Oct. 29, 2022

The Dhamma of Impermanence | Ajahn Brahm

The Dhamma of Impermanence | Ajahn Brahm

Understanding impermanence will lessen our suffering in this life.  Teaching on the three characteristics of impermanence, suffering, and the lack of a soul inside the elements can enlighten us and help us overcome any problems in our lives. Imperman...

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Understanding impermanence will lessen our suffering in this life.  Teaching on the three characteristics of impermanence, suffering, and the lack of a soul inside the elements can enlighten us and help us overcome any problems in our lives. Impermanence is an important part of the Buddhist teachings on peace. It teaches us that everything in life changes, and that we should accept these changes with peace. Impermanence is a reality which affects everything. Understanding this can help us to approach life with a more peaceful, accepting attitude. Impermanence is a law of nature. Accepting impermanence can help one learn how to live a peaceful life. It is also important to accept impermanence in the inside world, where many people can struggle with it. The thoughts that occupy our minds are always in flux and cannot be relied on, whether good or bad. Engaging with them in a non-judgmental way allows us to learn to flow with them. When we cling to our thoughts and ideas, we suffer.


This dhamma talk was originally recorded on cassette tape on 5th April 1994. It has now been remastered but the quality is still a bit scratchy. But the content is classic Ajahn Brahm 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.



 Gives us a taste of where all the teachings we call Buddhism is leading to. Mainly leading to that happiness which we call peace, and how that happiness increases the more we become peaceful again. This happiness is described by the Buddha as that happiness which is a release from Afflictions. 3s Before I came in here, I noticed somebody coming out of the toilet with a smile on their face. 1s That's one type of relief from Affliction, 3s actually. Essentially, the practice of meditation is very similar. That sort of feeling of tightness and tension, not in the bladder, but in the mind 2s of desire and aversion vigilance is released through meditation. 2s And it's that peace, that happiness of release. 2s In order to gain that happiness and release from peace not only does one need to do practices like meditation but one also needs to have some understanding about what we call tama 2s dhamma is not religion religion is something which is presented in books as views or ways of describing things this word dumma is something more essential it's more like the truth which is ever present around us like the air but like the air is kind of invisible so we don't see it. We miss it. We take it for granted and sometimes it needs just someone to point this out to us that there's air all around you which you breathe. Which you rely on for your 2s life when someone pointed out we begin to notice these things in the same way the dumb or the truth nature. 2s Is there around us all the time. No one owns it, no one can sell it. It's there. But sometimes we miss it. It needs to be pointed out. If we did understand the dumb at all times, the truth, the nature, 1s then we would be what we call enlightened beings. Enlightened is someone who, through that understanding, has passed beyond all suffering. Someone who to that understanding, has got this inner peace, this inner serenity, which is not affected by anything which happens to you on the outside world. 1s Now, when we talk about the dumba being something like the air itself, it is something which you can see for yourself 2s once it's pointed out. It's something which is always there. But because we don't want to see it, we miss it. In particular, the Buddha started talking about three types of Dhamma, which, if a person could only understand and see clearly, would be enough to make them fully enlightened, would be enough to bring them to the same state of enlightenment as the Buddha himself. 1s And those three characteristics were the truth or the dumba, or the nature, the essential 1s characteristic of all phenomena of impermanence, of unsatisfactoryness and of the lack of 2s or soul inside there 1s the elements or the characteristic which I wanted to explore this evening is sometimes one which we think is the most obvious, which is the element of impermanence change. 1s But it's because we think it's so apparent that we take it for granted and we don't notice it. If we only understood impermanence 1s to its limits, if we understood it fully, then again that by itself will be enough to make is fully enlightened that by itself will be enough to overcome every problem in your life and your existence, to give you full understanding, full freedom for enlightenment, just by understanding enlightened that impermanence. 