30. What to watch

Luang Taa Naen ordained well after middle age. Illiterate and unable to speak a word of Central Thai, he had his strong point in that he was well-intentioned, tractable, and diligent in his duties, to the point where you couldn’t fault him. When he saw other monks taking their leave to go wandering or to study with other ajaans, he decided that he wanted to go, too. So he came to ask permission to leave, which Luang Pu granted. But then he felt worried: “I can’t read, I don’t know their language. How will I be able to practice with them?”

Luang Pu advised him,

“The practice isn’t a matter of the letters of the alphabet or of spoken words. The fact that you know you don’t know is a good place to start. The way to practice is this: In the area of the Vinaya, watch their example, the example set by the ajaan. Don’t deviate in any way from what he does. In the area of the Dhamma, keep watch right at your own mind. Practice right at the mind. When you understand your own mind, that, in and of itself, will make you understand everything else.”