October 09, 2022


How to see the beauty of concrete – by Ajahn Brahm

How to see the beauty of concrete – by Ajahn Brahm
Ajahn Brahm Podcast
How to see the beauty of concrete – by Ajahn Brahm

Oct 09 2022 | 00:55:48


Show Notes

Take time for yourself, relax and gain insights from nature. Calm and insight lead to great power and clarity in the mind. Meditation clears the mind and makes it powerful, which allows us to understand questions and difficulties in our life more clearly.  Buddhism is a practical philosophy which offers answers to big questions about existence and happiness, and teaches methods for achieving these things. In order to develop understanding, we need calm. Without insight, we have no understanding about concrete, about pink roof batts, or about life. We need to stop and look at things with care. This is the practice of meditation.

In this dhamma talk Ajahn Brahm shares his personal story about how deep, peaceful meditation caused him to naturally see the beauty in a plain piece of concrete.


This dhamma talk was originally recorded on cassette tape on 7th January 1994. It has now been remastered but the quality is still a bit scratchy. But the content is classic Ajahn Brahm 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

19940107_HowToSeeTheBeautyOfConcrete_AjahnBrahm Summary :Take time for yourself, relax and gain insights from nature.: Calm and insight lead to great power and clarity in the mind. Meditation clears the mind and makes it powerful, which allows us to understand questions and difficulties in our life more clearly. - Buddhism is a practical philosophy which offers answers to big questions about existence and happiness, and teaches methods for achieving these things. In order to develop understanding, we need calm. Without insight, we have no understanding about concrete, about pink roof, about life. We need to stop and look at things carefully. This is the practice of inside. Transcription U1 0:01 Five centuries. And it's any of us ever studied any history books. We look at what people are like, whether it was 300 years ago, 500 years ago, 1000 years ago, 2000 years ago, and then it was great of the civilization. One thing which is striking is just the similarity of emotional temperament which people have retained over such a long time. In just the same way that the practice, the philosophy, has applied something very valuable to people. 2500 years ago, 2000 years ago, 500 years ago, moving today, it shows that there is something here in these teachings which is timeless. And the reason why these teachings have survived is because it offered something. It offered some aid, some help, something people have found delighting. What it's offered is philosophical knowledge, understanding of one position in this world, one place in the universe, offering answers to the question of why and how? What should I be doing? Where did I come from? It also offers not just the answer to this question, but also it offers a sense of increased emotional well being, a sense of increased in happiness. And it solves problems on the daily life. Not only does it answer one in philosophical questions, it also creates greater happiness in the heart and it creates greater harmony in the community, in the society. And if it wasn't doing these things, then it would never survive so long. And many of you who have been coming here for many weeks, many months, many years, aspects of what has been presented, those aspects which we may call out, the knowledge teaching, those teachings which you may call how to be happier teachings, how to live in a happier, more harmonious society, part of teaching. This is what Buddhism has offered in all of these times. So have other religions, so have other philosophies. One of the things which makes good of them stand out is it's practical advice. Instead of just varying that God created the universe or didn't create the universe, after death, you will go to heaven, you feel good or you won't go to heaven, you just disappear. Instead of saying there is reincarnation or there's no reincarnation or rebirth, whichever you wish to call it. Instead of saying to be happy, you have to be virtuous, be good people, be kind to one another. Instead of saying that to have a harmonious society we should keep these role presets. We should practice generosity, sharing, compassion, kindness, forgiveness towards one another. But we'll find in other philosophies and other teachings one of the things which I in my experience, when I first met Edison, which stood out was the richness of methods. Which was presented in Buddhism, the how to achieve these things. There is a soul. There isn't a soul. After death, one will go here or one will not go here. In the end, how does one know of odd foot another way? How can one just have some sort of relief and just close the dice as a sleeping gamble? That what one here sounds like. Feels right, must be right. That's no real, surely. Quite often in the experience, what feels like what sounds right is wrong. We've all had that experience of seeing something or hearing somebody, and it must be like, it sounds so good. This is just what I want. This is just how it is. This is just how I think. And then later on, realizing that I was wrong and the teacher was wrong, We will remove some means of knowing for ourselves the truth or the answer to such questions about the origin of being, of what the essence of being here and what the purpose of being 14s of answering these questions for oneself. Not depending upon somebody else, not believing in some holy book or some experience feature, but finding out for oneself inside one's own heart 6s instead of believing other people. There was a very clear 6s car. Are. This is where Buddhism is extremely strong and it's methods for achieving all that we really wish for as human beings. This methods which the Buddha taught, however not easy. Otherwise everyone will be enlightened, everyone will be happy, everyone would be living in harmony and everyone would know the answer to these big questions that human beings have been asking. Forentially. Our experience shows us that so few people