March 11, 2023

Buddha Nature | Ajahn Brahm

Buddha Nature | Ajahn Brahm

Jokes can be a way to heal and learn from traumatic experiences. Old age, sickness, and death can teach us valuable lessons in life, and they can be viewed as Buddha nature. Peace and goodwill towards all beings is a central message of Christianity. ...

Jokes can be a way to heal and learn from traumatic experiences. Old age, sickness, and death can teach us valuable lessons in life, and they can be viewed as Buddha nature. Peace and goodwill towards all beings is a central message of Christianity. People come to teachers for guidance, not to be lectured to. Stay true to your beliefs and help those in need, no matter what their beliefs. The Buddha said that the things we experience in our life, such as being praised or blamed, have Buddha nature. We can see that these experiences have no personal meaning, and are just part of our journey towards awakening. Sickness, disease, aging, death, are all teachers which help us learn about non-self.


You can find the text transcription and other related information on the Ajahn Brahm Podcast website.

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 27th December 2002. 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.


AI Generated Transcription (expect errors!)

In Buddhism, we have the sound of a conch is supposed to be very, very Buddhist. We haven't got a conch here, so I'm blowing my nose instead. I've been on a Dubai tour of Malaysia and Singapore. And Cambodia. So sometimes I give too many talks and that's why I can come back with a cold. But never mind. This evening's talk is going to be on a subject which I was asked to talk about in Malaysia a couple of times. And it was on the subject of Buddha nature or original sin. Now, I never chose those topics when I was in Malaysia. The lay people chose those subjects and they just gave it to me to talk on. And in particular, that topic, Buddha nature, original sin. It starts to contrast two aspects. One, which is found in Mahayana Buddhism called Buddha nature, and the other one, which is found in Christianity called original sin. And I think they really wanted me to try and appraise one religion at the expense of another. But I decided not to bite because I know that that's not the way to actually to teach and to encourage and to inspire by putting down someone or some path and praising your own. So instead of contrasting those two things, I decided to give them a different angle and to teach about Buddha nature and original sin in a way which hadn't been taught before. But first of all, I want just to explain what those two things mean just in normal religion. In Mahayana Buddhism, there was a concept called Buddha nature which said that every human being and many other beings as well have the potential to become fully enlightened, have the potential to be Buddhist, as if there is always some seed of purity in everybody, in even the worst of criminals, in even the most terrible of rapists or murderers. There's always something good, there, a seed which they call the Buddha nature, something which can eventually grow into an enlightened being. It's a very wonderful concept in traditional Mahayana Buddhism because it means that no one should should be thrown away, that no one is that bad, that they should be discarded, that even the worst of people have Buddha nature inside them somewhere, some seed. Some potential of the very, very best. And it also means that in each one of us there is that seed, that there is a potential of the very, very best. And in opposition to that, in some religions, I have an idea of original sin that basically you're completely hopeless, you are sinners, you're terrible, you're hopeless. And the only way to sort of get any salvation is through the help of somebody else or some from other authority. That's usually the way Buddha nature and original sin is contrasted. But I put it in a different way because what Buddha nature really means is the nature of awakening. The Buddha actually means the awakened one, the wise one, the peaceful one, the compassionate one, is something which awakens an original sin. I put in something which is really bad, terrible, which needs to be thrown away and rejected. And instead of talking about this with people, with beings, I started to turn it around and talked about original sin and Buddha nature with the experiences of life. Because sometimes we have experiences of life, especially the difficult ones, which we think, as it were, are originally sinful, are terribly bad, a really awful experiences which we need to get away from, solve, throw away, reject, run away from, because we think they're inherently bad. Now it's pointing out that instead of saying they are inherently bad, terrible, something we have to reject, that every experience of life, especially the painful, the unfortunate ones, has got Buddha nature in that they have the potential to awaken you to wonderful qualities such as peace, compassion, understanding, patience, even enlightenment itself. And I started talking about examples of things which have Buddha nature rather than original sin. For example, one of the experiences I had while going over to Malaysia and Singapore and Cambodia, people always asking me to come and do some chanting for people who are sick as part of my job. And of course, that statute chanting actually works. I've seen it work. It's been proved to work in experiments which were done in universities in the US recently, which was actually reported in time. Mega chanting actually improves a person's health. I should actually do some chanting for myself sometimes because I've got a cough. It only works for others. So you guys have to chant for me, okay? But in particular that one day I went to visit a young Malaysian girl in her forties who had terrible cancer of the lungs. And she was amazing because her story was that she had