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Going Against the Stream | Ajahn Brahmali | 6 January 2023

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    Okay, everyone,
    so Happy New Year, first of all.
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    I forgot to say that before,
    so I need to do it now.
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    So very wonderful to see you all here.
    And today I am going to talk
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    about one of the perennial
    themes of Buddhism, I think it is,
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    which is about 'going against the stream'.
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    Have you heard about the idea of
    going against the stream?
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    It is a thing that you find in a number
    of places in the suttas, this idea,
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    and I just want to talk a little bit
    about what it actually means,
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    various angles on this idea,
    and also how we can use this idea
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    to actually enhance our
    spiritual practice.
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    So the idea on the Buddhist
    teachings about stream,
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    stream is like a metaphor,
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    it's like something which points
    to something else,
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    and the metaphor, the thing it points to,
    one of the most important things
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    is all the habits of our mind.
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    The habits of a mind is like a stream,
    something that flows on,
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    it's like self perpetuating,
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    that's the nature of a habit, just kind of
    goes on whether you want to or not.
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    And you discover that in
    meditation practice, right,
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    you close your eyes, and you see
    these blooming habits following you along.
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    And you think about all kinds of things
    whether you want to or not,
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    actually you want to of course deep down,
    but whether you want to or not,
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    it seems like these habits
    just take over the mind.
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    And this is a very important part of this
    idea of the stream,
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    the habits of the mind that drive you on.
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    And you can feel this in your
    meditation practice,
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    the stream of the mind, this forced
    inside of you that drives on by itself.
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    This is one of the ideas of "stream"
    in the suttas,
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    these kinds of innate habits that we have,
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    not really innate, because they can be
    stopped,
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    but very fundamental habits of the mind.
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    Another interesting idea of the 'stream'
    in the suttas
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    is the thing called 'viññāṇa sota',
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    it's a Pali word, I like to use some
    fancy terminology always.
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    So viññāṇa sota means..
    the stream of consciousness,
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    according to the suttas, this idea
    that the stream of consciousness
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    is the mind basically which goes on from
    one life to another one,
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    carries on into the future,
    established in this life,
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    then gets established in the
    future existence.
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    That's another stream, which is
    problematic, right,
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    the stream of habits is problematic,
    you want to go against that.
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    The stream of consciousness is going on
    from life to life,
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    that's another really problematic one.
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    So all of these things are things that we
    try to, kind of, slow down to begin with,
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    and eventually hopefully,
    cut those streams entirely.
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    But of all these things,
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    the most important kind of stream
    is a stream of craving.
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    Craving is actually part of the
    mental habits that we have,
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    the first thing I mentioned,
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    mental habits are much more
    than craving,
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    but craving is a very important
    part of it.
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    It’s this desire that always kind of
    goes on and on and on,
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    the stream of desire, the mind kind of
    moving on to something else, continuously,
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    all the time, never really stopping,
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    never really standing still,
    even in your meditation
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    it's very rare that the mind becomes
    completely still,
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    it's actually very difficult to do.
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    There's always a little bit of
    movement there,
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    going somewhere, looking for
    something deeper,
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    once you finally get really happy in your
    meditation, you think, 'What's next?'
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    That's the stream of craving in action
    right there.
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    So this craving, this desire to find
    something more,
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    something additional in this world
    is really, really problematic.
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    Now there is a few suttas,
    a few discourses of the Buddha
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    that I thought I would bring up,
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    I always bring up some suttas, that's
    kind of what I've become famous,
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    not famous for,
    I wouldn't call myself famous,
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    but that's kind of what I am known for
    among some people here anyway.
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    And this sutta is from one of the
    very nice collections in the Pali Suttas,
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    called the Itivuttaka, have you
    heard about the Itivuttaka?
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    I know some of you have, some of you
    maybe not.
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    Itivuttaka literally means
    'thus-saidness' or something like that,
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    Iti-vuttaka; vuttaka - saidness,
    thus-saidness,
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    and this collection of suttas is part
    of the Khuddakanikāya,
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    the shorter collection, which actually
    is the longest collection.
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    It is called the shorter
    just to confuse you.
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    So, but in this collection is the
    Itivuttaka,
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    and the very interesting thing about
    the Itivuttaka,
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    that it was a collection of discourses
    that was transmitted by a lay woman,
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    which is kind of fascinating,
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    because sometimes we think about
    Buddhism as very kind of hierarchical
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    with the monks and the nuns and
    then laymen, laywomen,
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    but actually sometimes you find that it
    doesn't matter so much in Buddhism
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    who you are, what matters is the qualities
    of your mind, the qualities of your heart,
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    and if you have good teachings
    that people should remember,
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    that we should keep for posterity,
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    then you are worthwhile listening to,
    we should listen to you,
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    what have you got to say?
    Did you hear the teachings of Buddha?
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    lease come, we want to hear
    those teachings.
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    And this is exactly what happened
    with this Itivuttaka,
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    it was taught or transmitted by this
    laywoman,
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    and then it was somehow given
    to the monks,
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    and the monks will then carry on the
    chanting, maybe the nuns as well,
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    I'm not sure,
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    carry on the chanting of these suttas.
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    So this is very fascinating.
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    Sometimes we have a slightly
    one-sided idea of Buddhism,
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    I think sometimes it
    is more inclusive than we think it is.
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    Anyway, so one of the suttas, I think
    it is the109 of this collection,
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    according to this sutta, it starts off
    with the Buddha saying,
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    suppose there was a person who was
    going down a stream that seemed
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    pleasant and delightful.
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    A person going down a stream
    maybe sitting on a raft or something;
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    I don't know what they're doing.
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    Kind of Robinson cruiser of India
    on this river.
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    So very happy, the stream is pleasant,
    the water is the right temperature,
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    the wind is just right,
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    maybe there is some food on this raft,
    I don't know what, but very pleasant,
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    the river, going downstream.
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    And this is kind of exactly what
    our lives are like.
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    As you carry on in this stream of
    craving in your life,
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    it seems pleasant, right?
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    We think of it as pleasant.
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    We think of the things in our life,
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    our relationships,
    the things that we own,
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    the pleasures that we kind of enjoy
    in our daily basis.
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    They seem great.
    They seem marvelous, right?
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    They seem wonderful.
    What is there to fear?
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    There's nothing to fear, right?
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    We're on this beautiful raft
    going down the stream,
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    we have no idea where it's going,
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    but it's a good river,
    it must be going into a good place.
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    This is how our minds work.
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    If you think about how your mind works,
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    when you talk about the craving
    and going on the stream of craving,
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    it always looks good in the future, right?
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    When you think about where you're heading,
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    it never looks bad, because if it
    were looking bad, you wouldn't go there.
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    It always looks good.
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    This is kind of the interesting thing
    about the idea of craving.
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    When you follow that arrow of craving,
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    the direction of craving, the result
    always seems positive.
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    It always looks like you're going
    to a good place.
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    This kind of relationship, that's the
    right person for me,
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    that's going to be a really good one.
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    And you stop at the point
    where the relationship starts,
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    you don't go beyond that,
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    you forget to ask "and then what?"
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    The "and then what?",
    that's the interesting one, right?
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    That's one of my favorite teachings
    from Ajahn Brahm.
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    I remember that when I first came
    to Bodhinyana Monastery,
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    and he taught
    the "and then what" teaching.
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    I think we should write a sub commentary
    on the "and then what" teaching,
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    because I don't think it was
    ever written,
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    the Buddha never mentioned that.
    Maybe he did actually,
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    but maybe not precisely in those terms.
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    I think he did. Yeah,
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    because this is exactly the point of
    some of the similes of the Buddha,
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    is like this "and then what" idea.
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    So this is a problem in our life,
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    it looks like we're heading towards
    a positive goal.
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    When we crave, we look to the future,
    where this is all going,
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    it looks beautiful,
    it looks delightful,
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    but we're not seeing things clearly.
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    We are on this river,
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    we don't really know whether the river
    turns right or left,
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    what's going to be around the corner,
    we have no idea, but it looks good,
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    so we hold on to it. And then as we
    are going down this river,
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    there is a man who looks on
    and sees what is going on.
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    So who is this man, do you think,
    in the suttas?
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    Okay, I'm going to tell you...
    you don't have to answer.
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    The man is the Buddha.
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    The Buddha looks on, because
    the Buddha sees what is going on.
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    The Buddha is looking on at humanity,
    and he is seeing all of us
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    on this river of craving,
    going full speed ahead with desires,
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    with all of these kinds of things,
    blind, like moles,
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    no idea where this tunnel
    is gonna go underground.
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    And we just carry on, digging that
    tunnel, carrying on in the stream,
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    and no idea what's happening.
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    The Buddha says, actually,
    where are you going?
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    He says, if you carry on in this stream,
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    you're going to this pool,
    there's a pool down there,
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    and in that pool, what do you find?
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    Whirlpools, waves, saltwater crocodiles,
    not freshwater, saltwater crocodiles.
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    The salties is not the freshies
    because the salties are the scary ones.
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    And then monsters.
    Monsters are kind of the fourth one.
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    I'm not sure whether it's the monsters
    or the sharks or something like that.
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    I am Australian now, so I have to know
    the difference between
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    the salties and the freshies.
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    And the fellow who did this translation,
    he's an Australian monk, Ajahn Sujato.
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    So, he did this and he knew the
    difference between
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    saltwater and freshwater crocodiles,
    he deliberately put saltwater crocodiles,
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    so we knew this was really dangerous,
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    not some kind of small, minor, cute
    crocodile like the freshwater crocodiles.
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    So that's what he sees.
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    If he carries-on, that's where
    he's gonna go.
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    And of course, if you meet up with a
    saltwater crocodile,
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    and it's lunchtime for that
    saltwater crocodile;
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    that's it, you're finished.
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    And so this is kind of fascinating, right?
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    You're on this beautiful trip,
    going down this stream,
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    everything seems so beautiful,
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    and there's all these saltwater crocodiles
    waiting for you around the corner.
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    What happens if you know that there are
    saltwater crocodiles around the corner?
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    You get pretty scared, right?
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    These are very scary beasts,
    these saltwater crocodiles,
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    they are really scary, and so
    you become very worried about this.
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    And of course what happens
    once you get worried
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    is that you start paddling for life
    with your hands and feet
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    to go against the stream.
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    Hopefully the current isn't so strong,
    hopefully it's quite weak,
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    so you can paddle faster than the stream
    will take you down
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    to the saltwater crocodiles.
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    So this is the idea;
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    once you understand the
    danger of craving,
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    why is craving so dangerous?
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    Let's just stay with that just for a
    couple of moments before I carry on..
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    What is it about craving that is
    so dangerous?
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    What is it about this sweet thing that we
    have in our life
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    that seems to give us so much happiness;
    how can that be dangerous?
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    And the first reason of course is that
    craving makes us attached,
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    it makes us hold onto things
    in the world.
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    And the moment you hold on to
    things in the world,
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    you're asking for suffering.
    You're saying, please, may I suffer!
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    You may not actually be saying that,
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    but you should be saying that,
    that's what I'm saying.
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    Because the moment you hold onto things,
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    you know that those things
    are impermanent,
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    you know that they are unreliable,
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    you know you can't hold on to them.
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    So if you grasp things that are
    inherently ungraspable,
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    you have a problem.
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    And that problem is called suffering.
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    This is a small one, this doesn't really
    sound like saltwater crocodiles,
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    maybe whirlpool, may be a wave
    but not really a salty,
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    salties are too, kind of, scary for that.
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    But it's worse than that, right?
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    And what is worse is that in our pursuit
    of all the sensual pleasures in the world,
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    we tend to do stupid things.
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    If you look at your life when you have
    done something unwholesome,
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    if I look at my life when I have done
    something unwholesome,
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    very often it was in connection with
    some kind of sensual pleasures
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    that didn't go my way or
    something like that,
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    and you start doing things,
    saying things,
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    acting in ways that are terrible,
    certainly thinking in bad ways.
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    So this is the part of the problem, is
    that external world of the five senses,
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    this craving that we are pursuing
    is inherently connected to violence
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    and to all of these problems that we
    call immorality;
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    violence, conflict, and all of these
    kinds of things in the world.
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    Because we share that
    whole external world with other people.
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    Because we share with others,
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    it's inherently going to be a
    conflicting world,
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    that world of the five senses.
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    And because it is inherently involved with
    conflict, it is really problematic.
