The practice of nursing his paralysed body never lacked for volunteers and created a situation for tremendous devotion, patience, and mindfulness.
|Coming alive to Dhamma entails a struggle like that of awakening from a drugged sleep, or carrying a heavy load to a place of rest; it's like the pangs of birth, accompanied by the same sense of urgency. But then there is the long test of staying alive: something learned not through a moment of insight, nor through the dropping away of frustration, doubt or impatience, but through the arising of the faith and compassion to bear with conventional life for the welfare of others. Something in us could choose to escape from the responsibilities of training problematic beginners, from attending to the daily round of the same old chanting, chores and the influx of visitors whose only interest might be to ask for a good luck token or take a few photographs. When the 'great insights' have happened, who wants to live with a heart attentive to this plane of existence? Whose Dhamma can stay alive through the inevitable complaining of the world, the disappointments of disciples going astray and the going nowhere-ness of samsara? Staying alive is as tough as being born. Even the sense of progress, personal or collective, has to be abandoned. That's what it comes down to, when the major work projects are completed, the new ideas have become old established views, and the youthful energies start to wane.|
So I think of the last decade Luang Por Chah's life as a reflection on what it takes to stay alive. Some people criticised the Sangha for holding the Master to a degraded level of physical existence for so long (neat judgements are dangerously attractive!). However, the practice of nursing his paralysed body never lacked for volunteers and created a situation for tremendous devotion, patience, and mindfulness. Such grand-heartedness is exactly what is needed to bring the True Life into this conditioned realm. Moreover the results of that quality of practice transcend the decay of the world: whenever we use conditions to keep the Dhamma alive, however unsatisfactory they may be, there is a mind that doesn't complain, and a heart that is willing to give of itself. We can abide peacefully in this outrageous realm of birth and death. There, surely, is the place of no-abiding to which Luang Por directed us.