17. Contentment – Ven Ajahn Brahm

so very quiet here it's very nice I just saying when I came in here that I just returned from three weeks of teaching in Malaysia teaching every day early in the morning to late at night so whenever I do anything like that they fall on schedule you would feel a lot of happiness because you do good works so even though that sometimes as a monk you have to work so hard in fact last time I went to Singapore actually started a tour by just describing my schedule of how many talks I was giving during that few days and after I could finish my talk this young boy came up to me and he said that I'd always been wanting to become a monk but once he heard how I lived he said he'd rather be on a stressful computer job because I work very hard sometimes but I'm very happy working their heart as a Buddhist monk I'm very content it's like contentment which brings me happiness and it's a contentment which I wanted to talk about as a subject of this evenings dhamma talk contentment it's something which very few people have in this world and it's so those people who don't have it they don't even look for it I don't know where it lies and because sometimes we're scared of contentment we always want to do things and sometimes we think the contentment is just copping out and if we only would know what contentment truely is we know the path into deep meditation with know the path of balancing our life what contentment is is just like going to work Monday to Friday and the weekend it's a time for contentment the time to rest there's always a time to do work and this my teacher I don't always used to say if you're going to work it ever give everything you've got there always comes a time when you've done all your work you tried your very hardest you've done what to be done and now's the time to rest content with the results of your Labor's because without their contentment it always be something more to do we'll never be able to put down the burden and just relax and be at peace the story of life is a story of always more things to be done doesn't matter how much you've already achieved in your life doesn't matter how many dishes you're old you watch there's always some dirty ones waiting in the sink that's a story of life as soon as you've finished all the dishes are nice and clean some fool or idiot just makes another one to see so how can ever we get some rest in life it's in contentment in Nice and peace in life never made the joke that the only people who rest in peace in Western society they know the only people have our IP written over them a dead people and isn't that just a great shame that we have to wait till we die before we can rest in peace but then if we don't if we do rest in peace some of us feel so guilty we should be doing something indeed there is so much to be done so how can we actually find like contentment in life and how do we really enjoy contentment and really understand it and make use of it so much of the problems in western lifestyle is because we don't know contentment we don't give contentment to share in our day you don't care to give it a total share and how they don't know to be totally content otherwise you never do anything in life I told everyone to be absolutely content and don't do anything we won't get any presidents and our Buddhist society any secretaries we won't get anyone being in Donna but to help the monks or do anything so there is a time for desire for doing something an achievement what I'm talking about is a time where we stand back and just feel contentment remember some years ago that every time I go back to my monastery in serpentine after teaching here on the weekend working very sometimes you go back in the first thing you do when you get back to serpent times is to see all the things which needed to be done next so for a while I decided to spend every Monday morning at our monastery just having a little walk and not looking at what needed to be done but looking at what had already been done what that meant was instead of looking at the faults and what I and all the work which lay in front of me I look at all the work which lay behind me and it gave me a large sense of contentment because if you stay in a monastery in your nappa you always see the next block a project the next goal which needs to be done the next path which needs to be swept the next bit which needs to be laid the next tire which has to be fixed on the wall just like in your house you always see the next job which needs to be done but containment only comes when you just take a few moments off a few hours off and just to appreciate what's already been achieved and then you can have the feeling of contentment of happiness of a sense of fullness in the day fullness in them the hour fullest in the moment one of the things which I used to notice in in Thailand when I was a young monk is disappeared now the last time I went back is you can't see any remnants of the old type of lifestyle of the Thai villagers in the first couple of years when I was a monk in Thailand when it got time to the the monsoon season first of all the planting seeds and everybody in the village would be out working hard and they would really work hard from that from the time you could just see until the late evening when he couldn't see any more there wouldn't be any nine-to-five will be no from dark to dark and many of the villagers will actually sleep out in the fields so they won't waste time walking to the fields and walking back again and as amazed as how hard they worked until they planted all the rice and when it came to the harvest time how hard they worked until every all the harvest was in the rest of the time they were just so lazy you see them in the dry season just sleeping under their huts it asked them what they were doing they said in doing nothing and the wonderful thing was they're doing nothing for many days and they never felt guilty not like Westerners you are to know what you're doing you say nothing and people feel guilty about doing nothing do you feel guilty about doing nothing that's why that sometimes when I was first Arsenal when I was relaxing and resting that what you're doing I was just saying watching the trees grow I wasn't really watching the trees grow you can't watch the trees grow they describe this slowly but it's a wonderfully excuse what I really meant was I'm doing nothing but I said that I was watching the trees grow maybe the people who asked me feel a