January 27, 2023


Six Months of Bliss | Ajahn Brahm

Six Months of Bliss | Ajahn Brahm
Ajahn Brahm Podcast
Six Months of Bliss | Ajahn Brahm

Jan 27 2023 | 01:06:24


Show Notes

In the first half of 2002 Ajahn Brahm spent six months on a silent meditation retreat in his hut. He didn’t speak to anyone – not a single word. He just spent time meditating. The result was six months of bliss. In this talk Ajahn Brahm speaks quite openly about the experience and encourages us all to find bliss within.

This dhamma talk was originally recorded on cassette tape on 28th June 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

AB2002-06-28_SixMonthsOfBliss Transcription Okay. You mean lots of people with coughs and colds? It's a sign you're not doing enough meditation. Quite a few people have asked me that. It's doing my long retreat. Did I get sick or ill at that time and not really. Because when you get lots of deep meditation and get the energies and the bliss and the peace running, just viruses don't stand a chance. It's unfair on viruses. Meditation. So if you really get your meditation going, all your viruses no way, mate. Go and find somebody else to infect. Okay. Going to give a talk now. This is the first talk not a mile since my long retreat, just over seven months ago, which is just like a few moments ago. Time doesn't mean anything, really. Six months gone very quickly. Went into a solitary retreat since midDecember and only came out of that on Monday night. During that time, I never spoke to any human being, not even one word, and didn't see any human being accepted a far distance, not close enough to really recognize which monk it was. Came to bring my one meal of the day and put it in a box at the end of my path, 50 meters, 100 meters from my hut, left it there, and later on I picked it up at my meal and then put the box back. That's how I lived for the last six months in solitude. There's an old saying in Buddhism by the Buddha himself what the enlightened ones say is happiness, the world says is suffering. What the enlightened ones say is suffering, the world says, is happiness. If anyone doved me into Amnesty International, I think the Buddhist assad would go to jail for putting me in solitary confinement for such a long time. Is that supposed to be a punishment in the world? Sending a person into solitary confinement one meal a day, not speaking to anybody? I remember correctly in the history of Australia they used to send the very worst convicts down to Tasmania, to Port Phillip Bay or something. The very worst of the worst convicts. I think there's one fellow who wanted to find some way of punishing him. And when the floggings didn't work, when the imprisonment didn't work they took him to one of the islands off the coast and they left him there for a couple of weeks. The ultimate punishment. Two weeks wouldn't have been long enough for me. They could have a bit more. Please. And what the world says is happiness enlightened. One says suffering. What have you been doing for the last six months? Some people spend all their money going off to Bali. That's suffering. Or they go off and get married. That's big suffering. Or they try and get rich, and that's huge suffering. What do you want to be rich for? Is there another saying of the Buddha? And the more I've practiced my meditation, the more you see that that was such a credibly. Wise person with the wisdom which is ageless, which is it doesn't matter what culture, what race, what gender, so deep inside that it sort of transcends such distinctions. You're saying that what wealth is. Wealth is contentment. The more contentment you have, the wealthier you are, you have lots of money. Do you ever find contentment? You just got more things to disturb you, more possibilities to distract you. But in the opposite way. With contentment, you have far more happiness, far more wealth, wealth than anybody in the world. That's why that the Buddhist said the highest wealth is the highest contentment. So I want somebody from the Buddhist society to please go and write I think it's Forbes magazine. Of the wealthiest people in the world and suggest that Jam Brown for top of the list are much wealthier than Bill Gates. What the world says is is wealth, though the enlightened one says is poverty. I think that Bill Gates is probably very poor and all of the wealthy millionaires in Perth are very poor. They're poor in happiness, they're poor in time, they're poor in freedom. They're imprisoned in their mansions. I was, you might say imprisoned in my heart, in my heart in serpentine. I haven't gone anywhere the last six months, haven't gone overseas, I haven't gone into state. I got into mind, got in the opposite direction to where most people go. This was my sabbatical. After working so hard building up the monastery in serpentine and looking after the place here and hoping to establish the lovely monastery at Gigi Ganap Damasara, which is historical first in the world, such a forest monastery for women helping our interstate in Malaysia and Singapore. Doing all that work is a time for a sabbatical. Six months off and there's some person here I have to sort of apologize to because they said when you go anywhere for your sabbatical, can I give you the air ticket? They want you to make some good karma by offering me the air ticket. But I didn't need to have an air ticket to go into my coutin in monastery. If somebody offered you a free ticket anywhere in the world for six months, where would you go? If you are wise, you'd give away the air ticket, say, give it off to some charity somewhere and come to a monastery. It's what the world set is happiness. Going visiting here, going looking at there, buying things. The enlightenment unsaid is suffering. I proved that for myself. With six months of retreat, I never went anywhere. My little heart, many of you have been to servant and you see in the monk's hearts where we live, little room 3 meters wide by 2.4 wide. Interesting that I know it's 2.4 meters wide because I've built many of those hearts and design them. Is a big black tiger snake