Episode 70

January 27, 2024


The Values of Buddhism | Ajahn Brahm

The Values of Buddhism | Ajahn Brahm
Ajahn Brahm Podcast
The Values of Buddhism | Ajahn Brahm

Jan 27 2024 | 00:52:53


Show Notes

Ajahn Brahm talks about the values of Buddhism.

This dhamma talk was originally recorded using a low quality MP3 to save on file size (because internet connections were slow back then – remember dialup?) on 23rd April 2004. It has now been remastered and published by the Everyday Dhamma Network, and will be of interest to his many fans.

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

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Episode Transcript

The Values Of Buddhism by Ajahn Brahm [Note: AI Generated transcription – expect errors!] 0:00 For this evening's talk, I'm going to talk on Buddhist values. Again, even just coming in here and sitting down. I didn't have a clue what I was going to speak about, but I recorded just yesterday. I went to a seminar for the Heads of religions I organized by the Council of Churches, and we started talking about the place of religion in school. And I quickly turned to the place of values in education. Then from that time to the different value systems we have, and it's fascinating to understand what Buddhist values are, especially in the context of kids. But in such. Forums, I'm not afraid of stirring people up, because I think that that's part of the job of giving a talk to stir people up, to make them think and see things in a different way. Because too often when we have forums and discussions, which is to nice to each other, which is has its place as well, there's a place for friendship, but always remember that when I was a young. With your friends. In those days when I used to go down to the pub. Of course, I gather that many, many years ago. But we used to have these great arguments and quite fierce arguments and sometimes shouting at each other. But you could do that with your friend because you realise that you weren't getting angry. You're just being quite firm and you realize the friendship was strong. The friendship was much stronger than any argument, and you'd always leave friends. You felt that understanding of each other, that friendship you had towards each other, was strong enough to ask you to allow disagreements. And I think now that these days we have a lot of friendships between the different religions and the different legislators. Uh, I think the Anglican bishop said to me, had that meeting said, are you just like an honorary Anglican? Now you're given a sermon of the church so often this is a cathedral. He called me an honorary Anglican. Oh, that's quite touched by that. It's very nice for him to say things like that. And I said, because you've got a bald head. You're an honorary Buddhist. So we're great friends. But one of the things which I said, though, which was, uh, stop the idea of religious values and we got to, to, uh, to values itself, because when we started talking about sort of the place of religious schools, you may notice this, you know, this Hindu Hindu school, but there are Jewish schools, there's Muslim schools whose Catholic, Anglican schools, United church school, Methodist schools. There's not a Buddhist school. One of the reasons is, and I just personally, I've got a bit of an ethical problem with religious schools. And one of those reasons is that we have to be at least 18 before we feel that we're competent to choose a political party and vote, and we have to be at least 16 bit before we mature enough to choose a sexual partner. But it seems that any old age will do to choose a religion. And religions are very important things, and I think you should be very mature and competent before you know you choose a religion for yourself. And certainly I remember in my case I was at least 16 and before I chose my religion and I did that and what I thought was a reasonable way to start getting books and all the different religions. I thought, if you're going to choose a religion, let's find out why they are first of all. And I found out all the, you know, the books from the different religions. And I chose Buddhism because it meant the most to me. But, you know, sometimes when we talk about imposing religious values in schools who have a lot of problem with that, because sometimes our children are really ready. Are they mature, competent enough to discriminate between their what's a good religion? What's a bad religion? Or what part of religion, what religion really is? I know that one of our monks in England was once asked a question by concerned parents. They were Buddhist parents. They just had a child. And they asked him this very profound question where a Buddhist, how does that a child, how should I bring my child up? Should I bring my child up as a Buddhist? Or should I just take them to all the different churches and let them choose for themselves? I should just forget about it. Don't even talk about religion at home until they grow up. Or what should I do? And this man gave some very, very good advice and I've never been able to better that advice. He said, bring your child up, number one, to be honest and number two to be questioning. He said. If you teach your child or give you a encourage, your child knows two good qualities of honesty and questioning. Then you're equipping your child to find out their own truth in life. Honesty would mean that you would never actually stop at a religion or philosophy or a belief. It didn't make sense because honestly, it's not dishonesty to other people. It's honesty to yourself. Honesty to life. If it doesn't fit, then it can't be true. So that's one of the first things, is that you to really value honesty so strongly. Number two, to question, because sometimes we never reach truth because