In this talk Ajahn Brahm talks about how with can take a Buddhist attitude to dealing with various problems with life. A clue to understanding this attitude is to step back from reacting to whatever is the content of this present moment, but paying attention to what our attitude towards it is. This talk is about cultivating that attitude or relationship with whatever is happening in the present. Because the problem isn’t so much with the world, but rather with our attitude to the world is where the problem (and also the solution!) lies.
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 27th April 2004. 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 under the Creative Commons licence. You can support the Buddhist Society of Western Australia by pledging your support via their Patreon page.
A Buddhist Attitude To Life – Ajahn Brahm
[NOTE: AI generated transcription – expect errors!]
Very good. Just while we're warming up, while people are finding their seats. It is, uh. So our pastor was asked me to say a few words with. Last weekend, I was over in Melbourne at a Buddhist conference. Even Buddhists have conferences first, basically for trying to create harmony between the different Buddhist groups in Australia. And because one thing which I always hear from all the people who come to centers such as this, that they want any sort of teacher not just to teach, but actually to, you know, with integrity to live by their words as they say. So they should do. One of the things which we always teach about is harmony and peace. So we should try and make some gestures to create harmony and peace between even fellow Buddhists and other fellow people and people of other religions. So this last weekend, I was spending the weekend in the conference, talking and chatting and seeing how we can actually get things moving in Australia, trying to break some of the barriers which are there in traditional Buddhist religions. One of the things we decided to look towards doing is having a Sangha Council bringing all of the monks and nuns, the celibate monks and nuns of the various Buddhist citizens together for the sake of mutual understanding, for the sake of progress, for the sake of leadership. So we actually doing something in for harmony. And that's actually brings me up to the purpose. Another point of this talk today. We always talk about things like harmony, like peace, like letting go, like compassion. And since he had to actually put that into practice, how do we manifest and bring that about? I'm sure that you would all appreciate that. Where we can learn how to have harmony in our world, in our big world, or our small world. The big world is a community. Or your country, or the whole planet Earth. The small world is your family, your office, or just inside your own inner world. If you can imagine if you had harmony and peace, what a wonderful, happy time we would have in this life. And we know if we can have more compassion and kindness, love, freedom, letting go this and how easy a life would be. We all realize we should be doing this, but sometimes we don't know how to do it because we don't know how to do it. We hold on to problems from the past, you know, thinking about all the wrong things which happen to us. We worry about the future. We become fault finding, you know, whenever we have a problem in our life, a problem with somebody else, a problem with pain, a problem with life, we really get tense and we suffer. So another way of dealing with this, and this evening I'm going to talk about the Buddhist way of dealing with such problems in life. In other words, like how we let go. I gave some pointers to that during the meditation, especially the beginning of the meditation when I was saying it's not so much what you're experiencing. When you meditate, it's not so much what is in the present moment. Here's how you relate to it, how you look at it well, your attitude towards this experiences, which is why in traditional Buddhism we say that it's the the greed, the desire, the craving or the ill will, the hatred or just the delusion which is a cause of the problems. It's not the world itself as much as the way we look at it, the desire, the craving that ill will, the aversion. That's where the problem lies. And it's a fascinating to understand this because when when I understand what starts to look at not so much of your problem. They are not your problem or that person causing a problem, or that event in the past which caused a problem or their actions, which is causing your problem. That's not what the problem is, is how you are regarding how you relating to the experiences you face in life. In relationship to that. So in Buddhist practice, we have this a word called mindfulness. This is a learning disability of the mind to put its attention in places where it really counts. And because our mindfulness is alertness, ability to see, to know, to feel. That is either too weak or is put in the wrong places. That's why we always have problems and suffering in our lives. So here we're talking about focusing our mindfulness focusing our awareness on what really counts. So we look at how we relate to the past, to the future, to things like pain. You take for example, the past. What happened to us? Who did this? Who did what? How you brought up know whether you came from a wealthy family or a poor family and a loving family. An abusive family. Mm. It's obvious we cannot change the past. We cannot change what happened to us or our experiences, but what we can change. Where we do have the power to affect our happiness. We can always change the way we look at it. Our attitude, the way we regard it, that is in our power. So we can't just throw away the product in the past. Let it go. Give it up. The past cannot be changed. But where we can do something. It is in our attitude to where we regard it. So if something has happened in the past to you. Well, first of all, why is it that as human beings, most human