“…After I had made that decision to become a monk, I felt a sense of relief. Before that I was sort of torn between two directions — either to stay as a layperson or to become a monk. During that time I was very unhappy, but once I made that decision, “Yes! I want to be a monk,” it lifted a mountain off my chest. I felt very easy, light and happy.
Once I became a monk, I just concentrated on my meditation. I looked for my teacher and found Luangta Maha Boowa. I went to his monastery and was allowed to stay there.
So I spent about nine years there without going anywhere, locking myself up in the monastery to practise. I think I came back to visit my parents only twice in nine years. They wanted to come and see me, but I told them not to come. It is just a waste of time.
If they really wanted to communicate, they could just write letters. They lived in Pattaya and to come to Udon Thani was really not necessary.
Luangta also didn’t like the monks to have visitors, because it could cause the minds of the monks to lose their concentration. When you are concentrating and meditating and then you have visitors, you might start thinking about them. Even after they have left you still think about them, and you will find it hard to concentrate and calm your mind.
Luangta tried to prevent the monks from contacting people. In Luangta’s temple we didn’t have to do anything with the lay people. Only Luangta himself would deal with the people. The monks had the duty of going on alms round to collect food and cleaning up after the meal, and then we were supposed to go back to our kuti to practise meditation. It was very good because it helped you advance very quickly. Because you didn’t lose your concentration you could develop from one step to the next.
So I was very lucky to have found Luangta, to have a good teacher who provided a very good place for meditation. He kept all external work to a minimum, such as construction work and things like that. He tried to do it only when it was really necessary and to do it very quickly and briefly. He didn’t want things to drag on. He wanted monks to spend more time in seclusion in meditation, rather than socialising, getting together to do things, to do this or that.
Because when we got together we tended to talk, and our minds started to go thinking about different things instead of calming down, creating agitation for us. So we were always told not to socialise.
Sometime he would walk around the temple and check all the kutis. If he saw two or three pairs of slippers at the same kuti, he knew that there were two or three monks there, and he would tell them not to do it. If they persisted, then he would have to ask them to leave the monastery. He wanted monks to stay separately when there was no reason to come together.
We did not have morning or evening chanting there. If we wanted to chant, we could do it at our own kuti. But he didn’t mind if we didn’t chant as long as we meditated.
And then I moved here after about nine years. At that time my father became sick, and so I asked permission to visit and look after my father. He had cancer and lived for about six months after I came back. So after his funeral instead of going back to Luangta’s monastery I came and stayed here.
I spent my first nine years after ordaining at Wat Pa Baan Taad, the tenth year at Wat Phothisamphan in Pattaya, and from the eleventh year (1984) until present, at Wat Yan.
I’ve been here now 31 years, and I have never gone anywhere. I have been invited to go everywhere, but I say no.
By Ajaan Suchart Abhijāto
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