February 11, 2023


Enlightenment is the Highest Happiness | Ajahn Brahm

Enlightenment is the Highest Happiness | Ajahn Brahm
Ajahn Brahm Podcast
Enlightenment is the Highest Happiness | Ajahn Brahm

Feb 11 2023 | 00:58:52


Show Notes

Happiness means being good, and the benefits of being good are immense. Allow other people to be kind to you and it will make you happy. Happiness comes when we give without expecting anything in return, and it’s one of the first ways to develop in our lives. Happiness is found by letting go and learning how to meditate. Enlightenment is the ultimate happiness. Sleep well at night by remembering the good things you’ve done, rather than the bad. Keep the precepts of not hurting others and yourself. When we reach out for happiness, we usually end up getting disappointment, frustration, despair, and grief. Enlightenment is the highest form of happiness, and it’s achievable even if you’re not wealthy. You don’t have to wait until you retire to be happy. Just don’t do anything and you’ll get into deep meditation and eventually realize some of the teachings of Buddha. This is why meditation is not only the easiest thing to do, but the most fun thing to do.

This dhamma talk was originally recorded using a low quality MP3 to save on file size on 26th July 2002. 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. You can support the Buddhist Society of Western Australia by pledging your support via their Patreon page.

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Episode Transcript

AB20020726_EnlightenmentIsHighestHappiness Transcription Okay, for this evening's talk, I'm going to talk about enlightenment, I think to learn about wouldn't it? This is what we're supposed to teach here in a very simple way. But be careful, because simplicity is always very profound. I'm going to base this evening's talk on a saying of the Buddha, which is like, enlightenment is the highest, the ultimate happiness. For those of you who know Pali, the diet of Sanskrit, nibarnang power among sukang enlightenment, nibana is the highest happiness. So instead of like looking at enlightenment as something which is far from our understanding, you can look at it as just being happiness upon happiness upon happiness, deeper and deeper and deeper. And it reminds me of just many years ago when I was asked what is the essence of something like Buddhism? Or what is the essence of all religions, of all spirituality, of all philosophies? And I answered that. It's just the answers to two fundamental questions of life. And those two fundamental questions which cuts across all dogma and philosophies, are what is happiness? And number two, how do I get it? Because really, that's what what people want, isn't it? They want to know what happiness is. They want to achieve that happiness. People come here because they want to be happy. You work because you want to be happy, whatever you do, really, it's in a search of reaching out for happiness. But the problem is, most people in life that we reach out, we search, we work hard, but we don't get happiness, do we? We usually get disappointment, frustration, despair, grief and power. Where is this happiness, anyway? Many religions promise happiness, but do we actually get that happiness? Or do we have just to wait until after we die to get happiness? And that's very uncertain, isn't it? It's like betting on a Melbourne Cup horse race. You never know who's going to win until right at the very end. So be careful. So if enlightenment is the highest happiness, we're searching for that enlightenment, that happiness in our world. And like most people in this world, they search for happiness in many places, which doesn't really give you happiness. This is one of my favorite stories, because it's a true story. It reflects my own early life, my early life growing up in London, going to school. Many of you know that in that part of the world, when you're around 14, 1516, you have to do some exams called O levels by that time. I used to love playing soccer with my mates in the park so everyone can hear. I used to love playing soccer with my mates in the park. But my teachers, my parents, my uncles and aunties grandparents, they told me, he said, don't go around playing soccer in the park. Of an evening on the weekend, stay at home. Do your homework, study hard, because if you pass your old levels, then you'll be happy. I believe that. So I stopped playing soccer and I stayed at home and I did my studies and I got my old levels. I did very well. I wasn't happy. In fact, it was even worse. I had to do two more years at school and study even harder. I do to a levels. But my parents told me, and my teachers as well, said, stay at home, do your homework. At that time, I wasn't playing soccer. I wasn't chasing a football. I was chasing girls. I wasn't born a monk, but they said, stop chasing the girls. Stay at home, do your homework. Because when you parch your A levels a minute, then you'll be set for life. Then you'll be happy. So once again, I believe them. And I studied hard. I did very well at A levels. And guess what happened to me? University. Three more years. That was my reward for studying hard and more exams. You have to really study hard at university. But my parents, my teachers, the lecturers and the tutors all said, now study hard when you go to university, sort of go to all the lectures, go to all the tutorials, work very hard, because if you get your degree and get a good degree, then you'll be set for life. They said, Get your degree and then you'll be happy. Now, at this point, I started to get suspicious, think, Hang on, here what's going on. Someone was promising me happiness just a little bit in the future. Just do this and get that, then you'd be happy. That's when I started to look at my friends, especially my elder friends, my elder relations. People have got their degrees and see what they were up to. The ones were a little bit older than me were looking for their partner in life, looking for someone they can settle down with, because they thought, once I found my partner, know that my husband, my wife, my partner, then I'll be happy. Many of you who are single. You're probably thinking like that. Once I find my partner in life, then I'll be happy. Be careful. I guarantee once you get your partner in life you are not happy, you know, are you? Maybe just for a couple of days, but then well, maybe a bit longer. But what happens when okay, so you get your partner, you find your partner. What do you have to do next? You've got to get a