March 4, 2023

Teachers From Hell | Ajahn Brahm

Teachers From Hell | Ajahn Brahm

The Buddha’s teachings can help you change your attitude and stop suffering. When encountering a problem in life, focus on learning from it, not exterminating the problem. Check your expectations and take on board that everything is a teaching opport...

The Buddha’s teachings can help you change your attitude and stop suffering. When encountering a problem in life, focus on learning from it, not exterminating the problem. Check your expectations and take on board that everything is a teaching opportunity. Sometimes people try to abuse you in order to upset you, but don't let them succeed. Just be peaceful and aware of what is happening and you'll be fine. The Buddha's teachings on how to deal with pain, discomfort, and difficulties in life remain relevant to today's world. When confronted with difficulties, remember to do nothing and focus on your mental state.


You can find the 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 on 29th November 2002. It has now been remastered and published by the Everyday Dhamma Network, and will be of interest to his many fans.

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


AI Generated Transcription - expect errors!

 Ajahn Brahm 

 As many of you know that I've just been away for three weeks. I've been going to do some teaching in Melbourne and Sydney. I managed to complete 35 talks in 22 days. So good fun being a monk. If you ever want to see the world become a monk or a nun, because next week I'm also going to Cambodia and Malaysia to get some more talks.  So  by doing that, actually, you get incredible amounts of energy. Sometimes one doesn't realize that on the outside, it might seem that's very, very timing. On the inside, whenever you're doing anything which is good, which is serving others, you always get heaps and heaps of energy back in return. And that's what always keeps me going for giving talk after talk after talk. In fact, as soon as I came back from Melbourne and Sydney on Wednesday afternoon, straight back to give a talk to the monks afterwards.  So actually it was only last night I didn't give a talk and I was suffering from withdrawal symptoms last night. So I'm glad to be back here on a Friday to give more talks.  So this evening's talk,  somebody gave me a suggestion of talking about they said they've got the boss from hell. And if you got a boss from hell or a partner from hell or a body from hell hell. This is actually how you're going to deal with it. It's how to deal with hell. In other words, not hell in some metaphysical state after death, but some of the experience we have to do in this life. But to begin the talk, I want to put this talk in perspective. It's also to explain why I talk about Buddhism in this way, to keep it into practical terms of some of the problems we had in life. Because in theoretical Buddhism we sometimes have this dichotomy. There's two ways of practice called samita and repassina. Those are the old party terms, but they're used so often amongst Buddhists, especially practicing Buddhists, that they've got a meaning almost of their own. In brief, that samita means calm, tranquilizing. Settling things down as we Passina means in, insight, wisdom, understanding.  No views, and sometimes that some people want to incline towards one against the other. And there is often is a debate in some Buddhist circles. Not all. Certainly not here. Because of, hopefully, the way we presented Buddhism over these years, there should never be any argument about these things, because really, there are two types of the same process.  Now, that process of calming, calming, calming, calming is the same process which I'm going to talk about tonight, about calming the mind. When one is dealing with difficulties and problems, like the boss from hell, the partner from hell, or the body from hell, it's a way of dealing with problems, to settle them down, make them peaceful and still, so there's no problem anymore. That's actually what the word samita means. It's marvelous being a monk who actually lives this life, because you find the meaning of these words in your daily practice. I always mention to people that in the monk's rules of discipline, there's 227 rules. Many people have heard that, but the last seven of those rules are the ways of settling the business in the monastic community. The word they use for settling is samita, calming the business down, which gives a good meaning of what that term is, settling problems.  Repasano is all the insight, the wisdom and the understanding teachings and sometimes that people like to focus on like the the insight. So what are the wisdom teachings? Sometimes people think that's a real Buddhism. Let's talk about emptiness, non duality so the ending of things nibbana sometimes people think that's two different types of teachings and when we talk about sort of sometimes what I mistakenly called here the higher dumma.  But a lot of that times the theory is no different than the practice. The practice is no different than the theory. Because  if the theory cannot be put into practice, it is wrong theory. It's not worth anything if the practice doesn't lead to insight, then it's wrong practice. The two always go together. Here's the first of the similes which came from again my own experience. I like to talk in terms of similes anecdotes simply because I realized a long time ago that life is a series of stories, a series of events that doesn't live a theoretical life one lives a life of anecdotes. That's why when you explain truths of life in terms of real stories, real events, it actually makes more sense because it is much closer to the truth of existence. Now, we might think in the mind where we actually live out here in the world of experience.  And this is like a story I often use for meditation because it was profound, it affected me quite deeply. And it revealed to me sort of some of the  reasons why Samatai passenger calm and insight, setting things down and understanding always go together. This is the Simmons of the road up to my monastery in Serpentine. Many of you, you most of you have been to visit that monastery. And you will know that when you go down the Southwest Highway, about 30 Armadale, you turn left up this hill, this very steep widing road, for about 2.2 km before you come to our monastery. At the time this event happened, I'd been traveling up and down that road for about five, six, seven years. I can't remember exactly how long, long, but always in a vehicle, in a car, in a van driven by somebody else.  But one day I decided to walk up that hill.  I don't know how many of you have been up and down that hill. I invite you next time you go there to walk up. Not only is it good exercise, but actually you'll find a discover. What I discovered, which was that when I walked up that hill it looked completely different than when I went up in a car. I was astounded by the fact that I've been up and down that that hill maybe hundreds, maybe even 1000 times over those six or seven years.  