beings, when we think of the past, we only look at the problems of the past, the rotten things which happen to us, the difficulties we experience, and the unfairness, so-called unfairness which came to us. Why is it that when we look upon the past, we always dwell upon the negative? Sometimes because we think it is a problem, we think the event is a problem. But no, it's not. The event which is a problem is how you regarded it is a problem. So when we look at the past, let's not just look at the thing in itself. Let's look on how we regard it. Number one, why is it was just always pick up the bad things in the past. Let's be fair and realize that, yeah, there was good things in the past. Was bad things in the past. And every now and again at my monastery, I tell those young monks, when I was a young man, we never had it that easy. You have all these lovely hearts. You don't have to work so hard. Oh, when I was a young monk. And they put their hands on their ears and talk to each other. Here he goes again. There's some people relate to the past like that in nostalgia. And one thing you find is what you think happened in the past is not what actually occurred, as you've just made a past in your mind. I don't know how many of you had a great opportunity to visit your past. To go to those places where you grew up. And to realize that the houses may be the same, the streets may be the same. But something has changed. The past. You cannot reach it anymore. Nostalgia can't come to you. I like a friend of mine, an old school friend who once went to one of these reunions. You know, the people who have these school unions every now and again. This was in London. We both went to school in Hammersmith in west London, and he wrote to tell me that after 20 or 30 years after he left school, he went to a school reunion. It was in a, in a room in a pub. And so he went in there, he went into this room and he saw all these bald headed, you know, balding, rather sort of suited fat people. And immediately he saw I've gone into the wrong place and he went somewhere else. I thought he got lost until he realized that was the place that was his friends of his youth. And he too was going bald and had a pot belly as well. Well, actually, it was a shock to him because it always identified himself as being something different and seeing other people. Realize that his friends of the past had now disappeared. And now he had his own people. It was a shock to him that his memories of the past were basically fantasies and dreams. So, ah, we cannot take on the past. So first thing we were like, we relate to the past. You cannot catch it anymore. It's gone. It's finished. And the way you thought it was is not the way it was. You. We conjure up, we make our past. And number two, no matter what it is you think happened to you, good or bad. How do we relate to that? Sometimes that if it's something which happened to us, which was unpleasant, unfortunate, we have a choice. We can allow that to cause us suffering and pain. We can allow it, as the old saying goes, to be like coffins of the past, which we pile on our heads. They're coffins of the past. So old stuff. Why do we keep carrying them around? What we do in Buddhism is we don't just ignore the past. Or rather our attitudes to past. We acknowledge it and learn from it. Let it go and move on. A wiser and better person. So we look to what's happened or what we think has happened, and what can we gain from that? What can we learn from that? If someone has hurt you? And what we learned from that is, my goodness, they do something like that. How much pain it causes. I will never do that to anybody else. Some of you have heard this story before. This is from my own upbringing. My father was born in Liverpool. After. Before the Second World War. Yeah, he came from a very poor family who had, I know, 12 or 13 kids. His father was a plumber. Every afternoon and finishing work, he'd go to the pub, get drunk, come back home, take off his belt and beat any kid who just came near enough to reach with the end of his belt. After beating the kids every night, then he would turn on my father's mother. His wife. Physical abuse. Gross. And my father used to in front of me. He was a very good. My father's a very good man. He'd always call his father my paternal grandfather. Please excuse me, but I have to say this. He used to call him a bastard. In front of me. He hated that man. And for obvious reasons, just the amount of abuse he said to what her most of all was to see his mother, this man's wife, being beaten. That hurt more than the welts which were put on his body. But that was his past. And I must praise him, because how he dealt with that terrible abuse. He wasn't my father wasn't a Buddhist. He didn't even know how to spell the word Buddhism. But he had some very good Buddhist qualities. He told me that when he was at the end of a beating, or when he saw his mother being abused, he always made a resolution like a promise. If when I grow up. When I get married. When I have kids, I will never do that to my wife, to my children. He'd actually use that experience from the past to see how terrible, how much pain and suffering it was. And to make sure he'd use that terrible experience. To better himself, to learn, to understand. And to move on. And so when I grew up, it was over. My mother was a disciplinarian. My father tried. He just couldn't do it. Because this experience of the past is a very loving and caring man. But the point was, he was a victim of abuse, but his attitude to that abuse was not thinking this shouldn't have happened to me. This is really what I'm going to take it on to somebody else. He didn't revisit the abuse which he'd experienced. It's a good example of how the attitude. Is the most important thing is not what has happened is how we using that, how we're dealing with how we look at it. He used it in a positive way to learn, to grow. And this is why I'm saying we should put