The Ven. Acariya Maha Boowa (Bhikkhu Nanasampanno) accepted an
invitation to go to England in June 1974 together with two other
Bhikkhus, Ven. Pannavaddho and Ven. Abhiceto, originally from the U.K.
and Canada respectively. All three had the good fortune to be able to
stay at the Dhammapadipa Vihara in Haverstock Hill which was run by
the English Sangha Trust. [*] It was there that Acariya Maha Boowa
gave the talks recorded in this book, the only exception to this being
the discussion on 13th June in the morning at Cambridge, when the
Bhikkhus went to receive food at Mr. Benedic Wint's house.
[*] The Vihara in Haverstock Hill Road is now no longer there.
The property was disposed of when the Sangha moved to
Chithurst in Sussex.
The talks given by Acariya Maha Boowa were tape recorded, but the
questions and answers were mostly taken down in shorthand by M.R.
Sermsri Kasemsri. It is mainly due to her efforts, not only in taking
down the questions and answers, but also in subsequently transcribing
all the talks and her shorthand notes and typing out the manuscript,
that the Thai book was produced from which this translation was made.
Translation from Thai into English does not normally present any
special problems. But in the case of this book the origin of it was
the spoken word, and in addition the subject matter is Dhamma which
involves many concepts and technicalities for which English has a
rather poor vocabulary and often a lack of the necessary fundamental
The teachings of Buddhism may in fact be compared to a technical
subject such as chemistry or electronics in that many technical terms
and phrases are necessary, and also special concepts and ways of
thinking are needed in order to understand and appreciate the
reasoning and truth of Buddhism.
When it comes to a question of whether to translate a technical word
(nearly always from the Pali language into English, the reasoning that
has been used is approximately as follows: If a word in Pali (or Thai)
has a well-known and accurate equivalent in English, then the English
word is used (e.g., Sati -- Mindfulness; Panna -- Wisdom). But if there
is no well-known or accurate equivalent or if the use of an English
word leads to more confusion or misunderstanding than the original
Pali word then the Pali word is used (e.g., Samadhi, Jhana).
I must apologise to those people who are not familiar with Pali terms
and who find difficulty in reading a book such as this which has many
Pali terms, but I feel sure that it is far better for readers to not
understand rather than to misunderstand. In any case, following on
this introduction is a short list of those Pali words which occur
frequently in the book, together with a brief assessment of their
meaning so that the reader who is not familiar with those words can
have a ready reference. There is also a more complete glossary at the
end of the book.
I should like to thank all those who have helped to produce this book,
including M.R. Sermsri Kasemsri for her work on the original book in
Thai; Mr. Michael Shameklis for his help in translation of the first
thirty or so pages; Tan Suchard (Bhikkhu Abhijato) for helping to
correct many many translation mistakes, and to Tan Chris (Bhikkhu
Cittobhaso) for typing out the manuscript.
Wat Pah Ban Tard
* * *
Brief list of words that are usually
left untranslated in the text
1. Citta The heart (in the emotional sense, but not the physical
heart), the "one who knows" (but often knows wrongly).
The nearest English equivalent is the word "mind," except
that "mind" is usually understood as being the thinking,
reasoning apparatus located in the head, which is too
narrow a meaning for the word "Citta".
2. Dhamma (i) the ultimate meaning is that basis which is behind
all phenomena and is thus the truth. It is unchanging and
is thus not knowable by that which is impermanent.
(ii) in the sense of Buddha Dhamma, meaning those
practices and ways of behaviour that conforms to Dhamma
and lead one towards Dhamma.
3. Dukkha Discontent, Dissatisfaction, Suffering, Pain, Anguish.
Dukkha is a very broad and general term covering all
those things that are unpleasant, irritating and
4. Kilesas Those defiling states arising from greed, hate, and
delusion which constantly tend to lead us against Dhamma.
5. Nibbana That state of the Citta in which all the Kilesas and
Dukkha have been eradicated.
6. Samadhi Absorption of the mind when concentrating one pointedly
on an object. It has many levels and few people know more
than the initial stages of it.
7. Tan Acharn Tan is a Thai word meaning Venerable. Acharn is also
Thai and derived from Acariya -- teacher.
8. Vimutti Freedom, Liberation, in the sense of freedom from the
Kilesas, Dukkha, and attachment to the mundane relative
* * * * * * * *