The Secret | Ajahn Brahm | 30 Dec 2007


For this evenings talk I am going to be
addressing a subject which is central to Buddhist teachings but
is difficult to understand You see understanding that craving or desire and how that actually fits into our
modern day lifestyles. specially for those of you who know
traditional Buddhism You know in all of the schools of Buddhism We have something called the
Four Noble Truths and the second Noble Truth says quite bluntly that craving is the source of suffering And so as Buddhists we are supposed to somehow let go of craving, have no desires or
few desires But then how do we actually practice that in our daily lives because we actually do desires that what of we want. Does that mean that we should all become monks and nuns or just give up our jobs and just live on the streets? Not look after our kids, not have the latest cloths. What does it really mean? It is a difficulty (for many Buddhism) for many Buddhists trying to reconcile our lifestyles with the idea that suffering is caused by craving. So I am going to investigate what that really means especially in our lives today And I thought we can actually start by just knowing that our present world is in great danger because of the untrammeled or unrestricted craving of our species; always wanting more and more and obviously that
cannot be sustained. Few years ago we were talking about Ozone layers. Now we are talking about global warming. Interesting to see what comes next.
It all seem to come by just using too many resources And it’s tough being a modern western person to see how can we actually deal with this. because yeah once we finished our house then
we can actually start worrying about global warming. or once we got what we need then we can actually
try to help other people. Unfortunately sometimes that’s not really sufficient actually to
save our future. We see like so many wars and so many arguments and so many competition over limited things. So we wonder is this the world we really want to bequeath to our children or is this the world we really want to live ourselves. As far as Twenty Five Hundred years ago
Buddhism was concerned was saying that the biggest problem here is the craving. Sure that yeah we know that we want to try and do something about global warming, we want to have peace on earth, we want couples being able to live happily together we want to have people sharing the resources
of our planet but something called craving gets in the way. And this is our problem. However, that craving doesn’t mean no desires this is going to be may be the central point of this talk today. This is if the desire is ok but we are desiring the
wrong things life. We are desiring the material things rather than the
spiritual things. Measuring people by possessions rather than by qualities such as compassion, virtue and peace. We are actually having goals in our lives, you know which allows to pay off our mortgages but we never have enough time to ourselves and to our loved ones. So the heart of this talk to day is Well we have to have desires that’s part
of being a human being as part of having a mind, some of those desires are
very worthwhile but what type of desires do we have in our lives? Being a monk I am in privileged position simply because you do have acquaintances across the spectrum from very poor people to very wealthy people,
from Presidents to Prisoners from multimillionaires to people on the dole and when you actually meet all these types of people you can actually see that it’s not really their economic circumstances which determines their happiness This is one of the first insights I got when I was relatively wealthy westerner. I say this even when I was a student with very little money and holes in my jeans, I had holes in my
jeans because I couldn’t afford better ones. not because of the fashion statement. I was ahead of my time. These days people buy jeans straight from the shop
with pre-maid holes. But mine were real. But then going to a place like North East Thailand in the villages a long way away from anywhere there there were some system farmers who just had very
spare cash and would live on a barter economy just growing rice or whatever they could catch specially fish in the rainy season and building their
houses with whatever can be found in the forest or in the fields. And you saw there that some of those people were just so poor compared to the
poor student I thought I was I was actually very wealthy compared to them. But one of the things which I did notice living in that village. yeah sure many of those poor people were happier than the people I knew sort of from the great university like Cambridge I also saw some miserable people in that village. When I saw those miserable people in that village I wanted to find out why some people were miserable other people were happy when they both had
very few things. and I found out that basically it worked out like this Every house had a water buffalo which they used to
plough the fields. and the dung from the water buffalo would be the fertilizer
for their fields The buffalo would plough their fields and do all sorts of tasks like pulling the cart and that was a very
