December 02, 2022


Why is Buddhism Growing? | Ajahn Brahm

Why is Buddhism Growing? | Ajahn Brahm
Ajahn Brahm Podcast
Why is Buddhism Growing? | Ajahn Brahm

Dec 02 2022 | 00:57:04


Show Notes

Meditation is a way to let go of things that are keeping you from getting to know yourself better, like your emotions and your thoughts. Meditation makes you happy because it leads to wisdom and peace. This is why Buddhism is spreading in the world: because it is a truth that resonates with people on many levels. Buddhism is a way to free yourself from the suffering of this world. It’s a path to liberation. Buddhism is growing due to its teaching that comes from people’s experiences, rather than scriptures or theories. Buddhism is growing in the world because it offers a happiness which surpasses this world. It’s these beautiful things, the ending of things, the ending of suffering, the ending of problems, the freedom in the heart, the freedom in the mind, the bliss and the joy which make it so popular.

This dhamma talk was originally recorded on cassette tape on 22nd June 2001. It has now been remastered and published by the Everyday Dhamma Network, and will be of interest to his many fans.

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


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Episode Transcript

AB20010622_WhyIsBuddhismGrowing Summary Meditation is a way to let go of things that are keeping you from getting to know yourself better, like your emotions and your thoughts. Meditation makes you happy because it leads to wisdom and peace. This is why Buddhism is spreading in the world: because it is a truth that resonates with people on many levels. Buddhism is a way to free yourself from the suffering of this world. It's a path to liberation. Buddhism is growing due to its teaching that comes from people's experiences, rather than scriptures or theories. Buddhism is growing in the world because it offers a happiness which surpasses this world. It's these beautiful things, the ending of things, the ending of suffering, the ending of problems, the freedom in the heart, the freedom in the mind, the bliss and the joy which make it so popular. Transcription U1 0:03 Okay, people coming in. Please come in. It's usual that when I come here on a Friday night, I haven't got a clue what I'm going to talk about. And even meditating don't know what I'm going to talk about. During the meditation, a thought came up and again, it's just because of something which happened just before I came in here. And somebody asked me that. They were asked to give a talk in a month's time at a philosophy group and about why The Buddhism is the fastest growing religion in so many parts of the world. And the thought came up in the meditation that what a wonderful thing to talk about this evening. Because last week many of you went along to St. George's Cathedral to hear me break a 2000 year old tradition and be the first non Christian to give the sermon at the Eucharist. And again, I felt very inspired and I saw so many other people being inspired there and was contemplating afterwards, where was all that wonderful energy coming from? And part of that was coming from the marvelous accolade given to Buddhism by the Anglican church, because it was us, it was the Buddhist who were asked to be the first person, first people to give the talk. And just in the 18 1718 years I've been in Perth, it's amazing to see just how far the Buddhism has come in all those years and just to see the effect it's had on so many people. And again, not just the people who come to this place, but even on the Anglicans and the Catholics. I may have mentioned to you here that we have a marvelous relationship with the Catholic monks at the new nurses monastery. They come to visit us once a year. We go to visit them once a year. And about a year ago when they came to visit one of the Thai supporters whose husband works for the Sunday Times, when he got to know about it, he brought his camera along and also a reporter. And the reporter didn't couldn't get a word in edgewise because as soon as we met each other, the monks from the Catholic monks and the Buddhist monks were talking so much and I heard her say she told me afterwards she couldn't believe this. She said, how come you guys get on so well? And it was a wonderful thing to see that people who are practicing their religions in a very deep way felt so much in common. And I think one of the reasons why there was a beautiful feeling in St. George's Cathedral last Sunday was also the was coming not from the theories of the two great religions, but was coming from the feelings in people's hearts. And I gave that talk last Sunday. I was talking from my heart. I hadn't planned a script and I wasn't quoting from the scriptures. Although that some of those things I said could well have been said in a different way by the Buddha. What you are talking about is you're talking from the heart, from experience. I think that's one of the reasons why the Buddhism has grown so well throughout the world. One of our monks is an American monk who's spending six months with us. He was telling me that in United States now that Buddhism accounts for about 6% of the population, which is a huge amount considering that it's only just recently arrived in that country and I don't know how much proportion it is in Europe. I'm interested to find out what's going to happen with the census in Australia in August but I know that this time we've got our own box rather we're not other anymore so we got a box now. So those people who can't spell Buddhist, you don't have to be embarrassed, you just have