Episode 82

April 21, 2024


Doing What Is Good | Ajahn Brahm

Doing What Is Good | Ajahn Brahm
Ajahn Brahm Podcast
Doing What Is Good | Ajahn Brahm

Apr 21 2024 | 00:53:59


Show Notes

Ajahn Brahm elaborates on a saying of the Buddha inscribed on a statue outside of the Dhammaloka Buddhist Centre: “To do that which is good, to refrain from that which is bad, and to develop the mind. That is the teaching of all the buddhas.” This seems simple and even obvious. But sometimes it can be challenging to do what is good. Ajahn Brahm gives advice on how to determine what is good and to keep ourselves doing that which is good.

This dhamma talk was originally recorded using a low quality MP3 to save on file size (because internet connections were slow back then – remember dialup?) on 15th October 2004. It has now been remastered and published by the Everyday Dhamma Network, and will be of interest to his many fans.

These talks by Ajahn Brahm have been recorded and made available for free distribution by the Buddhist Society of Western Australia under the Creative Commons licence. You can support the Buddhist Society of Western Australia by pledging your support via their Patreon page.

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Episode Transcript

Doing What Is Good by Ajahn Brahm [Note: AI generated transcription – expect errors!] Usually people come up and give, um, suggestions for the talks. But because I've been happily ensconced in my meditation retreat down in serpentine, I haven't seen many of you for a while. There's no suggestions for a talk. So it's a wonderful opportunity to just to talk about just general Buddhism. This is a question which I often get asked, actually, what is Buddhism? Put it in a nutshell, please. And the best description in a nutshell, in brief, is what is inscribed underneath the statue outside. To do what is good, not to do what is bad, and to purify the mind. Whether to actually mean. No. First of all, we say to do what is good not to do what is bad. That seems quite obvious, but we get here into the whole idea of goodness and badness and ethics in the world, which obviously affect us quite, quite dramatically. Many people think that her goodness or badness is something which is fixed in the world. For the principles of fixed, but actually how goodness and badness actually evolve in our daily lives. They change from generation to generation from time to time. What was good yesterday is not necessarily good today. What is bad yesterday is not necessarily bad tomorrow. What do I mean by that? But the principles of goodness and badness, they stay the same. For example, I was asked today a common question which they ask Buddhist monks because Buddhists are not supposed to kill any animals because we're supposed to be so gentle and kind, even to things which crawl on the ground and say, what happens when, say, a dog or a cat is so sick? Should we take it to the vet and have it put down? Well, should we just let it suffer in the back of our house? What should we do? It's a very good question. And I'm doing this question because I was asked that this afternoon before I came here. And it brings into focus what we really mean by Buddhist ethics that do what is good and not do what is bad. What does that mean in practice? My answer, because I've been asked this many times is if you've got, say, a cat who's very sick and you're thinking, should I take her to the vet's and kill it? Or should I allow it to live? My answer is ask the cat. Now straight away you get some understandings here about that answer. First of all, that what right have you to judge what other people want to offer in what we call ethics and goodness and bad? We're telling other people what's good for them or what's bad for them. But of course you cannot tell. You cannot say to another being what's good and what's bad, because they've got their own history, their own reasons why they do these things. It's one of the things I've been saying for a long time. Everybody. When they do an act, they think they do it out of goodness. Have been saying this for a while. Even Osama bin laden thing. So what he was doing is right. I read a report about this recently. And the thing it was the historian Trevor Roper. In England, he had access to Adolf Hitler's diaries, not only his diaries, but apparently that because of probably that man's conceit, Hitler's conceit, he had a stomach for someone who would write down his conversation over dinner for many years and recorded for posterity. And this man, Trevor Roper, when she went through all of those diaries and probably knew the character of Adolf Hitler more than better than anybody else. And this interviewer asked him, Was Adolf Hitler a bad man? Did he realize he was doing bad? And in this article I read her. Trevor Roper, the British historian, said, no, no, no, Adolf Hitler was an idealist. He really thought that what he was doing was right. Fascinating. I've always said this. And in this article they said, actually, even Socrates said the same. And this gives an interesting idea about what goodness is and what badness is. Sometimes we can't see it. We think we're doing what's right. But when, afterwards and the years which have gone past, everybody understands that what he was doing was a terrible crime against humanity. He was an idealist at the time. What about you? Maybe you may not be as powerful and as giving such an impression on the world as