Ajahn Brahm talks about all the problems that can arise from making assumptions, how they can be wrong and why they are wrong. And of course, such a topic gives lots of opportunities for funny stories and jokes.
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 30th Aptil 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.
by Ajahn Brahm
[Note: AI generated transcription – expect errors!]
So this evening's talk. I've just come back from Sydney since the last Friday night. Talk of been to Sydney to give a number of talks there, and one of the talks which stretched me was on. You see the advertisement still on the board on love, marriage and intimacy. And sometimes you ask, what does the market know about those things? Not very much. But that doesn't stop me giving a talk on it. I'm saying I'm not sure I said this, but actually I think it was since I gave the last talk, there was a man actually came. This is completely off the subject. It's a man who came to see me at, um, Serpentine Monastery. And some years ago we had our trouble with the tracks going past the Minister for the environment and animating and organises, um, transport summits. So I went along, uh, to this and, uh, there was this man who I was only there with all these truckies and government ministers and stuff. But man interviewed me and he actually worked for shipping transports and, and, uh, apparently that, uh, he was asking me about, uh, you know, like, transport, uh, policies for shipping. And I just answered a few questions. I never realised that. He told me that he wrote this article about, you know, shipping and and I'll put this attitude to shipping. He called it sand and shipping. Not that I'm saying at all, but he that's what he called it. And apparently he was so good it went all around the world. And so actually, I'm from Cleveland. Sort of know what he's talking about on shipping these. That's what it seemed to be, because he told me one of his friends in the industry, so committed when he read the article, said, ah, that Mark has some problem. He really knows what he's talking about. And I tried to narrow down. But it just goes to show that you can give a talk and anything when you don't really know what you're talking about. And get it published in many newspapers all over the world. Mr. Bush does it all the time. Wanted to be a disciple for that one. But come back to the title of this talk. When I was in Sydney that somebody asked me, can you give a talk on assumptions? And that's gonna be the title of this talk. They're going to be listening on the internet later on today or tomorrow or sometime on assumptions. There's a great title for thought because it is assumptions, which gets us into so much trouble and difficulties because we jump to conclusions, we get the wrong idea, and sometimes we can create all sorts of mischief in our relationships, in our companies, in our life, because we just make an assumption. And half of the time, assumptions are wrong. We might make the wrong idea. And it's interesting. In this talk, I will say not just how assumptions can be wrong, but why they are wrong and how we can avoid them being wrong in the future. So that way we can avoid a lot of trouble in our lives. But of course, the idea of like assumptions and assumptions which are wrong give lots of opportunities for funny stories and jokes. And here's the joke for today about assumptions. Somebody knows I told this at lunch today. I think this is a wonderful story, especially if it's in, because this is about psychic phenomena and people who come to places like this, they like psychic things. One day, his man was passing his daughter's bedroom and he saw his daughter just praying by the bedside. She's only six years old. It looks so sweet. And so he just listened quietly as his daughter said, God bless mommy. God bless daddy, God bless grandma and good bye grandpa. So I'll go by grandpa. What does he mean? But anyway, he went to sleep and the following morning he wouldn't believe it. Grandpa was dead in his bed. That was a bit spooky. Bit of a coincidence, he thought at first. When a couple of weeks later, he was passing his child's bedroom and there she was again. God bless mummy. God bless daddy. Good bye grandma. And you can imagine what it felt like in the morning when grandma was dead in her bed. Now, this was really psychic, but he put it aside to coincidence. But 2 or 3 weeks later, he was passing his daughter's bedroom and there she was praying, God bless mommy. Good bye daddy. And oh, you could imagine what he felt. He couldn't go to sleep all night. In fact, he got up really early in the morning just in case. When you're still dark. Can you go in his car? And he drove to his office to try and escape death. He locked himself in his office. He stayed there all morning, just waiting for death to come because he saw his little daughter. Goodbye, daddy. And he was in such a state of worry and concern that he couldn't do any work in his office, and he was just so uptight. Well, he got to 4:00, 5:00 in the afternoon. He thought I'd cheated death because it was like getting out of the house in time. I didn't die, like, am I the grandfather and grandmother? Little daughter. So he went back home. So relieved. And when he got back home and saw his wife, he said, ah, you wouldn't believe that I hadn't today. And why? I left office in the morning. And his wife said you had a bad day. What about me? As soon as I woke up in the morning, he went to the door. There was a milkman dead in front of the door. Then? It. A submission to his daddy. He gets into a lot of trouble. But I've had my share of jokes with assumptions. I'm only because sometimes it's funny, because one of the reasons why there's funny stories and jokes, because we say it one way, and actually the truth is another way. I remember this lady came out to me once and said, I know why you become monks. It's because you had a broken heart. She was romantic. You know that some women are really, really romantic. And she said, I know that before you became a monk, you probably had a girlfriend or maybe even a wife, I don't know. And because she left you, because you couldn't stand life any longer, you became a monk to forget. I said no, I didn't, he said, there you are. You've forgotten. So the point is where we assume something. No, no matter how we put it, we'd always try and fit the world into our assumptions rather than changing our assumptions to fit the world. Now, those are just like funny stories, but sometimes is. Sometimes we make up our others can oh my goodness, create all sorts of problems in our relationships. How many times have you, you know, you've been married, husbands and wives. Who's your husband or wife? Look to you and assume that because of what you say or what you're doing, that you're having an affair with somebody else, you're not being faithful. You were late at night. Now something's happened, what's going on? And so much