our attention a lot of our mindfulness, a lot of our investigation, not on the event itself, but how we regarding it and how are we making use of it. Everything is an opportunity to learn and to grow. And even what's going to happen in the future to us. Because sometimes people are full of fear and anxiety. So much so that sometimes when people can't act, they want to ask a question, but they just can't do it like a ten star before they go to interviews, or they meet with people and they just cannot say the right thing. Why is that? Is because the attitude to what's going on sometimes the future will mainly make mistakes. It's not the mistake which is the problem, it's how we regard mistakes. In life, our own mistakes and the mistakes of others. If you regard your own mistakes and the mistakes of others with the attitude of aversion, ill will. You don't want mistakes. You don't like mistakes. You hate mistakes. Then you go into create more problems and suffering in life. Instead, you can allow mistakes to happen. Just a couple of weeks ago. And I said this after I gave my last talk here. One of the Angelica's in my monastery sort of crashed the car. I'm on a street car, so right off no one was injured except the car. When I heard about it, I thought, look, it's like being a father whose son crashes the car. Now, you know the parents, they loan their car to their 1920 year old son, and they crash it. I thought I'd be careful about to get away from all that sort of stuff. And now one of my kids in the monastery is totaled. The car. But who does have money that is good in these six? But how do you deal with that? There's. You can get angry and upset. This shouldn't have no coagulant. Deal with them after that. And the attitude towards is where you put your mindfulness. There is a problem. There is this thing which has happened. How am I going to deal with that? And when you actually look at what the attitude is, your relationship to the experience, then you know, if you have ill will craving anger, you're just gonna make things worse. You're not going to get anywhere that way. You're just creating more problems for yourself, more suffering for other people. It doesn't make any sense at all. Incense stead. You accept that in life, mistakes will happen. If you were very fierce. If I'd have shouted at all the people driving. I want to see vans shouting everybody else! People have got so afraid. The next time they drove the car, they'd be so sort of paranoid. They'll crush it again. It doesn't really work. Being paranoid. The best way to actually to get the most out of the other people you live with and yourself as well, is with kindness, encouragement. As how we get the best out of ourselves and others, not through fear. When we don't allow mistakes, we're encouraging fear. And where we encouraging fear, we get anxiety, which is so afraid lest we get told off by somebody else. If you have a family, an office or a monastery, or put a society like that, you'll find that people are so tense they never want to come. It's an unpleasant place to be. And also you find there's no growth. Fear is an inhibitor to spiritual growth, to progress in our life. All that fear means is you try your hardest not to get caught. She does not know the case. You realize why you should do these things or why you shouldn't do these things. You just try and get away with it out of fear of getting caught and being punished. So we have an attitude to what is our attitude towards mistakes, where we make a mistake or someone else makes a mistake, we acknowledge it. We don't say, I never made mistakes. Remember asking somebody. I did this quite often to get people involved in the talk. I ask people, put your hands up if you've never made a mistake in your life. And because no one puts their hands up. And then one after someone said I made a mistake in my life some years ago when I thought I made a mistake. That's the only mistake I've made. The big ego. But when we accept mistakes, it's not so much accepting it. Acknowledge it and then investigate it. Learn from it. Why did that happen? What was the reason for it? So we're not saying it's wrong. You shouldn't do this. Mistakes happen. Mistakes are the lessons of life where we learn. And then when we learn we're not looking at towards punishments as part of the guilt trip. Our hurting is enough hurt already. You don't want to sort of, uh, totally unengaged and wreck him as well as wrecking the car. That's not the way to go. So you learn the lessons and try and put in strategies so it doesn't happen again, and then move on. Instead of lingering on the mistakes of the past, we learn from the. We grow and become better people as a result. And this is what this life's all about. Learning and moving on. Growing, becoming better people. So this attitude towards mistakes. And again, a strange thing happens when you allow mistakes to happen. People are not so tense and uptight. Less mistakes happen and when they do, we're more at peace with them. We can accept them, we can embrace them as part of life. And in fact, many times when you make mistakes, wonderful things happen in your life. It opens new doors, more opportunities. And sometimes when you go to the wrong place. And then you said you find interesting people. You never expected it to happen. You take a wrong turning. And this is what happens. I remember how I became a Buddhist. I went to the wrong part of the bookstore instead of now when I got a school prize, instead of going to get a mass book, I went up to this place where had all these Buddhist books and other books. This is looks interesting. You've made those little mistakes. You wouldn't be here. In fact, many children are mistakes. Inside. It depends how you look upon this place, doesn't it? So I just thought to look at we can attitude towards mistakes, even attitude towards the pain which happens in life. Because sometimes we have aches. Pay to have diseases. And how we look at