阿  姜  曼  正  傳 

 

第七章第二節:經過轉化的舍利

     

     

           

第七章第二節:經過轉化的舍利

    在阿姜曼荼毗後得到一些被分送的碎屑遺骨的人,都將這些遺骨安置在適當的聖骨匣裡,供奉頂禮這些遺骨以示對他的尊敬。荼毗後大家便分道揚鑣,各自打道回府,也就沒有再進一步聽到這方面的事了。直到四年後,泰國呵叻府Suddhiphon飯店與Siriphon Phanit商店的老闆Khun Wan Khomanamun先生,因為一場法會而回到了色軍府。他供養了一匹布給Wat Suddhawat寺,這間寺院就是阿姜曼離世的地方,寺院的住持回贈他一塊從阿姜曼荼毗中得到的遺骨。他回到家後,決定將新得到的遺骨安置在四年前他安放阿姜曼遺骨的骨匣裡。當他打開骨匣後,他驚訝地發現那些在荼毗上得到的遺骨碎片全都轉化為水晶舍利了!他看到這個現象,因太過驚訝而為之亢奮。他趕緊派人去查看在Suddhiphon飯店裡另一個保存阿姜曼遺骨的骨匣,也發現那些遺骨全都變成了水晶舍利!原遺骨的一小部分仍維持粗粉末的狀態;但不久後,也都發生了一樣的轉變。最後,Khun Wan先生所有的兩個骨匣裡一共有三百四十四顆舍利,這是第一起阿姜曼的遺骨被發現轉變為舍利的實例。

        這則奇蹟的消息迅速地流傳開來,很快就有人上門乞求想分一些舍利。Khun Wan居士是一個非常慷慨的人,他很慈悲地成全他們的請求。於是,他一次會分送一、兩顆舍利給他們;他曾有兩次很大方地送我一些舍利。第一次,我獲贈五顆;第二次,兩顆。我一共有七顆舍利。我獲得舍利後立即公開我擁有稀有之物的這件事。我非常開心擁有這些東西,但我的嘴卻不懂得適可而止保持緘默,最後我失去了 —— 一些女人來把它們給拿走了。但,奇怪的是,對於她們占我便宜這件事我竟一點都不感到難過,而且已經沒有什麼好宣傳了,我的嘴也終於懂得適可而止。

        我有稀有之物的消息傳開後,第一批跑來找我並希望能一窺其物的都是女人。我把舍利拿出來後,首先,一個女人把其中一顆挑起來端詳;接著,另一個女人把另一顆也挑起來檢視。在我搞清狀況前,她們兩人都偷偷地把舍利放進自己的口袋裡,佯裝無辜問我可不可以也保有舍利?那種情況下,誰還敢要她們歸還,讓自己難堪兩次?就從那一次起,我已經沒有任何阿姜曼的舍利了。後來,聽說Khun Wan居士因為送出太多的舍利給其他的信眾,自己也所剩無幾了;於是,我不敢再去打擾他。

        據我的了解,Khun Wan先生在呵叻府的商店就是第一處發現阿姜曼遺骨轉變為真身舍利的地點。從那時起,像這樣的舍利在許多地方都有出現,那些都是擁有阿姜曼遺骨碎片的居士以極敬愛之心持續供養的地方。即使到了今天,依然有人發現阿姜曼遺骨轉化為舍利的情形,然而這些有舍利的家庭都非常的低調,他們深怕其他人會跑來跟他們要求分享這些稀有無價的寶物。總之,如果內心不能與阿姜曼聯結的人,將會發現就算是連一顆舍利都很難獲得。只要看我就好:之前我也有幾顆,但因缺少必要的福德去看顧它們 —— 我只好交給其他人,讓他們代替我去看顧它們。

        阿姜曼的舍利有許多神奇、不可思議的特質。有一位有兩顆舍利的人曾許下一個莊嚴的願望:如果舍利能由兩顆變成三顆,那麼他會將這三顆舍利分別看成是「三寶」 ——  佛、法、僧。沒多久,第三顆舍利真的由其他兩顆生出。另一個也擁有兩顆舍利的人也許了相同的願望,但結果卻事與願違,舍利不增反減,兩顆變成了一顆,這讓他大失所望。這個人跟我說了這件事,並希望我能給他建議。我跟他解釋不論是三顆、一顆,又或者只是尚未轉化的遺骨碎片,這些本質上都是阿姜曼身體的遺物,所以不該為了兩顆變成一顆而失望,因為它們一樣都是一種奇蹟,還有什麼比這件事更神奇的?甚至從阿姜曼頭上取得的頭髮樣本 —— 也就是每個月當他剃頭時所收集的,現在被許多地方的人保存供養 —— 也都同樣轉化為舍利。不管是哪一種情形,這些結果都一樣,都是在經歷一種本質上的轉變,都變成了舍利。