we give out questioning sometimes is just too hard. After a while we don't ask the right questions or we just fed up with questions. This all do. But if we want to be told the answer and this man was saying no, disallow your child, encourage your child to be questioning and to be honest, and then you're giving them the two very powerful tools that when they grow up, when they choose the right religion, there will question each religion. They will be honest, and they will not stop until they get a good answer. I thought that was brilliant advice on just on how to encourage children in their life without brainwashing, or without forcing them to follow the beliefs of their parents, actually to follow that what's underlying those beliefs? And that brought you actually onto what underlies beliefs, the values which we have in our world. I'm not, uh, I upset the Jewish rabbi at this talk because, uh, I said the values would always be changing with our times. And he got very upset about that thought. The values should be. The same nowhere, no matter what. And your values do change over our time. Sometimes we make mistakes in our values and we learn by those mistakes. We grow from those mistakes because I'm sure you know that anyone who's read history, the values which different religions espouse, you know, thousand years ago, 2000 years ago, caused all sorts of mayhem in society. Whether it was, um, oppressing women or any culture which was different than ours, we just would not accept into our midst. And we had exploitation. You know, some of the things we did to each other, you know, in history, have just been abominable. And our value systems do change. And I think it's good that they change as we become a wiser world culture. But I think what the rabbi was pointing to this, something which underlies that which is almost constant. And for many of the, uh, God centered religions in that meeting, their value system came from a god. So where does Buddhist value systems come from without acknowledge the almighty ness of a god? And those various systems of Buddhism. And this is where Buddhist values come from. It comes from the mindful, peaceful heart of each human being. And I say that because this very profound truth lies there, the source of values. I say that because sometimes that people ask me these questions, or is it right to do this? Isn't right to do that. I've got a child in my womb. I can't look after it. Should I have an abortion? Sometimes they ask me that because I don't know who else to ask. Sometimes they ask, you know, I'm having trouble with my husband. Should I get a divorce? And those questions come as well. Or my cat is very sick. Should I take it to the vet and have it put down? And very often as a monk, I answer those questions like this. I say, well, what do you feel in your heart? Be quiet, be still, be peaceful. And how do you feel the situation is in the case of like animals? I said asked the animal what it wants to do and by that I mean you don't go. So ask the the your cat and expect the cat to speak back to you. In words I say, asked the cat. And what that's doing with those words. You're focusing on that animal. You're asking the question. You're posing it. And then you feel with your guts, with your heart what the animal wants to do. And very often, you know, as an owner, not an owner so much as like a friend of that being as a partner in that relationship between the human being and the pet cat or the pet dog you feel inside. Yeah. I mean, that cat's had enough. It wants to go to the vet, or sometimes you feel, no, it's no, he really wants to stay, wants to die at home. It wants to, you know, have a few more days. And yeah, he can feel that when you're silent, you're peaceful. You give out fear and you really listen to what's going on. It's an example of what I mean about where Woody's values come from. They come from a compassionate, peaceful heart. They don't come from books. They don't come from outside of you. They certainly don't come from a monk. And if you look for the values from a mark, sometimes a mark may say something. But as my teacher John Charles said, the sometimes what the monks say are contradictory because he said, if you sometimes see somebody leading to the left, you tell them to go to the right, the leading to the right. He says, go to the left. And they get confused. Now you tell me to go to the right. Now you tell me to go to the left because the answers address that one particular situation. You cannot generalize. When the problems with values and ethics we try and generalize, we get a value for all people, for all time and you just cannot do that. Every situation, every person is so unique. But instead of just leaving a person with confusion, their Buddhist values really shine. They say, listen to your heart. Feel what's going on. Fear what's right for you. What's wrong? So one of the stories I say was on a talkback radio in Singapore sometime ago, and again, the people asked, this was one of those programs of free psychological advice where you can just ring in and it's much cheaper than going to a shrink, and you get sort of these people on the other end of the line on the radio. You just answer these questions just off the top of your head. And this question which was asked was came from a man in Singapore. I think it was a taxi driver, if I remember correctly, and he said, I'm married, I'm having an affair with another woman. Is that right? Now, what would you do on radio, live on air? If someone asked that question to you? I gave him the direct Buddhist answer and the direct put his answer was if it was right, you wouldn't be ringing me up to ask. Now there wasn't actually saying yes, it's right or no, it's wrong. It was actually going back to how that guy was feeling