao language and scriptural language written on leaves. They studied without writing, just by memory. At night after studying, uncle would take him to do walking-meditation. Uncle was diligent in practice, sometimes he would get up at night and starting walking. The path for walking was almost forty meters long and Luang por would walk beside him, about ten meters away.
As for training in meditation, uncle had Luang por sit cross-legged, in full lotus with his eye closed and recite the syllable "Bud" on the in-breath and "Dho" on the out-breath. At that time uncle had a lot of friends who were monks that taught meditation. Luang por remembers one of them who taught him meditation. This teacher's name was Ajahn Sao. When Ajahn Sao saw Luang por practicing "Bud-Dho", he expressed his opinion saying "One can not climb a tree from the top, one has to start at the roots. He had Luang por count the breaths in-1, out-2 in-3 and so forth until 10. On reaching 10, count backwards down to 1 and start from there again, continuously. Ajahn Sao said to practice like this is sacred, if one is stabbed, practice like this and blow on the wound, the blood will immediately stop flowing. When one sleeps out in the forest, where there are tigers and ghosts bless stones by practicing in this way and put them in a circle around you, one will sleep in peace, the tigers and ghosts will be afraid, they don't dare to come close.
Uncle taught Luang por to concentrate on a kasina by using a circle drawn with the feet, about a meter away, concentrating on it until one sees light. In the morning to look at the sun without blinking the eyes, until the eyes get used to looking at the sun. Uncle said that one who can do it is a fire-eyed hermit. When concentrating on somebody, that person will collapse immediately, or one can make a fire. Besides this, uncle had incantations to 'shorten the earth '. Luang por said that uncle was a tall man with white skin like a westerner, when walking behind him, Luang por had to run to keep up with him. Later, Luang por realized that the incantation to ’shorten the earth' was like this. Uncle had long legs and one stride of his would equal three steps of Luang por. Once, Luang por went with uncle to Laos but because Luang por was still a child, he cried whenever everybody talked about home. So in the end, they had to return back home.
Luang por stayed with his uncle for one and a half years as a novice monk and learned quite a few chants. This was because uncle had studied in Ubon and studied chants from Cambodia as well. When Luang por disrobed, he was sorry that he couldn't study more of this superstition. At that time he wanted to be able to fly, become invisible, have the celestial eye and ear, shorten the earth and be invulnerable to attacks with knives and guns, just like his uncle. In those days, in that area, there was still a lot of belief in ghosts, a boy was expected to know protective verses to look after himself and his family. Uncle had compassion on him and taught him seriously.
When Luang por was twenty years old, he ordained again with his uncle. The head -monk of Chiang Kahn district was the preceptor. Luang por trained in meditation and chanting with his uncle as before. He didn't learn anything new but developed what he had learned already. Besides he traveled which was a kind of tradition, he didn't understand the real purpose of it. What he did was, to stay at charnel-grounds, fields-close to villages or in little huts on the fields close to villages so that going on alms round was not too difficult.
Luang por was a monk for six months and then disrobed. His mother arranged for him to get married when he was twenty one or twenty two. His wife's name was Horm, she was a relative of his. The mother of Horm was the younger sister of Luang por's father.
Both Luang por and his wife were fatherless since they were still children. Luang por stayed with his wife for a long time without having children. They cared for the son of his wife's elder sister, who had divorced her husband. Later Luang por had three sons, there names are Niam, Teean and Triam. When he had his first son, everybody called him "por-niam”. When Niam was five years old, he died and Luang por's name changed into what we are now all familiar with. Luang por's second son "Teean", died about two years before Luang por passed away.
Luang por tells us that during the time that he was a house-holder, he used the incantations that he had learned from his uncle. Sometimes neighbors would ask him to act as a witch-doctor, chasing off ghosts or curing sick people. Afterwards, a department of agriculture was established and things had to be transported. So Luang por started to trade with Lao but his family was still in Thailand. He made a good profit and sold his boats to buy a steamboat. Luang por said that even though he was successful in trading, he was not happy, even while resting, there was still suffering, thinking about money and the things he would buy and sell.
THE REASON FOR SEARCHING THE TRUTH
Before Luang por set out to practice Dhamma until understanding arose according to his method, he had practiced quite a lot of meditation already. But it was not enough to help him overcome suffering.
When asked, 'What kind of suffering did you have before practicing?' Luang por answered that at one time, somebody in Lao had asked him to arrange a robe-offering-ceremony in Lao. There were as much as five bundles of offering because many people wanted to join in. With these ceremonies there used to be some entertainment, like music and movies. Luang por arranged with his wife that she would look after the money, business and the food. As for Luang por himself, he would observe the precepts and receive visitors.