place to live, haven't you? The place to live nowadays these days costs a lot of money. Now, if any of you are thinking of building a house, come and see me afterwards and I'll give you the plans for a couture amongst coote. Just one room, that's all you need to live in. It's very, very cheap and it means you'll save a lot of money. You'll be able to pay off your mortgage probably in six months instead of working so hard. So we have to work very hard to actually to get a house, get a deposit and pay the mortgage. You know what, you think, okay, when I pay off the mortgage, then I can go here. When I pay off the mortgage, then I can be happy. So people work really hard. That's where you get all stressed out. How hard do you have to work? Really, really hard. The problem comes that even before you paid off the mortgage, you have kids. Now, once you have kids, you're in big trouble. You have to have a big house. And they have all the worries and concerns. Actually, as far as worry concern, it goes up in quantum leaps. Isn't it worried once you have kids? You know what you think? Once the kids grow up and leave and settle down, then I'll be happy. A lot of people think that way. They sacrifice so much for so many years for their kids. By the time their kids have actually left and settled down and got married and stuff, that's the time you're usually in your sort of, you know, late 40s, early 50s. That's the time you start to think of retirement. You think, I'll just work a little bit harder because when I retire, then I'll be happy. But by the time you get close to retirement, this is I see this in in people by time. When you get close to a time and you get start getting old. When people are old, that's when they start coming to temples like this. Or they start going to churches. You know why they start going to churches and temples? Because they start to think, well, it's a bit too late now to be happy, but when I die, then I'll be happy. That was actually the story of life for many people. Happiness is always out of reach, just almost there, like the end of a rainbow. You think it's right there. Once I get my degree, once I get my new car, once I get on the holiday, once I get my perfect partner in life, once I get rid of all these problems, once I get this out of the way, then I'll be happy. Are you ever happy? One of the things I noticed in life, generally speaking, I didn't see anybody who was really happy. Really happy asiental went off to Tie to become a monk. Then I saw these great monks living in the forest. They didn't have TVs and cars. They didn't have wives and children. They were as happy as can be. They were the happiest people I ever saw. And so I thought, well, if I'm searching for happiness, if enlightenment is the highest happiness, I want to actually sort of see some evidence. Actually, you saw it with these great enlightened monks and nuns. Why were they happy? One of the strangest things about their happiness was they weren't searching for something in the future. They weren't saying that. When I get something else, then I'll be happy. This is important in your meditation. Don't think that. When I watch my breath, then I get happy. When I get this meditation down, then I'll be happy. When I get into Janus, then I'll be happy. This is deep meditation. When I get enlightened, then I'll be happy. Stop thinking like that. That's just like thinking in the world. You never get happy that way. It was another way of doing things. Because I saw these monks and nuns. They had nothing and they were happy. Why? A lot of times it is because we don't understand what real happiness is. The first thing which I noticed is that you don't have to be wealthy to be happy. This was, again, a little story. When I first went to Thailand. Northeast Thailand. This was very close to the border between Cambodia and Laos. Not the north of Thailand. That's in Chiang Mai, the northeast of Thailand. It was a very poor part of the world. No one used to go up there. It was flat, uninteresting. Nothing was there except great monks. That's the only thing it was known for. But one of the things I saw in the simple villages where they didn't have any televisions or electricity I saw there were very, very happy people. It's supposed to be poor, it's supposed to be undeveloped. It's supposed to be almost uncivilized. But they were happy. Now it's been developed. Now it's civilized. Now electricity is there. They're nowhere near as happy as they were before. For example, I remember just one evening, just maybe I'd been up in Northeast time for about two months or three months. It was time to do a little ceremony in the local village in the evening and together with a few other monks. So we walked from the monastery in the forest, only about two kilometres through the paddy fields at night, and into the village. And as we walked into the village, there was no electricity. It was dark, except for the light of small kerosene lamps in each house. Now, I have to describe the houses in those days to you. The houses were built on stilts. There was like an underground to each house. They didn't park their car underground. They had no car. They parked their water buffalo. There'd always be about two or three water buffalo underneath the house. And upstairs would be where the family lived. And as I walked I remember very clear, as I walked into the village, I saw in the open upstairs, open area. To the light of a very small oil lamp. They actually used a piece of cloth which they stuck through the top of a toothpaste tube. The other small opening of a toothpaste tube that was just enough to put a wick through. That was just recycling just the ordinary things. And I saw the whole family just sitting around there. There were kids who were maybe one or two years of age, three, 6810. There were the young teenagers, there was the parents, there was the uncles, there were grandparents and great grandparents, usually families of about 18 or 20 in each house. And they were talking to each other, telling stories, sometimes ghost stories like Edenger Tamilo talks here and other stories. And they'd been doing this every night of their lives. And straight away there was something very beautiful there which I'd never seen in my house where we would watch the television and we would argue over which channel we have to have on here. They were telling stories together. It was something which showed me that what happiness truly is one degree of happiness, that friendship, that togetherness, that sharing which we've lost in our insular