inside. And you recognize how that fellow was feeling inside. Because his question was betraying the fact he thought it was wrong. His question, the fact he rang up the radio was that it was problem. He was troubling him. And that's why if he wasn't no trouble at all, if he was at ease with that situation, he wouldn't ask anybody. This is what we do and we have those problems. We ask someone else, not you, to say, yeah, it's all right. So now we know it's wrong, but we want someone else to convince him it's right. We want to do it. But here I was going to his side. He said if it was a problem, you wouldn't ring me up. It was troubling him. And I was telling you to listen inside to yourself. That is troubling you. Therefore, it must be wrong. You don't need to go and ask a man. You don't need to go and ask a therapist or some expert in society. You will know yourself. If you'd only listen in sight. Which is why that this is a source of Buddhist values, and it's actually the source of all values. It's not some God or expert outside. If anything, it's like the God or the expert insight and the reason that we do meditation so we can access that. We can actually get to know how we feel. We can get to know what's right and what's wrong. And that answer to so many problems, so many ethical dilemmas in life. One of the greatest ethical dilemmas I was presented with once, and I answered in the same way, was from a young doctor who came here and just after one Friday night talk, he came up to me and he said something had happened the last week which had really slowed him, and he didn't know what he should do next. He was on duty, an intern, and one of the hospitals in those days had these little pagers on their backs. A pager went off. One of his patients had a cardiac arrest, and he ran to that patient's bedside. He did the resuscitation. The patient survived, but. The oxygen supply was stopped long enough to the patient had permanent brain damage. He would not die, but he would not really live a proper life again. And his doctors actions had put this patient in a prison of his body for probably many, many years. He wasn't that sick that he would die, but the brain damage meant he would not live anything like a quality life again. And his poor daughter felt so guilty. He said he felt, you know, on almost a subconscious level, anger coming out from this man, that he didn't let him die because of the doctor's actions. He was caught in between life and death in this terrible situation. And so he asked me, what should I do next when my pager goes off? Should I let the person die or should I resuscitate? What the heck should I do? Because I don't want to do the same mistake again. With the question. The answer was again. Next time that happens. Right to that bedside. Stop. Just for a second. And listen with everything you've got. Make your mind still. Make your mind peaceful. And in those few moments you'll be able to feel. Deep inside. What is the correct thing to do? The patient will tell you in the same way that when you are still. Your cat and dog will let you know what it needs to do. The same way that when you're still there, you will know what is right and what is wrong. The source of values comes from mindful stillness. In that mindful stillness, you feel the heart. You feel what's important for that. How it really works when you really leave it alone and it's free. You know, from all this, controlling that heart, his whole purpose. You know your mind is there to try and. Create compassionate action for the world. The whole value system of Buddhism, its secondary layer. The first layer is just the stillness of the heart. The secondary layer is just compassion, and that compassion is well explained by the Buddha's advice to Rahul. The basic of Buddhist compassion and ethics is never doing anything which harms another being or harms yourself. And. Whatever you do or say, make sure it's actually creating happiness for other beings or for yourself. Which is why many of you know that we have five precepts in Buddhism. But many people can't count to five. Some years ago here in Thailand, they were taking the five precepts from a monk. And as you may see, the Buddhist Anjali, where they put their hands up like this sometimes that some of the monks notice that one of the fingers was down, and there's only four fingers pointing up. And other people had two fingers down and just three fingers pointed up, and it became a little bit of a fashion to see this until somebody figured out what was going on. Was there when somebody was taking the five precepts in public. They didn't want to not take them, because that would show that they were being a scary while being a naughty little type person. So when they were only wanted to take four precepts, they just put four fingers up. It's like crossing your fingers behind the back, put a bit more refined. When they put two fingers down, they're only keeping three precepts. And whilst we found out, we actually did see some people with all their fingers that. Even though they're still reciting all the words like a parrot. They were. They decided they were going to keep anything. But we have those five pieces. But all those five precepts, they say, why do we have those five precepts? And you have to know why we do these things. What's the heart of virtue? Otherwise, you can never impose virtue on your children. It's very good to say we should teach religion in school. We should teach values in school. But any kid will ask, why? Why should I do that? What's wrong? Why shouldn't I take drugs? Why shouldn't I have a girlfriend when I'm 13 or 14? Why shouldn't I have a sleepover? Why? Why can't I just stay up all night watching the the, uh, doing video games? Why why why? There has to be so an explanation for