January 13, 2023


The Trickery of Perception | Ajahn Brahm

The Trickery of Perception | Ajahn Brahm
Ajahn Brahm Podcast
The Trickery of Perception | Ajahn Brahm

Jan 13 2023 | 00:50:46


Show Notes

When you change your perception, you can find the end of all suffering inside yourself. The perception we have of ourselves and others often limits us and leads to suffering. Perceptions matter, and they can be limiting. Whenever you get a project to do, just do it. Don’t think about it. Whenever it’s time to meditate, just meditate. Don’t think about it. Whatever you happen to do in life, when it’s time to die, do it. Stop thinking about it. Meditation is a practice of transforming our pathological perceptions of the world. When we understand this, we can create new, healthier perceptions which will free us from suffering.

This dhamma talk was originally recorded on cassette tape on 30th November 2001. 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

AB20011130_TheTrickeryOfPerception Summary When you change your perception, you can find the end of all suffering inside yourself. The perception we have of ourselves and others often limits us and leads to suffering. Perceptions matter, and they can be limiting. Whenever you get a project to do, just do it. Don't think about it. Whenever it's time to meditate, just meditate. Don't think about it. Whatever you happen to do in life, when it's time to die, do it. Stop thinking about it. Meditation is a practice of transforming our pathological perceptions of the world. When we understand this, we can create new, healthier perceptions which will free us from suffering. Transcription U1 0:01 Feeling, not really thinking what I'm going to speak about this evening. So I'm going to start talking about some of the aspects of Buddhism, especially about the deeper aspects of practical aspects of Buddhism which leads you into a deeper understanding of the nature of life, yourself, the world and happiness. And just to see how this talk developed, perhaps so many of you might know just come back from a teaching tour to retreat of Sydney and he came back this morning. So my body keeps telling me it's our past ten in my bedtime. But nevertheless, the way I was trained in Thailand by Arjun Cha was to go without sleep for a long time. Once a week we wouldn't sleep. We'd stay up all night meditating. And sometimes the way that you were taught, the discipline in the mind is that sometimes you would be asked to give talks at all times of the night. Sometimes that when there was a big occasion when many monks and many laypeople would come to visit the monastery sometimes that they would have talks throughout the night and different monks would be assigned to different slots. The more famous monks, the ones who gave the good talks, would get prime time, but monks like me would get the 02:30 a.m slot. But nevertheless, we still had to give that a try. And of course, the 230 a. M. Slot. You had good fun because no one was listening to you anyway. But nevertheless, that you learned how to be able to apply the mind and to change the perceptions of things. Because so often the way we perceive things limits us immensely. Because so much of our suffering, our problems, our difficulties in life all become or arise because of the misunderstanding of this thing which we call perception. When we talk about perception, this is the way of the mind. It's the quality of the mind which actually chooses what it wants to see and does not see most of what's really occurring. That quality of perception is something which creates what we call delusion in the world. We're not seeing the complete, full story. And because of that there is a lot of misunderstanding about ourselves, our relationships and about the world. Sometimes we have like the cultural assumptions which define our world. Somebody was asked me some questions about the Buddhist attitudes towards aboriginals and land rights. I've never spoke about that before and that's because I don't know much about it. At least we have enough wisdom to not pronounce the mon high. I might be the abbot of the monastery, but I'm not the pope and I'm not going to give sort of such declarations when I don't know really too much about what's happening then. But what I do know is that sometimes having met with and been with, taught with aboriginals sometimes know that there is a cultural difference there and to really to understand. Where they're coming from takes a huge leap of perception, what we call empathy, which means that you can't think like a white fellow when you're talking to a black person. In fact, as one of the Aboriginal elders once told me once, he said he was approached by a young boy, Australian boy, and he said, sir, you're not a black fellow. You're brown. And the Aboriginal elder, he said, Actually, that was the first time I looked at myself and I realized I wasn't black after all. I was brown. And he said that that might seem a small thing, but for him, that actually changed it's Aboriginal elder who sometimes has visited our monastery in Serpentine a couple of times and actually changed a lot of his perception of himself. He realized the limitations of names and how we can take those names on board and we can suffer because of those, where we can believe those half truths which perceptions give us. And so when we