Let me tell you something, My Children!

Narrated by Venerable Dr. Dhammasami
for his beloved mother, Madam Nang Swe (1926-2008)
who passed away on 20th August 2008.


i. Mum’s Love

ii. Let me tell you something, My Children!

iii. We bow to you, Mum

(i). Mum’s Love

Are you going to tell us something?
Please, do, Mum!
But, before you say anything, we just want to let you know
how much we all love you…
you mean the world to us.

Mum, your love for us is so very great.
You have been looking after us since we were born,
sharing with all our disappointments and joys in every
minutes of our life.
When the first of us have learnt how to walk, the second one takes up his or her place,
At all time needing your caring attention and help even just to walk.
Altogether to eight of us this treasured life you have very
kindly given,
When an older one is just about to stand on his feet,
a younger one then arrives,
all the time demanding of you a constant hug and cuddle.

Your loving care sees no end.
Even when all of us have all but grown up,
You still go on as ever with your concern and anxiety for us,
your children,
If we will have enough to lead a life of comfort and dignity in society,
If we can stand by ourselves in life,
If we will be able to distinguish right from wrong,
If our family life is working,
If we get on with each other,
And, finally, if we understand the valuable teaching of the Lord Buddha.

Your metta is boundless.
Even when all of us have all but grown up,
You still express oceans of concern and anxiety for us,
your children,
We now realise that those concerns and anxieties
Did originate from a well of selfless love.

Mum, you have really worked so hard for us.
Holding us, as you work in the rice-field;
Holding us, as you toil the soil;
Holding us, as you go to the market;
Holding us, as you work at home;
Holding us, as you fetch water;
Holding us, as you bring the fire-woods.
Even while putting us to bed, you do not stop work,
often packing the indigenous medicines Daddy produces.
Your milk is our best stable diet.
The food you feed is nutritious.
Your back is our best ride.
Your lap is our most comfortable bed.
The gentle songs you whisper into our ears put us to sleep,
feeling warm and rested.

Mum, we just want to let you know
how much we all love you…you mean the world to each and every one of us.

^ top

(ii). Let me tell you something,
My Children!

When I was young, I wasn’t sent to school for education;
At the time, in my village, Zalai, there was no education
for girls.
My uncle was a very learned zaray. I never quite
understood it myself why I, his niece, was not given even an opportunity to learn reading.
The world I lived did not afford equal opportunity between a girl and a boy.
That was life at that time.

People often said that “women do not need education”;
No girl was ever given a chance to better herself through education.
All we had to do was learn some practical physical skills,
which in itself was not a bad thing: how to grow rice in the field;
Harvest the crops;
Cultivate dried-land farming;
Look after cattle;
Weave thatch for roofing;
Make strings;
And, weave our own clothes.

I learnt all these at a very young age.
I had to help my Mum, since I was still very small.
By the way, your granny’s name was Pa Jong Nang.
Granny was rather unwell most of the time;
I was told she had always been like that since I was born.
As a young girl, I started helping my Dad, too.
And, your Granddad was Loong Jong Toon.
Before I was really old enough to look after myself, my Mum died.
I felt like being left to fend for myself in the world.

Grieved beyond words for the great loss,
I could however look to my Dad.
But not long after that,
The World War II broke out. Soon the Japanese arrived.
The Fascists took away Granddad for three long years.
During those times, he was a forced labour and was not fed well.
When he came back, he was very much a sick and weakened man.
I tried my best to take care of him.
I was only fourteen and the only child.
But not long, he also passed away, leaving me,
Nang Swe, behind, Just when I needed him most.
I was now by myself; life seemed cruel and unkind to me.
I would have to take everything alone whatever life threw at me.
Oh, is this the very nature of life?

A rice-field, a bamboo-house and
Fourteen buffaloes were my inheritance.
Coz I was now a helpless girl, many relatives came forwards to adopt me.
In the end, a senior aunt of mine took me into her house.
Darlings, to a certain extent some warmth and hope returned to my life.
If she could not replace anything I had lost,
this was some real light in those dark hours of my life,
even though comparable only to that of stars,
and not the shining ray of the sun and the moon.
My aunt had a big house and seven daughters.
But, Alas! my happiness was short-lived.
I soon discovered that there I had to work much harder than
when my parents were still alive.
Moreover, I had no idea what to do with my buffaloes,
my crops already harvested and my field. In fact,
I no longer had control over them.
All I had to do was fetch water and prepare dinner
for the whole family.
But, excuse me! that wasn’t an easy job.
Each day the routine involved hours of pounding grains
of rice to produce rice ready to cook.
Imagine, a fourteen years old girl had to do that for
a family of nine!
That was how life was treating me.