little bit better I thought I was crazy they would never mind but learning how to do nothing not all the time but every now and again is learning a little bit of contentment a little bit of peace in your life because those villagers because they had that contentment they had that time they had a sense of happiness and you had to relax nobody Buddha said it's in the Dhammapada the contentment is the highest wealth contentment is the highest wealth I remember that because in Malaysia they put all these things on their t-shirts so he saw them on the t-shirts contentment is so high as well as that actually and I saw that I've been marked upon it and I remarked on me another Forbes 200 list of the wealthiest people in the world who's the wealthiest person in the world I got a ride up to to mr. Forbes who is it all wrong he says I think the owner of Walmart is a wealthiest person the world number two is is Bill Gates and number three is I don't know who's Sultan of Brunei or something and then Queen Elizabeth or whatever but they they got it wrong they're not the wealthiest people in the world the Buddha said contentment is the highest wealth so the people who are the most content should be on the top of the fourth two-hundred list now that the month's we should be up there somewhere because we have a lot of contentment so contentment is our high as well surely we should be up there with Bill Gates actually much he's not me content but what we really mean here is that this is something which is important to our life contentment now it's very interesting to learn contentment as a way to develop deep peace and one's meditation I was giving the simile in my meditation retreat which I gave in Penang a week or two ago to eat with feet up there I was given a simile of meditation of the the seven petal Lotus I mentioned the seven petal Lotus because in the method of meditation which I teach here I was teaching seven stages those seven stages now if you read my little book the basic method of meditation is present moment awareness sense silence is number two and watching a being with the breath is number three the full awareness of the breath is number four the beautiful breath is number five seeing that the nimita is number six and the seventh is in the darkness is seven petal Lotus which I talked about and when you are talking about the way of meditation which most of you are doing earlier one of the big mistakes in people's meditation is actually to try too hard not actually working for contentment they want to get somewhere especially on a meditation retreat especially places like Malaysia or Singapore where people are so highly motivated now whatever they're doing then either want to achieve something and that's why meditation is sometimes difficult for them why Buddhism is a bit strange for them because it's going in the opposite direction to achieve something you've got to go on to the next stage on to the next level of the university degree on to the next level of the the career structure on to the next level of management in the business on to the next level of richness in society on to the next level of Fame always going on and on and on up this what they call other greasy pole they used to say and there's no end to that because always one will stay to hire there is one more person richer than you though is one more person more famous on you there is one more person were educated in you that's why it's endless and I was teaching people the path of meditation is not sort of this into attainment it's into letting go it's into contentment this is why I gave the simile of the seven petal Lotus because a lotus is something which in the early morning is closed all the petals are folded it on each other and the only way that you open up the outer petal as if the Sun maintains its warmth on the outer petal long enough to open it up if the sun is shining on the outer petal and the cloud comes along it cools down and the Sun has got to start all over again so maintaining the heat the warmth on that petal the petal finally opens up to is to reveal the second petal in the Lotus and then the Sun can warm that one until it's warmed enough to reveal the petal number three and then petal number four but if that Sun is somehow moved to somewhere else then the petals close up again this is the same way of developing these deep meditations whatever stage of these meditations you are on remember this present moment awareness silence breath full attention on the breath beautiful breath limiters and then it ajahn whatever stage you are on so often people want to go on to the next stage it's not contentment but this content we're not happy with where we are therefore we want to go somewhere else no these limiters are very fascinating is actually the signs of the mind sometimes people get limited scan get psychic powers you can see the future you can see heavenly beings and when I start talking like this to people people want these things so much which is why they can never get them and when you talk about the next stage of Darkness themselves is that the greatest bliss should ever experience in your life but just amazingly powerful experiences of happiness and so profound and people said that sounds good I want it now one of the reasons why people don't achieve these things is because they're forgetting contentment is as if you're on this third or fourth petal of the Lotus and instead of just warming that leaf up with mindfulness with sustained attention you go moving that attention on to the next Lotus moving it to the left moving to the right but not staying where you are when you don't stay when you're where you are when you don't have that contentment that petal hasn't got long enough lesson had got a mindfulness on it long enough to fully open up and reveal what's inside because when we go through these stages of meditation the the present moment awareness actually contains this thing we call silence the longer you are in the present moment and a deep you get into present moment awareness the closer you get to this natural opening into silence as if you're so much into the present moment so much into now that you notice there's nothing being said anymore there's no names anymore because when one really gets into being I mean really present actually I know a joke about presence I always give a joke every talk I give so this is a joke score nothing to do with meditation I heard this in Penang that kindergarten teacher was