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okay so
as Dennis said, I just uh...
interrupted meditation retreat down at our retreat centre, Jhana Grove
and to come and give this talk this evening
uh... the retreat finishes tomorrow evening
so obviously my mind has been full of talks on meditation and
so I thought I'd drag one of those talks out
and recycle it today. recycling is all the rage
uh... but not just to recycle it because it's an interesting aspect of how
not just to meditate
but just how to let go of difficulties in your life. This is the talk on the four
ways of letting go
and this is straight from the Buddha's teaching of how the first teaching of the Buddha
It's part of that teaching
but also it's the case that number one, no matter whether you meditate or you don't meditate
whether your a Buddhist, a christian, a muslim, a hindu or whatever
each one of us has from time to time to learn how to let go
because sometimes that not being able to let go, carrying around
the bad memories of the past, the bad feelings of the present, the fears of the future
not being able to let them go
causes us so much pain and suffering and not just us pain and suffering
it causes all the people who have to put up with us
a lot a pain and suffering. So the very least for the compassion of your family
and the people you work with
please train your mind to be able to let go, to be peaceful and happy
and so that's one of the reasons that I decided to be happy
out of compassion for all the people who have to put up with me
that's a very good reason
so
you learn
something in buddhism called how to let go
and by learning how to let go, it doesn't mean you let go all the time and become
a monk or a nun,even if you do become a monk or a nun, you still have to work hard
you have to keep your responsibilities
you can't just let go all
the time, but it's a very beautiful
part of your repertoire, that you know at any time, in any situation you've got
something to do which most of the other people can't do
you just let things go
and let things be
simple things
it always surprises me
why it is?
that someone hurts you
they cheat you
they let you down
they say terrible things about you
big time
what can't you just let it go?
because if you don't let it go, that person
continues to hurt you
continues to harm you
it's a really weird thing isn't it?
they've hurt you once
because you attach to it and carry it around
they hurt you again
and again
and again and again
every time you think of it
they're hurting you one more time
when you look at it that way, it's totally unreasonable, illogical
one of most foolish thing you could ever do
is to get angry at someone who hurt you
'cause when they hurt you
and you get angry
they're hurting you twice over
so some hurts you
can't do anything about it, let it go
it's gone
you let it go and they can only ever hurt you
once
and then you let it go, so easy
to do
when you realize, how you let these things go?
not only of that
sometimes we have all these fears of the future. I don't know some of you
probably
if you haven't yet one day you're going to doctor and say you've got breast
cancer
you've got prostate cancer
you've got a lung cancer
you've got some sort of cancer
there's a whole variety of cancers now, just like whole variety of music when I was young
you can only get one brand
so this is the choice you have these days
when you have any of these
diseases
what do you do
you worry yourself sick
you're already sick enough
and now you worry yourself sick even further. This is a totally daft and stupid thing to do. So
why can't you
let go of the future
enjoy this moment
and as I said I actually never said that this evening. Strange I used to say
this every week
in meditation
where is your future made?
when is the only time you can do anything about your future?
right now
this is the place
your future, peace, health and happiness is being constructed
so every time you worry about your future. uuuh what's going to happen to me?
i'm going to die
ur actually neglecting the place you could do something
which is right now?
so if you can just make peace, be kind, be gentle. If you can just let go of the future and the past?
and just be now
your gonna be a very healthy, happy, successful person
and people sort of, do bad things to you. Just let it go
why should I allow those people to control my happiness?
or it's one of my favorite sayings goes
you know you get these calendars used to get a calendar. we've run out of them
every year the buddhist society, makes a calendar
and they try and put some of Ajahn Brahm's sayings on that calendar
and the one saying I like the most which never gets on that calendar
is
this one
why seek for revenge
because you know that karma will get the bastards anyway
I don't know why that never gets on that calendar
it's a good one isn't it, you don't have to do anything karma will sort it out
leave it alone, you let it go
trouble is we all know it's reasonable thing to let it go. it makes a lot of
sense
but you
can't do it
which is why, we teach the four ways of letting go?
instead of saying let go, how do you let go? tell me how to let go.
and now the Buddha
is going to tell you. how to let go, with the four ways of letting go
the first way of letting go
it was starting off with
an old experience with my teacher Ajahn Chah, a long time ago
he was real walking back from alms round and a great teacher, they always find an
opportunity
to sort of
you know give you some teaching
but not these teachings with so many words and big concepts
just simple down to earth teachings which once you hear you think
correctly, that's really good
and you remember it
and it changes much of your life
what he did on this occasion walking back. He picked up this stick. There's forest all over
the place
picked up a stick. Turned around and says
Brahmavamso, is this heavy?