she was in the hospital being ventilated and basically the doctors given up all hope on her and took the ventilator off, expecting her to die within one or two days. And she'd been going for three or four months. And one of the most beautiful, peaceful, happy people you could ever have the privilege to meet. Even though that her body is breaking down and she's an obvious discomfort and pain, she has a continuous smile on her face and talking to her exactly what she was doing. And she was saying that she could use that cancer, which she had, as a wonderful opportunity to awake to the dharma. She was saying, or rather I was saying that for her, that terrible cancer which brought us so close to death within one or two days of death, according to the doctors, even that cancer had Buddha nature rather than original sin to get the meaning here. Because original sin, it's cancer, it's terrible, it's bad, it's hopeless. Let's get rid of this. It's originally sinful, inherently evil, terribly, terribly bad. And whenever we come across it, we're afraid. We want to annihilate it, we want to get rid of it. And we never realize that some of these things have. Put a nature inside of them. They've got the potential to awaken us to wonderful truths about life. Her particular way was very much her meditation of staying in the present moment. Every moment. She had to be in the present moment because if she allowed her mind just to go off into the expectations of the future, be fear that she couldn't breathe, every breath could have been her last. And of course, you know what it's like when you're afraid. When you're afraid, you tense up. When you tense up, the whole body goes into spasms. When you go into spasms, you can't be at all. So often it is the fear and attention made of controlling which causes things to go wrong, terribly wrong, really wrong even can kill you sometimes. In this particular case, she had to die to every moment. She said, every moment which came into her mind, she'd rejoice in it that she was alive. And then she would let it go immediately, not knowing whether the next breath would come in or not. Because of her terrible lung cancer. That way she was forced to live in the present moment. She was forced to be very grateful for the present moment and she was forced to actually to abandon all fear and expectation of what's going to happen next because any fear and expectation would tense up her body and make breathing so difficult. Because of that, she's still going strong two or three months later, which is supposed to not on any ventilator anymore. They took the that off and she's still going well. But the most important thing is not that she's surviving, not that she's living, but the quality of her life. My goodness, that's a happy woman. She's actually found amazing dumber of learning how to be free in the present moment by not anticipating and running off into the future. She's got some great dumber there for her. That cancer was something which had Buddha nature in it. The ability to awaken her, the ability to teach her some amazing techniques of meditation which free the mind and bring you great happiness. Fantastic. And so that I've been telling a lot of people, there's so many things in life which come our way. We can think, this is such a terrible thing which has happened to me. This is awful, this is rotten. We call it having original sin. But there's another way of looking at it. Perhaps that experience which you thought was so unfair, so awful, so terrible, perhaps you can look upon that as having Buddha nature, the ability to awaken you to powerful and amazing truce of life. Another example of this, even though that I'm a Buddhist monk, still many Sikhs, Christians, other people in Malaysia and Singapore come up and ask for teachings. It's just that when it comes down to it, people don't care whether you're a Buddhist or a Muslim or a Sikh or a Mahayanist or a Terravada or a nun or a monk. People don't really care about those things. They just want to hear good teachings. They just want help. They just want wisdom. They want guidance in the world. So it doesn't really matter from where you get that guidance. If it's truth, if it's something useful, if it's something which really helps a person. My goodness, people come and listen to that. This is actually what happens when one goes teaching anywhere in the world. The half the people who come to my talks, I'm sure, aren't Buddhists. All sorts of people. And that's wonderful to be able to cut across the things which separates us in the world by talking about truth, that which unites us. But in particular, this one lady came to me to talk about her problems. She's a Christian lady in Malaysia, in the Buddhist center. And she was telling me about that. She was going through some very difficult times in counseling because she had suffered sexual abuse as a child. And as a monk. When people come to you and ask for counseling again, it's marvelous being a monk because I don't know anything about sort of counseling. I don't know anything about what you're supposed to think about these problems what's right and what's wrong. I've never been to university. I've never done any courses. I never read the books instead. You write the books instead. And so I don't know what I'm supposed to say. But what I always do is actually to check the person out, to feel their personality, to feel what the real problem is. So it's one of the techniques which I learnt from a gen cha. You never answer questions. You answer people. You answer the person. So when they ask someone, you ask a question or they're talking to you, you never listen so much to the words. You're listening to the person who's saying those words. And that's why that every person you treat differently, every person you can relate to in a completely separate way. In this particular person, I checked her out very quickly, summed her up and I