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Mae Chee Kaew's anagami fruition

I would like to share with you all a very inspiring account of Mae Chee Kaew’s anagami fruition, in the context of her practice of kayagatasati, as found in the book “Mae Chee Kaew: Her Journey to Spiritual Awakening and Enlightenment” by Bhikkhu Sīlaratano.

This was brought to my attention by a venerable friend who also made sure to highlight how powerful and remarkable the anagami fruition can be and how easy it is as well to mistake it for the fulfillment of the path.

It is also interesting how Mae Chee Kaew’s account is somehow aligned with what MN119 says about how powerful this mode of practice can be.

Sorry if this is too long but I assure you, it is definitely worth the time and effort. :wink:

May this serve inspire us all to cultivate the path and verify for ourselves the end of suffering. :blush:

"At this stage, Mae Chee Kaew began to focus exclusively on the emotional responses evoked by body contemplation. She had become adept at interrupting the mind’s conscious momentum, and reversing its normal course back to the source. So, she started to use the same technique to reverse the flood of thought and emotion, and retrace its course to the point of origin. She concentrated on an image of advanced bodily decay, absorbing it all at once without conceptualization.

With spontaneous awareness and specific perception functioning together, she noticed an instinctive surge of revulsion push its way out from deep inside her to permeate the image. She held the image in her awareness until object and observer became one. At that moment, image and emotion gradually contracted and drew inward until both were fully absorbed by the conscious mind.

Then they simply vanished. Quickly she refocused on the mental image and its attached sense of revulsion; and again, watched as the flow of mental perception, infusing the image with emotional impact, reverted to its source, merging with the center of consciousness and then disappearing.

The more she focused in that way, the more spontaneous the reversal of image and emotion became. Eventually, on their own, without prompting, images and emotions receded into the mind, returning to their original source, where they vanished immediately.

Mae Chee Kaew’s meditation had reached a decisive phase in body contemplation, a turning point in which the root-cause of the mind’s attachment to bodily form was seen in stark clarity. As instinctive feelings of revulsion reunited with their primary cause, a profound realization suddenly occurred: the mind itself produced feelings of revulsion and attraction; the mind alone created perceptions of ugliness and beauty.

Those qualities did not actually exist in the objects of perception. The mind projected those attributes onto the images it perceived, and then deceived itself into believing that the objects themselves were beautiful and attractive, or ugly and repulsive.

In truth, the flow of consciousness was consistently steeped in a proliferation of mental imagery and attending emotion. Her mind painted elaborate pictures all the time — pictures of herself and pictures of the external world. It then fell for its own mental imagery, believing it to be substantially real.

At that stage, the infinite, space-like awareness of mind essence and the particularity of conscious perception were operating simultaneously.

Gradually the illusion of cohesive mental images began to break down as well. Within the flowing current of consciousness, myriad amorphous forms and fragmentary shapes arose, coalesced into images, and then broke apart immediately, only to regroup and disband time and time again. No sooner did an image of the body appear than it vanished instantly.

Before a particular desire or expression could fully formulate, the source of awareness simply enveloped it,
causing it to dissolve into emptiness and disappear. Countless potentialways in which body and mind could express themselves seemed to arise in random succession, only to dissolve into emptiness, one after another.

Habitual concepts of bodily existence expressed a desire to take form and declare their individual characteristics, but the knowing essence dissolved them all before they could establish a definite presence in the mind.

This insight occasioned a momentous revolution of Mae Chee Kaew’s entire being. She understood the truth with absolute certainty: delusion about imagery produced by the flow of consciousness leads to feelings of repulsion and attraction.

She realized that both were rooted in a deeply instinctive, but almost subliminal, distortion of conscious perceptions of body and form. When the real basis of those perceptions was exposed, completely undermining their validity, the external world of appearances collapsed, and her attachment to it ceased of its own accord.

With the cessation of all images created by the mind, came the cessation of attachment to form. Once her mind had withdrawn completely from all sensual involvement, a feeling of profound serenity enveloped her entire mental being.

Finally, for Mae Chee Kaew, bodily images, even as bare forms, no longer existed within her mind’s conscious framework. Since no shapes or forms remained in the mind to be grasped, Mae Chee Kaew knew she could never be reborn in the realms of form again.

The mind’s usual sense of physical limitation and embodiment completely disappeared. She felt her being dissolve, expand outward and merge with all things, as though forming one essence with the universe; resting within, unfettered by any dependency, was a supreme emptiness — clear, bright and still."
pages 184 - 187

As a topics for discussion I suggest:

  • Does anyone know of similar / comparable contemporary accounts of such or similar fruition?
  • It is not uncommon to read things like this coming from the Thai forest tradition. How common is it to find similar sort of accounts by accomplished practitioners from the Sinhalese , Burmese, Tibetan or Chinese Buddhist traditions?
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i think the mae chee kaew book was based on maha boowas thai account of mae chee in ajahn mun’s biography, and dick silaratano explanded on the account with guesswork and fiction to make it into a more complete life story (if i remember correctly).

all of maha boowa’s works are here in english, also in english audio.
http://www.forestdhamma.org/books/english/

arahatta magga, arahatta phala maha boowa gives really detailed account of 5 aggregate contemplation leading to arahantship, similar to what you’re asking for.