a Hitler, but some of the things which you do. Nothing good. Are they bad? The point is, you always think you're doing good things, but sometimes in retrospect, they're bad. Sometimes you may be going through a divorce. And you get so upset about that person that you actually do a really mean and run of things to them. I read about this person going through a divorce in in New York. The wife still had the key to the man's apartment. Went in there on Friday evening after she knew her ex-husband or her husband she was divorcing, was going to go away for the weekend with his new girlfriend. She picked up the phone and rang England for the automatic time and left the phone off the hook all weekend. There was a two day phone call overseas and it's huge now. A few thousand dollar bill. She just. He did. She just did that out of spite. There's a stupid thing to do. I think if you've been through a divorce, you probably understand that sometimes you feel like doing the same or do something even more mean. But she thought it was a good thing to do at the time. She thought that person needed being taught a lesson. How often is it that. We think we're doing good, but only afterwards we find out it was the wrong thing to do, a stupid thing to do. Now going back to the cat. When you say ask the cat is so hard. If we can't even judge ourselves to judge others what's good and bad. So I say ask the cat. By which I mean, if you've got a pet which you love very dearly, which you've had in your house, in your family for such a long time. You will understand this. You have got a connection with that being. By asking. The cat is opening your mind. Try to what? That being once not prejudging. Thinking you know everything about what's good and bad. But actually open your mind to see what that cat wants. And if you just do that just to say, I'm going to ask my cat, my dog, what do you want? Do you want to go to the vet? Have you had enough yet, or do you want to carry on for a while? Straight away that you will feel the empathy you have with that being you will actually feel. You will know the answer. You're looking at campsites. There'll be a connection there. You don't have to be have psychic powers and read the mind of that being, but you'll feel you'll know. But that cat has had enough. If so, take it to the vet. He realized that he wants to end it. He's had enough. Sometimes you realize it hasn't had enough yet. He still wants to live. You can feel that you feel is so wrong thing to do. Don't do it then. Wait. Sometimes the cats can live like that. The dogs can live like that for many, many months. They'll just die in your home. Surely they may be in physical pain. But it's the emotional pain I'm talking about. They'd rather be with you rather than going to the vet. So that gives an indication of the complexity of what's good and bad and how we actually find out. Sure, it says in the Buddhist texts that it's the gates of precepts to intentionally kill a living being. But what does that really mean? One of the problems with these laws of good and bad is where we look in the texts, whether it's Buddhist text, Christian texts, other people's authorities, and we follow what they do. It's like the cat being told, okay, now you have to go to the vet and die. Or the captain said, no, no, I'm a Buddhist. I can't kill you. You have to stay here. And the cats are telling me, tell you me, I've had enough. The point is that that. Goodness and badness does not lie in books. It cannot be told by anyone else. It lies in the heart of every human being and even every other peer you feel. What is right and what is wrong. Deep inside of here. And this is not coming from precepts, from books. One of the greatest problems with the human race is that we follow books much more than we follow our heart. The books are there like maps. If any of you come here for the first time, you'd probably look to the Ubbe for Nansen Way and use that as your guide to find how to get here. But if you look in the UPD, since that's not a scale version, the roads are actually amplified and now the roads are in yellow and the gray. Whatever it is, those maps are only approximations to how to get here in the same way as the words in the books. Even the advice from a banker just approximations. And so we use the words in the book. Taxi to try and find out the truth in our hearts. If he's staying with the books. We have fundamentalist wars. Who has got the best book? But the point is, you don't need a book to tell you what's right and what's wrong. It tells you how to find out what's right and what's wrong. You feel it in your heart. That's why the most people. Sometimes you'll be going through religion. You'll be listening to talk, to be studying the texts. And if you follow those texts and I'm saying that you were Buddhist or a Christian or whatever, and you just follow those texts blindly. You will not be a moral person. You'd be puritanical. But if you follow your heart. By asking the cat or the dog. Then you'll be a compassionate, moral, wise person. And you feel that that is what goodness means. Goodness comes from the heart. Not from the books. So we use those books to actually to find out in ourselves what goodness is. And the wonderful thing is that doesn't matter what race you come from, what religion you come for, what gender or even what time, there's something which you know inside yourself is good. You recognize that. That's goodness. And