Word of the Buddha (Part 11) | Ajahn Brahm | 11 March 2018

Very good. Okay. So I think we can
begin now with today’s Sutta Class. So usually we do the Namo Tassa
out of respect for these are the word of the Buddha. Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa Buddham, Dhammam, Sangham
namassami. So welcome to this session of the
Word of the Buddha. And this is a re-translation of a very well-known
book first of all written by Venerable Nyanatiloka and republished over a hundred years
and this is an updated translation. And I think it’s very good that the team over here
remembered that the last time, two weeks ago, we just finished off the Jhanas.
Not that you can finish off the Jhanas. They’re amazing things.
But at least it gave you a description of them. And now we come up to the summing up of the
Noble Eightfold Path. Is that correct? Good. Yes. So remember this whole anthology of
teachings of the Buddha, it’s an anthology. It takes a piece here, a piece there, a piece
somewhere else to actually describe the Four Noble Truths. And, of course, the
Fourth Noble Truth is the Eightfold Path. So the whole book is just a
very powerful skeleton; the main, sort of, framework on which
all the other teachings are added on to. And it’s very powerful just to know
the basic teachings of Buddhism; the Four Noble Truths
and the Eightfold Path. And, of course, in summing up the
Noble Eightfold Path, this is that middle way
awakened to by the Buddha “which gives rise to vision,
which gives rise to knowledge, which leads to peace,
to direct knowledge, to enlightenment,
to Nibbāna. Enter then upon this path and
you make an end of suffering.” So first of all, it’s a middle way because
they always kept on saying it avoids the extremes of indulging in the five senses
and also the extreme of doing practices, negative practice, which literally tire
and exhaust the body and the mind. So it is a happy path.
And it’s this statement: “It gives rise to vision, to knowledge,
leads to peace, direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna”. Those are the five things which
they keep on saying that if something is leading in that direction,
then it is leading in the path, it must be the teachings of the Buddha,
and it must be the Dhamma. That was the saying which was given to
Mahāprajāpatī, the first Bhikkhuni and also to Upali who was the one
who was the Vinaya, the training expert. And so if anything leads to those things,
to vision – in other words, it doesn’t mean not
needing spectacles anymore, it means inner vision, insight; to knowledge – not knowledge
which you read in books, but knowledge which you get from
your own direct experience which leads to peace, which is an important thing here
because people can argue what vision is,
insight is, knowledge is, but peace is something
which you can’t really mistake; “to direct knowledge”, which means your own
experiential knowledge, “to enlightenment, to Nibbana. Enter upon that path;
you make an end of suffering.” Now, of course, Nibbāna.
What is Nibbāna? So they give a few descriptions
here of Nibbāna. “When you know and see thus, the mind is no longer pulled out into
the world of the five senses. It is liberated from the wanting, Āsava”
These were the three Āsavas. Now, sometimes they’re call taints.
Sometimes they’re called cankers. But its literal meaning is something
which flows out or flows in; the etymology of that can be either, But I prefer personally the idea of
flowing out; like the mind, it’s very happy inside, especially if you’ve got some
good meditation, then it just flows out into the past,
into the future, into the world of the senses. It doesn’t stay home. It’s just like going through airports,
which I tend to do a lot of these days. You’re trying to just be nice and peaceful and then you have to run the
gauntlet of alcohol shops, perfume shops and people trying
to sell you electronics. And, you know, they make it so
you have to go through those shops. And it is like running a gauntlet. And people say, “Hello, sir,
Would you like to try” –
that actually happened
to one of the monks once. They had a type of perfume and it’s called
Samsara perfume, literally. And he said, “Would you like to try Samsara
or something. It’s crazy stuff. Anyway, but this is the Āsava
which pulls you out from where you are. “It no longer flows out; just to be” –
this is the being Āsava. And that’s a very profound understanding that sometimes we go out in the world
to enjoy our five senses but sometimes we go out in the world
just to exist. This is as if we stay at home and we don’t
do anything, we just disappear, then we sort of don’t exist anymore. This is the idea you go out to be,
to say “I’m here”, to say that “I am something”. And I did see yesterday; was it?
It was actually at the morning dana . There was a young girl who actually had
on her T-shirt “I am a nobody”. And I wanted to see if she had on the back of
the T-shirt; the last part of that little saying “I’m a nobody. Nobody’s perfect.
Therefore, I am perfect”. That great logical argument. That’s the only way you can have
perfection, by disappearing. So anyway, this is wanting to be somebody. That’s why sometimes people
just want to sit in the front, just want to put their hands up,
want to do something; to say, “Here I am! Listen to me!” It’s actually an out flowing. So “It no longer flows –
no longer pulled out”. I changed the words. pulled out into the world
of the five senses. Each five sense is almost like
pulling you out. “Try me. Taste me.” “And it no longer flows out just to be and it no longer leaks out
because of delusion.” So I’ve used a few little different words;
still means going out, but I used a different word for the
different types of these out flowings, which is another way of looking at
what keeps you into Samsara, keeps you getting reborn,
keeps you from being enlightened. So five senses doesn’t bother you,
doesn’t pull you out. It doesn’t flow out just because you
want to say, “Here I am! I exist!”. And it no longer leaks out
because of delusion. It is liberated from the delusion,
out flowing.
When liberation occurs, the knowledge
of liberation invariably follows. And I often like putting that down,
because it’s not as if that you are
enlightened, you don’t know it. That the two will happen
automatically. It will come afterwards. Yes, you know that rebirth is finished.
There is no more of existence for you. It is a knowing. Of course, many people think
they’re enlightened; they’re not. But you can’t be enlightened
and not know. “So you understand birth is destroyed.
The holy life has been lived. What had to be done, had been done.
There is no more rebirth or reappearance in any state of existence.
So your deliverance is unshakable. This is your last life. Now there will
be no more renewal of existence. For this is the supreme noble wisdom, namely,
the knowledge of the destruction of all suffering. And the true goal. So this holy life does not have
gain, honour and fame for its main purpose, or the attainment of virtue for its main purpose,
or the attainment of Jhana as its main purpose, nor insight for its main purpose.
Those are just means to the end. The main purpose of the holy life is this unshakable
deliverance of mind, full enlightenment. That is the goal of this holy life,
its essence and it’s culmination.” So all these things are important.
You do cultivate virtue, the Jhanas, the insight, but those are there to lead to
full enlightenment. Especially the gain, honour and fame. I always say that religious people should be
really careful of gain, honour and fame. The Buddha saw that as in a dream as like having
his head on a dung pit, a pile of dung. And he said that was gain,
honour and fame. So that’s why, please, do not give
money and funds to the monks or to the nuns. Give them to the temple, fine.
