4👑☸ Cattāri Ariya-saccaṃ 四聖諦

4👑☸🏛️📚lib A.Keng.Bio    🔝
 A.Keng.Bio 0 – Autobiography of Phra Ajaan Keng Khemako (Phra Vinayadhammavidesa)
A.Keng.Bio 1 – early life
A.Keng.Bio 2 – searching for a way out of suffering
A.Keng.Bio 3 – early monkhood (first 3 vassas)
A.Keng.Bio 4 – the middle years leading the forest ascetic life (vassa 4-9)
A.Keng.Bio 5 – supporting buddhism in singapore
A.Keng.Bio 6 – propagation of buddha-dhamma
A.Keng.Bio 7 – advice to monks
A.Keng.Bio 8 – portrait painting of ajahn keng
A.Keng.Bio 9 – acknowledgements
A.Keng.Bio 10 – glossary

0 – Autobiography of Phra Ajaan Keng Khemako (Phra Vinayadhammavidesa)





Family Background


Folk Religious Beliefs


Illnesses During Childhood




Real Taste of Suffering


National Service and Encounters with Forest Monks


Parachuting Accident on Birthday


Discharge From National Service and Continued Illness




Dhamma Benefactors


Groundwork for a Solid Foundation in Dhamma Practice


Unshakable Faith in the Triple Gem


The Dhamma Will Protect You


Telepathy Does Exist


The Catalyst for Ordination


3. EARLY MONKHOOD (The First Three Vassas) 27

Ordination at Wat Asokaram


Father’s Past Kammic Creditors


Weakening the Five Hindrances


Training in Endurance


Misconceptions about Practice


Out-of-Body Experiences


Phra Ajaan Maha Boowa’s Teachings



(Vassa Four to Nine)

Teachings from the Great Teachers


Meeting Luang Puu Jia and Receiving Instructions


Meeting Luang Phor Den


My Tudong Dream Come True


Walking into a War Zone


Living in the Forest and Training with Luang Phor Den


Challenges with Food


Support from Doctors, Nurses, and Lay Devotees from Bangkok 53

Develop Right Thoughts


An Ancient Chedi and the Building of Luang Phor Den’s Monastery 55

Learn to See Suffering and See Suffering Created by Oneself 56

Malevolent Spirit of a Karen Tribe Woman


The Laughing Buddha


Exorcising a Possessed Village Girl


Hungry Ghosts


The Beautiful Deva of Nam Tok Jed Si


Learning the Patimokkha Recitation from Luang Phor Oon 63

Sister Patricia Teo, the Deva who had Gratitude


Concept of Time in Different Realms


The Farmer Looking for a Son-in-Law


Vassa in a Drug Trafficking Hotspot


Wat Metta, USA


Prophetic Dream of Mission in Wat Palelai


Tudong to Palomar Mountain, USA


Kamma and Vipaka (Fruition of Kamma)


Rat with Sacca (Truthfulness)


About Luang Phor Thong




Coming Back to Singapore with Luang Puu Jia


Experiences of Luang Puu Jia in Singapore


Introducing Pindapāta (the Almsround) to Singapore and Malaysia 98

Chedi Dhammasathit, Wat Palelai


SG50 & First Mass Ordination of Monks in Singapore 108

Sīmā Dhamma Vinaya Raṅsī, Wat Palelai


The Challenges of Teaching the Dhamma in Singapore




Establishing / Helping Out Monasteries


Establishing Wat Paa Doi Charoentham, Omkoi, Thailand


- Establishment of a Monastery to Train Monks

- Help from the Guardian Deva

- YouTube Ideas vs.
Samãdhi Vision

- Phra Tuu’s Contributions

- A Road to Relieve the Suffering of the Villagers

Establishing Santi Forest Monastery, Johor, Malaysia


- A Prophetic Dream of Wat Santi

- Wat Santi’s Early Years

- Encounters in Malaysia:
Partial Paralysis – Encounter with a Snake

- Our Conduct Brings in the Support

Establishing Wat Paa Khemago, Mankarbo, Sweden


Helping out Wat Samphanthawong, Melbourne, Australia


Invitations to Teach in Other Countries


- Indonesia

- China

- India











Phra Ajaan Keng Khemako (Phra Vinayadhammavidesa), is a Singaporean Buddhist monk who ordained under the Thai Forest Meditation Tradition of Thailand, founded by Phra Ajaan Mun Bhūridatto (Luang Puu Mun) and his teacher, Phra Ajaan Sao Kantasīlo.
His ordained name is Bhikkhu Khemako, meaning, “one who brings safety/security/well-being.
” He is also affectionately known to his disciples and devotees as Ajaan Keng.

Born in Singapore on 13th May, 1963, he lived the urban city life like everyone else there.
However, he had constant body ailments that he could not resolve, and this led him to seek a permanent solution to his problems.
He had two benefactors:
David Chan Cheong Ling, a friend who introduced him to Wat Palelai Singapore, and the other, Mr.
Cheong Foo Choon, whom he met at Palelai, who taught him the practice of meditation.
A member of the meditation group at Wat Palelai was able to establish contact with Phra Ajaan Thanissaro Bhikkhu (currently the Abbot of Metta Forest Monastery, USA), and this led to members of the group visiting Thailand to meet Phra Ajaan Thanissaro and his teacher, Phra Ajaan Fuang Jotiko, at Wat Dhammasathit, Rayong.

Phra Ajaan Keng’s early positive experiences with meditation coupled with his deteriorating health (he was advised by a Traditional Chinese Medicine physician to have complete rest if he wanted to live) were the driving forces that led him to finally decide to take up the life of a Buddhist monk.

On 29th July 1987, after his ordination at Wat Asokaram, Thailand, he went to reside with Phra Ajaan Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Ajaan Geoff) at Wat Dhammasathit.
He spent the first three years of his monastic life in Wat Dhammasathit, learning the Dhamma-Vinaya (the Buddhist Teachings and Discipline) and meditation practice under the tutelage of Phra Ajaan Geoff.
It was also at Wat Dhammasathit that he met one of his key spiritual mentors, Luang Puu Jia Cundo, who was one of Luang Puu Mun’s disciples and a contemporary of Phra Ajaan Fuang.

After his third year at Wat Dhammasathit, Phra Ajaan Keng went into the deeper forested areas near the Thai-Myanmar border for greater seclusion and intensive meditation practice.
He spent the next five years under very challenging conditions, encountering the hardships of living on very simple alms food (chillies and sticky rice) offered by hilltribe villagers, undertaking the forest ascetic practices taught by the Buddha, and living in seclusion.
In the process, he encountered life-threatening situations (walking into a war zone, drug traffickers, etc.
), met wild animals, spirits (some wrathful, some very pitiful, and some very supportive), and celestial beings.
Not all of these encounters or events have been recorded in this autobiography, as we are guided by what Phra Ajaan Keng feels are appropriate to share for the purposes of the autobiography:
educating the next generation of Buddhist practitioners.


After spending eight years in the forests of Thailand and on the prompting of Luang Puu Jia to help his countrymen in Singapore, he decided to return to Singapore to teach those who are keen on learning about the Dhamma and its practices.
This marked a turning point in his monastic life, and he has since been actively teaching both lay and monastic disciples in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and most recently, Australia.
On top of that, he has also helped establish monasteries and teaching centres in the region.
Even though he is very engaged in Dhamma propagation work, he is still very much a wandering forest ascetic at heart.
He continues to undertake tudong (wandering/hiking from place to place in search of quiet places to meditate) whenever an opportunity arises.
In March 2021, he led some of his disciples in Australia on a 1,087 km hike from Lara, Victoria, to Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, and another 794 km hike from Lara to Adelaide, Australia, in 2022. Previously, in December 2018, he had led his monastic disciples on tudong from Baan Phru, Hat Yai, in Southern Thailand, to Wat Palelai, Singapore, a distance of more than 1,000 km.
From 28th December 2019 to 19th January 2020, he led his monastic disciples on tudong over more than 300 km of mountainous terrain, from Omkoi in Northern Thailand to Wat Chedi Luang, Chiangmai, as a mark of respect to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Luang Puu Mun.
All these treks being done in his late fifties!

He is currently the President of Palelai Buddhist Temple, Singapore;
Abbot of Santi Forest Monastery in Ulu Tiram, Johor, Malaysia;
President of the Dhammayuttika Order in Malaysia and Singapore;
and Religious Advisor of Wat Sampanthawong Australia, Geelong, Australia.
He also founded three monasteries:
Santi Forest Monastery, in Johor, Malaysia;
Wat Paa Doi Charoentham, Omkoi, Thailand, and Wat Khemago Buddhist Association in Mankarbo, Sweden.

Through the years, many of his disciples and devotees have requested that he narrate his experiences so that they could be captured in book form for others to learn from them.
A number of attempts were made by different individuals/groups, however, a biography failed to see the light of day.
It was not until he was more settled in his mission in Wat Samphanthawong, Geelong, Australia, that he had time to sit down with one of his disciples, Chuuee Tan, to narrate his experiences.
Chuuee faithfully recorded and transcribed his experiences on paper.
At the same time, Sebastian Wong raised the request to Phra Ajaan Keng to re-activate his earlier attempt to write Phra Ajaan Keng’s biography, to commemorate Phra Ajaan Keng’s 60th birthday in 2023. Phra Ajaan Keng then referred Sebastian to Chuuee and suggested that they work on the project together.
This marked the start of a cross-country collaboration involving Chuuee recording the narratives and transcribing them, Sebastian and Chee Tuck Hong editing and arranging the manuscript and working with the printer for publication.
Some parts of the autobiography were sourced from earlier records made in Chinese.

In narrating his biography, Phra Ajaan Keng’s intent was to encourage the practice of Buddhism in a manner suited to the 21st century.
It describes his journey and experiences as an urbanite Singaporean, embracing the life of a monk in the tradition of the Forest Meditation Masters of Thailand.


Phra Ajaan Keng shares how one can learn to practise by adjusting one’s state of mind to endure hardships and difficult situations.
He hopes that his sharing would inspire his disciples and devotees in their own practice.
The ultimate goal is to free oneself from suffering and stress through the attainment of release from craving and clinging – the root causes of dukkha (stress/suffering).

According to Phra Ajaan Keng, some people might read his biography without using wisdom, thinking that these practices are easy.
Often what has been written are accounts of practitioners who had sacrificed decades of their life, energy, and effort to reach their goals.
They did not enjoy sense pleasures like householders at large.
It is not possible for readers who may be inspired by what they read to get the same results as the practitioners if all they do is practise for a short time at a temple or attend a meditation retreat.
This method of mind cultivation is not extreme.
When these short-term practitioners are not able to get the same results, they might comment that the Buddha did not tell us to practise asceticism.
In fact, if one is not able to do it, one should admit that one cannot do it and not think one is wiser than the Buddha.
The Middle Way that the Buddha taught is not the Middle Way of the current society, which indulges in sitting in front of screens, smart phones, eating, and luxurious living.
That is not the Buddha’s Middle Way but the greedy and ignorant way of current society.
He warns that everyone must be careful about this.

This autobiography is a work in progress, as it is published to commemorate Phra Ajaan Keng’s 60th birthday, considered an auspicious occasion by local Chinese Singaporeans.
We on the biography team hope that this biography will be expanded to include other events or lessons from Phra Ajaan Keng’s experiences in many more years to come.

We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to Phra Ajaan Keng for so patiently and generously sharing his life experiences with us.
May all who read this autobiography be encouraged and motivated to walk the Buddha’s Middle Path of Practice and swiftly attain release from samsara.

May Phra Ajaan Keng live a long and healthy life out of compassion for the many folks who will benefit from learning the Buddha Dhamma from him.

Offered with our Highest Respects,

Chuuee Tan (Wat Samphanthawong, Geelong Australia)

Chee Tuck Hong (Palelai Buddhist Temple, Singapore)

Sebastian Wong (Palelai Buddhist Temple, Singapore) 13th May 2023 (BE 2566)



Let Phra Khruu Palad Samphiphathanasudhajan, Kah Keng, at Wat Santidham Malaysia, become a member of the Royal Council of Monks with the name Phra Vinayadhammavidesa.

May he accept the duties of the Buddha’s teachings, taking on the responsibility of advising, teaching, and settling issues, providing aid and assistance to the bhikkhus and samaneras in his monastery, as is appropriate.

May he grow in happiness and well-being in the Buddha’s teachings.

Beginning the 5th of December, 2556 B.
E. (2013 C.
E.), the 68th year of the current reign.

Somdet Phra Paramindramaha Bhumiphol P.

The Person carrying out the Royal Decree

The Prime Minister

Yingluck Shinawatra



(Ajaan Keng Khemako)


Supaṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho,

Uju-paṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho,

Ñāya-paṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho,

Sāmīci-paṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho,

Yadidaṁ cattāri purisa-yugāni aṭṭha purisa-puggalā:

Esa bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho—

Āhuneyyo pāhuneyyo dakkhiṇeyyo añjali-karaṇīyo,

Anuttaraṁ puññakkhettaṁ lokassāti.

The Saṅgha of the Blessed One’s disciples who have practiced well, the Saṅgha of the Blessed One’s disciples who have practiced straightforwardly, the Saṅgha of the Blessed One’s disciples who have practiced methodically, the Saṅgha of the Blessed One’s disciples who have practiced masterfully, i.
e., the four pairs—the eight types—of noble ones:

That is the Saṅgha of the Blessed One’s disciples—

worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect, the incomparable field of merit for the world.


P H R A A J A A N K E N G ’ S L I N E A G E O F T E A C H E R S

Luang Puu Sao

Luang Puu Mun

Than Phor Lee

Than Phor Fuang

Luang Puu Jia

Luang Phor Thong

Luang Phor Oon

Luang Phor Den

Phra Ajaan Thanissaro


And what is the result of stress?
There are some cases in which a person overcome with pain, his mind exhausted, grieves, mourns, laments, beats his breast, & becomes bewildered.
Or one overcome with pain, his mind exhausted, comes to search outside, ‘Who knows a way or two to stop this pain?
’ I tell you, monks, that stress results either in bewilderment or in search.

AN 6:


1 – early life


With his mother.

As a child.

Family Background

I was born Ong Kah Keng in a rural Singaporean village on the 13th May 1963, son to my father Ong Chin Huat and mother Tan Moh Tien.
I am the 5th child in a family of six children.

When I was born, my mother had a very auspicious dream:
A monk emerged from a bright light and asked her for the newborn baby, which she happily agreed to, as she was filled with joy at that moment.

It was not until years later when I took her and my father to visit Luang Puu Waen’s monastery in Thailand [Wat Doi Mae Pang, Chiangmai] that she saw a photo of Luang Puu Waen on the wall and told me that the monk in the photo was the monk who had asked for the baby in her dream years ago.

I grew up in a traditional composite family of more than 20 people, sharing a house with grandparents, uncles, aunties, and cousins, in addition to my own immediate family.
Inequality in such a big household was very common.
My father was a pig butcher, and my mother a housewife.


His parents visited him

in Thailand, picture taken

at Wat Veluvan (Khao Jin

Lae) Lopburi Luang Phor

Samut’s monastery.

parents were uneducated and didn’t have many choices in the profession they had taken up.
As long as they could make a living from a profession, they would work at it.
Growing up in such a big family, life was not easy, with so many mouths to feed, as food was not easy to come by, and choices were limited.

We were not as fortunate as children these days.

It was common for many families in those days to revolve around political parties (not unlike gangsters), brawls, murders, smoking opium, and gambling centres, etc.
My composite family was no exception, which meant that growing up I acquired many bad habits.
Places that seemed like youth clubs were in fact gambling centres and these ‘youth clubs’ were overseen by gang members who took on committee roles.

Folk Religious Beliefs

Taoism was a prosperous religion in the 1950s. When the Chinese migrated to Singapore from China, they brought with them their religious beliefs of praying to certain deities/gods such as Nan Hai Guanyin, Fazugong, and the “Third Prince,” etc.
My family worshipped these deities/gods, meaning that, growing up, I was exposed only to Taoism and had no idea of the existence of other religions.

People of that era had no education and life was difficult.
Their beliefs in Taoism helped to lift their spirits.
When they were faced with problems, they would pray to the Taoist gods, asking for help, and sometimes their prayers were answered.
When I was sick, my mother would pray to these gods, and sometimes I would get better after eating magic runes given by them.
On some occasions, my parents would say that I had offended some beings and needed to go to the crossroads to pay respects to these unseen beings and that I would feel better after doing so.
When that didn’t work, I was sent to see a medical doctor.


Do the gods help or not?
Or do the gods help occasionally or is it a psychological effect?
Having been a monk for so many years, to me those practices should have a psychological effect in retrospect.
If you believe in it, it has power, and if you don’t, there is none.

During that time in Singapore not many people understood Buddhism but they knew the presence of higher beings.
They placed their beliefs in spiritual mediums whom they would approach to ask for help and to solve their problems, big or small.
Sighting a monk at that time was similar to seeing a ghost, and parents would ask their children to return home quickly as they believed monks had the power to cast black magic spells.
The main source of that information during those days was hearsay.
I experienced that in my childhood when a teacher took a monk through my village to greet the villagers.

Illnesses During Childhood

As a child, I was prone to “accidents” and often fell ill.
I visited the hospital often, sometimes once every two days and I consumed a lot of Western as well as traditional Chinese medicine.

One of those special traditional medicines was goat’s brain soup.
However, goat’s brain was not cheap, and that prescription placed a large financial burden on my family.
My father would drive to the city every day to buy goat’s brains.
Although I was tired of drinking the same soup, my condition improved slowly over time.

As a child I liked to go fishing, hence causing harm to countless fishes.
I would knock big fishes on their heads and put them back into the water.
I did not understand that I hurt these fishes and made a lot of bad kamma.
I was often sick and suffered headaches.
When I was in pain due to my ailments, I would complain a lot and felt that life was bitter.
Once I understood Buddhism and the working of kamma, I stopped complaining when faced with those ailments.


I started my education at Chai Chee Kindergarten in Singapore, then completed primary education at Opera Estate Boys Primary School and secondary education at Changkat Changi Secondary School.

My family was in the pig butchering business.
They slaughtered pigs and butchered the meat to sell for a living.
Naturally, given the tight financial circumstances of my family, any leftover produce (usually carcasses), would be brought home for the family’s dinner.
Aside from pork, fish was provided by an old man, Kwai-Peh [Uncle Kwai], who boarded with my family.
In exchange for fish, my family gave him a small room to sleep in.
Kwai-Peh worked a simple job at Jurong fish distribution centre, picking up and collecting fishes that dropped out from the baskets.
Additionally, vegetables were obtained through trading pork with other vendors.
Whenever I asked my mother for pocket money to buy food,


she would always say we do not have any money.
Determined to earn some personal spending money, I started doing odd jobs when I was in secondary school.
I worked in various jobs, from making batik and candlewicks, to baking bread and cutting threads for a tailor.
Not all my work was paid.
Some simply allowed me to learn their trade.
When I received my first paycheque, I gave it to my mother.

In my village, most people were concerned only with earning a living.
They were able to satisfy their basic needs but they were still unable to be content.
I was no exception.
Whenever I saw others with new things, the feeling of desire would arise within me and I would want what they had, too.

Making money was a priority to many of the villagers and that was done by any means necessary with little to no consideration for how the money was acquired.

Real Taste of Suffering

At the age of 16, I went to apply for Training Ship Singapore to become a cook on board an ocean liner.
During that time, sea trade was booming in Singapore, and the demand for Singapore seamen was high.
I was the youngest among all the trainees.
I was selected to work as a second cook with the Trans Ocean Liner, which required the person to be independent and to perform various tasks and skills in cooking varieties of cuisines from different cultures.
I was successful in the training and passed the course.
A high wage and an air ticket to Amsterdam were waiting for me to commence my career.
I was ecstatic about the whole program, thinking that I was going to make a great fortune.
However, that happiness was short-lived.
As I had not yet served in the mandatory Singapore National Service, the Singapore Government forbade me from leaving Singapore.
I was forced to relinquish the opportunity, and my dream to riches was completely shattered.
Knowing that I was unable to pursue the traineeship that I strongly desired, I cried for many days.
My mother told me not to be too hard on myself and voiced her concern that I would be all alone in a faraway place.
That, however, did not change how I felt.
Seeing that there was no solution to the matter, I eventually gave up the thought.
That was my first real taste of suffering.

National Service and Encounters with Forest Monks

While waiting to commence my life in National Service, I worked on many part-time jobs.

According to the Enlistment Act, the duration of the conscription spanned a period of two and a half years.
Deferment was acceptable for pre-enlistees who wished to complete their full-time tertiary studies and commence their conscription as over-aged service men.
At that stage I decided not to continue with my education, as I observed that many learned people had no contribution to society.

Some might even choose to hide in their own rooms.
I decided to believe in my own exertion.


Phra Ajaan Keng served in the Singapore Armed Forces 1st Commando Battalion as part of his national service Obligations, from July 1981

to December 1983.

In July 1981, as soon as I turned 18, I was enlisted to serve in the National Service.
I was drafted to train under the Commando Battalion Singapore in Changi Camp at Hendon Road.
This training would later serve me well when I went on tudong to intensify my practice living in forests and caves.

As part of our training program, soldiers would be sent to Thailand to train in a designated terrain.

A coordinator who could speak Thai led the team to avoid any conflict with local residents and help resolve any misunderstandings and disputes.
I went on a Thailand Exercise trip in Kanchanaburi.
My first encounter with a monk was while doing training with my team.
I saw a small hut with a monk meditating in it.
I was very puzzled and thought about the many beautiful temples in the city and wondered why the monk did not want to live in those temples.
Why did he want to torture himself by living in the mountains?
Why did he shave his beard?
I realised that was very hard work.
The forest was far away from the village, with lots of mosquitoes, no toilet facilities or food.
Life was definitely not easy.

At that time, I thought perhaps the monk was crazy, eccentric and could not live with others.
Only after I became a monk did I realise that I was wrong.
Those monks were actually practising diligently and cultivating asceticism.
However, without understanding their true intentions, people regarded those monks as social outcasts.
That was my first impression of monks.


My second encounter with a monk was at River Kwai, Railway Destruction Training.
It was raining heavily, so my comrades and I had to take shelter in a cave.
A monk was meditating in the cave.
The team leader instructed us to be quiet, as the monk was meditating.
Unfortunately, we did not heed his advice but started to behave rudely, playing at throwing coins in the cave.
When I learnt about Buddhism, I felt very remorseful about that incident.
In 2013, I returned to the cave to repent.
Although the monk was no longer there, the Buddha’s altar was still there.
I went to the altar to light some candles and oil lamps and expressed my sincere apologies.

Parachuting Accident on Birthday

My mother practised Taoism and at times sought advice from spiritual mediums to help solve her problems.
She had been advised by a medium that I should avoid any high places, as this would pose a danger to my life.

Part of my National Service training involved parachuting.
I could not avoid that compulsory training.
Knowing that, my mother consulted the deity through a medium who prescribed nine magic runes for me to consume to protect and keep me safe.
I was also required to pay respects to the deity who had given me the magic runes upon my safe return from my parachuting exercises.

There was once when the parachute training was about to begin and I realised I had forgotten to drink the magic water.
Just before boarding the plane, I had to ask permission from my leader to allow me to go to the toilet so that I could burn the magic rune and drink the magic water.
Recalling the incident, I thought that was very childish.
Nevertheless, upon my safe return from the parachuting training, I paid respects to the deity as promised.
Throughout the parachuting training, there were no unpleasant incidents.
However, in an evening practice on the last day, which was also my birthday, I failed in my landing and broke my leg.
I felt very miserable, as none of my comrades came to help me.
When I returned to the camp, none of them showed any concern for me though they knew of my accident.
As I was staying on the third floor, I had to hop to the third floor to get my belongings before catching a taxi home.
An NCO [non-commissioned officer] was around to help me leave the training camp.

Upon completion of my National Service, I went to work in the hospitality industry as a cook.
In one of my jobs, I had a very demanding French chef as my supervisor.
As commonly occurred when working with people, I faced many human relationship challenges.
At the same time, working under a high-pressure environment to produce food to a high standard made me angry and frustrated at times.

Sometimes the anger was so intense that I was tempted to take a knife to the other party.
Fortunately, by then, I had learnt enough meditation to use the word ‘Buddho’ to suppress my anger, and the anger disappeared within me.


Discharge From National Service and Continued Illness At the end of the year 1983, I was discharged from my National Service in the Army.
We had an R.

[“running out date” – the image is that of servicemen running out of their camps upon completing their fulltime service] farewell party for our 1st Commando Battalion, 3rd Company, at the Hyatt Hotel, for which we were supplied with a lot of hard liquor.
My three friends and I consumed all of it in one night, and the next day I experienced chest pains from which I did not fully recover from for several days so I became worried.
Thus the misery began as I continued to suffer from ill health for many years to come.
I was tired all the time and I, who had once been a happy man, became very depressed as I continued to suffer.
I had no understanding of the Dhamma and meditation so I placed all my hope on doctors.
As neither Western nor traditional Chinese medicine seemed to help, I even sought witchcraft, trance mediums, deities, and Thai black magic.
Eventually, after some thought, I came to believe that my sickness might be related to my past bad habits such as fishing, drinking, smoking, binge eating, and drinking during National Service, as I had not taken good care of my health at that time.

As I was still a reservist of the Army, even after being discharged, I was entitled to free medical treatments provided by the government.
I was referred to various specialist doctors but none could provide me with a firm diagnosis.
I was even referred to a psychiatrist, which made me very angry as I felt insulted.
Coincidentally, at the same time back in those days, there were positive AIDS cases in Singapore and I was furious when the doctors at the hospital confronted me with their suspicions.
My AIDS test results came back negative.
Even today, no one knows what ailment I had at that time.


Then a householder or householder’s son goes to him and observes him with regard to three mental qualities—qualities based on greed, qualities based on aversion, qualities based on delusion:
‘Are there in this venerable one any such qualities based on greed that, with his mind overcome by these qualities, he might say, “I know,” while not knowing, or say, “I see,” while not seeing;
or that he might urge another to act in a way that was for his/her long-term harm & pain?
’ As he observes him, he comes to know, ‘There are in this venerable one no such qualities based on greed… His bodily behavior & verbal behavior are those of one not greedy.
And the Dhamma he teaches is deep, hard to see, hard to realise, tranquil, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise.
This Dhamma can’t easily be taught by a person who’s greedy.
“When, on observing that the monk is purified with regard to qualities based on greed, he next observes him with regard to qualities based on aversion.
.. based on delusion:
‘Are there in this venerable one any such qualities based on delusion that, with his mind overcome by these qualities, he might say, “I know,” while not knowing, or say, “I see,” while not seeing;
or that he might urge another to act in a way that was for his/her long-term harm & pain?
’ As he observes him, he comes to know, ‘There are in this venerable one no such qualities based on delusion… His bodily behavior & verbal behavior are those of one not deluded.
And the Dhamma he teaches is deep, hard to see, hard to realise, tranquil, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise.
This Dhamma can’t easily be taught by a person who’s deluded.

“When, on observing that the monk is purified with regard to qualities based on delusion, he places conviction in him.
With the arising of conviction, he visits him & grows close to him.
Growing close to him, he lends ear.
Lending ear, he hears the Dhamma.
Hearing the Dhamma, he remembers it.
Remembering it, he penetrates the meaning of those dhammas.
Penetrating the meaning, he comes to an agreement through pondering those dhammas.
There being an agreement through pondering those dhammas, desire arises.

With the arising of desire, he becomes willing.
Willing, he contemplates [lit:

Contemplating, he makes an exertion.
Exerting himself, he both realises the ultimate meaning of the truth with his body and sees by penetrating it with discernment.

MN 95


2 – searching for a way out of suffering



Dhamma Benefactors

When my health did not improve, my friend David Chan Cheong Ling advised me to consult a Thai monk for help, thinking I might have been cursed with Thai black magic.
Hence, I ended up at Wat Palelai, which was the closest temple to my home.
The abbot of the temple told me to offer a Sangha-dana, then the monks did a chanting ceremony and sprinkled holy water on me, but I was not convinced and did not feel cured.

I was in a dilemma, wondering if I should continue going to the temple.
I had spent a long time training in Thailand while in National Service so I would not have been surprised if I had been cursed with Thai black magic.
That scared me.
At the temple, I noticed that there was something about the chanting that appealed to me.
I felt calm and peaceful when I was engrossed in the chanting.
I wished the chanting rhythm could go on forever.
So, I continued to visit the temple whenever I had time and sat outside the temple to listen to the chanting.
Visiting the temple frequently, I got to know many Dhamma friends and monks, one of whom was Venerable Mahinda of Brickfields Temple in Malaysia.

One day, the abbot of Wat Palelai invited me to chant with them inside the temple.
After some time, I was chanting better and louder than the abbot himself!

Two individuals were instrumental in bringing me into the Buddha’s Dhamma.
I call them my benefactors.
The first one was David Chan Cheong Ling, who brought me to Wat Palelai.
Then one Sunday, I met my second Dhamma benefactor, Mr.
Cheong Foo Choon at Wat Palelai [who passed away on 28th September 2022]. He was a senior flight engineer and pilot instructor with Singapore Airlines.

Mr. Cheong visited Wat Palelai regularly to practise meditation.
He had taken up meditation to help cope with his wife’s depression.
Every week, he would meditate at a corner in Wat Palelai.
After we met and he observed my condition.
he proclaimed, “Young man, you suffer a lot!” I was so taken aback by this stranger’s piercingly accurate remark that I answered unequivocally, “Yes, I suffer a lot.
” I felt deeply that my life was in agony so much that tears began to flow down my cheeks.
I asked Mr.
Cheong why I was suffering so much and to please tell me more about life and how I could overcome my misery.

At that point, he explained to me about the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, which increased my faith in learning the Dhamma.
When I asked how I could put the theory into practice, Mr.

Cheong said I should practise Ānāpānasati [mindfulness of breathing] meditation and recite the word

” He introduced and guided me in meditation and encouraged me to practise meditation diligently.
He also gave me a copy of the book, Keeping the Breath in Mind and Lessons in Samādhi, originally written in Thai by Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo and translated into English by Ajaan Thanissaro


Bhikkhu (Ajaan Geoff).
That was how I first came to know of Ajaan Geoff, who later became my teacher.

I started to actively participate in Wat Palelai’s activities.
Every week I would participate in group Dhamma discussions after chanting and meditation sessions.
At the end of the activities, Mr.
Cheong would treat everyone to a meal.
In my desperate search for a solution to my ill health, I finally found salvation at Wat Palelai.
Prior to this, I had misconceptions that participating in Wat Palelai’s activities involved monetary obligations.
I used to go to temples purely for food and praying, but learning Dhamma was never in my thoughts.
Before my ill health, whenever I was free on the weekend, I would go fishing, creating a lot of unwholesome kamma.

Groundwork for a Solid Foundation in Dhamma Practice Now that I had made contact with the Dhamma, there was no holding me back.
As I had been suffering from ill health for so long, I realised that meditating was a way to eradicate my suffering.

I recalled Mr.
Cheong’s advice to recite the word ‘Buddho’ and kept that in mind.
I decided to start meditating and sat for an hour through excruciating pain in my legs.
The floor was wet with my profuse sweating.
I felt good despite the experience so I decided to continue to meditate.
I constantly pushed myself to advance.
I slowly increased my sitting time and by the 3rd week I was able to sit continuously for three hours.
I persisted and began to practise diligently by making a strong determination to sit and meditate for three hours regardless of how late and tired I was.
On some days when I worked the night shift from 3pm to 11pm, I kept to it as usual.
Battling against tiredness and shivering with pain, I endured.
That went on for about six months as I continued working at my job on weekdays.
On weekends, I would stay at the Wat to participate in group Dhamma discussions and chanting, and to practise sitting and walking meditation all night.
I had a meditation buddy, Steven Wong Puay Hua, who practised together with me during that time.

One day, in 1985 and about six months into my intensive daily three-hour meditation session, a thought arose in my mind:
“Why do I always lose to this pain that comes from my own body?
If I can’t overcome this pain, then I shall always be defeated by it.
But the pain is really unbearable.
What should I do?
I could change the position of my legs but doing this seems to be a way to escape the pain.
” I made a determination to sit without changing the position of my legs to break through the pain.
I started to sit and recite the word ‘Buddho’ and observed my breath but when the pain intensified, I failed to concentrate on my meditation object, “Buddho.
” Though I was in pain, my mind was calm.
I used different strategies to overcome the pain.
I reminded myself of the pain my mother had gone through while giving birth to me to induce a strong sense of gratitude from within me.
I also resorted to using some Chinese inspiring phrases to motivate myself and help preserve my will power.
One of these was 愚公移山 (Yú gōng yí shān) which literally translated means “old man moves mountains’’ (i.
e., where there is a will, there is a way).

I thought it was good practice to cultivate determination and perseverance, to lay the groundwork for a


solid foundation in my Dhamma practice, for the benefit of all of mankind.
Another Chinese idiom was 磨杵成针 (Mó chǔ chéng zhēn), “constant grinding can turn an iron rod into a needle.
” It means that no matter how difficult or challenging a task is, it can be done as long as there is perseverance.
When the pain intensified, I told myself “no pain, no gain.
” I also recalled the song “Good things don’t come easy, good things take some time” when the pain had become nearly unbearable.

Unshakable Faith in the Triple Gem

With these four encouraging phrases, I managed to remain seated in the same posture for the whole session.
I found it strange that I was able to pull my attention back to the object of meditation by attentively focusing my attention there.
The mind could be in control by simply convincing it using those four phrases.
Eventually, I was in such excruciating pain that I continuously brought this resolution into my mind:
“Let death be it!.

As a last resort and a final push, I resolved that the worst thing that could happen was death, so I vented, “Die, die, die…!!!” The intense pain which had started in my thighs and knees, sensations that felt like the flesh and bone were splitting, burning, stinging and feverish, began to travel upward from the legs towards the groin, chest, and head, where the fiery hot painful sensations burst through the top of my head.
Suddenly the mind felt cool, blissful, light like a feather.
I realised that the pain had reached its pinnacle and it eventually ceased.
The mind began to cool down and joy arose! It was as if I was one moment in hell and the next moment in heaven.
It felt like I was sitting under a waterfall, refreshing and blissful.
The new sensations travelled downwards through my body to the base of my feet.
Finally, a numbness came over my body and my body dissolved part by part until it reached the head whereupon I felt nothing was left except a very powerful bright mind state as I entered into a very deep concentration, samādhi.
Completely still, without any bodily and material sensation;
without thought, without sound.
Only the mind by itself.

Feeling very light yet very strong at the same time, I experienced an immense courage and a powerful mental energy that made me feel that there was no obstacle in this world that I could not overcome.
A questioning thought arose during the deep concentration, “If you could have a mountain of gold instead of this mental state, which would you choose?
” And in response, a Pali phrase came to mind:
N’atthi santi param sukham [“There is no happiness other than peace”] Peacefulness is the highest bliss.
After that, the mind remained very positive.
Before the mind withdrew from the deep state of concentration, it perceived a white string that shimmered and shifted, eventually turning into thoughts and instantly, agonising painful bodily feelings and suffering arose.
The mind made a mental proclamation, “Suffering! To have the body is suffering.
” Every mental formation is suffering, “Sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā” [All conditioned phenomena are dukkha].


That is just the way it is:
Everything that arises will subsist and then pass into disillusionment.
When the mind is cool and clear with no distracting thoughts, there is no awareness of material things.
If a person has ever experienced samādhi, he will never be easily deceived by the five hindrances.
I knew they were hindrances and would not be fooled by nimittas.

I became more confident and spent less time discussing with others.
The most important thing for me now was to genuinely focus on my meditation practice.
Reading from books merely gathered knowledge.
Realisation and experience came only with practice.
I now developed a good understanding of the mind, knew how it was like when the mind entered into samādhi and also knew how to face the pain.
After that realisation, I developed unshakable faith in the Triple Gem [Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha]

and wished to go forth.
I thought to myself:
“If I managed to experience such wonderful feelings practicing as a lay person, how much further can I develop if I were to be ordained as a monk?
” So, I decided that I must ordain.
I was convinced that I could achieve more as a monk, given that I was able to attain such deep concentration even as a layperson.

I did not know who I could turn to for help or advice.
When I confided in a few people who were meditators themselves, they did not believe me as they thought it was impossible for a beginner like myself to have achieved such a deep state of concentration.
Little did they know how much effort and determination I had applied in my meditation practice every day.

Unfortunately, at that time, Wat Palelai was like an enterprise.
Only the senior monks understood the importance of meditation, everyone else including junior monks and lay people ridiculed my meditation effort:
“This type of activity is for the monks.
You think you’re gonna be the Buddha in front of you!?

First visit to Wat Dhammasathit with Bro Cheong and members of the Palelai meditation group.


The Dhamma Will Protect You

In 1984, Mr.
Cheong and a few friends organised a trip to visit Ajaan Geoff at Wat Dhammasathit in the Rayong Province.
It had been nine months since I started practising meditation and Buddhism and I had experienced samādhi.
Mr. Cheong had invited me to go to Thailand to pay respects to Than Phor Fuang [Phra Ajaan Fuang Jotiko, Abbot of Wat Dhammasathit and teacher of Ajaan Geoff].
With Mr.
Cheong’s help, I managed to get an SIA employee’s air ticket, which was much cheaper (about SGD

$80+). That was how I had the chance to go to Thailand.
Before departing, I communicated with Ajaan Geoff.
I told Ajaan Geoff that there were 11 people going to visit his meditation teacher;
they included Mr.
Cheong & family (four persons), Sebastian Wong & wife (two persons), Steven Wong Puay Hua, Chia Hong Kiat, A.
K. Lim, Aw Sang Ngiap, and myself.
Our first destination was Wat Asokaram, then we went to Rayong and we met Than Phor Fuang for the first time.
At that time, Wat Dhammasathit was building a Buddha Rupa and Chedi.
We stayed back for about 10 days to help as volunteers and practise at the same time.
During that trip, I made vows at three places (Wat Dhammasathit in Rayong, Wat Paa Klawng Kung in Chanthaburi [Shrimp Canal Forest Temple], and Wat Asokaram in Samut Prakaan) that I would ordain as a monk in 10 years’ time by the age of 30.

During that first visit to Wat Dhammasathit Than Phor Fuang brought the group to visit Wat Paa Klawng Kung, Than Phor Lee’s first monastery.

However, after making the vow, I became more sick and my whole body ached after I returned from Thailand.
After many months of seeking many doctors, I was summoned by the Army for reservist training.
At the same time, Than Phor Fuang passed away on 14th May 1986 from a heart attack while he was teaching in Hong Kong.
Than Phor Fuang’s body was transported back to Wat Asokaram near Bangkok and was to be cremated after 100 days.

I decided to go and observe the eight precepts for three months during that 100-day period to show my gratitude and share the merit.
I was also keen to take that period as a trial as to whether I was suited


for the livelihood of a monk.
In order to do so, I needed to apply for sick leave from the Army to be exempted from the reservist training.
I was referred to a specialist, Dr.
Balakrishna at the Singapore General Hospital.
I requested three months of medical leave, but the doctor approved one month of leave so I was very disappointed.
I returned to the army camp to plead my case with the army medical officer but was told he had to follow the doctor’s letter.
I was very anxious at that point and recited Than Phor Lee’s name in my heart and contemplated on Than Phor Lee’s image.
I also made a mental resolution and prayer to Than Phor Lee (the author of the first Dhamma book I ever read) to appeal for the three months leave and miraculously, when I went to collect my letter of leave, the sergeant in-charge announced, “Congratulations, you got three months!”

Phra Ajaan Keng kept the eight precepts as a mark of gratitude to Than Phor Fuang during With Phra Ajaan Thanissaro while keeping the eight Than Phor’s funeral wake at Wat Asokaram.

precepts at Wat Dhammasathit.

I froze for a while but dared not say anything and quickly took the letter and rode the motorcycle to Wat Palelai.
As conditions would have it, I met Mr.
Cheong there, who had just returned from an overseas trip and had somehow felt compelled to visit Wat Palelai that day for no apparent reason.
When he heard that I was planning to travel to Thailand, he unconditionally paid $499 for a Qantas Airlines one-year-open air ticket to Bangkok and also gave me a single $1,000 note for my travelling expenses.

Considering that I only had $80 to my name at that time and had planned to make the journey to Rayong by bus, I was extremely touched by Mr.
Cheong’s kindness and generosity! I spent the three months in Thailand commuting between the two temples:
Wat Asokaram (Bangkok) and Wat Dhammasathit (Rayong).
I strongly believe:
“If you are doing good, don’t worry:
The Dhamma will protect you.

Telepathy Does Exist

On 16th August 1986, my cousin Ong Sock Khim, passed away in Singapore.
During that time, I was in Thailand observing the 100-day period for Than Phor Fuang.
I dreamt that my cousin was crying, calling to me “Ah Keng, quickly come and save me!” I noted down the dream and related the dream to my mother when I returned home.
She was surprised that I knew about the event and told


me that it coincided with the time when my relative passed away.
Hearing that, I elaborated the entire experience to my mum.
In such circumstances, I had proven to myself that telepathy does exist.

The Catalyst for Ordination

Upon my return to Singapore, I continued to suffer from very poor health, so I sought out more doctors.
When I had spent all my money on medical bills, I resorted to seeing mediums again.

However, no doctor or medium could diagnose the source of my illness although I was physically weak and mentally depressed.
That was disappointing particularly after I had experienced the bliss of samādhi and had developed an unshakeable faith and confidence in the Triple Gem.

One day I met with a visiting highly reputable doctor [of Traditional Chinese Medicine] from China, who shook me to the core with his prediction that I had only two years left to live based on my physical condition.
The doctor advised me to sort out my worldly matters and practise quietly in isolation.
That was a major turning point, for I realised that I could no longer afford to wait till the age of 30 to ordain.

I then decided to ordain as a monk as I felt that I was able to adapt to living in the monastery.
Initially my mother thought that I would take some rest at home for a period of time.
However when I told her of my intention, she burst into tears and was very angry at the same time.
My father, however, wanted to give Ajaan Geoff a good beating, thinking that his son had been deceived by the “Westerner.

I told my mother:
“Mum, I am really suffering.
I truly want to become a monk.
” With a sudden realisation, she blurted:
“Is the Buddha actually going to take my son away?
” It was then that she told me about a dream she had had when I was a baby.
In the dream, it was very bright, a compassionate looking elderly monk told her:
“I want this child.
” For some reason, my mother was so touched by the kindness of this monk that she could not refuse and so she agreed without hesitation.
Now she gradually realised that the dream had actually come true.
“The Buddha is taking my son away.
” My father, however, thought that she should not have told me about the dream as this would further fortify my confidence.
At that moment my confidence did actually increase.

I wrote a letter to Ajaan Geoff to let him know of my wish to ordain and to ask if I could be accepted into the Sangha even though I was broke and only had two years left to live.
Ajaan Geoff replied,

“Hurry up and come!” Having received the green light from all quarters, the only obstacle then was a financial one, as I had no money.
In my meditation, I prayed and asked Than Phor Lee for guidance.

Then, an inner voice appeared and said, “Insurance, insurance, insurance.
” Suddenly I recalled the insurance policy I had bought from Great Eastern while in National Service when I was 18 and newly enlisted in the Army.
The insurance policy had a surrender value.
I called Great Eastern at once and managed to claim the surrender value of $1,800. The whopping $1,800 was more than enough for me to make my trip to Thailand to ordain.


Before I left Singapore, I burned all my personal documents such as my birth certificate, identity card, school academic achievements and testimonials, thinking that those were useless as I was going to die in a couple of years anyway.

Unwilling to let her son go and being a strong believer of Taoism, my mother consulted a spirit medium who reaffirmed to her that it was indeed time for her son to go and accumulate merit as a monk.

The spirit medium predicted that I would do great good for Buddhism and become a very famous monk with a lot of vijjā [knowledge].

My mother looked for many avenues to find the answer, many people said:
”He doesn’t have to ordain!” They feared that their children would be irresponsible and not take care of their parents.

Originally, I had planned to earn a sum of money to give to my parents before I was ordained but some things simply did not go according to plan.
I was facing a “death sentence” at the age of 24. Fearing death, I decided to ordain immediately.
At that time, only my parents and uncle knew about this.
The rest of my siblings, including my elder brothers, did not know of my whereabouts.

“Venerable Sir, I go for refuge to the Lord – though he long ago attained Nibbana – together with the Dhamma and the Bhikkhu Sangha.

Venerable Sir, may I obtain the Going Forth in the Dhamma-Vinaya of the Lord, may I obtain the Acceptance…”

(Initial part of the formula

to request for the going forth

into the Theravada Buddhist Sangha).


This path is pursued by those great in purpose, great seers.
Those who follow it, as taught by the One Awakened, heeding the Teacher’s message, will put an end to suffering & stress.

Iti 35


3 – early monkhood (first 3 vassas)


( T H E F I R S T T H R E E VA S S A S )

Ordination at Wat Asokaram

After surrendering my insurance policy, I used the money to pay for my air ticket to Thailand.
My ordination was organised by Ajaan Geoff.
When I first met Luang Phor Thong, he doubted my ability to be a monk.
He predicted that I would disrobe after two weeks and head home.
At 2:
12 pm, on 29th July 1987, I was ordained by Phra Khruu Sunthon Dhammarangsee as my Upajjhāya (Preceptor) at Wat Asokaram.
He was the Abbot of Wat Phayaprup.
My Kammavacariya [Announcing Teacher] was Phra Nyanavisit (Luang Phor Thong), late Abbot of Wat Asokaram, and my Anusavanajaan [Instructing Teacher] was Phra Khruu Nandapanyakhun (Luang Phor Pin, Deputy Abbot of Wat Asokaram).
The then Abbot of Wat Asokaram and usual Upajjhāya for ordinations there had gone to spend the vassa at his home town in Khon Kaen, which was why they had to invite another monk to preside as Upajjhāya for my ordination.
All three of them [Upajjhāya, Kammavacariya and Anusavanajaan] have since passed away.

My monastic name was Bhikkhu Khemako [“one who brings safety/security/well-being”].

Phra Ajaan Keng was ordained on 29th July 1987 at Wat Asokaram Getting ready for the procession.


Start of the ordination ceremony.

The newly ordained

Phra Khemako Bhikkhu.


Ordination Adithaan [Determination]

Normally in Wat Asokaram, before we were ordained, they’d bring us to the main shrine to pay respects to the Buddha and Than Phor Lee.
Thereafter, we would go to the Luang Phor Sian shrine, which is located behind the ordination hall, to pay respects to Luang Phor Sian [this image is an upper half image of the Buddha as seen in the painting by Phra Teerayoot, see Chapter 8]. After that, we would go into the ordination hall for our ordination.

I made my adithaan at the main shrine first and repeated it at the other locations.
The funny thing was that when I made the adithaan, I could see within my mind that there was a big earthquake, trembling within myself.
It was like a big commotion inside but outside, it was all right.
After the ordination, I asked Ajaan Geoff if anything happened but he said that there wasn’t anything;
“Very good, very calm!.
” I wondered what had happened.
My adithaan was that I was alive because of the ordination and if I should disrobe, I would die within seven days.
That was my adithaan.

With his ordination sponsors.

Ordination Sponsors

Lay people, especially elderly Thai ladies were concerned whether there would be any relatives visiting me.
Having found out that there were none, many elderly men and women treated me as their own relative.
They warmly welcomed me and even sponsored my ordination.
They also devotedly supported and cared for me by providing me with daily necessities (e.
g., a thermos flask and other personal items).
As I was already a monk, I rejected all material enjoyments and never demanded


anything, except accepting alms [food].
My priority was to cultivate and practise Buddhist doctrines.
I never sought medical treatment whenever I was sick, but endured my ailments.
I self-medicated when my sickness deteriorated beyond my tolerance.
That, in fact, was good training to toughen oneself.

Early Training in Wat Dhammasathit

After the ordination ceremony, I lived at Wat Dhammasathit, Rayong, with Ajaan Geoff.
Rayong was similar to Ulu Tiram [where Santi Forest Monastery, founded by Phra Ajaan Keng, is located]

which was situated on a small mountain, 7-8 kilometres away from a small village.

In Rayong, I had one meal a day.
Practising in Rayong was fine when compared to living in the forest, which was much tougher.
Wat Dhammasathit was a temple that Than Phor Fuang had accepted to manage, but he was there only half the time when he was still alive.
At other times, he stayed in Bangkok to teach meditation to benefit lay people there.
Ajaan Geoff, who was a disciple of Than Phor Fuang looked, after Wat Dhammasathit while Than Phor Fuang was away.