2s So let's look at impermanence on all levels of our experience. Of course, most people, when you talk about something like impermanence, all they see is the impermanence of the external world. 1s But even there, there is many factors which are impermanence. 3s I wanted to talk about this just because 1s of its great use in all aspects of our life. 2s Whenever we have a problem, whenever we have any difficulty or suffering, you can always take it for granted that there's something in there who's impermanent. You're neglecting that you haven't seen that suffering is arising from fighting that change or denying that change, struggling against the change which is inherent in nature, which you cannot stop, but which you can only become frustrated in trying to stop. 4s Change is inherent in all things. But we take stability instead of the truth 2s as a very mundane and easy way of understanding the truth of impermanence. The Buddha gave a very simple story about a king who, whenever his realm was in harmony and prospering and in peace, he would think he never needed to do anything. He thought it would always be this way. And so he would hold a party and he would party and not do any business to maintain that peace, that harmony, that prosperity of his reign and because of his negligence that the country became poor. Lactose harmony, lactose prosperity. 1s And then when the country became full of problems, he became so depressed and despondent that he just locked himself in his room and never come out. Depressed southern despondent. 2s And his ministers decided that this was no way that the king should run his country. But they couldn't exactly tell him. They had to find a way of teaching that king about the law of impermanence, so that the king understanding in this way could run his country tree more responsibly. And all they did was to create a ring, which they asked the king to wear on all occasions. And all that was written on that ring were the words, this too will pass. 1s And the king agreed to wear that ring. And when the country was going well, when the people were happy, when the economy was prospering, when there was no problems with law and order or external enemies threatening his borders, he would always look at his wing and remember, this too will pass. It won't always be so good. 1s And that meant he never got so 1s euphoric that he never lost his sense of responsibility. But he worked hard knowing that that state of affairs, that wonderful state of affairs would not last. He worked hard to try and keep that state of affairs going as long as possible. 2s And when the country started to decline, when there was a lack of prosperity and there was trouble in the kingdom internal and external, then again, he would never be get despondent. He would look at his wing and again remember this too will pass. 2s And that gave the king a sense of the meaning of impermanence. We never got too happy. He never got too depressed. He kept what we call serenity in his mind. And with that serenity, he could work. He could work for the wellbeing of his country. And by keeping that serenity, he was working for the well being of himself. 1s Wouldn't it be wonderful if each one of us could have a ring like that? You ever get depressed and upset when things aren't going well in your kingdom? In your realm? Do you ever feel like throwing a party when you passed your exams? When you've just fallen in love and got married? When you've. 2s Just got your new home and have a party when things are going well, 2s of course, this is what we do. And that means that we forget this lobbying permanence we lose ourselves. 2s Just a few days ago know that I had the great privilege of going to a funeral. 1s There was one of the neighbors of a monastery. 1s His wife died of cancer. 1s They married in 2s 42 years they've been together. 2s And you can imagine 1s what the man felt having lost a wife of 42 years had always been with him. 1s He felt very 2s strange, very lost, that's if half of himself, or more than half himself has suddenly been taken away from him, 3s There's no need to feel like that if we understand impermanence there's no need to go to those great degrees of depression, despondency, grief if we kept impermanence in our mind beforehand one only has to to be in that cemetery this time in Fremantle and just look around you just to see all of those gravestones shouting out the truth of impermanence. All those people who lie there remains lying underneath those gravestones. Many of those gravestones are so old that the inscriptions on them are fading away and I can hardly even read the names anymore these are people whose lives would be like ours now not even their relatives are alive their sons and their daughters who can remember them? Not even the name which was inscribed on marble remains. 2s Not even any part of their bodily parts remains. It's all gone, the whole life, just like yours. No longer to be remembered. 2s It puts our existence in a perspective. 