April 15, 2023

Loving Kindness Meditation | Ajahn Brahm

Loving Kindness Meditation | Ajahn Brahm

Measurement is how we get into control and lose our perception of love. Buddhism teaches us to stop measuring so we can love. Judging and measuring creates control and ill will, which keeps us from experiencing love. Don't measure others; stop trying...

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Measurement is how we get into control and lose our perception of love. Buddhism teaches us to stop measuring so we can love. Judging and measuring creates control and ill will, which keeps us from experiencing love. Don't measure others; stop trying to control them. Learn how to be at peace with yourself and with life. The opposite of love is hatred and control. Lovingkindness transcends good and bad, right and wrong, to embrace and let go. When we're at peace with life, we're at peace with the world. Then we can forgive and accept things as they are. Buddhism teaches that there is no such thing as evil, only stupidity. This is a different way of looking at the world which requires a paradigm shift in our thinking. Lovingkindness is a difficult emotion to understand because it is different than the idea of justice, which is just right and wrong. It is more about forgiving and looking at things from a larger perspective. Lovingkindness is a shift in the way we look at life and it teaches us that all rights have to be wrongs, and all wrongs have to be rights, and that we can't judge people or try to right wrongs.


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 31st March 2003. It has now been remastered and published by the Everyday Dhamma Network, and will be of interest to his many fans. If you like the Ajahn Brahm Podcast, you may also like the Treasure Mountain Podcast and / or the Forest Path Podcast which are also produced by the Everyday Dhamma Network.

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


You, as you know that I'm very happy to talk on subjects which are requested by people. And this time I got a request over the Internet, an email which was sent here to Nolamara and which was faxed down to me at my monastery in Serpentine. At Serpentine Monastery we don't have emails or computers. We are low tech monks because we want to make sure we spend a lot of time meditating and not messing around on computers. It does limit us in one area, but it gives us more free time in other areas. But the request was actually to talk once again on meta lovingkindness. I'm not quite sure when the last time I talked about meta was or the last time another monk or nun talked about meta, but it is a very good time because these are difficult periods in our country, in our world. And I often have been saying recently that when we use the catchphrase of weapons of mass destruction, I can only see one important weapon of mass destruction which we should be disarming the whole world from. And that is like hatred, because that is a real weapon of destruction. It doesn't really matter what arms or armaments we have or even a means of delivery. We'll always find some way of taking bombs and poisons from one place to the other with suicide bombers or whatever. We'll always find ways of blowing people up or whatever if we have the hatred in our heart. And unfortunately that too often there is too much hatred not only between nations, between religions, but even between husbands and wives, between parents and children. And that, I think, is the real weapon of mass destruction in the world. It destroys families, it destroys marriages, it destroys countries, it destroys harmony. And the usual way of overcoming such hatred is through the power of lovingkindness, through meta. Meta is always also like friendliness. But quite often, as a Buddhist monk here in a western country, sometimes you do feel like you're fighting against the tide because so often that we've learned to look at our world in one particular way. And as a Buddhist, I'm asking people to look at it in a different way, a totally different mind shift, to see it from a different perspective, what we call like a paradigm shift. Now, we all view the way of view the world through structures. And when we change those structures, we can actually see things in a completely different manner. It was one of the. Actually, it was a whole series of events in my life which actually showed me just how the way you look at the world, what you think is right and wrong, true and false, is so heavily conditioned in you by your worldview, by your structure of thought and ideas. And of course, as a scientist, that was first brought to my attention when we started doing things like quantum mechanics. Completely different way of looking at the world, a way which almost went against reason. And you wondered why did it feel like it goes against all reason? And of course, it was because it was going against my worldview which had been put into me at the time. What I thought was obvious was found to be not true. And later on, going to a country like Thailand, where not only was I living in Thailand, but I was having to learn the language and also see things through the concepts which were embraced by that language. As many people will tell you who've lived in Thailand a long time, if you're going to speak Thai, you got to think in Thai, think in a different way altogether. It was a paradigm shift, a different worldview. And to actually to be able to understand what lovingkindness is, one has to actually to change the basis of one's thinking, just the framework of life, how you look at life. And just so often when we're teaching Buddhism in Western countries, that's what we have to do to try and change the paradigm. For example, that I was read in the last weekend's, Western Australia, in the article about Buddhism by Gavin Simpson. Again, you can see there there was an inability to actually see the Buddhist teachings in their purity simply because the paradigms weren't there. And I was sometimes quite surprised that when people say there's no scientific evidence against reincarnation, there is actually very solid scientific evidence for things like rebirth. And