Sayadaw Pa Auk
I started this book in May of 2004, as a six-page letter to my mother, who currently lives in Armidale, Australia. Earlier that same month, she had received a copy of Knowing and Seeing from our Sayadaw, and I was concerned that, without a background in Theravāda 2 Buddhism, she would have difficulty understanding his book.
As it turned out, my fears were unfounded. My mother read the book twice and found it extremely helpful. On the other hand, I was not totally satisfied with my letter. In retrospect, I felt it glossed over too many important topics; in addition, it did not address the very real need for clear and practical introductory information for foreigners. As a Westerner, I had become aware of this need during my first visit to Pa-Auk Forest Monastery some four years earlier.
I began to revise the letter heavily, detailing the Four Noble Truths in the Introduction and using the threefold training as an outline. I supplemented the text with more than a hundred footnotes, included several appendices dealing specifically with conditions at this monastery and finally added a sixteen- page index.
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