those diseases, that's actually decides whether it makes suffering or not. Recently I was telling this story in, uh, Melbourne. They say because I was in Malaysia last December talking with a doctor, a very, uh. Mature doctor thinks just about to retire after many years as a GP. I think she was a specialist on oncology in Kansas and she told me something very, very interesting. She said when people come to a surgery with cancers. It does not matter whether they are the beginning of a cancer or the cancer advanced. She can tell straight away from all her years of experience who's going to survive and who's not. He said. It doesn't really matter so much about how far the cancer advanced since the attitude of the person. Their spiritual qualities. Just how they relate to having a cancer, said that she can tell all of the years of experience of us 90% of the time. She knows from the person's attitude to that disease who's going to survive and who doesn't. That's what she said. And so actually shows that even with diseases and pain and disappointments, it's not the thing in itself, which is a problem. It is a problem, obviously, but the biggest problem was decide what's going to decide whether you survive or whether you succumb. Is your attitude towards it, how you look at it, how you deal with it? And that also comes with the death of somebody. And the other tragedies of life. And somebody passes away suddenly. How do we relate to that? And again, it's not the death which is the problem. That's how we look at it. I've been flying all over the world recently. Sydney. Singapore. Malaysia to Melbourne. Because one of the reasons I like flying. Because if you're going to die, a plane crash is the best way to die. Absolutely the best way to die for three reasons. I was visiting a person in old people's home last week. That's why that's an extra reason you don't have to die in old people's home. You die suddenly. There's one moment, you know you're just meditating or you're you're having a meal, and then a few moments and then you're gone. So no, no pain or very little pain. Few moments all over. No problem at all. That's the first benefit. It's quick and it's sudden. Number two, you don't have to worry with bills. The funeral directors, you're cremated on the spot. Really efficient. All in one go. So that's the sake of it, is to convey surely that always to the very expensive funerals. But everyone has actually done a funeral for a loved one just how much it costs for the funeral? It's a number. Three is usually your family gets a big insurance payout. They do. And then I think about Lockerbie bombing. I think every member who got killed got $1 million or something, £1 million. What a wonderful way to go. So very disappointed. There was no terrorists on the on my flights. So that's not a joke. But you know the attitude. You know, it's a it's a life and death. That's a difference. And so when we're actually talking about somebody else's death, this is the how was the attitude towards her? How do you relate to it? Obviously the death is something you cannot change. But the way you look at it can be changed. Usually, as many of you know, when there is such a thing as a death, instead of likely looking it with negativity, we celebrate the life. What a wonderful thing it was that I'd known that person for such a time, however long that was. If I hadn't have known him at all, if I hadn't come into my life, I'd be much poorer as a result. Well, see, we were lighting. Not to what's been taken away. We will now turn to what we've had. We're grateful. We've known a person for so long, I wouldn't have missed their company for the world. What a one of a thing was. I knew that person. And straight away, the way we relate to the problem changes instead of ill will. Aversion, greed, desire. We're actually looking at it with a positive attitude. The thing in itself is not the problem. It's the way we look at it. And save my little signal that way as well. So in our world, sometimes people complain about the materialistic society. However, consumer society, how the gross national product is all the government concerns about is concern about, okay, there's our life, there's our society, there's our modern world. How are you going to relate to that? How are you going to relate to living in the 21st century? And so we look at wealth. We look at money. And it's the way we look at it is most important, not the thing in itself. If we work hard. Some people work hard and no matter how hard they work. No matter how diligent they are, they don't make very much. But still, we're not just working just for this salary check afterwards. All types of work is some sort of service to the community. It's something we're doing there which helps other people who are bus driver. Very few. Just a rubbish collector. Whatever you do in your life, there's some sort of service there for others. So actually giving to others. I know that many years ago, one of our members was just driving a bus and caught a dead end job. All I do is drive a bus all day. And so, look, it's a marvellous job you're doing, carrying people from place to place. Otherwise, I'd have to walk. And it's how you are. Bus driver said is most important. Especially on those hot days of summer when people get on the bus and they start complaining, oh, it's really hot today. It's just too hot. You can actually smile at them and give them some happiness. Smarter. Every passenger you meet give them some happiness. So when you relate to your job as a bus driver, it's not a job in itself is what you make of it. So whatever job you have or no job, if you happen to be unemployed, it's not being unemployed, which is a problem, is your attitude towards unemployment. Isn't it wonderful? You don't have to get up on a Monday morning to go to work. Oh, this is great. You can meditate, you can actually do service. You can kind of help with our Buddha society. So always jobs to be done. Is that person