I was speaking as a scientist trained in science at Cambridge University, theoretical physics. Same department as Steven no. That's Stephen Hawkins. The same department there. And that being trained in that place, you actually understand what science is and basically that rebirth has been proved. The evidence is there. And the same with anatar nonsense. There's been so many experiments done in psychology which show that that is true. But one of the reasons why that people find it hard to accept why they're struggling with it, as that article was saying, was not that it's wrong, not that it hasn't been proved, not that it's not scientific, but it doesn't fit one's preconceived views of life, of the world, of the body, of the mind, of self, or whatever. It's those paradigm shifts which are the problem there. And in particular at the moment that many people in the Western world are getting into the paradigm of good and evil, of right and wrong. And that is like a paradigm, just a way of looking at the world which doesn't actually exist. In Buddhism, as I mentioned before, there's no such thing as evil in Buddhism. There's only stupidity. And you can understand what I mean by that. In fact that sometimes we say it's skillful and unskillful, not right and wrong. Right and wrong is too black, too white and why is it right? Why is it wrong? And philosophers have struggled with that for such a long time because they know that there's no real ground for actually to knowing what's right and what's wrong. Actually, everything which you do is right. Everything which someone else disagrees with with you is wrong. That's basically the definition, the working definition of right and wrong as it is in real life. But in Buddhism we have this other paradigm of skillful and unskillful, of helpful and harmful. And here we actually get into a paradigm, a way of looking which is getting very close to what we mean by lovingkindness. So lovingkindness is different than maybe what you've been thinking about for a long time. Because maybe if you've had trouble with developing lovingkindness, maybe it's because you're looking at it from completely the wrong angle, then looking at it as something like good. Something you should be doing, something which is important in the world rather than actually looking at it as something inside, something which is skillful, which is helpful, which is useful, which is working towards a goal. And that goal will always be sort of the happiness of oneself, the happiness of others. So it's not right and not wrong. It's what is happiness? What is helpful? And when you actually start to ask people what is actually happiness in life now, what is really helpful in life? Again, we have to go away from what we've been taught to actually to what we feel. Instead, these are happy. These are answers which you find in your own experience, in your heart now, in your daily life, what makes you happy? What is happiness? And sometimes I enjoy teaching young children Buddhism because when you teach young children, it's like really open minds and you get lots of great wisdom from kids. When you say what happiness is, is like having a mummy, having a daddy, what is happiness is just being friends forgiving. You can see that young children have this instinctive idea of what real happiness is. Now, what is lovingkindness? What is the softness of the heart? Because it actually leads to what is happy. It leads to what is good. It leads to what is helpful. It is skillful. However, in our daily life, lovingkindness is not important. It's being right and being wrong is more important. So being right and not being wrong is most important. We have this idea of, like, justice. An injustice means that we have to fight for our rights, not be a flaw at which other people step over. We have to sort of protect ourselves. And this is the idea of justice and injustice. You can see this is, again, a Western paradigm which doesn't really fit with Buddhism. Is what we actually say is like perceived injustice and perceived justice. When I say perceived, it gives you the opportunity to say what you think is just might not be the full picture, what you think is unjust. There might be something more to it. For example, that in Buddhism we think that some things which happen to us in life a result of karma, whether you believe calm or not, that's a valid proposition which I challenge anyone to disprove. Before you say, oh, that's just Buddhist now just disprove that for me. It may be that these things come round to us and there is a sense of a bigger state of fairness there. If we have done something wrong in the past, if someone's been really mean and spiteful, if they have been really selfish and abused others, then maybe they has to come round to them eventually and that gives a different way of looking at life. What it does is means that we don't have to be so righteous and to seek justice because one of the biggest obstacles for lovingkindness is to say that person doesn't deserve it and. They need to be taught a lesson. They have done something bad, something unjust, something evil. Therefore we justify our hatred. When you actually start to look at things in a different way, just to challenge those paradigms and say, this justice, injustice business, can we look at it in a different way? And we can look in a different way. All the times in your life, have you always got justice? Has it always been fair? Those things which have happened to you in life, the things which have been said to you in life, the experiences which you have had, has it been fair? I think everyone put their hand up and say, no, it hasn't been fair. She did this, he did that. The government did this, my parents did that, I was abused. That wasn't help. Blah, blah, blah. Even this evening, someone cut in front of me and they come into the temple. That wasn't fair, that wasn't right. They shouldn't do things like that. Whatever else it is in life, whenever we say, it's not fair, there's a sense of injustice, there's a sense of wanting to put right that injustice very often is hatred. It starts with small things, it grows into medium things and