After my ordination, I practised very diligently.
My daily routine started at 2am with walking and sitting meditation until the time for pindapāta (6am) when I would go and prepare the hall before setting out for the alms round.

An early portrait photo (third year) taken at Wat Sakes, Section 4, He swept the grounds of Wat Dhammasathit everyday.

while on a visit to Than Chao Khun Sri.


After the morning meal at Rayong, there was morning chanting.
When the monks had personal time, I would memorise the suttas in Thai even though I did not fully understand them at the time.

I would listen to other people chant and then transcribe the sutta phonetically by listening and compiling the written notes in a notebook.
At that time, there was a simplified version of the chanting book compiled by Ajaan Khantipalo.
English resources were rare in those days.
Ajaan Geoff put in a lot of effort to translate Than Ajaan Maha Boowa’s books, which included Straight from the Heart and Things as They Are, so I used these materials as a reference and encouragement for my own practice.
I had a lot of gratitude for Ajaan Geoff and appreciated his efforts in translating the books.
I was more of a hands-on and practical person, so I focused more on the actual meditation practice.
I was also not the type who was inclined towards academic study, so at first I had difficulty with reading and memorising the texts.
Eventually, I found a way.
I would enter into samādhi during sitting meditation for a couple of hours then when I came out of it, I would look through a sutta in the chanting book page by page and “screen capture” it into my mind.
Then I would enter samādhi again to reinforce and consolidate the sutta.
In this way, I was able to memorise long suttas in a few days.
That was similar to having a “photographic memory.

Father’s Past Kammic Creditors

One day, a year after my ordination, I received a call from my mother with news that my father was critically ill and close to death.
My mother asked whether I would like to come home to visit him.

Transportation was poorly developed at that time;
any phone call could only be through an electrical shop in the city.
On days that I was expecting a call from my mother, I would need to take the once-a-day village transport to the town to get to the electrical shop early in the morning.
After the phone call, I would wait at the shop until night time, when the person in charge of the transport was free to fetch me back to the temple.
So a phone call could take up a whole day of my time, from early morning to night.
Even though being told by my mother that my father was already admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), I was unwavering.
During that conversation, I said something that I should not have said.
I calmly told my mother to just let my father die now, as I myself would eventually follow suit in the future.
Hearing that, my mother felt that I was merciless.
I felt a great sense of guilt over my unintentional remark and seemingly heartless attitude.
I realised my mother’s feelings had been deeply hurt.
I then consulted Ajaan Geoff over my repentance.
Ajaan Geoff encouraged me to transfer merits to my father and my father’s past life kammic creditors.

I felt extremely guilty over my comment.
That made me put in extra effort in sitting and walking meditation.
I even vowed not to sleep.
I began to transfer the merits of my practice to my father’s kammic creditors.
Once, when I was sitting in meditation, I saw a vision:
a big pig came to me.
The pig had the head of a pig but the body of a human being, and it was as tall as a palm oil tree.
It was holding a sword, looking very angry, and was about to chop me.


At that time, I asked the pig:
“What are you trying to do?
I am a monk.
Do you want to kill me?

After a while, the pig got very impatient and very angry.
I told the pig that I would transfer merits to it.
Eventually, the creature threw down the sword and left.
After that incident, my father gradually recovered from his illness.

My father once visited me in Thailand, and told me how much he missed me.
I encouraged my father to learn qigong (“eighteen forms of Tai Chi”) as that was a good and healthy exercise.
At the same time, it was a good opportunity for my father to meet with like-minded qigong practitioners in the local community and pass his time more productively.

Weakening The Five Hindrances

One of the important parts of practising the Dhamma is meditation.
It is not possible for a meditator to fall asleep after one has entered samādhi.
Drowsiness or falling asleep during meditation indicates that the five hindrances have arisen.
When sati (mindfulness) is not strong and the body feels tired and drowsiness tends to arise, the body will swing from side to side as if one is dancing.
There is no cookie cutter rule in the process of practising, or that it must be done in a particular way.
Practitioners should continuously learn how to adjust their practice and find their own middle way, which they can know only for themselves.
They should learn to understand the factors for them to practise diligently and the right time to take a rest.
There is no need to visit or have interviews with the teacher in a daily manner.
Do so only when one actually has questions or needs guidance.
Otherwise, this will become a burden, as one may not have anything to report and has to cook up some stories for the occasion.
In fact, most people do not have questions and they merely clarify their knowledge with the teacher.
Only when one encounters a particular situation or unknown state of mind should one clarify it with the teacher.

It is similar to someone who thought of buying a car ten years ago and visited a car showroom to find out various models of cars.
However, after ten years he still has not bought a car.
The principle is the same.
When one really encounters difficulties in his practice, then one will gain the benefit of consulting the teacher.
If one did not practise, he gains only hearsay and asks only questions that others asked.

If one reads lots of books and practises less, one tends to develop a scattered mind.
However, people naturally tend to think that when you do not have questions, then you might have doubts.
But have they put into practice what they have learnt from asking?
Only through practice will one encounter enough experiences to bring them great confidence.

There are times when one has the will to strive but lacks the energy.
Then one should force oneself to practise.
I would tell myself:
“Practise now when you still have the strength to do so.
Nothing can be done when you are dead.


Gradually when one understands that drowsiness (laziness) is one of the five hindrances, one is able to overcome it.
I used my mental energy to slowly push my body and practised walking meditation slowly.
Little by little, the heat energy warmed up the body, the mind felt better, and the ability to focus slowly recovered.
As the five hindrances gradually subside, right mindfulness gets stronger.

In this way, the five hindrances slowly weakened.
The five hindrances do not disappear, they merely weaken in their influence.
Our mind is like this.
When there is right mindfulness, the five hindrances will become weaker.
For this reason, we need to practise right mindfulness, and to learn to observe the conditions of our body and mind at the present moment.
Only by doing so can one avoid being distracted by little things.

Training in Endurance

Most people cannot find balance in their practice.
I had many overnight meditation practice experiences.
On some occasions, I was so tired that I was not aware that I had dropped to the floor and fell asleep during my meditation.
Other than being unable to find a balance in my practice, my body conditions had been problematic and disturbing.
Firstly, my body was not accustomed to cold weather.
I would cover myself in a thick bed sheet in my tightly closed room and turn on the spotlight while sleeping.
Some monks curiously asked me:
“Won’t this be too hot?
Are you sure this is a liveable condition?
” I felt that that was just right for me.
My body calories were very low so I felt cold all the time.

My skin also easily cracked and I frequently had constipation.
I felt a lot of suffering in myself that to die as soon as possible could be a good thing for me.
Every day I woke up with pain all over my body due to deficiency in “qi” and blood.
At that time, I was not aware of this issue and also did not know who to express my grievances to.
Since I was a monk, it was also not appropriate for me to turn to my parents.

My father might even scold me for bringing the misery onto myself.
At that time, I had already planned for the worst, death be it! I had no regrets if I were to die as it was not due to wrongdoing but due to spiritual practice.
I used that mindset to help balance myself.
In the process, I occasionally encountered issues that I was not able to solve, which brought me to a complete loss and bad mood, hatred also arose in my mind.
When that happened, I would sometimes lose the ability to enter samādhi.
I felt that I had heavy kamma.
Even though the seniors had been very caring and compassionate towards me, I still had a lot of obstacles and problems.
When faced with those obstacles and problems, the only thing I could do was to Endure! Endure! And Endure!

I practised sitting and walking meditation every day.
Each session lasted for three hours, so each day passed by very quickly.
Having insufficient time, it felt like nothing was done and the year passed just like that.
When you focus on the object of meditation, time seems to pass by quickly.
If there is no distracting interference then you would not have wild thoughts and your mind would be very focused.

That was how I could attain samādhi in my meditation.
I noticed that I got angry easily because of what


others said.
I examined myself, then asked why I was so bothered by what others said.
I told myself,

“Don’t bother about them.
They may be talking rubbish.
” Just like that, I let go of the matter.

Misconceptions About Practice

In Thailand, monks are required to help in a temple’s construction projects.
Instead of hiring workers to do the construction works, they are done by the monks.
The practice was different in Malaysia and lay people of Malaysia did not understand that.

Initially, I thought to myself that this was very strange.
Other monks never asked me why I did not help in the project, but on the other hand, my mind was criticising, complaining and questioning why other monks did not practise but only helped in the project.
That was because our mind had no calmness or joyfulness [piti], but kept wandering out and criticising this and that, never looking at ourselves.

Everyone had a misconception, thinking that practising meditation only involved walking or sitting.

That was the weakness I realised after contemplation.
That was also the weakness of many practitioners, always looking at others but not themselves.
Because of that, it was very easy to keep criticising others who did not practise but instead kept working on the construction.
One might wonder, why not just be a contractor?
Instead, we should be asking ourselves, when the temple facility is completed, who would be using it?
Actually, everyone used the facility, but sometimes some people just wanted to criticise.

We must remember we also used it, someone has to sacrifice, and those who kept questioning why the monks did not practise often would not realise it was their own problem.
That was my misconception about practice during the early period.

Just like in Santi Forest Monastery, many yogis made critical remarks about what a monk should or should not do.
I would tell them off.
If a lay person was brave enough, he should just ordain.
Do what he thought was appropriate! Although it would be very challenging, the suffering was also part of the five hindrances! Everyone has a problem with the five hindrances.
I realised I was like that in the past, so I no longer dared to talk nonsense and learned to be grateful.
Before the construction of Santi Forest Monastery, I had never built a temple.
There were many yogis from different traditions who came to that temple.
When things didn’t go their way, they would criticise the temple’s operation.
I would scold them directly:
“Do not criticise if you did not provide any help.
If you don’t want to help, then you have the choice of not coming to this temple.
” Those people often talked about others never felt grateful and just wanted to complain about their personal problems.
However, that reminded me to always be grateful at all times.


Out-of-Body Experiences

I had out-of-body experiences before I became a monk.
It felt like flying when the mind was out of the body, the mind would go where it wanted to go without instructions or orders.
It was like superman or a rocket.
The mind was powerful and the vision was sharp and clear.
It was not a dream! It was as if I suffered a lot within this body and wished to leave the body.
My mind had been to many places:
such as America and many other countries.
The world was actually very beautiful! It felt so real when the mind returned to the body.
Sometimes the consciousness filled every corner in the room;
sometimes it could fly to the sky;
sometimes it was so heavy as if it were a big stone;
sometimes it was as light as a tiny grain of sand.
That feeling was called rapture [piti].
It was a reward from practising and enabled me to practise with increased confidence.
In one of my three-hour meditation sessions, for the first hour I couldn’t find the mind.
The mind felt like it was emptied.
I could not distinguish where I was sitting, I did not know where I was, or what state I was in, as if the memory started to work slower and slower.

Gradually, the mindfulness began to discover itself and find where the body was.

Phra Ajaan Maha Boowa’s Teachings

Diligently practising in meditation, I realised I would get lost and did not know what to do after three hours of meditation, even if I had entered samādhi.
Ajaan Geoff advised me to contemplate the five khandhas.

At that time, I had no idea what a khandha was.
Was it the body?
I could not comprehend what five khandhas were at the beginning and was unable to investigate myself.
Ajaan Geoff sympathised with me and gave me an English book titled Straight from the Heart, which was a compilation of talks by Phra Ajaan Maha Boowa and translated by Ajaan Geoff himself.
The book contained Dhamma teachings by Phra Ajaan Maha Boowa to a female cancer patient.
She was dying and was at a loss, and did not know how to cope with death.
Although she was a Christian, Phra Ajaan Maha Boowa could still teach her Dhamma because the practice was regardless of religious background.
I started to read more books of Phra Ajaan Maha Boowa’s teachings and that enhanced my confidence.


So, monks, I have taught you new & old kamma, the cessation of kamma, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of kamma.

Whatever a teacher should do — seeking the welfare of his disciples, out of sympathy for them — that have I done for you.
Over there are the roots of trees;
over there, empty dwellings.
Practice jhana, monks.
Don’t be heedless.
Don’t later fall into regret.
This is our message to you.

SN 35.145

4 – the middle years leading the forest ascetic life (vassa 4-9)




( VA S S A S F O U R T O N I N E )

Visiting Luang Puu Sim Buddhacaro (3rd year).

Teachings from the Great Teachers

During my stay at Wat Dhammasathit, Rayong, many

compassionate teachers came into my dreams to teach me the Dhamma.
One day while I was meditating and reflecting on external events, Than Phor Lee appeared in a vision [nimitta] and said “Keng, Keng, look inside!” Than Phor Lee pointed his fingers to my chest area and said “It all started from the heart (mind)! Don’t look outside, look inwardly.
” At that time, I was not able to really communicate in Thai, so I found it strange but encouraging.
Other great teachers included Luang Puu Teur, who manifested very brightly in a sitting posture and chanted, “Buddho, Buddho, Buddho veramani!” On Luang Puu Teur, Acaladhammo.

one occasion when I was pondering, my mind calmed down really fast in concentration and a bright light appeared in a vision with Luang Puu Sim inside.
As I was approaching to pay my respects to


him, he tapped my head to direct my attention to his body.
Luang Puu Sim used both his hands to tear his body apart from the chest area revealing the internal organs, which I could see clearly and Luang Puu Sim kept pointing to the different parts of his body.
To me, as a beginning practitioner, that type of vision was scary and it shocked me.
Luang Puu Sim then closed back his body, gave me a smile, walked back to the bright light, and vanished.
It was later that I realised that the great teacher came to guide me to contemplate the body! Luang Phor Wan Uttamo came to me and said “Contemplate the five khandhas, contemplate the five khandhas!” Luang Puu Keaw Luang Phor Wan Uttamo

appeared in my dream and gave me three books.
I was puzzled and later after contemplating, I consulted Ajaan Dek who told me, “Aniccā

- the first book, Dukkha - the second book, Anattā - the third book, in terms of Dhamma and this is the NATURE of all things! The teaching of NATURE and it is the universal TRUTH!”

No one believed me when I shared my dreams or visions.
However, I knew clearly what I had experienced in my mind.
Others could not understand because they did not experience it themselves.

I practiced diligently for 16 to 18 hours every day.
Besides going on alms round, sweeping the floor and bathing, I would be doing walking and sitting meditation.
When Luang Puu Sim was still alive, due to the language barrier, I could not ask Luang Puu Sim for advice about my meditation issues.
I could only practise and meditate by myself.
I believed the important factor for practising was to rely on one’s own efforts and I was confident that it was not crucial to have regular guidance from teachers.

Meeting Luang Puu Jia and Receiving Instructions

I first met Luang Puu Jia a few months after I was ordained when Luang Puu visited Wat Dhammasathit.
I had heard of Luang Puu Jia before I became a monk.
I was thrilled because finally I was going to meet a great teacher.
I was longing to pay respects to the great teacher and it was an opportunity for me to seek advice on meditation issues.
With my limited Thai language skill, I asked Luang Puu about my meditation issues.
Luang Puu could understand what I said but I could not understand what Luang Puu said.
Luang Puu intentionally kicked me when I asked one of my questions.
I felt very angry and did not know why Luang Puu was so rude.
I had more questions on my mind but felt ashamed to ask further.
I told Luang Puu I spent over 10

hours meditating everyday but yet Luang Puu reprimanded me for my Luang Puu Jia


laziness and said I was sleeping most of the time.
I really thought I was truly putting in a lot of effort into meditation.
I did not realise that was Luang Puu’s way to evoke a mind state for contemplation so I continued to say, “I did meditate most of the time!”

I was upset over the whole situation.
Later I was summoned to Luang Puu’s kuti for a chat.
When I got there, Luang Puu asked me to make some tea using his traditional teapot.
When I saw the teapot was covered with stains, I tried very hard to clean it.
I was so proud that the teapot was sparkling clean from my cleaning effort.
Luang Puu was shocked when he saw it and scolded me for what I had done to the teapot.
I did not realise my mistake.
I eventually found out that I had actually washed away the taste of tea that had built up in the teapot from years of use.
For this I received a good scolding from Luang Puu.

Junior monks would often give massages to senior monks.
Once, when I was massaging Luang Puu’s back, he questioned me about my meditation progress.
I told Luang Puu that I did not know how to proceed after three hours of sitting.
Luang Puu instructed me to recite the word Buddho and to maintain sati, or else all my efforts would be wasted even if I meditated for 10 years.
Luang Puu questioned me about my meditation method and I told Luang Puu that I used Than Phor Lee’s method, which was to spread awareness to the whole body by letting the mind lead the awareness with sati and continuously scanning the body.
Luang Puu advised me to contemplate the body and to break the body apart, questioning, “What else was left of this body?
” That was the only hint Luang Puu Jia gave me.

I did not have the opportunity to apply this method until three years later.
I had been spending a lot of time striving to calm the mind and was so used to samādhi that I thought it was a pity to proceed to contemplation of the body right after calming the mind.
By using Than Phor Lee’s scanning method, the mind calmed down quickly and was powerful and bright.
Although I received some teaching from Luang Puu Jia, because I did not live with him, there was a lack of confidence in his teaching.
I was aware Luang Puu was Than Phor Lee’s student, a good friend of Than Phor Fuang and a well-known meditator.
At that time, I felt my practice was practical and already got so used to it that it did not cross my mind that I had to change my habitual way of practice.
That was my issue.
I would not follow the method if it was against my way.


More About Luang Puu Jia

(Abstract from a talk given in Mandarin by Phra Ajaan Keng via live-streaming from Wat Samphantawong, Geelong, Australia on 13th April 2020)

Let me tell you about my teacher, Luang Puu Jia.
How did the name Luang Puu Jia come about?
It was because Luang Puu Jia’s name, in the Teochew dialect, is “orh jiok.
” Luang Puu Jia had a black birthmark on his back, therefore his parents called him “orh jiok” (black stone).
As a monk, people referred to him as Luang Puu Jia but when he came to Singapore and Malaysia, people remarked that Luang Puu Jia’s name was very easy to remember – they mis-pronounced it as “jiak, jiak, jiak” [meaning

“to eat” in Teochew].
This, however, need to be clarified.

I want to talk a little bit about my teacher.
When I first ordained, I was under the mentorship of Ajaan Geoffrey [Phra Ajaan Thanissaro].
When Ajaan Geoffrey returned to America, I needed to depend on another teacher, right?
I had wanted to look up Luang Puu Jia but did not know where he was residing.

Later on, an opportunity arose and I finally managed to meet him.
However, many people objected to my taking dependence on Luang Puu, especially the mae chiis at Wat Asokaram.
They helped and supported me a lot when I first ordained and were concerned about whom I was seeking guidance from.

When I mentioned “Luang Puu Jia”, they were astonished and asked “Are you sure?
He is very rough and often scolds people.
” But they only saw the external appearance and not the intrinsic values of a person.
People cannot be judged by their looks.

Luang Puu Jia had a reputation for being a very simple monk and didn’t want any fame and title.

How did he become well-known?
It was because of Luang Ta Ajaan Maha Boowa.
In the earlier years, many Bangkok residents had conviction and looked up to practising monks from the forest meditation tradition, because of their endeavour to practise.

They would fly or drive seven to eight hours to Luang Ta’s monastery just to tamboon [make merits by offering food etc] and provide support.

They would drive up on Friday night, stay there on Saturday and Sunday to give a helping hand at the monastery and drive back to Bangkok on Sunday night.
Luang Ta pitied this group of people and asked why the Bangkok residents had to travel so far.
He informed them that near Bangkok, there was a monk who was like a piece of gold wrapped in ragged cloth.
He was a piece of gold! He said “Don’t judge him by his external appearance.
His physical appearance might seem very rough but he is a monk who has accumulated lots of merits.
” After this introduction by Luang Ta Boowa, these people started to look up Luang Puu Jia.


Luang Puu Jia said “I was having a peaceful life and nobody came to disturb me.
Suddenly he

[Luang Ta] made me famous.
Many people are coming to trouble me.
” Can you see that?
A practising monk would not be bothered about fame and title.
If people don’t come to him, he didn’t bother.
..he wanted to practise.
He was happy to have a quiet life.

From then on, there was a sudden surge in the number of visitors from Bangkok to meet Luang Puu.
I visited him once and asked him why the sudden surge of visitors.
Luang Puu told me “Luang Ta Boowa advertised for me.
Now, I don’t even have time to read the newspapers!”

That’s why I say that people cannot be judged by their looks.
Why did I trust my teacher?
It was because when I first started searching for teachers and asked them questions, they would give responses that didn’t address my questions.
I asked questions but couldn’t get them answered.
Nobody could answer my questions! But Luang Puu Jia was different.
When I first met him, I looked at him and he looked at me.
He immediately told me the questions I had in mind and pointed out that every time I meditated, I fell asleep.
I then realised that this Ajaan really could tell what queries I had in mind! I said to him “Luang Puu, I meditated for many hours and developed my sati but eventually lost my sati.

He then said that I was too engrossed in achieving calm and that I should “picarana” [contemplate].

That I should focus on going into Jhana and contemplate my body.
This is why, when we undertake the practice, we need to have an experienced teacher.
I was very lucky to come across Luang Puu Jia.
He just gave me a pointer and I immediately woke up.

While I was practising in the forest which was very far away from Luang Puu (about 600 to 700 km, by car), I encountered problems and wondered how I could check my problems with Luang Puu.
That very night, Luang Puu appeared in my dreams and gave me guidance.
He told me what I had to do.
Do you see what I mean?
Where do you find this type of teacher?
When I was staying at Doi Ang Khang, every two nights, he would appear to me to give me meditation instructions.
How could I not have respect for him?
Anyone would respect him because this was a teacher who was guiding and looking out for us and watching our minds.
Where do you find such a teacher?
That was Luang Puu Jia.

People asked me why I took dependence on Luang Puu Jia, and not other teachers.
We can say that it could have been due to our past kammic connection.
There are some people who really do not have such connections.
Whatever they try to do or offer to please [a teacher] was of no use.
These teachers don’t want your offerings They want you to learn something from them, not to please them.
Are you truthful

Many people are afraid of not being able to please him but there was no need to try to please him.

My teacher would drive away monks, even those with more than 10 vassas, [considered as Theras or Elders].
He would say “you’ve ordained for more than 10 vassas already.
You’re better than me.
” Why?

Because of their big egos and they won’t be amenable to training!


There are teachers who didn’t want others to stay with them.
If you really have a desire to learn, you needn’t be afraid [of being driven away].

Do you know why Luang Puu Jia wanted to go to Singapore and Malaysia?
It was because in the past, there was a flight engineer by the name of Mr.
Cheong Foo Choon.
He had problems with his meditation and would fly to Bangkok to ask Luang Puu Jia one or two questions and then fly back to Singapore.
Luang Puu was very moved by it.
He asked him about his flight there - how many hours and how much it cost.

Mr. Cheong replied that the flight took two hours plus but he didn’t have to pay for the air ticket as he was a SIA staff [he used his staff travel benefits].
His sincerity to learn touched Luang Puu Jia’s heart.
Luang Puu then asked me to go with him to Singapore to help Singaporeans.
Do you see that?

These teachers would look at your practice and not your wealth.
So, don’t be mistaken.
If there are practitioners, we, members of the Sangha, will go and help them.
Help who?
Help our practising Buddhists.
This is not an advertisement.
We will fulfil the wish of those who come with a sincere heart to learn.

Meeting Luang Phor Den

I recalled my meeting with Luang Phor Den Nandiyo in

my first year after becoming a monk.
I was having my

evening tea with Ajaan Geoff in Wat Dhammasathit,

Rayong when Luang Phor Den Nandiyo arrived.

Upon alighting from the car, with a cigarette in his

hand, Luang Phor Den looked at me and said, “This

monk must live with me,” and jokingly said that I was

his subordinate.
I thought about this and went to see

Luang Puu Jia about it.
Luang Puu Jia ordered me to

live with Luang Phor Den.
I then went to live with

Luang Phor Den

Luang Phor Den until I returned to Singapore in 1994.

My Tudong Dream Come True

In 1990, I left Rayong after staying three years at Wat Dhammasathit, as my meditation was not improving.
I anxiously wanted to get liberated.
That was my wish and dream.
I had not seen the path to liberation, only experienced samādhi but no wisdom was developed.
I had heard some people said to just watch the mind and there was no need to keep watching the body.
I was bewildered, thinking that samādhi was very important and there was also piti, both of which I could rely on to continue to


At Doi Phuka, Mae Sot (fourth vassa).

practise vigorously.
These factors were very important, however being too calm and still, the mind stopped contemplating and thus lost the balance in the practice.
Without Dhamma-vicaya [investigation of Dhammas], one of the seven factors of awakening, one only developed stillness.
There was also an incorrect perception that allowing unwholesome thoughts to arise was not the correct way of practice and one should immediately suppress such thoughts when they arose.
Without one noticing, that way of practice would develop into a bad habit.

One day while I was meditating in the ordination hall, I heard a voice, “You’re no longer going to die soon.
” That reminded me that I had surpassed the doctor’s prediction (of two years life span left) and I was now in my 3rd year.
That triggered my tudong dream.
I remembered Ajaan Geoff talking about Ajaan Saakhon’s monastery in Kanchanaburi province and spoke of how good it was.
Wat Paa Weluwan is situated in the township of Thong Pha Phum and I decided to go to Wat Paa Weluwan.
I contacted a lay person, Khesem Tan Trong Jit (nickname Yom Muu) who owned a sand quarry in that township and he brought me there [Yom is a Thai word that means ‘lay devotee’].
I continued with my normal routine, practising sitting and walking meditation for three hours each posture.
It was really cold there and sometimes it was very hot, with malaria spreading wildly.
However, my days passed by quickly.

Ajaan Saakhon sent a sāmaṇera to observe my practice and behaviour.
When he heard back from the sāmaṇera that I was very dedicated to my practice, he was so impressed that he told me I should go to harder terrain to intensify my practice.
He advised me to follow Ajaan Sathian Samajaro who was returning to his monastery, Wat Paa Sookhu, in the national forest (Thung Yai Naresuan), which was full of wild animals and near the Thai-Myanmar border.


I had heard all good things about practising in the forest but I had no practical experience.
It was just like the difference between studying and working.
Studies [book] alone did not give one practical experience, but one gained actual practical experience through working.
These were two different things.
Studying helped one to gain knowledge only in theory but when it came to practice, one would probably ponder, “This doesn’t seem to be what I expected.
” Hence, we need to be flexible and not be rigid in our practice.

Life in Doi Phuka, Mae Sot

Hill tribe villagers lead a very hard life.


When I read books written about Luang Puu Mun, I aspired, “Wow! I want to be like Luang Puu Mun.
” Similarly, when reading books by Than Phor Lee, I wished to be like Than Phor Lee.
I realised there was a difference in everyone’s practice after I started practising in the forest.
Individuals sharing their spiritual experiences in books could be used as an inspiration.
It is a motivation tool for us, but not necessarily practical.
Knowledge would turn into reality when one physically entered the forest.
It was similar to when you are experiencing new encounters, be it eating, living, weather, languages, or cultural impacts.
The actual experience could be very miserable, not as ideal as described in the books.

You might suffer and doubt, “Why am I so foolish to be here?

Our mind is changeable.
One might think a scenario was perfect.
However when one was put in the real situation, one realised the mind still lacked the proficiency and capability to face the challenge.
The important thing was to take up the challenge.
I used the simile of one entering the boxing ring, thinking that if one did not take on the fight, how would one know whether one would win or lose?
“Give it a try, give it a fight,” I told myself.
With that in mind, I embraced the challenge and headed for the forest with Ajaan Sathian, filled with curiosity, thrill, and excitement.
Along the way, I saw many wild animals such as bison, red buffalo, deer, etc.

Through Ajaan Sathian, I learned not to judge people by their appearance.
If looks and behaviours were anything to go by, it was difficult for me to have any confidence in Ajaan Sathian.
Ajaan Sathian was crude, there were big gaps between his teeth, and he had a huge appetite.
The Lord Buddha said monks should be frugal with food and eat in moderation.
However, Ajaan Sathian could consume a large portion of food in a meal sitting.
Later, I came to realise that Ajaan Sathian practised walking meditation every night until 4-5 am.
He would lie down for a little while when he felt very tired and was up by 6 am to go on pindapāta [alms round].
Ajaan Sathian’s resilience inspired me, so I decided to take him as a role model to learn from.

After my first alms round with Ajaan Sathian, he told me to live alone in the Wat as he was leaving for Myanmar.
The Wat had a small kuti with a tiny main hall.
It was my first time entering a forest and being left in the forest by myself, my Buddho recitation disappeared as soon as Ajaan Sathian left.

I felt overwhelmed as I did not have any idea what to do, where to go for pindapāta, etc.
My mind was very restless and I panicked to the point of becoming insane.
Gradually I realised my needs such as food and accommodation had been taken care of.
Now that I was living alone, subconsciously my mind kept complaining and grumbling.
Sometimes throughout the day my thoughts were so scattered.

That went on for over ten days.
I wished to venture out but could not, as I was not familiar with the surrounding area and had no map to guide me.
The only thing I could do was to go on alms round every day, receiving only white rice and chilli.


One afternoon, I was feeling restless and anxious so I decided to take a stroll outside to clear my mind.
I smoked while walking without marking my route.
As the night drew in, it got darker and darker, and the temperature began to drop.
I realised I had lost my way in the forest.
I was attired only with a lower robe and a bathing cloth to cover my shoulders, a packet of tobacco leaves, and a lighter.

The minimal clothing would not be sufficient to keep me warm as the temperature in the forest could drop to as low as four degrees Celsius.

A terrible fear arose in me.
I felt so insecure that I almost wanted to cry.
Images of wild animals like tigers and bears started to haunt me.

At that juncture, I thought of Luang Puu Mun.
So, I quickly composed myself and shouted, “Luang Puu Mun, please help me! I am lost in the forest, what should I do?
I don’t know the way back.
” Then a voice came from the sky, “kesā, lomā, nakhā, dantā, taco” [the five basic objects of meditation taught to every monk during his ordination:
hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin] which reminded me that I should sit and meditate.
I chanted after the voice and focused on the five objects:
hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin.
After reciting the phrase in sequence, I recited again in reverse order:
“taco, dantā, nakhā, lomā, kesā.
” My mind then settled down and I entered into a deep samādhi (appanā samādhi).
My mind became energised and all my fear vanished in one thought moment.
I was ultimately joyful.
The transformation of my mind state was like going from hell (restlessness) to heaven (peacefulness).

A thought suddenly arose in me:
“The kindness of heavenly beings (deities) is so wonderful!” Now that the mind was so calm and concentrated, it became very bold and brave.
It no longer feared death.

I raised another thought in my mind, “May the divine beings give me a sign to show the way back to the monastery.
” Straightaway, a dog was heard howling in the distance.
I thought to myself, “Do not let this howling stop.
” As it was cold and pitch dark, I flicked my lighter and dashed through the bushes toward the direction of the howling, ignoring vines and thorns, which were everywhere in the forest.

When the mind was strong, even though there were holes and stones along the path and with cuts all over my body, I did not feel the pain.
My main focus was to return to the monastery.

Finally, I saw the silhouette of a roof, which indicated I was approaching a village.
So, I went up to the house and knocked on the door to find out which village it was.
I was told it was Waa Sookhu village, which was where the monastery was located.
I was relieved as I realised that I was at the right place so I made my way back to the monastery.

Upon reaching the main shrine of the monastery, I bowed down and came back to my senses.
That was when I started to feel the pain in my body as I realised that I was covered in thorns and blood all over.
I had infections from my wounds and came down with a fever the next day but I had to endure it, as I did not know where to seek medical help.
I recovered after a few days.


On the 18th day, Ajaan Sathian returned from Myanmar.
He asked me how my meditation was, to which I replied that it was very good because these recent experiences had given me confidence.
If one has not been put in a lean and mean situation like that, where one is left to fend for himself and nearly go out of his mind with fear, one would never fully understand the Middle Path, as the comforts and luxuries of city life sabotage the path to Nibbāna.

While I was living with Luang Phor Den, I received news of the passing of Ajaan Sathian.
I went back to the forest alone and visited places that Ajaan Sathian and I had stayed previously.
I spent 40

days revisiting all these places.
Along this trip, I met three monks and I walked together with them for a short distance.

Walking into a War Zone

In early 1990, I had to renew my visa in Bangkok.
Before heading to Bangkok, I went with Ajaan Sathian to Sarawa village (in Northwest Thailand, near the Myanmar border), where Ajaan Sathian was starting a new monastery.
After staying there for a few days, I took leave of Ajaan Sathian to venture out by myself on foot to travel to Bangkok.
I focused on “Buddho” all the way.
Along the way, I came across a village where it seemed the local people were running away in an emergency evacuation.
I met an old man who invited me to his house.
As I was very thirsty, the marinated lemon and sugar cane water that was offered to me tasted like heaven.
The old man told me not to proceed with my journey as the soldiers were coming to attack and take over the village.
However, I did not heed the old man’s advice and continued to make my way towards Sanaeephon village.

Along the way, I heard the loading of M16 machine guns and my mental repetition of “Buddho”

intensified in frequency automatically (Buddhodhodhodhodhodhodhodho…) as I thought at any time I could be shot.
I had been constantly practising the repetition of “Buddho” to the extent that it became my second nature.
When any danger presented itself, the mind instantly responded with the repetition of “Buddho” in preparation to face potential imminent death.

I ran into two soldiers who appeared with powder on their faces and threatened me by pointing and pushing two M16 guns at my stomach.
When that happened and as I watched the guns moving toward my stomach, the mind and body separated automatically.
It was an out-of-body experience which my mind observed from an external perspective.
The soldiers started searching my body and alms bowl to be sure I was not carrying anything dangerous and not a spy.
After they saw that I was truly a monk, the soldiers became very respectful and took off their helmets then put their palms together.
My mind exclaimed, “Shoot this body, shoot this body.
I do not want to live.
This body is suffering!” Then, the mind went back into the body and exclaimed, “See! This body is such a burden.
It suffers so much with all the aches and pains.
” I felt like bursting into tears as my whole body was aching.
My feet were worn


out with lots of pus and they were bleeding and I was in lots of pain due to long distance walking.
But it was a priceless experience.
My mind felt light as cotton and I was very happy.
I was thinking it would be great if the soldiers had killed this body in one shot! This body was suffering a lot.
Unfortunately, the mind went back to the body.
I felt the unpleasant feeling of the body suffering, the pain of the body, as my kamma was not finished yet.

The soldiers let me go and I started to recite “Buddho” again and continued on.
I met another minority group on my journey, who confronted me with a shotgun.
They searched my body as well and let me go after that.

I continued on until I reached another village, which had been completely burnt down.
All the houses and vehicles were destroyed.
Helicopters were hovering and machine guns could be heard shooting in the distance.
I hid until the helicopter left.
It was a war zone! That was at about 5:

pm in the evening.
I looked at the road and thought, “I don’t know how to get there and there is no car.

Under this situation, I don’t know how far.
” I decided to put my alms bowl in the middle of the road then hid myself behind a big tree.
The intention was to wait for a passing vehicle.
As it turned out, a convoy of soldiers approached and I could see a Thai flag.
Upon seeing the soldiers, I quickly rushed to the centre of the road and spread out my arms and legs wide to stop the convoy.
The soldiers shouted,

“What are you trying to do here?
Don’t you know we are at war right now?
” Without hesitation, I took my alms bowl and hopped up onto the vehicle.
The soldiers told me that they were on active duty and could not take me.
However, I showed them my wounds from walking in the forest for so many days.

Upon seeing that, the soldiers remained quiet and stopped objecting, hence giving silent approval for me to travel with them.
When they arrived back at camp, I had to disembark as I was not allowed to enter the army barracks.

I walked about 1 km to a junction and saw a pick-up truck there.
As it was becoming dark, I approached the truck and met a man.
The man said the truck had just been repaired and for no apparent reason, it had stalled at that particular junction and would not start again.
I checked the carburettor and saw that it was indeed in good condition.
So I asked the man to try the ignition again and the engine started up fine.
I was overjoyed and asked for a lift.
The man asked where I was headed to and I said,

“Thong Pha Phum.
” The man said that was his hometown, so he was happy to give me a ride.

A few days later, I headed to Bangkok by getting a ride from Yom Muu.
After my visa was renewed, I decided to go to live in the forest but did not want to go back to the forest I had previously stayed in.

Living In the Forest and Training with Luang Phor Den I then went to live with Luang Phor Den in Mae Sot.
Luang Phor Den was rather impatient.
He had to do everything quickly, and his personality changed constantly.
Hence many monks could not live


with him.
Living with Luang Phor required humility and endurance.
Luang Phor Den had a very strong mind.
His nimittas often showed up at night to encourage others to practise more.
Luang Phor was also very compassionate.
I could feel Luang Phor Den’s kindness, and that calmed my heart.
I found it difficult to put into words to describe my feelings on that.
Although Luang Phor Den was intimidating, there were still many Dhamma practitioners who followed him diligently.
Everyone knew that Luang Phor Den was very well-practiced and wanted to support him.
He encouraged everyone to practise but it was not easy to practise with him.
If you could not handle the challenges of living in Mae Sot, then you had to leave Mae Sot and live in the city.
The Buddha has said, “Practice is hard in a wealthy condition.

Thailand ‘s prosperity and wealth have caused many monks to disrobe after a period of time practising in the city and it was such a pity that there were only few monks left.

Luang Phor Den strongly advocated practising alone unless circumstances did not allow it.
I thought if I wanted to live with him, it was best if I could meditate for at least two to three hours in a sitting and obtain a certain level of samādhi.
Practising in the forest was a challenge for me, as I had not gained enough experience.
When samādhi was achieved, there was joy (pīti), and joy was the food for the mind.

Practising in the city was like swimming in a swimming pool.
You knew where the boundary was and felt safe.
On the other hand, practising in the forest was like swimming in the river, which was different.

A wise person could swim in the river without difficulty but if he had only swum in a pool, he might not know how to swim in the river or cross to the other side of the river bank.
I thought I was very good before but I found out that I still had a lot to learn when I lived in the forest.

Luang Phor Den was the first disciple of Luang Puu Jia.
His monastery (Huay Pla Lod, Mae Sot district) was like a delegation centre where Luang Phor assigned monks to practise in different areas of the forest.
The distance for some of these areas ranged from 2.5 hours to more than 10 hours away from Huay Pla Lod.

I went with a brother monk, Ajaan Sorasak (who was a disciple of Luang Phor Den) into the forest.

By then my heart was not as disturbed as before, however it was still not stable.
We headed for Baan Paa Nu village (now called Pang Sam Kum), situated on top of the mountain.
It took eight hours by car to reach the top of that mountain, which otherwise would have taken us two days by foot depending on the condition of which route was accessible.
The villagers lived a cross-farming lifestyle.
They cut down trees to work the land and moved from area to area to farm their crops.
Such deforestation slowly caused the extinction of medicinal plants and the drying up of beautiful waterfalls.
The villagers had few material possessions and did not have much food.
While living in the forest, I ate only one meal a day.
My alms round food consists of only white rice, salt, and chilli.
I craved for better food, but my wish was never fulfilled.
When monks chose to practise in the forest knowing the situation was not conducive, they were determined to tolerate any unbearable situations such as having only plain rice,


chilli, and salt for their meal every day.
Living in the forest was so much more challenging than living in the city, but by relying on that kind of spiritual practice, it enabled me to experience suffering, which made me want to be free from suffering.
I thought, “This was actually not so bad as it provides a chance to practise.
” I would rather die than give up the practice.

The residents in Baan Paa Nu village suffered much because they had not developed the virtue of generosity.
Having a monk in the village allowed the locals the opportunity to develop the act of giving, but there were not many monks who were willing to give up material comfort and convenience to live in the forest.

Sometimes monks would let others live in a place they had built or repaired.
To others, that might not seem to make sense.
In fact, the purpose of monks’ practise was to let go, not to accumulate property.

That was how worldly law should operate.
However, everyone had their own ideas and goals, and could not be forced to accept others’ ideas because at that very moment they might not be ready to face the challenge that was presented to them.
But over time as they grew, they might be more receptive to the idea.

Life without prosperity and wealth was also very bitter as you could not possess and do whatever you wanted.
The general assumption by worldly people was that those with material comfort were successful but in truth these groups were still very confused and unable to calm down.
The Buddha’s Dhamma teaches us how to let go.
We can fight for things that we do not have, but we must also learn to let go of the things we have.
We cannot let go if we have nothing to let go of.
As a practitioner, the same principle applies to us.
We cannot just let go at the very beginning.
We need to have a goal to motivate ourselves.
If you have not achieved your goal, you must not give up but keep going at it.
Just like swimming, those who have not learnt how to swim must hold onto the floater.
Otherwise they would sink.

If you can reach samādhi easily during meditation, you can quickly see the effect, but there are few people with such ability.
The Dhamma taught by the Buddha is for human beings to practise.
It is easier for us to practise as we have a physical body and living in this world, we experience both physical and mental suffering due to our attachment to our body and mind.
It is harder for the gods [devas] or deities to do so, as they do not have a physical body.

Challenges with Food

I stayed in Mae Sot for five years and struggled with my mind for the first two months because of food.

I mentally scolded the villagers every day for being stingy, having no conscience, giving only plain rice when I went on alms round.
Part of my heart was watching the situation, and the other part kept scolding the villagers.
The criticism of the villagers’ stinginess would stop once I became full after I had


my meal.
It was a ridiculous scenario.
After practising in the forest for two months, an interesting battle went on within me:
“Should I stay or should I leave?
” I was obsessed with food.
When I was living in Singapore, I had never eaten just plain rice.
My mother would prepare other dishes such as eggs, vegetables, and a bowl of soup for me.

My decision to come to this place caused me much grief, as there was literally nothing much in this village.
I suffered because of food issues and I had a big appetite.
The food I ate consisted of white rice, some leaves, and some dark coloured vegetable dishes.
Sometimes the villagers would offer me salted mice, which were very smelly and would cause all the food in the alms bowl to become smelly, too.

While staying there, I thought, “What have I got myself into?
How do I stay on?
What should I do?

The other half of the mind queried me, “Are you here to eat or to practise and meditate?
” My response would be, “I am here to practise, but life is hard here.
What should I do?
” My mind was in a chaotic state every day.
Every day at 4 o’clock in the morning, I would pay respects to the Buddha and do the morning chanting.
Then I would recite the word “Buddho” but would start to curse the villagers in my mind after a few “Buddhos.
” The same complaint would surface, “These villagers have no conscience, giving me plain rice every day.
They should at least give me an egg or fish.
” It was because of my desire for better food that caused me to scold the villagers non-stop, from morning, during alms round, until I returned to the monastery and had my meal.
I knew it was wrong to scold the villagers but I could not stop that thought from arising as it kept coming and I did not know how to control it.
That was a natural reaction, caused by “mental formation” [saṅkhārā], which is one of the five aggregates.
My mind was very restless at that time.
I wanted to give up many times in those two months and find other places to practise so that I would not have to face the suffering.
However, such suffering was actually very good because I could see my inner problems very quickly and learn how to deal with them.

Knowing the scolding was a wrong way of thinking, I decided to observe the uncontrolled scolding with the right thoughts.
I started to question, “Why do we eat?
” “Why are our minds like this?
” When the answer was not clear, I observed the thoughts again.
It was only when you live alone that you could observe the arising of your thoughts clearly and see how to deal with them when they arise and how to end greed, hatred, and ignorance.
Hence, the Buddha encouraged monks to live alone.

On one rainy day, I went on my daily alms round.
I approached a house and saw a naked child crying outside the house while the mother went inside the house to collect food to offer to me.
I told the mother to get some clothing for the child, thinking that the child was crying because he was cold.

The mother instead fed the child with some sticky rice.
Suddenly, the child had a big smile on his face and stopped crying.
Seeing this, I went straight into samādhi while standing there.
After I withdrew from my samādhi, and when the Dhamma arose in my heart, I felt very guilty.
I thought to myself, “The child is so easily satisfied with just a mouthful of sticky rice, yet I scolded the alms givers every day.

Moreover, the givers are not related to me.
I should be grateful that they offered me rice to support me


and I should not criticise their good intentions.
” I asked myself further, “Which thirty-two parts of me are more noble than the others?
I am just taller.
As a monk, wearing robes, how can I scold others like this?

My conscience felt bad.
My heart was then full of gratitude for the villagers who had supported me all this while.
I had managed to realise and understand this Dhamma, it all depended on my persistence and the support of those lay people.
The food did not complain, the belly did not complain, and the tongue did not complain.
It was the mind that clung to the taste and the pleasant feelings which led to ignorance and suffering to deceive me.
To make matters worse, I believed what I thought was right, so I scolded the lay supporters.
If that mind state could be known at that very moment, suffering would be reduced.

All Dhamma starts from the mind.
Devas, evil spirits, monks, and Arahants all have this mind, and letting go is also from this mind.
If there is no determination, this kind of experience is difficult to endure and it will be easy to give up the practice.
From that day onwards, I decided to stay there and share the Dhamma with the villagers.

In Mae Sot, Luang Phor Den seemed to be the chief rudder master.
There were many branch monasteries there that were built at will.
Those buildings were built by monks without construction workers.
At that time, I was not sure if I could adapt to living with the villagers there.
So, instead of building a permanent kuti, I built a simple small four-pillar kuti, where an umbrella-tent could be hung.

I thought if I could not live there for long term, not many resources would be wasted and it could also be put to use if others came and stayed after I have left.
It would be such a waste if I built a large building and there was no one to live there after I had left.
The villagers would also be sad if there were no monks staying in the building anymore, especially when the villagers had helped to build the building as a lot of work needs to be done to construct a building from scratch.
However, a small kuti could be built by the monk himself in a day using long bamboo sticks.

In Mae Sot, I often went wandering and stayed in small pavilions in the villages, usually for a few days, up to a week.
I stayed in Wat Paa Baan Ley Khok, practising walking and sitting meditation.

Sometimes Luang Phor Den appointed me to distribute food to local residents and the monks who came to practise.
Although the development of science and technology has brought conveniences in transportation, still there were not many monks who came to pursue the spiritual practice.
Sometimes the road conditions were bad.
When Ajaan Sorasak was ill, we had to walk slowly out of the forest, and the journey would take us one full day.
There were a lot of cholera cases in the forest too, so monks must have a great spirit of sacrifice before they could practise there.
Sometimes big tigers came to the village to eat the cows.
Seeing that, I thought, humans were small vulnerable animals, and that gave rise to a sense of fear in me.
I comforted myself by thinking that if there was no bad kamma, I should be fine.

I meditated more frequently and gradually got used to it.
The air on the mountain was very fresh, the weather was also very cool.
There were no mosquitoes and nothing in the world to disturb me.
Just two hours of rest a day was good enough for me.
It was indeed a good place for spiritual practice.


Support from Doctors, Nurses and Lay Devotees from Bangkok Nutritional deficiencies were never a concern to a practising contemplative.
The concern was how to cultivate concentration and to free oneself from physical and mental suffering.
One had to be determined to be with right thoughts and use the recitation of “Buddho” to maintain mindfulness all the time and practise to get rid of wrong view in regards to the body of ours, and to get rid of greed, hatred and ignorance in one’s heart.
A practitioner would not be bothered with nutritional deficiencies or illnesses, for the worst outcome that would happen is death.
Only with such determination and perseverance can one stay in the forest.
The ultimate was death.
Nothing could surpass death.

Hence when I was asked about what to prepare for my stay in the forest, I did not bother.
I lived in the forest for three years.
I had no money or medicine.
Even Panadol that was needed when one fell ill was very scarce.
I left all these to destiny.
When one fell ill, the monks would look after one another.

They would even travel over the hills to look after one another.

Gradually, the people of Bangkok got to know that there were monks practising in the forest.
A group of nurses from Rajavithi Hospital established a dana fund to be distributed to every monk:

tablets of Panadol, a small bottle of coffee and mint, a bottle of cold medication, six bottles of cough mixture, 1,000 tablets of Ampicillin, and a lighter.
I can still remember all those materials provided clearly because I appreciated them as if these were my assets.
Those were essential items for use when one fell ill.
Before the arrival of these nurses, the monks did not even have the most basic essential items such as medicated oil or Chinese ointment to support them in their practice.
Sometimes lay devotees from Bangkok would write to enquire if the monks could gather in a location, as the nurses and doctors would like to offer medical dana, and there were always many other supporters who would come along to provide the monks with essential materials.

Once a year, Luang Phor Den would distribute his extra materials to the neighbouring residents, as life was difficult there.
After packing the items into a big box, he would write to inform them to collect the goods from him.
I was very happy because on such an occasion I would get to eat a kind of deep-fried local pastry made with white bean paste and sprinkled with sesame seeds, as the food that I usually ate was nothing special.