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So, this means this account should be taken with a pinch of salt then?

@frankk
thanks so much for posting this link. I hadn’t known about the audio.

@Gabriel_L

Beautiful. I had read the book awhile ago but am really glad to have it brought to my attention again. Thanks

1 Like

checking on here quickly,
http://www.forestdhamma.org/books/english/
silaratano was the translator (thai to english, original thai maha boowa) for the mae chee book, ajahn mun bio, and arahatta magga/phala.

as i recall the intro/preface/beginning section for the mae chee book explains what parts were fictionalized to give her life story continuity. mostly mundane life details like what a young farm girl is thinking about her life and aspirations. i think the meditative part you quoted about anagami should be in line and directly quoted from maha boowa’s many works, so i don’t take it as a grain of salt, i take it as an english translation of an arahant’s words. in other words, my guess is i think there may be compositing from different dhamma talks so it may not be exactly what mae chee said, but the composite would draw from real anagami experiences of ajahn mun’s disciples. just my opinion.

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you think Ven Maha Boowa was an arahant? did he exhibit any signs of that or is it just popular opinion? and why specifically an arahant, why not a noble disciple of lower levels? they’re quite rare and reputable too

i have a feeling that populace is very generous in conferring sainthood

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@LXNDR,
Let’s try to not engage here in a debate whether A or B is an arahant.
This is a great question and I kindly suggest we address it in a separate topic.

By the way, as a topics for discussion I suggest we stick here to:

Does anyone know of similar / comparable contemporary accounts of such or similar fruition?

It is not uncommon to read things like this coming from the Thai forest tradition. How common is it to find similar sort of accounts by accomplished practitioners from the Sinhalese , Burmese, Tibetan or Chinese Buddhist traditions?

@frankk

Do you now who the narrator reading the mae chee book is, is it also silaratano? He’s very good. I’ve been listening to it and you’re correct that the author (or it the translator?) explains in what ways it relies on his imagination to fill in some of the gaps in her life story. So far the meditative parts seem to be congruent with what maha boowa’s words.

I am finding the book to be very inspiring and well-done.

Does anyone know of similar / comparable contemporary accounts of such or similar fruition?

I recently finished reading this book: https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/entering-stream-enlightenment-yukie-sirimane/

This might be of interest for you.

5 Likes

There is a Sinhalese account called freed freedom. It is a collection of correspondence between a lay practitioner and her teacher

The letters include her experiences up through anagami (see letters 49-50, 71-74, 84-90)

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i don’t know. i really enjoy his reading skills too! my guess is probably

one of western bhikkhus in the virginia monastery that’s listed on that

forestdhamma site. it’s doubtful that a layperson would have the

interest, time to audio record all of those books.

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I felt a bit suspicious about Ven.Mahaboowa’s attainments after reading one of his books and let me quote the para which made me feel suspicious of his attainments- "The body breaks up and disappears but the heart does not break up, and when it goes from this body it goes into another body, and leaving that one it goes on to another. Going higher, lower, up and down, because of those things which are within the Citta, that the Lord called “Vipaka,”[38] which arise from Kamma — i.e., the actions that the Citta itself does.-(dhamma teaching of acharya mahaboowa in London ,ninth meeting.) according to my opinion this utterance of mahaboowa corresponds the teachings of jains and other Indian religions which prevailed during Buddha’s era which Buddha declared to be of false beliefs. Ven.mahaboowa is literally referring to a mind which is everlasting and eternal which is totally different to buddhist doctrine of anicca. a yogi who’s engaged in contemplation of the mind will obviously experience the impermanent nature of the mind which frequently changes every moment.how can a mind which is always subjected to change travel from one body to another? my personal take on this is that this kind of misunderstanding may occur due to unbalanced meditation lacking contemplation of the mind . I am not underestimating him but,this is just my personal interpretation on this and please forgive me if i am mistaken.

List item

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Ajahn Mahā Bua talk about Mae Chee Kaew

Source: http://dhammadafloresta.org/2017/05/ajahn-maha-bua-fala-sobre-me-chi-keu/

:anjal:

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There is Amy Schmidt’s book on Dipa Ma.

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Ghosts of the Mountain - Mae Chee Kaew

All realms of consciousness, and all living beings
originate from the mind. Because of that, it’s far
better that you focus exclusively on your own
mind. There you will find the whole universe.