I felt very upset and low. Fearful and confused at times.
I just became so fed up with life.
But I did not know what to do. I could not think for myself.

“No matter what happens in your life, if you have good
intention and positive outlook,
Any thing you undertake will one day bring desirable results”.
That was my Dad’s advice and with that I tried to remind myself to be strong.
That was how I sustained myself.
I was actually beginning to say to myself that by the power
of my good intention,
May I be reborn in the city of Laikha where I can pay
homage to the holy Mahamuni Buddha Temple.
I had never been to that great temple.
I rather wanted to visit it.
Luckily, one day there was a chance for me to begin a new life.
My uncle who was a zaray was staying in the suburb of Laikha.
He knew this city of the great saopha well.
“Do you want to come and stay with us, Swe?”
“Oh, yes. Why not, uncle!” I was so over the moon.
The village Wan Ho Fai was in the suburb of Laikha.
I could visit the great Mahamuni Buddha;
actually, one could see it from the village,
just across the beautiful Nong Kham lake.
No problem. Yes, I could not bring my buffaloes with me
coz I just left without telling my aunt. But I had some skills.
I was confident enough to settle here.

A few years passed.
There was a widower with two toddler sons from
a nearby village, Nong Pang.
He asked me to marry him.
It suddenly appeared to me that that must be my destination.
Never mind, a step-mother’s life!
So, with the permission of my uncle, we became married.
Loong Zang Kham Aw, your Dad, was known as a kind person and
was earning his living at the time as a goldsmith.
I heard he was born in Tang Yarn and grew up in Laikha.
Well, I’d better leave my marriage totally in the hand of destiny.
This was how I came to belong to Nong Pang.
The village is situated close to the Mahamuni Temple,
just a cross the field.
Nong Pan people have a monastery called Ho Loi where
the pagodas are older than any pagoda either in Mandalay or Taunggyi.

As times advanced, we came to be blessed with children,
one after another.
Eight in all.
It was no longer enough to feed all of you with the existing income.
Your Dad had already given up being a goldsmith;
he said he came to be doubtful if that vocation was a right and ethical livelihood.
I had to do extra jobs to feed you all: I sold tofu in the Laikha market.
I had to be up so early;
I carried by myself kilos of tofu, firewood to warm it up,
sauces, a pan and some plates to the market.
I even carried any one of you whoever happened to be the youngest.
Walking all the way from Nong Pang, crossing the field and Nam Teng River,
up the hills near Wat Jong Oot Monastery.
I often complained of tiredness, but never of my responsibility.
As a mother I had no choice. Many of you kids to look after.
I had to provide for your needs.

Just over two decades had elapsed, and through hard work,
our family attained some standing in the village.
But that was almost the time we had to move again to a new place.
I had moved a couple of times before, from Zalai to Ho Fai , and then to Nong Pang.
Surely, this time it had to be to the city.

Quarter Number One of Laikha was a good place; not far from the meditation centre,
which was convenient for your Dad coz he had recently started spending three to four months
of the year there. He wanted to learn and practise more insight meditation,
which is indeed what is meant by dhammam saram gacchami.
He soon was elected chairman of the Mahasi Meditation Centre Laymen Association.
That was very nice, actually. I was proud of him for that.
Also, this wat was where all my boys became novices.
But just a few years after this last move,
Your father seemed to feel more than ever before the burden
of carrying his ageing body.
So, he passed away in December 1985 at our home in Laikha.

Myself, Mya, Sai Oot, Nang Kham Ing, Sai Khattiya,
Sai Ganna, Nang Mart, Nang You, Nong Yen, Nong Nu and
Nong Noan took care of him until his last day.
My monk-son lived far away; he could not look after his Dad;
he was not even present when Dad took his last breath.