In the morning his wife asked 'How much money should I give to the entertainers' Luang por felt really angry. He said he felt so heavy, he could hardly move, but he managed to repress the mood and not show it to his wife and just said with a forced smile 'That's your business'. But the anger was still there in his mind.
After the ceremony was finished and the family was having dinner, he spoke about what had happened that morning 'People who don't have respect are like this'. He repeated it a few times so that it struck his wife's mind. His wife having taken the children to bed asked 'You're angry about me asking you about the money for the entertainers, aren't you? 'That 's right' Luang por said. His wife said 'What is wrong about husband and wife consulting each other about spending money?' Luang por agreed with the words of his wife and realized that he was wrong, that he was unyielding and just tried to beat her in argument. His wife said 'You're dissatisfied and you have fallen in hell'. Luang por saw that what his wife said was true. These simple words of his wife affected him so much that he took his wife to be his teacher. His wife had made things clear to him. Before Luang por didn't know that anger is heavy suffering, that it is like falling in hell. Even when making so much merit with the ceremony, he still felt like he was in hell.
It seemed like he didn't get any merit because he felt heavy-hearted all day. But on hearing his wife's words, he felt better and could abandon the mood to some extent. But how to really deal with his thoughts, he didn't know.
He resolved in his mind 'UNTIL I CONQUER THIS KIND OF SUFFERING, I WON'T GIVE UP PRACTICING THE DHAMMA'.
Luang por thought about this matter for years. He began to buy and sell less and in the end he decided to stop working altogether. He cleared up all his accounts and money matters with his colleagues. Luang por was the kind of person who liked to prepare things a long time in advance. It took him almost three years to arrange everything the way he wanted.
Luang por met with a monk who had studied all the scriptures. He was a few years younger than Luang por and his name was Maha-Srijan. He had traveled down the Mae-khong on Luang por's steamboat and had stayed in caves and charnel-grounds. Luang por had offered him a meal and looked after him at that time. When they met again, they talked together about meditation from 6 in the evening until 6 in the morning, Luang por asked many questions. In the end, the monk told him that insight-meditation can only be known through practice, there is no end to asking questions. Luang por thought about this conversation and about practice for three years without actually practicing, just searching for a good teacher.
THE DECISION TO PRACTICE DHAMMA
When Luang por was over 40, he completely stopped trading, he didn't have work to do and kept reflecting that people are born and have to died, they can not take anything along with them, rich people have to died, poor people have to die, what is there that is of value? There is just evil and merit in the end. He decided to go and practice Dhamma in order to go beyond suffering.
He told his intentions to his wife and she prepared things for him. But he didn't tell her where he was going and for how long, he just said that if he didn’t die, he would come back again.
Having reached Nhong-Kai province, he got the news that his friend, the monk Maha-Srijan with whom he wanted to practice, went to spend the rains-retreat at Luang Pra-Bang in Lao. There was only Luang por Wanthong who was a former assistant district officer, and having retried, he had ordained as a monk.
There was another monk, by the name of Ajahn Pahn who would check people's progress in meditation with interviews. He was Laotian and had learned the 'Dting-Ning' meditation from Burma, mentally noting the 'Rising-Falling' of body movements.
When Luang por arrived he hired some Vietnamese people to build him a hut. Luang por said that he used to be a self-willed person, his clothes had to be nicely ironed, otherwise he didn't want to wear them. So he hired some people to do that and also to prepare food for him, Luang por paid them 300 baht a month for that. But in the end, the monastery didn't agree with this because other people might get the feeling that it is necessary to have money and hire people in order to practice Dhamma. So they suggested that Luang por should offer the money up to be used for food expenses for everybody who was practicing. Including those ordained and those not ordained. Luang por agreed but asked to have one person to iron for him and bring him a hot drink and biscuit in the morning. This the monastery elders didn't object to.
At that time, that Luang por was practicing Dhamma, there were altogether about thirty meditators, twenty three monks and five lay-people, two men and three women, the women were nineteen or twenty years old. As for the monks, they had all ordained several years, at least two years, some five years, twelve years or even fifteen years and there was also a senior monk with a title. He did nothing but hammer nails into things! He pulled down one of the hut and repaired it, making lots of noise, Luang por kept wondering when it was all going to be finished.
Another practitioner was Mr. Hoi 'Por-muk' a trader who was acquainted with Luang por and who had giving him a lot of advice about how to make a living. This man used to come and chat with Luang por while Luang por engaged in practicing. Later on, whenever Luang por saw him coming, he would wrap his head in a cloth and go and do walking-meditation right out in the sun. Luang por hired some Vietnamese people to make a lot of noise or to start building a road in the middle of the field, in order to discourage him. Por-muk caught on but understood that Luang por hated him. That was not the case but he felt that one should practice seriously, one shouldn't waste time taking or do other useless things.
