April 1, 2023

The Mundane and the Supramundane | Ajahn Brahm

The Mundane and the Supramundane | Ajahn Brahm

Buddhism teaches us to solve world problems through our wisdom and compassion. Hatred doesn't lead to peace, violence doesn't lead to peace. This talk is about the mundane and the super mundane, the world and what lies beyond. It explores what real f...

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Buddhism teaches us to solve world problems through our wisdom and compassion. Hatred doesn't lead to peace, violence doesn't lead to peace. This talk is about the mundane and the super mundane, the world and what lies beyond. It explores what real freedom is and what the fake freedom is. Meditation helps us to feel life more deeply, to understand it instead of describing it in words. Books, discussions, and descriptions of life only serve to make us spiritually hungry. In the practice of meditation, quietness leads to the discovery of the supramundane. When you let go of the past and future and enter the present moment, the cosmos also stands still and you can feel deep ecstasies. The Buddha talked about bliss, the citta, and the supramundane. He said that when you go into deep meditation, you go to a world beyond sight, beyond sound, beyond smell, beyond taste, and beyond physical touch. This is the stairway which leads you out of the mundane and into the super mundane. Once you've climbed up that pyramid, the world looks completely different and feels just nothing like the way it does in the world.


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

This dhamma talk was originally recorded using a low quality MP3 to save on file size (because internet connections were slow back then - remember dialup?) on 10th January 2003. 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)

You on these Friday nights when I give a talk I really prefer just to have no idea of what I'm going to speak about and just to ask people as I come in if they have any suggestions. I do this for a couple of reasons. First of all, because if I think of a talk I'd have probably already given it before I've heard it before that. And so sometimes when somebody suggests a new topic it's something I haven't thought about and something which I haven't thought about. So it's original for me if you think that you've heard all my talks imagine what I feel like. And also it means that the talks become more spontaneous and the spontaneous talk is something which comes from the heart just to open up the heart into the peaceful silence and see what comes out. And I always find such talks from this perspective sitting here always far more useful and at the same time that I pick up on everyone who is sitting in here so that you can respond to people's concerns and inner feelings. I always like to do spontaneous talks. And just as I was coming in here, the last person I saw before I came into this room here I asked them any suggestions? And so they gave the suggestion to talk this evening about the mundane and the super mundane. I don't think I've ever talked about that before. I don't think that many of you even know what those two words mean. So is this the chance that you to talk about something new? The mundane and the super mundane, sloven, brief just mean that which belongs to the world and that which is transcending the world, that which is beyond the ordinary experience of human beings and. I resonate with that title because my life as a Buddhist monk seems to be flipping from the mundane to the super mundane, even in just the last week. I spent last Sunday going to a demonstration at Parliament House, trying to talk about peace in Iraq. It was the first demonstration I've been on for about 30 years, since I was a Long Herd student back in UK, so it was very much a deja vu. And the rest of the week I've been spending writing an article on the Janas, these Deep Meditations for the Journal, which should have been out on January the first, but which is a bit late. So I've actually, myself, I've been flipping from the mundane to the super mundane throughout the last week. And the super mundane is more like the overview. This is what super means, like Above The World, an overview which gives you the perspectives about the mundane, the ordinary life. And I want to talk this evening about the connection between the two, the connection between one's ordinary life and the connections between that which lies beyond this world. And how the two can relate to each other. It's in Buddhism we get all of our wisdom from going to the super mundane, that which is outside, beyond the ordinary world to actually to get a perspective, to look from a distance, as it were so we can see where everything fits in that. I've given a simile some years ago from my life of being lost in a jungle. When you're lost in a jungle, you can't find the way because things in a jungle are just so close to each other, so constricted. You can never really see great distances. Because you can't see great distances, you lose perspective. And sometimes, like being in a physical jungle, can relate to our daily lives because we have so many things to do. There's so much in our way, even actually, to come to the center of Friday evening you have to pass through so many thickets and bushes and tangles of duties in order to get here. And that's our life. It's like being in a jungle. Always something more to do, always fighting our way through to get to our goal. And sometimes it's very easy to lose one's way in this jungle we call life the mundane life, the ordinary life. And we need, as human beings to find an overview, to find a way to find some perspective to make our life more easy to flow more easily. And of course, the way to find one's way in the jungle is actually to find some hill, find some tower or climb a tall tree so one can get above and beyond the jungle in order to see one's way. And I gave this simply years ago because I as a young man, I went to visit Central America and I got myself into the middle of the jungles and climbed these great pyramids of the Mayan civilization. It was a great time in my life because I was very open and sensitive to spiritual meanings. And when you climb one of those pyramids in the middle of the jungle you find you're above the tree line when you get to the top. And being above the tree line in a jungle it was for me the first time in days. I could see great distances. And in