over there he'll let you know is how you relate to that is a problem. You get retrenched early. You do your job and after 50 it's very hard to get a job. But you can always become a monk or a nun after 50. So I agree, I don't have a job. I can go become a local nun, go and do retreats. Who knows what's going to happen next. So it's the way you relate to it. Again, it's a problem. So that's why the Buddha said the cause of suffering. It's not just the singing itself. The cause of suffering. Is greed, hatred, delusion. Greed means desire wanting. So it's with money. It's not. Money is a problem. It's the desire, the wanting something which you more than you have. Some people, they do little work and they become rich. There's nothing wrong with being rich or being poor as such. It's how we relate to it. Trouble is, the poor people want to be rich. How many rich people would like to be poor? Recall that this is our story. They call out the different types of suffering in life. I learned this when I was a young monk when I was a young monk in Thailand. I was much thinner than I am now. My bones were sticking out because there was very little food. And I saw those senior monks in Thailand because they got first choice of the food. And when the food was passed around, the senior monks would get it first. And I thought, that's that's really wrong. Because all those stadium banks over there, they're probably all in line and they don't really care about taste. You know it's wasted on them. But, you know, little monks like me, I've just become a monk. I've got all my cravings and likings and distractions. They should give me the food, first of all, because, you know, I'd really appreciate it. But those big monks over there all in line beyond desires and there was wasted on them. And also, I mean, I really needed I was really thin. And those big fat guys up the top there. That in anything. And number two, when you do say that, you see, even now the senior managers get the fattest cushions. So the senior managers as well, they get the big cushions. And I thought those senior monks when I was a young man don't see their marks. They don't need cushions. They've got their own upholstery. A razor made all my bones sticking out. You had to sit on the concrete. This was really unfair. So when I started to complain about this. And also there's the third thing I'll say. The marks never give out the work. No, no. Tell us to. No, sir. Wheel is wheelbarrows all day or, you know, wash the toilet. So they didn't do anything. I just sat down and talking to people all day. They never did any work, but they told us what to do. That's really unfair. So I decided to complain. And what I was told is actually very brilliant. The Minecrafters say, look, they said, you've got young monks suffering. That's what a young man kills young monks suffering. He said Mr. Monk was a very old man, he said. I'm an old monk now. Now I've got the cushions, now I'm fat. I get the first choice of them. Food. I've got old monks suffering. I have to sit all day listening to problems of all sorts of people. I keep on going on this complain that complain. Oh my goodness, I became a monk, you know, to get away from all of that. And I sometimes I got to talk to you because you're complaining to me now. Why didn't you leave me alone? He said. That's called old monks suffering. So it's true. When you're a young monk, you have young monks suffering. When you become an old man or that young monk, suffering disappears and you get among suffering, still suffering on a different type. It's like each one of you who is single and you want to find a partner in life and get married. Why is that? At the moment you've got a single person suffering. Like. When you find a partner and get married, you won't have single people suffering at all. You'd have married a person suffering. But it is just exchanging one type of suffering married person. Suffering is not the same as being single, as a completely different type of suffering, but is still suffering as all your people are married. No, people who are single want to be married. People are married. They want to be single again. That people are young. You know the kids here, they can't wait to grow up. I mean, what it was like when you were young. Can't wait to grow up. When you grow up. You wish were young again. Young people have young people suffering. Middle aged people that are middle aged suffering. All people of all people suffering, not people. They want to become monks because they got laypersons suffering. Maybe some of you have bugs off of it. So I see it's not the thing in itself. You can become a monk, you can become rich. You can become poor. You can get married, you can be single. You have healthy persons suffering, have sick person suffering, all different types of suffering because it's not the thing in itself, which is a problem. It's how you relate to it, how you deal with it. If you're single. See if you can deal with that problem with acceptance. Compassion. Letting go. Being at peace. You can do that. So if you're single, you're happy to be single. But if you meet someone and you decide to have a relationship together, you're happy with that as well. So you're at peace with whatever happens. That is called letting go, not controlling the world, seeing what happens if you're rich. Fine. If you're poor. That's good enough. Trouble in life is we always want to be somebody else. We always want to be somewhere else. We always want to get rid of ourselves, basically. Because this is you sitting here now. This is your life. You want to get rid of ourselves, to be somebody else, to be somewhere else is. Our attitude towards our life is full of negativity, the lack of appreciation for finding, which is why very few people are at peace. And see attitudes change which is necessary. So we look upon ourselves single, married, monk ly, young, old, healthy, sick. We look upon ourselves with unconditional loving