why. And when you have that explanation sort of inside of yourself, if it hurts another person or hurts yourself, it comes obvious why we shouldn't do such things. If it helps yourself, helps another person becomes obvious why we should do those things. So that's why in Buddhism, all these ethics they come from like helping or hurting. Otherwise we can't trust those things. We might impose a more try to impose them on our kids or on ourselves. But unless we understand why we just follow those things, except maybe out of fear. I'm going away in a few days. Tomorrow morning to Sydney for four days. If I impose the rules of a monastery out of fear. As soon as I'm gone, there'll be a party down my monastery. Those are time bombs gone. Now we can have a good time. But of course, that that's not the way to impose anything. I just heard today that one of the one of the, uh, our members, I think their daughter. I think it was their daughter here. They invited to a party to weekend, you know, the long weekend, the Anzac weekend down south somewhere. And at the last minute she just so tired, you know, just working so hard. He said, no, no, I just can't stand going around, just going to stay at home. And straight away, her daughter, I think 18, 19 year old daughter, something got very disappointed. Because he'd arranged a party for when her father. And told her parents. She reminds the party parents are gone and they can come and we can have a good, good time. And that really spot her. And that weekend. Well, that's what happens at sometimes when we impose any value system or ideas of good and bad without giving a reason. And as soon as know ourselves, the dictator is gone, then things just go all over the place. It's like the speed cameras. Well, we don't understand why we got speed cameras. We look in the newspapers, and the newspapers know where they are so we can actually find out exactly where they are. So we know there's a lot of speed coming by for today, so we can actually go fast. And now, of course, that's missing the point there that why. And that's the reason why people don't keep walls. They don't keep lawns. Why. Okay. When I became a Buddhist, what really helped me was meditating. The idea of introspection is asking the questions of yourself rather than asking your questions to some expert. So we get this idea. We always have to find an expert to get you to solve our problems for ourselves. As a teacher. I'm not a very good teacher because for the last 20 years I've been here, I've been trying to get rid of you. And then how many of you keep coming? Seth, I'm not a good teacher. The idea of a teacher in a school of university is to get people, uh, to graduate, to impart the information, to impart the skills. They don't need to come here anymore. I must be a terrible teacher. Release. This is what we do want to empower the information, that skill. The way to look inside oneself. So we can know for oneself what those values are and how to find those values. We equip our children. To find out. Rather than telling them what the answers are. And that's what we do for you as well, to equip you to find out. We actually find out from the heart. It doesn't make sense to hurt anybody. You hurt yourself. Why on earth would you do that for? So when I was told those sorts of things, even when I was a young man straight away, that much of that which was unethical just fell away. Whenever I was travelling under public transport, if I didn't have to pay the bus conductor fee. In other words, he didn't ask me and I thought, why should I pay extra money? But then after I started meditating, I thought, my goodness, that someone has to pay for these buses. If I don't pay my fare, it means that someone else will have to. It didn't make sense to me anymore. No. All monks started off as saints to do terrible things. Now, one of my one of the monks is now quite well known. I won't tell you who he is, but he told me that when he was in England, when he would go to the football match all over England, instead of paying the money for the train fare, you get on a train with a station ticket. And then he got on the train with somebody who was in the toilet in the train. Knock on the door. Put on this accent first, please. As if he was a ticket collector. And usually what would happen is actually the person inside. They couldn't come out. They'd usually just start a practice. You slide a ticket under the door, the ticket collector would sort of punch it and then started back again. Now it's standard practice. But this guy actually. You say tickets, please. This poor man inspired the slide. The ticket out of. You run off with it. He became a famous monk. So we did all start off with the science. But after all. Huh? No, please don't do that, though. And don't go telling your people what you learned to the Buddhist center. That's wrong. They're just example and figures anyway. But people think, ah, I'm smart, and that's a nice thing to do. But after a while, you just can't do that after. Why? You're fucking your heart. You feel terrible about that? You feel you've hurt someone. And you've hurt yourself as well. And when you start feeding your actions what it does to you. It's quite clear that it's unethical. So the radio system starts to come back to yourself. How you feel when you do these things. Does it hurt another person? Does it hurt yourself? Does it help you? Whenever you are generous and kind. It's a wonderful thing to look inside yourself and what it feels like when you're forgiven someone who's hurt you. You feel so wonderful inside. It's like a huge burden is gone and you feel a surge of energy, its nature. Someone who saw you say, look, you did a terrible thing. But never mind, I forgive you. And the worse act they've done. The more you