to tick a box. Now for you. So I often contemplate actually, not only that, also in Singapore I found out in an article that Buddhism is last 20 years has gone up in 28%, about 43% of the population. Huge increase, even though it hasn't been told very much in the newspapers, because Buddhists aren't into marketing. So really we should sort of celebrate just the growth. But why is this actually happening? And I think from the very beginning of Buddhism, it's always been teaching, which hasn't been so much based on the written word, on scriptures. It's always been teachings which have been coming coming from people's experience, from people's hearts. It's always been centered on the experiences of meditation. I think that gives it a sense of, like, truth, a sense of something which people can really relate to. Because when we talk about truth, I mean this big word which many people spend hours debating and arguing over. Ruth cannot lie in any book. I think it was actually Voltaire, the French philosopher. He once said that it's much more likely that if there is a God that he would be the author of Human Reason rather than any book. Human Intelligence. That's really the Bible. That's really the scriptures? The intelligence was there in your heart to be seen to be known. That's one of the other things which struck me on last Sunday night's service that most people actually felt that this was good. There was something wonderful happening here, that people should work together. They should come together. There's something which, when it says it in the books or it doesn't say it in the books, it feels so true. Why does it feel so true? Because you don't just check it in the books to say whether it's right or whether it's wrong. You check it in your heart. The summing inside of you knows this is right, this is good. And it's one of those parts of being a human being that is something inside of us, if we can only develop it, which recognizes good. Philosophers can sort of start to debate whether good exists or not or whether it's just something which comes from social conditioning or genetically in bread. But no, I think people can recognize the feeling in the heart which is good. In Buddhism, we call that the wholesome something which is actually real. And it always comes from a sense of selflessness, a sense of non argument, not setting one person or one party against another person or another party. That's why one of the guiding principles which I've carried around with me as a mine for all these years to know actually what is even Buddhism, what is truth. This was like I'm quoting scriptures now. But this actually obviously comes from the heart of a Buddha. And this is why I recognize this as being something really amazing and wonderful when it was in two places when the first nun, the Buddha's stepmother Mahapatrapati was ordained and asked for were teaching and also when this Avocad called upali was a very poor man. He was actually a servant of barber but he became a monk. He actually became the expert on VINEYA on the vineyard monk's rules because he was a barber before he became expert at splitting hairs and all his fine rules. Sorry about that joke gets worse and worse, isn't it? But please forgive me. And he was also given his teaching told him he said look, you can know what is Buddhism, what is dumba, what is truth. If it leads to like the ending of craving, if it leaves leads to the peace of the mind. It's a wonderful word up ASMR summer means like evenness OPA means like intense, evenness levelness stillness of mind. If it leads to the ending of things, if it leads to nirvana, if it leads to enlightenment he said you can know that that is the truth, that that is dumb. And this was actually powerful for me because when I used to read different explanations of even what Buddhism was, we got these different types of Buddhism. We got Zen Buddhism, we got Mahayana Buddhism, we've got this type of Buddhism, Terravada Buddhism, all these different types of Buddhism, which is even the right Buddhism, which is the right Christianity, which is the right truth that's giving the answer. What leads to these beautiful things. That is truth. And you can find that truth inside of oneself. That's why a long time ago I'm not sure, I probably got it from somewhere else, but they said, that the truth. It's like the air, but no one owns it. Some sort of scam. Artists try and sell the bottles of air. I think people actually done that, you know, because it's so much pollution in this. You can actually buy a bottle of air for Budding, the animal monastery, holy air. So even holy water as well, people even actually we make this holy water, which we bless. And I was making this there's a lady here some years ago. She was Chinese Thai lady, and she was a bit sick, so I didn't mind making her bucket fulls. Every Saturday she actually come with a bucket of water, and I sort of blessed, and her whole bucket fall. And I thought, well, she's a bit sick and she might need it. And a few days later, I got this telephone call from this Chinese man who ran me at the monastery and said, can I get hold of some holy water for you from you? I said, what are you talking about? He said, well, look, I've been getting it from this one lady, but she charges too much. I thought I cut out the middle man and go to the source. I didn't know. I thought she was just taking this hardy water. It's actually getting a whole bucket and bottling it. And it to my friends, she's making a poor tube. I said browse. Holy water. 