is this heavy?
not now
I'm very careful. I didn't throw that too far. I wonder what's gonna bust
it's only heavy
when you hold it
but if you let it go
it's got no weight at all.
profound
simple
and unforgettable
so what heavy things have you got in your life right now?
job, cancer
relationship problems
money problems
is that heavy?
it's only heavy when you hold it
so why on earth can't we let it go? why can't we thrown it away?
at the retreat
i told all those people
who are still worried about their family
worried about their job
to actually to get a stick
in the forest, in jhana grove
and either get a pen or carve
my family on the stick
look at that stick. that's my family
and thrown it as far as you possibly can.
so your free for nine days.
and you can change that if you put my job
you can put, you know my husband, my wife
my kids
my life, throw it away
because what that does
it gives you
an understanding, the first way of letting go is chucking things out
because you live such complicated lives
you have so many things in your basket
and that means
you can not travel lightly
on the journey of life. imagine
a big back pack, you see all these backpackers in perth
I used to go backpacking, my backpack was really small these days they have huge
backpacks
just wonder what they got in, in there. what do you actually need it in there?
probably got their computer
they didn't have computers in those days, just go to a box as a phone, if you wanna read that.
have your own phone but you were very light
in those days
they get big backpacks
imagine you've got a big backpack on
and it's really heavy. It's full of all these not just
clothes but rocks
heavy granite rocks and you
walk through life with this and you just don't know how to take it off and put it
down
your gonna get very tired
your gonna get very sick
your gonna have no happiness, at all and your gonna be so grumpy cuz every
moment of your life, your exhausted
do you feel exhausted?
in your mind
why?
because you've been carrying too many things
in the backpack
around your mind
so we actually look in that back pack. what can I throw away?
this is the first way of letting go.
see what you can? jetison see what you can throw away?
it's amazing you can throw away many many more things
then you could imagine
and
nothing goes wrong
if you throw away all this concern about your future and past
actually nothing goes wrong
that's the first big stone to
get it out of your backpack and throw away
it don't know about your history
has it been a good history
or bad history
I haven't got a clue, cause I threw my stone a long time ago
so you're free of your past
The past is a prison
It's a cell with an open door
you can walk out at any time you like
but a lot of times
just like people who have been in prison a long time
they'r just a bit afraid of leaving
they've been used to that prison cell
so much so
it's hard
to walk out
but once they have the courage to let go of the past
just like the prisoner walking out for the first time. freedom!!!
ahhh!!
I feel so good and so happy
this big burden
this big pain, this big rock
I've let go of
isn't that
wonderful
so see if you can look, at your past
even get a stick in the forest
write my past on it
and throw it as far, or even better get a rock
spray-paint past on it and throw it in the river
and let it sink
with no trace left behind
and then
imagine how free you feel
you can do this, you can let go of these things
but when we don't have the courage to let go, the first way of letting go
with throwing things away
is have some convince you, it can be done
and it's good to do
a lot of times we think we shouldn't
a lot of times we think we can learn from the past, you don't learn from the past, you actually
get a lot of pain from the past. you learn much more from letting go of the past
than you do from keeping the past
so you just allow it to disappear and
as for the future what might happen next
at the retreat people were telling me
about twenty twelve
when the world is going to end. The tectonic plates are gonna shift
there's gonna be tsunami's. there's gonna be earth quakes
so forget about having a mortgage you don't have to pay off for another two years
ofcourse it's not gonna end in two years time or whatever it is
you don't think about that. In fact I saw in indonesia people were talking about
even in indonesia
in the Islands over there
and I said look I volunteer my monastery in the whole Buddhist society of western australia
with all it's assets against your house
I'll bet
If the world ends you get our monastery
and the buddhist society of western australia's assets
it doesn't end we get your house
no one took me up on it
ofcourse you don't , that's not much of a deal
but
people are so afraid of the future
and one thing I can guarantee you about your future
you know I can read futures
just like Ajahn Chah used to do
i can predict
and i predict the future of australia
and i tell you i won't be wrong
the future of australia
is uncertain
now that's, not just a joke
that actually shows you, that you cannot know what's going to happen next
anytime in your life
you just know, you don't know what's going to happen. Your life has been so
surprising is goin in directions you could never predicted each one of you
And that's just the uncertainty of our life, so let go of the future. Throw it away
so what we're doing
is we're letting go by throwing things out. see what we can jettison, see what we
don't really need on our journey
