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It was time to go deeper into the Theravadan texts. I think I mentioned earlier that there was a south American fellow who wanted to become a monk. Well, this guy had studied the texts for years with the Burmese monk who had often come to San Diego to give retreats. I was interested in this subject and asked him to teach me. I mean this guy was a true-believer. The only way out was NIBBANA. Period! I began to understand why virtue or SILA was so important. I mean if you kept the precepts and refrained from killing, stealing, lying, and having the wrong kind of sex. While also not getting too intoxicated with booze or drugs then you had less remorse in your mind and it was calmer. It was simple mathematics. It was easier to concentrate this way. It was easier to get JHANA. And JHANA could be awesome.

I mean if you could absorb an object and expand on it in your mind, then when you removed it from your inner mind and focused on the emptiness left behind by the object. Well, you were on your way to obtaining super-normal powers. The bigger the object and the farther you could send the energy, the bigger the mind powers got developed. The act of absorption was like switching off a light. All your senses would be turned off and you would kind of withdraw to this pure mind. This stuff was way out of my league. And I knew it!

The Burmese abbot was this master of the mind. So was his teacher who was now residing in the emptiness realms. They were great guides equal to the Tibetan masters I contacted in my nightly rituals. I mean they knew what I was up to. The vibe was the same. I had a long talk with the abbot. He was usually available on short notice. I mean he spent most of his time in his room. I would consult his attendant and we would then sit on the floor. The abbot's attendant did all the translating. The abbot would just look at me with this intense and penetrating look. I could almost feel his mind entering mine. I saw that it was useless to hide anything from him. I felt he really cared about me with no strings attached. This was pretty rare in my view. I didn't experience this often. There was no horse-trading in the abbot's world.

The abbot told me to keep practicing. My intellectual understanding of impermanence would one day turn into direct experience and then penetration would occur. Penetration was another word for panne. To then see how moment by moment all was fluxing by with no real continuity. It only seemed so and we kind of attached ourselves to this. I mean every moment was kind of individual. That's how you could switch from a negative thought to a positive one quickly. It was all really hairy stuff beyond anything in western psychology that I knew. I mean this was a direct path to purification. Total purification.

The abbot always reminded me not to have doubts about my practice. Not to worry whether my karma was ready to blossom or not. Just to practice. All my losses had been due to some karmic impurity. But deliverance to the monastery meant some nice supportive karma was working in my favor as well. The abbot told me to meditate on my book and to make sure I was transmitting the right view. He wanted my message to have depth and resonance with the truth.

The abbot also felt that constant repetition of the precepts would refrain me from breaking them. This would strengthen my concentration and purify my mind. It was really important not to be hard on myself. If unwholesome thoughts came up, I just had to see them and check them gently. It was important that my mind not get agitated. Well, there certainly was a lot of that! I mean there were a lot of things for my ego to get off on.

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The following comments are for "Harvest of Gems: The Burmese Master"
by gamblerman

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