understand what perception is going on and how it arises in our mind, we can show it to the limits of perception and we can show that if we misunderstand this, it creates so many difficulties and problems in our lives. One of the favorite stories which I teach, I taught this last night in Random Town Hall in Sydney. I haven't mentioned it here for a while was something which happened to me, or rather something which I learned when I was learning to be a school teacher. It was basic educational psychology, but it really affected me because it showed me just how labels can be so limiting to people in their lives. And it was the story of the two classes of school children examined at the end of the year. Maybe this is a pertinent story because many children are being examined now and they're about to get the results of these two classes of children in the school. In the UK. Some years ago, the two classes were split into even ability classes after the examinations. They're. Child who came first went into one class. Second and third went into the other class. Fourth and fifth went into the same class who came 1st, 6th and 7th went along with the second and third. So they split them up as evenly as they could on the results of those on the grounds of those results of the end of the year examination. But they never told anybody. It was the headmistress. And two educational psychologists were the only ones who knew that the two classes had been split evenly. And on the headmistress's advice they assigned school teachers who she thought were equally able classes which had equal facilities. They made everything as equal as possible except for one thing they called one Class A and the other one Class B. And they never told the children or the teachers or the parents that that was just a name class A and Class B. And it didn't mean that the people in Class A were better or worse than those in Class B. But we have assumptions, perceptions. The children thought that a day. Those in Class A were much better than those in Class B, and the parents thought the same. Many of the parents said to their children, I never thought you'd get into Class A. You've been so lazy throughout the whole year, but well done. Have some extra pocket money. While some of these children who had worked hard went into Class B and got into big trouble with their parents you have to work harder. And even the teachers regarded those two streams as different. One of those teachers who went to Class A regarded them as the brighter class while the other teacher regarded them as the stupid class and taught them accordingly. And for one year, these children in Class A were conducted conditioned to believe they were Class A kids while those in Class B became conditioned to think they were inferior Class B kids. And the expected result of this experiment was that when they gave the examination at the end of the second year, the children in Class A performed just as you would have expected. If you'd have chosen the top half the year before, the children in Class B did terribly. And why was that? It's because when you're called a Class A child after one year, you start to believe it, and then you become a Class A child. If you called a Class B child for one whole year, then that's what you become. These labels which we have, these perceptions, they're only really approximation. But we keep on thinking that these things are real and accurate, and it changes our whole way of looking at ourselves and looking at life. We become Class A kids. We become Class B kids. And how many people in our society, because. We've been told by others we're not intelligent or that we're smart or because we're beautiful or we're ugly. That's what people tell us. Or because we think we can do this, but we can't do that. How many times is it that because we've been told this again and again and again, we start to believe it and it becomes justified? This is one of the problems with the human mind that perception becomes a solid, concrete reality when, after all, it was just one way of looking at things. So this is why you can actually start to bend boundaries when you start to think, I should be tired, I should be tired. If I keep thinking like that, I do become tired. But when you actually expand perceptions, you see, well, maybe there might be some other way. When you can look at the other ways, it means that your ability to look at the world, to look at life, to look at other people, to look at this moment can expand. You've got other possibilities. So when we look at perception, it can too easily limit us. When we have sort of perceptions of ourselves or others, then the first perceptions become thought about, developed. We keep on thinking about these things and then we get ourselves into a lot of restricted situations, a lot of suffering. We find we're hemmed in by the situation situations very often that we found out, or I found out in my early training that Ajan Char would always be testing you, testing you, testing you, testing you, putting you in situations that the only way you could survive was actually changing a way of looking at things. And by changing way of looking at things. This story, one of the stories which I'd like to tell will maybe illustrate it for you. This story has got a sponsor. And I'll tell you the spot to the end of the story. This