PRACTICING AND KNOWING DHAMMA
Luang por Wanthong had people ask for a meditation-object, and to determine the time to begin and stop practicing. Everybody was expected to keep the precepts, Luang por had kept them since he was still a novice. He was told to recite the word 'death' with every in-breath and out-breath. Luang por tried out this method 'death, death, death'. He started to have doubts come up, it was as it there were two people in his head. One would say 'what the point of this? Let's go to sleep'. Another voice said ' I came here to practice, didn't I?’ It was madness! One moment, he was diligent and the next, he was lazy again. This practice was very similar to practicing 'Bud-Dho' that he had done before so in the end he decided to take a rest.
In the morning, he got up, washed his face, brushed his teeth and started anew. Then Luang por really practiced, he didn't practice like the others, he was really serious and really determined. This time he practiced the method using bodily movements, but without reciting the words “Rising-Falling”.
He was sitting when a scorpion fell on his leg, a mother with babies, they all ran about over his leg. Luang por just watched. When the baby-scorpions had all returned to their mother, Luang por got a stick and let them climb on one end, taking hold of the other end, he laid down the stick outside. In a blink of the eye, Luang por had insight, he understood materiality-mentality, Roop-Nahm, Roop-dham, Nahm-dham, Roop-disease, Nahm-disease. On knowing spiritual disease, he knew instability, impermanence and non-selfhood, not just knowing from the scriptures, but really knowing. Then, he understood convention, he realized how deluded he had been to believe in all those silly verses and incantations to protect him and make him invulnerable. So much so, that tears rolled from his eye. Next, he understood religion and Buddhism. And then evil and merit, evil means stupidity, darkness in the mind, merit is to be clever, to know, brightness in the mind, the mind that is clean, bright, peaceful, pure and serene, the mind of the Buddha.
This is what Luang por know in the morning. Actually, there was even more knowledge but he just summarized it in topics. There was so much knowledge that he wanted to tell somebody, give a Dhamma talk, even to the cows, buffaloes or a dog strutting past. He was obviously caught up in defilements due to insight, at that time he didn't know what that was.
Everybody has perception and also everybody has the ability to know, without exception. This is what he thought and he felt like teaching people. He thought about his parents. Why did they have to die without knowing? What a pity? At about 5 in the afternoon, he took a bath and started doing working-meditation in between 2 trees. Close to 7 o'clock, it was as if someone shoved him against his ribs. Hey, who did that? He was alone, nobody there. Luang por didn't see thought yet, instead he was looking for somebody who pushed him. Then, a thought arose – ‘oh, the mind thinks!‘ And then a third time, Luang por knew thought! It is similar to a cat and rat, if there are rats at home, one should get a cat, at first the cat is small and the rat is big, when the rat appears the cat will grab it but the cat is not strong enough and the rat drags the kitten along, at first thought will drag awareness along. Don't blame the cat, don't blame the rat, rather give the cat plenty to eat, it will become fat and strong now, when a rat shows itself, the big cat pounces on it - that's the end of the rat. The rat dies of shock and the cat eats the rat without any blood flowing. They say cats are more skillful than tigers.
Luang por watched his mind and when thought arose, he saw it. When thought is seen, it stops. It’s like a boxer entering the ring, there is no time to lose, he just goes for it! Luang por knew the sensations of the various movements, moving the arms, the legs, the hands, the feet, the blinking of the eyes, looking to the right and the left raising and lowering the head, leaning to right and the left, he was aware or felt the movement, the swallowing of saliva, breathing in-and-out.
Because 'knowing' is very fast, one knows a lot. Suppose ten people would touch Luang por at the same time, he would know, really know them all at the same time. There was knowledge all around.
Luang por knew, saw and understood 'objective matter', it refers to literally everything. And he knew 'ultimate meaning ' it is not knowing, it is seeing, understanding in a profound way, it means 'reality'. And he saw 'changing' conditions ' the changing states of people and animals, they alter.
This is what he understood, at the time. It all happened very quickly. Then, Luang por saw greed, hatred and delusion, not with his eyes, with his mind. A secret scar, others can't see but one does oneself. But the scars of greed, hatred and delusion in the mind, people don't know about.
At the time at Luang por was not at ease and had suffering when he was asked something by his wife, he didn't see it, he didn't see greed, hatred and delusion, and he felt heavy even though he had practiced lots of meditation. So his meditation didn't give him knowledge, but maybe other people would. But practicing this way, there was understanding. There were still feelings, perception, volition and consciousness, but no suffering because greed, hatred and delusion couldn't concoct anymore. In the time-span it takes to snap one's fingers, Luang por saw defilements, craving, clinging and Kamma. These 4 things fade. Suppose his weight was 100 kilo, it was as if 60 kilo just dropped off him, actually it felt more life 80 kilo, leaving only 20. Being a Noble One occurred at this point.