        擁有阿姜曼真身舍利的人因為都非常地珍惜它們,所以他們都相當低調。但,若有人以懷疑的態度問他們阿姜曼的遺骨是否真的變成了舍利,這些人都會明確地回答「是」。如果他們接著被問到是否可以分出一些舍利時,他們只會笑著說他只有幾顆,所以不可能再給別人了,以此避免別人來索取。也因此,當時很難找到真的擁有阿姜曼舍利的人。即使是受他們所敬重的高僧來問他們,他們也只是含糊其詞顧左右而言他。對於這些如此尊敬與珍惜阿姜曼舍利的人,我們都必須以同理心來看待。

        阿姜曼生前當老師的時候,其影響力無遠弗屆。他對追隨者所經歷的焦慮感與精神上的壓力,都有非常有效的舒緩方法。許多人都曾說,當他們決定造惡,或心情焦慮煩躁,甚至想殺人報仇時 —— 只要一想到阿姜曼,這些負面情緒與想法就會立即消退,就好像阿姜曼以清涼的水澆熄他們熊熊燃燒的心,讓他們能看清自己的邪見,他們有害的負面思惟就這樣煙消雲散了,這種釋放的輕安感使他們當下很想在他的面前五體投地頂禮。許多在家追隨者也都證實過這一點,所以一定還有更多使用憶念阿姜曼的力量而成功降服惡念的例子沒有公開。同樣,也有許多比丘使用對阿姜曼的信心力量來降伏他們心中的慾望。

        在阿姜曼的一生中,教過數不清的人,他們也因此變為正直與善良的好人。從他成為比丘之後,至少有四十年的時間都花在教導全國各地的出家與在家人。只要想一想在四十年的歲月中,有多少的出家與在家眾接受過他的指導。如果我們只講到比丘,那些有禪定成就的人就已不計其數了。這些比丘後來都成為了阿姜(禪師),教導他們的弟子如何開展未來堅定的路。這一切都肇始於阿姜曼的努力開拓,將修行的知識與心得傳遞給他人。若沒有他的指引,他們就找不到正確的路,更別說去指導他人修行。

        要在心中打下一個穩固的心靈基礎,讓它能合理、適切地固定住,這項工作極其重要又困難 —— 遠比我們以前所從事過的任何工作都還要困難。心靈的建設,就像其他的工作一樣,要聽從心的領導。事實上,善與惡,是與非,心既是一切事件的始作俑者,也是導演。由於在一切的道德議題上,心同時扮演仲裁者,也扮演監工,那麼當它愈了解自己及它與善、惡、對、錯等事件的關係時,它就愈有能力以一種平穩、安全、喜悅的方式來扮演自己。我們這些人,既然都知道了阿姜曼這方面知見的奧秘,就該以不可動搖的信心來禮敬他。當他還在世的時候,我們就不斷感受到他知見的奧秘,就算如今他已遠去,我們仍然不會忘記。我們不禁以深深無盡的感激來追憶他。

        當談到開展人心時,阿姜曼是評價最高的老師 —— 直觸世人生命重要核心的一種開展。一個在「法」中開發良好的心是不可能承受不利的果報。不但如此,我們敢說,一個已經充分開發的心是絕不可能承受任何不利的果報,一切的行為都會帶來有益的善果。若適當的心靈開展跟得上物質開發腳步的世界,肯定是一個真正進步的世界,人們一定能平安又快樂的生活在其中。當物質世界必須以損傷心靈世界來當作進步的代價時,人類的心會一直燃燒,於是乎世界將大規模經歷鬥爭、壓迫、剝削、墮落腐化,像這樣的世界就等於是提前看到了地獄之火。如果你想事先知道地獄之火是怎樣的一個情況,你只要去看缺乏心靈開發的世界就好;也就是不斷受到負面心靈所污染的世界。當心靈被忽視,人類的行為就會出現偏差、不道德、令人惱怒、甚至相當有攻擊性。正因如此,一個被不當的行為所支配的世界根本就毫無幸福可言與值得稱許之處。

        了解到這一點後,聰明、有智慧的人會重視心靈的開展勝過任何的事物 ——  畢竟那些都只是心靈的產物。一旦心靈得到了良好的開展,緊接著它主要的影響力會淨化人的一切行為,於是乎這個世界會在心靈已開發的智者領導下享受著平安與幸福,他們會依循「法」的原則,以理智去努力治理社會。

        對那些聰明絕頂但缺乏心靈修持的人,我們千萬不能輕易去讚美或相信他們,就算他們聰明到能上外太空去探索太陽、月亮、星星。這種世俗的成就並沒有那麼重要;特別是對自己的錯誤或散發危害社會的毒素卻不自覺的那種有問題的聰明。如果盲目地運用這種「聰明」的知識,很可能會導致如動物般的掠奪行為,無情地攻擊並吞噬彼此,並深信這麼做是滿足慾望的一種聰明方法。不管我們的社會地位是什麼,真正的聰明才智是我們運用理性原則的能力,能帶給我們自己與他人繁榮昌盛,沒有必要靠文憑來證明它。能帶給我們自己與他人和平與幸福的思想與行為才是真正智慧的果實;應該這麼說,它們認證了自己。我們沒有必要靠吹噓自己的文憑來證明自己的智商,事實上,這種認證可能背地裡變成了一種不道德的掩飾。如果是這樣,手段偷偷摸摸,但對他人造成的侵擾卻清楚可見 —— 製造出的麻煩到處都清晰可見。