During his last few hours, your Dad had something to say to many;
his way of saying goodbye, I suppose.
That was to me, some of his children, his colleagues,
the city’s Buddhist trustees and some relatives. I remember him asking the
neighbours to go on being as caring to us after he died.
Once all the goodbyes were said, and, the Buddhist
customary tradition of asking for and offering forgiveness was done,
He just lied down in front of the Buddha in the shrine room and died peacefully.
“I am a bit tired. I am going rest” were his final words.
Rested, he never woke up again.

On reflection I think you children were so understanding to him;
you all behaved well as if you were telling him:
“Daddy, the responsibility for the family and
the ever-increasing requests upon you from the wider society
must have finally taken its toll; and we understand if that has become too much for you.”

Your Dad left us and you know since then I just couldn’t bear the thought of living in
the same place without him; the beauty and peace that Laikha once offered was no longer there.
I wanted to move to somewhere else again but I wasn’t sure where I should go this time.
Some say a village, Pan Garn, situated between Shwe Nyaunag and Lauk-zauk ?.
There were plenty of uncultivated lands that we could till.
I knew these thoughts kept playing in my mind and that was during the time of grief.
A move out of Laikha?
“This is difficult. But what else I should do to refocus my life again?”

Well, if I have to climb a mountain, I think there is no point
complaining about its height.
This is life. I just think I should climb until I reach the top.
In life, each one has his or her mount to climb, which may vary in altitude.
Everyone will say their climb is the steepest and harshest though.

I usually like the challenge. But in taking on the previous ones,
there were many a helping hands.
This time though your Dad was no more with us, to begin with.
Only Sai Oot and his wife, Kham Ing, were with me now.
They were prepared to climb this mountain with me.
Some of you had already been married and settled somewhere else by that time.
My two youngest girls were about to be schooled far away,
in Loilem and Mawlamyaing.
Every one was worried, to say the least.
But I never wanted to give up.
There at Pan Garn, I did some small business,
sometime selling Tai medicines, sometime rice.
I needed to make life work wherever I happened to be.
It is possible to try and derive joy from life, no matter where you choose to live.
When my monk-son left for abroad to further his study in 1987,
I was truly a Pan Garn villager. I was still there when he visited me in 1990.
But when he came back to see me in 1995,
I has already moved to Taunggyi, the greatest city of the Shan State.
See! I was telling you that I did not like giving up.
I am happy with what I have achieved.
Many of you were not even aware that I had moved to Taunggyi.
Some of you were busy making money for yourselves.
Some were still at the university. I think it was my youngest girl who was at Yangon
University at that time, doing physics.
Nu, the elder one, decided to work as a primary school teacher in Zalai
while taking a correspondent course in history.
As I said I never had any opportunity to study like that.
But I have been made to rely on myself throughout my life.
I planned everything by myself to move to Taunggyi.
I was lucky enough though as I had Sai Oot and family
living close to me and now move with me to Taunggyi.
This great city is the most developed of all where I have lived so far.
It is good for everything: business, transport, education, religious practice.
It is just better than anywhere.

Life is just wonderful here.
The monastery is not as far as in Pan Garn.
Well, things have to be like this. If you have to climb a mountain in life,
perhaps one after another, then just try to make it to the peak.
I feel I have climbed up a few myself.
My first goal of visiting the great Laikha Mahamuni Temple,
first set only for next life, was realised and in this very life itself.
While in Laikha, I even had the opportunity to offer kathina robes to all the monks
from six monasteries in the city.  That was very satisfying. A real joyous moment, indeed.
Sometime I just feel sad though when given such great opportunity to accumulate merit;
I often think of my parents; they never had a chance to do what I have done.
In Laikha, each year when my four novice-sons came back for their vacation from Ywanghwe,
your Dad and I always took you all to pay respect to all the abbots of those monasteries.
We did it for quite a few years. I am sure you remember those days.
The abbots of Jong Oot, Jong Waso, Jong Parng,
Jong Ho Wieng and Jong Ho Loi were all our spiritual teachers.
There were kind and treated us generously.
Our family has been fortunate to know them.
In addition, the abbot of Jong Goong Nim was also our astrologer.
He helped us ward off evil and many an obstacles in life.
Darlings, this is Sangham saram gacchami,
“I take refuge in the Sangha”.

We owe those abbots a great deal for their kindness.