But not to the monks. Not gains. Honours, yes, they can give you awards, but you
don’t, sort of, make too much of them. That’s why I gave an account at the talk I gave in –
where was in it? Singapore. Beyond ultimate truth. What do you mean ‘beyond ultimate’ means?
You can’t go beyond the ultimate. But, of course, as human beings, we can. Because when you’re a monk,
an ordinary monk you know you just call yourself venerable. But in some conferences I go,
you get to be called most venerable. And after a few more years
you become even more most venerable, extremely most venerable or the
supremely extremely most venerable. How did it just get so ridiculous? You know, that’s not what
you become a monk for. So the other one, I think you all know that
after 20 years, you are called Maha Thera no, after 10 years you’re called Thera. After 20 years, Maha Thera.
And that’s usually as far as it goes. But I thought, “Well, if you’re going to go Maha Thera,
what do you get after 30 years as a monk?” So it should be Mega Thera.
After 40 years, Giga Thera. And I’m 43 years as a monk now,
so that’s why I’m happy. It’s Giggle Thera. And, of course, after 50 years you’re Tera Thera.
You can see just how fame just, causes a lot of problems in our world.
And what else have we got over here? Fame and gain, honour, fame. That’s it.
Gain, honour and fame for it’s main purpose. So that’s not the point. So the main purpose of this holy life
is the unshakable deliverance of mind, full enlightenment.
That is the goal of this holy life.” And it may be that you will think;
this was just before the Buddha passed away – The teacher’s instructions has ceased.
now we have no teacher Just as the Buddha was
about to pass away. It should not be seen like this. For what I have taught and explained to you
as Dhamma and discipline the discipline is the Vinaya.
The Dhamma is the Suttas – will at my passing be your teacher. Now, that was an amazing little saying, because,
you know, many times that people think, Oh why did not the Buddha anoint a
successor in his lineage? Who would be the teacher after the Buddha
passed away? And he said,
“There will be no anointed teacher. The Dhamma and the discipline,
that will be your teacher.”
“For it should not be seen like this, for what
I have taught and explained to you as Dhamma and discipline, will, at my passing,
that will be your teacher.” And what that meant, no popes, no archbishops,
no patriarchs, matriarchs. So all the ideas of Sangharajas, Mahanayakes,
Dalai Lamas or whatever, that was added much after the time of the Buddha. So the teachers, the boss, is not myself,
not mahanayakes or sangharajas. The boss would always be the teaching of
The Buddha the Dhamma and the discipline. And that straightaway took away
all the possibilities of what happens when you have
a power concentrated in one place. So… You should live as islands unto yourself, Being your own refuge,
with no one else as your refuge, With the Dhamma as your island,
With the Dhamma as your refuge,
with no other refuge.” Now, that’s also a very powerful thing. Because sometimes, you know we get
sucked into being a disciple of a guru. But no! “Live as an island unto yourself
with the Dhamma as your island, with your refuge. So your own wisdom,
rather than just – and the Dhamma
which you see in the suttas, that is the most reliable thing. And it’s not mentioned here,
but I always like to add that when we go for refuge, we go to refuge – the three refuges is to
the Buddha, to the Dhamma, and who else? To Ajahn Brahm? No!
To Sayadaw whatever? No! To some guru Rinpoche? No!
To Ayya Hasapanna? No! Not to Bhikkunis. Not to monks. We go to refuge
to the Sangha. It’s a wonderful thing. Because otherwise, if we just commit
to one person, that can be very dangerous. You’re lucky if you have a good teacher,
but your refuge is to the Sangha. So anyway, ‘For these reasons, those matters that I
have discovered and proclaimed’ this is the Buddha speaking; “should be thoroughly learned by you” –
this is what, hopefully, you’re doing here – “practiced, developed and cultivated”.
Not just learned, but practiced to find out if it works. If it doesn’t work, see if the teachings are wrong or that you haven’t really
understood them. That might be the reason
that (they’re wrong), they are not working “Developed and cultivated so that this
holy life may endure for a long time.” This is how the holy life endures for a long time. This is by learning, practiced,
developed and cultivated. That’s how the Dhamma in places like Sri Lanka
and Burma are kept going. And I say that’s a political point, because there are some..a vast minority
think that in order to preserve Dhamma, you have to
break your precepts and just destroy other people’s
property or even kill people. This is totally against what the
teachings are. Which says to protect the Dhamma, so it may be for the benefit
and happiness of the multitude, out of compassion
for the world, for the benefit and happiness of
heavenly beings and humans, so it will last a long time”. How will it last a long time? is actually by learning it, practicing,
developing and cultivating it. So that’s, you know what
if you have the time, put in the newspapers and
stop all the violence which happens. The Buddhists; they’re not really Buddhists
nationalists or very deluded people, I must admit, I will say that, who are
creating violence in some of these countries. “For the benefit and happiness
for Devas and humans.”
So anyway, now, just – have you got
a question already? Okay. Any questions on that before
we go further until we get to the Simsapa –
the simile, which is very powerful. Yes? Question: Ajahn, so that Dhammapada stanza – – –
Ajhan: Yes? Question: So be your own refuge.
Ajhan: Yes. Question: The first two lines – – –
Ajahn: Yes?’ Question: Does that mean practicing to
the stage of entering the stream? Ajahn: No, it – – –
Question: Or what does that mean? Ajahn: Be your own refuge is actually don’t
just follow other people. In other words, argue,
ask questions, debate, discover. Just don’t just be gullible
and believe others. Don’t rely on, sort of others. Because there are many charismatic,
sort of, teachers in this world. And some of those charismatic teachers –
oh, I’ve been around long enough to see some of these and they are such shams
and they destroy so many people’s faith. And I don’t want to get political at all, but
I remember reading, about 3 or 4 months ago, there was a guru in the Punjab
called the Guru of Bling. And I don’t know if you saw that little article.
He wore designer clothes. He had this really amazing
Harley-Davidson bicycle and he produced his own movies
in which he starred and he was a total billionaire. And, of course eventually they
found out that he was sexually abusing some of his
disciples and was put in jail. And he was charismatic,
he knew how to speak. But, you know, underneath all of that
there was, you know, much – as they say he left much to be desired. So it was a sham. But, you see, time after time
people get sort of caught up in that, and they get blinded by charisma. And so this is why
The Buddha was saying, “Be careful”.
Just check it out for yourself. Don’t just be gullible and just believe because some person just says
“believe me”. As they say in the west, don’t leave your brain
outside the temple when your leave your shoes out. Leave your shoes outside,
but bring your brain inside. Question: I mean, the way I’m
hearing you is that simply to embrace active learning?
Ajahn: Active? Question: Active learning.