it ends in big things. It ends in thinking that your husband hasn't treated you right, your children haven't treated you right, your parents haven't treated you right. Whoever it is hasn't treated you right. This is not good. I'm going to sort it out. And you can see that aggression which turns into hatred, which turns in to wars, separation there's the other way of looking at things. It's like with lovingkindness. Lovingkindness is when we stop measuring for these moments of lovingkindness. We stop measuring between good and bad. We stop measuring between justice and injustice. We stop measuring between even right and wrong. And instead we embrace the moment as if it's some becausemic cause and effect relationship. These people couldn't have done anything otherwise. We have in Buddhism this wonderful simile just like a mother loves her only child, such is the feeling of lovingkindness and. Doesn't matter whether the child is right or wrong, does not matter if the child is good or bad, doesn't matter if the child has treated you justly or unjustly. When you look at a parent's love towards their children that is something which does not measure right nor wrong, which is beyond good and evil. Because even evil kids, if there is such a thing bad children, delinquent children, rotten children, monsters even then their mums love them my mother still loves me. But what we're saying there is there is something which can actually transcend right wrong good and bad, evil and not evil. And this is beautiful thing called lovingkindness. It does take a shift of the paradigm. Just a jump. Of the way one thinks to really understand that such lovingkindness can be possible, is possible and is manifested in this world today you see such people. A member of story in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa after apartheid was overcome. When, in order to try and heal some of the past terrible abuses between the two halves of the population. South Africa there. Was one, I think a member of the security police or whatever in South Africa, I don't remember the details completely. Who confessed in this commission that he had tortured, killed quite brutally quite sort of painfully the husband of this black woman who was in the court. He confessed to this, and the woman just came up to him, just gave him a big hug and said, I forgive you. It was one of the most meaningful moments in the time of that Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Even though such pain had been committed, even such an injustice had been wrought, even though a big wrong had been admitted to the wife, a woman who loved this man most of all would come up and forgive and hug this man. The murderer, the torturer of her husband. It was, again, one of these paradigm shifts. It was a different way of looking at things, and you can see the effects which such spontaneous acts of pure lovingkindness give to the world. It gives healing. It gives the possibility of transcending this terrible cycle of injustice, revenge, more injustice, more revenge. Tit for tat, which goes on so often in our world, too often in our world. And sometimes we wonder where we can end all of this. You know what it's like in your daily life? Husbands and wives, you did this, and then you sort of want to get your own back, and then you get worse, and then he wants to get his own back. Then you get your own back. Sometimes, as a monk, people come up to me and they talk about their marriages. Well, they just sit in front of me, and it's amazing. They don't talk to each other. They talk to me about him. They talk to me about her. And it's really what isn't it? They can't talk to each other anymore. And it's always just so critical. It's always like, tit for tat, revenge again. He did this, therefore I have to do that back to him. She did this, therefore my goodness. You can see how wars start in the world, that wars start in the family, and they just create this attitude which goes off into politics, and we start declaring war against each other, blowing each other up. My goodness. Now, all these years, all these centuries, can't we look at life in a different way? And we can look at life in a different way, loving kindness, a different way of looking at things. What loving kindness is, and this is my favorite way of defining lovingkindness is the story of my father. I was only about 1314. Maybe last time I said it was 15. Last time I said it was twelve. I can't remember. It's a long time ago. But I don't care as roughly about that time when he took me aside and he said to me, son, whatever you do in your life, the door of my house will always be open to you. To cut the long story short, I realized he didn't mean his house, which was just a very, very poor apartment in London. There was nothing much to open the door to, to anyone. In fact, that usually, as I said, we'd usually leave the door open. In those days, we weren't afraid of burglars. In fact, we were trying to encourage burglars so they may look at our house, it was so poor, and leave something for us. Anyway. That he said when he said Daddy, that's not what he meant. What he meant was, whatever you do in your life, son, the door of my heart will always be open to you. Whatever you do, the door of my heart will always be open to you. It was actually putting this idea of loving kindness into a metaphor and a simile into a picture, which I could understand. I imagine my little heart like they have. It's almost like Valentine's Day soon, isn't it? Actually, it's a very good day for this talk. Just going out to Valentine's Day. A little heart, little red heart with a little door in it open a little door, come in. And that's actually how I pictured it. It was actually opening his door to me so I could come into his heart anytime I wanted, no matter what I did, who I was, how I behaved, good or bad. It was a lovingkindness was something which was transcending good and bad, right and evil, justice and injustice. It was a shift in the way I looked at life and. Because before I thought I'd have to be good, before I was loved, I'd had to be right. Before I was respected, I had to be just before I could be