8s Well, I remember Ajan Charles holy water because his once there is a junkyard in Australia we call him like a Larry King because he would sort of sometimes do some really with and strange things and sometimes they really push the envelope sometimes really on the edge. A Thai general came and saw him once now in Asian countries. This was about 15 years ago. The military was politically very powerful and he came to see a JunctionA, wanted a blessing. He wanted some holy water. Ajiancha never had any. So I said Come over here. And this man bowed his head and a junkie spat on him and rubbed in holy water. And I thought you can't do that to a general. But he did. That's holy water for you. Anyhow Buddhist is spreading in the world not because of holy water, because the truth is like the air. No one owns it. No one can bottle it and sell it. It's there to be breathed. Next. That's why we can't charge for people coming to listen to this. Isn't it the case that if I say anything which is true, which inspires you, isn't it the case only some of you already know? You know all of this, but you just need to be reminded of it, just be pointed out to you, to be encouraged to believe in your heart what you know inside, rather than believe what you've been told or what you think you should do. Or is this right, is this wrong? You should know that. So what actually Buddhism, one of the reasons why it's growing so fast in European countries is that it is a truth. It is resonating with people because it's coming from the heart, talking to the heart. It's not from a book to you. And because of that, it's reflecting a truth which we each know inside of ourselves. And that truth works on many different levels. First of all, the level comes of, like, just mindfulness, awareness, weakness. What mindfulness is letting go of all of these thoughts and actually seeing clearly. That's why the meditation technique which we teach here, and this is something which we refined down through many years of my own practice, and then refining it down, and then at last seeing that was actually how the Buddha taught things like the Anaphanasatisuta, but refining it down, because this is a native of the mind. If you're going to let go of things, they have to be let go of one by one in the right order. In the same way, if you get a new washing machine, you got to sort of follow the instructions one by one in order. If you don't follow those instructions and you turn it on before, it's always going to go bang. You're going to make a mess of it. But if you follow the instructions, instructions are there because that's the way it works. So this is just how you do these things. And the same with this meditation. The first two stages of letting go of the past and the future and becoming silent. That's how to be mindful, to be alert. That's how to start knowing what the truth is. This is one of the reasons why Buddhism is powerful, because it teaches people how to know. It doesn't teach you what to know. And people are fed up basically being told what to believe. They're fed up with being told what to do. They want to know for themselves. There's this great independence of spirit which is growing in this world. We want not so much be told what to do or what is right. We want to know why. Want to know how to find out. Like modern education now, it's not teaching you facts anymore. It's teaching you how to access information, how to find out for yourself. It's teaching you learning skills. That's what Buddhism does. It teaches you knowing skills, ways of finding out the truth. And so when you start teaching like this and you give the ways of finding out the truth and people do this, they find out the truth for themselves. The truth does not lie anymore with the books or with the religious preachers, with the monks or the vicars or the priests is given out and becomes people's individual property. So you have your truth. And the way that truth, which everybody finds out for themselves, the way that truth comes together so that it's not my truth and your truth are diametrically opposed. It becomes the same truth because it's seen all oneself in the depths of one's heart, your heart bid. Everyone else's heart is the same. Some years ago. One of our couple of our supporters are not here this evening, so I don't mind talking about this. They were traveling around Australia in a caravan, I think they got to Brisbane. They hadn't heard a good Darma talk for a long time, so they got a long way to Bisbut. So they opened up a telephone book under Beef of Buddhist and sort of rang up the first Buddhist center they could find, then had to be a singer. And they said, there's any talks on this evening? They want to listen to a bit of meditation to do a talk. And the fellow said, what type of Buddhism do you follow? And they said, Terravada. And this guy on the end of the line said, we're not into that ethnic Buddhism, and hang the phone up. That's really crazy, isn't it? Because Zen Buddhism is just so Japanese. It's ridiculous. Look at this. Is this ethnic Buddhism? What type of ethnic Buddhism is it? Is it English Buddhism? Because I came from London. Or Thai Buddhism because I trained in Thailand. I was Australian Buddhism. So I've been in Australia for so long. Exactly. What? I'm really confused, actually. Who I am. It's straight. Every time I go back to England, I feel like I'm coming home. And from England, I usually on the way back, usually go visit Thailand. And when I arrive in Thailand, it's amazing. I feel like I'm coming home. And then after a couple of weeks there, I go on a plane and ride at Perth Airport. I'm home again. Sometimes even in Sri Lanka as well. If you Sri Lanka, people looking at me in Sri Lanka and all the