her birthday so her little children decide to give her a present each and this one little girl came along and gave the present to the kindergarten teacher all wrapped up in Nice paper and the teacher said that flowers and isn't it a little child would was slow so amazed how did you know said the little child and the kindergarten teacher laughed because she knew her parents owned a flower shop and the next little student through gamer gave a little parcel and she knew that students father owned a candy store and so the teacher said it's candy isn't it and the little four-year-old said oh you're so clever teacher yes it is candy how did you know and the kid agarn teacher just smiled and the next child is little boy gave her a parcel but so cutely in paper but it was leaking it didn't matter because the teacher knew that Charles parents owned a liquor store under bottle shop so she tasted the liquid hmm its wine isn't it and the little boy said no miss it's not wine she tasted again I saw it champagne you must thank your parents for me that no miss is not champagne said well you parents own a liquor store what is it then miss it's a puppy that's a funny story for the day now back to business on Dumber some of these jokes of growth aren't they nevertheless that's the present moment if you really want to present moment and really content with it yet he turned into silence because in the present moment there's nothing to say there's your story of one of the students of Lao Tzu this founder of the towers religion and they was going with a war go for a walk in the evening with his student but he had this rule which he the golden rule anyone who went for walk with the Master hat to be quiet and they came to original mountains just in the evening time it was sunset they saw this amazing sunset another beautiful sunset you sometimes see in Perth but this is even more magnificent and the student can help himself and say wow what a wonderful sunset the master would never let him go for a walk again with the master when the other student said why he said when the student said what a wonderful son said he wasn't watching the sunset anymore he was watching the words we're watching the sunset what in words and so that's when we give things a name when we're thinking we lose a present moment we lose what's really there and we go into that next stage of the description called mind thinking it's not reality the thoughts are not the reality that's why they use you to give the description it's like the menu and the food and the menu is not the food you can't eat sort of menus the don't taste is not as nice as the food anyway that's for sure so actually never get menus for our Donna we won't be able to fit them on a piece of paper we get so much food every day but the thoughts are not the present moment that's why when you really get into the present moment when you really get into what's actually happening now you can actually give it a name it becomes absolutely still that's why if you're content just being in the present moment you're not trying to go too fast in your meditation you find that the Lotus opens up into silence you find that a contentment is giving it a smartest piece you haven't gone seeking for that piece you haven't gone wanting that pitch haven't gone searching for it or craving for it it comes as a result of contentment of letting go it's as if it's already been there it's already present in you it's part of the present moment but you never really been going deep enough in to find this truth in Buddhism when the before the Buddha became enlightened he did a little test to see if he had what it takes to become enlightened he put a bowl his fold in the river and he said that if this bowl goes upstream against the current then maybe I've got what it takes to become enlightened then it did go upstream now this something very profound in that little story of the Buddha's life just before I became enlightened a lot of times the stream of the mind is always going on to the next thing never going in to where we are now it always goes on to craving which is always one thing more next thing this isn't good enough I want something else rather than just being with where we are and just seeing what we have instead of seeing what we have we just see what we want seeing what we want is going along the stream seeing what we have being content is going up screen is going in rather than on so the path of meditation is going inwards rather than on words so we go into the present moment and we find the silence we go into the silence we find things like the breath was telling people like I remembered in my early life as a meditator that sometimes I was meditating on the breath the first the second year was a monk it is so difficult to actually to find the breath we allowed to meditate for one hour that was usually the time the span we were meditating and I was trying to watch the breath trying very hard but 45 minutes and I couldn't find it sometimes you could find it for a few minutes they will go and you're struggling and I remember once I got so fed up trying to meditate on my breath after 45 minutes I knew I only had another 15 minutes left I thought I'm not going to waste this the last 15 minutes struggling like this and getting myself even more tense I decided just to let go and just enjoy the the last 15 minutes no matter what happened as soon as I let go you know what came up into my mind straight away my breath it was there for the last 15 minutes with no trouble at all that happened quite a few times in that years as a monk meditating until there's something clicked inside of me I didn't have to try so hard in fact I was going down the stream rather than no the other way I wasn't going oh I was going on with rather than in words I realize all I needed to do is just to be content and the breath would come all by itself it was a nature of this meditation method so it's just like that second petal of a lotus you don't need to move on to something else just be content with silence stay with silence as long as you can just be with that silence and when it's ready it will open up into the breath all great mystics war traditions they all praised that silence it's in the silence where you find the truth if it's a silence where you find reality because when you're actually thinking you have this inner conversation its inner commentary you're actually talking back a life rather than listening to it almost like you're