embraced in the community. And there was somebody who was saying, no, it's nothing to do with all of that. Love is unconditional, unconditional acceptance, unconditional forgiveness. Something which is bigger. And it taught me that paradigm shift. It took a long time for me because I had to contemplate that, reflect upon that for a long time, especially when I was a young monk in Thailand, remembering that and hearing what I heard from the great monks about lovingkindness, I went to these amazing monks. I was so privileged to hang out with not just ajan cha, but other great monks. And one of the things I always remember about these great monks is you always felt so safe in their presence. You always felt as if that you were always accepted. And even though I wasn't the best of monks, even though I was very stupid sometimes and had all my defilements and stupidity, even though you always felt that in their presence, they'd never do anything to harm you, to hurt you in any which way, you that's why you gave yourself up to them as teachers. You trusted them. You trusted that they would never exploit that relationship, they would never harm you, that whatever they said or did must be for your best interests. And that's again why such teachers had so many disciples. Because there was that trust. The door of my heart always opened. No matter who you are, no matter what you do. It was something greater than I'd been used to a different way of looking at life before. I thought that all rights had to be all wrongs, had to be righted, that all people who abuse me, I had to teach him a lesson, had to settle scores. And they were saying there are no scores. Right and wrong, who's right and who's wrong. I'm still of the opinion as a monk meditating for many years, understanding the way my mind works. Even people like Adolf Hitler, I'm sure that he thought he was doing the right thing, even though now we all know that was the wrong thing. It was a stupid thing at the time. We always think we're doing the right thing, even though sometimes people I know who've committed adultery even though it creates so much harm to their family at the time, they think they're doing the right thing. But. Have you ever noticed that? Say, what's actually happening here? What's right and wrong is actually bent. It's distorted by what we want to feel is right, by our background of what we hope is right. What actually suits us is right. That's why this idea of right and wrong sometimes you got to be very, very careful with that. What is right is usually what I think is right. What suits me, what suits my pleasure, what suits my pride, that's what's right. So we have to be very careful about this right and wrong business and go a bit deeper than that and have this wonderful loving kindness. We can transcend that what that loving kindness does. It transcends that to be have this wonderful acceptance. Now I'm going to focus now just on acceptance. What's the opposite of acceptance? What's the opposite of embracing? It's not just hatred. It's this other word called control. Because lovingkindness meta the door of my heart's open to you no matter what you ever do, is very, very close to what we call letting go, embracing, being at peace with, being detached. Can you see the similarities with lovingkindness? The door of my heart's open to me. My father was saying sort of, you're my son, I'll love you no matter what you do. I'm not going to control you. I'm not attached to your actions or your behavior. There's something about this which is, I'm not going to control you anymore. As a son. I brought you up so far. Now I'm going to love you no matter what you do. You can see it's a lack of control of others. It's an embracing, it's a letting go of. And once you make that connection between lovingkindness and letting go, lovingkindness and embracing, you can see the opposite of lovingkindness. Hatred is so caught up with controlling. Controlling our environment, controlling our friends, controlling the people we live with. That's where anger and hate comes from. You want your husband to be like this, to be like that. And you spend a lot of time trying to control them, thinking if you can get them just right, then you'll be happy. How many people have been living with their husband for so long trying to get them just like this, just like that? Isn't it frustrating? Isn't it a hopeless task until after a while you realize that that's not what love is? That's not the way you can live with another person. It has to be. Husband a door of my heart's open to you no matter what you do, no matter who you are. I made this comment a few years ago. I was just wondering why it is that people get married, have relationships, and they are just so selective of their partners in life. You go to a great deal of trouble choosing the person you're going to live with. In fact, you check them out more than you'd even check out the car you're going to buy. You even test drive them just to make sure you get a good model. There's a second hand one you got to check as being service, whatever it is. But you actually really look into it, don't you? Do you check your children before they come into your life? Do you choose them? Do you even test drive your kids? Let's try this one. No, thank you. It's not like going to the cat's home or the dog's home to pick out a pet. When you get kids, you got no choice. Something grows in your womb and it comes out and there you are. You're stuck with it and with children you're stuck with for many, many years. Isn't it amazing in that situation, even though you've got no choice about what comes out of your womb, no choice at all, you will love that child until they die or you die, whichever comes first. And. It? Why is it that the way we love our children is completely different than the way we love our husband or wife? When the children do something wrong or you get a bit upset but you don't stop speaking them to them for a week or two weeks, do you? You don't get that upset because the lovingkindness to a child is something which transcends good and bad, right and wrong. You know, you want to sort of help your children, make