Talking about Laikha, I just miss our relatives and friends there.
Your uncle, Loong Zaray Mak-mong Lao, of Fuiy Hai was the purohit of the saofa.
Like your Dad, he was also born in Tang Yarn and was also an indigenous physician.
His wife, Auntie La, was also a gracious lady.
In Nong Parng, there were Madam Mae Khe, Madam Mae Hom and Madam Mae Yong,
the three well-bred sisters of the village.
There were also relatives from your Dad’ side. Most of them migrated from Tang Yarn.
They settled in various villages, for example, Wan Dok Na-marng, Wan Som-khon,
Wan Mai Wan Haeng, Wan Nong Parng and more.
Uncle Inda was the younger brother of your Dad.
Auntie Fong, Auntie Lu and Loong Nanda were all related to your Dad.
Oop, I almost forget our Mae Khao. The Nun Herng Jarm was the younger sister of
my mother and therefore your great aunt.
She lived in the religious life for a few decades at Jong Oot.
She was once married to a headman who ruled several villages.
Uncle Kolind was her younger brother.
Mae Khao really loved each and every one of you.
She looked after my novice-sons very well, never letting them out of her sight.
I was so pleased that you could look after her in her final years.
Mae Khao was an illiterate just like me, despite Uncle Kolind being a very learned zaray.
I just don’t understand why women were not given education those days.
Do you still remember Mae Khao trying to learn how to read A, B, C.
Her exercise book was hanging by the wall in her shrine room.
However hard she worked, it was no longer sufficient for her to acquire reading skills.
Perhaps, she was too old. But her attitude was that if she kept trying,
she would develop some seeds of wisdom, perhaps in her next life.

Mae Khao was a strong woman, too. Even as an illiterate, she could memorise a lot of chanting;
she was a devoted Buddhist; she did regular chanting and meditation, twice a day.
She was one of the loveliest persons ever lived. Whenever we paid respect to her,
she would bless us with many best wishes; that pleased us so much.
I can see how strong her devotion in the Buddha was.
Darlings, this was Buddham saram gacchami,
“I take refuge in the Enlightened One”.

Mae Khao had the Buddha as her life-long refuge.

I also came to know the great abbot of Mong Nong.
I had the good fortune of receiving his blessing and teaching on many occasions.
I feel so proud of that; it was so joyful.
The great abbot sometime had some good words for my monk-son: “your son is destined to be a great person.”
It was a real blessing to hear that from him.
The great abbot was so busy, often attending meetings in Kaba-aye, Rangoon.

Another great abbot was the late abbot Ven. Vipassana of Jong Pitakat.
We knew him since we were in Laikha.
We became closer to the great venerable after we moved to Taunggyi.
We often had the opportunity to pay our respect and receive his blessings.
It was heart-wrenching when he was suffering from Alzheimer in his final years.
He could no longer remember anything and anyone. No one had any idea what to do to help.
Darlings, this is what the Lord Buddha said in his lecture:
jara pi dukkha, byadhi pi dukkho,
“old age is suffering; disease is also suffering.”

As to the Weluwan Monastery, you know how special to our family it is.
All my novice-sons studied here.
When I have moved to Taunggyi and happen to live closer to the monastery, I feel so grateful.
The monasteries are my spiritual sanctuary.
I am grateful for the opportunity to serve, to learn and practise.
To be able to pay respect to these great abbots is in itself makes my life worthier.
Without them and their great monasteries, I would never have felt happy in Taunggyi.
Darlings, this is samgham saranam gacchami,
“I go for refuge to the noble disciples of the Buddha.”

When Jong Kammathan, the new Mingun meditation centre, was set up,
I felt I won a jackpot.
Previously, I had to go to the meditation centres far away, for example, Pang Long and Loi Lem.
Now it is so convenient coz it is situated just the other side of the hill.
The meditation teacher, Ven. Pandita, is kind and his teaching is excellent.
I feel enormously fortunate.

Many opportunities to serve the holy ones here;
The practice is also getting easier.
Up to now, I have joined a ten-day meditation course
for about twenty-nine times already.
I feel so blessed.

Although I was asking only to pay homage to the great Mahamuni Buddha Temple
in Laikha at the beginning,
I have now been on pilgrimage to many other places in
the Shan State, for instance, in Mong Mao, in Yunnan,
in Kengtung and in Mong Phong, and also in Rangoon,
in Mandalay, in Moulmein.