spoons, I feel at home there. I'm really confused. This is not ethnic Buddhism, is it? Look at all the people in this room here. So that's it. But this is one of the beauties of Buddhism. It's not ethnic. It's not gender specific. It's not age specific either. It's minds specific, heart specific. It's not even species specific, because in Buddhism we have laughing kindness towards all beings. We have speciesism these days. Human beings and animals are somehow different. These wonderful animals in this monastery, just this morning, just going out for lunch and a little Cookabout just standing on the rating, and he just looked at me just to make sure I didn't bump into him. But seeing as I was missing in five inch, he didn't move. It's marvelous to see these wild animals. And they are wild. Just being friendly to the wild monks is wild, aren't we? And the reason why the truth resonates is because you've got something inside a human being we call mind. In Buddhism, it's called chitta, which, whether you're a human being, male, female, from whatever country, is exactly the same. Your mind, my mind is no different. Gender, yes. Culture, yes. Age, yes. But something inside of us is the same. And that's actually where you get through all these differences. That's why the chart, the teacher, he couldn't speak hardly any English at all. The only word of English. He went to visit England twice. And after the second time, when he came back, the only word of English which he repeated to us was cup of tea. That's true. He could have said cup of tea. He didn't know exactly what it meant. But that's all that they ever said in England. That's a word he came back with cup of tea. But he could teach Westerners. And the reason was he was teaching from the mind. His mind, our minds were the same. Completely different cultures. There's something inside there which he saw, which we knew he saw, and he reflected it back on us. And this is one of the reasons why Buddhism is powerful. Because it's teaching the mind that which is common and it's teaching the way to know that which is common between all not human beings, all beings. Ghosts. Davis heavenly beings. A whole lot. That's why ones are the best ghostbusters. That's true. I mean, even in countries with many different types of religions sometimes. That's the story of the chief Mike in Ko in Malaysia. But I can't talk on ghosts at his temple. I was visiting there. It was advertised. I jumped on giving a talk on ghosts. Never seen so many people came to listen to the talk, actually staring through the windows, trying to listen because they like ghost stories. Anyway, he told this ghost story that in Klau haunted house and it's multicultural. They got the Muslims in couldn't move it. The Christians in couldn't move it. The towers couldn't move it. They got him him in it went, Great ghostbusters monks. But then what happened afterwards? A few days after the family came back, they're just so happy. All the hauntings and the stuff had gone away from the house. But the neighbors came a few days later because they were getting the hauntings. He just moved the ghost next door, so you have to do charging and all the houses around to move him further away. But why is it that Buddhist monks and nuns can do such things? Because even the mind of a ghost, the mind of a heavenly being, the mind of a human being and animals is something which is the same. And the reason you can do this is because when you start your meditation, when you get deep into meditation, the whole point of this meditation is letting go of the body, letting go of your femininity, your masculinity, letting go of your Asians or Europeanness letting go of your age or your youth and coming to that which is beyond our body, our mind. That's why when you meditate you heard me say this before you had to let go of all sight or sound, smell, taste, touch and all the thoughts about that world. So it completely disappears. The body and what I call the echoes of the body body, the thoughts about the body completely disappeared. Now, sometimes people think, well, there's nothing left. You try that and see what's left. What you'll find is this beautiful blissful. What the Buddha called radiant mind. This is what we do in meditation. That's why the monks and the nuns, some of you already bliss out. The lady who came to our monastery just a few days ago, a Thai lady. She started getting into a meditation and getting some help. She said she had the most happiest experience her life in our meditation. I was so happy because she's been bringing food for the monks for so long. And she's done all the generosity bit and keeping the precepts. And now she started she's retired. Her husband's retired. Now she's starting doing the meditation. It's marvelous to see the smile on their face. And people can say those sorts of things, right? She look on their smile, open their heart to see whether just making it up or not. Because you know what it's like sometimes when your friend has gotten a deep meditation and say, well, I'm as good as they are. So we do tend to sort of try and keep up with the Joneses sort of thing. But anyway, she reminded me that years and years ago, I said, I felt so sad for people who were Buddhists but hadn't read about their meditation, hadn't even tasted, you know, what is possible in meditation tasted the beauty of the mind when it's released from the body. She started doing that. She said, Now, I realize what you've been talking about all these years, and this is one of the powerful reasons why Buddhism is taking off and will take off even further. Because not only does it lead you into