is so much suspicion there in people's lives. And it may be just completely innocent things. And we assumed the worst. It's a strange thing why assumptions are quite often assuming the worst. I think giving other people the benefit of the doubt. And you can actually see wise, because we've got this thing which I keep on calling in Buddhism with the four finding mind. And that thought, finding mind is when it sees something, it always tends. I don't know why we do this, but we do it so often or it tends to see the worst possible. Outcome were the worst possible interpretation. We never have the sense of charity, generosity, gratitude and goodwill giving another person the benefit of the doubt instead of thinking actually on, brand became a monk because he had a broken heart. How about looking at it another way? But if you're a mantic, if that's how you want to look at the world, that's how you will look at the world. The point is that with assumptions, the reason why we make those assumptions is because a lot of times our experiences are bent according to the, ah, we call them actually the defilements of our mind, just the way we look, our inclinations. If we are in a bad mood, everything we assume to be against us, even if you're in a bad mood and your partner when you come home, sort of gives you a hug, you think? He's done something wrong, hasn't he? He's doing this because just to soften me up, to tell me what he's really done. We misinterpret our emotions. We are the emotions. We misinterpret the actions I was meant to say of other people, rather than ever giving them some of the benefit of the doubt is because of our inclinations, our desires, what we want to see. We don't want to see. We make these assumptions and we get it all wrong. It's also because we don't have enough information about what's going on. People in the West make so many assumptions about monks and about Buddhism, but it's the time because, you know, they don't they don't know too much about it. So one of the great ways of overcoming assumptions is get good evidence, get good information, find out what you're talking about, first of all. And the second thing with the assumptions is make sure you're not looking at the world through these ill will for finding or through craving desire. You're not actually in denial to the existence or to the what's actually happening in the world. Nor are you bending the will to suit yourself that he's seeing the world clearly, gaining the evidence that if you haven't got the evidence yet, don't jump to an assumption thinking that you've got it all right. So first of all, we've got to get the all the information right. First of all, there's a nice teaching in Buddhism which anyone who's in authority should really bear in mind is the four reasons not to act. The four reasons not to say something. The four reasons just to stop before you make an assumption. They say that if you're acting out of. Greed or desire or out of ill will. Or out of fear or out of delusion, then you should stop. We shouldn't actually say anything. Those are the four courses and the four underlying reasons for wrong actions, wrong speech or wrong assumptions. You can understand why that when we got like read what we want, sort of we bend the world to suit ourselves and we assume. We mistake, we bend the truth to suit ourselves because that woman wanted to have a romantic idea fulfilled no matter what I said. She said, yeah, you know, you were. You left the world because you had a broken heart. We call it our, you know, maybe your partner because of whatever they do, you know, that you've got you're having an affair with somebody else, you know, because that's why, you know, you've got no lipstick. Because if you really have an affair, you'd wipe it off. First of all, wouldn't you? There it goes. Proves it what it is. You'd bend the truth because of desire. If it's ill, will know if you know you don't like somebody. Whatever they do, whatever they say, there's no way will you accept that as being sort of, uh, kind or loving or fair because you hate them, because you don't like them. Therefore, that's how you'll see their actions. Everything will be interpreted because of that. It is fascinating, actually, just why anger comes up and why have you ever, you know, if you ever been misinterpreted or what you say or what you do and people said that, you know, you did that in a wrong way, you shouldn't have done that. Why did you do that? And said, I didn't do anything. I was just being me, that's all. But I hope, fortunately we misinterpret. We assume, and that's actually why we get ill. Will actually start off with ill will, because we are angry at someone because we think that there are enemy whatever they do. Will always misinterpret it. And that's one of our problems. So we don't look at people fairly. Once they're their enemy, we assume they're an enemy. We assume whatever they're doing is something going to be bad and horrible to hurt us. And because of that, we just reinforce what we already believed. And the other thing is on fear. When we were afraid, we also made many assumptions. We made many assumptions that the world is out there to get us. We make the assumption that soul really is an extraterrestrial who has come here for whatever it is, out of fear. We can actually assume anything which is completely wrong. And this is why those assumptions based on fear are not to be followed. We find out the route and make sure we're not acting. We're not speaking. We're not even thinking out of fear. And of course, delusion creates so many assumptions. People have got so much, so little understanding of so many aspects of life. I use Buddhism, the teachings of Buddhism and the morality of Buddhism, the ethics of Buddhism. Just as an example of just how delusion, misinformation, misunderstanding or lack of understanding can create so many problems. I just went. Though sometimes people think that I remember in the early years people think that monks were just bloodless and they just sit there all day doing nothing. And my goodness, I remember one person the first years we were walking down, I think, around North Perth, and this fellow was surveying some bricks and saying, hey, a couple of blotches. I'm glad that someone had to do some work. And I stopped and showed him the characters of my hand because I'd been laying bricks as well. This was just a day off when I was actually in town doing some work for the the Buddhists. As we make so many assumptions about what a man's life is all about, for example. I know that sometimes people think, oh, it's just so nice to be around you. Just sit down there all day doing nothing. Oh, wouldn't that be nice? I remember when people said that. They said after I gave a talk. That's all right for you. You're a monk. You don't live in the real world. You don't have to worry about getting up early in the morning. I said, what do you mean? I get up at 4:00? Oh, really? Do you? And