society. So this is one of the first indications of what true happiness is. The friendship, the being together, the listening together, the laughing together which we have. It's important even in a Buddhist society like this and trying to create those feelings of a family, those feelings of being together, those feelings of friendship here, which is why we have reception areas. After the talk, I remember very clearly some of the Buddhist societies which I used to patronize as a young student. Sometimes we'd go there, we'd listened, who were taught, maybe meditate. When it was all over, we'd all go home. We never knew each other. We never could support each other and help each other. One of the wonderful things which creates happiness is supporting each other, being kind to each other. Now, when we are kind to each other and supporting each other, it doesn't mean that you all go out to help somebody else. Lots of people want to help somebody else, but no one wants to be helped. There's a lot of kind people out here looking for somebody to be kind too. So sometimes we have to put our hands up and say, I volunteer to be kind too. That's why I'm a monk. I'm so helpless. I'm not allowed to cook. I'm not allowed to feed myself even. I'm not allowed to sort of go and get some tea from the cupboard. People have to do that for me. So I put my hand up and say, Help. Be kind to me. I'm so helpless I can't drive a car. I'm not allowed to do that. If I need to go anywhere, people have to go and take me. Knew that people enjoy doing that, enjoy looking after me, and I enjoyed being looked after. What we're saying here is that to be kind to other people, we also have to allow other people to be kind to us. That's an important ingredient in happiness. So don't be just so independent. Don't go around and saying, I don't need you. Don't go saying, I can do it all by myself. Because if you do that, you'll start to be lonely. And we will not start to live alone. That's why, as a monk, if I can do the job better, if I can make the cup of tea better, doesn't matter. I'll let someone else make it for me because it makes them feel happy. So in your home, allow yourself to be looked after. One of the great benefits of sickness is that you can't look after yourself. And so you're giving other people the great opportunity to look after you. Isn't that nice? That's why that if you are sick and other people look after you, it's one of the wonderful experiences of your life because you see the kindness in other people and people like looking after you. It's fun looking after other people. I had to learn this the hard way as a young muck. One of the things which we had to do was to look after our teacher. This is like the Asian custom of looking after your parents, looking after your teacher. My teacher was a Janchar. He had lots of people to look after him. So straight away, when I was a young monk, I thought I didn't need to look after him because everyone else was looking after him. But in particular, one of the ways of looking after a teacher in North East town as a monk was after the morning arms round, when the monks would walk into the village barefoot, bare feet, more than 1ft hence bare feet, barefooted, whatever it is, without his shoes on. That's where that issues are. And when they came back, they would have to wash their feet in the water bath and it was a monk's job at you to go out and help wash your teacher's feet. Now, when I first saw this, I couldn't believe my eyes. When Ajan Char came back, he only had 2ft but about 20 monks rushed out to wash them. They could only to get half a toe each and I thought how stupid that was because I thought that a gentile was old enough to wash his own feet. I didn't realize what it was like to go and help. One day I decided to also jump out. You had to rush, you had to run to beat all the other monks to get a tow if you're pretty fast and get the big one. And that made your day, it was true. And when you got one of his toes and you washed it, he felt so good afterwards I didn't realize how much happiness you get from helping others it's from giving, even though it wasn't necessary. Even though, according to my Western conditioning, this was the most inefficient way to wash feet. But nevertheless, it was so much fun. And after a while, as a mark, I really got into this. You'd see a mike and you try and wash his feet, and if he didn't want to, you'd just grab them and wash them. Even if he didn't like it, you try and wash his bowl or just someone seen it here. What that meant was you had so much fun serving and helping. Now, if you can do that to the people you live with, wouldn't it make it so much different? You wouldn't be saying whose turn it is to wash the dishes. You'd be actually racing to the thing to see who get there first to get the opportunity to wash them. It was actually fun to help. Not a duty anymore. It was a fun to serve. I'm not underestimating this. Serving is fun. For example, I can't do very much for you except to teach. I can't wash your feet. There's too many of them for my tenants. What I can do is like help and serve and teach. Every Friday evening or whenever. Some years ago, a lady rang up here and I answered the phone in that room over there. They asked me, am I giving the talk tonight? I said, you're giving the talk? I said, 730 meditation, 08:00, the talk starts. And she said, how much does it cost? And I said, Madam, it doesn't cost anything. Then she raised her voice a little bit and she said, you don't understand. How much money do I have to pay? And I told the lady, said, Madam, you don't have to pay any money at all. The talks are always free here, which they are. And then she got even louder and she said, now listen, dollars, cents, how much do I have to cough up to get in here? I had to tell her. Very soothingly. So, madam, you don't have to cough up any money when you come here. Neither on the way in, not on the way out. You don't have to give us your name and address. We're not going to sort of press you with a donation slip or whatever. It's always free. If you don't like the talk, you can just sit in the back and just go out afterwards. I won't get angry at you. It's free now. The wonderful part of the that story was after I told her that she was silent, there was a pause over the telephone. I just waited for her to speak. What she said next was, well, what do you guys get out of this thing? The great question now, what do I get out of coming here every Friday evening? The answer happiness. I enjoy teaching. And as