Before, Luang por thought that being a Noble One, means to shave the head and wear a brown robe. But now he realized that, even thought he was wearing trousers, he had become a Noble One already. This was at about 7 at night.
Luang por was doing walking-meditation and rapture arose in him, he felt proud that he was now a Noble One, or one could say and angel with heavenly sight, he saw, knew and understood, he contacted it intimately, he could respect himself. When he knew Roop-Nahm, he didn't feel like that yet. But now he thought to himself 'This exists in oneself, why didn't I search for it before, why didn't I make use of it before?’
Luang por walked for a long time and laid down for a rest and got up around 2 or 3 A.M. He lit some candles and put them on the side of his path for walking meditation. Just then, a big red centipede as long as 25 centimeters - crossed the path. It didn't notice Luang por and went about its business. Luang por got a candle to see where it went. When he didn't see it, he put the candle back in its place and continued walking back and forth very mindfully. Then, the understanding came, virtue is the means to eliminate the gross defilements, concentration is the means to eliminate the medium defilements and wisdom is the means to eliminate the subtle defilements. The gross defilements are greed, hatred, delusion, defilement, craving, clinging and Kamma. They've already fade and gone. Virtue had appeared, Luang por understood the aggregates of virtue, concentration and wisdom. The 5 aggregates of form, feeling, perception, volition and consciousness are virtuous. This is not a matter of percepts. He understood feeling, perception, volition and consciousness to be objects for 'awareness' it is called 'Nahm-Roop'.
That day, Ajahn Pahn come for and interview 'how is it going?’ ‘Nothing is going on, but I feel dizzy and exhausted’, Luang por answered. ‘Do you feel yourself sitting there? Where is your awareness?‘ Ajahn Pahn asked. Luang por said 'I feel myself sitting here and awareness is with me’ ‘Alright, keep practicing,’ Ajahn Pahn instructed.
Luang por wanted to have a good, long with discussion with him because he felt very confident, but he waited for the next time. Luang por was sitting on the ground, ready for any kind of question. 'Well, how are you, lay-man from Chiang-Kahn?’ Ajahn Pahn asked. 'I am not in any mood whatsoever' Luang por said. He knew that Ajahn Pahn wanted to hear of some problem so he could solve it. 'Why is there no mood, no obstacle?’ he inquired. Luang por said, 'Because I have no pains and nothing in my mind'. Next, Ajahn Pahn asked, 'Did any knowledge arise?', 'Yes ', 'What do you know?', 'I know myself', Luang por said. 'How is that?' asked Ajahn Pahn. ‘I know the movements, sitting, lying down, I know myself'. 'Somebody who doesn't know oneself, is like a dead person', Ajahn Pahn remarked. ‘I’ve really died and I've been born again ', Luang por said. ‘Why do you say that? '. 'Because what is dead should be discarded, I've died from what is dirty and bad in the mind, the defiled and dark mind, the dull mind had died, but the body is still there', is what Luang por told him. Ajahn Pahn thought for a while and then asked, 'Is salt salty?’ 'No, it is not', was the answer. ‘Hey, why is salt not salty?' Ajahn Pahn wanted to know. ‘Because the salt is in the kitchen, I'm not contacting it with my tongue right now'. ‘And pepper, is it hot?’ ‘No, it is not, I don't taste it this moment'. 'What about sugar, is it sweet?'. Luang por denied it. That is to say, he took the present as his foundation. Next, Ajahn Pahn asked, 'what is blacker than black?', Black is black, there is nothing blacker than that'. On being asked about white and red, he answered in a similar fashion.
'Well then', said Ajahn Pahn, 'suppose this is a forest and someone came to see me here and on the way back he saw a tiger. Suppose you are over there and you were asked to come here would you come?', 'Yes, I would, if I'm asked to go, I'll go, it would be disrespectful not to go ', Luang por said. 'But', objected Ajahn Pahn, 'the tiger could eat you'. ‘I don't see any tiger', said Luang por. 'And would you walk on the path or take a short-cut through the forest?’ Ajahn Pahn inquired. ‘I wouldn't go through the forest, I would take the path '. 'If there is no path, I can't see the tigers coming but if I walk on the path, I will see tigers straight away and I can get away from them, but if I don't see them coming I can't avoid them ', explained Luang por. Ajahn Pahn had no more questions and praised Luang por for his answers, nobody had ever answered as Luang por had.
Luang por didn't believe anybody at all, he knew the Dhamma and didn't believe any teacher.
