This talk by Ajahn Brahm is about Buddhism and the body, because our bodies can cause us a lot of trouble and problems. So what is the meaning of our body? And from a Buddhist perspective how can we understand and view the nature of the body and its problems. Finally, Ajahn Brahm will touch on the relationship between the mind and the body.
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 26th March 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.
Buddhism and the Body | Ajahn Brahm
(NOTE: AI generated transcription – expect errors!)
This evening I'm going to give a talk about 50 minutes or see how it goes. And every now and again people sent emails. I can listen to you on the internet. Can you give a talk about this or something else? And so that's the subject of this talk this evening is going to be about Buddhism and the body, because somebody wrote an email quite a while ago because I've been doing other things, or I have visiting monks, I haven't had a chance to talk about this subject. So this is the Buddha and the body. And a person asks is because sometimes that the body can be a source of problem and trouble, especially if it's not the body you want it to be. Uh, because we have in our cultures certain ideas of what a person should look like. And for some people, that causes an immense amount of trouble and stress, especially to women, for not just to women, to old people who want to be young, to fat monks who want to be thin monks. Uh huh. So whatever it is, it's always lots of trouble and problem with this body. And so I want to find out what does this body mean? What is? How does a Buddhism look at it? Especially, how does the Buddhism regard the problems which the body cause and how to solve that those problems? And also the email said, what is the connection between the body and the mind? And this is really where we get into the important part of Buddhism, because Buddhism has always stressed the difference between the mind and the body, and gives us a way to have another perspective upon this body, how to liberate ourselves from this body. Because a big problem with a body is just our identification with it. And we think that this is me. I am the fat monk. I am the skinny monk. I am the beautiful girl or the ugly woman. I am the sea, the paraplegic, or I am the fit one. Each one of those identifications is where we cause the problem and trouble. Because no matter what you want to be with this body, it does not last. It changes all the time, so quickly to all the beautiful models. Get their pimples and get ugly. Till quickly do all the fit. Young footballers sort of get weak and old. And this is one of our problems, though if we have an ideal of happiness connected to this body, you're asking for trouble. Cause it does not last. I remember as a young man being told the ancient Chinese proverb, which was now to men, never marry a beautiful girl. And said, never marry. Marry a beautiful girl. The beauty does not last with him. A good cook and then. That lasts this last of a long. And people said we could always get take away these days for. What they say goes for blokes as well. So the point is that so often as we look at our body, we think that's the person. And our society sometimes encourages that, the person being the body. And Buddhism makes a big deal about that. And the person is not the body, the person who's just a vehicle. So another body is the vehicle. That's why I called it up. The body is just a vehicle. Just like you have your car. Sometimes people identify with their car. Look, I got a Ferrari. Look, I got a rolls. And actually that some of you know that I am one of our Garrick has smashed our car one time ago. So we just got the insurance check yesterday. So in the market for a new car now. And guess what car we're going to get because monks identify with their cars as well. We have decided to get a funeral hearse. You know, the thing was, I have, like, coffins in the back, because that's a typical for monks, actually to drive around in a funeral house. And it's got many advantages by buying a hearse for the monastery. It means that, you know, they usually come with standard features like coffins in the back, which means that I can have a rest when I come up here. If I can see from the back of the place, will never stop here. And number two, the insurance premiums are very low on hearses because who would invite mine would steal a hearse. So you don't have to worry about immobilizes the coffin in the back. Is it mobilizing enough? And the police will never stop me for speeding even. They'll be too scared to stop. It hurts so much. And the second thing. The last thing that we can always hire it out for Buddhist funerals so we can get our money back. Okay, so just take you to get many people in the hearse. Should know these days. So. But that's just the monks identifying with their vehicle. Because my eyes are always weird and I like to do this weird thing. But we identify with our vehicle, we identify with our body, and that's where we get into lots of trouble. This is called attachment. We think we are our body. And because Buddhism is not about sort of theories about how to live happily in life, how to get rid of the problems of life. How to understand what the real difficulty is. It's not the body, it's a problem. It's thinking that body is you. That's a problem. And because of that, you see these poor people. It used to be just girls, but now as boys as well, getting Botox injections. Well, going down to get sort of, uh, dye their hair. I don't dye my hair. I don't have that problem at all. It's one of the reasons why we bought. We don't have to go to the hairdressers. Isn't that marvelous? It's. How much money do you spend on the hairdressers? Actually looking