you all know that sometimes you have to try and stop me from teaching because I teach too much. The committee are trying to ban me from coming in October to give Friday night talks. I actually enjoyed doing it. I'd have fun out of there. I got a lot of energy out of it. When I go to places like Singapore and Malaysia, I just give talks all day and get really off on it. Why do I do that? I don't get paid for it. I don't get anything out of this. But what I get out of it is a lot of happiness. It's my way of serving. When you're actually giving from your heart to somebody else, that is an enormous way of developing happiness in your life. It's called letting go. It's called giving. That's why we have two boxes out here. You can see it's got hasn't got donations written on them. It's called letting go boxes. That just helps you sort of let go, and it gives you happiness. When whatever it is goes in there, you get happiness back. Don't you get happiness knowing that you're doing something good in the world? Every time I've given a donation, when I was a layperson, I used to give donations all over the place, and it always made me so happy to know that I'd help someone, somebody else. One of the I'm just going into my donation stories now, just when I was a school teacher, before I became a monk, as I tell people that maybe some school teachers here, if you're a school teacher these days, you know what kids are like. That's enough to make anyone a monk or a nun. It is a terrible kids. It's much more fun being a monk. But anyway, I was a monk, so I was a school teacher. I was about to leave to become a monk. And even after working for a year, I started to accumulate worldly possessions. I had a motorbike and I had a nice dining table and set. Really expensive. I was trying to build up the possessions in my house, becoming a monk. You can't have a motorbike as a monk. So I had to get rid of it, same as my table. So there's some people taking over my job at school. So it was a young couple, they just had their first baby and this little school house, which I was renting, that they were going to take over. So they came up to measure up the curtains and I showed them around. I told him, I got this table sort of I can't take it to Thailand with me and a monkey on the floor. He said, Are you interested? They said it was a very nice table. Said, actually, we are interested. We need a table in the new house. How much do you want for it? They asked me. And there's one of the wonderful memories of my life. I said, do you really want it? I said yes. I said, you can have it for free. And they looked at each other and I still remember that. I can picture their looks now that's 30 years ago they looked at each other. This young couple who were just trying to scraping money to get by with their first child. They couldn't believe what they'd heard. I said, yes, you can have it for free. I'm becoming a monk. I don't either. I'd be very happy that you have it. They turned around and said, that's the first time in our lives anyone has ever given us anything so expensive for free. We've never met anyone like you before. And now I get so much happiness out of that memory. This is just what we get from sharing, from helping each other. Even if it's just going to see someone who's in pain, seeing someone who's in difficult, or just spending time with each other. Sometimes as a mark, you have to go to hospitals and sort of look after people who are sick. And sometimes the people would take us there and say, oh, thank you so much for going to a hospital, seeing someone who's sick. You really cheered them up. Thank you so much. You don't have to thank me. I enjoy that. I have fun doing that when I go back afterwards. It gives me so much happiness. I like being with sick people, so they tell good jokes sometimes. So it's a way of actually serving and helping. And that way of serving and helping, it's called compassion, it's called kindness. It's called generosity. It's called sharing. It's one of the first ways of developing happiness is on the way to enlightenment. Enlightenment. That way of letting go, of sharing, of enjoying each other's company. For example, just something which happened this afternoon, which was very interesting this afternoon, before I came here, I had the privilege, the good fortune of conducting a funeral. And when I went to do some business afterwards and people said, had you had a busy day? And I said yes. I went to a funeral. And they said, oh, I'm terribly sorry. What do you mean, Terviso? I enjoyed myself. I have fun at funerals. Funerals are good fun. I enjoy going to funerals. So if you have any funerals who want me to go to, please let me know so I can have good fun again. Why do people think the funerals are sad? I actually try and make the funerals a happy. Occasions are these meaningful occasions? So I gave a lot of the stories you probably heard here before and it was a Buddhist funeral, but half after doing little service, they had a burial. At the end of the burial, at the actual service in the chapel, I kept people very sort of happy. They laughed a couple of times the way I told stories, and they were enjoying it in a meaningful way. So he came out afterwards. Everyone was happy and sort of peaceful. But then they went to the grave side and in the service, I wasn't allowed to say anything. They started playing music and they played the most stupid music. They're just really emotional and sort of sad and morbid and they started crying and sort of be great if I could turn the music off. It wouldn't let me. Why is it that funerals people always like to play the morbid music which makes them cry? Even if sometimes even if you played a marriage, people would cry. It's just such sad music. But anyhow, they were crying away and I didn't know how to stop them. They did a little ceremony of actually throwing flowers in a Grayside this and a young girl started throwing flowers in the graveside and she dropped her handbag in there and went clunk on the coffin. And just like you, everyone started laughing. It was a wonderful thing to do. I thanked her. She saved the day for everybody. And someone had to sort of climb in to get it out. There's a handbag. She had all the money and car keys because there's what else in there. What a wonderful thing to do. So if ever you go into a fun, all the people are crying. Just got your handbag in there, make a loud noise. A wonderful thing you can give to other people. Keeper because they started laughing. And as soon as they started laughing, it broke