you recognize something which is badness. You know, if you see someone being hit. Who say that? Someone who needs your attention. Your time is being left alone. If somebody is hungry, you feel inside. That is not right. That's bad. You feel that inside. And that's really what badness is. So. The Buddha actually gave this beautiful teaching to his son, Rahul. And this is actually the text of authority who runs my life. Here's what's good and what's bad, he told his son. If it's anything which hurts or harms another human being, or hurts and harms yourself. That is what we mean is bad. If it hurts or harms you or hurts or harms somebody else, you feel it inside of you. This is not right. I shouldn't be doing this. This should not be happening. Hurting and harming is a huge. Has a huge implications of what hurts physically, what hurts mentally, what hurts emotionally. People in the world. If it helps, brings happiness and peace harmony to others. If it brings happiness and peace and harmony to yourself. And that is good. You feel that this is actually resonates with what you understand inside of yourself as being good was being bad. Because as human beings that we want to create a world of peace and harmony. We want to limit the harm, the hurt which is in the world. If you actually see someone who is suffering. What's your reaction? When you see someone who's crying, who's afraid, who's hungry, who's lonely. Don't you feel that someone should do something about this? Or maybe me? You do feel that? Maybe that you deny that because you're busy or you're running off somewhere. But inside we feel that that we want to help. We want to lessen the suffering in this world. Now when you go and help that suffering. That is called goodness. You're bringing happiness to others. But a wonderful thing occurs when you practice this way of goodness. Just responding from your heart rather than from your book. Responding because you want to help. You want to serve. You want to create happiness. You find that creates happiness for you as well. And just one of the people who comes here regularly, who serves in the prisons, visiting prisoners. He was saying to me just a few moments ago how much of a privilege it is to go to the prison and spend time teaching prisoners meditation. And I can understand that very easily. It's not a chore to do good things. If it is a chore, you're not doing good. There's something wrong there. Something is not right with your actions. If you're doing good things, really helping others, it helps you. You feel good about it. It brings you happiness straight away. When I was a student at Cambridge, I had a friend who was a Christian. I was a Buddhist. He said he was going to do some social service in a home for an institution, for down syndrome people. All right. So here's a question. In doing that I can't let the team down. I'm a Buddhist. I said I got him as well. The pure conceit I must have just. I kept trying to keep up with the Joneses or the Christians in this particular case. So I went along as well. And it was for Christians and one Buddhist. And for two years, everything. Thursday afternoon I went to this hospital and I remember the name now, Full Block Hospital just outside of Cambridge, to spend one afternoon a week just doing some occupational therapy with his down syndrome kids. It came to the time when my university career was about to be finished. I always remember this occasion with a lot of sense of happiness and and bliss. Because the heart of the afternoon was separated by a tee time. If in hospital, English people like to have afternoon tea and started in this hospital. So after one session was afternoon tea, another session and I went back to my college. I think there are two classes or two groups of down syndrome children. They asked me because I was so experienced by this time. Even I was a student without any formal qualifications. They gave me the whole group for one part of the first period in the afternoon. After that you might take any other group. So I took the other group just by myself. After we finished, the two groups came together. When I've been teaching one group, the other occupational therapists have been like helping the down syndrome children make little cards for me. They said it was your last time. The final examinations are coming next week. They told me that of all the students ever volunteered. I'd been the most consistent. The longest. I'd long outlasted the Christians, but I'd forgotten it wasn't a competition anymore. And I. These kids gave me these little cards. Now, if you get a card from a child, sometimes it's not very pretty and they had to put a lot of effort in just to make a little card for you. If it's people with down syndrome, the effort is 2 or 3 times, if not more. And these little kids have tried their hardest to say thank you. I cried at that time. And the funniest thing was that very sheepishly, when they gave me this presentation for my last day, I said, actually, my exams don't start for another week. Please can I come back one more time? So after my last day, I came back another time. And I don't get why. Why did I want to come back? Because when you give, when you do something which is good for others, it is always good for you. If you give happiness to others, you get what in Buddhism you call instant karma. You get instant happiness back whenever your kind, whenever you're caring, whenever you do something