understanding truth and giving you the freedom to experience that truth for yourself and being independent owners of your truth, It also leads you deep inside. And the deeper you go, the more happy you become. There's two parts of a spiritual life. It should make you a happier person, a more peaceful person, but also should take you closer to the truth, to understanding, to wisdom. What I found in my life as a monk, as a Buddhist, and what other people have found as well, is to work together. The wiser you become, the closer you get to wisdom, the more happy you become, the more you this out. You can tell a person's progress spiritually just by their smile, how happy they are. It's easy enough to be happy, as the old saying goes, when life goes along like I was, I say it's easy enough to be happy when life goes along like a song but a one worthwhile is the one who can smile when everything goes all wrong one of my favorite sakes when things go wrong this is where you can actually understand just the depth of your wisdom, your understanding. And the beautiful thing which I found about Buddhism, which obviously other people have found because one of the reasons why it grows is that wisdom, real truth leads to that peace, lead to that happiness inside the heart and is the happiness which lasts even if things go wrong. That's where you really test if you really understand what Buddhism is. Recently, when I was in Malaysia, in Penang, one of the people there was telling me that they're working in a hospice now with people dying of cancer. And he said I said, Look, I'm a Buddhist. But one of the reasons I'm a Buddhist because I was working in that hospice. And there were Christians, there were Muslims, there were Buddhists in there. He said, it was so clear to me that the Buddhists, they had the same cancers. They seem to experience less pain, they were more at peace, happier. He said it was very clear they weren't struggling and suffering so much. Even many years ago, I remember talking with a Catholic priest I got to know very well, and I used to go down to the prison in Bunbury and stay overnight with a Catholic priest down there. And one evening we were just talking just together, just, like, being very open about our beliefs and understanding experiences of our religion. And he said, When Buddhists die, do they suffer? Do they struggle? I said, well, actually, the few I've known as they're dying the last few hours, a few minutes, they've usually died very peacefully. And he actually really stood back and he said he'd been at peace for many years. He said, all the ones I've known have always struggled to the very last. They've been afraid and it's true, you know, that the Buddhists I've known died so peacefully it's easy enough to be happy when life goes along like a song the one worthwhile is the one who could smile when they're dying of cancer. I've seen people do that and it's inspiring. This shows it can be done and what it means it can be done. Wisdom is actually worth something. It's not just something you can argue with your mates about or you just discuss over a coffee table. It's not just something you write a book about, it's something which brings the bacon home. That's not really good. Put it seven, isn't it? It's something which actually gives the goods. That's what I mean to say. It works. And so. A person who actually starts to put these ideas of Buddhism into practice. They start to get their act together. They start to feel more peaceful, more happy, more at ease with life's problems. Whether they are in a relationship they can find, they can work in that relationship with greater peace and happiness. If they are single, they can be happy being single. If something goes wrong, they can be happy doing that. It gives you much more width to your life. Width means there's more things you can do rather than always having just to have it this way, one way only. What it does is actually gives you more opportunity to be wise, to be free. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why we call it truth. Because truth should really liberate you, should free you. That's why the truth of enlightenment is called liberations freedoms. Enlightenment is freeing you from the whole of Samsara but it frees you little by little. You know, that essential of freedom. That story which I told many years ago about the monk who went to Cacherina Prison and was talking to the prisoners there and after a while, sort of the prisoner starts to ask what it's like in a monastery? He started saying, in a monastery? Only one meal a day. That's terrible. They said, we get three in here. You sleep on the floor. That's disgusting. Don't they give you a bed? We don't have a TV, we don't have a radio. They can't do that to you. And the Christmas was so upset how the mind was being treated, not forgetting where they were. They told the mike and said, that's terrible. Why didn't you come in here and stay with us? But the point of the story was the difference between a monastery and a prison is because the monks want to be there. That's why they're free. The prisoners don't want to be there. That's why they're in jail. Freedom is when you're content, when you want to be here. The lack of freedom being in a jail, it doesn't depend on where you are in the world. Whether you're in cash arena or peppermint growth, whether you're in a hospital or playing soccer on a football pitch. Freedom is wanting to be here. Not wanting to be here is imprisonment. Beautiful definition of freedom, straight from the text of Buddhism. But what that actually shows is how often do we stop ourselves being free? In your