particular, I could see where I'd come from. I could see the town where I spent the last night. I could see the road which led there and the roads in the distance. You had the map. The overview, but also up there. You didn't just look down onto the jungle, you looked to what surrounded the jungle, the great emptiness and space of the sky above all that embraced and surrounded the jungle. You can understand why those great monuments in the middle of the jungle, abandoned for centuries, had a spiritual meaning. Not only did it give you the overview of your world, of the mundane world, but also gave you a perspective into what transcends surrounds and embraces everything. And this gives you an idea of the connection which we have between the mundane and the super mundane symbolized in this climbing outside of the jungle to be able to look over everything. And in our life, especially in the Buddhist life, that pyramid, that way of transcending our world, of finding a way to stand back, stand out, to transcend, so we can get some perspective, has always been this part of meditation that has always been the path to the super mundane. And standing there in the beautiful depths of meditation, as one comes out, one gets one's wisdoms, one's insights, one's overview of the world. And that has always been where Buddhists get their wisdom. So I use, as all monks and nuns, that all Buddhists make use of the great wisdom born of stillness. Stillness is getting out of the world and getting out of the world. You see great distances. We make use of that wisdom in ordinary life to try and help solve and get some perspectives of ordinary things. And so, in particular, last Sunday, when I gave a little five minute speech to a peace demonstration, one of the first things I noticed was just how noisy peace demonstrations are. As soon as I got there, all these kids were banging on drums. And I could hardly hear myself think, let alone speak. And I often wondered that drums, they were what used to be used by soldiers as they went to war. That's why sometimes we even call the drums of war because the drums, they arouse emotions. They get the juices stirring. And sometimes you wonder whether that's a skillful way to get to peace. But of course, I didn't have the opportunity to talk about the arrangements. Only had a few moments to say a few things about peace. And of course, one of the things which one notices is being a Buddhist monk living in a monastery and reading newspapers because I'm supposed to read newspapers. I remember Ajancha, my teacher in Thailand, had one very, very good monk who was a wonderful meditator. And he was getting to such still meditation, such beautiful meditation that Ajancha ordered him to read a newspaper every day because he knew that he had the stillness, he had the peace, he had the wisdom. But he needed to actually to be able to apply that wisdom to ordinary people's daily concerns. So as a monk, he could help out of compassion and be able to relate to the ordinary problems of human beings. And that monk now is the Abbott of what BA pong Ajen Liam. He's been and visited here before. And so I also read newspapers and try and understand something about what's going on. And whenever I read about such things as what is it called? Weapons of mass destruction. One of the things which said at the demonstration last week was that weapons of mass destruction are not made out of nuclear material nor out of chemicals or bugs. The only weapon of mass destruction which has ever existed in the world is a hatred in people's hearts. And in Buddhism, we always call that the weapon of mass destruction. Hatred. And of course, you understand just how the hatred in human beings hearts does not just destroy countries, but destroys marriages, destroys relationships, destroys friendship, and can even destroy your own body. Because when you have lots of hatred, you get that inner stress. And all the physical problems which manifest from that stress, such as cancer and heart disease and so many other things, are all from the weapon of mass destruction called ill will and hatred. And as a Buddhist monks seeing that that is the real weapon of mass destruction, it gives a different paradigm, a different way of looking at the worldly problems we have in life. If we really want to eliminate the weapons of mass destruction in places like Iraq, of course we have to take out the hatred in all of the leaders minds and hearts. You don't lessen hatred by bombing and violence. The only way to overcome hatred as a general Buddhist principle is with forgiveness and kindness and love and sharing and generosity, all the positive emotions and attitudes of life. In the same way, you never eradicate hatred in your family or in your office or in your community by always trying to eradicate the pests. Now, we might want to do that, try and eradicate our partner because they're causing us too much pain, or to get rid of that member of our family or that person in the office. But you always find that you eradicate one pest and another pest comes up next. There's no end of pests in this world. I think, as you all know, and so understanding this, we know that what the Buddha said, that hatred never ceases by hatred. If you go into the super mundane and get this overview of life, you can see that that's just an obvious truth. And so you don't get rid of the weapon of mass destruction called hatred by generating more hatred in the world, by generating more fear, by generating the causes for people wanting to find revenge. And so I said in that talk that the so called axis of evil is no more than an axis of stupidity. And the axis of stupidity goes to many countries of the world because people don't see. Now just how to live in this so called mundane world. So these are just examples which I think many of you can relate to to, like, worldly wisdom which helps or could help solve some of the many problems in the world, some of the many difficulties of life, the real ones which we have to cope with from time to time. And in all of my life, a Buddhist monk just practicing those teachings I've always found them working. When we talk about elimination of the weapons of mass destruction it's not just eliminating hatred because that's only the negative. It's also encouraging the positive qualities in life such as trust and mutual understanding like a tolerance and respect. And, Gwen, as a monk, you respect other