As a Buddhist, I BELIEVE in the Buddha, his teachings and the enlightened community.
Buddha said that enlightenment can be attained as long as one practice the eightfold path.
Buddha instructed his disciples to spread enlightenment to benefit all beings.
When spreading enlightenment. The main focus is to help another fellow being GIVE up craving, adversion and ignorance.
I hope to share an inspiring story that I read from the biography of a prominent monk from Thailand, Ajarn Mun.
Ajarn Mun had on one occasioned trekked into a remote jungle in Thailand to practice solidarity meditation.
The place where he camped was near a remote village who had never heard or seen Buddhism. This village believed in spirits and shamanistic folk lore.
The appearance of a shaven head man in strange clothing caused a commotion in that village. They sent people to spy on Ajarn Mun and discovered that he sat motionless most of the time. (They did not know what meditation was)
The village elders believed that Ajarn Mun was a tiger spirit that had assumed a human form. This was because the colour of Ajarn Mun’s robe resembled the tiger’s colour. They were extremely fearful that a mystical being had visited them and might harm them.
Ajarn Mun was already highly realised in meditation and had attained clairvoyance at that time. He knew what went through the villagers’ mind.
A few strong men was chosen to question Ajarn Mun’ s intention for visiting the area. Due to fear, they were rather hostile when they approached Ajarn Mun.
Ajarn Mun had anticipated their arrival and was doing walking meditation when the men approached him. From afar, it appeared as if Ajarn Mun was walking slowly and searching the ground.
When they neared him and inquired the purpose of Ajarn Mun ‘s visit;
Ajarn informed them that he lost something precious and was searching for it.
Ajarn said that he would leave the area if he found his lost article. They could help him search for it if they wish to.
The young men reported back to the village elders and they concluded the “tiger spirit” must have lost a magic item. They had better not provoke the spirit but should help him find the lost item so that he would leave quickly.
The village elders and the young men visited Ajarn again to volunteer their service. Ajarn used that opportunity to teach them meditation.
Ajarn told them that the magic item can be found if they invoke it with a special mantra “Buddho”. He taught them mindfulness of breathing and the usage of “bu” to mark inhale and “dho” to mark exhale. If they could keep up, his magic item would reappear. Everyone believed the story.
They believed Ajarn was a tiger spirit and they had to help the spirit recover it’s magic item so that the spirit would leave them. They earnestly practiced the meditation believing it was magic.
Before long a few of the villagers began to develop meditational concentration and insights. A few even developed power of clairvoyance. Therefore it wasn’t long before the villagers are receptive to Buddhist teaching. Ajarn was then able to give them a proper Buddhist education.
One of the villagers confessed to reading Ajarn Mun’s mind.
Ajarn laughed and asked him what he saw.
That villager said, “BRIGHTNESS, only BRIGHTNESS.”
In the end, the entire village became educated in Buddhism and wholeheartedly support Ajarn Mun.
From this story, we can see how Enlightenment was spread. Ajarn was not too interested in clarifying that he was a monk. He was more concerned about showing them their Buddha nature.
He made used of the “confusion / misunderstanding” skilfully to teach the villagers mind training technics.
A small village in a remote jungle clearing with no contact with the outside world and no modern education. Yet villages were able to successfully attain the various stage of enlightenment by simply following a meditation technic faithfully. Can attainment of enlightenment be any simpler?