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    I think this was one of those really
    interesting insights I had in my practice
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    when I saw that. I thought ‘wow, this is
    what the sensory realm really is like.
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    It is a realm of conflict’.
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    You cannot divide the sensory realm,
    you cannot separate it
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    from the idea of conflict, of ill will,
    and all of these kinds of things.
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    They have to go together by definition,
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    because we share a world where
    everyone wants more;
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    conflict has to arise as a consequence.
  • 13:45 - 13:50
    And once you see that, that whole world
    actually looks far less attractive,
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    because you know that the moment
    you buy into that,
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    you also buy into all the problems,
    all the immorality, all the conflict,
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    all the pain that also comes
    with that world,
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    and then you start to shift
    in a different direction.
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    You think about life in a different way.
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    You think about your goals in life
    in a new way because of that.
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    So then your paddle, and you paddle,
    and paddle and paddle as crazy
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    as far as you can.
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    Where do you go when you paddle?
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    Okay, this is the next part.
    Where do you go when you paddle?
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    The first thing is that
    you can't just paddle.
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    The Buddhist idea is
    you want to cross the stream.
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    So first of all you paddle a little bit,
    and then you eventually realize
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    you want to cross this blooming stream,
    but initially you paddle.
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    So one of the other interesting suttas
    I'm going to bring up now,
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    which kind of I think illustrates
    this point a little bit.
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    And this is the idea, not just that
    the stream is dangerous,
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    but as we go into this stream, we tend
    to become coarser gradually over time.
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    It gets worse and worse,
    as if the stream goes faster and faster
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    becomes more and more dangerous
    as we carry on.
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    So it's not just that we are going
    in a stream,
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    but the stream actually gets worse also
    as we go along.
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    And I'm sure you can probably relate
    to that to some extent, yeah.
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    In craving in life, sometimes we
    have kind of craving for refined things;
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    and sometimes that craving kind of
    becomes more and more obsessive,
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    it goes in the wrong direction,
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    we don't really find the satisfaction
    that we're looking for.
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    And because we don't find
    the satisfaction,
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    we try something that's more coarse,
    goes further,
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    takes the whole thing to another level,
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    and as we take this craving further
    to another level,
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    we are coarsening our minds,
    and we're kind of on a downward slope,
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    making things worse and worse basically.
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    And we can see this in the world,
    people are never really satisfied.
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    People never really feel that sense of
    okay, I’ve reached a limit.
  • 15:52 - 15:56
    And there's a beautiful sutta about
    this as well.
  • 15:56 - 16:03
    And this is a sutta which is slightly
    kind of mythological in content,
  • 16:03 - 16:05
    it's called the Aggañña Sutta,
  • 16:05 - 16:08
    found in the long discourses
    of the Buddha, number 27.
  • 16:08 - 16:13
    And this particular sutta is a sutta
    about beginnings.
  • 16:13 - 16:17
    It shows how the world kind of
    slides down from the beginning.
  • 16:17 - 16:21
    And of course, the world sliding down
    from the beginning
  • 16:21 - 16:25
    is another metaphor
    for the mind also sliding down,
  • 16:25 - 16:30
    becoming coarser, more obsessed,
    increasing these cravings as we go along.
  • 16:30 - 16:34
    One of the kind of beautiful things
    about this sutta,
  • 16:34 - 16:38
    it starts off by saying,
    this is about beginnings, right?
  • 16:38 - 16:42
    So beginnings is usually in religion
    means the beginning of the world.
  • 16:42 - 16:47
    So in Buddhism, what is the
    beginning of the world in Buddhism?
  • 16:47 - 16:51
    The beginning of the world is
    the end of the previous world, right?
  • 16:51 - 16:53
    That is the Buddhist idea.
  • 16:53 - 16:57
    So this sutta begins with the ending.
    This is kind of cool, this is
  • 16:57 - 17:01
    the way Buddhism talks about
    beginnings, it starts with endings.
  • 17:01 - 17:06
    So the previous world comes to an end.
  • 17:06 - 17:08
    And because the previous world
    comes to an end,
  • 17:08 - 17:13
    you have all these beings that exist
    in a very elevated and beautiful state,
  • 17:13 - 17:17
    because that is what happens when
    the world comes to an end in this way.
  • 17:17 - 17:19
    They exist in a very beautiful,
    elevated state,
  • 17:19 - 17:23
    where there is no craving,
    there's no desire.
  • 17:23 - 17:29
    The beautiful idea here is that
    they are feeding on bliss, pītibhakkhā
  • 17:29 - 17:33
    Isn't that a beautiful idea,
    feeding on bliss?
  • 17:33 - 17:37
    It’s this idea you don't need any
    nutriment from the outside,
  • 17:37 - 17:39
    you don't need any nutriment
    to support your body,
  • 17:39 - 17:41
    because you feed on bliss.
  • 17:41 - 17:45
    Bliss is what sustains you,
    bliss is what gives life meaning.
  • 17:45 - 17:48
    Forget about all this coarse stuff
    in the human realm.
  • 17:48 - 17:50
    This is the really refined stuff.
  • 17:50 - 17:56
    How does it go again? I can't remember.
  • 17:56 - 18:01
    Anyway, so starting in this very
    high realm, but then
  • 18:01 - 18:04
    as the previous universe comes to an end,
    the new universe starts.
  • 18:04 - 18:07
    It's like, kind of, one big bang
    after the other if you like.
  • 18:07 - 18:09
    It's kind of the Buddhist idea of things.
  • 18:09 - 18:11
    And then as the new world evolves,
  • 18:11 - 18:15
    yeah, these beings, when kind of
    the world becomes available,
  • 18:15 - 18:19
    they start to get reborn in
    slightly lower destinations.
  • 18:19 - 18:22
    And in this lower destinations,
    because the world evolves,
  • 18:22 - 18:24
    there is material things.
  • 18:24 - 18:27
    And when the material things
    of that world evolve,
  • 18:27 - 18:31
    part of those material things will seem
    delightful to these people.
  • 18:31 - 18:32
    Or these beings,
  • 18:32 - 18:35
    they are not people at this point,
    they are just beings,
  • 18:35 - 18:36
    feeding on bliss or whatever.
  • 18:36 - 18:39
    Most people don't feed on bliss,
    at least not all the time.
  • 18:39 - 18:42
    Maybe hopefully sometimes,
    not all the time.
  • 18:42 - 18:48
    And so the earth kind of appears,
    and all these material things appear,
  • 18:48 - 18:50
    and as these things appear,
  • 18:50 - 18:53
    they start to look out, and see
    ''Oh what might this be?
  • 18:53 - 18:55
    "What is going on here?"
  • 18:55 - 18:59
    And they go down to this earth,
    to this material substance,
  • 18:59 - 19:03
    and they break a piece off,
    and they think what might this be?
  • 19:03 - 19:05
    and they taste it.
  • 19:05 - 19:08
    And the moment they taste it,
    because the taste is so beautiful;
  • 19:08 - 19:13
    it's like.. the translation says,
    it's sweet like wild Manuka Honey,
  • 19:13 - 19:16
    or something like that.
    Beautiful taste.
  • 19:16 - 19:20
    At that moment,
    craving is born in that being.
  • 19:20 - 19:24
    And that's kind of extraordinary
    when you think about it.
  • 19:24 - 19:28
    Because here you have these beings who
    are completely content,
  • 19:28 - 19:33
    completely happy, feeding on bliss,
    but because the sense of self,
  • 19:33 - 19:37
    because there is a doer inside
    that makes people act,
  • 19:37 - 19:41
    even though there's nothing to act for,
    but the identifying with that doer
  • 19:41 - 19:43
    drives you on to do things.
  • 19:43 - 19:50
    And that activity that you do then
    gives rise to craving as a consequence.
  • 19:50 - 19:54
    So a person that had no craving,
    that was perfectly content,
  • 19:54 - 19:56
    that didn't needs anything in the
    whole world,
  • 19:56 - 20:03
    because of the restless nature
    of people or beings, craving arises.
  • 20:03 - 20:06
    And once that craving arises,
    because craving is coarse
  • 20:06 - 20:10
    compared to the very
    contented state of human beings,
  • 20:10 - 20:12
    their body becomes more coarse.
  • 20:12 - 20:17
    And as their body becomes coarse,
    the world around them becomes coarse.
  • 20:17 - 20:22
    Because the world around us is just a
    reflection of our own minds, in large part
  • 20:22 - 20:25
    depending on how you're reborn,
    and all these kinds of things,
  • 20:25 - 20:28
    but our experience of the world
    is reflected in our minds.
  • 20:28 - 20:32
    So the world becomes more coarse.
    And when the world becomes more coarse,
  • 20:32 - 20:36
    they get more craving, and it builds up,
    more and more craving,
  • 20:36 - 20:39
    eating new things, eventually they
    start putting up boundaries,
  • 20:39 - 20:42
    this is my stuff, I want to eat this.
  • 20:42 - 20:45
    And once they put up boundaries,
    they start stealing from each other,
  • 20:45 - 20:48
    when they start stealing from each other
    they start lying
  • 20:48 - 20:49
    because they're gonna get penalized.
  • 20:49 - 20:53
    You can see the coarseness is
    becoming worse and worse and worse,
  • 20:53 - 20:58
    driving on, until one day they say
    the lifespan has declined to five years,
  • 20:58 - 21:02
    and there's this sword,
    what they call the sword interval,
  • 21:02 - 21:05
    that is when they run after each other
    like wild beasts,
  • 21:05 - 21:07
    cutting each other down
    and killing each other,
  • 21:07 - 21:09
    kind of reach rock bottom,
  • 21:09 - 21:12
    and then things start to turn around
    and it goes up again.
  • 21:12 - 21:15
    But the nature of the mind is
    kind of going downwards,
  • 21:15 - 21:17
    spiraling out of control,
  • 21:17 - 21:21
    not really understanding that things are
    heading in the wrong direction,
  • 21:21 - 21:26
    trying to find satisfaction, when
    no satisfaction can really be found.
  • 21:26 - 21:31
    So this is an important aspect
    of this idea of the stream.
  • 21:31 - 21:34
    Notice that in yourself, because it can
    sometimes be easy to see
  • 21:34 - 21:38
    if you are too fixed on craving.
  • 21:38 - 21:39
    If you are not like that,
  • 21:39 - 21:43
    you can see it in people around us
    in the world very often.
  • 21:43 - 21:49
    So these are two ideas about the idea
    of going... this is the flow,
  • 21:49 - 21:53
    but I'm going to come to
    'going against the flow' very soon.
  • 21:53 - 21:54
    That's really what this is all about.
  • 21:54 - 21:58
    It’s just kind of setting the scene
    for going against the flow.
  • 21:58 - 22:02
    So there's one more sutta
    that kind of illustrate, this point
  • 22:02 - 22:05
    about the flow of craving quite nicely,
  • 22:05 - 22:07
    in a slightly different way.
  • 22:07 - 22:11
    And this is one of my
    really favorite suttas.
  • 22:11 - 22:14
    Every sutta is my favorite;
    this is my kind of favorite favorite.
  • 22:14 - 22:16
    Not really, they are all favorites.
  • 22:16 - 22:20
    So this sutta is called
    the Raṭṭhapāla Sutta.
  • 22:20 - 22:23
    Raṭṭhapāla is a name of a person,
    he was called Raṭṭhapāla,
  • 22:23 - 22:28
    and in this Sutta this monk called
    Raṭṭhapāla, he goes to meet a king.
  • 22:28 - 22:30
    This king is called Koravya,
  • 22:30 - 22:34
    and so he meets this king, and this king
    is really old, he is about to die,
  • 22:34 - 22:38
    and he looks at Raṭṭhapāla, Raṭṭhapāla
    is a young man, he is already an Arahant.
  • 22:38 - 22:41
    And this King looks at this young men
    and asks
  • 22:41 - 22:42
    'Why have you gone forth?
  • 22:42 - 22:45
    You're young, you're healthy,
    you're in the prime of life,
  • 22:45 - 22:48
    your family is wealthy,
    you have all these relatives,
  • 22:48 - 22:51
    you have everything, everything
    anyone could want in life.
  • 22:51 - 22:53
    Why have you gone forth?
  • 22:53 - 22:58
    I would like to hear the secret behind
    this magic of the Buddha.”