started to really play with her. Fear and with a negativity to what happened to her. And I started saying to her, the most wonderful thing that's ever happened to you being sexually abused as a child. So that thing has got Buddha nature. That thing has got the opportunity to teach you amazing truths about yourself and about life, instead of looking at it as original sin, which is something evil, something terrible, something bad. Poor me, this should never happen to me. And I'm going to get angry at those people who did this to me. This is such a scar on my life. This is a terrible burden I have to take in my life. This is such a blackness of my happiness. Instead of looking at that way, I said, it's the most wonderful thing that's ever happened to you. And straight away, she looked at me as if I was crazy. And sometimes I am a bit crazy in that way, because I look at things in a completely different way, a weird way, a way you're not supposed to look at things, even at funerals. And I was the first person, probably, certainly in Australia here, who tells jokes at funerals. I like to rebel. You're not supposed to do that, are you? But I do that all the time. Again, I still remember that first time. It's one of the great experiences of my life. If ever I write my autobiography or someone else does, I'm going to include that the first time I told a joke at a funeral, you've all heard that joke many times. If you haven't, you can get it from someone else. I'm not going to tell it here, but what I'm going to say is, I still remember just the funeral director standing at the back, looking at me, and as soon as he figured out I was telling a joke, his face contorted. He was in great pain, he was in fear, because you're not supposed to do that. And he was supposed to be in charge of the funeral. Perhaps they wouldn't pay him if I messed up the funeral service by telling a joke. And you could see him actually waving at me, trying to say, no, don't do it. But I'd already gone too far and I wasn't going to listen to him. So I went ahead and told that joke and everybody laughed. And it was wonderful seeing the relief on the face of that funeral director when people enjoyed the joke. And ever since then, I always try and tell jokes at funerals, because I ask everybody, whether it's in Malaysia or Singapore or Australia, I ask them, do you want me to tell a joke at your funeral? And everyone says yes. So it's just the person who's dead. They're the ones who should decide how the funeral is performed. So it's great sending jokes, because even death has good a nature. Especially. But let's go back to that lady who was sexually abused. I said, that's got good at nature there. That's an amazing fertile ground for gaining selflessness. How often is it that we take those experiences of our life and we sort of say, that's me, that's mine. And we can't let that go from the past. We actually claim it to be ours, our personal possessions, rather than allowing that to teach us that the longer you hold it, the longer you worry about it, the longer you actually make that a huge burden on your life. The longer it will take to heal. What one needs to do, obviously, is to let go of that past, learn from it. And it's a passion, powerful way to learn. My goodness, somebody's really hurt you. So why? Why do people do such things? You can actually learn the stupidity of human beings going for sensuality, for greed, for what I want, and not really thinking about the effect on other people. Do you do that? Of course everyone does that in great ways or small ways. They did it in a great way. But are you capable of doing that? That experience has a Buddha nature to awaken you to your own defilements, to awaken you to your own potentials, of greed, of hatred, of stupidity. Because each one of us has those potentials, each one of us, as they say. But for the fortune of circumstances, who knows whether we could follow that path and lose our sense of control, either through drugs or through alcohol or through just the stress which we place upon our lives. So we don't really know what's right and wrong, where our mind is confused and dazed by the pain of life. Is that possible for you to do things wrong? Have you ever done anything really wrong? So it's an opportunity for us to really learn about the effects of our actions, and so we can learn that if that hurt me so much, my goodness, I'm never going to allow that. I'm never going to allow myself to hurt somebody else in that way. That's actually the story of my own father, because I never met my paternal grand grandfather, because apparently he died in Liverpool in the second world war. At first I thought it was because of the bombing, but we found out recently that he died of tuberculosis, possibly because of the poor conditions in that city during the time of the second world war. But my father never really told me so much about my father, so my father never told me much about his father, my grandfather, except whenever he mentioned his name. Please excuse me. But my father always called him a bastard, because he would just come back drunk every night and just get out his belt and just be any kid who came in his way for no reason why we well, no reason at all. And also to start beating his mother, my grandfather's wife, my grandmother. He said just he suffered physical abuse. He saw his mother being beaten as well. He said that that taught him something. He taught him that whenever he made a resolution, he told me that whenever he would get married and have children, he would never, ever lay a finger on them. And that was the case with my father. It was my mother who was a disciplinary, not my father. He would never touch us. I think it was because of that experience, growing up with a very violent father. It taught him that experience had Buddha nature. It awakened him to the real responsibilities to a wife and two children, and how it