1s If one understands about the impermanence of the external world, 1s one knows that whatever one looks at outside, one can never possess. 1s A possession is something which we understand. Inside of us is something which we have, which we control, which we will always have. It's different than renting. If we own a house, we think it's always ours. If we rent it, we realize it's only ours for a while. 1s It's real. Owner will one day take it back again. 1s How many others think that we own a body? That we own a wife, a husband, a child, a parent in the sense that they're always be there? 2s Again. When we understand impermanence, we know that whatever there is outside will only be there for a while. 2s Now, when we talk about this law of impermanence, sometimes there's a resistance to looking at it, to contemplating it, to accepting it, because it challenges us and it brings initially a state of fear. I don't want to understand that. I don't want to look at that. I would rather have the delusion, even though I realize it's a delusion of that person always being there, because 2s I think that the alternative would be unbearable. But the point is that the alternative is not unbearable. The alternative of facing up to the dummy, to accepting the dumba, to realizing the dumb is not a state of negativity. It's not a state of depression. In fact, negativity, depression, fear, grief comes from not facing up to. 2s The dumb of impermanence. 1s It's only when we have thought for years and years and years that this person will not die, will not leave us. They would always be here, no matter how irrational that is. When the time of parting does come, it comes as an enormous shock. 1s It's the shot which creates great suffering inside of us. That suffering is not necessary, that suffering can be alleviated. But it can only be alleviated beforehand by understanding permanence before the crisis. 2s When we understand in permanence before the crisis, we know we don't own anything. We know that whatever we live with is only there for a time. We know this every moment. And so, when the parting does come, it does not come as a shock. Understand? This is nature. 1s Again, suffering comes from denying nature. When we deny nature, we get angry at nature, which is the usual response when we have a great trauma, like a loss of that which is dear to us. 2s Whether it's the death, whether it's a job, whether it's a limb, whether it's anything which we thought we possess and it's suddenly taken away from us. 1s It's the grief which gives rise to anger. In fact, we want to blame something or someone and that something or someone could even to be ourselves. I was at fault. If only I had done something differently, this party would not have happened. 1s The anger is just a response which is like fighting nature when it's understanding. We don't fight nature, we understand it. We realize that this is nature, this is irresistible, this is unfitable, this is the way this world is. We understand it. Understanding gives rise to acceptance, acceptance gives us rise to the sense of serenity are flowing with nature rather than trying to fight against it all the time. 2s Flowing with nature is a result of understanding impermanence, fighting it, struggling against it. Grief, anger, depression is a result of denying nature. 2s So it's very important for us, if we want to be someone who lessens our suffering in this life, who are happier human beings, more content human beings, more serene human beings, to understand as much as we can about the impermanent surroundings, whether it's one's car, whether it's one's new Dharma Hall, I can already see the cracks appearing in the walls. This is a new Darwin Hall, but it's already falling apart. This is the nature of external things. As soon as you have them, they start falling apart, they start decaying. And, you know, it needs constant maintenance, constant propping up to keep it going, to keep it it working, to keep it clean, to keep it tidy. Can we not see the nature impermanence and the things around us? 2s They constantly propping up. That's why there's so much work involved in fighting against impermanence. Do you want to live a peaceful life or very busy life? If you fight against impermanence, you'll find you need a very busy life. If one learns to accept it, one can learn a very peaceful life. 2s But a lot of people stop just there. The impermanence of the external world, but also in Buddhism, in the Dana, if one really wants to attain freedom and liberation, it's also important to look at impermanence in the inside world. In the internal world, 1s many people can, with a bit of a struggle, with a bit of understanding, accept impermanence of the outside world. They can eventually let go 1s of the externals. 1s But it's their house, their car, their job. 2s Their wife, their husband, even their body, they can let go of. But the one thing which we find very hard to let go of is, if you like, our inner body, our mind, our reputation. 