relationship with your husband or your wife, If you don't want to be there, what's it feel like in your job? If you don't want to be there, what's it like in your body? You may have old age, aches, sicknesses or whatever. You don't want to be there, what's it like? You're in jail and the opposite is freedom. So how can you be free? Get another body, sort of get another wife, another husband, get another job. You know, that's hopeless. You might think you can get a better husband next time, but be careful compared to the one you know than the one you don't know. The point is that with wisdom, we can actually learn how to make do. We can learn and how to appreciate what's there, the good qualities we actually start to learn about this thing, which I keep going on about, the fault finding mind. So easy, isn't it? To find fault with things, criticize people as one of the things which, when I went to that church on last Sunday, I suspended my fault finding mind. I can very easily find faults with Christianity. I can easily find fault with my shadow and I can find faults with each one of you if I really wanted to. And I could find fault with myself. There's plenty there to find. But I decided to stop that instead of finding fault. See, all the positive things in that religion defined qualities in another human being. Even there's a person who came up as soon as the crazy man who came up. So when I started giving the talks, I was shouting that I was filthy or whatever and that Jesus wanted something else. Not when I was giving them or whatever he's saying, but it didn't really matter. I could see something good in that person as well. They had a point. And when you start to do this stop the fortifying, mind it's so easy to be at peace with people. It's so easy to be happy just with all the monks who stay with you. It's so easy to be at peace with anybody. Do you meet when you suspend this fortified mine? What are you doing actually? You're freeing yourself in prison? So fort fighting mind makes a bars of your jail. You can see that happens in your mind. See all the faults in the moment are not good enough. Or it's too hot, or it's too cold, or the carpet is too hard, or the cushion, it's not good enough. We should get better cushions in this place. Whatever it is, it's just so easy, but so hard to complain. It's the opposite. It's actually feeding yourself. It's good enough. What do you expect? This is why in the moment, as I was saying, all the problems, the troublemakers of the future and the past, the moment is fine. So when we actually start this meditation, we get freedom. And when you do a meditation which gives you freedom, you start to feel good. When you start to feel good, you get happiness. And you want to come again, again. And you realize you're onto something. You're onto something very profound and very deep. This path to liberation, to real freedom. So one of the reasons why Buddhism is so attractive in this world, because it's working by this beautiful method of freeing people, liberating people. This is one of the sayings of the Buddha. He said, just like the ocean, the sea, no matter where in the world you go, it always has one taste. Salty. Same way the dumber, the truth, always has one taste. The taste of freedom. The saying of the Buddha, what he was saying is it's a freedom which one feels if one meditates. It's a freedom which one feels if one even keeps precepts. This is one of the things in the world why to keep morals. And why should you sort of be moral in this world? What's? Why should you just get what you want? Because people don't believe in hell, in heaven anymore. A lot of people don't. But you see heaven and hell right now. So lack of freedom. That's what heaven and hell is. And you can see that sort of that freedom. Even just keeping rules and precepts as a monk, you keep so many rules and precepts heaps of them. It's not just if those of you read your books might think it's 227. They're just the main rules, the smaller rules, which we have to keep. No one actually can count them. There's too many of them. And all of those little rules, sometimes you think, that must be terrible. Why do you do that these days? Why don't you just know, let loose, let your hair down if I had any, and just be free. But on the inside of monastic life, being a monk for so many years, it's amazing just how much freedom you actually feel by keeping all these rules. I'm free from so many things. I'm free from worry. I'm free from fear. You're free from sort of being concerned about what your kids are up to, worrying about the wife. You're free from bills. You're free from when I go overseas. You have to worry about who's looking after the house. You're free from worrying about burglars. They go into my heart. They're going to have a big shock. You're free from so many worries. It's amazing just how much freedom you have. That sort of freedom comes from actually keeping presets, being moral. And people think that if you really want freedom in this world, you'd have no rules at all. Just do what you want. But that's not freedom. That is just being in the power of craving greed and hatred and fear, which is very often manipulated by corporations and governments. Who create your craving. Why you work so hard in this world? The big house or the big car, the corporation got you by the throat, the government. Why are you doing this? Why are you working so hard? Do you really need all of this? Sometimes you say, yeah, now I realize I don't really need all this. But why do you keep on trying to get it? Because there's something inside of us. We've been caught. We're not free at