kindness. The door of my heart is open to me. Single is open to me. Married is open to me. Pour all my heart open to being full. Which is open to being rich. We accepting and being at peace with what comes to us in life, creating that beautiful attitude of letting go. So we're not really chasing the dollar and trying to live up to some other people's expectations of what success in life. UN isn't. You don't need to be rich to be successful in life. You don't need to be beautiful to be successful in life. You don't need even to be healthy, to be successful in life. To be successful in life is to be happy. To be at peace with yourself and be at peace with the world. And if you have that degree of wisdom, the attitude to life is one of acceptance, learning, growing. You will find that everything is a learning experience. Everything is a growing experience. Everything is can be used. So you don't want to get rid of anything. If you're single, you're just enjoying every moment of being single. Isn't this wonderful? The freedom which I have. If a person comes along, you can enjoy every moment of your relationship. Isn't this wonderful? I've got another person coming into my life now for the time. There, there. When you're young, you enjoy your use. When you're middle age, you enjoy your middle age. When you're old. You enjoy your old age. Why don't we accept ourselves as we are? And then we can actually learn instead of trying to chase some other dreams. We were appreciating our life. We're learning and growing from it to everything we can learn from, we can grow from, and especially we can learn about our attitudes when we're peaceful to us, with our situation, we can be peaceful anywhere. Which is why I say that if you're happy with yourself. And you'll never be lonely. If you're happy with yourself, you know how to be happy with others. It's a strange thing about being a monk. The conference I went to was called Engaged Buddhism. There was no Buddhism getting engaged. Sometimes I did not understand many amazing, many different ideas about engaged Buddhism. It doesn't mean getting married. One of the monks who was there, he gave his definition of what engaged Buddhism was, because just before he gave his presentation, he had to go to the toilet. And it was true. There were so many people in the conference and so few toilets who were standing outside, and all the cubicles were engaged. He said, oh, that's what engaged Buddhism is. Because all the Buddhists there were going into the toilet to get a bit of peace and quiet. So a bit of meditation, a lot of meditation goes on in the toilet. So I thought that must be what engaged Buddhism is. But if we're happy with ourselves, we can be happy with others. And so sometimes that being a monk is a strange job. It's a strange lifestyle, because sometimes you're up there and talking with hundreds of people, the center of attention, looking at people, and other times you just sit by yourself in absolute solitude. Actually, being a monk is a life of extremes. It's a strange thing. We're supposed to be doing the middle way. Really. But there you are. Sometimes you bring up 5000 people in front of you giving a talk. And now that you've been alone for six months, you haven't said a word for six months. So this is a bit of an extreme of solitude and being with people, but your ease with people. Now, you know I'm at ease with you when I give a talk. You come up and talk to me. But I'm also at ease with myself. And it's the attitude you have to what you're experiencing. That is the key. If you have an attitude of kindness which is letting go, being at peace with accepting, embracing which is the opposite of craving, wanting, not wanting ill will. If you have an attitude of acceptance, then when you accept yourself as you, are you at peace with yourself? You find that you are your best friend. So when you're alone, you're always with your best friend. You clear at peace with yourself. You like yourself. Even you love yourself. Love beads, not thinking what a great person you are. His unconditional know exactly what you are, all your faults, but accepting yourself for who you are. Being at peace with yourself now with that attitude towards yourself, you know that when no one else is around you with your best friend. That's why whenever I have been in solitude, never once have I been lonely. Lonely means you know you're not happy with yourself. You're not at peace with yourself. You don't like yourself. That's why you want someone else. That's why you got to run away. Because you are with an enemy, and the enemy is you. So when we change our attitude, we can be at peace with ourselves when we're the only one around. And with that attitude, you find your peace with others as well, because the attitude is just transferred between you and somebody else, between one person, two people, thousands of people. And you know how to be at peace with yourself. And there had to be a peace with others. When you're at peace with others, you know how to be at peace with yourself, because it's the attitude which is the key. So we look at all of the problems we have in life for this are problems of finances. We want to be rich or you, you know, you want to be poor. You think you want more. Why? What's the attitude towards that? How do you relate to money and wealth or poverty? If you want to sort of get on in life and be famous, what is your attitude to fame or not? Fail. Health and sickness. We put our mindfulness there. We investigate whatever's happening to our life. What happened in the past, what might happen in the future? We look at what connects us with that. This is attitudes of mind. Very often so much in life we just cannot change. And we'd like to change it. But so much of life we can't do anything about. But we can change the way we look at it. So this is actually how we deal with all the problems at night. If we start investigating that, how am I dealing with the way I regard my