in our monastery came to visit me during my retreat and it sort of stretched itself next to one of the walls so I could actually measure it against the bricks 2.5 meters. It came to say hello because maybe it thought I was lonely having no one to talk to. But in that small little room, I spent six months and on a walking meditation path. The only time I left that area was to go to the toilet, which was a little hole 5 meters away, or to go down to the box where my food was. I never went for walks except on the walking path, right outside my door. Never went to visit anywhere. I was the happiest little monk you could ever imagined. Why do you need to go anywhere? It's an all going somewhere, just running away from something. So, as a monk, you realize what most people think is happiness. So that's not happiness? Sitting there one meal a day? It's doing nothing. It's going inside. But it's difficult for many people to do a retreat like that if they don't understand what some of the teachings of the Buddha really are. This is an old simile which the Buddha gave of the elephant and the jungle cat. In this simile, he said, which was from nature, that's where the Buddha got most of his similes from. It's like a jungle elephant finds a nice lake in the jungle and goes and plunges into that lake, washes itself and drinks and plays around. When it's finished, as elephants do, get out and then just go off and do whatever elephants do next. A little jungle cat saw the elephant doing this and thought, I'm as good as any elephant. I can do this. And so the jungle cat dived into the water. Unfortunately, little cats aren't as big as elephants, so he couldn't reach the bottom, nor could the cat swim. So that little cat was in big trouble. In the same way, the Buddha said, if a person has some understanding of what Buddhism is all about and has some deep meditation, then they can go off into solitude and have one of the most blissful times of their lives. If they're a small jungle cat, you can go crazy or mad. Sort of insolitude, which is a difference between sending a prisoner off to an island for two weeks and sending a monk into his heart for six months. Because for most people that you keep your sanity or what the world takes of sanity just by your social intercourse is talking with other people. Being with other people keeps you in line and stops you going too far off. But when you're by yourself, you've got no reference points, no one to talk to, no one to see. All your reference points is only from inside. And I know that because as a young mug in Thailand sometimes you would see they call, like hermitz rishis. Even in Thailand had rishis. And there was one rishi in Thailand who came to visit the monastery where I spent many years. And by that time I was supposed to be the second mountain. But the Abbott was always away, so I was usually looking after the monastery most of the time. And the guy had long hair and a beard and wild eyes. He was as crazy as a coot. He really was really awful. He'd been in solitude for many years, deep in the cave for about seven years, but didn't have enough grounding in meditation to know really what to do. And what do you do in solitude again, is just what I just taught a few moments ago during in the meditation to really learn about what letting go is all about. What you learn with letting go is you learn just how to meditate. You come here to meditate and you have watching their breath or doing loving, kindness, meditation, doing all of these little things. This is just different ways of trying to teach. It's just one thing. The trick of meditation, the way to enlightenment is just getting rid of the control freak. It's a control freak which sends people mad in solitude. It's a control freak which sends you mad in your life. And that control freak inside of you always wants to control other people in your business. Wants to control your family, control your kids, wants to control your body, wants to control your mind. You know, the are some people with tremendous willpower much stronger than my willpower. That's not the way for freedom. Developing strong will only leads to strong frustration. When eventually you come against something in nature which is stronger than you are and which will not bend to your will, eventually you have to come across that. And that leads to tremendous frustration, suffering. It's much easier to give up earlier. All of you have lived long enough just to know just how much you try to control your life. Has it worked? Have you really just found what you are looking for? And all of the hard work you did at school, and the hard work you put into your relationships, and the hard work you put into your career, and even into the hard work you put into your meditation, has it really worked? Have you really found freedom yet? There's a big mistake which people make there. They want to be enlightened. They want to be and enlightened at the same time. They want to try to get there. It's all just controlling again. The way the Buddha saw things is completely different way. Enlightenment is not some sort of heaven realm where you earn by your actions, by your doing, by your making, by your controlling. Enlightenment is something which you learn by letting go of all that going completely the opposite direction. That's why in the story of the enlightenment of the Buddha, there was a symbolic act which he did just a few days before. He sat under the bodhi tree and got full enlightenment. I was taking his arms ball, putting it in the stream and seeing it float upstream again against the current balls or anything you put in a stream normally flow downstream. But that was a significant psychic strange act, which was showing him the path to enlightenment, the path to peace, the path to happiness going in the opposite direction, the unusual way, the rare way we always go with craving. Following desires going out into the world, following thought. Seeing where thought leads us. Thinking that by following thought we will have the answers to the problems. If you think of, like, thought, like a train