Ajahn: Yes, yes. Active learning, yes. And don’t just believe and follow.
Okay. There’s – okay. Question: Sorry, Ajahn, I haven’t been here for
all the classes. You’re using “enlightenment”
instead of “extinguishment”. Ajahn: Yes. Yes. Indeed. That’s of a
different words, different contexts. So enlightenment in this
particular context is understood. Yes? Question: Thank you. You used three
different terms as you were saying Ajahn. Q: that no pulling out, no flowing out,
no leaking out. Ajahn: Yes. Yes.
Question: The three Āsavas. Q: Is that because the
sensual delight Āsava is the grossest and the other one is the subtlest? Ajahn: I think so, yes.
Because the sensual delight, you can feel it. It’s a good word.
You get pulled out. So there’s some music which I heard when I was a kid and you just get
moved out and just get sucked out and just pulled out into it.
So the sensual desires are like that. You see this beautiful hot girl or boy
or whatever and sometimes, before you even know,
if you haven’t got your mindfulness, you get pulled out, you get sucked out – rather, pulled out by
these things. And of course as you know
there’s much psychology into selling products and
making them attractive. It’s, sort of, very, very profound. So it takes a long time to resist that. So this is where you get
pulled out by the five senses. And what else here?
We get sort of- it flows out to be. So in a sense, it’s not so involuntary. Not so involuntary, but still,
you know, you just want to exist. that’s a very deep-seated desire. And there’s also the leaking out
of delusion. So, yes, I think it’s almost different levels, yes.
Question: Different levels. Ajahn: Yes.
Question: Grossest to subtle. Ajahn: Yes. And I think it’s great to have
these different words which actually – those words, again, you don’t translate words,
you translate sentences. Question: And thank you, Ajahn.
Those three words actually – – – Ajahn: Yes.
Question: – – – straightaway gave that different level of existence. Sadhu.
Ajahn: Yes. Yes. Okay. Question: Thank you. Ajahn: Okay. And – oh the Simsapa Leaves.
This is one of the greatest of the – sometimes people say, “Oh, yeah, this is what
the Buddha said, but is there’s more. Did he have any secret teachings, which were preserved
amongst monks or nuns in communities because no other people
could understand it at the time?” Or was it preserved in some Naga realm or
Deva Realm for so many centuries because no one else could understand it?
And this is a powerful saying: “Which do you think are greater” – the
Buddha asking a community of monks – “the few leaves that I hold in my hand or all
the leaves in the forest?”, asked the Buddha. “The leaves in the forest,”
came the obvious answer.
Likewise, the things that I know
but have not taught you are many, like the leaves in the forest. Whereas the things that I have
taught you are few, like the leaves in my hand.” So he hasn’t taught everything he knew. Ahh, there are some secret teachings!
So why didn’t he teach everything he knew? The last sentence: “The reason that I have
not taught you these things is because they are irrelevant to the holy life and
do not lead to enlightenment. So that was, again, a powerful – yes,
there are other methods, other teachings, other sort of stuff, which the Buddha knew, But he kept it to the purpose
of enlightenment, and it means that they weren’t really
relevant at all to enlightenment. So what he taught, he’s saying here,
is what is relevant to enlightenment. The other things, the great leaves in the
forest, rather than the leaves in his hand, those things are not relevant
to enlightenment. Make sense? Okay.
Any questions? Okay. That’s the simile of
the Simsapa leaves. So when people say there were
secret teachings hidden because people couldn’t
understand them, the Buddha actually says
quite the opposite here. Yes, there were teachings he didn’t say
because they were irrelevant. Now, another way of looking at the
eight-fold path is something that they call
the gradual training. So this is not different to the
eight-fold path, as I will point out. This is actually just a parallel
to the eight-fold path. A different way of describing the
same training or path. But because it’s a parallel, also taught by
the Buddha many times, you combine these two together to see
just how this path to enlightenment works. Eight-fold path, gradual training; the same
looked at from a different angle. Both taught by the Buddha. So the gradual training. First of all, the rising of the Buddha
and the Dhamma. “A Buddha appears in this world accomplished (Arahant),
fully awakened, sammasambuddho” – and I prefer “awakened” for Buddha, because
it comes from the Pali word Bujatti(?), which does mean to “wake up”.
Because we say, “enlightenment”, that is used for so many things. They have “the Enlightenment” in
Western Europe in the 17th/18th century. But this is something a bit;
actually very different. So, “Fully awakened,
perfect in true knowledge and conduct” – and I like the fact that whenever
they say “true knowledge”
they say “the conduct” as well – “Well liberated”, that’s this word Sugato.
It literally means “well gone”. But, well gone where? So I sometimes like
it’s “well-liberated”. “Knower of the worlds”
does that mean that he’s a cosmologist? And the answer: Those worlds, the three worlds and
it’s not, sort of, a physical world, because the whole physical world is only
just one of those worlds. So the cosmos of a theoretical physicist
is only a third of the cosmology of a Buddha. So it is actually the
world of the five senses. The things you can touch and see
and hear and smell and taste. That is just stuff. Of course, it does mean just,
planet Earth, with all of its trees and flowers and soil
and people and bricks and wood–stuff but it also means the space.
It also means just the solar systems and galaxies and universes;
So it’s all of that. But that is just one of those worlds. The other world is called the Rūpa-loka,
that is the Jhāna realms. And the other one is the Arūpa,
which is the immaterial realms. So there’s three different types of places not just the universe,
the stars and galaxies. This is something
even more. Because the Buddha kept
on talking about even these physical universes,
they come and go. And they’re called saṃvaṭṭa,
Vivaṭṭa; no Vivaṭṭa first of all. So that’s expanding, developing, evolving
universes and then sort of devolving. And the devolving could be
something which is…… three possibilities – when I was doing theoretical physics,
the big crunch, the big whimper or just – there was one in-between – no, I think
that was just the big whimper. In other words, just the whole
what we know as stuff keeps expanding, expanding, expanding
until all the stars just die out. No more energy.
It just becomes this whimpering, just stable, just not hot enough for life, nothing left. It’s just like a
fire which dies out. Or you could have; if there’s enough
mass energy in this universe, it will get all pulled back again
into this big crunch. But anyway, I always keep on
mentioning Stephen Hawking. He always says – he admitted, in the end he
was the person responsible for the big bang, but eventually he knew there was –
before the big bang – had to happen. So those are – it’s only physical stuff. So people used to ask
what happens when, you know all of the planets, all of the
galaxies are uninhabitable? What happens to human beings?
