Dec. 15, 2022

Renunciation | Ajahn Brahm

Renunciation | Ajahn Brahm

When we let go of things, we find freedom and happiness. Renouncing simplifies life and makes more time for things that are important. Renouncing things brings joy, understanding, and freedom. In order to live a simple life and achieve enlightenment...

Apple Podcasts podcast player badge
Spotify podcast player badge
Google Podcasts podcast player badge
Castro podcast player badge
RSS Feed podcast player badge
Amazon Music podcast player badge
iHeartRadio podcast player badge
PlayerFM podcast player badge

 When we let go of things, we find freedom and happiness. Renouncing simplifies life and makes more time for things that are important. Renouncing things brings joy, understanding, and freedom. In order to live a simple life and achieve enlightenment, Buddhist traditions emphasize the need for renunciation. Meditation is a practice that can help you deal with your emotions, renounce your attachments to your body, and experience peace and freedom before death. Becoming a monk or nun freed you from your desires, allows you to connect with people more easily, and give you a sense of inner peace and strength. 


This dhamma talk was originally recorded on cassette tape on 6th July 2001. It has now been remastered and published by the Everyday Dhamma Network, and will be of interest to his many fans.

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

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.



 Usually at the start of retreat period, I usually get nicely fired up. It's a time when I start to make up much more of my duties and things which I have to do, get deeper into meditation, get into the heart of this thing we call Buddhism.  Very happy this evening to give a talk by request on the subject of enunciation.  It's worth thinking about, worth contemplating why it is that in all traditions, not just Buddhist traditions, like the people who are said to achieve the goal, the wise ones, enlightened ones, the deeply spiritual ones, the saints, always those. Who have given up so much to live very simply, who don't have even money, have very few clothes and very few possessions, who are celebrating, whether it's people from Mahatma Gandhi or to some of the great saints of our time. Or people like Jesus and Francis in the western tradition. Or some of the great monks and nuns which I've known in the Thai tradition or the Sri Lankan Burmese tradition. Bob or even in Tibetan tradition. Why is it that if we see someone is supposed to be a holy man or a holy woman,  And they drive around in a Rolls Royce or Mercedes that we tend to think there's something wrong there.  And there is something which is deep in all traditions, which understands that the goal of enlightenment will also include a sense of simplicity, a sense of nonattachment, a sense of wanting few things or having few things. So this evening I'm going to explain why that is the case and how this  is achieved through the path of renunciation. Another word for enunciation is letting go, giving up things, abandoning things, simplifying. And it goes against our modern world, which is always to accumulate more and more. The way of enunciation is to give up more and more,  emphasize that one way actually leads to being a prisoner of our possessions, and the other way leads to this beautiful freedom.  It's a strange thing, but when you practice a part of enunciation and of course, as a monk, I've been out so much over the years, but one thing which I haven't renounced is the happiness and the freedom, the peace of the mind which comes  from giving up. The whole life of being a Buddhist was always a pass of stage by stage, little by little, when I felt comfortable about it, letting go of things where there was renouncing. Some of the  immoral ways which I used to live in my early life, in my early years I think I've mentioned here before that when I was young, as a student I used to go and get drunk with your friends. Sometimes terribly drunk. Sometimes you used to go on the buses. You learned how to go on a bus without paying the full fare. And each of those little things you did because you thought you were going to get away with things. You thought how clever you were, how smart you were.  But after a while,  possibly because I learned meditation when I was at uni when I started meditating, you get a sense of seeing things with clarity instead of just following what other people do. I was just talking earlier today with someone that so many of our responses, attitudes, way of looking at things in life all just come from conditioning. We've been brainwashed to see things and act in a certain way. We're specifically talking about the response to  disappointments, tragedies, getting cancer, dying, those sorts of things which happen in life which are responsible. If you hear that someone has got a cancer cell causing or someone's dying, oh, that's sad. Why isn't is it sad? Why is that a bad thing? It can be one of the greatest blessings for people in life.  The point is that we have a certain social conditioning that if we press the right trigger, we get the same response. When I was young, it was going to a pub was one of the best things you could do on a Friday evening. Fortunately, you don't believe even that because you've come here instead. I'm very glad to see that.  And going to get drunk used to say afterwards, what a great night that was. Yeah, what a great night that was. We all got dry. But then I started to challenge sort of the receive wisdom of my society. I started to ask questions. One of the wonderful things about the Buddhist path is ask questions. Ask questions of the monks, but more so, ask questions of yourself.  