beings. You respect other genders, other religions, other races, other species of the animals and the birds who live in our monasteries. When you develop such respect and care and generosity and sharing to other beings you get this wonderful feeling of harmony and peace between beings. No one tests out these principles in one's daily life in the mundane world. And my goodness, one finds they work. There's a wonderful life living in a monastery where one puts his principles into action and finds how well they work. So all the beings are friendly to one, even the snakes. Because sometimes we think that snakes in a monastery are dangerous. They're venomous and they can cause so much harm. So why don't we get the rangers in to catch and kill them all? And you find that that's not the way. To solve the problem of snakes. If you catch one snake, there'll be another comes afterwards the snakes all over the bush. So the only way to deal with such a problem such as venomous snakes is to be kind to them, to make them your friends. So all the snakes in my monastery feel at home and you find then the snakes never bite you because they feel accepted that they don't feel fear, they don't feel threatened, they feel that that's their place as well. Then we got some big snakes in our monastery. During my six month retreat earlier last year had a huge big tiger snake came to see me and it was because it stretched itself across the wall of my hut. I could actually measure it in brick lengths. And having laid many bricks in my early years as a monk you know exactly how long it was. It was somewhere between 2.4 and 2.5 meters long, which is quite a large tiger snake. And when it first came I was just washing my bowl. It just came up to look at me and I looked at him and carried on washing my bowl. He was welcome there, wasn't scared. The next time I looked he'd actually turned around and his tail was pointing at me. His head was in the opposite direction. And the way he was actually standing there was if this is maybe I was just imagining this, but it could have been true because he had his tail pointed to me and his head was in the opposite direction. I could have touched him, I could have hurt him. He was completely vulnerable, but I thought he was protecting me because it was like a bodyguard, a snake guard looking in the opposite direction to make no one, to make sure nobody came. And this is just one example, like turning a pest into a very good friend who, instead of harms you, harming you, protects you. And this is actually how we can change the pests in our life, the things which we think are dangerous, because a snake has, as it were, chemicals or venom of mass destruction. But instead of trying to destroy that venom, instead of trying to destroy the carriers of the venom, the snake, we turn the snake into our friend. It's a different way of looking at life. Hatred never ceases by hatred. Violence never ceases by violence. If you go around killing snakes, then one day those snakes are going to come and take revenge. The word is going to get out, and you're always in big trouble. So by being kind to snakes, snakes are kind to you. By being kind to humans, humans are kind to you. I've been kind to human beings for the last well, certainly for a long time in my life, but since coming to Perth, I've been kind to human beings all this time. And look what people do with me. They feed me so much. I'm, in fact. It's. So to me, but I enjoy it. It's good fun. It's a much nicer way of living one's life. So hatred never ceases by hatred. Hatred only ceases through, as we all know, through forgiveness, through acceptance and through mutual respect. So all of you having trouble with your partner, do you respect them? Do you really speck them for who they are? Or do you always fault finding, picking out all the things which are wrong with them? Hatred never ceases through hatred. Hatred ceases through respect and love. And that's the way we get rid of the weapons of mass destruction in our world, of the hatred, ill will, revenge, because as long as there is hatred, revenge, ill will in our world, someone will find some was I reading newspapers, some ricin which is made of castor bean plant or something really easy to make. Or they'll find something else, like, was it Timothy McVeigh made a bomb at home to destroy the whole building? So easy to actually create a bomb or some virus or something or other. It's so easy to carry it wherever we want. There's no end of people suicide bombers these days who are willing to sort of take these terrible things into the midst of our communities. But if we take away the hatred, the mistrust, the fear in people's hearts, then we'll be destroying the weapons of mass destruction. So to me, that's quite obvious. But how did those ideas actually come up? And why did the Buddha and all the other great religious figures always say this? Hatred is not the way to go. Violence doesn't lead to peace? They said that because they had a way of leaving this jungle, this short sighted thinking, just this way of looking just for the immediate consequences and not looking at the long term picture, because they got this wonderful perspective. We do need from time to time to find a tower, to find a tall tree, to find a hill, to stand up above the world, to leave it, to get to the super mundane above the world, so we can really understand what's going on. And again, that's always been the path of deep meditation, because when you're meditating, you're actually finding a way out of the world. When I say the world, what is the world? The world for you is built up of all your thinking and your thoughts. You describe the world in language and you live the world in thoughts. And a lot of the time, that what we think about. The world is just a whole collection of words. So much so that people know all the words and the theories, the ideas, the names and the labels, but they never really know the reality of life. And. And people. This is why even like in psychotherapy and psychology, we always like to give things labels. But does the label really relate to the feeling and what's happening inside? We all know it's just an approximation. Even like we say, I've fallen in love. Do you know what love really is? Love can never be a word, can it? And how can you actually put that into words? Poets have been trying for centuries to describe those feelings. You can't do it because it's a