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There are gods, miracles do happen

Ajahn Brahmavamso

Excerpts from an inspirational discourse by Ven. Ajahn Brahmavamso (Abbot of Bodhinyana Monastry in Western Australia) at Maharagama Vajiraghnana Dharmayathanaya on Sunday 13th February 2005.

I knew an American who wanted to become a Buddhist monk. He heard that in Thailand he could get ordained.

So he went to Thailand and put up in a small hotel in Bangkok. But he did not know where to go to get the ordination. So he asked a person (a helper) working in the hotel where to go to get ordained as a Buddhist monk.

The helper of the hotel told him to go to Wat Pho temple in Bangkok (where men in Bangkok went to get temporary ordination). He told the American "go early in the morning and offer some fruits to a monk who will come for morning alms and ask for ordination. Then he will ordain you".

Accordingly the American went out early next morning to the temple with some fruit to offer to the first monk who would come. In his haste he had gone very early, at about 04.30 a.m.

The gates of the temple were locked. So he started to pace up and down near the entrance until the monks would come out from where they were meditating in the forest nearby, for their morning alms.

As he was pacing to and fro, a Thai man dressed in oriental attire came up to him and asked him in perfect English what he was about.

When he had said what he was about, the Thai man told him "I will take you inside and show you the inside of the temple". He then took a bunch of large keys from his waist and opened the iron gate. Then asking the American to follow him, he went up to the main door of the temple and opened it with a key from the bundle he had.

As he went in he switched on the lights, and the American saw a most beautiful shrine room with very bright pictures adorning the walls. He took the American to each one of the pictures and explained what each one meant.

After conducting him around the shrine room in this manner, he then switched off the lights and locked up the door. After coming out he told the American, now it is almost the time that the monks will come out for their morning alms, offer your fruit and ask to be ordained. He then went out of the temple and disappeared.

After a while the American saw a monk appearing with a begging bowl. He went up to the monk offered the fruit and asked to be ordained. The monk accepted the fruit and the American was ordained. Unfortunately for the American (who was now a monk) the Thai monks in the temple where he stayed spoke very little or no English.

After staying in the temple for a while, he one day asked leave of his teacher to go to another monk who knew better English for instructions. Then his teacher said that there was no other monk who could speak better English. He himself spoke the best English in the place.

Then the American monk remembered the Thai man whom he met before he asked for ordination. He told his teacher "There was a man I met here on the day I asked to be ordained who spoke perfect English, could I not seek his services as a translator?". The teacher was a bit surprised and asked details of this man from his pupil.

After listening to the story, he said "That is impossible! only the Sangha-Raja of Thailand has the keys to that shrine room. That is the place where the kings come for temporary ordination." So the American monk was taken to the Sangha-Raja of Thailand and asked to narrate the story once again. When he described the pictures and the stories he heard relating to the pictures inside the shrine room, the Sangha-Raja could not doubt his story. He was taken inside the shrine room to narrate the story and was asked how the Thai man had looked.

On looking around the pictures on the wall once more, the American monk saw to his surprise that the picture of the man he saw was adorning the wall. He pointed to the picture and said "that is the man".

It was the picture of King Rama I who had passed away many years ago. As such it was established that the American monk had met a God or Devatha who was formerly the King Rama I of Thailand who had also built that temple.

I have known this American monk, and I know that this story is true. Therefore it is true that there are Gods, It is true that they exist, even today. Not only in Thailand, but in Sri Lanka as well, even in Australia where I live presently.

A personal experience

I can tell you another story, a personal experience of mine in recent times. The Buddhist Society of Western Australia was getting ready for Vesak Celebrations one day.

Preparations got underway to hold open air celebrations in the night on Vesak day at a Central location in Perth. With just a few days to go we got to hear that the weather forecast was not good for Vesak day and night. It was forecasted that there would be severe storms.

As the days closed in the people who got together to organize the show were very doubtful of going ahead. Many requests came to me as president of the Buddhist Society of Perth to cancel it.

Continued faith

We had invited the Prime Minister to come as a special invitee amongst many other special guests. There were many calls asking me whether it would not be cancelled. But I continued to have faith.

Though people were surprised at my resolution, I decided to go ahead with the celebration despite the requests to cancel it from many quarters.

The day dawned with very cloudy skies. As the day advanced the conditions did not improve. It started to rain heavily and continued on to the evening. We heard over the news that the weather conditions were quite bad in surrounding areas as well.

It was worse than what the forecasts also predicted. However as night time advanced, and it was approaching to the time that we wanted to commence the celebrations the storm ceased and the sky cleared as if by magic. The full moon came out in all its splendour and illuminated the scene of the celebrations.

Vesak celebration

All those who gathered there that day had a most peaceful and serene Vesak celebration. Perfect weather prevailed until the celebrations were over and everyone went away to their homes. Thereafter the storm recommenced. And we got to know that even during the time of the celebration the storm had been raging in the surrounding areas.

I know that this miracle was aided with the help of the Devathas, who enabled us to have the Vesak Celebrations without any hindrance.

Therefore it is not a lie that Gods do exist, and they do assist the pure followers of the Dhamma.


Source: Daily News, Sri Lanka, 23-03-2005, www.dailynews.lk

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last updated: 02-04-2005