then I told him exactly what I did all day. And at the end of telling you what I did. A normal day for atom bomb. This man was in Singapore. He responded to say, my goodness, I didn't realize monks had to work so hard. I always wanted to be be a monk one day. But now I've heard you. I'm going to. I'm going to stick to my old job. I only make too many assumptions about life and without enough information, cause we don't have enough information. Those assumptions all sorts of problems and turmoil in our life and in the lives of others. Can I make an assumption? It's judging. When we judge out of any of those for no wrong causes of greed and ill will, fear or delusion. When we judge somebody or something out of those things, we make an assumption that assumption is wrong and it creates too much problems. So what do you assume in life? First of all, no. You know other people who are doing you soon what happiness is in life. It's fascinating, actually, to assume what happens is in life. And one of the ways we assume what happiness is in life is just with our ideals of like, perfection and utopia. Somebody else actually, uh, sent me a card from Albany, and they wanted to talk about a movie. Actually, I saw the title of the movie in Sydney is called The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I said, ah, that sounds very Buddhist. The eternal sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But actually, when you see that's full of assumptions that what happiness is eternal sunshine, that's okay if you don't suffer from sort of skin cancer. Yeah. And if you like it. That must have been a title which was actually created by somebody who lived in these cold countries in northern Europe where they hardly ever see the sun. Certainly I know in the UK that they have the idea of Paradise, you know, being sunshine and eternal sunshine. Oh, isn't that wonderful? Anyone who lives in a hot country would think I wouldn't be nice to have a temperate climate. It's fascinating. I see what we have are assumptions of happiness, and many of those assumptions of ultimate happiness come in our ideas of what heaven is. It's wonderful, actually, to contemplate the different cultures and how they describe what heaven is, because that's actually how we describe our heaven, what we really want to have as a utopia, our ultimate happiness. What is heaven for you? I remember first understanding this or getting it to get grips on the ideas of people's happiness is when I read the Islamic book, the Koran found out. For them, heaven was a place with lots of green fields and lots of water. Because of the Arab countries, that's what they miss. They just had sand and palm trees and deserts. And then when I read in England what the idea of heaven was, it was places with lots of sand and palm trees. It's and heat simply because that's what they missed. And as you see that there's, you know, they should do a swap there or I think they, the Muslims would get reborn in England and all the English people would be reborn in some sort of desert country because their ideas of what happiness is. Now our assumptions are what happiness is. So that motivates us to actually to aspire to something which after, when we get in, we find out it's not happiness after all. We find we miss so much. Of course, to end that story about what heaven is the best or the most interesting heaven at all of all is well. Halla, the heaven of the Vikings. Because in the heaven of the Vikings. If you haven't heard us before in Valhalla, there the Vikings are good Vikings when they die and they go to the heaven of the Vikings when they wake up, they got this big feast on this table with lots and lots of alcohol, heaps of grog, and when they've eaten and got drunk, then they fight each other and they fight each other to death. And as soon as they die, then they wake up again. Another feast. More drinking, more fighting. And for Viking, that's heaven. You talk to a few people in Northbridge this evening and say, yeah, yeah, that's the place I want to go. Eating. I've been seeking alcohol and that's actually true. Ask it in a week. We've got a Norwegian market. I'm honestly, that's actually what we say is like heaven for the Vikings. So it's an assumption of that's what happiness is. So what is your heaven or do you think heaven would be? And how many assumptions is that full of? How many of you are buying a lottery ticket this weekend? Thinking that once I win the lotto, then I'll be in heaven. Anyone who's ever won the lottery, you know what happens to them. As soon as you win the lottery. You have to hide from all your friends. And all your friends say, hey, let us offer you a few dollars. You got so much. And it's one of the problems is that if you become wealthy, actually, you lose a lot of your old happiness. In Buddhism, we have this wonderful idea of just the different sufferings of life. When you're poor, you have poor person suffering. And when you become rich, you have a rich person suffering. You don't have poor person suffering anymore. That's disappeared. That's not with you anymore. Poor person suffering is disappeared when you become rich. So it's true. One type of suffering has disappeared. But when you become rich, you get rich persons suffering. A different type of suffering. It's the same when you're single. All of you who are single, who are looking for a partner in life. You have got what we call single persons suffering. And then you're looking for a partner because you don't want to be alone. You don't want to be alone. You want someone to share your life with. You know you want a partner, someone you can be intimate with and you could do things together with. You got single person suffering. So you find someone and you get married. All that single person suffering has disappeared and now you have. But you got it. Blind person suffering. An invalid person for you. You think back to the times when you're single. You're by yourself. You could do this. You don't have to worry about the other person. You got married person suffering. And so when you got married person's suffering, you think, hey, let's get divorced. And it's true. When you get divorced, you've got no haven't got married person suffering anymore. You've got divorced person. This team itself is suffering. There was this very powerful experience I had once when in a monastery, these two women came along. Two ladies. And there were those sisters, so they came together to make offerings to the mountain afterwards. So they came to get the free counseling, which comes with offering diverse minds. They came and told me their problems. The first lady, the elder sister went first and she had a husband. She wasn't very happy and she started to moan about married life and having a husband and all this wherever and after I listened to her, then I listened to her sister. Her sister was single. She couldn't find the husband. And I thought of a solution. Think they would