Wat Doi Saket project – Washing the robes to clean the mind by Phra maha Ake

This morning I taught Dhamma to novice monks and after lunch I prepared my robes to wash by machine.  I went to the building with washing machines; it is a public place for monks and novices living here at Wat Doi Saket. The washing machines are about 500 meters from my room.

When I was walking to get there, I thought of a question about clean and dirty. “Why must I as a human wash robes every week like this?”.  After I thought of the first question, I got more and more questions about this. When I got there, all of the washing machines where being used, so I decided to wash them by hand at my room.

I brought the robes back to my room and also brought those questions to contemplate.  I started to think about the teachings and the beliefs that I have studied to support my doubts.  First, I thought of the idea from Buddhism that we have two parts, body and mind, for each human being.

After I got to my room, I prepared the things for hand washing.  I continued my thoughts:

“Body and mind are both able to be cleaned and get dirty but in different ways.  The body gets clean by taking a shower or by washing and it gets dirty by sweat, dust, smoke or other things. How the body gets clean and how it gets dirty, is easy to see with your eyes.  The mind, on the other hand, is not like that because how the mind gets clean and dirty are not easy to see with human eyes but we can see them by using ‘wisdom’ eyes”.

When I was washing the robes in the bath room, questions, ideas, doubts, and answers came up on the thoughts as a cycle:

“Now I’m washing the robes which are used for the body.  Whatever they got dirty from, they have to be cleaned by water with a machine wash or hand washing.  How about the mind?  How does it get dirty and how can it be cleaned?”

I stopped washing and tried to remember about the teachings of Buddhism that I have studied. I remembered this:

“According to the teaching, the mind of human beings can be cleaned and can get dirty but it does not get dirty from the things like the body does.  The mind gets dirty from the things coming through seeing, hearing, smelling, eating, tasting, and touching.  How about my mind?  How can I clean my mind at the same I am cleaning my robes? The teachings tell that we must clean it with Dhamma, but how?”

The doubts came more and more. Then I figured out how to stop these thoughts. “Thinking-norh..Thinking-norh..Thinking-norh” and “Doubting-norh..Doubting-norh..” ; this is one way to meditate.  And then I finished washing.

After I brought the robes to hang out, I knew that all the times my thoughts came up meant I made my mind get dirty from the doubts, thoughts, and many questions created. However, everything can be both good and bad.  So if we know the way to get the good and the bad from each thing, we can get it.  It depends on what you want, how you get it, and where you get from.  Considering the doubts, thoughts, and questions happening to me today, they seemed good but it also meant I was making my mind dirty until I was able to settle my mind.  Usually, every day we get a lot of garbage that our mind has to process.

Today, my robes got dirty but I washed them with water and my hands.  My mind got dirty and I washed it with the Dhamma and knowledge; a way of meditation.

How about you? How does your mind get dirty? How do you clean it?

By Phra Maha Ake

Read more from Phra Ake

“Changed thinking killed the anger”

“Giving (Dhana)”




Wat Doi Saket project – “Changed Thinking Killed the Anger” by Phra maha Ake

Every afternoon on Sunday and Monday, I have Pali class from 13.00 pm. to 16.00 p.m. at Wat Saundok which is located in Chiang Mai city. It’s far from my temple, about an hour. I have to take two buses from Doi Saket to Wat Suandok.

One day, after lunch at about 12.00pm I took the first bus from Wat Doi Saket to the second bus stop. When I got there, it was about 12.30pm. I asked a bus driver: “Do you go to Wat Suandok?” “Yes, I do.” he said. So, I got on the bus and sat down with two other passengers. The ride from there to Wat Suandok usually takes 30 minutes only.

The bus driver took all passengers who got on the bus before and after me to where they wanted to go. He finally took me, the last one, to Wat Suandok; by then it was already 14.00 p.m. but my class had started at 13.00 p.m.

