Episode 81

April 14, 2024


Who's Right? | Ajahn Brahm

Who's Right? | Ajahn Brahm
Ajahn Brahm Podcast
Who's Right? | Ajahn Brahm

Apr 14 2024 | 00:54:34


Show Notes

Have you ever noticed that people are always arguing about who has the right religion, politics, fashion, and basically everything? So how do we work out who is right and who is wrong? Ajahn Brahm doesn’t tell you who is right and who is wrong, but he does give wise guidance on how to work out who is right.

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 30th July 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

Who’s Right? By Ajahn Brahm [NOTE: AI generated transcription – expect errors!] Okay. So, because this is a final talk for quite a while, I'm going to give here and Dermalogica because we're having our retreat period soon. I have to make sure that this talk lasts. So the title of tonight's talk, he was given to me just a couple of minutes before I came in here. I was searching around for something to talk about and finding people suggestions. So tonight's talk is called Who's Right? That's a great title for a tour, because not only does it start to, uh, give us some indication, uh, this Friday night, have you come to the correct place? Have you come to the Buddhist center? Should you have gone to the Christian Center or the Muslim Center, or some other spiritual center, or gone down to the pub, or stayed at home and watched the TV? Uh, have you put your money on the right horse? And number two, this is not just spiritual, because have you ever noticed religious people always arguing and always people arguing, which is the right religion or which is a right sector, which religion or which is the right interpretation of this sector of that religion? And who is right and how can you find out? Most importantly, are you right? And why is it that only we have arguments about religion? We have also arguments about everything. Anything is okay to argue about it. And when you argue, especially with your loved ones, who's right? So are we going to start on that? First of all, when you argue with your friends and loved ones whose rights. In our monastery. It's very easy to understand who's right, because we have monastic walls and we have the two major rules of our monastery. You can ask any of the monks and Angelica's novices staying there. The first monastic rule is the abbot is always right. Here's my sense. It's obvious, isn't it? And number two, in case the abbot is wrong. Refer back to rule number one. The. If they cross that. How do you choke that study? That's actually how we. We work in the monastery. That's. I remember just growing up, there was these two monks arguing once, and the other is a very famous of the forest monks. When the forest monks, he couldn't decide. You know who was right? Who was wrong. And so I had this visiting man who's going to be coming in November, we think. And he said, my goodness, I can't decide who's right and who's wrong. They're arguing about with each other and it's about straight away cut to the chase and said something very profound. He said if they're arguing, they're both wrong. Shut them both out. Which he did. If you're arguing, you are both wrong. Isn't that wonderful sort of way of dealing with things? Because here's the argument itself, which is wrong. Matter who's Ryan, who's you know, whether I'm right in my interpretation, my memory is what I think, what somebody else is saying. The fact we argue that there is something wrong about that is one of the great teachings of the Buddha, which again, when you see some of these sayings, they really sort of cut very deeply beyond all theories and ideas. When he said, if it leads, if it's really truth. If it's like Dharma is a Buddhist word for truth, it must lead to peace, harmony, happiness, to liberation, to freedom. And if it is the opposite things. He said it's not my teachings. If it is to contentions, to arguments, to wars, to lack of peace, to lack of freedom, he said, that's not Buddhism. That's not teachings, that's not truth. He was saying there's no wonderful description of actually a spiritual path. It should be something which leads to peace, to freedom. I think one of the reasons it does that, because it gets to the heart of what spirituality, what life is all about. Instead of relying on some sort of like book. We do have books in Buddhism, but we use those as guidelines. And I always remembered, as for teaching, of not teaching a quote of, I think Voltaire, who said, you know, this was a couple of centuries ago in, in France, which is very strongly Christian at the time. He said, If God was the author of anything, he was the author of human reason rather than any book. I always thought that he was saying, what truth is truth is a lie in books. And our truth lies in. I should actually say this because I'm having a book launch in a week or two's time, but some books are more truthful than others. But but nevertheless, we never actually rely upon books to be the absolute truth. Because if you do, they will always sort of beat each other over the head with our books. You know, the bigger the book, the bigger headache you give to the other person because you hit them over the head with it. But I think we all know now that the truth doesn't lie in books, that we can understand the truth for ourselves because we feel we recognize. Shall we offer to some teaching? Some way of looking at life does actually create more harmony, more peace in our world. And I'd say, I'd say to you now