  • 22:58 - 23:03
    The magic of the Buddha,
    that's what they call it, the magic,
  • 23:03 - 23:05
    they call it the converting magic
    of the Buddha,
  • 23:05 - 23:08
    because when the Buddha speaks,
    it's like, wow, okay,
  • 23:08 - 23:11
    I better become a monk straight away,
    or a nun.
  • 23:11 - 23:14
    So if you don't want to become a
    monk or nun after this talk,
  • 23:14 - 23:19
    it means that I have a long way to go
    before I reach the level of the Buddha!
  • 23:19 - 23:22
    Probably a very long way, actually.
  • 23:22 - 23:31
    So he speaks to Raṭṭhapāla,
    this king, and he says,
  • 23:31 - 23:33
    why on earth did you go forth?
  • 23:33 - 23:37
    This is kind of really fascinating,
    because if we get these teachings,
  • 23:37 - 23:40
    then maybe the chances are
    that we follow suit.
  • 23:40 - 23:43
    And the Buddha, not the Buddha,
    Raṭṭhapāla says,
  • 23:43 - 23:48
    "Well, there are four summaries of the
    Dhamma that made me become a monastic,
  • 23:48 - 23:51
    that made me go forth, and eventually
    becoming an Arahant,
  • 23:51 - 23:54
    a fully awakened person.
  • 23:54 - 24:00
    And he says, one of these summaries of the
    Dhamma is that the world is incomplete,
  • 24:00 - 24:06
    it is insatiate, it is a slave to craving.
  • 24:06 - 24:12
    The world is incomplete, insatiate,
    a slave to craving.
  • 24:12 - 24:16
    So what does that mean? What does it
    mean 'the world is incomplete?'
  • 24:16 - 24:18
    Well, the world is us.
  • 24:18 - 24:21
    Each one of us is like the world,
    the world is our world.
  • 24:21 - 24:25
    So beings are incomplete.
    What does that mean?
  • 24:25 - 24:28
    It means that we feel like
    we are not fulfilled, right?
  • 24:28 - 24:31
    It feels like there's something
    missing inside of us.
  • 24:31 - 24:35
    It feels like there is a hole that
    we need to fill up somehow within us.
  • 24:35 - 24:37
    And this is why we go out into the world.
  • 24:37 - 24:40
    This is why we get into relationships,
  • 24:40 - 24:46
    Relationship is precisely the idea of kind
    of forming something more than ourselves.
  • 24:46 - 24:50
    It is kind of a very important aspect
    of this idea of falling in love and
  • 24:50 - 24:52
    having a relationship.
  • 24:52 - 24:54
    It is an idea of feeling more complete
  • 24:54 - 24:57
    through someone else,
    with the help of someone else,
  • 24:57 - 24:59
    even though that obviously is
    quite dangerous,
  • 24:59 - 25:04
    because a relationships have to have
    an end to it, still that's what we do.
  • 25:04 - 25:06
    So all of these things that
    we're doing in life,
  • 25:06 - 25:10
    getting the right house, the right job,
    which is going to be really satisfactory,
  • 25:10 - 25:12
    the right kind of career,
  • 25:12 - 25:15
    all these things;
    getting popular in the world,
  • 25:15 - 25:19
    a very important one,
    all of these things, building up,
  • 25:19 - 25:21
    this is how we're going to feel
    complete.
  • 25:21 - 25:24
    This is kind of the idea in the world.
  • 25:24 - 25:28
    But here, Raṭṭhapāla says,
    the world is incomplete.
  • 25:28 - 25:30
    All of those things that we're
    seeking in the world
  • 25:30 - 25:33
    are never going to
    make us feel complete.
  • 25:33 - 25:36
    There's always going to be
    another desire behind that one.
  • 25:36 - 25:39
    There's always going to be more
    going on into the future.
  • 25:39 - 25:42
    There is no final satisfaction
    in that world.
  • 25:42 - 25:44
    In fact, there isn't any real
    satisfaction at all.
  • 25:44 - 25:48
    Often it's the opposite,
    there's actually more dissatisfaction,
  • 25:48 - 25:51
    because when you realize that
    it actually doesn't work out,
  • 25:51 - 25:54
    you just crave even more,
    for even more things,
  • 25:54 - 25:58
    things that are even more coarse,
    and you don't actually get anywhere.
  • 25:58 - 26:01
    The world is incomplete.
  • 26:01 - 26:03
    It is insatiate.
  • 26:03 - 26:06
    There is no satisfaction,
    because there is no completion.
  • 26:06 - 26:08
    There is no satisfaction.
  • 26:08 - 26:11
    We are the slave of craving.
  • 26:11 - 26:16
    It is a beautiful little saying,
    'you are the slave of craving'.
  • 26:16 - 26:20
    Very often, we think the exact opposite.
  • 26:20 - 26:22
    We think we are the masters of craving.
  • 26:22 - 26:23
    Actually we enjoy craving,
  • 26:23 - 26:27
    because craving will get us
    what we want, right?
  • 26:27 - 26:31
    If we crave, we will go into the world,
    we will fulfill ourselves,
  • 26:31 - 26:34
    and we'll get what we actually want
    in this life.
  • 26:34 - 26:36
    So craving is good.
  • 26:36 - 26:40
    One of the really beautiful things the
    Buddha points out in another sutta,
  • 26:40 - 26:45
    I think it's called Chachakkasutta MN 146
    I think (148) if you want to look it up.
  • 26:45 - 26:50
    And in that Sutta, the Buddha says
    that not only do we enjoy craving,
  • 26:50 - 26:56
    we identify with craving.
    We think that we are craving.
  • 26:56 - 27:00
    How can that be, when craving is
    often so painful and so restless?
  • 27:00 - 27:04
    And the reason is
    why we identify with craving
  • 27:04 - 27:08
    is because we are doers,
    we identify with doing.
  • 27:08 - 27:11
    Have you ever noticed how you
    identify with doing,
  • 27:11 - 27:13
    how you feel alive when you do,
  • 27:13 - 27:16
    how you feel you are expressing
    yourself when you do things?
  • 27:16 - 27:19
    This is a very important part in our
    modern culture,
  • 27:19 - 27:21
    the idea of expressing ourselves,
  • 27:21 - 27:24
    because what you are doing there is
    you're expressing,
  • 27:24 - 27:29
    you are using a side of the ego that
    indulges in the activity of doing.
  • 27:29 - 27:32
    We identify with the doing itself.
  • 27:32 - 27:36
    And because you identify with the
    doing, craving is your friend.
  • 27:36 - 27:39
    Because craving is what makes you do.
  • 27:39 - 27:41
    Doing and craving are two sides
    of the same coin.
  • 27:41 - 27:45
    Without the craving you can't
    really do very much.
  • 27:45 - 27:49
    So that's why we also identify with the
    craving itself.
  • 27:49 - 27:52
    But the Buddha turns it around,
    instead of identifying with craving,
  • 27:52 - 27:55
    craving is the slave driver.
  • 27:55 - 27:58
    Craving is the thing that makes
    you restless.
  • 27:58 - 28:01
    Craving is the thing that always
    drives you on
  • 28:01 - 28:03
    from one thing to the other one,
    without end.
  • 28:03 - 28:06
    You can never rest when there is craving.
  • 28:06 - 28:09
    Craving says, do this, and
    you says, yes, master, please,
  • 28:09 - 28:13
    let me run quickly to this goal,
    whatever it might be.
  • 28:13 - 28:16
    And you follow along with craving
    without really stopping and thinking
  • 28:16 - 28:18
    whether it's a good idea.
  • 28:18 - 28:22
    You are the slave of craving.
    And how can we understand that?
  • 28:22 - 28:25
    Well, the one of the ways of
    understanding that, of course,
  • 28:25 - 28:27
    is through meditation practice.
  • 28:27 - 28:32
    As you become peaceful in meditation,
    as things start to calm down,
  • 28:32 - 28:36
    you start to understand this
    duality of craving and peace,
  • 28:36 - 28:38
    and how they are two opposites.
  • 28:38 - 28:41
    How one is really delightful,
  • 28:41 - 28:44
    while the other one is
    inherently just agitated,
  • 28:44 - 28:48
    restlessness, driving on,
    never being able to rest,
  • 28:48 - 28:51
    thinking that you're going
    somewhere worthwhile,
  • 28:51 - 28:54
    when actually it is just more of the
    same down the road
  • 28:54 - 28:56
    again and again and again.
  • 28:56 - 28:58
    Just occurred to me
  • 28:58 - 29:03
    how we often get complaints that
    Buddhism is so pessimistic,
  • 29:03 - 29:08
    maybe I should stop talking like this,
    this is kind of going really ........
  • 29:08 - 29:10
    We have to come to the
    solution, right?
  • 29:10 - 29:13
    So much negativity, wow,
    that's really bad.
  • 29:13 - 29:15
    So how do we resolve all of this?
  • 29:15 - 29:18
    How do we kind of.. what can we do
    about all of this?
  • 29:18 - 29:25
    The slave, this idea of a stream going
    on and kind of moving us into the future.
  • 29:25 - 29:27
    How can we deal with this?
  • 29:27 - 29:29
    And how to deal with this, actually,
  • 29:29 - 29:33
    first of all, we have to kind of
    understand some of these streams,
  • 29:33 - 29:36
    and how to think about them.
  • 29:36 - 29:39
    So, I'll talk a little bit about
    kind of streams from different angles,
  • 29:39 - 29:42
    and then see what we can do about them.
  • 29:42 - 29:44
    And then I'm going to look
    at the very end,
  • 29:44 - 29:46
    towards how we can enter an
    alternative stream.
  • 29:46 - 29:48
    That's where it gets really exciting.
  • 29:48 - 29:50
    What is the alternative stream?
  • 29:50 - 29:53
    Is there a different stream that maybe
    not heading towards the crocodiles,
  • 29:53 - 29:59
    but it's heading towards happiness,
    joy, bliss, insight, understanding,
  • 29:59 - 30:02
    wisdom, all of these kinds of things.
  • 30:02 - 30:06
    That is the cool kind of stream
    where we really want to go.
  • 30:06 - 30:10
    So one of the ways of thinking about
    the streams of the Dhamma
  • 30:10 - 30:14
    is what is sometimes called in the Suttas
    the Aṭṭha-loka-dhamma;
  • 30:14 - 30:18
    the eight worldly conditions, or the
    eight worldly things.
  • 30:18 - 30:23
    And these things are,
    one of these things is like
  • 30:23 - 30:28
    praise and blame is one of them,
    praise and blame,
  • 30:28 - 30:31
    popularity, unpopularity,
    happiness and suffering,
  • 30:31 - 30:34
    gain and loss.
    So these are the eight of them.
  • 30:34 - 30:39
    So these are eight aspects
    of the streams of the world.
  • 30:39 - 30:44
    And they're kind of very interesting,
    because they basically summarize
  • 30:44 - 30:47
    the sort of things that we are
    interested in the world
  • 30:47 - 30:50
    that make the world
    come alive for us.
  • 30:50 - 30:53
    And the first one of those is
    praise and blame.
  • 30:53 - 30:57
    And this is a very interesting one,
  • 30:57 - 31:02
    because it is so addictive to be praised,
    and people often live to be praised,
  • 31:02 - 31:05
    and that's what they want
    in their life.
  • 31:05 - 31:07
    But of course, you realize very soon
  • 31:07 - 31:10
    if you're trying to get praised
    all the time that you can't control it,
  • 31:10 - 31:12
    and actually the world doesn't
    work like that.
  • 31:12 - 31:17
    So if you are on this boat kind of
    rejoicing and being praised or whatever,
  • 31:17 - 31:20
    soon enough you're going to have
    suffering as a consequence,
  • 31:20 - 31:22
    because there's no way you're going
    to be able to sustain
  • 31:22 - 31:25
    all that praise all the time.
  • 31:25 - 31:28
    So one of the ways that I like
    to think about the idea of
  • 31:28 - 31:31
    praise and blame
    in my own life is the idea that
  • 31:31 - 31:34
    most people who praise me
    or who blame me,
  • 31:34 - 31:38
    actually often that is for
    such superficial, irrelevant things.
  • 31:38 - 31:41
    And most of the people who praise
  • 31:41 - 31:43
    and blame you, what do they
    understand anyway
  • 31:43 - 31:46
    about what is really worthwhile
    in the world?
  • 31:46 - 31:48
    That's what I think..
  • 31:48 - 31:51
    I never say it, but I think it.
    I just said it right now. I forgot.