What happens to life as we know it? And that’s where he said, “Well, they get
reborn in the Jhana realm mostly.” Another place of existence which is not
dependant upon stuff. So anyway, it’s – and, of course, the
immaterial realms are even more refined. This is what you can taste when you get
into the deep meditations. So the rūpa and arūpa realms
that’s the three worlds – “the knower of the worlds” not just stuff,
but things which are way beyond stuff. “Knower of the worlds” “incomparable teacher of
those who can be taught.” Now, that gave me a lot of confidence as a
teacher when I read that and I would always keep it in mind. Even the Buddha had to admit
some people can’t be taught. So if I can’t teach people, I realise, well, who do I think I am?
Even the Buddha admitted that. The incomparable teacher of those who
can be taught, Teacher of gods and humans, the awakened one, the Buddha,
the Master–Bhagava. Because sometimes people call
Bhagava “the Lord”. I know, I came from England,
you know, when they used to have lords and viscounts and stuff
and the House of Lords. That was like privilege.
That was elitism. And, you know, that didn’t
really make sense to me.
You know, there being a lord
and having that taken into religion. Come on, this is supposed to be unworldly.
Not a place of privilege. So instead of calling it “Lord” – I know there’s one fellow
who has a bit of fun when he comes to our monastery. He’s very eccentric,
but very lovable. That’s old KC. And many of you come to offer Dana and
he’s out there saying: “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” You’ve seen him before.
And he’s not a Christian. He says “Praise the Lord – Buddha.
Praise the Lord – Buddha.” Cheeky, but very good fun. But the idea of a lord,
it doesn’t make much sense to me. Anyway, there we go. So I put that as
“the Master”. “With his own direct knowledge,
he has realised this universe with its gods, this world with its beings,
and he makes it known to others. Teaches the Dhamma good in the beginning,
good in the middle and good in the end, with the right meaning, a right phrase, and reveals a perfect and complete
and pure spiritual life”. So a Buddha arises in the world. And then someone, or you,
hear that Dhamma. “On hearing that Dhamma, you acquire
faith in the Buddha.” The faith, as I remember – who was it called –
Francis Story. He says, “What’s the difference between Buddhist faith and some of these
other faiths you see in this world? And he said, “Well, Buddhist faith
is faith supported by reason. And some other faiths are faith
in defiance of reason”. And I always liked that statement.
“Faith in defiance of reason and faith supported by reason.”
So if it’s in defiance of reason, it just makes absolutely
no sense at all, you know. And then just ignore it, reject it. But if it’s faith supported by reason,
then okay. Go for it! So a good idea of faith in
defiance of reason was some of those – what was it called – Heaven’s Gate who –
they believed that one of these asteroids was heading to Earth. All the scientists said it would
miss Earth by a long way, but they said, “No, it’s going to
actually hit Earth. But behind that spacecraft – behind
that asteroid there is a spacecraft coming to save all those people who believe
in my teachings”, said their teacher. But the only way to get on that spacecraft,
you had to commit suicide just at the right time. And people did, and these were intelligent people,
with degrees and all sorts of stuff. So, you know, sometimes with
charismatic people, they can believe, because their faith is not
supported by reason. So, please, don’t leave your brain outside
this temple. “You have faith in the Buddha,
possessing that faith and consider thus: household life is troublesome and busy.
Life as a monastic is free and relaxed. It is not easy, while living in a house,
to lead a holy life, utterly perfect and pure. Suppose I shave off my hair, put on
the orange robe and go forth from the worldly life into a monastery?” And, of course you know,
this is not trying; I’m just translating here
what is clearly said. So to have some renunciation. But on that, a personal comment is that some
monasteries can very busy. So, you know, we try to make it
so we can fulfill the Buddhist teachings by making it an easy,
less troublesome place to live. So please excuse us if
sometimes we go on retreats, because otherwise,
what’s the point of having a monastery if the monks there have to work
even the nuns have to work harder than you people do? There’s something very wrong
when that happens. So we try and, at least try and make it
not so busy. Otherwise you might as well stay as a ..
and people actually do that these days. I’ve noticed a lot of lay people, they learn
how to live a very simple monastic-like life. Few possessions and living in a small, little
apartment or room somewhere and just meditate all day. No TV, no radio, no, sort of – and quite frankly, you don’t need
much to live these days. If you don’t want to go travelling, if you
don’t want to – don’t have a partner or kids, if you don’t… eat simply and just, you know,
don’t live in the best suburb, but, a moderate suburb, there is a possibility of
living as a hermit. And I often think that the best place for hermits is actually not
in the forest, but in the city apartment. A little apartment where no one knows where
you are, who you are. The hermit. Interesting idea. Anyway, I always like
to think outside the box. So anyway – but for that time especially,
even hopefully to make it possible this time, in Australia that it becomes obvious that
a monastic life is much more simple. “So suppose if I shave off my hair, put on the
orange robe, go forth out of the worldly life into a monastery, on the later occasion, having
given away all your wealth, abandoning your circle of relations and friends, you shave off
your hair, put on the orange robe and go forth from the home life into monastic life.”
And there’s an important thing about giving away all your wealth before you become a
monastic, because otherwise there just – you know, you’re not really a monastic anymore if
you have the money and the wealth. You can get whatever you want
whenever you want it. So what’s the difference? But the thing about being poor, in poverty
as a monastic is that you can be admonished in the sense that these monks at Kosambi,
they had a big argument and even the Buddha couldn’t, sort of settle it, so the lay community,
they stopped feeding them for a week. If those monks had money, of course, you know,
they could have bought their own food. But because the lay community refused to feed
these monks for seven days, after seven days, those monks, they had to resolve
their differences, because they were hungry.
They were starving. And they came to their senses and
they made amends.
So that was important that you do have
some power over the Sangha. If we do the wrong thing,
don’t feed us. Starve us. Please do that, because that’s the only.. otherwise the monks and nuns
will do whatever they want, and you don’t have any sort of
leverage over them. So that’s when you give away your wealth,
you are dependent. Dependent on the kindness of others. People will always
be kind to you. They will look after you when you practice
as a good monk or as a good nun. They’ll always look after you. You don’t have anything to worry about
if you’re a good monk or a good nun. If you’re not a good monk or a good nun,
that’s where you have leverage over them to make sure that they realise what they
should be doing. But another little thing about abandoning all
your wealth, because sometimes in the west, that’s why when somebody becomes a novice,
that’s when they can’t have any wealth, it’s like stripping their assets.
It’s like asset stripping. So sometimes people think,
okay, you become a nun and then you get ordained and you’ve
got to give all your assets away and then “ha, ha, ha,
we’ve got your money!” The Buddhist Society of Western Australia,
the great asset stripper. We don’t do that. So the advice is – because sometimes what happens
it’s life people start to get very inspired to
become a monk or a nun and then they leave. Not any fault of themselves. They gave it a try.
