Note 1: A traditional custom in Thailand was for a woman to lie by a fire after giving birth, for any number of days up to a month. In simpler households this meant little more than that: lying next to a fire that was kept burning day and night. In more elaborate households, it involved herbal steam baths and massages as a way of restoring the woman to health.

Note 2: Monks are not allowed to eat food during the period from noon until dawn of the following day. There are several reasons for this rule, one of them being that it helps keep the monks from being burdensome to their supporters.

Note 3: A major event in rural Thai villages at the end of the rains was to have monks deliver the Mahachaad, or ‘Great Birth’ sermon, a narration of the Buddha’s next-to-last life as Prince Vessantara, telling of the hardships he endured in living by the principle of generosity and of the rewards he ultimately won by being true to this principle. The recitation of this sermon lasted an entire day and was given in thirteen installments. There are a few places where this tradition is still observed, but it is fast dying out.

Note 4: Chao Khun Upali Gunupamacariya (Jan Siricando), a childhood friend of Ajaan Mun’s, was one of the highest ranking monks in Thailand in the early years of this century, although he was once temporarily stripped of his title and placed under ‘monastery arrest’ for reportedly criticizing King Rama VI’s request that monks encourage their followers to donate money for a battleship for the Royal Thai Navy. He was also the preceptor and teacher of the Somdet Mahawiarwong (Tisso Uan) mentioned later in this book.

Note 5: Funeral services in Thailand may last for many days—even months or years—before the actual cremation takes place.

Note 6: Many of Grandfather Phaa’s activities—wearing layman’s clothes, planting and gathering crops, buying and selling goods—are forbidden by the monastic discipline.

Note 7: There are not a few people in Southeast Asia who, like the father and daughter in this incident, regard well-behaved monks as ideal eligible bachelors. It is thus up to each monk to decide whether he wants to devote himself full-time to his meditation, and thus remain celibate, or to oblige such people by becoming an eligible bachelor after all.

Note 8: There have been cases where people with a grudge against a monk have arranged for a woman to visit him frequently, get on familiar terms with him, and then accuse him of having molested her sexually. Because Buddhists are very concerned that relationships between monks and women be pure, and because such accusations are almost impossible to prove one way or another, they are often judged by a form of mob mentality that is swayed more by prejudices than the facts of the case: Women who have been molested have sometimes been ostracized by the community, and perfectly innocent monks have sometimes been driven out of town. This was the basis for Khun Nai Kimlang’s fears.

Note 9: Both Thao Satyanurak and Somdet Mahawirawong (Uan) had passed away when Ajaan Lee made this statement.

Note 10: Lighting a fire to warm oneself—except for reasons of health—is forbidden by the monastic discipline, because fires of this sort are often an invitation to sit around talking rather than meditating.

Note 11: People have asked why Ajaan Lee devotes so much space to describing the Festival Celebrating 25 Centuries of Buddhism, and in particular to the amount of money donated and spent. Three points seem relevant: 1) Many of the people involved in the celebration were still alive when Ajaan Lee wrote this book, the celebration still fresh in their memories. They would have enjoyed seeing that their efforts were not forgotten, and at the same time Ajaan Lee may have wanted to remind them of one of the purposes of the celebration that had not yet been fulfilled: to build a chedi at Wat Asokaram. 2) The whole question of fund-raising—or lack of it—for the festival makes for a good read. Many of his followers felt that only by appealing for funds from the public and the government would they be able to carry out the ambitious program. Ajaan Lee stood fast by his insistence—and in the end was proven right—that they could depend on the purity of their intentions to see them through. 3) Several other groups, including the Thai government, held celebrations of the year 2500 B.E. at the same time as Ajaan Lee’s, and in some cases—the government’s in particular—there were unresolved questions as to where all the donations went. Ajaan Lee may have wanted to show that in his case, at least, all funds were well accounted for.