Tuesday, 19 January 2010


Yes he did, just as he kicked Ajahn Nyanadhammo.

Speaking on Saturday evening at the Ajahn Chah Remembrance Day in Kuala Lumpur, Ajahn Nyanadhammo recalled one time when walking back to the monastery in Thailand after alms round, a brother monk had complained of the other monks. Not wanting to indulge in it, he walked ahead but a conversation carried on his mind along the lines of “how can he say that…’ etc. The more irritated he felt, the lower he hung his head. As he reached the monastery, he heard a “Good Morning” greeting and he looked up. It was Ajahn Chah, his teacher who could only speak a smattering of English. That lifted his spirits and soon enough, his mood changed and the rest of the day, he forgot about the brother monk’s complaint.

That evening, he was at Ajahn Chah’s kuti to give him a foot massage. As always, there were other monks around to discuss the Dhamma with the teacher. The time came for evening chanting and Ajahn Chah instructed all except him to go for chanting. Ajahn Nyanadhammo remained to continue the massage. He recalled that the temperature was just soothingly nice, the moon was clear in the sky and there were no mosquitoes. He actually felt heavenly, performing an act of gratitude for his revered teacher. Just then out of the blue, Ajahn Chah kicked him and fell back, hitting his head. That knocked some senses into him. “Don’t get lost in the words of others, watch your own mind, “Ajahn Chah said, reprimanding him for being so affected, brooding by what a brother monk said but so elated by a “Good Morning” greeting.

Don’t get lost in the words of others, watch your own mind. That was one precious takeaway for me that evening in between manning the Book Distribution counter and catching snippets of the talk. I repeated it in my mind to commit it to memory.

The next morning as I was having breakfast, I related to Jessie of an inconsiderate man that evening who just stood by without lifting a finger to see me and two other girl volunteers pile more than 1,000 books into his CRV for his pregnant wife to send to a reverend for distribution. His son, probably three or four-years-old, even helped by carrying the bundle packs of 30 books but he coolly stood by. He even told his boy that he may hurt himself but he did not even reach out to take the books from his son. How inconsiderate! As I related it, I just blurted out to Jessie that I have been carrying this thought with me the whole night and even the next morning, having a conversation in mind about how unhelpful, uncaring... blah, blah, blah. Just that moment, I felt that Ajahn Chah just kicked me!

With folded palms and great reverence, I thank you, Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Nyanadhammo. I will remember that kick and the lesson.