Don't have any dogmas inside your own monk mind. The idea that death is bad is a dogma. The idea of getting cancer is so sad is a dogma. In other words, it's a belief which we've just taken on board without examining it fully.  Here. We want to really challenge those things. Can we see it in a different way? And perhaps it was because of my little bit of meditation, he started to see things in a completely different way.  Taking alcohol when I gave up alcohol, when I renounced alcohol, it was such an obvious thing to do. Every time you went to get drunk afterwards, you didn't know whether it was a good time or not. You're just trusting your friends to say it was a good time because you couldn't remember much about it. And they said it was a good time and frankly, they didn't really remember much about it either. It was just assumed to be a good time.  When you go and have a party, is it a good time? Why do you have to do all those things? Have to dress up, have to go and speak stupid things to stupid people, listen to loud music. Do you really but say we've got to enjoy it?  This is one of our problems.  Just I was searching through my  fine cabinet monastery just tidying things up for the retreat, and I came across a letter which I'd written to Amnesty International a few years ago. It was the anniversary of the university, the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And they invited me, as the Buddhist representative, to come to a fundraising dinner for Amnesty. And I had to write them a letter back saying that as a monk, I'm not allowed to eat at that time of the day, in the evening,  nor am I allowed to take alcohol. I won't be able to enjoy the wine. Just imagine what it would be like for me as a man sitting there with an empty plate while the people around me, I've got this wonderful food.  Seeing you have this probably wonderful wine and all I can have is orange juice. And I told them in the letter that's the type of torture which Amnesty International should never condone.  Why is it when people celebrate, have a dinner, they have to eat a lot and they have to drink alcohol. It's accepted in our society that is having fun, isn't it? If you have a celebration, what do you do?  You have of ramen juice or a glass of champagne.  You toast some person's health with a cup of oil. Gray.  Why is it this is our tradition and as a monk, as a monk, even a young man, I was challenging those traditions  and I continue to challenge those traditions. Is it really fun? Is it really good? Is it really what we're here for? Actually, that was very easy to announce alcohol one, because I couldn't afford it anyway. I was a student and it cost a lot of money there's. Bad for my health. I didn't know what I was doing. Got into all sorts of trouble as a result and it felt much better.  I tell people this because I thought it was a sacrifice. Whenever you announce something, you give up something. People think you're a wow. Sir, you're not going to have a good time  now. Many of you know me for many years  now. Am I a happy monk? I've given up sex, alcohol, music.  Great fun doing that.  Look at me.  The point was that I thought at first it was a gamble giving up alcohol renouncing that I thought I'd never get invited to any parties.  Who want a wows them at the party, someone doesn't drink like everyone else. But to my astonishment and delight at the time, I got invited to even more parties because they wanted somebody sober to drive them home.  There's always hidden benefits in these things.  But more than that, I never lost anything.  I gained so much by announcing alcohol.  Well, I could really enjoy the parties. I remembered all about it the following day. And I was fresh. I didn't have had these terrible hangovers. I didn't lose all my money. I didn't do stupid things. You're enjoying yourself with a sense of control,  the sense of being there at the time. You can enjoy yourself as much as anyone else. I would say even more. But more than that, whenever I renounce something and it went against the stream, what everyone else was doing, I felt inner strength.  It's amazing. Every time I made those decisions, I felt inwardly strong. I'd actually done something which was hard to do. I went against the usual way of doing things.  I wasn't just following other people like a sheep. I was making my own decisions, making my own way.  Rationally with a heart, rather than just out of stupidity or out of fear.  The Buddha actually taught that if you're going to make any decision in life, any choice,  what you're going to do, what you're doing now, never act out of the four wrong motives. Those four wrong motives are acting out of desire, ill will, stupidity or fear, or a gatti in party. And so often in life, I saw myself doing that, acting out of desire, wanting something. I want to get something out of you. I want to get something out of the situation. I'm out of your will because I just hate something. I hate the situation a lot of times out of stupidity. But most of all, I found myself and I think many people in the world acts out of the fourth long motive fear.  You're not courageous enough to make your own decision.  Cause you're afraid what other people think about you  not rational. You just follow the line out of fear of the consequences.  To be a Buddhist, you have to develop a great sense of fearlessness. Walk your path, not somebody else process.  