48. A warning not to be heedless

To ward off any heedlessness or carelessness in the behavior of his monks and novices, Luang Pu would choose a poignant way of reprimanding them:

“Lay people work hard at their living with lots of difficulties so that they can gain the material things, the food and the money they need to support their families, their children and grandchildren. No matter how tired or exhausted they are, they have to keep struggling. At the same time, they want to gain merit, which is why they sacrifice some of their belongings to make merit. They get up early in the morning to fix good food to put in our alms bowls. Before they put the food in our bowls, they lift it above their heads and make a wish. When they’ve finished putting the food in the bowl, they back away, squat down, and raise their hands in respect once more. They do this because they want merit from supporting our practice.

“And what merit is there in our practice that we can give to them? Have you behaved yourself in a way that you deserve to receive their food and eat it?”