now, you get on that train, and you go with the train in the direction of the train where the train is leading. The Buddha went to where the train was coming from. He went to where craving was coming from, where desire was coming from, not following it, but going backwards again against the stream. When you have pain in life, which way do you go? You don't go into the pain. You go in the opposite direction, as if pain is running after you and you have to run faster. But instead of doing that, what the Buddha did after running away for so long, he decided to turn around and run in the opposite direction, run towards pain. And then pain gets scared and starts running away from you. That's how it happens. You're causing the bluff. And the same with thoughts. Instead of, like, thinking your way to enlightenment or thinking your way out of the problems or thinking your way out of depression or thinking your way into wealth or whatever, you go in the opposite direction, into calm, into peace. Instead of going in the way of accumulating things to find happiness and fulfillment in the world, you got a way of giving up, throwing things away. My life in this stage of my monastic career is to try and give away as much as possible every time, sort of. I come here, though, that people give me things. I have to be faster than you, so I can give things away faster than you give them to me. That's the only way. Because what do I need? What do you need to live? I've got a couture, I've got a bowl, and it's filled every day. What do you need to be happy? I've got job security. Have you? I've got an immense superannuation fund full of all my good karma. I'm going to be looked after until I'm ancient, until I die. I'm going to have the best medical care. If I get sick, there's many doctors in this Buddhist society who are just hanging out for the time when I'm sick. They can make merit. And I'm very careful. Ever. I am sick not to tell anyone. No. Because if I have a sneeze or a cough, if I just cough once or twice sitting in this seat next Friday night after the talk about five or six people, at minimum will come with cough mixture. For me, they do that. And the same with our marks as well. So who needs sort of medical insurance? Now you can see what happens when you give things up. When you give things up, you get everything you ever wanted, everything you ever need. That's why I'm one of the most wealthiest, well looked after people in the whole of West Australia. Because this is going against the stream here. And it's not only going against the stream with materials, it's going against the stream with six months. What did I do? Nothing. I tried my hardest not to do anything that worked. What that meant was you're going against the current of the mind if you've got two weeks holiday. I was just talking to sort of someone here just a few minutes ago. They get two weeks holiday, and one week they're going to go somewhere they don't know what to do with the other week. Do nothing. Don't go anywhere. Don't think of going anywhere. Sit down and just do nothing. Why is it so hard to do nothing? One, because our society doesn't allow us to do anything. I think that's being lazy, that's copying out. One of the beautiful things about the result of my retreat was all the support which I got from all of the people here. All of the people who come to the Buddhist society support our monasteries, and also from the community of monks and nuns. They said it was one of the most wonderful things I've done for others by doing six months of nothing. Most compassionate thing. It inspired, apparently, so many people. I did six months retreat, not talking, not seeing anyone, and just blissing out what a wonderful gift, compassion it was to all sentient beings. Showing a path, showing away. Sometimes we think to be kind, we always have to do something for someone else. We have to go and help. We have to go and serve. We have to go and help the needy, help the sick, do something for the world. In one of the great suitors said the Buddha became am enlightened and left Samsara once and for all for the ultimate benefit and welfare of all sentient beings. It seems to be one of those statements which doesn't make sense. What do you mean? He's just completely left the welfare, the ultimate wealth and happiness of all other beings. You understand that now? I went six months in retreat. That's the best six months. I've done for other beings. The greatest service. If I'd have given a talk every night here I got and served and helped, it wouldn't have done a fraction of the service. Just staying in my heart for six months. Meditating blessing out. Creating a path for other monks, for other people with solitude. All of you may have read some of the religious history of our worlds. Western culture, Asian culture we always have heard about, like hermits in mountains, sages who lived in caves, people who just left the world such a long, long time. I only did six months, but I think I qualify for my hermit badge now, and it works. What happens in such a retreat is because you let go so much of the world and so much of the mind and so much of thoughts or the past and the future. Like, very quickly, let go of the monastery and all of you. When I was in retreat, I have many responsibilities here. Spiritual director and Abbott sometimes. Soon as I went into my heart. Now I'm not sort of exaggerating here I completely dropped all of that. Never thought about it. It's marvelous to be able to do that, to let go of all responsibilities and duties and just to be no one to disappear, to go out away in greed me from all worries and responsibilities. I told the monks please don't disturb me. Even if the world ends, you can come and tell me afterwards. So in other words, don't disturb me to when they left me alone completely. Monastery ran very well and the Sanger one of very well. I don't need to control anything. In fact, the more you let go, the better things run. You're all seen in Perth when the traffic lights fail and the traffic flows more freely. It's a well known social phenomena. So