Luangpor Dhammajayo’s Remarks about Luangpor Dattajeewo
We met on Loy Krathong Day
Luangpor Dhammajayo: Loy Krathong is a historical day for me and Luangpor Dattajeewo. We met in 1966. It has been over 50 years now. We met on the waxing moon day, 12th month which was Loy Krathong Day.
Luangpor Dattajeewo used to tell me that one thing that perplexed him when he was a layperson is that his mind seemed to be detached from the world on the waxing moon day of every month. He felt like being alone and meditating. I remember that it didn’t matter where he was at that time, he could be in a crowded place or having fun, his mind would become detached from everything and he let all the unwholesome deeds drop from his mind. It’s like he was alone and meditated. This is his temperament.
I met him on Loy Krathong Day while I was coming back from Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen after meditating with Khun Yai Chand. I left the temple at 8:00 pm. I took the bus alone and came back to the university where there was an event going on.
There is something about me that attracts children around me. I played with them all, children and people of all ages coming to join me. The musicians from Soontaraporn Band nearby had stopped playing and came to see me play with the kids. There was a handsome man in this group of people.
He was a student from Australia, with his arms crossed over his chest, wearing a colorful patterned shirt and a pair of jeans named Tiewhui. He had another pair named Guan-ooe. He wore Tiewhui on that day and stood watching me with the children. After we had done playing, he was in a good mood and said to me (I can still remember that sentence), “Let’s go bro, it’s my treat!” I thought it was generous of him, without knowing what the treat was. We followed him but it turned out that he wanted to buy me an alcoholic drink.
I have one merit, that is, my good friends are always there to protect me. They said I had gastritis or other bad symptoms but I insisted on saying that I didn’t drink because I observed the five precepts. Khun Yai Chand told me to do so and I felt good doing it. He became silent upon hearing this.
He revealed later that he followed me to my dormitory because of the five precepts. He said to me “let’s go bro, come and stay with me”. I asked him where we were going. He said cowshed.
He had respect for Dhamma
Luangpor Dhammajayo: I was a university student when I met him on Loy Krathong Day. We had a good conversation and he liked my answers to his questions regarding the five precepts as he used to observe them before. He then asked me to come and stay with him. I was happy and comfortable where I was and didn’t know why I followed him.
He fetched me on his bicycle. He was the rider. He let me sleep in his bed which was strange as he was my senior in the university. He slept on the floor even though he was a senior of 4 years. We truly respected seniority at Kasetsart University. The juniors have to respect the seniors. But the situation was like that because he respected Dhamma and revered the teacher although I didn’t think I was his teacher. We were having non-serious Dhamma discussions. That’s why I was puzzled why he let me sleep in the bed.
I lived among people before moving to the cowshed. However, there was a special place there and that is a diary. We made friends with a security guard who never knew about the pursuit of Perfections. I felt sorry for him. Did he want to be a security guard in every lifetime? I persuaded him to meditate and we were on friendly terms. The result of that was he brought us a carton of milk every day. I came back from visiting Khun Yai Chand and saw a carton of bottled milk. So I shared it with Luangpor Dattajeewo as virtuous friends
We went to sleep at 1 – 2 am. He asked me so many questions. We talked at leisure in bed. He had a lot of weird questions and I wondered how I could answer all of his questions. I had kept on answering his questions since the fly screen door was intact until there was a personalized way to open it, that is, we could push our hand through to unlock it.
He really wanted to see my Khun Yai Chand. He kept asking me to take him there to see her. I listened and looked at the way he dressed with Tiewhui and Guan-ooe jeans. I must have had to brief him a thousand times before I could take him there. If we went like that, Khun Yai Chand would definitely chase us out of the house.
From then on, he always asked me about Dhamma, talking from late evening until 2 – 3 am. It was unbelievable. We only talked about Dhamma at the cowshed. I am very happy recalling how we have been pursuing Perfections from that time until today. We have always helped each other.
This is his virtue of Dhamma respect even though I was his junior of 4 years. It’s a worthwhile example for pursuers of Perfections.