After some time, the condition on the mountain slowly improved.
Lay people got to know that there were monks practising on the mountain and gradually more devotees came to visit the monks.

Every time they came, they would invite any monk who was sick to see them in Bangkok.
Hence, the relationship with the doctors gradually developed.
The doctors would be informed when a monk fell ill like contracting malaria.
The doctors were very caring and they would make a trip all the way from Bangkok to visit the monks when they were informed.
They were empathetic, as they were aware the monks were poor.
The nurses would require two days to walk to their location.


There were no roads that were accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles like these days.
You had to walk on your two feet wherever you wanted to go even when you were sick and needed help.
The monks would consider death rather than illness.
When you were sick and had no energy to even walk, you became a burden to others.
When I was ill and had no energy to walk, I became very angry with myself.
I would consider death a better option than to be a burden to others.
However, we did not choose to get sick.
A monk would only consider contacting the medical team and go down to Bangkok when he was very ill and could not be treated locally.
Transportation and telecommunication were not very convenient then, and it was not easy to have lay devotees come up to the mountain from Bangkok.

Develop Right Thoughts

Whenever I recall the period with no mobile phones, living in the forest was very boring.
You must know how to stabilise your mind through practice to go against distracting thoughts.
You would need to be aware, just be aware about it whenever you are with a distracted mind.
To maintain the right thoughts, Buddho, Buddho, Buddho…You must fight against distracting thoughts, you must train hard with the right mind and the right thoughts, that is, Buddho, Buddho, Buddho… When this

“Buddho” is strong, the right thoughts will have strength.
When the right thoughts have strength, distracting thoughts will disappear.
Just these two things and these two things only:
When the right thoughts continue to gather more strength, distracting thoughts will lose their power.
Even though they exist, they no longer have their influences.
We will still have distracting thoughts because we are living beings.
We will still have perceptions [saññā] and the saṅkhārā [thought constructs] – the intrinsic wandering mind.
Otherwise we are dead or retarded persons.
If you are a living being, you will have a very wandering mind.
You will recognise that you are wandering because this is what nature reveals for us to see.
We must have this initial recognition that we do have such a wandering mind.
The right mind is stable but a mind with distracting thoughts is not.
With the right mind, you will know your mind is distracted because you have awareness, just mere awareness.
You will know you are in a confused state of mind because you have awareness.
One can be so confused and be so emotionally disrupted because one is so drawn into and so totally immersed in the distracting thoughts.
Hence, one will fall into a lot of suffering, caught within these distracting thoughts.
This will have tremendous effect on the health of one’s body and spirit.
Because you want to be well, you will be elated, you will be very happy, you will be very relaxed, and you will then have the right view of your life.
It is what it is:
It is impermanent.
You will die from illnesses, you can lose what you do not wish to, and this is a natural phenomenon.
Nothing is permanent, when you accept it, you will not reject.
You will allow it to happen and it is all right.

So, if you understand, you realise that your mind can be so easily influenced by your thoughts.
If so, why then wouldn’t you want to direct your mind towards the methods and the aspects of performing good deeds?
Wouldn’t it be better because it is more constructive?
Hence, the Buddha explained in


the Metta Sutta, that there are eleven rewards in cultivating loving kindness [goodwill].
If you do not cultivate loving kindness, you will breed hatred and delusion.
The suffering from unfulfilled demand, unanswered grievances, love and separation is but a consequence of hatred delusion.
When hatred delusion arises, then in order to direct yourself towards good thoughts, you need to practice loving kindness.
You can respond by “Wishing one well and happy.
” Do not be overwhelmed by these unkind thoughts.
When your unkind thoughts are strong, your kind thoughts will be weaker.
It is like a society.

A good leader will benefit its people, and a bad one will bring with it havoc and chaos.
Hence your mind is your master that makes the decision, not your superior, your angel, nor your god.
It is important that you are aware that everything can be changed.

An Ancient Chedi and the Building of Luang Phor Den’s Monastery When Luang Phor Den arrived at Doi Phu Kha, he heard from the locals that there was an ancient chedi in the vicinity.
It was a very old chedi that was built by a very rich lay devotee long ago.

The lay Buddhist devotee came from Mae Thor and belonged to the Karen hill tribe.
To be a rich man in the past meant that he owned elephants, horses, and the like.
The lay devotee arranged for his elephant to help move red bricks up the mountain to build the chedi.
The red bricks had to be baked for some time before they were transported up to the mountain.
Unfortunately, before the construction of the chedi was completed, it was damaged by a lightning strike.
The lay devotee became disheartened.
At that time there was no lightning protection technology, so it was hard to avoid such incidents.
Thinking that that was “God’s will,” the lay devotee stopped the chedi building project and also fell sick.

The unfinished chedi has been abandoned for many years until one year when Luang Phor Thong had an asthma attack.
He was no longer able to stay at Wat Asokaram, as the temple was located close to the sea and the environment was thus very damp.
Luang Phor Den immediately built a kuti in Doi Phu Kha for Luang Phor Thong to recuperate in.
After three months of recuperation, Luang Phor Thong recovered and left the kuti for other monks to stay there.
It was extraordinary that after Luang Phor Thong’s stay, the environment there improved and there were no more strong winds.
That led Luang Phor Den to stay there to build a monastery.
I stayed there to help Luang Phor Den look after the place.

During Luang Phor Den’s stay, officials would come by helicopter to visit him, as well as to deliver some dried food [rations].
At that time, there was no road leading to Luang Phor Den’s monastery.

Eventually, Luang Phor Den decided to construct a road.
Without the help from any machineries and technologies, they could only use hoes, knives, and elephants to build the road.
That was a very good training opportunity to help improve the pāramī of the locals.
Fortunately, he received help from the locals and managed to complete the three-kilometre road in around three months.
The locals were very familiar with the geography of that area, as they hunted there.
They were also willing to help the monks to identify where roads could be constructed.
That also helped to avoid cutting down big trees, as they did not have the necessary machinery.


Learn To See Suffering and See Suffering Created by Oneself During my stay in Mae Sot, I discovered that it was our mind that created suffering for us.
Mae Sot was such a dreary place that nothing could be brought up as an object for me to argue with, except the chilli dishes.
In the village, the kids argued over toys.
In the city, the kids competed against each other on iPhone/iPad and brought about arguments with each other.
We should use our body as an object of our practice to relinquish suffering.

Food for the body can be bought from the market.
However, food for the mind can be obtained only when one practises meditation.
Some people dare not take the challenge to practise in the forest and perfunctorily say that they do not need such practice.
How would you know where your defilements are if you have never tried?
No matter where you are, you must bring up the spirit of diligence.
If you stay in the monastery, you need to exert even more effort because being in a safe environment, your mind tends to slacken.
In the forest, there are a lot of wild animals, and your mind tends to focus easily and cautiously.

When staying in the monastery, you need to practise a lot.
You must practise to see suffering, see who is telling us that the feet hurt, the weather is cold or hot, the legs are sore or numb, and who is telling us to give up.
These thoughts arise because of attachments:
attachment to feeling and attachment to the body.
In our practice, we are learning to see clearly that feeling is just feeling, mind is just mind, and body is just body.
To achieve this, one must go through training and must practise, not just boast like a broadcast machine.

Some people can preach better than the Buddha.
They only talk about practice but do not actually practise.
Due to their ego, they do not dare to admit that they cannot do it.
These are hypocrites.
The Buddha encouraged us to live alone, live by the graveyard or forest, go on alms round, and drink our own urine as medicine.
Due to modernisation and wealth, people have slowly changed the Buddha’s teachings.
This is wrong.
A practitioner must do more meditation, must learn to see suffering and see how suffering is created by oneself.
Only in this way can one be relieved from suffering.
Through fasting and meditation for a long period of time, we must see how our mind creates stories to fool ourselves.

See that suffering actually arises from the mind because of attachment to the body.
Sometimes, we are deceived when we watch TV.
We eat food that the advertisement told us to.
We do not understand what our body actually needs.

We must push our mind to do the practice.
In the past, we needed to work hard to earn enough money to buy things.
Nowadays, material things are so easily available and you can pay by instalment.

Whatever our mind wants, we can easily get it, thus causing suffering in the world.
Will what we want bring us happiness and wellbeing?
No one actually bothers to answer this question.
We continue to pursue material gain for our entire life and become slaves to material things.
We live a confused life.


is only when a doctor gives them a death sentence do people suddenly wake up and ponder:
What is the purpose of life?
What is the purpose of our working so hard to earn money?
If it hadn’t been for the Buddha who taught them the truth, our ancestors would have been like these people, living a confused life.
Because we are here now, we should accumulate merit.
We have the choice to either accumulate worldly merit or transcendent merit.

Those people who aspire to accumulate worldly merit must not be forced to endeavour to accumulate transcendent merit because it’s not that they do not want to, but it is simply beyond their capability.
It is like swimmers in the sea and swimmers in pools.
Swimmers in pools should never think that they are the best, that they are right and criticise the brave swimmers in the sea.
When the Buddha expounded his teaching, he took the sentient being as a basis, not based on any curriculum, and it was directed to the mind.
Nowadays, people are educated, so curriculums have become important.
However, the most important thing is still the mind.
Our mind keeps following the footsteps of society.
If you want to quit, you will receive criticism from society.
In fact, society should be pleased, as they have one less person to compete with.
A monk has only one meal a day instead of three and wears the same clothes throughout the year.
Our society should reflect on the question:
“Why do monks live like this?
Why do they go on alms round?

Malevolent Spirit of a Karen Tribe Woman

An incident occurred when I was staying at Baan Sabbe.
It is no longer called Baan Sabbe, as the authorities have combined three villages into one.
They don’t allow the people to be scattered all over the place and to chop down whatever they like, clearing the forests for farming.
These days they will stay together and the government allocates the land.

There were three brothers—Yom Tee, Yom Choo, and Yom Leryeh—and their mother staying in this small village located at the base of Doi Phu Kha.
There were only four families in this village at that time.

This place had a piece of land, very flat, very beautiful, but it was cursed.
Cursed! People like us who had just gone there wouldn’t know this fact.
If someone stayed there long enough, though, they would know the background story, but we didn’t know.
I went to stay there and wondered why the villagers went far away to plant their crops when there was a piece of land to plant their crops nearby.
Nobody opened up the ground.
The piece of land was like a paddy field, flat and very nice.

Yom Choo had a better personality so I asked him “Choo, why don’t you open up this land?
” He said he was scared of a spirit and at that time, because I was a very garang [a Malay word meaning gungho]

young monk, I wanted to try out countering all these challenges.
I told him “Don’t worry, I’ll clear the spirit for you.
” “Hao lian” you know! [in the Chinese Hokkien dialect, meaning boastful].
I went there in broad daylight.
It was very sunny.
I went to each corner of the land and placed a one-baht coin at each


I then went to the centre of the land and placed another one baht there.
After that, I declared “By the power of the Triple Gem and the power of the King, the Siam Devatiraj, I buy this piece of land for five bahts.
” Guess what happened next?
The spirit appeared, in broad daylight, and scolded me.
“There are so many pieces of land around, yet you don’t take them.
You want to take this land?
” I quarrelled with her.
I said “You bloody spirit! You have already died and you’re still attached to the land!.
” The spirit then just disappeared.

I thought that was it, no more issues, so I told Choo “No problem, you may go ahead and clear the land.
” Guess what?
That night, Choo’s wife had a dream.
The female spirit came into her dream and warned her “You’d better not clear the piece of land! I’ll kill you!” She fell sick after that, so they were very scared.
They didn’t dare go to the land.

I didn’t do anything after that, as I thought the problem had been resolved.
One night, I was doing my walking meditation until 1-2am. Around that time, the dew became very strong, descending [to ground level] and I felt a strong pain in my shoulders.
I stopped walking and went to my small kuti.

I took down the plastic cover and sat in meditation.
I started dozing off, as I was so tired.
I decided to take a rest.
The minute I laid down, the spirit appeared right in front of my face.
At that critical moment, I had no time to react, and she used the knife in her hand to stab my body seven times “Chup, chup, chup…” I saw a white glowing light draining from my body and I saw something like a nimit [nimitta].

I didn’t care [about the nimitta], I just continued to chant and I fell asleep.

The moment I woke up, I felt sick.
I couldn’t even meditate.
I tried to focus my mind, but it was all dark, black in colour.
The next morning, I couldn’t get up to go for my pindapāta.
I was lying motionless on the floor of my hut.
I didn’t know what to do.
I tried to do chanting but I couldn’t chant, I felt totally flat.

Luang Phor Den must have perceived my situation because he came to Doi Phu Kha, from another mountain.
He arrived by jeep.
When he walked in, he looked at me and said something like they say in Chinese “Gae kiang” [smart aleck in the Chinese Hokkien dialect].
“You don’t know your own strength.

You want to fight with the spirit?
You couldn’t handle the spirit and let the spirit whack you!” It was very embarrassing! At that time, I was having a high fever.
Then he said “Come, come, come, massage my legs.
” So, we went over to another larger kuti where he sat down.
There was a very bad feeling all over my body, as if the whole body was beaten up, very uneasy, very torturing.
He said “touch my leg, touch my leg.
” So, I touched his leg.
He said “nuad, nuad, nuad” [massage in Thai].
I didn’t have the strength so I just touched his legs and Luang Phor Den closed his eyes.
After a while, he just kicked me and said “dee liao, dee liao” [“all good” in Thai] and “mai mee arai liao, mai mee arai liao” [“no more issues” in Thai].
He then returned to the vehicle and went back to his monastery.


After he left, my whole body burst out in sweat and I recovered.
So, that made me develop a strong saddha [have great conviction] in the Kruubaa Ajaan [Luang Phor Den].
We had problems but we didn’t have handphones, yet somehow he knew! How did he know?
Luang Phor Den always had concern for the well being of the monks who were living in the forest.
He would check on us in his meditation:
who was doing well, who had problems.
He would come without your having to ask for help! After that incident he told me that the malevolent spirit was a very stubborn spirit.
He had dealt with her before! She didn’t want any help, which was why he didn’t bother with her anymore.

I said to myself, “Shit! How come the villagers didn’t tell me?
Even Luang Phor Den doesn’t want to handle her!”

Later I asked the villagers why didn’t they tell me that even Luang Phor Den didn’t want to handle her.
I told them that if they had told me from the start, I would not have tried to handle her.

The spirit was so attached to the land that she went into the dreams of other monks and complained about me! She had her son who was about three to four years old with her.
Wherever they went, they would go together, this mother and son.
How they died or what happened to them, the villagers never told us.

The Laughing Buddha

Once, while I was practising at Doi Phu Kha, I saw a nimitta of a Buddha image in the Sukhotai style, falling face down.
Of course, when you see a Buddha image falling, your natural reaction was to go help prop it up.
It was very huge, very heavy, and my legs sank into the ground.
I was doing it alone so I called out for help “Help me! Help me!” All my friends (the monks) just stood around and watched me, without lending a hand.
None of them came forward to help! Later, I saw a hand and I heard a voice saying “Boy! Boy! Boy!” It was gesturing for me to let go of the Buddha image.
I slowly let go of the image, and the image didn’t continue to fall but slowly became upright.
A very large hand took over and when I looked up, I saw a Chinese style Laughing Buddha, with many children climbing and running all over him, even over his head! The Buddha then moved his hand that was holding the Sukhotai Buddha image and placed it at the area of his heart.
I immediately realised that in the future, the practice of the dhutaṅgas would slowly fade away, meditation and samādhi practices would slowly fade away.
They would be replaced by something like the Amitabha Buddha practices, emphasizing chanting and ceremonies [rites & rituals].
I could see the kids running all over, even over the head of the Laughing Buddha but he was still laughing.
It was a sign that more people would be going for dana and structured training [theoretical knowledge] instead of liberation of the mind.
I see it more clearly now as it has been 30 years since the nimit[ta].
I reflected on the nimit[ta]and the projects that I had undertaken.
It seemed like I was the only one who had to work so hard.
I had to wrap my head


with my shoulder cloth and work under the hot sun, all sunburnt, with sand and stones in my hands, building chedis alone.
All the monks just stood there and watched [just as in the nimit[ta], the rest did not bother to help when called for! Nobody came to help.
I was so disheartened and I asked “Why is nobody helping me?
Why am I doing it alone?
” But the interesting part was that I realised that they just neglected themselves.
I would normally meditate and then reflect:
“It’s because we try very hard to maintain, to uphold, to uplift [the Sāsana].
” That’s why we had to work so hard.

It’s very true.
Nowadays, I would be the only one running around like a mad dog, around the world.

I even do video talks to the US although it’s not taxing, as it’s via Zoom.
This is what’s happening.

Exorcising a Possessed Village Girl

This incident occurred in my earlier year at Mae Sot.
The Karen tribesmen were spirit worshippers and any problems that they could not solve by themselves, they would approach me for help.
(I have a kammic link with the Karen tribe as I was related to them in one of my past lifetimes.
) There was a young girl who was possessed by a spirit.
Initially, they sought their own village spiritual elder for help, but they could not expel the spirit, so they came to approach me as l was staying alone in the forest.
They were also believers of another religion, but when human beings are desperate, they would go to whoever can help.
So out of compassion, l used urine and mixed it with some “Five Chedi brand powder” for stomach wind, and some syrup mixed with water.
I let the possessed girl drink the concoction and surprisingly, it managed to expel the spirit, and she was cured.
They were very grateful for my service and this incident also proved that what l had heard from the Kruubaa Ajaans is true:
for female spirits, we use a man’s urine, for a male spirit, we use a lady’s urine! However, it’s up to the reader to believe or disbelieve such an approach to solving the problem.

Hungry Ghosts

In my fourth vassa I stayed in a forest in Sam Meung Thung, Baan Sabbe (now known as Baan Leh Kho), where the villagers had built a kuti in the graveyard.
For the first seven nights, I stayed in the kuti without getting a good night’s sleep.
Every night there was an unusual disturbance as someone would pull my head, legs, and blanket, and I could hear my name being called out:
“Than Keng, Than Keng ‘‘ or the sound of someone boiling a kettle and chopping wood.
When I went out to investigate, there was no one around.
As soon as I was about to fall asleep, the disturbance would start again.

Luckily, I was not afraid of ghosts.
I told the unseen beings off and recited “Buddho ‘ and kicked them when they pulled my legs and slapped their hands when they pulled my head.
I put up with the disturbance for seven nights and decided I had had enough of it.
The next evening, at dusk, I went to sit in between two huge banyan trees, lit the candles, and did the evening chant and sat to meditate.
I spread my thoughts “Whatever types of beings you may be, seven nights is enough.
Tell me what you


I will not give this life of mine to you.
As long as I can help you within my capability, I will do so.

With that I started to meditate reciting “Buddho.
” Soon a horrible vision arose in me.
On the banyan trees to my left, there were many naked children crying desolately.
On the banyan trees to my right, there were many naked adults, male and female, crying desolately, too.
The vision was frightful.
There were maggots crawling all over their bodies and pus oozing out from their bodies.
It was a hair-raising vision.
I knew in my heart these beings were in the hungry ghost realm and they were asking for merit.

Initially I was furious but I soon felt sorry for them.
My heart went out to these pitiful beings and I decided to help them by transferring merit to them.
The next morning when I went on alms round, I asked Old Man Sabbe (the head of the village), why they built the kuti in the middle of the graveyard?

Old Man Sabbe was surprised by my knowledge of the situation without having been told anything.
I told Old Man Sabbe that the spirits had been disturbing me for seven nights and I nearly went out of my mind.
Old Man Sabbe asked me to help resolve the issue, as the beings were still there.
I confirmed that these beings were still there by the thousands and Old Man Sabbe became very afraid.
I advised him to notify all the villagers who had relatives buried there or who lived around the area to send a representative each, to partake in the merit-making and transference ceremony to these beings.

The villagers came the next morning to offer Sangha dana to me and I asked them to transfer these merits to the spirits, thinking “By the power of the Triple Gem and the merit acquired from their dana today, may this merit be transferred to any lonesome spirits, departed relatives and friends, all seen or unseen beings.
May you all come and have a share in the merit that has been made.
” This was incredible, as that night the beings came to visit me.
They were very happy and they thanked me for helping them.
They were now clothed, and the children had toys to play with.
I was astounded by the whole incident.
From that night onwards, there were no more disturbances and I had no more doubt in the acts and results of transferring merit.
Years later, when I went back to visit the village, the huge banyan trees were gone.
The beings that were there had gone for rebirth.

The Beautiful Deva of Nam Tok Jed Si

In my fifth year I overcame my doubt in the practice while practising in a cave at Nong Khai (which is now known as Bueng Kan province).
I had been trying to find answers to dispel my doubt for months but had continually been unable to do so.

The cave had a waterfall and it was called Nam Tok Jed Si or Seven Coloured Rainbow waterfall.

The waterfall was very beautiful, especially when the sun shone on it.
When I wanted to enter the cave, the sāmaṇera accompanying me told me not to as we had specific instructions from the teacher, Phra Ajaan Thongkum, that I was to stay in a kuti on top of the mountain at night and no monk was to spend the night inside the cave.
I thought to myself:
“Is my teacher trying to scare me or could this be true”?


reminded myself that I was there to practise and meditate, doing something good so it should not be an issue.
With that I went inside the cave and put my belongings in order.
When the sāmaṇera noticed my intention, he told me that I was not to stay in the cave at night.
The sāmaṇera’s facial expression showed that he was serious and I, for a moment, felt scared too.
However, another thought arose in me “Even if it’s true, there was nothing to be scared of.
Didn’t you say you want to have a go?
If what the sāmaṇera said is true, I will recite ‘Buddho’ to counteract my fear.
” I consoled myself saying the Buddha rested in my heart, the Triple Gem were my refuges and the devas would protect me.

After the sāmaṇera left, I started to do walking meditation, reciting “Buddho” and I dared not allow my mind to wonder or look elsewhere but focused my attention solely on “Buddho.
” I felt pain in my feet and when I checked my watch, six hours had gone past! I had been walking continuously for six hours and the gravel that I had been walking on inside the cave had cut the soles of my feet.
No wonder my feet were burning! I was tired and sat down to meditate, generating thoughts of goodwill to the earthbound devas and ghosts at the cave, and requested them not to disturb me.
I had walked for six hours and I would transfer the merit to the lay people who had given me food.
I had wanted to walk for eight hours but my feet hurt and I was too tired.
I would continue to walk after I had had a rest.
With that said, I sat meditating for a while and lay down to rest.

It was winter and the weather was cold.
I did not bring a blanket despite the advice from other monks to do so.
I only had my robe to keep me warm.
I regretted not bringing a blanket and hence kept repeating inside me, “It’s very cold, it’s very cold.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, I heard a woman’s voice saying, “You are very cold?
” Knowing I was in a cave in the middle of a forest and the voice reflected my thoughts, fear overcame me and I sprang up and sat meditating.
My heart was beating so fast and so was my recitation of “Buddho” that in an instant, I entered samādhi and the mind became very bright.
It was so bright that even with my eyes closed I could see the whole cave.
Then I saw a very beautiful female deva smiling at me.
I told the deva,

“Please do not come in, I am a monk.
Do not come near me.
” In my heart, I was communicating with the deva who just smiled at me.
In the next instant, she appeared behind me.
I could feel her presence.
I had no fear because my mind was very still and there was no other thought that arose within me and I was able to communicate with the deva through the heart.
The sense of feeling and hearing were still active.

Soon, a cold wind blew and the bamboo groves swayed and squeaked.
The thought “ghost” popped into my head.
I, who normally was not afraid of ghosts, started to shiver and sweat profusely in big drops and I was wet all over.
I did not know where the water came from.
It was almost as if someone had poured a pail of water onto me.
Had I not entered samādhi, I would have gone mad as I would not have been able to contain the fearful thought of ghosts within me.


In an instant, wisdom arose in me.
I could see the Dhamma arise in my heart and I reflected on the thought of the female deva as a ghost but the deva never claimed she was a ghost.
Due to her kamma, she was reborn in such a place and bound to the cave.
I further reflected on the thought of being cold.

Being the winter season, it would be cold but the weather never said it was cold.
It is just the way nature is.
Weather is just weather.
It was our heart that complained about the coldness.
The bamboo rubbing against each other did not say it was a ghost making the noise.
All these assumptions came from our own heart due to not knowing things as they really were.
When my heart penetrated this truth, there was a huge explosion within my mind and the doubt about the practice disappeared.
Then a question arose within me:
“Why is human life so full of suffering, it’s really full of suffering.
” I was so grateful to the female being as it was her appearance that triggered me to reflect on the influence of thoughts on the untrained heart.
I made a vow to practise in the cave for seven days and dedicate the merit to her.

The next morning, I walked down to the sala to go for alms round.
The monks were waiting for me and they were surprised to see me smiling and questioned me about my experience the previous night.

When I told them I saw a most beautiful female deva, they were shocked, as monks who had previously spent a night at the cave had always come back down with horrible stories.
That was because when the beautiful deva appeared, in my samādhi, I maintained strong mindfulness and held on to my precepts and did not let the beauty of the deva lure me.

Learning the Pātimokkha Recitation from Luang Phor Oon After the incident at Seven Coloured Rainbow

Waterfall Cave (Nam Tok Jed Si), I went down to

Bangkok to renew my visa.
On the way back, I went to Wat Paa Kaew Chumphon, which was a temple established by

Luang Puu Khao Analayo.
The first Abbot for this temple was Luang Phor Sing Tong followed by Luang Phor

Luang Phor Oon was a very reputable Pāṭimokkha

recitation teacher.
I spent my fifth vassa with him.
It was With Luang Phor Oon, his patimokkha teacher.

an unusual year, as normally there would be a few monks staying with Luang Phor Oon to learn the Pāṭimokkha recitation with him.
That particular year, I was his only student.
Being in such a rare situation, I was given special attention in learning the Pāṭimokkha recitation and I had to be patient, as Luang Phor Oon drilled me thoroughly.

At the same time, I practised diligently, doing a lot of walking and sitting meditation, and I was also fasting regularly.
On the 12th of August 1992 (2535 BE – Buddhist Era), I wanted to fast and meditate and


transfer the merit to the motherland.
As a monk, for many years, I had benefited from the kindness and generosity of the Thai people who had fed me and provided me with the requisites I needed.
I wanted to repay my debt of gratitude on that day, which coincided with Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday.
I made a vow to meditate, doing both walking and sitting for the whole night.
I had very good results from that night’s practice.
It happened while I was doing walking meditation.
When I reached the 6th hour, my mind entered into a state of calmness in three stages.
I felt my mind sink down in three stages as if I was taking a lift downwards.
During that time, I was contemplating the body into aniccam, dukkham, and anattā (impermanence, suffering, and not-self).
When I came to the topic of not-self, I asked myself, “If this mind has no self, has no one, then who is holding on to it, who is attaching to it?
” In a split moment, there was a big explosion in my mind, the khandhas separated from my awareness.
I felt the whole universe, as I knew it, flipped upside down, and it was at that moment I realised that having flipped, it was now the right way up, similar to a capsized boat being turned upright.

The realisation came to me that how I had been seeing the universe up till then was greatly limited in perspective.
It was an extremely amazing state of mind, as the mind in question detached from this questioning aspect and all that was left was pureness (pure awareness) itself.
Then it returned to the khandhas and back to normal again.
[Phra Ajaan Keng elaborated further:
There are no words to describe this experience.
Just the purity of the mind that’s above all suppositions when the mind is separated from the five khandhas.
In Thai it is referred to as “jit ruam yai” – the mind gathered and wisdom/discernment arose at the same time].
There was an exclamation, “WOW! How this human mind of ours suffers so much.
” I did not know who to talk to about this experience.
Had I shared that with other monks, they would have thought I was crazy.
So I kept the experience to myself.

I felt extremely blessed during this vassa as Luang Phor Oon, my mentor, was teaching me the Pāṭimokkha recitation and correcting me on the pronunciation, called “akhara” in Pali.
Besides that, Luang Phor Oon was very kind and gave me many special treatments.
Luang Phor Oon would give me a packet of cigarettes every day and reserve good food for me.
When food was being passed down to the monks, in order of seniority, Luang Phor Oon would always tell the monks to pass it straight down to me.
All the other monks would look at me and wonder why I was given such special treatment!

One day, after the meal, Luang Phor Oon told me to go with him to pay respects to Luang Puu Laa

[a disciple of Luang Puu Mun].
I said “OK, OK” and went along with him.

Just prior to this visit, I was feeling frustrated with my practice as I was not reaping my expected results from my intensive meditation practice.
I was feeling over stressed.
When we arrived, I saw Luang Puu Laa seated with a group of people meditating in front of him.
I joined the rest and sat in meditation.
All of a sudden, the temple bell was struck.
Luang Puu Laa said “siang rakang, siang rakang.
See, it’s the sound of the bell.
It’s a bell.
When you hit it, what does it produce?
It’s just sound.


During that period, I was very disturbed by very loud

You know, in Isaan, especially during the vassa, there’ll be plenty of temple fairs having “mow lam”

performances [local pop music].
These are all very loud and noisy village fairs to raise funds for the temples.
The noise from these performances drove me crazy!

Luang Puu Laa said “The sound is the sound.
The sound

never disturbed us.
We are the ones, ignorant people, who find fault with the sound.
” Then I realised what he meant and how it applied to my situation.
I started to cry to myself!

I thought of how stupid I was “The sound is the sound!”

Luang Puu Laa

That settled the frustration.

Immediately after the vassa and before leaving the temple, I asked Luang Phor Oon about my standard of Pāṭimokkha recitation.
He responded that I was neither very good nor poor but just passed.

I was happy with his comment and I travelled back to Pathum Thani to visit Luang Puu Jia.
I described my meditation experience to Luang Puu Jia, who exclaimed “That should be the way! Do that OK! You must continue.
That should be the way!”

Sister Patricia Teo, the Deva who had Gratitude

In my 7th year, Patricia Teo from Singapore came to look for me while I was staying in Doi Phu Kha, a remote forest in Mae Sot.
Patricia used to go to Wat Palelai to meditate.
She had developed colon cancer and had 30 cm of her colon removed.
After two years of chemotherapy, the cancer had spread to her lungs and bones.
She was given three months to live.
The people in Wat Palelai had told Patricia that I went to ordain because I nearly died, but after my ordination, I had lived for many more years.
Patricia was hoping that I might be able to teach her to meditate to overcome her sickness.

That day I was planting bananas with Sāmaṇera Kom when I heard a vehicle approaching and someone greeted me with a Singaporean accent.
Patricia’s brother, Kevin came and explained the situation, saying Patricia knew me and would like to stay with me.
I was surprised, as I had not been back to Singapore and I did not know many people.
However, I went with Kevin to my teacher’s monastery where Patricia was waiting.
My teacher’s monastery was about 80 km away from the forest where I was staying.
I spoke to Kevin and Patricia and notified everyone that Patricia would either get better or die in Thailand.
I agreed to help her to practise.
if she were to die, I would cremate her, as there was plenty of wood in the forest.


A few days later, a brother monk came to tell me that he knew of someone who could treat cancer using holistic treatment.
It was a six-week treatment program, the first two weeks being detoxification where she had to take a tablespoon of Epsom salt every two hours.
For two weeks she purged so much that she nearly dropped dead.
I encouraged her to recite “Buddho” when things got tough.
The 3rd and 4th week were for reviving the body, where they gave her herbs such as ginger, lemongrass, galangal (a spice closely related to ginger and turmeric), lemon leaves, etc.
She felt better after taking the herbs and informed me that she would like to be ordained as a mae chii [an eight precept nun].
In the 3rd and 4th week after becoming a mae chii, she practised diligently, did walking meditation the whole night.

The 5th and 6th week was the real treatment of the cancer, where she had to take a very strong liquid that knocked her out.
On top of that, she had to drink a pack of white wine to remove the poison from her body faster.
That treatment went on quite well for her until the last three days before she died.

Meanwhile, every night when I meditated, I would cry, brooding over my predicament as to why I should be looking after Patricia.
She was not my mother or sister and I did not know her.
Moreover, when I came back from alms round, I had to give my alms food to her, encourage her, and watch her eat.
Many people questioned my relationship with Patricia.
Some even thought that she was my wife or girlfriend.
I vehemently denied it but could not find an answer to that and pinpointed it down to my past kamma with her.
I was angry, but I pitied her, as I knew she was very sick, so I looked after her for 45 days until she passed away.

One day, a flock of crows came and cawed.
I knew that was not a good omen, that someone was going to die.
I went down to the hospice where there were many cancer patients to see who would pass over.
I had totally forgotten about Patricia, who was the chosen one.

That night, while I was drinking my tea, I saw a bright light flying from the paddy field towards the crematory.
As the light approached the crematory, it grew bigger and very bright and disappeared straight into the crematory.
I took out my torch and ran to the crematory to see where the light had disappeared.
I could not see anything and to clear my curiosity I took out my umbrella and mosquito netting and went to meditate at the crematory, hoping that the deva would come to talk to me.
There was no incident, but the dogs were barking throughout the night.
The next morning, before going on my alms round, the caretaker came to see me and told me that Patricia was upset.
She was crying when I got there and told me that the devas in red were coming to fetch her.
She told the devas she did not want to go with them, but they told her she had to go with them that night, as her time had come.
I asked if they were men or ladies, and she replied saying both men and ladies, and they brought all their musical instruments with them, too.

I quickly went on my alms round and after my meal I called my brother monks and told them that that night, we would sit at four different corners, with Patricia sitting in the middle, to chant and


meditate to prevent the devas from coming to take her.
There was always a cause for something to happen.
After midnight, the monks needed to go for a toilet break.
When we returned Patricia was already sleeping, as she hadn’t been able to sleep due to her fear, so we retired to our rooms.

The next morning, the caretaker came to inform me that Patricia’s eyes were rolling.
When I went to see her, she was in a delirious state and talking unmindfully:
“My father, my mother, my maid, Singapore,” etc.
She was perceiving her thoughts at that moment.
I quickly recited the word “Buddho”

loudly into her ear.
She calmed down and took a deep breath of about 40 seconds and exhaled through her mouth.
She took another breath for about 10 seconds and then passed away.
I was so very happy that I cried because it was over and I had used up my past kamma with her.
After she passed away, I arranged for her body to be cremated, and her ashes were brought back to Singapore by her family.

One night, during the vassa spent at Pang Ung, Chiangmai Province, on the 50th day (after her passing) at around 2am, while I was doing my walking meditation in the forest, I saw a ray of bright light that lit up the whole forest and I went to investigate.
I saw Patricia and asked “Pat, why are you here?
Which realm are you in now?
” She replied, “Ajaan Keng, I am very busy these days.
My friends are waiting for me.
I am here to thank you for helping me all this while.
I am on a Dhamma mission.

She then disappeared from my sight, and the whole forest became dark again.
I was baffled by the whole incident.
It felt like a fairy tale.
I did not know who would believe me.
However, I was very happy that I was able to help someone who, after she passed away, would come back to thank me and tell me she was on a Dhamma mission.
That was a good bargain for the hard work I had put in to look after Patricia, despite the torturing 45 days I had to go through.

Concept of Time in Different Realms

In 1994, for my 7th vassa, I spent 100 days in the forest of Pang Ung, Chiangmai Province (now a protected forest) practising alone, surviving on leaves that I picked off trees, chestnuts, bananas, guavas, and other fruits that I could gather.
I had made a resolution to spend that vassa in that forest.
I saw a couple of houses nearby and thought I could go for alms round there.
However, when I went on alms round the first morning, I realised the houses were abandoned.
I had the option to walk to a nearby village to collect alms but I had to cross a big river that was subject to flooding during the rainy season, with water levels as high as five meters.
For my own safety, I decided not to go on alms round but to stay put.
I reasoned with myself that if the animals like wild goats and wild boars could survive on shoots, leaves, chestnuts, etc.
, I should be able to survive, too.
I made up my mind to live like a hermit and I made it known to the heavenly beings, earth bound spirits, and all unseen beings in the forest that I would commit a minor offence by picking green leaves off the trees to use as food source.
According to the monks’ code of conduct, a monk is not allowed to pick leaves off trees, but in order to survive for three months in that situation, I had to use those leaves for food.


I came to the forest with minimum provisions.
I had no candles with me.
Luckily, I was able to gather melted wax from candles that had been burnt in an old temple.
I improvised and was able to make candles out of the old wax and used those candles as a light source for my evening chanting and night walking meditation.

After more than 50 days living in such a condition, a thought arose in me, “According to the suttas, a day in the lowest heavenly realm is equivalent to 50 years in human time.
How can this be verified?

One night while sitting in meditation, I had a vision of a heavenly being who rode a white horse-drawn chariot appearing in front of me.
He was dressed in white and had a grand appearance, and I knew instantly that he was a heavenly being.
He walked towards me and wrote the Chinese character

“zhen xin” (meaning “sincere”) on my chest.
I questioned the heavenly being about the word, and he confirmed the meaning and said, “You are very ‘zhen xin’ (sincere).
” He then walked back to his chariot and disappeared from my vision.
I came out from my samādhi and when I checked my watch, eight hours had gone by.
I was surprised that time had gone by so quickly.
Normally, when I sit meditating for three to four hours, I would be besieged by the pain in my legs, but I did not experience any pain during those eight hours.
I reminded myself that a day in the lowest heavenly realm is equivalent to 50 years in the human world.
In the few seconds it took for the heavenly being to write the word, eight hours had gone past.
Hence, my doubts about the concept of time between human realm and heavenly realms were eradicated that night.

After that incident, I continued on with my practice.
Was it easy living such a life?
No, it wasn’t, as surviving on leaves was not pleasant, as the leaves were either tasteless, bitter, acidic, or pungent, and they created lots of wind in the stomach.
I did a lot of walking meditation to reduce the effect of gas in my stomach.
That was what I called training oneself.
Sometimes I would question myself:
“Why do I have to put myself through such stupid vigorous training?
So it can produce wisdom and good results.
” These days, many people do not have the guts or endurance to challenge themselves.
However, if we dare to put ourselves in a lean and mean condition, sometimes during practice, we do not get any results due to wisdom not arising.
We may naturally want to give up due to an increase in greed, hatred, delusion, and the notion of self, as we have not achieved the result we desired.
We can observe how our heart reacts when we put ourselves in this condition.
That was the reason the Buddha always encouraged his disciples to practise in the forest.
The Buddha himself was born in the forest, became enlightened in the forest, and entered parinibbāna [final unbinding] in the forest.
So you can see the benefit and power of practising in the forest.
It can enhance the confidence of a spiritual practitioner.

One may say there are not many forests around us.
Actually, there still are forests around.
We are living in a society of suppositions and are used to this type of lifestyle.
When we do not have the comfort that we are used to, then we are not able to practise.
Some may say, “Why do I have to practise in such a stupid situation?
” In my case, the achievement within my heart and the Dhamma understanding that


I experienced from living in such a hostile condition in the forest:
these precious gifts or lessons learnt cannot be gained from reading books.

These days, with the advancement of technology, information that one seeks is accessible through the Internet at the snap of the fingertips.
This intellectual information and knowledge is only on a superficial level, but if we were to be sent to the forest, we would not be able to practise.
If one’s practice has been established, one should be able to practise at any place under different lifestyles and conditions.
One would be able to use a difficult situation and reflect on the situation for the benefit of the heart.
If you don’t do so, mental suffering will always prevail.
One has to be prepared to die if one truly wants to practise in exchange for realising the true Dhamma.

The Farmer Looking for a Son-In-Law

In 1995, I travelled to the Southeastern part of Thailand.
I had spent all my time living in the Northern and Northeastern parts of Thailand, so I was eager to try living in another part of Thailand.
I decided to go to the Northeastern part of Ubon Ratchathani and went to visit Ajaan Tong Suk, who resided at Amphoe Dek Udom.
Ajaan Tong Suk knew that I liked to go on tudong, so he recommended me to a place where he himself had meditated previously.

When I arrived there, I noticed the place was a tapioca plantation and there were no trees around.
It was not a suitable place for me to practise, so Ajaan Tong Suk took me to Pha Them.
We stayed at Pha Them for a while.
Later, I decided to move on and landed in a place called Baan Ang Thong in Ubon Ratchathani.
They called this monastery Wat Phu Lon.
Wat Phu Lon was situated in a very remote area in a National Forest.
I had to walk for two hours to get to the monastery.
It had a huge water tank that could store twenty thousand litres of water.
The sala was small, and inside the sala were statues of Than Phor Lee, Luang Puu Mun, and Luang Puu Funn, which gave me a warm feeling.
These three statues made me feel very much at home, as I was alone in this remote area.
I meditated and decided I should spend the vassa there.

When I went on alms round, I could not get much food.
There were only three to four families who gave me food.
Each family would give me only sticky rice to the size of my thumb.
The last house I went to belonged to the Khun Cheren family, and they had a daughter staying with them whom I was not aware of.
Every time when I went to this house to collect my alms food, the father would offer boiled eggs, boiled vegetables, and boiled fish.
One day, after two weeks of staying there, the father came to see me.
Speaking in the Isaan (Northeastern) dialect, he asked me to look at the paddy field saying, “As far as your eyes can see, all these paddy fields belong to me.
” I was puzzled and did not know what he was trying to insinuate.
The father went on to say, “You don’t worry, I have a son-in-law who is an immigration officer and you are a Singaporean.
If you become my son-in-law, you don’t have to worry.


I was shocked and told the father:
”I am a monk.
” The father replied, “You are so young, in your early thirties.
My daughter is around 17 to 18 years old, so she would suit you well.
” He invited me to come up to their house to have my meal instead of taking my meal by the river.
I was puzzled but kept quiet.
I knew what the implication was.
Truly, the next day when I went on my alms round, both the parents were not around, and the daughter was peeping out from the house, calling out to me, informing me that the food was ready and for me to come up to the house to have my meal.
I requested the girl to bring the food down because, being a monk, I could not go up to the house.
When she brought the food down, her whole face was red, as she was embarrassed.
She did not dare to look at me when she offered the food to me.
I knew I could no longer stay at that place and made up my mind to leave.

So, after my meal, I went up to the mountain, packed my belongings, and left via the back way of the mountain to avoid meeting the father.
When I came down the mountain, I stumbled upon the father, who asked me where I was going.
I told the father that I had an important meeting to attend and left the place, never to return.

Vassa in a Drug Trafficking Hotspot

I then travelled to Mukdahan to pay respects to Luang Puu Laa and went back to Wat Asokaram, as I needed to renew my visa.
At Wat Asokaram, I met a brother monk, Ajaan Inthon, who was a Chief monk in charge of Amphoe Fang, a township in Chiang Mai.
I asked Ajaan Inthon if there was any vacant temple in Chiang Mai.
He told me there was a place where the village head in Doi Ang Khang had built two kutis, but there was no monk in residence, and he himself had been criticised by the village head for sending monks who could not stay because of the terrain and harshness.
Ajaan Inthon felt I was the perfect choice, as I liked to stay in the forest.
So, he asked me to stay there at least for that vassa to avoid being criticised by the village head again.

I decided to check the place out before committing myself.
Immediately after my visa was renewed, I travelled up to Luang Phor Prasit’s temple in Chiang Mai to pay respects to him.
I continued my journey to Doi Ang Khang, a place that I had never been to.
The road was very rugged and dangerous and was accessible only using a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
A couple from Bangkok was willing to send me there, but I needed a monk who had been there before to travel with us.
I was worried that this couple would not be able to make it back, due to the terrain of the forest.
With the help of this monk, they returned safely.

When I arrived at the place, the village head, Phorluang Sid, was drunk and making remarks about monks with vulgar words.
I went up to address him, “Phorluang, I have come here to spend the vassa.

He looked at me and asked, “Are you a gentleman?
Do you mean what you said?
” I responded, “I am a real man, I have guts, that’s why I have come here to see you.
” Phorluang hugged me straight away and said, “OK! I like this kind of monk.


So, I stayed for the vassa in Baan Kop Dong, a Muser tribe village (also known as Lahu tribe).
The terrain was harsh.
The weather was cold, wet, and very damp.
The kutis were poorly built, each with an eight foot by eight foot “A” frame, and had a height of seven feet.
Every time I stood up, my head would hit the frame of the kuti.
When I lit the candles, black soot would deposit inside the kuti.
I was not aware of this until I laid down on my sanghāti [a thick upper robe], which had become black in colour.

I managed to collect alms from the hill tribe village.
There was a lady from Nonthaburi, Khruu Liam, who had come to volunteer to teach the locals.
She had built the school from scratch by herself with the help of other volunteers and sponsors.
Her contribution was recognised by the Ministry of Education, and she was selected to be the principal in charge of the school there.
I was blessed as Khruu Liam’s family offered me a boiled egg every day.
The Musers offered me plain rice, and a family called Cham Nong from the Tai Yai tribe would offer me a bagged dish.
I survived the vassa on these very simple foods.

During the vassa, a junior monk, Phra Pornchai from the township of Fang, came to visit me.
He was a friend of mine from Wat Asokaram.
I was surprised to see him.
He told me that he and other monks had quarrelled over some noodle soup.
I was disappointed when I heard that.
The incident involved their abbot who had agreed to sponsor the monks’ noodle soup.
When the abbot found out that they had some money from the chanting invitation, he used their chanting money to pay for the noodle soup.

That caused dissatisfaction among the monks who stayed with the abbot.
Also, the abbot would keep food for the laity instead of giving it to the monks.
I told Phra Pornchai I should be the one complaining as I live in such harsh conditions with basic food such as plain rice and boiled eggs, but I was still able to live happily and not quarrel with anyone.
I told Phra Pornchai, “You live in such a good area and yet you quarrel over such a small issue, it’s such a shame.
” I allocated Phra Pornchai another kuti to stay in.

When Khruu Liam went to the town to visit her friends or ran her errands, she spoke about me to her friends, and my name became popular in Fang township as a Singaporean, a foreign monk living and practising in the forest.
Soon the local bank manager’s wife came up with a full vehicle load of food and fruits such as mangosteens, lychees, mangoes, etc.
, to offer to me.
Phra Pornchai was astonished and commented that even the monks staying in town were never offered such provisions.

I felt blessed but said perhaps it was the presence of Phra Pornchai that caused these provisions to be offered.
However, Phra Pornchai knew that that was not the case.
I explained to Phra Pornchai, perhaps the people pity me, as I was a foreign monk living in such a harsh environment.
I was very grateful to these Thai people, as I had nothing to dispute, only gratefulness, as without their support, I would not be where I am today.

Baan Kop Dong was situated on the border where there were a lot of drug trafficking activities.
I was immediately classified as a suspicious person by the authorities when I stayed there.
The border soldiers


could not understand why a Singaporean monk would want to stay on the border where there was so much drug trafficking around.
Initially, I was not aware of that but thought that was a place where I could practise my meditation.
After a while, I knew I was staying in a drug trafficking hot spot area, as during the night I could see people with headlights on horseback carrying baskets going along the track.

I did not want to know what was happening, as my kuti was about 50 meters away from the track.
Every so often, the soldiers would check on me randomly and they made comments that were not friendly, but I ignored them.
That gave me the opportunity to practise sitting and walking meditation all night, as I could not tell what the soldiers would do to me if I slept at night.
In order to prove to the soldiers that I was a real monk, I lit my candles and practised all night, but the soldiers never gave up.
When they came to check on me, I would offer them coffee and cigarettes, and we would have a chat.

One night they came and apologised to me that they had an order to stay with me for two nights.

As my hut was too small, they would sleep in the hammocks nearby.
They were just doing their job and had to intercept the drug traffickers.

Just before the vassa, I went to a local temple to join their Pāṭimokkha recitation.
The abbot was unfriendly and not helpful.
When I asked for a few blankets to keep myself warm, the abbot made a sarcastic comment.
“These days, monks only come and ask for things,” despite knowing that the climate where I was staying was tough, being very damp and cold.
Upon hearing the remark, I decided not to take the blankets and told myself that I would not return to that temple.

As it was so cold, I had no choice but to approach another temple, at Baan Pa Long, to get some blankets.
Ajaan Phairoj, the abbot, was a funny and jovial monk.
He was also hospitable and caring, and had at least 20 vassas more than me.
When I asked for some blankets, he readily consented and asked me to get them from the container.
But he cautioned me that he could not guarantee the blankets would be in good condition.
True enough, when I opened the container, there were at least three rotten dead rats among the blankets, and there were holes in the blankets.
I took the blankets and gave them a good wash with two boxes of laundry detergent.
I cut the blankets and improvised them into a jacket, using raffia string to tie myself to secure it, as the weather was really cold.
I also made gloves and socks out of the blankets so I could survive the vassa.

