Episode 89

June 16, 2024


To Hell With Punishment | Ajahn Brahm

To Hell With Punishment | Ajahn Brahm
Ajahn Brahm Podcast
To Hell With Punishment | Ajahn Brahm

Jun 16 2024 | 01:02:43


Show Notes

Ajahn Brahm tackles the issue of punishment - both cosmic punishments of a vast scale like tsunamis, and the micro-punishments we inflict upon ourselves. He thinks we really don’t need to be so focused on punishment and would be much better of focusing on freedom.

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 7th January 2005. 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 Ko-fi page.

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Episode Transcript

To Hell With Punishment by Ajahn Brahm For those of you who see me bathe in radiance, it's not my halo. You've got these spotlights. It has been erected here because I put this society, instead of building a new big hall to accommodate all the people. We are taking the temple to you. We're putting this have these talks on a camera and trying to put them on the web, on video streaming, which means that sometimes, maybe in the future, if you can't come here one evening, you can stay at home and you can see it live on the web. Friday Night Live, we're going to call it. Who? That? Jim-Bob. So that's what these rights are. So if you can find a space, sometimes the people have to come more early. In a few years time, I can see people queuing up here on a Friday afternoon at 2:00 to try and get this space. Anyway. Once everybody settled in and found their space. We're going to start this evening's talk. And the subject of this evening's talk. Many of you may have this. I hope some of you saw that in Tuesday's paper. There was a little quote from me, because they just after we did an ordination ceremony at our monastery, my monastery is serpentine. I keep on calling it, calling it a monk factory. And we were in full production last Monday, creating three more monks. But just after the ceremony, there was a telephone call and what had happened? Some of the senior people of religion in Sydney had started talking about the tsunami being a wrathful act from above to punishing the unbelievers or the sinners in our community. And so they wanted to get all the other, give all the other people, leaders of religion, a chance to say their piece. And so they asked me to also say, what does a Buddhist say about this? This is so nice. Is this punishment from above for not going to the temple? Okay. Is it because you have a big kip in your five precepts? Is it because you're being stingy when you walk past the donation box? Is it because you've been arguing with your wife or your husband? Is it? So this evening's talk is all about the Buddhist idea of like reward and punishment, especially on these big things. Because sometimes when I was asked that, I said, I'll come off it. You can't actually, you know, if there is a God, you won't sort of criticize. I know God in his right mind would do things like that. I mean, we can't just blame karma because that's sometimes pretty mean. So what I see is happening, and I think you heard me say last week about this, I told this to the the newspaper reporter. We didn't put it in the article, but it's a lovely little story, which I think I mentioned last week. I just repeated again, is this when you were, uh, came from the time when it was a man came to see my teacher. He'd been wounded. He'd been shot. Now, why did it happen to me? Why do I have to be wounded? Why do I have to sort of not be able to use my arms? And so what anymore? It's unfair. I've had bad luck. I was shot while I was in the army, and that's. And I called him a fool. An idiot. What do you expect? That's what happens when you join the army. You know, people actually shoot bullets at you. But Sophie insisted that we do put it that way. It's in the contract. If you read the fine print in the bottom here is joining the army. Some people will shoot bullets here, and some of those bullets must hit. And that's all I said. What you been complaining about? You joined the army. You got wounded. If you want to get good, it's good to join the army. It's the same when you join the human race. You chose to join and join the human race. According to Buddhism, you decide to take birth in this body. So it's in the fine print and you read the contract before you took birth. It's in the contract. Well, sometimes you can get killed by a tsunami, by an earthquake, but Aids, by cancer, by heart attack, by a road accident, by old age. Heaps of ways to get killed. And it's all in the fine prints. If you didn't read, it is now. That. So it's not punishment at all. This is like nature. And we understand nature. There's no idea of like, punishment. But also the whole idea of punishment in our culture is something which is, if anything, is anathema to me. It's the whole idea of like punishing. And because I know that for a fact, any psychologist would agree with me, the punishment very, very rarely works. And why do we want to punish somebody anyway? Just any wise person would never, ever administer punishment because it's much better ways of not getting the ends which you really desire. Because if someone has done something bad, evil, wrong or whatever. First of all, I mean, people aren't basically evil. They're a bit silly sometimes and stupid, but it's not. That's why in Buddhism they say the root of all problems is not evil, it's stupidity. That's why sometimes people actually ask me when, you know, when Mr. Bush said his favorite as I was going to say something, but I made his his speech on the axis of evil. And someone asked me, do you have such a thing in Buddhism, the axis of evil? I said, no, we have the axis of stupidity. This is stupidity in Buddhism, not evil, because that stupidity is in each individual. It's not somewhere out there. Which sort of infection is this human stupidity? By not seeing clearly. And sometimes part of that stupidity is terrible thing we have in our cultures called revenge. And because of events that sort of tend to justify punishment for many. You know, you've hurt me. You've hurt my sort of, um, community. Uh, you know, you've hurt my family. Therefore I've got to have revenge. I've got to get my own back. I got to teach you a lesson. Because if I don't teach you a lesson, then you'll go and do the same thing again. That's what we think. We justify it by thinking that we're actually helping the situation by stopping this person. Misbehaving a second time. But it doesn't work that way. And the point is, anyway, that that's not really the reason why we want punishment. Why we want revenge. It's the more vindictiveness. We have a strange thing that when we heard we want other people to hurt as well. And it's something which I've seen so often. I've seen it myself when I was a young monk, but also I've seen it in other people, and it's a very nasty little thing to see. You