around, you're all pretty scruffy. I don't think you're spending much. But some people spend a heap of money sort of dyeing their hair and turning their hair and doing. What else would you do that for? Because we identify that's me. And put all this grease and muck on our body called makeup and think, that's me. This is the problem here. Because by thinking that that's ourselves, we identify that and we want to be beautiful. We want to be attractive. We want to be something other than we are. And that is called a lot of suffering. And especially for poor people growing up who are looking for a partner in life, who buy into this thing that you have to be beautiful to get a partner. You have to be fit to have a partner. And my goodness, who is surely that? That shouldn't be. No, you don't just live with a body. If you get married, you do for the person and the body might be very beautiful, but their mind is all over the place and they've got a really ugly mind, at least. Would you rather live with. I know that's sort of, you know, having a beautiful mind. You know, if I was single, looking for a person with a beautiful mind is the most important thing to live with. Someone who's caring, someone who's forgiving, someone who can listen, and someone who just enjoys your company. Isn't that more important than just a beautiful body who always is getting angry at you, demanding, wanting this, and wanting that? So one of the reasons why that proverb, apparently of never marry a beautiful woman or a beautiful man was because if a person was ugly, they'd have to develop their inner qualities to be able to attract a man. They'd have to not just be a good cook, but be a charming person. Be kind, be generous, be loving. They'd have to divide up the other part of themselves to compensate for that ugliness. So I figured the other side of them is what really makes a person beautiful. So, you know, the beauty is not in the face or in the figure, is it? Now, what else would we really mean by beauty? What is beautiful is something which attracts. Somebody else has something else. So what is really attractive? What? Not just attracts, but keeps. You know, the other people there. And it's not just the the body. It is the character. The thing inside this I was saying just about getting a vehicle for our monastery. And so we should get a safe vehicle, you know, get something that wishes will protect the monks because there's only a few months with an endangered species in the world, especially here in Australia. So we've got to look after them so they get a good look. The most important safety feature of a car is. The driver. Right. And that's the most important safety feature of a car this time. The most important thing of you is not your body, it's the driver. The person within. And so when we look upon the body, the body is where we start with the body. We look after it, we care for it, but we don't identify with it. We look upon it as if it's a driver of our car as as we are the driver. And this is our car. This is the vehicle we're stuck with in this life. You know why people have different types of bodies? Why people have healthy bodies. Why they do have beautiful bodies. It's the same as when we crashed our car. The reason why we can buy a new car, a good car, a new hearse, top of the lanes and funeral expenses that we're not going to get a hearse. That's only a joke. To get a proper car. But the reason why we can get a good car is because we keep on paying our insurance premiums. If you pay your insurance premiums and your car has a crash. Or get stolen. Then you can buy a new car. However, if you get cheaper insurance and if you don't give out the premiums when your car gets stolen or it crashes, all you're left with is an old bomb. That's all you can afford. And that is a simile, which, many of you may recall is a simile for the Buddhist law of karma. This is a body you have got now, and if you don't pay your insurance premiums on this body, make good karma. Be kind, be generous, be good. Then when this body crashes or gets stolen, your next body will be an old bone. Okay, I'm gonna start with that for your whole life. So that's why karma is the insurance policy for your next body, for your next vehicle. That's all it is. So make sure you don't forget your payments. But we're saying here that the body is just a vehicle, which we use. So we don't really concern ourselves so much. It doesn't matter sort of whether it's a Rolls Royce or whether it's a Toyota or a Ford or a Holden. As long as they can get you to the Buddhist society on a Friday night and get you back home again. That's a good car. But what we did mean here is that's how it's used, is most important. So when we go to body, it's not really what it looks like is how we make use of it. It's a point. So we're not attached to our looks. If we're attached to a body of tourists, attached to how we're making use of this body in this world to make sure we train this body. We look after this body, not just for our own happiness to be of service to others. Sometimes people do ask you what the point of life is, and there's a dual purpose to life. The first is your own happiness. And the second is for the happiness of others. To use his body. To give your own happiness, wisdom, peace, contentment, but also use this body, this vehicle of yours to give happiness to others, to do some service to the world. Have a point to your life. So when you die, you realize yes, you have actually contributed. To our society. To our world. You've done something. Even small things. Your life has created more happiness for people in this world rather than less. So everybody, that's this purpose. That's why we have a vehicle here to get us from A to B, and this is where we're going to get us to