forgive them, the better you feel. The summit has done something wrong. They've invited someone without letting me know, and I forgive them. I feel so good afterwards. Well, if they. If they've done something very, very silly in my monastery. And that sometimes people do things, which is silly sometimes. I met this one young monk. No, because he was having a hard time. He used to go into the kitchen late at night and eat all the chocolate. I always wonder where the chocolate was going. Anything nice is having a hard time. So and so. You know, when I found out, it was just so afraid that you're going to kick him out. And when I say no, never mind. Just. No. Next time, just make sure you ask me and I'll give you your own bars of chocolate. How much do you need? With enough money in the kitty? Will just get a special supply just for you. And when you're kind like that, straight away, they stop eating so much chocolate. It's great psychology. That what you're doing over there? You're you're just, like, giving them a bit of forgiveness. And I felt great when I forgave someone like that instead of having to, uh, to criticize them. Because when you're coming into your heart, you feel. Why? Hello, retreat! I made a strong point that why we criticize each other and why we're unkind to one another. Because this actually experience came in our monastery in northeast Thailand. When once a week, we'd stay, stay up all night meditating. It was a standard practice. Every now, like the Buddhist Sabbath day, we wouldn't sleep, meditate all night. What would happen. Very often. I noticed that arguments would start the day after staying up all night. And to me as well. Sometimes I'd be sitting up there doing what I was supposed to be doing. I see some of these months sneak off. I know where they were going. Well, they know they. They sneak off to take a nap, or they sneak off to have a surreptitious cup of coffee somewhere with their personal stash, which are not supposed to have as a monk. And I knew what they were up to, and so I was going to tell them off. They deserve to be told. And they did other silly things. But one day, instead of actually telling them off, I decided I'm going to have a rest first of all, and then I'll tell them off, but I'm not going to let them get away with it. I'm not going to forget. Before I went to sleep, I wrote down the names and all the things they'd done on a piece of paper. You know, sometimes you go to sleep. You forget these things. And so I wrote down the name, the things I'd done. And then I went to sleep. And when I woke up, right now, I'm going to go and tell them off. And seeing what's happened. Once I had a good rest and I was in a good mood, I saw all these little things which I had done. I thought, that's really petty. Why am I going to tell someone off for doing these small, silly things? I screwed up. I screwed up the piece of paper and throwed it away. But when I was tired. You're forgiven for not turning off your mobile phone. I feel so good about that. But. But please forgive this assembly a bit. So please. So when you do something about that, you feel so good about yourself. But when you're tired, that's where all the criticism comes from. And so it's not a time where you can really know your heart when you're tired. That's not the time to act in tiredness. All ethics go out the window. You don't know what you're up to. Tiredness is like a form of drunkenness. You lose your mindfulness, you alertness. It's the same as when you get angry. Just like tiredness, you lose all your awareness. You can't feel your heart. That's why when a person gets angry or then all value systems go out the window. When we're angry, we can see that that person needs even to be killed. So I'm going to get angry. We can blow each other up. Heard. Sometimes people think that that's ethical to do so. Or ethics disappear when you've lost your mindfulness. So there is a why that where we get angry as a Buddhist. If you do get angry, just don't do anything. Don't open your mouth. Don't act. Just find a nice quiet place. Sit down and cool off. While I was my teacher, John Charles said, if you really have trouble with anger, then find a quiet place. Sit down and get out an alarm clock. Put it in front of you and see how long you can be angry for. See if you can beat your record. And that's brilliant advice because what it was doing, when you're getting angry, you're always looking at the trigger of your anger. My husband. He did this. He shouldn't have done that. Why do you do this? You're focusing on the trigger. When you're looking at the clock, your mind is taken off the trigger. When it's taken off the trigger. It's like cutting off the fuel supply. Here is your husband. The more you think of your husband, the more angry you get. If you think about the clock, or even better, think about what it's doing to you. Feel your in your guts, how you feel when you get angry, and soon you just give up that anger. It can't last. When you stop, it's fuel. What is that person out there? And when you actually calm down sometimes. Why did I get angry at him? I love that fella. Why did I say those things to her? No, she's my soul mate in life. Why did I tell those terrible things to that my friend? They're my mates. And what have I done afterwards? When they get angry? You feel so much remorse because you did do something unethical. So from that source of peace, insight, mindfulness, coolness. Then you usually make ethical and wise decisions. But what are those values which come out from a peaceful, mindful heart? I've already mentioned about compassion, which is a very, very general term, how we actually manifest that compassion. That's up to wisdom to tell you. But it also has such things as like respect and gratitude. Gratitude is a