them into a good person. You try and guide them through life. What I'm saying here is there's something which is even bigger than what you want to guide. Wouldn't it be wonderful if husbands and wives could look at each other like that? To say, the door of my heart is open to you no matter what? You ever do that. You look upon your husband or your child with the same amount of love, no more, no less than a child of yours. You try and guide your husband, try and guide your wife, but that's all not controlling them. It's. When we control, we get into this terrible opposite of lovingkindness called ill will. Hatred, anger, all coming from wanting to control other people. It also comes when we look deeply into the same attitude we have towards ourselves control all. Which is why when we talk about lovingkindness, it's so hard for some people to practice lovingkindness towards themselves. This is one of these amazing blockages which people have in Western countries or people in Asian countries who've been educated in Western ways also have this terrible job in trying to forgive themselves, trying to accept themselves. They've got this great psychological syndrome of lack of self esteem, depression. People commit suicide these days. They're not suicide. They're depressed and have to take prozac. It's much better to come to the Buddhist Society of West Australia instead of kidding yourself or taking prozac or getting depressed. Because here you're finding out why. Where is this actually coming from? Where is coming from is the sense of control. Trying to control yourself, having an idea of good and bad about yourself, measuring. I gave a talk at monastery on Wednesday night. It arose from a lovely question, which I got, I think, last Saturday afternoon here on meditation, someone quoted Lord Kelvin, who was a physicist many couple of centuries ago. And Lord Kelvin said, if you can't measure something, you can't control it. What it was actually meaning was that by developing ways of measuring the world, we can get some idea of controlling things, which is at the basics basis of modern technology. That's where science and technology meet. By learning how to measure, to weigh, then we can actually think we can control our world. Without measurement, there's no control. That's a wonderful saying, because that's right on. But you missed the most important thing. He wanted to measure, to get more control. And look what our society has built now. And. In other in the opposite way. The Buddhism is saying, stop all this measuring business. When you stop all the measuring, then you stop controlling as well. When you stop measuring good and bad, right and wrong, I'm right and they're wrong, better or worse, then you find that so much of this controlling thing in the world disappears. Look at yourself. Are you good? Are you bad? Are you a good meditator or a bad meditator? Are you a kind person or an angry person? Are you intelligent or are you stupid? We all have our ideas of what we are. We measure ourselves. And from that measurement comes roll. Control comes ill will about that part of ourself which we can't control, which we don't like, which we hate, which we're embarrassed about because we can't control it. And we get into all this psychological stuff. Wouldn't it be wonderful just the way we look at our children without measuring? I love you. No matter what you do, who you are, my father said to me, the door of my heart's open to you. I'm not going to measure you, I'm not going to control you. I'm going to let you in. You can see that measuring is where we start control. A lot of the problems start to come from lord Kelvin was absolutely right, but he missed the most important part of that. He wanted to measure so he could control. As a Buddhist, I want to stop measuring so I can love. Do you measure your husband? Does he measure up? Do you measure your wife? Does she measure down or sideways? Because women get much fatter these days. So do men. And I'm one of the worst culprits. But even though I get fat these days, I always say the reasons why monks get fat is that because we don't worry enough. Because when you worry, you're supposed to get thin. So I don't worry enough. That's why I get fat. So it's my excuse that so by measuring, this is where we get into ill will. Anger, controlling. And this is where we lose our perception of love. So there is this part of us, especially in our meditation, especially in the deeper parts, the deeper wisdoms of Buddhism, where we stop measuring people, we stop measuring ourselves when we stop all this measuring business, because you can see it's completely irrational. Are you good or are you bad? You can't say, you know, the Taoist symbol, the black and the white. There's a bit of yin in the yang, a bit of yang in the yin. There's always a bit of good and the bad. There's always a bit of bad and a good. Put your hands up if you're absolutely perfect. Put your hands up if you're absolutely evil. No such being exists in the world. So how can we measure ourselves? The world likes to measure, doesn't it? The goodies and the baddies. We are the free world, and that's the tyrants we are, right? That's the axis of evil. I have been victimized. You're the person who did that to me. Too much measuring in the world, too much of this good and bad business. And if we really look at it honestly, rationally, we see that, my goodness, how can you judge another person? How do you know what they've done? Why they did it, where they came from? Have you got all the information? Or is what you listen to just the result of spin doctors in your head? There's many spin doctors. There's three spin doctors called greed, hatred and delusion, which change the world to suit what you want to see, not what's really there. And. Greed, hatred and delusion, the defarments, the spin doctors of the mind. So if you're really upset that your child or your parent or your monk, you're really upset, then whatever they say, I can't accept that. That's really wrong, that's evil. What is he up to? Actually? Look to see what you want to find, and you can always find it in there. Why is it that when people