pilgrim wrote:A monk is not supposed to tell a layman of his attainments, meaning Ariya status, jhanas and the iddhis. Is the memory of past lives that arose during meditation considered an iddhi ? It is not necessary an ability but a memory, right?
In my first year as a monk in northeast Thailand, I was travelling in the back of the car with 2 other Western monks, and with Ajahn Chah, my teacher, sitting in the front passenger seat. Ajahn Chah suddenly turned around and looked at the young American novice monk sitting next to me, and then said something in Thai. The third Western monk in the car was fluent in Thai and translated for us, "Ajahn Chah says that you are thinking about your girlfriend back in L.A."
The jaw of the American novice dropped almost to the floor. Ajahn Chah had been reading his thoughts -- accurately. Ajahn Chah smiled, and his next words were translated as, "Don't worry. We can fix that. Next time you write to her, ask her to send to you something personal, something intimately connected to her, which you can bring out whenever you miss her, to remind you of her."
"Is that allowable for a monk?" asked the novice, surprised. "Sure," said Ajahn Chah, through the translator.
Perhaps monks understand romance after all.
What Ajahn Chah said next took many minutes to translate. Our translator had to stop laughing and pull himself together first.
"Ajahn Chah says..." He struggled to get the words out, wiping away tears of mirth, "Ajahn Chah says you should ask her to send you a bottle of her shit. Then whenever you miss her, you can bring out the bottle and open it!"
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