arguing with truth well I'm just allowing truth to come and talk to you you know what it's like sometimes with some people they always talking talking talking talking and you can never get a word in that's what truth is like you're always talking talking talking talking and truth can never get a word in that's why we never know there's no space in the mind for it to manifest so by that silence eventually the breath just comes up by itself and as people go through these stages of meditation they don't need to sort of rush and go to the next stage it's not like going through the university course is not like going through these stages so for learning how to play a piano or whatever it's like just being content because the more content you are the more you warming that petal of the lotus and the closer you're getting into opening that lotus and from the breath you get the full awareness of the breath which is not just watching a breath in out in out it becomes a full awareness of the breath and the very beginning of an in-breath right to the end of an in-breath the very beginning of an outlet right at the end of an out breath is a full awareness of what you're doing rather than a partial awareness this thing we call awareness and mindfulness is so important not only in meditation but in life certainly it's so important with finding wisdom so often our mindfulness is just like a flashlight with dull batteries and we think we know what's going on in life think we're seeing but we're only receiving a fraction of what's out there we only with the mind is lazy only sees how much it wants to see that's why we always get things wrong somebody says something we only pick up that part of the saying or that part of the words which interest us the part we're looking for that's why people always have arguments in the home you said this no I didn't yes you did I was there at the time how many of you had an argument today many people have a high key words a lot of reason why is because when somebody says something he only partially hear what they say we get it wrong some years ago I was counseling this man who had AIDS and he was getting sicker and sicker and one day his partner rang the center here on a Saturday and it was one of the devoted people who usually helped on a Saturday and was so looking after the in the library and they answered the phone they say is that John Bromley so no no he's resting the man said is going to come quick and I need him he said so open and he may be back in in an hour and this man said I will be dead by then that's what he says he'll be dead by then and this lady didn't hear what was being said she thought that this man was coming to kill me when he said he'll be dead by then and apparently this poor lady was actually sitting on the coffee table over there she went white and some of the other people around here I think Lynne and a few others they sort of went out what's wrong with you and he couldn't speak she was so scared and then when she did come round after 10 or 50 meters someone's coming – could I jump off and then I watch was there what they're talking about they should call the police or whatever I came out and said what's going on and said someone just rang up they're going to kill you that's that's very interesting what do you mean and then they said it just got the telephone call and somebody was calling for you and they said you'd be dead before now the course I knew there was always that person he's getting close to death he might be dead before I could actually get to him it was this aged person who was dying not me but sometimes we only hear half of what's being said this is a problem with the lack of silence in our minds and the lack of mindfulness in what's being was what's actually happening once a person develops more strength of their mindfulness it's as if their mind has got charged up and so they got much more alertness they see they hear they feel so much more of what's going on both inside of themselves and in a person they're talking with and in life in general you become more alive more alert and this is what happens quite naturally through content 'men tilting up the energies of the mind it's a strange thing that sometimes when I get very tired one of the best things to do is just sit down and meditate make the mind very peaceful when the mind gets very peaceful as if all the energy start to come back again and you feel bright and you feel alert and I don't I used to say that you'll exercise the body you make it fit – pushing way through wall King through jogging through doing something that's the way you make the body energized the way you make the mind energized is not by doing things not by thinking you made in mind bright and energetic through stillness that's why sometimes I don't know talked all night and then he would just sit meditation for a few minutes and then afterward to be bright as a button there's that meditation that stillness which gives you energy I used to do that when I was doing my final examinations that came in I just get a little bit of stillness like all my energy back so all of you who are tired and you can't have a cup of coffee have a cup of meditation instead ajahn brahm special looks a special blend they get the mind going again because what is actually doing is the stillness is focusing the mind and bringing up this thing which we call mindfulness alertness energy which is one of the reasons widen our lifestyles today because we have to make sharp decisions if we haven't got clarity we just don't know what we're doing how many mistakes do we make because we're not really there this is actually what happens the more you stay with contentment to just like those farmers the more they actually rest doing nothing the more energy they have afterwards investing the mind and this is what happens once that petal starts to open you ever notice in a lotus with any flower the petals which were closer closest to the inner part of the most beautiful and the most fragrant ones on the outside of the flowers the Lotus the other ones which are a bit dull and dirty in heart but when you go deeper into the mind with this meditation when you go into like the full awareness of the breath yes the mindfulness it starts to increase more alertness more sharpness more energy is available to you you're actually turning on the energy of the mind sometimes that you know we want to be energetic in our mind when we're not energetic in our minds we get there