They did everything they could. But, you know, it wasn’t for them. So what we usually do, just to let you
know what our standards are If you do become a monk or a nun, then once you are ordained,
you make sure beforehand all your assets – we usually call it
like – liquidated I think is the word. So put into one, sort of bank account.
And say it’s under
Ainsley Hazelgrove. You decide to become a monk, Ainsley. So that money is in a bank account
Ainsley Hazelgrove. But when you become a monk,
you’ve got a different name. You know, you’re Venerable ..
ahh what was it… AgaPanya I just made that name up. “Great wisdom”. Agapanya means
the chief of wisdom. And then Venerable Agapanya,
you can’t access that
because it belongs to
Mr Ainsley Hazelgrove. So it just sits there for a while until, you know, after three, four, five years, if you decide
you’re going to stay as a monk – because by that time,
you get to understand what it’s all about. You can remain like that. And if that’s the case,
then you give it away. But I made this rule; it’s not in the Vinaya,
but I think it’s a very wise rule If, by that time, you want to leave, you can’t give – sorry, if that time you want to
stay as a monk,
you can’t give all those assets
to the monastery in which you live. Somewhere else, anywhere else. It can be a nuns’ monastery.
It could be an overseas monastery. It could be to the Save the Children fund
or whatever, but not to the monastery
in which you live so you don’t benefit from it. When you are ordained,
you renounced, and that’s it. It’s just in case that if you do disrobe,
then it can come back to you. So that’s actually how we use it. So it can
never be regarded as asset stripping. But anyway you give
away your wealth, “abandon your circle of relations
and friends, shave off your hair, put on the orange robe and go
forth from the home life into homelessness – sorry, into monastic life.” Any questions about that? I just went off the subject a bit with
something interesting. Is that quite clear? Okay.
Are you going to come? (Ajahn laughs) Question: You make it sound
too tempting. (laughs) But some monks have to disrobe
because of ill-health.
Ajahn: Yes, that’s true. Yes.
So sometimes that’s a case of..
in some monasteries, especially very
well-established monasteries, we try and make sure that they have
the opportunity to be looked after. But, you know, when you have
young monasteries, especially in places like Australia, infrastructure is not there and it’s difficult to look after monks
when they get to very, very ill health. But, you know, hopefully in the future. And if a person is ordained in a
monastery and they have 10, 20, 30 years, then it’s our responsibility
to look after them. They may have to go into the hospital for
many, many days or whatever, but hopefully they can be looked after in-house.
Just like Ajahn Chah. You know, he didn’t have to disrobe
when he had his stroke. He still stayed there. And hopefully many others. This is one of the things we always
have to discuss about how to look after the elderly and sick monks,
so they can be cared for. In the early days, of course,
it was really tough. We didn’t have that infrastructure. But hopefully these days we can
look after people much better. OK Question: Hi Ajahn Brahm. Just coming back
to your point about realms. You described in your previous talks
as time being curved. You said about not flat time
and that sort of thing. If time does curve back
round to this point – – – Ajahn–Ah! that one We go through the crush and
the big bang happens and we come back to this point again. If you achieve enlightenment,
would you still – once the universe is reborn, would you then be reborn in this realm? Ajahn: That’s a good question.
But most of the time it is part of the first world;
Rūpa-loka (stuff). That’s why, you know, it is the
same sort of time is in the Rūpa realm and the Arūpa realms;
the other two worlds. Because that was the big thing
with Einstein’s special theory. You know, you’d never call it
space anymore. You call it space time. like a four dimension where time is just
part of the space, almost created by space. Q: So do you think that if we did come
around again, do you think that – – – Ajahn: Ah that other thing, yes. What – – – Q: Do you think we
would be reborn? Ajahn: No, that’s another type of
coming around again. But it’s – I refined that idea
of space being curved by imagining an elastic band
which is curved. It’s a ring. But it’s expanding so fast, there’s no way you
can get round to where you started. Still curved, but expanding. And that’s precisely
the same with physical space. Yes, it’s curved, there’s no edge to it.
But there’s no way to actually go so fast that, you know, you can come back
to where you started. It’s just like when you rush after it,
the thing goes further away, the edge. So it’s expanding so much,
impossible to come back to where you started.
Question: Thank you. Unless, of course – there’s always exceptions –
Dr Who. Dr Who could do that. Remember Dr Who and the Tardis.
That was going when I was a kid. Apparently it’s still going on. It’s amazing.
It just shows you – probably the episodes go round and round and round and round.
That’s why I repeat my stories. You know, it’s just – is there another question?
Yes. Over there there’s one. Question: Ajahn, in this passage you talk about
abandoning family and friends when going into the monastic life. I wondered if you could comment
how you could negotiate this in a wise and compassionate way so it’s not so much of
an – I mean – yes. Ajahn: Are you talking about renouncing of – – –
Question: Of becoming a monk. Ajahn: Becoming a monk, renouncing.
Yes, what it is that you do, “Having given away all your wealth, abandoning your circle of
relations and friends”, it doesn’t mean you abandon them. It doesn’t mean you just totally say, “Right” – this one monk I ordained with
in Thailand, he was actually crazy. He didn’t last so long. He wrote to his mother in England
from Thailand, from Ajahn Chah’s monastery, “Mum, I’m now a monk.
regard me as dead.” Imagine your mother receiving
a letter like that. He was actually mad.
(Ajahn Chuckles) But anyway, later on he sort of disrobed and got reincarnated back
into his family again. But anyway, the alternative to that is one of
the monks I grew up with – I sat next to him. He was about one or two months
ordained before me. I don’t mind saying his name,
Ajahn Viradhammo. And a very nice monk. Very friendly.
A Canadian Canadian and both..I think Latvian.
His family lived in Latvia during the Second World War. When
the Russians invaded Latvia or something, they fled to Germany and then eventually got resettled in Canada. But his mother got very sick.
So his brother couldn’t look after her, so he decided to do some compassion
and go and look after his mum. And it was only just till she died,
because she was that sick. And it took about 23, 24 years before his mother
died and he looked after her all that time. And it’s really a nice example. You know, he
kept his precepts. He could not, sort of, handle any money, so his brother set up
accounts in this shop and that shop, and he would even cook for his mum
when she was that sick. Looked after her. Cared for her. It’s a wonderful compassionate
thing he did. But we only thought it was just
a temporary thing, only for a couple of months,
because his mother was close to dying. But with that sort of care, she perked up
and he was there for so many years. Eventually she passed away and so now
he has got a nice monastery. Do you know where his monastery is? It’s in Canada in Ontario
in a small town called Perth. Perth, Ontario. There’s something about this
word “Perth”. But I mentioned that because that’s possible. So it is not as if that you just totally
renounce your family responsibilities But, you know, you just –
that was an extreme case. Question: Thank you.
