On one occasion, a group of monks, following the lead of some other well-known monasteries, put forward the idea of registering Wat Pah Pong as a charitable foundation. Luang Por was getting old, and charitable status would guarantee the financial stability of the wat after his death. Luang Por gave them his opinion:
It’s a good idea, but I don’t think it’s a correct one. With a charitable foundation, you would no longer be depending on your own pure practice. If you all practice well and correctly, you won’t go without.
The Buddha never set up a charity. He just shaved his head and lived as we do, and he did well enough. He laid out the path, and all we have to do is walk along it. That will, without doubt, be enough to keep you going.
The bowl and robe – they are the charitable foundation that the Buddha established for us. With them, you will always receive more than you need. Luang Por asserted that maintaining a standard of simplicity and cleanliness in the material world led to a clean and uncluttered mind. A popular maxim at Wat Pah Pong said, ‘If you’ve got little, use little. If you’ve got a lot, use little.’
This reflection by Ajahn Chah as recounted by Ajahn Jayasaro is from the book, Stillness Flowing, (pdf) p.180.