get married, they think that their partner is the most wonderful person in the world? Be wonderful, actually, if they could actually write that down when they get married. And then two years later when they come up to see me because they're having problems, I want to get divorced, I can get that piece of paper out and say, well, you said they're the most wonderful person in the world. What's going on? Were you wrong? Now I said now they're the worst person in the world. And I keep that. And sometime later so now you said there's a worse but what are they? Is that what they are? Or is your judging been wrong? I said on last Wednesday that one of the senior monks of our tradition, adjuncto, one of his stories was he was in Ajan Charles Monastery. What? Non pao pong in Thailand. Years and years ago. Even before I came there, I was having a very, very hard time. It was very, very difficult. He was suffering. And of course his body language showed it. And Chao went up to him and he just asked one thing, said, is it what Papong? Which is suffering, or is you suffering? And. It. And straight away that Gentile was wise enough to say, it's not what babong which is suffering. It's not the monastery which is suffering. The suffering was in me. When the suffering was in him, it was in this monastery or that monastery or wherever he was. If the suffering is in you, then that place you're in, you think of as suffering. It's not sort of your job is suffering. You are suffering. It's not your partner is suffering. Suffering. It's not your partner is happy, you are happy. These things are inside of us, and we look through them into the world. And if suffering is inside of us, we see the world as suffering. If happiness inside of us, we see the world as happy. The problem is not out there, the problems inside, we understand that. We realize we don't need to judge the world. Could we judge the world through what's inside of us? It's our paradigms. If you're having a really, really good day, just life is wonderful. If you just got into a deep meditation, oh, my good. This world is a paradise. Just even the traffic, oh, it's just so wonderful. Even those beautiful speed cameras which you see on the side of the road, aren't they works of art? Oh, my goodness. See the beautiful flashes which they give? Oh, it really, really bad mood. Then anything which happens is really terrible. Jam Brahmi just goes on and on and on. The same stories every week. Doesn't matter. It's not what's out there. It's what's in you causes suffering or happiness. This is why all this judging and measuring business, it's so unfair. It's. Have you been measured today or this week? Has someone said that, you stupid idiot. Oh, you did a wonderful job today. You're sort of a pain in the backside. Or, I'm so happy to have met you. Have people been judging you this week? Has it been fair? Did you really feel you were treated adequately, fairly, rationally, when people said that to you? I remember years ago, those of you who know me just know the first years of my monastery. I work so hard building. I work sort of hour after hour after hour. Just from first light, we sort of would start working, just shoveling, mixing concrete, laying bricks. I work really hard, hard, those first years, so many hours a day. And then on the weekend we'd come up here, or actually to our city center in North Perth to teach people. And again, we're working quite hard. On the morning, we'd go in arms round. I remember going past this house in North Perth and somebody shouted out, yeah, you bludgers. And. And I had calluses and cuts on my hands. I wanted to show this guy, look, I work much harder than you. I just slave working laboring all week without any pay and just slave just looking after the city temple in the weekend. That's my weekend off. But I thought at the time, my goodness, how unfair it is to call me a bludger it but then I realized that this is what life is. People measure you all the time. And sometimes people come and say, oh, I don't bomb. You're the most wonderful monk in the world. Or you're so, so wonderful. As I said last week, somebody said you're the Elvis of Buddhism. That's what they said last week. So that's unfair too. Me? Why do people like measuring people? And both are untrue. I'm not the office of Buddhist. I had a great fight of the modesty after that. Thinking of growing some sideburns and changing my robe to something. No. So actually, when you stop measuring, you're measuring yourself. Or actually, when you actually look at measurements, you see it's so unfair. It's so unreal. And so we actually start to stop measuring business. And when we stop measuring, then we can start lovingkindness. You have to suspend all your ideas of whether you are worth it or not worth it. You have to suspend all your ideas of whether the other person is worth it or not worth it to forgive someone like Saddam Hussein or George Bush, you got to suspend all your ideas of they are worth it or they are not worth it. Too much judgments, too much measuring causes control and ill will and stops lovingkindness. And if we keep stopping lovingkindness, there will never be any harmony through forgiveness in this world. Just as a mother loves her only child. Doesn't matter what that child does. I will always love you. You can always come into my heart. There is acceptance, harmony, nonmeasuring. We've got to start with ourselves. Lovingkindness softens you, it softens the issuer. It softens the controller. It means instead of wanting to control the whole world, to control my family, to control myself, we accept ourselves, therefore we let go. It's wonderful having a bit of peace inside your heart. They're realizing you don't have to be so damn perfect before you can be at peace with yourself. Just like as a mother loves her only child. The child doesn't need to be perfect to get the mother's love. So you do not need to be so perfect to deserve your own love. There comes a time in every person's life, if not this life, the next life, or the next life, sometime in the great cosmic cycles of your existence where you just look at yourself and you get the guts, the