the depression. And everyone walked away from there just a few minutes later, sort of talking with each other. They were holding hands, they were enjoying so the occasion. So little things. Can actually stop you straight away from being depressed, being upset, now actually sharing happiness in our life. Why not? Because when we let go of the bad things, the negative parts of life, we can actually start to look at the good things in life. It's another way of sharing letting go, which is the way to be happy. As we get to understand this part of happiness, the sharing compassion, which you're getting the meaning of while I talk like this. Here the way to nibana enlightenment. You find that happiness means like being a good person. You're generous with your resources, you share things. You care for people. You spend time just washing each other's feet, washing the dishes. You just run to wash. It just about whose turn is I just want to do it. I put my hand up, I'll do it first. And you look after people when they're sick. And you have people looking after you when you're sick. And you start to laugh at funerals. You enjoy helping and serving people. What are you actually doing? You're being a good person. That's the definition of being a good person. And you are understanding one of the greatest misunderstandings in our modern society that to be good is having a happy time. Several years ago, something we really shocked me. I was teaching a retreat in Safety Bay where we do our weekend retreats. Those of you who go to those wonderful retreats in Safety Bay, they're in, like, a Catholic convent and, well, an old convent. They use it as a retreat center now, and it's next to a church. And one Sunday, while I was waiting in the interview room for the next person to come in, I looked out of the window. The church service had just finished, and there were these two men were just going home. They were shaking hands, and they were sort of parting. One said to the other, Be good. And the other one said, no, that's no fun. And I thought that for many people in the world, they actually believe that if you're good, if you're a wowser, then you're not having fun anymore. Anyone who keeps rules and keeps precepts and keeps virtue, then they're not having fun. If you want to have fun, you got to be naughty. But the opposite is true, that if one actually starts to be a good person, it's enormous fun and joy. That's what is one of the benefits of keeping precepts, the benefits of keeping five precepts, the benefit of keeping the 227 precepts. As a monk, there's so many things I can't do as a monk, and it's so much fun not doing them. So many things I can't do. I've got this rule for that and that rule for this. Sometimes people would think that would be impossible to live a life like that. You've always got to be worried about what you're not doing and what you are doing and when you can eat food and what you can eat and how you're supposed to speak and how you're supposed to sit and all this. But actually, the opposite is true, that the more rules you keep, actually, the happier you are. And the proof of the pudding is the looking at the monks and the nuns we have in Perth. Are they really southpusses? Are they miserable, frustrated men or women? Have a look at them. We're having a good time, aren't we? That's why I keep on saying we are good time monks, just to why arm is a good time nun we're having a good time. That's quite challenging. I was mentioned this story to someone as we came in some years ago. I was visiting my mother in England and there was a ceremony. One of my fellow monks who was also in tired for many years, he was working in the prisons in England and he managed to get permission from the Home Office in England to have a big Buddha statue installed in the grounds of one of the open prisons. And so the prisoners made a nice little grove, they called it a Buddha grove. And the superintendent of the prison was very happy to have this here because even though that most people weren't Buddhists, just like the symbol of a Buddha was a symbol of peace, a symbol of compassion, it didn't matter what religion you are, the symbol was very powerful. There was a grove of peace and quiet in the prison grounds where any prisoners who are having any difficulties, any depression, any anger, whatever, they could just go there and hang out and be at peace. Just a few moments of peace was so well understood to be therapeutic, to solve many problems, that the superintendent of the prison and the prison officers and all the authorities were more than happy to allow that Buddha statue. Quite a big one to be put in the prison and a few of the prisoners and made a nice little garden and a bit of brickwork that made it look very, very nice. Now, there are actually many Buddha groves in the prisons in England. And when we had the first one, because I was in England at the time visiting my mum, I was invited to come along for the celebration. And it was in the evening time, had lots of actually Thai people and Sri Lankan people and other Buddhists that laid on a nice feast for the prisoners afterwards. But before we did the at the feast, we did a little Buddhist ceremony, just like we do here on ways like a circumambulation. We went around three times with candles, insects and flowers, being among cows up the front there somewhere. And I got so happy just to know there was like a Buddhist statue in a prison that we were helping people who were really suffering in the world and creating suffering for others. We're actually doing something very important. And as I was circling round and round at such a wonderful evening, I started smiling. More and more is getting so happy. And as in many of these occasions, there were some of the prisoners were joining in, but most of the prisoners were just standing outside, just watching what was going on. I caught out the corner of my eye two of these prisoners looking at me had this huge smile on my face. I was so happy. I heard them say, that guy over there, he's on the gear. They thought I was on drugs. They really he did. And these were prisoners who were experts in this field. And I wasn't on drugs. I was just so happy, so high. And it was a case to know that you don't have to be drunk to be happy, you don't have to be high on drugs to be happy. I was just high on goodness, high on inspiration, high on sort of what was happening there. Isn't that wonderful? To be inspired and get that happiness from deep inspiration of goodness. That's why, actually, that this is a