I have also been to the annual general meetings of the Shan State Mingun meditation
centres several times. It has been a great experience.
The meditation practice I began some twenty years ago is
helping me to be mindful these days. I have come to
understand that life is composed of nothing but physical and mental phenomena.
There is nothing beyond and outside that. This psycho-physical phenomenon operates
according to its own nature; it happens not in the way we wish it to be.
It is called khandha. This khanda is impermanent,
unsatisfactory and non-self. The more one personalises it, the more one suffers.
It is purely an impersonal nature.

When you were all still very young, your Dad and I organised a series of lectures on
the dhamma at our house.
The teacher was Loong Jen Kham.
He explained the dhamma and meditation very well.
For nine days, we learnt from him; other students also came to join us.
We looked after them all.

The teaching focused on the five aggregates, the twelve bases, the eighteen elements,
impermanence, suffering, no-self and the three kinds of circle of suffering.
It was so enjoyable learning. Even an illiterate like me could study.
We served food to every one every day.
Darlings, this is dhammam saranam gacchami, “the going for refuge in the dhamma.”

All along, I have gone to the Triple Gems for refuge.

I am getting older day by day. Lately I have been to Buddhagaya and holy places
in India and as well as in Sri Lanka on pilgrimage.
I was and am still so happy as a pilgrim.
I think I am a blessed person.
Although I do not like Indian and Sri Lankan foods,
having been to those Buddhist sacred places has been the real achievement of my life.
I believe I have good kamma.
Some of the places I have been to are:
The Sri Mahabodhi Temple where Prince Sidhattha attained enlightenment;
Dungagiri where Prince Sidhattha followed the wrong
practice of self-torture before his enlightenment;
Sarvasti where the Buddha spent about twenty-one year teaching;
Rajgaha, where the Buddha spent a considerable number of years debating with
Jainism and teaching, for instance,
in the Weluwan Monastery;
Delhi where the Buddha taught the famous Satipatthana-sutta;
Baranasi where the Buddha delivered his first lecture in the Deer Park;
Kusinara where the Lord Buddha attained mahaparinibbana.
I went to those places with my youngest girl and monk-son.
Wherever I went, there were people keen to help and be friends.

This year, my pilgrimage to Buddhagaya is even greater.
I met the Venerable Father Khruva Boonchoom to whom I offered a special set of
robes made of lotus. I just felt so great for that.
This is my second to Buddhagaya.
But only during the first trip that I went to Sri Lanka.
There the monks from here studying for a degree were very kind. I even thought
that even without Saokhu I might be able to make it there for the second time, as
they made me feel so welcome and warm. Look what they did for me!
Some of them gave “mae tao” pineapple; some cooked me Tai vegetables.
I cannot even remember most of the foods they gave me.

Even in Singapore, I considered myself mainly as a pilgrim.
One day I briefly wore brown suit of Zen meditators and joined the Chinese
Buddhist devotees walking in circle, chanting namo amitopho.
Saokhu’s devotees took me out for meals every day.
They had only vegetable, fish and chicken; but no rice.
I have never had a meal without rice before.
The first time I did was, of course, in Singapore.

Some days, we went out shopping.
Well, it wasn’t really a shopping trip for me coz I did not have anything to purchase.
Rather it was more of sightseeing.
I was scared of walking on their escalators.
Without my girl and the Singaporean friends,
I would have fallen on the steps.

I had a great pilgrimage in Thailand, too.
The Emerald Buddha in Bangkok;
The famous pagoda on Doi Suthep Mount;
The places in Fang, Chiang Rai, Mae Fa luang,
Everywhere I went was enjoyable.
Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu.

This year, 2008, is another busy year for a pilgrim like me.
Plenty of opportunity to make merit as well.
I was at Buddhagaya for a month and two days,
to participate in the celebrations of the new temple.
I also visited Baranasi and Nalanda again.
Wow, the celebrations of the new temple at Buddhagaya was
so successful drawing a very big crowd for seven days.
I led people in cutting into small pieces the used robes of the Buddha in the Sri Mahabodhi Temple,
putting them into small plastic bags.
They were then blessed again by the monks, including the Venerable Father Khruva,
before they were distributed as sacred gifts to devotees.
Those holy robes are kept as an object of worship all over the country now.
I sat for a few hours each doing it; that reminded me,
actually, how we used to pack our indigenous medicines those days.