we get sleep you even get depressed and angry you know what depression is it is lack of mental energy like a brightness so there's our mindfulness is there are batteries though but when you start throwing things like this contentment meditation you get stronger and stronger power of the mind you want to be a power in your mind don't force a mind make it more content by going in and in and in it's like the simile of a magnifying glass bringing the energies in and in and in energy upon energy upon energy power upon power upon power if you want to go on to another stage if you want to go to the left on the right it's just like moving that magnifying glass that wasn't forwards it never has time to build up heat power flame the right focusing the energies of the mind by contentment no one in to go anywhere when you on the sort of full awareness of the breath just staying just from the very beginning when in breath the end of a night in breath of beginning of an hour breath at the end of the output it starts to become very beautiful very enjoyable until that people actually find what doing this method this is so easy to meditate and it's just so much fun to meditate they love meditating I always tell if it's been a good meditation retreat or not by just looking at people's faces afterwards and if they're miserable if they're gritting their teeth if they're does got horizontal mouths on them I know they're not getting anywhere but once people really get into the meditation retreats they do the meditation properly those ones who really know how to meditate how can I tell the meditation is going good just by the curvature of their mouths if the curvature is very great with the the ends going upwards then I know they've got their meditation in line especially gets the beautiful breath it's love deep breath just breathing into so nice and breathing out Oh lovely that's what it's like it doesn't cost anything and it's not bad for your health you know most of the pleasures in the world are bad for your health I used to like fish and chips until later but they discover cholesterol and just these people they sport everything don't know so anyway but actually now I discovered because it was an article in the newspapers not so long ago that they found out in England actually that people who change their diets to lower cholesterol let's say they found they had the same death rates that had no change on their sort of the longevity at all because they found out that if you give up eating the the audio feeds it actually helps the bodies healthier food you get so depressed or not eating the food you like but that actually kills you that's a good argument isn't it but anyway sort of your selector so they know the beautiful bit it gets us so nice and so loving it's a pleasure which hasn't got any bad side effects and it shows us a pleasure of contentment amazing thing about what this stage of the meditation teaches you if you don't have to do anything and the less you do the deeper you pee you go and the happier you are and this is one of the great teachings of Buddhism actually all mysticism because we do so much that's why we suffer so much there is a time when we just don't do anything when we really relax and rest that's why the I've said this here some years ago so the only people who can really meditate well those people who know how to be lazy and all of you say well that's me I'm the lazy one but you aren't lazy you have got a clue about being lazy lazy is a great skill which maybe only monks know that you sit there and actually do nothing without feeling guilty about it without planning what you what you're going to do next without writing a book about being still you actually are still you're not doing anything isn't that really how you can be absolutely lazy but people think that later just go no lying in bed sleeping they're still doing something well they go they're just now thinking or just listen to the TV and just no lounging around or cooking or eating or something that's not being lazy that's doing something again I challenge you go back home maybe tomorrow naturally sit on the chair and actually do nothing see how hard it is to do nothing even for half an hour don't even think I can you do that do you know how to be lazy this is very hard to be lazy that's why you have to train for many years with great teachers like HM char to know how to be lazy when it's time to be lazy and how to work when it's time to work so well being lazy is actually doing nothing and you find that that when you really know how to do nothing to leave things alone and be still the meditation starts to work really powerfully and it's teaching a beautiful lesson when you get close to this beautiful breath you're actually doing nothing it becomes effortless you ever heard of those those dances those gymnasts those musicians who get into the zone what they call it when they've been practicing all their four months will fit for years about practicing this this dance or practicing this routine on the Basel or practicing how to play of Vienna when they go to perform they just disappear and this the dance happens and say what's their hands as was playing some amazing music they can only achieve such a great height of ability when they stopped doing doing the routine they stopped doing playing the piano the one amongst I grew up with he married a nice Indian dancer sometimes they they've come here I've been now and again and a years ago I kissed her she was actually a top Indian dancer I see they brought one of these glossy magazines from India help of peach was on the front cover and she was actually really famous in India and I asked her how do you dance to such a high standard and this is what she said she trains and trains and trains and trains when it's time to do something she does it when she actually performed she forgets everything she ever learned she completely lets go and she just allows the dance to happen she gets out of the way that's what we call laziness in this idea this said this talk in this context you learn how to not do and allow it to happen it's called contentment it is focusing your mindfulness on the Lotus and it opens up all by itself yet beautiful breath you don't do anything you just get out of the way and allow the process of meditation to happen every person has come up to me and said they've got into deep meditation they all say the same thing in its best getting to hear them again here we go again they