bit of a plug for the Australian. For six months, I did nothing. I was on my retreat. Never spoke to anybody, never saw anybody, never gave any talks. I did nothing for anybody for six months. Had a great time myself. And as the Australian newspapers found out about this did an article today and sent a photo for photographer down. It's supposed to be in tomorrow's. Australian monk does nothing actually be there. If I was a stuffed edge, that's what I put it. Isn't it wonderful that sort of people can actually write a story about me doing nothing for six months? Not as scared or nothing at all. It's amazing, isn't? I was just so happy to us doing nothing for such a long time. It's a secret of happiness, doing nothing. So you got a weekend coming Saturday and Sunday about doing nothing this weekend. Just sitting at home, just doing nothing. Not gardening, not watching the television, just doing nothing. Just sitting there, absolutely doing nothing. Just sitting still, not going anywhere. Just doing nothing. It's great fun. Can you do that? No, you can't, can you? You're so restless, always having to do something. That what I said in the beginning. Happiness is somewhere out there. Somewhere in the future. When I get this done, then I'll be happy. When I get the shopping done, then I can relax. When I finish watching the movie, then I relax. When I finish watching the bill, then I relax. I know what you get up to. Why don't you just do nothing? As I said that even as a monk, I don't mind watching the television as long as you don't turn it on. Get this lovely peaceful screen. It doesn't make you upset. It doesn't make you afraid. You see? And if you look at that television screen when it's not turned on carefully enough you may be able to see the reflection of your own face. That's very deep, isn't it? What actually doing here is realizing that doing nothing. First of all, keeping precepts gives you a lot of happiness being a good person. So when all religions, when they say if it's Ten Commandments or five, precepts, not to kill, not to still come in adultery, not to lie, not to take alcohol and drugs and not to sort of be rude to other people, not to actually say rotten words to other people, not to call anyone a ego, an idiot or things like that, if you can do of that, you beget a happier person. And do you want to have friends? How are you going to have a friend when you call them a pig all the time? Do you want your husband or your wife to love you when you call them an idiot and stupid? How can they love you when you keep calling them things like that? But imagine what it's like if you went to your husband and never even said it. Husband, you're such a wonderful husband. You're just so kind and caring and I love you so much. You're just one of the best husbands in the whole world. I know you don't wash the dishes because that's because you know that I am so happy washing the dishes every evening. Imagine that you sort of said nice things like that. Would your husband love you? Would your wife love you? Would your kids love you and be kind to you? Praise gets you a long way. I'm an Abbott of a monastery in my monastery this year. I just counted them last night. There's 17 other months. We got 18 months, we got got ten lay people staying there. You got 28 people staying in close quarters together for three months, not going anywhere. You know how I get them to do what I want? I'm always kind to them, always praise them. They do a little thing and I say, oh, well done. That's a wonderful thing you did. Even if I have to cross my fingers behind my back when I say encouraging them they're doing the best they possibly can. And when you pray someone like that, they try harder next time. Always do. So when they make some food for you, I always say, that's wonderful, that's delicious. Because I know if I don't said that, the next meal will be even worse. It's true. Praise gets you a long way. It's part of happiness. You feel good giving praise. I like praising people because they smile afterwards and also it encourages them to be better. Sometimes we think we've got to tell them off. We tell them off, then they might try and be better now, what's it like when people tell you off? You've become better. When people tear you off, when they scold you and point out all your faults, does that really help? Or do you just get so fed up? Or you get so afraid that you can't live up to your potential? It's true, isn't it? Just the way we work. We want to get better results out of each other. We just go about it the wrong way. My monastery in Serpent is very efficient. It runs like clockwork, doesn't it? You got a few people in the modesty over here and those people who live to the modesty. No, I never shout at people and I get them to do everything for me. It's just a different way. Praising, encouraging. Now, this is a way we can live together in happiness. This is a way to get to enlightenment. We can encourage ourselves as well. Those of you think you can't meditate, you're just scolding yourself again, cross your fingers behind your back and say, I can meditate. I can be peaceful. And if you think you can, my, a goodness, you will. A lot of the trouble with any success in life is we don't believe we can do it. Whether it's meditation, whether it's enlightenment, whether it's being a monk or whatever, I have to spend a lot of time convincing young monks they can do it, and I convince them and it works. They can do it. This is a way to get enlightened, to start to praise oneself, to start to build happiness in one's life as one keeps safe, precepts and be it's a good person, and praise oneself for being a good person. If you've had a good day, you've done good things, you've been kind, you've been generous, you've helped, you've served someone else. When you go to bed at night, always remember what you've done, all the good things you've done. When you remember all the good things you've done. At nighttime, you asleep very peacefully. And you'll have happy dreams. If you start remembering all the rotten things which have happened today, then you'd hardly sleep well at all. If you do sleep, you'll have bad dreams and you won't wake up rested. How many people are stressed because they don't sleep well at night? This is how to sleep well at night. Just do good and remember afterwards. That's the same when people die. If they remember all the good deeds they've died. In traditional Buddhism, this is recalling all your good karma doesn't have to be a Buddhist. Whatever person your wife, you've done