September 14, 1982
I received your letter quite a while ago, but have not had a chance to answer you until now. Awareness and mindfulness are essential; their value is immeasurable and should not be confused with gold or riches. Self-awareness can free us from suffering and we can be anything when we are free from suffering.
The other things referred to are suppositions or duties conceived by humans. Genders, good, evil, religion, heaven, hell, Buddhism; these are all suppositions. A person unaware of these suppositions is narrow-minded. And humans, who are generally oblivious to the fact that these suppositions are all created by humans, often suffer from confusion, covetousness, frustration and sometimes degraded souls. This despite the fact that they are well-educated, have achieved success and recognition - occasionally fame - in modern cities and have amassed large fortunes of material wealth. If their body, mind and speech retain these misguided views and they suffer from confusion, frustration and covetousness, they are not truly human.
Buddha was born in the forest, enlightened in the forest and passed away in the forest. The wise man is one who can enter the forest and be free from all suffering related to the confusion and dissatisfaction in his or her body, speech or mind. A narrow-minded person is one for whom the silence of the forest is suffering. The suffering binds and pierces the people with degraded souls. Their lives are barren. On the contrary, those who cultivate their awareness and mindfulness will be able to prevent confusing and frustrating thoughts from controlling their body, speech and mind. When a person is able to cultivate this awareness continuously until all confusion and covetousness cease, this is the ultimate measurement of a human being.
Luangpor Teean ChittaSutho