when you stop controlling your kids, the kids will behave better, okay? When you stop controlling your wife, your husband, your partner, they'll be much more amenable to you. When you stop controlling yourself, you'll have much more happiness. Try it if you've got the guts and the courage. This is a problem with solitude or with letting go. We just haven't got the courage to do it. Because it goes against the stream. It goes against everything which we've been taught in the world except what you've been taught here in the center. We've been taught to grab the day. If you want to get somewhere, go for it. Forth try. No pay, no gain. A lot of rubbish. Not no pain, no gain. No happiness, no enlightenment. That's my. So when we actually do that, we start letting go. In a retreat situation, things happen. We're setting the causes for enlightenment to happen. The wonderful thing about enlightenment, it's one of the sayings of the Buddha which surprised me, that enlightenment is the highest happiness. That's what got me interested in Buddhism for the the first place. I wanted to be happy, not ordinary happiness. I wanted the best, the highest. Let's go for broke. You want ordinary happiness or the best happiness? Best happiness is cheaper. It's on special offer from the Buddhist society of West Australia for the rest of your life. Doesn't cost you anything. I want to go to the ultimate happiness. Nibanang paramung Su Kangna buddha said nibana is the ultimate, the highest and deepest happiness. The wonderful thing about sort of solitude or what I've been doing is you get closer and closer and closer. It gets happier and happier and happier. Bliss upon bliss upon bliss. I don't mind telling people that the last six months were the happiest period of my life by far. Had some happy experiences before, some blissful experiences before, but this topped it. Some of the experiences in my meditation. You can't imagine such bliss running just right through the mind. Powerful, wonderful. It all comes from just imprisoning myself in a little hut, saying nothing, eating very little, sleeping very little. Not because I was doing penance. You're not doing this because you're trying to hurt yourself. Just making it now natural. Wanted to sleep. Sleep, eat as much as you want. You just don't want to eat much. You don't want to sleep much. You got energy, power going through your body and your mind. You don't get sick. Just as happy as a lark doing nothing. These are one of the great teachings of the Buddha. When you see monks or nuns putting into practice or you see laypeople getting happy doing these weird things. I mean, it's pretty weird, isn't it? Just six months of not speaking to anybody. Six months of not seeing anybody. No radios, no TVs. I had some books there. They were suitors Buddhist TVs. Nothing else. Didn't have a whole stack of novels to get through. I wasn't sort of riding to everybody, just getting my correspondence in orders and no internet in my cooty. I was completely sold you. And no one could contact me. I couldn't contact anyone else. Blissful time of my life. Sort of bliss which no one here's ever is, ever tasted. I wasn't born as a monk. I've had sex with girlfriends when I was a student. I know what all those pleasures are like. And so remember, those are the tiny things compared to the bliss of meditation. But it's not just for the sake of the happiness of it, because that happiness in deep meditations. It actually is teaching you something. What is teaching you is the less you have in your body, in your world, in your mind, especially. The less you have in your mind, the more freedom you have, the more bliss you have, the closer to enlightenment you are. Less, not more. As a monk, I've been doing this for 27, almost 28 years as a monk. I can pretty clued up about how to meditate and how to work the mind. I know what to do, and when you do it, it all works. And this is precisely as the boy taught you've heard in the ancient tradition, our cultures, people doing this, monks, nuns, hermits completely blistered out in their little caves, eating nothing. And people wonder what the heck they're doing there. But in our traditions, they've always been respected somehow as being wise, somehow being different than the rest of the world. Showing a path which you don't learn in universities, showing a path of experience. They're not philosophers, because philosophers are just thinking, imagining. People can write an essay about enlightenment. They can start doing a thesis on the Jana meditations. What a waste of time that is. You can't know those things through words. In fact, they're beyond imagining. That's where they're powerful and they're deep and they're sublime. You only know those things by stopping all that stupidity and letting go. Once you start doing that, you start to understand what life is all about. What is the meaning of life? It's not accumulating. Life is about letting go. Unfortunately, in our world, in our culture, what we do most of the time, we accumulate things. Is it easy to accumulate things? How much does your house cost? How much suffering does that cost to get a house? Getting up in the morning, Monday and going to work? I didn't go to work for six months, didn't come to the Buddhist society, didn't teach the margins, didn't do anything for six months. I didn't do anything to earn my happiness. That's why happiness came. It was going in the opposite direction. It takes courage to do that. Or just understanding the path, understanding the way for all the training and the great teachers I've had in my life. Once you start to do that, you start to reexperience what you read about in the books. You start to understand what religion is all about. Sometimes you look at newspapers and this scandal about religion and that scandal about religion. No one believes in religion. And people argue about religion, and people have wars about religion. That's not religion. Religion is what happens in your heart when you let go. That's when you start to understand what life is all about. All those secrets of life are not