story was of a time in Thailand when we it was a tough time as a young bank. Even after staying up all night sometimes that we were sent to other monasteries. Sometimes we had to do work. Sometimes one bank was given the whole heap of washing to do by the Abbott after staying up all night. And he started to complain. He was an Australian. He even started to swear. I remember it. And he kept on swearing and saying, why me? Why do I have to do this? This is unfair. This is not right. I've been up all night meditating. You shouldn't have to do this. He started complaining and fair enough, it wasn't unfair. If he wanted to think like that, having to do all this hard work, until that he was told by somebody. That doing it is much easier than thinking about it. And this story is sponsored by Nike. Just do it. And it's quite true that so often, whatever you have to do in life, how often is it? The more you think about it and think about it think about it why me? I shouldn't have to do this. This is really unfair. It's that one perception which leads to all this negative thinking and you'll find that it's the thinking about it which is the painful part, the one which really hurts, the one which causes suffering actually doing it is no problem at all. And that Mark learned a very powerful lesson and this is one of the things which we kept on understanding about Buddhism, about the mind, about psychology, of happiness, which is what Buddhism is all about. But so often that we think too much and we think in such a way that we make huge problems out of little things and actually just doing it is no problem whatsoever. So much of what you had to do, you had a choice of complaining about it. Or just doing it. So much of life is out of your control. In Buddhism, we call this annexure uncertainty. We try and think that we're in control of the world. But how often have you been struggling to take control and always found a lot of frustration and sometimes even guilt because it hasn't worked out the way you wanted to it, and you blame yourself so often? That control freak inside of us. And we all know the extremes of being a control freak and the suffering it causes ourselves and other people. And it all comes because we don't really understand that we aren't in control. And again, that was a great teaching, which I always had from the early tradition. Because of the discipline and the monastery, you didn't have much choice over where you stayed or what you did or what you read or whatever. You couldn't control anything just about even where you slept at night. A gentle would sometimes send you to somewhere else. If you saw you getting too comfortable, he'd send you to even actually okay, everybody sleep in the forest tonight. To sleep under the trees. He did that. Sometimes. They even told you sometimes, especially when it started to get to the hot weather. It's starting to get hot now. And everybody tried to open their windows and to take off a lot of their robes so they can get a nice breeze coming through and be nice and comfortable. At one time, Magic and Shah decided to actually teach the monks how to deal with the hot weather weather. His way of teaching monks how to deal with the hot weather was to tell everybody after the meal was finished, to come into this old sailor, this old hall, which had a tin roof in which he said you had to bring all of your robes and put them all on if you wanted to. You could bring blankets as well because he would shut all the windows and make you sit there for 2 hours after the meal. And it was stinking hot. If you haven't seen international heard about Agansha, he would probably be at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. What he did to us monks. But he was such an incredibly good teacher because he started teaching you. Okay, it was hot and it was uncomfortable, but actually doing it was much easier than thinking about it. And that's actually what he forced you to do. It's just to stop thinking about it and just feel what it was like when you actually just go to the feelings and stop the thinking. Then it wasn't such a big problem anymore. It's all of the physical pain and the difficulties we have with our body. How much of that pain is thinking and how much of it is actually the experience itself. How much of it is the worry and the fear? Even though I remember reading as a young man, edgar Allen posed a Mask of the Red Death, I used to like, gory frightening things which would stop you sleeping at night. In this particular little novel, one of the things I always remember from it was these two so called angels of death meeting together at the very end of this little book saying, how many people did you kill? And how many people did you kill? And the one of the demons said, I only killed about 50, and fear killed 300 in this great epidemic. And I always remember that because that was meant so much to me. How much is actually pain is caused by fear and how much is actually caused by, you know, the reality of the illness. Now, this reality of the illness is sickness. I mean, many of you have probably read medical journals or seen documentaries about the weirdness and the strangeness of the body when it gets sick and how sometimes people who are very, very ill sometimes get better very quickly. No faith cures miracles. Or sometimes not so much a