marvellous Buddhist farrier. And reason it's marvelous is because gratitude is like praising somebody else. It's actually valuing the goodness of another person. But I want you can have the value of the goodness of another person. You start doing your own goodness as well. Psychologically, it's a powerful tool gratitude. Which is why when someone does something wonderful for you, you'd always thank them, praise them. Say well done. And psychologists call positive forgiveness for giving their false part positively. Reinforcing their good qualities. It's amazing just how you can get your kids to change with such praise. Flattery gets you everywhere. One of my stories years ago when we started building our monastery, was. One of the first buildings we constructed was our ablution block so at least we could go to the toilet. In comfort. So the petition broke and as you know that we couldn't afford any builders not only laying bricks, I had to do the plumbing. I had never done plumbing in my life before. And there I was with a task of getting the plumbing for six toilets, six showers, laundry, ablution block in our monastery. The way I did that plumbing was as follows. I had two plans and I went to Galvin's in Osborne Park. I don't know if it's still there. I went to the council, put the plan on the desk and said, help. That's what I did. And it was a big enough job that the fellow behind the counter, who was called Fred, spent nearly half an hour with me saying exactly what the parts were, how to put them together, you know, the right type of fall. So, you know, the all the stuff went in the right direction, which is very important. And it's only like, you know, plastic and glue. You know, it's very simple once you get the hang of it. And so there I was. And I always got the job of doing all the pipes. Now. When they were finished, they had to get checked by the local health inspector of Serpentine Gelato. He came and it worked. And I was just so happy that, you know, my first plumbing job, it passed the council tests. And the next day, the bill came. I got a check from the treasurer. I sent it in the envelope to Galvin's, but because maybe because I was so happy. But maybe it's just because of my Buddhist values. I put a letter in there thanking Fred because, you know, without him, without a paid a lot of money getting a plumber. If we could get one, because it's sometimes very hard to find. So I sent a letter that. Thanks so much for Fred, for teaching me how to put these things together and without, you know, where would have been. And it passed. Thanks a lot. Now, when I mailed out to Calvin's, I didn't realize because now it's the market. I know these things. This is a company. It's a big company with many branches. And so the checks don't go to another fellow behind the counter. They go to the accounts department. And so a clerk in the accounts department opened this envelope, saw the check in there, and oh, no, another letter of complaint. Because apparently the only time people send letters to the accounts department is to complain about something. So when he read the letter, it wasn't a complaint. It was a word of price. And apparently I found out it was so rare in that company to get such a letter. They took it straight to the manager of the accounts department, who read it, and was also so surprised who took it to the managing director of the whole company. And the managing director read it on his big mahogany desk and straight away picked up the phone and called Osborn Park Branch. I want to speak to Fred. And Fred answered the phone and the managing director said, Fred, I just got this letter from one of your customers. He read it out and said, Fred, this is exactly what we want in our company. Customer relations. Yes, sir. This is you've done a marvelous job. Oh yes, sir. By the way, what salary are you on? Oh, it could be better, sir. I think we could do something about that. Oh. Yes, sir. Yeah, well, something like that. And it did so happen. As you know, these things got that. That happened in the morning. And that afternoon there was one extra piece which was the wrong size. So I went into the plumbing shop in the afternoon in front of me on the counter with these big two plumbers, you know, these plumbers with their shorts and their thongs, with shoulders the size of septic tanks. I mean, that's big guys. And I was carrying my bald head in robes. And. But when Fred saw, he said, plum, come over here. And these two plumbers had to wait. What can I do for you? As a big sign, I remember seeing on there that customers are not allowed, you know, in the behind the desk. Barb, come over here. What do you want? And so he told me behind where castles aren't supposed to go. So I could actually choose exactly the part I wanted. And while these plumbers out the way, they're going to be some terrible looks. But the price I wanted was about twice the size, so it's actually, like eight times the volume. And this is most of these things when they're being plastic stuff, you know, it's not just twice the price about eight times the price. So I said, Fred how was the difference. And I always remember Fred smile. He had this big smile said Bob. For you there's no difference. I mean. He didn't take away this very expensive part with no difference. And it's just for one little that requires one little act of gratitude meant so much to Fred, and he meant so much to me as it means so much to you. And as I put this, Fred, you can feel from the heart what that does, that touch Fred does. It touched me. That's good to praise someone. We don't get enough price because we don't get enough praise. We don't feel appreciated. We don't feel appreciated. We don't want to party with anybody. And sometimes we feel so unappreciated. We even kill ourselves. What's the point? The little bit of praise is just so wonderful. You praise your kids as much as you possibly can. Praise whatever good things they do. And if you praise them, you know. I can't resist telling this story again. When I was a school teacher. In my class as what has to happen. One of the kids came bottom of the class in maths. 