important part of their house But I noticed the farmers who had say one water buffalo and happy with one water buffalo
seem to be the ones always smiling But the farmer who had one water buffalo but wanted two that was the farmer who was unhappy. who didn’t seem to have so much time and so much joy
in their lives Seemed to me that happiness was not so much how much you have but how much you want. And that started to make me think the basic question in life; how much do you really need
to be happy in life? Does it really mean the more you have, the happier you are I think that’s the greatest myth of our modern existence. thinking that more we have the more pleasure and happiness and the freedom and power we can exert. But every one of you are old enough to know by now that the promise of freedom and happiness when you gain wealth is a very false promise. Those people who have experienced the gain of wealth, people whose business goes well people who win the lottery or inherit coming to a great deal of money very often realizes it spoils their lives. A classic story is few years ago one of the
people who won a huge lottery in the United States hundred million dollars or more , his picture was in the newspaper
being led to jail He was a very happy man before he won the lottery and as soon as he won the lottery things started to go wrong in his life Sure before he won that lottery he didn’t have much money he had enough to enjoy his life, to be able eat and
have a modest little house and go out with his friends but as soon as he became
really really wealthy all of his friends he could not trust anymore. all were
asking for loans or bits of money here and there it was one of the problems with wealth; even though it promises you so much it tends to limit your enjoyment of the world rather than facilitate it . And I have seen this so many times and sometimes wonder what do you want wealth for? It’s much better to not be wealthy and not be poor but be someone in the middle That reminded me of one of the books I read as a student which was a very famous book Plato’s Republic where in the last chapter, this was you know Greek Philosophy twenty five hundred years ago in the last chapter where describing reincarnation, most of the Greeks believed in reincarnation at that time, it was just common acknowledge So you know reincarnation is not an Asian thing it was right there in Europe two thousand or so years ago. And in Plato’s Republic he was noticing that; in his last chapter about reincarnation; that when people chose their future lives, this was his way of describing it; it is a wonderful metaphor, we chose our wealth in lives. the stupid people were the once who chose to be rich and powerful in their next life. Because the rich and powerful has far more suffering than the people who are just life in the middle. So first of all, the Buddhist teachings of the middle way just applies to your wealth as well. Please don’t aspire to be too wealthy. because you will find it gives you more problems in life. if you just have enough in the middle somewhere, middle income, that’s good enough. And indeed that’s what Plato said twenty five hundred years ago
in Greese. Words confirmed by a famous study which was done in the United States twelve months ago where they were trying to find out what the maximum happiness was compared to peoples’ annual income. And it was not that hard to gain the information, the data, they had a huge sample of people from different levels of income and they could gauge their happiness by how strong their marriages were, whether they have had many divorces, whether they are depressed, drug dependency, alcoholism and all these are very clearly indicators that things were going wrong in your life, or whether things were going well in your life. And after done a huge sample that they found out that the optimum income, in other words the income which would guarantee you the best happiness was about fifty thousand dollars US per year. More than that your happiness level went down. Less than that you couldn’t just afford the things which you wanted. So you weren’t happy. So actually the best, as far as happiness was concerned, and this was proved in, look at the research yourself, a large sample and it is probably similar in Australia, similar demography, about fifty thousand US or
the equivalent over here; what that would that be about fifty five thousand Australian or something was the optimum income; more than that and you have more suffering. Less than that you have more suffering. And that’s actually the
income to aim for. So if you are earning more than that the Buddhist Society of WA can help you (audience laughs) to become happier by allowing you to give the difference to our Retreat Center, to our Nuns Monastery
or to this joint Or even better just to tell your boss fifty five thousand is
enough for me, I don’t want the raise. (laughs) I want to be happy. People laugh at that but actually that’s evidence based. And that’s dhamma based, that’s Buddhist based. Because sometimes we think the more money, the more happiness the truth of the matter is’ the opposite. So when you are having your desires and cravings,
your aspirations in life please keep that in mind. And number two if we don’t want the salary what most people
