Luang Pu Dun Bio – The three motiveless things of the heart


May all the merit from this translation be dedicated to my parents, Richard G. and Vivian Johnson.


The Dhamma talks and quotes which have been printed here in this book are all translated from the book “Atulo” with the exception of one, “Dhamma Principles” which was originally printed in a small cremation pamphlet.

The book “Atulo”, compiled by Ven. Choa Khun Bodhinandamuni, consists of over 500 pages. The material here presented is but a small fraction of that material but what were selected was the core teachings of Luang Pu Dun. The original book being filled with third person anecdotes and not the words of Luang Pu Dun. Luang Pu spoke very little and there are virtually no other talks available. His teaching method was direct, to the point and often concerned with ultimate truth without much verbiage.

The greatest portion of the book concerns anecdotes and quotes from Luang Pu Dun’s long life. They include the humorous, sad, puzzling, beautiful and serious but they are all Dhamma.

A few words have been left in the original Pali as there is no English equivalent, such as, Kamma, Dhamma, and Citta. I have also left some of the Pali terms in brackets for those who wish to know the original word. A glossary is provided at the back of the book covering all terms used.
Bhikkhu Khemasanto
Thailand, 1998


Luang Pu Dun (Phra Rajavudhacariya Atulo) was born in the village of Prasaht in Surin Province, Thailand on October 4th, 1888. He was the oldest in a family of five children and so took on much of the family responsibilities. In his mid-teens he became a lead actor in the Provincial theatre. At the age of twenty two he ordained as a Buddhist monk at Wat Jumapolsuddhavasa in Surin Province. After his ordination he resided at Wat Kauko just outside the city of Surin where he practiced meditation under the guidance of Acharn Luang Paw Aak. With the monks discipline not being very strictly observed and with his crude duties of caring for cattle and building ox-carts. He became disillusioned after six years and decided to look into the scholastic side of monasticism. He therefore went to a temple to study in the city of Ubon Rajathani..

After studying for several years he came to the conclusion that study offered only memory and not the real experience of practice. About this time Thailand’s most honored forest dwelling monk, Acharn Mun, came to stay the rains-retreat in a nearby temple. Acharn Dun went to hear a talk by this famous teacher and was so inspired by Acharn Mun’s description of the forest practice that he joined Acharn Mun after the rains- retreat and wandered under his guidance for the next sixteen years.

After wandering in the forests and mountains for many years he returned to his home Province of Surin and settled down at Wat Nah Sahm. This Temple, however, was far out in the country and as Acharn Dun became very well known and respected there was no room for all the people who came to hear him talk. He eventually was offered a place nearer to the city and he therefore moved to another forest temple called Wat Rongong Samet. He remained there during the rains-retreats but continued to go wandering outside that time especially in the untouched and deep forest of Cambodia.

For the last fifty years of his life he resided at Wat Burapharam in Surin. With his final passing taking place during his 96th birthday celebration preparations on October 30, 1983.

Note: The word “Luang Pu” ,which is used throughout, means “Venerable Grandfather” and this is how he was affectionately referred to.


When the Lord Sammasambuddha had established the teaching (Sasana) and had developed it into a complete way of life as he had wished, he then abandoned that last wish not to attain (Vibhavatanha) final Nibbana and entered Nibbana without remainder (Anupadisesanibbana) becoming one completely without desire. He abandoned all by way of Anupadisesanibbana of a Buddha. The first stage was to enter meditative absorption (Jhana) progressively to the level of “cessation of perception and feeling” (Sannavedayitanirodha) beyond the formless Jhana (Arupa Jhana).

At the start he did not completely abandon the various aggregates of being (Khandhas), he merely started the sequence of causes that would lead to final Nibbana or Nirodha (Cessation), the last act of his life. Speaking plainly he entered that state which he himself first created and left as a sign of the Way and as an example for the last time. This can be called the Lord’s “dust” of dukkha. This dust is not evident as dukkha to we worldly humans who have gross cittas. This was the path of his citta to the cessation of perception and feeling (Sannavedayitanirodha) which was distinct (from the other jhana) and the Lord’s own discovery and revelation to the beings of the world to practice following him.