Under Ajaan Khamphan’s leadership, the monastery at Phu Gao
Mountain developed into a vibrant spiritual environment where
monks and nuns focused diligently on their meditation practice.
Ajaan Khamphan had lived under Ajaan Sao’s tutelage for several
years, and he directed monastic affairs in the same spirit that his
famous mentor had. At Phu Gao Mountain, a harmonious sense of
fraternity prevailed, everyone living together in unity. The sight of
the monks peacefully walking to the village for alms each morning
was impressive. The nuns would remain at the monastery, gathered in
the open-air kitchen to cook rice and prepare simple dishes to augment
the food from the monks’ daily alms gathering. The villagers
had constructed a long bench at the monastery’s entrance. Here the
nuns stood and placed the food they had prepared into the monks’
bowls on their return from the village. Back in the monastery, at
the main sala, the monks ate together in silence, seated according to

seniority. Having received a blessing, the nuns retired to their quarters
to have their meal — also in silence and according to seniority.
When the monks finished eating, each monk washed his bowl, dried
it thoroughly, replaced its cloth covering, and put it neatly away. The
women washed the dishes and the cooking utensils, put everything
neatly away and swept the kitchen area clean.
Once the morning duties were complete, all the monastics returned
to the secluded environment of their small huts, where they
concentrated on meditation, either walking or sitting. The monks and
nuns remained in the forest until four p.m. when the afternoon chores
began. Upon returning from the forest, they first swept the monastery
grounds.When sweeping was finished, they worked together to carry
water from the nearby pools to fill the various water vessels: water for
drinking, water for washing feet, and water for washing alms bowls
and cooking pots. After a quick bath, they resumed their meditation.
On nights when no meeting was scheduled, they continued to practice
late into the night before retiring.
Normally, Ajaan Khamphan called a general meeting of the
monks and nuns once a week, on lunar observance days. Convening at
dusk, the whole assembly chanted in unison, intoning sacred verses in
praise of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. After the soft resonance
of their voices receded, Ajaan Khamphan delivered an inspiring
discourse on meditation practice. When he finished speaking, he
addressed any questions or doubts expressed by his disciples, and
advised them about how they could move their meditation forward.
If pressing questions arose on other days, they could seek his personal
advice at any convenient time.

Ajaan Khamphan maintained an exemplary mode of practice that
inspired reverence in his disciples. He was gentle and gracious, possessing
an unassuming manner that was always simple and down-toearth.
His spiritual practice and virtuous conduct reflected a truly
calm and peaceful frame of mind. He was highly skilled at attaining
states of deep meditative calm, and very knowledgeable about the diversity
of phenomena that could be experienced in samādhi. Because
of this, his meditative skills were compatible with Mae Chee Kaew’s
own innate abilities. His mind converged into states of deep samādhi
with consummate ease, resulting in extensive contact with beings of
the spirit realm. Mae Chee Kaew was able to take advantage of his
expertise to further her own skills in the many unusual aspects of
samādhi, and was grateful for Ajaan Khamphan’s guidance.
The years Mae Chee Kaew spent living at Phu Gao Mountain were
a fruitful time for her meditation practice. With each new foray into
the invisible world of sentient spirits, she gained increased expertise
in the realms of nonphysical existence. With Ajaan Khamphan’s assistance,
she strengthened her ability to explore varieties of phenomena
within the many lowly but subtle nonhuman states of existence that
lay beyond the range of normal human perception. These experiences
were so many, and varied, that she never tired of exploring the spiritual
universe. To her surprise, she discovered that some types of ghosts
live in organized communities just as humans do. Contrasting sharply
with the vagrant variety, these communities are governed by a leader,
who supervises social activities and endeavors to keep peace. Due to
the untimely fruition of previous bad kamma, some beings, having
accumulated a wealth of virtue, are nonetheless reborn into the realm
of ghosts. Because their virtuous characters remain, they are able to

exercise great moral authority, garnering respect from their peers,
who because of their own spiritual poverty, stand in awe of those
possessing moral power and authority. In the ghost communities,
Mae Chee Kaew found proof that the fruits of goodness were always
more powerful than the effects of evil. By the power of virtue alone,
one individual is capable of governing a large community.
Mae Chee Kaew also found that the ghost communities were not
segregated into groups or castes. Instead, their social hierarchy adhered
strictly to the order dictated by the specific consequences of
each ghost’s kamma, making it impossible for them to hold the kind
of prejudices that people do. The nature of their ghostly existence,
and their social status relative to one another, was always the appropriate
retribution for their past misdeeds.
Occasionally, the chief ghost guided Mae Chee Kaew on a tour
of his domain, and described the living conditions of different types
of ghosts. She was informed that the ghost world has its share of
hooligans, too. Bad characters, who cause caused disturbances, were
rounded up and imprisoned in an enclosure that humans would call a
“jail”. He emphasized that the imprisoned ghosts were mean-hearted
types, who had unduly disturbed the peace of others, and were sentenced
and jailed according to the severity of their offenses. Those
who behaved well, lived normal lives as far as their kamma allowed.
The chief ghost reminded her that the word “ghost” is a designation
given by humans. Ghosts were actually just one type of conscious life
form among many others in the universe that exists according to its
own karmic conditions.
Deva consciousness is another form of sentient existence governed
by the laws of kamma. Mae Chee Kaew’s samādhi meditation intro-