in any book. That is you. When you stop, you go inside. When you let go, what you're letting go of is all those coverings of truth, layer upon layer of wrapping. Our world is a world of marketing. We have our clothes because they're marketed. We go to body because of marketing. We do our hair because of marketing. We get married because of marketing. We get rich because of marketing. That's what we're supposed to do. I always wanted to challenge things. I was always a radical. When I was a young man, I've told you before about my green velvet trousers, hippie beads, and Jimmy Hendrix haircuts. I have to try and find a photograph somewhere that, you know, I used to carry those photographs around, and when I was a monk in Thailand, and whenever any monk got depressed, I would take them out and they would laugh. And that was the end of their depression, going in the opposite direction to that, just giving up things more. You give up more, you have more happiness, the more bliss. So what we're teaching here in this Buddhist center here, it says, maybe you're not ready yet to give up completely, but once you start this, this is where it's going to lead. If not this lifetime, the next lifetime, are you going to start giving up more and more, getting more and more happiness, more and more bliss? And people are going to get surprised at you. Why are you so happy when you're so sick? Why are you so dished out? When you got cancer and you're about to die, you just lost your husband, you just run away with your best friend and you're just so happy that now your husband is even more happy with someone else. That's compassion. Don't you want your husband them to be happy? It's more happy with your best friend, so you should be even happier. It's logical. Isn't it the same with your wife or your girlfriend? If they found someone better than you, then if you really love her, you really want her to be happy, you should find someone better. I'm so happy or even happier with my best friend than with me. So you can see the difference between attachments and letting go all the time you attach to something. It's like a person having a rucksack. A backpack on the back. Every time you attach to something, it's one more thing. One more rock in your backpack. Your partner in life. You have kids, three or four rocks. You get a house. Whole house gets in your back. Have a body that gets in there as well. That's why life is heavy. All the things you carry around, you do carry it around with you. You worry about your house. You come here, you worry, did I lock the door? Did I close the windows? The only burglar is going to come about your partner. Doesn't matter how much you trust them. It's always a little bit. Perhaps they've been to the Buddhist society and I've heard Adjun brand speaker. Now I'm going to go out with my best friend. There's always a little bit of doubt. There isn't. With the best relationships and partners. You carry them around. Your kids. How much do you worry about your children? Box in your backpack. Your finances, your health, your mind. You worry about your mind. Are you worried about Alzheimer's disease? Can you remember where you put your shoes when you came in here? 9s I know some people. Some of my relations, my mother especially. She's just so worried about getting old and getting Alzheimer's disease. My mother's having Alzheimer's? You got nothing to worry about. You forget everything. Other people worry about you. You don't worry about anything. Why do people worry about that? Because they're worried about losing what they're attached to their intelligence. Are you worried when you're proven wrong? You don't want to admit it? You made a mistake. Why is pride such a cause of suffering? In the world. Why can we just admit we're wrong, we made a mistake, we're attached to our illusion ourselves, another rock inside. You can let all of that go. You know. No one in the world not trying to prove anything, live up to anything. You don't mind being stupid. You don't mind making mistakes. You don't mind getting sick. You don't mind dying. You don't mind being bankrupt, death alone. You don't mind anything. You've let go. You've emptied all the rocks out of your backpack and you can dance through life, no burdens. Six months my backpack was empty. The backpack got thrown away. Not carrying anything through life, that's bliss. Try and see. Why don't you start trying and say, why haven't I done this before? Stupid, the way I've lived my life. Just collecting more rocks from my backpack. So when one chance to practice the way of letting go, the way of letting of meditation the eightfold path renunciation not worshipping something or god or trying to think you're going to get to heaven in some future life doing it now we've got a chance to see if it's true or not true. Little by little you find more and more peace, more and more happiness gets more and more and more blissful, more and more powerful, more and more close to going out completely. I give an assimilate to the monks. Some time ago I remembered it when I was walking meditation one night and it was a beautiful meteor fell. Saw it for my meditation part. It's glorious light in the sky which wobbled backwards and forwards for quite a few seconds before it disappeared. It's lighting up the sky. That's like a person who lets go more and more and more. Gets more and more enlightened and completely disappears. Out of Samsara, out of the world, out of rebirth. Going out in the beautiful lights of bliss happiness. Sharing that with the whole world. As I teach here in serpentine and Olimara notice many, so many laypeople just flowering. Whenever a flower opens, whenever enlightenment happens, first of all the flower is extremely beautiful. The joy of these experiences is something to behold like a beautiful flower. But also the fragrance is felt as powerful throughout into the whole area. Not only the power. Once the flower opens up seeds, the pollen starts to waft in the area. Make more flowers. It's a simile of how enlightenment serves other people. The flower doesn't need to move to