He let go of obstacles to Nibbana
Luangpor Dhammajayo: After we had talked about Dhamma including the knowledge about celestial beings and the knowledge about the Buddha for some time, I finally took him to see Khun Yai Chand. That was after he took me to see his teacher. His teacher was a layperson, not a monk.
After that, I took him to see Khun Yai Chand.
He had so many questions and I had answered them all. Actually, he had acquired a great deal of knowledge himself because he was a stout reader, not an ordinary bookworm but a super bookworm. He read every book in the library. He started reading when he was a small boy and sought all kinds of knowledge. He continued Dhamma study after meeting Khun Yai Chand. Once he knew the best study to be free from suffering, he would seek deeper knowledge about it. He discarded the book that barred the path to Nibbana. He did not just discard it, but he threw it away in the pond in front of the lodging.
But before he threw away the book, a strange thing happened. I saw him meditating alone in one of the rooms raised high above the ground. There were strange knocking sounds at the air outlets. The outlets were 3 – 4 meters above the ground but there were knocking sounds at the air outlets around the building. The person who made the knocking sounds must have been 3.5 – 4 meter tall and he had to run very fast around the building. Moreover, he had to be able to walk on water as there was a pond close to the front of the building. I asked him about this and he said he heard the sounds regularly.
After he threw away his teacher’s book of celestial subject, the teacher came to him that night because he was not satisfied with how the book was destroyed. He did not know the proper way to discard the knowledge. He just threw away the book disrespectfully when he had no use of it. The teacher came because of this wrongdoing.
He told me that he could only see the sole of the foot, not the body. He felt the sole grinding on his chest. If this happened to another man, he would vomit in blood. It was fortunate for him because his past merit protected him from harm. He practiced Thai boxing and was the champion in swordsmanship in 5 universities. He was quite an extraordinary man. So he flexed his feet and kicked him off his chest.
It didn’t feel like a dream. He seemed to be awake and saw the sole clearly. He kicked it and that body flew back in the air. He had never looked back since that day.
He would only choose beneficial things and abandon the useless ones and never look back. He paid full attention in doing things he intended to achieve.
Luangpor Dattajeewo’s true temperament
Luangpor Dhammajayo: I have the same temperament as Khun Yai Chand’s, that is, taking the inner path, going along the middle path continuously. Khun Yai Chand liked me to meditate with her, speak less and meditate more. I haven’t been talking a lot for more than 30 years and prefer to give medication guidance.
But the one good detailed explanations is Luangpor Dattajeewo. His temperament is similar to Khun Yai Tongsuk Samdaengpan who liked to explain things. But Luangpor Dattajeewo’s true basic mentality is that he likes solitude. He has been like this since he was teenager. It might seem that he was the boisterous type but when the right time came, he would travel by himself to seek Dhamma knowledge from a well-practiced monk at a cave, forest or mountain in Kanchanaburi province.
He once met a monk who said “Phadet (his name then), there is a Buddha in our stomach”. Luangpor Dattajeewo mentally protested but didn’t say anything due to his respect for both worldly and Dhamma teachers. He disagreed as to how we could have the Buddha in our stomachs.
He had continued to search for more teachers and learned many kinds of knowledge. He told me he had encountered so many things just like Khun Yai Tongsuk.
It was perfectly clear to him that there was a Buddha in our stomachs after he had met me and Khun Yai Chand.
He was a pioneer in building the temple
Luangpor Dhammajayo: I was the only one who was ordained at that time. There were only a few people trying to obtain financial support to build the temple with Luangpor Dattajeewo as a leader. He was a salesman travelling throughout the country. He gave Khun Yai Chand a plastic can filled with money once a month to build the temple. We didn’t have a piece of land then.
I was thinking of building a temple on the second day of my ordination to accommodate 21 monks. You could see that the monks’ cubicles were quite far apart from each other because I thought that number would suffice. I only thought that monks could meditate after they were ordained. I was happy to teach meditation to one or two people. That was all I thought about and I never contemplated that it would grow this big.