which you know it's not good in the books, but it's good in your heart. Do you forgive someone you care for? Someone you give that extra bit of time for, someone you give a charity a donation. You, you you stop doing bad things. You say sorry for all the rotten things which is said to someone else. You just try that. And you get this wonderful sense of happiness back. Who give happiness to others. He creates happiness for you. If you create harm for others. If you heard that. Be honest and you'll find it hurts yourself as well. Versus the law of nature. Whatever harms others hurts you. Whatever hurts you, harms others. That's why when you see this clearly, ethics become so obvious. You know what to do. And you really can't hurt or harm again. It just makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to hurt or harm another being. It also makes no sense to do bad to yourself, to hurt or harm yourself. Why on earth does anyone do that? Sometimes even a monastery teaching serves a young man. So those people trained to be Max. Even though it's been a retreat time, we call it a time of rest. For our monks. This period of the range retreat, we call it a period of rest, because the rest of the monks have nothing to do. But I carry on working with a retreat for the rest of them, but not for me, because I had to teach them. So on that period when I've been away, I still been very active teaching, but focusing on the monks, on the Angelica's, the lay people, lay women at my monastery, giving them full attention. And so often one of the problems they have is they sleep in. Well, I have sexual fantasies. Well, they say something rotten and mean and they come out. They feel so guilty and say, I don't deserve to be in this monastery anymore. So I've been terrible. This is what I've been doing. And so get out of your guilt trip. Because what's wrong with that? And what's wrong with sleeping in? What's wrong with having that sexual fantasy? What's wrong with with doing that? Look, you're a human being. You make mistakes. You're here to learn. I don't expect you to be perfect. But the important thing is, why do you want to punish yourself? Why is it when people do something wrong? They want to add to the suffering by hurting themselves again. With guilt. What is bad is what hurts another person or hurts you. Isn't guilt harming yourself, hurting yourself? And it doesn't help if you punish yourself because you've done something wrong. You think I'm terrible to God, please hurt me. And then it doesn't help at all to solve the underlying problem. As I've been saying recently, you do not learn from your mistakes. You learn from your successes. What does that mean? It means you stop focusing on your mistakes all the time. All the things you've done wrong, all the things that they've done wrong. It just makes you depressed, negative. And you find you will be repeating those mistakes every time you bring them up. Instead, you learned from your successes. So leave aside defaults. Horrible things you've done wrong. How about thinking about all the things you've done right? On the wonderful things you've done in life. You'll find that that gives you energy, that builds you up, makes you feel good about yourself, gives you happiness, and you will do those things again. You learn from successes, not from failures. But why is it in our life we've been taught, we've been conditioned. Okay, you've done a mistake, and we have to keep thinking about it and thinking about it, going over it, making sure we don't do it again. That's the way of our Western world is a way of guilt, focusing on the faults. It's actually creating more badness in our world, in our cells. So the Buddhist way, which goes against the way many of you have been taught. You make a mistake. Forget it. You do something right. Celebrate it. I learned this first of all in psych educational psychology over 30 years ago. There was a teacher and one year teaching training course. Educational psychology was called positive reinforcement. Teachers would stop punishing the children or even telling them off when they made a mistake. But when they did something right, they would praise and celebrate. Even to the point. There was one group of people who had an eating disorder, a very severe eating disorder, that they could not keep food down in their stomachs as soon as it went down the stomach, who would vomit to African? I'm not quite sure what that disorder was called, but the group, the therapy group which had the greatest success, was having all the children with their parents and nurses in one room when any child kept that food down for more than 10s. The party hats would come out. They'd had this little thing. So blower with little thing comes out with a feather on the end. They get on a chair. They put on the children's favorite music. They'd be dancing and making a party because one kid kept their food down for 10s. They found that the children started keeping their food down longer and longer. And so many of those children got over that syndrome. Positive reinforcement. Don't you like being encouraged and praised? If we start criticizing ourselves, we lose all energy. We lose all wanting to try. Anymore. How many of you have faced such criticism? I think what's the point? You give up trying. That's negative reinforcement. How many of you got that so down upon yourself. Feeling I'm awful. I'm terrible, I'm hopeless. If you keep remembering