ex? How am I regarding myself? How am I regarding my problem? I have a drug problem. An alcohol problem. Me. And that problem was between us. And if it is some negative connection between me and my problem. That that is where we do our work. We investigate it. We look at it, we know it. We know it again and again and again till we figure out what the real difficulty is and how the solution is. You may be parents having difficult children. They got the children there. What they do, you've got you. How are you looking at that? What? How you relating to it? What is your connection to that? Is it out of your will? Are you creating more fear? What are you doing? And that's something which you can change. And that's what will probably help affect the other person as best as you possibly can. I mentioned this before. Those people have trouble with their children. Sometimes children get bored into our lives, but they're not our children. That you give them a body. You feed them, you clothe them, give them a house. But they point to Buddhism as its absolute truth. They come from another place. Stream of consciousness coming from previous lives here into the world. Being born as your son or child, so to speak. But you just look after them for a while. They may have the same genes, but they do not have the same character and personality as their parents. So when we realize that these are just visitors into our life. They're not our kids. They're not part of you. You do not own them. A lot of troubles with the relationship between parents and children is when the parents think they own the children. So same as a problem with some relationships, husbands and wives. Whether the husband the man thinks they own the wife or the wife owns and controls the husband, relationships will never last that way. When its an ownership and control, the attitude is wrong. The relationship you have between your partner or you with your children, or the child with a parent. That is where the difficulty lies. So in its ownership, there's always going to be problems there. Ownership comes from the Buddhist idea of self. Me, I own these things. I control these things. And that's where the dilution part comes in much of life. We realize just how little we control in this life. We don't control our children. We don't control the government. We don't control the weather. My goodness. You know that just a week ago it was so hot in Perth, I thought, I'm going to go to Melbourne to escape the heat. Uh, the heat followed me and came with me on a plane. So it was really hot in Melbourne as well. So you can't control these things. We can be at peace with the. You can tell it's hot. Can't do much about it. Let's make the most of it. It's being at peace with what you have to face in life. What you can't change, you learn how to let go of. So what are some which happened in the past? You let go of it. Learn from it. Grow from it. Let go of it! Not carrying the coffins of the past on your head. Something of the present. You can't do anything about it. Learn from it. Grow from it. Something in the future. Can't control that either. Hell, the anxieties and fears. Learn from it. Grow from it. And we do that. It's called letting go. When I talk about things like letting go. People saying, what does that mean? We don't do anything in life. Does that mean that we just allow things to happen? We become lazy. Is Buddhism bad for the economy? Huh? Then. Now it's not bad for the economy. That's what we're doing here is learning just to balance our lives. Very often people have learned they know how to work hard. They know how to struggle. We know how to do things. That's why put his hand as such as this. You don't really talk too much about doing things and achieving things in life, because you know that already. Here. We're talking about the opposite. Things we can't change, how to be of peace with those, how to love them. How to let go. Those things you can't change. Understanding that wisdom to know that what are you changing is just changing one form of suffering for another type of suffering. That's all. And we weren't going to do that. Otherwise life becomes meaningless. So many people spend their lives just changing one form of suffering to another form of suffering moving jobs, moving partners, changing this and changing that. And they never get anywhere. It was the meaning of life. I was promised when I was young. If I work hard and become rich, I'll be happy. And it doesn't work that way. I thought that once you get married and have kids, then you'll be happy. I thought, you know, if you work hard and put all your money in your superannuation and then you'll be happy when you retire. You find the government waste it all on something else, or they don't pay it out because they change the laws or whatever else it happens. So all these expectations, which we have. That's a problem. Expectations. So this is actually how we use. Our life. We use our mind to focus on what we can change and that which we can change above all, is the way we look at life, the way we regard ourselves, the way we regard others, the way we regard this moment. And that's what you learn even in your meditation, when you sit down and you watch the present moment. Why is that? People find it difficult to meditate. It's because they way they watch the present moment is wrong. Instead of being at peace with the present moment, embracing it, making friends with it, we want to control it. We want to make the present moment just right. Now, we've heard that, you know, some of these monks get into these genres and it's all bliss. That's what I want. Give me, give me, give me. And of course, the way it relates to meditation is give me, give me, give me. Meditation is letting go. It's not achieving things. It's not getting things. It's abandoning things. Being a peace with life, not making war with life. So the attitude we even have to the present moment, we allow it to be. Loving