  • 31:51 - 31:54
    But these are things you can think,
  • 31:54 - 31:57
    but you have to be careful with
    saying them;
  • 31:57 - 31:59
    otherwise it might become problematic.
  • 31:59 - 32:02
    There are things in Buddhism you have
    to keep kind of private.
  • 32:02 - 32:04
    But it is true though, isn't it?
  • 32:04 - 32:07
    Most people in the world don't really
    understand
  • 32:07 - 32:10
    what is really praiseworthy,
    and what is really blameworthy.
  • 32:10 - 32:13
    So, very often we get praised for things
    and blamed
  • 32:13 - 32:16
    that are completely irrelevant,
    that don't really matter at all.
  • 32:16 - 32:21
    So why do we get attached to all of these
    things that don’t really matter?
  • 32:21 - 32:28
    Someone praises you for, oh, that's a
    beautiful shawl you have,
  • 32:28 - 32:30
    it is quite nice, actually.
  • 32:30 - 32:34
    So don't attach, right?
  • 32:34 - 32:38
    So we say these things and
  • 32:38 - 32:42
    actually it doesn't really matter whether
    you have a beautiful shawl or not.
  • 32:42 - 32:44
    It doesn't matter whatever you are doing,
  • 32:44 - 32:46
    oh, you got a nice new car or whatever.
  • 32:46 - 32:48
    These things are kind of
    completely irrelevant,
  • 32:48 - 32:50
    yet we attach to these kinds of things.
  • 32:50 - 32:54
    So the first thing to understand is that
    most people don't understand
  • 32:54 - 32:57
    what is really praiseworthy, or
    what is blameworthy.
  • 32:57 - 33:02
    And because of that, most of the time,
    just forget about it. It doesn't matter.
  • 33:02 - 33:04
    What you should ask yourself,
    you should ask,
  • 33:04 - 33:08
    is the praise something really useful
    and really good?
  • 33:08 - 33:10
    And if it is, okay, then fine,
  • 33:10 - 33:12
    and if it is true. Okay? No, issue.
  • 33:12 - 33:16
    If you get blamed, ask yourself,
    Is there something going on there
  • 33:16 - 33:18
    which is worthwhile,
    okay, then take it on board
  • 33:18 - 33:21
    and maybe correct your direction
    a little bit.
  • 33:21 - 33:27
    But lot of the time, there's no need
    to pay much attention to these things.
  • 33:27 - 33:30
    The only time you really
    should pay attention
  • 33:30 - 33:34
    is if someone like the Buddha
    praises you.
  • 33:34 - 33:38
    If the Buddha says, 'Good on you'.
  • 33:38 - 33:40
    He wouldn't say that, but something
    similar like that,
  • 33:40 - 33:43
    'you're practicing well',
    then, of course,
  • 33:43 - 33:45
    that's when you should listen,
  • 33:45 - 33:49
    because that is someone who
    understands what is worthwhile.
  • 33:49 - 33:53
    But what you find is some of the most
    famous teachers in the world,
  • 33:53 - 33:57
    teachers you may think
    might be Arahants,
  • 33:57 - 34:00
    might be stream enterers,
    might have some deep insight,
  • 34:00 - 34:05
    they don't praise very much at all,
    nor do they blame very much.
  • 34:05 - 34:09
    They encourage you more just by
    being kind, by being gentle,
  • 34:09 - 34:13
    by kind of saying things that .....
    sometimes they might praise you,
  • 34:13 - 34:15
    but it's not a lot of praise coming out,
  • 34:15 - 34:19
    nor is there much blame.
    It’s just a gentle kind of encouragement.
  • 34:19 - 34:21
    How is your meditation going?
  • 34:21 - 34:23
    Oh, I'm getting some happiness and joy.
  • 34:23 - 34:26
    Okay, very good carry on.
  • 34:26 - 34:29
    Ajahn Brahm says that, right?
    Very good, carry on!
  • 34:29 - 34:31
    He says that all the time.
  • 34:31 - 34:32
    So this is kind of the idea,
  • 34:32 - 34:36
    because I think they know that if you get
    praised too much, or blame too much,
  • 34:36 - 34:40
    you just attach to these things,
    you don't use those things too much.
  • 34:40 - 34:46
    So, this is kind of the idea, how we deal
    with praise and blame in the world.
  • 34:46 - 34:49
    We look at the person who's
    blaming us, or praising us,
  • 34:49 - 34:52
    are they really worthwhile, taking them
    seriously or not?
  • 34:52 - 34:54
    Most of the time, not necessarily.
  • 34:54 - 34:58
    Let's praise each other instead for
    the things that are really worthwhile.
  • 34:58 - 35:02
    So if you see people in the community
    who are doing well, who are being kind,
  • 35:02 - 35:05
    that is a good opportunity to praise them
  • 35:05 - 35:09
    for practicing the spiritual life,
    for doing the right thing.
  • 35:09 - 35:11
    That is a great opportunity.
  • 35:11 - 35:15
    I mean, praise each other for the nice
    shawls as well, absolutely.
  • 35:15 - 35:16
    Be kind to each other,
  • 35:16 - 35:19
    then it is really up to the person
    who is receiving it to decide
  • 35:19 - 35:20
    whether it's important or not.
  • 35:20 - 35:24
    Don't be afraid of praise,
    praising others, please do so,
  • 35:24 - 35:25
    it's a beautiful thing to do,
  • 35:25 - 35:28
    when we do it in the right way
    without any ego involved.
  • 35:28 - 35:32
    But it's also our job to know
    when the praise really matters or not.
  • 35:32 - 35:37
    The other thing of these eight worldly
    dhammas is the idea of
  • 35:37 - 35:43
    being popular or unpopular,
    or being famous or living in obscurity.
  • 35:43 - 35:44
    This is another one.
  • 35:44 - 35:50
    And again, the idea in Buddhism is that
    a lot of the things that we think of
  • 35:50 - 35:55
    popularity in the world,
    again, is very superficial.
  • 35:55 - 35:58
    People are popular for kind of
    crazy things in the world.
  • 35:58 - 36:01
    Some people are famous
    for being famous, as they say.
  • 36:01 - 36:03
    They don't really have any
    good reasons for it.
  • 36:03 - 36:06
    Or they are famous just for being
    a movie star.
  • 36:06 - 36:09
    Ok, you are a movie star, so you become
    famous automatically.
  • 36:09 - 36:12
    Or you are rich, if you're rich
    you become famous.
  • 36:12 - 36:14
    If you're very poor,
    you also become famous, right?
  • 36:14 - 36:16
    Like us, we are
  • 36:16 - 36:19
    either very rich, or very poor,
    the two ends of the kind of scale.
  • 36:19 - 36:22
    So someone like Ajahn Brahm,
    very famous, not because he's rich,
  • 36:22 - 36:27
    but actually, in part because he's
    poor, right? Yes, that's true, isn't it?
  • 36:27 - 36:29
    It's actually true that because.....
  • 36:29 - 36:34
    he has nothing, and yet he is one of the
    most happiest persons imaginable,
  • 36:34 - 36:36
    at least that I know,
    always very happy.
  • 36:36 - 36:39
    That's kind of what makes life
    interesting,
  • 36:39 - 36:43
    when you see that contrast
    between the absolute having nothing,
  • 36:43 - 36:45
    and the happiness on the other side.
  • 36:45 - 36:49
    That's what makes the dhamma
    so interesting.
  • 36:49 - 36:53
    So again, all of this popularity is
    often so superficial.
  • 36:53 - 36:55
    So if we want to be popular,
  • 36:55 - 36:57
    you should become popular
    because you are a good person,
  • 36:57 - 37:00
    because you have metta,
    because you have kindness,
  • 37:00 - 37:02
    because you have compassion for
    people in the world.
  • 37:02 - 37:05
    That is the kind of popularity
    we should seek for.
  • 37:05 - 37:07
    And if you don't become popular
    when you live like that,
  • 37:07 - 37:09
    then popularity is irrelevant,
  • 37:09 - 37:12
    it doesn't matter.
    Let the popularity go,
  • 37:12 - 37:14
    because actually, it doesn't matter.
  • 37:14 - 37:18
    There are some beautiful verses in the
    suttas that says something like,
  • 37:18 - 37:24
    if you can find a wise companion,
    then you should travel together
  • 37:24 - 37:28
    and kind of develop together
    in the practice.
  • 37:28 - 37:32
    But if you cannot find a wise companion,
    if all you can find is a fool,
  • 37:32 - 37:39
    then it's better to go alone, like an
    elephant in the forest
  • 37:39 - 37:41
    or something like that.
  • 37:41 - 37:44
    This idea that all this popularity
    is really irrelevant.
  • 37:44 - 37:49
    In fact, when you really understand
    what the dhamma is about,
  • 37:49 - 37:51
    popularity is a hassle.
  • 37:51 - 37:55
    You want to be more unpopular.
    Not me, I'm not so advanced yet,
  • 37:55 - 37:57
    but some other people, right?
  • 37:57 - 38:01
    Sometimes I listen to Ajahn Brahm,
    sometimes he says things that
  • 38:01 - 38:04
    people would think he's crazy,
    it's kind of completely upside down
  • 38:04 - 38:06
    of what you normally would think.
  • 38:06 - 38:08
    So Ajahn Brahm says,
  • 38:08 - 38:13
    if we do this, there will be fewer people
    coming to the monastery. Let's do this!
  • 38:13 - 38:15
    (laughs)
  • 38:15 - 38:18
    And I said "No, Ajahn don't, that's bad.
    We shouldn't do that.
  • 38:18 - 38:20
    It's good that people come
    to the monastery".
  • 38:20 - 38:22
    He said, no, we should have fewer people.
  • 38:22 - 38:27
    He doesn't actually mean it 100%, right?
    He wants people to come to the monastery
  • 38:27 - 38:31
    to be able to share the dhamma and,
    rejoice and offering together.
  • 38:31 - 38:32
    Of course he does.
  • 38:32 - 38:36
    But he's making a point that a lot
    of people is often kind of problematic
  • 38:36 - 38:38
    from a dhamma point of view.
  • 38:38 - 38:41
    If your meditation is really deep,
    you want to be in solitude.
  • 38:41 - 38:44
    In the suttas you find cases
    where the Buddha says,
  • 38:44 - 38:47
    when I come out of a deep meditation,
  • 38:47 - 38:53
    when people come to visit me, I talk to
    them in a way that puts them off.
  • 38:53 - 38:55
    Yeah, that's what the Buddha says,
  • 38:55 - 38:58
    actually, he wants them to leave
    as quickly as possible
  • 38:58 - 39:00
    because of the happiness of solitude.
  • 39:00 - 39:06
    So, that's kind of the ultimate point of
    the idea of popularity and being famous.
  • 39:06 - 39:08
    Actually, it is a hassle.
  • 39:08 - 39:11
    There are some other beautiful suttas
    where the Buddha says,
  • 39:11 - 39:13
    let me never become famous.
  • 39:13 - 39:19
    Fame is kind of bad all the way down,
    because it just leads to problems.
  • 39:19 - 39:22
    And what happened? He became famous.
  • 39:22 - 39:25
    That's how you become famous,
    because you don't want to become famous.
  • 39:25 - 39:29
    Because that is so counterintuitive.
    That's kind of the thing about the Buddha.
  • 39:29 - 39:34
    So, again, understand that popularity
    is not really all it is cracked up to be.
  • 39:34 - 39:38
    So how can we deal with a life?
    and I mentioned this here the other week,
  • 39:38 - 39:40
    when I was here last time.
  • 39:40 - 39:45
    How can we live a life ..
    we kind of are in solitude maybe,
  • 39:45 - 39:48
    we become less dependent on
    people around us,
  • 39:48 - 39:50
    we don't care about popularity so much,
  • 39:50 - 39:56
    and we know that in the present day
    there's a lot of loneliness in the world.
  • 39:56 - 39:58
    During the pandemic it was quite bad.
  • 39:58 - 40:00
    Many young people being lonely
    apparently,
  • 40:00 - 40:04
    old people being lonely
    sitting in an old age homes,
  • 40:04 - 40:06
    not knowing what to do with themselves.
  • 40:06 - 40:09
    And the answer to that is very simple.
  • 40:09 - 40:12
    The answer is we have to develop
    more metta, more kindness.
  • 40:12 - 40:16
    Because loneliness is a feeling of not
    being connected.
  • 40:16 - 40:17
    That's what loneliness is.