buy it, they would buy it. This is a classic case of there was a person who was married to have married persons suffering. There was a person who had single person suffering and they couldn't see that, okay, you get married. It's still the same. It's it's a different type of suffering, that's all. We make this assumptions that when we get rid of our husband, we get somebody else. So when we find a nice woman and get married, they would be okay. Some people even make that assumption now when I can leave her and become a monk. Okay. You haven't got sort of no householders suffering here. You get monks suffering men. Or nuns suffering. So this is a sanctuary. Make about life. And we find that that can just make us run around looking for happiness. And we never find happiness. We're always wondering, what the heck is going on with this. Life is our assumptions are wrong. And what do you actually assume is happiness in life? And after a while you get the point. That doesn't matter where you are, whether you're single, where you're married, where your mum was, your nan, old or young, out of work or in work, wealthy or whatever. If you think that happiness is going to come somewhere else, if you assume that happiness is waiting for you sometime in the future. When you change this, when you change that, then I'll be happy. That assumption is stopping you from realizing the truth. If you think that if you now do enough good karma, you go to church and some people do that and they come here on a Friday evening, they go to the mosque on a Saturday. They go to church on a Sunday, just in case. I cover all the bases because I think that that way, no matter what happens, that when I die, then I'll be happy. And that's just an assumption there. And heaven realms will be happiness, but they can't be happiness. It's a great thinking about heaven because that's our assumption of ultimate happiness in heaven. I mean, if you go to heaven, I mean, what age are you in heaven? Can I see you choose your age? They want to be like an 18 year old in heaven. What does it mean when you die? That's the age you're stuck with the rest of eternity. So some of these poor old people, they're going to have to have their walking sticks, you know, for the rest of it and sit in their backpacks and go, can you take your cat or your dog up to heaven? If you take your cat up to heaven, there has to be mice in heaven to make the cats happy. And what about the mice? They're not very happy having been chased by the cats. The whole thing is very problematical. And so the thing is, is our assumptions. Unfortunately, people believe those assumptions. They believe them so strongly. That creates a lot of problems and difficulties in this world. Someone was asking me today, just beforehand, what is a Buddhist view, unlike homosexual marriages? That's actually in the news recently about gay marriages. And basically that the Buddhist fear is not really assumptions, but as it comes in the experience of your heart. As many of you know as a heterosexual, before I became a monk and so had no experience, not many much experience about the lives of gays, but, you know, becoming a monk and actually being a counselor. And many gay people, couples come here and such. Welcome. Members of our Buddhist society can actually when actually you feel in your heart about, you know, what it's like to be gay and some of the pressure and the problems and the oppression which they feel, you know, your heart goes out and say, what's wrong with that? In the books. It might be right. It's bad, it's wrong. But there's only the books. The one of the great things about Buddhism is part of the token values, which I gave last week, that Buddhism lies in the heart of the human being. The books and the theories, they're secondary. And so, you know, you feel this is actually okay if a couple of people fall in love, doesn't matter whether they're the gay, whether they're heterosexual or whatever, and if they want to make a commitment together, they should not be forbidden from doing that, or they should not be treated differently from doing that. It doesn't make sense to me. And that's written in the book of the heart. Because that's where assumptions stop when you actually feel you experience things. No, books are only approximations. And all thoughts and ideas are just generalizations. We get it wrong too often. Sometimes we assume those books are right and ultimate truths. But we should all know from our experience that the only ultimate truth, the only thing you can trust in, the only thing which is real, is your own experience, your own feelings inside of yourself. So I always say follow your gut feeling. Except when you've got indigestion in. Because that gut feeling, that insight, will actually tell you what truth is and what writers, you know, is among his greats of actually coming and being like in a Western country, you know, you have to meet so many people and see different ideas, uh, face problems. And how do you solve those problems? You know, sometimes I can go into the books and say, what did the Buddha say about this? But too often these days, more often these days, I would say, I just go to your heart and let you feel when you're very peaceful, you've got no biases. And those biases are greed, ill will, fear, or delusion. As for biases, the four things which make you judge and assume wrongly. When you get rid of those and you see clearly, it's quite obvious there's nothing wrong with those things. And so you give kindness and love instead of just fear, ill will, desire or delusion. So this is an example of how the sometimes by making assumptions from those things, we get judgmental because we get judgmental. We create so much pain in others and problems amongst ourselves. The lady from Singapore wrote to me years ago, and I say that the sun had just come out and just said there were gay. What should I do? They complained and I said, look, you're a Buddhist. Don't you actually chant? May all beings be happy and well. Isn't your son a being? Are you going to exclude them? My goodness. Grace that love thy compassion. The door of my house open to you, son. No matter who you are, no matter what you do. So actually thank me for that. So they felt that they were okay to love this son. But I was disappointed. Why did they have to ask a monk to begin with? They should have actually believe their heart. So mother's love for their son is because all his assumptions which society makes on us. All those assumptions. That is why that people judged too easily. They believed those assumptions rather than believing their own heart. We have so many books of assumptions, so many experts telling us what to assume. But really, what we should do is actually find those truths for ourselves in our own heart and our experience. Once we're free of those four things which actually bend the truth. When I was four. Things which bend the truth from are what they are full of