Be equanimous with my disciples

The Chinese are so delightful. Despite the hardship and the distance, they are so perseverant to learn. I notice that the Chinese are very purposeful. If they are not, they won’t travel a long way here. Sometimes, Thai fellows take things for granted. They feel that it is easy to come and learn. They can access the doctrine anytime on YouTube. Therefore, the determination to learn are less than the Chinese fellows.

I teach dharma equally to everyone without discrimination. I do not give extra attention to anyone. All the the principles I teach are the same. It is up to each of you to actually practice and be determined. Since I was young, I learned from my master since the age of 7. My master never had to tell me twice to practice. I met with Venerable Luangpu Dune at the age of 29. I was taught meditation by Venerable Luangpor Lee since I was 7. All through 22 years, I kept practicing meditation without quitting. Be it peaceful or be it not, it was alright. I just did what my master had taught me to.

When I came to study with Venerable Luangpu Dune, he taught me to watch my mind. Since then, I have kept watching my mind. Anytime I was free, I watched my mind. My master never had to keep reminding me to practice. I observed myself to see what obstructed me from practicing and refrained from it. I went to work and went straight home, never went out to play or mingled with people. I kept all my leave days to spend practicing with my masters. I never spent those leave days traveling around but practicing. I have maintained modesty, detachment, not mingling and constantly be perseverance. I have seriously done all these following what my masters have guided me. That’s why I progressed quickly.

All the teachers are full of clement and merciness. They all have gone through extreme hardship before they succeeded. That’s the reason why they sympathize with their fellows and extend their kindness to teach with the purpose to make all their fellows suffer less and live successful and happy lives. Buddha and all the masters share the same feeling, which is looking at all fellow students, including all beasts with mercies. This happens naturally because the mind is without anger, which then transforms into automatic mercy.

Sometimes, the masters see the decline of their students’ abilities to practice or the weak points, they will then try to point out and advise their students. I always remind all of you not to be a leak jar or a leak tank. When we practice, it is like adding water into the tank. Then the tank leaks and the water is gone. The next day, we practice again, and then decline again. The master always reminds us not to act like a leak jar. If you want to achieve purity, your mind has to be strong. You have to sacrifice the bad stuff to achieve the good ones. If you continue to keep preserving the bad stuff, you won’t survive.

I didn’t speak according to theory. I speak from my practicing experience. If we follow our defilement, it grows and makes it more difficult to fight as defilement grows rapidly. Yesterday I couldn’t remember whether I talked to the monk or a layman… probably a layman. I said while we practice dhamma, it takes time to gradually prosper like when we plant a tree. After a year, a tree only grows like 50 cm. Yet it takes a flash to cut a tree. Likewise, it only takes 10 minutes to cut a hundred-year-old tree.

It is tough to uplift one’s own mind. It takes patience and constant perseverance. However, it only takes so little time to destroy the good deed in our mind. If we do not practice living modestly, not staying detached, keep mingling with people and not being constantly persevering, we will not see the harm. Sometimes we even feel blessed to mingle in merit activities, not realizing that it is also an association with a chaotic mind. This leads to the decline of dhamma.

Let me tell you from my experience, people only have a fighting force for only a period of time. Once prosper, it later declines. After a while, you get exhausted and let go. This is like when you try to swim across the river. You swim for a while and get exhausted, then you swim back ashore. Then you feel ready to swim again, and so on you feel exhausted and swim back ashore again. Finally, you just quit as you don’t have the willpower to swim across the river. This also applies to monks, not just laymen. Some new monks really concentrate on practicing in the beginning but later wander aimlessly… prosper and decline until eventually giving up.

Previously, I have observed all of you with compassion and sympathy. I don’t want you to suffer for too long and try to urge you guys to practice. Some of you even feel that I repeatedly oppress you to do this and not to do that. Some feel sick of this and want to fulfill their defilement instead.

This kind of feeling actually existed since Buddha era. During the extinction of the Lord Buddha, Kassapa Buddha led his fellows to attend the Lord Buddha’s funeral. Knowing that the cremation ceremony would take place in 7 days, they all traveled quickly days and nights. Many monks were sorrowful as they realized the Lord Buddha would not be around to teach them. Then one old monk, I couldn’t clearly remember the name, maybe Subhadda. Subhadda soothed other monk friends that they should not be sad but be glad. As the Lord Buddha had passed, there would be no one to inculcate them to do this or that any longer.

Kassapa Buddha had heard that and felt dejected wondering how people who had such great teacher would ever felt annoyed like that. He started to worry that Buddhism would not last. Therefore, soon after the completion of Lord Buddha’s cremation, he called for a Blessed Sacrament Meeting to sort out the Dhamma that Lord Buddha had taught and categorized the doctrines into an easy to learn system. Otherwise, things would have gone south.

It takes a lot of effort for me to teach all of you not for my own benefit but out of my sympathy and compassion towards you. I used to be in trouble and misery trying to progress. It was not easy, and it took lots of patience to self-trained myself. Sometimes I felt like mingling around, having fun, attending parties with my colleagues. Yet, I did not do it. I could even say the only function I attended would be funerals as I would not get distracted attending funerals. For this reason, I have tried so much to exhort you all until some of you feel annoyed and tired.