But now it was as if I was going up at a completely different hill. The scenery looked so much different, I couldn't figure out what was going on. It was as if I didn't know that hillside at all. Then I stopped. As I stopped and stood still the hillside looked different again, much different than from when I was walking.  It looked much richer, more beautiful. I saw more detail. The whole picture was more full.  Whenever any event like that happens, the way of my training is always to reflect and find out what it was meaning and draw from those experiences some insights into the nature of the mind and a perception especially. And what I figured out very quickly was that when you're moving in a car you only see flashes of the scenery. The mind, the senses haven't and got enough time to fully take in what's going on. So that hillside looks quite gray and is not very detailed. You cannot have the time to fully take in everything which is happening. When I was walking, because you were going slower, the senses had more time, more input was actually going into the mind. So you began to see more deeply, more richly. When I stopped and stood still, you had all the time in the world. When you had all the time in the world, that hillside, the trees, the bushes, the stream, the rocks and the sky above had the full opportunity  to imprint itself in your mind. And it looked the most beautiful. When I stopped, the whole scene grew in richness in depth and also in beauty. And, of course, the simile was very clear. That is the same with the way we use our mind in life so often. It is just as if we're going through life in a fast car from one experience to the next, from one thought to the next, from one place to the next. And because we're going so fast.  All we see is the grayness of life.  Because the images, the experiences have got no chance to fully imprint themselves on our mind. We haven't got time to fully understand them. And certainly we don't see their richness, their depth, even their beauty, because our mind is going too fast.  So it becomes quite clear what one needs to do to be able to understand things, to solve problems and also to see some of the richness of life, some of its beauty.  And that is to slow down.  To slow down means to calm the mind down. So instead of the mind running from one object to the next, from one thought to the next, being restless, like the simile of a monkey in a forest, always jumping from one tree to the next, that monkey is already jumping to the next branch. It's already planned the next two branches it's going to swing to. Just like each one of you, wherever you are, is already planning the next place you wish to go.  The whole idea of calming down is like doing one thing at a time and spending moments there instead of rushing always on to the next thing. Our life is very speedy because it is speedy. We never understand it, nor can we enjoy it. The more you slow down the mind, this is calm, calm, calm. The slower the mine goes as the mine goes slower, just like looking at a hillside, you see things in more depth with more richness.  You see more of what is going on. As you see more of what's going on, you get what we call insight, deep seeing into whatever one is looking at.  If you can eventually is stop. When there's a stopping, there is the full seeing. The same way when I stood next to that hillside that's the time you saw it in its fullest color.  You saw everything which was going on there. It was rich, informative and also very beautiful. It is one of the  one of the extra side effects of Samata slowing down is that life becomes more happy, more beautiful. Which is why the monks who practice calming down, why nuns who practice calming down usually have a happier expression on their face. The faster you go, the more the edges of your mouth turn down. The slower you go, the more they turn up. It's the nature of samita. Calm always leads to that happiness. But more importantly, it leads not just that's a side effect, it leads to seeing deeply. What you see deeply is not just the nature of the forest, you also see the nature of the mind, the nature of life, because life is reflected in your mind.  So when I teach about how to solve life's problems, this is how to calm you down, how to start to go slower so you understand for yourself not just the nature of problems, but the nature of the mind and the nature of all things. This is where insight comes from solving the ordinary 80 problems of your life. Let's get to that problem. The boss from hell  or the partner from hell or  the body from hell when you're very sick and painful. First of all, what do we do when there's a problem in life? Let's get rid of it. Let's call the pest exterminator.  When there's cockwach in your house, get the pest exterminator. Just zap them with some chemical. If you follow that path, the next time you get a partner you don't like, let's zap them. If you can't get a chemical he's with a divorce lawyer, let's get rid of them. Let's exterminate them. And he paid in the body.  Zap them with some sort of magic bullet of chemicals. When there's anything we don't like in society, we call the pest exterminator, which is called ill will.  That's a pest exterminator. And of course, many times that's the way of our world. We get somebody we don't like, whether it's some terrorist organization or some person we don't like. Let's get a pest exterminator. Stop it. Does that work?  How many pests you have to exterminate before you get happy, before you get free? The answer is there's too many pests to exterminate. In fact, if you start exterminate pests, you become a pest yourself and they're also liable to exterminate.  One man's pest is another  man's lover or whatever. So when we actually look at it this way, the idea of, like, extermination, getting rid of things we don't like is not the way of calm, not the way of insight.  Instead, we follow another way in monasteries in Thailand. We learned this from a great teacher called my teacher a JunctionA. He was a great sort of leader. By example and also by teaching. He would always say that whatever is irritating, you do not try and exterminate it, but learn from it. Of course, one of the most difficult of experiences in Thailand was dealing with the mosquitoes. Now, you may think mosquitoes are no problem, but you can imagine living in a jungle  28 years ago. The monastery where I grew up was undeveloped. It was just a jungle. It was just the last remnant surrounded by patty fields, but still old rainforest in which  so many mosquitoes lived. When the first year I was there,  there was no mosquito repellent, there were no mosquito coils. Moreover, in that first year, we actually just slept out under the trees there and in the evening, because there was a new monastery, our teacher, Ajan Shah, would come every evening from his main monastery just six kilometres away. He come every evening to do the evening chanting and then to do an hour's meditation followed by a talk.  Now, while you were doing a child tea, you could always snow or use your hands to try and brush the mosquitoes away. But once the meditation started, always at dusk, the very worst time for the mosses.  And you can see the way that monks are dressed. We got so many exposed areas of skin, it's the mosquitoes dream.  