        這就是當心靈開展被忽視時所產生的危害。誰會相信物質單獨的開發 —— 心被無明與私欲腐蝕的人所駕馭驅使 —— 會帶給這個世界真正的和平與繁榮?只有對道德議題完全沒有感覺的人才會接受這種觀點。那些心靈有開發與未開發的人,他們在行為上的差異有如白天與黑夜之別。正因如此,佛陀不鼓勵開發神通的禪定成就,例如:飛天遁地,或在水面上行走。他不會去稱讚這方面的智慧,相反地,他會稱讚在品德方面付出努力,徹底提升自己的那種智慧,不管他是透過禪定成就或其他方法來達到這個目的。像這樣的人,對自己或他人都是一種福報,因為知足才是決定我們的世界到底有多幸福的主要關鍵因素。依著無常的變易性,就算我們的健康狀況或生理需求可能都不穩定,但只要我們的心能少欲知足,我們就能幸福安樂,可抵抗難以承受的生活。

        阿姜索與阿姜曼的遺骸自行轉化為舍利的這件事引發了一些問題。就在阿姜曼的舍利第一次出現的時候,這項奇蹟的消息沒多久就傳開來了,很多人好奇為什麼一般人的遺骸不能也轉化為舍利:畢竟,阿羅漢的遺骨與凡夫的遺骨都是由同樣的元素所組成,為什麼只有阿羅漢的遺骸可以變成舍利?兩者間在本質上有什麼不同?

        簡單講,我個人的解釋就是「心」,或稱做「心識」,就是基本、關鍵的因素。雖然「心」對一切的眾生來說是很常見之物,但每一個人在力量與質量方面卻有著很大的差異。就阿羅漢來說,他的心是無漏解脫心(沒有煩惱、沒有垢染的心),也就是全然的清淨;而另一方面,一般凡夫的心,卻是雜染的心;也就是受無明所染著。不管是哪一種情況,心的本質 —— 是主要且根本的動力 —— 對於身體所屬的各種因緣有著決定性的影響。比如說,阿羅漢的心是純然清淨的,那麼它很可能有能力連帶淨化了身體的各種成分,也因此,使得他的骨骸轉變成舍利。雖然一般凡夫的身體也是由相同的成分所組成,身體的主宰「心」卻充滿著無明煩惱,它沒有能力去淨化身體的成分。因為身體的成分沒有被淨化,所以一般凡夫被火化後的遺骸仍未改變,這也反映出了他的心不清淨。我們可以這麼說,被淨化的身體成分就等同於聖者的無漏心,而凡夫的身體成分則等同於凡夫的煩惱心。進一步來說,阿羅漢的心,他的身體成分 —— 迥異於一般的凡夫,因此他的骨骸也一定不同。

        然而,我不確定的是,是否所有的阿羅漢死後遺骸都會自動轉化為舍利。一個已達到阿羅漢程度的人,在他證得阿羅漢的那一刻梵行已立(全然清淨),但問題是,當每一個阿羅漢的身體被火化後,他的遺骸是否都會變成舍利?阿羅漢與阿羅漢之間,在他們分別證果與離世般無餘涅槃的那一刻,時間上存在著重大差異。住世的阿羅漢,在他證果後身體也維持了好一段時間,所以當他們離世般無餘涅槃後,就非常有可能變為舍利,這涉及到時間長短的問題。阿羅漢的心藉由不同的生命維持系統在身體方面維持著目前的身體成分,例如呼吸。而同時,阿羅漢每天都會在各地持續他內在禪定的修持,禪定會逐步淨化他的身體成分,直到他梵行已立(全然清淨),結果在他離世般無餘涅槃之後他的遺骨就會變成舍利。但我不確定阿羅漢的遺骨,在他證果後就馬上入滅,會真的變成舍利,因為他的身體並沒有受到跟上述一樣長時間的淨化歷程。

        一個被歸類為緩慢且循序漸進證果的阿羅漢,他可能在證得阿那含三果的時候,便卡在那裡停留了一段很長的時間。在他的心有足夠的力量與技巧超脫輪迴之前,他必須花很多的時間在阿那含果與阿羅漢道之間來回地內觀。為了達到阿羅漢果的阿那含內觀過程事實上就是一種淨化身體成分很有效的方法,當最後證得阿羅漢果時,在他離世般無餘涅槃之後遺骨就可能已經變成了舍利。但另一方面來說,我不確定一個很快就證得阿羅漢的人,當他立刻離世般無餘涅槃時,也一定會變成舍利,因為他的無漏清淨心並沒有太多的時間去淨化他的身體成分。至於一般凡夫的有漏煩惱心,根本就沒有能力將遺骨變成舍利。