should be dealt with. It was so bad in his house. It was so terrible, so hard to live there. That it taught him a powerful lesson about kindness and love. And you all know that he was the one who told me that story about loving kindness. Met her. The door of my heart will always be open to your son, no matter what you ever do in your life. That's what my father told me. That was the person who had been physically abused all his life from his own father. He never beat eat me. All he said to me was, son, whatever you do in your life, the door of my heart will always be open to you. So you can see that he used that experience of physical abuse that would have nature for him. He had the ability to awaken him to know what's right and what's wrong. He had the ability to awaken him to the hurt and harm which can be done and the compassion and kindness which can replace it. He actually learned from that. He grew from that. And that's why you can say such experiences had good nature. So I told that lady who had been sexually abused, okay, if you start to get negative and call that original sin, my goodness, that's going to stop you from growing. That's going to hidden under your understanding. That's going to stop you developing your spirituality as a person who has inner happiness and can give that happiness to others. So I said to her, look at that thing as a wonderful experience. An experience in which you can grow and learn. And once you've learned such things as patience, forgiveness. And kindness and respect for other beings, whether they are your children or whether they are dogs or cats or cockroaches. What are the other beings in the world? Learn respect for them. And then you can take that experience as wonderful fertilizer your spiritual life. And you'll find if you make use of that, you can be such a wonderful person person. You can learn compassion, you can learn understanding. And most importantly, that you can be some person who can actually really counsel those who have been sexually abused and show them a different way out. Because you've been there. You've known what it's like and you've found a way out which is not negative, but which is very, very positive which doesn't throw away the experiences of life which learns how to use everything which happens to us in life especially the negative things which we usually try and chuck away and think are useless. Poor me. Why did this happen to me? Why not? It's a marvelous experience. Thank you so much. Have you ever come across people like that who've had terrible, terrible experiences in their life? And you think, my goodness, if that happened to me, that would be awful, that would be terrible. But they've used those experiences. They've learned, they've grown, and they've become wonderful people. Those experiences have got Buddha nature, not original sin. At original sin, they just need to be thrown away. They're like devils and demons, which we have to somehow exercise from our lives. But they're Buddha nature. They are pregnant with awakening, pregnant with wisdom, mating. Things can grow from this. So this is why even sexual abuse, we can say, has Buddha nature, the ability to teach us a very, very powerful lesson if we're up to learning from it. And certainly in traditional Buddhism, we have things like old age, sickness and death. These were the traditional guiding principles for the person about to become the Buddha who taught him just amazing truths about life. And these things weren't to be, as it were, to be shunned, to be pushed aside, that we don't get old. We just become senior citizens, don't we? We don't die. We just pass away. We don't really get sick. We're just not fitting ourselves today. So isn't it the case we tried shunt aside, old age, sickness and death? And how many people just have to wear the these creams to try and make you look young? I don't have to do that. How many people have to dye their hair to try and make yourself look young? I don't dye my hair. I got none to die. How many people try and even lie about their ages? Every now and again, people actually win. It's a birthday. They come to the monastery and try and celebrate it. Because in the Buddhist tradition, if it's a birthday, you want to do something good on your birthday. You don't expect to get presents, you want to give things. It's a much better way of actually having a birthday. You want to celebrate your birthday by giving darna, by sharing, by doing something. So often people come to the monastery, either our monastery in Serpentine or Sister monastery in Damasaro and Gigi Ganap on their birthdays. And it's only the young people who put candles on their cake. Once they get about 30, they stop putting candles on their cake. Perhaps because they can't fit them in, or perhaps more likely, they don't want people to know. Why is it that people feel ashamed of growing old again? Because we don't understand that growing old has got Buddha nature. It's got something there to teach us. It's showing us that life is coming to an end. It's showing us that if we really want to do that, which is worthwhile in our life, don't wait too much longer. Old age is telling you that the time is running out, running out, running out. It's true, isn't it? And what it's telling us is the value of human life, the importance of every day. Sometimes we have that also in the Mahayana tradition, that the human life is precious. It's a marvelous teaching which we forget when we we just have so many days. Year after year seems the same. We forget the years of precious and other year is about to go. 2002, there's already gone. My goodness, I can remember 1999. That was only yesterday. They go fast. Soon. I always say every birthday, I say one year closer to my coffin. Which is true, isn't it? Every year, one year closer to your death. Are you ready yet? Are you ready yet? Are you ready yet? What we're saying here is old age is actually