know what your happiness is, let alone other people who experience true happiness. We all know just how many arguments there are, how many differences of opinion there are are on is few questions of existence. Whether one are scientists or philosophers or religion. It's very rare that one gets in agreement here. Very few people do now with cars. But Buddhism does offer the path to know the answers to those questions, to know the real meaning of happiness and a way to achieve it and to know how to live in harmony, how to improve the society in which we live in. I wanted to talk about this way. This is how we achieve it. Some people think that this is just the knowledge to look into talks. Coming here every Friday night, loading the books in the library to listen to the page knowledge is helpful. Clears much of the car, especially beginnings of the car. But eventually we have the 11s experience of true happiness through self knowledge. There is a way, but it has to be walked each person by themselves and the way which he taught is 14s loosely translated as calm and insight. This was the Buddhist way which he found himself. This is what the Buddha did to achieve what he called was full wisdom of the nature of all things. This is what the Buddha did to achieve what he said was the greatest happiness whichever any human being could ever achieve. For example, one day one of the great king, the great Maharajas hundred years ago is very wealthy land. And the king would say, why are you a monk? The question people ask me say. And the Buddha said, the sake of happiness. And for this, the king of the prize. How can you be happy? Someone who lives out in the forest, who scrapes under trees too cold or too hot, who has no protection from insects and mosquitoes here? I said the king, I have a palate, I have guards. I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want. I have room in whenever I want them. Everything which a person can have to satisfy the pledges, I can have at my command. How can you be happy? The Bible says that king, he said, can you lose seven days experiencing uninterrupted place? The king said know, sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes I got ace and pain in my body. I'm happy most of the time. I'm happy all of the time. 100% bliss for seven days. This was the brother's happiness and the Bribery once said that he doesn't argue with anyone in the world which shows a sense of harmony in his life and his lifestyle with his community. And how did he achieve that? Through his own practice, through his own understanding, through his own development of what we call samantha. The calm and insight centuries have developed themselves in order to gain understanding, happiness and be a benefit for the community around them. Through this practice, the practice of calm and insight needs the foundation and the foundation which the Buddhist said will be developed prior to the full undertaking of meditation of the great obstacles on the path, especially obstacles on the beginning. It's very hard for someone to practice meditation if their life is very disturbed because of the lack of a peaceful lifestyle. Don't choose just a peaceful way of living speech which doesn't cause problems to other people, to oneself. Technically, they say bad speech is lying. It's hard speech which puts down another person, which angers another person, spreading rumors, spreading gossip because it doesn't need to calmness in one burned heart. It doesn't need to calmness in the community when it's living with whether that's a family, whether that's a monastic community or whether that's the city or a country. In order to create a foundation for developing this common insight, we need to have a very clean and clear lifestyle before one really needs to meditate. One has to clean one room to get rid of the dust and the dirt. One can meditate reasonably undistracted if the room is dirty, to track all sorts of animals and insects which bite you. It's not a very conducive atmosphere for the calming and the clearing of the mind. So we start the practice of basic virtue being good people, harmless people, harmless to one fell, harmless to others. Without that sense of harmlessness, one's life will be too busy sorting out problems. How busy is our lives? What is the most time doing in our life? It's just sorting out the basic problems of existence, the struggle to survive. It's amazing just how simple life becomes when we start to be virtuously. Gave up drinking, gave up gambling, gave up lying, gave up unchecked, gave up bad speech. How much time is both with the work it hurts other people. How much time is wasted in society because of stealing or cheating or alcohol problems? So much time is wasted. Virtue clears apart. It gives one time. It gives one the space in which to start. Calm and Insight so once we develop a sense of searching, then we can really get down to grips with calming the mind and developing insights. The question comes why do we need to calm the mind before the weather? Insight can't we just investigate a particular aspect of nature and just find out for ourselves? Now look at your own mind and how it works. If you really want to understand something, what do you do? Quite often we look at it and we think about it. And if you really careful, look at the way we think, we just think about what we already know about it. And when we think in that way, we never actually see it. To be able to understand something, we have to go to the limits of our knowledge and go beyond me. Otherwise we tend to think, I know. And we let it go. We pass it over to something else. The problem with the human mind would never spend enough time on an object to really know it. You can choose any object. Maybe the object closer to the garden font of you or the person's back in front of you. That's just the person's back when you throw that when the mind says, I know what the object is, the mind is done with it and it gets onto something, something else. In order to gain insight, through understanding, to notice something, we have to look a bit deeper than that. We have to say, look at this object in front of us. The