actually see it all the time in relationships, at home. You know, when you come back in the evening and you're tired. You take it out on your wife, your husband, whoever's right there. If you live alone, you take it down. You poor dog. You kick the dog, you scream with the cat. The pork hasn't done anything, but you're in a bad mood and you take it out on somebody. Why is it we do that? We're in a bad mood. We don't feel well. We take it out on the people we love. It's a crazy thing. I remember this, uh, uh, lady. I haven't seen her for a while, but I really admired her when I first went visiting in prisons. I went to the old Fremantle Tower. Was a wonderful place to go. In a sense, it was a very extreme. And because it was extreme, it was extreme. Sort of, uh, what we might call, uh, depression. Um hum. Oppression as well. There's also some incredibly wonderful people I met in there. And one of them was this lady. She was and I was just him cover. I sort of, uh, misunderstood her name at first because I. Basher and I said wonderful name to be, you know, in working in prison, being a basher. It was Dasha. Her name was and she was a Czech social worker. Her story was that she was a young girl who's now 18 or 19, I forget, which in 1967. When the Russian tanks came in to Prague to put down what was called the Velvet Revolution under Alexander Dubcek. I remember that time and she protested. She was an idealistic, um, young woman protesting for the rights of her people. Professing forbidden freedom. And she was one of the students who got caught by the Russians. And when you get caught in those days, there's no real trial. You go to jail and you go to jail for many years. So she was put in a in a jail in Prague, in the East European jail. About 16 years or something for protesting. For her people. And she told me that the beatings were regular. There was no Amnesty International in those days in Eastern Europe. But she always told me at the time that when she was being beaten, she would never allow herself to get angry at her oppressors. She said that's the one thing which they could not take away from her, her freedom just to stand up for herself and not to allow them to hurt her emotionally. They could hurt her body. They could bruise it. They could break bones. But she would not allow them to hurt her mind. I understand that. That's why in my little book I sometimes put a little phrase which is very deep. Sometimes some of the stories and little phrases I throw out. They sound a bit funny, but they can be extended to such a profound depth of understanding and wisdom and compassion and so little saying. Never allow anyone else to control your happiness. So she was not going to allow even a torturer to control her happiness. She said, my happiness is my business and you're not going to take that away from me. She was incredibly tough, lady. And that's why, she said, when any of the prisoners in Fremantle started to complain to her about the conditions in the old jail, she said, come over here and I'll tell you what a real jail is like. And they always went away, so I'm never complaining again. It's a wonderful place compared to an East European jail. Even the privations of free OTL. When it was running nothing like in the east of Europe. But anyway, she told me that eventually she was released from jail and when she first came out of that jail. Now is amazing what it was like, the sense of freedom all those years. And now over the torture, the pain is now gone. Admittedly, she lost the best years of her young life, which you wed in a tram in Prague to go to her relations. She was so upset that all the people in the town were pushing her out of the way, barging and being so unkind to each other. And that shocked her. She thought, look, we're all being oppressed by this terrible regime. Why aren't we these kind to each other? And then she realized, and this is part of why I mentioned this story. She realized because everyone was being suppressed and it was too dangerous to protest or get angry at that regime at the time. Instead, they took out their anger on each other. Her unkind just to ordinary people because of the hurt they were feeling every day inside of themselves. And it sort of made it very clear to me that you should make it clear to you that sometimes we want to punish other people because we've been paying ourselves. We are hurting and we want other people to hurt as well. That's called revenge. And of course, it just makes more hurt in this world and the pain just increases. There is never a solution to happiness in this world, but unfortunately, that way of revenge and more punishment and more pain and more hurt, this makes more tears. That is probably why all the oceans are so salty. But there is another way. When I was a young Buddhist, one of the things which really impressed me is there was never any idea of punishment at all in Buddhism, even when you read the Dharma pada. So they would always said, put aside the rod and put aside the punishing. And when I saw just the way that he organized his community of monks, even there, there was no punishment at all. Instead, there was the opposite, called encouragement rather than punishment. Because sometimes we say that we need to punish in order to sort of get the best out of people. But again, when I was a young student. I was always interested in psychology and science. Psychology for me was the science of the mind, especially when I was a, uh, a school teacher that was aware that, you know, sometimes people were saying, should you punish kids or should you encourage them? What should you do? Because you have a class of kids there. You got to teach them. Sometimes there's some bad kids. There's always a few troublemakers. How do you deal with those situations? The psychology lecturers always told me again and again and again that all the tests I'd ever done always showed. And encouragement and praise always works much, much, much better. And punishments. I know that sometimes people have told me in armies, if they go to a young, uh, private who's misbehaving, who's creating a lot of trouble for other officers, you promote him to being a corporal. Strange, but it works is standard army wisdom even in the army they understand that. The point is that sometimes when you encourage a person and praise them, you're getting onto a different level and they don't tend to misbehave anymore. Sometimes the reason is so why do people misbehave? I already said that because they're hurting inside. They're in pain. You just give them more pain. They just hurt even more. But instead of giving pain, you're giving courage. When you give forgiveness, you give love. You give positive reinforcement. And that obviously reinforces the positive qualities in them. They don't feel so bad anymore. They don't feel so upset, depressed, angry. I haven't got such a grudge against the world. Because people