that you will understand. You can test your understanding of Buddhist teachings. Now how well you've understood all that myself, sister William and the other monks. Nuns who visited here taught. If you can live at peace and harmony with others. And if you can live in peace and harmony with yourself. That's a sign of understanding what truth truly is. And if you can do that, then you're right. So it doesn't really matter about the theories, and the view is what you can espouse around a coffee table with your friends. Sometimes it's all right to do that, have a like an argument. But just for argument's sake, just for fun. Having a little debate doesn't really matter who's right and who's wrong. You just do that for a little bit of fun. But. The friendship has to be much stronger than that. That's why sometimes in our monastery, sometimes whoever's the second monk, they may say one thing and I say the opposite. Just for the. Just for the sake of it. Just to have a nice little argument. Because sometimes arguments. Now we can actually get deeper into the truth of things. But these are your friends. And so whatever happens in that sort of discussion. That friendship is always paramount, and so if it gets a bit too tough, then I'm the one who says sorry first. Another thing which I learned from my monastic upbringing. The one who is right. Is not the one who had the correct understanding about Buddhism, or about the right theory or whatever. The one who is right is the one who says sorry first. I've seen that in many, many cases. Sometimes the monks would have arguments. Well, human beings, especially when they're young monks. Even recently, last week in a monastery that was to focus, they had a falling out. And of course, the sailors have a falling out. It's on the weekend, so as soon as I came back last week on a Sunday night, they wanted to speak to me. And this is why this is called Abbott suffering. And then he was telling me about all the other things with this person had done. They shouldn't have done this and they really acted really out of line, blah, blah, blah. It was probably right. But it was the end of the Gallaghers for what I said is your job. He used to go up to him and after giving us. So I can't do that is is for you. He is a man of his, for he is the one who's right is the one who asked forgiveness first of all. Because they're the one who realizes what's most important. It doesn't really matter about, you know, being know the ego that I was right. You were wrong. You shouldn't have done that. I did the right thing. What happened in the past is gone. What's important now is actually showing that which leads to freedom, which leads to peace, which leads to harmony, which is an expression of love. Doesn't matter what happened in the past. I remember at the time because we had a Franciscan monk visiting our monastery a week or so ago, and I remember one of the great stories which I read from the Life of Saint Francis. It just shows you how ecumenical we really are. That there was this monk. Who Franciscans are very similar to. Buddhist monks in the sense that they had no money. They were penniless and they would go on arms round for their food. And this monk was going on alms. On his food. He met a poor man. And the poor man said, I'm more hungry than you are. Can you give me something? Can they smoke? The only thing he had was his robe. He didn't have any money, no other possessions. So I said, okay, here's my robe. You can go and sell this in the market and get some food, and then you can actually have something to eat today. Here's my robe. So when he came back to the monastery, he was naked. And this here is an alternate working out of, you know, crazy people like you. But after a while, they recognized it. Oh. It's you. What happened to your robe? To get stolen, I explained. He met a very poor man, and a poor man was so hungry, the only thing he had to give him was actually his robe. So he gave him his robe. And of course someone said, oh, that's a very wonderful thing to do. You know, you literally give everything you've got, even the clothes you're wearing. That's a great sort of Christian good thing to do. But of course, the trouble was, the word gets around that this monkey is a soft touch. So the next time when our arms round, the same thing happens, someone asks for his robe again. And so he gave it a second time. The second time he came back naked by this time. Now, the monks of that monastery there was sort of getting to know who he was. So, Kevin, have another robe. But after 3 or 4 times of this, you've only got so many robes in the storeroom. So he had to go and see the abbot and the habits. I've told you lot. Don't do it again. And to impress the fact that he shouldn't do this again. He really gave him a scolding. Now look, these are rows which are given by our supporters. You know, they're supposed to be looked after, cleaned and patched if you need to patch them, but you can't keep giving them away. They're not yours to give away. You can't go around naked. And he really scolded this monk and all the time is being scolded. Is monk just kept his head down. He's being scolded by the abbot. When the abbot thought he'd really given him a proper talking to, he dismissed him. Half an hour later, this man, I didn't come back naked. Half an hour later, he came back with a cup of soup. For this. Abbot said, Will you give me a cup of soup? For he said. Well, you were speaking so loudly for such a long time. I thought you might have a sore throat. So