Once I intended to build a temple, Khun Yai Chand was the head of the project. What was miraculous was that Khun Yai Chand asked me a short question, that is, what kind of land I was after. I told her I wanted 200 rai of land, close to a waterway, convenient for people to come, and given to us for free because we had no money to buy it and that was how we acquired the land later on.
After that, we had Aunty Tawin, Luangpor Dattajeewo, and two more team members. We went to see Lady Prayad Prattayaponsa-Visudhathipbodi who owned the land. We didn’t know that it was her birthday when we saw her. We made her an offer to buy that piece of land by way of installments because we had no money.
When we mentioned the offer, she said she had a piece of land where she never came to see it. She had an agent collecting the rents of rice farms for her. She asked us what we wanted the land for. We told her that we intended to build a temple on it. She then replied that the land was not for sale and was silent for a while. She then informed us that she would like to offer the land as a donation, the whole 200 rai of it. Her agent took us to see the land and pointed to the part in the middle of Khlongsam which was cut off to construct an irrigated road at the edge of the canal. Four rai was cut off so that left us with 196 rai.
Once we had gotten the land, Luangpor Dattajeewo resigned from his job because Khun Yai Chand said that she would find money to build the temple herself. Luangpor Dattajeewo supervised the temple construction from the first stage of digging, the first cluster of soil, and canal until the building was complete.
Our Luangpor Dattajeewo had been verily exhausted with the pursuit of Perfections for the whole period of time.
He did what he was asked to do
Luangpor Dhammajayo: While he was supervising the temple construction, he built a small hut raised above the ground in front of the temple. He slept on 2 layers of hard cardboard paper as a precaution in case anyone inserted a knife through the gap of the wooden floor. The knife would reach the cardboard paper before him. Moreover, the hut was built at a considerable distance from a pile of straw just in case. He was very cautious about it.
He supervised the workers to dig the soil and he asked Khun Yai Chand for their wages, “Khun Yai Chand, I have to give wages to the workers tomorrow”. Khun Yai Chand responded succinctly, “Yes” and said nothing else. “Khun Yai Chand, I’d like to draw the wages tomorrow”. She said “Yes” and nothing more. “Khun Yai Chand, I’d like to draw the wages tomorrow”. He informed her 3 times and she gave a short response, “Yes”. It was quite perplexing, the flat brown paper back was always filled with donation money whenever we had to pay wages. This happened day by day and round by round until the temple was complete.
He had a lot of merit when he was ordained. There were just over 20 guests on my ordination day but Luangpor Dattajeewo had a thousand guests when he was ordained. All the seats were filled up, very crowded.
Right after he was ordained, he started Dhammadayada Project. He was a teaching monk and continued on doing so. When the abbot position was appointed, it was given to me because I was ordained before he was. However, the one who genuinely worked very hard was Luangpor Dattajeewo. He bore all the responsibilities.
I have never heard him say no to anything assigned to him. He had always said yes to all the projects, no refusals whatsoever from him. We have been pursuing Perfections together. He had never gone against me.
He never grumbles nor quarrels about any issue
Luangpor Dhammajayo: I feel cheerful when thinking back to the last 50 years. We stayed and pursued Perfections together. We have never argued throughout the whole period. It’s incredible that we have never quarreled about anything even though it’s normal to have disagreements in any organization.
There has never been one disagreement between me and Luangpor Dattajeewo since we started accumulating merit. It isn’t strange if you don’t think about it but it’s quite puzzling when you do. Sometimes I started to argue with him but to no avail because he either stayed silent or walked away. There were only two of us there so when he walked away, I had no one to argue with.
So there wasn’t an argument of any kind. The issues had always been about building the temple.
For example, when the soil digging was completed, I took him and the community members to come and have a look at it. We went to the area at the back of the temple. There was no wall then. To build the temple over 196 rai of land was extremely difficult because he was really exhausted. Luangpor Dattajeewo had worked so hard and it was absolutely tiring for him but he had never grumbled about it. This is his virtue, being exhausted with no complaints.