        不是只有阿姜曼的遺骸很清楚地變成舍利,有一些舍利自己也發生了一些驚人的改變。就如同我之前提到的,有兩顆舍利的人許下一個神聖的願望,希望它們能變成三顆,結果就真地多出了一顆作為回報;但也有許願得到第三顆的人,結果竟反而從兩顆減為一顆。雖然這些都看似不可能,卻都真實上演了。

        還有另一個神奇的例子,有一個在早上得到兩顆舍利的人,到了傍晚他再去看的時候,竟發現已經變成了三顆:從早上到傍晚這麼短的時間,它們竟然從兩顆增加到三顆。事件中的主角是一位高階政府官員,他對阿姜曼有很強的信心,從阿姜曼般涅槃到他荼毗的這一段期間,這個人幾乎在荼毗各方面都極盡安排之能事。一位上座從呵叻府的Khun Wan先生那裡獲得一些舍利,他感念這個人的熱心協助,於是在某天的早晨送給他一對舍利當紀念。當這份珍貴的禮物交到他的手上時,那一刻他感到一股排山倒海而來的喜悅。但當時他手邊沒有適合的東西可以放,他只好暫時拿一個空的鼻煙壺來放舍利。他蓋緊蓋子,將鼻煙壺放進襯衫的口袋裡,扣好扣子,以確保不會遺失。那天早上他離開寺院後,這個男子就直接去上班。他一整天都不時想起自己收到的舍利,一直處在光明、喜悅的心境。

        傍晚他回到家後,他興奮地告訴家人他收到了一份從未收過的天大禮物。等全家人都圍上來看是什麼東西時,他作了一個適合放置舍利的聖龕。他打開鼻煙壺的蓋子要倒出舍利時,他驚訝地發現,裡面有三顆舍利。這一幕更加深了他對阿姜曼的敬仰,他抑制不住收到舍利的喜悅,歡喜到不能自已。他大膽對妻子與孩子宣稱這真的是一項奇蹟 —— 這就是阿姜曼真的是阿羅漢的證明。但他的家人卻有些懷疑,也有點擔心,可能是他早上的時候算錯了。他不接受這樣的說法,激動地爭辯他確實記得早上從上座那裡得到的只有兩顆舍利,他堅稱他是以極大的歡喜與敬意接受,就算在工作中,他仍記掛在心裡,不斷想著「兩顆舍利,兩顆舍利……」,彷彿變成了一種禪修的業處了,所以他怎麼可能會忘記有幾顆舍利呢?他告訴他的家人如果他們仍有懷疑,明天他就帶他們去找那位上座證實,這樣他們到時就會相信他說的都是真的。但他的家人不想等,他們決定立刻就去。於是,他們都一致決定直接出發。就在抵達寺院時,這個高級官員問上座早上到底是給他幾顆舍利。

        「我給你兩顆了,你為什麼這麼問?是不是掉了一顆?」

        「不是,一顆都沒掉。事實上,它們還增加了一顆,所以現在我有三顆。我會這麼問,是因為我返家打開壺蓋倒出舍利時,竟然有三顆,而不是我期待看見的兩顆。這讓我高興到顫抖不已,我趕緊告訴我的太太跟小孩,但他們都不相信我,說是我算錯了,他們堅持要我回來跟您確認。現在我知道真相,我更喜悅了,怎樣?你們還有什麼話好說?現在相信我了吧?」

        他的太太笑著說她只是擔心他可能算錯了,又或者他是在跟她開玩笑,她只是想要確認而已。既然真相已大白,她當然相信了,她不會否認這個事實。這位上座也笑著對她解釋這件事發生的經過:「今天早上我給你先生兩顆舍利,那是因為他對阿姜曼及其他的僧眾總是特別的熱心。從阿姜曼離世後到荼毗的這段期間,他提供了非常寶貴的協助。我一直感念在心,這些舍利在現今極為稀有,所以,當我從呵叻府的Khun Wan先生那裡得到幾顆舍利後,我就為妳的老公預留了幾顆當作紀念。阿姜曼算是第一位我遇見過遺骨會轉變成舍利的人,雖然這種事情在古代的文獻中就已提過,但我從來都沒有親眼見過,現在我已經目睹不容否認的證據了。請將它們保存在適當的地方,並好好地照顧它們。萬一有一天它們突然消失了,到時你們的失望恐將遠遠超過數量增加時的喜悅。別說我沒提醒你們,阿姜曼的舍利有非常神奇的性質。當它們只是為了你們而在數量上輕易地增加,但如果你們不恭敬,它們一樣能輕易地消失。請將它們放在顯眼的高處,每天早晚敬拜它們,它們可能會為你們帶來一些意想不到的好運。我確信阿姜曼絕對是一位梵行已立的比丘,但我不常對別人提起這件事,因為我怕他們會認為我是神經病。你要明白,人們總是容易負面思考,去相信負面的事情;他們很難去正面思考,去相信光明面。也因此,要找到惡人很容易,但要找到善人卻很難。反觀我們自己,我們可以發現我們都太傾向於負面思考,而非正面思考。」