  • 40:17 - 40:20
    You're sitting by yourself;
    this small little world of mine,
  • 40:20 - 40:22
    not connected to the world outside.
  • 40:22 - 40:27
    But the best way of being connected to
    the world is not by being popular.
  • 40:27 - 40:29
    It is not by having large
    amounts of friends.
  • 40:29 - 40:33
    Because all of those things will
    eventually let you down.
  • 40:33 - 40:35
    Eventually, you are with people,
  • 40:35 - 40:37
    and sometimes they say
    the wrong thing,
  • 40:37 - 40:39
    they're not kind to you or whatever.
  • 40:39 - 40:44
    The best way of never being lonely
    is to have metta, the kindness,
  • 40:44 - 40:47
    the goodness, the love, compassion
    in your heart.
  • 40:47 - 40:51
    If you have that, you never feel lonely,
    because you don't feel separated.
  • 40:51 - 40:54
    The idea of love is the opposite
    of being separated.
  • 40:54 - 40:57
    You always feel connected
    to the whole world,
  • 40:57 - 41:01
    even when you sit in your little kuti,
    your little hut, all by yourself.
  • 41:01 - 41:03
    So please do that.
  • 41:03 - 41:07
    Practice that metta and you become
    independent, you become powerful,
  • 41:07 - 41:11
    you gain the ability to just be
    completely by yourself.
  • 41:11 - 41:13
    Isn't that a beautiful idea?
  • 41:13 - 41:15
    Instead of depending on people
    all the time,
  • 41:15 - 41:18
    depending on relationships,
    depending on being popular or whatever,
  • 41:18 - 41:21
    you can actually hang out by yourself
    and be completely content,
  • 41:21 - 41:25
    actually more content than when you
    hangout with other people.
  • 41:25 - 41:28
    So develop that kindness;
    is what the Buddha is saying.
  • 41:28 - 41:33
    It starts off by having metta,
    kindness by body and speech,
  • 41:33 - 41:37
    then kindness in thoughts,
    then kindness in meditation.
  • 41:37 - 41:39
    It builds up, one upon the other,
  • 41:39 - 41:43
    until you start to feel connected
    with the whole world around you.
  • 41:43 - 41:44
    That is where you want to go.
  • 41:44 - 41:48
    Then you are popular in a really deep
    sense of the word.
  • 41:48 - 41:53
    So what about the last four of these;
  • 41:53 - 41:56
    the happiness and suffering and
    gain and loss?
  • 41:56 - 41:59
    Maybe we can look at those together.
  • 41:59 - 42:02
    And, again, the way to think about
    gain and loss,
  • 42:02 - 42:06
    which I really like, the idea of
    kind of getting things in life,
  • 42:06 - 42:11
    material things or relationships,
    or status or whatever it is.
  • 42:11 - 42:14
    One of the beautiful similes
    of the Buddha,
  • 42:14 - 42:16
    which I always found very, very powerful;
  • 42:16 - 42:22
    is the idea, actually it is the idea
    that all of these things are borrowed.
  • 42:22 - 42:24
    These are borrowed things.
  • 42:24 - 42:28
    We have them for a time and
    then they will go.
  • 42:28 - 42:33
    There's one nice sutta which has been
    translated as 'themes' into English.
  • 42:33 - 42:40
    There’s five themes, five themes,
    that a monk or a nun;
  • 42:40 - 42:44
    or actually a nun or a monk,
    no, actually a lay woman and a lay man,
  • 42:44 - 42:48
    a nun or a monk
    or a monastic whatever.
  • 42:48 - 42:50
    That's how it goes,
    a laywoman and a layman.
  • 42:50 - 42:55
    and then I think it says one gone-forth,
    I don't think it says nun,
  • 42:55 - 42:59
    i think it says one gone forth,
    should reflect on, all the time.
  • 42:59 - 43:01
    Abhiṇha means frequently.
    Five things,
  • 43:01 - 43:03
    And one of those things,
    those five things;
  • 43:03 - 43:07
    the rest of the five,
    they would come another time
  • 43:07 - 43:11
    so that you will have a reason to come
    back to the Buddhist center here.
  • 43:11 - 43:13
    So this is just ...
    So I will tell you one of them.
  • 43:13 - 43:15
    One of them is that
  • 43:15 - 43:20
    'everything that is dear and beloved
    to me must become otherwise,
  • 43:20 - 43:22
    must become separated from me'.
  • 43:22 - 43:28
    Everything that is dear and beloved to me
    must become otherwise,
  • 43:28 - 43:31
    must become separated from me.
  • 43:31 - 43:33
    It's very powerful saying.
  • 43:33 - 43:35
    What is it that is dear and
    beloved to you?
  • 43:35 - 43:39
    What are the things in your life that
    would be most difficult to lose?
  • 43:39 - 43:45
    And, of course, one of them very often
    is like our closest relationships.
  • 43:45 - 43:48
    If you have a good relationship with your
    boyfriend, or girlfriend
  • 43:48 - 43:51
    or your husband and wife,
    if that relationship is really good,
  • 43:51 - 43:56
    then of course, it also means
    very strong kind of bonding very often.
  • 43:56 - 43:58
    And therefore the consequences
    down the track are often also
  • 43:58 - 44:00
    going to be quite difficult to deal with.
  • 44:00 - 44:05
    So what are the things that you are
    afraid to lose?
  • 44:05 - 44:08
    Look at that. And then when you look at
    that, and you understand
  • 44:08 - 44:11
    the problem that arises from
    that, you actually...
  • 44:11 - 44:16
    and the way to do that is to have this
    idea of the idea of the borrowed goods.
  • 44:16 - 44:20
    The idea of how all of these things
    now in our lives are actually borrowed.
  • 44:20 - 44:21
    I only have it for a time.
  • 44:21 - 44:25
    This is my beautiful relationship
    with this woman or this man
  • 44:25 - 44:30
    or this daughter or son or this mother
    and father, this friend or whatever it is.
  • 44:30 - 44:34
    It's a wonderful relationship,
    but it's a borrowed relationship.
  • 44:34 - 44:38
    It will only last for so long,
    and then it will be gone.
  • 44:38 - 44:42
    How do we treat
    borrowed things in the world?
  • 44:42 - 44:45
    Borrowed things, you think
    about them in a different way, right?
  • 44:45 - 44:49
    If you borrow a car, you rent a car
    compared to actually buying one,
  • 44:49 - 44:51
    it's a different feeling.
  • 44:51 - 44:55
    You treat a rented car different from
    one that...I was going to say 'is yours'
  • 44:55 - 45:00
    but 'you think is your own'
    is a much better way of putting it.
  • 45:00 - 45:01
    You treat it differently.
  • 45:01 - 45:05
    So all the things in that world that we
    actually are borrowed,
  • 45:05 - 45:07
    once you start to look at it like that,
  • 45:07 - 45:09
    your relationship to those things
    is different.
  • 45:09 - 45:12
    You don't hold on so much anymore.
  • 45:12 - 45:13
    You look at it in a different way.
  • 45:13 - 45:18
    You realize you're going to have to find
    a deeper satisfaction and happiness
  • 45:18 - 45:19
    somewhere else,
  • 45:19 - 45:22
    because those borrowed goods are
    inherently unreliable.
  • 45:22 - 45:26
    The things in your life,
    your house, your car, everything you own,
  • 45:26 - 45:28
    your career, your status in this world,
  • 45:28 - 45:30
    all the people that are
    closest to you,
  • 45:30 - 45:35
    all of those things are ultimately
    borrowed goods.
  • 45:35 - 45:37
    And once you start to see that,
  • 45:37 - 45:39
    you start to treat these
    things in a different way.
  • 45:39 - 45:44
    You start to look for real meaning,
    completeness, satisfaction, contentment,
  • 45:44 - 45:46
    somewhere else in life.
  • 45:46 - 45:48
    You start to lean towards the
    spiritual path.
  • 45:48 - 45:51
    And of course, the power of the
    spiritual path is that
  • 45:51 - 45:54
    all of those things that are
    borrowed goods,
  • 45:54 - 45:58
    they become more meaningful as well,
    as you practice a spiritual path,
  • 45:58 - 46:02
    because we're able to treat them
    more from a spiritual point of view.
  • 46:02 - 46:04
    It makes them more meaningful.
  • 46:04 - 46:07
    It makes the relationships better
    actually down the track.
  • 46:07 - 46:12
    It makes your ability even to enjoy the
    worldly goods around you
  • 46:12 - 46:16
    more wholesome, more pure, and
    therefore better as a consequence.
  • 46:16 - 46:19
    This is the paradox of the
    spiritual path.
  • 46:19 - 46:22
    It looks like I'm saying all of these
    negative things
  • 46:22 - 46:24
    about all the things in the world,
  • 46:24 - 46:27
    but actually, if you practice the
    spiritual path in the right way,
  • 46:27 - 46:31
    the things of the world actually
    become more meaningful.
  • 46:31 - 46:34
    They start to take on a new lease of
    life, so to speak,
  • 46:34 - 46:38
    and they actually start to be able to use
    them in a proper way,
  • 46:38 - 46:41
    a way that does not lead to just problems
    down the track.
  • 46:41 - 46:44
    So you start living with kindness.
  • 46:44 - 46:48
    You start living a life where you really
    care for the people around you.
  • 46:48 - 46:52
    You try to say good things,
    kinds things, gentle things,
  • 46:52 - 46:56
    things that unify people,
    things that are meaningful, purposeful,
  • 46:56 - 46:58
    that actually go somewhere.
  • 46:58 - 47:01
    You start to treat people with
    compassion and understanding.
  • 47:01 - 47:03
    When you have an opportunity,
  • 47:03 - 47:05
    you always do an act of kindness
    around you.
  • 47:05 - 47:08
    I must admit that I'm very impressed
    with our president,
  • 47:08 - 47:13
    because I'm part of the Committee of this
    Buddhist Society, I get all the emails
  • 47:13 - 47:15
    being sent by the committee
    members.
  • 47:15 - 47:17
    And he's really good with his
    words and his emails,
  • 47:17 - 47:20
    I always think, wow, I should
    kind of up my game a little bit
  • 47:20 - 47:24
    to be as good as Hock Chin.
  • 47:24 - 47:25
    Very nice emails.
  • 47:25 - 47:27
    If you get an email from Hock Chin…
  • 47:27 - 47:30
    ask him, please send me an email
    because it's gonna make your day.
  • 47:30 - 47:33
    Sorry, Hock Chin.... (Ajahn laughs),
  • 47:33 - 47:36
    I'm being naughty now.
  • 47:36 - 47:40
    We start to think in the right way
    about how to use speech,
  • 47:40 - 47:43
    how to use emails; all of these things
    in a positive way,
  • 47:43 - 47:45
    to give other people a gift.
  • 47:45 - 47:50
    I really like this idea, how speech can
    give gifts to people all the time.
  • 47:50 - 47:52
    If we use speech wisely,
  • 47:52 - 47:55
    saying something nice,
    saying something gentle,
  • 47:55 - 47:57
    something that goes to the
    heart of other people,
  • 47:57 - 47:59
    there's something beautiful about that.
  • 47:59 - 48:02
    So often we speak,
    we have that opportunity.
  • 48:02 - 48:07
    If that desire to speak gently is not
    there, hold back, don't speak now.
  • 48:07 - 48:10
    Wait till desire actually arises.
  • 48:10 - 48:14
    And this is how, gradually,
    things start to change.
  • 48:14 - 48:16
    Things start to become meaningful.
  • 48:16 - 48:18
    You start to think about the world
    in a new way.
  • 48:18 - 48:20
    You start to think about people
    in a new way,
  • 48:20 - 48:23
    More compassion because you understand
    we're all trapped
  • 48:23 - 48:25
    in this suffering together.
    Everyone is there.
  • 48:25 - 48:28
    And it's no wonder people do bad things,
  • 48:28 - 48:30
    when they have so much suffering
    in their life..
  • 48:30 - 48:31
    Of course they do bad things.
  • 48:31 - 48:34
    Come here, I'll give you a hug.
    Not me, someone else.
  • 48:34 - 48:36
    I don't usually hug people.
  • 48:36 - 48:39
    Well, really, I hug my mother,
    that's about it.
  • 48:39 - 48:44
    So we do the right thing in this way.
    Thinking about the world in the right way.
  • 48:44 - 48:48
    As we do that, this is what it means
    to paddle against that stream.