Luang por understood the difference between tranquility and insight-meditation. If one looks at it from on angle, they assist and promote each other, looking at it from another angle, they can not go together and are even opposites. 'Samatha' and 'Vipassana' don't go together but they can support each other. Luang por really understood this matter, with tranquility-meditation there is just peacefulness and on being peaceful one should create things like the perception of unattractiveness through reflection. But with insight, one doesn’t need to reflect. Teacher had told Luang por that in order to practice insight-meditation; one had to study 6 topics, namely the 5 aggregates, the 12 senses, the 18 elements, the 22 faculties, the 4 noble truths and dependent origination. Luang por didn't study all that because he had studied enough already, he knew many things since the time he was a novice, his uncle had taught him. But, now when he was practicing, the knowledge that arose was not just knowing from memory, it was not the same. Insight-meditation destroys defilements on all levels, like a tractor wherever it goes, plants and trees, no matter how big, are all uprooted. Greed, hatred and delusion are pulled out by the roots, defilement, craving and clinging are pulled out the roots.
Luang por saw the cankers of sensuality, being and ignorance. He saw that to be attached to peacefulness is what the canker of sensuality is about. As soon as he had seen them, it was as if a tractor pulled them out by their roots. The canker of being refers to being caught up in something, the word 'being' and 'birth' have deep meaning, it can mean the 'being ' and birth of the body or it can mean spiritual 'being' and birth.
Whatever one calls it, it is just convention. The tractor pulled all of it out by the roots. The canker of ignorance, it means to not know the truth, not knowing anything or just not knowing one's life. The tractor pulls it all out, Luang por saw so clearly in his mind that he didn't have to listen to anybody, his view was not quite the same as that of others.
Then, Luang por understood about evil and merit, where and how long one would be reborn if one performed evil or meritorious actions by body, speech or mind, or together.
Luang por was walking up and down at 5 A.M. and it was just as it he took his clothes off - he didn't really do that of course, but he felt so light, just like he was walking, just like he was walking about a meters above the ground. He saw his condition being broken. The state of arising /passing was right there. Both the body and the mind returned to their original state. There was a break-off. This state of arising/passing is the most valuable thing. The essence of Buddhism exists in everybody.
What happened to Luang por, everyone must experience. Whether one realizes it or not, one has to come to this point, everybody is going to die for sure, this is real, this is a truth, it can not be otherwise, it doesn't alter, whether one studies or not, whether one is rich or poor, we all have to die.
Death is sure thing that is in front of us. Everybody should study and practice in order to understand this. When one understands, one is truly at ease and one will be ready to die at anytime. One no longer has to plead with death because it is fun, one is delighted to die in whatever way, one is not afraid of anything whatsoever. This is called seeing, knowing and understanding the words of the teachers.
Teachers used to say that the Buddha only cut his hair once and it didn't grow after that. This doesn't refer to hair on the head, rather the mind returns to its original state and the body returns to its original state. That's why it is not necessary to study about the 12 senses, the 18 elements etc. One can describe it in terms of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd Jhana and so on, or not, because one knows by oneself. Sanditthiko: to be seen for oneself, Akaliko : not bound by time. Luang por knew the nature state, in this state one doesn't have to do anything. He knew this in the morning.
The Buddha kills people, talking like this, people don't like. In reality, the Buddha doesn't kill anybody but he kills what is bad. When people develop awareness and wisdom, whatever is bad will die, it will disappear by itself.
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER LUANG POR REALISED THE DHAMMA
After Luang por realized the Dhamma, he stayed at the monastery until the end of the rains-retreat and then traveled back home. When he came home, he found his wife quite sick, she was not well and sometimes fainted during the last 3 months from the time that Luang por had left to practice.
When Luang por had left, nobody knew where he had gone. When Luang por's younger brother had asked Luang por's wife where he was and had got no answer, he had misunderstood and suspected that Luang por's wife had killed Luang por in order to get the inheritance, which made her feel very bad.
At that time, she still couldn't get up from her bed. Luang por told his wife that death is a natural thing. He instructed his wife to practice Dhamma in the same way that he had and in the end, his wife also realized the highest level of Dhamma. His wife already respected Luang por a lot and therefore practiced and obeyed him in everything that he would advise her. He made her practice very intensively for a few years.
Another person that Luang por wanted to practice, was his elder sister 'Whan Phimsorn' or Luang por called her ' Aunt Nohm'. She agreed to practice but her husband wouldn't have it. So Luang por said he would give him a field that had belonged to his father in order for aunt Nohm to come and practice with him. This made uncle Nohm very angry, thinking Luang por was making light of things. Luang por had to ask his wife to point thing out to uncle Nohm. It just happened that uncle Nohm's son, Nohm, who was sick, died. Luang por was not willing to go to his nephew's funeral, giving as the reason that ' there is no use trying to help somebody who is dead'. This made uncle Nohm even angrier. His relatives were all surprised and thought he was mad, before Luang por used to protect and help his relatives and why is he like this, now? Everybody was angry with him. Whoever asked him to go to the funeral, Luang por was unwilling to do so.