        當上座說完後,這位高階的政府官員與他的妻子恭敬地向他頂禮並辭別,滿懷歡喜地回家。

        我提到阿姜曼舍利的這些奇特與神奇的性質,可能會讓讀者思索究竟是什麼原因造成這些現象。想要從科學的角度找到證據的人恐怕很難遇到經驗上的證據。因為像這類的事情對於仍有煩惱的人來說是不可能揣度的,他們是不可能找到任何一點證據來支持他們的臆測。阿羅漢與我們一般人在身體成分上的差異,清楚地呈現在一個事實上,那就是阿羅漢的遺骨會變成真身舍利。至於有無明煩惱的凡夫的身體成分,就算火化了一百萬次,也絕不可能有相同的結果。因此,顯然我們一般人是不能與阿羅漢相提並論,光憑他的心是清淨的這一點,就足以使他以獨特不可思議的方式鶴立雞群,而他的成就應受到世人的恭敬與供養禮敬。

                     

All the people, who received some of the bone fragments that were distributed after Ãcariya Mun’s cremation, placed them in suitable reliquaries and worshipped these relics in his stead. Everyone went their separate ways after the funeral, and nothing further was heard about this matter until some four years later when Khun Wan Khomanamun, owner of the Siriphon Phanit Store and the Suddhiphon Hotel in Nakhon Ratchasima, returned to Sakon Nakhon for a merit-making ceremony. When he presented a cloth offering at Wat Suddhawat monastery, where Ãcariya Mun had passed away, the abbot gave him a piece of bone taken from Ãcariya Mun’s funeral pyre. Upon returning home, he decided to place it in the reliquary with the other remains of Ãcariya Mun which he had received four years earlier. When he opened the container, he was astonished to find that these bone fragments, received at the cremation, had all been transformed into crystal-like relics. He was so amazed at seeing them that his spirits soared. He quickly sent someone to check on another set of Ãcariya Mun’s remains that he kept in a reliquary at the Suddhiphon Hotel, and discovered that they too had been transformed into crystal-like relics. A small portion of the original bone remained in the form of a coarse powder, but soon that, too, underwent the same transformation. In the end, a total of 344 relics were counted in the two reliquaries belonging to Khun Wan. This was the first instance where Ãcariya Mun’s remains were found to have transformed into relics.

News of this miracle spread far and wide. Soon people began coming to ask him for a share of the relics. Khun Wan was a very generous person and he sympathized with their request. So, he shared the relics out among them one or two at a time. He very kindly gave me some on two occasions. On the first occasion, I received five; on the second, two, making seven altogether. As soon as I received them I publicized the fact that I had something very special. I was enormously pleased to have them, but my mouth wasn’t satisfied to keep quiet about it. In the end I lost out – some women came and took them all. But, oddly enough, I was not at all disappointed that they took advantage of me. And there being nothing left to publicize, my mouth was finally satisfied.

When word got out that I had something very special, the first people who came to ask to see them were all women. When I brought out the relics, first, this woman picked one up to inspect it; then, that woman picked one up to inspect it. Before I knew it, each of them had quietly slipped the one she was holding into her pocket, asking me if she could keep it. Who would dare ask for their return at that point, and make a fool of himself twice. Since then I have never had any of Ãcariya Mun’s relics in my possession. Later, I heard that Khun Wan had given so many of his relics away to other devotees that he had hardly any left; so, I didn’t dare to bother him again.

It is my understanding that Khun Wan’s store in Nakhon Ratchasimawas the first place where Ãcariya Mun’s bone fragments were discovered to be genuine relics. From that time on, such relics have appeared in many different places where faithful people, who received pieces of Ãcariya Mun’s bone, continued to worship them with special reverence. Even today, people still discover that Ãcariya Mun’s bone fragments have turned into relics, though the families who have them keep very quiet, fearing that others will ask for a share of these rare, priceless gems. In any case, someone who did not have an inherent spiritual connection with Ãcariya Mun would find it difficult to receive one of his relics to worship. Just look at me: I received several of them but lacked the merit necessary to look after them – I had to give them to someone else to care for them in my place.

Ãcariya Mun’s relics possess many strange, amazing qualities. One person who owned two of them made a solemn wish that his two relics become three so that he would have one for each of the “Three Jewels”: Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha. Soon afterward a third relic materialized with the other two. Another person with two relics made the same solemn wish, but instead of increasing, the two fused into one, which greatly disappointed him.  This  person  told  me  what  had  happened  and  asked  my advice. I explained to him that whether one has three of Ãcariya Mun’s relics, or one of them, or merely a bone fragment that has yet to undergo any transformation, all are essentially relics from his body. So no one should be disappointed if two became one, for it’s a miraculous occurrence just the same. What could be more amazing than that? Even the hair samples from Ãcariya Mun’s head – which were collected when he shaved his head each month, and which are now kept and revered by people in many different places – have undergone a transformation similar to the bone fragments. In either case, the result is the same: undergoing an essential transformation, both become relics.