Even got your bald head where they can get in. Now, many of you have got hair, and they just can't get through there. Moreover, because you're Buddhists, you can't swap the mosquitoes. And the mosquitoes in Thailand know that genetically from their forebears. So whenever they see a monk, they know it's a free meal. That's why they hang around monasteries more than any other places. And secondly, that the mosquitoes in Thailand over many centuries have eaten Thai food for so long, when they see Western food, it's a delicacy. So they come for the Westerners. And this is no exaggeration. When we used to sit under the trees at dusk with no protection at all, with Ajan, Shawn or the villagers, they were used to the mosquitoes. In fact, a lot of them wouldn't get bitten. They'd just go for the Westerners every time.  We had to sit there. Not used to mosquitoes. I was born in England. Too cold for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes freeze there. But in Thailand, in the tropics, you would sit there and the mosquitoes would start coming for you. And you just want to swap them. But you couldn't. You were a month. You want to run away. But there was your teacher there, and all these villages were there. And you feel such a fool. So with another, an American monkey I grew up with, we played a game. Our game was counting the mosquitoes and they were biting you to see who could count the most over the hour. It was a game we played. Used to get to about 40 or 50 at the same time when you literally you couldn't count anymore because they were just too close together.  And if you listen carefully, you could hear them slurp, slurp. Slurp.  Now, that was an exaggeration. You couldn't hear them slurp. You would get about 40 or 50 and you couldn't count anymore because you couldn't distinguish them on your body. They were just too close.  Now, that was very, very tough. And so sometimes we complain to a genchar,  say that, can't we do something about this? It's just too hard. And this was one of the situations from hell, dealing with so many irritating mosquitoes all at the same time. So a gentle gave us one of our first teachings. He said, Call the mosquitoes AG mosquito,  don't try and exterminate them. These beings are here to teach you something. That's what ajan means. Adjan means teacher. So ajan Char was that teacher Char? Ajan brahm. Teacher Brahm. Ajan. Waiyama. Teacher yamaha. That's what ajan means. So he said, this is Ajan mosquito teaching mosquito. They're giving you a teaching a Serb. And listen and stop trying to get rid of it. And that was actually turning the whole problem around.  What he was saying, that even something so irritating, so hard to bear was something you can learn from. And all the time, whenever we complain, the food is terrible or we have to sit up so long and listen to these boring talks because ajanta would go on all night sometimes. And all those books you read of a Janchar, all those wonderful inspiring sort of nuggets of wisdom, you'd have to wait sometimes seven or 8 hours just to get one of those. And what the monks have done, they've sort of sifted out all of the, you know, the other stuff. They're just taking these nuggets of wisdom, a bit of it in the book, so you get it very easy. Adjunct. I wasn't like that at all. You'd have to listen for hours for one of those. Nice sayings.  So sometimes even the talks are very long, but you always, always take that these are teaching you something.  So it's the same whenever you get an experience which is hard to bear, always call it your teacher. You have to learn something there. First of all, what you're learning is something which in Buddhism we call the first noble truth. The life isn't meant to be easy.  Life is suffering, they say, what do you expect out of life? Now, if your job was very easy and you really enjoyed it, then they would need to pay you. The payment is a bribe for having to do something you don't like.  So always look up on your salary that way it's a bribe for doing something you don't like. Don't expect yourself to enjoy your job. If you really enjoyed your job, you'd be someone like me who does it for nothing.  So first of all, you can expect you're working because you don't like it, so don't expect to like it. So this is the bribe. Especially if you have a big salary. If you have a big salary, you can expect big suffering.  So first of all, expect. And it's the same with your body. How many of you expect to be healthy? It's one of the biggest delusions created by a society which says you should be healthy. And if you don't be healthy, it's your fault. Now, you should go and see the doctor more often. You shouldn't eat so much fatty foods, you should exercise more, you should look after your diet. You shouldn't be so fat. My goodness, what a guilt fit we're in in our society. What's wrong with being sick?  So I rebellegate society. I demand my right to be sick.  A lot of the times, because we have this attitude that we shouldn't be sick, we reject sickness. And we put a lot of emotional and psychological problems around sickness, which actually makes it much worse. So even sickness sickness is called adjan sickness. It's come here to teach you something.  Even adjan death. When somebody dies or you die, it's there to teach you a lesson. Teach you a lesson of impermanence. Things change. You're not always going to be young, fit and healthy. Those of you are old, you're not always going to be old, sick and ugly.  It's all going to change. You're going to die one day. It's all going to be over. Thank goodness.  So these are teachers is a teaching as a lesson. What they're teaching us is that there are many things in life you can't change.  So we learn just to accept fascinating. That when we start to accept things rather than changing things, some things you can change. Let's deal with that later on. When there's something you cannot change, you can't do anything about it. What should you do?  Nothing.  That's why this idea of samitage is so important. Because as a society, as a modern culture, we're very good at doing things. We all know how to react. How many people know, in a situation of pain, disturbance, being ignored, mosquitoes or whatever, how many of us know how to do nothing  when knife is tough?  And this is one of the problems of our society. I think it was Blaze. Pascal said all the problems of mankind stem from not knowing how to sit still. That was about something in the 18th century. Sometimes he was a smart guy. He sort of knew that. It's because we don't know. We don't train in doing nothing. We know how to do something. There are times to do something. There's also times to sit still and do nothing. So if there's a boss from hell, body from hell, mosquitoes, and you can't do anything about it, then sit still and do nothing. Something radically changes, then.  