your mistakes, focusing on what's wrong, you won't go. So instead of remembering our mistakes, we remember our successes. And that becomes an encouragement. That's where we grow. So there's no reason for guilt, because guilt is a almost like psychotic morbid focusing on what we do wrong. To the point that when you look at your day or your year, you focus excessively on all the things we should've done wrong. That's why you can't be happy. That's why you can't grow spiritually. Focus on your successes. They become a much more peaceful, happy, successful person. Guilt is harming yourself. Forgive him. Focusing on the successes. He's helping yourself. Creating happiness. That is why it is ethical. It is good. Whatever helps. Well, heels is good and you notice in your heart you try that. So those little ones I know because I made a mistake. Do not punish yourself. Just forgive them. I told them whenever I made a mistake or did something wrong, or go on and confess to my teacher at Changsha, and I went in there just full of remorse, I did this terrible thing is, you know, please punish me. That's what I was saying. And he thought it was so funny. He'll just burst out laughing. And I think these Westerners are really weird. They couldn't understand him at all. Why do you want to be punished? Just acknowledge, forgive, learn. Forget about it. That was his attitude. It took me years to change and to trust that way and to realize that is the way of growth. That's compassion. That's growth, that's creating happiness in the world. Forgetting. Forgive yourself at least. Have you forgiven yourself yet for all the bad things you've done? Well, are you still doing what is bad by creating harm and her in yourself? That's bad. So if those Angelica's, those novices, those young monks, they continue to resist. I say, okay, you can have the punishment. We got a punishment in my monastery. Some of you heard this before. It's called 30 strokes of the Cat. You know, Australia traditionally used to deal with the convicts. In modern monasteries. Very strict 30 strokes of the cat I give them. It's true. You know what that means. You got a cat in a monastery called Kit Kat? I tell you, go to stroke that cat 30 times. That's cool with 30 strokes for the cats. The lady who died, that was like a punishment of whipping. But I said, no, no, we don't do that. And I'm honestly. I remember when I first told that story, the joke I think I told in Singapore, people thought, wow, you can't do that. When I tell, they were both relieved. But there was a point to that because if you can't forgive yourself, it means you're very weak on compassion and wisdom. Animals are great for learning compassion. Go and take a cat or a dog and stroke at 30 times. Learn compassion. If you can be compassionate to that little cap, then maybe you'll get the hint and you'll be compassionate to yourself and forgive yourself and stop punishing yourself. That's what we call doing good. You create goodness. You take away the pain of life. You take away the pain of human beings making mistakes or making false. You start doing that to yourself and my goodness, you can start doing that to others. You find you can forgive others their faults and you find that that is good. Punishing is bad. That's why the Buddha actually said, put away the rod. It's hard thing for people to understand. It takes a lot of confidence. You have to do it though. Positive reinforcement as well. Put aside that the hard tongue and all the terrible things you say. Stop punishing others. Be kind. You get much, much, much more success with that kindness. You just this afternoon someone says the the the bees get attracted to honey, not to vinegar. Goodness comes from kindness. Not from harm or hurt. And that's such an important part of why that Buddhism has grown and been so strong in so many countries, and been so gentle and actually healed people, has actually created harmony between people, accepted people, creating happiness in that space, between people. I think many of you notice on the board outside that I got awarded this John Curtin Medal. The thing which actually one person gave this wonderful. They wrote a letter to me and they said, isn't it wonderful? That in this day and age you can get a medal. Not for going to war. So many medals come from going to war while competing against other people in Olympics or in sport. But I got a medal. Not for going to war, but for going to peace. Not for competing, but for cooperating. Because the person actually. Nominated me, was the Anglican chaplain of Curtin University. Brought in Erich von dieser. So it's like a member of the Fremantle Dockers nominating a member of the Eagles. I like that idea. And it's actually bringing people together and we know that is good. We feel that's really right. That's good. That's not punishing or celebrating. It's not sort of focusing on a difference, but it's focusing what we've got together. And people know that. That's good. I've been going around telling people that everybody here, they want me and my sister and the other monks, they want us to work together. With people of other religions. You demand that of us. People of the world demand of their imams, a demand of their Christian priests. They demand of their fathers the demand of their rabbis. Too much separation and war. That's evil. Walls which separate people, ideas which create barriers between sometimes husbands and wives, between