desire, ill will, fear and delusion. What are those for things to overcome. Then we can actually see clearly. When you start to see clearly, you can see just all those assumptions of judge mentalism. They just doesn't make sense at all. How can you judge another human being? What? Sometimes I tried that. Sometimes there's people up in my monastery do stupid things, and sometimes you think you judge them. Why the heck did I do that was a stupid thing to do. I can't understand how they could manage to do that. But then after a while, I found out why. When you find out all the causes, it becomes quite understandable. And once you can understand that, you realize that sometimes your judgments are far too harsh. Remember, just in Thailand once a week. We used to stay up all night. When we used to stay up all night, and sometimes we would get upset at some of the monks because some of the monks, especially the young ones, would sneak off back to their huts and I'd see them. And I thought, they can't do that. They shouldn't do that. And I decided that if they ticked off, sometimes they just go out in the back to make themselves an illegal cup of tea. They weren't supposed to do that. They were breaking the monastery rules. That is not fair that they should do that. But I noticed that all the occupants in that monastery, they would always occur the day after. We'd stay up all night meditating. That's when there'll be any altercations in the monastery. And so I thought that it wasn't the right time to ask you to tell someone off when you were so tired that you are obviously grumpy. So what I did, I remember one morning I had all these gripes against these months, you know, the one who sneaked off, the one who had actually gone and had himself an illegal cup of tea. And I put the names on the list with all that they had done. And I saw once I'd had a rest. Then I would go and tell them off because they couldn't get away with it. And I put it on a piece of paper. So when I woke up, the piece of paper was what happened as soon as I woke up after a rest, after staying up all night. I looked for that piece of paper. All those little things. They did seem so petty. Why am I going to upset somebody and upset myself? Because I was tired as well. If I had any guts. It wasn't just trying to be the. The supermarket would have gone and had a sleep as well. I had to go and get myself a cup of tea. Christ realized that as soon as I had a good rest and felt well and felt energetic. I thought, all those things are going to criticize somebody for didn't make any sense at all. I screwed up that piece of paper and thrown it in the waste pit before, when I was tired, when I wasn't feeling good, when I had the the grumpiness of lack of sleep, then I thought it was important. Once I addressed it, it wasn't important at all. It taught me why we get critical of other people. It's not what the other people are doing is how we feel. If you're tired, if you're sick, it's not the right time to tell somebody else off, because the ill will you feel is bending the reality. You're judging them when you're not capable of making a rational decision. How many of us judge each other when we're not feeling at our best? How many of us say things to our loved ones just because we are ill, we are weak, we are stressed. We are so tired. It's not the right time to speak to another when you're so tired like that. So instead, you only speak to another person when you're feeling at your best, not when you're feeling at your worst. Otherwise, you're judging the other person unfairly. The assumptions are being bent by your tiredness, by your illness, by your lack of inner peace. And you find actually when you are peaceful, when you haven't got that ill will, you haven't got that desire, haven't got fear or delusion, then some of the judgements you make on others you just can't do it doesn't make any sense anymore. How can you judge what another person does? Sometimes we just make assumptions. Out of delusion, thinking we know the best. One of the most powerful of those anecdotes, which actually just shows just how we can make assumptions which can hurt another person, was that story of the young boy who'd been born deaf? He'd been born deaf. And every year or six months, his parents would take him to the doctor to get a checkup. And there's one occasion he must have been about 8 or 9 years of age. He took him to the doctor, and the doctor had just read in the medical journal. It was a special procedure which could heal a person's hearing. People have been born deaf. In 10% of cases could have their hearing restored. And I asked her parents, do you want to go through that operation with your son? Shall we do it? And the parents said, well, nothing to lose. Maybe we might be lucky. 1 in 10 chance he may get his hearing back. Give it a try. So they gave it a try. And that young man got his hearing back. He was one of the 10%. That procedure worked. And as soon as he could hear, he got very angry at his parents and doctor for not asking him whether he wanted to hear every one of the sound. The hearing is a wonderful thing. But having been deaf for nine years, he had learned the sign language he'd been able to hear. Learn how to read people's lips. And he said, that is a fascinating thing. Instead of giving my hearing, it'd be wonderful if you just give me, like, another hand to feel the world. He was so sensitive in the other areas, and what he now had was this noise. Noise which he couldn't turn off. And he said, what a terrible thing you've done for me. Just give me all this noise which I can hardly understand the meaning of. Why did you ask me first of all? A point was when I read that article, I assumed that everyone wanted to hear. It was an assumption which caused a lot of misery to a young boy. They should have asked him first. It's the same with many of the things which we assume. We assume we know best. Our Western world has done a lot of mischief when it seems it knows what stay undeveloped countries want the most. This sends out the aid teams, which goes aiding these countries and giving them things which they don't really need or want in the first place. But we assume that everyone needs a video recorder and a TV and a fridge and all the things which we take for granted. Think that that's what they really need. We've wrecked so many societies by instead of asking what they really need, we give them what we assume they need. That is our problem. Too many assumptions. We assume that the many countries in the world want freedom. But freedom from what? A lot of times they want freedom from interference to get on with their own business instead of us assuming that we know what another person wants. Too many assumptions create a lot of mischief in the world. So instead of having those assumptions, we should actually test out whenever judging another person or judging the situation, or thinking out what we need to make sure we're not