1s And the Buddhist said, even inside of ourselves, all you can see inside there follows the same law of nature, the same law of impermanence. Every idea which arises in your mind fades away. Many years ago, in a monastery in Thailand, 2s a lady used to come to visit the monks. She was an American lady, and now and again, she would come to bring gifts. And she'd always like to talk to the monks. She was an American born again Christian, a fundamentalist, and she was looking for scalps. 3s And she would come up and 1s be very nice and give gifts. One day, eventually, she comes to the crunch what she was really after. One day, she went up to one of the monks who told me the story. 1s And being very nice and very pleasant and then she thought that he was ready for the punchline and she looked him straight in the eye and said what would you do if Jesus Christ came into your life? 2s And straight away he just said I just watch him rise and pass away like anything else which is impermanent 2s and she never heard that answer before. 1s Even ideas and thoughts which arise in the mind pass away again, don't they? 1s Even if Jesus Christ came into your life, he passed away again. Whatever arises 1s passes away and disappears. 2s If we look inside of our minds, can we actually notice that the great change which is happening inside of us all the time further? First of all, as I was talking the last time I gave a talk here about the mind, about the internal world, the first thing we can look at inside is the feelings. 3s Painful feelings. Pleasant feelings, neutral feelings. 2s Can you understand that these are impermanent? They change all the time. It seems obvious, isn't it? Of course we understand they're impermanent. But looking practice is when you hurt. When you got a physical feeling of pain in your body, do you really look at it as impermanent as changing? If you did, that feeling of pain would not affect your mind. You would look at as something which has arisen and will pass away. You will look a painful feeling as just 2s a gap between two pleasant feelings. It's just feeling changing. You would look at pleasure, happy feeling, good feeling, nice feeling, adjust a gap between two painful feelings. Again, just feeling changing. 2s Cause that's all the pain and pleasure is 1s the changing or physical sensation. 1s If one can really see this and understand this whenever you are in pain, the feeling that I can't bear this any longer will never arise inside of you. 1s You are bearing this now. 2s If you weren't burying it now, you would become unconscious or you would die. You are burying it now. The problem is the thought that it's going to be like this in the next moment, for the next minute, for the next half hour, for the next day, for the next year, and I cannot stand this in the future. 1s That is the fear which arises with pain and that is what makes it unbearable. But it appears unbearable inside of us. If you had a pain inside of you and someone came along who you could have faith in, and they said, this pain is only going to last five minutes or two minutes or 1 minute, 2s It would make it bearable. You know it's going to pass. You know it's going to end. 2s All pain does end. It comes and it goes again. There's just a gap between two pleasant feelings. Pleasure is a gap between two painful feelings. You know that pleasure will last as well, will change as well. If we know this, we are like the king with his ring. He looks at the empire, his realm outside, just as he looks at the realm inside. When the realm inside is full of unpleasant feeling pain, then he realizes this too will pass. And so he doesn't lock himself in a room of depression or anger, 1s but he does what he needs to do. He does his duties and responsibilities in spite of the pain. He knows it's going to pass. It knows it's only the change coming and going which he's experiencing. Whenever he gets great pleasure inside of him, he never rethinks that. This is at last I've reached what it should be. Alas, this is reality. At last I've got. He doesn't party. 2s He knows that this too will pass. And so, whether it's a painful feeling inside the mind or a pleasant feeling inside the mind, knowing impermanence he has or she has serenity, no matter what you're experiencing, if one can only understand impermanence that much, the feelings inside the body would just have no power to affect the mind. One will be able to bear with them, live with them, with no problem whatsoever. One knows that this is just the coming and going of feeling. 1s The next part of the mind which is also subject to impermanence is the perceptions one has. 2s The perception one has about another person. I like you, I don't like him. 2s Now, next moment I don't like you and I like him. Have you not seen perceptions changing like this forever in your life? So how can you get really angry at a person? 3s Sometimes you like them, sometimes you don't. This is just perception changing 1s this like and this dislike is just the manifestation of impermanence in the realm of perception. 