help the other flowers in the garden. What it needs to do is to reach its destiny, to bloom the beauty of the blissful states, to create the seeds from its own enlightenment spread to all others. One flower as many minute we can hardly see them, bits of pollen. I know that because I suffer from hayfen. My nose knows that. But also you can see it happening in nature. So just one enlightened person just sends their seeds of pollen and all over the place to create other enlightened people. So by doing solitude, by letting go, you're doing the greatest of services for other people. You're opening up like a flower. Blooming, blossoming, joyful, fragrance. Your pollen is going all over the place to help all other beings. What you're giving them, how you're serving them, it's not trying to help them sort of overcome this particular sickness, because many doctors do that. They work so hard to heal someone, and then that person goes and gets sick again. And how ungrateful, because that's what happens with sickness. You can help them a little bit, but then they get better, they get sick again. Or you try and help a person sort of financially, but then they sort of end up losing it again, or it's never enough. You help a person through their mind, through their heart. You help a person to know how to let go, and you've helped them properly, fully. You've helped them on the path to full liberation. And your bliss eventually becomes their bliss. One of the things which I recognized on my retreat is just it doesn't concern a person. This is like just a process. Our monastery at Serpentine is a factory. It takes in the raw material. The vanagaricus. It turns out, Enlightened monks, those Enlightened monks drawn more material in. The process continues. One of the things which few people have told me, when I asked him, how's everything going, they've seen all the senior monks coming behind me just grow as their flowers start to sort of grow up from the ground and start to bud, start to flower. You can see this happening. And all the Lake community, community who have been here, this Buddhist society has been well, here, I think almost 20 years or 30 years. I think the Buddhist society almost. Next year would be the 30th anniversary of the Buddhist society of West Australia. Monks have been here for about 20 years. In that time, you've seen not just growth in numbers. That's not important. Not just growth of facilities like big monasteries or or big temples in Nalamara. That's not important. But the quality of the monks and the people who come and sit here on a Friday evening or go to meditation retreat. That's what's important. That's what impresses me. Not the sort of the temple outside, but the temple inside, which is growing and growing and growing, seeing that where Buddhism is, is not in the temples, not in the priests, not in the numbers. The census results were out recently. I was just trying to find out exactly what the results were. But it doesn't really matter about the numbers. It's a quality. And many of you have been coming here long enough, have seen it in your own hearts, in your own practice, what this has done for you. That's why you keep coming back year after year. There's that quality which is really impressive. So I've done a six month retreat, not just for myself, to try and open the way for the next month to do a long retreat in solitude for you. Listening to me now, one day to go into a hat. Six months speaking to no one, having your food brought to you, letting go of the whole world, experience the same bliss which I felt. It's my wish for you. That's what's going to happen one day. And then you'll know what the meaning of life is. That meaning of life is pretty special. One of the nicest things about it, it's not just an intellectual idea which you share with your friends. It's a bliss which you share with your friends a power which you can spread out to other people. That's what you can share. Spoken many words tonight, but those words are just the packaging of what is underneath those words. I've been trying to spread what I've been giving this talk this evening for six months. I haven't talked at all. I gave a talk on Wednesday night to the monks of my monastery. Now Friday night to you. It's only four days I've been speaking, so I have to apologize if what I've said is not articulate. My poor old brain is working as hard as it can to reconnect all those connections which have gone extremely rusty. Well, I don't care, because it's not the words. It's hopefully what I've conveyed this evening is where it's coming from. May that be an ins inspiration to you. It sort of uplifts. You show you not through convoluted words, but through the feelings, the power, the energy where this Buddhism leads to. Happiness experience of your life thousand times mega times more than you can ever imagine. Whether that be your happiness, may that be your freedom. Freedom not to follow desires, but freedom from all desires. Having no desire at all in your mind. Nothing pushing you away way not wanting even the slightest thing. Not moving. Stillness instillness in stillness as being still. The whole world starts to disappear. Layer upon layer. All your past is vanishing. Future vanishing. Going into timeless. I was having great confusion the last couple of days finding out what day it was. After six months, just knowing not where I was. I found out that they had a calendar next to my seat. Somewhat had turned it on to July rather than June. I was confused enough as it was without having the wrong calendar seat in front to me. Letting go of all time, seeing all that vanish to timelessness into ownerlessness had nothing in the whole world, had no friends, no family, no other monks. One of the monks I saw put food in my bowl. He was actually, I told him, his venom abuya. He's a Sri Lankan monk. I couldn't really see the features of any monk. I was too far away. But being a Sri Lankan monk, he was dark skinned, so I was a dark skinned monk, so I know him. I couldn't think of his name. I was very proud of that. I'd let go so much. I could I