People who have genuine relics of Ãcariya Mun cherish them so much that they keep very quiet about it. But, if someone inquires skeptically whether Ãcariya Mun’s bones really did become relics, the same people will answer boldly in the affirmative. Should they then be asked whether or not they possess any, they will just smile and say they have so few they couldn’t possibly give one away, thus precluding someone from asking. For this reason, it is difficult to find out these days who actually possesses Ãcariya Mun’s relics. Even if they were asked by a monk whom they revere, they would probably give a rather vague answer. So we must sympathize with those who venerate and treasure Ãcariya Mun’s relics.

A S   A   LIVING   TEACHER , Ãcariya Mun was extremely influential. He had very effective methods for alleviating the mental stress and feelings of anxiety experienced by his followers. Many people have recounted instances when they were determined to commit evil, or their minds were very hot and agitated, or they felt vengeful enough to kill someone – and the mere thought of Ãcariya Mun then was enough to cause these emotions and ideas to subside immediately. It was as though he had doused their flaming hearts with cool water, allowing them to realize their misunderstandings. Their harmful thoughts had simply vanished. The sense of relief they felt made them want to prostrate before him then and there. Many lay followers have testified to this, and surely there are many more unreported cases of devotees using the power of remembering Ãcariya Mun to successfully counter their wrongful intentions. Many monks, as well, have used the power of their faith in him to restrain themselves in accordance with their spiritual calling.

During his lifetime Ãcariya Mun trained countless numbers of people to be good, righteous individuals. At least forty years of his life as a monk were spent engaged in teaching monks and laity from all over the country. Just think of how many monks and how many lay people must have trained under him in that forty year period. If we consider only the monks, the disciples who became accomplished in meditation and the way of practice were already numerous. These monks have in turn become ãcariyas, teaching their own disciples how to develop firm principles for the future. All of this resulted from Ãcariya Mun’s pioneering efforts to pass on that knowledge and understanding to others. Without his guidance they would never have been able to find the right path, to say nothing of teaching others how to practice it.

The task of laying a firm spiritual foundation in the heart, so that it is solidly anchored in reason and propriety, is an important and difficult one – far more so than any other seemingly difficult task we’ve ever done. Spiritual work, like all other work, follows the lead of the heart. In truth, the primary basis for everything we do is found in the heart. The heart is both instigator and director of all affairs concerning good and evil, right and wrong. Being both arbiter and taskmaster in all moral issues, the more the heart learns about itself and its relation to matters of good, evil, right, and wrong, the better equipped it will be to sustain itself in a smooth, safe, and joyful manner. Those of us, who were aware of Ãcariya Mun’s profound knowledge of this subject, feel obliged to pay homage to him with unshakable faith. While he was alive, we were constantly reminded of the depth of his understanding. And although he has now passed away, we have never forgotten it. We cannot help but recollect him with a profound and boundless sense of gratitude.

Ãcariya Mun was a teacher of the highest caliber when it came to developing people’s hearts – a development that goes straight to the essential core of life in this world. A heart well developed in Dhamma is unlikely to suffer adverse consequences. More than that, we can state with confidence that a fully developed heart will never suffer any adverse consequences at all. All its actions will bring beneficial results. A world in which proper spiritual development keeps pace with material development is a truly progressive world where people are bound to live in peace and happiness. When the material side of the world progresses at the expense of the spiritual side, people’s hearts are forever ablaze, so the world experiences strife, oppression, exploitation, and corruption on a grand scale. Such progress is equivalent to the advance of the fires of hell. If you want to know what the advancing fires of hell are like, you need only look at a world devoid of spiritual development; a world that is constantly polluted by the heart’s filthy excretions. When the heart is neglected, people’s behavior becomes perverse, immoral, irritating, and quite offensive. So much so that nothing of pleasure or praiseworthiness can be found in a world ruled by impropriety.

Understanding this, wise, intelligent people emphasize spiritual development over all other kinds of development – which are all merely creations of the heart anyway. Once the heart has been well developed, its overriding influence then cleanses all aspects of a person’s behavior. The world thus enjoys peace and happiness following the lead of intelligent people who have developed themselves spiritually, and therefore, strive to govern society with reason, according to the principles of Dhamma.

We should be very wary of admiring or trusting the intelligence of people who lack spiritual development even if they’re so clever that they can explore the sun, the moon, and the stars. Such achievements are not all that significant; especially if the intelligence in question is of the kind that is unmindful of its own misdoing and exudes poisonous elements that cause trouble in society. Applied indiscriminately, this ‘clever’ knowledge may well lead to behavior rivaling that of common animals that ruth-lessly prey on and devour each other, believing all the while that it is a clever way to satisfy their needs. Regardless of our position in society, genuine intelligence is measured by our ability to use the principles of reason to bring prosperity to ourselves and others, and there is no need to earn a diploma to certify it. Thoughts and actions bringing peace and happiness to ourselves and others are considered the true fruits of genuine intelligence; and as such, they constitute their own certificate of recognition. We need not boast of our credentials to verify our intelligence. In fact, such certification may secretly act as a cover for immoral behavior. In that case, the means may be furtive, but the resultant disturbance to others is no secret – the troublesome problems it creates are obvious everywhere we look.