feeling, it's a thing which defies all words. It's the same whenever you have peace, whenever you have generosity and kindness. It's just too hard to describe. So quite often we should actually go beyond all these words. And labels go beyond these thinking. Because the thinking, the words are like the curtain which obscures reality, which obscures the truth, when everybody just gets stuck on the words and the labels. That's where we have arguments, that's where we have the debates between all the different religions and all the different philosophies. And what do politicians talk about? Just words. Poets get a bit closer because they talk about feelings. Artists, musicians, they're going a bit closer to reality, which is why people get inspired by the arts. But in meditation, you can go even deeper. You can go so deep into the beautiful silence of the mind, way beyond thoughts, way beyond descriptions. So you're seeing the world as for the first time. You know, when you were born, you felt the world, you learned the world, those experiences, and only later, when you went to school, were you taught how to describe it all. And you know, those descriptions weren't really accurate. They're only a makeshift, which you had to learn to pass your exams, to get your jobs, because that's what you're supposed to do in the world. My goodness, I spent all those years going to school and university and getting all these degrees. What did it get for me? Nothing. You don't need a degree to be a monk or a nun. I wasted all those years. I could have just enjoyed myself playing soccer in the park or chasing after girls. What did it get me? Getting a degree? Completely useless. And in fact, it was worse than useless because it stopped me being peaceful. I'd learned how and think, I learned how to argue, I'd learn how to analyze. And my goodness, that's the last thing you need when you're meditating. In meditating, you have to learn how to feel. How to learn how to experience in meditation. You have to learn how to trust in not knowing by not knowing. Not the ordinary way of knowing, which is always what is that called? Who is she? What's her name? Where do you come from? Who cares where you come from? What's that got to do with where you are now? The name? What's that got to do with what a thing is? So it took years and years and years, no meditation to let go of all these labels so you can at last experience life and feel life and be life, rather always talking about it, you know, the old simile. But the words, the talks, the thoughts that's always like the menu of life. And why are people always lost in the world? Why are they always spiritually hungry? Because all they ever do is eat menus and they never taste the food. You know what I mean? There we read books, and when we read books, we argue about those books. And when we argue about those books, we write more books about the arguments about the books. And it goes on and on and on and on. I was really impressed. One of the first experiences I had as a Buddhist in England when I was only a young student this was about 34 no, 30 something years ago. More than that. 30, let's put it I was about 17, about 18 at the time. That must be 33 years ago. And. There was a Japanese monk, one of these Zen monks, who was visiting England as he was visiting England, when he gave talks, he couldn't speak good English, so he always had to have an interpreter. It was rotten actually, listening to a talk when he'd say a few words and someone had to translate and then he'd say something else. They translate. You missed the flow of the thing. But we were so hard up for talks in those days, we had to go, and that's all you got. Not like these days. Here I go again. The good old days and the half old days. You guys have got it easy these days. I love doing that to my monks in Serpentine. I start telling what it was like 20 years ago when we started the monastery. It's not like we had it. You've got it easy these days. They go shut up at Jambo. I really goes again. But this monk, at the end of his tour, somebody asked him the very last talk he gave at this temple in London, the very last thing he very last session before he returned to Japan, somebody asked him the question, you've been in England for about three or four weeks. What do you think of Buddhism in England? And his answer was Classic, he said and he spoke in English. He learned a few words of English in his day. His answer to the question, what do you think of Buddhism in England? He said, Books, books, books. Too many, too many, too many. Dustin. Dustbin, dustbin. Brilliant. He did need he only needed three words or too many, I suppose that's two words. And he needed like, four words there to describe very accurately what Buddhism was like in England of those days. And he might as well say what philosophy, what religion is like in our day. Books, books, books. Too many, too many, too many. Dustbin, dustbin, dustbin. We need to feel life. We need to feel love, kindness, friendship, to understand it rather than describing it in words. Because in descriptions there we can argue in the feelings, we can come together. Now you go to an Aboriginal and talk about love and respect. It doesn't matter what culture you come from. The words, the explanations, the descriptions may be the same, so the consequences might be different, but the thing in itself is common to all. And this is where we get harmony together. So if in our life we stop eating the menus and start tasting the food, then we get spiritual well being, spiritual health, spiritual strength. And that's why that all mystics of all persuasions, they always get their wisdom by going into empty, silent places. I always recall that in most of the religions of our world, in most of the spiritual traditions, people worship silence because they know how powerful that is for transcending the world. Silence is a doorway into the super mundane. That's why, as again, a young man growing up in England, even though that was a Buddhist at a very early age, I still like to go into the great cathedrals in England. There's usually a cathedral in almost every town, and many of those cathedrals were empty all the time. They were great places to hang out in, and you just sit down there and just contemplate, just meditate. What happened was your mind went very still. Why did it go still? Because the whole purpose, this is my understanding of the cathedrals, the