Ajahn: Yes. Okay. So you’re in monastic life,
or just even in spiritual life. Now, the virtue. So this is important here.
The virtue: “When you have gone forth, you train
in the monastic way of life. You abstain from killing living beings,
with rod and weapon laid aside, conscientious, merciful,
you live compassionate to all living beings. You abstain from taking what is not given, taking only what is given,
wanting only what is given. By not stealing, you abide in purity. You abstain from all sexual activity.
Living apart from the others, you abstain from the lay practice
of sexual intercourse. You abstain from false speech,
you speak only the truth, you are trustworthy and reliable,
you are no deceiver of the world. You abstain from divisive speech.
You do not tell tales in order to divide people. But you are one who reunites those
who are divided. A promoter of friendships
who enjoys harmony, rejoices in harmony, delights in harmony. A speaker of words that
promote harmony. You abstain from harsh speech. You speak only words that are gentle,
pleasing to the ear and lovable. Words that go to the heart, are courteous, desired by the many and
agreeable to the many. You abstain from useless speech. You speak at the proper time,
speak what is truthful, speak what is beneficial, speak on the Dhamma
and the training. At the proper time you speak
words that are worth treasuring, authoritative, succinct and beneficial. You abstain from injuring seeds and plants.
You practice eating only in the morning. Abstain from eating at night
outside the proper time. You abstain from dancing, singing,
music and movies. You abstain from wearing adornments,
fragrances and cosmetics. You abstain from using
luxurious furnishings. You abstain from accepting
money. You abstain from accepting
raw grain and raw meat. You abstain from accepting
servants and slaves. You abstain from accepting livestock. You abstain from
accepting fields and land. You abstain from going on errands
and running messages. You abstain from buying and selling. You abstain from practising fraud. You abstain from accepting bribes,
deceiving, defrauding and trickery. You abstain from wounding, murdering,
imprisoning, extortion, plunder and violence.” So there was a very early form of what was expected of someone
who had left the world; A monastic. And it was even, people say, even earlier
than what became known as the monastic rules. So you can see this is the virtue which
people expect of you. And if you even
just mention the word “monk” or “nun”, you know, even if you had no idea
what Buddhism is, there’s something about a monk or nun
renouncing the world, that you know, this is what you would expect of them. Any comment on that? Contentment. I remember there was a monk in Thailand.
He used to be a forest monk. And somebody came up to me once;
this is when I was still in Thailand, a long time ago. He said, “It’s so sad about
Ajahn what’s his name.” And I said, “Well, what’s happened to him?”
And he said, “Oh, he’s got TB”. I said, “TB. That doesn’t matter. That’s
curable these days. A course in antibiotics
and it can cure TB.” Then he said, “No, you didn’t hear properly.
he’s got TV in his kutti”. And I said, “Okay. can’t cure that one”. Contentment: “You become content with the
patched robes to protect your body.” Can you show off your patched robes,
please? What have you got? Your sarong?
You haven’t got it on today? Assistant monk: No, I bring my dress robes.
Ajahn Brahm: Dress robe. that is a dress robe. Okay. Ajahn Brahmali,
he used to have his sanghati. It had so many patches on it and he
kept on patching it. And in the end, I had to ask him, “Ajahn Bramali, get you another;
you can use that in the monastery, but when you go travelling overseas,
please put on a robe otherwise people will say, ‘Venerable Sir,
haven’t you got any money with you?'” Because that’s one of the..they used to have
that as a rule; in the Customs, they could ask you,
“How can you support yourself?”. And if you said,
“Well, I’ve got no money”, and they say, “Well, you know,
you can’t come into the country because you can’t prove you can
support yourself”. So I said, “Look, at least put on some –
just to get through Immigration and Customs and then you can wear your rag robes another time”.
(Ajahn Chuckles) I reminded people about this story when
I was in Thailand just recently, when was it? last February. Because they had a whole group of
these disciples of our forest tradition and they were going off to,
I think, to Chithurst to do a Katina ceremony, and that’s a monastery in Sussex. And so a whole heap of them They decided, “Okay. Eight precepts”.
So they took off all their jewelry and all of their make-up and stuff and they wore
these really simple cloths, just like eight preceptors.
Just white here and sort of a black skirt. They’re called Brahmachari in Thai. So they wore such simple stuff. And they went to the British Consulate
to get their visas and they said: “No, we’re not giving you a visa. You’ve not going there.
You’re just house maids”. Because that’s what they looked
like in Thai culture.
Just house maids.
No make-up. No jewellery. and so they couldn’t. They had said “We’re going to a temple”,
they didn’t understand that. So they went home, got dressed up,
lots of make-up, jewelry and stuff and they got their visa
without any question. (Ajahn chuckles) So sometimes you’ve got to
sort of be culturally appropriate. That was really funny when they told me. Anyway, so Contentment: “You become content with the
patched robes to protect your body, with alms food to maintain your stomach. And wherever you go, you travel
taking only these with you, just as a bird wherever it goes,
flies with it’s wings as it’s only burden”. And, you know, I’ve often talked about that. Going walking through Thailand just
your bowl and the robes and hardly anything else and just – ah, it was like being a bird. You just wander, nothing to tie you down. And it used to be great as a monk,
because you can go anywhere. And you can sleep out in the
paddy fields. People know about you. And if you want to get some real solitude,
you go into the cremation grounds and no one would ever disturb you there,
because they were so afraid of ghosts. And the ghosts were afraid of me,
so I had a lovely solitude in those places. They left me alone. And just walking where
ever you want to go. Always in the morning you get enough food
to walk the rest of the distance, whichever way you want. So I like that idea of having just a
few possessions, especially just…. I’ve tried to set the standard
when i go travelling, just to have just a very, very small
amount of baggage so you can just go. I like that!
Anyway, where are we going? Contentment: “Where ever you go or you travel
taking only these with you. When you follow this noble virtue
and contentment; content with little “you experience within yourself
a delightful bliss. The joy of being blameless.” This is this gradual training;
deeper and deeper happiness comes up. In other words, that you’re such a
good precepts, harmless, a little amount of things. A very soft footprint on our world.
You have few stuff, few things. You’re so peaceful. It’s a joy just to be
free of all these burdens. And you’re a good person.
If you practice virtue, there’s a happiness that comes with it. And a contentment with little and then
restraint of the senses. When you see an object, you do not
let yourself get sucked in by marks and features that generate defilements. If you left the faculty of
sight unrestrained, unskillful states of wanting
and aversion would afflict you. Instead, you practice wisdom when seeing.
You guard the faculty of sight and you undertake the restraint of sight.”