Such is the harm that arises when spiritual development is overlooked. Who can seriously believe that material development alone – driven by people whose hearts are corroded by kilesas and corrupted by selfish motives – will ever bring true peace and prosperity to the world? Only someone who is completely insensitive to moral issues could possibly accept this view. The difference between the actions of those who have developed themselves spiritually and those who have not is the difference between day and night. It was for this reason that the Lord Buddha did not recommend that the samãdhi attainments be used for such psychic purposes as levitating, diving through the earth, or walking on water. He did not praise the intelligence of people acting like that. On the contrary, he praised as intelligent those who made an effort to thoroughly train themselves in the way of virtue, regardless of whether they were using samãdhi attainments or some other means to achieve this. Such people are a blessing to themselves and to others, for a sense of contentment is the primary determinant of how pleasant our world really is. Even though the state of our health and other physical needs may be uncertain, following the fluctuating nature of anicca, life remains pleasant if our hearts have sufficient contentment to insure us against life becoming unbearable.

QUESTIONS  HAVE   ARISEN  concerning the spontaneous transformation of the bone remains of Ãcariya Mun and Ãcariya Sao into relics. As news of this marvel spread shortly after the first relics of Ãcariya Mun appeared, many people voiced doubts about why the bone remains of ordinary people could not also become relics: after all, the bones of an Arahant and the bones of an ordinary person are composed of the same body elements. Why is it that only an Arahant’s bones can become relics? What’s the essential difference between the two?

Briefly, my own explanation is that the heart, or the citta, is the fundamental, determining factor here. Although the citta is something common to all living beings, it varies greatly in power and quality from one person to the next. As for an Arahant, his citta is an ariyacitta; meaning that it is absolutely pure. The citta of the average person, on the other hand, is merely an ordinary citta; meaning, that it is polluted by kilesas. In either case, the nature of the citta – the master and prime mover – has a decisive impact on the condition of the physical body in which it resides. For instance, the Arahant’s citta being pure, it may well have the power to cleanse his body elements, making them pure as well, and thus, allowing his bones to transmute into relics. Although the body of an ordinary person is composed of the same types of elements, the body’s master, the citta, is full of kilesas. It has no power to cleanse the body elements and purify them. Because the body elements have not been purified, the cremated bones of the average person remain unchanged, reflecting the impure nature of the citta. We could say that purified elements are synonymous with the ariyacitta, while ordinary elements are synonymous with the ordinary citta. The attributes of the Arahant’s citta – and by extension, his body elements – differ significantly from those of the average person, so their bone remains are bound to differ as well.

However, I am not sure that, after death, the bones of all Arahants will automatically be transformed to relics. The citta of someone attaining the level of Arahant is completely purified at the moment of its attainment. The question remains: When the body of an Arahant is cremated, do the remaining bones become relics in each and every case or not? From one Arahant to another, there is a considerable difference in time between the moment when he reaches that attainment and the moment when he finally passes away. The bones of living Arahants, who maintain their body elements for a long period of time after their attainment, are very likely to become relics after death. This is due to the length of time involved. The citta of an Arahant maintains the body elements by means of the various life-sustaining systems present in the body, like the breath for example. At the same time, an Arahant maintains throughout his daily activities an intrinsic level of samãdhi that steadily works to cleanse his body elements until they also become pure. This results in his bone remains becoming relics after he passes away. But I’m not convinced that the bone remains of an Arahant, who passes away shortly after his attainment, do become relics, since his body elements were not subject to the same lengthy cleansing process mentioned above.

An Arahant classified as dandhãbhiññãis one who attains enlightenment  slowly  and  gradually.  He  may  well  reach  the Anãgãmï level, and then be stuck there for a long time before he finally reaches the level of Arahant. He must spend a lot of time investigating back and forth between arahattamagga and arahat-taphala before the citta develops sufficient strength and skill to pass beyond. This process of investigating arahattamagga for the sake of attaining arahattaphala is in fact an effective means of cleansing the body elements. Having finally attained the level of Arahant, his bones may well become relics after he passes away. On the other hand, I am not at all sure that the bones of an Arahant, who attains enlightenment quickly – that is, khippã-bhiññã – and then passes away shortly afterward, will necessarily become relics, since his purified citta would have very little time to cleanse his body elements. As for the ordinary citta of the average person, producing a transformation from bone to relic is well beyond its capability.

N OT  ONLY   WERE  Ãcariya Mun’s bone remains clearly transformed into relics, but some of these relics then underwent some amazing changes of  their own. As I have already mentioned, someone who had two relics made a solemn wish that they become three and was rewarded with an extra one. Someone with two wished for a third and ended up with only one instead. Although it seems virtually impossible, such transformations actually happened.