showing us a very important truth. Old age is so wonderful with Buddha nature. What are you doing in life? How are you living? So it's teaching us the importance of every day, and also it's teaching us what really is important in our life with old age. My goodness. Just accumulating money, having big houses, big cars, you know, having sex, watching movies. Is that really what life is all about? When you look at sort of old age, my goodness, that's a powerful teacher, shows you what life is really meaning. So instead of actually wasting one's time, one realized an amazing thing to do is go and serve, do some good karma in the community. Go and help. For the last well, a long time now, I've been doing Dana, I've been doing my generosity by giving Dumma. That's called Dumma Dhana, the gift of teachings. And that said the Buddha, the gift of Dharma exceeds all other gifts. So you think that you've been given donations and giving food to the monks, but I've been given much more to you over the last few years. It's called Dharmadana. So it's Sister Yama and Dummadana, the gift of teachings, that gives me so much happiness as a result. And I realize old age, old age, the older I get, the more talks I'd have to give. That's actually part of being a monk, you know, the older you get, the more venerable you get. The more venerable you get, the more popular you get. The more popular you get, the more they use you. So I I know what my future is going to be. It's not going to get less. Monks don't retire when they're 65. That's when they really start to work. You know, there's old 65, 70, 80 year old masters. You know, they're sort of the real, you know, the real good ones. That's what everyone likes. Just the ancient masters with all this wonderful, deep wisdom of a lifetime of meditation. So that's my future. No way if I'm going to retire. So what old age is teaching you is that to make good use of your time. What sickness is teaching us is compassion and humility. When you're sick, there's so many things you can't do and other people have to do it for you. Sickness is a wonderful way. There's a beautiful teaching of lack of pride. When you're young, you can do anything for yourself. You can feed yourself, you can wash yourself, you can go and get your own things. But when you're sick, other people have to look after you. Other people sometimes even have to wipe your backside after you've gone to the toilet because you're unable to do it yourself. Other people have to wash you. What a wonderful teaching that is to stop this terrible thing called pride. I can do it myself, thank you. Leave me alone. In the end, you're all going to be like babies again, needing total care from the nurses, from the doctors, from the people who would look after you in your final days. You start like that in this life, and that's how you end. And when you start, you don't really understand why. Hopefully, at the end, you understand why. It's a marvelous opportunity to practice nonself. This body isn't mine. I want to look after it by myself, but I can't. I don't want to get old. But it gets old. I don't want to get sick. But it does get sick. Have you ever noticed that sickness comes at the most inconvenient times? Just when you're about to go on holiday, just when you're actually seeing, there it is, teaching you this wonderful Buddhist teaching of non self. It's not mine, doesn't belong to me, this body. It belongs to nature. This is the Buddha nature of sickness, is teaching you what really means by anata non self. If you don't understand anatar by listening to a talk by former Jam Brahma from other teachers, you learn anatar not self by the experiences of life. My goodness, look at the times you were sick. Who's controlling the body then? The bacteria and the viruses, that's what's controlling it. The cancers, all those other things which are in your body, they are controlling it, not you. So who owns this body anyway? Whose is it? These are teaching you that. It's not mine, nothing to do with me. Isn't that wonderful teaching? Because that frees you from a rotten burden. You think that this is my body. We've got in control of it. So a lot of people feel guilty when they get sick. You know, there's a lot of guilt associated with sickness. You didn't go to the gym, you're eating too much, you're eating the wrong food, you're not exercising. You should do more meditation because you're not supposed to get sick when you meditate. Some years ago I was sick and I was in the doctor's surgery in Byford, close to our monastery. At that time, I was teaching meditation in a prison in Karnata prison fire regularly every week. One of the prison officers came in and he looked at me and I was supposed to be the meditation teacher in this jail. He looked at me and what he said was, I never expected to find you in here. So what do you mean I get sick as well? What is meaning that anyone who meditates is not supposed to get sick. So I felt really guilty. It's like a yoga teacher and one who teaches yoga, sometimes if they get a bad back, they feel very guilty. You're not supposed to get a bad back. All those of you who are naturopaths are home. You pass and you get sick. Sometimes we think that we shouldn't get sick, but sickness is a teacher for us. It teaches that we're not in control of our body. We don't learn how to let go. It also teaches us compassion, passion. Because compassion always has to go two ways. If you're going to be compassionate to someone else, there's someone else who needs to receive compassion. So when you're sick, it's a marvelous opportunity for someone else to be compassionate and caring to you. It's your turn to generate compassion in the world. So when someone's sick, help me, look after me, care for me. It's wonderful when you're sick and someone's caring for you and doing all these little duties for you and running around for you because they feel so good and so happy