During the vassa, Ajaan Phairoj had a fall.
He developed a very swollen ankle when he broke it.
He wrote a letter requesting me to come and care for him.
I had to take a ” sattaha-karaniya” (rains retreat leave) for not more than seven days to stay with him to look after him.
To me, brothers in monkhood should look after one another in times of crisis and sickness instead of being selfish, egoistic with so many prejudiced views or not having compassion to help their fellow monks.

I took every difficult encounter in my life as a test for my practice.
That should be the right attitude


to adopt to gauge how far one can go, how much endurance and patience one has.
The harsh terrain or occasional unfriendly treatment from my fellow monks helped to build up my resilient character.
I was very happy and satisfied that I had been put through such tough training and was able to turn those situations to my advantage in training myself.
That acted as a very good base for my mind and practice.

So wherever I go, I never run away, but stay to fight.
If I were to die in the midst of it, so be it.

One night as I was meditating in my kuti, there was a loud rumbling sound.
I thought it was a demon making the sound so I went outside to check.
Instead, I saw a turtle with a long neck and long legs.
I went back to my kuti and when I started to meditate, the kuti was shaking.
I thought some beings were testing me out.
The next morning when I went on alms round, the news broadcast on the local radio reported an earthquake to the magnitude of seven on the Richter scale at Amphoe Fang the previous night.
I had a good laugh at myself when I realised that the shaking of my kuti was not due to some beings trying to test my practice.

It was a rewarding vassa for me that year.
The Dhammas that had arisen in my heart previously became a very solid base for me to differentiate people’s intentions whether they were genuine or hypocrite.
I could tell their intentions really fast, and my mind was super sharp.
I put a lot of effort in my walking and sitting meditation during that vassa.
I tried many dangerous experiments like sitting on the edge of a cliff where, had I lost my mindfulness, I would have fallen to my death.
I also sat in the rain in an open area where lightning was striking.
Some people would think I was mad, but that was my way to test if my mind would wobble or if I would be scared or frightened when I was exposed to these challenging situations.

I had many good experiences during this vassa.
I did a lot of chanting, especially the Mahā Samaya Sutta, where many devas in white with white head covering came by the thousands, carrying white flags, surrounding my kuti and happily jumping around.
That vision gave me good encouragement knowing there were these beings who rejoiced at my being there.

A strange incident occurred one night.
I dreamt of a white elephant with the Emerald Buddha, which resembled the Emerald Buddha from the King’s Palace.
They came to visit me.
The elephant came to the front of my kuti, trumpeted his call, sprayed water onto my face, and I woke up.
I interpreted the dream to be a good omen that someone powerful and important would come.
The next day when I went on alms round, the Royal Palace reporter and his team were there with a video camera.
They were there to make a documentary on the development of the King’s project.
When they realised a monk was staying there, they asked for me to be included in the video they were filming.
They filmed me going on alms round in the village, and the footage was broadcasted in the Royal news on the same day.
When I went back to Pathum Thani after the vassa to visit Luang Puu Jia, the lay people commented that I was now famous, as I had been on television.


In that same vassa, I would dream of Luang Puu Jia every two nights telling me “Keng, Keng, let’s go! Let’s go to Singapore,” besides talking to me about my meditation.
I was puzzled, as I was not sure what was happening.

On another occasion, I had a sharp and clear dream about political turmoil in Thailand.
In that dream, the royal family was hiding in the left side of the forest.
They were guarded by the soldiers.

The King was not with his family.
He came alone later, looking tired and rushed.
I perceived myself as looking down from the sky and I came down and held the King’s hand and told him not to worry, as he was with a monk and was safe.
The King followed me and we went all the way until we met up with the royal family in the forest.
I was then invited to the palace and given a fan.
I woke up and was puzzled by my dream.
It was not until 2013 (2556 BE), when I was conferred the Ecclesiastical Title of “Chao Khun”

by His Majesty the late King of Thailand, that I knew my dream had come true.
That was 18 years after I had the dream.

Visited Luang Puu Suwat at Wat Paa Bhuridat, USA 1994.

Wat Metta, USA

After my first trip to Singapore with Luang Puu Jia, there was a need for me to go to America on my 9th vassa.
Luang Puu Suwat who established Wat Metta at Valley Center, California, USA would travel back to Thailand after each vassa to look for me in the forest at Mae Sot.
He did this for three consecutive years.
Each time, he requested me to help out at Wat Metta.
After three years of


persuasion from Luang Puu Suwat and being a junior monk, I relented and agreed to his request.
I felt it was impolite to refuse, and furthermore Luang Puu Suwat said that I would still be practising to develop myself at Wat Metta.
If someone were to come along, I could help them.
If no one were to turn up, I would still be practising by myself.
With that in mind I decided to go to the USA to help out at Wat Metta.

My parents came with me on this first trip to America.
When we arrived, Ajaan Geoff and two laymen, View and Jesse Hunter, were there to receive us.
We went to visit many places before I settled down for the vassa.
My parents left for Singapore after spending two weeks with me.

During my stay at Wat Metta, I had two strange dreams.
In the first dream, there was a vision of the first Abbot of Wat Palelai, Phra Khruu Prakassa Dhammakhun, who shouted at me to help.
I looked at him and asked, “How to help?

In the second dream, I had a vision of an apple-green single-storey building with many old people inside.
Along came an army jeep with two army personnel equipped with M-16s and they opened fire at all the occupants of the building, killing them all before they drove off.
I shouted at them, “How can you kill people?
” Then I ran into the main hall and saw an old monk with an ugly face resembling a ghost.

Suddenly a spear appeared in my hand and I ran toward the monk and speared him to death.
I threw the spear down and questioned myself, “As a monk, how could I kill someone?
” The next moment, I was sitting on the seat of the dead monk and I saw many devas coming down from the sky, offering gold- and silver-plated money and many other precious things that they had brought with them.
After receiving these offerings for a while, I said, “I did not ordain for these,” and threw everything away.

Suddenly my alms bowl, umbrella and my tudong gear appeared and I went on tudong.

I woke up and was puzzled by the dream.
I wondered what the significance of the dream was.
Not long after the second dream, Patrick Ong and Paul Wong, and later, Sebastian Wong, came to visit me at Wat Metta.
They told me that in future when I go back to Singapore there would be a place for me to stay at Wat Palelai.
I related my dream to them about the apple-green building where many old people were killed by the army personnel.
They confirmed that the apple-green building was actually a memorial hall used to house the ashes of people who had passed away.

Prophetic Dream of Mission in Wat Palelai

That year I went back to Singapore after the vassa at Wat Metta.
I stayed at 9, Jalan Nipah, the previous premises of Wat Palelai as per my dream.
The weather was extremely hot during my stay there.
The house was very stuffy and hot, and there was no ventilation, so I developed a headache every day.
My brother came to install a small air-conditioning unit for me.
Every time after my meal, I would end up with an intense headache.
One day, I developed an intense headache after my meal so I decided


to lie down to rest.
I dreamt of a huge white ocean liner next to a wooden tongkang [barge].
Inside the tongkang was a full load of people.
I was the captain of the tongkang and I gave instructions for my crew members to sail off.
Someone on the liner was pulling on a rope that was bound to the tongkang to prevent us from sailing.
A man at the bow of the tongkang took out a knife and cut the rope and the tongkang sailed off.

However, instead of sailing on water, it was ‘sailing’ on rocks.
There was no water to be seen.
The tongkang was scraping against the rocks, making horrible noises, but it kept going.
There were many obstacles on the path, such as big tree trunks in addition to the rocks.
Every time when there was an obstacle, I would say, “Go,” and the tongkang would float up in the air and fly over the obstacle, and we would continue on with our journey.

At Zion National Park, USA.

We came to a spot where I saw a Buddha’s footprint.
I was filled with joy and gladness.
I was so happy and thought to myself, “I am on the right track.
I am following the Buddha’s footprint, never wrong!” When we went further, I saw the Buddha with the hand mudra symbolising the Buddha’s blessing.
That instilled full confidence in me, and we pushed further ahead despite the tongkang’s labouring movement.
We then came upon a big log, bigger than our tongkang, lying diagonally across the path.
I commanded the tongkang to go and it floated up in the air and over the log.
Further up, I saw


a huge mountain blocking us, and the bowman said, “Mountain, Mountain.
” I looked at the mountain and said, “Bang, head on, crash!” The minute we crashed, the whole mountain smashed and turned to powder.
The tongkang skirted left, and we landed in a beautiful blue pond.
The tongkang was taking in water.
As there were many holes in the base, I told everyone to quickly get to the shore.
When they reached the shore, I saw many people taking out dollar notes.
I told them that if they were going to repair the tongkang, then I would go on tudong.
On the mention of tudong, my tudong kit appeared on me immediately.
The next moment my good friend, the late Lee Siong Keng, came to open the main gate of Wat Palelai for me and said, “Luang Phii Keng! You are back.
” I responded, “Yes,” and he said, “That should be the way.
” When I entered, I saw the chedi, the temple and other buildings, all very beautiful, fully built, and I said, “That should be the way.

I woke up from the dream and meditated.
My interpretation of the dream was that I would meet with a lot of obstacles and difficulties initially with my mission in Singapore, but by following the teachings of the Buddha as indicated by the footprint, I would have the blessing of the Buddha.
Against all odds, I would be able to overcome any obstacles along the way.
That was the reason why I had the confidence to take on the mission.

One Tuesday, Sebastian Wong came to 9, Jalan Nipah to drive me to the Wat Palelai main temple at 49, Bedok Walk to conduct a meditation class.
Being a junior monk, I went to pay respects to the senior monk at Wat Palelai.
He was very impolite and did not want to welcome me.
He turned his back to me and shouted, “You want to come here and snatch away my temple?
” I was taken aback by his remark and said, “I think there is a misunderstanding here.
I came back to Singapore to stay at Wat Palelai at the invitation of the committee members who had a meeting, and you gave your word that it is good for a Singaporean monk to stay at Wat Palelai.
” The senior monk responded, “If you want to stay in Wat Palelai, Singapore, you must disrobe and re-ordain.
” That remark made me very angry and in return I made a very nasty remark towards him that I would do something according to the law in Singapore and he would have to wait and see.
That day my meditation class was not up to scratch.

After the class, Sebastian Wong was very concerned as he drove me back to Jalan Nipah.
Though he did not understand the Thai language, he knew an altercation had occurred between the two monks.

I told him it involved the monks’ business, and the senior monk was not genuine and did not have Buddhism’s best interest at heart.
He was prejudiced against the local monk and said I was there to take over his temple, which was not true [the senior monk also remarked that Ajaan Keng should build his own Dhammayuttika temple if he wanted to live in Singapore].
I then informed the committee members that I had decided to leave so as not to create any trouble at Wat Palelai.
As I was a Singaporean, the committee members were offended by the unwise action of the senior monk.
Their comment was, “If we Singaporeans can’t even protect a Singaporean monk, what are we here for?
” I knew I had the law


in Singapore to protect my Singaporean rights, being a monk who had committed no offence but was kicked out from the temple.

I called Bangkok and reported the incident.
I informed the senior monk of the intention of the committee members to fight for my right as a Singaporean monk.
Having done nothing wrong, why was I not able to stay in Singapore?
The senior monk told me to leave the temple to avoid further trouble.

I finally left Singapore for Thailand and relayed the whole incident to Luang Puu Jia.
Luang Puu Jia was very upset and dissatisfied with the Thai senior monk who was a foreigner, kicking out a native of the country.
Luang Puu Jia said, “This is thick-skinned.
How would the parents think about us, monks who would kick out a local monk for no reason?
Is this the teaching of Buddhism?
Don’t worry Keng, I will get justice back for you.

Tudong to Palomar Mountain, USA

I went back to America and spent the next (10th) vassa at Wat Metta again.
There was a lot of unhappiness in Singapore after the incident.
Finally, the nasty senior monk was asked to leave Singapore by the Singaporean authorities.
As a religious figure, he was inciting disharmony and division.
Singapore being a multicultural and diversified society does not tolerate such acts but encourages harmony and unity.

Prior to the vassa, I went on tudong at Palomar Mountain.
Before heading out, I chanted the Mahāsamaya Sutta for seven days and transferred the merits to all earthbound devas and all the protective devas.
I had a very good dream prior to my departure.
In my dream, I had a vision of a Confederate American soldier wearing a sky-blue uniform with a round hat playing the trumpet.
I was walking in the centre of an aisle runner and I saw a powerful King with a pair of piercing eyes.
I was terrified when I looked at the King, and he knew how I felt.
Immediately the piercing eyes changed to a pair of eyes with a lot of kindness and I was sucked towards the King.
I ended up in his arms, and he was cradling me like a baby and tickling me with his long beard.
From this dream, I knew I would be protected by the holy spirits and I was very confident my tudong would go well.

The next morning, I went to see Ajaan Geoff and told him I would be going on tudong.
Initially another monk was going to join me on the tudong, but due to some disagreement I ended up going alone.
I was quite naive and equipped myself with the basic needs of a tudong monk suitable for a warmer country like Thailand.
I brought with me two normal sweaters, three robes, two pairs of socks, a hat, an umbrella, and a mosquito net.
I did not bring along gloves or a sleeping bag.
The temperature plummeted overnight and the cold nearly killed me, as I was not equipped for the cold nights.
I had decided to fast on that tudong, so I had with me about 100 ml of honey and 10 pieces of string cheese.

I had plotted on the map to cover a distance of 10 to 15 miles a day and divided the stretch of route


to seven stops before I could reach the junction.
At every stop, I would pitch my umbrella and do my sitting and walking meditation.
I was not allowed to set up a campfire, as the forest was too dry and might catch fire.
I survived on stream water, honey, and cheese.
It was very cold at night, so I just walked and sat to meditate.
When I was not able to put up with the cold, I started running.
When I was very tired and felt like fainting, I would curl up and hug my alms bowl to have a short nap.
In about 20

minutes, I would be woken up by the cold but, having rested, I was mentally charged again.

It was a very tortuous condition but to me it was a challenge of my endurance, perseverance, and my faith in the practice where many will view it as stupid, unwise, and self-torturing.
However, it depended on the individual to see how far could one go, how much hardship can one take, and how much could one endure.
People would think I was a hardcore practitioner, but that was my way to challenge myself.
To challenge oneself was something lacking in the society then and many people tend to give up easily when they met with difficulties.

Every day I would chant all the Suttas.
I had memorised all the Suttas, and chanting had become part of my life.
On the 4th day, I reached the junction and walked out of the forest onto the main road.

I saw a big sign that said “Mother’s Kitchen,” and my heart zoomed out straight to the sign.
I could see my mind starting to create stories and hope that people at the restaurant would have pity on me and offer me food.
My mind was conjuring up images of all sorts of food.
However, when I arrived at

“Mother’s Kitchen,” to my disappointment, the restaurant was closed on that day.
I reprimanded myself for inciting the stories.
I could see how my mind state changed from elation to painful disappointment.

I could see people working inside the restaurant, and one of the staff came out and asked if I would like a cup of coffee.
There was a tug-of-war going on inside me.
I was so tempted to say Yes, but as I had been fasting, I had to decline the offer.
I asked for a cup of warm water instead.
While I was sitting outside the restaurant sipping the warm water, Scott Morningstar, a big sized man, pulled up outside the restaurant with his Toyota Starlet.
When he got out of his car he exclaimed, “Jesus Christ! I’ve got to help this man.
Guy, how many days have you not eaten?
” I was taken aback by his accurate remark.

Perhaps he saw I was extremely thin and weary.
I counted on my fingers and told him, “Four days.

Scott was astonished and said, “Come on in, I will feed you a hundred meals.
” Upon hearing this I was very happy, but I had to tell him being a Buddhist monk I had no money.
Scott was puzzled and questioned why I did not have money’ as he had seen many other Buddhist monks who drove big cars with credit cards and stacks of money.
I explained that Buddhist monks are just like ordinary citizens.

Some are law abiding and some are not.
Scott responded, “I got you, you holy man!” He then suggested a trade-off for me to wash their dishes instead of paying for my meals.
I informed him that Buddhist monks do not exchange labour for food but we only do prayers.
Scott understood and called me a holy man again and said he would still feed me.
He was also concerned about my lodging after I told him


where I had been staying for the last few nights.
Scott decided to call his friend who ran a yoga centre to house me.
I insisted he tell his friend that I had no money and I could hear over the phone his friend saying, “No money, no talk.

Hearing this, Scott took me to their prayer room.
It could accommodate 20 to 30 people and it had a big Jesus Christ image.
He offered the room to me for my use.
I went up to Jesus’ image and said

“Thank you, Jesus.
You have good people who know how to appreciate people who practise goodness.

Thank you very much.
” There are good Christians who are not prejudiced against Buddhists at all.
I was reluctant to accept the offer to stay in the prayer room, as I felt I would be obstructing the needs of the other workers who might want to pray in the room.
I told Scott I would camp outside as I had been doing for the past few days.
The vegetation around the area was not suitable to pitch my umbrella, as there were hardly any trees.
I went back and Scott reaffirmed the offer was still there.
So I stayed in the prayer room.

I could see how my mind reacted.
The minute I knew I was in a safe haven, I let my guard, alertness, and awareness down.
I felt flat and I had no strength, as I had not had proper sleep and meal for the last four days and I had been through a very tough situation.
Feeling weak, I put my laundry to wash and slept for many hours.
When I woke up, I put my laundry out to dry and thought to myself, “Wow! I have not really rested my body for so many days.
” I was fatigued.
On the 5th morning, Scott and his staff fed me with delicious and nutritious food.
They continued to look after me for the next two days.
On the 7th day, I called Wat Metta to inform them of my whereabouts.
Scott and his staff decided to send me back to Wat Metta with their vehicle and they offered many French loaves to the monastery.
That incident gave me a lot of encouragement that if you uphold the Dhamma and practise well, people from other religions would help you and the devas would protect you.
While staying at Wat Metta for the vassa, I helped the Sangha to build two new kutis.

Kamma and Vipāka (Fruition of Kamma)

When I was staying in Omkoi, I would occasionally travel to Santi and when I returned to Omkoi, I would stay in the kuti in which I had resided previously.
On one such occasion, my monks were making a cupboard.
There was already a cupboard in my kuti, so I asked Phra Nam Chang to come to my kuti to see how the cupboard was constructed.
The cupboard had a wooden frame but was covered with zinc sheets so that mice would not be able to get in.
When I opened the cupboard, I found the whole cupboard was infested with black ants and they laid eggs all over.
There were so many that they congregated to form the size of a football.
Seeing that, I quickly closed the door to contain the ants in the cupboard.
I knew this type of ants were very stubborn as once they infested the area, it would be very difficult to get rid of them.
They would not move from the area.
I thought to myself, “How am I going to stay in my kuti?


I had an idea:
to use the smell of mothballs to chase them away.
I went to the storeroom, got a small packet of mothballs, and punctured the packaging.
I then threw the whole packet into the cupboard and left the door slightly ajar.
I thought the smell would make them leave the cupboard.
The next day I went to check the cupboard, thinking that the ants would have all run away but to my horror, they were all dead.
I was shocked, as my intention was to chase them away and I didn’t mean to suffocate them.

There were many holes in the cupboard and the door was also left ajar.
Anyway, action done cannot be undone.
I don’t know what repercussions would come from this act.

Less than one year after that, during the vassa, my feet started to have a slight itch.
I thought it was due to normal fungal infection, as the forest that we stayed in was damp and wet most of the time, and we went on alms rounds barefooted.
So it was common to have itchy feet.
Initially it appeared as a small dot on each of the foot.
As it was itchy, I scratched my feet slightly and applied medicated oil and Tiger Balm, but the itchiness did not go away.
It got worse, and I started applying alcohol, vinegar, antibiotics and whatever alternative treatments others suggested.
In the end, these remedies aggravated the area and the dot grew bigger until it became an open wound.
It started as a little hole, and the wound enlarged to the size of a 50-cent coin.
It was so big that I could see the green veins of the skin.
It felt like something was eating the flesh and it was painful.

The monks asked me not to go on alms rounds due to the unhygienic condition but I did not heed their request.
I applied a thick layer of Vaseline on the wound and continued to go on the alms round.

When I returned, I would wash off the Vaseline and cover the wound.
It got progressively worse and I went to see a doctor.
He prescribed me antibiotics and said they were normal infected wounds.

However, the wounds on my feet didn’t heal.
I did not know what to do.
I wondered what caused this.
One night when I was meditating, I focused my attention on one of the wounds.
Like using a binocular, my mind penetrated into the wound and I could see small particles moving and when I zoomed in further, I could see all the ants eating on the flesh.
It was such a disgusting sight that it gave me goosebumps.
I recalled the incident where I had killed all the ants.
The wound stayed on for the first year, subsided a little, and came back on.
That went on for 3 years.
After that, my feet healed by themselves.
Such was the kammic repercussion.
Even in the form of viññāṇa (consciousness), it has an effect on one.

Why do I say it was kamma?
Science cannot prove that this is the virus or bacteria from the beings that we have killed previously that was causing the problem.
With meditation you could relate that it is kamma.

Certain kamma that we carried out might surface in later stages of our life.
That was from my own account and experience.
Many years ago, I suffered a severe skin problem.
I was surprised, as I fasted regularly, did detox, and consumed organic products, but the skin problem surfaced.
The boils were


itchy and very painful at night.
When I scratched the boils, they broke and became bloody.
It was so irresistible to scratch the boils.
I had to wear long sleeves and long pants and put on gloves at night, but I was not able to sleep the whole night, as it was so itchy.
Being the stubborn me, I did not take any medication to control the itch and pain.
So, I meditated and asked myself, “What did I do to suffer this problem?
” The vision that arose was that of a king cobra that I had killed during my time in the army, and it had come back for its revenge.
I remember the vision:
the cobra came and struck me but it missed me on its first strike.
On the second strike, it bit me on the elbow.
In my vision, when it bit me, my whole body flared up like a fire straightaway, and it was so itchy that I wanted to shout out.

Now that I knew what the cause was, I knew what I had to do.
The next day I asked my lay devotee from Santi to get me snakes to release into the wild.
My devotee got me a snake and I was so shocked at the price of cobras in Malaysia.
Each cobra cost RM1,500. Due to the cost, I decided to release the snakes in Thailand.
I went to a shop that sold wildlife dishes and I could see the snakes were passive and curled up in the enclosure.
When the shop owner saw me, he asked what was I doing in the shop, as I was a monk.
I told him that I wanted to buy king cobras to release into the wild.
As soon as I said that, the cobras became alert and raised their bodies up, looking at me as if saying, “Buy me, buy me.
” I felt sorry for the cobras and asked my lay devotee how much money we had.
We ended up buying all the cobras, 11 of them in total.
Each cobra cost us 800 Baht.

Straightaway, we drove up to Wang Nam Khiao in Korat and released all the cobras into the forest.

All of them slithered into the forest except for the biggest cobra, which turned back, looked at me and flickered its tongue a few times.
I told the cobra, “May you all be well and happy and tell your boss to take this skin problem and poison away too.
” Surprisingly that night, 50% of the itch was gone and that was the first night I was able to sleep.
I almost went crazy as I had not able to sleep at all due to the pain and itchiness.
I was puzzled but I knew that that had to be true, as I saw that in my vision.
I was quite confident, but 50% recovery was not good enough, so I sent a message out to my lay devotees that if anyone had caught any snakes, I wanted to buy their lives.
Within a few days, I was able to release eight more snakes.
I went to Saraburi province to release the second lot of snakes.
Before I returned to Singapore, I released another two more.
When I came back to Singapore, my skin problem was gone.
I was so taken aback by that action of releasing beings.
One must know what type of being it involves.

I was lucky as I had the vision.
That was the beauty of meditation.
It could help you to relieve your problem faster.

Why do I believe so strongly in kamma?
There were too many incidents that have occurred to me for me not to believe in kamma.

There is a mole on my left cheek.
It never used to be there.
That happened while I was still a layperson and I loved fishing very much.
Every weekend, I would go fishing.
One night, I was fishing


at a jetty with a friend.
At about 2am in the morning, I was too tired and decided to lie down on the jetty to have a rest.
My friend was casting his fishing rod and somehow the fishing hook caught my left cheek and became embedded in it.
I had to cut off the fishing line with a knife and cycled all the way to the hospital to have the hook removed.
It was not an easy task to remove the hook, and I suffered a lot of pain while the hook was being removed.
At that instant, I understood the pain that the fishes must have experienced when they were caught on the hook.
I made a resolution there and then to stop fishing from that day onward.
After I returned home, I called my friend to tell him that I would give him all my fishing gear, including my small fishing boat for free despite having spent a small fortune on them.
My friend thought I was crazy.
I cut off the sport just like that.
After that the mole appeared on my left cheek.

I was often sick, and all the physical pain that I had to endure and all the things that had happened to me led me to believe strongly in kamma.
When I recalled all the actions that I had done to certain individuals/beings in the past, I began to realise that I was receiving the repercussion of what I did.
I did not have to wait until I died to face the kamma.
What you do to others comes around.
If not, the Buddha would not advise people to be good, kind, compassionate, and to forgive people.
The Buddha advised us not to create any more bad kamma.

As human beings, we already have these bases in us, which are greed, hatred, and delusion, which will aggravate us to do more unwholesome things.
With these defilements, you can see why in the world people are killing each other.
It is because of greed.
Greed for what?
Greed for other people’s property, things, for your own vested interests.
Even if you know it is wrong, you don’t care.
Look at the political situation.
Bigger power countries bullying smaller power countries.
Don’t they know this is morally wrong?
They know but they continue to do it because of greed.
They claim that it is for national interests but it is actually personal interests.
This is the nature of human greed.

If you long for something and you get it, you will be glad and celebrate the success, but if you don’t, you will get very angry.
When you are angry, your mind will be very deluded because you can’t think.

When you are angry and all sorts of bad thoughts have been channelled or supported by ill will, this will cause bad action to be taken.
That’s why people create more and more bad actions.
All this has to do with kamma.
Where does kamma come from?
It is generated from our minds.
All thoughts that are generated from our mind are a form of kamma.
They just don’t exist.
It exists as a thought arising, staying for a while for it to take place.
If we are mindful enough, we don’t react to it and the thought just dies off.
So, the kamma arises in your mind and ceases in your mind.
If this thought arises and you latch on to it, it becomes a physical kamma or a verbal kamma.

My belief is, a kamma is a kamma, a mind state.
Every thought that arises is a form of kamma.

You need to meditate to understand this.
If you don’t meditate it is difficult to understand.
If you


look at dependent origination (paticca samuppāda), it says, “Avijja paccayā saṅkhāra’’:
“Dependent on kamma….
..come to be” I said it is kammic because, as a meditator, we feel the effect of what we did in the past when we meditate.
Whatever we do in the past, the impact comes.
When we meditate, this thing surfaces.
What surfaces?
Perceptions of memories of the past surface by themselves whether you like it or not.
For me, I saw my life was all about killing.
Fishing is killing.
Fishing for prawns, casting the net, feeling elated when I had a good harvest of prawns.
To me, the catch was for food but when I started to get sick and I started to meditate, I saw all these beings:
prawns’ heads with human body, fishes’ heads with human body, lobsters’ heads with human body and pigs’ heads with human body.

These beings confronted me in my vision saying, “Give me back my life.
” I couldn’t even meditate.
I was so devastated.
It was so eerie and scary that I cried.

I was in a lousy state of mind when I was first ordained as a monk.
Firstly, I was so sick, and secondly my mind state was so dull and I felt it was better for me to die than live.
Luckily before I was ordained, as a lay person I had experienced samādhi before and there was nothing more precious than this mind state that I had attained.
I asked myself, “Why not go for this state of mind?
” That was why I pushed myself so hard until my mind went into full samādhi ( appāna samādhi).
Then the sorrowful state of mind disappeared in a split second.
I felt like I was in heaven compared to the hell state I was in before.
I was so happy.
I was in bliss.
If you can achieve this type of mind state, you will not want to stop meditating.

You know this is something worthwhile pursuing, unlike worldly materials where you can have them and lose them the next moment.
You have to invest in your effort to get these external things and they cannot stay with you at all.
The memory is not lasting, unlike the samādhi experience, which will stay with you throughout your life and it brings you to the next life, too.
This is the power of Truth.

The feeling of samādhi was so blissful and it was such a contrast to the depressed mind state I was in before and there was nothing to contest within me.
There was a voice inside asking, “If I give you a mountain of gold and this calm state of mind experience, which one will you choose?
” My mind said, “I want the peacefulness.
” Normal people would say, “I want the gold.
” This is because they have never experienced this type of calmness and peaceful state of mind themselves, so, naturally they will go for the gold.
This state is called “nāma dhamma,” a mental state.
Mental states are things we cannot see with the naked eye.
They have to be felt by each individual, to be experienced within oneself.
Happiness is something you cannot relate with words.

When you have attained such deep samādhi, the merit generated from such a mind state are enormous.
Hence, I was able to dedicate this merit to all beings that were haunting me, thinking,

“Whatever beings that I have killed intentionally or unintentionally, I transfer this merit to you.

After this samādhi experience, all of these kinds of mind states that were torturing and haunting me disappeared completely until today.
With this powerful mind, they can only have an effect on your physical aspect but cannot harm you mentally.


When people who did not believe in kamma approached me, I would only advise them and leave them alone.
It is their kamma.
If they do not follow the advice, that is their problem.
There is no such thing as, “I can take over your kamma or shoulder your kamma.
” There is also no such thing as reducing one’s kamma.
Kamma is kamma.
There is an analogy written in a Sutta about this very clearly:
your kamma is represented by salt and your merit by water.
Say you dissolve one tablespoon of salt in 250

ml of water – the salt solution will be very salty.
You can equate this with a tough life.
However, as you accumulate your merit every day, the amount of water increases from 250 ml to one litre, 10 litres, 100 litres.
.. If you dissolve the one tablespoon of salt in 1,000 litres of water, the salt solution becomes tasteless.
However, we cannot deny that there is still one tablespoon of salt in the solution.
This is exactly the same as kamma.
The kamma is still there but it cannot affect you because you have so much goodness.
When it does not have the strength, you don’t “taste” your kamma anymore.

For me, I had a lot of physical bodily pain.
However, because of my understanding of the Dhamma, I did not suffer mental pain.
Most people, if they have bodily pain, would seek medical help.
If the doctor can’t treat them, they suffer mental pain.
Even after the doctor prescribed them painkillers, they would suffer mental pain, as the attachment was still there.
I, however, understood the truth of kamma:
that the physical bodily pain of mine was due to my past killing kamma (I was a General in a past life and took many lives).
If I die from this bodily pain, so be it.

The Buddha never asked us not to seek the doctor’s help! We try to give whatever help we can to the body, but beyond that, nature is nature.
If the body does not want to cooperate, I let it go.
But the most important thing is that my mind is not affected.
This is something most people cannot do.
Their mind is always affected by what is happening to the body.
That is why we have to meditate to train ourselves to contemplate.
We need the experience, not just understanding, to support us.
You can think, “I know this and that,” but what happens when the real problem occurs?
What you know cannot help you because your mind cannot let go.
It is not so easy.

Group kamma does exist.
That depends on whether the group of people agreed to do the good or bad kamma.
If you are not involved or directly involved but just hear, then if something bad happens, you just feel sadness.
However, if you are directly involved, you will be affected by the whole group, as the whole group will feel miserable.
When something bad happens you will ask, “Why is it like that?
” To give an example of group or related kamma [Pali – kamma bandhu]:
Suppose a family member commits an offence, such as killing someone.
First, the individual will get into trouble, second, the parents will be affected as they have to face the queries and scrutiny from their relatives and other people about this individual’s behaviour.
This will have an impact on their mind-states, as all the questioning will create pressure and stress for the parents and family members, from people around them.
This is followed by the pressure of loss of name and fame, pressure of loss of friends and relatives, etc.
If you are not related, there is no impact on you.
If someone outside the family killed someone, as you are not related, you don’t feel anything.
This is what we call “related kamma.


Related kamma can also be in a form of mind state.
You remember something that triggers your anger, greed, or hatred;
something similar that you had been through before.
Perhaps you have forgotten it for a long time and because of eye, ear and nose contact, it triggers the same reaction from you again.

So this is related kamma through sensory contact.
This is not related to external things but related to your own memory from the past.
It can trigger you to have a lot of wholesome and unwholesome experiences or something you have experienced before.
This memory triggers a past emotion from you.

Your old emotion arises again and you relive the whole incident again.
Hence, if it is an unwholesome incident, people always say, “Don’t talk about the past,” and if it is a good incident, “The glory is gone, let bygones be bygones.

Rat with Sacca (Truthfulness)

In 2004, while Luang Phor Kwang was standing in as abbot at Santi Forest Monastery in Malaysia for two years, I decided to spend the two years practising in a forest.
Khlong Wang Chao National Park in the Amphoe of Khlong Wang Chao was the perfect choice, as it was very remote and there was a monastery with no inhabitants.

During those days, there were many forest monasteries that were in trouble with the Forestry Department.
These monasteries were built in the forests long before the government declared the area as National Forests.
Similarly, local villages that were established in the forest prior to being declared as National Forest were also not spared.
The law states, “No one should reside in a National Forest.
” Hence the wrong-view government officials evicted the monks and villagers from their homes.
That created hostilities between the forest monastics and the Forestry Department.

When I arrived at Tham Rohkok (Rohkok Cave), I was not aware that there was a court case pending which involved the monastery, as it had been impounded by the government, due to an incident caused by a monk.
There were forest rangers patrolling the monastery compound, making sure no one lived there.
I was confronted by four rangers, and the ranger from headquarters questioned my intention for entering the area.
The senior ranger insinuated that I was a fake monk and asked to view my credentials.

I informed the ranger of my intention to spend the vassa there, but the ranger did not want to hear of it and asked me to leave.
Luckily there was a local ranger, named Viroj who sympathised with me and led me to a less accessible kuti in the monastery compound, when no other rangers were around.
Viroj even connected the water supply to the kuti so that I could spend my vassa there.
He advised me to be discreet in my activities so as to not expose my whereabouts to other rangers.

Whenever I went out to town, I would always bring back provisions such as instant noodles, canned foods, drinks, buns, etc.
for each of the rangers at the sentry points.
After a while, the rangers were happy to see me, as they knew that whenever I came back from town I would have food for them.


slowly won over their friendship and they became less hostile.
In that way, I was able to spend my vassa at Tham Rohkok.

One day, as I went to get my sanghāti (outer robe) to wear for wan phra (uposatha) chanting, I noticed that there were holes in my sanghāti.
Knowing that there were rats in the area, I had taken precautions to tie my sanghāti on a rope and hang it from the ceiling in the sala.
However, a rat had climbed down the rope and bit it.
I was furious and scolded the rat, “There are so many rags in the kitchen, why do you have to bite my sanghāti?
Are you looking to die”?
I threatened the rat that if I came across it, I would use a machete to chop it into pieces.
I swore at the rat and did not think further about the incident.
That night I dreamt of the rat.
It was crying and asked me not to scold her, as she was pregnant and would leave the place after she had delivered her babies.

I felt really bad after the dream and went to the kitchen to look for rags, which I washed and dried.
I knew where the rat was staying and told her, “The weather is cold, use this cloth.
Remember, do not bite my sanghāti ever again!” One day while I was meditating in a cave, the rat ran in front of me, looked at me, making noises “chit, chit, chit,” to get my attention.
In her mouth she was holding a baby rat.
I could see this clearly as I had lit many big candles in the cave to reduce the humidity in the cave and also as a light source.
The rat repeated the action three times and left the cave.
I felt bad about the whole incident and thought, “Even rats kept to their sacca (truthfulness)!” It was a good vassa that year.

It was the same year that Luang Puu Jia passed away.
I was meditating in the cave when a nimitta of Luang Puu Jia came to me and said “Keng, Keng, I’m going.
” I suspected my teacher had passed on.
The next morning, while I was having my meal, Brother Peng (Louis Crane company owner) came with his son (Crane) and a worker from Bangkok to pick me up.
I travelled from Tham Rohkok to Pathum many times to help with the funeral arrangements.
At the same time, I acquired a sāmaṇera (Crane), and an eight preceptor (Chat), who came to stay with me at Tham Rohkok.
They stayed behind at Tham Rohkok when I travelled to Pathum.

That year at Tham Rohkok a major event occurred, with the Forest Monastics and the Forestry Department coming together to resolve issues of monks residing in the forest.
There were disputes between the forest monks and the forest rangers for years, creating animosity between the two parties.

However, there were other parties who, in goodwill, sent out invitations in good faith to Luang Phor Thong, Luang Phor Farc, and many senior monks to attend the event at Tham Rohkok.
The then Minister of Agriculture also attended the event and thus understood the importance and plights of the monks and why monks preferred to stay in the forest for the development of the mind.
After that meeting, new regulations were introduced and implemented to allow monks to stay in the forest.
Guidelines were drafted to involve the Sangha to help look after the forest, as per what is happening in Thailand today.


“Only Forest Monastery Have Preserved the Forest” because the majority of the population are Buddhists and they respect and honour the Sangha.
The Sangha commands respect not by any enforcement of laws or punishments.
Human beings should be treated kindly and fairly.

It was after that incident that Luang Phor Thong expressed his wish to spend a vassa at Tham Rohkok.
I explained the damp condition of the cave, especially during the vassa period, as experienced by myself, but Luang Phor Thong, having made a resolution, insisted on doing so even if it cost him his life.
Hearing that, I was so touched and told Luang Phor Thong that I would follow his wish and would look after him.

A few years later, while I was in Omkoi, I heard news from Ajaan Lek (an active Sangha member who was often involved in social work) that Viroj, the kind ranger who had helped me when I arrived at Tham Rohkok, had been gunned down.
I was shocked and so I sponsored food for his funeral and went to Rohkok to help with the funeral.

About Luang Phor Thong

I recalled the days when I was still an anagārika and my preparation leading up to my ordination, Ajaan Geoff took me to meet Luang Phor Thong.
It was my first encounter with Luang Phor Thong and I did not make a good impression on Luang Phor Thong, who said, “Oh well, this guy won’t last two weeks before he disrobes.
” Hearing that I was upset and thought:
“I’ll prove you wrong!”

I had been very diligent in my practice and was able to meditate in sitting posture for three hours.

Despite the constant irritation from the mosquitoes in the main hall, my mind was able to enter samādhi.

I lived in Wat Asokaram, observing the Eight Precepts for two weeks before my ordination.
During that time, I was able to win the support of most of its residents.
The monks were happy to share their alms food with me.
Chinese people who were ordained at Wat Asokaram continue to enjoy the support from fellow Chinese ancestry monks.

As the ordination day approached, I remained resolute.
Motivated by the threat of death, my determination to ordain only got stronger.
I made a serious vow to myself, “I will never disrobe.
Should I ever disrobe, I shall die a miserable death within seven days.
” At that time, I was convinced that dying was better than disrobing.

Immediately after my ordination, I decided to follow Ajaan Geoff and took up residence at Wat Dhammasathit in Rayong.
I went to bid farewell to Luang Phor Thong and was surprised when Luang Phor Thong offered to exchange our alms bowl stands.
At that time, I felt that gesture was akin to Luang Phor Thong sending me a special message, and I was delighted.
Those who were present would wonder about the reason behind the gesture but I believed Luang Phor Thong had his own reasons.


I remained in Rayong for three years before a chance opportunity materialised for me to travel with Luang Phor Thong to Mae Sot to practise.
During that time, there was a temple named Pau Wor in Mae Sot.
Pau Wor was the name of a general who committed suicide by jumping off a hill when he was surrounded by the enemy, who were Myanmar soldiers.
To this day, his presence remained, so the local monks erected a large Buddha image at the temple and invited Luang Phor Thong to attend the opening ceremony.

That was the first time I went to Mae Sot with Luang Phor Thong.
In the evening, Luang Phor told me about a cave at the stone mountain called Bor Look Rung (Granite Well) and another smaller cave, which he instructed me to meditate in.
During the night, a very strange incident happened.
When I was tired and wanted to lie down to rest, two very fierce black dogs approached me.
They bit and tugged at my leg in an attempt to prevent me from lying down.
These were not real dogs but manifestations from within my consciousness.
They kept watch and made sure I did not sleep but continued to sit in meditation all night.
I went to Luang Phor the next day and relayed the incident.
Luang Phor said,

“Now that you have come to stay in the forest, you need to be diligent and meditate.

When the construction of the Buddha image was in progress, we would go and inspect the work that was being done.
After that, Luang Phor went to visit Luang Phor Den.

Luang Phor Thong later left Mae Sot and I stayed back to practise in the rural area.
Luang Phor Thong would frequently travel to that area to practise and when the local residents/monks got news of his arrival, they would come and look after him, taking care of his shelter, food, and drinking water, or to massage him.
Some of the devotees would come from faraway places to take care of him and they would stay a night or two before returning home.
Each time Luang Phor came, he would stay for several days to rest and recuperate, as life in the city was hectic.

A few years later, Luang Phor came and established a school at Sam Meung Thung in Mae Sot for the local residents.
This school is now under the care of the Thai government as a public school.
The school was established through the hard work of the monks and also the private sector.
Having the government taking care of the school made things a lot easier.
Luang Phor built the school because he pitied the local children who were deprived of formal education.
The past government neglected the barren place, as there was little tax revenue to be gained in that area.
If the monks did not help to build the school, those children might have stayed neglected.

On important Buddhist events, I would invite Luang Phor Thong to help with the preparation of the event, out of respect for him as my mentor.
Those frequent collaborations with Luang Phor helped to deepen our relationship over time, until Luang Phor fell ill and had to travel less.

When I was living with Phra Ken in Rokhok, I learned of Luang Phor’s severe illness.
Phra Ken and I


decided to return to Wat Asokaram to visit and pay our respects to Luang Phor.
He had been diagnosed with cancer and was recuperating from surgery and was physically weak.
When he saw me, he said “Eh!

Keng, you take care of me la.
” I was dumbstruck and only managed to say “Krup,” meaning “yes.
” I wondered:
of all the monks in Thailand, why had Luang Phor not requested for any of them to care for him but asked me instead?
Perhaps he thought of me as worthy, more responsible, more attentive, more capable, and not requiring too much instruction.
Later, I considered myself blessed that Luang Phor gave me that opportunity to care for him.
It was because of Luang Phor that I resolved to live in Rokhok Cave, a rural area similar to Omkoi [see “Rat with Sacca”].
It was also a very undeveloped area, where the paths were muddy and difficult to traverse.

Luang Phor Thong was determined to recuperate in the forest even though he could have picked a more comfortable destination, such as Wat Asokaram.
He said to me, “I want to die in the forest.
I want to die practising in the forest.
” Having heard his words, I was filled with admiration and immediately accepted his request.
I asked for one week’s time, to return to Ulu Tiram (Santi Forest Monastery) to get some affairs in order.
Then I would return to Thailand and travel together with Luang Phor and Phra Ken to the forest.
My impression at that time was that it was really rare for a patient with cancer to go to the forest to die.
I formed a team of 11 men, including Luang Phor, consisting of a few Thai monks and sāmaṇeras.
The 10 of us would take turns to take care of Luang Phor.

A couple of days after we arrived in Rokhok Cave, Luang Phor started coughing out blood.
He had had tuberculosis in the past, and his old illness relapsed when he lived in a wet and humid place.
The weather in Rokhok was very humid and the caves even more so.
The caves were also covered in bat droppings, which gave out an awful suffocating stench.
I prepared loads of coal to counter the humidity, and also asked lay supporters to move in a sick bed using a vehicle so that Luang Phor could rest on the bed.
Although the situation was not fatal, his body was weak from the recent surgery.
Luang Phor said that a 2-kilogram tumour had been removed from his intestine.
Initially it was small in size but it kept growing and was diagnosed to be malignant.

Luang Phor spent a vassa [2013] at Wat Palelai in Singapore when he was diagnosed with cancer.
He invited me to spend the vassa with him, but I declined, saying “I will travel with you to the forest, but not to the cities.
” Upon hearing that, Luang Phor remained silent.
I spent that vassa at Omkoi.

During our time at Rokhok Cave, Luang Phor was frail and needed to travel in and out of the area to seek medical attention.
The local environment and conditions were challenging.
Each time we had to travel out of the area, we needed to secure the vehicle wheels with iron chains.
The chains helped to overcome the dangerous, steep, and slippery road conditions that we had to travel on.
Although the chains were harsh on roads, they were necessary, for it would be difficult to travel otherwise under those conditions.


One time we travelled out of the forest without any incident but we were met with trouble on our return trip.
We needed to cross three bridges, and when we arrived at the first bridge, we realised that the bridge was nowhere to be seen.
It had been washed away by the floodwaters.
Luckily, I saw my friend waiting for us on the other side of the riverbank.
My friend had brought an elephant with him and yelled at me, “Hey! A big elephant is here to help.
” We returned to the forest after crossing the river and were all wet.
During that vassa, we travelled countless times in and out of Rokhok.

Some people asked, “Why torture an old man (Luang Phor) like this?
” They thought Luang Phor deserved a happy and comfortable place to live in.
Why live in such harsh conditions?
I would answer them thus, “Look at yourself, you are in good health, yet your mind despairs.
Luang Phor is a sick man, yet he chooses to live in such a place.
See the contrast between a strong-willed and a weak-willed mind, or a mind with Dhamma and a mind without.
” That was why I praised Luang Phor, supported and revered him.

The bridge incident caused me to re-think about our means of transportation in and out of the forest.
I considered a couple of options, one of them was to use a helicopter and the other was to travel by boat.
However, travelling by boat could be risky in the event that the boat capsized.
What would happen to Luang Phor?
Even with safety vests, it would still be a perilous journey.
We would also have to travel past the suspension bridges.
Should an old man be put through the tortuous journey?
After some serious consideration, it was ultimately decided that using a helicopter to travel would be better, so it was necessary to make a landing pad for the helicopter.
Each time Luang Phor went for his medical check-up, he would return in seven days.
I was not able to accomplish the task in that time frame, so I called Ajaan Chuay in Bangkok to ask for his help.

I surveyed the terrain for suitable helicopter landing sites and identified a dried-out corn plantation site which could be cleared, so I decided to build the landing there.
Another landing site would be in vicinity of the monastery on the peak of the hill, but there were a lot of bamboo trees that needed to be cut down.
I chopped the bamboo trees down with the help of the villagers.
Once the site was cleared, I contacted Ajaan Chuay who told me to wait for two days for him to make arrangements with the military before handing the operating procedure to the Sangha.

After Luang Phor and I boarded the helicopter, I had to give directions to the pilot to land on the correct site.
Thanks to my previous military training, I was able to direct the pilot without a navigation device to the ideal landing site.
Prior to our departure to pick up Luang Phor, I left instructions for the local residents to start a fire as soon as the sound of the helicopter was heard.
That way, the location of the landing site could easily be traced to the source of the smoke.
However, the fire burned quickly and produced very little smoke.
Fortunately, I had cleared the area by myself with the help of the villagers and was well-acquainted with the terrain.
I was thus able to identify the landmark and promptly


directed the pilot to the site I had prepared earlier.
The helicopter ride was rocky and uncomfortable.
By the time we landed, Luang Phor looked weary and tired.
Even so, he barely expressed any discomfort beyond a few pained groans.

Luang Phor was kind and compassionate, so he was easy to care for.
He had never displayed his anger during his time with me.
If he was angry, he would at most make some disgruntled sounds.
That made it easy for others to bond with him.
Even at his weaker times, people continued coming to care for him.
Luang Phor was perhaps overly kind and compassionate, so some lay people took advantage of him, asking him for this and that.
He would grant their requests.
Sometimes bystanders would be upset to see Luang Phor being taken advantage of, but that was how he was.
If someone wanted something from him, he would give it away.
I would tell him not to give in all the time but he would say, “That won’t do.
Luang Phor has to give.

Due to the differences in our views and in order not to have any conflict with Luang Phor, we ultimately decided to part ways.
When we parted ways, Luang Phor was in good health.
Luang Phor’s kindness and compassion were awe-inspiring and I once said that I would never come close to Luang Phor’s virtues.
I was not as skilled as Luang Phor and could only acknowledge my lack of skill as a personal issue and not because I felt Luang Phor was in the wrong.
Luang Phor was someone who would give something away even if he knew the request came with the intent of taking advantage of him.
Luang Phor once said, “Hmm, it’s all right to let them deceive me.
” That was not something I could accept:
knowing that Luang Phor was being taken advantage of.

During that vassa, Luang Phor made many trips in and out of the monastery for his medical check-ups, each time staying at the medical centre for a week.
The helicopter was used only once.
We normally took the 4WD vehicle out of the forest and from there on we switched to a more comfortable vehicle to continue with our journey to Bangkok.
The journey to Bangkok would be escorted by a police escort.

