When he was 20 years old, his parents arranged for him to be married. His wife’s name was Nang Mee. They had seven children together. He lived the life of a lay person for many years, supporting his family following the customs of the world. It seems, however, that the relationship with his wife was not a smooth and happy one, due to the fact that his wife was never content to remain faithful to her husband.
She had a tendency to take advantage of his trusting nature – adulterous behaviour that became a poison damaging the heart of her partner, as well as the wealth and stability of their family. An unfaithful spouse is like a destructive parasite which so damages the relationship that husband and wife can no longer remain together.
In Ajaan Khao’s case, however, one is tempted to speculate that his marital situation turned out to be a great boon for him, the fruition of some favourable kamma. For had he not been so emotionally traumatized, he may never have considered sacrificing everything to ordain as a Buddhist monk. In any event, it seems almost certain that he began seriously considering life as a monk because of his wife’s infidelity; and that he finally decided to ordain for precisely this reason.
When a wife or a husband has a lover – or a wife has many lovers and a husband has many mistresses – the finger of blame points directly at rãgataçhã, the kilesa of sexual craving. Never being satisfied, rãgataçhã sweeps everyone into its defiling sphere of influence: mahicchatã – insatiable greed. To avoid damaging the lives of innocent family members, the temptation to commit adultery must be resisted at all costs.
Unfortunately, this kind of behaviour is widespread and it seems to increase all the time. For as long as the people of this world are content to follow the lead of sexual craving, they will feel no inclination to view their conduct in the light of Dhamma.
The Dhamma teaches: santutthi paramaÿ dhãnaÿ – contentment is the greatest treasure. A harmonious, trusting relationship between husband and wife is the essential wealth of any family. The peace and happiness of the family depends on their being able to live in mutual trust and harmony – and on their not going the way of mahicchatã; that is, husbands and wives whose illicit lovers consume all their time and interest.
This reflection about Ajaan Khao by Venerable Ajaan Mahã Boowa Ñãõasampanno is from the book, Ajaan Khao Anãlayo—A True Spiritual Warrior, (pdf) p. 11-13, translated into English by Ajaan Paññãvaððho.