he has some sort of. And this was not being sarcastic. You know, if you did this in Australia, you probably would be cynical. But this was actually really from the heart. He was never thinking of himself. What he was thinking about was his power, but he was talking so much. And so. So he didn't mind being scolded. He was just compassionate for somebody else was there rather than the others. And I'll just give away the whole story. You can't do anything with a monk like that. It didn't really matter who was right and who was wrong. Sort of in the worldly sense. What was most right was that fellow just was, you know, wanted to be kind of caring to somebody else. It was the love which was right. So if you ever have an argument, you may have some outstanding arguments with your loved ones. With your children, with your parents, with your husband, your wife, your partner, or with your monk. Whatever. It does not matter who's wrong. Who's wrong. Isn't it wonderful? Try to just say, look, doesn't matter sort of who's right is wrong so that I care for you. I ask your forgiveness. Please forgive me. Now there is where we get into something which we can all recognize is very spiritual. That is religion. The idea of forgiveness, which leads to peace and harmony, which I say, look, I'm a human being. You're a human being. We see things in different ways, but we can still love each other. We can still live together. We can still be at peace together. We can share our home. You can share our Buddha Center. We can share our planet with you no matter who you are. And the only thing I've done to upset you. I'm sorry. When that happens, when you actually somebody comes to you and us for forgiveness is something which is so moving if it really comes from the heart. And your friends again afterwards. It has to be that way. I really think it was actually the Yanukovych who I told us to last week. I understood what I was saying, went and said sorry. And I think the other guy was the one at fault. But knowing he was at fault, the other person, not forgiveness, made all the difference. It was a movement from the heart. That is what is. That is what Buddhism is. The one who asks forgiveness first is. The one who is right. Because they have the right perspective. Sometimes, though, it's just so hard to ask forgiveness because, I mean, they really are wrong. No, no, I haven't done anything. It's all there for this. All for. It's not all their fault. We have this wonderful teaching in Buddhism about the law of karma. If you've got a husband like that, it's because of your cup. But. If you all live trees, that way is your home. Is that what you think? Rachel? I think it's really unfair. So just say sorry. Moving from the heart because who is right and who is wrong. The way we form our ideas and our views or even what happened. I read when I was in Singapore recently on the aeroplane and got this very wonderful little article, some research that United States of these Marines who were being trained in withstanding torture techniques or interrogations. And just after the interrogations a day afterwards, the psychologists were going in and say, who was the person who did his interrogation? And they did a lineup just like in the The Police documentaries line up for these soldiers, and they'd been interrogated by these, uh, you know, senior Marines for about 3 or 4 hours. And they couldn't recognize who it was. And a line UPS is only about 30%. Recognition. The day before for many hours. In a tense situation, the memory failed. Who did what? Who said what? How many arguments about who's right and who's wrong. All rely upon our memory. It's great as a Buddhist to know that your memory is uncertain. I haven't Alzheimer's disease yet, but I can't remember what I talked about last week in particular. I can't remember whether I told that story last week. But who cares anyway? Because memory is uncertain and you don't really know who said one who did what. So why is it we argue so much who we can fight so much over? Silly things? Like memories about who did what? You know, you probably all remember the the story called Gulliver's Travels. That sort of, uh, English book, uh, recorded a war which was going on with one of them was the Lilliputians. And the other ones, I forget who the other ones were. And it was all about the war started because they couldn't decide that when you have a boiled egg, whether you should eat it from the flatter side or from the sharper side, because, you know, there's two sides to an egg. Now, what is actually more pointed? The other one is more sort of, uh, blood. And they had a war over which side of an egg you should start eating first. Now that actually, why is it we can go to a war? It was like a satire. Why is it we can go to a war on small things? It's because of our ego, our sense of self, our memories and our views where we attach the money to them. That's where we get into problems. That's where we get into arguments and wars. The reason why it's hard to say sorry. It is because of pride. Now when we actually put a different standard upon who's right and who's wrong, the one who is actually humble, the one who actually can say sorry, the one who can actually let go of the ego for the sense of love. Because isn't what love is all about. Being selfless egoless not really concerning about yourself, but being more concerned about others. There is actually where we can overcome. That resistance to saying sorry. That resistance to actually admitting that sometimes