peoples of our world. Most people are demanding that your leaders actually work together. To actually to mend those barriers, to create harmony and peace as much as possible in this world. Isn't that good? Why? Because it creates peace, happiness and harmony in this world. Why are barriers bad? Because it creates pain. It creates hurts. So have a look in a newspaper. That terrible concrete wall is ugly and separates brothers and sisters, parents and children in Palestine. It doesn't feel right. I don't know the ins and outs of the politics of the Middle East or whatever creates such hurt and harm. It can't be right. You feel it inside. You don't need to be a political scientist to know that. And you don't need to be a political science that sometimes the barriers between a man and a woman, when they get upset and angry, you realize that that's wrong. Why do we say such things and hurt each other so badly? Why do we focus on the faults and think you does something wrong? I'm going to give you back more twice. There's no forgiveness there. There's no creating happiness. There's no creating goodness in this world. So don't you know what goodness is? Once you feel it inside yourself, in your heart, in your guts, you know what happiness is. You know what the world needs. And of course, you'd be out there doing it. Helping and harming herself. Helping. Not harming. Not because you're a goody goody. Not because you're trying to prove something. Not because you're trying to go to hell. Not because you're going to try and make more calm or good points for yourself, for your next life. You do it because it's the only thing you can do. It's natural. It creates happiness for yourself. How many people want to be happy? We think happiness comes. Some people think happiness comes with going to see a good movie. Happiness counselor having some good sex. No, no, no, I don't know anything about that. Happiness counselor. Rather than what makes you happy? Your football team winning. Right. Look in your life, does that really make you happy? Well, look at the time when you really done some service. You've done something good for somebody else. When I was awarded that medal. I think one of the things I said was, why me? I said, that's a rhetorical question. I should get an answer, not just to leave a question hanging in mid-air. And as it happened just the last week. Her man had come to my monastery. Who was suicidal. And for one reason or another, he thought that I think he was facing a prison term and he just couldn't stand the idea. And he told me, he said that several of asking the cat you want to die? So I asked myself, I said, I want to die. And I talked to him for a while, and I gave him my little book, you know, opening the door of your heart. Put. And I thought that was actually the last resort I gave to him for free. I'm supposed to actually. It's broke. The Buddhist decides for us to be studying, and I'll give it to free and apologize for that. I gave it to him for free. But. I really thought that I hadn't got home. I really thought he was a lost cause. I really thought I'd never see him again. Except maybe seeing his picture in the paper. Another suicide. And I've met many people and some people have committed suicide. I've been in this business a long time now. I thought I'd lost that one. Then he came back again. And again and again and again every 2 or 3 days. You said today. I saved his life. Imagine what you feel like when you know that what you said, what you've done, has actually saved a person from killing themselves, saved their family from all that suffering. A huge happiness inside. So when I thought about that, I said, yeah, maybe I do deserve that medal. What's wrong with creating yourself? It's a place where I could act. Fair enough. That just. That one thing creates enormous happiness inside of me. Something good for somebody else to spend a bit of time with them, even though I shouldn't have done. Now this is what we mean by goodness. He creates happiness for yourself and happiness for others. Once you get into this, you get blissed out being a good person. Goodness becomes fun. That's why we have the saying in Australia. Have a good time. See what a good time. It's obvious. Then be good. If you want a bad time and be bad. So I am a good time. Monk. But because the goodness in itself. You fear that and you do it. And this is what we're starting of basic Buddhism. Do what is good. Stop doing what is bad and purify your heart and purify your mind. Your mind starts to feel pure. It gets energy. It starts to understand what's going on, what the meaning of life is. What are you supposed to be doing with yourself in this world? Searching for happiness but searching in the wrong place. Search inside. In your mind, in your heart, and you feel you know what's good. You know, it's still a wonder for the monks. Somebody said this, one of the guys said, I can't figure out why so many people come every day during our retreat to feed us. We don't eat one meal a day. In my monastery, we eat one banquet a day. You go down and see the table is always full. We can't get any more tables in that room. And sometimes that, you know, they're pushing a distance and away and that way to try and get another dish on. And then sometimes people come bring some stills for us as well. We have one banquet a day. Why do people do that? Now, actually, for people to bring food to the monks at the serpentine or to