miracle, but a placebo what's actually happening with this body of ours. And so often it is that the thinking about it will really make us sick, the way you think and worry about it. That's why that some of the people at our monastery recently who were nurses started to tell me that in their experience, only anecdotal experience when people actually are diagnosed as having cancer, that cancer is known to have been in them for many months or years before. But as soon as they're diagnosed, they find the cancer begins to spread. And I remember reading before I went off to Sydney in a magazine somewhere that some doctors had actually confirmed that. It's a strange thing, that. Why is it that as soon as the diagnosis happens by that point the disease gets much worse? And of course, you don't need to be a spiritual director of the board to society to know why. It's a fear, isn't it? Which happens when that fear comes up. Oh, my goodness. I've got cancer. Oh, my goodness, things are going wrong. And that fear creates that extra stress and you start thinking and worrying, worrying and thinking. And that worry and thinking is what causes the cancer to get worse. The mind is the forerunner of all things, said the Buddha. That which we take to be the mind or that which we know to be the mind. It's work if you like. It's the perceptions and the thoughts which roll through our consciousness and those perceptions and thoughts if they're not really known and looked after they can actually create these terrible sicknesses in our body. Or if we know how to use these things, perceptions and thoughts, we can turn them the other way around. For example, I remember when I was a member of the Psychic Research Society as a student, experiments done by hypnotists. And one hypnotist, a very famous experiment, just touched a man with an iron rod at room temperature. But he'd given them the hypnotic suggestion this rod was red hot, was on a very high temperature, and when he touched this man with an iron rod under hypnosis, the man screamed in pain. But more amazingly, a blister appeared on the man's arm under hypnosis, where a person believes implicitly what they're told, telling the person that that iron rod, it was a cold rod, but he was told it was red hot, and even a blister appeared. The mind created that blister perception. And thought. And that was a demonstration under hypnosis. And hypnosis is just a matter of strong belief, a belief which isn't questioned at all because of the power of that state. And this is what can happen sometimes with our mind. So when a person is told they have a Class Beach student and they believe it, that should become a Class B student. When a person is told and starts thinking that they shouldn't be washing the robes after staying up all night, they believe it and they suffer. When you're told you're going to get sick and you're going to die, then you start to believe it. This is one of the problems. This is one of the reasons why doctors these days never do tell people how many months they're going to die, because they might believe that doctor. I remember one person, they went to the doctor, and the doctor actually gave them a time and said, you only got three months to die. You got cancer. And the man told the doctor, you probably couldn't pay the bills in three months. So the doctor said, okay, I'll give you six months to die. They're business is business. That's just a joke to wake you up or wake me up as well. You can understand if you're told you're going to die. I mean, this is what happens what happens when aboriginals get the bone pointed at them. It's what happens to westerners when they get the doctor's bone pointed at them, the diagnosis. So this is actually something which is a meditator. As a buddhist who actually look upon so many people come to me even like meditators, and they say, I can't can't meditate, or I'm not good at meditation. I can't do this. Sometimes people say, I can't become a monk, I can't become a nun. And so often, I keep sort of challenging people. How do you know if you keep thinking like that? Of course you won't be able to. So when a person understands the limitations of perception and whatever comes up in that mind, we can actually stop it. I'm we don't sort of value it so much. We can see alternatives. We can actually create other perceptions in our mind, other possibilities, especially possibilities about ourselves, our abilities, our nature. If we want to sort of describe Buddhism as anything, it's a cultivation of the mind, the cultivation of that heart within the human being to make them into a better person, a freer person, to end suffering and to create happiness in the world, especially happiness in the person. So, Hannah, how do we do this? We start to change those perceptions which are pathological cool, which create problems and difficulties in life. Guilt. Where does guilt come from? It's just that perception I've done something wrong. We keep thinking about it and thinking about it. Instead of keep thinking about it, why don't you just shut up? Let it go and it's gone. Wouldn't it be wonderful when you make a mistake just to acknowledge it, forgive it, let it go and just go on. We don't need to sort of keep thinking about the past when you've done something wrong, the same about your perceptions of the future, what might