whole reason why they were there, they're such huge buildings and they contained in those days anyway, absolutely nothing. They were so bare, so simple, so empty. That what I thought they were worshipping was a great silence and space which they contained. It was a silence which was sacred, it was a space to just the hugeness which was the inspiration. And of course, I was very disappointed that the last cathedral I'd ever been in was actually Westminster Abbey when I was thing. I think I might have been a bank, I'm not quite sure now, but I went in there looking for a nice piece of nice bit of quiet and peace away from the noise and bustle of central London. And I went in there looking for some silence and what did I find? A sermon on the PA system. And there was noise all the time. They got electric loudspeakers throughout the cathedral and there was sermons or chanting or hymns being sung. Almost 24 hours of the day the silence had gone. I remember going to, I think, Sydney Airport once, I was having a connection flight and I went into the prayer room to do a bit of meditation and I thought, I'd have some silence and only been in there 1 minute when the PA system came on. Flight number two six five is leaving in ten minutes. This announcement. Do not leave your bags out of ten. My goodness. You can't have prayer with the PA system blasting all the time. I was so disappointed again, that's the last prayer room I've ever been in in an airport. So it's a silence which is holy and. It is the quietness which leads into the super mundane. Because when you start getting into quietness, into silence of the mind, you're not giving orders, you're not controlling the world, you're not making the universe move according to your wishes. And when you're not making the universe move according to your wishes, not giving orders, commands and desire us, then the universe becomes silent. And instead of running away from you, which is what it's like when you give orders, have you got a person in your office who always gives you orders, always asking you to do some more photocopying, to do another project, to do this and do that? They're so on your back, you always try and avoid them, you see them coming in a distance and then run away. That's what happens to the order and the controller. And when you're always giving orders and demanding of the world, when you're always trying to get something more from the universe, no wonder that the universe is always running away from. The cosmos is scared stiff of you. So that's no way to get friendship with the super mundane. It's no way to get to know that which is beyond the world. There's no way to understand what that cosmos has got to teach you. So when you stop giving orders, when you stop asking for things, then the cosmos can come close to you. It's only in that stillness that the universe starts to unfold. So this is why that even in the scriptures, in Buddhism, they call these meditations, like the gateways into truth, like the openings into wisdom, which is why we spend so much time in our Buddhist tradition meditating. But not by praying, not by asking for things, not by contemplating with words and arguments, but by making the mind quiet and silent for a change. So at last we can see things, see things in the silence. When you're silent, you're not arguing at the world. Imagine you're going to a lecture in some great university and some amazing knowledgeable, experienced professor, who is a world expert on the subject, is about to deliver his lecture. And you go up and argue with the guy. How can you learn when you are arguing with the world? Especially when you know that professor knows heaps more than you? So who knows the most? You or the cosmos? So why are you always arguing when the cosmos is trying to teach you? Why are always thinking, you know what I mean by arguing? Inside is in a conversation and never allowing stillness to last long enough for life to instruct you about its meaning. So when we get still, when the inner commentary subsides, that's when we can start knowing the super mundane. That which lies beyond the world. Beyond the world described by words. And as we go deeper into these things, we get to these wonderful interesting states of meditation. Because in the silence then we can start really to let go. We let go of all past and future. What a sham is the past and future. How unreliable is our memories of the past? How uncertain is are our expectations of the future? That is all such a gray and misty fantasy world. It's not really worth lingering there too long. Reality is now. Truth can only be found in this very moment. And it can only be found right here in your heart, in the center of now, in the center of you centering becomes this path that superman mundane, the path to the world is going out, out over here, out into the future, back into the past. It's always going out, out. The path of super mundane is going in. In. Even in the psalms it says be still and know that thou art the ultimate truth. Be still. Go inside. You don't find truth by going to the temple. You don't find truth by going out to this wise and holy person somewhere up top of a mountain. You only found truth in the mountain of your heart, in the temple inside going in, in. And that becomes a path of a super mundane in the practice of meditation. You go into stillness and then you go into the stillness, never on to the next moment of stillness, always going in. Because when you come into the present moment, into stillness, the cosmos also stands still. And when the cosmos stands still, when future and past disappear, when there is no perception or conception or idea of anything other than now, you have the opportunity to go deeper and deeper. As you go deeper into the stillness, you go into what we call one pointedness just as the mind focuses in and centers ever deeper. And the fascinating things happens when you use this hole, this point, this doorway into the super mundane. As the mind centers more and more, it gets much more power, much more energy, much more bliss. And this becomes a fun part of the super mundane path because that bliss, that happiness gets so strong sometimes as I was writing even this afternoon and this little article I could be publishing in our journal pretty soon sometimes the bliss gets so strong you think you can't take anymore. You think it explode if it just increases an Iota. But there's something you