mindset that's just something ordinary, simple. But then we ask again look, person, don't just give this up, look further. Whether the person's back, whether it's the bed in front of you, whether it's the carpet in front of me. Look closer object in your mind without moving away from it. The more you start to see and understand that object. I have done this many times with all sorts of objects. Many objects which I thought had nothing to teach me. I like to tell the story of when I was watching a group of concrete in the monastery in Thailand. Concrete is something which is unnatural, which is ikely. That's why people put carpets and tiles on it, so they don't see it. And I can't do it, which is just all concrete and glass. Let me just look at a piece of concrete. And open your mind to it. Keep the mind still, calm on that object and just see what opens up to you. A piece of concrete can become very beautiful. The different shades, the colors, the textures in that very simple, ordinary object which we passed by so often but we never notice. This is just an example which shows the mood for screw notes on an object. Why do we have to have this in order to understand what we're looking at? Some years ago that his daughter had married her husband many years before, maybe 1819 years before. And for those 18 or 19 years, they've always been so busy raising the family, paying off the mortgage, they never really had much time for themselves. And he said that after 1819 years of marriage, the children were grown up enough that they could go off on a holiday by themselves. The first time. And this man told me that his girlfriend come back from that holiday. Astounded she said to him this is the first time I really got to know the man. Outstanding. All the time before had always been doing things, always on the run. Never time to really look at one another, deal with one another and find out about one another. They're doing something. For 18 years they had lived together but never know one another. This is the inside of life. Unless we stop and stop long enough to look very carefully without thinking we know the other person who never will get to know them pretty hard. I know her, I know him. He's like this, he's like that. This monkey this way or that way. Be careful of those judgments. As soon as we say I know we never look any further. We go onto something else. It's inside of its knowledge about a person, about a thing. We have to stop, realize we don't know anything and keeps going to look at cars. And then insight understanding starts to arrive. You start to see things which we never thought were there before. You start to realize that concrete can be beautiful, but the person you thought you knew has other sides to them which you never thought have existed. So in order to develop even ordinary insights, we do need calm. Without insight, we have no understanding about concrete, about pink roof, about life. If we really want to understand life, we have to stop long enough to see it. Because life is so fast, it runs by so quickly. We have to stop and look and not understand it, but wait for it to teach us what it needs to do. If we want to understand ourselves, we have to stop and look very carefully inside in order to understand how we work. Looking for your Mind right now how much do you see? Things travel so far beside the mind go so quickly it's very hard to stay with one thought long enough to really understand it. We all tried meditation just previously. How hard it is to stop the mind with wash a breath without something else interrupting and button in and taking your attention away. How hard it is to know one whole breath so how hard it is to know the way you work inside your mental world the world of emotions the world of grief and pain and fear and desire a world of hopes and despairs. How hard it is to know because the mind is not still it rushes over these things it rushes over these things never spoke long enough to understand because we don't understand these things we're either afraid of them or in their power. We have seen a ghost. 16s Goes from the mind which we run away from, which we never turn around to face up to. If we're always running away, keeping our backs to these things, we never know them. We're in no power, we have no control over them, no fees. After every pain, disappointment, lack of self esteem, we run away from these things. By running away from these things, we try to get rid of them. We try to escape from them. 9s When we run away, it means we never can spend time to turn around and look and find out what is it that chasing? Is? What is chasing rude in your life? Sometimes people say that I am chasing something. I'm chasing success, I'm chasing money, I'm chasing a perfect relationship, I'm chasing enlightenment. Actually, these things chasing you, how much? Stop for a while, turn around and have a look. What's taking you? This is the practice of inside. Stopping is calm. Turning around and looking is inside. In particular. We look at the way we work with, look at our emotional world. We look at things like disappointment. We look at things like disappointment for a while. The Buddhist said that suffering is being separated from what you like or being associated with what you don't like. Put it that way. And half the time, we're not with what we like. In other words, we are with what we don't like. So much of our life is just out of our control. We try. We aspire. We don't always succeed. Look at it that way. This appointment is natural, unavoidable. If you want something that you really liked, what a chance. If you answer those questions, you feel that Nobel might achieve it. Maybe I won't. No one is working on safety for disappointment. Disappointment is always a result of the desire. If you desire, really want something, you have to accept the possibility of this appointment, which is part of the course. We've been set up many times. It's like a person joining the army has to expect the possibility of being wounded or killed as part of the course. What do you expect when you join army? What do you expect if you desire something, if you want something? If