acting from those four things to check our minds. Not allowed desire a personal know what I want out of these things. Not out of ill will, not out of fear. Because actually fear bends the truth and not our delusion. Then we find we just cannot judge that easily. How can you judge another person? How can you judge yourselves? Again, we make a lot of assumptions about ourselves. One of the biggest problems in the world is about lack of self-esteem, depression, which makes sometimes people commit suicide. And where does that come from? So many assumptions are made. About ourselves I am better, I am worse, I am. I am the same. How on earth can you judge yourself against another person? There's so many assumptions we make here resume that everyone else is having a good time except me. We assume that everyone else is doing well except me. Those assumptions. If you can't ask somebody else, you find X2 exactly the same as you. It's one of the first things which I learned when I became a monk and people started talking to me. When the first person came and told me their problems, I thought that was interesting. When a second person came and told me their problems. I felt. I've heard that before somewhere when a third person came up. Here we go again. So the basic problems. You think that you're all alone and your problem is unique, and you're the only person who feels like this, and you're the only person in the whole world has got your problems. Your problems, my friends, are shared with everybody. This common problems about not knowing who you are and where you fit in and what you should be doing in life and all this sort of stuff. And we start making assumptions and come to the truth at the moment. Stop all these desires ill will, because that's what bends the truth. To see the world beyond desire, beyond it, will get to this beautiful meditation state of present moment awareness, embracing the world so we can know it as it is, not as we want it to be, and not as we're afraid of it might be, but actually seeing it as it truly is. And a lot of our assumptions just disappear in our present world. You know, too many people assume this is the only life. They assume they can get away with things. We're just talking on the car coming up here about corporate fraud and just how some of these people in, uh, businesses think that if they can cheat and get away with enough so they can get enough millions so they can hire the best lawyers and they never get caught. Unfortunately, the lawyers can't stop you from the law of karma. No lawyers can interfere there, because the law of karma acts so independently of any person. Just cause and effect, cause and effect. That's actually what happens. And this is what actually happens with the cause and effect business. And then just someone came to the monastery today, and they had just been to rivers telling me they'd just been a couple of weeks before, but they're having such a hard time because their car was they didn't have a car. They had to rely on lifts. And having come to our monastery to offer gifts, some money to offer some food when they got back home. The brother I got, I got a spare car, he said, do you want to use it straight? After coming to the monastery, they got a new car. Some of those people want to come and come to the monastery tomorrow. And, you know, we're going to announce soon. This is the waste that weekend. And this is the holiest weekend in Buddhism this weekend, just celebrating the birth, enlightenment, passing away of the Buddha. It's like Easter for the Buddhists. And, you know, over the Easter weekend, there was double demerit points. So on race weekend, we do the same with double merit points. Whatever merit you make on this weekend, you got double merit. Why not? So she obviously got double merit. So you may get a car. You never know. But anyway, that little, that little karma, that means you don't get away with anything. I think this is a wonderful thing to have to. They assume that you can. You can cheat. You can hurt, you can steal, even if it's legal according to the law of our land. Or you can get a good lawyer who makes it sort of. You can get out of the consequence, the legal consequences of the action. I can put it in. You know, there's no way you can actually avoid the cosmic consequences according to the law of karma. Nor is there any way that you can not expect the wonderful consequences of being a good person. Eventually, it must happen. What that does is actually stops that assumption. You can get away with things so so you don't get caught. Stops at assumption that if you don't do good things, the good things know that. So doing good things that sometimes nothing good happens to you. I was wrong. Assumptions create the problems in our world. You can only see the truth of things. You can see the light. Karma is a cosmic law which happens despite what you think and what you are seeing. There is no reason that why you stop and are doing good things, and why you do anything bad at all in this world. We do bad things because we assume we're going to get away with it. I assume you won't get caught. We assumed that sloth now was going to find out there'd be no consequences of our actions. And those are the assumptions, I think, which really hurt our world. And then the powers that be realized whenever you call somebody. Whenever you exploit somebody, there's a karmic consequence there which will come back on you. If you assume otherwise, you're just being foolish. And why would anybody exploit or hurt? Much of the troubles in the world will be overcome. Despite that acceptance of like a law of calm. And I think that many people feel that in their hearts. You don't have to believe it because it's written in some sort of book. A lot of people can actually feel that. That makes sense, that it's the inner feeling of justice which everybody has. They want the world to be fair. And the world is fair. They want the good people to be rewarded. They want the selfish people to be taught a lesson. And we feel that that's the way this world should be. That's the way the world is. If you assume otherwise, you're missing the point and you're creating a lot of problems for yourself. The point is that when we make those wrong assumptions, we miss the truth. The truth is not an assumption. An assumption is something which we believe just on. Not enough evidence, bent by desire, ill will or fear, not really seeing the truth of things. Which is why in this part of Buddhism, we go against those. Forces which bend the truth. We go against them by letting go of desire, by letting go of your will, by being fearless, and by our mindfulness, overcoming delusion. We see things rather than just believe things. That actually is the practice of meditation. That's why we meditate. We meditate to let go of desire, to have compassion so we don't have your will to be fearless and to go against delusion. And this path of meditation is actually opening