the Sisters at Cana, sometimes they get up really early in the morning and have to get all that food, and they cook that food. It's not just ordinary food. If they go to the monasteries, they cook the very best food. Sometimes. Early on, when I was a young man, the Thai ladies would come amazing food, and the husbands or certain husbands would come and complain. I will say my wife never makes that beautiful food for me. Only for you. Monks and the wife would say, well, husband, you become a monk, and I make. But, but. For? Why do they do that? And this much more food than a group of monks could actually take. There's lots left over, and he usually goes to kangaroos and all these other birds and stuff which rely on our monastery. If it doesn't, it gets taken home. It always gets used somewhere. But they do that because they get happy and happiness. I asked him. Once I knew what the answer would be, I asked me about it. Why do you come if you spent all that time? All that money is most of the day because by the time you get back, it's 2:00, 3:00 in the afternoon, the whole day is gone. Why? And it's safe because of happiness. They wouldn't miss that for the world. When you give from your heart. Kindness. Time. Love. Whatever. When you give to other people. You get so much back yourself. You purify the hearts when you just think about yourself. What I want, what I need. You gather, you attach. You crave for yourself. What happens. You find that you don't feel good at all. You feel so empty. You feel lonely. I always remember the time when I went to a house in Chile on the riverfront. It was a mansion full of much marble. To do a blessing ceremony. The lady just moved into this house. She must have been a millionairess at least, and probably multi-millionaires. And I just went in there and thought, what a wonderful house this is. Whose chandeliers was marble. Okay, there's no joke, but it's funny story and I told it before, but it's it's true. I wanted to go to the toilet. She had to draw me a map. Okay. It was that big a house. Mhm. But the painful thing was talking to that lady. She lived in that huge mansion alone. She had no friends, no relations with had relations. But Nancy got on with. So such a lonely, lonely woman. And I thought it was a huge use of a big house like that, when there's no friends to enjoy it with. He was so sad. He was almost a paradigm of our modern world, where people seek for the big houses of big cars and material comfort, but don't find emotional comfort if they do make it. They've got no one to share it with. What would you prefer a small home for? With good friends. We could companions for a nice family or a big mansion. Were you alone? What's happiness? You know what happiness is inside. You don't need to hear that in a book. You know that. You feel that. Even though there's been many. Uh, supposed to be on retreat. I have come into town on several occasions, mostly for funerals. People have died in the last 2 or 3 months. I enjoy going to funerals. Do you like funerals? It was so meaningful because number one, you can help and serve those people. Could actually face with this thing about a death. And it's one of those occasions when you're giving a talk, when everybody listens. And sometimes you got the emotions in the palm of your hand. I tell jokes in my funerals. And they all say, thank you so much, Adam Brown, for telling jokes. Please let us have another one. Often I've seen that cotton, that coffee in a rattle, and the right hand side is probably laughing, though I have it. That's a joke. The. But the thing I like about funerals is you get people going up there on the lectern and saying all these wonderful stories about the person who's died. I love hearing those stories. They're celebrating a life. I'll ask you. And I went, I think last Wednesday or something, know a week ago I forget, but not that long ago. That was a young boy. Yeah, well, young man is 34, 35 when he died. Cancer. And they were telling about his when he was young. And I think his mates who grew up with they managed to find some detonator caps and they blew up a builder's toilet next to. I think it was like fun and games were growing and celebrating and love and all the naughty, silly things I did. But I didn't want a party for each other for that. That was just growing up. I saw forgiveness there. This was boys being boys and the girl. I got the big trouble for that and the girls setting about, you know, their lives together. It was beautiful celebrating her life, even 34 years. That's why I love funerals. Because they're celebrating living and goodness. Because that's what you talk about when somebody dies. You understand that I love funerals because that's where you get the some of the deepest spiritual messages about the meaning of life. If you want to know what life's meaning is. Go to Kolkata or Fremantle. Hang out in one of the chapels. No one will know. Listen to people's lives and what they remember. They remember all the goodness, the wonderful things which a person does. And the time when they did silly things. The time when they just helped and served. Good friends. Good family. There you learn what goodness is for the meaning of life is. Then you're purifying your heart of selfishness. You're not living in a mansion by yourself. You're not living in this body, the mansion of your body alone. You got all of your friends, all of your goodness, all of your wonderful