good. When you die, remember that. Recall all of that. You die happily and you'll get a really good rebirth. And this is a way to develop happiness. As one develops more and more, one starts to realize that the whole idea of virtue is being a good person, being kind, being generous, giving yourself away to others, sharing. This is the letting go box at the back. Virtue is letting go. You know what virtue really means? Someone reminded me of this. I told it many years ago. Sometimes we say five precepts, sometimes we say Ten commandments. Sometimes we say 227 rules for muck. These days, it's so hard to even remember five precepts. That's why I say, if you can't keep five precepts, keep two precepts. You know what those two precepts are? Don't do anything which hurts another. That's precept number one. Precept number two, don't do anything which hurts yourself. Precept number two if you keep keep those precepts, you keep them well. They go all the way to enlightenment. Don't do anything which hurts another person. Don't go shouting at somebody else that hurts them. Don't go hitting them. Don't go stealing. Don't go committing adultery that hurts other people. Even like taking drugs, that hurts others. People think, oh, it's my body, I can do what I like. People care about you even if you think you're lonely. I care about you even if I don't know you. The nurses care about you. So if you hurt yourself, I hurt. Your friends hurt and people care. So when we don't do anything to hurt other people, we can't do anything to hurt ourselves, we develop happiness in ourselves. When we develop happiness in ourselves, we're keeping all the precepts in the world. We're not hurting others, not hurting ourselves. Doesn't that make so much sense? We're creating happiness amongst others. We're creating happiness in ourselves. A little by little, we find out that sometimes too much worrying. Does that hurt or help? It hurts us when you worry. Then you come and worry me by telling me about it after the fighting breaks off me. By thinking too much, you're not only hurting yourself, but you're hurting me and helping everyone else. Or feeling guilty. Okay, so if you feel guilty, I mean, does that really help you? Does that help others? Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone was happy and at peace? Wouldn't it be your greatest gift you can give to other people? Because a happy person creates happiness in their community. A happy person creates happiness in their family. Happy person creates happiness amongst their friends. Happy person creates happiness in their country. That's why we want to have happiness in our world. World. We have to have happy people. But don't try and make someone else happy. Don't try and help them. First of all, make yourself happy. If you are good, happy, content, get rid of all your guilt and your fears and your anger and all that sort of crazy stuff, then actually you can really help in the world. You can serve. You don't have to be a great teacher. You don't have to go and serve in some sort of charity. You can just be you and be a very happy person. Many years ago, someone who was one of the Buddhists who came here was a bus driver. He started getting very depressed about his job because he said driving a buzz and that's not really, really helping. I don't get any job fulfillment there just driving a buzz backwards and forwards. You can do that on almost automatic I just told him, look, it doesn't matter what job you do, you can always give that little bit extra to make people happy. Just when you take their fares, just smile, be happy and give some happiness back to other people as he did that, he said it made all the difference to his life as a bus driver he was actually giving happiness out to other people he got so much back in return. No matter what job you do, if you think it's just the most miserable, mean job, do you think that you're way low down on the social scale? You want to be a doctor. You want to be someone who saves the world, that's saving the people you meet on the street just by smiling when you're driving along, just letting somebody in busy traffic making their day. That's how you can put compassion into action. And forgiving someone who's done you wrong for being kind. That's how we can actually do something wonderful to create happiness in our world. It's something which you can do right now. When we can do this, we realize that that goodness is the way to create happiness. So precepts are not something which, you know, stops you being happy in the world. You don't know. Come here. And everyone is miserable because they keep five precepts. They keep eight pre steps even more miserable. 227 never really miserable. It's the opposite, isn't it? You have a look, you do a survey, ask people how many precepts, they go. You'll the more precepts, the bigger they smile. That's how I find out what you've been doing. I look at you and see whether you're miserable or whether you're happy. Be miserable. You've been doing something wrong. That's karma, isn't it? So if you do good karma, you get happiness. And as we develop this path more and more, we find that goodness sharing, letting go, stopping worrying, stopping thinking so you can be at peace. Isn't peace happiness? The more you are at peace, the more happiness you have in your life. You're actually learning what meditation is all about. Sometimes people come up and say, meditation is so difficult, meditation is so hard, and it's because you don't know how to meditate. Meditation is the most easiest thing in the world. You don't have to do anything. You sit here and it does it by itself. What could be more easier than that? The trouble is that we haven't yet learned how to not do things and we always get into control, aren't we? It's the control freak inside of us. And meditation is going in the completely opposite direction, saying, let go, be at peace, just stop doing things. And it happens all by itself. That's why meditation is not only the easiest thing to do, but the most fun thing to do. You get more and more happiness, more and more joy, more and more bliss meditating than you do anything you get in any other way in the world. That's why in the interview today with the Australian I don't know where it's going to be published this, but they asked me why did I become a monk? I became a monk for fun. It's a fun thing to do. I mean, that's not a joke. I became a monk for fun. Why do I stay as a monk? Because it gets more and more fun as you go along. It's true. Have a look. This is like voting. Yada