courage to stop all the judging and all the measuring, which is completely unfair anyway. And say no matter who I am, no matter what I've done throughout my whole history, the door of my heart is open to me. Come in. If you can say that, you realize it's just again in this metaphor and assimile. When I started doing this, I realized it was half of me was outside, half of me was rejected, half of me was cold, unaccepted, unlike. That was the part I didn't like about myself. The part of me which I was afraid of the part of me which I thought wasn't right. My mistakes, my idiosyncrasies, all the stupid things which I've done in my life. For example, you know what I did once from my mother's birthday? I told all the monks this in serpentine with my mother's birthday. That particular time in London there was a food craze of eels and mash mashed potatoes and. And usually you'd actually buy the eels from a shop and you take them and you boil them and then you serve them up with mashed potatoes. It was a delicacy from the East End of London and had lots of eels and mash stores. So it was my mother's birthday. So I went I must be only about nine or ten. I went with my pocket money and bought an eel, a live eel. I put it in a box, covered it with birthday paper and I went to my mother's. Mother, happy birthday. My poor mother opened this box and this eel came out and read and she screamed her head off. What a lovely, loving son I was. Oh, my poor mother. And so some of the things which I did in my youth, I'm not very not very happy about. But then again, I've forgiven that a long time ago, but. Because again I realized that when you're saying the door of my heart's open to me you had to actually to bring out that all of that outside which you didn't like all the stupid things, you did all the wrong things, you did all the terrible things to bring it all inside. And when it all comes inside with this wonderful coming in the door of your heart then you feel this wonderful feeling of unity, of being at peace with yourself, not having half of you which is rejected and outside and you realize just how wonderful that is, how that is happiness, how that is peace. You realize that is what is skillful, that is what is good forgiveness before you always sing the what good is actually solving the problems in the other person or controlling ourselves to get rid of all the bad stuff, fixing it rather than accepting it. If you go around fixing the problems in the world, it's endless. You can't even fix the problems in your own house. There's always new ones happen. You can't even fix the problems in the world. You can't fix any problems that way, but you can fix all problems with a bit of lovingkindness. The door of my heart's open to you. Come in with that forgiveness, the whole world changes. You can actually start to see other people in a different way without measuring them, without controlling them. You can be with them just like you are with children, just like you are with cats and dogs. Why is it that we always have these wonderful relationships with our pets? Maybe we can't live with a man, we can't live with a woman. We can always live with our cats and dogs. Why is that? Because you know you can't control these animals. You and you let them just jump up on your bed, you just had a shower, and they lick you all over. They drool over your clothes when you're just about to go out. Just dogs and cats because you don't control them. They're just being a dog. They're just being a cat and. Politicians are just being politicians. Husbands are just being husbands wives just being wives. What do you expect? You are just being you. So when we stop controlling and stop measuring, then we can start doing loving kindness towards ourselves. When we start doing loving kindness towards ourselves, at least spend some day, some of our day doing loving kindness. The door of my heart's always open to me. You find the benefits are that because of kindness you don't measure the world so strictly into black and white, good or bad. You find by developing lovingkindness towards yourself, that your judgments of other people become far less severe. Because you do loving kindness towards yourself, you find that you can forgive because you're not judging so much. Because you're doing loving kindness towards yourself, you find that you can accept life more as it is, even accept some of the parts of life which before you found so difficult, so hard. Because of lovingkindness towards yourself, you can even accept sickness, because you don't judge it so badly. Because you have lovingkindness towards yourself, you can even accept death when it happens, because you're not so judgmental to life. I've often asked people, do you love life? And people say, yeah, I love life. Say really? Or just half of life the nice part? Do you love all of life? The sick times, the times when you get overworked in the office, the times when you get old, the times when love ones disappear from you do you love that part of life as well? Do you love life when it's about time for you to die? Do you really love life because all of life, starting from birth to death, do you love it all or just love half of it and hate the other half? If you really love life, if you want to be at peace, we can actually be at peace with all of life. When we say life, the door of my heart is open to you. No matter who you are, what you do. Come in life. The door of my heart is open to you. All of you. Not just a nice part, all of you. Then you find you're at peace with life. Then all the problems have ended. Then there's no control, good and bad. A sinful. What they really are. Just skillful, unskillful. Just part of this great cosmos by night and day. In the big picture, when we see it from above, as it were, we find yes, thank you. Thank you. Not just for the good part, for the other part as well. That's what has tested us. That's what we learned from. That's what's made us what we are. The dog. My heart is open to everything, no matter what. Then you stop controlling the world. You stop controlling life. You've let go of. That which is the self, the controller disappears. That's why