Everyone was standing in a row on that day. We were all young men. I said after we had finished building it on 196 rai, the next project is construction over 2,000 rai, starting from the front of the District Office to the police station yonder. He walked away from me right away. When I turned around, there was no one left. I was stranded there by myself. It seemed like he was pondering with himself without letting me hear it. He might have said to himself that he had it up to his throat by building it over 196 rai and he would have it up to his head if we tried to build it over 2,000 rai.
All pursuers of Perfections should take this as an example, that is, no arguments, because it enabled us to make progress until the present time. It does not matter that we still have to contend with obstacles and challenges outside the temple, we continue our activities.
Luangpor Dattajeewo has many more virtues.
He has never ceased to be the guiding light
Luangpor Dhammajayo: When we started to build the temple, Khun Yai Chand was prepared to leave the place she had loved the most because it was the place where she performed the duty in Meditation Workshop with the Most Venerable Luangpu at Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen. Since Luangpu was no longer there and there were many people who carried on advanced meditation, she had come to be the head of the temple construction. She came with a good heart to this piece of land which was a rice farm that could no longer be tilled, together with a small group of her young male followers.
Luangpor Dattajeewo was involved since the onset of construction. He was still a layperson then. We faced a great deal of hardship.
It took about the same amount of time to travel from Bangkhan to the temple then and now. There wasn’t any traffic jam at that time but it was a gravel and uneven road. It was a half an hour journey then and it still takes half an hour now because of the traffic jam. It was hard to imagine how the area had been progressing. People were not interested in the land around here over 30 years ago. It only cost 3,000 baht per rai. The road in front of the temple was a clay one and there was a likely chance that a car could run into the canal. We had to overcome those hardships.
After he was ordained, he had started the 1st Dhammadayada Training and continued on until now. It was an outdoor training with only one small tent. There was no building then. They meditated in the tent and walked around with the sunlight shining on them to ease the sore muscles. They walked with wet towels on their heads.
Luangpor Dattajeewo was the teaching monk. He also wrote textbooks, for example, “Before going to the temple”, so that laypeople know how to prepare themselves and how to behave in a temple. Everyone should read this book before entering a temple. A lot of people have admired this book.
Although he’s getting older, he still tries to compile the Buddha’s teachings as well as his own experiences into textbooks so that we can study them. Some of the books have been used in Dhamma Quiz, World-Pec Contests and many more Dhamma tests.
Even though he’s over 70 years old now, he still continues teaching Dhamma. He has never stopped to be the shining light to people.
He is a good role model of the world
Luangpor Dhammajayo: Time has passed quickly and he’s over 70 years old now. We have been together for over 40 years, since our hair was black until it has become grey. We have stayed together for a long time and are closer than relatives. He has been working very hard since he was with me.
Luangpor Dattajeewo has a graceful life both as a monk and a pursuer of Perfections. He’s trying to discard his bad habits that defects in body, speech and mind because I see the constant change in him.
He is a good role model for mankind.
When his birthday was drawing near, I composed a poem for him in my style even though I am not very good at it. For example, I composed a poem for him on December 21, 1997. I was a beginner who was practicing how to compose poems. This was what I wrote for him:
May you age like Dhammakaya
The older, the clearer, like crystal
All the wrinkles disappearing
With the best teaching style that no one can surpass
Our Luangpor Dattajeewo
Luangpor Dhammajayo: I am happier every time I think about the whole period of time before and after he was ordained, he has never been lacking in the pursuit of Perfections. He has travelled extensively both in Thailand and abroad to teach Dhamma. He must have been exhausted but that didn’t stop him from accumulating merit.
I say that we have a lot of merit to have the opportunity to listen to Dhamma taught by Luangpor Dattajeewo. He has combined the knowledge and his experiences for many years. However, I don’t know how long he will have the strength and voice to continue teaching us.
Therefore, we must take this opportunity to listen to his teachings and find a chance to express our gratitude to him so that we may share a part of his merit which has been accumulating for a great number of years. He has dedicated his life to spread Buddhism since he was a university student until now. He is a senior monk with many years in monkhood and he is our Luangpor Dattajeewo.