The driver of the police escort was a police officer from the Tourism Police Bureau and he had the authority to clear the way for Luang Phor’s vehicle to travel to the hospital.
He would be asked to assist each time so that we could avoid traffic jams.

Sometimes Luang Phor would ask me, “Would you like to go to the forest together?
” I would answer in return “It would depend on who is going along.
” I would then gather a group of companions to go to the forest and while there, Luang Phor would lead us and instruct us on meditation.
Luang Phor delivered his lessons in Thai and those who understand the language would know how engaging his Sutta lessons were.


After that vassa, I went to attend the Kathina ceremony [marking the end of the vassa] at Wat Santi and thereafter, travelled to Terengganu.

When Luang Phor’s health deteriorated, he asked his lay followers to inform me of his condition and of his wish to see me.
I went back to visit him and stayed with him occasionally.
He was a kind and compassionate monk with a big heart who never refused anyone who sought help from him.
If someone dares to ask him for help, he would definitely help, as he did not want to let the person down.

Being with Luang Phor and spending many years learning from him, my observation of his patience ( khanti) had inspired me greatly.
When he was ill, he was beset by great pain but he would not breathe a word about it.
Only when the attending monk asked would he mention his need for medication.
There was one night when Luang Phor had to endure the need to urinate as the attendant monks were asleep.

One does wonder if the attendant monks were really taking care of Luang Phor or if it was the other way round!


When you go out to disseminate and proclaim the Buddha’s teachings, it can either lead to the advancement of the religion or to its destruction.
The reason I say this is because the person of each Dhamma missionary is the determining factor.
If, when you go, you behave in an appropriate way, keeping in mind the fact that you’re a contemplative, with manners and behavior corresponding with what’s proper for a contemplative, those who see you, if they don’t yet have faith, will give rise to faith.
As for those who already have faith, your behavior will increase their faith.
But as for the missionaries who behave in the opposite fashion, it will destroy the faith of those who have faith, and will drive those who don’t yet have faith even further away.
So I ask that you be consummate both in your knowledge and your behavior.

Don’t be heedless or complacent.
Whatever you teach people to do, you yourself should also do as an example for them.

Luang Puu Dune Atulo

Advice to a group of missionary monks

Gifts He Left Behind,

translated by Phra Ajaan Thanissaro

5 – supporting buddhism in singapore




Coming Back to Singapore with Luang Puu Jia

In 1995 (2538 BE), Thailand suffered a severe flood.
When I went back to Pathum Thani after the vassa, Luang Puu Jia said we should go to Singapore.
The flood gave us an excuse to go there.
Luang Puu Jia felt sorry for many of my friends who would spend a hefty sum of money to fly to Bangkok over the weekend to ask him one meditation question and then fly back to Singapore.
He told me I should go back to Singapore to help my friends and countrymen.
I reluctantly followed Luang Puu Jia’s instructions and went to Singapore with him.
That was the first time I went to Singapore with him.

We stayed at my brother’s house [Sam Ong] for the whole trip.
One night, Luang Puu Jia went into

“Nirodha Samāpatti” [cessation of perception and feeling] where all perceptions and feelings ceased.

The next morning, I was concerned as he was extremely late for his morning routine where he would drink his tea followed by a toilet break.
He told me that he had not been in that state in his practice for a long time and if anyone would like to make a wish they should do so.
Many did and their wishes did materialise.

We encountered a lot of difficulties bringing Luang Puu Jia to Singapore.
Luang Puu Jia was a difficult monk to invite and he rarely accepted house invitations, even in Bangkok.
Hence going overseas was something impossible and unbelievable which shocked many of his lay devotees.
Unknown to many of his devotees, it was under his instruction that the trip to Singapore was organised.
Some who were not aware accused me of making use of Luang Puu Jia.

However, we managed to go to Singapore.
While there, Luang Puu Jia settled some disputes involving the Sangha in Wat Palelai.
Luang Puu Jia had an influence on some important people in Thailand and that really helped to solve a lot of problems.
That day when the dispute was settled, Luang Puu Jia said “Keng, you stay back in Singapore to help your countrymen.
Do you want to let the devils or maras who donned on the yellow robes, in the name of religion, create detrimental effects on Buddhism?
Keng! You think about it.
This is your home country.
You should come back and help.

That was how I became involved in Wat Palelai.
It was also because of this that I reluctantly went back to Singapore.


Luang Puu Jia teaching at Bro Sam Ong’s apartment.

Experiences of Luang Puu Jia in Singapore

Luang Puu Jia’s visit to Singapore caused a big “hoo-haa,” as most of the Thai lay devotees had bad perceptions of me, a Singaporean monk.
They believed I was making use of Luang Puu Jia.
[In their minds] Firstly, I did not have the means and the committee members at Wat Palelai did not understand Buddhism and they did not know the monks’ rules [protocols] and the Vinaya.
They thought monks were there to make money for the temple.
I had previously been to Wat Palelai and was not welcomed by the resident monks, as my behaviour and conduct were totally different from that of the monks at Wat Palelai.
I believed that could be part of my kamma, and being straight forward and righteous scared off many crooked minded monks.

When Luang Puu Jia arrived in Singapore, he was overwhelmed by more than 300 well-behaved devotees who had lined up in systematic order at the airport to receive him.
Even the Thai Ambassador for Singapore went up to the Thai Airways plane to receive Luang Puu.
The VIP treatment we received from the Thai Embassy helped me immensely.
Those monks who harboured ill will and wrong view towards my coming back to Singapore as well as the harassment and prejudice towards me as a Singaporean monk were dispelled.
I was very blessed by the influence of Luang Puu Jia.

When we came out to the waiting lounge at Changi Airport, many people were so shocked, especially those devotees who had always harboured bad thoughts about me.
Both Luang Puu Jia and I were amazed as all the well-behaved devotees and my friends paid their respects to Luang Puu Jia at the arrival hall.
That had never happened to any monk before.


The people [Luang Puu Jia’s devotees] who had the wrong impression of me and had always bad-mouthed me felt bad and wanted to apologise to me.
They came to see me at my brother’s house.
They recorded the incident to prove my purity so people would not wrong me again.
I was not concerned, as I felt my actions spoke louder than words.
Those people with wrong views about me thought my behaviour was the same as other badly behaved monks in Singapore who would go on almsround asking for money.
They did not know I was a disciple of Luang Puu Jia, as I hardly stayed with Luang Puu Jia for any extended periods.
I would visit Luang Puu Jia to report on my meditation experiences and ask questions.
After given the answers, Luang Puu Jia would send me straight back into the forest.

I was very blessed, as I reaped the benefit from Luang Puu Jia’s special treatment because he knew the Queen’s brother.
They were from the same village in Chantaburi.

That year when Luang Puu Jia went to Singapore, he taught meditation, and each session was a three-hour sit.
That impressed many, as such an old monk could sit and lead the class without talking much.

Luang Puu Jia was a smoker and was not aware of the anti-smoking stand the majority of Singaporeans held.
On one occasion, he started to smoke in the sala after the meditation session.
He was puzzled when the sala became half emptied of meditators, but he did not mind as large attendance numbers were of no importance to him.
While staying at 9, Jalan Nipah [the previous premise of Wat Palelai], Luang Puu Jia was invited to Indonesia to help resolve a ghostly phenomenon in a factory.
He did it successfully.
Luang Puu Jia visited Singapore three times over a few years.
On the third visit, he asked me to inform the Singaporean and Malaysian devotees that that would be his last trip to Singapore and Malaysia.
Six months after that final trip, he suffered a stroke, causing him to be paralysed.

Luang Puu on a visit to Ji Ler Cave, Ipoh, Malaysia together with Bhikkhu Lee.


Introducing Pindapāta (the Almsround) to Singapore and Malaysia Pindapāta is part and parcel of a monk’s livelihood.
Upon ordination as a monk, the Upajjhāya

[preceptor] will inform the newly ordained monk of his four supports:
Piṇḍiyālopabhojanaṁ nissāya pabbajjā tattha te yāvajīvaṁ ussāho karaṇīyo Going-Forth has alms-food as its support.
For the rest of your life, you are to endeavour at that.

Paṁsukūlacīvaraṁ nissāya pabbajjā tattha te yāvajīvaṁ ussāho karaṇīyo Going-Forth has rag-robes as its support.
For the rest of your life, you are to endeavour at that.

Rukkhamūlasenāsanaṁ nissāya pabbajjā tattha te yāvajīvaṁ ussāho karaṇīyo Going-Forth has dwelling at the foot of a tree as its support.
For the rest of your life, you are to endeavour at that.

Pūtimuttabhesajjaṁ nissāya pabbajjā tattha te yāvajīvaṁ ussāho karaṇīyo.

Going-Forth has fermented urine medicine as its support.
For the rest of your life, you are to endeavour at that.

You’re to lead the homeless life, dependent on alms food.
The exceptions [to pindapāta] are on special occasions when people invite you to a meal at their house, a special invitation to a big occasion like a temple festival, or you’re chosen to represent the temple by drawing lots.
These are the reasons why you wouldn’t go for pindapāta.
Otherwise, you have to go for pindapāta [similarly, there are similar exceptions/allowances for the type of robe materials, dwelling places, and medicines].

Now, when I first returned to Singapore, the situation at that time was not conducive.
Singapore and Malaysia were infested with bogus monks.
Especially when I was in Malaysia, they told me that pindapāta was illegal, against the law.
The Malaysian Buddhist Association, which oversees all Buddhist organisations in Malaysia, did not approve of monks going for pindapāta.
This was because they were led by Mahayanists, and Mahayanist monks do not go for pindapāta but we, Theravada monks do!

The sad thing was that most of the “monks’ who go for pindapāta were bogus monks.
They were people who shaved their heads, put on the ochre robes and within a day, would collect alms three times!

[the Vinaya allows monks to go for pindapāta once a day, in the mornings].
They did it in the morning, afternoon, and at night at the night bazaars.
That caused a lot of distress and concern for many of the Buddhists who wanted to uphold the Buddhist tradition.
They approached me, and initially I was also at a loss as to what I could do.

At that time, I was setting up Wat Santi.
I relied on the Mahayanists for food.
They brought me food every day but they told me “you cannot go pindapāta, you cannot go pindapāta!” One day, a lady by the name of Siew Lian was driving to bring me food.
Her car broke down along the highway, the Kempas


Highway, so she called me and said, “Ajaan, I can’t come.
” I asked her why not, and she told me that her car had broken down.
She asked me “What to do?
” I said “So, don’t have to eat.

A thought arose in me “Why should I listen to these people?
If we are doing the right thing, even though it’s against the law, if the authorities are kind enough, they would listen to our reasons.
I think I should give it a try.
” Before I started, I went to reconnaisance a few spots by car, to determine the routes which I could take from Mondays to Sundays.
All the pindapāta routes that are now used by the monks of Wat Santi were determined from that time.

My first route was to a Chinese village named Wan Fuu Village, about 3-4 kms from Wat Santi.
To and from the temple, it took about one and a half to two hours.
I went with Luang Phor Ong.
While walking there [for the first pindapāta], we met a Malaysian monk and his disciple, Zhen Dao (he is now ordained as a Theravada monk).
They were driving in a car and passed us along the plantation area.
The teacher stopped the vehicle and asked me in Thai if I was a Thai.
I said in Mandarin “No, no, I’m a Chinese.
” He told us not to waste our time going for pindapāta, as the whole village was Taoist.

“They wouldn’t give you any food.
This is not Thailand, don’t be naïve.
” In order not to prolong the conversation, I told him we were going for a walk.
If I had continued with the conversation, it would have taken a long time.

That day happened to be the birth anniversary of the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, Guan Yin Bodhisatta.

At the first house that we stopped by, there was an old lady who had laid out all her prayer offerings on a table outside her house.
She had a shock when she turned around and saw us appearing in front of her all of a sudden.
She probably wondered where these two “devas” came from! She quickly offered everything that was on the table to us – the longevity buns, oranges, apples, barbecued pork buns.
I was also puzzled and thought to myself that she must have mistaken us for some deities from heaven.
She literally offered everything to us! I told her that we didn’t have any plastic bags to carry the offerings and so she gave bags to us.
As we walked away, she sat there, staring at us;
perhaps wondering why we were walking [instead of teleporting!].

We then went to a “chee cheong fun” [rice roll with fillings] stall.
The stall holder had been ordained

[in Thailand] previously and so he was very excited to see monks coming to collect alms.
He shouted in Mandarin to the whole village “Wan Fuu village’s good kamma is ripening.
Monks are coming to collect alms!” He offered a very large packet of “chee cheong fun” and “orh kueh” [steamed yam cake] to us.

After that, we went to a few coffeeshops and then came to a shop owned by a Christian family [there was a crucifix across the doorway].
When I saw the crucifix, I thought I shouldn’t stop as they probably won’t give us any food.
I was wrong! There was an old lady who came out of the shop and called out to us “Come here, monk! You come here! I want to give you food.
” She gave us the most offerings and she was a Christian! She offered mooncakes by the boxes.
Every time I went for pindapāta, she would


offer me lots of food, such as bread by the loaves, three loaves, planta margarine, and kaya [an egg & coconut based bread spread].
I was very touched.
That’s why I tell people not to look at the religious symbols outside a person’s home.
We don’t make suppositions about a person by the symbols they carry or what’s stated on their identity cards.
They can be very kind and compassionate people.

A large number of devotees came to know that I had started to go on pindapāta so they invited me to go to their coffeeshops because there were too many bogus monks harassing their customers.
They couldn’t handle them.
It was very sickening.
The people couldn’t tell if the monks were real monks or bogus monks.
They were also afraid that these bogus monks might cast spells on them, so they approached me for help.
I told them I’d go pindapāta because that was how we could educate the hawkers and the general public.
Just as we did in Singapore, we slowly educated people over time.

Last year (2021), there was a report in the Straits Times about our Phra CK (Phra Goh Chun Kiang) going on pindapāta.
I was so happy when I read the news report.
I said to myself, “We have succeeded!

Even in Singapore!” Initially, in Singapore, we had people who reported to the police when I went on pindapāta.
When the policeman approached me, I asked him “Is standing here an offence?
” He said

” I said to him “So, I can stand here.
” He said “But you’re begging.
” I asked him to define begging.
I said “Begging means I’m a person A and there’s another person B over there.
I approach him and harass him.
I stand in front of him and ask him to please give me something.
That’s begging.
But I’m standing here and if someone brings something to offer me, it’s a voluntary offering.
It’s their own intention.

How can you say that I’m begging?
” I caught him speechless!

Phra Ajaan Keng worked very hard to educate the public on the practice of dana, especially the daily pindapata.


Luang Phor Den on a visit to Wat Palelai together with Ajaan Dhum.

Paying respects to Singapore’s oldest & most senior Thai monk, Chao Khun Paññā of Wat Ananda Metyarama.

Another time, also in Singapore, we were confronted by the police because an aunty from another religion called the police.
She stood there to see to it that the police kicked us out.
She would pass remarks like, “You are the parasites of society.
” She was very vicious.
The policeman came, and I asked him the same questions.
Again, he said no, it wasn’t an offence.
He then asked me if I was Singaporean.

I told him “If I’m not Singaporean, do you think I dare to stand here and talk to you?
If I was a foreigner,


I would have run off when I saw you.
I’m a local.
I have every right to stand on every inch of land in Singapore.
I served in the army, my friend.
” He told me that people had lodged a complaint.
I asked him

“Who complained?
Troublemakers or what?

He felt bad and asked me not to be angry with him as he was merely doing his duty.
I told him “Yes, you’ve got to do your duty.
I’m also doing my duty as a monk.
You’re obstructing me from doing my duty as a monk.
You need food, I also need food but I don’t need money.
We only need food.
So, asking for food is too much?
” He didn’t know how to respond.

That lady shouted at the policeman “Why don’t you arrest him?
” All of a sudden, the people in the market came forward to scold her! See, if you stay with righteousness, you don’t have to worry.
Now, even the police in Malaysia and Singapore knows us.
The Malaysian police even gave us their name cards and said “You’re good people.
If anyone finds fault with you, you call me.
” The Buddha said that if you protect the Dhamma, the Dhamma will protect you.
That really was very comforting, and I’m so glad that it has proven true again.
However, there were many occasions when people spat at us, shouted at us, called us parasites of society, or threw things at us.
In Malaysia, some people shot at us using catapults! In Singapore, it was mainly unkind words.

The bogus monks were a nuisance in Singapore.
Some senior monks went out to catch monks who went on pindapāta.
A press conference was held, and the press was told that the practice of pindapāta was done during the Buddha’s time but not now.
The police were told to arrest monks who went on pindapāta.
I was furious.
I thought to myself, “How could anyone discourage the Buddha’s Ariya mode of practice?
” At that time, Mr.
Cheong Foo Choon was the secretary of Palelai, and I instructed him to write a letter to the monk concerned, with a copy to the police, to let him know that monks from Palelai would be going for pindapāta at seven locations [one for each day of the week].
They could come catch us if they wanted to.
They never did.
They didn’t reply to our letter at all.

I’m very happy that the Straits Times reported about our Palelai monks going on pindapāta.
I’m very glad that Dhammasathit [“the place where Dhamma is established”, the name given to the Chedi in Palelai] is coming to fruition, at least at the entry level.
The people at the locations where we go to for pindapāta now recognise us as real monks! It’s a noble task for us.

Chedi Dhammasathit

When I was in Wat Mettavanaram in America, I dreamt of Palelai’s founder, Luang Phor Dhammakhun, asking me “Boy, help me.
” I asked him “How do I help you?
” [Luang Phor did not specify anything in particular].

After I returned to Palelai from America and managed to settle most of the disputes, we decided to build the Chedi, as it was one of our [late founder] Luang Phor’s wishes.


Chedi Dhammasathit foundation stone laying ceremony, led by the late Than Chao Khun Sri of Wat Sakes, Bangkok.

Laying the Chedi’s foundation.

Placing sacred memorabilia in the foundation of the Chedi building –

Many images were installed inside the chamber of the Chedi itself.

including 68 sets of monks’ robes & alms bowls.


Placing sacred memorabilia under the Palelai Buddha image.


I recall that during our consecration of Chedi Dhammasathit, our Luang Phor came into my dream, looking very happy.
He hugged me and said, “You are my good boy.
” We were in a grand hall.
Luang Phor sat on a higher, grand-looking chair, and the laypeople were happily gathered around, like they were at a function.

[It was recorded in the temple’s management meeting minutes that Luang Phor had, in 1989, wanted to build a building/chedi on the piece of land where Chedi Dhammasathit now stands.
However, his request was rejected by the committee.
The completion of the Chedi Dhammasathit and the accompanying building was a dream come true for him].

Yom Tongdee presented relics for enshrining in Chedi Dhammasathit.

The Buddha’s and Phra Arahants’ Relics

[Phra Ajaan Keng helped to request for the relics of the Buddha and his Arahant disciples, to be enshrined in Palelai’s Chedi Dhammasathit, from a man in Thailand.
He was well known for having custody of many relics of the Buddha and his Arahant disciples.
The interviewers asked him about the background to the relics and the donor].

His name is Yom Tongdee.
I have also asked him about how the relics came to him.
He said that he went to India once and when he saw the ruins at the Buddhist pilgrimage sites in different locations in


India, he felt very sad.
He said to himself, “How come nobody maintain the sites?
If the relics can come, I will make sure that they are properly honoured and venerated.

After he went back to Thailand from the India trip, a lot of relics appeared in his house.
Yes, the story is like that.
The relics just came! There were so many that he offered them to the Sangharaja (the late Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara).
That time, Somdet Nyanasamvara was the one who gave away the relics to anyone who requested them.
Yom Tongdee would be the one to prepare the “Nak Tong Ngern”

vessels [three relic containers].
“Nak” is like copper [a mixture of gold, silver and brass], “Tong” is gold, and “Ngern” is silver.
The gold vessel is the smallest one, followed by silver, and then copper.
If you look at the containers, they are a set of three layered vessels, and the relics are placed in the gold vessel.

This man was very famous for giving away relics, so I went to see him at his house.
At first, he was very furious with me, scolded me a lot! He wanted to test me out, to see if I would get angry.
I just kept quiet.

Later, he smiled and then said, “I’ll give you 11 relics.
In fact, it was supposed to be nine but I don’t know why there’s 11!”

I went back to see him a number of times because we had many Buddha images [for other temples].

Whenever I approached him, he would give me the “Nak Tong Ngern” [vessels] to be placed in the head of the Buddha images.
That was the origination of the relics.
When the late Sangharaja was unwell, Yom Tongdee did the distribution by himself.
Now he does it at his house.
Whoever wants the relics, just write a letter to him or call him, and then send a photograph of the Buddha image to him.
He has a file of all the requests.
He will then bring the relics to you or you can go and collect them.
You can also invite him to bring the relics and perhaps honour him.
He is quite old already and is using a wheel chair now.

[When asked if Phra Ajaan recalls which of the Buddha’s Arahant disciples’ relics were given to Palelai, along with the Buddha’s relics, Phra Ajaan said:

He didn’t tell me which of the Buddha’s Arahant

disciples’ relics were given to us.
He has a lot of them in his house.
He has a big room full of relics.
They are in many big containers.
The relics all came by themselves.
It’s very interesting.
He’s a layman!

[Phra Ajaan commented about having received many

sacred objects from others for safe keeping and that he would place them in the temples/chedis for the public to venerate.
In his words:

Leading a retreat at the completed meditation hall.


“If you put [such relics/objects] at home, only you alone will pay respect to them.
But if you put them in a temple, many people can pay their respects.
That’s the source of an abundance of merits.

[Among the other important/sacred relics placed in Chedi Dhammasathit are a leaf from the sacred Bodhi Tree in Bodhgaya (a gift from Phra Ajaan Nyanadhammo of Wat Ratanawan) and a piece of relic of Phra Ajaan Mun Bhuridatta (a gift from a monk in Thailand).
Those who wish to know more about the Chedi Dhammasathit project can refer to the commemorative book published to celebrate its consecration, entitled “Phra Maha Chedi Dhammasathit@ Palelai”].

The 58 monks and their teachers.

The new monks’ heads were shaven and they were admitted as samaneras in Wat Palelai.
Subsequently, Phra Ajaan Keng led the Sangha to ordain the new monks on a yacht as Wat Palelai did not have an Ordination Hall (Sima Hall) at that time.


SG50 & First Mass Ordination of Monks in Singapore In 2015, Singapore celebrated SG50, its 50th year of independence as a country.
In the same year, I received my confirmation as an Upajjhāya [Preceptor:
one who has the authority to conduct the full monastic ordination] and my appointment as the Head Monk for the Dhammayut Order in Singapore and Malaysia.
To commemorate that auspicious year, I came up with the SG50 program, a mass ordination of monks to remember our late Founding Prime Minister, Mr.
Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore and to dedicate our merit to him.
That was the first ordination I conducted after I received my Upajjhāya confirmation.
It was the first and historical mass ordination in Singapore, as no one had ever done that before.

From top, left to right:
The new monks participated in the daily pindapata, briefing by Phra Ajaan Keng at the Sarimbun Scouts’ camp, Phra Ajaan Keng led the monks for pindapata at the Buddhist Fellowship, overnight chanting to bless the Nation, the disrobing ceremony, and portrait picture of the Late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at the SG50 commemoration event.


As there was no ordination hall [sima – for the Dhammayut Order] in Singapore then, I had to make proper planning.
In the end I decided to do a water ordination [i.
e. on a platform seated on flowing water].
The temple’s Management Committee and I decided to hire a yacht and we managed to secure a big boat.
There were 58 candidates at the ordination.
Out of the 58 monks, only one has remained as a monk and he is currently staying with Phra Jutipañño in Api-Api, Johor, Malaysia.
It was a significant event.
There were many events that were organised to commemorate Singapore’s 50 years of independence, and the mass ordination was the biggest and most organised event at Wat Palelai.
It involved big-scale planning.

Initially, when we enquired about hiring a boat for the ordination, we were quoted a price of $20,000

per day This was a cruise ship used [occasionally] by the Ministers of Singapore to entertain foreign guests.
I went to view the cruise ship but it was too costly and we could not absorb the cost.
I was toying with other ideas, but someone suggested that I contact another boat company, Compass Boat.
Compass Boat owned yachts and sailboats parked near Sentosa.
I went to look at the boat and met up with the owner who came to meet me, riding on a bicycle.
He said, “If you want to hire the boat, I can make it cheap for you.
” Instead of parking the boat in Sentosa marina area, which would incur many charges, he would ask his skipper to park the boat in Jurong shipyard, supposedly for repair and that would bring the cost down to $6,000. It was less than a quarter of the initial cost, so we took up the offer.

The program for the 10-day ordination was as follows:

1 Aug 15 (Day 1) - On-boarding & head shaving ceremony 2 Aug 15 (Day 2) - Asking for forgiveness & mass novice ordination 3 Aug 15 (Day 3) - Bhikkhu ordination on board the yacht 4 Aug 15 (Day 4) - Daily

5 Aug 15 (Day 5) - Bhikkhu training, Dhamma talks,

6 Aug 15 (Day 6) - Meditation sessions, pindapāta

7 Aug 15 (Day 7) - Pindapāta & lunch dana at Buddhist Fellowship

- Training at Sarimbun Scout Camp [and cemetery meditation]

8 Aug 15 (Day 8) - Overnight chanting at Palelai

9 Aug 15 (Day 9) - SG50 Golden Jubilee National Day Celebration

- Blessing for our Nation & transference of merit to the Nation’s Founding Father

- Dhamma Talk by Than Ajaan Suchart Abhijato via Skype 10 Aug 15 (Day 10) - Last day of monkhood (disrobing ceremony)


A specially designed three-piece set of commemorative amulets to mark SG50 was also consecrated and given out to all attendees.

I had prepared a training syllabus for the mass ordination, as I wanted the newly ordained monks to have a real taste of every aspect of life as a monk:
living in the forest, meditating in a cemetery ground, going on alms rounds etc.
From the first day they were ordained to the last day of the program, they had to follow the syllabus.
As there were 58 monks, I had to split them into smaller groups and stagger the activities among the groups.
Those who were ordained were adults mainly in their fifties and sixties, with the youngest being in his forties.
These were individuals from my era and we appreciated what our late Founding Prime Minister had done for us.
When I informed them that I wanted to organise the ordination program, they were very happy and supported me in the cause.
We were very grateful for the sacrifices of the pioneers and our late Prime Minister who spearheaded many projects to bring Singapore to what it is today.
I am a very traditional and fundamental hard-core person and I always emphasised having gratitude.
We must never forget the sacrifices of our forefathers.
We must always go back to the roots.
Then we will know how to treasure them and to work for the future.
These days, people fail because they only look at their own interests but not at how much hard work that has been put in by others and how to preserve the groundwork.
They were not the people who built the foundation so they don’t care.
If you were the one to build the foundation, you would know how difficult it was.
Then you would treasure every little bit and piece of the work you had done.

That was also the reason why I would always go back to the basic training in all aspects of my practice:
that is, to start everything from the basics.
As a monk, there is no such thing as a “modern day” or “up-to-date” monk.
As a Buddhist monk, we must always lie very low.
We must not hold to strong individual views, but instead should but listen to our Elders, as we are here to practise.
If we do not listen to the Elders and instead resort to our own knowledge, our own views, and our pride and attachment to our own views, we will never grow.
Many people with strong views cannot grow.
In the end, they never succeed.
If you follow the fundamental rules, you slowly work your way out.
These people would succeed because they have to perform all the basic groundwork.
We don’t put the world first;
we put the Dhamma first instead.

In this present day, do we take the monk’s view first or the lay people’s views?
We don’t take either but must take the view of the Dhamma first, the view of morality first! If the monk or lay people’s view are not Dhamma, what good will that do?
If you take the lay people’s view first and they have a lot of followers and they [the lay people] control everything, that is more towards defilement rather than towards Dhamma.
These days, there are many Buddhist Dhamma platforms.
What is the point of having these platforms when you do not use it to propagate genuine Buddhism?
If you use the Buddhist platform simply as you see fit, then you defeat the purpose, as people do not benefit from this sort of platform at all.
You should use the platform to propagate sīla, samādhi, and paññā.
Nowadays many


such platforms have been diluted with other activities such as yoga, flower arrangement, healthy eating, cooking classes, and detox courses.
There are no more meditation courses being conducted.
Many of these platforms are used to promote all things relating to prolonging life instead of talking about aniccā, dukkha, and anattā.
This will be the downfall of Buddhism.
We need to know the purpose of having a Buddhist Dhamma platform.
Certainly, we can incorporate some of the other courses but these other courses must not override the original purpose of the platform.
If a monk is not practising, it is easy for such a platform to be used as a business marketing platform instead of propagating the Buddha Dhamma, about letting go.

When we go overseas on Dhamma missions, we will want to preserve the traditional way of doing things.
There is always a transition period when we go overseas to propagate Buddhism.
We are bringing something very pure from the Buddha’s time and we need to know how to implement it to suit the culture and society that we are in and not to contradict the culture there.
Good human values such as kindness, generosity, and assistance to the needy will be accepted by all religions.
These values coincide with Buddhist values:
generosity, kindness, and compassion.
These are the values we need to uphold.

We need to be inclusive in all aspects of the practice.

Sīmā Dhamma Vinaya Raṅsī

The Buddha said that in order for the teachings of the Buddha to be really established in a country, you must firstly have both lay people and monks, forming the fourfold assembly

[monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen].
Secondly, once we already have the fourfold assembly, we must have local monks who are able to ordain our local monks as well as recite the Pāṭimokkha, and to guide and train them.

In order to fulfil all these criteria, I brought many monks from Singapore and Malaysia to Thailand to be ordained at Wat Asokaram or Wat Sanam Brahm.
Many teachers told me “Keng, you should go for the Upajjhāya course” [training course for Preceptors].
I thought to myself, “Never mind, I’ll just work with Asokaram.
Send the candidates to Asokaram to study and then to be ordained and after that send them up to the Northeast of Thailand for training.

Many Kruubaa Ajaans often brought up this subject, supporting us.
Of course, the person who was really supporting us from behind, was Chao Khun Tham, Wat Sanam Brahm.
He really pushed for this.
He said “Keng, you got to have a Sima Hall in Singapore.
” A lot of our Singapore and Malaysian monks were ordained by this Chao Khun.
I’m very grateful to him because every month there would be a Dhammayut meeting in Bangkok, at Wat Awut Wikasitaram, and they’d always bring up this subject:
how to support us.
This was when the late Somdet Wanarat brought my name into the picture, saying,

“Eh, I’ve noticed this guy for a long time.
” The first thing he did was to confer on me the title of “Phra


The Sima Dhamma Vinaya Ransi.

Ground breaking ceremony.


Construction contract signing ceremony.

Khruu Palad” on 17th September 2013 [B.
E. 2556] and appoint me as one of his assistants.
Two months later, they conferred the title of “Chao Khun” on me.

Two weeks before the Upajjhāya course [early 2015], Chao Khun Ark told me that Somdet Wanarat wanted me to attend the course and gave me the course book to memorise the ordination procedures and chants.
I said, “Huh?
Two weeks?
” He said, “You don’t have to worry about the course.

No matter how, even if you fail, you’ll be passed.
” I said, “No, no, like that I don’t feel honoured at all.
I’ll make sure that I memorise everything.
I want to perform like the Thais monks.
I want to sit through the exams as the Thais do.
I don’t want to be a laughing stock.
” I didn’t want others to say, “He came through the back door, an Upajjhāya from the back door.
” I’m not that kind of monk.
If someone honours me, I’ll make sure he’ll be proud that the person he chose has the capability and can really deliver his job.
In two weeks, I had to memorise the whole book! There were monks who have failed the course three times already.
They have been “khruu suat” [ordination teachers/officials] for 20–30 years already, yet they failed the course two, three times!

I have never been trained in the chants before so I used my Pāṭimokkha training approach.
For whole days and whole nights I just pushed myself to memorise the chanting.
At night I didn’t sleep until Luang Phor Than Chao Khun Tham Voraporn told me not to chant so loud.
I didn’t know that I was


Phra Ajaan Keng brought his first five Singaporeans to Wat Asokaram for ordination on 15th July 1999.


Conferment of the Ecclesiastical Title of “Chao Khun” on Phra Ajaan Keng.

Chao Khun Keng receiving the rank fan from the then Crown Prince of Thailand, currently King Rama 10.

Post conferment pictures in the grounds of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, with his parents, niece Ong Jun Qiang, brother Sam Ong, sister-in-law Lee Hong Choo and niece Ong Sze Ming.



Celebrating his conferment with the villagers of Omkoi at Wat Doi Charoentham,Chiangmai.


Palelai organised a grand celebration in honour of Phra Ajaan Keng’s being the first Singaporean ordained in the Thai Theravada tradition to receive the Ecclesiastical title of “Chao Khun”.
The Sangha in attendance included Chao Khun Paññā of Wat Ananda Metyarama (the senior most Thai monk in Singapore) and Phra Ajaan Thanissaro and monks from Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia.

disturbing everybody.
I chanted until 2am. He came and said “Keng, Keng, you can go and have a rest.

I said, “Until I have memorised the chants, I am not going to rest.
” He said “It’s 2am in the morning, if you don’t want to sleep, others want to sleep.
” I said, “Huh?
It’s 2 o’clock already?
Sorry, sorry, OK, I’ll chant softer.
” But I didn’t sleep until the next morning.
I took many days but I kept memorising until when I lay down, I could recall the chants one-two rounds.
Then the next day, I went to Luang Phor and asked him to please tune for me.
Luang Phor remarked that it was very quick and I told him that I had memorised them.
He said “You really did?
There’s this Luang Phor who came a few times and still failed.
” I told him how I used our meditation attitude, how we pushed hard during our meditation practice.
Just like dern congkrom (walking meditation), we do it throughout the whole day and night, and don’t let up until our kilesas die!

After the course, I was certified to be a Preceptor [on 9th April 2015]. We still hadn’t built our Sima yet but we had our SG50 celebrations to commemorate Singapore’s 50th anniversary [Golden Jubilee].

I wanted to commemorate our late Mr.
Lee Kuan Yew’s contributions to Singapore.
I’m always very


proud of him.
If there were no Lee Kuan Yew, there would be no Singapore.
Right? I wanted to make merit for this man who gave us all the comforts that we have today.
Of course, it was our contributions too but we have a very good system here (put in place by him).
That was why our SG50 celebration came about together with the ordination of local monks.

When you have a qualified upajjhāya, you cannot not have a Sīmā.
That was already in our plans for Palelai and subsequently, all the Sangha and lay people worked together and finally we were able to make our dream come true.

[After the Sīmā Hall was completed] we invited Somdet Wanarat to be the Guest of Honour for the Consecration of the Sīmā along with Somdet Thirajaan and the whole team of Senior Monks who had previously attended our Chedi Dhammasathit opening on 25th February 2007. But during that time, the Patron of the Somdet’s monastery had passed away so he couldn’t attend the celebration.
In place of Somdet Wanarat, they sent Chao Khun Phrommuni, General Secretary of the Dhammayuttika Order of Thailand, to be the Master of Ceremonies for the Consecration.
The ceremony was attended by Kruubaa Ajaans of our lineage and other senior monks from Bangkok.

Chao Khun Phrommuni has since been promoted to Somdet Mahaweerawong and acts as the Secretary to the Sangharaja.
In fact, the current Sangharaja was the Guest of Honour at our Chedi Opening ceremony in 2007. At that time, he was holding the title of Somdet Phra Sāsanasophorn.
Phra Phrommethee Teerayan (at the time of the Sīmā Consecration) is now Somdet Teerayan.

We had more than 100 monks attending both the Chedi opening and the Sīmā consecration ceremonies [the largest gathering of Theravada monks in Singapore].

The Challenges of Teaching the Dhamma in Singapore

When you talk about human beings, what do human beings have?
Human minds.
You have greed, hatred, delusion.
The worst is their pride and ego.
This is something that we face.
Sometimes when we talked about practical things, someone would come up with theoretical arguments and say,

“You are not talking in line with this Sutta, you should…” I said, “Look here, the book is the book, but the practical aspects need to be hands-on, right?
It doesn’t mean that I don’t respect what is written in the Suttas.
This is not my intention, but my intention is the real thing, and the real thing is that you read a book just like you read a map.
In reality, you have got to do the doing, you’ve got to be hands-on and do the practice by yourself.

This is something I find that is not so easy, not only in Singapore but across other countries as well.

People like to ask questions but don’t want to practise.
They would read books, hear talks, and when they have doubts, they would ask you the questions.
I always asked them, “Do these questions come


from doubt in your practice or you read them from the book.
If you read from the book, I won’t answer because even if I answer, you won’t really understand.
” They would then say, “Ah…you never read the Suttas.
” They expected me to explain according to the Suttas.
I tell them, “We are focused on hands-on experience.
If you expect me to answer in accordance with the Suttas, I would have to be like other speakers, take out a book and take a computer and click and click like that, you might as well go read by yourself.

The challenges nowadays are that because of our indulgence in comfort, we find that meditation doesn’t work so well for lots of people – especially in this modern era.
You can see that I do a lot of things that people don’t do.
For example, I would tell people:
“Let’s go sit in the cemetery, let’s go sit in the open, let’s go take a walk, let’s go visit hospitals, look at a dead body [at a funeral wake] and this and that.
” They’ll ask, “Why, why?
” I say, “Go and see the real things… see the real things, see that one day ‘I would end up like that.
’” That was my intention.
Are we not practising these things to realise the Truth?
Are we not practising to see all these things within us?

When we created these kinds of training or so-called courses, it starts quite well but when people started to develop certain kinds of concentration, they became more alert to their surroundings and some of them started to chicken out.
They thought there were ghosts or this and that, etc.
They started to feel afraid of unseen beings.
You need to look deeper into it.
It is your mind that labels the things you look at, but it is not easy.
You’ve got to have a very strong foundation of samādhi.
That’s why you see me keep emphasising it! You can see that even Ajaan Geoff and Than Phor Fuang kept on emphasising on samādhi, samādhi practice, sati practice, samādhi practice.

They didn’t emphasise so much about “watching the mind” because if we call that kind of simple mind state “samādhi”, the simple calmness that is attained is impossible to allow you to watch the mind.
Right? But nowadays in the mainstream, a lot of people like to say:
“Watch the mind.
” Now it’s a very hot topic.
Yes! They don’t need the Jhana state, they don’t need to sit, they just watch and oh! they know already.
I asked, “Know what?
” “I know already, Ajaan.
” I said, “You know already, yet you still do stupid things.
” What kind of knowing is that?
And people believe that they have attained! I said, “If you want to know whether you have attained or not it’s easy.
Follow me to go for a 1,000 km walk;
see whether your mind chickens out or not.
Do long sittings, go under the rain, go under a thunderstorm, go under this, under that.
They said, “Crazy or what?
” I said, “If you say you are ready that means you are up to all conditions, no problem, your mind won’t wobble!” They cannot, they said I was too extreme,

“This monk here is too extreme, fanatic.
” I told them “Ok, it’s up to you.
” I “upekkha” [maintain my equanimity].

I pity the later generation of youngsters who want to ordain because I find that they are mentally fragile.
They can’t take hardship, they can’t take what is called failure, they can’t take what is called


being pushed to the limit, they can’t.
They just freak out and break into pieces.
They are so emotionally fragile.
You say something and they melt already.
If you say something to make them think, they say you are criticising them.
I say “Hey! I am reminding you, not criticising you!” But they say “No” and start crying like small babies.
It’s very alarming, right?
They are so obsessed in indulgence with comfort and sensual pleasures.
Look at what we have nowadays, all the gadgets.
Previously, even if you are lazy and yet you need some food, you will have to walk down to the market and walk back up.
You’ve got to exercise.
Now, food is there – on-line! Call Grab, ding dong, it’s on the desk.
This kind of lifestyle is not healthy at all.

They ask you to take these supplements and those supplements.
I say go out and sweat it out, go out and exercise.
Previously, in the army, we exercised or in the kampong [Malay word for village] we would run around, climb the trees, and we did not seem to fall sick.
Nowadays, with all the supplements, all the stress from work, long time sitting at the desk, no exercise and then after a heavy meal, they become very drowsy.
In order to fulfil their duties, they’ve got to take supplements to boost their energy up.

When you do, you put your kidneys and your liver at risk.
Then you fall sick.
I said, “mana ou hua” (in the Chinese Hokkien dialect meaning “It’s not worth it”).
Where’s the meaning in life?
Worked like shit and then we pay the doctors [for treatment].
But this is the way it is nowadays.
A lot of people are just stressed out, especially Singaporeans.
I really pity them.
I mean, if there is an education program, I would say every day or every week, not only have PE [physical exercise in schools] but also nature walks—a compulsory nature walk—because they are not exposed to nature.
You remember previously when we went to Bukit Timah, I saw your young son, he looked at the big tree and cried! I said “ai yoh! ”

[colloquial meaning, “oh dear”].
When they’re exposed to darkness, they cry!

These are some things that are very alarming.
I am going into the coffin already, but when we look at them, aiyoh! so lembek (Malay for “soft”).
The Singaporeans of the future:
How can we rely on this kind of people who have no fighting spirit, and are good only in talking?
When they come to exposure to real issues, they give up easily like that.
I thought to myself, “Oh well, we’ve got to accept that this is kamma.
But of course, before we say that this is kamma, what are the strategies, what are the things that we should look into, how, even though it is going down, how to prevent the going down, how to slow down, slow down the fall?
” It’s going to fall but how do we slow it down?
That is why I keep encouraging people to observe the precepts, to meditate, to ordain (short-term ordination is also good), so that at the very least, inside their minds, they have done some good things that once in a while, they can think back about it and say, “I have done some goodness for myself.

These are the things that we are facing.

Another one is that there are so many traditions and, in the end, people don’t know which one to go to.
They are lost, they become “chap chye” (mixed vegetable stew in the Chinese Hokkien dialect), and


then chap chye becomes another special dish now.
It’s becoming even more alarming now because they neglect samādhi, they don’t want it, they just want to listen to Dhamma and then become enlightened.

I said, “Huh?
So easy?
Then the whole city would be full of Arahants if that’s the case!” But what I saw is that at least Than Ajaan Geoff is doing his part in the ” nak praadt (Buddhist scholarship)”:
to protect the Dhamma in his own capacity, and in Luang Puu Chah’s tradition, he has all the Western monks to hold the fort, and we have other traditions who are also holding the fort.
I hope that they can progress in each of their traditions.

But we are not in the position to say who is better.
It’s better that we don’t do that in order not to create division.
I look at Buddhism [now], it’s already very divided, very divided! The Dhamma will deteriorate in this human world and we can’t help it.
Again, like I said, we try our best in our capacity, we try to hold the fort.
This is what we are doing and even though we are not doing it on a very big scale, I can see in Malaysia that we have created an impact already.
We are already creating that kind of awareness.
That’s why we can see that some quarters in Malaysia are not so happy with my existence there because of my setting up of the United Buddhist Organisation of Malaysia.
They take it as a threat.

They don’t see what I see.
I say, “Look here, we’ve got more hands and more help for Buddhism.
Why do you view me as a threat to you?
You are my big brother and I honour you as a big brother.
I have to consult you.
I come in to help.
During my establishment in Malaysia, what are the bad things I did to Buddhism?
Please specify.
” They shut up! They can’t tell me.
I said, “What did I do wrong?
Anything against the Dhamma-Vinaya, against the precepts?
No! I do tudong, you can’t do it.
I do pindapāta, you can’t do it.
I don’t take money, you can’t do it.
That’s why you feel threatened.
” Because they are so greedy, they know how to make stories, to make people fork out money to give to them, and of course they’ll say that they are good, etc.
No, this is greed.
It is greed.
We emphasise individual practice.
We practise as monks, things will happen by themselves.

You know what happened?
Geelong [Wat Samphanthawong, Australia].
This coming Kathina in Geelong [2022], a donor by the name of Mr.
Han is going to dana $500,000 to pay off the loan for this place.
And I don’t even know him, I haven’t met him previously.
I have only met him during the recent trip when I went back to Singapore.
I don’t know him at all.
He said that he had been following my YouTube Dhamma talks and the Facebook postings every time.
He said, “Your talks always hit my head!

How come you always know what I think?
” When I went back to Singapore, he fetched Bhikkhu Lee to Palelai.
He has businesses around the world.
He had always wanted to come to meet me but he didn’t know how.
Bhikkhu Lee has a centre called Right Path Meditation Centre in Kulai, Johor.
Mr. Han’s wife is also one of the devotees and supporters of the place.
Bhikkhu Lee was invited to run that centre as a religious advisor.
They tried to raise money to buy the land.
Bhikkhu Lee got to know Mr.
Han when Mr.

Han’s father passed away and Bhikkhu Lee went to chant and gave some talks.
He was very impressed


with Bhikkhu Lee.
He donated SGD1 million to the Kulai centre under Bhikkhu Lee’s care, to redo the whole place, fence up everything.
Then they bought another plot of land at MYR1.3 million.

When I came to Geelong, he also asked about it, and Bhikkhu Lee told him about what happened here.
He told Bhikkhu Lee he wanted to help here, too.
I asked him to come and talk to me.
He came three times to tell me that he wanted to help.
I thought he was joking, you know.
Such a large amount of money.
I sort of didn’t put it to heart, but three times! He said “Ajaan, coming… coming.
” Last month he flew the whole family to look at the place [Wat Samphanthawong].
And he sent me the photograph to say that he was here.
I asked him, “How come you are there?
” He said he came because he wanted to help me and therefore wanted to know how much I’ll need.

He told me that from this coming 16th October 2022 (Geelong’s Kathina day), he would gradually transfer funds to the temple’s building fund account so that it does not raise official suspicions that the donation is for money laundering.
He said the money was his company’s donation.
This donation will help pay the loan for the land [the donation was realised during the Kathina 2022].


Caratha bhikkhave cārikaṁ bahujanahitāya bahujanasukhāya lokānukampāya atthāya hitāya sukhāya devamanussānaṁ.

Wander, monks, for the benefit & happiness of many, out of sympathy for the world, for the welfare, benefit, & happiness of human beings and devas.

Desetha bhikkhave dhamma ṁādikalyāṇaṁ majjhekalyāṇaṁ

pariyosānakalyāṇaṁ sātthaṁ sabyañjanaṁ kevalaparipuṇṇaṁ parisuddhaṁ

brahmacariyaṁ pakāsetha

Teach the Dhamma fine in the beginning, fine in the middle, fine in the end.
Expound the holy life both in its particulars and in its essence, entirely complete, surpassingly pure.


6 – propagation of buddha-dhamma



O F B U D D H A - D H A M M A

Establishing / Helping Out Monasteries

Establishing Wat Paa Doi Charoentham, Omkoi, to Train Monks In my 16th vassa (2003), I founded Wat Paa Doi Charoentham in Omkoi, Thailand.
I had a friend, Ajaan Sompong, who stayed in Tham Chang Rong (Elephant Trumpet Cave).
Every year, I would visit him and stay with him for some time.
After nine years of living in the cave, he decided to leave the place and go to Omkoi instead.
A man from Omkoi had visited Ajaan Pong previously at Tham Chang Long and invited him to stay in Omkoi.
Ajaan Pong did not know which village the man was from, so he could not decide which village to stay in Omkoi.

We headed out to Omkoi together and we were met by Ajaan Where at Wat Paa Sacca Tham, Baan Yang Krok.
Ajaan Where greeted us and asked about our intention in coming to Omkoi.
We told him we were there to look for a place to build a temple.
Ajaan Where had just spent a vassa in a place where the behaviour of the people was similar to the devas.
I was impressed when I heard of that and we went to the village that he told us of.
When we arrived, we met up with the village head and expressed our intention.
He was sceptical, as many monks had been there previously with the intention of building a temple but they never built one and just left.
He made a statement that touched me, “Nowadays, monks only go for comfort.
We are poor people.
Nobody wants to stay with us.
What to do?
This is our kamma.
” I totally agreed with his statements as, from my experience, I noticed young monks those days would even grumble about having to stand under the hot sun when they went on alms round.

I asked the village head whether they would feed us if we decided to stay on.
The village head’s condition was that we would have to live like the hill tribe as they did not have nice food like city dwellers.
Their meal consisted mainly of salt and chillies.
I agreed as I felt that would be a good training ground for the young monks.

The establishment of the place was witnessed by Ajaan Pong, Ajaan Klom, Than Lot, Than Ark, Phra Soon, Amnart, Keith [Jow], myself, and Tuk Where (“Venerable Where” in hilltribe language).
Once we decided to stay, the thing that impressed me the most was their swift reaction to my request to find a water source for the temple.
The village head immediately instructed his son to cut bamboo to a length that he had measured with his arm.
He then sent his son to find the water source and measure with the bamboo to gauge the length of pipe that they would require to channel the water to the temple.