When he has attained this state he then withdrew to the base which is the first jhana (Pathomajhana) where he made his last wish to abandon all the various aggregates of being (Khandha) one by one. He had already abandoned the aggregate of consciousness (Vinnanakhandha) of the life and body even before entering first jhana. This is because the aggregate of the first level had to be abandoned first (Sankharakhandha or Sankharadhammas), so the aggregate of consciousness was abandoned. There was then no cause left in the gross aggregate of consciousness (Vinnanakhandha). The Lord then abandoned the inner levels of aggregates, the thought formations (Sankharakhandha or Sankharadhamma) which was the cause of the desire not to attain final Nibbana (Vibhavatanha) and then entered the second jhana (Dutiyajhana) where the perception aggregate (Sannakhandha) was abandoned. He then entered the third jhana (Tatiyajhana). When he had abandoned the innermost levels of the aggregates (Sankharakhandha or Sankharadhamma) he then entered the fourth jhana (Cattutajhana) with only feeling (Vedana) persisting in his life force. This was the method for abandoning life for the final time.

This was the true entering Nibbana of the Lord. He did not enter Nibbana in any of the jhana attainments. When the Lord withdrew from the fourth jhana the Cittakhandha or Namakhandha were abandoned at the same time without remainder. The Lord abandoned the feeling aggregate (Vedanakhandha) in the state of the original citta or the citta’s natural human state. This included mindfulness (Sati) and clear comprehension (Sampajanna) with no other states being present, having all dissolved away, this was his final stage. When the last trace of Vedanakhandha was destroyed completely he was then a “Pure One” completely free of all Sankharadhammas and free of the root of all cause of Cittakhandha or Namakhandha so that there was nothing remaining in the Lord. What was left behind the body (Rupakhandha), lifeless because there is no life without Namakhandha, just the lifeless material. This was the sequence of jhana and the true way of cessation. It was the Lord’s own way.


1. Panca davaravajanacitta: The activities of the citta that are latent within the five senses (Ayatana) or the five doors (Davara).

The eye: making contact with form, eye consciousness arises or “sight”. One cannot prevent the eye from seeing.
The ear: making contact with sound, ear consciousness arises or “hearing”. One cannot prevent the ear from hearing a sound.
The nose: making contact with a scent, nose consciousness arises or, “smelling”. One cannot prevent the nose from smelling a scent.
The tongue: making contact with a taste, tongue consciousness arises or “taste”. One cannot prevent the tongue from tasting a taste.
The body: making contact with an object, body consciousness arises or “sensation”. One cannot prevent the body from receiving sensations.

These five consciousness (Vinnana) are activities latent within the body at the “doors”. They have the duty of receiving knowledge of various kinds that they naturally come in contact with that is their nature. The citta depends on these five doors to receive outside knowledge of outside events that are contacted. It then sends this information to the “work place” of the “central citta” to absorb this knowledge. We cannot prevent this from happening, that is the way it is. To prevent dukkha from arising by way of the five doors we must have mindfulness guarding the five senses (Indriya). One must not be infatuated by these five senses. When it is necessary for the work done by the body to use these five senses, one should determine then to keep the citta within the citta. It is as when in seeing there is just “seeing”, without thought formations constructing. Hearing is just “hearing”, etc., Not thinking and constructing means the citta does not follow ideas with regard to judging things as “good” or “bad”.

2. Manodavaravajanacitta: The activities of the citta that are latent within the “mind door” which has the duty of producing various thoughts of all kinds and receiving both internal and external inputs of things that contact it. Whether these are good or bad, it stores them up. One cannot prevent the citta from thinking on all occasions, but when the citta creates thoughts about anything, whether material things, belongings or people, one must be aware that the citta is doing this thinking and that it is just a thought and not a “being” or a “person” and one does not attach to those various thoughts. One just views dispassionately and without attachment to that which is seen. The citta will then not go out, following the stream of those mental objects and will not receive dukkha.