are kind to them. And they don't misbehave anymore. This positive reinforcement is the way I've run my monastery and asked the monks next to me. This is a way that I run things and it always works. You encourage. You never tell people off. And I do that in a encourage you in a family as well. If you've got a kid at home who never does, never cleans his room up and never does his studies, stays up late at night, it's always just playing video games, blah, blah, blah. Whatever it is, whatever you don't like about him. Find something, a small thing to praise about the guy or the girl. And if you start to praise the person, praise the good qualities. Now, when he does tidy up, or when she does sort of speak nicely to you, when you praise those good qualities, you'll find that those things will grow. Price is almost always much, much stronger and more effective than any punishment. For those of you who are in a relationship, you try that. You know what it's like for you if your wife goes nagging at you again and again and again and again and again. Now I've got this great idea for a business. If any of you have unemployed or you want to go business, you should start these nagging types business where when you somebodies going overseas, you know for a while and you're going to be separated from your loved one so that you know you don't miss them, you can go to the little company and they will record your wife nagging, nagging, nagging 1990 for maybe one hour. So when she's overseas visiting her relations, you can actually get that CD out, the nagging CD and you can listen to your wife nag nag nag nag nag nag nag nag nag nag nag nag. Well, you can listen to your husband complain, complain, complain, complain, complain, complain and then you won't feel so lonely anymore. See? Oh my goodness. Thank goodness she's gone. You can make a good fortune making tapes. 10% of the Buddhist society for. But why do we always speak to each other like that? Wouldn't it be much lovelier if we actually praised each other? You get much more out of each other through this positive encouragement, through rewards. That's why we do give rewards, book prizes, medals or whatever else it is. Because the rewards goodness. And if it rewards goodness, everybody else wants to get a piece of the action and get into this reward business. So we encourage good qualities. We don't punish. We encourage. And you find it, as I said, in this little book. That's what we call having a garden and watering the flowers. And just ignoring the weeds. If you ignore the weeds and water the flowers, you don't water the weeds, you just water the flowers. You find those flowers grow, grow, grow, grow, grow the weeds because of lack of water. Them to shrivel, shrivel, shrivel. You do that in your partner. Don't water his weeds or no, no water holds water. The flowers. So not all the nice flowers, the nice things you like about them include. Oh, it's a wonderful thing. Oh, it's so kind of you. Oh, you're just a wonderful person. Oh, I really think that's very sweet what you've just done. And of course, they want to do it again. This is what we call like encouragement. So we don't actually punish. The whole idea of punishment is actually ridiculous to me. So if there was any being in any power, they would never be punishing people who are doing things wrong. They'd instead be encouraging people to do things which are right. That's one of the reasons I don't believe in a cop, because if there was a God, they'd be encouraging me by giving me all the lottery numbers that make us very rich and powerful. No, no, no, of course not. Only joking. Now, the point being is that you want to encourage the good. That's actually what we really mean. It's never such a thing as a punishment. However, the why is it that perhaps, you know, sometimes people do die? Why is it that people do get into difficulties? Why is it that even people like to go to hell? When I was in Singapore that somebody was asking me these questions about hell and heaven because I'd seen in these temples, and some of you may have gone to these Buddhist temples and seeing some of these murals, we've seen some of these murals of hell, of these beings being boiled in boiling oil. Now the reasons why they had those, you know, those pictures in the temples is because in those days they didn't have like horror movies, they didn't have TV. So that you go to the temples now to scare themselves silly. There is no image, no special effects and some. Some of these artists used to really get into it now boarding on and being poked with, uh, prongs and whatnot. But somebody asked me to see who is that what hell is really like over there? And then I sort of started actually developing. This is the answer to this sort of problem. You know about hell and suffering and punishment and all that. Is there a hell, I said? Yeah, sure there is. Visit like that. So sure it's not. I remembered one of our members many, many years ago who came here. He had a very, very bad back pain. I think it was, I forget exactly some degenerative disease of his back and he was in extreme pain. And he was going to Osborne Park Hospital at the time. I remember him coming to talk to me because he was learning meditation. He became a very good meditator. I always remember the time. This was a long time ago when we used to have the old center that he came out to me one after Friday night talk. He had his big smile on his face and you said, I've hardly done it. So what have you done this month? When people come and tell me that I've finally done it? It's usually some meditation trick they've done. He said, I've finally got the machine absolutely flat, but not the egg. So that was easy. This is the EEG. Could have been. He's been. Was being looked after in this hospital and putting all these gadgets on him. And because of his great pain, he was actually forced to really meditate properly. You get into this very, very deep space of meditation. And he said no. When he was having the, um, being tested at the hospital, first of all, he'd get the ECG, measuring your heartbeat absolutely flat. But then after a little bit more training of his mind, he'd get the EEG, measuring your brain activity absolutely flat. And then he looked back with a smile and said, see all those people in the back? They're all from Osborne Park Hospital. They're always coming to check you out to see what's going on in this place. Yeah, that's what he said. I've never seen that. But the reason I mentioned him was that because he, um, he told me that in the hospital at that time. They realized it was so difficult for people in such extreme agony all the time to actually express how they felt to their loved ones and friends. Please say that I'm hurting. But what does that mean? Hey, can we just have a little ache or a slight headache? Or it could mean you an incredible pain. So this hospital are not sure if they still