said the first time I really let go first time they were really lazy the first time they really stopped doing they allowed this Lotus to open up all by itself I was teaching this at the retreat and someone said look I did this I was not doing anything I was just watching watching watching watching watching the Lotus never opened I was waiting a long time come on Lotus I'm not doing anything come on Lotus open up I'm not doing anything because you know what's going that's not doing that's sort of like not doing with a fingers crossed behind your back it's sort of expecting something to happen with gray patience getting out the way everything starts to work for so beautifully but because you're focusing on the beautiful breath what happens next is really fascinating because the beautiful breath disappears and you get these wonderful lights and the mind called the limiters this is really fascinating when people actually get this but I talk about it it's dangerous to talk about these things because as soon as you talk about them how amazing they are people actually want them so much they can't just stay with things like the breath they want to go on to the real meditations with fascinating when you get to this stage of meditation when a light appears in the mind and the breath completely disappears because that's actually a reflection of your mind that which we call mind is actually you start to see it for the very first time you know in our our world of science we always talk about mind and people talk about the mind brain connection and they talk about what the mind is or it's not the mind where the mind as a soul is actually where does a mind live where is the mind you know how I tell people about where the mind is did is it'll exercise I thought if I did this a few weeks ago but I tell people are you feeling happy now hand up if you're feeling sort of no man how do I be feeling peaceful your hands up you're feeling peaceful okay now can you please point to that piece now in your body point to it is it your nose feeling peaceful or your your legs feeling peaceful the reason I do this little exercise you can do this to other people that say the mind doesn't exist and say are you happy are you sad point to that happiness point to the sadness they know they are happy they know they are sad they know they're peaceful there not imagining this sadness happiness peace anger is real you can't point to it you know why you can't point to it because these are things which live in the mind and the mind is an occupy space the body occupy space is one of the reasons why things which have mind made bodies like ghosts can appear the other end of the world instantaneously because they are made of mind and mind as an occupied space no more than happiness or peace occupy space you cannot point to it you cannot give it coordinates you cannot say it's in the upper half of my body the lower half of my body it's a mental thing when you get to this limit I can't say it appears at the end of the nose will appears in the third eye of the head or it isn't your bellybutton or on your left toe because the body and space disappear you're looking straight at the mind and this is fascinating because at last you find out at least the reflection of the mind what this mine actually is and you start to see it but be very careful because when these new it has come up as I was telling someone this morning as I drive me to the airport in KL they said they were unable to come up once only once in a meditation it was like dark and dingy I said that's what your mind was like that's light that I'll know that he is seeing William – like I've noticed that if you've misbehaved that day if you've had bad thoughts or no not being pure in your precepts or kind or if you've been selfish when you actually come across a limit in your meditation it's Dow it's not bright and shiny it's dark and dingy it's actually reflecting sort of the impurity of your mind because of the unskillful actions which you've been doing that day it's fascinating when actually you can't you have to be honest exactly seeing what this mind truly is and its qualities that's why that if you really want to get into meditation you have to live a good lifestyle especially if you want to get to these deeper stages of meditation if you're not having purity of conduct and listening in order pure heart is is the kindness the generosity just wanting to help other people and not getting angry at others but just seeing what they can what you can do for them not seeing the faults but having this very positive mind let's appeal to the by that's energy of the mind all negativity all criticism sort of all ill-will that sort of stops the anything that drains the mind now did you see this when you get to this stage of the meditation because you you're seeing your mind you can't sort of fir neglect to see they know what gives it energy and brightness and what doesn't you seeing the law of karma there directly they really encouraged it was much nicer having a brightening mature than adult dingy dark one but of course that I could only stay when his contentment attend target is beautifully beautiful simile of the still forest Paul for the practice of meditation of these sorts of stages he said it was like that as a monk a wandering monk every evening he would always try and end up at a lake or a river so he could wash get some water Rinka maybe wash a few clothes then after washing he would actually set up his mosquito net a few metres away from thee from the river or the lake sit in it and sometimes you'd meditate sometimes he would just sit there just watching the animals come out to play the animals will come out and drink and play in the water in the evening they'd only come out when he was absolutely still if they knew there was an ant it was a human being there they wouldn't come near he said that sometimes he was so still not moving at all and not only the ordinary animals came out but some animals we'd never seen before animals his parents and his teachers had never even described to him animals he never knew existed strange and wonderful these animals were they were so sensitive and scared of human beings they'd hardly ever let any human being see them so this is what happens in the deep stages of meditation only when you're absolutely content and still these beautiful limiters actually stay more you want the more you move more you're content the more you're still that's how one develops the