and then next thing you can do is
throw away this
complaining mind
look
dogs are barking again
how many times do they bark
should we do something about these dogs
you can't
that's what dogs do
they bark
that's their nature
so throw away all this complaining
I'm finished now, you can stop barking dogs
same as your husband
sometimes you want to throw your husband away
that's what husbands are like that's what they do, that's what wives do, that's what
kids do
i was on this air craft many aircraft flying all over indonesia
and they always have these kids
BAH BAH BAH, all the time in the aircraft
sometimes I think, come in open the door and throw them out, but I can't do that
cause I'm a compassionate monk
but instead of throwing the baby out. what you do is you throw your complaining
out the window. stop complaining let go of that
so i look at my mind you got this what we call fault finding , complaining mind
you know what that type of mind is
that fault finding, complaining mind can drive you nuts
there's always something wrong
buddhist society
there's always something wrong with this place
like today we didn't have the right tea
and that's just not good enough
if it's not the right tea nice week Dennis Shepard, president I'm not coming ever
again
no of course you don't think like that because that's just the complaining
negative mind
and it doesn't get you anywhere, even if you do get the right tea someone
will drink it, before I get to it, so who cares
so the point is
just let go of your complaining mind
throw it out, has that ever got you anywhere
and you look at that complaining mind and it just drives you nuts and makes you a really
terrible person to live with so that's nothing new or you can see i don't
want this
literally
throw it away
it's as easy to do as that
just letting go of the negativity
letting go of all this stupid thinking we do
not only the negative thinking, but even some of the positive thinking
cause we think far too much
and that stops us getting any peace in life. whenever you're thinking about life
you can't enjoy life
your just listening to the commentary
you're reading a book about life
the thoughts and ideas in your mind
your not really
enjoying the real thing
that's why there's this old simile it's not a meditation story
of lao tzu
every evening he would go on a walk
and he'd choose one of his disciples
only one could go on the wak with a great master
there was a golden rule
if you were to go on a walk with a great Taoist master
you have to be quiet
you weren't allowed to speak, not even one word
one day this young man was going on a walk with this master
and they got to a region of mountains at sunset and they got one of the amazing gorgeous
sunsets
and the young man couldn't help himself to say
Wow! what a beautiful sunset
he broke the rule
Lao Tzu turned around went back to monastery
would never allow that young man to go on a walk ever again
the young man's friend pleaded for him, said look there's only one sentence
give him a break, cut him some slack
what's the big deal anyway of keeping silent
and that's when the master said this very profound
explanation
he said
when that young man
said
what a beautiful sunset
he wasn't watching the sunset anymore
he was only watching the words
he wasn't watching the sunset
he was only watching the words
now that's actually very deep
every time you think
what a beautiful sunset, your not watching anymore
your watching the words
and so much of us
we just watch words, that's all our life is just words
it's divorce from real life
we don't feel, we don't see, we don't hear
we just live
in what we think we hear
what we think we see
what we think we know
there's a great thing to be able to throw out all that thinking
and you get a peaceful life atlast
you don't have to do this all the time
just every now and again
learn how to, throw it out
l told a story a long time ago
about my mother's mantle shelf
and she's an english woman she's well she's in a home now ,she's very old but
in her house
like many english people's house they had a fireplace and above the fireplace they have a
mantle shelf
and on that mantle shelf they keep the nicknacks, the mementos, the photographs
and all the things which
which bring back happy memories
and so that one day
I had just been in australia for a few years and I went to visit my mother and so
I brought her a gift and what sort of gift do you bring
someone gave me a stuffed kangaroo
you know a little fluffy toy, really cute
so I brought that back and gave it to my mother and she liked it very much and she put it
on her mantel shelf
next time I went over there someone managed to get me a
koala
and so I took that back and she said that I was so beautiful everytime I see this. I can
remember you in australia
so she put it on her mantle shelf next to the kangaroo
the next time I managed to get a kookaburra, the time afterwards a Platypus
and the fifth time I went, I managed to get a Wombat
the trouble was the Wombat was so big, she tried to put it on the mantel shelf
and all the other ones fell off
and she spent about an hour trying to balance it on her shelf
and everything else fell off
i said why don't you thrown those other things away
she said noooo, these are nice
they remind you of me, there's so much rubbish on that shelf
and I said mother
this is like the person they get one more thing in their head they have nervous
breakdown, your mantle shelf's having a nervous breakdown
that's what happens we collect so many thoughts and so much stuff