you want something very badly, you can expect who you're disappointed to overcome 90% of disappointments in life it's so easy don't want so much, have fewer likes, have fewer demands on life and disappointments enormously because it is obvious why can't we see it? All it is ours, belonged and cruising people just said one day becomes separated from me all it is mine, beloved and pleasing. Everything she really loves and like she's so important to you, eventually will become separated from you, if not before, and then at least it's there, which is obvious when you think about it. Why don't we notice it? Because we're always running away from disappointment. We're always running away from the shore of these separates, from that which we love. We never turn around and face up to it. These are simple things. But if we understand these things, what is the result? We really understand deeply in our hearts. All of those minds are loved. And cruising will one day become separated from them. What's the result of that depression? What's not really working? That's not the result. Fly it and what do you find? Because things are impermanent. Because all of these might be able to be cruising with one day going. It means you look after it. It means you value it. It means that you're not in a way for those people and things around you which are dear. If you realize that you only have a few more days left with the person you love, what would you do? Why don't you do that now? Understanding the permanency of these things within sight actually enriches life. We put more effort into life. We care more in life. The people around us, the people 29s our last ten years. So we care. When we understand these things with insight, it's a priority that understanding and permanent actually eradicates fear. It doesn't make more fear. Understanding the fact that which we love, which we care for, will one day be separated for us in which his life. Makes us more vital. More alive. More caring rather than depressed try and see that insight goes further than this yet we are just all the insights which we can discover for us felt just by what we call reflecting on life. Thinking clearly. Depth of the mind. How you work because there are some emotions. Especially in our lives which are very troublesome which give us enormous problems to the emotion of ego always wanted to please other people always want to be well regarded being very afraid of criticism the slightest put down showing that one is even worth much this is an emotion which can create great turmoil in the human being of the inner personal. Whereas the tone of the body which wears like turmoil, which has this very sensitive body of skin with all the layers on the outside just where we can be hurt. 8s So that's not the way our bodies are. We hurt so easily, we have to enjoy pain. The pain gets worse, we get old age, we get sick. Eventually we have to facebook great floors if we run away from pain. But within fact, we can stop running, stop and look calm and insight and find out what home really is all over two aspects of physical shift and the emotional response. Again, cannot understand this until one day the pain is so much you stop and appetite. What's the usual response to pain? Running away, escaping, trying to find some way of overcome that pain or escaping from it that way you never understand pain. It's like the ghost always chasing us. We will turn around to the ghost and go through back. 20s You go very deep and we solve these problems. What a wonderful thing would be if you have to be above and beyond pain. What a wonderful thing would be if you are above and beyond fear. What a wonderful thing it would be if you are above. 10s Never mind so much. Whoever disappointed? You ever buy a lottery ticket and then find that you don't win? Well, never mind. Do you ever go to monastery? Three years ago, the whole thing burned down in bush fire. Oh, well, it's amazing you can do that. And there's a sense of no disappointment at all. Not no worry about pain. What a wonderful food. And that would be tell the word carefully which ways, which concerns, which afflicts most human beings would be wonderful, wouldn't it? Understand the bliss of the good, the happiness, the fooding. This is the path calm and insight. Shopping, spacing, understanding, calm. Bye. The way we stop is very important. First of all, stopping is meditation. Calm, stopping the flow of thinking, conceptualizing stopping even the flow of thinking. Carving the mind down, stealing it, making it so. Still not a sound going on inside. There's not a movement, not an amp, not a waddle in the mind completely. One pointed, one experience in the mind from moment to moment to moment to moment with no movement, with no change. The changeless, peaceful, unified state of mind which comes to the country. Actually, to understand grouply into the mind, you have to have deep calm. Shallow calm means shallow insight. Deep calm. And even though that we can stop and look at life like pain, we never really understand it. Stop the mind so much and so calm, peaceful and silent. It's more peaceful than you ever could conceive in this world. A silence which is more silent than the deepest cave, which is more silent than outer space. Nothing is happening at all. A great silence in the mind. Great emptiness. Meditation has the remarkable effect. First of all, one has the insight that such experiences actually exist. Inside is just one personal experience of the reality of this situation. This particular case, the situation is perfectly real. This can be experienced by a human being because experience experience it for yourself through this method. And the amazing thing about this experience is that this is happiness. The bluefield peace surpasses any other happiness human beings. And as well, it passes the holiday to Bali. It's the passive sexual intercourse. It's the past is heroin. It's the past is the highest physical which you can experience. It's the party, the happiness of winning $5 million on the lotto if you just come and meditate. Why don't people do that? Because it's hard to meditate. Put forth the time and the effort in the care to get a new face's, mind is very hard. It's possible. There's a way, there's a path. Everything is worthwhile in this world costs not money, doesn't cost great intelligence. It costs just time, effort, careful. 