What changes is the mental part of the suffering disappears. The Buddha said there's two parts to pain, two parts to suffering, the physical part out there in the world, and the mental part, your reaction to it. And this is the teaching of the Buddha himself. He said so often,  physical parts out there in the world, whether it's the bottom hell, the body from hell, the mosquitoes, or the economic situation or whatever, so often we can't do anything about that,  but we can do something about our reaction in our mind, how we respond to it, how we relate to it emotionally, spiritually. He said, that's where you've got full control. You can always let it alone, let it go, and be at peace, even with great pain, with great disappointment, with whatever. And this was a great skill of the Buddha to actually to show, not just in theory, but in practice, how you can deal with these problems. Now, look, if you've got a boss from hell or a partner from hell or an enemy, why are they that way?  This is basic psychology, which is said here many times, which you should recognize through your mindfulness practice. When you start to slow down, stop running away from the problem. Actually slow down, stop and face it. You see it more richly, like seeing the side of the hillside on the way to our monastery. And you start to understand exactly what's going on. With that understanding comes the right response.  Bosses from hell, partners from hell. People are really sort of start to  upset you. They're doing that because they want a response. They want to upset you, irritate you, make you suffer. A lot of times it's because they're suffering themselves, because they're really upset, they're really angry. Wheel something is getting at them and they want to make other people upset too. Look at that. In your own life, when you have a hard day, when you're upset, when you're having a terrible time, why do you get angry at others? Especially angry at people you live with.  A lot of time is because we want to share our pain.  We're hurting. We want to give hurt to others. That's the psychology of the human being. We're happy, we want to give happiness to others. That's when you need a good mood, you want to cheer everyone else up.  So whenever you see where it's coming from, you will always be able to know that anyone who gives you a hard time is having a terrible hard time themselves. Please know that it's not something you have done. So often people come up and say that why are they so hard to me? Why are they so terrible to me? I haven't done anything. And it's true, you haven't done anything. It's because they're hurting. That's why they want to hurt others.  So when they have they're attitude towards you. When you know that the boss from hell or the partner from hell wants to make you upset and angry, just sit there peacefully. Do not respond.  To anger with more anger. One of the most powerful of the Buddha's teachings, which is in the Dharmapada, which many Buddhists know is anger, hatred does not cease, does not solve with more anger and hatred. It's only stopped by love and forgiveness. It's the only way to stop anger and hatred. That's why I said, I think maybe the last talk I gave here three or four weeks ago on conflicts and things like the body bombing and terrorists, what a terrorists want out of their victims. They want to get you really upset and angry. They want to hurt people, take away their happiness. And as a Buddhist response, it doesn't matter what they do. We refuse to have a happy is taken away, refuse to have our freedoms taken away, refuse to be controlled by the silly actions of others.  That is a Buddhist response. Anger does not cease by giving anger back. Hatred doesn't cease by giving hatred back. A good example of this which I want to bring up now, because this was somebody.  Called me today because there was an article in the Australian recently about  apparently while I was off in Melbourne, there was a Miss World contest in Nigeria. Apparently the Muslim community really objected to an article in the newspaper which said something like, the Prophet Muhammad would have probably married one of the contestants. And that caused a riots in which many, many people got killed. And apparently that was taken up in an Australian magazine. Australian newspaper where one of the journalists and I made a little joke about not just the Prophet Muhammad, but the Buddha observing one of the beauty contests and having a discussion between them, which one they fancied. And many of the Buddhists so some of the Buddhists said, how should we respond to this? This is just really being derogatory to Buddhism. And so I had to tell this person, look, keep it cool. Don't worry about such things. You don't destroy Buddhism.  Sort of writing in a jokey fashion about the Buddha, about the monks, in fact, saying that as buddhism becomes more popular in, say, a western setting, as more people become Buddhists, there will be more people telling jokes about Buddhism sooner or later. We'll have, like, sitcoms and comedies, like, sort of not the monastery or whatever it is with the comedians playing the monks. It's only a matter of time, because that's what's happened to Christianity.  It's our tradition almost actually, to poke fun at some of the stupid and ridiculous parts of everything. And I think sometimes that can be quite healthy and say, what should we do as Buddhist? When people do this, it is be quiet and enjoy the joke.  Because a lot of times, if someone is really being malicious, they want to try and get a response. If they're trying to sort of create havoc, then at least they can sort of say anything they like about the icons. They can't say anything or do anything about what those icons are pointing to, which is peace, compassion, tolerance, happiness, harmony. They know what you say about the Buddha. I'm still going to be kind of peaceful towards got you.  That's why, again, the response of the Buddhist to the blowing up the Bamyan statues was wonderful.  They could blow up the Bamyan Buddhist statues, but they never destroyed the Buddhist principles of peace and tolerance. Doesn't matter about blowing up the statues. We can always make more. But if you build up hatred and you blow up the principles, that which makes sort of people calm, loving, peaceful, then that you'd be very disturbed about.  So this is the way we respond to problems in the world. Don't respond to the problems by throwing away the principles. The principles are not just peace, harmony, compassion.  Especially if you got a boss from hell, try those things. Peace, harmony, compassion. If you got a partner from hell. Peace, harmony, compassion. You got a body from hell. Peace, harmony, compassion. Can you do that? My goodness. That is actually completely rebellious. Because a boss from hell wants to upset you. Refuse to get upset.  Say whatever you want to say, that's fine by me. I don't agree with it, but why should I get upset by it? Whatever you ask me to do, you might ask me to shout at me to get all these things done today. I'm not going to worry about that. I'm going to do it at my pace as best I can do. Don't like that? Fine. I'll even get another job somewhere else. But you just try your best. But you don't allow other people to control  your pace of life. Life, your emotions, your happiness. Too often in life that we allow life to control us, people to control us. A partner from hell to control us, or even our body to control us. As the Buddha said that even though the body may be sick, the mind doesn't need to be sick. Even though you may have a boss from hell, you mind doesn't have to go to hell with them. Even though that life may be difficult, the mind could be at peace even amidst all of that. This is the way we do it. During the meditation, I gave them some tricks, some insights into actually how to do this, how to be at peace.  