so if that was my mantle shelf
everytime. if I got a kangaroo, I just put that on everything else will be clear
the next time someone gave me something else I throw that one away and get
something new
so one thing at a time
in your head
and then your mantel shelf
inside your brain
never ever
has a nervous breakdown
that's what I always do. all these jobs which I'm supossed to do
and I had just been on these teaching tour of indonesia all over the place
and I was also spiritual director of the Buddhist society of western australia and abbot, bodhinyana
monastery. look after the nun's monastery at dhammasara. spiritual adviser of
the Buddhist society
south australia's spiritual advisor, patron of whatever's Buddhist society of victoria
the director of Wat Buddha Dhamma in Sydney, spiritual patron of Bodhi Kusuma
meditation center, director of Brahm education centre in Singapore
spiritual patron of Buddhist fellowship in singapore. What else am I doing
Vice Chairman of the Australian Sangha Association
few other things, I've missed out a few, what is it? I forget now
anyway I got all these jobs
but only do one at a time
so when I'm sort of
here in this building
I just put
Buddhist society of Western Australia on my mantle shelf
That's all I am
and as soon as I leave, I throw that away
and then I'm just teacher at Jhana Grove meditation retreat centre
and that's the only thing on my mantle shelf
as soon as I leave
that and go back to Bodhinayana Monastery, I throw that away and now I'm abbot of Bodhinyana
Monastery
I just put one thing on my mantle shelf at a time
that's why you're sane and peaceful and happy
so
throw things away
and only keep one thing
the present moment, what's happening now
that becomes, the first way letting go
learning
to throw things out
and stop keeping so much
especially you don't keep the past or the future
second way of letting go
Is just
learning what freedom truely is
and this particular story is an anecdote
where one of our monks
when i was too busy doing all these other things. we used to go teaching in prisons
but another monk started teaching in prison
when he started teaching in prison
It was the katrina prison
and one of the top security jails
after a while the monks, the prisoners
there. they came to stay back a bit longer. we want to sort of talk to you, just find
out about you
So we stayed back a little bit longer they gave him a cup of tea, some chocolate
now if you give a monk a cup of tea and chocolate, they'r gonna stay forever
so we stayed behind for a bit of tea and chocolate and
they started asking questions about life in
a buddhist monastery in the west or what do you guys too
you've ever wondered what we do you in our monastery, so we said
and so he said okay, the day in the life of monk in the monastery, we get up at 4 O clock in the morning
and just to that the prisoners were aghast
4 O CLOCK IN THE MORNING
even in prison, you don't have to getup at that time
and the monk
he did actually make a
qualification, he said actually
it's voluntary
it's optional, getting up at four o'clock in the morning, which is true
it's optional, you can always get up earlier, if you want to
that's the option
and then what do you do
and we told them, we meditate
sit for, can't you just like watch the end of the late night movie
said you don't have TV, you don't have TV's in the monastery. we have TV's in our cells
in prison
it's terrible
so what you do then, you have your breakfast, we do have our breakfast at the
monastery. we usually have just one cup of cereal in it and that's about it
or you know someone like Sun 2 tea, you know it has it's noodles
but it's only one cup. that's all
they said "Wow! you know in Kagerina Jail. You can have beacon, we have pan cakes
we can have cereal, you have everything there, you can have whatever you want
and said "Why don't you do that in the monastery. No No, we just have a bit of cereal
and that's it
and then what do you do in the morning
and then we work hard
at bodhinyana monastery
we do this amazing chores, you know building
and even it do that, and if you go down the retreat centre
we're doing this ramp and i was spending two days cutting the bricks, it was huge angle
grinder really heavy work, get myself all dusty
and I like some joining in when there is only concrete, tell the story once
with doing concrete work, when you do concrete work even as a monk, you get it all splashed
all over you. so you know just boys being boys. I'm still a boy
you know still just maybe a bit old to be a boy, but I still like getting myself all dirty
so I get all this concrete on top of me
as i was walking back to my hut to have a shower, you pass, a srilankan woman
and she was in this really expensive sari, she was visiting the monastery
she came up to me and i'll never forget this, she said
uh... have come to see the abbot Ajahn Brahm
and I thought very quickly and I said um madam if you go to the hall over there
He'll probably be there in about fifteen minutes
that was enough time for me to go to my room, get a shower and get changed into some
clean robes and so i went up to the hall, there she waiting
and said, Oh! I'm Ajahn Brahm you know she never recognize me
that's how dirty
I was
and I gave her a nice talk, you know about the monastery and about Buddhism
what we're doing here and she was really impressed so just before she left
she said
you know you've got a really good monastery, your a really good monk
but if you don't mind me saying this.