do this. Somebody maybe tell me afterwards they just decided upon this like a scale of pain by using metaphors. What they said for him. He said, your pain. When they can measure on the machines. I'm not quite sure how, but they said your pain, which we experience all the time, is exactly the same as I would feel. If you're having your hand sawn off, your arm sawn off with a saw. So that's what you're feeling now. So he had some way of actually expressing it to his friends and loved ones. He thought, this is what I'm going through. All the time. It's amazing. When he said that, I realized, my goodness, that guy must be incredible pay. And they had other standards of like even more intense pain or less intense pain by comparing it to a normal person who's going through some of these horrendous experiences. Because how can you actually describe pain? Except by some sort of metaphor, by comparison to something which everyone can relate to. Now, I understood from that experience why in some of those temple paintings they had such descriptions, these words meant to say, this is what it's like. Absolutely. But he said this is a standard for telling you what pain is. It's thought that you're going to be boiled in oil. But imagine if you were bored and all that. Sometimes what people can feel. Because of the pain. But where does that pain come from? Where does that feeling come from? Not other time. It's like the pain of, like, guilt, revenge, hatred. You know, anger. Because this is actually what the Buddha meant is like how and have this wonderful story. I'm not sure when I last told it, but I'm going to use it and going to extend it further, because sometimes in talks you like to start with a simple story and then just see where it leads. It's a very famous story of the samurai warrior who wanted to find out whether there is a heaven and hell. And so he went to see this monk who he admired and respected. He went to see the samurai. He also went to see the smoke and the samurai, said Mark Venable. So I come to ask you a question. You're supposed to be honest and wise. If you don't know the answer, just say sir. At least be truthful and I will just leave you alone. But don't sort of make it up. I can tell when people are just pretending to know. Is there a heaven or hell? And just about just up to them and said, you're too stupid to know. He insulted a samurai. And many of you would know that samurai is a very proud warriors. They're not stupid or highly intelligent, and they go through an immense amount of training. And he was offended. He said when I was sir, I am not stupid. I answered the question if you don't know, just tell me. Who said, listen, I don't answer questions to riff raff like you. Go away. He called him Riff Raff. I mean, this is like an elite soldier. And so he put his hand on his soul and said, monk, if you're going to be like that, beware. The short sword is very sharp, and I can cut off your head just with one swish. And then battling to the soil with that rusty old piece of tin, you couldn't even slice a piece of bread. And that was it. The samurai was just so offended. His pride had been so badly wounded, he got out his sword and was just about to swing it to slice off the monk's head. When the monk looked at him and said, samurai. That's how. Your anger, your state of mind when you're upset and offended. About to cut my head off. That is what it's like in hell. The mental pain you're feeling now. That state of wanting to punish. Wanting to be cool. Wanting to hurt. Want to deprive someone right? Imagine that is going to be there. Not just for one moment, the day after day, year after year, even after year. That's hell. And fortunately, the samurai understood. I often say that Mark was pushing his luck. Okay. Perhaps because he did that the study could tell the story afterwards. But certainly the samurai understood and was saying, at last, at last I've got someone who is wise. It doesn't just tell theory and just all this, you know, gobbledygook and gibberish and asked me to understand it. He doesn't go and say it's written in the holy books. He's actually taught me something. In a wonderful actually when you go and listen to someone and instead of like the teaching out of their head, they actually teach out of their heart from experience. That is somewhere I just went straight on the ground and he brought tears streaming and said, oh, at last I found a master who can teach me. I'm so grateful to you, you wonderful man. Oh, you're just so tremendous. Thank you so much. You know, the Elvis of Buddhism. Someone said to me, well, this was very nice. Yeah. And I said about cooked up and smiled and said, samurai. Now that's heaven. That feeling you have in your heart. Now, if you keep that on for day after day, year after year, century after century, that's heaven. Now you can understand what heaven and hell are. You can experience them in this life, but they're only temporary, abiding us in this life. But if you inclined towards him again and again and again and again and again. That's what you get. Report. But the most important thing is to get a taste of heaven and a taste of hell. Anger, revenge, hurting, getting your own back. That is the stuff of hell. That's what I say. Yeah. Hell does exist. If you've ever been really angry at someone. Really upset. You're in pain. That's why I can't see why anybody really wants to punish others. You're just sentencing yourself to hell. You're putting yourself in a jail. You're being so cruel to yourself. You're hurting yourself, and it doesn't work. It's not useful. I don't know why people do that. Why do you get angry? It doesn't help at all. You can get much better. You can get your own way if you want to get your own way. If you want to manipulate other people, you don't need to get angry. There's much better ways. And if it was a better ways, how to influence your husband? How to get the best out of your wife. You can come here and I'll tell you exactly to get your own way. Whatever you want is very easy. But this psychology, it really works. Look at me. Every day. You won't believe this. If I tell people in the world they wouldn't believe us. Every day people come to my monastery and give them. Give me the most delicious of food. They actually bring the food to my monastery. And also they wash up for me as well. Now most people, if you write someone to dinner. Imagine you invite someone to lunch or to dinner and you tell them, please bring your own food and wash up afterwards. I think that's what happens in our monasteries every day. Now it's. But see why is because we're happy. And people like coming to our monastery. They like having good things. They like hanging around good and making some good nuns. This is how. You get on the good side of people. And we're not doing this because we're devious. Just because this is a nice thing to do. But the point is here, if you really