After the funeral was over, uncle Nohm came to see Luang por and asked about the method of practice. Actually, Luang por had already explained it to aunt Nohm but uncle Nohm wanted to hear it directly from Luang por. Not long after that, uncle Nohm had an eye-inflection, he couldn't open his eyes. He asked Luang por for help, Luang por was willing to help and told him 'I can help people who are alive but I can’t help people who are dead'.
Luang por took uncle to the hospital in Nongkai province and after uncle had been cured their relationship was as friendly and close as it was before, no matter what Luang por said, he did not object. Not only that, but he was quite enthusiastic to practice according to Luang por's method. He told his wife 'aunt Nohm', ' you don't have to do it, I will do it myself first'.
Uncle Nohm practiced continuously for 1 month and knew Roop-Nahm, and after practicing another 2 months, he was able to see thought. After that, aunt Nohm also came to practice without Luang por having to encourage her in any way.
Luang por trained his wife very strictly, even though he had organized a few retreats, his wife practiced without stopping, she practiced continuously without letting up, she was allowed only a very, very short break. Luang por said with a sense of humor 'This person is not allowed to stop, I am in command here'. Luang por felt that his wife had helped him really a lot when she had clarified that day that anger makes one fall in hell.
That had been the reason that Luang por decided to search for the truth. After 1 month and 18 days, his sister, aunt Nohm knew Roop-Nahm and she could see thought as well. More people came to practice. So Luang por established a kind of retreat-center. He built 13 small huts, getting help from the local sawmill. Luang por had helped them when he was still a trader. The owner of the sawmill was not interested in practice though.
In less then 2 weeks, the huts were built and the place ready to be used for insight-meditation. Luang por went to see the head-monk of the province and told him that he wanted to revive Buddhism. 'How are you going to do that?’ he wanted to know. Luang por said he'd start retreats for insight-meditation. The head-monk agreed to that and wrote a letter to the head-monk of the neighboring province. Luang por took that letter to that Nongkai province by himself. Before going there, Luang por visited the head-monk of Udorn thani province. Because Luang por had an excellent reputation as being a person who likes to make merit, listen to Dhamma-talks and practice meditation, Luang por was supported in his intentions to start organizing meditation retreats by many monks and lay-people he knew from several province.
Luang por crossed the border to Laos in order to meet Ajahn Pahn and he bought an amplifier with which he informed people about the coming retreats all along the Mae-Khong River on his trip back.
When Luang por came back home, he opened a retreat of over 10 days. He really gave up a lot for this, he prepared food for the practitioners with his own money and he reckoned that he had enough money to support people, through providing food for three years.
For that first retreat, about 30 to 40 people came; there were both monks any lay-people. Both the head-monk of Loei province and Nongkai province traveled to open the retreat. After that, it was up to Luang por to teach people. Many people realized the Dhamma, on one level or other. There were also people that didn't approve of the retreat but Luang por was not interested, it was not his business. Luang por was not shaken by anybody's criticism.
At that time, Luang por didn't have intentions to re-ordain. He wanted his relatives to understand the Dhamma, if he was to become a monk, he would be separated from them and he couldn't use his influence anymore. His plan was to get his relatives to practice Dhamma by using his own money.
Two years and 8 months after Luang por had realized the Dhamma, he opened to retreat-centers at Boo Hhom village, Chiankahn district, his home-village. And another 3 places in the same area. These centers supported each other well and the head-monk of this district also helped him a lot.
Luang por's wife practiced over 2 years, before she reached the end of suffering. One day, as she was collecting vegetables in the garden, to be cooked later in the day, she hadn't collected very much yet when she said, 'Hey, what's happening to me? ', Luang por asked what was wrong. She answered ' I am finished, there is nothing left, try and grab my arm ', Luang por said to his wife, ' Don't view things like that, relax, don't create any problems'. His wife said, 'Everything has shrunk, just as if it has been sprinkled with salt', Luang por grabbed his wife by the arm. 'I'm alright ', she said. Luang por said, ' Don't make problems, suffering exists only within ', 'I'm fine ', his wife said.
When Luang por's wife had realized the Dhamma until she was beyond suffering, Luang por consulted with his relatives about ordaining as a monk. Nobody opposed him and so he let his son participate in retreat before he himself would ordain. When Luang por was asked how many people had realized or seen the Dhamma, in this period of 2 years and 8 months while he was still a lay-may, he answered that those that knew the stage of Roop-Nahm were many but those who had reached the end were few, in 100 people maybe as much as 20 or 30 people, as far as he had been told.
Luang por ordained for the second time on the 3rd of February 1960 at the monastery 'Srikunmuang', at Boo Hom village, Chiangkan district, Loei province. Luang por was 48 years old at that time.