aspire to in this life and you work your butts off for this is, is actually to get the
nice big house in a nice suburb Now look at Nollamara here, this was actually a bad suburb
before we came in (audience laugh) and now we raised the house prices. So those of you who want to invest in property,
or got property in some suburb build a monastery next door, your house prices go up. No that’s not the point (audience laughs), the point is what I have often seen is that you can see this huge houses which are built these days and even a week ago just I went to our local councils at
Christmas lunch And it was over in Jarradale because we want to be
friends with our local councilors and other sort of people in Serpentine and Jarrahdale,
went there for PR And as we were going through Jarrahdale which is a very pretty little town in the hills there were big development there, huge houses in the forest but before I got to this huge mansions I passed these small the old wooden cottages which used to be in that logging twon
or timber town in Jarrahdale. I saw these huge places and thought ‘my goodness people have
to work so hard to pay for these big mansions’ and I thought ‘what they are doing that for?’ Number one if you have a very very big house people say well I need that for my family. Jee when I grew up we were living
on top of one another I was in the same bedroom with my brother all the time. Sure we used to fight but we also learned to love one another as well. You had to because there was no escape in such a small house. One of the things which you learn living in such close quarters with
other members of your family is how to get on together. When you live in such a huge place
where everyone has their own rooms actually probably two or three rooms for every person in the family It means you got too many bog holes too many places you can go instead of fixing up the social problems which you have with your siblings or with your parents or children. There are many advantages in living in close quarters with one another you tend to get on. And I think that is what the social problems which comes with people living in such huge houses in our modern age. We don’t know how to live with each other. May be that is the cause of so many divorces or people changing partners. We haven’t earned those skills
of cooperation and give and take between one and another You have to learn that when you live in subscribed quarters. I remember my father telling me, at least I had my own bed
when I grew up, he shared his bed with about six or seven brothers and even sisters when he grew up. How can you go to sleep that way in a small bed with four or five or six other brothers in the same bed. we certainly learn how to cooperation in such a small bed. But they did have such a great time, they loved each other very very much so sometimes though we think that wealth will give us
such a huge property but it comes at a great cost, one of the biggest costs is how hard you have to work, how many hours you have to spend to pay for such a big place. You can only be at a one room at a time, sometimes that we as an example, as a counter example we have our monasteries where we live, and I enjoy taking people to see where I live even years ago when I lived in a bigger place than I live now there was a big room, may be three meters by two point four with a walking path in the front. And I still remember about ten years ago taking a group of women who were visiting the monastery, it was a local women’s group who wanted to do weird things on an afternoon and had never been to the monastery and that qualified being weird, and when I took them to see my hut my room, I always remember one of the girls turning around to me and saying ‘wow if only my house were this small I get all my house work done in half an hour’. She looked at my simplicity with a lot of envy which is the other reason huge houses takes a lot of maintenance, a lot of work, and you haven’t got the time; number one you are working so hard to pay off the mortgage and number two you have to work so hard to maintain the place and keep it clean. And you never manage to get all the things done. So isn’t it something wrong about that? So it’s great to be able to downsize. Any of you who come and visit Bodhinyana Monastery many of you saw this my cave, where I live it is a small cave. It’s not even two and half meters if it is that circular and about that high. It is only a little cave were I live. And that’s so easy when I wake up in the morning it takes me about 30 seconds to make my bed. I sleep on the floor. It takes about five minutes to sweep it out. It’s just a simple place to stay it gives me so much time and so much freedom. This is a example when we have big places we think that this is going to create happiness and space, sure it got physical space but we have no time space left. And that is one of the great complaints of our modern age. We are material wealthy but time poor. So we have desire, we want comfort, we want well being, we want sort of some happiness sometimes are craving and desires are misplaced. they haven’t got wisdom with it. And a lot of times it is because we are sheep, we just follow what other people do. one of the great things about religion, what they should be doing especially you know in parts like Buddhism, is making you question. Don’t just follow what other people are doing like lemmings just going over the cliff of environmental destruction, think for yourselves. Question. Don’t follow the norm. But follow wisdom and common sense instead You follow what other people are always up to you going to be in lot of trouble if you think what most people are doing it must be right, I always remember one of my favorite quotes from Voltaire It was Voltaire who made a quote from mathematics he was a mathematician as well, one of his famous quotes which I thought was very funny but also so true, “The only way to understand the mathematical concept of infinity (to really get your head around