happiness. So we look upon this body, and when we look upon this body, we don't identify with it. And so certainly we don't look at this body because of its color or because of its gender or because of its age. I know I've been looking at the newspapers about the Palestinians and the Israelis. You know, it's only because it says so in the paper. You can actually tell the difference between an Israeli and Palestinian. They look the same to me. Why is it they're going to war? Why is it that you look at sort of people what's what's the difference? What makes a person a Sri Lankan, a Thai, an Australian or whatever? Was it different? Was it difference between an Australian and a Kiwi? You know how big. Remember your buddies. You got to be kind. I know this is Australia, but it ain't no difference. I spent nine years in Thailand living with the tigers. And they're just the same. No difference at all. Doesn't really matter who you are. They tell the same jokes. Enjoy the same, um, company. Do the same things as well. I was actually quite privileged, actually. Maybe it's part of my good karma because my parents were quite poor. Grew up in a very poor suburb of London, and the school I went to was full of migrants. And I must say I became colorblind. So very lovely word become colorblind. It means you can still see oranges, yellows and greens because of the difference between people. And basically don't. I didn't care what color the person's skin was, where they came from, as long as they played football well, they were my friend. Okay. And so it doesn't matter. And it's when we actually focus on a body and think that because they were born science for Lanka, they are Sri Lanka. Because I was born in England, I was English, you know, I don't know who I am when it comes to a country. You know this now the Australians are playing this for Lankans in cricket right now. You know actually quite sure I support the Lankans. I don't know why. And I did that some years ago. This is a confession. Some of you know this story some years ago here in sort of a purse, a couple of Lankan kids came up to me that they, the Sri Lankan cricket team were in town. They were playing Australia at the Waca, just in East Perth. And they asked for some of these holy strings. You see some of these Buddhas, they put this, they call it pirate thread. The marks were some blessing on this thread and you try it around. You're supposed to protect you. And the Sri Lankan cricket team actually asked for 12 pieces of string. So I know they're Buddhist. I thought, I'm a Buddhist. Why not? So I gave them these 12 pieces of string. Press it, bring them good luck. Now they lost that match. But. Now this is important story. A couple of months later, all the cricket fanatics will remember this. A couple of months later, there was a World Cup cricket in India and Sri Lanka. And the final was between Australia and Sri Lanka. And Sri Lanka won. They beat Australia. And I remember in a newspaper the following day I saw this picture, a big picture of the Sri Lankan cricket camp. Captain Ranatunga, he holding up the World Cup because it was holding up. I recognised a piece of string he had on his wrist. That was my string. You know, that was why they beat Australia, the World Cup. Because of my string. I didn't get that one at the time because you know how Australia is so sports mad. I've been thrown out of the country no matter who I was. He was the reason why Australia lost the World Cup. But what we're talking about there is why do you identify with being this, that or the other? I was born in England. There was the had the Rugby World Cup. It's a few months ago people asked me because I was born in England, leaving Australia. Who do you really support? And I say I wait for half time and see who's winning. Why not do that? It's much more fun because then you sort of you're happy. You support the winning side. Now what we're really saying. Why do people identify with the country of their birth these days? We move around so much. It's so hard to identify with being this, that or the other. When I do go back to London, it's like going home. This was one of the amazing things happened that I went back to London. It was like going home. And then on the way back I visited Thailand. Like going home. Then I went to Singapore. It's like going home. When I go to Colombo, because lots of Buddhists say it's like I'm going home. Now I come to Australia. It's like coming home. Isn't it wonderful to have so many homes? So wherever you go, whatever airport you land in, you're coming home. I think that's a beautiful idea. And that's actually how many people live these days. The world is their home. And they asked, you know what nationality you are? You say, Earthling. You know something earthly from my lady. Lord, when I started, Buddhist societies started out some other planet. And then when I go to Mars to teach a retreat, then I maybe I'll say this. I'm a solar system or whatever it is. But why do I identify with being this particular country? Silly idea when we don't identify with being a particular country, how on earth can we have wars? Because it's identifying with bodies, that's all. Some bodies are brighter, darker, smaller, shorter, fatter, thinner. Who cares about that? I don't care about that. And it's also agendas as well. What is the difference between a man and a woman? Personal reason. I couldn't find the difference. Probably one of the reasons I became a monk. You know it's on you on the on the outside is a bit of a difference. But on the inside, human beings are human beings. Now, let's say that men are from Mars and women are for Venus. That's just a nice title for a book and made the author a lot of money. But that ain't true. Human beings are human beings. And