I saw this really dirty monk when I came here
and I think you should do something about that and I said I'll talk to him later, mam
which i did
that's actually how hard we work and then the prisoner's hear this
again they were really surprised
cause yeah, in prison you have to do jobs, but they take it real easy in those
jails in australia they'll never get us to work that hard
I said then you have your lunch
yeah, we have our lunch, we have, you know, you've been some many have been to our monastery
we eat it out of a bowl, everything goes in
one bowl
sometimes it's true you do get curry on spaghetti
no sorry I got that wrong you got custard on spaghetti. that's right
you ever had custard on spaghetti
why do you say yuck for, you've never eaten it
but actually you're right, it is gross
so they have custard on spaghetti. how about icecream on curry?
chocolate icecream
ya that's also yucky
cause you know, you put it in your bowl
and for me because i'm a senior monk I put it in the bowl myself and i give it
to somebody to take up,cause that's their duty and by the time they don't really care
for they just shake it all over the place
now I put it in the right positions when I start, by the time it gets up there it's all
over the place but that's all right
and that was saying even in prison even in, when you go to
solitary, you get a tray
the custard is here, the spaghetti is over there. separate compartments, don't have
compartments in your bowl, have a look at our bowl we don't have separate compartments. it goes all over the place.
this is, it's disgusting
so what you do in the afternoons, said we meditate
can't you sort of play some music, or sort of play a game of footie or
something. No, we're not allowed to play footie
we just meditate all afternoon. Don't you get bored
what your supposed to do, your supposed to hangout for dinner. Dinner?
we don't have dinner in our monasteries we just eat in the morning time, there's no dinner
he said well even in prison they give you something to eat in the evening and you
have snacks throughtout the day, whenever you want
so what do you do in the evening then
you know you can
play cards
play monopoly or something pass the time
he said no, we can't do that, don't tell us they said
you meditate dont't you. yeah of course we do. Oh God!
that must be terrible. Then what time do you go to bed?
our monk said Bed? Bed?
we don't have beds
I sleep on the floor
I'm absolutely disgusted
even in prison they put you in the little cot with the mattress on top, not in our
monastery I sleep on the floor
anyway
the prisoners were actually really surprised
they really surprised, but not only surprised they felt sorry for this monk who had been
visiting them
and this is true story one of them was so upset that this man who they got to
like
was living in such a hard situation
one of them blurted out
that's terrible in your monastery
why don't you come in here and stay with us instead?
and they had a point
it is actually much more comfortable
in any prison in western australia than in Bodhinyana Monastery, or even in Dhammasara
Nun's monastery
so why is it
that people are trying to get out of jail
than people trying to break into our monastery, to stay there
waiting lists
and that got me thinking, what's the difference between our monastery and the prison
prison is actually more comfortable
monasteries much more harsher
what's the difference
the only difference is in a monastery
people want to be there
in a prison
doesn't matter how comfortable it is
people don't want to be here
that's the only difference
from that he worked out
there are many prisons in life
I saw the many prisons I've made for myself
the many prisons that other people continue make for themselves
any place you don't want to be
that's your prison
if you don't like this talk and think when's it gonna end
this hall is your prison, you don't wanna be here
if you're in a relationship which you don't like
your relationship is your prison
you don't wanna be there
if your in a job
which is not giving you any satisfaction
another prison for you
even a body which is sick
you don't wanna be here
your body is now a prison
any place you don't wanna be is a prison
however it's very easy way to escape from those prisons you make in life
you don't need to change your husband, your wife
you don't need to even change your job
you don't even need to get better with your sickness
all you need to do is to change your attitude
and want to be here
and you want to be here, your free
doesn't matter sort of how
painful, uncomfortable it is
as long as you want to be here
then you are free
that's called contentment
that's the second way of letting go
want to be here
whatever here happens to be
and that's one of the most powerful attitudes
especially when you're meditating
and also other times in your life
when your meditating doesn't matter what you're experiencing
you can be dull, sleepy, restless, thinking all sorts of weird things in your head
but if you want to be here
you feel peace and freedom
if you wanna be somewhere else
you'll always feel this tension and suffering
the great trick is, you don't need to change anything
except your attitude
and want to be here
not only when you meditate, there are many other times in your know life
so you're stuck in a traffic jam
you got no choice
it's not gonna move faster because you get angry
so when you're stuck in a traffic jam
want to be there
if you want to be here
it causes you no stress at all
you feel perfectly free and at ease and peace
in the traffic jams of your life
when you want to go somewhere and you can't
the only thing that stresses
I want to be somewhere else
I don't wanna be
just like in a prison
if you want to be here, your free
there comes a time
when you're dying
your sick and in pain
I've seen so many people struggle at that time
And it's so sad and desperate to see
so unless you
in your last moments of life
just all the struggle is not going to get you anywhere
there's no escape, your dying
so don't make a prison of your body at the very end
instead want to be there
if you want to be there
your totally free
that's the second way of letting go
want to be here
the other, third way of letting go, this
all comes from
The Dhammacakkapavatana Sutta , The third
noble truth
the Buddha said letting go of craving leads to enlightenment
now what he mentioned to the ways to let go. The third way of letting go
it's called giving
no ordinary giving
but giving
expecting nothing back in return
in this hall here
just in this hall is being built for a long time