up the mind to truths. Which is why when people meditate, they start to see things as they truly are. All that you wanted to believe or you didn't like to see, or that you were afraid to see. You have to see. In meditation are one of the great things. The purposes of meditation is to get rid of those four things which bend the truth. So it's not actually seeing things you want to see. It's not not seeing what you don't like seeing. This is going beyond what you're afraid to see. You see things as they truly are. And when you see things that are truly are, all those assumptions are abandoned. And instead of assuming, you know, you see the truth. What you say the truth. You assume that you're worse. You're better than inside. You see who's better? Who's the same? Somebody earlier was saying they heard that the whole thing, somebody was passing on the word that I was the Elvis of Buddhism. Someone actually wrote an email. I said, I am probably the Elvis of Buddhism. I said, what do you mean? I'm the Elvis of Buddhism? I haven't got long sideburns. I don't put him on my hair. I haven't got enough to put him on. And I certainly don't go around in blue suede thongs. I mean, those are, you know. So who is Elvis? Is my nose Elvis, or is my feet Elvis? You say that I'm better. What's better? No, we have this. Is your mind better? Is your body better? Is your perception or your consciousness better? What do you mean better or worse? We analyze it through truth. There's no better or worse. You can't say anything is better or worse. It's like saying stuff, you know? Like a tree is better than grass. You know, a sort of a kangaroo is better than a bird, or a bird is better than an a cow. Who can say what's better or worse? Who can say that you are better or worse than anybody else? You just can't say that everyone has got their unique place in the world. They should be accepted as such. Uh, respected as such. Everyone is required in this world. And if we don't do that, we don't respect everyone in this world. We're just getting judgmental. You know that story I told it? Um, just a couple of days ago in Sydney when I was a school teacher. The kid who came last in the class and in my class of 30 kids. One kid always has to come bottom of the class. And when I saw them, they looked so depressed. They look so miserable and out of compassion. I went up to them as a teacher and I said to this young boy, I said, listen, in Buddhism we've got something called the Bodhisattva. A bodhisattva is someone who gives up their own happiness. They sacrifice themselves for other beings. So that's you, I said. You sacrificed yourself for all those other 29 children in the class, so they don't have to take that terrible report you have back to their parents. They don't have to suffer like you will have to suffer. They don't have to be miserable because you have taken that terrible position in class at 30th in the bottom of the class, and you're a bodhisattvas in Buddhism, we praise you above all others. The person who brought him in. The class has a place in the world. They need to be looked at with gratitude, with respect, because someone has to take that place and it's important they do. So don't say they're better or they're worse. Everyone has their place in this world. There is a wonderful respect with respect people for who they are rather than what they should be. When we think everyone has got their place, we don't actually compare who's the best, who's the worst. You know, whether amongst are better than laypeople, whether men are better than women, whether old people are better than young people, we don't judge anymore. Everyone has a place. And a football team. We need the backs. We need the goalkeeper. We need the forwards. Everyone is a member of the team. And everyone has got their role to play. So why should we judge one against another? Even those people who are sick give the opportunity for other people to care. Those people are poor. Give the other people the chance to look after them. People who are weak. How give the opportunity of others to give compassion and protection. People who are strong have the opportunity to care for others. We've all got our place in this world. When we all accept our place in this world. We change from birth to birth. We switch sides. We switch positions. That's. That's our life. Where we don't judge one person against another. Then we have an understanding about the problem of assumptions I am better, I am worse, I am the same. And so called the conceits, the assumptions of a self, the assumptions of judging. We just be ourselves. Then whoever you are, you are welcome in this universe. We welcome ourselves into this universe where we're at peace with ourselves, with no assumptions. Then actually, we can be at peace with others. Without giving those, imposing those assumptions on others. This is what really loving kindness means. That all of my hearts open to you no matter who you are. This assumption, this loving kindness. This her piece which doesn't charge. And that comes from your heart, not from the books. You know it's true because it's inspiring. What inspires you? Is a sign not of an assumption, but of a great truth of a reality. The books are just lists of assumptions. Approximations, ideas written down by people which have got a lot of truth in them. But the books I like the menu. Please don't, uh, think they're the food. Don't eat the menus. In this state. Feel the heart or the assumption. Stop when you feel the heart. I gave the example of the gay community. You can assume so much because you don't know I'm not a gay. How would I know? I could assume so much. I'm not married. How can I give a talk on marriage? I can assume. How can I give a talk on shipping? But if you read your heart or the truths are there, and from there you can be an expert on shipping and give an interview which goes all around the world. And people will say to you, yeah, you know what you're talking about. And you do because you're talking from the heart, not from assumptions. You get the point. I hope you do, because that's all you're getting. Okay, so today's talk was on assumptions backwards and forwards. Welcome back to. Okay. Anybody got any questions about today's talk? But it was on forward some assumptions. Yeah. Oh, that's interesting one. Would it be bad karma for a lawyer, actually, to defend a crook? It's I know that. Remember Gandhi? Mahatma Gandhi was a lawyer, and he made a point that if he thought that the the person was guilty, he would not defend them. However, some lawyers have said, well, they have to do this, a duty actually to support the person as a matter of duty. But that's actually our Western adversarial way of justice. I think in the German system, the job of especially the judge is more power is to find the truth rather than just to protect the person you are defending. So I think sometimes our system is a little bit wrong there. And I can see just