is it marvelous when people can realize. To say what we have in common. Focus on what we have in common, which transcends the body. And so that we don't have any of this. No problem with gender wars or even age wars. Look at the difference we have between a kid and an old man. For an old woman. What's the difference? Those of you who are getting old. Do you really feel old? What is actually old age? The body feels old, but the mind feels just the same as it always was. And so you say what is actually what does get old? Her mind doesn't get old as her body gets older. So. And if you identify with that, you'd hate getting old. And you'll be embarrassed when you get old. And that's part of the Buddhist tradition, is that when it's your birthday. Usually I actually go to a Buddhist temple actually to to do something good. To make good karma. No, because, you know, you mostly come running out of good karma. Better make some more so I can have another year. Yeah, but also that when they instead of actually trying to get something for your birthday, it's actually giving something for your birthday. Doing something good. Completely different idea. When I explain this to children, when I say like in Buddhist countries, when it's your birthday, don't expect to have presents. You said to give presents, give it away Australia with her. I don't like that idea. And I said, how many? How many friends do you have? There are 6 or 7 close friends. So that means that 6 or 7 times a year you get presents. But now you only get presents once a year. When you get. You see how much better it is to give. Eventually they bought into that and said, that's very good idea. It is much better to give people actually go to the temple when it's her birthday and actually to, uh, give food to the monks. We give them a blessing. But also, it's a great time because actually to ask how old they are. Usually they sometimes lie to other people because it's in front of monks, I think. Oh, dear. I better tell the truth. I look like something bad will happen to me. So they actually tell the truth. You found out actually how old people are. I wonder why it is people don't want to actually own up to their real age. There's nothing wrong with that. Everyone knows I'm just about 23. It's not 52 races in Asian countries. It's actually the older you are, the more respect you have. I couldn't believe this at first when I went to Thailand in a Buddhist country. People would add years on to the right. They would say they're 55 and 52. They'd say there are no 65 when? Only 60, because they were proud to get old. They got more respect. They were wiser. And more mellow in their life. They've had experience of life. Their mind had been better trained. The body was falling apart, but the mind was good. And it was a society which respected the mind and the qualities of wisdom, knowledge, experience. And that's why people were proud to get old. In our society where we worship the body. That's why people lie. And they always want to stay young and they hate the idea of getting old. Sing it one of the last birthday parties and it's called a birthday party. Come to a monastery on the the birthday cake. They didn't have a sort of candles. They had a question mark. Candle blew. Guess how old I am. But all this saying there is that. Why do we worry about this body business? It can create a lot of problems with this. When we identify, we think that that's who we are. And it means that some of our young kids, especially young girls, some of the pain and trouble they get into, you know, trying to identify, think that their body is them and they have to be beautiful. They have to be slim. They have to, you know, be like the latest, uh. Model. People identify too much with that. People naturally identify with the country's. I went to a harmony day. Celebration a few years ago, and one of the people giving a little talk there. A marvelous lady. She's apparently she's a cook. She's on the television because I don't watch a television. I'm not quite sure what her name is, but she's like an Afro Australian. Probably some of you know who she is. And that was a very funny lady. But apparently there was some convention of, uh, for multiculturalism or something in Canada. And she was said as the Australian representative to this big convention in Canada somewhere. I think it was in Vancouver, she said. And at the beginning of the convention, I had people from all over the world. They asked everyone to stand up. To tell everyone where you were from. And when she stood up. This African lady with the afro hair cut really fat and said, I'm from Australia. And one cracked up laughing. I thought it was a joke. It always meant people from Australia to be like, no Paul Hogan or Kylie Minogue or whatever. And it's amazing just how we have this idea of what an Australian is, what an African is, what an English person is, what something else is. We should not identify with this body of ours, be free of that, and then we can really sort of be part of a world, rather than just be part of one particular country. We can be part of the human race rather than just one gender. We can be just part of this whole range of ages rather than just our age. So when we stop identifying with our body, it makes it much easier and also means when our body starts to wear out, we don't get so upset. We realize that this is par for the course. This body wears out. That's what it has to do. Just like a car wears. You can't expect it to keep on going forever and ever. You notice this, I notice many people as they get old. Notice their legs go. They can't walk properly. They have to sort of walk with a stick. Sometimes their arms are very weak. Sometimes they can't even see properly. And they can't hear. What are the