Having ordained, Luang por did his duty, that is to say, he taught the Dhamma to both lay-people and monks. He taught in his hut as well as in the hall, even people on the street who asked him things, he would talk to. And sometimes he would be the one to ask something first, he would inquire the person he met about his or her troubles, how long they had been Buddhists and whether their suffering had diminished or not. Because, if there is still as much suffering as before, it shows that one doesn't understand the principles of Buddhism, one only understands the ethics of Buddhism, which is not real Buddhism because Buddhism teaches people to be wise and to be able to eliminate the cause of suffering.
The first year, Luang por taught in the village he was born and then he moved to the district Chiankan. At that time, established 2 centers in the district and besides that, he established another place to practice insight-meditation in Lao.
ACCUSED OF BEING COMMUNIST
A while after Luang por had organized Vipassana-retreats, people started to accuse Luang por of being a Communist because what Luang por taught was in opposition to what those people were practicing. Luang por taught to give up various conventional ways of practice that don't really aid in building up merit and accumulating wholesome deeds. For example, killing cows and buffaloes for their meat on merit-making occasions, or to serve alcoholic beverages, gambling and so on. Performing these acts is not merit, rather it is unwholesome. People who misunderstood, therefore accused Luang por of destroying customs and traditions.
According to Luang por, some people just don't know what merit is, this type of people can not store up merit, or they make merit but it turns into demerit. For example, when lay-people are inspired and they cause a hall or monks-hut to be constructed together, the feeling of gladness and delight in that action makes the mind happy-this is considered to be merit. But when the construction has only just started, arguments arise and people's feeling get hurt, and it become demerit. One get merits at the time that one is happy but when anger arises, that happiness or merit is finished.
Luang por compared it with a nice house, newly built, that we've just moved into. One day, we take kerosene, sprinkle it all over the place, light it, and the house is burnt down. Just one little match is enough to do it. After that, we can’t use the house anymore as protection against the cold and the rain.
Making merit is the same, at the moment that we are making merit we're happy, but when we just get angry once, that merit is gone. So, making merit and maintaining it, is similar to building a house and looking after it. Keeping a house in good condition, takes more time and is more involved than building it. Therefore, when one makes, one should try to care for it. Intelligent people would understand what Luang por taught but unintelligent people wouldn't.
There were 3 types of people who would listen to what Luang por had to say, the first type would understand and support him, the second type would oppose him and try to find way to make things difficult for him, and the third type would not be interested. Those who didn't agree with his teachings suspected that he was a Communist and was receiving money from the Communist party. And officer came over by plane to check out Luang por and to investigate at the various villages, he talked with people who practiced as well as with those who didn't. He found out that Luang por and practiced Dhamma since he was a lay-man and having returned home, he taught for over 2 years before ordaining as a monk. Ever since, he had been teaching but his teaching are a bit strong. For example, he often says that people didn't know what merit is, don't know what evil is. When he was still a lay-man, he would make merit regularly. This is what the officer got to hear from young as well as old people.
Luang por was not the least worried about this matter of being accused of being a Communist, he just continued to teach as before. He said, 'When we are doing what is good : that others say it is bad, is their affair, on the other hand : if we're doing what is bad but people praise us for doing what is good, we don't become good just because they say so. So, words are only just convention.'
Luang por tried to teach people who don't understand to understand that merit means the right balances. It's just like when we are building a house, we must know what pillars to use, how much weight they can take, we must know the seize of the wood that we're going to use, if we need 2 meters but we cut it at 2.5 meters, what is left is wasted. This shows one doesn't know what is just right. If we get elated when somebody praises us and dejected when we are blamed, it means we don't know what is just right. This can not be called merit because one still veers off to the right and the left and is shaken by words which are only just convention.
We have to live with what is just right, or with normality, merit is normality, virtue is normality, merit is the right balance, virtue is the right balance. If there is no normality and no balance, it means there is no merit and no virtue.
Talking like this, those who didn't understand found it too heavy and too high, but Luang por just carried on teaching The officer had a talk with the head-monks of the district and the province and they both insisted that Luang por was not a Communist, it just that people don't understand his words. The head-monk of the district showed Luang por more than 10 letters that requested Luang por to be chased away. Both the head-monks of the district as well as the head-monk of the province supported Luang por to keep teaching. When the various villagers learned about this, this affaire of being accused of being a Communist gradually was silenced and stopped altogether in the end.
THE GHOST OF THE OWL-CLIFF
Luang por spent two years in Lao and for his fourth rains-retreat, he stayed at the Owl-cliff in Loei province. He met 2 novices, named 'Samak and Rord'. They kept him company. When there was rice left over from what they had collected on almsround, Luang por would get the novices to dry it in the sun and sell it. The money they earned, they would give to the novices’ parents. Luang por trained the novices to practice walking-meditation. They were quite diligent and they understood something of the Dhamma. Luang por took the novices to take a look at the Owl-cliff. At that time, there was rumor that the ghost of the Owl-cliff was very powerful. The cars that passed the Owl-cliff had to stop and make offering with roasted chicken and alcohol in order to travel in safety. The mother of the novices was afraid of the ghost of the Owl-cliff.