want to get somewhere in life, if you really want to build good relationships, if you really want get people to like you, if you really want people to be kind and caring to you, if you want good relationships in the world. Anger. Revenge. Punishment. Where does that lead you to? It brings you to hell and creates a terrible feeling in a family, in a community in our world. That's why there's no way can there be any sort of person, in any position of power and control, who can actually just decide, okay, you know, wipe out so many people, so many houses at a partition because someone's being bad. That's not the way a wise person deals with someone who's bad. Anyone who's bad, I say no, we're bad. Oops. Crap. Get a crap. Come on. I was being punished for saying sorry. Well, the wall is still there. I just put my feet. Excuse me. So anyone who's really bad. Sort of. That's not the really the way to actually to solve the problem. The way to solve the problem is with a bit of kindness. There we are, like you be kind. So it's worked again. So if you're a little bit of kindness that encourages people, builds people up. So beings in Buddhism we do have like powerful beings, but those powerful beings are mostly like kind beings, a caring beings. They protect you. They don't go around hurting you. And if a person is that misbehaved, instead of actually going around and punishing you, you want to encourage a person who's misbehaved to ask you to tell them what they've done, encourage their goodness, forgive their badness. The old AFL code, which we've taught here acknowledged forgive, and no other people have done. That's where we build a good world. A wonderful world doesn't matter what another person's done to me, I'm not going to allow them to take away my happiness. Doesn't matter how mean someone is, I'm always going to go and help them. And isn't that really inspiring? Now when someone's being really mean to you, but you go up there. You go out there, out your way to be kind to them. When I see examples of that, I see examples which really inspire. Then when the last time I told this story about. Hold on. Sometimes I love getting some stories from other religions because I think I've exhausted all the ones from Buddhism. With this story from Catholic Christianity of one of the the disciples of Saint Francis of Assisi. And this guy, he was actually the Franciscan order. He's so similar to the Buddhist order. Now. They all went for alms in the morning and they didn't have any money, not in the early days of the Franciscan order. That is so simply. They too wore brown robes and had a bit of a shaved head, I think. But not the full. The full. Was it called the Full Monty? I suppose you call it, but it's nude on the top anyway. But I didn't think anyhow. So this guy, he was going on arms around in the morning. Was it 6 or 700 years ago in Italy or somewhere? And there's a poor beggar in the street, and the poor beggar asked for some something to eat. The poor fellow was just really hungry. And so there's this monk, this friar, this Franciscan said, I haven't got anything. I don't have any money. I've got nothing to give you. The fellow said, look, I'm really, really starving. And banks overlook. The only thing I've got is my rope. And the baker said, okay, that'll do. So this monk gave him the robe he was wearing, and that's all he had. Now, that is really generosity. Now, don't you try that. But what of my box? Let me see what he did. He came to this with a robe off his back. So when he went back to the monastery, he was completely naked. And the monks in the monastery said. Get out of here. You know, you're a crazy person. So don't you remember me on one of the monks? No you're not. You're new. I don't know what you are. Flash or something. Get out! But soon they recognized him. It was this monk who was one of their friends, one of the members of their community. So they said, okay, come inside. How come were you robbed or something and beaten up for you? Someone stole your robe. He said no, it was a really poor person I saw. And we're supposed to be generous and we get gifts from others, why can't we be generous back? So he gave the robe to this poor person, and all the other monks thought, my goodness, that really is the spiritual person. I don't think of themselves. They just think of that person needs something they just give it to. And so they gave him another row from the stores, and they were talking about. And what a great monk that is. The trouble is, you know what it's like. The beggar goes along and says, hey, this guy over here, let me give you a rope. So the word got around and the next day he went out for alms when someone else asked for his rope. So he gave that and he came back to the brothers tree again, naked. This time I recognize him. Here he comes again. And straightaway they got this robe out the stores and gave it to him. It's just like Buddhism. It happened three times after the third time, and he came back naked because he gave this robe to his very poor first. They gave him a new robe. For the third time, the abbot got him into his office. So now listen. It's all very well, you know, to be kind of be generous, but they're taken advantage of. You only got so many robes in the store room. Now don't do it again. And he really scolded this, this monk. It's Mark. He hadn't done anything wrong. He was just being kind and generous. He was a bit, maybe a bit stupid or, you know, a bit soft in the head, a bit too compassionate enough wisdom, I don't know, but. He hadn't done anything really wrong. But yeah, but just really scolded him for over an hour. And the man never tried to justify himself or defend himself. This is really a wonderful person. This is why he's one of my favorite characters, you know, from this storybook. What he did. He put his head down. He listened and took the scolding. And then when the ABA was finished saying, okay, you can go now. And he went away. And one hour later he knocked on the Abbot store with a cup of soup. He was bringing me a cup of soup for he said, oh, Apple, you were scolding me. You were shouting so hard. I'm sure your throat must be sore. He has some soup. And I always knew it. He wasn't trying to be clever or smart at it. These smart were just so compassionate. But never think of himself. Someone could scold him. He never even thought you know about yourself and all the rotten things Sam was saying about you because you hadn't done anything bad anyway. All the time was saying, oh, this poor abbot is shouting so much! My goodness, you know, he must have a sore throat. I can't make him some soup as soon as I'm finished. When that wonderful. I was really inspired. So the next time your wife scold you. Just go make us some soup. There goes another cup of soups. It's all finished. Go to the kitchen. Here you are, darling. You must have a small throat. But don't put it on top of her