organs of your body eventually break down? Except one. I notice this all the time. For old people, the one organ which stays even stronger than ever is their mouth. All people can. I could really talk. I that all right? Is everything else gets squeezed but not their mouth. Look. See, I'm a case in point, you know. So this is what happens. We have to accept this, understand this. This is par for the course. And so if we accept it, then we grow old gracefully. We don't worry about it so much. So when we don't worry about it so much, we're not struggling against nature. That's when we get greater happiness and peace. Still often the problem of suffering is struggling against nature, trying to make this world something it can never be. So why don't we learn to live with nature, embrace nature, be at peace with nature, accepts it. Then we finally have so much more peace in life. We can enjoy the different stages of our life, but enjoy, enjoy just the different seasons of our year. When it's hot. Isn't it wonderful when it's hot? And you don't have to wear all these jumpers. You don't have to sort of have all this heaters. And then you can actually go outside at night time to meditate. It's wonderful. And it's hot. Then it gets rainy. Isn't it wonderful when it's raining? It's nice and green grass. The kangaroos are very fat when it gets rides. And also the first rains is very welcome when I'm honest because it gives the kangaroos a wash. They're very smelly. Then it's a sunny wash they get when it rains and when it's cold. Isn't it wonderful when it's cold? Cold? A very good meditation. Whether the point is you appreciate every part of the season. As we appreciate every part of our life. Appreciate every year of our age. What a wonderful thing it is now to be 6 or 7. What a wonderful thing is to be a teenager. What a marvelous thing is to be in your 20s. How great to be in your 30s and lovely to be 40. To be 50. How wonderful to be growing into the maturity of your 60s. How wise to be 70. How peaceful to be 80. Why can't we do that and accept these things? The reason is because we attach this body. We want it to be something else. Of course, when you do get old, you get more pain, more stiffness. But it's only the people who want to live like a young person. Rather than just allowing the body to age and beam with it, working with it, using it as it is. There's lots of advantages in being old. You don't have to get up on a Monday morning to go to work. And do you like getting going to work on a Monday morning? People will help you. Usually the elders assistant in our society, they get a bit of respect. So really, when we can actually put a positive spin on it and we don't attach these things, we don't get into so much problem. And the other thing is with their pain and difficulties in our body, again, when we want it to be something else. That is where the problem comes. You know, it's so Buddhist. You learn to be with pain and sickness. Inability. And learn how to embrace it and make something of it. Instead of fighting what you cannot change the old saying you can't fight what you cannot change. You can actually learn from it. Grow from it. So I say to someone just earlier, say, oh, similarly. Well, sometimes in life you come to the centre and you treading dog poo on the way here. Life is sometimes painful and unpleasant, but you can always take that dog poo home and dig it in under your mango tree. And then your mangoes as sweet. You know why they're sweet? Because of the dog poo. Now that means that all the pain, a difficulty, you can actually dig that in. That's a dog pool of your life. And we do need a bit of proof to be able to actually to grow. And if it was just all fun and games, you would learn nothing. You would have no compassion. Which starts to put us into what the mind is all about. This is the the heart of. Is this like the driver of the car? And for those of you who don't know what that mind is, it does do a little bit of meditation. The more you let go of the body, the more you get quiet and still, the more you see this thing we call the mind and it gets a great. It's a wonderful insight to know this mind is different and separate from the body. You understand what I meant by saying what we have in common. Between the genders, between the races, between the nations, let alone knows what we have in common with the animals of our world. Were all beings have in common is this thing we call a mind. And you see this very easy when animals who cry. In animals who sometimes get angry. Animals who squabble. Here, have a birdbath. Watching the birds actually glide. I think you remember seeing this. I used to have a birdbath in a monastery. I was in for a while to put water in every afternoon, and the birds would actually come for the evening baths midway in the queue. But sure enough, one bird would jump the queue and all the other birds would tap the bird and squabble or squabbling, chase him out, and then they got back in the queue again. I just thought human beings, you know, there are some some birds with big egos. I made some geese as well. Animals. I'm sure you've all seen animals. You know who got a mind just like you have? Can be silly and stupid sometimes. And could be wise and kind sometimes. Remember that story of a a pair of parrots? One, parrots had been killed by a car or truck at the corner of Southwest Highland Kingsbury Drive, just two kilometers from a monastery. Youth lying dead by the side of the road as Parrott. On a branch of a tree. Overhanging the dead parrot was a second parrot. Looking down. Because we actually go up and down. It's actually wasn't myself. It was one of the the other people who was working in a monastery. They told me that they went up and down that road for three