1s What foods do you do you like? 1s What climate do you like? 1s What countries do you like? All the preferences which run our lives, which are like tyrants governing our lives if we can only understand that this is just a flow of impermanence 3s let them be. Let them go. 3s The thoughts inside of our minds the next category inside of our mind all of these thoughts, these great ideas we have, the great plans we have, the great judgments we have inside of us this is the right way should be done. 2s Whoever had that thought inside your mind this is the right way, and you've got it wrong. Now, listen here. 1s Have you ever found out maybe one day later, two days later that your idea has changed completely? 2s What you said you didn't want to do today to say is the only way. This is the right way of doing things. You're wrong again. 1s Even our ideas about how things should be done are in continual change. 2s Our problem is when we do not realize that change identify with a particular idea. You hold on to it, delight in it, and there we cause suffering inside of us. 2s All of the mind inside is in constant change, is in constant flow, which means that we cannot rely on any of it. We cannot delight in any of it. The Buddha said that delighting in things. We're doing constant change. 3s Is trying to hold on to things which by their nature, 1s moving away from you. It's like trying to grasp onto the wind which is moving through the gaps between your fingers before you got a clutch on it. 1s One knows about the truth of impermanence, of change. 1s The true result, the unavoidable result of understanding impermanence is not attaching 1s not attaching to things in the outside world. Not even attaching to things in the inside world like bad feelings, good feelings, 1s like preferences, like perceptions, like even thoughts inside. 1s Imagine what it would be like if one could let all of this go, 1s if one could. Instead of fighting the mind and fighting the world outside, one could learn how to flow instead. 2s The idea of flowing with impermanence can be illustrated by a simile which I've given here before is a simile of the basket below the hot air balloon. Some of you might have been ballooning. I never have. But people who have had that experience experience have told me that when you're sitting or standing in the basket below the balloon 2s it is so peaceful then it is so quiet and still. 1s Because even if it's a windy day, even if the wind is extremely strong no matter what way the wind is blowing the balloon travels completely with that wind. 2s The area of the balloon is too large 1s but it has to go completely with the force of the wind. And so below in the basket, you feel no wind at all. No resistance, no suffering. 2s So this is one of the results of understanding impermanence flow. Whether it's pain in the body or happiness in the body, whether it's good thoughts in the mind or unpleasant experiences, all of these is one can flow completely with. 2s But what is the usual result of not understanding impermanence? The usual result of not understanding impermanence is clinging and clutching on to all that is pleasant and dear and lovely 2s in the outside world or the inner world, clutching onto it to grim death, holding on to it, not letting it go. 2s And anything which is unpleasant, fighting it, trying to run away from it, try to UN escape from it, overcoming it, 2s rather than learning how to flow. 2s In the flowing, there is release. In the accepting, there is freedom. Sometimes 3s people I noticed that the funeral so you went to the other day that people said that the grief was was just a measure of the love that man had for his wife. 3s But when one really thinks about it, you probably know the understanding, the explanation of the Buddhist idea of love, which is much closer to the idea of acceptance. Embracing 1s what I say is embodied in the phrase the door of my heart is always open to you no matter what you've done. This is a phrase which was taught to me by my father. 1s He didn't actually say that. The way he said it was the door of my heart. My house would always be open to you no matter what you do. He said this when I was a young boy. 2s I realized later it was the very marvelous expression of unconditioned love and acceptance. No matter what I did, he would always love me, always accept me. The door of his heart would always be open to me. 2s That was the expression of true love. 2s Even if I died, 1s the door of his heart would always be open to me, no matter what I did. 2s Real love, real compassion is not just to a person, but it's for life. 1s Can you really say that you love life, that you embrace life, that you really live life to the full without denying part of it? 1s To really say that you love life she's all one has to say to life. The door of my heart is open to you, no matter what you do. Olive. 