there's no sign
saying who gave this
there's no names of the donors in this place, even in our retreat center which
cost over five million
many people donated many many small sums and big sums
who's not even one sign in that retreat centre
opposite our monastery
of who gave what
there's a reason for that
because we encourage
giving expecting nothing back in return
if you give donation and expect to have your name
inscribed over the entrance of that hall,
which you donated
that's not called giving
that's called
buying advertizing rights
selling your name
that's not real giving
so for us
the way Buddha described it, it's giving expecting nothing back in return
so what does that mean your letting go
when you get married and have a relationship
are you giving
or are you expecting something back in return
are you really letting go
too often we expect things back in return
and that causes a huge amount of suffering in life
and our expectations never get realized
you'll find that much of your life
is expectations being frustrated, being thwarted
all the things that were promised to you when you were young, which are expected from life
how many of them have you
reached and got
mostly
very few
when you get married
when you get your job
when you get out in the workplace when you go traveling, you have so many
expectations
and the more expectations you have
the less you can enjoy
the trip which is your relationship or your life
if you can go into your relationship
giving expecting nothing at that see what happens
you'll get a huge amount of fulfilment
even when you meditate
those people who meditate expected to get something
they're the ones who cause all the problems
if you want to get enlightened, if you want to get peace or if you want to get rid of
your cancer there if you're doing it to expect some thing
there'll never be any peace for you
that's why again quoting Ajahn Chah he used to say
you meditate not to get something
not to attain things
you meditate to let go
it is an act of giving
expecting nothing
back in return
of emptying of letting go
it's a beautiful way of living life
whenever I've given any talks I don't expect anything back in return
and usually I don't get anything
you know this evening not the right cup of tea, I don't expect anyway
who cares
so whenever you
do anything, you don't expect anything back
sometimes people get quiet surprised at that
there was somebody rang me up once from here
it was a, it's a
Polish Lady actually I remember her
and she rang me up and said, are you giving a talk tonight
I said yeah I'm given a talk tonight here in this center
they said how much you have to pay to get in
I said nothing you don't have to pay anything to get in, you all know that
and she stopped awhile and she said
you don't understand me
how much money do you have to pay to get through the door?
i said madam you don't have to give any money to go through the door. you just
come in and listen if you don't like it you go out again
and then she paused again
said, LISTEN
how much dollar and cents do i have to cough up to come listen to your talk?
I said madam you don't have to coughup anything
you don't have to pay any money to go in
you don't have to pay any money to go out
we don't give you sort of brochures and propaganda
you know which would ask you money afterwards, it's totally for free, just
come in and listen and you go out again afterwards
and then she paused I was remember that pause
because I knew that she was really surprised
and then she asked with utmost sincerity
what do you guys get out of this then?
she couldn't believe
they can do something expecting nothing back in return
you just give
that becomes such a beautiful way
of living a life
to to give expecting absolutely nothing back in return
why because it's just a joy to give
I think I mentioned a few weeks ago here
every morning
when I'm having my breakfast the cat comes up
to steal my milk
so you know usually I've got enough but sometimes i'd go without
atleast, I have half instead of the whole
which i usually have
so the cat
so i give to the cat
do I get anything back in return for the cat
no, lifts it's, sniffs and goes away
never says, thank you, not even a meaw from the cat
you know what cats are like
so proud
but anyway
who cares whether the cat sort of lets me pat it or stroke it whatever, I don't care
I just love giving
so actually you do give expecting nothing back in return. you give to your cats and dogs
and other people
sometimes mothers give to their kids
they just want to give
and not thinking of getting anything back in return
that's a beautiful way of letting go
so why don't you give to life
give all your kindness, your love
your energy to life
expecting nothing back in return
and then you know what letting go is and
what the spiritual life is all about
it's not what I'm getting out of this
it's what I can give
and ofcourse I've given my whole life to this
that's why i'm so rich
not materially
but with happiness and health and peace
that becomes the third way of letting go
giving, giving to your partner
not expecting anything back in return
giving to life not expecting anything back in return
giving all your energy to this moment
expecting nothing back
it's called the third way
of letting go
just no expectations
we have no expectations life becomes so interesting
your not demanding anything just life gives you so much
it usually gives you what you least expect
we have much more fun that way
you don't anticipate things
all the gifts of life come as a great surprise
I never expected that
isn't that wonderful
life becomes far more enjoyable that way
and the fourth way of letting go
is called having the teflon mind
where nothing sticks to it
so you have this beautiful experience now don't try and take notes
trying to memorize what's being said so you can make sure you
your at this way in the future so you can be a better human being, you don't need to
try to remember these things, these things will stick in your mind anyway
so don't try and collect things, allow things to stick to you
you have this beautiful moment
enjoy it now knowing it's gonna go
so you can be free for the next moment to come
then let that go too
and all the happiness
and the unhappiness of life
never stick to you
which means that you can always be free for the next moment
not allowing the last moment to influence this one
you just flow through life
and again collecting
no mementos
expecting
nothing for the future
someone says something wrong to you
it just goes right through you
as i say, why we have two ears?
