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Luang Pu Mun's world

During one early period when Luang Pu Mun Bhūridatto was living in Udon Thani, he was living alone in a very simple bamboo hut in the forest. He would go to a nearby stream every day to bathe. The villagers in the surrounding areas noticed that he seemed to have a very strange peccadillo about this, in that he would always take off his shoes at a certain point on the foot-path, leave the well-worn path to the stream and descend to the stream through several metres of jungle undergrowth. The villagers didn't pretend to understand the ways of 'forest monks', and Luang Pu Mun was so imposing that no one ever dared to ask him about this.

Over the years, as Luang Pu Mun's reputation grew and grew, the villagers remembered this unusual behaviour and would wonder about it. Finally, after Luang Pu Mun had passed away and shortly after his funeral, some of the villagers decided to investigate. They took a shovel with them and went to the spot where Luang Pu Mun had always taken off his shoes. They decided to dig into the path just beyond this spot. A few feet down, they discovered and unearthed an ancient Buddha statue.

They couldn't believe it. They were embarrassed and full of awe at the same time. Luang Pu Mun had never said anything about this, but he could 'see' that Buddha. Not only would he not wear his shoes past it, but he wouldn't walk over it either, choosing to cross through the bush in order to have a bath every day.

It was a lesson learned too late: here was a well-practising monk with a true sense of respect for the Triple Gem, in public and in private, beyond the reach of ordinary human beings. Accomplished practitioners are like this – we think they live in the same world as we do, but it's vastly different. The world is Dhamma in darkness. Not only could Luang Pu Mun know and see so much more than the average person, but in every aspect of his world, he had become a living embodiment of Dhamma. He would never take the easy way, the common way, if that meant trampling over the Buddha.

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