I must admit that I didn’t know anything about the Thai monk Luang Por (puu) Tate (หลวงปู่เทสก์) before reading this book. I recognised the name and his picture, but that was about it. A few years ago I read Questions from the City, Answers from the Forest by Ajahn Sumano, and I remember being impressed by what this American monk had to say. That is why when I saw A Deep and Perfect Vision on sale in Asia Books I decided to give it a try.
Luang Puu Tate
This book is a translation of some talks given by Luang Por Tate Rangsee. This monk died in 1994 and is not well known outside of Thailand. He doesn’t seem to have had a passion for writing like Ajahn Buddhadassa, and unlike Ajahn Chah he didn’t have a lot of foreign students eager to translate his words into English. Ajahn Sumano managed to get his hands on some recorded speeches of Luang Puu Tate and this book is the outcome of that. The cover of ‘A Deep and Perfect Vision’ promises that this book is “destined to become a classic” but at first look I wasn’t convinced.
‘A Deep and Perfect Vision’ isn’t a long text; at 96 pages it felt a bit light. There isn’t a lot of background information about Luang Por Tate either, but on the plus side the text moves quickly to what this wise monk actually has to say. The first talk focuses on Jit (the mind) and Luang Por Tate provides a wonderfully clear Buddhist analysis of how the mind can cause suffering. The next talk is all about the actual practice that will help people escape mental suffering. I’ve never heard Thai monks talk much about vegetarianism, but Luang Port Tate is an exception; he provides good arguments against killing animals for food. The high point of the book for me was his clear no-nonsense explanation of meditation.
Destined to be a Classic?
Maybe A Deep and Perfect Vision is destined to become a classic – it certainly deserves to be. I’m far from wise, but I can tell there is some real wisdom to be found in this book. I do hope that Ajahn Sumano will find more of this monk’s speeches to translate because it really does seem that Ajahn Tate had a deep and perfect vision.
The only place I’ve seen this book on sale is in Asia Books. It does not yet seem to be available on Amazon yet.
A Deep and Perfect Vision – Dhamma Talks by Ajahn Luang Por Tate – translated by Ajahn Sumano Bhikkhu (2009) Published by Double-Eyed Cave Sanctuary
Other books by Ajahn Sumano