we're not always right. You know, sometimes people challenge you. Sometimes I can even challenge you about your religion, about your views. Can you ever say yes? You're right and I'm wrong. In something which I've often noticed. I think I mentioned this in the in my little journal or book about insights. No one can ever think they're wrong. It's impossible. Because if you think you're wrong, you think you're right about that. We always think we're right. The only thing we can say is we think we were wrong. But you ever noticed that? Whatever you think, whatever you say. You naturally know that. That's right. How many times has that been forced? How many times have you made mistakes in my job? I've made mistakes so many times. It's been good fun sometimes making mistakes as a monk. I remember this because I did a funeral service today. I forgot to. Some was going to give us a talk. And I say something about the person who just died. I was just wrapping up about to say, go say I haven't said anything. Yes. I remember another occasion I was doing a funeral for. Oh, an elderly street anchor man who died. And during the funeral service, I would say. And so-and-so. It's such a great shame that you've lost your your mother and your grandmother. And she happened to be there. The server say, I'm not dead yet. It's my husband. But. That changed the whole flow of the funeral service. Now. Another time when I was doing a marriage ceremony. Doing a marriage ceremony. And this. This young girl came in with this old, uh, Australian man and quite, quite naturally, queen, quite innocent as a monk. I said, oh, is that your new father in law? He said, no, I'm her husband. But unfortunately her daughter was there and said, but you're old enough to be your father in law, she said, and saved me. But sometimes we make a mistake and make a mistake. Isn't it much better to say just sorry. And I actually have this ego and this thing that we're someone who's never makes mistakes. One of the great things about spiritual life is that being able to make mistakes and not always having to be right. So when we make a mistake, we say, oh yeah, I made a mistake. Well to be able to say, I don't know. You've got me there. Now that's actually a sign of like, freedom being free to be human. Being free to be fallible. And that takes a lot of abandoning of your ego. Bigger egos never want to be wrong. And because of that, because we never want to be wrong. We actually because of that power of ego pride, we actually concoct life to suit ourselves. This is actually the heart of this talk. This is actually the psychology of how we make our views. We want to be right so much. Do we actually bend our perception, our thoughts, to fit our views? We see what we want to see. We hear what we want to hear. How many times have you been talking to somebody and you ask them afterwards? And you think they haven't been listening? They have been listening. But I've only been listening to what they want to hear. You talk to your dog or your cat and all they want to hear is food. So we actually we filter so much about what we want to hear. We want to see what we want to feel. We bend and filter our perceptions. Anything which we don't want to hear, we won't hear healthily. We don't want to see. We won't see. So let's see where dogma comes from. Why there are so many different religions with different ideas? Because too many of us. We only want to hear what we want to hear, what fits our data, what fits our views. We only want to see. We only want to know. What we like to know. That's why I was having an argument with somebody just a little earlier about aliens. Do you believe in aliens? If not, why not? There could be a few in the audience this evening. Because why not? Because for many people, especially if you are scientists say that's rubbish. If it doesn't exist, it can't exist. You see, you're in denial. I don't know, it just seems like that. It's the way we form our views. The way we actually form our opinions. We start off with some sort of worldview and that actually from that view, that's how we bend our perceptions. For example, that somebody who is like a romantic. Isn't love wonderful? Have you been to a marriage ceremony and seen this wonderful young couple? See their glittering eyes just full of hope and full of love? Oh isn't that. Oh, isn't that just a wonderful. And try my best. Please give me support. Because. And because a couple of days ago talk about making mistakes. There's an old thread I hadn't seen for about ten years is a ceremony last Wednesday. And I knew that he'd been divorced from his wife, because I remember his wife and his children from a long time ago. And I was trying to be kind to him. And I said, yeah, you know, some marriage is just so much suffering. You know, it's it's dukkha. That's a Buddhist word for duka. You're much better off without your wife not being married anymore. I did realize that you just got remarried earlier. You said that's my new wife. She gave me a really dirty look. Perfect. But what about something like that? Why do people romantic? You see, because we a lot of the times that we perceive what we want to perceive. We think what we want to think. It's all about wishful thinking or it's opposite denial. I always. This is one of my lovely stories about when you do fall in love. You all know this one. Where do people go to fall in love? They never come to the Buddhist center. This is a wrong time because monks are very unromantic. If you want to fall in love, you go