The Poorer, the Happier

To the end of his life, Luang Pu would have his daily warm-water bath at 5:00 every evening, assisted by a monk or novice. After he had dried off and was feeling refreshed, he would often speak a few words of Dhamma that occurred to him at the time. For instance, once he said,

"We monks, if we establish in ourselves a sense of satisfaction with our status as monks, will find nothing but happiness and peace. But if we have the status of a monk and yet hanker after any other status, we'll be engulfed in suffering all the time. When you can stop thirsting, stop searching, that's the true state of being a monk. When you're truly a monk, the poorer you are the more happiness you have."

  Gifts He Left Behind – The Dhamma Legacy of Phra Ajaan Dune Atulo (Phra Bhavana Vidhanapreecha translation)

A brief Commentary

As householders and committed supporters of Buddhism, to include the temple and the monks, we see what we have and, feeling like it is important and substantial, look upon the monks we go to visit and believe we have something worthwhile to offer them. We bring the daily necessities and those other things we believe are well worth providing to monks engaged in this important and serious undertaking - they, striving to understand, explain, and uphold the Dhamma, use those requisites to make that task possible, with our support.

Much of the support we provide comes back to help our own heart and to the hearts and benefit of the rest of the lay community in the form of a better place to practice and hear the Dhamma. At the same time, we all try to make special gifts to the community of monks, respecting the field of merit they represent.

But I believe we can also contribute to the success and satisfactoriness of Buddhism by giving things beyond the physical requisites. For example, by taking, believing, and carefully observing the precepts every day, as best we can, we enhance the environment that allows Buddhism to grow strong. By allowing monks to be as monks should be, without causing distractions or encouraging excess, we can also support the journey on the middle path for monks and ourselves.

I believe monks accept what we provide, realizing the outcome for all sentient beings may be better that way; For that we all gain the opportunity to concentrate and understand what the Buddha discovered and taught. If we can ensure and protect that opportunity, we will all benefit.

— Mike W.