3. Hasitupabada: The citta smiling without any intention to smile. This means that even when one does not intend to smile, the citta smiles on its own. This type of citta belongs only to the Arahants and not worldly people.
The first and second motiveless things of the citta (the sense doors and the activity of the citta in connection to those doors) are equally present in Arahants and worldly people. When the one who practices is determined to go beyond dukkha they should investigate and understand these motiveless things in the citta (Ahetucitta) to prevent themselves from going wrong in Dhamma practice.

These motiveless things of the citta should be understood by the practitioner because if they are not one will try to force (against their nature) all the Sankhara (body and mind) which is dangerous when practicing Dhamma.

The third motiveless thing of the citta, the self-smiling citta that has no intention to smile, arises only in the citta of the Noble Ones. It doesn’t occur in the worldly people because this only occurs at the level of a citta beyond the illusions of the Sankhara. This citta is no longer concerned with the world of illusion because it understands the causes and conditions of the thought constructions. It is, of itself, free.


One begins with the body posture that is comfortable whether standing, walking, sitting or lying down, whatever is convenient. One should then make oneself fully aware with just bare awareness, not trying to be aware of “something”, just knowing itself alone. One then keeps the citta there continuously, just in bare awareness. There is no need to be discursive or analytical. Don’t force it but also don’t let the citta be free to follow events.

After a while the citta will go out following sense objects before one can catch it. This is normal for a beginner and when the citta is satisfied with that sense object, one will then again become aware of oneself. When one becomes aware, one should investigate by comparing ones state in still awareness and ones state when the citta is following sense objects. What is the difference? This is a method to make the citta notice and remember.

After this carefully and gently keep the citta in a state of still awareness as before. When one is not mindful, not being careful enough, the citta will again go out to seek some sense object and remain until it is satisfied and then one will again become aware.

When one is again aware, reinvestigate and then gently keep the citta in the state of still awareness as before. By this method, it will not be very long before one is able to control the citta and finally attain Samadhi. One will then be clever in the ways of the citta without having to learn it from another.

Do not meditate when the citta is in a state of emotional turmoil. This would be of no use and may even cancel out ones former efforts resulting in one losing the desire to practice further.

When one is unable to practice in the way given above, one should try thinking “Buddho” or any other word as long as it isn’t a source disturbance or aversion. One just continues to think this word and then tries to notice where the word is clearest and that will be the “base” of the citta. One should notice that this base does not remain stationary at all times, one day being one place and another day somewhere else. The base of the citta, becoming clear with “Buddho”, will never be external but always internal within the body. When we investigate this, however, we will not be able to pin point the exact place within the body, making it hard to say whether it is external or internal. When this happens, this means one has arrived at the correct base of the citta.

When one has correct attention and “Buddho” is clear in the mind’s eye, one tries to continue on without break because if there is a break, the citta will zip out to a sense object again. When it is satisfied with the sense object, one will then again regain awareness and continue “Buddho” as before, according to the same method as mentioned above. Slowly one will finally be able to control the citta by oneself.

Remember that in being aware of (or fixing) the citta, one must have in mind the aim of developing the citta to the desired state. This aim is virtue (Sila). Reciting “Buddho” alone, without this purpose of virtue, will be of no use at all and will negate our efforts making meditation difficult in the future. If ones purpose is firm, however, ones development of the citta will, without doubt, bear fruit every time to varying degrees but always to the satisfaction of the practitioner. In using “Buddho”, clear, fixed thought and consistency must be coupled with diligent effort. I have compared firm and consistent purpose to a man watching the sword blade of an enemy ready to strike. The man watches the sword blade thinking, “Whatever way it comes at me, I must counter it to be safe”.

This determination must be firm in order for Samadhi to arise, if it is not, then don’t waste your time and ruin your faith.

When the citta slowly, step by step, goes into calm, the citta’s habit of going out to the senses and their objects will slowly lessen until one will be aware as soon as it occurs. When one gets to this stage the word “Buddho”, mentally recited, will disappear on it’s own because the recitation word is a gross object and when the citta goes beyond this gross object stage it will abandon it. When the preparatory word has disappeared one need not recall it. Just keep the citta at the base constantly and notice the feelings and tendencies of the citta in that base.