3s It's loving life with no strings attached. You getting the meaning here. It's loving the whole of life, accepting the holy life. Only when is that pure, true love there? Is there peace, is there serenity. It's a love which 1s embraces. This is understanding. 1s If my father had told me, I'd only love you if you don't upset me, if you don't do things which make my life a misery like dying before me, 2s would that be real love? If you said to your husband, to your wife, I will only love you if 1s you love me back, if you do this, if you do that, if you stop those really irritating habits of yours which I've told you about I'm teen times and you haven't listened, is that really true love? 1s We're talking here about something which is far deeper, deeper and far more profound than ordinary, common or garden love. This is like the Buddhist idea of love, the Dharmic idea of love, the natural 3s culminating. 2s Of where that love is leading to the purely ultimate love which is accepting. 1s If we can only accept life and death, if we can only accept nature, the whole works, with impermanence included, we can say to the whole, 1s the door of my heart is open to you as well, no matter how you are. The result of that is this great peace and acceptance. And just like it means that you can start to live with other people, when you have that attitude of acceptance, of tolerance, my heart is always open to you, no matter what you find. You can start to live with life. 2s When one accepts impermanence, if one denies impermanence, this truth, this great law of nature, you'll find that sooner or later 2s you will have disappointment, frustration, grief, despair, anger. 2s Because whether one likes it or not, this is the truth of our existence. You don't need to believe this. I can see it all around. 2s And the suffering comes from not accepting. 1s If we can only flow with this truth, accept it, understand it, it brings release 2s where we understand impermanence. We can live with people and we can also let them go. We can live with the things in our mind and we can let them go. Pain, pleasure, happy moments, unhappy moments we can live with them all and we can let them go. We let them go because we realize we have no choice. 1s It also 1s engenders the sense of awe that life 3s is ever constant changing of life. It does not mean that we don't appreciate life. Indeed, the more we understand that life is always flowing, the more we understand that moments and. 2s Are slipping through our grasp so quickly, it means we spend more time appreciating those moments, being with those moments. If we would only realize that the people we are with won't always be here, 1s we would care for them more. Said here before, the only time we take things for granted or people for granted, 1s is when we think of always going to be there. 3s If the people you were living with, 1s if you realized, or if one thought, if one was told that only going to be there for another day, 1s would you care for them in that last day? 2s If you realize that one day they're going to go, it means that every day becomes more important. 1s Not only does impermanence give a sense of severe, it gives a sense of more fullness in one's daily life, but putting in more into what's going on because everything is passing so fast. 2s It gives a sense of being alive, 2s existing. 1s So this sense of impermanence, this idea of impermanence, this constant change has very important 1s lessons for each one of us. 2s If we can spend time understanding, reflecting on this, one does feel the sense of peace, the sense of stillness, very similar to the sense of peace and stillness which you find inside of the mind. When one understands in permanence again, one doesn't cling on to things, one doesn't attach to things. One lets things go. 2s When one lets things go inside of the mind, one 1s has smiles, a sense of peace, this marvelous sense of stillness, this marvelous sense of for once, not fighting the world. 2s It's that fighting the denying of the world which creates that tension. 2s There's a war which goes on in people's minds 1s and it's a war which goes on very often. It's a battle between to say the way things are and the way you want them to be, 3s the way things are and the way you want things to be. What do you want right now? 1s Is this the way things actually are right now? Can you see what I mean by the saying of the battle between the way things are and the way you want things to be? How on earth are you ever going to solve and settle that battle? Who is going to win? 2s The only way to resolve that battle between the way things are and the way you want things to be 1s is actually not to change the way things are. This is nature. This is a dharma. This is the law. No one has been able to change the law of impermanence and change it to suit the way we want it to be. It happens in spite of us, in spite of our wants and desires. The only way we can settle this war and have this sense of peace inside of us is actually to change the way we want the world to be. 4s When we attach to something not understanding law in permanence, when we get this attachment, which sometimes is confused with love, 1s this attachment to someone, we always want them to be there. 