So you see something you really like or someone really upsets you,
you just restrain that. Don’t look at its marks and features
which actually excites you. And, of course, when I became a monk,
I was a very young man, believe it or not; there’s some photos
of me as a young monk in a book coming out from
Wat Pah Pong. And, of course, you saw a beautiful girl
and you were subject to lust, so my way of dealing with that,
I would …
My way okay.. look for her pimples.
And I would always see, “Ah, there it is”. It was always something
which was imperfect. Because, you know, the guy’s idea was,
“Oh, she’s so wonderful. She’s perfect”.
But focusing on the imperfect would mean
that you stopped the lust and the desire.
And this was for a young guy, okay. And whenever you saw someone
who really upset you, you look for the beautiful features
in them. So that way, you restrain the senses
by looking… not just what you wanted to see, but what balanced your view of a person. So they weren’t beautiful,
they weren’t ugly. They were just a human being,
that’s all. So you’re not accentuating just
what you really want to see. Or when you have ill will, you’re not
just seeing, “Oh, yeah, I was right. They are a B-A-S”,
whatever the rest of the word is. “So the same with hearing a sound, having noticed the smell,
having sensed the taste, having felt a bodily feeling, having cognised something in the mind, you do not let yourself get sucked in
by marks and features that generate defilements, since if you left the mind
faculty unrestrained, unskillful states of wanting
and aversion would afflict you. Instead, you practice
wisdom with the mind. You guard the mind and
you undertake restraint of the mind. When you follow this noble
restraint of the senses,
you experience within yourself
an even more delightful bliss. The joy of being unagitated.”
That’s upasama sukha So this is getting some happiness coming in. And I should have said before that
when you have the confidence, that is starting to get –
because you have the learning, you teach the Dhamma
and you listen to it,
and that’s where you get the right view. The virtue that becomes
with the right motivation, right speech, right action,
right livelihood. And the contentment, patched robes, the simplicity there,
that’s a little bit of right livelihood. Restraint of the senses comes from the right endeavour and some
right mindfulness, but the mindfulness is really coming up
next. So “Restraint of the senses”
that’s like the sixth factor of the eight-fold path. Restraint,
so defilements don’t come up. So “clear comprehension” but just practising this.
If you practice it properly, you get beautiful happiness,
simplicity. “You act in full comprehension
of the purpose when going forward and returning. You act in full comprehension
of the purpose when looking ahead,
looking away, when flexing and extending your limbs,
when wearing your clothes and carrying things, you act in full comprehension of the
purpose regarding eating and drinking. ” Eating and drinking (that’s right),
“Defecating and urinating, walking, standing, sitting, sleeping, being awake, talking,
keeping silent.” So this becomes, you know, part of the
seventh factor, the Satipaṭṭhāna Meditation. when you have developed this noble
virtue, this noble restraint of the senses and this noble clear comprehension; you go to a secluded dwelling place
such as a forest, a foot of a tree, a mountain, a ravine, a hillside cave,
a charnel ground, a jungle thicket, an open space,
a heap of straw” those were the places where you
could find solitude in those days – “you sit down, folding your legs crossed
while straightening the body, establishing mindfulness as a priority”- now, usually we go here,
“you start watching the breathing”, or you do something else, but this goes to the heart of it: “Abandoning the five senses..
five senses, Abandoning wanting for the
world of the five senses, you abide with a mind
free from wanting, you purify the mind from desire. Abandoning aversion, you abide
with a mind free from ill will. Compassionate for the
welfare of all beings” – and you’re included there –
“you thus purify the mind from aversion. Abandoning dullness and drowsiness, you abide with a mind free
from dullness and drowsiness. Bright-minded, clearly comprehending, you purify the mind from
dullness and drowsiness. Abandoning restlessness and remorse, you abide unagitated with a
mind inwardly peaceful, you purify the mind from
restlessness and remorse.
Abandoning doubt, you abide,
having gone beyond doubt” – this is what it means by doubt
“unperplexed about wholesome states”. Understand what is good,
what is going to be a problem – “you purify the mind from doubt”.
So this is where we restrain the five senses. And the result of that?
The Jhānas. “Having abandoned the five hindrances, totally free from the five senses,
free from unwholesome states,
you enter upon and abide in the
First Jhāna wherein the mind moves on to the object,
holds on to it, the object being joy and pleasure caused by being totally
free from the five senses. When the mind stops
moving on to the object and stops holding on to it, you enter upon and abide in the
Second Jhāna which has trust in the object,
the bliss, enough to let go of holding it, and unity of mind without
any movement or holding with joy and pleasure caused
by perfect stillness.
With the fading away of joy,
you are mindful and fully aware, experiencing a bliss purified from joy.
Still blissful but purified from joy,
you enter upon and abide in the
Third Jhāna on account of which the Noble One
has announced one has a pleasant abiding indeed as such mindfulness and equanimity. And having abandoned pleasure and pain, all vedanā from the five senses or
the disappearance of joy and grief, all vedanā from the sixth sense,
except for equanimity,
you enter upon and abide in the
Fourth Jhāna, which is the only neutral mental Vedana
remaining, just pure mindfulness with equanimity.” And that was the teaching of the
gradual training apparently first taught when the.. Samaññaphala Sutta
The Fruits of the Holy Life, when the King Ajatasattu,
he went to see the Buddha and said, “Well, you’re obviously royalty.
Why are you leading this harsh life? You could be living in a palace,
enjoying the best food, dancing girls”
they didn’t have TVs in those days
“sex, whatever. Why are you doing this for?” And the Buddha said, “Because this is
greater happiness than you have”. And he was arguing
why it was a greater happiness. And happiness because this is a
gradual training, you get more and more inspired. You get when you start keeping precepts, keeping those first factors of the virtue of the
eight-fold path by speech, action, livelihood and the right motivation behind it – four factors – that’s where you get
the blameless happiness. It’s like generally just you’re happier because
when you break precepts, it harms other people,
It also harms yourself. So you’re happier when
you keep the precepts. I always say that people say,
“Oh have a good time”, this is a good time when you spend your
holidays in a monastery rather than in a pub. When you go to a retreat
rather than a nightclub. When you get bliss-ed out in Jhānas
rather than drugs. Good people have a good time. So this.. from there the higher
happiness of simplicity. And the higher happiness of
restraining the senses. So instead of allowing the senses to destroy
your happiness by seeing whatever you want,
hearing whatever you like. Instead, you restrain it,
keeping them inside; it’s a higher happiness.