happen. You don't need to keep doing that. Sometimes I wonder why it is when a person starts learning meditation and I start teaching the very basic first step of meditation, of just being in the present moment. Why it is so hard for people just to stay still in the present moment. It's because there's so much business there in the past and so much business in the future which is unfinished business. When we're yeah, but finish the business of the past and finish the business of the future. Remember one of the things which Ajan Cha always used to base his teachings on? He said, I only teach things which have an ending. I was one of the finish things. Don't you want to finish things? That's why, really, in Buddhism, if you practice meditation, if you are sort of someone who understands the dub, then I think you're one person who is really competent to walk up and down the street with a big sign saying, the end of the world is nice. Because the end of your world what is the world anyway? The end of suffering is not you could say, if you understand, about what's going on with Buddhism and Dharma because when you say that the end of the world, the end of the world, what do you mean by the end of the world? And the end of the world means the end of the world which creates all that problems and difficult difficulties for you. The end of the world of suffering, of difficulty, of pain, of depression, of guilt, of fear, of arguments and anger and all these things which create too many problems for the human being. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could actually write that sign the end of the world is nigh in that world. How can we do that? The adjunct was saying he wanted to end things. Sometimes in our life I look at myself and why I do things. I want to get things out the way. I want to write this letter to get it finished with. I want to get this project ended. I want to get the weekend so I can have the weekend. I want to get the holiday finished. Yes, you do. So you can go back to work again. You want to get work finished so you can go to holiday. How often is it that our life is getting things finished and we don't tend to manage to get things finished? There's always more to be done. And all that is actually the wrong perception, the wrong understanding of what the world truly is. What the world truly is is this whole process of events. And instead of trying to finish with the world out there, we have to try and finish with the world inside, with our perceptions and thoughts, which create the difficulties and problems of life. You cannot so change suffering by altering the outside circumstances. This is what I said last night. If you try and change your partner, you try and change your job, you try and change your lifestyle, your diet, or you try and change even your body. So that never changes suffering. All it does is change one type of suffering for another type of suffering. When I was a young monk, I wanted to be an old monk. Now I'm an old monk, I'd like to be a young monk so I can just sit there like these two monks beside me and just listen all the time. Because when I was a young monk, I'd always get the worst food at the end of the line and had to do all these services for others. Now I'm an old monk, I have to do all this work. It's really unfair, 7s isn't it the case, but one of the monks actually took me aside once and told me, he said, young monks have young monks suffering. Old monks have old monks suffering. The suffering is not the same, but it's still suffering. So you want to get rid of young monks suffering and you want to have monks old monk suffering? I want to get rid of my suffering. I want to get your suffering. That's not the way to go, is it? That's likely. Some years ago, I remember this very clear. There was two tired agents visiting our monastery. There were sisters. One was married, one was single. And they were sitting next to each other, talking to me after the meal in serpentine. And one of them was complaining about her husband, what a terrible relationship she was having and just how much suffering it was having her husband. And her sister was single and she was looking for a partner. She said how difficult it was to find somebody suitable and how much she wanted her husband and just know someone to share things with in life and someone who could not care for her and someone who could be there for her. They were listening to themselves, but they weren't listening to each other. I could see a deal there. 10s What I told her was the one had a husband said, you've got married, person suffering. And, you know, you're the lady is single, you got single person suffering. I told her, look, if you get a fellow and you get sort of married, then certainly you won't have that suffering of being single, all that sort of loneliness, and just wondering if you're rejected and wondering if you're worth anything in the world and not sort of having someone to share your life with. All that single person, you'll get rid of that, but then you get sort of married person suffering so you don't get to get out of it. Are you just changing one type of suffering for another? Isn't that a lot of what we do in life? We change one person kind of suffering for another type of suffering? We always think that once we get this something else, then we'll be okay. That's why