last day to the meditation you're on the six petal of the Lotus instead of wanting to open it quickly you have to be so still that's like watching the animals play by the lake not moving not wanting just keeping your mindfulness warming the last petal and then it opens out into the deep darkness all stages of contentment and what it actually shows you just how powerful is this thing which we call contentment because it opens up all the petals of the lotus all the stages of meditation and every stage gets brighter or more powerful and more energetic contentment doesn't need to dullness doing leads to darkness contentment leads to more and more energy in the mind tea gets brighter and brighter more more powerful when you get into these any deep darkness it is amazing energy especially afterwards so the way of contentment when the Buddha said contentment is the highest wealth this is I am like the jewel in the heart of the Lotus when you get to these powerful stages of meditation then you can do all sorts of things you can still not only sort of see what the Buddha was teaching when he was talking about the Four Noble Truths you can actually remember your past lives as well this is what I really been encouraging some of the meditators and the retreats to do get deep meditation ask yourself what's your earliest memory because of the power of the mind the mind goes off and searches and finds those memories and it really amazes you that you know the mic that you do these things you can actually find out what it was like when you were young baby or in your mother's womb or even before it's all because of contentment this comes up and so you actually find out these truths of religion of Buddhism or whatever for yourself sometimes people say what's the point of remembering your past lives so what I asked him in Penang one question I said look wouldn't it be wonderful to know once and for all whether its rebirth actually it was actually true or not whether it was just a myth something which was part of old fashioned India and just a cultural anomaly and nowadays science knows much better and we'd only born once it's in and to know whether you're born one so many times if you're born many many times you better watch out for what's going to happen next all you people who think you're finished with school you're gonna have to go back to primary school again you know you don't get it right again all that learning again all those exams never think you're finished through exams there's always another one your next life quite a few left don't think you've got rid of your children they've all grown up you can have some more as well we go through that again childbirth and having kids and having sort of the teenage years again and just getting angry and upset at you nappies you're not adding nappies yet until you enlightened if you in your life so thousand thousand it's important to know this isn't it so be actually you know it what we birth actually is and you can remember they search for the knowledge ease with the Buddha had after getting his deep meditations under the Bodhi tree this is the story the Buddha's environment he actually reflected on his past lives and was a good reason for that because he really wanted to find out for sure whether past lives were true and also karma well this law of karma which Buddha's teach it's okay to sort of thing we're sort of make sense but you know who knows it's only another theory okay I might sort of you know put my money on that horse but I don't know whether it's going to win on our you can never actually really know until you experience these things if you've experienced like a few of your past lives and know the connections you should be able to see the connections why it is you know you're born like this or you do this your inclinations that's actually what goes from life to life inclinations you know that story of that man in Sydney that Buddhist in Sydney whose when he's a wife gave birth to his first daughter know after what he realized it was his aunt them for who died a few years earlier he had an aunt was a very successful businesswoman in Sydney and she was a multi-millionaire Asst and just before she died she made out her will to hit her to death it I think she was married to her nieces and nephews and he was one of them however he was the only niece or nephew in the family who was at all religious and this business lady hated religion and hated charity that's bad karma you know what the result of that bad karma was listen had an instant result for this this aunt because this particular nephew was a Buddhist she hardly gave him any inheritance because she was convinced that if she gave him some money he just give it to the Buddhist temples and she didn't want that to happen so she only gave him just a tiny amount of her inheritance the other nieces and nephews got a lot but not him and then she was reborn as here as his daughter so she had to live in poverty because she never gave him any money Instant Karma but anyway then actually that he told me that when when the daughter was born that she bought an uncanny likeness to the auntie had died of a few months before and all the family started to notices that looks like auntie but you know this baby's the maybe just imagination when the baby started to speak that's when all the memories came out you told me there's so many of them the ones he told me I remember he said one of the things he did inherit was the the the old crockery the mugs not the one she used to keep for know the best occasions when business clients were coming in but just the old mugs was used to sort of drink out of the ones he used to use the worthless ones he inherited those when he was coming into the room one day he told me with a cup of coffee a mug of coffee his little baby went ballistic daddy daddy my cup give me my cup that's my iCup now your cup giving my cup when they went close to her old mansion daddy dad in my house take me to my house as my house the most interesting thing about the inclinations when she was a business woman she would do anything to avoid paying taxes to the government anything she'd hire accountants he'd cheat she'd put off the the tax invoices to the very last moment the tax returns so she'd do anything to avoid paying taxes he said he told me that one day his little daughter was riding in the back of the chyme when this baby seats and they passed one of these billboards one of the advertising signs by the side