While I was sitting in the car and 30 minutes had gone by, I begun to be annoyed and I became very angry. I think that I hated him (the driver). Complaints, curses and a lot of other bad words arose in my thoughts during that time. The longer he took the angrier I became. Suddenly, just about 6 minutes to Wat Suandok, my thinking changed. I thought: “Oh he is my teacher. He allowed me to know about the super high and powerful anger happening in my mind. If he had not done this, I couldn’t have known this anger so clearly.  I should say: thank you so much to you, teacher.” After that, the anger was killed by the changed thinking and I was able to smile at him when I got off the car.

This story taught me a lot about how to be happy in a bad situation. In our life, we cannot reject the truth neither select only the truth we need. Anger is one of the truths which we don’t need but naturally we cannot reject it because it has more power than us and it can also control our mind like fire, burning everything it wants.

The anger I felt came from selfishness. While I was sitting in the car, I just thought: “I have class at 13.00 p.m., he is wasting my time, I will be very late, surely.” I thought and thought only about me and my needs. I didn’t think about what he needed or why he was doing that. In fact I should have thought that perhaps he had a good reason to do that, such as needing money that evening for his family; but I couldn’t think like that because of the power of selfishness arising more and more.

The best way how to understand anger and how to control it is trying to contemplate each moment. Do know and do note every happening moment as well as you can. If you do like this again and again, you will gain wonderful knowledge which will come and help you like my changed thinking.

Phra Ake (:

Wat Doi Saket project – “Giving (Dhana)” by Phra maha Ake

The ‘Wat Doi Saket project’ is proud to announce that Phra maha Ake will be contributing to the ATMA SEVA blog on a regular basis.  Phra is the title given to monks and maha is the title given to monks that pass level three of Pali language.  (phra+maha+ name)  Phra maha Ake is 26 years old and lives in Wat Doi Saket temple.  He recently completed his Bachelor of Humanities in English.  He has been very active and involved with the ‘Wat Doi Saket project’ and has been a tremendous help with our ‘monk chat’ program.  Phra maha Ake is an outstanding person with lots of wisdom and knowledge about Buddhism.

I hope that everyone enjoys his writings and that it may bring new perspectives and insights.

From ATMA SEVA, the ‘Wat Doi Saket project’, and me (David) – THANK YOU VERY MUCH PHRA MAHA AKE FOR ALL YOUR HELP!

Giving (Dhana)

Thai people have just been enjoying holidays over the Christmas and New Year season. Many people gave gifts and many received gifts. In Buddhism we believe that it is better give than to receive.

About giving, Buddha said to monks many many years ago, there are three factors for a giver. Here is a translation from the early writings:

Three factors of a giver? First, before giving, the giver is a glad one. Second, while making the giving, the giver is an admired man. Third, after giving, the giver is a happy one.

But we should not be too narrow in our interpretation of what should be given. Giving doesn’t necessarily refer to material ‘things’ like food or new mobile phone or fresh flowers or warm clothing for mountain children in the cold season. Of course, there is nothing wrong about giving such gifts when there is a need.

What is important, though, is not to ignore the importance of other ways of giving.

Giving can also be a smile to someone who appears worried or sad; and offer to help an elderly man cross a busy street; giving our time to visit a sick friend who is in the hospital; giving an invitation to a lonely person to come to have tea and a biscuit; picking up a dog that has been struck by a car and bringing that dog to a clinic.

There are so many ways we can give – not only to our loved ones, or to those who are in need,, but to our friends and to our community – indeed, to our Mother Earth.

Something to remember: When we give we also receive. We receive almost immediately some good and positive feelings – and also a sense of having made a difference. As the Lord Buddha taught, ‘The giver is the glad one; the giver is the admired one; the giver is the happy one’. Gladness, admiration, and happiness are in themselves gifts.

Phra maha Ake

PS) Phra maha Ake is on Facebook and loves to make new friends.  Add him to chat and follow along!