sometimes people want to get enlightened what they're really going for. They're just getting unenlightened suffering to what they think is enlightened. Suffering one thing for another. When you're working hard and you're getting close to retirement and you're thinking, when I'm working and I don't have to work anymore, I can just sort of lay in bed in the morning, I don't have to get out on Mondays. I can just do whatever I want. You ask anyone who's retired. They've got retired person suffering. Sometimes they just want to go back to work again. So working people have working suffering, and retired people have retired suffering. So that's not actually the end of suffering. Just getting rid of one thing and giving it to another thing. Suffering doesn't end out there. The end is inside. A lot of it is just doing it, not thinking too much about it. Because when we think about it, that's when perception says, if I can only get rid of this terrible man I live with, then I'll be happy. If I find a beautiful partner, a wife or a husband, then I'll be happy. So much of things in life is when I get this, then I'll be happy. I've noticed that in my life so often. When I finish building this hut, then I'll be happy. But when I sort of when I become the appetite, then I'll be happy. Or when I couldn't retire, then I'll be happy. I'm going to go on a retreat in a couple of weeks for six months. I know that sort of I'm not going to say to myself, okay, when I don't have to do anything anymore, then I'll be happy. Sometimes people think that way. The point is that whatever you do, just do it if you don't think about it too much. And even when you go on teaching tours and you teach hour after hour, day after day, you just do it one day. Last week, last Wednesday, I allowed myself to get talked into giving a day retreat at a layperson's house. Which meant from about 09:00 in the morning till about 210 30 at night, I was just either talking to people or teaching them when I went for a walk so that someone came with me. They can have a break now. And what that meant was a break from everyone else so they could actually have me by myself. That's what it was. And after a while I realized after an hours of talking and then answering questions, I realized what? I let myself in for just 12 hours of constant teaching. I thought, how on earth am I going to do this? This is hopeless. This is terrible. Perhaps I should sort of just go to the bathroom and go out the window and escape or something. Let's get out of here. But. I decided that I remembered that story, that monk who was doing all that washing and just instead of thinking about it, just do it. So that's what I decided to do. Just do it and don't think about it. When I stopped thinking about all that teaching and all that being there, because a lot of the times I couldn't even find time to go to the toilet because one person would come up and talk about their problems. Said that when they were satisfied and you thought you could get up and run to the toilet. And then somebody else came up. And when I did actually get up and go to the toilet, someone else was inside. So while I was waiting outside, somebody came up to me and asked me a question about meditation. It's sometimes like Doris Day, the old movie actress. She never saw him in the movies. Go to the toilet. Sometimes people think monks and nuns are the same. They don't go to the toilets. But then my practice that day was actually just to do it and don't think about it. When I stopped thinking about it, and I stopped pretty quickly, early in the morning, it was very easy to do just one moment at a time. Just giving a talk. Someone asks a question, answer that question. Give one talk at a time. 1 minute at a time. When you do that, it was great fun. It was great fun because you weren't making a huge problem out of something. Now you're just responding in the moment. You're just doing it. And the whole point of this was just the mind projecting into the future. I got another 8 hours to go, another 6 hours to go. Whatever it was, that was the problem. How many hours have you got to go in your life? Get rid of one thing sitting here with Sorenese and you got something else to worry about when you go, right? Driving home, the traffic or these terrible people or your car is not working or whatever it is, isn't life just changing one type of suffering for another type of suffering? But here what the Buddha was talking was saying, that the happiness, the freedom, the liberation lies right here in being in a tin roof part in Thailand, in the hot season as a Westerner, with all your robes on an adjunct, shutting all the windows. That's where enlightenment is. And happiness is the happiness. And enlightenment is in giving one talk after another all day. Happiness is. In having to go to work on a Monday morning or having to do all this washing. If you don't find the happiness there, where are you going to find the happiness? If you can't find the freedom in this, where are you going to find the freedom? If you can't find liberation where you are, do you really think you're going to find it somewhere else? This is one of the powerful teachings of the Buddha. I repeated a talk which I gave a couple of weeks ago about Buddhism and science in Sydney. I started off with a story which, when I told her, I didn't really