25s It is more silent. And one explores, one goes inside into what's possible for the human being to experience, where the mind can actually go, this great universe within. You know what, sir? That question, a friend of his daughter, five or six years old daughter was asked at school, what's the biggest thing in the world? The teacher asked. Someone said someone said a mountain. Someone said the whole earth. Teacher's daughter said, 19s the eye is the biggest thing in the world. But it wasn't quite right because the mind is bigger than the eye. And I can see all those things. And it's also here as well. And actually, you can imagine things that you can never see. The mind is the biggest thing in the whole universe, in the whole of existence, your mind, where anything can exist and more. The 7s character of the mind is enormous expansive. Pure bliss and quiet film. Knowing that much is an enormous insight. In fact, the deeper one goes into those states the more insight one has result of that 6s which most people in the world think is happiness in Bali interested in alcohol, drugs, even interested in sexual intercourse. Sounds 8s more than that. State of mind leads to enormous power and clarity. Those of you who have done some meditation should, I hope by now realize that the more peaceful the mind is afterwards when you first come out of meditation just how clear and powerful your mind is you bye. Course way is when I meditated between my final examinations at university 7s that was really hard work. Those are the days when final examinations counted for everything passed or failed just on no series of exams I was very tense. The pressure was on. I was told my whole life to depend upon these examinations at the time, I believe it is very important in the middle of the day, we had 1 hour in which we're supposed to go back and have something to eat I went without food. I meditated instead my meditation wasn't that strong in those days but it was strong enough that I could let go of all the nervousness, all the tiredness, all of the confusion of thinking how did I do? Is that the right answer to that question? What questions are going to be asked in the afternoon? All of that you can let go of and you go to very peaceful, quiet place where you relax, rested. When it came out of under half an hour meditation the mind was so clear, so sharp, so rested I could go to the opening examination and did very well I could access the information which I'd learned to the lectures which I tried to memorize I could write clearly and think clearly. Why? Because my mind was clear. 13s I've never done so well. All that meditation does in this power, in this quality, even if level. Imagine what it's like when the mind is so powerful and stronger to his own state. How powerful and how sharp the mind is, how cruel it is. Then we can start to look at those questions. What does it mean we've got anyway? 19s Well, why don't we know? What about love? Compassion, being kind? Do you know what love really is? 29s Whatever is true, you have a very strong chance of understanding. It's like having a powerful 10s very powerful and strong created by the calmness of the mind. Whatever character, she's so cool. Whether it's questions and examination or whether it's the group of questions of the universe. 47s When the mind is quiet and powerful, it's strong. And you answer these questions for yourself. Let me give you an inside which is where the Buddha unshakable. 86s Understanding of human nature. 103s This path opening the mind is through what sort of wonderful things. We start in small ways, reflecting 6s take for granted, pass over we understand more about the things around us. We start from those difficulties, personal, emotional, physical in our life we stop and look. They can understand them. The more stuff, the more we understand them, the more experience, the freedom from them, the overcoming of them. However, the people who come and do some meditation but listen to some of the talk now without making any great resolution for change their life like New Year's resolutions. 36s Where did that come from? That improvement. Where did that come from? I hope you can see that came from East Coffee. Understanding and overcoming the afflictions of the heart. The problems caused by these things. Greater peace, greater happiness is good. That's why we continue 44s 2000 years ago. 2500 years ago. 8s Imagine that India when India was unified by the Emperor's Hoca there's no way that one person could actually 22s be good. 17s Heard back that this family wasn't moved very well. The first party at 22s this minute. 75s So we went back to the Spice Boy together. Strong, powerful. Generally holding himself and flew. Young man understood the five friends never came back again. And the rice always started to move his kingdom properly. The Rise Minister was inside. 7s Not strong enough. You know there are the right things to do, don't you? 6s Having a good time? Thank you. 12s That's fighting rather than as a fundifier condition also to infant understanding very briefly they are mental desire they're aversion or anger they are less, they are slurping corporate, they are doubt I won't go into them because it takes twelve on to. 24s The concentration which the skulls 9s of mind good concentration for a long time after even though the animal has subsided when they come out of concentration the invoices do not arise for a long time after. 13s Rooms have to be held down by the amateur and been given a good purpose by insight before it will change. Things happen once difficulties disappear, infight arises regulation freedom, happiness. 11s Calm in mind, develop insight and these things happen naturally 6s understanding of these problems and questions that 30s is to solve the problems of life questions emotional overcoming negative happiness and also cultural problems.

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