One of those insights is, whatever is happening in the present moment, allow it to be.  Not just letting it go to a sense of equanimity, but actually inviting in. Welcoming it. Boss from hell. Thank you for being there.  Now you try that. That's radical. What that's actually doing is you're taking away the mental attitude of rejection. Welcome. Come in. That's. What? Ajan. Charles was implying. You're the teacher. You're a tough teacher. I'm going to learn something from you. Welcome. Come in. But when you have that attitude, first of all, instead of running away from the problem you're facing, it number two. You're responding in such a way which completely undermines the reason why that boss is reacting to you in that way. The undermining his strategy is fascinating when that happens, fascinating when you you don't respond in the normal senseless ways of the world. The normal senseless ways of the world. You've hurt me. I got to hurt you back. You're oppressing me. I've got to stand my ground. I can't let anyone walk over me. That sort of attitude, you find, will not work.  The other way is just you are in control of your happiness and pain. It's up to you. Whatever they say. Why should you allow what other people say to control your peace of mind  as a monk? No. People have said all sorts of stupid things to me. They call me a girl.  They call me sort of bludging. Why don't I get a proper job? They call me a deviant. Some celibate call me all sorts of things. All sorts of things.  A lot of times when they call you those names, you just laugh. You enjoy the joke. Sometimes it's very funny. I always remember the time  when we were staying in North Perth, many, many years ago,  that twelve or 13 year old girl came out from the house she'd never seen a month before. And she came right up to me and she did this marvelous impression of someone who was absolutely disgusted. She looked me up in the up and down, sniffing.  And then she looked me straight in the eye and said, you're dressed like a girl. That's sick. Yuck.  I thought it was so funny.  I really thanked her for giving me another story to tell in my talks.  But she was because I didn't get upset when she said that. That completely undermined her whole strategy. Why would you actually say that? Look someone up and down with real disgust and say, you're dressed like a girl. That's it? Yeah. You're doing that to try and upset somebody and the last thing you expect is to have them sort of enjoy the joke and laugh and be at peace. It's true. I'm dressed like a girl. Skirts or never.  It's just our robes, that's all. That's why keep telling people when I go traveling, go to the airport. Sometimes they have different languages and don't know which actually taught it to go in. Because I look at the signs.  That's only joking. I know. Don't get to trouble.  So when people try to abuse you, what are they doing that for? They're trying to upset you. They're trying to take away the control of your own happiness.  So that when this journalist started to make jokes about the Buddha or the prophet Muhammad. What do journalists want? They want notoriety, don't they? They want people to read their newspapers. Most they want is to make some sort of big scandal about it. So they're famous. That's great. Okay, you can say whatever you like. Just ignore it, be at peace with it. If it's a good joke, enjoy it, laugh with it. And that way you're not allowing people to control your happiness, your body. Why do you allow your body to control your happiness? Sometimes you're sick, sometimes you're healthy. Who can control sickness and health? Who wants to be healthy? Can you do it?  Even if you've got the best doctors in the world, and you've got a gym in your own house, and you eat the best health foods, and you come to the Buddhist society every Friday night to do meditation, you're still going to get sick.  It's really stupid, isn't it? So we always want to be healthy, but we can't do it. So look, you've got to accept sickness as part of life. You're not going to avoid that. Same as old age ugliness and becoming smelly. You're not going to be able to avoid that as well either.  So this is part of life. So if we can't avoid this, what do we do? We become to learn, take these things as our adjunct, as our teacher. And we can actually learn because we don't fight it, because obviously there's something we can do, do it. But a lot of times we can't. If what we can't fight, we call our teacher much more than sort of the teacher, the Buddha not much more than any sort of teacher adjunct, ajan Bomb Chitam or Ajan Wayama. The greatest teacher for you is that which is very hard to bear. That's teaching you the big lessons, learning how to be at peace with all of these things.  It's amazing what happens when even in a sick body you say, okay, can I do anything about it? I'm just going to be at peace with this. I'm going to allow it to be. I'm just going to be with this sickness. I'm not going to try and get rid of it. I gave that instruction, be in the present moment and see if you can develop non negativity towards the present moment. Don't try and push it away. Don't try and reject it. This is your gift. It's present. That's what present moment means. This moment is there for you. Even the pain and the sickness. And anyone who's truly done this has not rejected the pain, not rejected the disappointment, but brought it all in. You find an amazing thing always happens. Every time  the pain doesn't go, the problem doesn't disappear. But the mind becomes so peaceful that it's not a problem anymore. It's not a pain anymore. It's just feeling. It's just life. It's just business, that's all. What do you expect in business?  This is just life. So you're at peace with things which you cannot change.  You find then you've got a marvelous teaching, a way of dealing with so many different problems in life. So often in life is I don't like this, I don't want this. It shouldn't be happening to me. Why me? That moaning for finding mind is one of the biggest problems psychological problems of our life. That psychological problem I want it to be different. I want it to be different. And we get into that so much. There's times where we can change things great, but you all know how to do that. That's why so often I emphasize how to be at peace with things. Sometimes people misunderstand me or all the monks non staying here thinking that we should just be pacifists all the time. We do nothing and don't stand up for anything. But that's not what I mean. And we're just emphasizing sort of the non reaction because we all know how to do the other thing to change, manipulate, control, do things in life. We all know how sort of to  be managers and administrators here what I'm saying is how we can just let go and be at peace. Never notice when the traffic lights fail the traffic goes very smoothly through the to the traffic systems of a city.  