Make your decisions. You will never get excommunicated from the Buddhist society of Western Australia by making your own decisions.  In fact, that's the path which leads to nibana. See for yourself the truth which all men and women have seen over the centuries. And I thought that just giving something up, just the fact of stopping doing something, was actually a sense of strength. I could do this. I had a lot of Christian friends at college. One of my Christian friends  with him is a great shame because you saw some great arguments about religion. But good ones. No. We debate pushing each other into a deeper understanding of our beliefs.  But he went on a fast. So I went on a fast as well. And I challenged him so he could fast the longest.  Only three days. But for my young man without.  I really forced myself. Those days you just have a bicycle. I would deliberately bicycle it every evening past a fish and chip shop just to test my will.  I put a muffin on the mantelpiece in my room  so I could see it. I didn't even actually hide the food. I deliberately thought out the smells and the sights of food just to test my willpower. I made it. He failed. I beat him to the three day fast.  It wasn't a factor like beating my friend. What really impressed me inside was I could do this. I could say no to even the desire to eat for three days.  Eventually, I became a vegetarian at college.  And even I got  teased by my friends used to come up to me and look at my plate. They had all their meat on their plates. They call that rabbit food. And I asked them, what a rabbit famous for?  I was at college,  I wasn't a mike bed,  but you had to stand up for yourself. Because I think in college I had two vegetarians, me and another sort of weirder  that was a long time ago, when it was even the main vegetarian restaurant in London was called Crank.  That's his name. That's a true story. I think it's still there. Crank's restaurant. So that's actually but when I did that, I decided I was going to be a vegetarian when all my friends and all my mates and the college had to cook special food for you.  When I decided to do that, inside I felt strong.  I felt like power. Inside, I gone against the stream. It was like flexing the muscles of my mind.  You know, when you exercise at a gym, you can't push up lightweight  to get strong. You have to stretch yourself, push against hard weights. The harder the weight, the stronger you become. The same way, the harder the decision was. The more I had to announce, the tougher it was, the less other people were doing it, the stronger I felt inside.  There was also a sense of self esteem, inner strength, what you might call integrity. This was my beliefs. I wasn't going to push them down the throats of any of my friends. They could go into and get drunk. I used to look after them afterwards. I wasn't going to criticize their lifestyle. I would sit down and have my vegetarian food next to all these carnivores sitting next to me.  I used to tease them as much as they tease me.  But it didn't really matter  that I was doing what I thought was correct and right for me at that time. I wasn't sort of following other people, and I didn't care what other people thought of me. Me. There was a sense of inner strength. I wasn't going with the four wrong motives. It wasn't done out of desire to get something. It wasn't stupidity. It wasn't ill will. I didn't sort of become a vegetarian because I hated meat. I didn't become  not drinking alcohol because I hated alcohol. I did it because I thought it was  a wise idea. And you did sense you had more freedom in your life.  More energy, more time, more freedom, and also more money as a student.  And this gave me like an insight and understanding into the path of renunciation  in the second noble second factor, the Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path in Buddhism is a path to enlightenment. How to become I'm enlightened second factor is three right thoughts  or my motives, intentions.  The first of those is the intention, the thoughts, the mindset of Renunciation NA Kama Sankapa in Paris.  This is actually part of the Eightfold Path, part of becoming enlightened didn't realize such things at the time. You were going in a path which led to amazing things. We always think that we're going to get happiness not by renouncing things, but by amassing things. Not by giving up your choice of foods, but be able to eat whatever you like, whenever you want, be able to drink whatever you want alcohol, be able to take whatever substances, no drugs, whatever else. Be able to go wherever you want, whenever you want to do it.  In fact, that's enshrined in Western culture in such things as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  But really, I gave a talk about this a couple of years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If you look at it deeply,  it comes very much from a Western paradigm.  That's a lot of reason why many Asian countries sort of talk about it. They say it's not real freedom after all. It's designed, made by Westerners or by Asians who have had Western education.  Because in my own experience, when I ask this of you, with all of your  socalled liberty to own, to possess, to go wherever you you like, to enjoy relationships, do you really feel more freedom?  The point is, in Buddhism,  real freedom is not the freedom to follow your desires, which is what human rights is all about. Well, not all human rights, but part of it. The real freedom is the freedom from desires.  It's a different paradigm.  