of the freeway it said something about tax outside of Sydney a little baby no Sonny said daddy what does the word tax me and Dad he explained to her a little to his little daughter tax means that when you you get any money you have to give some of it to the government this little baby said daddy when I get any money I'm giving nothing to the government why a little two or three-year-old baby would actually say this is actually beyond comprehension and this she realize that was the rebirth of his arms who a past life has spent her whole life avoiding taxes and now as a little baby had still got the same ink the nation's that's actually just what happens when we get reborn if you actually see your past project actually see those inclinations that's why some people asked me this because they weren't a very strong Buddhist in that part of Malaysian they say well how can I ensure my next life I'll find sort of a good Buddhist teacher odd I've become a Buddhist so you don't need to worry about that your inclinations will make your Buddhist and I said look at me I was born in London I became a Buddhist just show some inclination there so this is actually what happens and this is how we find out you know the root of this law of karma the way we live our life it gives us inclinations to goodness or inclinations to badness the inclinations to being kind we practice a lot of kindness in this life that's the sort of car wash willing kindness to kindness in our next life we get into a lot of fights in this life link liners that get into a lot of fights and unleash life as well Instant Karma or karma comes back again sometimes you still wonder when I was growing up in London is to go to some pubs or sunlight dances and some of these places you knew there would always be a fight and peopled actually go these places because they would like a fight that inclined towards violence and getting beaten up I never inclined towards Iying prior to going to temples instead you never get him get beaten up in the Buddhist Center somebody must neither place the calendar Friday night so why do people in tried to go to places with a know this danger and violence just because you see that karma from the past so pull them in that direction and so you can see this I see these patters of contentment you can actually see where all this is coming from you can see it for yourself and get his mother's insights and it also it shows you just how you can really rest in life because one of the most biggest problems of human beings at our time especially times when we have to work so hard we don't know how to let things go way to let things go is just this content contentment is a way for freedom when you talk about freedom freedom from like being in a jail as I mentioned this a few weeks ago don't know the difference between a jail and I'm on stry not much difference is there actually in a day you get three meals a day you get to watch the television you get a nice soft bed in fact the conditions in jail are much better than the podium your honor monitor where I live if Amnesty International found out how I treat my monks I'll be in big trouble but of course there's a lot of difference between a monastery and a jail and the main difference is monks in a monastery want to be there this is lineage L don't want to be there that is the only difference the difference between being in prison and being free is whether you want to be there or whether you don't want to be there which is why if you're in a relationship you hate you don't to be in that relationship it's a prison for you if you're in a job you hate you don't want to be in that job that's a prison for you if in a body you hate as a prison you don't need to move anywhere else if you change that I don't want to be there to contentment immediately you're freed from prison so a contentment is it opposite of I don't want to be there that's where freedom comes from that's why if it's in meditation I don't have been here I want to be into the jhanas I want to be into an immature I don't know be with this breath I want this to end I don't he'll be listening here I want to go home can I jump well finish now it's gone past nine across I want my cup of coffee you see you in jail you know how to go we feel very very if you're content you're free so this is a difference between prison and freedom contentment and eventually you might want to sort of change your job you might change your partner you want to make change the place you go to a Friday but it'll always be the same until you learn how to be content there's nothing to do with what's out there it's what you make of it four walls don't make a tale it's just not want to be there so whatever is happening to you especially whatever is happening to you in your body if you've got pain and sickness in the body it's only a prison if you don't learn how to be content with this body so that way is you can see the way to freedom the weight of freedom is through contentment and you have to try sometimes you have to work but please understand when I'm talking about contentment letting go it's not what you do 24 hours a day seven days a week but have that ability to do it whenever you want so when you work hard you can take some time off just for contentment what's done has been well done good enough I'm content with it right now only then can I rest only then can I be free only then can I get into deep meditation and realize the bliss and the joy it is doing nothing for a change when you've rested when you've appreciated when you're free long enough and you got your energies back then you can go working again so even though we are in prison because of all of our things we have to do in life at least give yourself alone at least once a week that's why the Buddha said that contentment is the highest wealth the contentment leads the deep meditations that is similar the Lotus the deepest state is open up only when you let go and you're at peace you don't move through a containment and also contentment is a way to be released from prison so whenever you are in in a jail in a prison and you can't get out try contentment and the walls disappear this is the thought this evening on contentment I hope you like it because that's what you're getting so you'd better be content or else so thank you very much for this thing today are there any questions on content mints and I hope you like the joke about the puffy

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