When there's no control, things flow much more smoothly so often in life. When we let go, things flow so much more smoothly.  There's also if you've got a boss from hell, a body from hell so often knows boss from hell again is doing this is his way of trying to control you. You refuse to get control. By that you become me  simile of freedom which I tell very often.  Every place where you don't want to be is called a prison. That's the definition of the word jail. Any place you don't want to be freedom is any place where you content to be. That's why being in a monastery like ours in Serpentine or Sisters monastery if any of you ever go to visit prison, you find the conditions in our monasteries are much, much worse than the conditions in any prison in this state. That's why I always hope there's no ability from Amnesty International here. Otherwise the Buddhist society of Western Australia will be put on the list of abusing their and nuns by not giving them three meals a day. Televisions and everything else. I did actually hear this in the  centering department of Social Security in Britain. They decided that everyone should have a video and TV. So even poor people actually get given them for free because you're deprived if you haven't got these things.  So we're all deprived in our monastery. We're all way below the poverty level, the way we live, in fact.  So hopefully there's nobody from Amnesty International here. Otherwise we get cited for abuse of US anger. Nevertheless, why in our monastery, it's actually so hard to get in there, to actually to even come for a visit,  sort of. Our monks quarters, our men's quarters, women's quarters are all booked up. The monks even comes to the monastery. They have to book up sometimes years in advance. We're already full for next year. We can't take any more monks even from overseas. Actually, this is interesting. The ladies quarters. We've got three rooms in our latest quarters in Bonjourna Monastery. And before the Rage retreat, you can actually stay three months there if you book up in advance. But 2003 is already booked up with a waiting list. So is 2004 as well. 2005 was booked up three weeks ago. And I've already got two rooms booked up for 2006.  It's crazy, isn't it? It's people booking up four years in advance. My goodness. No hotel sort of books up that far in advance.  But why is that? Why do people come up there just to do nothing? No TV, no sport, no radio, only a couple of meals a day, and you got to just eat what you're given. Situation is very harsh there.  Who would actually book up to go to prison three or four years in advance?  So why is it that people actually do this? The reason is because people want to be there  in a prison. Doesn't matter how luxurious you make a prison. Even if you turn the Hilton Hotel in Perth into a security prison, put all the prisoners in there, they still want to escape.  Why is that? Because they don't want to be there. That's what a prison means. If you understand that point, the difference between a prison and freedom, you understand a lot about Buddhism. You understand a lot about how to deal with problems in life. You understand a lot about the nature of the world. Dumma.  Any place you don't want to be is called prison. Any place where you're content is freedom. So if you got the boss from hell and you say, he's my teacher, I'm content to have him. Thank you so much for teaching me just patience, teaching me endurance, teaching me how to respond to difficult situations. Oh, it's so wonderful to have you. I heard that once imagined Samato, who went to this monastery once, thread this really terrible monk he had to sit next to for three months. He was a gross monk. And at the end of the three months I just made, it actually went to him to thank him for his company. And this monk thought, this is a really sort of good Western monk. He really appreciates my wisdom.  I wasn't appreciating his wisdom. You just appreciate it for being just a terrible monk. This monk from hell for three months, because he taught him so much. Thank you for being such a rotter.  Because that's how we learn sometimes from the really hard teachers.  So he learned about freedom.  Doesn't matter about changing all the monks in your monastery to be perfect monks. It doesn't matter about changing your partner in life to be this wonderful partner from heaven. Your soulmate the most perfect husband in the whole world. You're just willing just to get up in the morning and serve you all day.  And this would almost like back to out to you and worship you all day. And so what wonderful things to you?  The perfect part. You've never learned anything from those. You just get more dumb and stupid than you are already. So the best thing to do is just have this partner some help you really learn from and say so thank you for teaching me so much about the reality of life. And how about freedom is you're want to be there? You're free.  Same with your body.  If ever you're in great pain and sickness, you say, I don't want to be here, I want to die.  Then you're in prison.  I can't stand this any longer. You're in the torture chambers of prison.  How do you get out?  You don't need to break through any doors or walls. All you need to do is say, I am content to be here.  Then you have all the freedom you wish. One of my favorite monks, the Time Monk, many years ago, he's dead now, but he got convicted of being a communist in the times of the communist scares in many parts of Asia and Europe and United States. So he got put in jail for two years.  He wasn't a Communist, but sometimes you can give a talk. If you give so many talks in public, sooner or later you'll say something, think it's somebody some smart lawyer or judge would actually take as you're a communist or a socialist or whatever they want to find out you are.  So this man was put in jail for two years just for no good reason at all. He was so happy.  For two years. He didn't have to give any talks.  He didn't need to sort of see people had their problems, didn't do any counseling, had all this free time. He got up early in the morning, and actually, the prison food was actually sometimes even better than the food to get in the monastery. And he had all this time for himself. He could read, he could meditate. Had nothing to do. He said it was the best two years of his life.  Remarvis it's like solitary confinement. I did six months. I had to work hard for that. But in prison, you get it for free.  So if a monk was in jail, the last thing they do to punish you is to give you solitary confinement, because that's what you want.  But this is actually learning how to be free when you want to be there, when you're content to be there. How can you call it a prison?  That contentment, that letting go, that being with rather than being against is how to be free when you're in terrible pain.  