if you look very carefully, one says in
the other one says out
so that way we don't need to keep anything
that way
all of the, even the happy moments, we can let those go to, because we care for if you
keep the happy moments
that gives you so much expectations, so much comparisons
it's means you can't enjoy the next moment
how to let go of all the moments happy and sad moments
of the past
so you got this mind, this body, this life to which nothing sticks
which means you can always enjoy
whatever's happening next
not allowing the past
to stop you being free in the present
and that especially goes
with all your knowledge and understanding
sometimes when we learned something
it sticks to us
and it makes us
so if you don't mind me saying conceited
then we cannot face
the reality of the present moment
people with too much knowledge
can never understand the truth of now
that's why I gave one of my other favorite sayings
is never allow knowledge
to stand in the way of truth
never allow knowledge to stand in the way of truth. knowledge is all that you've
learned or you expect to be
which means when you expect something to be when you know what it's all about
it means then that blocks you from seeing the truth and the
uniqueness of what's happening right now
and too many people, even know too much about buddhism and
so they can never understand it
they've never understand the truth to this moment
what's actually happening right now
they can never be at peace with this moment. they could never be free
they could never have real happiness no matter what happens to them in their
life
Why?
because they always allow
their knowledge
to stand in the way
of truth
so remember all the knowledge are just the sign posts
it's just the directions
it's not the real thing
and the last simile
an old simile but a great one
to understand what I mean by not allowing knowledge to stand in a way of truth
There was once a professor or philosophy here in Perth
the experiences important which we are now going to see
with the simile
of the professor and
experiences past it's when it's interpreted
from the knowledge of your past
in other words you take the experience and you compare it with something else
which means it becomes limited by the past
to learn the words actually stand in the way of truth
that's why that in meditation we learn how to be absolutely quiet
to feel and to know
that becomes the truth
in the same way that the student of Lao Tzu
could actually see
didn't see the sunset
only saw the words
and that great Taoist master made a very good comment
that
it is
the person
if they wanna see the sunset
they gotta put aside all the words
descriptions
the words actually block the experience
that's it.
okay back to the professor
there is a professor
who
philosophy in the university
whenever you mention professor of philosophy in Buddhism they always get
a bad rap
so if there are any professor's over here, I do apologize
It's just our tradition
but
this professor of philosophy
He
found out there was a new five star restaurant opening in perth
and he wanted to go there, to test out the food, so he made an appointment, he rang up
there was a two month waiting list, that's how popular the restaurant was
and so
two month waiting list
he decided to book his placer anyway
and when he booked his placer
two months later
he rocked up at the restaurant
and of course they want to see his ID, to make sure he'd really booked a place
and so
they checked his ID and yes he was booked in
so he went into the use, the maitre d .took him to his
table, he sat down at the table and this waiter came, you know these really well dressed waiters
and gave him the menu
and this menu was in
thick parchment
and the menu was written in gold letters and caligraphy
even the menu was a work of art as you would expect in an expensive restaurant
this is no fish and clip shop. this is a top class five-star restaurant, so
he looked at the menu
and then he ate the menu
and then he paid and left
cause the professor had no idea of the difference between the menu and the food
you get it
too often
the menu
this one's knowledge
and the food, what you eat
is the experience
which is why I said never allow
knowledge to stand in the way of truth
so we let go
of all of that
cause too many people say but the Buddha said
but Jesus said
but the experts say
but the government says, so whatever
so what
it's interesting
you know maybe sort of pointing you in the right direction
that's what they said but what did they mean, where were they pointing to
and that's the experience which you have
so by
having a teflon mind
you become this beautiful free mind
which can actually see things
as they are
rather than see things
as your told, that they are
so learn how to be free
is all the ways of letting go
little things
I was telling people at the retreat that some, I told the story, the example of this
in the nine years that i was living in northeast thailand
this was someplace where western culture had not reached
the
countries surrounding thailand have been colonized
but thailand had escaped and whatever westerners went into thailand, they were
all in bangkok some in Cheng Mia, but the part of thailand, I was in
no westerners had been there, and
this is not exaggeration I went to some villages in that place
and i was the first westener the villagers had seen and i remember one occasion
going on alms round in the morning
and i was the first white men they'd seen in the village, and so they were putting food
in the bowl, And it's a big bowl and but they were looking at me