head. Just give it to her can. But. Now that is like real compassion and kindness. And of course, after that time this abbot thought, how can you scold and get angry at such a such a monk? This is a waste of time. And you just said, okay. All the wives can go and give them away, I don't care. Cars stop. Bikes like you. And that's actually the way to deal with abuse. You don't allow other people to sort of get you angry, and it's not punishment. How can you punish? So real powerful, really good people. They never get angry. So that's why I know there is a high being anywhere is a high being, but they would never get angry and mean and show wrath to other people. It doesn't make sense to me. That's why the whole idea of a wrathful God just never made any sense. Even the idea of like karma being a punishment never made sense to me until someone actually started talking to me, said, listen, even karma, it's not like a punishment, it's like a learning so teaching tool. And people actually they don't, they're not punished. Is not someone up there saying, oh, you were bad. This is what's going to happen to you. A lot of people, actually, and this is amazing. But it's true. Choose. To be in those situations. He may not see this, it may not be conscious to you. But sometimes we choose pain. Because of our guilt. I mean, I've been in this business for a long time now. I know my own mind. I counseled other people. Sometimes someone's done something bad. They've done something very mean. They've hurt someone else, I think. Well, why can't you forgive yourself? I forgive myself all the time. Well, all the old stories, which I say again and again. I forgive myself every week until the old chokes again and again so that, okay, I never feel guilty. But I try to encourage other people who have done an even worse things than I've ever done and said, I'll leave it alone. And actually what really one of the worst things I ever did is I thought it was the worst. It's amazing when we have guilt. Sometimes a tiny little things which we've done and for us is a big thing. What was really hurt, it hurt me for many, many years was that when I was a student, you know, we had to have my father was already dead when I was in college. And so my mother was not all that wealthy. So I used to get jobs in the vocations to support myself. And by all mathematically, Hendricks records whatever else I used to use my money for. But one day I got a job. Was like a door to door salesmen setting encyclopedias. You know, one of the worst possible jobs you can ever get. But, you know, you were desperate. You take anything in those days. So I was going around setting encyclopedias, and one evening, I sold one. And I felt so guilty after that. I just, I just I felt terrible because it was a kid's encyclopedia. And you were actually taught to actually to make the parents feel like they were just real mean and nasty and they didn't love their children at all. If they didn't buy this wonderful encyclopedia that they were actually, if they didn't buy this amazing encyclopedia, they're they're depriving their children of a good education and a proper livelihood. And so that's what I did. I was actually quite good at it. And I sold one. This lovely little couple. There are just no newly married, newly married. They just got a new house and just had all these expenses and just had a baby. And here's this carrot to come. Me sort of getting more money out of them for this stupid encyclopedia because I didn't. It was a lot of rubbish, an encyclopedia. And I felt so bad afterwards. What did I do that for? Taking the money from these people. They could have used it for much better, better means. And they're just such a soft and nice couple. And I felt so terrible. For years I felt rotten about that. And then here one night I told that story and someone came up to me and said, Had Jim Brown. I don't know if it was, you know, the charges are is probably not. But, you know, when I was a small kid, this guy came up to my door, knocked on the door, and he told my mom and dad is encyclopedia. I love that encyclopedia. It was one of the best things I ever had. It's not really. The. Let's throw it away. I'll throw it away if it was me. But maybe I was exaggerating my. What I did to other people is certainly. I felt much better after that. And I thank that person and they got rid of all my guilt. But. It is amazing just how you have to small little things. You exaggerate and you get. Well, why can I forgive myself a long time ago? I often inquire, why is that? And a lot of times is because we're not wise, we're not smart because we're actually attached to how bad actions it is, an attachment. Sometimes. You know, we talk about attachments in Buddhism. We always think attached to good things, you know, attached to things we'd like. And that's only half of attachments in Buddhism. It's not like attached to, you know, the food you like or attached to your car, attached to your children, attached to, you know, your TV program, which you're probably recording if it happens on a Friday night. So you can come here. That's not what we mean about. We also attach to the wrong things as well to pain. It's the strangest thing, human beings. But sometimes we are attached to what hurts us. And sometimes this is what guilt is. We've got it into our minds that we've done something wrong and we need to be punished. And doesn't matter what any monk says. No matter what any friend or loved ones, someone dearest, he said, let it go. Forgive yourself. You will not do that. We want to be punished. That's why people have those experiences. They choose to take up the bad karma. And be punished for it. It was an amazing revelation to me as he to see that hell. The doors of hell are always open. Anyone can walk out at any time. If they want to. The only reason you stay in a hotel. It's because you don't allow yourself to live. When someone's angry. You can drop the anger at any moment. He does forgive. The reason why you can't forgive is, is you don't want to. When you have guilt. So and if some of you have done this, guilt is just anger to yourself. You are allowed to forgive at any time. There's no laws either. Religious laws, spiritual laws, cosmic laws, let alone laws of the nation which says you must. Hurt yourself because of what you've done. Any moments, any time. You can just say enough. I'm going to forgive myself. To understand that is a huge insight. To understand. It's all right to forgive. Oneself and others. This a good thing to do. It really is a spiritual thing to do. And it's a very therapeutic thing to do. It's a beneficial to yourself, to your partnership, to your family, to the whole world. Because you know that. Because sometimes you do see great acts of forgiveness. And inspires you. You know, one of those just saying today to someone else, those great acts of forgiveness. One of the greatest recent acts of