Almost immediately after my return via Bangkok from Buddhagaya,
I went to Laikha to participate in the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Buddhist Examinations Board.
I went with Saokhu.
So great immersing in the meritorious acts.
A few days after coming back from Laikha, I do not know why, or perhaps, due to tiredness,
I became so unwell that I had to be hospitalised at Tun Specialist Medical Centre.
The consultant say that I have some liver and heart problem.
I coughed a lot, also, while in the hospital.
If that wasn’t enough, I was diagnosed with Virus C.
Well, I came to this hospital coz of diarrhoeal ,
see how many diseases I have been diagnosed with!

But I thought I was getting better and was duly discharged,
only to be re-admitted a few days later.

You all came to take care of me.
Luckily, Saokhu has not gone back to England and was able to fly back
to Taunggyi to be with me.

Once he has arrived in Taunggyi,
I feel that the situation has become better; I am not sure why.
Saokhu is one of those who is in and out of hospital on a
regular basis; coz he works hard and tires himself.
Besides having experiences with many hospitals,
he is also widely travelled.
He knows better how to speak to the senior doctors.
This was already the waning part of the fourth month
of our lunar calendar.
We were still in Laikha during the early waxing part of the month.
I remember we made offerings to the Porana Pagoda.

I have been suffering from constipation for the last five years.
I have to take some pills to loosen my motion.
I have no idea why I cough so much here in this hospital;
sometime continuously for three to four hours.
What machine is that for?
“It is oxygen, Mum, to help you breath better.”

The great abbots come to see you.
The abbot of Mong Pon is also here; he is on his way back
to Sri Lanka. The Lord Abbot of Wat Dhatdaw is also here.
He is on his way back to Loi Lem from Rangoon
where he attended an important ecclesiastical meeting.
The great abbot of Jong Weluwan is also here to invoke the blessings of the Buddha upon you.”

“Sir, you come to see me! So ever kind of you.
Look, Ven. Saokhu Maho also accompanies Sao Sra.
You often come and visit me. Saokhu Maho, without you things will have been rather
difficult for me; you arrange vehicles and many other things for me.
May you live long to spread the words of the Buddha even more than this.”
The senior monks from far and near visit me at the hospital.
I am so grateful for their blessings.
Sao Sra Mongkut, Sao Sra Sukham, Sao Sra Sihanadalankara of Mong Nong, Saokhu
Siridhamma and many others from Laikha also came. Some of the student-monks studying
in Sri Lanka and Thailand were also among them.
I cannot remember all of them.
They all are so kind to me.

One day, I told you that it would be up to you to decide when you said that
you wanted me to go to Bangkok for treatment.
As you know, I have been to Bangkok for treatments.
I was treated at Thonburi Hospital, a private hospital which is next to the famous Siriraj Hospital.
There they have up-to-date medical equipments.
There are many doctors and specialists;
the rooms are also clean and good.
As I have my children with me all the time,
I wasn’t that anxious in Bangkok.
My youngest girl and niece, Mon Kham, were with me
twenty-four hours.

Saokhu’s devotees in Bangkok were so helpful;
Mrs. Wipasiri, took care of me so well while at Thonburi;
it is beyond words to describe her dedication and
compassion; she is like another daughter.

Look! There is a lump in my tummy!
Can you ask the doctor what is wrong with me?
If the doctors suggest that I go for operation,
I don’t think I will agree. I am scared.
Endoscopy is scary enough, you know;
they put a pipe down through my mouth.
Can I not be treated with tablets and injections?
Son, please buy a lot of tablets to take home.
Don’t think of the cost.

Darlings, is the ETC going to cure me?
Mum, this is an investigation only.
We can know what is wrong with you if you take ETC.
As to the cure, I think it would take a bit of time to get cured,
as the disease seems to have developed for sometimes,
without you knowing it.
But at least it would help reduce the swelling of that lump.

Mum, this injection of chemical through a technique similar
to angiogram is called TOEC.
The radiologist will inject some chemical into your veins
and then block them with foam.
Mum, the Father Khuva sent his blessings to you;
he also telephoned several times to inquire how you are.
He also asked if you wished to move to Bumrungrad Hospital.
Darlings, maybe I am not moving there.
Please convey it to the Father Khruva that I worship his feet.
After we have returned from Bangkok for the second time,
I told you that some of the tablets you gave me made me dizzy.
I cannot focus my energy to be mindful.
I don’t think I am taking them again.

