After being laid low for days on end by the fevers, Ajahn Mahaboowa decided that he could not lie back any more. He was missing out on all the monastery duties, including the sweeping of the grounds. Thinking that it would be unseemly to be seen absent from the broom tour, while his brothers diligently swept, he gritted his teeth and forced himself out of his kuti, and started sweeping.
Ajahn Mun spotted him and immediately admonished him. "Boowa! That is not the way of Buddhism. Go back and contemplate the pain."
The Commentators of old also recognised this problem of too much effort, as recounted in this old narrative to the Dhammapada, verse 172 -
He who, heedless before. This religious instruction was given by
the Teacher while he was in residence at Jetavana with reference to
Elder Sammunjani, it appears, went about sweeping continually,
both in the morning and in the afternoon, taking no account whatever
of the time. One day he took his broom, went to the cell where
Elder Revata spent the day, and found him sitting there as usual.
Thereupon he thought to himself, "This great idler enjoys the pious
offerings of the faithful, and then returns and sits in his cell. Why
should he not take a broom and sweep at least one room.^^" Elder
Revata thought to himself, " I will give him an admonition." So he
said to him, "Come here, brother." "What is it. Reverend Sir.?"
"Go and bathe and then return to me." Elder Sammunjani did so.
On his return he seated himself respectfully beside Elder Revata,
who thereupon admonished him as follows, "Brother, a monk ought
not to go about sweeping all the time. Early in the morning he should
of course sweep the rooms, and then he should go forth for alms.
Returning from his alms-pilgrimage, he should enter the monastery,
seat himself either in the night-quarters or in the day-quarters, and
rehearse the Thirty-two Constituent Parts of the Body, grasping firmly
the thought of the perishableness of the body. In the evening he should
rise from his seat and sweep the rooms again. But he should not spend
the whole day sweeping; rather should he allow himself a certain
amount of leisure." Elder Sammunjani adhered scrupulously to the
admonition of Elder Revata, and in no long time attained Arahatship.
After that, however, all the rooms remained full of rubbish.
Therefore the monks said to Elder Sammunjani, "Brother, all the
rooms remain full of rubbish; why do you not sweep them.?" "Reverend
Sirs, I used to do that in the days when I was heedless; now,
however, I have become heedful." The monks reported the matter
to the Teacher, saying, "This Elder does one thing and says another."
But the Teacher replied, "Monks, my son the Elder spoke the truth;
formerly, in the days of his heedlessness, my son spent the whole
time sweeping, but now he spends his time in the enjoyment of the
bliss of the Paths and the Fruits, and therefore sweeps no more."
Hmm, does this mean that monasteries with poorly maintained grounds are packed with Arahants?