30 years out of a class of 30. How could you praise someone for coming bottom? I found a way. I went up to that kid and I taught him a little bit of Buddhism. In Buddhism, we have this. This idea of a bodhisattva. Bodhisattvas. Someone gives up their own happiness for the sake of others. Sacrifices everything. No, for other people's well-being. And I told this little kid, you are like a bodhisattva. You have sacrificed your happiness by taking this terrible position of 30th, so no one else would have to suffer. All those other kids don't have to go and face their parents, and they're like, I'm bottom of the class. So, you know, you've actually made this huge heroic sacrifice by coming the bottom of the class in front of all these kids. You're the one in Buddhism anyway. Deserves the medal. I'll give up my own state of my own happiness and well-being for all other beings. All you have the 29. You don't have to experience what I'm experience. You're just a hero. He thought I was absolutely crazy when he laughed at that laughter, took away his depression and he went away. It wasn't such a big deal anymore. A little bit of sadness. Even when they come bottom, it's actually quite sometimes quite helpful. You can always find something somewhere praising somebody or other. And remember this person, he was a he was never a bad word about anyone and that really upset his colleagues at work. And his colleagues at work said, well, you just can't find a bad thing to say about anyone. What about Adolf Hitler? Say something good about Adolf Hitler. And that was a challenge that it took him two seconds. He said, Adolf Hitler? Yes. He was a leader in his field. You know, I try to always find something to price. But anyhow, the point is that phrase is therapeutically good. It encourages people. That's why gratitude is one of those values. But I like to, you know, teach in schools. Pray to your teacher for going out of their way to teach you, praising your parents for all the good things they've done. It's called respect. Placing the person sitting next to you in class for being a friend. Praising yourself for trying. Everybody in life tries. Each one of you struggled so hard. And sometimes that much of your efforts, which have often been heroic efforts, go unrewarded and praised unrecognized. Wouldn't it be wonderful for someone to come up to you and say, I realize what you've done and how hard you struggled just to get where you are today. Well done. That bit of praise. How does it make you feel when you do get price, get your gut feeling again and you know that his value that is ethical, that is good. You feel it's good and it works to create harmony and happiness and peace in society. You praise your husband, your wife, you haven't got votes, but you know you've just got one vote, whichever one you've got. Praise your partner in life. Praise your parents. Praise your kids as much as you can for things which are praiseworthy. And you find that they will grow. They'll have self-confidence, self-esteem. They will grow in goodness. Because whatever you praise, that's what grows. They'll see me, which I give having a garden. If you water the weeds. Then the weeds grow. That's called criticism. Finding fault. If you don't order anything. Nothing grows. That's called. And I'm just not getting involved. If you praise. So if you order the flowers, then the flowers grow. That's called praise. So we have gratitude, which is a form of praise. We say thank you. And we express that as much as we possibly can. That is a great Buddhist value because we know it creates happiness for ourselves, happiness for others. When we get to the virtue not harming all those virtues, they come naturally. Sometimes, you know, people ask, can we be given the five precepts? And so be mindful. Feel the heart. And then you've got all the precepts you'll ever need in the world. And then all that sort of precepts where we, you know, try and find a way out of them. Now sometime we find out. No. What about white lies? Is that breaking the precepts? Wasn't really a lie. No, just. I just told them what they wanted to hear, that's all. But is that really how in your heart what's actually going on there? Someone has trusted you and you deceived them. What does that do to the other person? Would that do to yourself? Feel your heart. You realize that is wrong, so right and wrong. You don't need to have an expert. You don't need to even be taught it. As long as you are honest to your feelings and you ask the right questions, you go inside. You'll have all the values and ethics you will ever need, and that way that sort of unscrupulous people will not be able to impose those beliefs on you. Very easily. Brainwashed. Reconditioned. Sometimes, you know, people who have the flaws and very easily sort of turn people into being violent. Now. The psychology of crowds has been well documented. If you say the right words, you can really get people upset and get them to do terrible things. No, not even happens in footy matches or sport or in demonstrations. But if you feel your heart, you always realise what's right and what's wrong. So inculcating values not just in children but in everybody. That's why the Buddhism doesn't really tell you too much of what you should be doing. It doesn't lay down the law saying, uh, what do you think about homosexuality? What do you think about abortion? What do you think about, um, stem cell research? What do you