out to a nightclub. Or a nice romantic dinner with candlelight. Or go like a walk on the esplanade under the moonlight. Then it's a full moon night. Now, isn't that romantic? Why do people fall in love in such places? Because it's so dark, you can't see what you're falling in love with. No I'd ever fall in love with the middle of the day. And if they turned up the lights in the nightclub, you probably would stop dancing with that person. But why is that? We want that to happen because it's fantasy. We want to feel like that, and therefore we're willing to go along with the delusion. Why is it all the movies they all stop when, after a long struggle, they managed to finally fall in love? And live happily ever after. Ha ha ha! We don't want to see the sequel, do we? Now you can understand what wishful thinking is all about. Why is it that people don't like going to the cemeteries or the funerals? It's wishful thinking. I'm not gonna die. We're gonna die. They're gonna die. I love going to somebody. I love going to Buddhist funerals. Because that's one less disciple I have to worry about. I like it easy life. I got rid of another one today. Who's ready for battle? The. So our view is that if it is, where do they all come from? This is a lot of wishful thinking in their. We want to avoid all the pain and suffering. We don't want to go out, get old. We don't want us to die. We want to fall in love. You want life to be happy. One life to be wonderful. Now that's where a lot of views come from. Wishful thinking and denial. So if we have a religion, if I start a religion that you, if you meditate, you will live forever. You'll never get old. And if you do this chanting that you will meet your most wonderful partner in life. Oh, if you haven't already met them or what you have already will become even more beautiful. More wonderful. I can change your partner into being your ideal man. Your ideal woman. Now, if I had a religion like that, you'd really love to come again and again and again. Because wishful thinking. But unfortunately in Buddhism we tell it as it is. Your partner is going to get older and more smelly. No, that's. You're going to have arguments because that's the nature of things. It was true in it. But the point is that people don't want to hear the truth, do they? Now, this is one of the things that sometimes you've got to be very careful, have to be honest. Religion should be truths. And truth actually rather be wishful thinking should lead to a greater sense of peace and harmony. He said we are understanding, are you? This is actually our life and this is me. This is my experience because truth should be according to experience, not just for just not just race and not just thinking, but thinking. Reason with experience all coming together. So yeah, this is truth. And there's a lot of peace which comes from understanding. Yeah, this is what a marriage is like. We know that there's going to be difficulties and now is going to be trouble. There's no there's ways we can actually deal with that trouble. We actually being realistic, being honest. We know about our bodies the way it does go out the way it does not get sick, the way we are going to leave this world and as much sooner than you expect. This round this year. I'm 53. I way over half way. I only got a short time left now. My goodness. How many of you are much older than that? So why can't we be honest and upfront about this? And it makes you much more peaceful. It brings you more freedom. It's one. There's a friend of mine, or rather, a friend of a friend. He was actually this great athlete. He was like a long distance runner and was winning everything. And people were thinking, he's going to go up to the. You know, actually the international standard. You know, in the Olympic Games. And then he suddenly started losing. And we asked him why. He said. I finally realized I didn't have to win anymore. He said. Such a lot of torture, having to win, having always to come first. When he got rid of that pride. His life was much more peaceful. He never became an Olympian, but he was a much, much more peaceful, relaxed, free human being. How much of our lack of freedom comes from these ideas and views, and where do they come from? Who put them inside of us? Is conditioning. You know, I really feel for, like, girls growing up. They have to be, you know, to so beautiful. Otherwise, they feel like they're failures. Not only that, the stuff they have to put on their face, the clothes they have to wear. I remember a couple of years ago when the, the the what's it called? The have the low trousers or skirts and the high tank tops whatever. These have this big, um, swathe of vacant flesh. And with nothing covering it. I remember the first time I saw that I was in Melbourne and there was a very, very cold city. And I saw these poor young girls going around the snow. As this is, it's almost going blue. Just this. And I feel oh so sorry for you. Why do you have to do that? I had so much compassion. We felt like stopping the car and putting the robe around you to keep them warm. And the man that is saved is what you have to do to. I was joking to that today because we're doing a lot of work at our monastery, getting it ready for the arrange retreat and free day tomorrow. I know it's on so on Sunday, and I always remember the time when I was out. We used to have these busy bees at our monastery. And you get all these, like, men coming at you to help, you know, doing some really hard work. We'd always make sure we get some