There was another strange case where a man who had been given two relics one morning found three when he looked again that evening: in the short period between morning and evening they had increased from two to three. The man in question was a senior government official with enormous faith in Ãcariya Mun. From the day he passed away until the time of his cremation, this man had been extremely helpful in nearly every aspect of the funeral arrangements. A certain senior monk, having received some relics from Khun Wan of Nakhon Ratchasima and remembering this man’s kind assistance, gave him a pair as a keepsake one morning. The man felt an overwhelming sense of joy the moment he was handed that precious gift. Having nothing suitable to put them in just then, he put the relics in an empty snuff bottle for the time being. He closed the cap tightly and placed the bottle in his shirt pocket, buttoning it for good measure to insure against loss. Upon leaving the monastery that morning, he went directly to work where he spent the whole day in a bright, happy frame of mind, his thoughts returning time and again to the relics he had just received.

Arriving home that evening, he excitedly told his family that he had received something splendid, a gift he had never received before. After the whole household gathered around to see what it was, he produced a proper reliquary for holding the relics. Opening the snuff bottle to remove the relics, he saw, to his amazement, that there were three of them. This sight heightened his reverence for Ãcariya Mun, and he was so overjoyed at receiving the relics that he could hardly contain himself. He boldly proclaimed to his wife and children that this was a genuine miracle – proof that Ãcariya Mun was truly an Arahant. His family were somewhat skeptical, worried that, perhaps, he had miscounted them in the morning. He refused to accept this, arguing vehemently that he clearly remembered being given two relics by the senior monk that morning. He insisted that he had accepted them with great interest and respect. Even at work he had kept them in mind all day, repeating to himself “two relics, two relics”, as though it was a meditation subject. How could he have forgotten how many there were? He told his family that if they still harbored any doubts, tomorrow he would take them all to ask the senior monk: then they would realize that what he said was true. But his family didn’t want to wait: they were determined to go immediately. So, they all agreed to go straight away. Upon arriving at the monastery, the government official asked the senior monk how many relics he had given him that morning.

“I gave you two relics. Why do you ask? Is one missing?”

“No, none are missing. In fact, they have actually increased by one, so now I have three! The reason I ask is, when I returned home and opened the bottle to remove the relics and place them in a reliquary, there were three instead of the two I expected to see. This made me tremble with joy. I quickly told my wife and children what had happened, but no one believed me. Afraid that I had miscounted them, they insisted that I come again and ask you to make sure. Now that we know the truth, I feel even happier. Well, what do you say – do you believe me now?”

His  wife  smiled  and  said  she  was  worried  that  he  may have miscounted them, or that perhaps he was just kidding her. She just wanted to make sure. Since it was obviously true, she believed it; she had no intention of denying the truth. At this the senior monk smiled and explained to her what had happened:

“This morning I gave your husband two relics. He was always especially helpful to Ãcariya Mun and the rest of the monks. He gave us invaluable assistance from the time Ãcariya Mun died until his cremation was completed. I have never forgotten this, so, when I was given some relics by Khun Wan of Nakhon Ratchasima, I put a few aside to give to your husband as a keepsake since they are so hard to find nowadays. Ãcariya Mun is the first person I have ever encountered whose bones have changed to relics. Though such things are mentioned in the ancient texts, I had never seen the real thing with my own eyes. Now I have seen irrefutable proof. Please keep them in a suitable place and look after them well. Should they happen to vanish one day, your disappointment will be far more profound than the joy you felt when they increased in number. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Ãcariya Mun’s relics possess very miraculous properties. When they can increase in number as easily as they just have for you, they can just as easily vanish if they are not properly respected. Please keep them in a prominent, high place and pay homage to them every morning and evening. They may well bring you some unexpected good fortune. I am absolutely convinced that Ãcariya Mun was a monk of the highest purity, but I don’t tell people this very often for fear they may think I’m crazy. You see, people tend to easily believe in bad things, but they have difficulty believing in good ones. Consequently, it is difficult to find a good person but easy to find a bad one. By observing ourselves, we will notice that we too tend to prefer thinking in unwholesome rather than in wholesome ways.”

When the senior monk finished speaking, the government official and his wife respectfully took leave of him and returned home in an exceptionally cheerful mood.

I have mentioned these strange, miraculous properties of Ãcariya Mun’s relics so that my readers may ponder for themselves what causes such phenomena to occur. Those searching for scientific proof to authenticate their occurrence will find empirical evidence hard to come by. Since such things are impossible for people with kilesas to fathom, they may not find a shred of evidence to support them. The difference between the body elements of an Arahant and those of the rest of us is clearly demonstrated by the fact that an Arahant’s bones can become genuine relics. As for the body elements of people with kilesas: even the cremated remains of a million such people will never produce the same results. Thus it is clear that a living Arahant is a human being who is incomparably different from the rest of us. Just the fact that his heart is pure makes him stand out in a uniquely amazing way. His attainment is something that the whole world should respect and revere.