end. Remember who the first person in space was. It was called the Monk rohitasa. Before there were astronauts and cosmonauts, there were monkernauts who could levitate and went looking for the end of the world. He went out of this solar system because actually it describes this into dark spaces of blackness where the moon and shine, the sun and the moon do not shine, where the radiance do not reach. It was a very fascinating, actually believable that's what you'd actually expect if he went away away year after year, and he died on a journey because he was looking for the end of the universe, the end of the world. And when he came to the Buddha after half year died, when he was born as another type of being, he came to the Buddha and told a story. The Buddha would have said, you're a very stupid monk. You do not find the end of the world, the end of the universe out there. He says, you always find the end of the universe in here, in here, in his body, in his mind, in this moment, in this that's where you find the end of suffering. And you can understand by some of the earliest symbolis I gave about perception, when you change your perception or you know perception, when you change thought, when you know thought, you understand why the end of all that suffering, the end of all that pain, the end of all that difficulty will never be found out there. Wherever you go, whatever you do, whatever you change, it's always found inside. In here. What one really means is going in the opposite direction. Not the direction which makes more things, but going to the source of things. I remember as a young man in England going to movies, and in those movies, movies, they were allowed to smoke cigarettes in those days. And so these movie theaters would be full of, like, clouds of cigarette smoke, which wasn't very healthy, but it was actually a useful means of getting some wisdom. Because I would see the movie and where it came from, there was a code of light. Because there was a smoky atmosphere, the light from the projector could be actually seen in the movie theater and you could follow that cone backwards to the source. And when you followed the movie, the things which are happening on the screen, you followed it back to the source. By following this cone of light, you could actually see where it came from. A man in a little room at the back of the theater with a machine. All it was was a light bulb. So once you saw that when the monster came on the movie, you didn't get afraid. It's just a light light bulb, that's all. And when the hero started to kissing the heroine passionately, you never got romantic. It was just a light bulb, that's all. How can you get romantic about a light bulb? I still remember I've told this before, going to the movies with a few friends and our girlfriends in Cambridge, seeing West Side Story. And when Tony sort of was under the lamppost, as you know, the story, and Maria was running towards him. And he got shot on the lamppost. And Maria just reaches him just before he dies and they start singing. This couple who could not be together who have fated some karmic problems they could never live their happy life together. There'll be a place for us somewhere some place where there's no tolerance and there's no violence where we can live our lives in happiness and peace somewhere. And all the girls started crying and me and my friends, the boys started laughing. I was never busy romantic. That's probably why I much better off as a monk. Anyway, they all started laughing. But the reason the only reason I never got into those movies is because you knew where they were coming from. They could always follow the lines. It was just a play of light there. And so you had a sense of reality. Where is all the tragedies and the triumphs of your life coming from? When somebody dies, where is that actually coming from? Are they really dying? Or is that just the play of light on the screen of your perceptions and thoughts? What dies? Are they really gone? When sort of people meet together and they fall in love, is that really love or is it just a player's screen? What's the difference between when you really fall in love with a person and what's just on a movie? If you actually trace that back to where it comes from, the feelings of love, what love is, as I mentioned many times, love is that you like the way that person makes you feel. You don't really love them if you really love them. The test of true love, the trust of true love. If you really want that person to be happy. That your whole life is devoted to their well being. And happiness is when they run off with your best friend. And if you really want them to be happy, then you should be happy too. Because they're much happier with your best friend than they are with you. That should give you so much delight. That's a test. If you really love your partner. It's true, isn't it? Think about that's rational. I really want you, darling, to be happy. My whole life is for you. I sacrifice myself because this is what my whole life made you be happy, dear. So they're happy. So shouldn't that make you happy? Yeah. This is the difference between in our society, what we take to be love. Now, what is real love? It's just happiness. Goodwill for another person really wanting someone to be happy. I really want you to be happy. It's when you start