they're allowed to care for somebody else. I've often noticed this whenever I go to Thailand or Malaysia or Singapore. If ever I get sick, people are so happy because they got something they can give me. Give me this medicine and that medicine and something else medicines. And I never take travel insurance when I go overseas because I know if I stepped over and broke my leg, there'd be doctors fighting over me to sort of put me in their hospital and not somebody else's hospital. The reason is because people like to look after you, just as people like to look after each one of you. Isn't that marvelous? Opportunity to help someone who really needs it. Each one of us has got this amazing, compassionate heart in us which is just wanting, just hoping to be able to serve, look after somebody. Unfortunately, in our life, we're so healthy and independent we don't have the opportunity to develop our compassion for those others who are sick. We don't learn because there's no opportunities. So when somebody is sick, it's a marvelous opportunity for generating and developing compassion. So if ever I've been sick, this is a lovely time because people can look after you. And it's a beautiful situation of sharing, of kindness, of love. And you bring out the best in people when you're sick. Sick because people can help and they can generate that soft heart, that kindness, that beauty, that tenderness of looking after one another, all those parents who've been sick. And you see your children coming up and sort of bringing you a cup of tea or trying to make you breakfast and they really make a mess of it. But it's so nice because they tried so hard. You know what it's like? What it's like? It's so lovely, actually, to see that care and kindness being encouraged in other people. So that's the other thing where the sickness has Buddha nature and also. I was saying, even fame can have Buddha nature as well because I'm getting in big trouble these days. When I went to Cambodia, I was really fated treated like a king or royalty when my aircraft because I was leading an Australian delegation to a Buddhist summit in Cambodia. So when my plane landed, I was sitting in economy class next to two Americans and they looked out the window and they saw a red carpet out there. They say, what's going on? I thought. And the voice came over the PA system. All the people in first class and business class stay in your seats as the leaders of the Buddhist delegation. We had to come out first. So all these first class and business class passengers were really upset. And I actually quite enjoyed that part of it. Not very compassionate, I must admit, but I do have a bit of that. And so we got down there with venerable Casey Dubanunda was on the same plane as me. So we got on the red carpet and given all these flowers and down the red carpet to that waiting limo with a driver, an official driver and a bodyguard. I got my own bodyguard in Cambodia. Always wondered. Bodyguard, not that I need one. And just a police motorcycle escort with all the sirens going. And as you go down the road, all the police riding the road, getting everybody off the road as you get through. Crazy. So I was very disappointed when I came back to Perth. 10s But even that sort of has Buddha nature, because I started contemplating, because the Buddha said you got to be very, very careful with such things, because sometimes people can get beyond themselves. So that had Buddha nature as well. I started contemplating. I gave a talk about that in our monastery on Wednesday night, saying even like praise has got abode of nature because they're not praising me. If ever I try to give a talk, it always comes out wrong whenever I let go and just allow the Dharma to flow forth, that's when you get good talk. So the good talks are the ones which I don't give. They don't belong to me. I don't do it. Same with the deep meditations, the good meditations. It's soon as I try to meditate, as soon as I try to control it, as soon as it's coming from me, it never gets peaceful. It only gets very, very still when I get out of the way. So all of my good meditations, they're not done by me, because if I try and do them, it doesn't work. All the great talks, if I try and do it, it never comes out well. So if I'm being praised for the talks or for the meditation, it's not something I did. Nothing to do with me. When I do it, it goes wrong. When I get out of the way, it goes right. So I realize the Buddha nature of fame is not me who's being famous. I didn't do it, nothing to do with me. What's really famous is the Buddha, the Damon Asanga, the triple gem, the truth, the dumb bummer. That's what gets on the red carpet, not bum. So when you actually start to see it this way, you understand where praise comes from and where blame comes from, because you get both in this world. You get praise and you get blame. The higher praise you get, the more blame you get. The more times I give talks, the more times I have to put my foot in my mouth and say something wrong. That's just the way of things. And certainly living in a place like West Australia, wearing robes, so often, I remember in the early years, people shouting out, get a proper job, you bludger. That was at me. So you get rid of both. It's almost like a life of extremes. As a monk, you get fated and meet kings. And then sometimes you have to work like a dog, just pushing wheelbarrows or just cleaning out sort of the gutters of the monastery. I always used to call that life in the gutter in my monastery in Thailand, my monastery in Australia. So each one of these things, instead of looking upon them as something which you either enjoy or something which you don't enjoy, something in heavenly good or inevitably bad. The purpose of this teaching this evening is to see that each one of these experiences has Buddha nature. They have the opportunity of awakening you to something which is very