found out, find out through direct experience. And that is you can always take a little more bliss. There's no limit to the ecstasies you can feel. And if you think you've had ecstasy by taking some tablet it. You don't know what you're talking about. Even today went to a Donna today in Duncrake, and we're just driving around. I've actually found there's a Caffeine nirvana in Duncrake. I don't know if you've ever eaten there, but I'm sure I was thinking of actually it was just before it was in the morning when the monks could eat. I thought we should go in there because we deserved a free meal. We're monks, after all. We should be able to eat free at Caffeine nirvana. It we had another place to go to, so we never went in that's Caffeine nevada. It's in Duncraig somewhere. If anyone wants to go there. You got another Caffeine nevada at Serpentine, another one at Damasara, and Caffeine nevada here on the weekend. So that when one goes into stillness, one gets incredible bliss and there is a way of entering the super mundane through the pathway of bliss. You ever notice when you read about, again, the mystic tradition that all these monks and nuns who lived in the desert or on top of mountains or in forests or in life's, monasteries were always spending their time blissing out, getting into ecstasy? That's one of the reasons why we have monastic life, so people can bliss out and have lots of ecstasy. We have rave parties every day. When you bliss out in ecstasy and it's all legal and. And this takes you into what we really call a super mundane. Because when you go through those places, those deep ecstasies of the mind you go to places where just the world disappears and vanishes. Another type of cosmos manifests itself to you. That's a cosmos of the mind. As if, like, the mind is like that great space which surrounds the jungle the huge emptiness a vast space which surrounds everything. And sometimes there was no I say, I read newspapers last week there was a copy of Time magazine which a past caretaker still sends to Nolamara center over the weekend for the monks to read. And it was all about the mind. The mind mind. My goodness. Scientists haven't got a clue what the mind means. In fact, they're very unscientific. I know that I can say that because I got a degrees in theoretical physics from Cambridge. I suppose that's one use those degrees gave me authority to bad mouth physics and science. It is true that as a scientist I know that the mind has to exist and it can't be the brain. Nothing to do with the brain. I've already mentioned to you many times before the boy with no brain there's people around alive with no brains, but with minds. And I've told you many times before I'm not going to repeat that now but that's true. The brain is nothing to do with the mind. And you find that out when you get into these deep meditation because you go to the world of the mind and. Of what the Buddha called the jitter. And my goodness, when you have the experience of the mind, when the body has completely disappeared, when there is no physical touch, the body has completely vanished and is beyond your reach. At the time where you can't hear sound, where sight has gone, where thought cannot move, you go to a world beyond sight, beyond sound, beyond smell, beyond taste, beyond physical touch. Someone could kick you on the backside and you wouldn't feel it at all. They'd probably because of the great power of such states, they'd probably break their foot. Be careful of those states. Don't mess around with people who get in them. But also you're supposed to be invulnerable in such states, so the theory is but in those states, you leave the world, you go to beautiful states of mind, great states of stillness, great states of bliss, where nothing is moving. And this is where you experience that which is beyond the world, the bliss which is beyond the world, the freedom which is beyond the world. And that's when you come back afterwards, you go back into the world once you've climbed up that pyramid. And that pyramid is not really out there. The pyramids is within you. The tower is right inside. And this is the stairway. Stillness, one pointedness the way of meditation. That's the stairway which leads you out of the mundane, into the super mundane. And you go up there and it looks completely different. It feels just nothing like the way in the world. You have got to what in Buddhism they call the super mundane experiences, the Jana, what impala is called utteri Manusa dhamma beyond the human experience. And from there you understand what freedom truly means. My goodness, I laugh sometimes just that when Mr Bush calls about creating freedom in the world. And that's not freedom at all. What people think, as I've mentioned here before, you've heard me say it. And this is where it comes from, the experiences of Superman mundane. The freedom is not the freedom of desire to get whatever you want, whenever you want it. That's called freedom of desire. And that philosophy underpins our materialistic world why sometimes people say they pay lip service to badmouth and materialism. But we're all into it, aren't we? We're all into sort of getting more money, getting better clothes, getting a nice car, going on a holiday somewhere or eating whatever we want at Caffeine Ivana and but why are we into that stuff? And why we're sort of into that stuff is because we know nothing more. And we think that that's going to lead us to freedom. The freedom to go wherever we want, to eat whatever we want, to do whatever we want. Those people who have got power, have got wealth, they never feel free. That's why the wealthiest country in the world, the most powerful country in the world, which is the United States, is certainly not the freest country in the world. You ask anybody who stays there for a long time do you really feel free? Ask them when they're in a traffic jam in La. If they feel free. Ask them when they have to go to work on the weekend whether they feel free. Ask them when they're worried about their relationships, goodness and health, whether they feel free. The answer could be no. That's what's called the freedom of desires. And that entraps you into the web of desires. Ever wanting something more, never being able to be free. So you got the final desire. You got everything you want. I don't need anything anymore. Sometimes you read in newspapers people who say, all I want is just to be allowed