days in a row, and that parrot hadn't moved. He saw it first in the morning and the afternoon. When he went back to go home, that power was still there. The following morning it hadn't moved, and the next evening it was still there, as was the third day, for three days. There was a parrot on the side of the road, dead. There was another parrot just looking down. Parrots mate for life. If that isn't grief, I don't know what is. That was apparent. Grieving through statement. Unable to move or fly away for three days. Animals have the same mind as we have. When we understand what we have in common. Then we can understand sort of how we can live at peace and harmony together. We understand what is really important. This body of ours is just a vehicle. And as some people have, the. Good fortune of dying. Are dying temporarily and remembering what it's like. Because these out of the body experiences is temporary deaths. Flooding out of your body is an experience of. Letting go of the party, of being apart from the body of you being without any body. And everyone who has those experiences always, without exception, comes back and say it's just the most wonderful, beautiful experience. How can that be? A person looking down at their dead body or body on the operating table or whatever. How can that be? If there isn't such a thing called a mind. If anyone is interested in that. Two years ago, there was a. Article in The Lancet magazine. This was a journal of the British Medical Association, one of the oldest and most prestigious medical journals on our planet. Done by Professor Pim Van Lamo, who. And his research found that people had his out-of-body experiences only at the time when they were brain dead. Medically dead. They're flushed out the body and they all have the same experiences, roughly beautiful, wonderful experiences of peace and happiness. Now, some of you said, well, that might be interesting, but how do I know I haven't died yet? But you can die. You can die from your body right in this moment by meditating. Because this is what meditation is, is letting go of your body. So you can understand what the mind is. It's important to be able to do this, to go so deep in your meditation. The whole body disappears as if you haven't got a body, but you're still perfectly alert. In fact, more awake than usual. Happy. Blissed out. In the realm of the mind. Apart from your body. This is what happens in the deep meditations, and what you come back with from those experiences is the same as what people come back with from the out of the body experiences in that they realize they aren't their body. That his body will one day be given up forever. And then they can more identify with being their mind, the stream of consciousness. But when they do that, it means that they are no longer afraid of death. Because what is death anyway? But it's the letting go of this body. People are afraid of death when they think that they die. That you, the person dies with the body. You think there's nothing left? That's what the fear is. But if you realize that this is your body which dies, but you carry on. Then it's not so much of a concern. You understand what's really happening because you've experienced it in your meditation, your experience of another, what experience may be, and you know that you aren't this body. When I don't understand this, it makes the life a much more. Sense makes much more sense of life. You have had many bodies. You have been. All you girls have been boys. All you boys have been girls. Or you heterosexuals may have been homosexuals or you homosexual have been heterosexuals. We've been all sorts of things in the past. Mr. Jackson. Tonkin was probably an Asian in his past life. We wonder if they can remember these things. Mr. Bush was probably an Arab. Mr. Sharon was a Palestinian. Would it be wonderful if I could remember these things? And then how on earth could you actually. I hate. Enough to kill another human being. I think it would be impossible when you realize what this body truly was. Just a vehicle. Look after your vehicle. It's not a person. You can't identify that. This is what a Buddhist looks like. This is what a Christian looks like. This is what an Arab looks like. This is what a girl looks like, what a man looks like. All this stuff about identification with the body causes too much problems. We identify instead with a mind, with the heart. And we understand what we should really love and care for. We should actually respect Beautiful hearts, beautiful minds which have glossy magazines, not of beautiful girls, but of people with beautiful characters. We should have the glossy magazines, maybe of monks and nuns on the front cover the monk magazine. Whatever it is. So actually, we're celebrating something which is much more important to someone who looks good. Moreno can kick a football. Isn't it much more important that we actually value the mind? Well, we actually value the mind much more. We've got a different paradigm to live by. We've got different things, which are things which have a different sense of importance. It's more important to be kind, to be generous, to be loving, to be forgiving. And to be beautiful. And then people wouldn't spend so much time going to beauty clinics. They would spend so much time going to the hairdressers. They're going to spend so much time in the gym. They spend more time here in the Buddhist center, making their minds beautiful, or going on retreats or doing whatever it is going to make them a more kind, generous, loving person. And if we really value the mind instead of the body. Wouldn't it be a more happy and peaceful world? Because then we're valuing what really is worth valuing peace, kindness, tolerance, harmony, generosity, all those beautiful words