of the Thai girls to come as well. And get them to stand next to the men when they were digging. Because I'd always take much, much harder when it was a pretty woman standing next door. This is exploitation. We knew that. But one of the things about being a monk. But I know psychologists have. We know how these things work so you can make use of them. So what is all this work at these men? Because they like to impress the girl. This is the nature. So. So that's actually how we built our monastery. Me. But when you actually know how conditioning works in psychology works as we know what all is, a lot of these views and ideas come from. It is conditioning, that's all. Okay if those conditionings work for your peace, happiness and freedom. But sometimes when the conditioning, when the ideas and the views lead to opposite ways, when they lead to thinking that, you know, if you support somebody else up, then you go up to heaven. Well, when they sort of believe that, you know, to convert other people, is that the highest happiness or whatever, you know, something's going wrong. They're a correct view. Truth. Who is right has to be someone who creates peace, harmony, freedom in the world. For all of those who go to religious places. Never trust anybody who wants more disciples. Who wants you to join? They must be absolutely crazy. The more disciples you have. The more times of an evening somebody brings you up at an hour. I'm in trouble at Jam Brown. So I had argument from going crazy. I didn't want to commit suicide. Agent Brown rice. Well, sometimes it is true. Sometimes my tea is cold before I can actually start to drink it. So for the last 20 years I've been trying to get rid of disciples. A good. A good teacher is always one who wants to get rid of you. It's on it. That's what you do at school? At university. Even a good doctor there was to get you out of the surgery. A good psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist was there for you so you don't have to come back again. It's a good month. Wants to get rid of you. I've been trying for so many years. I must be a terrible teacher because you keep coming back up with you every. Every Friday. This. But you say it's freedom and peace and truth. Those are the things which is really right. Anything which is like trying to grab you and keep you. There's something wrong. Then you feel there's something wrong there. Trust those instincts. Because those instincts are very, very often your best safeguard. So you know what's right if it gives you freedom, peace and happiness. And one of the reasons this place has become very successful is because no one needs to come here. We don't bring you up on a Friday night and say, I didn't see you here last week, but where have you been? We don't take your names. We don't give you curses in case you don't come. Although I threaten that a few times. Only for a joke. I. There's so. Because of that, that sort of people feel that it's a freedom. They're. When it's not that freedom, there'll be the force of the force coming from your own. What you want to believe or you don't want to believe, or the force coming from what you're pushed on onto you, what you're compelled to believe. And that's not freedom. What's right has to come from experience, from truths, from clear seeing, from free seeing. So I usually give not only just the, uh, the criteria that it has to lead to peace, to freedom, to happiness, to be truce. But it also has to stand up to clear seeing, clear, um, understanding, clear viewing. And by clear viewing, I mean when you take away all your desires and all your fears. All your wants and not wants. So truth has to stand up to clear scene so you're not seeing what you want to see. You're not denying what you don't want to see, but you're courageous in actually seeing what's really there. Sometimes it takes encouragement from somebody else. That's what encouragement is. Somebody else sits up here and gives you courage to be truthful to yourself, to your life, to who you are. To be at peace with yourself, with who you are and your life and this life. And that sort of encouragement and that courage is nothing else than the old wonderful word of love. To open a door of your heart to life. To yourself and to the truth of this moment, instead of wanting it to be different. Allowing this to be. Allowing you to be. Allowing your loved ones to be even today, allowing your loved ones to die. Now that is a truce, which is a liberating, a freeing truce. A love which attaches, which controls is always coming from a sense of not seeing correctly. Not seeing truly. Can you really control your own body and your own life and your own deaths? It's great to think that we can choose the time we die. But that's not really the case. It's just like being in a boat and someone says, your time's up, coming, and you're never ready. We're never really ready to die. It is sneaks up on us and catches us for most of people, unawares, unready with unfinished business. But instead of saying that we can have this beautiful sense of being at peace with life, working with life. Begin with the life rather than always trying to be against it. That is where we have the freedom. That is where we have the happiness we can allow arguments to be. We can enjoy them. We can allow sometimes the pains of sickness to be. We can make use of them. And whenever there's a problem, the trouble. You know, this family, which I've said here many times. Stepping in the dog poo. We allow even the dog poo of life to