In the mental recitation method for one-pointedness of the citta notice “who” is reciting “Buddho”. One should look at the citta when it is calm. Let mindfulness watch the base and when any sense object arises let the object go and continue watching the citta. One should not worry or force but just try to keep and attend to the citta at its base having mindfulness (Sati) there to quietly be aware of things. One should not speculate about the citta as to what is happening or what arises, just be aware. Letting this go on continuously, one will begin to understand the ways actions of the citta. Does the citta create the defilements (Kilesa) or do the defilements create citta? Understand the objects of thought and notice the three types, which are greed (Raga), hate (Dosa) and delusion (Moha).

Don’t send the citta outside. Be aware of the one object (the citta) and don’t let it go outside to objects. When the citta does go out mindfully return it to its base and awareness. One should try to maintain clear comprehension (Sampajanna) always. With the exception of normal vision (Rupanimitta) one should pay no attention to mental images (Namanimitta). While the citta is not thinking about external things notice the activities of the citta in following the six senses.

One must attain knowledge (Nana) in order to see the citta just as the eye sees form. When one has watched the behavior of the citta for some time and when one understands the conditions and causes of the various thoughts, the citta will then be as fast as these thoughts and they will steadily be abandoned until the citta is free of these objects. The citta will then be free and separate from the body-based feelings, remaining at its original base. Seeing this way is seeing with the eyes of wisdom. However much we think we will not know, when we stop thinking, then we will know but to do this we must use thought.

Separate “copied form” (Vinnana) with knowledge (Vijja) by way of the citta (Maggacitta). When one is able to understand that the citta and body are separate, one then continues to watch the citta to see if there is anything remaining in its base or not. One should use mindfulness to watch the citta, keeping the citta calm continuously, until one understands the activities of the citta intricately, level by level. One must understand about causes and results and that these, in fact, come from the thoughts that originate in the citta, compounding, adding to, creating and being born without end. These are the illusions that deceive people. The citta will rid itself of these things continuously until they are gone. This means developing the citta to the point where one can ignore the smallest atom of consciousness (Rupa-Paramanu-Vinnana) in the citta.

One must abandon both causes and results. When one has developed the citta to the point where it is free of thoughts and compounding (empty), one no longer depends on cause and results. The citta will then be free and above states based on thought, being free of all adulteration and called Pure Dhamma of freedom (Samucchedadhamma).

All “debts” are then paid and one would be beyond the cause of birth. When one abandons the smallest atom of attachment, the gross kamma that was fixed, recorded or imprinted in that “Atomic Rupa” will not have a chance at fruition in the future. The debts are no longer increased when (the citta) is contacted by internal or external conditions, it is just contact with no continuing resultant. One has escaped the gross kamma in the former “being”and has paid all debts with no further affairs, responsibilities or ties to cause rebirth in order to repay kamma. Because ones debts are paid and there are no further attachments, the gross kamma that caused one to go on to rebirth cannot again bear fruit and this is called “going beyond the cause of birth”.

One who knows (enlightened) does not say what that knowledge is. When all Dhamma has been transmitted then how can that which is called Dhamma be Dhamma? That which is said to: have no Dhamma”, that’s it that is the Dhamma complete (the one who knows is real but the known is not). When the citta is empty of various activities, it will attain true emptiness with nothing further to notice. One will then know, in truth, that the citta has no form, it is one with emptiness. This means that it has no boundaries or limits. It is part of all things and the citta and “the one who knows” is one and the same.

When the citta and “the one who knows” are one in emptiness, then there is nothing to give or knowledge to impart. There is no “thing” to know the state of anything; there is no state to know a “thing”. When one knows the original state of the citta then “citta clearly sees citta”. The citta will then be above all states of conventional labeling, beyond all having and being, beyond all words and past talking about. It is “Pure Nature” and light coalesced in emptiness, unadulterated and the brightness of the original universe, it is called “Nibbana”.


When the thought formations (Sankharakhandha) cease there can be no “self” because thought no longer enter to construct ideas. When there is no longer thought construction, how can dukkha arise? When there is no “self”, who is there to receive dukkha?