1s This is not up the way things are. 1s When there's that war between the way things are and the way we want things to be, can you see that? That's the nature of suffering. 1s How about changing our wants, changing our attachments and saying for once that I would accept the way things are? I will accept the nature of life. I will move my wants to be in accord with what nature actually can provide. If one can do that, 1s then the war is over. The strife, the struggle of life, of existence ends 3s the world, the nature, the dummy is in complete accord with how one wants this life to be. It's. If I can flow through life, I can accept life and death as it really is. 2s Another example of the nature 2s of this life of impermanence. 1s Another word for impermanence, another islation of that word is uncertainty. 2s I told this story just the other day as a result of the experience at the Crematorium. It was a story told to me by a monk in Thailand many years ago. When I was staying there. This monk lived in a forest 2s and his hut in the forest where he lived was built in a very simple fashion out of bamboo with a grass roof. A grassroots are covering it, 1s and in the forests of Thailand, now and again, especially during the monsoon season, they can arise great storms. And you can imagine a person living in such a fragile dwelling. If a tree or even a large branch fell on that door, 1s it would offer no protection at all for that monk's life. 2s When the storms came. There was one night there was a terrible storm and the man could not sleep for fear of his life. He did hear trees and branches falling with a loud crash around him. 2s Fortunately, no heavy branches. It fell on his hat. And in the morning he went outside to see the damage in the forest. And of course, the first things which he noticed were the trees and the branches. But what took his attention was some of the leaves which were scattered around in between the branches and the fallen trees. He noticed of those leaves which were lying on the forest floor, that most of those leaves were brown, old leaves which have lived their life on a tree for the right age, and in the storm had fallen off. But also, as well as those brown leaves, he started to notice some yellow leaves which hadn't really reached their full time. He also noticed some green leaves. 2s And he even noticed some very young green leaves which have got that vivid greenness of a leaf which is probably shot forth only one or two days before. They too, had been torn off the tree by the storm. 1s I'm looking at the nature of a storm and how it turns off various leaves from the tree. He got an insight into the nature of life and death of human beings, which I hope you can understand as well. But just to confirm his insight, he also looked up at the trees to see what leaves were left. 1s And of course, what one would expect is what he saw. Mostly on the trees were green leaves, 1s leaves which was still strong enough to cling on for the tree. 1s But even though very young green leaves have been torn off from that tree, 1s he also noticed brown leaves on that tree. He even noticed some very old curly brown leaves still clinging on to that tree. 4s Have you ever noticed old brown curly leaf like people who are still clinging on to life 2s when young children die? 3s When he notices, he realized that 2s nature, 1s this is like the law of impermanence. 3s He could not say that something had gone wrong, that a green leaf had been torn off and an old curly brown leaf still remains. 2s Nature had not made a mistake. 2s This is the way nature is. This is part of the law of impermanence. When a wind blows heavily through a tree, it does pick up mostly the brown leaves, and it leaves some. It takes off a few yellow leaves and leaves a lot. It takes a few very few green leaves and leaves the majority. And it even takes off one or two young green shoots. 2s Nothing has gone wrong. This is nature. When he understood nature, he could accept it. When he could accept it, he could understand it. When he could understand it, he was free from fighting it. And in that's freedom from fighting nature came the peace of serenity. 2s Understanding impermanence, the flow of things means we accept, we understand and we are free. 2s So whatever one looks at in one's life, whether things outside or things inside, 1s have a look upon them in respects of this law of impermanence, of change, of unreliability, 1s if it's pain, if it's unpleasant, if it's something which one does not like understand, it's going to change. And this pain is unpleasantness, is just part of that change. 1s And if it's something pleasant, if it's something which is really wonderful, please remember that key and do not throw a party and think it's always going to be like this. This too will pass. In that way, one can keep the serenity, this great peace of mind, which is indeed a happiness which is outside of the winds of nature. 