forgiveness was Nelson Mandela himself. All those years came out of jail. I think a year later he was president. He had all the power and opportunity to get his own back. Now, those people who put him in jail for 26 or 29 years or something. It's a huge sentence. Basically for standing up for, you know, was protecting or, uh, challenging, really gross abuse. But when he got out of jail. Did he get his own back and his captors in? Was it in Robben Island? Did he try and get his own back at those people who had. Prosecuted him to taken away 26 years of his life. Imagine that. That amount of time. No. He forgave. And that's something which has inspired us. It says, yeah, it's possible and it's wonderful. It uplifts. Now if a human being can do that. Well, how can there be any like, cosmic beings who will punish? Because cosmic beings never do that. Any sort of person who's spiritually advanced is like this wonderful grandfather or grandmother. You go up to them and you say all the things you've done wrong, and you know they will never hurt or harm you at all. I remember as a young man going to see one of these. Great. Teachers in Thailand. There was a man called out and tape. The more the monks of our tradition. I saw he was the one who had the behavior and the charisma of a saint. At that time. He was a great meditator, supposed to have psychic powers and all of that. Especially he was supposed to be able to read your mind. And of course, at that time I was only a young monk. I was not ready to have my mind read. That's. And certainly not in public. So I was very scared when I went to see him for the first time, but it was one of those experiences as soon as you went into the presence of such a being where your fear disappeared. You feel this tremendous sense of love, of acceptance? I don't know if you've ever felt that. You realize that that being in front of you will never hurt or harm you in any which way. You feel that, and a very deep level intuitively. And you know how true it is. And once you get into the presence, you never want to leave, just want to stay there, just whatever. I would just like to wash your feet for the rest of your your years or do anything for you. Just don't throw me away because it's wonderful being with someone who gives you full acceptance. I would never punish you or hurt you in any which way. And if you had those sorts of experiences with someone, that's a spiritual experience. Now pure love. Now the door of my heart opened to you. No matter who you are. No matter what you've done. Never any way, any which way will I harbour her? No revenge at all. No she. No anger, no violence. But for openness and acceptance of you. For who you are. With all your silliness, all your stupidity, all your own little faults and failings. To six steps completely. Those are the sort of experiences which actually told me as to what the alternative to anger punishment, force, coercion is. Because that just got the best out of me. No way was I gonna hurt her being like that. Even just the Saudis and Singapore. I don't know if I told this here even when I first went to when I used to go to Carnival to. There was one time there where there had been a lot of violence in that jail against the visitors and the staff. Because some. This is actually when Fremantle closed down. So all the hard crims went to Canning Vale, I think, before the other one down at Casuarina opened up. So there were some people in their jail. Murderers and rapists. The tough guys who were in there for such a long time. But basically it didn't even make any difference. And then if they kill somebody else or rape someone else doesn't really matter. They're gonna die out anyway. So they were fearless. And as it happened that past month or so, there had been several attacks, not just on players and staff, but also on the visitors. People like me who is just going into the jail to teach meditation, or some sort of craft or art or something for being attacked by the prisoners just for the hell of it. So the prison system there, the prison system had put in this warning system they had on the ceiling. They had this little leather look like, um, like fire sprinklers along the whole prison. And they gave me this little, like, pen, like a little, uh, biro pen. They said, put it in your pocket. And I said, when I come off it, I'd been in this position for a long time. I haven't got a jacket or like a pocket. In all my robes. That is not one pocket and there are likely to someone crooked. We always give a lot of trouble to people. Being a monk is just like the time. I just read this in the book the other day, the time where I went into to hospital. It's actually I was in the hospital many years ago in Rockingham Hospital only for 6 or 7 days. And the first thing they asked me, where's your pajamas? Well, I said, I haven't got any pajamas. You have to wear pajamas in hospital. I said, listen. It's these robes or nothing. We'll tell you the ropes. Muggsy. We create a lot of trouble for people, so the size is bad. My nature. I like to cause stuff sometimes anyway. But in this particular. This particular case. Look, I haven't got any pockets, so they said, just hold it. So I just hold this pad when I went inside. Well, I said, this is top secret. None of the Pistons know about this because they knew about it. Won't be able to protect you. But if anyone jumps you, you see those sensors on the ceiling? Just press the the top there, aim at the sensor. The alarm will go off. But also, most importantly, we know exactly where you are and we'll come and, uh, rescue you. Thank you very much. So as soon as I went into my class, the one of these claims I knew is a great guy. And, you know, he was one of the tough guys in it. He was the one who told me that when you actually, you get into trouble and you get, um, uh, what's it called? Solitary confinement. Because he was a he was one of my meditators. Was a very naughty prisoner. He was always getting into solitary confinement. Said I was so disappointed. He said when I got into solitary confinement for the first time, I thought, at last I can meditate. They can leave me alone. But he said no. First of all, they take off all your clothes and then you're visited by the prison superintendent twice a day, the psychologist three times a day, the senior staff twice a day, he said. It's just so busy. It's not solitary at all. And it's just one of these names I give it, but it's not solid. And he was just so disappointed that solitary confinement was so busy. But anyway, he was a guy. As soon as I walked in, he said, looked at my pen and said, oh, you got one of those security devices as well. I think that's what he said straight away. And of course, the Cubans knew all about what was going on. And then he was serious. He looked me in the eye. And the big guy is this blond haired big guy. And he said, do you really think prom, that you