told him that, and he sort of scowled at me, sort of. I apologized afterwards and he laughed because he realized what I was doing. Sort of, you know, all those perceptions. Go, he's a great friend. I ordained him as a monkey a few years ago and forget everything. You let go of all these past perceptions and all these memories. You have so much freedom. You let go of your body. I was saying I had very good health but I did have some back pain towards the end of my retreat simply because I was sitting so many long periods. It's interesting. Somebody asked me just afterwards in surfing time and said did the days drag by? Just were you bored? Absolutely not. The time went so fast. Got up in the morning, you only slept a couple of hours. A few hours because you had so much energy but probably much less than useful. But all that time, nothing to do. It just flew past. It's interesting. I realized why when somebody asked me is because I was sitting for long periods, a couple of hours or more then you sort of get up and change and walk for a long time. I actually didn't do many things each day. Seven or eight things. If you actually listed what I did. And sit meditation. Then get up to walk. Sit at my meal. That's already the morning gone. In the afternoon, sit meditation. So it's only about six or seven things I did all day. That's why it flew past. It's not so much. It's like how many things you do, the changes. If you change a lot, do many things. Always moving. Number of movements in a day. Make it a long day. If you don't move very much in a day, sit for long periods of time, absolutely motionless. And just get up and change and just walk for a long period. You don't do many things. Time goes quickly. Time is change. More is changing. Faster you go. So the slower the longer the day is, the longer your life is. Not long. Lovely, but long and pleasant. This is an interesting sort of perception which came up. That's why the days as soon as you got up, then you're going to bed again. Six months just went by so quickly. So this is actually part of the perception of time. Very beautiful, very happy. So difficult, court for me to string the talk together this evening. I tried my very best. Hopefully you've got some of the bliss which I've experienced in the last six months. And again, my gratitude to you all for all the support, especially the support of just leaving me alone. That's the one wonderful thing that you've done for me in the last six months. Thank you very much. Are there any questions anyone would like to ask or any comments? Yes. Thank you. You'll come back. That is true, because again, before I've been doing so much talking, so much activity as well, helping out the Buddhist society and going off to Singapore. I was like pushing myself. Some of the things I've done have been absolutely ridiculous, stressed anybody out quite a few times. I remember last time I went off to Singapore, gave a Friday night talk here, talk to people afterwards, then to the airport, the overnight plane to Singapore, then full day giving talks. Conference? No conference. It was at some ceremony in the hotel, talking to people till late at night, then following morning up 07:00, when people come to bring you some breakfast and ask you dumb questions. So you're working from 07:00 till about ten or 11:00, giving a big talk to a couple of thousand people. Then afterwards, after the talk was finished, then it was on the overnight flight to London. And then to was it a meeting there for the monks in London? That's actually how I was living for about two weeks. But you have energy. You can do that. There's no problem at all. But I do get coughs? Quite likely. The power of meditation is tremendous. It increases your energies, your immune system. The reason is, is because it creates so much joy, much powerful happiness. Energy is happiness. So those of you who feel dull, especially when you wake up in the morning before you had your cup of coffee or tea, you know the first thing you should do in the morning? I've taught this before. Go in the bathroom, look at yourself in the mirror and smile. If you can't smile because of what you've been doing the night before, if you can't smile two fingers. This is a twofinger trick. Side of the mouth. Push up. It's so easy to do. Absolutely simple. That was the first meditation teaching I got from this fellow in used to come up to Cambridge to teach. Absolutely simple, but so powerful. How to create energy in the beginning of the day. Did that for two years as a student. Again, I've told you something of my life. Before I was a good student. But like any student, you're enjoying yourself, staying up late at night. Sometimes you stay up all night doing stupid things. But every morning I would go into that bathroom, I'd look at myself for two years and smile at myself. And some days, absolutely impossible. How you felt, sort of, you know, I used to drink for the first year there. Feel really awful. Two fingers up, I see this stupid young student in part of the I laughed every morning at myself. Marvelous way to start a day, give you energy. And I didn't do this. I only did it in the morning. But I'll tell people if anytime during the day you get upset, you feel sickly, you feel tired or whatever else it is, just go in the bathroom, get your two fingers out and push it up. Try it. It works. And it's much less expensive than going to see a therapist. It's much better going taking chemicals and you see this stupid person. You're laughing at yourself. You're getting at ease with yourself, you're at peace. So his happiness is energy. If you can do it, you can't do it through your meditation. Do it with your two fingers. That's what these two fingers were there for. Not point of people. Be smart at yourself. Thank you for the question. Did I answer it? Okay? Thank you. Is there any other question that you would like to ask? I heard that the last week they went on for 2 hours talking about ghosts. So I thought I better sort of keep it. Sort of. And I heard that most people actually stay to listen, which is impressive, until