When you're about to die with a partner from hell or the boss from hell, you're teaching me something very, very powerful. Because you may be able to get rid of the boss from hell, maybe even be able to get rid of the partner from hell. You'll never be able to get rid of this body from hell,  which is always getting sicker and older day by day, is eventually going to pack up on you and die. A lot of times, death is painful,  and that summit you can't get rid of. You're actually learning how to deal with the hard stuff of life. There are many disappointments that you have in life, many tragedies you have to deal with in life. Sometimes it's somebody else one day or be us. When we learn how to deal with these things by being content,  even where other people would be sort of rushing up and down, screaming, complaining.  I'm so proud of. Many Buddhists I've known who, when they've been told they've got cancer, have had this marvelous sense of contentment.  Many people I've known who've been dying, who have been at peace, dying, who've been content, who haven't been fighting to the very end, my goodness, they've died gracefully. They've been in an inspiration to themselves and to others.  That was their teacher. Adjan cancer, adjanne death. Something they couldn't change, they dealt with so beautifully, so peacefully. This is things in life we can't do anything about.  Call it adjan. Learn from it and see if you can look upon it not as a prison, but as freedom. By not changing the outside, but by changing one's attitude. Letting go, letting be. Now, before anyone actually asks the questions, what happens? Shouldn't you sometimes do things? Shouldn't you actually sometimes complain? Shouldn't you actually take the medicine? Of course you should try that out. It is a possibility to talk to the boss from hell, to invite him actually to come to the Buddhist society, to actually to learn some dammit.  Great. It's good for him. They'll leave him a few sort of Buddhist propaganda, so get a few tapes and they leave a few books around. A lot of times, actually, people realize they're suffering. They do sometimes want some help, if it's the right time and place. It's amazing just how people can actually say, oh, I'm interested in that. Thank you very much. As long as it's the right time and the right place and the right way of doing things. Sometimes that might help. Sometimes showing by example, by being kind back to the boss or the partner from hell. So often you can actually change people. One of the great ways of doing something  changing is what we call positive reinforcement, which I thought a lot about here. They give the fault, praise the goodness. Every time your boss from hell does something which is reasonable, which is kind, which you like, praise it. Make sure they recognize that it's appreciated. Everybody loves to be praised. They love to be flattered. And what they get praised for, they tend to repeat.  So actually, by praising the good qualities in another person, by flattering them, you actually encourage them. This is the way you can actually encourage the boss from hell to become a kind boss by forgiving all their faults, by praising the good points. That's where we change ourselves.  How many of you are your own boss from hell?  Always on your own back, asking you to do things you can never really achieve, giving you deadlines which you just cannot meet. And whenever you even make a small mistake, they really get on your back. Not just for one day. Day after day after day. You stupid idiot. Why can't you do this? You should do much better than this. How many times I have to tell you? You're so idiot. Stupid. The boss from hell inside. I think you can recognize the bottom hell inside. That bottom hell inside. How do you deal with that? At least that one. By praising your good qualities, encouraging them.  That way you find that you can become a better person. This is what we do to change others, what we do to change ourselves, what we do to change life. Praise all the good qualities of life, forgive all the bad. That's why the Buddha said hatred is not ceased, is not stopped with more hatred. It's only ceased by forgiveness, love, understanding, widening it down, calming the problem. And there you have insight, understanding. Not just how to deal with the boss from hell, not just how to deal with the body from hell, not even how to deal with you from hell. Learning how to deal with everything. That's why we get these amazing insights and wisdom. Buddha teachings about the nature of you, how you work, nature of life, and whatever wisdom there is, even the deepest, highest wisdom, if you cannot put it into practice in your daily life to stop suffering, it's not wisdom.  All of the profound teachings of the world. If they don't actually work in daily life, they're all just airy fairy stuff and nonsense, just like theological babble.  If it's really wisdom, it's something which not just the monks can make use of in their monasteries in high meditation. It's what even the ordinary person should be able to make use of and to change their life. That's what wisdom is. That's what calm is. Those are some insights into how to deal with the boss from hell, a partner from hell, the body from hell, or even when you are from hell.  So I hope you enjoyed that talk this evening, and I hope there's some insights which you can take home with you to become better people for the happiness of yourself and all those to have to put up with you. Thank you.  So, any questions about the talk this evening? Questions, comments or complaints? Yes?  Okay, first of all, you say that some people have suffered for millions of years and they still sort of aren't any of the wiser. A lot of times it's because people run away from suffering rather than face up to it and learn from it.  Okay? Sometimes people have heard those teachings before, but they don't practice them. Then if you put them into practice, it's okay. Like reading menus. If you don't eat the food food, you never stop getting hungry. So all those teachings are actually this is certainly my experience in life. They work if you actually put them into practice. But a lot of times, sometimes they're hard to be put into practice because they're radical. They go against  what one has learned before. They go against the way of the world. They go against the stream. They take courage to do. Sometimes people haven't got the courage to let go of their controller, the control freak inside.  It takes a lot of guts, actually, when you're in great pain, to let go.  Takes a lot of guts to allow yourself to die because of the attachment we have to me and the body and mine.  But eventually we suffer, suffer, suffer until we learn that that's a way which ends suffering. That's true when you say people suffer, suffer, suffer, because they never actually practice and understand those teachings. There's a difference between theoretical understanding, putting bring them into practice and find them. They work and get the experiential understanding. That's why it's very easy to study Buddhism, very easy to actually to write books about Buddhism, but actually to actually to practice it. First of all, actually to follow that path and realize that path. That's a hard thing to do. And really, only then are you really qualified to talk about Buddhism.  So that's one of the reasons why people like they suffer, suffer, suffer, and they keep on suffering, suffering, suffering, because they don't really learn why. Go to the heart of the matter and give those teachers a chance just to let go, be at peace, be content with where you are. Then you have all the freedom you want in the world. You find you don't need to go anywhere or change anything.  