109. A moment of wilderness in the city

Let’s go back in time for a moment to some events nearly 100 years ago. Luang Pu’s group of four wandering monks and novices had split off from Ajaan Mun’s group and were wandering through Thaa Khantho district in Kalasin province. As they went through the dense forest, they encountered all sorts of dangers and difficulties: every kind of wild animal and, in particular, malaria. Finally, one of the monks, unable to fight off the disease, died in a pitiful way right in front of his fellow monks. Worse than that, when Luang Pu split off from the group accompanied by just one small novice into another forest wilderness near Kut Kawm village, malaria came and took the life of the novice right before his eyes. Luang Pu could do nothing but look on in utter dismay, simply because he lacked the medicine to treat the disease.

Now come back to the events just after 4:00 a.m. on October 30, 1983. That same condition of wilderness returned for a moment in Luang Pu’s room, for although he was seriously ill there wasn’t a single nurse, not a single drop of saline solution anywhere around. There were simply Luang Pu’s monastic students circled around him, as if protecting his total freedom to put down his body in a death that left no traces—completely pure, quiet, and calm.