duced her to a rich spectrum of otherworldly experience. Sometimes
her consciousness separated from her body and wandered to explore
the heavenly realms, or the different levels of the brahma world. She
visited the various types of subtly formed beings, called devas, who
exist in a divine hierarchy of increasing subtlety and refinement —
beings who have arrived at a fortunate and happy condition as a result
of their good kamma. She met terrestrial devas — luminous deities
dwelling in forests, groves and trees — who are born there because
of their strong natural affinity to the earthly plane. Although their
visible presence existed beyond the range of human senses, they were
clearly visible to Mae Chee Kaew’s divine eye. She viewed them as
beings of contentment whose blissful lives were often preoccupied
by sensory pleasures. These enjoyments were the rightful rewards of
accumulated virtue. As human beings, they had amassed a store of
merit by practicing generous giving, moral restraint and meditation.
It propelled them to rebirth in a spiritual heaven, where they lived
a blissful existence, enjoying a variety of pleasurable sensory experiences.
Despite the devas’ virtue, their passive nature gave little chance to
actively generate additional good kamma to extend their celestial stay.
Therefore, once the devas exhausted their virtuous capital they could
expect to be reborn into the human world, where hopefully their
virtuous tendencies would allow them to replenish their supply of
merit. In contrast to the ghostly spirits, who are trapped in a cycle
of evil and wretched rewards, the devas enjoyed an upswing in their
karmic fortunes. However, the devas do share one thing in common
with all sentient beings: the burden of emotional attachments that

cause them to be reborn over and over again — without any end in
sight.
It’s important to understand that these realms exist as dimensions
of consciousness and not as physical planes. By characterizing the celestial
realms as being progressively “higher” and more refined levels
of existence, and the ghostly realms as being correspondingly “lower”,
the purely spiritual nature of consciousness is erroneously given a
material standard. The terms “going up” and “going down” are conventional
figures of speech, referring to the movement of physical
bodies. These terms have very little in common with the flow of
consciousness, whose subtle motion is beyond temporal comparisons.
Physically moving up and down requires a deliberate exertion of
effort. But when the mind gravitates to higher or lower realms of
consciousness, direction is merely a metaphor and involves no effort.
When saying that the heavens and the brahma worlds are arranged
vertically in a series of realms, this should not be understood in the
literal sense — such as, a house with many stories. These realms exist
as dimensions of consciousness, and ascent is accomplished spiritually,
by attuning the mind’s conscious flow to a subtler vibration
of consciousness. They are ascended in the figurative sense, by a
spiritual means: that is, by the heart which has developed this sort
of capability through the practices of generosity, moral virtue and
meditation. By saying that hell is “down below”, one does not mean
going down, physically, into an abyss. Rather, it refers to descent by
spiritual means to a spiritual destination. And those who are able to
observe the heavens and the realms of hell do so by virtue of their
own internal spiritual faculties.

For those skilled in the mysteries of the samādhi, psychic communication
is as normal as any other aspect of human experience.
Arising from the flow of consciousness, the essential message is
transmitted in the language of the heart as fully-formed ideas,
which the inquiring individual understands as clearly as if they were
words in conventional language. Each thought current emanates directly
from the heart, and so conveys the mind’s true feelings, and
precise meaning, eliminating the need for further clarification. Verbal
conversation is also a medium of the heart; but its nature is such
that spoken words often fail to reflect the heart’s true feelings, so
mistakes are easily made in communicating its precise intent. This
incongruity is eliminated by using direct heart-to-heart communication.

Source: http://www.forestdhamma.org/ebooks/english/pdf/Mae_Chee_Kaew.pdf

:anjal:

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Hey, the text is truncated, really hard to read, too long of an extract to engage others to read. I would kindly suggest adjusting and shortening it my friend! :slight_smile:

I copied and pasted

Simple, it’s okay.

:anjal:

The following accounts seems very Abhidhamma.

You’ve mentioned about ‘Kalapas’. A rupa -Kalapa is the most basic form of existence of matter.Each Kalapa ( meaning ‘bundle’: group) contains the four great elements plus colour, odour, taste and nutritive essence. When the ‘bare-octad’ is combined with the life faculty and the ‘body sensitivity’ , the ‘body decad’ is formed, which is the base for the body sense, spread …

???
I don’t recall saying anything about kalapas.