all. We're not free from craving. We're not free from fear. How often is it the newspapers and the media, they sort of create the hatred inside of us against the enemy, whatever that is. The media in the UK is terrible that way. They create all this fury about the pedophiles or whether it's somebody who's messed about or killed somebody. So much of that is media incited. And people buy into it. They're not free at all. They're like puppets. Are you a puppet or are you free? A lot of the time, if you keep research, making a stand, you are deciding to do this. That's why in Buddhism you don't actually tell people they have have to keep precepts. This is you don't get excommunicated by not keeping your precepts. It's not my role to judge. One of the first things which really inspired me when I became a monk in Thailand was I heard that the monks actually go to people's houses to do chanting and things like that. I heard that in the red light district of Bangkok, PAP Pong Road, one of the brothels there would once a year would clean up their shop and the workers there, the women there would dress up modestly and they'd invite the monks to give them a donna to make merry. And the monks wouldn't turn their nose up. We can't visit such and such a place. The monks would go, They weren't going to judge these ladies lifestyles whatever they did even it was to a prison you'd go there and you'd help you wouldn't judge. That's their business. You'd encourage, you point out but you would not judge or compel that's even known no matter who you are, no matter what you've done I can still be your friend whoever you are, even if I don't agree with you at all. As marvelous thing which I was taught as in Buddhism people like Ajian cha my teachers, my examples would just not judge you. You did the most stupid of things. You just laugh. You think were just enormously funny when I was feeling really guilty, his response was to laugh. It made me think in a different way the real freedom comes from keeping the precepts and not judging, not having a fault finding might. And that sort of idea of freedom and liberation was something which makes people want to keep rules, want to keep precepts, because they find it's fun, it's enjoyable, it's worthwhile, it has a point to it. This is what you'll find. Test it out for yourself. The great Buddhist principle of finding these things out for yourself. If you keep, say, five precepts in Buddhism or whatever other moral code which you have for yourself, the more you can refine it, the more freedom you feel, the more inner happiness you feel, the greater self esteem, the greater inner strength. It's a strange thing, but every time I made resolutions as a student give up things, I gave up eating meat, gave up drinking alcohol, every time I felt this enormous increase of inner strength, I made a decision. I go against what my friends were doing. I decided I wanted to do this. To me, it sounded right. It felt right because I made a stand like that. I felt free. Free from being a sheep and following other people. I made a decision, and also, I felt so much more power inside, so much more happiness. And this is my whole life. The more people want to get into this preset business, you become a preset junkie. The more you take, the more happiness you have. And it's true. It gives you freedom. And this is one of the reasons why Buddhism is growing in the world. Because it doesn't command that people keep precepts. It encourages, and it points out. And when people do it, they feel more happy. They've got more inner strengths. They're more trustworthy people. And because of that, you get so many advantages. Even just recently that we were setting the bill from the nuns monastery. Cooties because the nuns went out of monastery, we paid it from the monks monastery. And I found out that the builder had made a mistake. He undercharged us $540. So I pointed out out to him and said, look, we owe you $540. And he said, oh, yeah, you're right. No one else would do that. When you get the bill, you just moved less than you should pay. You just pay it. We don't do that because of that. He does extra work for us for free. This is actually what happens when you're honest. You get much more back. So this precepts are great for you. And this meditation gives you more and more happiness, more and more clarity. You're coming to know your mind, who you are. The closer you come to your mind, the more freedom you feel. You're free from your body now. It's like when you get going older you get it more and more ugly as you get older and older and older. If you're not free of your body, it's terrible getting ugly and ugly and ugly, isn't it? But if you're not your body, you don't mind. So what? You get more and more weak. The only thing you got to look forward to is your nursing home. It's very hard to get one these days, and all I've been reading is about nursing homes. Not very good. So if you don't get your mind together quickly, you're going to be in big trouble. So you're happy because, you know, this body is not important. Sickness and death don't bother you anymore. How many people are really bothered about sickness and death? Wouldn't it be wonderful to be free of that life? Being free of it, being free of the worry of it? If I get sick OK, you get sick, it doesn't really matter. You die, it doesn't really matter. All this dying business is really crazy. People just got paranoid about dying, scared stiff about it. But it's going to happen to each one of you. One thing I can guarantee. In fact, as I often say, because I know, as a physicist, a mathematician, before you look around the