to come to Australia. All I want is to marry my sweetheart. All I want is to win the lotto. It's not all you want. You win the lotto and you want to buy the next ticket to win it again. All I want is to marry my girlfriend. You marry your girlfriend, that's not the end of your desires. That's the beginning of your desires. You so it's not real freedom. It's a tyranny. And from the deep meditations you feel you've never felt so free in your life. As when you're up there above the jungle. It's as if, like the jungle, you can breathe clean, free air. You can see wherever you want to look and it's nothing in your way. There's nothing standing between you and the infinite. Above the jungle, you feel free. You know freedom above the jungle, you are freedom. Down there, in the tangled of desires, it's hard even just to go a few meters without something more you have to do. It's a jungle the life of desire. And the more power we have to get our desires, the more thick is our life, the more tangled is our day. We all know that as an experience. So that's why some couple of years ago I made that distinction. The freedom of desires is the way of the world. That is mundane. But the freedom from desires. Do you understand the difference? The freedom from desires. So you're no longer tyrannized, pushed and pulled by this desire and that desire. When you have no desires, you're content. When you need and want nothing at all, it's called contentment. It's the freedom you feel. Indeed, meditation is the stillness of the mind. When the mind is still, it means you want nothing. All movement comes from discontent. Think about it. Contemplate it. Whenever there's discontent, there's something to do. When there's something to do, you move. And so does the world. When is contentment? When is peace? When is this feeling of fullness, absolute fullness? So you need nothing more to put into your cosmos. There is peace, there is freedom. It's called the freedom from desire, not the freedom of desire. So you learn from the super mundane by experiencing those great freedoms. That's why the deep Janas are called by the Buddha the liberations. He called them freedoms. That's real freedom, which you get not by going out into the world. Freedom is not getting a car and just going wherever you wish. Freedom is not having enough money. You can retire and just buy a yacht and go wherever you want freedom. Is being free from desires, going inside. Stillness. One pointedness, leaving the jungle, the super mundane. So this is the connection between the super mundane and the mundane, the world, and what relies beyond the world. The staircase is meditation, stillness. One point, us letting go. And it shows you what real freedom is and what the fake freedom is. And it answers many of the questions. Why the world is so stupid. Why there's an axis of stupidity which runs through nearly all the governments of our world. It's not just the axis of evil. With Iraq, Iran and who else? Someone else was supposed to be supposed to be three countries. I forget which. North Korea. Yeah. There's no such thing as evil in Buddhism. There's only stupidity. And there's an axis of stupidity between nearly all the countries in the world because it creates all the problems, thinking that we can find peace by eradicating the pests, that hatred can somehow be dedicated through violence. That freedom can be achieved by having more and more desires. That peace can be generated through getting our own way. Anyone who's known as super mundane just know that's not evil, that's crass stupidity that's people without experiencing experiencing what lies beyond the jungle trying to tell others the way through know the bushes and the thickets of life. So if you want to know the mundane and super mundane there is a path there for you to know these things. And knowing these things not only gives you the state of bliss, wisdom and freedom, but you can take all of those insights, those great wisdoms, back down here into the junk, all not only to direct your life and show you where happiness lies, so you can also help others find their way safely through the jungle of life. So this is a talk this evening on the mundane and the super mundane, the world and what lies beyond. It. Okay, so that sorted out all the world's problems. Can someone please send a copy of this tape to Mr. Bush and Mr. Hussein and Mr. Howard as well? Could email it to them tonight? Okay. Any questions about the talk this evening? Any questions anyone would like to ask about this evening's talk? Yes, gonya. I suppose it was a bit of an extension. Okay. Yeah. I know sometimes the cosmos of the mind, you're asking about using high tech equipment just to see what happens when somebody meditates. I think usually they only put those instruments on to people who can't meditate. Who says only meditate? Just superficially. Because if you meditated I remember years ago that there was Tibetan monk who was in England at the time, and he went to hospital and they had to tell him off for messing around with the machines. Because usually, like good monks can actually mess around with those high tech machines. The mind is much more high tech than any machine can be. And there's so many little stories and anecdotes which you have about this very rarely actually, that great meditators would even deign to go into to be tested in laboratories and be treated like a guinea pig. Because usually that meditators, just what do you have to prove? They just want to go off and to be peaceful in their mountains and monasteries because no matter who tests you, if it doesn't fit what the scientists want to believe, they don't publish it. They put it in the anomaly basket and they do the experiments again. There's too much of science has already got a vested opinion improving something, and when it doesn't go right, basically they do it all over again. That's my experience as a scientist before. And all those high tech equipment just centers on the brain. And I was taught as a scientist as the philosophy of science. That the science which was established in the west on principles especially by the philosopher Francis Bacon in the 18th century. He was one of the founders of the he was the founder of the Royal Society in London. He. Worked out and it's been followed ever since, that the only way to prove something in science was to have a theory and then go out of your way to try and disprove it. That