in such degree of lovingkindness there we understand deep Buddhist teachings like non self. In Garen Simpson's article, he'd said there's a problem with non self. The problem is with the sense of self. When as a sense of self, there's a sense of controlling me, what I need, what I want, my requirements. When there's a sense of self, when one lets go of that sense of self to non self, no control, no measuring, then the door of my heart is open to the whole of life. That life is my heart and you all of it. Then you're at peace with everything. That's why you see the great Masters and Mistresses, the great saints of the world will be so peaceful no matter what happened to them. I remember this story of West Sed monk. He was a lovely monk, just living up in the mountain, doing nothing, just meditating, being kind in the local village, which supported him. One of the girls there got pregnant. And in those days, if you got pregnant and you weren't married, you were in big trouble. So the father saw it and who's responsible, who was a boy. And of course, she didn't want to DOB in her boyfriend because she loved him. She would get into trouble, so she couldn't dobbing her boyfriend. So she thought, oh, can I DOB in the monk? He won't mind. He's enlightened, so it doesn't matter. So she dobbed in the monk. He's the father of my child. So in those days before DNA testing, they just had a word for it. So when the father found out that the monk was responsible for this all, he was so angry. He was so upset. He got the whole village together, had a meeting. What should they do about this scatty, wag monk? So they went up. They decided to really sort of they couldn't hit him or kill him or anything, but they'd really decide to give him a piece of their mind. The whole village went up to his little mountain retreat and they harangued him and told him off. News bad monk monks and supposed to do this. And instead of protesting his innocence, he just sat there and said. And then they went back again when the baby was born, they think, well, obviously, we really haven't got through to this monk, just what he's done wrong, so I know how we can punish him. It's his baby, he's responsible. So they all went up there and blah, blah, blah. You terrible monk, you're responsible for this. This is your karma. Here's the baby. So this monk was given a baby girl to look after and already would do was say, also, and it's always resources, how could a mum look after a baby girl? Be managed somehow or other, after a couple of months? Actually, less than that, according to the story, after only a couple of weeks, because the mother was separated from her baby, she wanted the baby back, the mother's love for a child. And she also started to feel very, very guilty. She dobbed in the muck and the mug was completely innocent. And in the meantime, her so called boyfriend, who she tried to protect, you know what boys are like. As soon as the baby was born, he was off to the city. He scarped, he disappeared. And so she didn't really love him so much now. So that's why she called her father together and say, it wasn't the monk, it was this scattered, wag boy who just gone off to the city, ran away. It was him. It wasn't the monk. And of course, the father felt so guilty. Not only had he criticized and blamed a monk who had done nothing at all, but he'd even lumbered this monk with a baby girl. And he thought, oh, that's such terrible, Karl, what have I done? He felt so guilty. And he got all the members of videos together and for the third time, they went up to see this monk, only not to sort of scold him, just to say, oh, we're so sorry. They were crying and pleading for forgiveness and to ask for the baby back. And so he gave the baby back and all he said was, ARSO. That's all he ever said. Just ask her. People caught him just terrible and bad because they accuse him of something he hasn't done, just says, ARSO. They sort of give him a baby, which he doesn't deserve, and they sort of say, I would tell you terribly sorry. There we go. ARSO. So next time your husband shouts at you, just sit there and say ARSO. When he says, I'm terribly sorry, dear. No, you shouldn't have done that. Just say ARSO. Don't go. Say, I told you so. You shouldn't have done that thing, you stupid man. Just say ARSO. So this is actually where then? Don't put the L on the end. 7s I was reading your mind there's that way that we're not judging. We're not judging. We were at peace with the world. This all the great bankers and nuns, the great mistress and masters of religion, they've always had this wonderful sense of not judging others because they didn't judge, they didn't try and control. Because they didn't try and control. They're such a wonderful people to be with because they didn't control, they had lovingkindness. They were at peace with themselves and at peace with the world. So all of those who have difficulty doing lovingkindness meditation, so many books on lovingkindness meditation, so many techniques, you can get those techniques from other CDs are from books. What I was getting at this evening is the root cause of problems with developing, lovingkindness, measuring and control. Stop all this measuring business, especially the good and bad, the right and wrong. In the small picture, yeah, you can say good and bad, right and wrong. In the big picture. It all tends to disappear. When you stop all that measuring business, you find not only can you live with other people in harmony and peace, we can live with other religions in harmony and peace. When we stop measuring each other, they're right, I'm wrong, they're better, I'm worse. Or usually the other way around. But then we can also learn how to live with ourselves and be at peace with ourselves. The door of my heart is opened. And also you can learn how to live with life. Life. The door of my heart is always open to you. No matter what you do, no matter who you are, you're at peace. One with life. That's what love is. And it's also selfless no control. Absolute love counts on the absolute emptiness of non. Self no control. One, not two. Okay, that's the talk this evening on lovingkindness meta.