  • 48:48 - 48:50
    Remember the stream in the beginning,
  • 48:50 - 48:53
    leading to the saltwater crocodiles
    right?
  • 48:53 - 48:56
    Now we're paddling away from the
    saltwater crocodiles.
  • 48:56 - 48:59
    The saltwater crocodiles are fading away
    in the rear mirror.
  • 48:59 - 49:02
    I'm not sure if the rafts have mirrors
    these days,
  • 49:02 - 49:05
    but if it has a mirror, they're kind of
    fading away in the rear mirror.
  • 49:05 - 49:08
    (Ajahn making a gesture of relief)
    Phew! Saltwater crocodiles.
  • 49:08 - 49:11
    I’m getting close, that was
    like a close call.
  • 49:11 - 49:14
    But anyway, so you have just made it.
    And you paddle against the stream.
  • 49:14 - 49:18
    And as you paddle against the stream,
    the current becomes weaker.
  • 49:18 - 49:21
    The current becomes
    weaker and weaker and weaker
  • 49:21 - 49:25
    as you paddle against it...
    because you are reducing your defilements.
  • 49:25 - 49:26
    You're becoming more kind,
  • 49:26 - 49:32
    the craving, the anger, the normal habits
    of your mind are weakening as you do this.
  • 49:32 - 49:34
    I don't know if you have seen this
    in your life,
  • 49:34 - 49:37
    if you have lived a spiritual life
    for a long time,
  • 49:37 - 49:39
    but I've seen it very clearly
    in my own life,
  • 49:39 - 49:41
    how these things weaken over time,
  • 49:41 - 49:44
    and actually you become a
    more good-hearted person over time,
  • 49:44 - 49:46
    gradually, gradually developing.
  • 49:46 - 49:49
    And then eventually there comes a day,
  • 49:49 - 49:52
    when eventually you are so pure,
    it's almost no effort at all
  • 49:52 - 49:55
    to paddle that raft anymore.
  • 49:55 - 49:59
    And suddenly one day, you have a
    deep meditation, a deep insight
  • 49:59 - 50:03
    into the nature of reality.
    And boom! you enter a new stream,
  • 50:03 - 50:07
    going in exactly the opposite
    direction, going towards, not a
  • 50:07 - 50:12
    whirlpool, not a shark, not a
    monster, not a saltwater crocodile,
  • 50:12 - 50:15
    not even a freshwater crocodile;
  • 50:15 - 50:18
    but going towards all the good things
    that you ever wanted in life.
  • 50:18 - 50:23
    Everything you always were looking for,
    you've entered the stream of the Dhamma,
  • 50:23 - 50:27
    moving in the right direction.
    And now there is no turning back.
  • 50:27 - 50:29
    There's only one goal for you,
    and that is
  • 50:29 - 50:31
    the highest happiness of the world.
  • 50:31 - 50:36
    And that is where, that right stream,
    the stream of the Dharma
  • 50:36 - 50:39
    as opposed to the stream
    of defilements,
  • 50:39 - 50:42
    the stream that we're normally in,
    that is where it's heading for you.
  • 50:42 - 50:45
    All you have to do is hang out
    on the path,
  • 50:45 - 50:50
    listen to the beautiful word of the Buddha
    again, and again and again,
  • 50:50 - 50:52
    and gradually make this change.
  • 50:52 - 50:57
    One day, you too may enter that stream,
    heading for happiness all the way.
  • 50:57 - 51:02
    Okay, that's the talk for this evening,
    thank you.
  • 51:02 - 51:06
    Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu
  • 51:06 - 51:14
    Okay, everyone, so are there any
    questions? Yes, please, Mr. President,
  • 51:18 - 51:21
    Yeah. So for the New Year,
    they set goals,
  • 51:21 - 51:24
    it can be financial, or whatever,
  • 51:24 - 51:29
    so what is your advice
    from spiritual point of view?
  • 51:29 - 51:34
    What goal we should have?
    Yes, that is a very, very good point,
  • 51:34 - 51:36
    I should have talked about New
    Year's resolutions tonight.
  • 51:36 - 51:38
    That was a missed opportunity.
  • 51:38 - 51:41
    I should have talked about that;
    but now I have the chance,
  • 51:41 - 51:43
    because you've asked this question.
  • 51:43 - 51:45
    So what should be our
    New Year's resolution?
  • 51:45 - 51:48
    What should be our goals as Buddhists?
  • 51:48 - 51:52
    And increasing your bank account;
    I wouldn't recommend that one.
  • 51:52 - 51:54
    It's not really a Buddhist kind of way.
  • 51:54 - 51:56
    I mean, it's fine if your bank
    account increase,
  • 51:56 - 51:58
    but that shouldn't be a goal as such.
  • 51:58 - 52:03
    But I think, there can be many
    kinds of goals,
  • 52:03 - 52:06
    but I think one of the important things
    when we have a resolution
  • 52:06 - 52:11
    is to make it not too arduous,
    so we're actually able to fulfill it.
  • 52:11 - 52:13
    I mean, one of the things that
    we see every year
  • 52:13 - 52:16
    when people take up these resolutions,
    is that they fail.
  • 52:16 - 52:19
    As soon as they start, they can;
    but after a week or two,
  • 52:19 - 52:20
    too difficult, can't do it.
  • 52:20 - 52:25
    So if you're going to do a resolution
    like meditation for example,
  • 52:25 - 52:28
    start really low, put the bar as low
    as you can;
  • 52:28 - 52:32
    five minutes a week, right?
    Everyone can do five minutes a week.
  • 52:32 - 52:35
    And if you can't do that, okay, give up.
  • 52:35 - 52:38
    Because the thing is that
    if you start low,
  • 52:38 - 52:42
    and you have success and you enjoy it,
    it will encourage you, right?
  • 52:42 - 52:45
    Then you will, of course,
    it's very easy to up that.
  • 52:45 - 52:47
    And then you can do five minutes
    twice a week.
  • 52:47 - 52:50
    And eventually we do 10 minutes
    every day maybe,
  • 52:50 - 52:52
    and you can build up in that way.
  • 52:52 - 52:53
    So put the bar very low;
  • 52:53 - 52:58
    that's kind of the obvious thing,
    I think for New Year’s resolutions.
  • 52:58 - 53:03
    But the most important thing
    on the spiritual path,
  • 53:03 - 53:06
    the thing that kind of
    undergirds everything else.
  • 53:06 - 53:08
    Actually, there's many different ways
    of looking at this;
  • 53:08 - 53:12
    but the most important thing in the
    spiritual practice is always kindness.
  • 53:12 - 53:18
    And the ability to live with kindness
    moment to moment,
  • 53:18 - 53:20
    day in day out, year in year out,
  • 53:20 - 53:23
    that is what is going to make this
    path really progresses.
  • 53:23 - 53:26
    I'm always surprised when I read the
    suttas, how everything
  • 53:26 - 53:28
    is kind of founded on kindness.
  • 53:28 - 53:33
    Meditation is, according to the suttas,
    an automatic process.
  • 53:33 - 53:36
    And you may wonder, how can that
    possibly be, you may wonder,
  • 53:36 - 53:38
    because you sit down and
    the mind is always...
  • 53:38 - 53:42
    not an automatic process at all,
    it's not going anywhere very often.
  • 53:42 - 53:44
    Well, the reason why it isn't
    going anywhere
  • 53:44 - 53:48
    is because the sīla, the virtue,
    the kindness is not profound enough yet.
  • 53:48 - 53:49
    That is the reason.
  • 53:49 - 53:52
    So one of the most important
    things in life
  • 53:52 - 53:54
    for anyone who's really serious
    about this practice,
  • 53:54 - 53:58
    is to put a lot of emphasis
    into the idea of kindness,
  • 53:58 - 54:02
    moment to moment,
    verbal, bodily and mental.
  • 54:02 - 54:06
    As soon as you see that
    you get a negative thought about someone,
  • 54:06 - 54:08
    ask, 'How can I think about this person
    differently?'
  • 54:08 - 54:10
    How can I see them with compassion?
  • 54:10 - 54:12
    How can I see their good qualities?
  • 54:12 - 54:16
    So that is what you should,
    that is to me, the most important one.
  • 54:16 - 54:19
    Get that right,
    everything flows from there.
  • 54:21 - 54:24
    Anyone else like to say anything here?
  • 54:25 - 54:28
    Maybe this lady in front here,
    first of all.
  • 54:28 - 54:33
    This lady in the middle, I think,
    in the center of the universe.
  • 54:35 - 54:45
    (not audible)
  • 54:48 - 54:50
    Thank you for the talk
  • 54:50 - 54:53
    When you're talking about the stream,
  • 54:53 - 54:58
    is it almost like a metaphor for
    the links of dependent origination?
  • 54:58 - 55:03
    Dependent Origination.. yeah,
    I would say it is that as well,
  • 55:03 - 55:07
    because that kind of shows you
    how the stream works.
  • 55:07 - 55:12
    So, there are feelings,
    because we feel the world we crave.
  • 55:12 - 55:15
    Because we crave the world
    we pick things up, all kinds of things
  • 55:15 - 55:17
    metaphorically and literally.
  • 55:17 - 55:20
    And because of that, we make kamma.
  • 55:20 - 55:23
    Because we relate to the things that we
    pick up we make kamma,
  • 55:23 - 55:27
    through that making of kamma we are reborn
    according to that kamma and craving.
  • 55:27 - 55:32
    So indeed, it is very closely related
    to the idea of a stream; absolutely!
  • 55:32 - 55:36
    Yeah, well done. You have passed;
    I was going to say 101,
  • 55:36 - 55:38
    but this is like 104 maybe.
  • 55:38 - 55:42
    (Ajahn laughs)
    That's good.
  • 55:46 - 55:49
    Me again Ajahn Brahmali,
    A very interesting talk.
  • 55:49 - 55:52
    Okay, good.
  • 55:52 - 55:55
    Ajahn Brahmali, when you
    talk about streaming,
  • 55:55 - 55:59
    you mentioned about the craving and
    the eight winds,
  • 55:59 - 56:03
    is that streaming related to the
    stream entrance?
  • 56:03 - 56:11
    Yes it is, exactly. Sotāpanna
    'Sotā' is a stream; āpanna means attain;
  • 56:11 - 56:13
    one who has attained the stream.
  • 56:13 - 56:15
    So once you become a stream-enter,
  • 56:15 - 56:18
    that is when you go the
    stream of the dhamma; Dhamma sotā
  • 56:18 - 56:20
    and you head to awakening,
    you are heading to Nibbana,
  • 56:20 - 56:22
    whether you want to or not.
  • 56:22 - 56:25
    But I'm sure you will want to,
    so you'll be fine.
  • 56:25 - 56:27
    What came to my mind when talking
    about streaming,
  • 56:27 - 56:29
    I was thinking of the Buddha,
  • 56:29 - 56:33
    Buddha was telling us
    we can read his teachings;
  • 56:33 - 56:38
    we can hear his teaching,
    but that's not enough.
  • 56:38 - 56:42
    He asked us to interact
    with his teachings.
  • 56:42 - 56:44
    So the interaction is that streaming
    isn't t?
  • 56:44 - 56:47
    Interact with the teachings.
  • 56:47 - 56:52
    Our mind, our feelings, all these things
    that you mentioned about...
  • 56:52 - 56:54
    you see what I mean?
  • 56:54 - 56:55
    Yes you can interact..
  • 56:55 - 56:58
    I think I would just....
  • 56:58 - 57:03
    I would say that interaction to me
    is just the idea of doing the teachings,
  • 57:03 - 57:07
    of following the teachings.
    That's what I would call that.
  • 57:07 - 57:09
    And you can call it interaction
    in one way.
  • 57:09 - 57:13
    One of the ways of interacting is to gain
    some joy out of the fact
  • 57:13 - 57:15
    that you have the Buddha as your teacher.
  • 57:15 - 57:18
    We don't fully understand
    who the Buddha is.
  • 57:18 - 57:20
    If we really understood
    who the Buddha was,
  • 57:20 - 57:23
    you would have such incredible joy
    that we have such a teacher.
  • 57:23 - 57:28
    Because it is an extraordinary thing to
    have someone like a Buddha in the world.
  • 57:28 - 57:33
    And that is to me, interaction,
    because then you're literally feeding off
  • 57:33 - 57:38
    the fact that you have the Buddha
    and the Dhamma as your teachings.