which people talk about. But I think the body is much more important. So in trying to find out what the mind is and when the mind is trained well, usually the body follows suit. It doesn't really matter so much what the body is doing as what the mind is doing, because it's so well known by science, by medicine. If you have a happy mind, then you're gonna have a healthy body. Recently. About two years ago. Two years ago, one year ago, they had the source crisis in Singapore. And everyone was really afraid when you got through the the immigration, there was the cameras testing whether you were a bit hot or too cold. I made a determination in my mind to make sure my brain was cold, because I had lots of talks to me to give that to those those few days. But when I got through there, the organizers said. They'd actually, uh, hired this huge convention center with about 3000 seats for four days in a row for my talks. And as soon as I came out. There's a lot of expenses within Suntec City. Those of you who know Singapore. It's a huge expense that they've laid out for this series of talks. And they told me that that I think one day before the government had closed all the schools, told all the children to go home because they were afraid that the SARS was spreading. And the government announced that morning for all Singaporeans not to go to any public gatherings. I know it was. I was supposed to give a talk that night in the middle of the service crisis. They asked, should we cancel? I said, no, go ahead. They said, well, somebody might get us. And I said, how many people have got stars already? Because I read the newspaper on the plane. 99. In the Straits Times, you know, the Straits Times. I was in Singapore on the front cover, 99. They had had got SARS so far. So I said, well, how many people in Singapore? So about 4 million. So well, that means 3,999,901 people haven't got SARS. Let's go ahead. I have statistics on my side. Definitely there was. If it was true, it was actually 40,000 to 1, you wouldn't get to us. That's about right, isn't it? That's right. 40,000 to 1. And so everyone came along. And I was so impressed. I'm not one of those people had a face mask. And I told them, look, the reason why will people get those sizes? Because they're too attached to their body to too worried about their body when you're worried. That's when you get sick. Worry is a big health hazard. This. Actually, some people ask me why I'm so fat. It is because I don't worry. You're not. Then. It's not too much. It's just I don't worry. I laugh too much. That's actually makes you fat. That's my excuse anyway. So what we're saying is that when you don't worry so much. It means that you don't get so sick when you laugh a lot, and I got people to laugh a lot during those talks. Laughter releases endorphins into the bloodstream. Another thing that makes you feel happy. It's nature's painkillers, and it also enhances your immune system. So I said, enjoying coming to the talk. It's actually like a shot of Anti-stress vaccine. And especially when you laugh a lot because that was actually a respiratory disease. So so when you laugh a lot, you're exercising your lungs to making them strong. So they want us to begin with. And of course, not one person got us who went to my talks. See, it proved it. Well, the trouble is, we worry too much about our body. We worry too much. That is a problem. Our mind is the Buddha said, the mind is a fallen of all things. Get your mind straight. First of all, the body will follow suit. In most cases, not always, but you're increasing your chances that your body will be healthy. Your body will be strong. Mental disease is one of the greatest causes of physical disease, especially some of these diseases which attack your immune system. Why is it some people get these diseases? Other people don't. I think I said the last time I was here 2 or 3 weeks ago. That doctor in Malaysia who said she knew when a person came into her surgery, she was a specialist and oncologist. Cancer specialists. She could tell straight away who's going to survive and who didn't. By their attitude to their disease. Didn't matter just how advanced that disease was. It was the attitude which was by far, she told me, was by far the best indicator of survival. The mind, the forerunner of all things. You make a happy mind, a good mind, a joyful mind. It's amazing just how long you live. It's been a long time. Maybe I shouldn't say this, but it's a long time since I did. To put his funeral for people to come here. See it works. And what we're saying is that. Happiness. A happy mind, developing that mind, strengthening that mind, paying attention to that mind, paying attention to what is much closer to the core of you is much more important than this body. When I was young, I was into yoga. I was into having vegetarian food. And health food. I went on a ten day macrobiotic macrobiotic diet. All my friends thought I was crazy. I remember just in the cafeteria at the university, you know, that I had to have vegetarian food, and that was shout down vegetarian to get the vegetarian food up. I remember my mates trying to trying to tease me. I remember one of them coming up. So that's rabbit food. You know. So I was eating rabbit food. And I shot back and said, well, what are rabbits famous for? I'm going out tonight. And that's a bit cheeky, but. They asked a cheeky question. I gave a cheeky answer. But anyhow. But you did all of this. I remember seeing this programme on the TV called yoga for health. I think it's one of the first. I probably was the first TV programs for yoga. And I had this man on there, this young American man who looks so fit into all these amazing yoga, uh, postures. Yoga awesomeness. And there's this beautiful woman on