“Attachment is the origin, the root of suffering; hence it is the cause of suffering.” – The Dalai Lama at Harvard University, 1988 A devout monk in Phattalung’s Kongra District took the quest for non-attachment to an unprecedented level recently, when he cut off his erect penis, which was was distracting him during a meditation session. News of the story was revealed after the monk, Phra Niwat Kaewnopparat (aka Phra Boonlert), was transferred on November 22 to Maharaj Hospital in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, where he denied offers by doctors to reattach the severed member. Phra Boonlert, described as highly devout by villagers and fellow clergy at a remote temple in Tambon Klongsai, was practicing Vipassana “insight” meditation on November 11 when he was distracted by the erection. He had earlier told relatives that he had encountered problems of “distraction” that affected his meditation, but never specifically mentioned that sexual urges were the source of the interference. That fact only became apparent when villagers heard screams for help coming from Phra Boonlert’s cell at about 8 pm. Rushing to assist, a villager found blood streaming down the monk’s leg and his severed four-inch penis laying next to a small length of wood, used as a makeshift cutting board to slice off the offending organ with a sharp knife. He was rushed to Kongra Hospital for treatment by villagers, who collected the severed organ, wrapped it in a plastic bag and put it on ice in the hope it could be reattached. Phra Boonlert told them their action was not necessary, as he no longer had any use for the organ. At last report, doctors at the hospital continued to keep the monk sedated and under close observation – even though his wound was healing well. People who know Phra Boonlert said this was unnecessary as he had never previously displayed any signs of mental illness. He was only more ardent in pursuing the path to enlightenment than other monks, they said.