  • 57:38 - 57:42
    The reason why I asked is I also
    trying to link what you said..streaming...
  • 57:43 - 57:45
    An Interesting talk, Thank you
  • 57:45 - 57:50
    Excellent Eddy. Thank you.
    Anyone else? No one else?
  • 57:51 - 57:54
    Everyone is quiet. Okay. Very good.
  • 57:54 - 57:59
    So let's take a few from overseas.
  • 57:59 - 58:02
    So we have a question from Gloria Wong.
  • 58:02 - 58:05
    People always say that the Buddha is kind
  • 58:05 - 58:12
    but I can't feel his kindness
    in the suttas. Why is that?
  • 58:12 - 58:17
    Well, I think sometimes you can, sometimes
    you can see the kindness in the suttas.
  • 58:17 - 58:21
    There are some very touching suttas
    with the Buddha,
  • 58:21 - 58:25
    and one of them is where the Buddha
    finds a monk with dysentery.
  • 58:25 - 58:28
    Dysentery is a very filthy
    illness,
  • 58:28 - 58:30
    everything kind of comes out of
    your body.
  • 58:30 - 58:32
    And the Buddha together with
    Venerable Ananda,
  • 58:32 - 58:36
    they clean up this monk,
    yeah, it's kind of a very powerful sutta.
  • 58:36 - 58:39
    So you do see that kindness sometimes.
  • 58:39 - 58:43
    But I think a problem with the suttas
    is that the suttas are really just ...
  • 58:43 - 58:48
    remember they are like
    distilled essence of the Dhamma.
  • 58:48 - 58:50
    These have been refined over
    many, many centuries.
  • 58:50 - 58:54
    In the beginning, the word of the Buddha
    was what they had,
  • 58:54 - 58:57
    and then it was refined and systematized
    to some extent,
  • 58:57 - 59:00
    and then we have the
    suttas coming from that.
  • 59:00 - 59:04
    They have taken away so much of
    the human element in the suttas,
  • 59:04 - 59:08
    and it has become like a kind of prose,
  • 59:08 - 59:11
    the teachings of the Buddha on
    how to practice the path.
  • 59:11 - 59:16
    There's very little kind of emotion and
    human interaction in the suttas.
  • 59:16 - 59:19
    So, sometimes there is and sometimes you
    can see that coming through,
  • 59:19 - 59:21
    but very often there is not.
  • 59:21 - 59:23
    So they can often seem a bit dry.
  • 59:23 - 59:28
    But if you look carefully, I think you
    will see the Buddha, the human being,
  • 59:28 - 59:30
    the Buddha underneath the surface,
  • 59:30 - 59:33
    and I think you're able to see a lot
    of kindness and compassion there,
  • 59:33 - 59:36
    if you look at the suttas in the
    right way.
  • 59:36 - 59:41
    Remember all the teachings of the suttas
    are an expression of that kindness really,
  • 59:41 - 59:46
    because the Buddha is showing
    people the path to the highest happiness.
  • 59:46 - 59:48
    What more can you give anyone
    in the world
  • 59:48 - 59:50
    than the highest happiness?
    It's the highest gift, right? .
  • 59:50 - 59:54
    You can't give anyone a higher gift
    than the highest happiness.
  • 59:54 - 59:58
    So this is what every sutta is about,
    that gift of the highest happiness.
  • 59:58 - 60:02
    And once you see that,
    you will see every sutta actually is
  • 60:02 - 60:05
    through and through kindness.
  • 60:05 - 60:13
    Okay, another one from someone
    called Ne Torre mo JD
  • 60:13 - 60:15
    that's an interesting name.
    Okay, hello....
  • 60:15 - 60:20
    So anyway, your question is
    how to deal with negative cravings?
  • 60:20 - 60:25
    Any concrete practices needed to accept
    and have positive thoughts of it?
  • 60:25 - 60:29
    Often cravings bring
    satisfaction and happiness.
  • 60:29 - 60:32
    I am not sure what you mean by
    negative cravings.
  • 60:32 - 60:35
    Do you mean cravings to do bad stuff?
  • 60:35 - 60:38
    Or do you mean ... what exactly do you
    mean by negative cravings?
  • 60:38 - 60:42
    So I think one of the,
  • 60:42 - 60:45
    like so many things on the
    Buddhist path;
  • 60:45 - 60:50
    if it really is negative,
    and if it is bad kamma,
  • 60:50 - 60:53
    then of course you just have to
    restrain yourself
  • 60:53 - 60:57
    and you have to see the danger
    in going there
  • 60:57 - 60:59
    and look towards the positive things,
  • 60:59 - 61:02
    like with so many other things.
    Keep the five precepts,
  • 61:02 - 61:06
    because if you don't keep the
    five precepts, you're gonna break them.
  • 61:06 - 61:08
    It's like your determination to keep them
    basically,
  • 61:08 - 61:11
    that's what I would call
    a negative craving.
  • 61:11 - 61:15
    So if you want to kill someone, please
    don't kill anyone, because bad idea.
  • 61:15 - 61:17
    And try to go even further than that,
  • 61:17 - 61:19
    because that's not enough,
    just not to kill anyone,
  • 61:19 - 61:22
    that's not going to get you
    all that far.
  • 61:22 - 61:23
    Try to take it further.
  • 61:23 - 61:32
    So first of all, try to kind of
    restrain those negative things.
  • 61:32 - 61:35
    Don't follow them,
    know that they are bad.
  • 61:35 - 61:37
    If you see them in your mind,
    just leave them in your mind,
  • 61:37 - 61:40
    but don't follow those things.
    That's the first thing.
  • 61:40 - 61:43
    The second thing is not to judge yourself.
  • 61:43 - 61:46
    Because very often, when we say we don't
    want to go there,
  • 61:46 - 61:47
    we judge ourselves very harshly.
  • 61:47 - 61:50
    I shouldn't think like this,
    I shouldn't do that.
  • 61:50 - 61:52
    But please don't do that.
  • 61:52 - 61:54
    Because you, every one of us,
  • 61:54 - 61:59
    we are the sum of the conditioning that
    has worked on us
  • 61:59 - 62:01
    for innumerable lifetimes.
  • 62:01 - 62:03
    We are built up to be like this.
  • 62:03 - 62:06
    And because we have become like this,
    we can't really help those things.
  • 62:06 - 62:09
    They are there. They're part of
    what has actually come to be
  • 62:09 - 62:11
    through all these conditioning processes.
  • 62:11 - 62:14
    So don't judge yourself.
    Instead be kind to yourself,
  • 62:14 - 62:17
    because you are the
    victim of those cravings.
  • 62:17 - 62:22
    You are the victim of those bad habits.
    Far better to see yourself as a victim.
  • 62:22 - 62:26
    It's not anyone else who is
    the perpetrator,
  • 62:26 - 62:29
    there is no perpetrator,
    but you are still the victim.
  • 62:29 - 62:30
    And we are all a bit like that.
  • 62:30 - 62:34
    And once you understand that you
    are the victim of these things,
  • 62:34 - 62:36
    then you start to think
    "Well, what is the way out"?
  • 62:36 - 62:38
    Then you can look at it neutrally.
  • 62:38 - 62:43
    You don't react in a negative way, which
    destroys the ability for having insight.
  • 62:43 - 62:44
    Instead you become neutral,
  • 62:44 - 62:48
    and you say, let me look at
    this thing carefully with mindfulness
  • 62:48 - 62:51
    and see what the cause is,
    what the problem is,
  • 62:51 - 62:54
    and then when I understand that,
    then I can start to shift direction,
  • 62:54 - 62:58
    I can start to understand, why is it
    that I have these negative cravings?
  • 62:58 - 63:00
    What is driving this process?
  • 63:00 - 63:02
    Maybe it's just foolishness.
  • 63:02 - 63:05
    And one day it will just switch off
    like that (Ajahn snaps his fingers),
  • 63:05 - 63:09
    because you have understood the problem.
  • 63:09 - 63:12
    Often cravings bring satisfaction
    and happiness,
  • 63:12 - 63:15
    Yes, often they do bring satisfaction
    and happiness,
  • 63:15 - 63:20
    and this is part of the problem.
    Because this is why we follow them, right?
  • 63:20 - 63:22
    So you have to remember the downside.
  • 63:22 - 63:27
    It's only when you remember the downside
    that you can steer in the right direction.
  • 63:27 - 63:29
    And the Buddha talks about this
    in the suttas,
  • 63:29 - 63:32
    he talks about the benefit of something,
    the downside or something
  • 63:32 - 63:34
    and then the escape.
  • 63:34 - 63:37
    Asadha, adhinava, nissarana;
  • 63:37 - 63:39
    three factors that he talks about
    everywhere in the suttas.
  • 63:39 - 63:43
    And the downside is always greater
    than the upside.
  • 63:43 - 63:46
    That's why we have all those
    saltwater crocodiles.
  • 63:46 - 63:49
    I love the saltwater crocodiles.
    Don't you think they're pretty cool?
  • 63:49 - 63:51
    I really find that really cool.
  • 63:51 - 63:53
    Because you have to be Australian to
    understand that.
  • 63:53 - 63:57
    I'm Australian enough to
    understand the meaning of that.
  • 63:57 - 64:00
    I'm really kind of proud of that.
    So I thought that was really cool.
  • 64:00 - 64:03
    Okay, anyway. Next one.
  • 64:03 - 64:09
    This is someone who calls themselves
    Vegan Kind; Vegan Kind, okay.
  • 64:09 - 64:15
    Is that your real name or kind of your
    pen name, so to speak? Anyway..
  • 64:15 - 64:21
    The question--when I create, I suffer
    as a result of identification with it,
  • 64:21 - 64:25
    and attachment to it;
    the final result of a project?
  • 64:25 - 64:30
    How can I think about things more
    wisely in this respect?
  • 64:30 - 64:32
    That's a very good question.
  • 64:32 - 64:36
    Because you identify with things and you
    create things then you
  • 64:36 - 64:41
    kind of have a problem down the track.
  • 64:41 - 64:46
    So what you have to do is that
    you have to do things
  • 64:46 - 64:53
    not because you want to build something,
    but because you want to live well.
  • 64:53 - 64:58
    Whenever you do something, do it
    because you want to be kind to the world;
  • 64:58 - 65:01
    because you want to leave something for
    someone else
  • 65:01 - 65:03
    out of generosity or kindness.
  • 65:03 - 65:05
    That's why you should do things
    in this life.
  • 65:05 - 65:08
    Not because it is something
    necessarily for you.
  • 65:08 - 65:12
    And the best example for me of this,
    this is in a little book called
  • 65:12 - 65:16
    The Karuna Virus
    which we have published in
  • 65:16 - 65:20
    connection with the corona pandemic
    and has stories about Ajahn Brahm,
  • 65:20 - 65:22
    and one of the stories in there about
    Ajahn Brahm,
  • 65:22 - 65:26
    which maybe not that many people
    had heard until that book came out.
  • 65:26 - 65:31
    This is a story of the fire that we had
    at Bodhinyana Monastery in 1991.
  • 65:31 - 65:36
    By 1991, Ajahn Brahm had worked on that
    monastery day and night,
  • 65:36 - 65:41
    Ajahn Brahm was, he still is,
    an incredibly hard worker.
  • 65:41 - 65:43
    And in those days, even more hard working,
  • 65:43 - 65:46
    because his stomach wasn't
    in the way for all the hard work,
  • 65:46 - 65:48
    so it was easier for him
    to kind of work properly.
  • 65:48 - 65:50
    So he worked really, really hard.
  • 65:50 - 65:54
    Also he is very intelligent,
    he picks up things very fast
  • 65:54 - 65:57
    because of his, whatever it is
    background, or kamma or whatever.
  • 65:57 - 66:01
    So he built up this monastery,
    worked seven days a week, sometimes
  • 66:01 - 66:06
    having flood lights to be able to see at
    night, and all these kinds of things.
  • 66:06 - 66:11
    Yeah, Main Hall, Dana Sala,
    and this was his life's work.
  • 66:11 - 66:14
    Eight years of work in this monastery.
  • 66:14 - 66:16
    And then comes the fire.
  • 66:16 - 66:19
    Fire comes.. this is like the
    biggest bushfire..
  • 66:19 - 66:24
    That day was the hottest day so far in
    Perth area, 46 point something degrees,
  • 66:24 - 66:27
    super, super hot and the fire comes.