More joy. And because you restrain the senses,
it’s much easier to have the clear … you have the joy of being unagitated;
a peaceful mind. Not agitated by wanting this
or getting upset at that. And from the clear comprehension, then you can do the abandoning
of the five hindrances. With the five hindrances abandoned,
then Jhāna is just simple. When the five hindrances are abandoned,
than the doors to Jhāna are wide open. You go in there. Of course you do. When the hindrances are there,
that’s what stops you entering the Jhānas. So anyway, there we have
the gradual training, a parallel to the the eight-fold path,
again, taught by the Buddha. Any questions or comments?
Audience: Sadhu Ajahn: Sadhu.
That’s a nice comment. Thank you. Okay. We have a few questions.
Just I have to leave by at least by 4.20, 25, because I have to go to church today.
It’s Sunday! No. Every year they have an interfaith service.
So I put my name down to that. It’s supposed to be starting at 5 o’clock. I should
get there at 4.45. Anyway, 4.30 may be okay. From the USA: “What advice would the Buddha
give to lay Buddhists who do not have much time to meditate, but still, at least, want to put
their best foot forward towards stream entry?” You do have time to meditate. It’s just grabbing
that time. Giving it importance. And if it’s in USA, if it is – what is it – the
Superbowl or something. People always find
time to watch football. They always have time
to watch the last episode of – I don’t know – Friends or Seinfeld
or something. If it’s important,
you can always find the time. So I remember; because you were laughing – I remember going to Adelaide once
and you know, not so many people turned up to the temple
when I was giving a talk. I said why? And he said,
“Oh, it was really badly scheduled”, because today, exactly when I was
giving my talk, there was a one-day cricket international between
Australia and Sri Lanka in Adelaide. So I said, “Well, I know Sri Lankan
people. My talk can be videoed. They can see it in the next one. So next time, please don’t schedule
it at the same time. Find me another time”. You see, when people really want to do
something, of course they can find the time. So if you don’t have much time to
meditate, do you have much time to eat? And that great little story of the guy who was
working. He was, I think – was it New York? I think it was New York – who told me that he finds
time in his busy life to meditate one hour every day, except when he’s busy. And when he’s busy,
he meditates two hours a day. Because he needs to be precise.
He needs to be really, sort of productive. He can’t afford to make mistakes
when he hasn’t got much time. And his meditation clears his mind,
focuses his mind and he becomes far more productive. So if you haven’t got much time,
you must use it wisely. So if you practice in meditation
it actually makes time. Harvard Business School calls it an
investment of time. “How can you make sure you
really have a peaceful mind and not suppress hindrance
into your subconscious? What part of the mind is the
Can I make that peaceful too?” As you become more mindful,
more aware, that subconscious processes
start to open up to you. You understand how your mind works. Just like when the lights are out
you can’t see very much. But once you turn the lights on
or once the dawn comes, the sun comes up and it goes to high noon, especially in Australia in the summertime,
it’s so bright. So that’s when you can start to see
the so-called subconscious. When the mind is very bright,
you can see everything, especially you can see just
your habits and stuff, which, just the subconscious
acting underneath you. You start to be aware of it. “And have a peaceful mind,
not suppress hindrances”: The hindrances aren’t supposed
to be suppressed. It’s called restrained. Suppressing is not acknowledging
them even that they exist. “I’m not angry. Not me. No, not me. ”
That’s called suppression. And restraining is, “Yeah, I’m angry;
now, what am I going to do about it? I’m going to make sure that….
ah, come on, let it go. Give people the
benefit of the doubt. They didn’t really mean that.
Misunderstandings. So it’s not helping me to get angry.
it’s not good”
so after a while you can let go
of the anger by understanding. You’re not suppressing.
Suppressing is willpower. Freedom is from wisdom power. So that’s why you don’t suppress;
it’s from will. You actually understand it
through wisdom. And, of course, you can make
everything peaceful. Lastly: “In environments of high stress
and violence it can be hard to meditate. Is there a particular technique that
one can use to settle down? Kind of a pre-meditation method?” That’s a very good question. You know sometimes
people are very highly stressed. You know sometimes
people ask me and I say; “Fair enough. You know listen to
some quiet music first of all”. You’ve just come home from work. You know, not sort of death metal
or gangster rap or anything which is even like
rock music, but something which calms you down
a little bit, and then maybe even
more calm. Not for entertainment sake,
but just to settle you down. Find a nice quiet place to meditate.
That really helps. You have a place where you can go. And then you can settle down. Remember what happens before you
sit on your cushion is also really important. I often mention – I should mention that
more often on a Saturday afternoon. When you come in here to meditate, if you’ve been arguing with somebody,
rushing around out ther; of course, it’s going to take you
time to settle down. You know, that’s one of the reasons why
when we teach meditation here, especially on a Saturday afternoon,
I do 15 minutes of talking first of all just before we start meditating
on a Saturday afternoon. People say, “Why can’t we just start
meditating straightaway?” That 15 minutes is not just to
give you some instructions, it’s to calm people down,
settle people down from just rushing sometimes
to get here on time, doing stuff, so you can be peaceful. So any questions from the floor here, or from the seats?
Not just the floor, from the cushions? Ajahn: Yes?
Question: Just quickly, Ajahn Brahm. My brother suffers with apeirophobia.
I don’t know if you’ve heard of this before. It’s – – – Ajahn: With what?
Q: Apeirophobia, which is a fear of infinity. Ajahn: A fear of?
Question: A fear of infinity. Ajahn: A fear of infinity! Wow. Q: Yes. It afflicts a very small
number of people but essentially it’s not so much the
fear of death, but the fear of the eternal reincarnation or the fear of an eternal heaven
realm or something like this. Ajahn: That’s cool!
Question: Yes, exactly. I was just thinking is there anything – any advice that you could give
to such people – – – Ajahn: Oh yeah!
Question: – – – in order to help ease their suffering? Ajahn: Suffering? Yes,
I think I’m right behind them. That’s wisdom, not suffering! So, yeah, you’ve got a problem
there. Well, do something about it. So it’s like a fear of light. It’s a fear of
darkness, so turn on the light. Ajahn: So see if you can learn
what makes infinity happens. What makes things endless?
Why does it go on? And, of course, you can find out
the main thing is wanting. Wanting causes this world to
go round and round and round. Question: I quite liked Ajahn Chah’s
analogy of the still flowing water.
Ajahn: Yes. So see if that water could
fall down the sinkhole and disappear forever. Okay. So we will have to
end now because otherwise I will get into trouble.
Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu Audience: Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu. Okay. Sometimes I’ve got
that fear of infinity. The talk goes on forever and
ever and ever. Let’s pay respects to the
Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha. Araham samma sambuddho bhagava
Buddham bhagavantam abhivademi Svakkhato bhagavata dhammo
Dhammam namassami Supatipanno bhagavato savaka sangho
Sangham namami.

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