Traveling Without a Helper

  When Ven. Devananda and I traveled to Kauai in 2015, we did not have a Kappiya (helper) to buy us food or even pay for our luggage.  One can live without helpers, but it does take some pre-planning.     We had a ticket from Yangon to Honolulu that was dirt cheap at only $854 for a round trip fare.  However, it came with 12 hour and 6 hour layovers in China.  I think the whole trip was over 40 hours.  All meals would be provided on the plane that were within our eating times.  We did OK with […]

Are You A Buddhist

Are You A Buddhist?  Introduction  Being a Buddhist is quite open because if you believe in certain aspects it is better than not believing in anything.  We take what we can get. However, here  are the more traditional aspects of being Buddhist.  One should believe in The Triple Gem – ie: The Buddha, The Dhamma and The Sangha).  This can be expanded to include The 4 Noble Truths.  This can be expanded to include the Eightfold Noble Path as well.  The Four Noble Truths also include a belief in cause and effect and past lives (aka Saṁsāra).  Lastly, one should live by these ideals and follow the five precepts for morality, and follow […]

Possessed! A Halloween Special

There were a few times when I have seen some yogis and or monks go crazy. One time I saw a possession case when I went to a Kandy forest monastery called, Ulpathkandha. It means Sprint Hill Monastery. I think it was 2010 when I went there. I wanted to use the Internet for the first time in a few years. I wanted to see what this Facebook thing was. I had my brother make me a Facebook account and I was going to see it for the first time. I thought this monastery had Internet because the main room […]

The Dark Side of Ajahn Mun’s Biography

Venerable Ācariya Mun Būridatta Thera is one of the most revered forest masters of the 20th century. He is the root guru of both the Dhammayut and Ajahn Chah monasteries. He popularized the monastic practice of living under an umbrella in the forest and his relentless energy is fascinating and inspiring.  Although I criticize this book and state that this book is far away from attainments and right view, I still find the “way of life” inspiring.  It is also not proven 100% that these are really the words of Ajahn Mun. One day I tried to read the biographical […]

How to Make a Monk Filter in 3 Minutes

Here is a quick tip on how to make a filter in just a few minutes. Maybe as fast as one minute. This is useful for monks who want to put filters on their water taps. It is my own invention as far as I know, but I am sure other monks somewhere else also do the same. The Buddha did mention that if we did not have a filter, we could use the corner of our robes (that we are wearing). This was how I got the idea by using an old robe. Old robes are abundant and easy […]

I Finally Did It!

I Finally Did It! This Rainy Season (Vassa) I was able to learn the Pātimokkha (227 Rules) by heart. It is the first round and it takes me a long time to do it, and there are mistakes. Never the less, it is considered “learned” and “memorized” at this stage. I will hopefully recite the Pātimokkha for the full moon November 3rd if all goes well. I need to get my 2+ hours of recitation down to at least 1:15 minutes. Most people do the recitation in 45 minutes or less. Some can do it in 25 minutes! It is […]

How Do Monks Say Grace Before Eating?

How Do Monks Say Grace Before Eating? Do Theravāda monks say anything before they eat? Do they give thanks? Who do they say thanks to? Or is it something else? Buddhist monks generally do a reflection and chant something before eating. In fact it is said that the monks incurs debt if they doe not reflect before eating. Actually, there are 4 reflections concerning the Four Requisites: 1. Robes 2. Food 3. Lodging 4. Medicine If the monk does not reflect on these before use (for food and medicine) or at least once daily (for robes and lodging), then he […]

Racism in Asia, Myanmar, and Monasteries

Racism in Asia, Myanmar and Monasteries I remember when I came to Sri Lanka, in 2007 and I met a monk who said he was from Slovenia. “Slovenia? What kind of country is that?” I told him that I had memorized the world map in school, but I didn’t remember any “Slovenia.” There happened to be a large world map in the other room and he called me over to see it. He pointed to his country and a bunch of other new countries a few centimeters away. At that time, I had been a monk for 6 years and […]

Does The Buddha live in Nibbana

Does the Buddha Live in Nibbāna? Many people believe that the Buddha is alive and living in some sort of transcendental realm called Nibbāna where he can hear your prayers and eat and drink the food and water that you offer to Him. We Buddhist monks smile when we hear that people have such beliefs because nobody lives in Nibbāna, not even a Buddha. This is wrong view, and any teacher or monk who believes and teaches this is surely not enlightened because permanently removing wrong view is part of enlightenment (in Theravāda). “So where is The Buddha then?” you […]

Donation to Sangha or Individuals?

  When should you give to Saṅgha? When should you give to individual monks? This is a question that is not addressed very often and it can cause lots of trouble for monks knowingly and unknowingly. Quite often, many monks blindly prompt donors to recite a line of pāḷi before they offer anything to them. “Bhikkhu Saṅghassa demi.” There are some variations, but that is the generic formula. It means, “I give to the community of monks.” This is done to give the donor more merit. He makes more merit when he gives to a community instead of one single […]