to see just where all this is coming from. In that simulation of the movie theater. When you actually trace things to their source, you're actually overcoming delusion, ignorance, stupidity. That's when you start to think of, are you a good person or a bad person? Are you competent? Are you incompetent? Are you a good meditator or a bad meditator? Are you a good Buddhist or a bad Buddhist? Are you a class A kid or a class B kid? When you start to trace these things to its source, you find out that much of what you believe to be absolutely true is completely just a perception, just a choice of the mind, just one way of looking at things. Not the full story, but because you believe in it. There's, like in the movie. You get fully caught up in it and you believe it, and you suffer accordingly. You cry when Tony dies in Maria's arms. When Tony is your son and you're in the funeral partner, what's the difference between what we call like a real death and what you see in the movies? People say that one is real and the other is just a movie. I say both are movies, both the projections. If you actually start to look at the sort source so that source is right inside of us the mind, the heart and find out what's actually in there. That's why we meditate. We don't meditate to get to enlightenment. We meditate to go into enlightenment. Not to change one suffering for another suffering, but this suffering which we're experiencing now. This situation which you're experiencing now go right into that and see what the source of it is. Follow that stream of light, this little projector in the back. This little guy is just moving this turning on electricity, and the light is shining and all this is happening now. The light is like the jitter, the consciousness, if you like. It just like it's filtered through sort of our cultural perceptions and our learning. This is what gives us the what we call the texture of life. That texture isn't all that real. Once we can change the perceptions, then we can become free. And our thoughts are not these things which create so much suffering and problems. We just do it rather than thinking about it a lot. Whenever you get a project to do, just do it. Don't think about it. Whenever it's time to meditate, just meditate. Don't think about it. Whatever you happen to do in life, when it's time to die, do it. Stop thinking about it. If you can actually understand what I'm talking about there, you find out the love of life is just so easy. And you're not changing life out there. What you're actually doing is you're changing life in here. This thing inside of us, the source, the projector. You're coming to a sense of reality rather than projecting all these terrible things. Years ago, my best friend from school days, I still keep in touch with him. He told me he went to visit Jamaica in the Caribbean. This is about 1520 years ago, when he was traveling in Jamaica, he came to the north of Jamaica, he said, which was a remote area and a very violent, rough area. And when he went to that area, he went one evening with a friend to see a movie. This was a drive in movie theater. Remember the old drive in movies he had here? But this was a very unique drive in movie theater, because the screen of the movie theater was not made out of canvas like most driving movie theaters were. But it was made of concrete. About three foot thick. And he couldn't figure out why it was that a movie theater, a driving movie theater, had a screen of concrete so thick until he asked some of the locals, and the locals explained the reason. This was a very violent town, and the type of movies they liked were Westerns, when there was cowboys and Indians or gunfighters and marshals, and they said whenever there was a gunfight on the screen, people in the audience would get their guns out as well and join in. And this poor owner of the movie theater had gone through so many cross screens that after many years, he decided, please excuse his terrible pun, to bite the bull and to actually build a concrete screen. So having a concrete screen, people could actually take out their guns. They could join in. It was good for business. And everyone had a wonderful time shooting the sheriff or shooting the Indians or the cavalry, whichever they did like on that particular day. We might have a wonderful sort of slot there in entertainment for any entrepreneur who wants to sort of have a new type of movie theater in Perth. Bring your own guns. You can shoot whoever you want. But the point was here that the people getting caught up in the movie rather than letting go. So what Adjanchar was teaching you when you had to where all your robes under this steel roof in the hot weather was if you're suffering, you're getting caught up in a movie, you don't have to you don't have to open the windows to be cool. All you need to do is to open up the windows of your mind to stop, to be peaceful, to stop things rather than keeping on going. Don't just think about it, just do it. Just be there with those nice bangs. I think it's about 09:00. That's a wonderful place to stop for this evening. The firework display to end this evening's talk. So that actually surprised me, that I could actually do it, teach anything coherent this evening because I am extremely tired. But you just do it.

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