think about terrorism? What do you think about multiculturalism? What do you think about? Buddhism has a great advantage of telling you how to find out for yourself. It's not just leaving you to swallowing in sort of confusion, but teaching you a means so you can really know why and you can feel it. And that way people become ethical people. Not because they're trying to keep some rules, not because I'm a Buddhist. I should keep the five precepts, not because I'm a Christian. I should keep the Ten Commandments, which and a lot of times if people like that, they only keep them when they come to the temple. As soon as they go outside, they argue, they go, go to the pub, they can't get drunk. They go down to the red light district or whatever. So when it comes from the heart, it's right inside of you. And the ethics is coming from the right place. You're not to stay. What we call the justice Buddhist majority Buddhist before they go to the temple. Like they just put them in the thing, ask for a lottery number, and then they go out and just do all sorts of scallywag things. Just like the Christians would just go to the the temple, they go to the church and be so pious inside and just so sort of devious outside. So those sorts of people, they haven't got the church inside of them. They haven't got the temple inside, they haven't got the wisdom inside. They're going for the wrong place for their values. And the reason we call them values is because they're important. They're valuable. We know that it feels good. It's happiness, not self-esteem. It's it's important for us. That's why whatever we find is valuable. In. It's interesting in the Sanskrit, in Nepali we call these heavy, important things. You know that the the Hindu word from the Sanskrit word Google, you know, that comes from it means something which is heavy in Polish. Scowl. Guru. Guru. The same word. That's why he called them a teacher. Because what they say is important. It has weight. It's a weighty person. And that's why that when we have this word for respect, like no respecting senior monks or senior nuns or respecting your parents. A lot of children ask me, what does that actually mean? You should respect your parents. What put is value is in their in now because sometimes they say my parents aren't really respectable. You know, it's really hard to respect them. And sometimes that's the case, you know, when parents just misbehave and they argue in front of their kids who are not kindly maybe even hit their their wife. How can you respect their. Should I always do what my parents tell me to? Is that what respect means? Should I always do what a monk says? Is that what respect says? And this is not what respect means. When we used to ask in China, is this right or is this wrong? He'd always say, have you any doubts about this? In other words, are you quite sure you know what you're doing? And if you say yes, yes, I'm sure I know what I'm doing. Go ahead and do it. This is actually how we learn. Finding out for ourselves. But the reason why we call them a teacher or parent is because they're weighty. So when kids ask me what does respect for a parent mean? I mean your parent, whatever they say has huge weight. To listen to that. What I say is much more weighty than maybe what your friend of school says. But it doesn't mean that sometimes you get many other things. Many other information outweighs what your parents say, because sometimes parents do make mistakes. But what respect means is you really listen very carefully to what your parents say. Well, I know respectable people. Which means that weighty people. So respect in Buddhism means weighty. Which is one of the reasons why I am quite fat. Because being a senior man, I have to be weighty in. Then the rolling meter we give extra weight to to such figures who are respectable. And this is actually how what respect really means. Respect doesn't mean we always do what they say. Respect means we consider what they say, and that's really important. That's very weighty. That really has an important contribution to what we eventually going to decide. When we understand that sort of value, it makes so much sense. It doesn't mean we always follow blindly because sometimes people think they respect me. You always do what you're told. And of course, you know, the monks have been in my monastery. Now, that never works, even though we just have the two main rules of our monastery. And those two main rules of our monastery is number one. The abbot is always right. Number two, if the other is wrong, go back to rule number one. The only chunk of that that's not really correct. That's why I'm the spiritual dictator of the. What is decide not to act. But no, but that is. But what I say has extra weights in the monastery because I've been there longer. More, uh, many more years as a monk. But people are still free to disagree with me, and I think that's very healthy. Otherwise we'd have a cult. The same with each one of you is very free to disagree with what you hear here. Otherwise you'll be just a cult again. Again, going back to the very, very beginning. How we train kids. Topping off as a Buddhist turban as a Catholic. Don't bring them up. You know this religion and that religion. Bring them up with these qualities, the roots of values. To question and to be honest. And if you can do that yourself, never give up questioning. And also never compromise your honesty, your commitment to truth, even if that might be embarrassing to be honest. Still, you should be honest. Be honest to life. Be honest to truth. Honest to yourself. To your partner. Always question. And there you have the roots of all values. So that's the little excursion today on Buddhist values and their roots.

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