It's the ability to live life content  rather than to have all of your desires stimulated, encouraged by, buy, possess, possess, go here, do this, experience that.  Do you really feel freedom that way?  How much have you got? Is that really giving you what you expected from all those possessions, all those relationships? Relationships? All those experiences?  So every time I gave up something.  I was actually freeing myself. The tyranny of those desires of having to have  nice food, having to have alcohol, having to have this, have that.  So it became a natural progression for me to try out being a monk, giving up sex,  not only giving up that, but giving up much of my ability to move around and do what I wanted in life. I like to mention that myself and many other months, we weren't losers in life. This wasn't just a last resort. Don't succeed in life. Become a monk.  I didn't become a monk because of some relationship which went terribly, terribly wrong. And I became a monk to forget. But then again, I might have done because I've forgotten. 6s I'm really impressed that many of my fellow monks and nuns, if they would have stayed in the world, they'd have been very successful.  Some of the monks have got very, very wealthy parents.  Now the smallest building in the world. The Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The person who built that, I think he owns one of them. I think the government owns the other tower. His son is a monk in a monastery in Thailand. His father goes to visit him every now and again in his private plane.  One of our monks, his father was Canadian million multi millionaire and offered him $1 million. Yes. No questions asked, if you were disrobed? No.  Another monk I knew, his father owned a big insurance company in South Africa. Another monk was a Rhodes scholar. Another monk. He used to be an actor in the National Theater. He was a friend of Tony Hawkins under Lawrence Olivia. Tell me all his stories about Larry.  That's Lawrence Olivia  Marks were not losers. The nuns aren't losers. In fact, if you look at the monks and nuns, especially in the Western Sangha, you'll be amazed at the quality of theirs achievements before they became a monk, let alone afterwards.  Why did such people with the world at their feet  renounce all of that? To become a monk and just eat whatever falls in your bowl, just to have just one or two rows to sleep on the floor, no sex, no movies, there's no radio, no TV.  When I, renounce became a monk, it's a marvelous feeling of freedom.  It's wonderful being able to relate to women as a monk with no sexuality involved at all.  And it's wonderful even now as a monk for many, many years. You talk to a lady and they're not an object of desire. They're a human being. I can look upon any woman, any man with the same you, the same eyes.  That sexuality, which stops a lot of conversation, stops a lot of understanding and meaning between different genders. It's taken away. You can really relate to people.  They can trust you and you can trust them.  One of the complications of like communicating with each other has been taken away  and ever as a bank who doesn't own any money with anyone who comes and talks to me, they don't think what's he getting out of this? Does he want a donation after this? Is he going to charge me for if I give him advice? It's marvelous when you don't have anything to do with money that that's taken away as well.  There's a lot of barriers between communication gets taken away when you run out, see things  I've got nothing to gain from anyone. Even if you come and tell me all your secrets because of my precepts, I can't even blackmail you. A wonderful way to raise money for the society like all these secrets which people tell me  I'll never tell anybody.  And so whenever you announce these things, barriers get taken away.  Not only that, but with that announcement, you do actually get a feeling of inner freedom. It took a long while to figure out what's going on. Why is it that when you let go of things, you seem to be more free, more happy, even more wealthy?  I've asked this question before. Can you remember the answer? Who's the wealthiest person in Australia?  Who's the wealthiest person in Australia? Wealthiest people in Australia.  Amongst the nuns  in Buddhism, the Buddha actually said this the highest wealth  is contentment.  Think about it. The highest wealth is contentment.  Isn't that worth much more than a million dollars? $10 million, hundred million dollars? How many million dollars do you want anyway?  Ask yourself that. If you had million dollars, would that be enough?  A billion dollars, would that be enough? Say yes, but for how long?  $10 billion. $100 billion. Why is it that people who have $100 billion have to work every day, seven days a week? Is Bill Gates ever get time off? No. The more you have, the more you are in a prison, the less freedom you have. I've known millionaires.  They haven't got a flat of the freedom of a monk or a nun. Everything got a section of your freedom.  So whenever you do announce, you find you do actually get more freedom. And figuring this out  sometimes uses similarly of a balloon, hot air balloon and a hot air balloon. To go higher, you have to do throw something out.  Throw something out and you go higher. Throw something more out, you go higher still. Throw something more out. There's always something you can throw out of that hot air balloon. That's what I've been practicing all my life, throwing things out.  I'm a great throw outer.  I threw out alcohol. I threw out lying. I threw out sort of money. I gave away all my money before I was a month as a marvelous thing to do.  