Monastery is the amusement park. So perhaps we have a lot of amusement there. How can it be that a monk has fun? Just don't do anything. Like I was saying again to the Australia six months of solitude. In many countries that's called torture. Stupid, isn't it? Imagine trying to torture a monk. So you'd get six months solitary confinement. Oh, thanks. Great. Marvelous. Can you make it twelve, please? I'd say so. A lot of people can't understand why is that fun? A lot of people actually said that must have been such a difficult thing to do. Six months of not talking, not seeing anybody. My goodness. That's the easiest thing to do. You don't have to do anything, just sit there. You don't have to speak. You don't have to worry about what people say about you because they're not there to say anything about you at all. Why do people think that's difficult? Because they don't know what happiness is. The reason I became a man was early on in my lay life I got into deep meditation. It was the happiest experience of my life that far happiness in meditation. I mentioned this to the Australian. It's one of my sales pitches. Meditation gives you much more happiness you can get from sex. It's a great sales pitch, isn't it? Because everyone is rushing about trying to have sex with this and sex with that I say have meditation, you get more bits that way. Try it. This is my experiences, is what happens. People want to have happiness. Once you get into the deep meditation, you get huge happiness. You're getting close to Nibana. This is why in the Buddhist texts I'm just quoting this now just for those people who are more deep into Buddhism, they say that the bliss of the janus, they call it Sambodi sukha. Enlightenment, happiness. So close. It's not really enlightenment, but so close. You're actually tasting what enlightenment is all about. And we're not doing this as a theory of trying to explain what enlightenment is in words. You're feeling enlightenment. You're experiencing it. What it's like to be enlightened, to be so still that nothing is moving. No thoughts, no sounds, no feelings in the body, which is huge, huge waves of bliss. Bliss upon ecstasy upon bliss upon ecstasy. More and more. That's what these deep meditations are like. Sound good? It's easy. Just don't do anything. And also, you're realizing some of the teachings of Buddha. Have you ever heard that craving, an attachment is a cause of suffering? You might read it in a book, you might hear it from a monk or a nun. But now you're actually doing it. Craving is all doing. Is it cravings that reaching out for something in the future. You're stopping all of that content. You're doing nothing. Doing nothing means no craving, no attaching. You're letting go. You're actually doing it. Not just thinking it, not arguing about it over a coffee table or on the way home. Many people argue about the dumb on the way home. What a waste of time. Instead of doing that, not even thinking about it. But it's doing nothing. Doing it rather than thinking about it. If you can actually just stop, everything gets very peaceful and very beautiful. One of the stories about stopping this is a very nice story. This was in our monastery in northeast Thailand many years ago. Ajan Cha, a teacher, he used to be very eccentric. When he started the talk, you never knew when it was going to stop. Sometimes it go on all night, 8910 hours, and there's a mike. He had to sit there. There's no toilet breaks or anything. You just have to sit there and just endure. This one time he started giving a talk, and it wasn't a good talk at all. It was a hopeless talk, just about all sorts of things. Really boring, I think he did on purpose. And there was this not novice this small. He seen this, like in Asian countries sometimes, these young kids ordainers monks and their tiny fellows. Of course they weren't really all interested in sort of these talks. But he had to sit there. And this little novice was getting more and more upset and more and more angry. After the first hour or 2 hours, he wanted to go to sleep. It was late at night. He wanted to go back to his hut. Nadian chad kept on talking, talking, talking and he kept on thinking, thinking, thinking when is this month going to stop? When is it going to stop? Does he know I'm tired? When is it going to stop? He kept on thinking like this for a couple of hours when is this month going to stop? And then a great insight happened to this young novice. It was only about twelve or 13. Instead of thinking, when is adjunct going to stop? He thought, when am I going to stop? This little novice stopped. About four or 5 hours later. He came out of his meditation. Everyone else had gone along to time ago. He'd have four or 5 hours of bliss. It stopped. He's only a little fellow, twelve or 13 years of age. He knew how to stop. He knew that stopping attachment, stopping craving was bliss. He got a deep insight into what enlightenment is all about. The ultimate happiness. So you don't need to go and get something to be happy. You don't have to wait until you die to be happy and just hope that you got the right religion really uncertain these days, isn't it? Because everyone is telling you that this is the right one and that's the right one. Instead of waiting for the future. You can actually do it now by being kind, being generous, sharing your time, creating happiness in your community, happiness in your family, going out and helping, washing people's feet, washing the dishes. Not because it's your turn, because you just want to help, keeping presets, being a good person for the sake of happiness. You keep keep these presets because it's good fun to do so. You don't call each other pigs, because it's much more fun to call each other. You're a wonderful person. I really appreciate you. Thank you for being my friend. It's much more fun doing that. Sharing, keeping presets, being good, learning how to meditate, letting go. It's fun. And you get closer and closer to happiness, closer and closer to enlightenment, until you stop altogether. When you stop altogether, then you understand the profound teachings of the Buddha, of all sort of enlightened holy people in the world. You don't need anything to be happy. The less you have, the more you can stop. Not thinking, not wanting. There you find everything ever wanted in your life. Greatest bliss stop. Which is a great place to stop. So thank you for listening this evening to my talk on enlightenment, happiness, stopping and all of that.

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