  • 66:27 - 66:31
    And of course when a fire comes
    with that heat, in Western Australia,
  • 66:31 - 66:34
    in the middle of summer,
    that was the 30th of January.
  • 66:34 - 66:37
    In the middle of summer, everything is
    kind of dry as bones.
  • 66:37 - 66:39
    And really, really bad.
  • 66:39 - 66:42
    And of course, everyone says
    everything is gonna go,
  • 66:42 - 66:43
    this is it.
  • 66:43 - 66:46
    Everything is going to be kind of gone.
  • 66:46 - 66:51
    And of course most people, if your
    life's work is going to be gone.
  • 66:51 - 66:54
    If you spent eight years or
    something, working day and night
  • 66:54 - 66:58
    to build something, if that is
    gonna go, you feel a sense of despair.
  • 66:58 - 67:02
    Oh, no, this is terrible.
    What am I going to do?
  • 67:02 - 67:05
    And you kind of go crazy,
    maybe you cry, maybe you shout,
  • 67:05 - 67:08
    maybe you do bad things as
    a consequence.
  • 67:08 - 67:11
    People do bad things when these things
    happen.
  • 67:11 - 67:16
    And so, what happened with Ajahn Brahm
    was kind of really fascinating.
  • 67:16 - 67:18
    This is what he told me personally.
  • 67:18 - 67:21
    Of course he might deny
    that is exactly what he said;
  • 67:21 - 67:23
    but this is how I remember it anyway.
  • 67:23 - 67:28
    What he said was ‘at that moment,
    when I realized what was going on,
  • 67:28 - 67:31
    I was able to let it go, just like that.
    (Ajahn snaps his fingers)
  • 67:31 - 67:35
    And when I eventually got out of the
    monastery to a safe place,
  • 67:35 - 67:39
    I knew that if the monastery would
    burn down completely
  • 67:39 - 67:40
    and be gone on the following day,
  • 67:40 - 67:44
    I would just go back and start
    from square one.
  • 67:44 - 67:46
    And he said the reason is,
  • 67:46 - 67:49
    ‘because I didn't build the monastery
    to create a monastery,
  • 67:49 - 67:52
    I built the monastery to create
    something good in the world,
  • 67:52 - 67:55
    out of generosity, out of kindness
    for future generations,
  • 67:55 - 67:57
    to build up Buddhism in
    Western Australia.
  • 67:57 - 67:59
    It was an act of kindness.
  • 67:59 - 68:03
    The result in terms of bricks and mortar
    was not important.
  • 68:03 - 68:05
    What was important was the
    act of kindness.
  • 68:05 - 68:10
    And that act of kindness could always
    be carried on, on the following day.
  • 68:10 - 68:13
    That is the kind of attitude, right?
  • 68:13 - 68:18
    You're doing things not because they
    mean anything in the material realm.
  • 68:18 - 68:22
    You do things because they mean
    something in the spiritual realm.
  • 68:22 - 68:24
    They are acts of kindness,
    act of generosity,
  • 68:24 - 68:26
    acts of purity of the heart.
  • 68:26 - 68:30
    Then you can never go wrong,
    then you never lose out.
  • 68:30 - 68:35
    So if you can use a little bit of that
    kind of attitude in your creative work,
  • 68:35 - 68:38
    then I think you will gradually
    move in a good direction,
  • 68:38 - 68:43
    and you won't attach quite so much
    perhaps. So best of luck.
  • 68:43 - 68:47
    A couple of more quick questions.
  • 68:47 - 68:49
    Next one is from YC Tan.
  • 68:49 - 68:54
    Dear Ajahn, how do we help siblings
    and parents who live together,
  • 68:54 - 68:58
    but constantly quarrel over
    material things?
  • 68:58 - 69:04
    We encourage kindness, prayer,
    volunteering, etc. But nothing is working.
  • 69:07 - 69:11
    This is a standard question
    I get so often.
  • 69:11 - 69:14
    How do we change other people?
    That's kind of the question.
  • 69:14 - 69:15
    How do we change other people?
  • 69:15 - 69:18
    And that's kind of always the question.
  • 69:18 - 69:22
    So then, the best way to change others,
    of course is to change yourself.
  • 69:22 - 69:27
    You are the one, the only person
    you can really change in the world.
  • 69:27 - 69:31
    And this is kind of one of the harsh
    realities of life,
  • 69:31 - 69:36
    is that our ability even to change
    ourselves is so difficult, right?
  • 69:36 - 69:40
    If you try to change, try
    to be more kind, try to be less whatever,
  • 69:40 - 69:42
    actually it's very hard.
  • 69:42 - 69:45
    If I say to you 'be less angry',
    'OK!'
  • 69:45 - 69:48
    It takes time.
    It's difficult to do that.'
  • 69:48 - 69:51
    And so even though it is so hard
    to change ourselves,
  • 69:51 - 69:53
    we demand that other people change.
  • 69:53 - 69:56
    But remember that they are in deep ruts,
  • 69:56 - 69:59
    they are in deep habits.
    It is difficult for them to change too.
  • 69:59 - 70:02
    If they are used to arguing
    with each other,
  • 70:02 - 70:04
    they probably enjoy that argument
    to some extent.
  • 70:04 - 70:08
    That's how people are. We enjoy
    an argument; we enjoy being angry,
  • 70:08 - 70:12
    we enjoy doing all kinds of crazy stuff
    in this world.
  • 70:12 - 70:16
    So the most important thing
    for you to do very often
  • 70:16 - 70:19
    for other people is to be the example,
  • 70:19 - 70:20
    the example of harmony,
  • 70:20 - 70:24
    the example person who shows
    an alternative way of being.
  • 70:24 - 70:26
    That is one of the most important things.
  • 70:26 - 70:31
    And then as you do that, gradually,
    gradually, things may turn around.
  • 70:31 - 70:34
    And of course, if you have the ability
    to kind of guide them towards
  • 70:34 - 70:37
    some kind of dhamma teaching,
    that's wonderful.
  • 70:37 - 70:40
    Remember, because you
    are the son and the sibling,
  • 70:40 - 70:44
    very often as the son and the sibling,
    they're not gonna listen to you.
  • 70:44 - 70:47
    Because parents don't often listen
    to the children all that much.
  • 70:47 - 70:50
    Or siblings... yeah,
    you're just my brother, shut up.
  • 70:50 - 70:53
    I don't want to hear from you.
    Sometimes it's a bit like that.
  • 70:53 - 70:56
    But if you get an authority figure
    that they trust,
  • 70:56 - 70:59
    this is one of the critical things.
    Get an authority figure,
  • 70:59 - 71:01
    get Ajahn Bram, right?
    Invite Ajahn Brahm to a Dana.
  • 71:01 - 71:04
    Actually I shouldn't say that
    poor Ajahn Brahm.
  • 71:04 - 71:09
    It's very difficult to get Ajahn Brahm
    for danas these days.
  • 71:09 - 71:13
    Get some.. get them to listen to an
    authority figure.
  • 71:13 - 71:17
    And if you can, invite them to a dana or
    at least come to somewhere
  • 71:17 - 71:22
    Ajahn Brahm is available for receiving the
    food. And then go up to Ajahn Brahm
  • 71:22 - 71:25
    and give a leading question
    to Ajahan Brahm
  • 71:25 - 71:29
    ''Ajahn, should there be harmony
    or quarreling in a family?
  • 71:29 - 71:32
    What do you think? Can you talk
    about that? Something like that.
  • 71:32 - 71:34
    And let's see what happens.
  • 71:34 - 71:37
    And Ajahn will probably crack a few
    good jokes,
  • 71:37 - 71:40
    everyone will laugh, maybe that will kind
    of .. and a bit of good dhamma in there.
  • 71:40 - 71:43
    And then you might be in business;
    something like that.
  • 71:43 - 71:47
    But don't expect change.
    I think this is the important thing.
  • 71:47 - 71:50
    Try to help them, encourage them,
    but if you expect change,
  • 71:50 - 71:54
    you're asking for suffering for yourself.
  • 71:54 - 71:58
    Last question, which is good,
    because I'm getting a bit tired now.
  • 71:58 - 72:02
    This is from Richard Upton Pickman
    from Scotland,
  • 72:02 - 72:09
    I listen to you Ajahn, I want to leave
    my worldly life behind and become a monk.
  • 72:09 - 72:14
    But! ... but .. I am married. And I don't
    want to break my commitment.
  • 72:14 - 72:18
    How do I reconcile these cravings?
  • 72:18 - 72:23
    Okay, so you have to make the most;
    if you don't want to break a commitment,
  • 72:23 - 72:27
    you have to make the most
    out of your married life. Yeah.
  • 72:27 - 72:31
    But the ideal thing to do, and this is
    the ideal thing to do,
  • 72:31 - 72:36
    your wife also wants to become a nun.
    She becomes a nun, you become a monk.
  • 72:36 - 72:39
    That is the ideal.
    That's what I really recommend.
  • 72:39 - 72:45
    So your main job is now to convince
    your wife that nuns are really cool,
  • 72:45 - 72:47
    they are the best. Yeah.
  • 72:47 - 72:50
    Nuns are kind of.. this is the path
    to the highest happiness.
  • 72:50 - 72:53
    And that may be impossible.
    Maybe your wife is not up for that.
  • 72:53 - 72:54
    But anyway, that's kind of the ideal.
  • 72:54 - 72:57
    And we have some examples of that
    here in Perth.
  • 72:57 - 73:01
    We have one monk who was a
    monk at Bodhinyana Monastery
  • 73:01 - 73:04
    and a Nun at Dhammasara Monastery,
    and they decided to do just that,
  • 73:04 - 73:06
    they became a monk and a nun,
  • 73:06 - 73:09
    and I think they are much more happy
    now than they were before.
  • 73:09 - 73:12
    That's kind of a good, good news.
  • 73:12 - 73:15
    There are some very interesting
    stories from the suttas.
  • 73:15 - 73:18
    According to the story,
    Venerable Maha Kassapa,
  • 73:18 - 73:20
    one of the great monks at the time of
    the Buddha,
  • 73:20 - 73:26
    he was married, he had this very wonderful
    wife before, he was (married).
  • 73:26 - 73:30
    They decided to split up, she became
    a nun, he became a monk.
  • 73:30 - 73:33
    And I think they both became Arahants,
    fully enlightened.
  • 73:33 - 73:36
    So that is what I recommend you to do.
  • 73:36 - 73:37
    And if that doesn't work out,
  • 73:37 - 73:39
    the kind of the second option,
  • 73:39 - 73:42
    this is a low, much, much lower option,
    is way down the scale.
  • 73:42 - 73:46
    This is what you really should do
    if you have tried everything
  • 73:46 - 73:48
    to make your wife into a Nun
  • 73:48 - 73:50
    and if that doesn't work,
    you really have to try hard,
  • 73:50 - 73:53
    then the second option-
    make the most of your married life.
  • 73:53 - 73:56
    A married life lived well
    can take you a long way on the path
  • 73:56 - 73:58
    if you do it in a good way.
  • 73:58 - 74:02
    I see a lot of married people around
    the world who are very, very good people
  • 74:02 - 74:06
    and they are using the married life
    to progress in the Dhamma.
  • 74:06 - 74:09
    If you do that well, do that in the
    right way, you can go a long way.
  • 74:09 - 74:12
    But still better to become a
    monk and nun.
  • 74:12 - 74:13
    (Ajahn laughs)
  • 74:14 - 74:16
    OK, Thank you everyone for this evening.
  • 74:16 - 74:19
    So let's pay respects to the
    Buddha Dhamma Sangha
  • 74:19 - 74:22
    before we call it a day.
Title:
Going Against the Stream | Ajahn Brahmali | 6 January 2023
Description:

Ajahn Brahmali teaches about the idea of "going against the stream", and how we can use this to enhance our spiritual practice.

Please support the BSWA in making teachings available for free online via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/BuddhistSocietyWA

Recorded at Dhammaloka Buddhist Centre, Perth, Western Australia.

Buddhist Society of Western Australia’s teaching's page: https://bswa.org/teachings/

To find the full playlist visit: https://www.youtube.com/user/BuddhistSocietyWA/playlists, or click on 'Playlists' in the top menu bar.

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Video Language:
English
Team:
Buddhist Society of Western Australia
Project:
Friday Night Dhamma Talks
Duration:
01:15:51

English subtitles

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