knowledge was built on the method of disprove. So you have a theory, what goes up goes down, and you try experiments to disprove it. And if you disproved it once, then you realized the theory had to be wrong and you'd only need one clear case of disprove to show the theory was false. And that was you can read that in the Philosophy of science. Francis Bacon was it's around about Henry the 8th time or just afterwards? And there's Stewart's time. That's 17th century, I think, or somewhere around then. 16th century, 17th century. And I've already mentioned about the boy with no brain, a boy who is intelligent, honest student in mathematics, given a Cat scan, he has got no brain. He's got what's called a reptilian brain stem. I've got the articles, which I keep a couple of copies in my room here and also at Serpentine, because people are stunned when they hear this. They never heard it before. It's been mentioned in Rupert Sheldrake's book. Something like eight Experiments Which Will Shake the World or something. It's a real evidence it actually happened. A boy with no brain just got a reptilian brain stem, which any doctor would say is not enough even to keep you alive, let alone to have any higher brain functions, such as speech. Certainly never enough to get you into a university as an honor student. In maths, there's a guy with no brain, but with intelligence, with a mind. Now, just that one piece of data should be enough if people are following the principles of science rigorously, to get rid of all this rubbish that the brain has got something to do with the mind. Because if there's a mind there with no brain, then the brain cannot be necessary for the existence of a mind. But once you have that piece of proof, there's lots of consequences come from that. First of all, the mind's got nothing to do with the body. When the body dies, the brain dies. That's brain death is usually one of the definitions of death. When the brain dies, if the mind doesn't need a brain when the body dies, the mind continues. From there we've got rebirth, life after death, just from that one piece of data, the consequence of it. And because of such consequences, many scientists believe there cannot be life after death, there cannot be mind. It's just too difficult. Because of that, through bigotry, they deny such evidence. They go against the way of science. And especially when you're meditating, the brain will be dead in deep meditation. And there is one of our members here, there's a famous story was meditating at home, went into deep meditation. His wife spooked because couldn't see him breathing. Caught an ambulance. He got sent to Sir Charles Garden Hospital. Put on the ecgs and eegs. Both were absolutely flat. He was. Not only was his heart stopped for a long time but he was also brain dead to meditation. Don't worry because he told me about it afterwards. Sometime later he came out of his meditation, bent up and asked his wife how the hell did I get here? Even during that time on the operating table his defibrillators were put on his chest to try and get his heart going. Electric shocks. He couldn't even feel them. When I was saying about your bodily feeling sight, smell, taste. Sorry. Sight, sound, smell, taste, physical touch completely gone. That's what happened with him. Couldn't feel anything. Stories of our teacher Ajan Chow when he was in a coma stopping breathing for a long time. There has been cases like that which people have seen and known which actually if our world of scientists would take into account, they would stop all this idea that the brain is something essential to do with the mind. The brain. And the brain can affect the mind. But the mind is something much greater. It's obvious. For those who think it's not obvious. This is my little party trip, which I'll end with today. Put your hands up if you're happy, right up. Okay. Now, all those people with your hands up means all the rest of you are miserable. Keep your hands up a bit longer. All those with your hands up, you're happy now? Please point to that happiness for me. Point to it. Okay. People make it all sorts of why were you imagining that happiness? Was it a fantasy? A dream? Was it real? It's actually one of the realest things which you can know. Happiness or anger or fear. Why can't you point to it? I'll tell you why you can't point to it. Because it doesn't live in your body. It. It lives in the mind. Happiness, fear, anger, grief. That doesn't live in the body. That lives in the mind. That's why you can't point to it in your body or in space. Now I'll show you where the mind is. This was an old story. I'm not sure when the last time I told this. It's a brilliant story. But an old cottage friend, he will always keep in touch. He had two daughters. When his youngest daughter was in grade one at school, she was five years old. In the class, a teacher asked the question what is the biggest thing in the world? One child put their hand up and said, My daddy. It's quite understandable for a five year old girl. Another child put their hand up and said, an elephant. Because that week they'd been to the zoo. Another child put her hand up and said a mountain is the biggest thing in the world. The five year old daughter of a very close friend in England. He's a diplomat now. His daughter said, the biggest thing in the world is my eye. Which made everyone be quiet. They were trying to figure out what this young girl meant. So the teacher asked her, what do you mean your eye is the biggest thing in the world? And this little five year old philosopher said, well, my eye can see her daddy, my eye can see an elephant, my eye can also see a mountain. If all of that and much more can fit into my eye, my eye must be the biggest SIG in the whole world. Isn't that brilliant? But it's not quite right. Because your mind can see things your eye can never see through imagination. It can also hear sounds real and imagined. It can also feel. And it can also think and know. If everything which exists in the world and things which even don't exist, if all of that can fit into your mind, isn't the mind the biggest thing in the world? So it's not that your mind is somewhere in your brain or in your heart or somewhere in your body, because your body is in your mind, not the other way around. That's why you can't point to happiness and anger, people pointing all over the place, because the mind is the biggest thing in the world.