and though all the food was falling outside, the dogs were eating it all. thank you
very much
because I was the first westerner they saw, but
because of that
it was like an indegenous culture which had not been tainted by the west
and it was fascinating to observe that from inside because I was a monk
as a monk you weren't some sort of visitor, you had a place in that social hierarchy
you were in the middle of that social hierarchy, you were not an outsider
so you were treated like a thai
you're expected to behave like a thai
and soon you became like a thai and saw it with thai eyes
and one of the things, you saw were totally unexpected
what I was saying at the retreat was
in those nine years, the monastery I was staying most of the time
was a cremation ground
so
all the villagers in the local area use that place
for the funerals
so we do
the funeral, we see all the villagers they come
and they come and they bring their dead, we do all the chanting and the services we see them that
afternoon and that evening the next day
and there's something very strange
there was no grief
it is
didn't cry, not just cry, they weren't even sad
when somebody died
and this was not suppressing their grief because you saw them every day
they just, wasn't there
it was the culture
in which grief was absent
and that really shocked me and I was there nine years
so this was not just, a short visit
and I thought that was impossible
because my learning had said
that when you lose someone you love you have to have grief
the truth of the matter
there was no grief there
can see
and sometimes people say that's impossible
it was there, can you see how people?
they can't see the truth because of their learning
never allow your learning
to block the truth
so lot of times
we have to let go, even our learning
and our assumptions
in order to see the truth
and that's having what I call this teflon mind
otherwise you'd have all these assumption of, who your husband is?
who your enemies are and who your friends are?
what life is all about?
and that will block you seeing
what's really out there
and life is totally surprising atleast as far as I'm concerned what I've seen in my
life
even like indonesia, my trip to indonesia
that's where all the muslim terrorists are, you know all the barley bombers, they came from over there
but I had such a wonderful time with the muslims
they came to all my talks
we had photos together, got
interviewed and photographed in the muslim newspapers
even one muslim family they came
to the airport, they just caught me in time
said Oh! Ajahn Brahm Ajahn Brahm you must sign our book, this is the best book, we've ever had
so this whole muslim family in the veils and everything
me in the middle
with the book
having last photograph taken together
isn't that wonderful, when people of different religions
can have so much fun together
did you expect that
that was truth
sold lot of the times when we think, ahh! muslims they don't like Buddhists
that's actually what stops us seeing the truth
so remember, just have a teflon mind, don't allow these things to stick
cause they''ll stop you
from experience the truth, so these are four ways of letting go
and those four ways again are just
throwing things away
i'm not talking about throwing your material possessions away but throwing those
mental stuff, which you keep, the past and the future. Worried about the future and
all this other stuff which you worry about. Throw it out
and be simple and be free have few possessions. Don't carry so many rocks in
the backpack, on top of your mind
and number two
is
learning how to be
content
it's wonderful having a mobile phones isn't that wonderful so
be contend that it's ringing
cause it's gonna ring anyway, you can't do anything about it
so be happy to be here
and it's very nice music. thank you so much
it's very rare that monks hear music you know, because we'r not allowed to hear music
so it's very wonderful to hear this. thank you so much. so be content and happy
no matter what's happening
number three
is actually, whatever you do just give expecting nothing back in return
so I don't expect thanks, so I don't expect anything back. so whether you like this talk
that's your problem, I've just given my talk, I've done my duty
and that's it, so I don't expect anything back in return
I just give cause i love giving
I love teaching
I love serving
I love being kind
And seeing what you need next, so that's my joy, so thank you for giving
me the chance to teach
that's all i need
nothing be back in return
most beautiful cause then your free, with no expectations
and last of all, have a teflon mind, which nothing sticks, so don't keep things
especially your thoughts
even your knowledge
so you can be free
and then you understand what letting go is, If you can do that from time to time
in your life, you find that most of the problems of life
you can overcome
there's a time when you work hard
when you carry things
you do your duties and jobs
there has to be the time when you put things down and let go
the problem is as westerners
living in the western world, or as asians living in the western world
we all know about doing things
we'r very good at that
or we don't know
is how to put things down
let go
and rest
so that's how to let go
the four ways of letting go
thank you for listening
Thank ou, you know I never expected that
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Four Ways of Letting Go | by Ajahn Brahm

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Andy published on July 4, 2015
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