1s Which is there all the time. It's the happiness which we call peace. 2s So it's time to end the talk this evening on Impermanence. 8s Now is the time for any questions on the talk which I've just given. Are there any questions on some aspects of the talk which either one didn't quite understand or which I didn't cover completely or which you disagree with? 5s Is anyone got a question to ask about the tour? 14s Thank you. You notice even praise of the last, 3s but I value it when it comes. 3s Have you ever been blamed unfairly? 2s Don't like it? Do you ever been praised unfairly? 2s I never say anything about that. 2s It's unblamed if one understands in permanence. Also one can keep serenity. 1s It's very dangerous if one has praise, praise, praise and doesn't understand impermanence. I can see that with people like champions at sports, people who are successful in business, 1s people who are successful as politicians, getting all that praise. And then when blame comes, which it has to eventually, instead of saying I've been expecting you blame, 2s they get upset. And if you're always getting blamed and blamed and blamed and blamed, doesn't matter, one day someone will praise you. It has to come. When they do, say I affected you as well. 2s Praise and blame, happiness and suffering. That all aspects of change. 3s But thank you anyway. 13s Yes. 2s One way the Buddha thought about this. It said that there's two like thorns in life. 1s And he said, for the ordinary person, when they don't get what they want, they have two thorns. They got the physical feeling of pain. They've also got how it affects the heart as well. It's unpleasant for the body, and it's also unpleasant for the mind. It hurts both. 1s The person who is enlightened, they've only got one thorn if it's an unpleasant feeling outside, if they get sick, if when they're dying, 1s somebody I remember just someone told me this today, that they asked who the person was called. Say, are you afraid of death? He said, well, at this point, I'm not afraid of death. 1s He said, because I'm not close to death yet. When you get close to death, he says, you usually don't feel very well. 1s When you get very close to death, he said, you feel bloody awful. Excuse the phrase. He said that's what I don't like, 2s that's externally. But internally that enlightened person does not fight 1s that which cannot be fought, that which cannot be conquered, 2s which is nature. If it is nature, it is something which is outside your power to change. So the aligned person is just someone who understands that and accepts and is there for a peace. 2s It's an interesting experience if everyone does have a strong physical pain, it's side of one and if one could just for a few moments leave it alone, let it be stopped fighting and stop trying to get rid of it, stop trying to escape from it, stop trying to overcome it. 2s It gives an enormous sense of peace and stillness. 2s Sometimes people have done that. Someone told me a story of someone in Australia many years ago in the Minds up north. His job was blasting the face of the Minds in the middle of the night, a night shift, because that was when the rest of the people weren't working and it was too dangerous to blast when there are other people in the shaft. It was only a small mine. 1s He went down there one evening, drilled his holes and was ready to put in the explosives when he heard the sound of something coming towards him. It was one of the tracks carrying the awe. Someone had forgot to put the brake on and it was just hurtling towards him in the narrow confines of the end of the mine. There was no place to hide there's. The big metal track hitting oil could do is to jump. 1s After it hit him, he fell to the ground. He found he couldn't stand up, taking his legs off. 2s His enormous pain 1s in the darkness. He lost his light. Had to wait for quite a few hours before the first ship would come on. 1s Then he said he had the most wonderful peace he's ever experienced in his life. 4s Sometimes it takes that amount of pain, that amount of disappointment, that amount of frustration to actually come to terms with tumbler with life, because we really have to. And when we can accept 2s that which most of us would think, how on earth could you be at peace? 1s You can find this enormous severeity. 2s So that's what I mean by saying the two barbs. There's a physical pain there, but the mind is completely still, completely at peace. Nothing you can do. You rest for acceptance. Or the other word which I use was love, 2s which is, again, acceptance. The door of my heart is open to you no matter what you do. 3s Does that answer your question? 3s Okay, well, we'll leave it there this evening. There are a couple of announcements to make, as usually is still yeah, I'm just making a nasty seven. Hang on.