This is one of my motorbike. This was before as a monk.  I had to get rid of it because it couldn't take a motorbike to Thailand. You can't ride motorbikes as a monk.  So  I talked to a few of my friends, but they weren't interested in it. Was actually, a friend of my mother's was interested in that motorbike.  So he came around to see it. I showed it to him, he was interested in it. He said, yeah, I like it. And he said, let's go upstairs, we'll settle up, fix the price. So in front of my mother. Thank goodness she was there, because otherwise it would all gone wrong. He said, how much do you want for it? And I said, do you really want it? Said yeah. How much? It was great to diet. I said, if you really want it, you can have it for free. No money. I always remember that look on his face that was worth hundreds and hundreds of pounds to see if I was on his face.  He turned around to my mother with that same look. She understood and she said, don't worry, he's alright. He's going to become a monk.  He said I was crazy.  My mother told me afterwards that was the first time in that man's life he been given something for free like that.  It moved him.  It's marvelous when you can do things like that. Just give from your heart. I didn't need the money. What would I do with money as a monk? And so he got that bike and I got so much happiness as a result.  This marvelous giving up money as a monk. What do you need money for anyway? That's why we announced these things. That's why we got those donation boxes at the end there. So you can renounce your money before you leave. 9s No, we're doing fine. We don't need that.  We do very well on blackmail.  When you start giving away things, you get really into this. And as a monk, not only were you celebrate, but you also had few possessions.  And it's amazing just how little you can get by on. But part of our training as monks and nuns is to have as little as possible.  And I think when we had our entry to the rains day at our monastery at Serpentine the other day, one of the monks who took you on tours, some of the people on tours are the monks huts. I was very pleased when he came back and said he went into two monks huts on our monastery,  and he and all the other visitors were very impressed. There was hardly anything there in the hut. It was empty. No furniture sleeping on the floor, no knickknacks. Just a couple of voids in a book, that's all. These monks I've got, my monastery, I'm very proud of them. They live so happily with few things. I don't need anything.  Part of my training after five years,  We had to leave the monastery, just go walking. In Thailand,  we had to walk,  taking all our possessions with us.  It was hot in Thailand.  And if you carry too much, you'd soon get very sweaty.  It was amazing. Just I started off taking too much. It was a big bag, the JIC bag, just in case.  That soon disappeared.  And after a week, I was traveling so lightly. Just a bowl and a couple of robes. That's all you needed. You had this wonderful feeling. I had no possessions left in the monastery. You weren't allowed or anything.  All that I owned in the world, I was carrying with me. And that's tremendous feeling of freedom and space  and emptiness. And I could go in whatever direction I wanted. Every crossroads in that country of Thailand. I could go east, west, north or south.  And I had nobody behind me, nobody in front of me, no possessions holding me back, no desires putting me forward. Credible sense of freedom of the mind. Being a wandering Mending monk. In Europe, they used to have that tradition of wandering monks. They too would just go with whatever they had.  Nothing.  There was a complete antithesis of our modern world. When we don't even live in houses anymore, we live in mansions.  When we each have our own cars, sometimes three cars to a house, sometimes a TV in each room. Even in the loo as well.  I saw in a newspaper you probably as well you can have these shower caps which you can actually sing karaoke to in the shower.  Crazy.  But it's not just for the sake of, like, simplicity outside, because that renunciation, that simplicity outside gives you so much more time. Time  when you've got few things, you've got few burdens in life. How much time is spent with accumulating, maintaining and cleaning your possessions?  How much time do you spend on those things?  Somebody came to our monastery some years ago. They were from the Jaradale Women's Institute. They wanted to have to do it now. And we were one of the local sites to see a nice weird way, spending the afternoon going visit the monks. So they came down and they're a really great fan. We enjoyed their company. One of the nicest things was I took them to one of the huts.  Middle aged Aussie lady. She looked inside and said, wow,  that was my house. I could get all my housework done in half an hour.  That's her comment.  How hard it is to clean up your house. That's why we eat out of one bowl, only wanting to wash up. You should do that with your husband. Just give him one bowl. Put everything in there. Give him one meal a day because you don't like washing up.  Simplicity gives an incredible amount of freedom. That's why we have our raids retreat now.  And we still got to maintain our monastery. We've got this roster so we can sweep clean.  I think monks do two weeks out of the whole three months, and it's only about maybe an hour every other day or something. Hardly any work at all to maintain that monastery. Where we live in Serpentine, we keep it very clean.  