Be so free  sometimes. Look at, look at all the rules I have to keep. But I can't do this, I can't do that.  Sometimes my whole day is just filled up with my duties, chance to rest. I feel so free.  Sometimes you have to go and give all these talks all over the place. And sometimes, you know, from early morning to late at night. But I always say, if anybody gets sort of bitchy at myself, why do I have to do this? Why me? Why do I have to do all these things? So that's not the right way. I jump on, be content, enjoy it. So when I actually do that and being content to enjoy that I never used to like going to the dentist,  but now I think it's a marvelous go to the dentist, because when you sit back on that, first of all, the chair in the dentist is much more comfortable than any chair we got in our monastery. You really lie back there. Number two, they put all this stuff in your mouth and no one can ask you any questions.  So it's one time in my life I could really be peaceful.  I just let them do whatever they want to do in my mouth. This is my half an hour. I can just really meditate. Great being at the dentist. The number two is just the Buddha. He became alive. He had to suffer. First of all, the suffering was teaching me try to find way out through controlling.  And after a while, he just let go and he became enlightened. There's a lovely stories in Buddhism, and one of the stories I tell on all the meditation retreats towards the very end of the meditation retreat was of this nanny Pecunia in the time of the Buddha called see her. She beat seven years in the monastery and never once could you get any peace in the meditation. But she didn't want to go back to the world. And especially you in those days, having to be a cook and a slave to your husband, basically. They always used to say that. This is actually from the Terry Garter, the verses of the nuns. Many said that when they became a nun, they gave up three crooked things. The three crooked things they gave up was the soup ladle, which was a symbol of their cooking. The third crooked thing they gave up was the brew room sweeping, which is another symbol of their housework. The third rookie thing they gave up was their husband.  I don't need to explain that symbol to you. They were so happy, they gave up three cookie things.  And she didn't want to go back to the three crooked things, but she couldn't get any peace in monastic life, so she took a rope to the forest, tied one end of the rope to a tree branch, the other around her neck, and she was about to jump off. That moment just before she jumped off, that's where she had an enlightenment experience. You know what? The first time in her life she let go, she gave up. She gave up all this trying to be enlightened. When she let go, that's when it happened. It's a simile, which I've given retreats of how to catch a carrot. If you're a donkey, you know, in  many places in Europe, maybe 50, 60 years ago, they all should have these donkey carts. And now donkeys are notoriously stubborn. The only way they can get them to move, they tie a stick to their back, and the stick is maybe a foot in front of them, and they hang a carrot on a string in front of the stick. So the donkey always walks towards the carrot trying to get the carrot, but the carrot always moves further away from the donkey. That's the way they get the donkey to move.  But when the donkey gets inside, when they're meditators, they get good, put his insight. They know how to catch the carrot. You know how they catch the carrot. The donkey starts to run as fast as it possibly can.  But of course, as fast as the donkey runs, the carrot goes even faster in front of it. So sometimes that's like our life. Sometimes we're trying to trace enlightenment. Faster we run after it, the further it gets away. But this donkey is smart. It runs as fast as any donkey has ever run before, and then it suddenly stops.  Now, when it stops, you got to have a lot of courage and faith, because when you stop, the carrot goes even further away from you as it swings, because of the momentum as a donkey has, insight needs to run. Don't do anything. Just be still. It goes so far away. It's never been that far away in life before. But then it starts to come back, come back, come back, come back. And then it swings closer than it's ever been before. In fact, it swings right into the mouth of the donkey.  That's how the donkey catches the carrot. That's how you catch enlightenment. You try, try, try, try right as fast as you can, and then suddenly you stop. Let go. Give up. When you first do that, it's as if the carrot enlightenment, truth, peace gets further and further away from you. But have faith.  It goes so far away. And then, almost miraculously, it starts coming back. Enlightenment comes to you until it comes so close  you catch it. That's how the Buddha became enlightened.  I hope you enjoyed the talk. And again. I'll be back in a couple of weeks time, about Christmas time, after my slow journey in Malaysia and Cambodia. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Bangladesh. I'm sorry. Okay. Every year is getting very close to Christmas, or Buddha must have been how you want to pronounce that. And lots of times this is always a season for goodwill and kindness and love and generosity. And every year, instead of looking after our own backyard or Buddha society, every year we do a little appeal. But an orphanage, which is in Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, and it's still the girl's orphanage, isn't it?  Girls and boys. These are Buddhists in a Muslim country in Bangladesh. Basically, they're the bottom of the heap. And we've been sending money to this place for a lot of years. And Judy has actually gone to visit the place to make sure that any sort of funds we send are actually used. And if you have any doubts at all, you can go and ask her. There's pictures on the back on the border over there. And actually, what they spend the money on, it just really almost makes you cry. It's on, like, rice, it's on  bed, so they can sleep on, like, blankets and just no luxuries at all. Just basic necessities of life. So every cent which we collect for this is all sent for feeding kids, orphans. Orphans, and educated them. So this is our wonderful project, which we do in our border society, our poor kids in Bangladesh, which we look after. So if anyone wishes to send a present to somebody at Christmas time, you can actually do. There's no tax concessions at Toy. Don't get any benefit out of this except knowing that it's something good for somebody else. I don't mind pushing that because it's good karma to encourage other people to do good karma. I don't get anything out of it myself. It's just happiness. That is one way I can actually help serve the little kids. There's pictures on the board over there. It's real. It's not any scam because we look after this and we send people. You can't go over there again, Judy. Soon  next year, she's going to go over there again to again. She's like, Everything is done well. We're.