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The Last Door

Vipassana Meditation Master Acharavadee Wongsakon

An important hindrance in the cultivation of perfection to reach enlightenment is the attachment to happiness and suffering. The attachment to happiness is connected to pleasure and convenience, while the attachment to suffering is punishing yourself (such as self-mortification) because of your belief this is the path to escape suffering.

Nowadays, the definition of the attachment to happiness is not even about the constant need to acquire pleasure. For example, an inability to sleep without A/C is already onsidered an attachment.

Those who can get through these mental hindrances are those who have taken the path shown by the Buddha. Once the first door opens, the next doors will gradually open according to the law of attraction. However, it does not mean that the path will be smooth and rosy because we will be tested by karmic retribution to prove our resolve.

When I was young, I wondered why King Rama IX had not been ordained for life. Why did he remain a layperson and perform royal duties instead?

Eventually I got the answer. Everyone, although walking on the same spiritual path, comes from different places. If someone such as a head of state with such a magnitude of power and privilege went into monkhood for life, he was considered to be neglecting his responsibilities to relieve the suffering of his own people.

The spiritual world divides ultimate virtuous souls into two types, namely Arahant and Bodhisattva. An Arahant shows the world how to behave and practice to end the cycle of suffering, while a Bodhisattva helps people and makes the world a better place, supporting spiritual growth and leaving no-one behind.

Venerable Somdej Phra Puttajarn Toh Phrommarangsi said that in the spiritual world, Bodhisattvas are held in higher regard than Arahants because, although they can attain enlightenment, they are, instead, willing to be born again to help others cross the ocean of Samsara. Both Arahant and Bodhisattva paths are how the spiritual world works to help all living things.

Dhamma has different levels, namely basic, intermediate, and advanced. When the first door to basic Dhamma is opened, the last door will also be opened because there will be support from the Triple Gem.

On the day my spiritual insight reached a defining moment, I wanted to shave my head. However, after considering everything, I decided against it. I kept my hair to protect the feelings of my family and show laypeople that it is not an obstacle to spiritual advancement.

Once you have accumulated perfection for the past endless lifetimes and that the first door has been opened, it’s not difficult at all to open the last door.