No maintenance, because there's few things there  that is a reflection  on how to develop meditation as well. When you got few things, you got few things to worry about in your mind.  Just like that monks room. Hardly anything in there. Doesn't take hardly anything to keep it clean.  Your mind, your room in which you live inside.  It's got lots of things in there it's very hard to keep clean.  What possessions have you got in your mind? All the things which you hold onto inside,  those are our spiritual possessions. Not the material possessions, but the spiritual sessions. They're the ones we really need to renounce.  That's why when you get into announcing outside there in the world, you can renounce inside as well. The two very basically go together. That's why a really holy person, if they got lots of material possessions, it just shows that basically stupid.  What do they need all that stuff for? They haven't understood good. But contentment is the highest wealth. Being contentment is a few things. What do you need? Why keep all these things? Just in case. For the future.  It's convenient, but troublesome.  So by giving things away, letting things go, renouncing, you learn a way of renouncing in the mind.  Why is it that we can't renounce the past?  All these terrible things which happened to you  in the past? Lost the sun son, lost a daughter, had an argument, had a terrible divorce, had disrupted experience, were abused, whatever.  You know that only tortures us because we refuse to let it go, refuse to announce it.  Who is forcing you? Who is making you keep on to those keep holding those memories, keep holding those ideas. You've heard me say before if someone calls you a stupid fool  and you start thinking why do they keep calling me a stupid fool? I'm not a stupid fool. If anyone's a stupid fool, they are. And already you've called yourself a stupid fool three more times. Every time you remember it, it hurts. Isn't it wonderful if they call you stupid fool, it's gone past always in the present moment and call you an idiot until the cows come home.  You don't hold anything,  don't hold the praise from the past, nor do you hold the blame from the past. You don't hold the bad experiences, nor the good experiences. Then you are free of the past.  We call it forgiveness. But that's just another word for letting go. Announcing.  We announce your past.  Then you don't have to burden yourself with it. You know, a lot of us are imprisoned by the past.  We've got a jail sentence. And the door of that jail is open right now. We can walk out at any time, but we just refuse to walk out. We like jail. We want to suffer.  We need to let go of the past. It's gone. Why do we keep thinking about it? Habit conditioning. The same way that I rebelled against the conditioning that having a party with alcohol is good fun. I rebelled against the conditioning that when your father dies, you're supposed to cry. I rebelled against the conditioning that if you don't have sex, you're really weird.  Rebelled against all of that,  against the tradition that you got to feel guilty. We've done something wrong.  Why? Why should who's telling you should feel guilty if you've done something wrong? What does that guilt do?  What does that grief do, which is another type of guilt holding on to the past? What does that do to you,  what it does to you? It just makes you so painful inside. You cannot really be kind, compassionate and effective in the present. You cannot be a full human being if you're still grieving about the past or if you're guilty, grieving about your own mistakes in the past. Holding those on. Holding on to those. We have to let go. We have to forgive. We have to wash ourselves  so we're not dirty and soiled by the grime and  stuff of the past.  The Buddha was marvelous. He said, why not do that and got somebody. In Buddhist tradition, there's examples. These are not just theory. There was a serial killer in the time of the Buddha called Angoli Bhala, one of the words which many traditions buddhist, they know that story often. Many times they see it even acted out in the Darwin school.  Angolimara serial killer.  He met the Buddha. And the Buddha didn't say you should feel guilty. Do a penance.  Said stop. That's what he said. Stop  your grief. Stop. Stop  your guilt. Stop it.  That man did stop.  When he stopped,  he was free enough to become a monk  very shortly became an enlightened monk. One of the great arcs great saints in Buddhism.  Another lady, Pata Cha, lost her husband, two children and parents on the very same day. She went crazy out of her mind.  In modern jargon, she would be need therapy for years and years and years.  She became a bikuni, a great nun. Not only an hour fully enlightened, but one of the great teachers of that time. She was a marvelous woman.  All of that pain in the past, how can you get rid of that? Are you supposed to feel grief? And some of that was actually her fault. Her two children dying. But she completely transcended that. Let it go. She was free of that. She renounced the past,  renounce the future. Why worry about what's going to happen next? It's one of the reasons why I can give a talk without worrying about what I'm going to talk about. Because I don't know what I'm going to talk about. I don't even think what I'm going to talk about. Let's keep on talking.  Something will come out.  Now it's the past, but now it's the future. Why is it when you sit down to meditate, there's past and the future keep coming up?  