Luang por told the novices to say to their mothers that the ghost of the Owl-cliff was afraid of the novices that it had to bow to the novices. But the mother got angry at hearing that. Later, Luang por took the novices into the city. The mother of the novices went to look for them but couldn't find them and so she went to the head-monk of the district. She heard from him that they were in the city and that she should practice the Dhamma when she went to visit them. This, she did and she understood the Dhamma to some level, enough to stop believing in the ghost of the Owl-cliff. Luang por said to the villagers who lived around that cliff, 'How can the ghost of the Owl-cliff have any power, it can't even eat the roasted chickens that people bring? The ghost is as stupid as that, but people are even more stupid! Dogs are never afraid of ghost, even at night they still go to the charnel-grounds or into the forest but people are afraid of ghosts, which means that people are worse than dogs!’
Some people, on hearing this, were able to give up their silly beliefs but others just got angry. Luang por had the novices and another kid eat from the things that were meant to be offered to the ghost of the Owl-cliff, nothing happened. After that, the superstition about the ghost of the Owl-cliff diminished, of the ten cars that used to stop and make sacrifices, only about three remained.
For over 30 years, Luang por Teean has been assiduous in teaching people without tiring or being discouraged by any obstacles. His disciples are quite impressed by this conduct.
In 1982, he started having symptoms of cancer and had frequent stomach-aches. That year, as he was teaching in Singapore for the first time, in June, he got very sick, he had to stretch himself on the floor as soon as he stopped doing walking-meditation. He had to go to the hospital in Singapore. In spite of this, he still taught the Singaporeans who were interested in practice. The second time that he was invited in October of the same year the disease had spread so rapidly in his stomach that it was necessary to fly back to Thailand in order to have an emergency-operation as the doctor in Singapore suggested.
Luang por had his first operation in the Siraraja hospital and one year after the cancer had spread already whey they operated on him the second time in the Samithiveth hospital but Luang por never let anybody know in any way that he was actually in a lot of pain.
In 1986, he had to undergo a third operation in the Samithiveth hospital because the doctor who checked on him found that the cancer had spread to the intestines.
Even though Luang por was sick with a life-threatening disease and had an effect on the body that would have been too much for an ordinary person, he still managed to live his life in the normal way, normal in mind as well as in body. He still did his duty of helping people to understand the Dhamma as much as he was able to do. Because of this, the spreading of the Dhamma during this last period was quite extensive.
Even though, in his last year, his health was deteriorating in the most serious way, he put all his efforts of body and mind into setting up a place in Loei province -called 'the Buddhadhamma island Tup Ming khwan ', trying to make it into a monastery to practice that would be of use to anybody. Even though he had to travel to Bangkok 2 or 3 times a month in order to have check-ups at the hospital, he spent his last rains-retreat in this place. Luang por wanted it to be a place that would produce people who know the Dhamma and are able to teach others.
In the middle of August 1988, doctors discovered that his right lung was inflamed which was cared for in the hospital in Loei province. At the same time, the cancer had worsened. His health deteriorated quickly now and everybody was concerned, even though people knew that his mind was beyond being affected by the condition of his body.
One day, a disciple who was nursing him asked, 'Luang por has felling, perception, volition and consciousness but there is no suffering, isn't that so? ', Luang por smiled and said, 'yes, you're right?’
On the 4th of September 1988, Luang por left the hospital and stayed at Wat Sanamnai, Nonthaburi province, close to Bangkok. Luang por had stayed in this monastery many years, since 1977, putting Ajahn Thongluan in charge for the first year. He spent nine rains-retreats there altogether.
On the 6th, he said he wanted to go back to 'Tup Ming Khwan'. His disciples informed him that on the 13th he had another appointment with the doctor but Luang por said he would not return to Bangkok. Many people tried to persuade Luang por not to go to Loei province, but Luang por said, 'A disease can be cured but not life '.
On the 9th, Luang por traveled to Loei province, with him, many monks and lay-people. His condition was critical and it was uncertain whether he could endure through a plane-trip. On arriving, Luang por refused to take any medicine. Even at that time, Luang por refused to take any medicine.
On Tuesday the 13th of September 1988 at a quarter past 6, he peacefully passed away in the grass-roof meditation-hall at the Buddhadhamma Island. At present, there are about 50-60 monasteries in Thailand were Luang por Teean's method of developing awareness, the 'rhythmic or dynamic ' meditation, using bodily movements are practiced, and there are two or three places in the USA, Connecticut, Las Vegas and New York.