kindness. Embracing it. Freeing it. Freedom. Like a bird. When we get to silence, we don't control the sides. Make it silence. We allow it to happen with compassion to the silence of life. We don't throw it away. I mean, it's fascinating, the idea of silence sometimes when there's nothing to say, people get uncomfortable with silence. Their attitude to silence is a sense of fear. Discomfort, which is why I've seen this again and again. People coming to quiet places like our monastery for the first time. They speak in a loud voice, louder than they need to. As if the silence is too challenging for them and they need to disturb it. That's why we have music in lifts, while there's always somebody making a noise in the shopping centers because we're afraid of silence. Our attitude towards silence is to. It is challenging us. We have the attitude towards science of embracing it, leaving it alone, unconditional kindness to the silent moments of life and the silent moments scroll. So even in meditations, the attitudes we have to what we're doing that is the key to success, to making a peaceful mind. Because some people go and they want to control the meditation. I'm achieved so much in my life. I'm going to really get into this meditation. I'm going to become enlightened this week. Busy, man. I got lots of things to do. Get out of the way so I can get on with my life. With that sort of attitude, of course, it's to be give me, get get, get, get. That is a problem. Why meditation never works for people. So with meditation, with your relationships, looking after your kids, your past, you know your problems in life, please put the investigation not in the problem itself, not in the person who's supposed to cause the problem. But in a way, you look at it. Which is why I turned to my teacher. He made his beautiful comments many years ago when someone complained that there was too much noise in the monastery and it was disturbing their meditation, he shot back and said, it's not the noise disturbing your meditation, you are disturbing the noise. Powerful saying unexpected in witness noise. It's not the noise which is the problem. It's the attitude towards your relationship towards it. You are disturbing the reality of the world. Noise is pain is death is. Disappointment is. People say the wrong things happens. Mistakes are. That's life. How do we relate to it? Are we disturbing life? Her life never disturbs us. Life is just nature. Don't you want to become close to nature? I knew one of these people who wants to be one with nature. Then be one with sickness. Be one with arguments. Be one with things not going the right way. Be one with mistakes, then you becoming one with nature. So that's another night. This is the nature of nature. Has anyone had a child who never caused you headaches? Having a kid is what kids are like. Has anyone had a husband? Who's there? Of course you know. Why isn't there a husband? The wives are what monks are. So what nuns are. So we understand these things. And it's not that these things. Not that life disturbs us. We disturb life by trying to make it something you can never be. And so this is how we accept the things which happened to us. We learn from them. They're all grist for the mill, how we grow in life. The worst thing which ever happened to you, you know, we call them dog poo. Every now and again. Have you ever stepped in dog poo? When you step in dog poo. It's really stinky and smelly. But please never waste it. Take you back home. Put it in your garden. The more dog poo you put in your garden. The sweeter are your mangoes. Then when you start eating those mangoes, always remember where they came from. And of course you understand that similarly the dog pool of life. And remember, we never dropped that dog poo. Somebody else's fault. But when we step in it. We're very fortunate. When somebody abuses you or hurts you. When things go wrong. When you step in the dog pool of life. It's not a dog pool itself, which is the problem is how we relate to it, how we regard it. And if we know through wisdom the benefits of dog poo, we will never waste it. If you could only realize the benefits of the abuse which you've suffered in your life. The wrong things which have happened to you. The unpleasantness, the unfairness, the hurt and the pain of life. If you know how to use the suffering of life. That dog poo of life. You can grow a beautiful mango tree. And that mango tree is you. And the way you relate to others. Your life, your friendship. That another beautiful sweet mangoes. This is how we make use of what happens to us in life. Everything can be used. And the smelly, the dog poo. The more fertilizing value it has. So please don't waste the dope of life. It's not the dog poo itself. It's how we look at it. Whatever happens to you in life is how you look at it. So in Buddhism, we put the mindfulness right there. When you put the mindfulness right there, we can learn so much about ourselves. And you find we learn. It's a relationship we have is where we do the work. We let go of greed, hatred, delusion. We replace it with generosity. Should not mean just putting money in the box. Being generous with how we regard other people. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, giving them our time, giving them our kindness. Giving them the moments of our life with generous. It's the opposite of greed. We kind. We're giving, we're compassionate, we're forgiving, which is the opposite of ill will. And we're accepting of life, accepting of ourselves, accepting of others. We replaced delusion through wisdom, understanding, freedom. And now we're following the path of the Buddha. Instead of the things which lead to suffering with developing the path which leads to freedom. Develop freedom not by what's outside, but by how we relate to it. So there goes a talk today. I don't know if it was a good talk or a bad talk. It doesn't really matter is how you relate to it. So thank you for listening.