Even though you don't have to worry about it. It's a habit. We don't say stop. We haven't learned how to announce and give it up, throw it away.  All the thoughts and ideas you have your own philosophies of life, even your understanding of Buddhism,  how about throwing that out as well? Are renouncing that, being silent for change?  Don't know Buddhism. I don't think Buddhism. Know Buddhism. The truth was always in silence. You never find the truth in words. All those ideas, those labels, all those books,  is that really truth?  In Buddhism, we call that just the menu. That's not the food. But how many people, only thing they ever eat is the menus. Go to one restaurant, chomp chomp chomp on the menu. You another one. Have menu sandwiches, menu on toast. They never actually eat food. They only eat menus. In other words, what are you doing there? You only just thinking about truth, discussing it, labeling it, never actually knowing it.  Never tasting the food. When you get into this meditation, just let go of all those words. You find actually experiencing life for a change. Instead of thinking about it,  you can actually feel the pain in the body.  Rather than having this great conversation of fear around it,  you actually know peace  rather than wanting to write a book about it.  As you announce the inner speech, you find you're getting so much closer to truth and also freedom. Again.  It's amazing in silence to know the freedom and all these words.  It's these words which are your jailers so words which make you angry at your husband. It's the words which makes you get fed up with your wife so the words which keep you grieving, keep you wanting.  It's all words inside the inner conversation. So much of that if you buy into and believe it just makes you crazy.  In silence is a sense of truth and freedom.  Let me talk about renouncing. We go even further. We want to renounce not just the thoughts in Buddhist. We want to renounce his body as well.  Just read recently somebody said something from the internet. A doctor in Southampton had done again some more research on outofthebodied experiences in his hospital. Many patients who died on the operating table. He too gave them a questionnaire. He too found the same results. He presented his paper recently at Caltech. He was supposed to be university in California with the highest number of Nobel Prize winners. He had the guts to say that consciousness survives death.  Who said it's what the evidence shows. Not every person who died on your operating table had these experiences, but a number, 6100 people, had those experiences. You could check them out, that they could actually see what was going. On. They could hear because those words were spoken, but they were dead at the time.  It was actually showing that the mind consciousness  exists  outside of the body.  This body of ours. That's something also wishing Buddhism we were. In out. You're going to have to get rid of it sooner or later. When you die,  they say you can't take it with you. You can't take your money with you. You can't take your possessions with you. You can't take your body with you either.  So what we do take with us is this continuation. This process is stream of consciousness which we call mind.  Be wonderful to get to know that mind before you die so you can actually get some practice in  meditation, people call it practicing how to die. And it's not a bad description. So, you know, you have to sort of even these days, you have to practice before you play tennis. You have to practice before you drive a car to get a license first. Or even these days, you have to practice before you get married. You go to sleep, you have these marriage classes.  How about having some practice how to die? You might not get married, you might not drive a car, you might not play tennis, but you all are going to die.  So you might get some practicing while the going is good. And what is dying anyway? But letting go of this body,  Renunciation, is the opposite of attachment. And unfortunately, I've seen this I've been with people when they're dying, and some of them, unfortunately, are so attached to their body and other people's body, they don't know how to let go. The time of their death comes, and it's unpleasant for them. They struggle to hang on. Some of you may have unfortunately seen some close relations and friends have been like that, striving to hold on when nature is telling them to let go.  Why do we do that? It's absolute stupidity. We're gonna die anyway. You can't fight these things when it happens, so just let go and enjoy the ride.  Why not enjoy the ride as well? Death, if you know how to do it, is a very pleasant experience.  It's an ending of suffering.  People who die are usually in pain.  Weak, sick,  healthy people don't die.  Sick people, ill people. If you get an accident, your body's mangled before you die, no pain. Death is a great release. All people who remember that experience  always remember that leaving their body is just so peaceful, so wonderful. One of the most delightful experiences they've ever had. In the same way, when you leave your body meditation. I don't mean floating outside, going deep inside until you're beyond your body.  You feel tremendous happiness and peace inside.  In meditation, this part of meditation, you actually leave your body behind.  Not go out into space, but go deep inside the mind. That is always bliss. We call that the janus. I mentioned this because the Buddha said that even the first Jana, when the body is completely gone, you can't hear, you can't see, you can't feel anything in the body. Everything has just disappeared. And you just left with bliss.  