Mum, if that is the case, please take other tablets.
The Tai indigenous medicine, boiled from the roots of
some medicinal plants, is available.
Dr. Sai Mee makes some for you.
Sao Sra Sukham has also brought some.
Even Sai Nanda brought some as well;
they are all different but may equally work.

“Then, please bring it; I will take it.
But when Dr. Sai Mee is here, do not bring the liquid from any indigenous medicine.
You will disappoint him. He has been giving me some
wonderful treatments;
his knowledge and generosity are wonderful.
With that knowledge, he gave me massage everyday.
His is not a normal massage.
I feel better now. No more pain in my liver.
That was after Saokhu came to see me in July.
Saokhu came all the way from England coz he was told by his sister,
Nu who was in tears, that I was getting worse, and not better.
But now I feel good and have regained some strength.
After the Rains-retreat, I think I might be well enough to join
the merit-making ceremony in Laikha in memory of the late Mae Khe.
Some time I even ventured out of my bedroom to listen to the chanting of the
Dhammacakka-pavattana-sutta and the Bojjhanga-sutta.
Here I wish to say how much I am grateful to the monks and nuns who came
to do the chanting for me on daily basis.
You know, I even went downstairs to do a little walk.
I think what is important is to accumulate as much merit as I can.
I want to offer meals to the sangha at Jong Kammathan and Jong Weluwan.
Please prepare khao-yagu, the traditional Tai cake, as well.
This could be my last offering.
And, the full moon day of the ninth calendar month is also fast approaching.

Darlings, all of a sudden, my blood pressure is getting low.
This body is subject to change and impermanence.
This is how life is conditioned.
What to do!

Granny, can I give you more IV?
What is the point, Mon, of taking it now if it will keep
changing just like this?
I will cope with this increasing pain by applying meditative awareness.
It is dhammam saranam gacchami,
“I shall now take only the dhammic medicine.”
The Dhamma is the only medicine I have trust in.

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(iii). We Bow to you, Mum

Endless gratitude comes only from you.
Mother is our origin;
With whom we grow up in this world.
She is also the only one with whom we can behave naughtily;
She gives us the greatest happiness and warmth;
She is the focus of our heart and soul.
She is the most patient teacher who teaches us how to find ourselves.
And, she is the one who helps us grow in confidence.

Mother and her children,
Children and their mother,
Whichever way you see it,
they meet in this circle of many lives.
They remain part of each other’s life.
It matters not who leaves this world first and who is left behind,
There will be separation of some sort, in death.
There will also, however, be part of their lives which shall remain connected forever.
Mum, we tried our best to cure you;
But despite our efforts, we have sadly discovered that there is no more
doctor like Jivaka who can wag a magic.
We cannot defy the nature of life, itself which has been conditioned.
We feel deeply sorry and are totally lost.
It is beyond words, Mum.
When we realise that you are bidding a final farewell to us,
our hearts sink to the deepest possible point.
Our hearts are now empty.
There is no comfort we can find; nothing will ease our pains
of knowing that we are loosing you.

Mum, we accept that this is maranam pi dukkham,
“death is painful”
, as the Lord Buddha puts it in his
First Sermon at the Deer Park some 2,600 years ago.

Piyehi vippayogo dukkho, “there is also pain when separated from loved ones”,
is also another fact which comes in the same package with old age, sickness and death.
We, the children, left behind will have to take the vipassana medicine ourselves if we
are to find any understanding and comfort.

We believe the insight meditation you have done for the last twenty years will help
you in the hour of great need.
May all the merits you have accumulated be of immense help to you
so that you can finally find release from the circle of birth and death.

Mum, at this very moment, our hearts are filled with sorrow and intense grief.
But we will follow your footstep in performing good deeds,
especially for you.
We will choose to remember your metta and selfless love.
You have made us who we are.

All of us, your children and grandchildren,
hold our palms together and high in recognition of your great virtue,
love and sacrifice.
Consciously or unconsciously,
if we happened to have upset and offended you,
we do sincerely beg your forgiveness and from
the very bottom of our heart.

May you have a good rebirth, Mum.

  • 29th November 2008
  • 100th Day Commemorative Anniversary

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