memories. All the great things which you've done. Which mean thing. Something to you. That is what's important. That is what heals and helps. Her finish off with the story which comes to mind. There was a time when I was very active teaching in prisons. This was a time I was teaching at Khanate, which is very close to our monastery. I've been teaching this group of prisoners. Most of the prisoners, not all, but most of the prisoners who came into my group. We are in jail because of drug trafficking or, you know, selling drugs. There are drug dealers. And these two prisoners, wrote one prisoner. When I arrived there for the meditation session, took my hand and dragged me into the schoolroom. He wanted to show me something. On the board. In the schoolroom was again all these cards written by kids. He told me that the week before, he'd been invited to Gerudo Primary School. With a mate of his by one of the school teachers. He was a criminal in jail only because of drug dealing. This amazing teacher in the school got these two druggies criminals to talk to the children about drugs. She could have got some psychologists from Perth, some academic who had done a degree and had studied other people. That would have meant a fraction of what these two prisoners did. These two prisoners stood in front of that class of ten year olds and told them what drugs are really like. From the heart. What happens? And when you start getting involved in this sort of stuff. I'm Holocaust. I wasn't at that school, but I imagine just the effect on those kids. Those kids would never touch drugs at all. Because those prisoners were talking from their heart, from experience, not as theory. Now talking from their guts about what happens. They would have communicated. But the lovely part of this story was like most schools after the the prisoners had left. In the class. Get the crayons out. Let's write some cards to thank and make I forget the other guy's name. And I had all these beautiful cards pasted on the wall of the school board. Nick, thank you so much for coming on. Never take drugs that when you release, please come and visit again. Nick, thanks so much for what you did. We hope you get released. So get. Pardon? And this is Nick. This drug dealer was shown with his cards. First it was teary eyed, and then he was weeping, just crying his eyes out. That meant so much to him. He'd done something for other people. While the awful things about being in a jail, his ability to contribute to the happiness of others is taken away. You can't help. You can't serve. You can't give. You can't love. There. He had the chance to do that. I met him at Perth Airport. Many years later, I was sitting in a chair waiting for a month to arrive. I spent a lot of time waiting for months to arrive at airports. As I was waiting there, someone put their hand on my shoulder and I turned around in a very sharp suit. He's obviously doing very well for himself as Nick. I recognised him straight away and he smiled at me. His first words were brown. I'm still meditating. Now that's what goodness does. Now doesn't that uplift? Isn't that what life is all about? Isn't that beautiful? Isn't that wonderful? Do you need to read that in the book? Did I really need to tell you that? You just know that already. But sometimes we forget. Sometimes we get sidetracked. Sometimes we follow other ways. Please do what is good. Just forgive. Stop doing what is bad. Don't harm others. You find your mind gets purified. What do you mean by purified mind? Does it be like putting in a washing machine and just getting all the stains out? What is a pure mind? You say someone is pure hearted, isn't it? They're always there for you. Always giving. Never say a bad word about anybody. Kind. Compassionate. Wise. What is wisdom? Wisdom comes from that pure heart. You're a good person. You're a kind person. The neighborhood opens up and you get wise and wise and wiser. Wisdom comes from goodness. And it grows and grows and makes you even more good. Not good in the sense of being proud, but good in the sense of being free. Freedom to be able to love, to care and to give happiness in this world. So both yourself and to all other beings so hard. So the Buddhist teachings are hard as spirituality is put in terms which you don't have to have fancy terms from the books terms with, everybody can understand. As you opened up your heart. Wisdom comes to that title book. Opening the door of your heart. To goodness, to peace, that inner wisdom. And that way you become happy little people. And the more happy people we have in the world, the more harmony will have and have more harmony and more peace. We can have enough fractured world. To do what is good, to stop doing what is bad, and purify your mind to make it more brilliant. More happy and more smarty. As a teaching of the Buddha. The ending of suffering. Okay, there we go. Okay. Has anyone got any questions? You've got one of the back there. Yes. Very quick. Haha. If you get ego building, you start getting critical of others. You start shutting yourself against others, but praising yourself is actually you finally get less critical of others. So you're praising your goodness. You're praising your kindness. You're placing your generosity. You actually that you don't get big headed at all. You get big hearted. The try and see. Don't get big headed. You get big hearted. Okay.

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