there, as well as doing the also doing the, uh, the yoga postures. How's the name? And then that was one of the main reasons I was watching the program, but. Just after I ordained as a monk, I was talking to one of the American monks. I just mentioned that program to him, and he said, a strange thing happened about six months after ordained as a monk. That's very, very healthy man. The yoga instructor. One of the first TV programs about yoga was 30 years ago. He went on the set and dropped Down Dead during a filming. So they can't be. He was doing yoga. There's only about 30. Well, it proved to me, even if you eat brown rice. Doesn't matter. You can still die at any time. And the. War is about support is the mind rather than sort of. The food is important. Yeah, food is important, but the mind is also important. And of course, the the person who really exemplified that. You've heard this story. It's one of my favorite quotes was, um, the American comic George Burns. He was 96, about 3 or 4 years from his 100th birthday. And this American comic is dead now. But he was drinking alcohol every day, eating fatty foods, smoking, doing all the things you're not supposed to do. And on his 96th birthday, had an interview. And I said, aren't you worried about your lifestyle staying out late at night as well? Aren't you worried about your lifestyle? Drinking? I used 96, for heaven's sake. Aren't you worried about your lifestyle? Drinking, eating fatty foods, staying out late at night, smoking? And he shot back in media without any hesitation. So I'm not worried about my my lifestyle. My wife used to be worried about my lifestyle. She died five years ago. This worry which kills you. Internet. This in mind is a forerunner of all things. So we're talking about the body and the mind. Of those two of the mind is most important. The body will grow old and die anyway. The mind would go on with you for another life. Are even more. And rebirths in life to life, to life. You don't carry your body with you, but my goodness, you carry your mind with you. Your character, your love. Your generosity, your forgiveness. You're open and openness and tolerance. It doesn't make it more important to those are the things we develop in our life. Bodies come and bodies go. Felicity is in your heart. Those are the things which you can deal with. And you can change those tears to smiles. To be at peace. Have a beautiful mind. Which can accept, can be at peace with, can love itself. Another of us can be tolerance and can say just for its an old person, a young person, a black person, a white person, but it's a woman or a man or an animal or whatever they are can see that which we have in common can go beyond the body to see the mind, and have a mind which could connect with others in kindness, in love, in generosity. Kindness. Love. Generosity. Giving all the same word. Coming from the same route. This is what we mean by having a pure heart. So that's why in Buddhism we don't have a body which we worship. We worship something very similar. The body. The body is enlightenment. So we don't worry about bodies. The Buddha never became aligned under the body tree. He became a mind under the body tree. The body is a purification of the mind. The enlightenment of the mind. The awakening of the mind. The beautification of the mind. So you can very well say. The body tree was the first beauty parlor in the world. Where the Buddha beautified his mind and became the enlightened one for the compassionate benefit of the whole world. So when we're talking about bodies and what they're all about, this is what body is all about. You've had this one. You probably have other ones. Here we go again. Now I'm a girl and I'm a boy and I'm old, I'm young, blah blah blah blah blah. So don't be so concerned about the body. Don't worry too much about it. Put more effort in. Concerned about your mind? If you develop that, then you can be sick in the body. As a Buddhist said, even though you may be sick in your body. Please don't be sick in your mind. Even though you have pain in the body, you don't need to have pain in your mind. And I'll finish with one of the last stories to show how ecumenical I am this evening from Catholicism. One of my heroes is a person called San Lorenzo, Saint Lawrence. San Lorenzo was being tortured to death. Is that what happened to people in those days when they spoke too much? If I'd have been born to 300 years ago, I'd be in big trouble as well. Probably. But he was being burned to death. Now in the Inquisition. And his last words. His last words before he lost consciousness as it was being burned. You know how painful being burnt is. His last words were turn me over. This side's done. Right. That's what I call a monk. I'm more concerned about his body. Concern about his mind and compassion as well. Because he was concerned about all the other people watching him. You want to cheer them up? It's no fun watching someone being burned to death. So I want to cheer them up with a nice joke. So even the Catholic saints told jokes. So that's a little talk today about the body and the mind. And you don't have to worry too much about what you look like in the body. But please make sure you look beautiful in the mind. Thank you. Okay. Any questions about this evening's talk about body stuff? Are. Never. One question. I have a question. Yes. Thank you. I suppose, so that as the there's more equilibrium in the mind, there also be more sensitivity in the mind, and that more sensitivity in the mind would be more sensitivity to the body, to looking after it in a proper way. But not going overboard. So the mind is most important. That makes sense. Okay. Okay. Heather, one question for tonight and token question. Thank you very much. Now we have the announcement.