At the first meeting at Omkoi, we decided on the layout of the temple:
where the sala, kutis, kitchen, water tanks, etc.
, would be.
Surprisingly the man who had invited Ajaan Pong to Omkoi was there.


His name was Yom Chu.
There had to be a strong kammic connection here as Omkoi had 99 different villages.
How was it possible for us to end up at the village in the forest where Yom Chu was staying?

I left for Singapore after that and told my devotees about Omkoi, and we managed to raise some funds to start the project.
Ajaan Pong started to build the basic infrastructure as per the layout plan of the temple.
The sala and the kitchen looked like a permanent building, but the bamboo shed kutis with zinc sheets looked like temporary structures.
A year later, Ajaan Pong decided to leave the temple as it was too noisy and he wanted to move further into the forest.
He ended up about 15 km away, living in a Muser village.
I was in a dilemma as we had just started the temple and with Ajaan Pong leaving, how was I supposed to answer to the local devotees?
So, I went to stay at Omkoi with Tuk Where and Sim Poh Hock for the vassa and on other occasions, too.
Subsequently, I had my junior Singaporean monks spend the vassa there.

After Ajaan Pong left, there was no further development of the place for the next few years.
The place was liveable and we continued to stay at the temple and made do with what was available.
Many batches of monks came and stayed at Omkoi over the years, including monks who were ordained by me.

Sometimes I would stay with them;
other times they would stay on their own.

My purpose of setting up Omkoi was to have a place that the local [Singaporean/Malaysian] monks who were ordained by me could use as a training ground.
That was a good place to experience some hardship and not to be carried away or pampered by their current “five-star” living.
The villagers were very supportive, and the place was remote, poor, and primitive with only jungle tracks.
Having set up the place by ourselves, it gave us flexibility in decision-making on how the training was to be conducted instead of relying on others.
After the temple was built, I slowly developed the place, trained the monks, and support started to come in from overseas.

As the place was under a Wildlife Conservation Forest jurisdiction, no one should stay or build anything in that place.
However, the villagers were already there before the place was declared as a Conservation Forest and the temple that I was building was situated in an ancient Buddhist historic site, which I could identify from the red bricks lying around.
I took the bricks to an archaeologist who confirmed my theory that the bricks dated back 700 to 1,300 years.
There was a law in Thailand that stipulated that one could restore an old historic Buddhist site but not build on the old site.
Hence the law gave precedence to the old site and I was given the green light to restore the temple.

Before I started the project, I went down to Bangkok to consult with all the high-ranking senior monks and those at the regional and provincial level, who gave me the green light to work on the project.

I knew the grave consequences of breaching the law if I went ahead without consulting the monks and I could end up in jail.
After staying at the temple for a few years, I concluded that the villagers were very sincere so I wanted to help them to develop the place into a permanent temple.
Before I could start,


I needed to get the approval from the authorities.
I went to talk to them about building a chedi at the place.
At the same time, the villagers were starting to encroach on the temple grounds.
There were often disputes going on between monks and lay people.
If the lay people really respected something, they would not go against the wishes of the monks.
I knew if I did not do something to show the villagers that I was going to develop the place, they would not listen to me and the encroachment would not stop.

I knew the people in Northern Thailand loved their chedis and the only way to stop their encroachment was to build a chedi.
With nothing to indicate that I could build, I was not prepared to start on the project just in case it was not permitted and I would be wasting resources.

The chedi inspiration came on one afternoon on a rainy day as I was looking out of the window from the sala.
I saw a villager come with flowers to circumambulate a make-believe chedi.
This “chedi”

came about one day when Ajaan Where, Jagay (who was then a monk for 10 years).
and Kajor were sitting and having a chat at the proposed chedi site.
They built a small mound by tossing bricks one on top of another while chatting.
Someone had placed a broken Buddha’s head on top of the brick mount and eventually it became symbolic as a chedi to the villagers.
I was so touched by the villager’s action, circumambulating that make-believe chedi.
There were big chedis in the big towns and even on a full moon day, I did not see anyone circumambulate those chedis.
Hence, I decided to build a chedi for them, and at the same time that would stop the encroachment of the villagers towards the temple.

I went to the proposed chedi site to make a resolution to go on full fasting, chanting, walking, and sitting in meditation for seven days.
I made a determination:
“If this spot is to be a chedi site and if it is going to be successful, give me a sign.
” After the seventh day, I dreamt of two very long white nagas zooming around.
The scales of these nagas were imprinted with the Buddha’s images.
That was followed by a vision of three individuals, faced down in a prostrating position.
When they stood up, they transformed into three white elephants with muscular bodies.
These elephants were dancing happily and performing somersaults.
I was taken aback by the action of the nagas and the elephants.
I also saw many devas (both male and female, dressed in white) in the sky and on the mountain exclaiming,

“Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu!” The whole mountain reverberated at their exclamation.
At the same time, I was sitting in a big sala and there were many Thai officials in their uniforms with many decorations (given by the King for their service to the country) who came to pay their respects to me.
They were soldiers from the three defence forces—army, air force, and navy—as well as personnel from the police force.

Many monks came to pay their respects to me too.
I woke up from my dream and I knew the dream was a good sign that I would succeed in whatever I wanted to do then.

The next morning, I held a meeting with all the villagers and asked the village head and committee if they would like a chedi to be built in their village.
They responded, “Yes, we do but we don’t have any money.
We only have our heart and strength.
” I told them that that was good enough.


I asked the village head to seek out the school principal at the Muser village to meet me.
We had a meeting and I instructed the school principal to draft an official letter stating, “The villagers of this village with the leadership of the monk are requesting the authorities to give them permission to reconstruct this temple because of the increase in faith of the devotees and because the current sala is not able to accommodate their needs.
We ask permission from the authorities to allow us to take some building materials (wood).
” The letter was then copied to the police department, army, and council.

The next day, the village head delivered the letter to the council.
When the council saw the letter, they did not object to the project [though they could not approve the request].
We were told to do what we had to do.
The council could not approve the request, as that was a protected National Forest.
I felt it was such a waste of resources as the wood from the fallen trees would be burnt in the event of a forest fire, which happened every year if they were not salvaged for use.
Once the letter went out to the authorities, we started on the project.
The villagers then knew we were serious and they started to follow my instructions.

It was already six to seven years since I first stepped foot on Omkoi when this project kicked off.
I managed to complete only half the chedi structure as I ran out of funds.
At the same time, I was building a chedi at Wat Palelai in Singapore.
When the chedi at Wat Palelai was completed [the consecration ceremony held on 25th February 2007], I went back to stay in Omkoi.
I was very tired but I had to look at how to progress the project.
Many monks came to tease me saying if they gave me 20 years, I would still not be able to complete the project.
Unknown to them, I had already stockpiled wood in the forest that I could use when the timing was right.

Main Shrine Hall built with timbers hauled from the forest.


Help from the Guardian Devas

That year, I decided to fast track the project by building the new sala, kitchen, and kuti and, at the same time, completing the chedi.
I invited the deputy regional head, who was also the regional head of the northern part of Thailand, Luang Phor Sokum, to lay the foundation stone for the new sala on the 2nd of January 2008. By the 2nd of May, the project was completed.
Before the vassa, I went to invite Luang Phor Sokum for the opening ceremony.
I had taken some photos of the buildings and filed them to show him the completed site.
He did not believe these were the photos of the temple in Omkoi.
His remark was “Where did you get all these photos to make the file?
You are so clever to do this so that next time your temple can look like this.
” I told him these photos were from the Omkoi temple and I was there to invite him to the opening ceremony.
I had to do a lot of convincing before he agreed to come to the site.
Once there, he was shocked at the speed with which the project was completed and asked how I did it in such a short time.

The Chedi serves as the central location of worship for the hill tribes villagers.

A faithful villager offering almsfood to the monks on their daily almsround.

I was very blessed as the support came after my devotees from outside of Thailand knew I had this project going on, and funds started to pour in.
That was also a good experience for me where I could see how the brotherhood of monks came together and how cooperative they were when I was in a tough situation.
Than Dhum was one of my strongest allies.
He was there to help me set up Omkoi.
All these years, he has been there for me in good and tough times.
He was there to help me at Wat Palelai when things were not going well.
When I first started up Santi Forest Monastery at Ulu Tiram, he was there with Ajaan Klom, Luang Phor Ong, and Bhikkhu Lee to help me, too.
When one of my monks was lost in the forest, Than Dhum went to the forest to help locate the monk and looked after him until he returned to Singapore.
Than Dhum is now staying at my branch monastery in Sweden.


Incidentally, while staying in Omkoi, there was an earthbound deva (who was a ruesi) who came to visit me very often.
The ruesi had been guarding the site for a long time.
He appeared to be more than a thousand years old.
On many occasions he would come and pay respects to me and address me as

“Luang Puu” (grandfather).
I would tell him, “You are older than me.
Your skin shows that you are a thousand years old.
” I believed there was a strong kammic link between me and Omkoi, so that when I instructed the villagers to do something they would listen to me.
I felt very much at home in Omkoi.
The presence of the guardian deva at the temple was also to remind monks who were not practising to be diligent in their practice.
If a monk was lazy, the deva would create havoc for the monk.
The whole kuti would shake, doors would slam when there was no wind, or there would be a big thump on the floor.

In one incident, a monk who did not believe such a being exists experienced a harsh reminder from the guardian deva.
With certain things, when we are not able to perceive with our naked eyes, does not mean they do not exist.
Sometimes things happen and are beyond reasoning.

With the villagers of Omkoi.

I knew there were beings that had been helping me all the while with the project.
There was one strange incident whereby the authorities would bring all the documents for me to sign without me approaching them.
On one occasion, when the ruesi came to visit me, I told him, “If you want me to build the chedi and temple, funds must come in on their own without me asking for it.
People must come to help without me asking, and the authorities must not come to disturb me.
” True enough, these three conditions were met, and the chedi and the permanent temple project were completed in five months.


YouTube Ideas vs.
Samādhi Vision

One of the challenges I faced working on this project was to retrieve fallen wood from the forest to use as building materials.
The fallen wood was in the ravine and due to the rough terrain, there was no easy way to retrieve it.
This were good quality hardwood (meranti and merbau) and it would be such a waste if I did not make use of it.
One day, when I was looking for wood to build the sala platform, I was told there was a fallen tree in the ravine belonging to one of the villagers, but he had no means to retrieve it.
I went to check it out with some monks and villagers.
The tree was very big, so I instructed the villagers to cut it into pieces 9 metres long by 1.2 metres wide and 10 centimetres thick.
The next task was to bring these pieces of wood back up to the building site.
When the soldiers came, they were sceptical that I could bring the wood up from the ravine.
They told me the only way to bring it up was by using a helicopter! The wood was very heavy, too.
By the time the villagers had nearly finished cutting the wood, I still did not have any idea on how to bring the wood up.
One night, I asked myself this question:
“How can I bring it up from the ravine?
” and I went into meditation.
I had a vision of a modified vehicle where I had to attach a 10-tonner tyre rim to the back wheel of that vehicle that was engaged to the gear.
The rim had to be secured to the existing wheel with four knots and to weld four protruding metals to guide the rope.
I had to tie the front of this vehicle to two strong points and jacked the back wheel 2–3 inches above the ground to have a makeshift winch.
Then I put the vehicle in reverse gear and let the rope down the ravine.
When the wood had been secured to the rope, the vehicle was put into first gear to bring it up.
This whole sequence of events was flashing through right in front of me as if a videotape was being played, the vision was so clear.

When I withdrew from my samādhi, it was nearly 4 o’clock in the morning and I wanted dawn to arrive quickly so that I could organise the parts needed for the modified vehicle.
When dawn arrived, I called the driver and asked him to pick me up and drive me to Omkoi town.
I went straight to the mechanic, Chang Dang, to see if he had a 10-tonner rim, which he did.
I needed a strong cable and I had previously seen these cables lying around near the mechanic’s workshop and asked permission if I could have some.
I also bought some ropes.
No one understood why I needed these parts, and it was too difficult to explain the process to them.
Once I got back to the temple and started assembling the vehicle, they were amazed at the outcome of my creation.
This is the wonder of meditation.
When you are in deep samādhi, you can solve many worldly problems.
I was not an engineer, but the vision that came to me would be fitting for an engineer to come up with.

The distance from the temple to where we winched the wood was about 10 kilometres.
The terrain was very rough and the road very steep.
Once we winched up all the wood, we placed it on the truck and slowly drove back to the temple.
I could only ferry two to three pieces of wood at one time due to their weight and the road’s condition and I had 33 pieces of wood to cart back to the temple.
It took me


nearly two weeks to ferry all the wood back up to the temple.
It was a dangerous trip back up as one small mistake could cause the truck to overturn and lives could be lost.
Initially, I asked some monks to be the driver but none of them were willing, due to the challenging terrain, so in the end I had to drive the truck back with the help of the villagers.
During the drive back, though it was a dangerous mission, the thought of death never crossed my mind.
My whole objective was to ferry the wood back up so that I could complete the project.
I had to thank Ajaan Trong, Ajaan Nend, Boon Thin, and the villagers for helping me to cut and retrieve the wood.
When the soldiers came and saw the pieces of wood at the temple, they asked how I did it and if I had gotten the idea from YouTube.
I told them I got the idea from my samādhi vision!

Phra Tuu’s Contributions

Once the chedi was built, the faith of the villagers increased, and they became very respectful.
They asked how big a temple I would want to build.
Now that they were faithful Buddhists, I wanted to make something memorable for them.
When I heard that a beautiful spot in a mountain one kilometre away from the temple was going to be occupied, I decided to put a big Buddha image on the top of that mountain.
In 2018, the villagers came out in force to drag the 1.5 metre x 2 metre Buddha image designed by Phra Tuu to the top of the mountain, as there was no other way to ferry the more than one tonne Buddha image up to the mountain.
Phra Tuu has been a very good companion in the monkhood.

He has a lot of respect for me and has always helped me in all my projects, be it in Singapore, Ulu Tiram, or Omkoi.
He contributed a lot to the Omkoi project.
He designed and fabricated all the beautiful images and drawings in the temple.

Phra Tuu (Phra Thitamano Bhikkhu) pictured above on the right.
Phra Ajaan Somkhuan is pictured on the left.


Leading the villagers to manually re-locate a Buddha image on a hill near Wat Doi Charoentham.


Living the Tudong Life

A picture is worth a thousand words.
The following pictures were taken at Mount Muliyit, Myanmar (near Mae Sot) while Phra Ajaan Keng and his fellow monks were on tudong.
They had hiked from Omkoi to this mountain.
With breathtaking views like these one can fully understand why Phra Ajaan Keng loves the tudong life and continues to go on tudong even at the age of 60.




A Road to Relieve Suffering of the Villagers

Another project I took up in Omkoi was to build a concrete road for the villagers.
One day during my first vassa in Omkoi, I went to visit Ajaan Pong, who stayed 15 kilometres away.
It was raining heavily, and I was walking barefooted, as the road was very muddy and sticky.
I saw seven motorbikes stuck in the mud despite having their wheel-chains on.
They were immobilised.
One particular motorbike caught my attention.
The man had a piece of cloth tied to his body and he was crying.
In the front seat there was a young boy and he was crying too.
I went up to him and asked why he was crying.
He responded, “My wife died! My wife died! I wanted to take her to the doctor but I couldn’t get out due to the bad condition of the road.
” I then realised he had tied his wife to his back but she had already passed away.
Immediately the thought arose in me, “What kind of human life is this?
Their life is already so difficult, living in such a remote, primitive place, and yet when you want to go to the doctor even with a motorbike and bike chain on, you still can’t get out.
” I tried to help him to push the motorbike but it would not budge but sank deeper into the mud.
With that in mind, I vowed to build a concrete road for the villagers if I had the opportunity, so that such an incident would not happen again.

This was the thought that triggered me to construct the road.
It was not until I completed the chedi and temple project that I could start on this project.
The sacrifice and the faith of the villagers really touched me, so it was only fair I construct a concrete road for them.
This road was seven kilometres in length and it took me seven years to complete.
In my first attempt, I could only complete 100 metres of the road, and the project had to stop after I had used up whatever funds I had.
I am not one who would ask for donations to work on a project.
I believe if it is meant to be, people would know about it and funds would come in on their own.
As with so many of my projects, I believed there must have been some divine intervention, as not long after that my devotees from Singapore and Malaysia found out about the project and funds started to come in.
Donations would come from as far as the USA.
Initially, when I spoke to the village head, he had requested me to pay the villagers 50 Baht a day to work on the road construction.
I did not agree to that.
I reasoned with him, “Your village is so poor.
If you still want to have money and are not willing to sacrifice anything, then I am not going to build the road.
I don’t owe you all anything.
If you all come up with the labour, I will come up with the money, and you will also be making merit.
” The village head agreed with me, so finally the construction began.
Though no wages were given to the villagers, I provided meals for them during the construction work.
I had to work within my means, as I did not want to trouble anyone.
With the completion of the project, the villagers were able to travel in and out of the village safely and they were also able to transport their produce to sell in town.
The school children were no longer covered with mud when they went to and from school.
That concrete road has given a new life to the villagers.
Not long after the road was constructed, I applied for electricity to be connected to the village, which the authorities have done.
The Royal Project has also set up a substation at the village to disseminate information to the villagers with regard to agricultural projects.


Establishing Santi Forest Monastery, Johor, Malaysia A Prophetic Dream of Wat Santi

In my 11th year, (after spending three vassas at Wat Metta), I took leave of Ajaan Geoff and went back to Thailand, and then on to Singapore.
In Singapore, I stayed at 9, Jalan Nipah.
One night while there, I had a dream of what is now Santi Forest Monastery.
It was in 1998 and I was planning to ordain seven monks from Wat Palelai in Thailand.
In my dream, I was hovering in the sky and looking down.
I saw a big sala with about ten monks and many eight-preceptors roaming in the compound with small kutis.

A voice asked.
“Do you want it?
” I said.
“Yes, yes.
It is beautiful.

Before I left for Thailand to ordain the monks at Wat Asokaram in July 1999, I left instructions with Phra Chuan Yuan, to update me should anyone come with an offer of land on a peninsula surrounded by water.

While I was in Thailand, I received a call from Phra Chuan Yuan, who advised that a piece of land fitting the description had been offered to many monks over the past four years but no monks had gone to start up a monastery there.
When I returned to Singapore, I met up with the owner of the land, Cha Yok Tek, who offered me the land.
That was the beginning of Santi Forest Monastery.

Wat Santi’s Early Years

During the initial stage of setting up Wat Santi, I encountered many difficulties and there was no local person to act as a liaison between us and the local villagers.
The property was situated in the midst of few Malay villages.
The locals were suspicious and sceptical about our presence.
There was constant harassment and extortion by some of the uniformed people in the name of the law.
I was quite demoralised but because of a vow I made, “Should I not succeed, I must die!” I stayed put at the property.
Due to the constant harassment, I was very stressed and I tried to find a solution to resolve the situation.

One day, a local came to the Sala and thumped his chest and proclaimed that he would protect me.

I was taken aback as it was as if a being had possessed him.
Later, he came to see me together with Ah Meng (a Chinese man who had stayed in the area for over 20 years) and said that his family members had some problems with spirits disturbance.
He asked if I could help him.
I said, “OK, come back in three days’ time and bring flowers, joss sticks, and candles.
” Three days later he took me to his house, where I recited the parittas, sprinkled holy water on them, and told them to observe the five precepts.

He came back a few days later to offer me two cartons of Coca Cola and an angpao [a red envelope containing cash], which I did not accept.
He became our liaison person between the temple and the locals thereafter.
When he got involved with bad habits and broke the third precept, we decided to approach the penghulu [Malay for village headman] directly, as by then the relationship between the


locals and Wat Santi had improved tremendously.
We helped by distributing a lot of dry rations to the less fortunate villagers, especially after the Kathina.
The village’s security team became very helpful and supportive of our presence and our contribution to the local community.
Nowadays, we blend very well with them, as we have been established for more than 20 years.
My conclusion is:
Patience, forbearance, and kindness helped us spear through all hindrances!

[The following write-up about Wat Santi is an abstract from Santi Forest Monastery’s web-site.

Readers should visit the web-site for their full account].

Santi Forest Monastery

Photo courtesy of Bro Seah Yong Kwong.


The donor of the piece of land that was to become Santi Forest Monastery (Wat Santi), Brother Cha Yok Tek, had offered to donate a 4-acre piece of land to several Buddhist organisations, but his offer was not taken up for various reasons.
Eventually, a very senior monk, Bhikkhu Buddhadhatu, suggested that the piece of land be donated to Ajaan Keng, who had then just returned from Thailand and was residing at Dhamma Light Meditation Centre, Api-Api, Pontian.
Upon hearing this, a few lay devotees and Ajaan Keng visited the piece of land situated at Sungai Tiram, Ulu Tiram, Johor.


Upon their arrival, what greeted them was a poorly maintained oil palm plantation surrounded by an expanse of wild vegetation.
However, Ajaan Keng was filled with a great sense of happiness and joy because that was exactly the scene he had seen in his dream.
After a few more visits to the site and upon the proposal of a fellow monk that they spend the vassa there, Ajaan Keng built a simple kuti and stayed there to practise.

The Early Years

Ajaan Keng faced many problems and challenges during the early years.
There was no water or electricity.
Fortunately, the only Chinese resident in the area, Brother Ah Meng, allowed Ajaan Keng to use his washroom and other basic facilities.
A group of early devotees started to make daily food offerings to Ajaan Keng and the other members of the Sangha, as well as to the eight preceptors practising there.

In the vicinity of Wat Santi are

a few Malay villages.
The residents

there being Muslims, were initially

suspicious of Ajaan Keng and tried

to chase him away.
Fortunately, after

observing and knowing that Ajaan

Keng and his fellow monks were

true practitioners, the compassionate

village headman stepped in to stop the

Alms round on typical commemorative day.

villagers from harassing them.

The Development of Facilities and Infrastructure

Meanwhile, more devotees gathered at Wat Santi to help clear the surroundings of the thick undergrowth.
Ajaan Keng also requested for and received help from his brother monks, namely Luang Phor Ong (from Singapore), Phra Ajaan Dhum, Phra Ajaan Klom, and Bhikkhu Lee.
In the beginning, with limited funds, they did most of the civil works and carpentry jobs of building kutis, toilets, roads, fencing, etc.
, by themselves, with some help from the lay devotees.
What was amazing was that many of the jobs were done manually due to the lack of machinery.

A small and simple shed was constructed to be used as a Sala for daily chanting, meditation, and dining purposes.
Upon further settling down, a proper Sala was constructed and it still stands at the original site after some renovation.


The Sangha announcing the boundaries of the Sima Hall.

Typical monk’s kuti.

Replica of King Asoka’s pillar installed on 28 Oct 2022, the day before Kathina Day.

Santi Forest Monastery As A Legal Entity

The formation of Santi Forest Monastery was no easy task.
The pro tem committee faced a lot of obstacles and challenges and often found themselves in very disheartening situations.

Nevertheless, their perseverance paid off when, with the kind assistance of Bhante Jutipañño (Hui Guang Shifu, Abbot of Dhamma Light Meditation Centre), the registration of the organisation with the Registrar of Societies (ROS) in Malaysia got underway.
The first committee was formed in the year 2000, with the aim of propagating the Lord Buddha’s teachings and prolonging the Buddha Sāsana (Buddha’s dispensation) for the benefit of more devotees.
With the legal status established, the community of monks residing at Santi started to go for the daily alms round in the villages and towns surrounding the monastery in 2000.


One of the requirements for the registration of Santi Forest Monastery with the ROS was that it be headed by a Malaysian.
As Ajaan Keng is a Singaporean, he invited Bhikkhu Lee [whom Ajaan Keng had met while he was on a previous visit to Singapore] to head it.
At that time, Bhikkhu Lee was under the tutelage of Phra Ajaan Baen and residing at Wat Doi Dhamma Chedi in Thailand.
Ajaan Keng paid a visit to Phra Ajaan Baen to officially request for Bhikkhu Lee to assist him at Wat Santi.
Phra Ajaan Baen was very supportive, and Santi Forest Monastery (now officially known as Pertubuhan Meditasi Harmoni Santi Vanaram) was registered with Bhikkhu Lee as its Chairman.

Expansion of Wat Santi

The monastery, itself an old abandoned oil palm plantation, was flanked by other oil palm plantations which were inhabited by wild boars.
This attracted illegal hunters to the area.
By this time, the number of devotees coming to Santi had grown.
Ajaan Keng was worried that the hunting activity might pose a threat to the safety of the devotees, especially the children who might unwittingly wander into the neighbouring plantations and get in the way of the hunters.
The committee spoke to the hunters, but their concerns fell on deaf ears.
So, to ensure the safety of the devotees, and especially the children, Ajaan Keng and the committee proposed the idea of purchasing the adjacent piece of land to stop the illegal hunting activities, as well as to prepare for the future development of the monastery.

Luang Puu Kwang stood in as Abbot while Phra Ajaan Keng spent the vassa in Thailand.


This piece of land in question

(measuring 4 acres in size), adjacent

to the monastery, was owned by

two sisters from Masai, Johor.

When the committee approached

them and conveyed Ajaan Keng’s

intention for purchasing the land,

the sisters were supportive of the

idea and happily sold the land to

Wat Santi at a reasonable price.

After the acquisition of this piece

The two yakkha’s statues outside Phra Ajaan Keng’s kuti.

of land, another shrine hall was

built in 2003. This was to cater for

activities like the morning and evening chanting sessions, meditation sessions, the offering of food (dana) to the Sangha, and the Kathina ceremony.
Eventually, as the number of monks and devotees increased, this shrine hall too needed to expand accordingly, and it was renovated twice, once in 2012

and again in 2019.

Lung Puu Kwang visited Wat Palelai and Santi between 24th February and 3rd March 2023. Luang Puu still kept to his alms collection practice even though he had mobility issues.

Picture on the right was taken at Jewel Changi Airport.


The First Sāmanera Ordination Programme

With the availability of the shrine hall, the committee of Wat Santi organised its first sāmanera ordination programme at its monastery in 2003. After the sāmanerās had undergone training for a period of time, Ajaan Keng arranged for those sāmanerās with strong faith and inclination to go for the Bhikkhu ordination in Thailand.
Those who went were Phra Keong (at present residing at Santi Forest Monastery) and Phra Saddha (currently chairman of Dhamma Vijaya, Terengganu).

The First Bhikkhu Ordination

Ajaan Keng’s diligent practice, his loving kindness and compassion inspired many devotees, arousing in them great confidence in the Triple Gem.
This led to Wat Santi organising its first Bhikkhu Ordination in 2008.

According to the Vinaya rules, the ordination ceremony can only be conducted by a monk qualified to be a preceptor in a consecrated hall (Sima hall), both of which were lacking in Santi Forest Monastery at that time.
So, to fulfil these requirements, a senior Thai monk, Than Chao Khun Phra Thamchediyajan, the present Abbot of Wat Phra Si Mahathat, was invited to act as a preceptor, and the ordination ceremony was held onboard a “water sima hall,” a raft on a lake as allowed in the Vinaya rules.

From this Bhikkhu Ordination, many rose to the occasion and stayed on as monks to help in the administration of the monastery and the dissemination of the Dhamma (Teachings of the Buddha).

Amongst them are Phra Peter, who is currently the Deputy Chairman of Santi Forest Monastery, and Phra CK Goh who is currently residing at Palelai Buddhist Temple in Singapore.

The Sangha who attended the consecration of the Sima for Wat Santi.


Sima Hall Consecration

Two Pre-requisites of A Bhikkhu Ordination:
A Qualified Preceptor and A Consecrated Sima Hall.

Ajaan Keng continued to make progress too.
He was invited to attend a course on Preceptorship (Upajjhāya) in Bangkok.
He successfully passed the tests and was conferred the certificate of a qualified preceptor of the Dhammayuttika Order on 9th April 2015.

In order to accommodate the increasing number of devotees wishing to participate in the Bhikkhu Ordination programme, the shrine hall, built in 2003, was upgraded to fulfil all the requirements of a proper Sima and was consecrated in December 2012. Invitations were extended to and accepted by many notable and highly respected senior monks from Thailand.
The Acting Patriarch of the Dhammayuttika Order, His Serene Somdet Phra Wanarat, represented His Serene Somdet Phra Ariyavongsagatanyan (the current Supreme Patriarch of the Kingdom of Thailand) in gracing the occasion of the consecration ceremony as the chairperson for the declaration of the official status of the Sima Hall.
Other eminent senior monks who participated in the consecration ceremony were Phra Thammavaraphon, Phra Yanawisit ( Luang Phor Thong) and many other senior members of the Sangha, including Phra Ajaan Thanissaro.
In all, more than 100 members of the Sangha attended, participated in, and witnessed the many events held during the ceremony.
The presence of so many distinguished and illustrious senior monks on that day created an electrifying, awe-inspiring atmosphere charged with devotion, faith, and enthusiasm for everyone present.
After the consecration, 100 devotees were ordained in the Sima Hall.

[At that time] Santi Forest Monastery became the only Thai Buddhist Monastery of the Dhammayuttika Order (Forest Tradition) in Malaysia and Singapore that has both a qualified preceptor and an officially consecrated Sima Hall.
Many hundreds (and still counting) of devotees have participated and will participate in the novitiate programmes held and to be held, to ordain monks for either long-term or short-term renunciation.

The Future of Wat Santi

Imbued with such faith and fervour, the spread of Lord Buddha’s Teachings, the Dhamma, took its natural course.
There was no stopping the tide.
Wat Santi continues to expand in land size mainly through donations by devotees and presently has about 30 acres of land in this locality, ready for development when the time is ripe.


Encounters in Malaysia:
Partial Paralysis – Encounter with a Snake This incident occurred in Wat Santi, immediately after the consecration of the Sima Hall held on 16th December 2012. I remember I was sweeping the grounds around the main entrance of Wat Santi.
Before I reached the bridge, I saw a four-metre-long python lying across the entrance to the monastery.
I was puzzled, so I went to tap on it.
It was lying there dead, but the body was still warm.
I quickly called Ajaan Tong, Ajaan Bung, and the other monks to come have a look.
We flipped the body over to look for injuries or beating marks, but there weren’t any.
We also found no wounds or bleeding from the tongue.
At that time Thit Maq [“Thit” is a short form of the word “pundit”, used to refer to someone who was an ex-monk] was also there, so I asked him to dig a trench in the area behind where the Wat Santi signboard is located.
I placed nine sets of robes in the trench, placed the dead snake on top of the robes, and then buried it.
Later I reported this to Luang Phor Tong and Luang Phor remarked that he dreamt of kicking aside a snake and wondered if he had killed it.

Immediately that night, I had a strange dream.
I dreamt of a bald-headed lady dressed in black, and her eyes were full of diamonds.
The eyelids and eyes were sparkling with diamonds.
Her face was not really friendly and I had a feeling that this lady was very powerful.
She brought along an entourage of mae chiis, all shaven headed, wearing white, by the thousands.
They just walked into the monastery.
I said to myself, “Never mind, since they’re in white, it must be something good.

After that, there was another lady, in a very ancient Thai attire.
She was chewing on betel nut and looked at me from the corner of her eyes.
The funny thing was that I experienced the feeling of a big snake coiling itself around me and strangling me throughout the night.
I was unable to breathe.
I focused on my meditation object of asubha [contemplation on the foul nature of the body].
I used the chopping method, as I’m very experienced with it.
I used it to chop the snake into pieces but every time I finished, it would appear whole again.
So, I said in my mind, “I know you want to show me your supernatural power.
If you’re so good, it’s better for you to send all those people who have the capability and ability to come and help me build the monastery.
What’s the use of you showing off like that?
Go and bring me those people, it’s better.
” After that, there was no more strangling.

Three years after this incident, a devotee (whose family owned a brick making factory) approached me for help, as he had some problems in his business.
I told him to bring me to the factory to have a look.

I went with him to the factory and gave him some advice.
I saw big piles of unused bricks lying around.

He told me that the factory was badly managed, as his brother didn’t look after it after his father and elder brother passed away.
Before the elder brother passed away, he told my devotee to take over the factory, but his response was that he didn’t know how to.

I advised him to make some changes on the management side of things.
I told him that he was a smart person and I didn’t have to teach him how to manage but I noticed that there were too many open


He should close all doors and leave only one door open.
One in and one out, it’ll be easy for him to check.
Receiving and delivery, same thing:
Have one door only.
Only one place to place orders (i.
e., one door).
This would prevent embezzlement of funds.
I told him that his factory had been around for a long time and yet it was not making money, so something must be wrong.
He agreed that it was a big factory and should be able to make money.
After that, I asked him if he could spare some bricks for fencing at Wat Santi.
He wanted to give me new bricks, but I rejected them, as all I wanted were old bricks.
He agreed and asked how many I wanted.
I told him I needed a trailer of 12 palettes, containing 500 bricks per palette (i.
e., 6,000 bricks).
He immediately agreed.

I told him that he should try to bid for the Iskandar project [a very large scale commercial and housing development in Johor], as all his current stock of bricks could be sold to them.
A few days after he gave me the bricks, he called me and told me excitedly the good news that the Iskandar project people called him to order his bricks, and for the next three years his factory would just be supplying to the project.
He would then not have the capacity to supply to others.
I said to myself, “Hmmm, looks like our good friend, that lady, the snake, is at work.
” Now, he [the said devotee] has developed very strong faith [in the Sangha].

Some sceptical people may ask how we can be sure that it’s the work of the unseen.
Can’t it be a coincidence?
I’d say to them that the Buddha didn’t talk about coincidences, there’s always causes and conditions.
Today, any time I need bricks, I’ll just call him for help.
In all, we have received about MYR500 thousand worth of bricks from him, but he hasn’t charge us a single cent.

Our Conduct Brings in the Support

That’s why people who come to Wat Santi would always wonder why we have no donation boxes yet we built the temple very quickly.
I am very blessed in that our sand was free, the aggregate

[small stones used in preparing concrete] was free, the cement was free, we just needed to buy the re-bar

[steel bar used to reinforce as well as strengthen and hold the concrete in tension].
My use of the crane was free.
There’s another devotee, the owner of a company.
When we needed help, we’d just call him and he’d send his crane over.

My JCB [excavator] was also free.
Our devotee who comes to do gardening here in Palelai gave it to Wat Santi.
At that time, we were sourcing for a second-hand excavator (20-tons capacity) for Wat Santi.

He told me not to source for it in Malaysia, as those from Singapore were relatively new.
After each project, the owners would just sell them.
I called Anthony Kweh for information and he told me that this devotee had many excavators.
I didn’t know at that time that he had so many! He always helped Palelai with gardening matters.
When I asked him about the excavators, he asked me how big a piece of land we had and what we were looking for.
I told him that we had 32 acres of land.
He assessed the situation


and told me that I needed a big one with 20-ton capacity and that he had just serviced one.
He told me to take it.
I asked him “How much?
” Someone had already offered MYR120,000 for us to purchase a new crane, but he told me just to take it.
I asked Anthony to help with the purchase from that devotee, as this was a commercial matter.
However, he didn’t want to take any money.
I told him, “No we can’t take it, as it’s very expensive, at least $80,000!” He said, “No, no, it’s a rare opportunity for me to help to contribute to build a temple.
” I told him to talk to his wife first, I didn’t want them to quarrel over it.
He said, “No no, my wife has already agreed.
” I said, “How did your wife agree when I’m only talking to you about it now?
” He said, “My wife doesn’t care if I tamboon, I just gave one to the Batu Pahat temple.

This one is good, Ajaan, you take it.

Another devotee also always supported us with his equipment.
He was also helping us to search for the excavator.
He told us that if we come up with an excavator, he would contribute to sending it over to Wat Santi from Singapore.
So, within one month’s time, the excavator arrived in Wat Santi.
Two monks, Phra Chee Seng and Phra Ah Leck, stripped the whole excavator and reconditioned it, bought parts worth MYR20,000, and it functioned 80–90% like a new machine, very powerful.
Our “gardener”

went to Wat Santi and was very happy.
He said, “You’ve made it look so new.
You serviced it?
” I said,

“Not me.
I’ve got these two monks.
Before I bought the machine, I asked them if they could repair an excavator or re-condition one.
They said, “Yes,” so I told them to re-condition it after it arrived.

Supporters like them and others are very unusual.
They had never done any dana before.
Our equipment donor owned a hardware shop in Singapore and was a friend of the late Phra Nam Chang.

Some customers owed him a lot of money.
At that time, I was building Omkoi, so I told Phra Nam Chang that we needed a lot of equipment.
We’d buy from Singapore, bring them over to Wat Santi, and from there, use our vehicle from Thailand to take the equipment to Omkoi.
We bought S$5,000

worth of equipment, and after Phra Nam Chang told his friend the purpose of the purchases, his friend volunteered to sponsor them.
He said, “You’re building a temple.
I’ve not contributed to building a temple before.
Allow me to contribute.
” Phra Nam Chang called me and said, “Ajaan, he doesn’t want to be paid.
” I said, “No, no.
We must pay him.
Otherwise, people will say that we monks pretend to want to buy but have no intention to pay.
” Phra Nam Chang clarified that he was a friend of his, so we accepted the dana.

After the gift, that very night, the people who owed him money turned up to pay him voluntarily, more than S$100,000! He told us that prior to this, he sued his debtors, quarrelled with them, and even asked gangsters to help him recover the debt, but nothing worked.
He was wondering why just after his dana, he got paid.
I told him “Well…, certain things like electricity can’t be seen.
There’s something working up there that you don’t know.
” So now he’s full of saddha [faith].
When we need something, we’ll call him to help us source, and the next day he’ll send in everything.
The people who do dana have


seen the good merit they accumulated in building a temple.
That’s why people are so willing to help.

That’s why in Wat Santi, I have many businessmen and contractors who own large factories, spanning acres of land, helping us.
One of them is a supplier to Hyundai, very humble, behaving like any other ordinary worker.
He was doing welding work for us.
I realised how large a business he has only after he invited me to visit his factory.
They’re very humble and don’t display their wealth.
The more you don’t want anything, the more they insist on giving to you because you refused them.
That was why we could carry out many building projects.

While I was away for two years in Australia, they still continued with the building projects.
The monks did the building work and the lay people helped out.
So, you see the integration and cooperation between the Sangha and lay people are so well bonded.
It’s how we manage from the start.
My people

[lay supporters] who came in were educated from Day 1. When they offered me money, I didn’t want any.
They kept chasing after me, and I told them to give me food only.
They were puzzled as to why I’m so strange – when offered money, I refused and asked for food instead.
Then they came to check us up.
They concluded that they must support such monks.
They each have a mouth and they will go about telling their friends about us.
They tell their friends, “You have been supporting the wrong type of monks.
Let me show you real monks.
” Their friends’ first reaction was that the monks lived in very difficult conditions yet they didn’t ask for money from people.
One of them said, “I’ve been looking for this kind of temple for 38 years! 38 years!” He’s Mr.
Wong Soon Koung, the boss of Latin Video Pte Ltd.

Peter Khoo [a lay supporter] asked him to do a video shoot for our kathina celebrations [at Wat Santi].
He came and was puzzled, “How come no one is collecting money, and yet food is free.
There are people by the thousand, and yet everyone is so harmonious.
Why?” Later, he came to talk to me and said, “Ajaan, the temple in my heart, I have found it.
” I asked him, “What temple?
” He said, “Your temple!” I asked him for how long he has been searching, and he told me 38 years! I said, “Wow! 38

” He said, “Yes! I was searching high and low for a real temple.
Today, I found it already!” So much saddha [conviction]! He is a businessman and so he told his friends and associates “I’ll bring you there, you see for yourself.

This is why we built a very good reputation in Johor and throughout the whole of Malaysia.
Now, I can say 95% of the people in Malaysia know the name, “Santi Forest Monastery.
” Like I said before, our Thai tradition monks’ reputation in Malaysia used to be that of black magicians.
I said, “No, no, we can’t be so humiliated by the people and be looked down upon.
We should do something to elevate our status.
” Along with the Dhamma Walks [tudong] that we carried out [in Malaysia], we have really elevated the reputation of Thai Tradition monks.
Like now, my monks are going tudong to the Northern part [of Malaysia] and another group has gone to Sabah.
This coming Saturday [30th April, 2022], Sunday and Monday, we’ll activate [walks in] Singapore.


Continuing with the Encounter with the Dead Snake

The next day after burying the dead snake, I was sweeping the grounds and all of a sudden, my legs grew soft and I just dropped to the ground.
I had no strength and I couldn’t lift myself up at all.

My monks saw me and asked me, “Ajaan, what happened?
Why do you sit in the hot sun?
” I said, “I don’t know, I can’t move.
” They came over and carried me into the sala.
I said, “I’ve got no feeling, I can’t walk.
” I didn’t know what caused it and thought I should go for acupuncture and massage, etc.
, until I returned to Palelai.

Than Dhum was around because he went to Wat Santi to help in the Sima consecration.
He called Luang Phor Thong, and Luang Phor Thong spoke to me, “You’d better come back to Thailand, Keng.

They want your life!” I said, “No, I’m going to fight.
” He said, “Don’t be stupid, Keng.
You want to fight, fight with wisdom.
Not stupid fighting.
Come back and everything will be OK.
They want to whack you only.
Come back!”

So, I changed locations and came back to Palelai and stayed for two weeks.
During this period, I sought treatment from specialists in Singapore, went for medical tests and scans, etc.
, but there was no improvement at all, before I departed for Thailand.
Luang Phor Thong had already informed Ajaan Poonsak – he had attended both our Chedi Dhammasathit and Sima consecrations in Palelai.
He was especially good at curing people affected by charms and black magic and was a disciple of Luang Puu Dune [Atulo].
I went to see him after returning to Thailand.
When he saw me, he said, “Oh Keng, you’ve been hit heavily.
Never mind, today my samādhi is very weak because I worked the whole day and am very tired.
I’ll rest, and tomorrow I’ll do it for you.
” That night, he had already scanned me and said,

“No worries, I know what to do.

After conducting the ritual, he told me “It’s not fully cleared, but you can walk, no problem.
You can go now.
When you have time, come back again.
” I subsequently went back for a further round of treatment by Luang Phor Poonsak.

After that, I went back to Bangkok and we checked in with a chiropractor in Physical Therapy Clinic 157/2 (5 Ramkhamhaeng Soi 157/2), along with Than Dhum and Luang Phor Chuay.
After three treatments, I could walk, sweep the floor, and there was strength in my legs.
I went to recuperate in Pathum [Wat Paa Bhuridat].
Luang Phor Den told me, “You must build strength in your legs.
I’ll get you a bicycle.

After he got me the bicycle, I told Luang Phor Chuay [Abbot of Wat Paa Bhuridat], “At night, I’ll need to cycle but I’ll make sure I don’t create any inconvenience for you.
” I cycled at midnight and early in the morning when there wasn’t any one around.
Once, there was a lady whose name was Christina.

She was from Saraburi and was doing her walking meditation near the sala, in front of the ladies’


At the same time, I happened to be cycling at high speed and didn’t switch on the bicycle’s lamp, as I didn’t want to let others see me cycling.
I knew the route so actually didn’t need the light anyway but I didn’t know that she was there, so I sped past her and she exclaimed, “What is that?
” I kept quiet, but the dogs started howling, she thought she had seen a ghost! When I turned my bike around, she was still there so again, I sped past her.

Next morning, it became an issue because she told others that early that morning, while she was doing walking meditation, something flew past her and the dogs howled.
I kept quiet and went to Luang Phor Chuay and told him that it wasn’t a ghost, it was me.
Luang Phor Chuay asked me why I didn’t switch on the lamp.
I told him I didn’t want to because others would know that I was cycling around.
It was quite humorous because everyone thought that there was someone flying in and out of the temple!

I recuperated and slowly recovered fully.
The chiropractors became well known as “the ones who treated Ajaan Keng and helped him recover from the paralysis.
” Many monks went to them for treatment and they were happy to do it for free for monks.
Whenever Phra Peter, Phra Chee Seng, Phra Lek, and Than Dhum went to Thailand, they would also visit the clinic for treatment.
The chiropractors are two brothers, very good young men in their early forties.

[When asked if the snake was the cause of his problem or a help for solving the problem, Ajaan Keng responded:

Everything, [the snake was] both the cause and the help.
When he showed me his powers by strangling me, I told him “I know that you’re good.
Since you’re so good, bring good people to help me build the temple.
That would be better.
I know you’ve got psychic powers;
I know that you’re very good.
” The other lady, the one chewing the betel nut, was a Thai lady.
Put it this way, ever since I built the wooden kuti [for myself] on my 25th vassa in Wat Santi, a number of strange things occurred in the kuti.
This was because the wood that we used was from an old mosque and an old bridge.
I remember the first time I went into the kuti, I saw an image of a big, gigantic, fat man, sitting on the top pole, looking down, laughing at me, smiling.
It looked the same as the statue of Kuvera, with a face like an Indian [in the Pali Tipitaka, this is Vessavana, one of the four Catummaharajika devas (Four Great/

Heavenly Kings).
Vessavana is overlord of the Northern region and governs the yakkhas].
I’m always protected by them.
They [the Catummaharajikas] always send their henchmen to cover me.
He has his subordinates – in the Ātānātiya Sutta, it is stated very clearly, “If I don’t come, I’ll send someone to come to assist you.

When I was affected by this paralysis problem, I chanted the Ātānātiya Sutta frequently.
One night, some unwholesome beings appeared.
Then these two guys, dressed in white, each with a club in hand


(they looked like aluminium clubs) appeared.
They said, “Ajaan, don’t worry, we’re here, don’t worry.

I said, “OK, OK.
” Then they went and fought outside the kuti.
There was a lot of noise and commotion, the sounds of people fighting and beating each other.
After that, they came back and told me, “OK, it’s settled already.
Don’t worry, we’re here.

So, this tallies with the Sutta [Ātānātiya].
That’s why in Wat Santi, I placed the statues of two yakkhas at the entrance.
Many people don’t know the reason why I put certain things here and there.

They remarked, “Eh?
Why are you encouraging these?
[worship of yakkhas].
” I told them, “It’s my encounters, nothing to do with you all or any one.

If you encounter such experiences, you’ll say, “Yes, I want to honour that incident [recorded in the Ātānātiya Sutta] during the Buddha’s time,” because even now, I encountered this incident and they

[the devas] protected me.

Establishing Wat Paa Khemago, Mankarbo, Sweden

In 2019, I helped to establish Wat Paa Khemago in Mankabro, Sweden.
I had a group of monks—Than Dhum, Ajaan Kek, Than Deng, and Than Nat—who were on the Dhammayuttika Missionary Monks project and they were invited to help overseas.
They spent their vassa in Germany, Finland, France, and Belgium before ending up in Sweden.
Throughout the years as missionary monks, they encountered many difficulties.
Most of the temples that were established overseas had had difficulties in servicing the interest payment of the mortgage on the properties that they were living in.
In the end, most of the monks resorted to malpractices that were not allowed in the Vinaya, such as selling images, fortune telling, buying and selling things.
They contacted the lay people all day and searched the Internet for things and if they come across a Thai name, they would contact the person and promote their temple to them.
They were engaged in such activities most of the time, hence in the end most monks disrobed.

Instead of going overseas to propagate the Buddha’s Dhamma, doing their duty as a monk—such as chanting, observing the Vinaya rules, getting the right support—the majority of them had to look for money to help pay mortgage for the houses or properties.

When a new monk arrived, they felt

threatened straight away, thus causing

a lot of disharmony.
Those were the

encounters of my monks.

when they went to a temple and noticed

that the resident monks were not doing

the right thing, they would suggest that

Than Khek and Than Daeng.

the monks have chanting and meditation


sessions, but the suggestions were not welcomed.
The abbot or the senior monks would tell them off,

“Don’t try to be better.
Don’t try to show off that you are purer than me!” Those types of remarks were very disheartening.
As monks who were trying to propagate the Dhamma, they were taken aback by the nasty remarks.
Because such nasty comments were made, it was not encouraging in propagating the Dhamma, so they left those temples.
Some temples were even worse, as they would not let my monks stay.
Such occurrences were very common in the temples in Europe.
If you complied with their wrong practices, you would be allowed to stay.
So you could stay at the temple only if you concurred with the practices that were wrong in your view, but if you tried to correct them, you would be in trouble.

My monks complained to me about the issues they faced in Europe.
They never looked for money.