The bliss of Buddha called one of the things he called, he called it nakamasuka,  the bliss of denunciation.  This is the paycheck. The payoff of giving up things.  Now, any person minded, non layman lay woman who's even come close to that bliss of enunciation, you've actually got into it. You know, that in your life is the most wonderful experience, both in sheer pleasure and in the profundity of it.  You realize that by giving up things you get this enormous pleasure. It's enormous freedom. It's enormous sense of stillness and contentment. Then you're realizing from your own own experience more experience where the Buddha men buy wealth.  No money can buy those sorts of pleasures.  No money can buy that type of freedom and that type of security.  You freed yourself from this body. You realize just how heavy a burden this body is.  I'm not talking. This is theory. This is raw experience.  You realize that's why people renounce, why they let go  for fun,  for the sheer happiness of it. The same way that I let go of alcohol, the sheer happiness of it. I was much happier without it than with it.  Same way you let go of the body, the sheer happiness of it,  but also because it gives you huge insights, understanding into the nature of what this mind truly is, what death is,  what you are. You know, you're not the body.  This is not the only body you've had. You've had many bodies before.  Old ones, young ones. You've been men and women and animals as well.  Many bodies, many lives. You're not the body. Why are we just so concerned with this one? When it gets old, throw it away and get a new model.  Actually, I don't even encourage that because you just can't get a new model. You have to sort of grow this model again from scratch. I said last time, going back to school again, going into nappies, being told off by your mum and dad and all this sort of stuff again. Don't think that you've got you've finished school.  Imagine being a baby all over again.  All those people have retired who think you've finished with work, you get reborn again. There's many, many Monday mornings in front of you.  Let go of his body. Know what the mind is in this renunciation. It's not just a bliss of enunciation, it's the wisdom of enunciation. When you let go of these things, it reveals  what all of these coverings are. Hidden nature of mind. And this is not something which I'm going to write another menu about. This is something which I want everyone to experience for themselves. You know, your own experience, what mind is. Anyone who's got into those deep meditations will have no two things. One, you'll know, the body is not so important.  Certainly you got to get rid of the fear of death and the worry about other people's deaths as well. You know that death is not a big thing. It's not a be all and end all of life.  Life goes on. Also, you know, this body looking after it. Look after it as best you can, but you know, you can't sort of maintain his body. A fear of death disappears  and also, understand adding about laws of reincarnation, rebirth. It's so obvious to get into any of these states of mind. It becomes craziness. The biggest stupidity of our age is to think that we only live one life  because we think we only live one life. All the stupid things which happens from that assumption. It's getting as much pleasure as you can imagine. If everybody knew they were going to come back again,  wouldn't we take better care of our planet? If we knew we'd have to come back again,  wouldn't we take better care of our older people to know that they're going to be our youth?  This is the reason why we got problems with youth because we didn't take good care of them when they were old people before.  That's my theory.  Now they're getting their own back. We just show people in nursing homes and just don't look after them, maltreat them. They're going to take it out on us when they come back again.  So looking after all people is an investment for the future.  The milestone is we won't be so concerned about just carrying on at all costs. This is actually one of some of the wisdom aspect. But also the wisdom aspect of the mind is paramount.  Not the body, not things, but the mind. The quality of your mind. The wealth of your mind is much more important than wealth of your body or your house. Spiritual qualities become paramount. Compassion, wisdom, kindness.  Those are the qualities. Generosity, which become paramount once you realize that the mind is most important.  So you measure a person not by how much money they have or how beautiful their face is, how beautiful their mind is, their heart is, how pure they are, how content they are, how happy they are inside. That's the measure person's wealth. And that becomes what we aspire to. We don't work hard to get worldly wealth. We work hard to get the spiritual wealth.  We work in order to feed our body. But our main aim is to feed our mind. So when we renounce, this is what happens. This is a part of enunciation. It's a fun path to do. Throwing things out of your basket not only get higher and higher and higher, the view gets better the higher you get. That's why often the Buddha calls this part of enunciation the path of bliss. That's the talk for this evening.  Any questions for this evening?  No? Good.  I'm pretty late today, so or whatever, so you can ask questions afterwards. But our president, and if you didn't like the talk this evening, he's the one to blame because he's the one who suggested it. If you'd like to talk, please. Thank you.