The principles of the Four Noble Truths are:
The citta that is sent outside is Samudaya. (Cause)
The result from sending the citta outside is Dukkha. (Suffering)
Citta seeing citta is Magga. (The Way)
The results of citta seeing citta are Nirodha. (Cessation)

The practice of Dhamma is the practicing of calm and insight meditation (Samatha-Vipassana-Kammatthana) and it is only concerned with going beyond dukkha. In short, the citta is Buddha; the citta is Dhamma, a special state of not coming or going with complete purity and without the need for “someone” pure or “one” who knows that they are pure. It is above both good and evil. It does not have the character of physical form (Rupa) or mentality (Nama). When one has attained this “state” the different tendencies of the citta, or that which is called the citta’s activities, in both Samatha and Vipassana (as in seeing bright lights etc.,) must be recognized as things external. These things are illusions and created not to be taken with any interest or as real. Even the attainment of the meditative absorption (Jhanasampatti) is just something worldly and nothing special at all. This can be seen from the practice of the Lord Buddha who abandoned all these things (dhammas). When entering final Nibbana (Parinibbana), the Buddha withdrew from the fourth jhana abandoning feeling (Vedana), following the abandonment of all the other states of the citta. Finally the life continuum (Bhavanga Citta) was abandoned and discontinued. This was the end of the “cycle of existence” Sankharavattha) at that moment and is called “Nibbana” and the complete cessation of all things (dhammas). Therefore neither bright lights nor jhana attainments or even the Bhavanga Citta should be clung to because they are all things that arise and cease, created and belonging to the world.

This citta is something that is constantly arising and ceasing according to its nature and does not persist in anything, being also subject to cessation. If we speak in terms of ultimate Dhamma truths (Sacca-Dhamma-Paramattha), even “Buddho”, “Dhammo” and “Sangho” are just conventional truths (Samutti-Pannati). The Lord said that he had destroyed the house of craving and that craving could no longer build another house of birth in the future. Birth was finished for him even though the citta was in the same natural state as before which was persisting citta (Thiticitta) and persisting Dhamma (Thitidhamma). This is the reason that monks must be careful not to fault or speak of offences of an Arahant, for an Arahant has even given up goodness and he is completely above good and evil. One should be careful not to cling to some discourses (Sutta) which fault an Arahant for not joining in the social activities or performing Sangha duties with the other monks.

When one begins to practice one should not get involved with the fictitious tales of the former lives of the Buddha (Jatika); one should concentrate only on the citta. One should pay no attention to what one sees, hears or listens to but should only face the citta until one is able to see this citta. One will then enter the “state” where one sees truly and penetrates the Dhamma until arriving at the final ceasing of the citta. Going beyond the conventional truths includes the Dhamma. All senses, which are illusions, and even the citta itself, are all conventional truths. It does not matter what we talk about or when; no subjects go beyond conventional truths. Stopping thought is to stop talk, movement and the actions of the citta. This means stopping everything worldly or the cycle of existence (Samsaravattha) because the citta can only think in terms of things external, created and of the world. Knowledge must have a subject that is known this is self-evident. Whether physical or mental, when that thing is known, it has a state and when it has a state it must be of the nature to cease. This is because it is something created and dependent on conditions.

Therefore, the factor of enlightenment, which is equanimity (Upekkhasambojanga), is difficult to express in words and is, called a “state” only conventionally so that one can understand. In truth the state of equanimity is just peace and knowing. All things are equal, whether animal, person, we, they or even Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha or Bodhisattas. All worldly people and beings have the same nature and are equal in all respects.

When clinging to various views or thinking outside of true Dhamma, all actions, practices and Dhamma conduct (Cariya-Dhamma) are then seen as multiple and different, creating dualities. When one reaches the true state of Dhamma, they see that external things around them and themselves are, in truth, one and the same.

In short, the state of Truth or that which is called “Saccadhamma” is always present and if one does not give up or relax in their efforts one has the chance to attain this state of Saccadhamma for sure. As far as all the ceremonies and merit making activities are concerned, they are things that still create good kamma but for the practitioner, they may think that it is the lesser good only.