be. Because that is very important. What else you expect the dog to do? Where else? Where else can he go? So sometimes by the law of nature, you know, you step at it from time to time. But we always remember that simply whenever you step in the dog poo. We'll always take you back to your garden and dig it into your garden, under your mango tree. And so when your mango has its fruits, when you're tasting the delicious mangoes, always remember where that sweet taste came from. They came from the doctor because there is lots of dog poo in life. As many of you know. You've had lots of tragedies already in your life. Things which you'd rather not happen. No deaths of loved ones. Things gone wrong. Rubber had a great tragedy of my life. Was about 10 or 11 years ago, when the previous Abbott left. And I had to be the Abbott displaced. Oh, that was a lot of talk. Had to deal with. They're always saying this. There's a matter what you've got in life. If it's real truth, if you've got it right. Whose right is whether you can make use of that. Where you can embrace it, whether instead of actually allowing it to sort of. Create misery, depression, upsetting your life. You can actually make use of it and grow from it. That's why all pain is called growing pain. Which is what pain actually is. It's there for us to grow and become better people. Yeah, it's tough at the time. Dog poo smells, but the right view, the correct view. What is really is, is something which will say, yeah, dog poo is, pain is, but we can actually make use of it and become better people as a result at a funeral service. Yeah. It's painful to actually to lose someone you've known for so long. But that's growing pains. He will teach you to appreciate the ones you are with even more. When you know that later one day will go there. People ask me about that very often. The truth of things in Buddhism. What happens when you die? I usually give the answer. You go to 1 or 2 places when you die. Fremantle or Calcutta. Could be true. I bet there's a third place map in a row. So you've got three places to go now when you die. The point. The point is, is being honest or being truthful. And if he really honest and truthful, if it really is truth, if it's really right, it creates that peace and harmony and gives you something to work with in life. So when we're actually talking about truth, right, religion or whatever, it's not what's hidden theories and books, which is not to be which can't be really used. It's not something which people argue with. That's why when somebody says Buddhism is this and it doesn't agree with that, and they create arguments and trouble, then they're missing the point somewhere. One of the sayings of the Buddha is said, I never argue with the world. The world argues with me, he says, but I don't argue back with the world. Very powerful statement said by the Buddha. What does that actually mean? I think I've explained much of what it meant in his talk this evening. How the world can argue with you. But you don't argue with the world. There's a man whose fault it is. You're the one. I'm sorry. I don't want to make your life any worse or harm you. I forgive. I want to be your friend. You say that forgiveness eventually to life. Life. I forgive you for taking away my loved one in death. Fly for I forgive you. Forgive me. Cancer. Life. I forgive you for making me at the. Because you don't have to give a life. You are arguing about life and arguing with life all the time. Where does that leave you? Can you really argue with life and get angry at life? So a lot of people do. And that's called grief guilt. And now the anger they have to other people wars. So when we actually can sort of be truthful to life, truthful to ourselves. Then you will find at least thusly to peace and harmony. Okay. You may be sick. Okay? You may not be so intelligent. You may not be so, uh, so beautiful as the next person who may or may not be so rich. You may not be such a good speaker. You may not be such a good man. But hang on, that's who you are. So why not? You've become peace with who you are. Strange thing happens when we become peace with who we are. When we say forgiveness to life. We say life. The door of my heart is open to you as you are. We becoming realistic with that realism? The peace comes, the freedom comes, and strangely, growth comes. We do become better people with that degree of correct view, because we don't get so angry. We don't get grieving, we don't get upset, we don't sort of want things which life can never give us. I'll be reminded today about a picture which I have of my teacher adventure in my room at serpentine. It's one of my favorite pictures of my teacher because he's imitating this, um, image. This statue in a monastery in Thailand with the caption underneath. Joy at last to know there's no happiness in the world. As well as Zen like saying joy at last to know there's no happiness in the world. What it really means is not there's no happiness, but there's no permanent happiness. Sometimes you're having a good day. Sometimes it doesn't go so well. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it shines. Sometimes things go wonderfully well. Sometimes everything goes wrong. Welcome to light. Joy at last. To be at peace with this. Joy at last to have that view. But this is the way of our world. We do have arguments, but we can always say so. We can be at peace. We can have that view which accepts life as it is. Understanding that everything has its place just like that. Similarly, I gave recently about our monastery at serpentine. I've seen so much growth in that forest over 21 years, but there's still many dead trees. When I first moved there, I wanted to cut down all those dead trees until I was told, quite correctly, that those dead trees will give nests for the birds and for the possums live in the hollows of those trees. Each one of those dead trees is important for the ecology of a forest. Not only that, but the ants, the white ants. Everything in that forest has a purpose. It is very necessary to be there. Even the flies in November are very important. I realized that much of the things which I first of all, I didn't like, which I wanted to cut down and destroy. I realized how important they all were. Just as in a forest. So you. There's many things in yourself which you maybe want to cut down and destroy because you find them irritating. But with the right view of correctness, you realize that much of that is very important. You may not realize it now, but some of the things which have gone wrong in your life as some of the greatest blessings, some of the things which you don't like in yourself are part of you. Just like not liking those dead trees. They are important part of the ecology of you. Now I can accept that forest as it is. Allow it to grow in its own natural way. And it's a beautiful forest now. There are many birds. There are many possums and other animals who live in those trees. In the same way you can be at peace with yourself. All those things you trying to get rid of. Why? Although seeing parts of life you say rather shouldn't happen. Why? Can we change our view to be one which creates more peace, more freedom, more harmony, harmony with others, harmony with life and harmony with ourselves. Peace, love and all my heart. Open to life. All of life. The sicknesses, the pain. And the death, the joy and the arguments. The differences of opinion. Can we embrace all of that then? You're right. So that's what we mean by who's right and who's wrong. We use our experience of life. Use our reason that which leads to peace, to truth, to freedom. When we follow those criteria, then we know who's right. So there is a talk for this evening. Who's right? Thank. So any questions or arguments about this evening's talk? Yeah. Gone. Okay. If you've got someone like that, it's best to run away. A tip. 9s Because that will lead to peace. It's a freedom. It's very rare today that, you know, someone teaches them a little lesson and they learn themselves. A lot of that is just because of fear, fear themselves. Now there are too many people that control freaks. And we control it just weird ways. And sometimes because we can't really, you know, just be ourselves, just be bully artists or we just know narcissistic, narcissistic, whatever it is. I mean, it's again, it's all just control freaks. If you want to know the essence of Buddhism, it's actually changed from being a control freak to being free. Instead of controlling ourselves and controlling others with our life to be with free, we can actually blend into things. We can disappear. Our ego disappears into the blending of nature. Emails away. That's a wonderful thing to do. So it aims to bully anybody. The common sense signal is running through a body. Okay. Next question. Start time for questions. Have to wait three months for your next question. Okay. So okay. Go on. Are your views, the results of your car? In a sense, yes, because a calm is like our conditioning. And we actually recreate our views from our conditioning. And the thing is that we can see through that understanding, the way we condition our views, we can actually deconditioning we can free them. Which is a great, um. A wonderful truth that freedom is actually possible. But, you know, we can actually overcome. We can let go of that karma, which makes us always think in a certain way or act in a certain way. So I said last week, why is it that many of you always sit in the same place when you come here? Don't look at me because I've got no choice. I have to sit up here. But we can actually change. You know. Why do you sit there? Why do you come here? We could actually change. And it's a mindfulness and the opening of our minds makes us actually change. We can free ourselves. And for many people, their life is a more of a freeing. Seeing some of the the condition views and freeing them. So not always doing things the same old way. Why did you ask that question? Why do you put your hair like that? Why do you wear that type of clothes? Listen to that type of music. Listen to that type of TV. Or eat that type of music. She would be like a monk who live on the wild side. To do things differently. Okay. Thank you for that question. I know it is too deep a question to answer fully, but I just said a few words and thank you. Okay, I think that's enough for this evening and the next couple of words. But those of you who want to listen to a little bit more, there are some talks which are going to be held on a Friday night from distinguished visitors to broaden your understanding about Buddhism by hearing the Dharma taught from people from different temples, different monasteries. So that's going to be happening on a Friday night. But if you really are hungry for one of our monks on, was it okay, say 14th? You're all invited to hear another talk for me, a special because in my book, lots coming soon in a temple near you. Okay, so I just want to give the rest of the announcements.

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