room, what, 200, 300 people maybe this evening, according to statistics, six or seven, seven of you are not going to be here this time next year. Which six or seven is it going to be? And don't just look at the old ones, the young ones go as well, your age. It's just true, though, isn't it? Don't know who it's going to be, but why are we so scared? One of the great freedoms is not being free from the fear of death and sickness, not your own and other people's. That's why, when I have the privilege to take someone's funeral service, you can do so much, because you know the funeral, that's one time when people are listening to what you say, Other times I don't pay so much attention. When it's a funeral, they really listen to you and you can actually it's amazing. You can take away the fear of death. And so often it's been one of my great choice is actually when people come up afterwards and say, we thought we were going to cry, but we didn't. Thank you so much, I'm a Christian, but please, when I die, can you do my funeral? Quite a few people said that even though the Christians, they want me to put a smart to do the funeral service for them, why not? That's great. And so we actually taking away people's fear of death. They're getting more freedom, more happiness in their life. They're trying to take away the psychological burdens of suffering. And it works, so it creates greater happiness. And as you get deep into a meditation, I can promise you one thing, if you really get into these deep meditations, you're going to get a happiness which you've never dreamed of could exist in this life. It's. Talk about marketing. Better than sexual intercourse is the deep meditations. I wasn't born a monk, so I do know some some things. But for the 27 years I've been among now 26 and a half, absolutely celibate. And of course you don't once you got the beauty of the mind, the happiness inside the bliss in meditation, then even the scriptures say that then you're not interested in sexuality because you've got a deeper happiness, a much better happiness. And that's actually sort of laying it on the line about what is possible in the mind. Again, this deep and powerful or meditations, you bliss out ecstasy. And that's not just for monks and nuns. You too. If you follow the instructions and do it properly, this can happen. And it does happen to you. Now, when you talk about truth and finding out the deep resonance in relation, if you can get some of those bid state, just get one of those, then you're never going to be able to forget this Buddhism business, because it works and gives you a happiness which surpasses this world. I'm not talking about theories, I'm talking about raw experience. This really gets you interested. One of the wonderful things you'll find is that truth is blissful. Freedom is wonderful. That's why religion will always be a part of the human world in the same way that sexuality will look. Going to see football matches or movies, whatever is fun, whatever is joyful, whatever is deeply meaningful, that will always have a place. Once these things are pointed out to people, once people start to taste the different levels of freedom available for them, they want more. That's why the Buddhist said this opaniaca. It leads onwards and onwards and it's the joy, the deliciousness of it takes you deeper and deeper and deeper. If you do become a Bangkok nun, either in this life or the next life, because for the sheer fun of it, that's why people become monks and nuns, but just the sheer joy of it. This is what happens to why Buddhism is growing in this well. It creates happiness, it creates truth. It is these beautiful things, the ending of things, the ending of suffering, the ending of problems, the ending of fear, the freedom in the heart, the freedom in the mind, the bliss and the joy. When you are free, it's like leaving a prison, being sentenced, life imprisonment in this body. Now you're out. Wouldn't that be wonderful? This is what it feels like. This is why Buddhism is growing in this world. And teaches like this start to get about and they start to work and people start to look at the people coming to the Buddhist society or meditating or going wherever, going to retreats and seeing them getting kinder, more sensitive, more happy. Human beings, more kindness, I mean real kindness coming from the heart. Then they know there's something in this business and they'll come more and more. I think that's why Buddhism is growing in the world. I'm afraid it's growing in the world. I'm already busy enough that when if it grows anymore and also the Buddhist society would have to build another hall. So this is a talk this evening, just off the off the top of my head as usual, why Buddhism is growing in the world. Some thoughts on that. Okay. Any questions or comments about this evening stalk? No. One question? No? Okay, just some announcements now, but just on the subject of the last Sunday. But that was the beginning of the talk and at the end of the talk did actually send an invitation to the dean, the John Shepherd, to come and talk to us on a Friday night during the range retreat at the end of the ceremony at the cathedral. He did say I should be no problem at all. But we sent the official invitation today. So we're going to keep going on this. I think it's a good idea. So anyway, that's one announcement. One more announcements now from our president who is making lots and lots and lots of good karma this year. Those of you a bit short on your karma and want to make some more good stuff, think about joining the committee next year.

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