After being in Sweden for quite some time, they got to know a group of people who would like to establish a proper temple locally.
This group of people with their Swedish husbands flew to Wat Palelai, Singapore, to approach me and they appealed to me, stating their intention.
I told them that if I had the ability, I would always help.
As Than Dhum, Ajaan Kek, and Than Deng had been very dedicated monks and had helped me to set up Santi Monastery, Wat Palelai, and Omkoi temple, I had a lot of gratitude towards them.
I asked them, “Are you for real?
” Than Dhum responded, “Yes,” and I said,

In that case, look for a place, and I will see what I can do.

They managed to locate a single storey, 2-bedroom house in Tierp that cost about S$100,000. However, when I was in Ulu Tiram, I had a vision wherein a man stacked up boxes of documents till they touched the attic and he set the boxes of documents on fire.
That was not a good sign.
I interpreted that vision to mean that there would be a lot of court cases with regard to the property.
The documents symbolised complaints and court proceedings.
I called up Than Dhum the next morning to tell him not to proceed with the purchase of that property.
That same morning, they were about to start to bid for the property.

Everyone was very sad when I called it off.

Prior to that, Than Dhum and I had gone to see Luang Phor Obhase, and Luang Phor said, “You should plant trees in the property.
If trees can survive, people can survive.

After I said No to the property in Tierp, I knew the people would feel sad, as their wishes had been squashed.
So, I meditated to see which would be the right property for them to purchase.
They had viewed a few other properties before they set their eyes on the property in Tierp, and one of them was in Postboda 1122 Mankarbo.
During my meditation that property appeared and I asked within myself,

“Who is the owner?
” It turned out to be a lady dressed in blue and she was smiling at me.
I called up Than Dhum and told him to go to the property where there would be a lady dressed in blue.
He had to tell the lady that he was establishing a temple and the lady would sell her property to him.
Ann, a Thai lady, told her Swedish husband, Matthew, about my vision.
Matthew was very sceptical about it.
They went with Than Dhum to the property’s open house for viewing.
The owner was wearing her bathing


gown when they arrived and she went to get changed.
When she came out, she was wearing a blue dress.
Matthew was shocked and wondered how I knew.
They were able to secure the property of 2.5

acres, valued at S$380,000 and on the 25th June 2019, they signed the purchase agreement.
The property was named Wat Paa Khemago.

I went to Sweden after the vassa at the end of 2019 for the opening ceremony of the temple.
Brother Poon and his family and some lay devotees from Singapore came with me on that trip.
We invited monks from the surrounding areas and as far as Stockholm to the opening ceremony.
We started planting trees as suggested by Luang Phor Obhase and upgraded some of the facilities.

I committed myself to the property because I wanted to repay my gratitude to these brother monks of mine.
Than Dhum had been a great help to me and had worked alongside me in many of my projects.

Even my late teacher Luang Puu Jia had always told me to look after my brother, Than Dhum.
Than Dhum would never refuse my request whenever I sought his assistance.
We were very close and I would always support him no matter how.
If not for Than Dhum, one of Wat Palelai’s property [9 Jalan Nipah]

would have been sold off.
Than Dhum and I went into Wat Palelai on time and we unfolded the evil plot.
Than Dhum was able to trace the names of the people in Thailand who were involved in trying to sell off the property so I could deal with them.
We managed to retrieve the property.
Without Than Dhum’s assistance, Wat Palelai would have lost that property.
Many people would ask why I would always protect Than Dhum even when he was not around.
I told them it was because of gratitude, “Yin Shui Si Yuan (饮水思源)” meaning you must know where the source of the water you are drinking came from.
Without Than Dhum and the other monks, there would be no Wat Palelai for you to stay.
These days, monks like to grumble and complain a lot.
I informed those who complained, “No matter how, I am always for Than Dhum and the other two monks.
If we die, we die together! I would not let them die while I am still alive and enjoying myself, knowing that they are in trouble and I turned a blind eye on them, as this is not me!”

Picturesque sight of the Wat in winter.


Main building of the Wat.

Kuti on the grounds of the Wat.

Wat Khemago, Mankarbo, Sweden.
Phra Ajaan Dhum is spearheading the set up of the temple with the assistance of Than Khek and Than Daeng.

Arrival of the new

Buddha image.


Than Dhum had helped me to resolve visa problems for the monks that I had ordained when they went to Thailand.
He would locate my monks who were lost in the forest.
He helped me to train my new monks and looked after them when they fell sick.
He even wanted to borrow money to run my errands.
Than Dhum was like my right hand in Thailand.
Money cannot buy the type of friendship and the sacrifices that Than Dhum had made for me.

Once the temple was established, I told Than Dhum that we had to start to go on alms rounds.
We did not know where to go, so I had Brother Poon seek out the nearest Thai restaurant from the temple.

He found a restaurant called “Ban Na Thai.
” Brother Poon had offered to put a payment for a month’s worth of food at the restaurant.
When we arrived at the restaurant, we found that the restaurant was going to close soon, as the two sisters who were running the restaurant could not get along with each other.
I persuaded the two sisters to continue running the restaurant, as we had a collective kamma, and the monks and I were there.
I told them they had to stay put and help the monks.
The sisters decided to stay put and they stopped quarrelling.
They started to meditate and chant, and their life changed.
In the end, Brother Poon did not have to put the payment for food, as the sisters said they would support the monks.
In the summer months, the monks would walk 19 km one way a day to go on alms rounds at the restaurant.
They would then return to the temple by bus.
Things are going well at Wat Paa Khemago, and there are more people who come to the temple these days.

Devotees from nearby townships started to be aware of the presence of our monks doing alms rounds, and good people started to give attention and support.
Even the local Swedish offer rations after learning that our monks walked so far for their food.
The one who upholds and protects the training rules and dhamma will always be blessed by their own actions of SACRIFICE!

Helping out Wat Samphanthawong, Melbourne, Australia In late December 2018, while I was on tudong from Hat Yai to Singapore with a group of monks, I received an invitation from a lay devotee in Melbourne, Tham Kum Eng, to teach the Dhamma and conduct retreats for a month in Melbourne and Sydney.
As I was on tudong, I decided to put the invitation on hold.

I attended a Sangha meeting in New Zealand in May 2019 and met Ajaan Tanee from Wat Dhammarangsee in Melbourne.
He invited me to a Sangha meeting that he would be hosting at his temple in 2020. The meeting was scheduled for March, 2020. So I accepted Kum Eng’s invitation to coincide with the Sangha meeting so that I would not have to travel to Melbourne twice.

I arrived at Avalon Airport on the 13th March 2020, accompanied by Phra Ong Junior, Phra Peter, and Phra Jason.
Avalon Airport was located outside of the Melbourne metropolitan area in the Greater City of Geelong.
A couple of lay devotees, Wong Sow Lian, Brother Yeap, and his wife travelled with us to


We were met by Kum Eng and his group of friends at the airport.
That was my first trip to Melbourne.
A lay devotee informed us that there was a Thai temple in Geelong, and I decided to visit that temple, as we were monks from the Thai tradition.

When we arrived at the temple, Wat Samphanthawong, it was manned by Kruubaa Man who was also a monk from Wat Asokaram.
Later I found out that the temple was under the tutelage of Chao Khun Supachai who was also the head monk for the Australia and New Zealand region.
I was told that there was a dispute with regard to the land title deed at the temple.
I noted that there was a problem but I did not think I would be involved in resolving the dispute.
My purpose of coming to Melbourne was to attend the Sangha meeting and to give Dhamma talks and conduct retreats.
A couple of days after our arrival, there came the lockdown due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
Initially, our lodging was in a house owned by the Buddhist Society of Victoria in a Melbourne suburb.
When the lockdown came, I made a decision for us to move to Wat Samphanthawong in Lara where our brother monk from the same lineage and temple was staying by himself.
When we arrived at the temple, we were met by Khun Tan, who was the then President.
We were informed that there was an issue at the temple.


Phra Ajaan Keng conducted his first ordination in Australia in a boat.

Kathina celebration in 2020.

Donors for pindapata.


I had an intriguing dream of Than Phor Lee in

August 2019. In the dream, I was very happy when I

saw him, as he was my great grand teacher and I went

to pay my respects to him.
When I approached him, he

said, “Keng, Keng, sit me up,” as he was lying down.

So, I helped him up and he said, “Bathe me.
” Before

I could finish bathing him, he started to urinate.

urinated chocolate followed by milk-coloured urine.

I was surprised, as that was not the normal urine

I did not know what that was all about.

then dressed himself and walked off without saying a

Building the outdoor shrine.

word to me.
I was really puzzled.

The next morning, I immediately called up my friend Phra Pornchai who was the assistant to the Abbot at Wat Asokaram to relate the dream to him.
I called Wat Asokaram because Than Phor Lee was the founder of Wat Asokaram, and I thought something could have happened at Wat Asokaram.

Phra Pornchai confirmed that everything was in good order at Wat Asokaram, but I requested him to investigate things thoroughly due to the dream.
After that, I went to Pathum Thani to commemorate Luang Puu Jia’s death anniversary, which falls on 23rd of August.
While there, I met Luang Phor Den, who was also one of my teachers, and I related the dream to him.
Immediately, Luang Phor Den said,

“If that is the case, there is a problem overseas and you are the one to resolve it.
” I asked him, “Where?

and he responded, “How would I know?
You will find out for yourself.

After staying for a few days at Wat Samphanthawong, the lay devotees at the temple took us to visit a chocolate factory nearby.
While we were visiting the section where milk and chocolate were being mixed, a mental image of Than Phor Lee arose.
Putting together the earlier dream of Than Phor Lee’s urinating chocolate and milk, and now the image of him appearing in the chocolate factory, it gave me confidence that I was in the right place where Than Phor Lee had wanted me to help sort things out.
It confirmed Luang Phor Den’s interpretation that the issue that Than Phor Lee wanted me to solve was overseas, and I’m the one who has to do it.

After staying at Wat Samphanthawong, I heard so much about what was happening at the temple, and through my vision, I thought I might be able to help.
I spent many, many hours of walking meditation in an open area at the back of the temple until I made a visible path on the stretch of gravel road.
I had spoken to Kruubaa Man, and the feedback he gave me on the lady whom the dispute was with, was not positive.
However, that lady turned up at the temple and after many conversations with her, I managed to understand the whole problem and that she had had enough of the whole situation.
She tried to exert


her control on many things but in the end, she knew she was on the losing end because no matter how, in reality the property did not belong to her, even though the title deed was in her name.
After many rounds of talk and reconciliation, including a trip up to Canberra to see Chao Khun Supachai with Ajaan Tanee, we finally were able to resolve the dispute.
The title deed was officially transferred to the rightful owner, the Buddhist Community of Geelong, on 1st March 2021.

During my stay at Wat Samphanthawong and despite Covid restrictions, I was able to organise the first Kathina ceremony of the temple, retreats, and short-term sāmaṇera and mae chii ordinations for the community.
I also led a tudong from Lara in Victoria to Sydney in New South Wales, and I managed to ordain three local Australian monks.

On 2nd March 2021, I ordained Phra Piyasilo Andrew on a boat in the Geelong Bay as Wat Samphanthawong did not have a sima hall to enable me to conduct the ordination.
Phra Sukkadhammo Scott and Phra Jotipalo David were ordained at Wat Dhammarangsee, Ajaan Tanee’s temple.
The two new monks were scheduled to be ordained on 17th July on the boat, but due to a spike in Covid infections, the Victorian government announced a snap lockdown restricting the number of people congregating from 16th July onwards.
Hence, with the permission of Ajaan Tanee to ordain the monks at his temple, the snap ordination for the monks was conducted on the 15th July.


In 2021 Phra Ajaan Keng led a group of his disciples, both monks and lay people on a cross state hike from Lara, Victoria to Sydney in New South Wales.
The journey was 1,087km long and took two months to complete.
He subsequently led his disciples on another hike from Lara to Adelaide, a journey of 794km.

While I was finding ways to resolve the land title deed dispute, I had made a resolution that if the title transfer was resolved, I would walk from Lara to Sydney to pay my respects to a senior monk, Luang Phor Samai, who was the pioneer of the Dhammayut Order in Australia, at Mahamakut Buddhist Foundation at Leumeah.
I would also visit Wat Buddharangsee, Stanmore, which is the first Dhammayut temple in Australia, and on the way, I would go to Canberra to pay respects to Chao Khun Supachai.

On 11th March 2021, I started my Lara to Sydney Dhamma Tudong Walk of 1,087 km.
We intended to cover between 20 – 25 km each walking day, and the team would have a rest day after five days of walking.
The core team was made up of eight lay devotees and two monks, Phra Jason and myself.

It was a beautiful sunny morning when we set out from the temple with three vehicles.
Many lay devotees, Phra Andrew, and Phra Sombat from Wat Dhammarangsee walked with us to kickstart the tudong.
Some continued on until we reached our destination at Little River.
We covered about 20 km on the first day and we camped at Yom Kem’s property that night.
The next morning, Ajaan Tanee and three of his monks came to join us for the second leg of the walk.
It was a scorching hot day with temperature nearing 30°C. The terrain was tough with many prickly bushes, and there were not many trees to provide shade.
We arrived at Yom Nadia’s house in Hoppers Crossing, exhausted, as we had walked 26 km under challenging conditions that day.
We were greeted with heavy rain on the 3rd day of our walk and our lodging was at Heavenly Queen Temple.
Blisters started forming on the feet by the 2nd day and by the 4th day the toenails were falling off.
The team were looking forward to finishing the 5th day walk so we could all have a day to recover.


With Venerable Buddhadhatu & his mobile temple.

While we were staying at Keon’s house on the 5th day, a past patron, Bhikkhu Buddhadhatu came to join us in part of the walk.
I had informed him of my intention to do the walk.
He drove his mobile temple all the way from Sydney to support us.
Many devotees from all walks of life came to support us, too.
The essence was when we do the right thing, good people would support us.

I wanted to do this walk to recall and repay our debt of gratitude to our Lord Buddha and also to create awareness for people who did not have time to go to the temple or for people who had lost faith in the monks to let them have the opportunity to meet up with monks who were practising.
I know by doing the walk some impact would be created, as many people out there had wrong views about monks.
There had been a lot of negative publicity about monks in the media, such as newspapers and the Internet, and people had become disrespectful to the Sangha.
With the support of the lay people who had the same mindset as us, we were re-generating what had been done in the past and forgotten, and to live up to it where our great, grand forefathers had sacrificed to preserve the Dhamma-Vinaya [the Teaching and Discipline].

We passed through many small country towns during our walk.
Unlike going on tudong in Thailand or Malaysia where there were many temples or religious places that could offer accommodation, this was not the case in Australia.
In that tudong, all accommodation had to be pre-arranged.
My first priority was to stay in a monastery or temple precinct, followed by lay devotees’ residence.
However, most of our accommodations were in caravan parks and, on some days, in community halls.


After leaving the greater city of Melbourne,

we arrived in Seymore and spent a couple of

nights in Wat Nigrodhamma.
Ajaan Sukdhammo

joined us on the walk the next day.
On the day we

arrived at Wat Nigrodhamma, Ajaan Tanee and

his monks came all the way from Melbourne to

visit us.
A lay devotee, Mae Fa, was kind enough

to offer us accommodation at her house to break

up the distance we had to cover between Seymore

With Chao Khun Samai at Wat Paa Buddharangsee.

and our next stop, which was 48 km away.

In one of the walks, a strange incident occurred as I was approaching Violet Town, a small country town in Victoria.
While I was crossing the railway track, heading into Violet Town, I could feel the presence of many beings, and goosebumps broke out on me.
A railway accident had occurred at that site in 1969. I stood at the site and spread thoughts of kindness to these beings and thought to myself,

“I should get the relatives of these beings to transfer merit to them.
” True enough, the next day while staying at the community hall, the mayor of the region, Chris Raeburn, turned up to greet us.

During the tudong, media coverage from two different television channels and a few local newspapers caught up with us in different towns and interviewed us.
In the first coverage, my message was, “We walk for harmony and peace and for our own and the public’s mental welfare and happiness, which is the most important thing in life.
If we cannot have internal peace within ourselves, we cannot have peace externally with material gains.
” In the second coverage, “We need a lot of peace and harmony for mankind to prosper and move on as human beings.
The walk is challenging and is a test of our endurance, and as monks we should lead the way.

When we walk, we walk mindfully, doing the training.
Why do we subject ourselves to this type of training?
It is to accumulate patience, forbearance (khanti), and persistent effort.
During the walk, you have to face a lot of difficulties, and we are talking about practice.
It is no joke to walk for a long distance under the hot scorching sun without trees for shade, with sunburnt head and face, cracked lips, and with the cold wind blowing.
When you look up at the horizon thinking:
“When am I going to reach the end of the road?
” you can see how your heart starts to think of chickening out:
“I am not going to walk anymore.
” If you are very determined, you will make a vow that you will not quit unless you faint and have to be carried to the car.
Then you will have no choice.
If you still can move, then you move! If you have cramps, you rest and continue on, but you don’t give up.
This is the accumulation of persistent effort.
This is not self-torturing but a form of informal hands-on experience in the practice.
You must also be mindful, as you know you are walking on a metallised road, and there are many cars on the road.


The tudong was reported in the local newspapers.

Phra Ajaan Keng favours the outdoor environment for meditation and regularly leads his disciples to meditate in the You Young National Park, Lara.


These cars are worse than animals in the forest.
When the animals or tigers see people, they run away.

If an individual does not have mindfulness during the walk, they will end up with grave injuries if they get hit by a car.
This is what the whole mindfulness training is about.

As we walked through the many small country towns, it really touched my heart to see so many good people who offered us the use of their amenities.
Every day as I walked, I would chant the Suttas, recite the Pāṭimokkha, and transfer merit to all beings along the way.
I would meditate at night to ask the devas to protect all the participants so that we would all reach our destination safely.
As we walked further north, supporters would drive for four hours or more to join us in the walk.
When we reached Albury, we were greeted by Phra Satit at Dhammakaya Centre.
We stayed at his centre for two nights.

He was very hospitable and joined us in the Dhamma walk the following days.
In Culcairn, a very small country town, Yom Kanlaya and her husband came to visit us with Phra Satit.
The following day, they offered me lodging at their house at Culcairn.
I had been very blessed, as camping was the only form of accommodation and there would always be someone who would offer me alternative accommodation so I did not have to camp.
This happened at Uranquinty, too, another small country town.
While the team camped at the community hall, I was offered lodging in an apartment at a nearby town.
Prior to the team’s arrival at Uranquinty, Debbie Bewick, the President, had stocked the fridge with home-grown vegetables and eggs for the team to use.
Halfway through the walk, we went back to Lara for the Thai New Year celebrations (Songkran), and when we returned, we continued walking up north towards Sydney.
By then the weather had become cooler and it rained more frequently.
In one section of the journey, we had to stop walking as it was raining heavily and continuously for three days.
The road that we had to traverse was small and had high traffic, and I did not want to compromise the safety of the team.
A lay Buddhist couple from Burradoo, Ome and Shina, offered us accommodation at their house during that journey.

Following on from Burradoo, we were walking closer to our final destination with each step, which was Wat Buddharangsee in Stanmore, Sydney.
On the way, we stayed over at Bodhisaddha Monastery in Wilton for three nights.
The Abbot, Ajaan Larry and his mother Nina Yee, the founder of Bodhikusuma Buddhist Meditation Centre in Sydney, provided us with warm hospitality.
Ajaan Larry and Ajaan Alan joined us in the walk on two separate occasions.
Our next stop was to Mahamakut Buddhist Foundation, Leumeah, where I paid my respects to Luang Phor Samai, who was the pioneer in the Dhammayut order in Australia [and a good friend of Palelai’s founder, Phra Khruu Dhammakhun].
Despite being in his eighties Luang Phor Samai joined us in the walk for a distance as we departed his temple.
We arrived at Wat Lao Buddha Metta for a night stay after leaving Mahamakut Buddhist Foundation.
It was raining heavily and we sought shelter at the train station on the way to Wat Lao Buddha Metta.
The President of Buddha Metta, Kham Sirimanotham, very kindly arranged transport and picked us up from the train station to take us to their temple.
When we arrived at Wat Lao Buddha Metta, we were given the most


welcoming and grand reception by the resident monk and the Laotian community.
We were each given a welcome pack consisting of a bouquet of flowers, blankets, and toiletries.
They had prepared pana

[allowable drinks and medicinal food] for us monks and the eight preceptors, and provided food for the other lay devotees who had joined us in the walk.
They had initially arranged for a welcome party to walk with us to their temple but due to the heavy rain, the program was cancelled.

However, at the request of the community after the rain subsided, we did a symbolic walk from a park nearby to their temple.
The Laotian community’s hospitality and kindness really touched our hearts.
The next day, Kham, representing his community, walked with us all the way to Stanmore, New South Wales.
Finally, on 12th May after nearly two months of tudong, we arrived at Wat Buddharangsee, Stanmore, the first Dhammayut temple in Australia.
We were greeted by Ajaan Tanee and the Sangha of Wat Buddharangsee.
The next day, the lay devotees celebrated my birthday in conjunction with the finishing of our tudong.

In life, when the difficulties have been resolved, we feel relieved and carefree, temporally happy, and it is like walking this path of Dhamma practice.
The mind that is fuelled by greed, hatred, and delusion is the same.
These defilements keep creating unrest for the mind.
We slowly accumulate our resources and practise to move forward until we are able to reach the shore of Nibbāna and find eternal peace within! To quote the Buddha’s words:

“Khanti paramam tapo titikkha,

Nibbānam paramam vadanti Buddha”

[Patient endurance:

the foremost austerity.




so say the Awakened].

You Won’t Go Wrong

Recently, I had many dreams after coming back to Wat Samphanthawong [vassa, 2022]. Initially, many people misunderstood that I was going to make the place exclusively for the Chinese community, and that Thais would not be welcome.
They had this impression, but it was not true.
I dreamt of Luang Phor Janrien.
Luang Phor came to me in the dream and gave me a bundle of incense sticks.
He said, “Keng, Keng, Keng, I hand over this bundle of incense sticks [to you].
” Guess what?

The next morning, many Thais came (I’m not sure where they came from).
I said to myself, “Eh?
This is very funny! Kruubaa Ajaans have concern [for us].
Even though we may not be very close, but all the Kruubaa Ajaans are very concerned that we, members of the Sangha, are making a lot of sacrifice for the Sāsana, and they’re very supportive” [of their propagation work overseas].


A few days back, I had dreamt of Luang Ta Maha Boowa.
I dreamt that I was riding a scrambler motorbike and there was a baby on my lap.
I was afraid that the baby would fall.
I thought to myself that if I continued riding the bike, I could not have the baby with me (i.
e., the baby represents the monks who would be hindering my speed).
So, I took a piece of cloth and wrapped up the baby and slowly lowered it to the ground.
Then I sped off up to a big chedi.
It was a rundown chedi over 100 meters high.

When I arrived, I threw away the scrambler and got hold of one of the artefacts on the chedi, which was made of brick and held on to it.
As I held it, it loosened and I thought I was going to fall and die.
I changed and held on to another brick.
That brick also became loose, so I said to myself, “Don’t tell me this chedi is not hardened at all?
” I then held on to a frame.
After a while, the frame started to give way but hadn’t dropped yet.
I looked down and told myself, “Wow, this is so high! If I drop, I’m sure to die.

I looked around for a tree but there wasn’t any.
I saw a pond but it was too far away to jump into.
I was pondering that if someone were to come help me, he must have a 100-tonne crane.
Where could he get a 100-tonne crane?

I called out “Oi! Who else can help me now?
I’m stuck up here.
” You know who came?
Luang Ta Maha Boowa came from behind me! He used his left hand and waved it across the chedi and “prug!”

he created a big hole and he jumped in.
When I saw that it was Luang Ta, I followed.
I thought I could also jump into the hole together with Luang Ta.
I called out “Luang Ta, wait for me”! Popped! I jumped in and I told myself, “I’m safe.

After waking up from the dream, I recalled the nimit[ta] and I realised that if I follow the footsteps of Luang Ta, I won’t go wrong.
Follow the footsteps that Luang Ta walked, then you won’t go wrong.

Meditate on “Buddho,” you won’t go wrong.
Don’t follow those crazy people out there!

A painting of Luang Ta Maha Boowa, by Phra Teerayoot, installed in a monastery in Thailand.


Invitations to Teach in Other Countries

The invitation to teach the Dhamma was due to a compilation of a series of informal talks that I gave to my monks at Santi Monastery.
Whenever an incident occurred at the temple or there was an issue that needed to be addressed, I would hold the monks back after the evening chanting and give an informal talk relating to the issue or incident that had happened during the day.
Two ladies, mae chii Mei Lun and Siew Mei, who had stayed in Santi since the first day the monastery was established, asked for my permission to record the talks.
They subsequently compiled the talks without my knowledge.
It was not until one day in 2015, when two lay devotees, Brothers Soh and Joe Ting approached me and asked me why I had never informed them about the series of Dhamma talks that were recorded into a CD and circulated among the devotees of Santi Monastery.
Later a few thousand copies of these CDs were reproduced and distributed, and ever since then all my time was taken up with giving Dhamma talks and conducting retreats.
That was the CD entitled “Cong Xin Kai Shi” (从心开始), meaning, “It Begins from the Heart.
” Those who had listened to the CD liked the talks and found the talks to be very practical and they could relate to them easily.
So the word spread even to China and Indonesia, and I received many invitations to give Dhamma talks and conduct retreats.

Delivering public Dhamma talks in Medan.



My invitation to teach the Dhamma in Medan and Pekan Baru Indonesia came through a group of devotees from Mangala Vihara, a Sri Lankan tradition temple in Singapore.
The devotees were mainly Chinese Indonesians from Medan originally and they spoke the Hokkien dialect.
As I was able to speak the dialect and Mandarin, and with my Singaporean style of talking, many elderly Chinese Indonesians could understand my talk easily.
I accepted their invitation to teach the Dhamma, especially in the Hokkien dialect.

Another invitation to teach in Indonesia came from Pak Karim, an Indonesian of Chinese descent, from Jakarta.
That year Luang Phor Liem (the Abbot of Wat Nong Pah Pong and a disciple of Luang Phor Chah) was in Singapore and I attended to him.
Pak Karim approached me after listening to my talk and he requested me to go to Medan to help lift the spirits of the devotees, as a famous monk in Medan had just disrobed and many people were disheartened with Buddhism.
He said it would be good if a local monk could go and provide some encouragement.
Based on the request to uplift their religious spirits, I accepted Pak Karim’s invitation.
I went to the Indonesia Theravada Buddhist Centre (ITBC) in Medan to give the Dhamma talk.
From Medan, I received invitations to teach at Pekan Baru and other cities and it has continued until today.
The devotees in Indonesia like my style of teaching, as I was easy-going and not interested in too many ceremonies.

China – retreat at Fu Xing Si” (福兴寺 ) in Fujian Province, China.


I was invited to conduct a retreat in China following a recommendation by Phra Ping, a Chinese monk who had stayed with Luang Phor Janrien at Tham Sa Hai.
He had gone back to China and tried to push for the Forest Tradition to flourish in China.
He conducted Dhamma courses all over China and he


went to a temple called “Fu Xing Si” (福兴寺) in Fujian Province, which was run by a lady, Han Lao Shi (Teacher Han 韩老师).
Han Lao Shi asked Phra Ping if there were any other Chinese-speaking monks in the Forest Tradition.
Phra Ping told her about me, a senior Singaporean monk of Chinese descent.
Han Lao Shi then flew all the way from China to Singapore to invite me to conduct the retreat in her temple.

I remembered that day as I had just flown in from Medan, Indonesia, after a Dhamma talk and I received a call at Changi airport from Han Lao Shi informing me that she was waiting for me at Wat Palelai.
It was nearly 9pm by the time I got back to Wat Palelai, and Han Lao Shi was waiting for me with another lady and a Singaporean man.
Her reason for coming to invite me was that they were encouraging people to meditate and they would like a Chinese descendent monk who could speak Chinese to help them set up a centre.
So, I accepted the invitation, and nearly six months later, I made my first trip to China.

After accepting the invitation, I went to Bangkok to visit Wang Nam Kheow, a branch temple of Luang Ta Maha Boowa.
Strangely, on the way up, as I was approaching Wang Nam Kheow, a sudden thought came to me to visit Luang Phor Ganha.
I instructed the driver to turn left.
The driver was not happy, as it was a risky move but he made the left turn anyway.
He queried my reason for taking the left turn.
When we reached Luang Phor Ganha’s temple, there was an auspicious occurrence.
As soon as I stepped out from the vehicle, I was greeted with a strong fragrant scent of sandalwood, and that beautiful scent escorted me all the way to the sala.
Luang Phor Ganha was waiting for me at the hall and he exclaimed:
“Ah! The person who is going to China is here now.
” I was puzzled.
It turned out that Luang Phor Ganha had been offered a piece of land in China to the size of 5,000 acres to build a temple and he was not sure of the offering.
Luang Phor Ganha was wondering whom he could send to China to verify the offering.
Luang Phor Ganha had many Chinese-speaking monks and lay devotees from Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, and Malaysia that he could send, but he had specially wanted me to take on the task to follow up on the offering for him.
So, I obliged and decided to combine the invitation from


Han Lao Shi and that task in a single trip

to China.

I needed someone to accompany me

on that trip to check out the two places

before I got involved in the projects.

decided to call my devotees, Brother

Poon and his wife, Penny Pang.

Pang was an optometrist who owned

an optical business in Terengganu and

they frequently travelled to China for her

On a visit to Luang Phor Ganha.

business. They felt honoured to accompany me to China.
When we arrived in China, we were met by the China counterparts (a local man and an elderly Thai man) who had offered the land to Luang Phor Ganha.
My first priority was to check out the piece of land that had been offered to Luang Phor Ganha and once that was done, I would go to Fu Xing Si to check out the temple to see how I could set it up.

After checking the land, it turned out that the 5,000 acres of land that was offered to Luang Phor Ganha was baseless.
Those people were making use of monks as a front cover for their own business proposal.
When we went there, I did not believe the offer was genuine, as we were confined in Min Xin hotel for a week.
Every time when I asked where the piece of land was, the local man who was the liaison officer for the project for Luang Phor Ganha would provide excuses.
I ended up asking the counterpart, the 80-year-old Thai man, who would also provide me with many different excuses when I queried him.
I made up my mind that those people were conmen.
I finally found out that that was a project for tourism in the name of Buddhism but not to build temples.

As I could speak Mandarin and had the address of the land, I had actually wanted to go to inspect the place without the knowledge of those people, but they had stationed their men in different areas so I could not even leave the hotel without them knowing.
We finally were able to go and we needed to climb up the mountain to get to the site.
They were expecting me to be content with just looking at the land from the base of the mountain.
Unbeknownst to them, I had all intention to climb up the mountain to have a good look at the land.
So, while they were having a cigarette with Brother Poon, I ran up the mountain and on the way up, I met and spoke to some locals and found out that the place had not been acquired by anyone.
When I asked the locals if they were selling their land, they were puzzled.
They had heard of the project, but there had been no discussion on the price of their land.
That confirmed my suspicion that the whole business was a con job.
When I came down from the mountain, Brother Poon and I walked down the street and I was thinking it would be good if I could talk to the chief monk of


that province (Xia Men) to clarify the whole thing.
As we were walking down the street, a young man ran out from his shop and paid his respects to me, as he was happy to see a monk.

He was a Buddhist and he invited us back to his shop for a cup of tea.
It turned out that his teacher was the head monk for the province, so I went to see his teacher.
His teacher was not around but I met up with the person in charge and I asked him, “Is it possible for a foreigner to establish a temple in China?
” His answer was “No.
” He said the government did not allow foreigners to own land in China.
The only way foreign monks could come in would be as workers for the temple to provide ceremonial activities under the tourist workers category.
I needed to be absolutely sure of that, so I went to the local council that represents the public.
I met Mr.
Chua, who had heard of the project and asked him what approval authority the council had at their level, to which he responded, “Road, infrastructure, utilities such as water and electricity.
We have no say with regard to religious affairs, which are under the jurisdiction of the central government.
” Mr. Chua’s response ultimately confirmed my suspicion that the whole project of land offering to Luang Phor Ganha was a scam and those people were professional conmen.

I decided not to waste any more time in China, so we travelled to Fu Xing Si to check out the temple.

There we were met by Han Lao Shi and Mr.
Tan when we arrived.
Mr. Tan was an internal security officer and he screened me thoroughly.
We left China after that and I went to see Luang Phor Ganha straightaway and reported to him that the whole offer was a scam.
Luang Phor Ganha said it was lucky that he had sent me, as I was thorough and had checked out with both the monastic and the lay people about the project.

A few months later, I went back to China, to Fu Xing Si, to conduct the first retreat on 1st May 2016.

The retreat involved Mahayanese Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis and lay people.
The retreat went really well.
I later found out that in China, one was not allowed to teach religious beliefs as per one’s wishes.

You could get into trouble with the law.
If a temple wishes to invite a foreigner to give talks, it needs to get an international permit, and the temple where the talks are conducted has to be a temple appointed by the religious department of the government of China, which Fu Xing Si was.
It was an eye-opener for me.

Many participants dozed off during indoor sitting meditation, as the conditions were too comfortable.

A good thing about Fu Xing Si was that there were many cemeteries on the mountain behind the temple and surrounding the temple area.
You could walk for hours around these cemeteries.
I decided to change the way the retreat was conducted, and it became an outdoor cemetery retreat.
I informed the participants that they would not be sitting indoors but outdoors to make them alert, make them scared, make the fear element wake them up.
It was the first time for them, as no one had ever conducted such an outdoor retreat before.
All their retreats were always held indoors.
It was a 10-day retreat and I received a good response from the participants.
As the Chinese saying goes, “Fu Gui Xiu Xing Nan” (富


贵修行难) which means, “Abundance makes practice difficult.
” I continuously went to China for three years to conduct their retreats.
In the fourth year, there was a clash of retreat dates with my invitation from Bodhi Heart Sanctuary in Penang, Malaysia.
As the invitation from China came much later, I had to forgo my visit to China.

30th January 2016 with devotees from Mangala Vihara, distributed food to the underprivileged community, South India.


The same group of devotees from Mangala Vihara approached me to help out an Indian monk, Bhante Analayo in Visakhapatnam, India, which was the 4th largest city in South India.
They had been supporting Bhante Analayo, who would like to propagate Buddhism, and they felt that I might be able to give him some advice.
Out of compassion, I accepted the invitation and went to Visakhapatnam.

My advice to Bhante Analayo was that in order for Buddhism to flourish, the individual [carrying out the teaching] must really understand and have no doubt in his practice.
If the individual was always doubtful and always seeking support from the lay people, it would not be possible to fully propagate Buddhism.
It would be better for the individual to stay put with a teacher and continue with his practice.

In 2000, I went on my first pilgrimage trip to India.
Bhikkhu Lee was the organiser and Phra Jutipañño and Phra Dhammasiri came along, too.
It was a miserable trip for me.
I fell sick on the first day upon arrival until the last day of the trip.
I had caught a cold on the first day while meditating outside the stupa at Sarnath.
It was extremely cold and wet that day.
All throughout the trip, when the others went to visit the holy sites, I would be sleeping in the bus.

Subsequently, I went on a couple of the pilgrimage trips to India again, organised by Bhikkhu Lee.

On one of the trips, we went to Arunachal Pradesh.
Many monks and lay devotees came with us on that


16th January 2016 attended the opening ceremony of the monastery, The Buddhist Centre, Andhra Pradesh, India.

trip. There was a Thai Komti [descendent of Thais] monk who had spent a vassa with Phra Jutipañño.

He had wanted to build a temple in Arunachal Pradesh.
Prior to going to Arunachal Pradesh, I had a vision that I went to that nice piece of land and Phra Peter was at that place, too.
There was a sky-blue excavator at the site and I could see it very clearly.
That trip when I went to Arunachal Pradesh, the piece of land was exactly as I had seen in my vision with the sky-blue excavator.

We arrived at Arunachal Pradesh a day earlier than scheduled.
We could not contact the host to inform him of the change in schedule, as the Internet connection was very poor.
We flew from Kolkata to Tinsukia, then onwards to Dibrugarh airport in Assam.
Upon arrival, I tried to make a phone call to the host, but there was no public phone available in the airport.
I finally managed to borrow a mobile phone from a Tibetan man and made contact.
We boarded a bus to our destination and I was shocked as the bus was also ferrying livestock (pigs, goats, ducks, and chicken) and motorcycles on top of its roof.
As we were arriving, I saw a familiar face (Phra Gotapala from Penang), who was surprised that we had come by bus, as the host had arranged two new vehicles to pick us from the airport.
The lay devotees were disappointed with our earlier arrival as their big welcome party for us was disrupted.

After staying there for a while to help out, the group split and went on to do their own activities and then back to their own country.
I went back to Singapore and many monks asked me about that place.

Phra Kitisara went on to spend three vassas at Arunachal Pradesh.


Visit to Sri Lanka with Phra Bhikkhu Lee, they paid a visit to Meethirigala Maha Vidyalata on 6th February 2016

and met the late Venerable Ariyadhamma.

The place at Arunachal Pradesh was run by a local tea plantation owner, Anathapindika.
He owned a few thousand hectares of land and built a 20-storey high Buddha image on the site.
When I first went to the place, it had a small shed.
Anathapindika engaged a Thai architect who was a disciple of Luang Ta Maha Boowa to help him set up the temple.
Anathapindika and his wife flew all the way to Singapore to visit me, and I knew he needed help, so I offered to send a container load of robes and other monks requisites to help him.
Sometimes causes and conditions do not align.
The container load of things was still stuck in Santi Monastery.
Even though I wanted to give the items away, they were not able to receive them!

All these years travelling around, I was just playing a small part in supporting the propagation of Buddhism.
I did a bit here and there, and these were the bits that no one was doing and they were by no means easy tasks.

7 – advice to monks



[Extracts from the Youtube video “Go for developing your own mind” published on 4th December 2021 – A Talk Given by Phra Ajaan Keng at Wat Samphanthawong, Geelong, Australia on 28th November 2021].

I remember when I went to visit Luang Puu Khaan, he asked me where I came from and where I was going to.
I told him “Pai tudong” [going on a tudong].
He looked at me and said “Good, but you must meditate.
Don’t go like a tourist.
Look at yourself.
Look at your own mind.
You can go anywhere in this world but remember, go for the sake of developing your own mind!” That was very striking.

There were two occasions when Luang Puu Suwat came to Mae Sot where I was staying with the hill tribes.
He told me “Ajaan Geoff wants you to go to the US to help him.
” At that time, I always had the perception that going to a foreign country was to go and teach.
So I said “No, Luang Puu I don’t want to go.
” I didn’t tell him of my perception but I just told him that I wanted to remain in the forest to meditate.
He just said, “Good, good, stay on.
” The next year he came again.
And on the third time that he came, he told me “I think you got me wrong.
” I just kept quiet.
He continued “Actually, I want you to go to America to help Ajaan Geoff by going there to be a good example, to meditate.
Not to teach people.

Who are we to teach people?
We go there to meditate, to develop ourselves, right?
But in the process of developing yourself, if there’s someone who comes along and he has some questions or doubts and if it’s within your understanding and capability to explain, then you share some knowledge with him.
If not, you’re still practising, meditating to develop yourself, right?
” I said “Err.
.. OK.
” He said “So, are you ready to go to America?
” I said, “Yes.

That shows what?
We make all these assumptions most of the time.
When someone comes along or someone requests for something, we don’t ask what it’s all about, but we have our pre-conceived notions or assumptions.
“Ah… they want me to do this, they want me to do that,” even though nobody is thinking of anything at all.
You see how this mind of ours plays tricks on us?
It’s very, very important you know?
If you’re not aware and you’re self-important of your self-identity, then you’re going to be in big, big trouble.
Why? For example, if you portray that you’re going to teach or you’re going to set up a temple, you’ll have a problem because when you want to set up a temple and if nobody comes, you start to worry.

When you go there for the sake of practising, there is no worry, there’s no what we call “phanta”

(no burden), nothing at all.
We go there because we want to meditate, we want to stay, it’s a good place to stay, we want to meditate with good companions, that’s all.
Let the temple grow by itself.
When we say “Let the temple grow by itself,” that means when the crowd starts to build by itself, gradually, we don’t have to say, “I want to build this, I want to build that.
” The lay people will suggest “Luang Phor, I


think the place is too small, there are more and more people [coming], we cannot accommodate.
I think we should expand.
” When that is the case, then our duty as a monk will be [to say] “Ah… of course.

We do our duty as a monk and say, “OK, you take care of it.
” There’s no pressure, there’s no what we call financial responsibility on our part, because we are monks and we don’t have to worry about where the money is going to come from all the time.
[If not], how are we going to meditate?
This is what’s happening.
If you go with the intention, “I want to build a temple,” you’re going to have a problem.
If I go there, I want to meditate.
So, whether or not it’s a big place or a small place, if it’s conducive for you, you just stay and meditate.

Who knows?
That’s the beauty of your good intention in cultivating.
You go there for the sake of developing yourself, that’s all.
Like Luang Puu Suwat said, if during the process of developing yourself, someone comes along with questions on the Dhamma and if they want you to help explain a bit and if it’s within our capability, then why not share the knowledge?

We have nothing to lose.
But, if we say that I’m going to set up a temple, then “Oh, oh.
” What does that mean?
If someone offers [you a place] then it’s OK but if we want it and things don’t come in terms of what we had wanted, there’s going to be a lot of problems within ourselves because of all the worries.

How do we meditate then?

I’ve seen many cases of monks who want to build [temples].
They always scratch their heads, wondering where to get the money to build this, to build that.
I said “Oh! Oh!” I pity them.
It’s not that we want to undermine their knowledge.
No, they have good intentions but that should not be the way, because if we have that kind of intentions, always reaching out to the lay people, always asking for a lot of things from them (besides food and the requisites), people sometimes would get cheesed off! But they won’t say it [to you].
They won’t say it but they will grumble in their minds, inside them.
Why? Because they are human beings.
When I was a lay person in Singapore, we had a lot of launching of fund raisings and I got cheesed off.
I said “Ahhh… again!” So, when I ordained as a monk, I said [to myself], “No, I’m not going to do that!” Because it’s very taxing on the lay people.
But if the lay people come voluntarily, they have the faith, they say, “You don’t have to worry, we’ll do everything,” then it’s OK, go ahead! But if we’re the ones behind the project and we still haven’t got the resources, it’s good that we withhold [the project].
Just keep practising, don’t worry.
When the time is up, everything will be ready.
That’s why we see that there’re so many monasteries around the world but there’re no monks.
Because most of these places, after they’ve built them, either the Abbots fell sick and passed away or they had so many debts that they ran away.
There were so many problems, how could they practice?

Remember that we’re Buddhist monks, we live with a carefree mind state so that we don’t have so many things to worry about.
We only emphasise how to develop ourselves.
You don’t have to worry.

When the time is up, there’ll be many places looking for you, people will come looking for you.


don’t have to look for a place.
If you look for a place, this is defilement [of the mind].
If people look for you, they need you.
Always remember this.
We don’t have the want.

We were very blessed, [as] at the time we were ordained, the Kruubaa Ajaans, most of the teachers, just encouraged us to go to the forest “Go, go, go! Go to the caves.
Pai phawana, pai haa Kruubaa Ajaan nai paa! (Go meditate, go look for your teacher in the forest).
” I scratched my head, “Huh?
Teacher in the forest?
Aren’t you the teacher?
” “Mai chai, Ajaan yai yuu nai paa (No! The great Ajaan is in the forest).

Yes, whenever we go to remote places, a place that’s not well supported, a place where we face the test, you know how strong our mind is.
That is the real test [teacher].

But if we live in a place that is well supported, then our minds will develop a kind of negligence because anything we don’t have [we’ll just pick up the phone and say] “Hello” and you’ll get it.
In the forest, [even if] you want to “Hello,” you don’t know who to “Hello” to.
There’s no signal to “Hello”!

No, nothing! Even if someone sends you some resources for your own expenses, you won’t know what to spend on, there’s nothing to buy in the forest! Then you’ll [get to] see how you manage your mind.

This is a kind of challenge they [the teachers] have you go through.
Why? It builds up your pāramī

[perfections], khanti, khanti pāramī [perfection of patience].
It builds up a lot of [your] pāramī.

Believe it or not, if you go through these kinds of tests, and when you come back to places like this, developed countries, you’ll be like in heaven, no problems! Even though there’s only one person who comes to the temple to bring you a pie, you’ll say, “Wow!” You’ll be so appreciative.
We won’t develop the kind of mindset of, “How come nobody comes?
Why this, why that?
” We won’t, because our minds are trained.
Your mind knows how to restrain itself when you’re put in a lean and mean condition.
The mind is always on the alert.
But if you’re in a well-protected environment, it’s like a swimming pool.

You have many different strokes (like the butterfly stroke), it’s so nice, and you think you can swim very well.
If we throw you into the sea, [let’s] see how you swim.
In the sea, you’ll meet with all kinds of undercurrents, waves, all kinds of dangers.
You’ve got to be very careful.
That takes a lot of courage, a lot of practice, endurance, and a lot of patience.
It really builds you a good foundation.
You won’t give in to all kinds of failure.
When everybody runs, you won’t run.
Many people will run away but of course, we must also look at ourselves.


kamlung chao khawng”:
look at our own capabilities, can we handle the situation?
Never “lawng khawng” (be confrontational).
If you see that the situation is too dangerous, go away, leave the place.

Don’t have to say “kreng jai” (feel deference), your own welfare is more important, your own mind state.

This is the most important thing, right?
Because most of the time, we get entangled and get ourselves into a lot of commitments and when the entanglements get too much, we can’t pull ourselves out.
We’ll get ourselves into trouble later because our minds can’t handle it any more.
This is what happens.

People can’t practise, their minds get into all sorts of stress, they can’t handle [the stress] because of too much involvement.


I remember a monk, 40 years [ordained] as a monk, he could enter into jhana and had psychic powers, but one day, he just freaked out.
He took his bowl and bashed somebody in the head! I saw it and asked myself, “Why?
” It was because he was in a very stressful state of mind.
Luang Puu Prasit told him, “Keep away from people, stay alone, calm yourself down.
Don’t have to do anything.
Just leave your temple, stay alone.
” He trusted Luang Puu and he stayed alone.
After a few months, he recovered from his detrimental mind state.
When he came out, he told us that it [the experience] was crazy.

Because of that, I want to share the experiences of [living with] the Kruubaa Ajaans.
These are things which, in places like Australia, we are not exposed to.
For young monks, it’s very dangerous.

The teachers always say to young monks, “Lessen commitment to outside affairs, spend more time on your meditation, memorise your chanting, memorise your khorwat, memorise all those things that young monks should do.
It’ll bring happiness to your mind in the later stages of your practice.
If not, it’ll be like having a fire in your heart, burning, burning.
These thoughts, the mental torture, the non-stop spinning of these kinds of thoughts, they’re very, very painful.
We have been through these kinds of mind states and yes, they are very painful.
We won’t know how to stop them.
But always remember, be patient and never give up.
Be mindful and if your mind is so crazy that you can’t hold it, then [recite]

“Buddho, Buddho, Buddho,” to anchor your mind.
Just as if you’re in the sea and you have rocky weather.
There are strong waves so you have to drop a heavy anchor, tie your boat securely to a base, an anchor base, a very strong base so that whatever happens, the boat will be intact.
That means, it’ll [your mind] be tied to “Buddho.
” Of course, everything is anicca, impermanent.
When the waves calm down, you’ll say, “Oh, I’m still here.
” Don’t worry.
We will experience the same thing in life as what we’ve been through [during the training of the mind as mentioned above].

When the chaotic mind state is occurring, we can see how horrible it is.
But when everything is over, you’ll feel a sense of relief in your mind.
You can see the contrast between having mindfulness and

“Buddho” [versus not having them], having mindfulness and not having mindfulness to watch over the mind, and letting all the wandering thoughts drag you away from this present moment.
You can see the contrast.
That’s the sharing for today.


Phra Ajaan Keng re-iterated to the biographer that:

The Dhamma protects the practitioner of Dhamma [“Dhamma have rakkhati dhamma-carim”] and that monks should adhere closely to the Buddha’s teaching on the Conditions for Amiability [AN 6.12, the full text of which is given below, translated by Phra Ajaan Thanissaro Bhikkhu].


(Conditions for Amiability)

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Sāvatthī at Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s park.
There he addressed the monks, “Monks!” “Yes, lord,” the monks responded to him.
The Blessed One said:
“Monks, these six conditions are conducive to amiability, engender feelings of endearment, engender feelings of respect, leading to a sense of fellowship, a lack of disputes, harmony, & a state of unity.
Which six?