Last night I practiced and went to bed. In my sleep, I could hear my master’s voice telling me to stay in equanimity. I could never carry everybody to nirvana. I could only teach all of you. If you learn and keep practicing, you will progress and grow. If you don’t then you won’t progress and there is nothing, I could do but be in equanimity. That’s what my master told me. So, from now on, I will not keep inciting you one by one. I will teach you all as a whole. You just have to choose whether you want to listen to dhamma or to your own desires. The choice is yours and no one can practice on your behalf.

Like what I have taught you all along, to be modest, be detached, be secluded, have constant perseverance, keep the precepts, practice meditation, and grow wisdom. I show you the pathway, not from the book but from my own experience. Not only laymen, monk who is not modest will not survive as he cannot overcome the defilements.

I always teach my fellow monks to always think of the necessity before receiving things from people. When people offer things to the monk, he should consider whether he really needs those things and to take only the necessary amount. For example, when offered 10 bowls of rice, the monk only takes one. Why take 10 when you only need just one. Some monks are so greedy that people cannot even stand.

Long ago, there was a well-off woman who owned a Mercedes car and a Toyota as well. She happened to admire one monk, so she offered that monk a ride with a chauffeur anywhere that monk wanted to go. The monk took the offer and enjoyed the rides every day and became greedier. He complained to the woman why sent him the Toyota instead of the Mercedes. The monk was not modest and not detached but was greedy. The woman who was a businesswoman lost faith and so did those who have witnessed the act of the greedy monk.

When the monk does not follow Lord Buddha’s teaching, it causes those who believe in the doctrine to lose faith and causes those who never believe to be even more skeptical and become uninterested in learning about dhamma. Likewise, this applies to a layman. You all practice dhamma. Have you ever experienced this? When you do something bad, for example, you go out for a drink of liquor and when people see that, they yelled at you “How can the one who practices dhamma have a drink?” And sometimes those of you are short tempered. Even practicing dhamma, you still have short temper. You cannot prevent it. People will say “How can someone who goes to the temple still be easily mad?” People do not just blame you when you are wrong. They refer to Buddhism as well.

That’s why I always remind all my fellow monks that we are the representative of Buddhism. People look at us and if they spot a bad monk, they blame the religion. They are not intellectual enough to digest. This applies to you all. You study with me and when you go out to do something bad, people do not just blame you. They blame “How come Luang Por Pramote’s disciples behave like this?”.

However, regarding people complimenting or berating, this is just so normal. It does not bother me. In reality, there is no one who is only being yelled at or being admired all along. It is common to be gossiped or blamed. I only pity you as this will make it more difficult for you to practice. I do not mind people feeling negatively towards me. I do not live eternally. Nevertheless, I am worried that people seeing Buddhism negatively. This is more significant. If those who go to the temple to practice and turn out to do bad, then people will blame that Buddhism is no good. Therefore, you must be cautious as when we Buddhist do bad things, it affects Buddhism as well.

Normally I do not want to give a sermon about this. However, my masters have alerted me to let go of those who still enjoy partying. I will be equanimous. Whoever chooses to be good or bad, it is up to you. I already have taught you. As time goes by, you can spot the differences. Those who practice and those to do not, though they start similarly in the beginning, but as times go by, you can clearly see the difference between those who keep at practicing and those who do not.

Like in my case, I keep practicing all along. While I practiced dhamma, some friends laughed at me and thought I was a weirdo. They thought those who practice dhamma are weird. I was not bothered. They invited me to drink some liquor, I told them “I could not drink. I was defeated.” They thought I was allergic to liquor but actually I want to overcome my own defilement.

When we follow these regularly; observe the precepts, practice meditation, learn the truth about the world, about your body, your mind and about image and name. Nowadays, looking at those who have grown up with me, they now have turned to be some old men and women. They have aged and have nothing left. Some of them are still drowned in sorrows, some in their past. Some still feel contented with their pass. Some see a deteriorating future. They were dismal and depressed. Some stick with the present but not the present in the sense of dhamma. They wonder when their offspring will ever come to visit them each present day. If their offspring don’t show up, they will be yelled at whenever they come. So, they are afraid to show up and being yelled at.

This describes those who do not practice. They are in sorrow thinking about the past. They are in sorrow thinking about the future. They are in sorrow being present. Unlike those who practice, they are content. I mentioned to Khun Mae, why we are so over the moon. We don’t have many belongings. We reside in a cubicle. We have just one outfit and just decent meal. Why are we so contented? It is so peaceful. We are peaceful. The mind that has been trained brings about happiness. Therefore, practice regularly so you will reach happiness.

In the past, during the time I first practiced dhamma, I still wanted to enjoy the world. However, when I went to pay respect to my masters, I wonder why they were so content even they looked so old? Why they seemed so bright and immaculate. We have to follow their paths to reach contented life, happy life. We know that they observe the precepts, they practice dhamma and be mindful all through their daily life. That’s why they got what they deserved. They never even conceal the path they walked through but try to teach and advise people. Yet only few have followed their path.

Same as during the Buddha era, the Lord Buddha had taught dhamma to people but only few have followed his path. Most people were still counted on those ascetics outside Buddhism to help them, to bless them with good luck and so on. Nowadays, people also still pray to the great Naga and ask for great fortune. They do not focus on karma nor the result of their actions. They only pray and ask for help from angels but not try to help themselves. That’s such a pity and unreasonable.


Luangpu Pramote Pamojjo
Wat Suansantidham
14 July 2023