profound, very deep, and very truthful. And indeed, for those of you who have read a lot about Buddhism, you find that so often it in the time of the Buddha, people became enlightened because of the most terrible things which happened to them in their life. There's the old story of Kisa go to me, who lost her son and tried to revive him with some medicines. And it was only when the Buddha told her to try and get a mustard seed from a house where no one has ever died, that you realize that death happens to everybody, not just my son. How often is it that when someone close to you dies now, you think, how can anybody in this world be happy? Today? My son has died. Don't they understand? How often is grief? You're just seeing the death of one person rather than seeing the death of one person amidst millions, billions of people in this world. If we have the full perspective, we will never feel grief when somebody dies. So for this lady, Keser go to Me, when she actually saw that death happens to everybody, she realized that death had Buddha nature. Not only did she go and bury her son, but then she became a bikuni. She became a Buddhist nun, and one of the great Buddhist nuns, one of the great teachers there's another lady, Patachary. She lost her husband, her two children, and her parents on the same day. She went crazy. But my goodness, that sort of disaster had tremendous put in nature. That taught her about how to let go, how to realize that wasn't her husband, that wasn't her children, that wasn't her parents. Our parents don't belong to us. Did you buy them at a store? Have you got proprietary rights over your kids? My goodness. Life tells you your kids will go their own way sooner or later. You don't own them. You don't even rent them. Although it does cost you a lot of money to bring them up. What we're actually saying here that these are ours, so when we actually realize they're not ours, then we can let them go. Then we can be free. So these were things of tremendous Buddha nature, teaching us about non self. And from non self, not mine. That's how we learn to let go. A lot of times people ask, Let go, let go. How do you do it? You've got to realize that these things don't belong to you. First, to have that insight, that deep realization, this body isn't mine. When you realize this body isn't mine, doesn't belong to you, in the time of your death, you'll stop struggling. It's not my business, nothing to do with me. This body, you can let it go. As that lady who had cancer could let it go. That's why she was smiling. She was letting go of her body every second. And she was so happy and so free. When you're sick, you can let go of the sickness as adjunct. I used to say you either get better or you die. Sort of is to it. It's easy, there's no problem there at all. You can let go. It's not my sickness. So whenever you do, all these great nuns and monks in the time of the Buddha sunder went through some terrible experiences, but they use those as having Buddha nature even. And there's this fellow called Anguli Marla, who was a serial killer and he joined the Sangha, the Buddhist community, and became a great enlightened sage. Even that had Buddha nature in it. So what we're saying here is all those experiences of life which you have to deal with, especially the ones which you think are high, hard to bear, which are difficult, which even society says is really so hard and so rotten, stop for a moment and say, are you considering those as original sin? Something terrible, terrible, terrible which has happened to you, which is completely devoid of anything useful and it can only be consigned to some rubbish bin somewhere. Or can you look at these things as having Buddha nature? Wonderful teachings from the wise Buddha himself, teaching about real life, not life is the movies, not life as you think it should be in the magazines, but real life, life as it is, is teaching you something. And if we take those lessons on board, if we make use of all the experiences of life, the good experience of present ones and the unpleasant ones, my goodness, I think we'll understand what Buddha nature truly means. Buddha means the Awakened One. They're awakening you to truth, such as non self. They're awakening you to truth, such as impermanence. My body is going and it goes so quickly. All that is mine but avenue and pleasing will one day become separated from me, an obvious truth which we sometimes forget. Buddha named nature is teaching us the law of impermanence. Buddha nature is teaching us what's important. Buddha nature is teaching us how to be free. Buddha nature is teaching us how to be happy. No matter what's happening in your life, no matter what's occurring. Even in the worse of situations, the great wise ones can be happy no matter what. You've seen that? I've seen that. I've seen that in Malaysia recently. I've seen that in a woman who is dying of cancer, smiling all the time. A happier woman than I see anywhere in this room here, looking at you lot. And she was dying of lung cancer. So this shows you what Buddha nature really means, what original sin is. It gives us another way of looking at what happens to us in life. Instead of getting negative about it, make use of it. Rather, lie. The candle that complain about darkness. Whatever happens in life happens to you in life. The good and the bad. Get everything out of it you possibly can. As one of my teachers said in my early years, there's no such thing as a bad meditation. There's no such thing as a bad experience in life. All of these things have Buddha nature, so don't push them aside. Okay, that's the talk for this evening on Buddha nature and original sin. So any questions or comments about the talk? Yes. Could original sin be seen and said to the original sin be seen instead to be ignorant and craving? Very much so. In fact, one of the Marxists in Malaysia would say there's no such thing as original sin, just