could even actually get your finger on the end of that pen before it's up there? And I said, no, I don't think I could. I said, yeah, you wouldn't have a chance. Even before you thought of it, we could grab you and rape you. But he said, don't worry, Pam. We like you in here. If any of these guys behind me tries, I'll jump on them first. That was my security system. The the, my friends because I was kind to people, because I was kind of people. They wanted to protect me. Basically. That's why when you have this kindness, it always put in the stops more violence, like gentleness. People don't walk over you if you're really kind. When I saw that great mark, I don't I just there's no way I would ever abuse such a beautiful being. So you don't need punishment. You need the opposite of encouragement, kindness. Love. Forgiveness. If he gave anything I said, I'd said I'd done my stupid things that are. Never mind. Forgive it. Never mind. Don't do it again. So. Brothers are really bad. Are. Doesn't matter. Let it go. There was this character in the time of the Buddha called Angouleme. All of you traditional Buddhists know this character. He killed 999 people. And that's a pretty big serial killer. I knew that there was a doctor in England too. Who? Um. Suppose this doctor killed so many old ladies? Don't you mean did he kill? Hundreds were not assembled. 999 there. So 250. Yeah. That's nothing compared to actually Mala. Sorry. Well, it isn't something even just one. Death, obviously is something. But the point was this. This guy called 999 people, this bandit. And as soon as the Buddha saw him and converted him, just forgave him straight away. And he could forgive himself as well. Something that even just that extreme of violence and hurt and harm to others. I could still let go and walk out of that prison of guilt. He became an enlightened being. He's a great inspiration for others. He even a person like that who's done such harm. Can still forgive themselves and become completely free. Now, can you understand just what heaven and hell is, what the stupidity of punishment is? Thinking we can get the best out of another person by creating more pain in them. By taking away their comfort, by harassing them, by beating them, by even executing them. It does not work. I'm running out of time. But for those of you who want to read another inspiring story in that little book, which I open the door of your heart, and that story about those communist leaders, the bandits who killed monks, kill soldiers in Thailand just during the Vietnam War. Insurgents. When they, the leaders are generally see the Osama bin laden. See? Was it shake of ours, of Thailand? The people trying to overthrow their country? The Prabhakaran is. When they gave themselves up. And the Thai government is one thing. I'm very proud of them. In this instance, they did not punish the leaders of this insurgency, which will be going on for about 5 or 6 years. And they'd actually never waging a war against the government of Thailand at the time. And actually for a while there, they actually may actually win. They had all the support from the from Laos and from Vietnam and Cambodia, especially from Vietnam and from China as well. All their arms and money support the huge number of people. Many of the areas in Thailand were called pink areas. So at that particular time, there were huge threat. They killed many soldiers. Many marks, even when these ladies gave themselves up. There were pardoned. Forgiven. But more than that, they were given these top jobs in the civil service. Thinking that these people were motivated, resourceful, energetic, were willing to sacrifice themselves so much for a cause. Let's get them inside our government so they can use their energies and their skills not against us, but for us. That's a very beautiful way of, like, forgiveness, even on such a big scale. And the best part of the story was a couple of years ago, telling the story in Sydney when the Thai Council of Sydney stood up and said, I'd like you to add something to that story. It's very true. That's what happened. Those leaders were all given top jobs. They said now and it's still the case because the government hasn't changed. Two of those leaders, what he called radicals and now ministers in the Thai government as I speak. It's like it's not. Maybe not quite the same, but it's the most. What I can see is like getting some truce with the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka and giving Prabhakaran a job in the civil service. In a few years time, he becomes one of the ministers in this radical government. That's what it was like. Wonderful thing to do. Forgiveness. Inspiration. And let's make use of our resources rather than killing maybe or whatever. This is actually what happened in Thailand. What can happen in our world? So instead of punishing people. Let's actually forgive. Bring everybody on side and let's work together. So anyone who says that these tsunamis were some sort of punishment, I can't accept that at all. What I can say is opportunities. And I think I mentioned this last week, great opportunities and I'm not quite sure about you. I've seen this. All these amazing things happen over the last week. It's the fact, I think, when John Howard gave $1 billion. It's amazing that, you know, he could have the guts to do that. Good on him. Wonderful thing to do. And all these people. Just this. Fundraising that fundraising. And people aren't tired of fundraising yet. Looking after and caring. So my disciples in Singapore, they told me this morning, they have got some old shipping containers. You know, some of the ports in Singapore, they're full of old shipping containers and they've got a few of them. They're going to be converting them into just accommodation units and shipping them over to Sri Lanka to use as, uh, temporary homes for orphans. Readymade. Um, not homes, but shelters. And they're doing that as I speak. Very wonderful to see ideas which people have to help and to serve. And so when you have like a tsunami, you don't look upon it as some punishment. The component is part of life and the opportunity for everybody to pull together and do something good. I was inspired. By the reaction of people to tragedy. So that's the Buddhist idea of then a punishment and reward and keep the rewards going. Focus on the positive side of it. The idea is that encourage more positive action in the world gets rid of grief, anger and stuff like that, and we can become much better people. Rewarding the flowers which is leaving the weeds to rot. So there we go. Otherwise, I'll be going on all night and I'll be in big trouble. So thank you for listening to the talk this evening. Okay, that's really just a slide with slider slide control. I can put some energy into it. Sorry, I do. So that's much better controlled by the mob. Okay. Let me.

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