I found out because they were too scared to go outside. It was dark outside. If ever I give a talk on ghost, I'm going to tell the person with the lights to start turning the lights down. So there's a question over here. Was it? Yeah, 23s okay. Yeah, 9s it's an interesting question because this is my area. That's where I grew up as a monk. I know those monks very well. That biography is Ajan man's biography. He was a great monk. Number one, the translation which you see here was not a good translation. Just after it was done into English, I visited Ajan Mahabor. And one of the first things I was told is that translation tell people that so much has been added there, it's not actually what even Ajan Mahabua said. So that's number one. And two. I went to many other teachers, great monks, who were also disciples of that monk. They said that was actually Ajamaboo's perception of it. That was his slant on it. The other one said, Ajama was the most happiest, most kind and compassionate person you could ever meet. He was like a mother to every monk. And he was so soft and gentle. If you made a mistake, get out the monastery. But if you were practicing properly, you'd just bend over backwards to help you. All the great monks which I've known, they'll be fierce like tigers. If you make a mistake, if you're actually serious about what you're doing, they would just do anything for you. Their compassion is just amazing. One of the monks who came here, he told me once said, if ever you have any question about meditation, doesn't matter what time of the night, if I'm sleeping one's o'clock in the morning, please knock on my door and ask me. Don't mind being woken up if it's about a question of meditation, that's anything they would do for you. And that was Ajan man as well. Sometimes when you get one perspective about a teacher, then you don't get the full picture. It's Ajan. Man through the eyes of Ajan Mahabor. Here's a boxer wing before I became a monk. That's his character full on. He can be very fierce but I must say in my experiences of staying with him for a short time once I was sweeping in his monastery. I'd only just arrived there and I'd got the time wrong. I was sweeping earlier as I was sweeping alone on the path of his forest monastery. He came around a corner just in front of me and he gave me such a blast of loving kindness. I've never got that even from Adjanchar. He said in the most kindest of words I was sweeping wrong. I was sweeping the leaves to the side of the path which was creating rats in the sandy store. He said it was such amazing kindness. Don't sweep to leaves edge tweet to the center because then it won't make a rut. I can't get up to his standard. He said in such a wonderful way, I just melted. And that was the fiercest meditation teacher in the whole of Thailand did that to me. So I've seen both sides of those teachers and to see that they had a very happy time. Gentile was always laughing. That's why people used to be like to be around him. You would tell jokes. All the Thai young men had to become monks at certain time. And so one of his supporters was a general from Bangkok. So they sent his son just to be a novice without Janchar for the reigns retreat. And being the son of a general in Thailand, generals in that time in the military regime, that was as about as high as you can get in society. So they were very rich. This guy was so fat. He's only sort of in his early 20s. He's really overweight. So I remember being in Ajan Charles heart once, and Adjanchar was making the monks to fall over laughing and saying, be careful of the trees when you walk through the forest. I don't want you to push any over and things like that. And many of you may remember one of the monks who's come here, ajan Liam, a couple of years ago, he came here. He's now the Abbott of WAP up on who took over from magenta. He's a tough monk. He's really tough. When the other monks who came here ajin and naked. So the magenta had to tell people to watch after him. Whenever he got sick, he just gave himself interveners. No, sort of anesthetic. Just bung it up in his arm. Arm. Find a vein, put it in there. These are some tough monks I've seen Ajan Liam just rolling on the floor, sort of completely losing all mindfulness because of Ajan Charles jokes. It's amazing for those experiences. That's what I got. The great monks were the hat happy ones. And that's what you see in the Buddha's teachings. If you want to check that out, look in the Damachadiya Suta. It's in the maghima. Nikaya great king king Persanidi, just before he died, went to see the Buddha and it was the last time he saw the Buddha. And he said that one of the reasons he loves coming to the monastery. He saw so many smiling and happy monks said that must be a sign that they're understanding something. So the path of pain, which leads to frustration. Try if you want. The Buddha did it for six years. You know the story of the Buddha. Try the path of happiness in the bliss also. It's the best marketing tool of meditation and Buddhism. Start to talk about. This is the reason why I deliberately sort of try and mention just how much bliss you get out of this is to inspire and to encourage. When you want to be compassionate, you want to give somebody something. It's what I want to give you. It's even a fraction of the bliss which I've been having in the last six months. Okay, I think that's probably enough for now. Eddie, come on. Good old Eddie. 12s Yeah. I've been working very hard, so I'm glad some of it's getting through. That's why I was last. Being around, great teacher, like a Jian Char. Didn't mind what he was saying, just actually being there just to suck in some of the energy. One of the monks in my monastery is now on their own two week retreat. They've got in some heart I was in. They couldn't wait to get in there to suck up the energy. I'm sure they're having a bar at this time. It's not ajam brahma. It's not a jam brahm doing this, dummy. There's no one in here. Okay, I think that's probably enough for this evening.

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