[1] “There is the case where a monk is set on bodily acts of goodwill with regard to his fellows in the holy life, to their faces & behind their backs.
This is a condition that is conducive to amiability, that engenders feelings of endearment, engenders feelings of respect, leading to a sense of fellowship, a lack of disputes, harmony, & a state of unity.

[2] “And further, the monk is set on verbal acts of goodwill with regard to his fellows in the holy life, to their faces & behind their backs.
This is a condition that is conducive to amiability, that engenders feelings of endearment, engenders feelings of respect, leading to a sense of fellowship, a lack of disputes, harmony, & a state of unity.

[3] “And further, the monk is set on mental acts of goodwill with regard to his fellows in the holy life, to their faces & behind their backs.
This is a condition that is conducive to amiability, that engenders feelings of endearment, engenders feelings of respect, leading to a sense of fellowship, a lack of disputes, harmony, & a state of unity.

[4] “And further, whatever righteous gains the monk may obtain in a righteous way—even if only as much as the alms in his bowl—he does not consume them alone.
He consumes them after sharing them in common with his virtuous fellows in the holy life.
This is a condition that is conducive to amiability, that engenders feelings of endearment, engenders feelings of respect, leading to a sense of fellowship, a lack of disputes, harmony, & a state of unity.


[5] “And further—with reference to the virtues that are untorn, unbroken, unspotted, unsplattered, liberating, praised by the wise, untarnished, leading to concentration—the monk dwells with such virtues on a par with that of his fellows in the holy life, to their faces & behind their backs.
This is a condition that is conducive to amiability, that engenders feelings of endearment, engenders feelings of respect, leading to a sense of fellowship, a lack of disputes, harmony, & a state of unity.

[6] “And further—with reference to a view that is noble, leading outward, that leads those who act in accordance with it to the right ending of suffering & stress—the monk dwells with such a view on a par with those of his fellows in the holy life, to their faces & behind their backs.
This is a condition that is conducive to amiability, that engenders feelings of endearment, engenders feelings of respect, leading to a sense of fellowship, a lack of disputes, harmony, & a state of unity.

“These are the six conditions that are conducive to amiability, that engender feelings of endearment, engender feelings of respect, leading to a sense of fellowship, a lack of disputes, harmony, & a state of unity.

That is what the Blessed One said.
Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One’s words.

8 – portrait painting of ajahn keng




Fourth Row

Third Row

Second Row

First Row

I n 2019 Phra Teerayoot Thitamano Bhikkhu conceived and painted an oil painting featuring a portrait of Phra Ajaan Keng amidst smaller narrative panels depicting scenes of some of the key events of Phra Ajaan Keng’s early monastic life experiences, as a gesture of gratitude for his mentorship to Phra Teerayoot.
This oil on canvas painting measures 145cm x 180cm and was completed in July 2019. It is now installed in Phra Ajaan Keng’s kuti in Santi Forest Monastery.
Readers of this autobiography will be able to recognise the narrative scenes depicted in this painting upon close examination.
The above photo is courtesy of Bro Seah Yong Kwong.

The painting depicts the biography of Phra Ajaan Keng [up to the point where he did the tudong to Mount Palomar in the USA] in four rows, beginning from the bottom upwards and from left to right.


Some details of Phra Ajaan Keng’s life that were not discussed during the interviews for this book but were told to the artist have been elaborated in the description below.

1. First Row

The painting depicts a Chinese junk which was the means by which the early Chinese immigrants came to Singapore from China.
Phra Ajaan Keng is descended from Chinese immigrants from Fujian Province in China.
The next scene shows a family living in wooden huts in the village where he was born in Singapore.
The scene depicts his grandmother in charge of the big household and his mother working in the kitchen.
Following this scene is that of Phra Ajaan Keng as a young child of 2–3 years old.
His father worked hard as a butcher and he is depicted at work with his co-workers, slaughtering pigs for sale at the market.
The child is depicted as crawling to a big bowl.
Seeing how pitiful his father was he wanted to crawl over to the big bowl which the workers used to wash the pigs’ intestines and which was filled with blood and faeces.
The boy’s intention was to help his father as he had pity for his father’s hard work.
When his father saw him approaching, he shouted at him to not disturb his work.

2. Second Row

The first scene depicts the occasion when he was a youth.
As they were poor, Phra Ajaan Keng undertook odd jobs.
One day, he sustained an injury while at work and his mother took him to the doctor.
She took pity on him and asked him what he wished to eat after the doctor’s appointment.
He immediately told her that he wanted to eat roast pork with rice.
As the family was poor, he could only dream of eating the dish, so when his mother offered to give him a treat, he immediately asked for that dish.
That was his dream come true.
This is depicted in the scene where his mother is shown holding on to him as they approach the stall selling roast pork rice.
The next scene depicts him with his brother Sam, occupied in their favourite past time, fishing.
Following this scene is that of him dreaming of how he could elevate himself out of poverty.
He dreamt of joining a training ship to work as a cook onboard and to get an opportunity to sail around the world.
Although he was accepted into the training ship programme, he was drafted for National Service duties, and his dreams fell apart.
The scene then depicts a restaurant indicating the food and beverage industry that he joined and and where he worked as a cook after serving his National Service.
This is followed by another scene of a restaurant but with the cooks fighting.
It depicts an occasion when he got into an argument with the chef and, because of his quick temper, he thought of stabbing the chef with a kitchen knife.

3. Third Row

The painting depicts his training as a Commando in the Singapore Armed Forces during his National Service years.
The scene depicts his parachute training in Kanchanaburi in Thailand and his first encounter with a forest monk meditating in the forest.
This is followed by a scene where the soldiers took refuge in a cave at the River Khwai training area, due to heavy rain.
There he saw a monk


meditating inside the cave.
The last scene in this row details Phra Ajaan Keng’s meeting Mr.
Cheong in Wat Palelai and joining the chanting and meditation sessions at the temple.

4. Fourth Row

The first scene depicts his mother praying for help at a Chinese temple to obtain a cure for his illness but to no avail.
It depicts his attempts at meditation and his experience of deep samādhi (appana samādhi) as a layperson.
It then depicts his meeting with Phra Ajaan Fuang and Phra Ajaan Geoff at Wat Dhammasathit and eventually his ordination at Wat Asokaram, in 2530 B.
E. There is a drawing of

“Luang Phor Sian”, the famous upper half image of the Buddha in Wat Asokaram.
Phra Ajaan Keng made a vow to the Buddha, Than Phor Lee, and Luang Phor Sian that he would not disrobe.
The upper part of the scene also shows him practicing walking meditation in Wat Dhammasathit.

The painting next depicts Phra Ajaan Keng’s dream about being in a small boat which was towing a large ship of people whom he led to safety.
The next scene depicts his meeting with Luang Puu Jia and subsequently Luang Phor Den.
On the rightmost side of the painting, the artist depicts Phra Ajaan Keng’s experiences while practicing in the forests of Thailand.
These include:

• his encounter with the Burmese soldiers,

• the encounter with a malevolent spirit of a female Karen woman,

• his nimitta of the laughing Buddha,

• his encounter with a female deva in Nam Tok Jed Si (the cave of the Seven Coloured Rainbow waterfall),

• his dream of the Emerald Buddha on an elephant and how he assisted the late King Rama 9,

• his receiving the Chao Khun fan from King Rama 10 (when the King was the then Crown Prince),

• right behind the scene of the conferment of the Chao Khun title is the depiction of the Dhammayattra (progressing in the Dhamma) – monks on tudong led by Phra Ajaan Keng,

• depiction of the restaurant/diner, Mother’s Kitchen, that Phra Ajaan Keng arrived at during his tudong to Palomar Mountain, in the US (extreme end of the painting).


Regard him as one who

Only for his ruin

points out

does renown come to the fool.


It ravages his bright fortune

the wise one who

& rips his head apart.

seeing your faults

He would want unwarranted status,

rebukes you.

pre-eminence among monks,

Stay with this sort of sage.

authority among monasteries,

For the one who stays

homage from lay families.

with a sage of this sort,

Dhp 72-73

things get better,

not worse.

Let him admonish, instruct,

deflect you

away from poor manners.

To the good, he’s endearing;

to the bad, he’s not.

Don’t associate with bad friends.

Don’t associate with the low.

Associate with admirable friends.

Associate with the best.

Dhp 76-78

9 – acknowledgements



I wish to thank Phra Ajaan Keng for spending the time to share his life and practice lessons with us so generously and candidly.
Thanks must go to Chuuee Tan for interviewing and transcribing the bulk of the materials for this book.
Both Chuuee and Tuck Hong reviewed and provided valuable feedback and corrections for this book.

Thanks to Phra Ajaan’s devotees in Melbourne for help in translating some earlier write-ups from Chinese into English.

My gratitude and thanks must go to Phra Ajaan Thanissaro Bhikkhu for helping to review the manuscript, correcting our use of the English language and suggesting changes.
Thanks also to Phra Teerayoot for describing to me in detail his portrait painting of Phra Ajaan Keng.
Thanks to Khun Nan Duangnapa for helping me with some of the Thai language translations and for sharing with me aspects of Thai culture.
Thanks to Phra Bhikkhu Lee for information regarding Phra Ajaan Keng’s visits to India and his vassas at Wat Santi.
Thanks to Phra Ken Kantasiri and Brother Sam Ong (Phra Ajaan Keng’s brother) for assistance in sourcing for some of the photos for this book.

During the process of preparing this autobiography, the team has had to strike a balance between keeping the colloquial style of speech used by Phra Ajaan and rendering the biography in formal English.

As the primary editor, I have decided to keep as much of the colloquial English (Singlish!) as possible, otherwise the narrative would not sound like it came from Phra Ajaan Keng.
Any errors or omissions remain my responsibility and I seek the forgiveness of Phra Ajaan Keng, my biography team members, Chuuee and Tuck Hong, and our readers for inadvertently having stood in their way of understanding the Dhamma from an exemplary, living Buddhist Practitioner and Teacher.

May all beings be well and happy,

May all share in the blessings springing from the good that we have done.

Sebastian Wong

Palelai Buddhist Temple Singapore

13th May 2023 (BE 2566)

10 – glossary



Ajaan (Thai):
This is a Thai term derived from the Pali, ācariya.

Amphoe (sometimes also amphur):

the second level administrative subdivision of Thailand, usually translated as “district.
” Amphoe are grouped into provinces, and are analogous to counties.


A person who has given up most or all of their worldly possessions and responsibilities to commit full-time to Buddhist practice.
It is a midway status between a bhikkhu (fully ordained monastics) and a layperson.
An anagārika takes the Eight Precepts and might remain in this state for life.
Anagārikas usually wear white clothes or robes.


Mindfulness of breathing.
For good guides/introductions, see Keeping the Breath in Mind, by Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo or With Each and Every Breath, by Ajaan Thanissaro Bhikkhu, both available from dhammatalks.




A “worthy one” or “pure one;
” a person whose mind is free of defilement and thus is not destined for further rebirth.
A title for the Buddha and the highest level of his noble disciples.

Baan (Thai):
House or village.

Awake — an epithet of the Buddha

Chedi (Thai) Cetiya (Pali):
A spired monument, usually containing relics of the Buddha or other arahants.


The doctrine/teachings of Lord Buddha.
The True Dhamma is the Dhamma as taught by the Buddha, free from the admixture of conflicting teachings.
Sanskrit form:


Literally, a “shining one”— a being on the subtle levels of sensuality, form, or formlessness, living either in terrestrial or heavenly realms.
An inhabitant of the heavenly realms.




Ascetic practices that monks may choose to undertake if and when they see fitting.
There are thirteen, and they include the practice of using only one set of three robes, the practice of not by-passing any donors on one’s alms path, the practice of eating no more than one meal a day, and the practice of living under the open sky.

Five Hindrances:

Any of the following impediments:

1. Sensual Desire

2. Ill-will

3. Sloth and Torpor

4. Restlessness and Anxiety

5. Uncertainty


Mental absorption.
A state of strong concentration focused on a single sensation or mental notion.
In the context of the noble eightfold path, it denotes the four absorptions of right concentration, beginning with non-sensual pleasure and culminating in purity of mindfulness and equanimity.

(1) Intentional action;
(2) the results of intentional actions.
Sanskrit form:


The component parts of sensory experience;
physical and mental phenomena as they are directly experienced:
rūpa (sensations, sense data), vedanā (feelings of pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain), saññā (labels, names, concepts, perceptions), saṅkhāra (mental fabrications, thought formations), viññāṇa (sensory consciousness).


A monk’s dwelling.
Usually, a simple hut or a small structure, built on stilts, designed to house a monk.
The proper size of a kuti that a bhikkhu may build for himself, without a sponsor, is defined in Sanghadisesa Rule 6 to be 12 by 7 spans (or 3 by 1.75 meters).
This tiny footprint is intended to aid the monk’s spiritual journey by discouraging the accumulation of material goods.
Also, it is meant to ensure that the bhikkhu does not burden the laity with many requests for a large hut.
Typically, a monastery consists of a number of these buildings grouped together on a shared terrace, either in an inward facing cluster or aligned in a row.

Luang Phii (Thai):
“Venerable Older Brother.
” A title for a monk who is slightly older than oneself.

Luang Phor (Thai):
“Venerable Father.
” Used as a title for respected senior Buddhist monastics.

Luang Puu (Thai):
“Venerable Grandfather.
” A term of respect for a very senior and elderly monk.



The personification of temptation, mortality, and all forces, within and without, that create obstacles to release from saṁsāra.

Mae Chii (Thai):

Buddhist laywomen in Thailand who have dedicated their life to religion, vowing celibacy, living an ascetic life and taking the eight or ten precepts (i.
e., more than the five precepts taken by laypersons).


Often translated as “loving-kindness.
” One of the four brahmaviharas (sublime attitudes of mind).


(1) A magical serpent, technically classed as a common animal, but possessing many of the powers of a deva, including the ability to take on a human shape.
(2) A large elephant.
(3) A large man.
Sometimes this term is used metaphorically, in the sense of “Great One,” to indicate an arahant.


Literally, the ‘unbinding’ of the mind from passion, aversion, and delusion, and from the entire round of death and rebirth.
As this term also denotes the extinguishing of a fire, it carries connotations of stilling, cooling, and peace.

Nimitta (Nimit):

A particular mental phenomenon/sign that arises once a preliminary mastery of concentration has been established.

Paa (Thai):

Discernment, commonly translated as wisdom.


Perfection of the character:
generosity, virtue, renunciation, discernment, persistence, forbearance, truthfulness, determination, goodwill, and equanimity.


Total unbinding.
In some cases, this denotes the final passing of an arahant.


Basic code of monastic discipline, composed of 227 rules for monks and 311 for nuns.
This is chanted every half-month in every assembly of monks numbering four or more.

Phra (Thai):
A senior monk may bear the honorific title Phra Ajaan (“Venerable teacher”).



Term for an uplifting emotion, typically experienced during the course of meditation.
It is often translated as “rapture” or “joy.


The practice of collecting alms food, as observed by Theravada Buddhist monks who have gone forth from home life to homelessness.
Literally means “lump dropping,” because of its having been dropped (patitatta) into a bhikkhu’s bowl during his alms round (pindloya”).

Hermit who possesses supernormal abilities.


“Real” or “true.
” In the Pali Canon, sacca is frequently found in the term ariya-sacca, meaning “noble truth” or “truth of the noble ones.


An open pavilion, used as a meeting place and for giving people shade.
Found throughout Thailand in Buddhist temple areas, or wats, but also as resting spots on the side of the road.


the practice of centering the mind in a single sensation or preoccupation.
There are three stages, namely:

• Khanika samādhi – momentary concentration

• Upacāra samādhi – threshold concentration

• Appanā samādhi – fixed penetration.


the process of wandering through repeated states of becoming, with their attendant death and rebirth.
This process can carry one through any level in the entire universe of sentient existence, from the grossest beings to the most refined, from the highest realms of the Formless world to the lowest realms of hell.
All existence within this cycle is subject to change, inherently unstable, and burdened with pain and suffering, with each state of existence being determined by a being’s intentional actions of body, speech, and mind (kamma).
The attainment of Nibbāna marks the complete transcendence of the process of saṁsāra.

A novice monk observing ten precepts.
Literally, “small or young renunciate.



The community of Lord Buddha’s followers.
On the conventional level, this refers to the Buddhist monkhood.
On the ideal level, it refers to those of Lord Buddha’s followers – whether lay or ordained

– who have practiced to the point of gaining at least the first of the transcendent qualities culminating in Liberation, called stream-entry (sotāpanna).

The outer, double robe worn by monks.

the ability to keep something in mind;
powers of reference and retention.


moral precept, such as the five precepts for lay people, ten precepts for novices, and 227 precepts for bhikkhus.

Sanskrit form:

Tham (Thai):

Than Ajaan (Thai):
Venerable Teacher.

Than Phor:

Reverend father.
A term of respect and affection used for senior monks in Southeastern Thailand.



AN Aṅguttara Nikaya




Dīgha Nikāya

Iti Itivuttaka


Majjhima Nikāya

Mv Mahāvagga

SN Saṁyutta Nikāya

Sn Sutta Nipāta



This book is a gift of Dhamma from the following contributors to Palelai Buddhist Temple’s Dhamma dana service.
By the power of the accrued merits of this Gift of Dhamma, may they, their families, and friends swiftly attain Nibbana - the highest bliss of freedom from samsara.

“The Gift of Dhamma is the Highest Gift”

Lord Buddha

Sadhu ! Anumodana!

Aara Bte Adam & Family

An Ni Ni Aung

Bay khiam Seng, Darriun & Bay Wei Xuan

Aaron Ng Zhe Qing

Andrew Tan Jian Ye


Adrian Chua



Aeriel and Harold Lee

Andy Goh & Family

Benson Yeow & Family

Alan Goh & Family

Andy Goh Jun yi

Brandon Tan Mingyi

Alan & Yi Ling

Andy Goh Jun Yi & Famiy

& Sean Tan Ming Zhen

Alan Ng

Andy Khoo & Family

Brian Fan

Alan Yeo Teck Huat,

Ang Ah Kay

Brian Fan & Dayner Fan

Callire Chow Siew Mey,

Ang Ah Lek & Bernard Law

Brian Fan & Family

Fiona Yeo Yu Hui

Brian Fan Kok Young & Family

& Nicholas Yeo Yao Nian

Ang Beng Guat

Brian Jesline & Dayner Fan

Albert Tan & Family

Ang Boon Tiong & Family

Brien Chua

Albert Tan & Family, Friends

Ang Family

Bryan Ang Boon Tiong & Family

Albert Tan Leng Kim

Ang Kai Li & Ang Kai Han Kyle

Bryan Chow Kit Mun

Alden Tham Zhi Zheng

Ang Leong Chwee & Family

Bryan Chua Ming Loong

Alex & Chuuee

Ang Moi Kia 洪雅妹

Bunty An Nagar

Alex Ng & Family

Ang Rui Han Emelynn

Caerlean Ong Geh Kiat

Aline Ng Yar Hwee

Ang Seng Choo

Cayden Yeo Guan Ming

All Sentient Beings

Ang Shun Pu Ted

Chai Chee Seng & Family

Allan Goh & Family

Ang Somboon & Family

Chai Geok Mai

Allent Tan & Family

Ang Thiang Seng

Chan Boon Kwee & Family

Allexis Hee & Ayden Hee

Ang Ting Hui & Ang Ting Fei

Chan Chee Chan & Chan Mei Kuay

Allient Tan & Family & Friends

Ang Yit Cheng & Family

Chan Jin Hao

Alyssa Jane Yang Hui Rong


Chan Jin Hao, Chan Qi Si

Amanda Ang Kai Xuan & Family

Anthony Tay, Ng Chin Leng & Oranje

Chan Jin Xiu Elleen

Amberlynn Carmen Martin

April & Tony

Chan Kien Eng

Amos Lee Zhi Hao

Audrey Ho Yoke Yee

Chan Kong Loong

Amy Ong

Aumaporn Sukkan & Ronald Tang

Chan Kwok Wing Gary


Y. Family


Chan Oi Si

Choo Yong Shen & Family

Elena Ho Xin Ping

Chan Yeui Pui Kingston

Chow Teong Sen, Chow Zhi Xiang

Emmamuel Tan Hong Vianh & Family

Charissa Chada Lee

& Chow Zhi Da

Eng Wee Hiong

Chay Jun En & Family

Chow Yout Chow & Family

Eric Phua Jun Da

Cheah Lye Ime Family

Chu Kim Chuan & Lee Hiang Choo

Erica Chee 朱慧敏, Erin Chee, & Edan Chee

Cheah Seok Hueh

Chu Liu Ni & Josesiah Yap Yu Cheong

Erina Lim Yu Xin

Chee Tuck Hong

Chua CL

Ernest Quek

Chen Kean Yang, Ong Gerk King

Chua Gim Leng & Family

Ethon Lim

& Chan Hao Yeng

Chua Kok Seng & Family

Evangeline Long Mei Ying & Tan Pei Yoong

Chen Le Ran Ariel

Chua Lai Aik

Evelyn Chen & Family

Chen Ngok Seek & Song Geok Eng

Chua Mui Keng

Evelyn Yeo Boan Hiyon

Chen Rui Pei Kingston

Chua Peng Heng

Evelyn Yeo Boan Hiyon & Family

Chen Yi Heng Gerrard

Chua Peng Heng, Tan Li Lion & Family

Evenne Tan

Chen Yuhang Cater

Chua Sai Choo

Eveylyn Yeo & Family

Cheok Chee Kwang

Chua Sang Hing & Family

Fock Yvonne & Phanat Chaiboon

Cheok Puey Teng

Chua Soon Pen & Family

Fong Kah Leong

Cheok Puey Yen

Chua Xin Nee

Fong Kan Fook

Cheok Puey Yeng

Chua Yin Ting Cheyanne

Foo Mui Lian & Pung Kok Cheung

Cheok Pui Wei

& Chong Siew Lian Dina

Foong Hon Kit, Ooi Hoi Li & Family

Cheong An Jie & Cheong Bei Ning

Chua Ying Ting Chevanne

Foong Shin Ying

Cheong Sai Cheng & Family

Chua Ying Xuan Charmaine

Fwah Linda & Family

Cheong Yen Yin

Chun Kin Chuon & Mdm Lee Hiang Choo

Gan Fong

Chew Boon Leong

Chung Hock Soon, Chung Jing Jie

& Teo Geok Hoon

Garry Low & Lee Jurlyn

Chew Mock Leng

Chye Kim Swee & Family

Gary Low & Lee Ju-lyn Family

Chia Geok Mai

Claire Huang Xin Xian & Family

Gary Wu & Family

Chia Hua Chew & Family

Clifton Ong

Gernind Martin Wee

Chia Kian Yuin & Koh Ai Lee

CW, CY, KL, MS Family

Gina Chua

Chia Mee Foong & Family

Daniel Lim Boon Teck & Family

Gina Goh Yu Zhen

Chia Mo Long

Darius Soh & Family

Gina Goh Yu Zhen & Family

Chia Puay Moi & Law Sock Ying

Darren Ang Taixu

Glenda Yeo Wei Xuan

Chia Sing Huang

David Aung Kyew Naing

Goh Boon Keng

Chia Sook Har

David Kou & Family

Goh Hock Joo & Family

Chia Wee Li & Family

Dayner Fan

Goh Hua Eng

Chia Wen Jie & Family

Dayner Fan Jiaxi

Goh Juat Khim

Chiang Chea Wai & Family

Deceased Sian Siew Lian

Goh Meng Yong

Chiang Hai Soon

Deceased Tan Ka Yah

Goh Mui Chang

Chia’s Baby

Deceased 龙秉越先生, 胡壁珍女士

Goh Swee Chin & Family

Chin Lye Yeng

Delon Lim & Ong Ana Kim

Goh Wah Tee

Chng Hui Ru

Dennis Lom

Goh Yin Hao & Family

Chng Poh Min & Family

Desmond Shi Yu Cai & Family

Goh Yin Yin & Family

Chng Zhi Chen & Family

Dewn Lim Hock Ann & Ong Ann Kin

Gong Wai Liat

Cho Eng Neo

Dillon Yeo Zong En

Gong Wai Liat & Family

Chong Jia Yuan & Shi Tun Vei

Donald Yap

Gree Wee Teck

Chong Jia Zhen

Doris Ng & Family

Har Lan Yit & Family

Chong Jia Zhen & Family

S T Lee

Harold & Ariele Lee

Chong Kuan Ying

Dyner Fan & Family

Harold Li Jun Yi & Arielle Li Yi En

Chong Sze Ying

Dynes Fan JiaXi

Harry Watter Martin V

Choo Siew Buay

Ee Kim Choy & Heng Siew Kim

Healey Pang & Family

Choo Yok Lang

Einhara & Adelaide

Heng Gia Luck Jerald


Henny Supandi

Jacob Woo


Hera Basri

Jaden Tan Yong Eny

Kaley Tng Mei Hui

Hiah Ngee Yeow & Family

Jake Ryan Ng Kai Sen

Kam Bee Ah

Ho Beng Soon Leonard & Family

James Teo & Family

Kam Bee Choo

Ho Chin Chin & Family

Janelle Lim Xin Yu

Kam Bee Choon

Ho Hoo Yong

Janet Ng

Kam Swee Tian

Ho Hwek An

Jarius Leow

Kang Kean Wei 江健伟

(IMO Madam Chee Chwee Keng)


Kayden Kiu Jing Ann

Ho Kah Choo

Jason Yeo & Family


Ho Peh Joo & Family

Javen Kiu Jing Shen

Kedwannee Yaneewat Family

Ho Teng Hai

Jaview Kiu Jing Yan


Ho Wei Long

Jay Loh Sen Wee & Ayny Scetinsmo

Keith Kiu Jing Ler

Ho Yueh Wen

Jaylen Tan Jun Rui 陈均瑞


Hong Kai

Jayrius Leow

Kenn Lim & Family

Hoo Kiong, Tan Han Mui & Ang Zhi Yong

Jayrius Liew Hong Jiu

Kenneth, Kelly, Giselle & Careen

Hoo Kiong & Tan Low Swee

Jayson Sau & Family

Kester Tan Tze Min

Hu Junhao Zachary

Jayven Tan

Khaw Beng Him

IHO Lim Lian Thye & All Sentients Being

Jayvier Tan Yan Xun 陈彦勋

Khaw Beng Him & Family

& Dhamma Protections


Khaw Chin Thai

IMO Late Bhante Seng

Jeffrey Lim & Family

Kho Ah Khoon & Family

IMO Late Mother Mdm Lee Kim Oi

Jennifer & Lee Chee Long

Khoo Aik Hgnang & Family

IMO Late Ng Kum Cheong

Jeremy Tan Bing Nan & Family

Khoo Aik Nguang

IMO Lee Kuan Yew

Jerrod Tay Kai Yi

Khoo Zi Qi Evelyn

IMO Lee Ying

Jerrold Tan Kai Yi & Family

Khuamsorn Quek Ken Quek

IMO Lim Lian Thye

Jerrold Tay Kai Yi

Ki Soon Heng

IMO Lim Ter Len 已故林德隆

Jervin Tay Yi Ting & Alson Tay Chu Hern

Kingston Koh & Brenda Tan

IMO Low Wai Lan & All departed relative

Jessica Chen & Family

Ko Kok Boon

IMO Luang Phor Venerable,

Father death’s anniversary

Jessica Lum Pek Yoke

Koh Cher Tiong & Family

IMO Luang Por Nom

Jessica Poh

Koh Lye Hock

IMO Madam Chee Chwee Keng

Jessle Ong & Wang Family

Koh Seng Thiam & Family

IMO Mdm Lee Ying

Jewel Ong

Koh Siew Lian & Family

IMO Mdm Lim Swee

Jimmy & Family

Koh Sing Pheck

IMO Molly Chua

Jodie Chan & Family

Kolkalya Racharapaisit & Family

IMO Ow Tai Puat

Joe Chua & Family

Kon Yoke Bian

IMO Seah Chye Sing

Joe Yue

Kong Yang and Family

IMO Tan Jee Eng

Joe Yue & Family

Koong Chen Liang

IMO Toh Ye Chuan & Goh Ah Ber

Joe Yue K.

Kuah Tee Chiew

IMO 李金国

Joesiah Yap Yu Cheng & Jarret Per

Kuan Li Yao Ken

In memory of the third year death

John Ambu

Kweh Soon Han

anniversary of Luang Phor Jarun

Jonathan Tan & Family

Kwek Geok Leng

Inthawan Ladda

Jonavan Lim & Justin Lim

Kwek Geok Leng, Lim Chun Leong

Isaac Quah Hao Tian

Joo Chan & Family

Kwok Theen Kit 郭钿杰

Isaac Yew & Rachel Yew

Joycelin Leow Yen Yen & Family

Kylie Heng & Lincoln Heng



Lai Lee Ken & Family

Isabel & Family

Julia Chan

Laksika Kuanyao & Family

Isabel Ong & Family

Julian Chan

Lam Khor Tein & Law Su Hui Winnie

Issac Ong Jia Hao

Justin Tay & Jerrold Tay

Lam Kien Khen

Ivan & Family

Justin Tay Kai Xiang

Larry Chai

Ivy Fong & Family

Justin Tay Kai Xiang & Family

Larry Chia & Evelyn Yeo


Larry Chia & Family

Li You Yong & Family

Loke Mun Hao

Late Amphan Nimitliupanit

Li Zhiming & Family

Long Foon Kai & Family

Late Desmond Yong Lin Foo

Liang Lam Chai

Loo Chyh Ling

Late Kheng Kim Khoon

Liang Pei Ling

Loo Siew Fong

Late Lim Keng Sze

Liang Sung Chang & Family

Low Cheng Chuan

Late Mdm Choo Ah Luan

Liau Shin Yie

Low Hwee Huang

Late Mdm Soh Sow Yong

Liaw Chee Kwock & Sasitorn Nimitliupanit

Low Lee Xian & Family

Late Mr.
Lok Chan Tat

Liew Choon Seng, Wu Kum Seng,

Low Mui Inn

Late Oh Bak Kiam & Sim Mui Kiang

Liew Chee Kwok & Sasitorn Nimitliupanit

Loy Shu Shan

Late Sia Teow Kee & Late Tan Siew Keng

Liew Huey Shin & Family

Lucas Hoh Jin Hong

Late Sim Yeow Kuan

Lim Boonchin Benjamin & Family

Lum Tong Sheng & Family

Late Toh Sai Kim

Lim Chek Lim & Family

Lynette Lee Mei Yi

Late Toh Yee Chuan & Goh Ah Ber

Lim Chuan Leong

Lynette Lee Mei yi & Mother Ng (Son)

Late 李三顺

Lim Chun Leong

Lynettee Lee Mei Yi & Family

Late 蔡亚美

Lim Chwee Cheng, Felissa, Lee Min En

Lynettee Lee Mei Yi & Ng Jing Heng

& Lee Rui Yi

Lau Hock Hwa & Family

Macx Lee Khai Fang

Lim Daw Trong & Family

Lau Khaz Chuan & Family

Magdderu Ang Mei Ling

Lim Gee Kwang

Lau Kiow Choo

Magret Chia Siew Hong

Lim Ghek Lim & Family

Lau Shve Fern

Mah Kian Teck

Lim Jin Seng, ShinYi & Family

Lau Zi Yu & Lau Zong Yan

Mak Zhen Xiong Shaun

Lim Jin Seng & Wong Shin Yi

Law Boon Sern & Family

Mansy Han & Family

Lim Kian Hua & Family

Law Dick Billy & Family

Marakadham Narayanasomy & Family

Lim Kim Seng & Family

Law Khor On & Lin Ke Li

Marcus Lee

Lim Kin Teck & Lim Shi Ting

Lay Hsou Men & Family

Mary Sem Guick Yong

Lim Kin Teck Andy & Amanda Lim

Lee Ah Siew

Masters Ryan + Issac Thai, Hoe Bpong Belle

Lim Lian Thye (IMO)

Lee Beng Poh

& Baby Hoe

Lim Mui Khim

Lee Chee Kng

Matchimaakang Khian Khim

Lim Pei Pei

Lee Choon Weng

Mathew Ng Jing-Heng

Lim Pick See

Lee Chyh Ling

Maximind Eduhub Pte Ltd

Lim Seng Soon

Lee Harold & Arielle Lee

Mdm Carina Chai Geok Mai

Lim Seng Wah & Fmily

Lee Hui Wen Denise

Mdm Chai Geok Mai

Lim Ser Chiok

Lee Hui Yuan

Mdm Chu Liu Ni & Joesiah Yap Yu Cheng

Lim Siew Lan

Lee Jun Yi Harold & Lee Yi En Arielle

Mdm Chua Kwee Eng & Tan Hiap Siah

Lim SiYi & Family

Lee Kian Hwee Darren

Mdm Koh Ah Hiang & Family

Lim Soon Mui

Lee Kim Bak and Auyong Lai Hui & Family

Mdm Lee Mei Yi and Family

Lim Tian Hua & Family

Lee Kuok Wei

Mdm Low Hak Hway

Lim Xin Yi & Lim Xin Ning

Lee Lian Hua

Mdm Lynette Lee Mei Yi & Family

Lim Yeow Tat

Lee Lian Hwa

Mdm Lynette Lee Mei Yi

Lim Yuen Leng & Family

& Matthew Ng Jing Heng

Lee Ling Ling

Lim Zi Xiang & Family

Mdm Lynette Lee Mei Yi & Mr.
Geoffery Ng

Lee Ling Ling & Family

Lin Lihui & Family

Mdm Siah Beng Hua

Lee Pei Eng & Lee Pei Xin

Lin Soo Chun

Miss Chu Liu Ni and Joesiah Yap Yu Cheng

Lee Seng Kan

Ling Bee Hua

Miss Lynette Lee Mei Yi

Lee Seong Kam

Ling Kum Hua & Family

Miss Perlie Chu Liu Ni

Lee Sze Wing & Family

Lio See Chuen

& Joseiah, Yap Yu Cheng

Lee You Xiang

Lisa Toh

Lee Chee King

Leong Lai Mun

Loh Beng Choo & Family

Mom Lai & Family

Leong Wai Hung

Loh Eng Yan

& Mrs.
Low Lee Yong

Leow Kok Liang

Loi Hui Qing Belinda & Family

Chu Kin Chuan

Li Yi Hong & Li Yi Hao

& Mdm Lee Hiang Choo


David Lee Chee Kng

Oh Ruey Shiyan

Rayner Ang & Family

Lee Chee Kng

On behalf of Luang Phor Toh (Chong Hwa Lun)

Rayner Tok

Tee Kuan Chen

Ong Ah Hoe & Family

Rhynnise Reubern & Tony Joanne

Thomas Lee Jun Teck

Ong Chin Sin & Family

Rika Tan

U Kean Seng

Ong Gerk King & Family

Roy Hoe

Chai Kim Pong & Mdm Tan Huat Neo

Ong Hong Khai & Ong Lin Chin

Roy Tan Chong Sing Upom

Chu Kin Chuan & Mdm Lee Hiang Choo

Ong Lee Teng & Family

Roy Udom Tan

Daniel Chu Jin Leong

Ong Li Lian

Roy Udom Tan Chong Sing & Family

Lee Chee Kng

Ong Saw Kee & Family

Rui Li Lun

Thomas Lee Jun Teck

Ong Sing Bok Family

Rungarun Inlau

Muljadi T & Lili Djuwita

Ong Soon Hue

Anbalagan Family


Ong Yee Sim & Family

Sam Chan & Family

Nariko Yong Ting Xuan


Sam Wany C.

Natalie Hoh

Ooi Hock Yee

Sasitorn Mulsingh

Natash Oh & Family

Ooi Shu Hung & Family

Sasitorn Nimitliupanit

Nelson Topper Amuot

Ooi Woei Theng, Low Hooi Wai & Family

Sasitorn Nimitliupanit & Family

Neo Ai Ting, Chin Pee Lee & Family

Ow Soon Yang & Family

Saw Bee Lang & Family

Neo Jin Xiang

Ow Ai Nah & Family

Seah Choon Seng & Family

Neo Jin Xiang & Family

Ow Hee Teck

Seah Hwee Tiang

Neo Kich Liam & Family

Ow Soon Boon & Family

Seah Jin Hong & Family

Neo Kok Lee & Family

Ow Soon Yang & Family

Sean Gui Shi Xuan, Vivan Gui Sheng Ying

Ng C.

Ow Yee Lye

Seng Choon & Mdm Soo Hoa

Ng Caylene

Owen Ong Sheng Jun

Seng Xin Yi Sabrina & Wesley Seng Wei Hao

Ng Cayler

Pam Siew Kuay & Family

Seow Kiat Heng & Family

Ng Chee Haw

Pang Kim Yah

Seow Wai Yee

Ng Cho Yeow & Family

Park Tuck Weng

Shanny Gabrielle P.
Remulla & Family

Ng Choon Hong

Pasaraporn Abhinora Saeth & Elvin Ng

Shoden Pte Ltd

Ng Eng Kun James

Patrick Pang & Family

Siah Leng Chwee David

Ng Eng Pin Samuel

Peh Siew Tin Family

Siah Lian Lee & Family

Ng Hong Tou & Family

Peh Siew Tin m Toh Tian Xiang,

Sim Chun Leong

Ng Kwang Tiew & Family

Teo Xiang Ming & Teo Shu Hao

Sim Hong Lian

Ng Li En

Peter Hew

Sim Pey Lian

Ng Li Shan

Phra Ken

Sim Pey Lian & Family

Ng Seok & Family

Phua Jian Wei Gregory & Family

Sim SM, Patrick Ong, Lim SY, Chia CY,

Ng Siok Boy

Pimlapat Kwansuk & Family

Sebastian, & Chee TH

Ng Sow Koon & Family

Png Lee Kim & Family

Simon Tan & Family

Ng Wang Ping

Pock Yoon Poh

Siripadsorh Peyakang

Ng Wen Xiong

Poh Ho Peng

Sis Tan Kiat

Ng Woon Xiang

Poh Sar Lee

Sng Chee Heng

Ng Yar Hwee Aline

Polly Chan & Family

Sng Family

Ng Yar Hwee Aline & Family

Poonchai Karalek

Soh Choong Beng & Family

Ng Yong Chai


Soh Family

Ng Yung Lun Travis

Pua Hwee Hwee & Family

Soh Lye Choon & Family

Ngieng Seng Heng & Family

Puang You Jie

Soh Soon Ching & Family

Ngy Huah Karh & Lee Hui Keng

Pung Kok Cheong & Foo Mui Lin

Song Yue

Niah Cheng Foo, Karniati Atma & Family

Quek Keng Yong

Stanley Yeo & Family

Nichole Yeo Wei Ting

Rachel Lee Shuen Mun

Stefon Tan & Family

Nickmen Low & Family

Rattaphong Perupa, Warakorn Kraison

Stephen Yeo Teck Nan

& Family


Sujva Heng


Susan Sim

Tan Sin Mei & Family

Thum Pei Xing Jeannie

Susan Sim & Family

Tan Son Teck & Family

Tim Yoke Seng

Susan Sim E.

Tan Soo Ho & Family

Ting Cheaw Sing & Family

Sylvia Neo Shi Yun

Tan Swee Choon & Family


Sze Min Qi

Tan Teck Seng & Cheng Mui Ching

Tirada Saudod

Ta Beng Chye (已故)

Tan Tek Kong & Family

Tng Mei Hui Kaley

Taevier 余咯伊

Tan Tian Hock

Toh Ah Hock & Family

Tai Choon Lan

Tan Wee Siang, Tan Yen Ling Aerilyn

Toh Ah Hock & Yap Sok Cheng

Tan Ah Moi

& Wong Siew Poh

Toh Ah Hock, Yap Sok Cheng

Tan Ah Moi & Teo Robert

Tan Wen Jie & Tan Shao Jie

& Toh Chun Hove

Tan Bee Chew

Tan Wen Rui & Tan Hui Xin

Toh Choon Keat

Tan Bee Geok & Tan Sock Hua

Tan Xian Yang & Family

Toh Chun How & Aye Aye Khaing

Tan Bee Geok & Tan Sock Hue

Tan Yen Ling Aerilyn

Toh Chun Howe

Tan Beng Thong

Tan Yi Xin

Toh Chun Howe & Family

Tan Boon Tiang

Tan Yu Xuan

Toh Tian Xiang & Toh Ai Ling

Tan Cheng Wah & Ow Soon Boon

Tan Yu Yan Ellie

Toh Yin Ling & Family

Tan Chin Hee, Ng Lay Hoong, Tan Kai Jun

Tanh Poh Leong

Tony Teo

& Tan Jun Han

Tay & Family

Tracy Yew & Alan Ong

Tan Chit Yuen, Santi & Seow Ling

Tay Aileen & Liang Lam Chai & Family

Tuan Ming Fuay Sharon

Tan Chong Sing, Roy

Tay Jun Yu

Tuan Ming Huat Andrew & Family

Tan Choon Yong

Tay Kian Huat & Family

TYD Shi Jie

Tan Chor Leong & Family

Tay Lay Lian

Tyrius Lee

Tan Eng Tat & Family

Tay Siang Gek & Family


Tan Gay Boon & Family

Tay Yi Huan & Tay Yi Xi

Valeska Mak

Tan Gim Heng & Family

Tea Han Guat & Victor Soh Wen Xu


Tan Hack Siok & Family

Teh Shn Ning

Vernon Tan

Tan Han Mui, Ang Chee Yong,

Ten Yong Soon & Family

Victor Er & Serene Tan

Ang Ting Fei, & Ang Ting Hui

Teng Tien Tze

Victor Koh Chye Huat

Tan Hong Hong & Family

Teng Wee Chong & Teng Wei Yi

Victor Soh Wen Xu & Family

Tan Hwa Siang & Lee Geok Thing

Teo Ah Khim

Victoria Lee Jia Qi

Tan Kai Seng & Family

Teo Heng Rui Freddy

Victory Recovery

Tan Kee Leong & Family

Teo Joanne

Violet Seah & Family

Tan Keng Sai & Family

Teo Khoon Buck

Wang Cham Peng

Tan Keng Thee

Teo Kong Meng Samuel

Wang Lian Ming

Tan Kheng Hwa & Family

Teo Lily

Wavapor Carisorn Aud Rattapong Pesuya

Tan Kiat & Family

Teo Mei Leong

Wee Liang Pong

Tan Koon Peck & Family

Teo Robeen & Tan Am Moi

Wee Poh Suan

Tan Lee Liang Eerik

Teo Yew Yi Ethan

Wee Poh Suan (Huang Bao Zhuan)

Tan Li Lian

Teo Yu Wei Sarah

Wee Rong Xian & Family

Tan Li Zhuan 今天考试顺顺利利

Teoh Chee Maw

Wee RongXin & Family

Tan Meng Huat

Teoh Say Yen

Wee Ruyu

Tan Pang Leng & Koh See Hai

Teow Hoo Wah & Bee Swee Eng

Wendy Loh & Family

Tan Poh Lee & Family

Tersea Ng Seok Wah

William & Family

Tan Poh Lian, Kingston Chan & Family

The Late Mdm Lee Moi Hong & Lee Guay Eng

William Goh & Family

Tan Rui Huang Jethro & Tan Ru Jie Jaujer

Thirada Sathitchai & Family

William Sim & Family

Tan Ser Kiat & Family

Thng Ya Zhen, Thng Ya Si & Thng Ya Hui

William Sze & Family

Tan Shan Hong, Tan Shan Yi & Tan Shan Hui

Thomas Lee Jun Teck

Wong Chit Sieng, Sebastian & Family

Tan Shihao

Thomas Ng Kam Wah & Family

Wong Hui Xin 黄惠欣

Tan Si Xue & Tan Teng Hian

Thomson Lim & Family

Wong Kang Fui


Wong Kui Wa

Zhi Jie, Zhi Win, Pang Lee Shan,


Wong Kui Wei

Ong Koon Huei, Ong Zi Quan,


Ong Zi Juan & Neo Sock Hoon

Wong Kui Wei Owen



Wong Nyuk Hong & Family



Wong Say Beng



Wong Sow Keng & Family



Wong Teck Chye & Family



Wong Terry 合家



Wong Thiam Chye

张荣忠 已故


Wong Yew Loon, Goh Mur Chang,


& Choo Chi Ying


张贻钧合家, 沈伊汶合家

Wu Si Hui



Wung Sian Xing



Xencia Tan Yu Xuan



Xeucia Tan Yu Xuan



Xiang Long & Family



Yammuna Hsu



Yang Kai Ning Karine



Yap Ee Ming & Family



Yap Hock Keng & Family



Yap Wei Ren & Yap Zhen Yan

历代祖先梁年旺 & 梁彩华


Yap Wei Ren & Zheng Yan

吴佩芬 吴伟源

曾淑芬, 蔡建隆

Yee Heng Wah & Family



Yem Chiang Kheng



Yeo Cai Ying Jazlyn



Yeo Chee Hwang & Family



Yeo Choon Chua



Yeo Jin Guan


李之豪, 李思宝

Yeo Jin Xiang

周志平, 陈惜娇, 周俞萱合家

李俊毅 李宜恩 卓爱明

Yeo Keng Yeok


李宜恩, 李俊毅

Yeoh Choon Keat



Yeong Wai Men & Family

孙良芝, 李政华

李建辉 李慧雯

Yeshe Tan & Family



Yick and Family



Ying Ying Guo



Yip Chan Hong



Yip Hock Seng


杜成义, 杜启泰, 赖玮莉Cookie

Yip Hui Ying

已故李英 (Deceased Lee Ying)


Yip Wei Chieh



Yip Wei Meng



Yip Wei Sheng



Yong De Yi & Family



Yu Joo Aik & Family

已故蔡亚九, 陈赛珠


Yuan Yuan Chong Siew Ngoh



Zac Soh Zi Hao



Zachary Chan Kai Jun

已故陈耀贤, 林惜音


Zhang Jiaozhi & Family


林欣怡 林佳恩 林佳怡 林欣瑜 林佳萱

Zhang Li & Ariel


林水晶 李敏恩 李瑞毅





赵式妹, Teo Suay Moy

陈诗敏, 陈鋸豪, 谢美美












马玉敏, 马玉云






黄俊需, 黄宝怡


邵大金 秀英 琴珠 炜轩合家








梁宝吉 & 高琬琪

























郭志铭, 郭志盈, 郭志欣







黄雪梨, 黄雪晶


郭玉琴, 颜凯玲, 颜洁玲, 颜铭乐, 颜慧琪




黎秋云, 卢亚优(三妹)





王浩威 王浩阳


王靖雯 & family











陈嗣学 陈鼎宪 王建盛


陈宝娘 (已故)










陈春兰, 杨玉珠, 郭玉令, 林俊龙, 郭玉琴,


郭文海, 郭邵文


陈春兰, 郭玉琴, 颜凯玲, 颜洁玲,


颜铭乐, 颜慧琪




陈淑欢, 陈美玉, 陈明财(已故)
















As part of our mission to propagate the Dhamma-Vinaya for the welfare and happiness of all beings, our temple aims to regularly publish the teachings of the Buddha and Buddhist teachers for free distribution.

This mission can only be accomplished through the support and generosity of like-minded individuals who wish to share the Dhamma-Vinaya with others.

Should you wish to participate in our Dhamma dana (gift of Dhamma) projects, please send your contributions along with your full name and address (for our acknowledgement of receipt) to The Hon.

Treasurer, Palelai Buddhist Temple, 49 Bedok Walk, Singapore 469145. Please do not send cash via the mail.
All cash donations should be handed over in the temple to our Administration Officer or the Treasurer.
No amount is too small as it is your skillful intentions that counts as “kamma”.
May this act of generosity aid you in your progress along the path to Enlightenment.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!








Morning Chanting & Meditation


6.00 am

Main Shrine

Evening Chanting & Meditation


6.00 pm

Main Shrine

Meditation Class (please check with the Office)

Dhamma Class


9.00 -10:

2nd Floor, Dhamma Classroom

Chinese Childrens’ Class


1.00 - 3.00pm

2nd Floor, Dhamma Classroom

Lunch dana for Sangha, blessings

& sharing of merits

Sundays 10:
30 – 12noon

Dining Hall

Library Hours (please call the Office)

There are no charges for classes.
All are welcome to join us.

For enquiries concerning this book, please contact (Singapore):
Patrick Ong 9733 7008

Sebastian Wong kalayano@gmail.

Further information on Theravada Buddhism and the Thai Forest Meditation Tradition can be obtained from:
dhammatalks.org or http:

☸ Lucid 24.org 🐘🐾‍