the. The idea for if a person thinks another person is guilty, that their job would actually probably be to advise them of their rights, but also to say, well, maybe the best thing you can do is actually, to be honest. If you if you get away with the court case, you don't really get away with the comma. I think there are some judges, some of us like that we really fear. Remember the story of the lawyer whose man came to see him, asked, do you give free legal advice? He said, no, there'll be $50. So not only. Do they give free legal advice and $50. I think there is still calm in their. Yeah. Gary Glitter. The paedophile has gone back to Cambodia. Now, first of all, it's an interesting statement there. Gary Glitter, the paedophile is actually a little bit of just billionaire Gary Glitter who's actually done paedophile activities. And I'm very careful with this particular point here because if a person has done one bad thing, we assume that that's their person. I mean, it's actually one of those you can be very careful about if your husband has lied. They're not a liar. The person who's made a lie is going to lie. If a person has, say, your wife has actually slept with somebody else, they're not an adulterer. There's someone who's done an adulterous thing. Because that gives a person a chance to change. If Gary Gilmore, glitter or whatever is Gary Glitter, he's done paedophile activities before. He's not necessarily a paedophile. People can change. Unfortunately, we don't give people that freedom to change and that's one of our assumptions. We assume they've done it once. They'll always do that. That's an assumption, obviously, that there's a greater chance they will do that again. So you've got to be very careful there. And if he's gone to Cambodia to do that, that I'm not sure that there are laws and I think laws in I think Australia, I know that if someone does paedophilia activity outside, they could be prosecuted when they come back to their home country. And that those sorts of activities should never be prosecuted, because no one of our jobs is to care for those people who are weaker than us, and children are weaker than us. They're adults to our best to care, but to the children. Because I think it's not because I haven't heard that news, but it's very it's disturbing. It's worrying. But I don't know. Gary Glitter, maybe he's just gone there for a holiday. In Encino. It's one of the centers of paedophilia in the world. But. I think it's part of the job of our legislators, our governments. Is that he to protect people? I can't see why they can't work with the governments overseas, you know, to find those hot spots of harm and abuse and to have some legal means of stopping it. He has to have a passport or kind of passport be taken away or visas not issued. I don't know, I'm not a sort of politician. I'm not an immigration department. But you'd think that that's possible. But it's very, very worrying, obviously. But sometimes you don't. Can't always make that assumption. Because I've done it once. I'd always be like that. I've worked with criminals before. They say one of the worst things is that when a criminal has finished or person rather couldn't do this, I shouldn't have called them. A criminal person has done a criminal act when they're released from jail. It's so hard for some, some of them to get a job there, because if you're an employee, you've got your own business, obviously. Who would you employ? If you've got a person who's got a criminal record and the person who hasn't got the same abilities? Sometimes it's obviously a lack of trust to a person who's committed a crime. They find it very, very difficult to get back, you know, to work again. And because of that, there's sometimes is encouragement to do criminal activity again because they've got no choice is that it's terrible recidivism. And people always look at the problem as a criminal. The branded. So I would be very careful there not to assume that someone's done a criminal, that once, that always be a criminal. Never assume that your child has made a mistake. You know, because I've never taken drugs, that they're a drug addict. It may be the case, but don't make that assumption. She is obviously not allowing them to change. Sometimes, actually you wonder why people can do such things. I guess among you, always, instead of like, being so judgemental. Sometimes you always try and understand why would a person actually commit sort of a paedophilia act? And sometimes we think that maybe because our society always makes, like pleasure the main goal of life, instead of, uh, celebrating more the happiness of responsibility or the deeper happiness of caring. Nothing where we make pleasure to be on an end all of life. I think maybe we are encouraging such things as paedophilia and and rape and any sexual activity which people get pleasure in thinking that so beyond end all of life. I think it's important for people like you to to change those values and to promote other ways of happiness and to promote the happiness of those is actually what the Buddha said, the happiness of keeping a moral high moral standard because he actually had give a naive and I call the righteous sukha the happiness of being blameless. Are you at the end of your week, the end of your year? You look back on what you've done and you haven't hurt or harmed anybody else. That gives you a huge happiness boost. If we actually could erase that, we realize that that should be praised. Instead of just the the momentary happiness of like, sex or excitement or extreme sports or when you're 42, you know, beats the other 42. I think because our society just, uh, is praising and promoting just momentary happiness and not promoting just a deeper happiness. And I think maybe people do those things. Look for the. The false happiness is at the moment. I don't know bliss. Instead of blindly, you always want to contemplate and find the departures. I think, why would a person do that? It's hard for me because I came from a very strong family. There is no such paedophilia anywhere in my family, and I'm not just riding my ice for that. No, that for the family for a long time. Just even think of that. But nowadays a lot of people say this quite common. Why? And try to find out the answer. Why we actually find out the answer why? Then maybe you can actually do something about it. It's a good question, but it's interesting to try and find the answer to it. Anyway. Any other question? Going going gone. So please remember that this is our Waisake weekend double merit points. So you've already made lots of merit today by coming to listen to this dumber discourse. They say listen to the Dhamma is one of the great ways to make merit. So double merit today. And if you'd like to come the next couple of days, we've got amazing things happening around this Buddhist center. And that's going to be told to you now by Sol. So this is how you can make double merit for this weekend.