original delusion, original stupidity. And that's very easy to see in our lives because when we look back upon our lives, so much of what we did. So why did I do that? Because we don't really see clearly and some wise person comes along and they show us a different way. And we realized that why did I give myself so much problems and difficulty like crying over somebody who's died? Though, even grief. That is one of the great original stupidities of our age. Certainly where I grew up in Thailand, he didn't see grief, he just wasn't there. In the villages of Northeast Thailand, they had an understanding which hadn't got the delusion and stupidity of grieving. For someone who's died, it doesn't help at all. Who does it help? No one cries over someone who's died. No one at all. It's quite obvious. It's one of those human emotions which is obviously the one, the most useless. The person who dies doesn't want you to cry. It doesn't help. So it is an original. See, an original delusion is what we say in in Buddhism. So it's not that you're bad because original sin gives this terrible sense of guilt. There's something wrong with you. But if it's delusion, you know that delusion can always be sort of healed just by turning around and sin correctly. So original delusion gives hope for healing. And seeing wooded nature in the negative things in life means all these things. You think these terrible things happen to you. You actually can make use of them and become a better person as a result. Answer your question? Any other questions this evening? Yes. Sorry. I'll get the yes out soon. Yes, sorry. What did Jesus contribute to this world? Hocross buns. That's just a joke. Sorry. And Christmas cakes. It's very difficult to know because the historical Jesus is so hard to pin down. But certainly, like, this is Christmas time. What? Christmas time is one of the good thing about it is like peace and goodwill to all beings. That's a marvelous little emotion at this time of the year. And certainly that's part of the message of Christianity, that's part which we could celebrate in any religion. Peace and goodwill. I rang up my brother on Christmas Day. We started getting into an argument about whether Mr. Bush should invade Iraq or whether he shouldn't. I sort of stance upon that. I'm a pacifist. And so after getting his icon, I said, hang on a bit. Sort of I'm going to really be a pacifist and give in because peace and goodwill to all beings, including you, brother. So at least it stopped an argument between me and my brother in England, though. It's peace and goodwill towards all beings, at least. Can't we do that at least for one day of the year? For all days of the year? Why not just one? Why not all days of the year? So I think that's one thing which I'm not quite sure from the historical Jesus, but certainly from Christianity, and Christianity is very, very strong on actually doing something compassionate, not just talking about it, because sometimes you know what Buddhists do. May all beings be happy and well. May all beings be happy and well. When it actually comes to doing any service to someone. I go to the hospital and just volunteering or actually going and sort of helping an old people's home. How many of you actually do that? Instead of just saying, well, people be happy and well, all beings be happy and well. So it's one good thing about sort of the Christians, actually. They really get out and do things. I think a lot of Buddhists do that as well. But we don't make a big song and dances about it, and we don't sort of have sort of Buddhist we do have, actually, Buddhist hospitals and Buddhist schools and Buddhist old people's homes. We also have Buddhist orphanages as well. Which reminds me that this evening is the last day for actually, we're having a collection over this Christmas period for the Buddhist orphanage in Bangladesh. Little orphanage orphans. I think it's orphan girls and boys, I think, now in Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, and these are Buddhists who don't get much help from the Muslim government in Bangladesh. And again, Judy has been over there to see the place, to check it out. And we one thing we can guarantee that every cent which is given actually goes to the orphanage. And you can see the pictures in the back there. And what they go for is to buy bags of rice or, like, candles or, like, beds for the kids to sleep on or pens. They're not chandeliers or they're huge offices with computers for people to administer this. This is really basic down to worse survival. So those of you who wish to join in the Christmas spirit and actually do some good charity, not just say, My all beings be happy and well, actually do something about it. There's a little bowl in the back there, actually, to help out orphanage in Bangladesh, which our Buddhist society here has been supporting how many years now, Judy? Five years have been supporting this place. You can see little pictures of the kids in the back there. So that's one thing which we can do, one thing which we can learn from people like Jesus being kind, being compassionate, and doesn't matter if you can't afford it. And you have to walk home, because walking home and being broke has got great Buddha nature. I don't have to walk so far to go home. I live here. Okay, any more questions before we finish off today? Okay, let's finish off today now. So we have some thanks again for coming. I gave a short talk today because I've got a sore throat, because I have got a cough and a cold from coming back from Malaysia and Singapore. Doing a lot of work. Whenever I do go overseas, it's not holiday, it's work, work, work. From seven before 730 in the morning till just before ten to midnight, usually I get back to my room. So seven days, eight days a week, usually seven days a week, all the time I'm away. But it's dumb adana and it's very wonderful to be able to serve as a community.