what infinity means) is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity.” Then you know what infinite means. So it’s a waste of time following other people We question and find out for ourselves. So doesn’t matter what other people are saying Saying ‘ oh you should upgrade move to a bigger house, it is an investment for the future. May be for your future but not for your children’s future. And it’s not a future for your peace and happiness at the time. How much do you really need? And it’s the same when we want fame or status. Even when I was a young monk, there was a fellow monk his name was Garry, and I remember as a young man he grew up in Los Angeles, he met that filmstat who was that who played ‘dirty harry’ what was his name? Clint Eastwood, he met Clint Eastwood in his early days because they went to the same university together he told all these stories about being with the rich and the famous but he remembered once when that Singer Bob Dylan was in Los Angles he found out from his friends which hotel he was in and managed to use on of his contacts to sneak in the back and spend a whole evening and night with Bob Dylan. This is a famous man, at that time he was multi famous and Bob Dylan was saying … no he was saying to Bob Dylan Ah it must be great being famous; Bob Dylan swore no its xxxx whatever it is, I can’t repeat it here its terrible being famous. It’s such a pain to be well known. I am not well known as Bob Dylan, but I think you know sometimes I have gone to a toilet in Singapore airport I have not been able to go to the loo because some one in the toilet in the Changi airport stopped me to ask me questions on meditation. Sometimes it happens here as well. twenty five past seven I am trying to go to the toilet before I do the talk here, and someone stops me ‘Ajahn Brahm’ So one of the great things of being ‘not famous’ is you can go to the toilet whenever you want (audience laugh) So but do you want to be famous? would it be lovely to be famous? Why do people go in this TV shows like Australian Idle or this other Big publishers they wanna be famous, they must see a psychiatrist very quickly because no one in their right mind would want to be famous. But lot of time people desire that, they want that, they crave that And really sort of they are putting all of their energies
into the wrong place. There is a great story which I sort of adapted and wrote in that newsletter, a journal for one of the Buddhist centres in Sydney and I told that in a recent concert in Singapore, its a nice story about a monastery somewhere in the world and in the middle of the night the Abbot was woken up when he heard a noise in the main shrine room So he got up and checked, and sure enough there was a burglar in the temple. As soon as the burglar saw the Abbot the burglar was trying to open the donation box and he told the Abbot just get out of here. And the Abbot took one look at the burglar instead of actually stopping the burglar opening the donation box ‘here’s the key’ so the burglar took it and told not to do anything But the Abbot took one look at the burglar and like many burglars and this guy was so thin. So the Abbot asked him when was the last time you ate. Burglar said ‘shut up’ . When I give talks I always like to wake people up every now and again (audience laughs). ‘Shut up’ he said. But the Abbot didn’t shut up he said ‘look there is some left over food from this mornings meal
in the cupboard, help yourself. And the man was hungry. So just looking at the Abbot and brandishing a knife from the kitchen he said ‘don’t come near. He quickly sort of stuffed some food into his mouth and the Abbot said ‘don’t rush, there is plenty of time’ and the bugler opened the donation box emptied it, took some more food and ran away saying don’t call the police, Abbot said I wan’t the donations are there for charity, for compassion you are a poor person just take whatever you want I will clear with the committee tomorrow So the next day when the committee heard about this At least the guy was being kind and they liked the Abbot for being kind but usually what happens a few days later that bugler was caught robbing another house somewhere and was sentenced to jail The abbot forgot all about that and few years later The bugler returned with another knife. He came and said you remember me? I robbed this temple five years ago, now I have come to rob again; but the burglar said this time;
but last time I took the wrong thing I took the money Putting down his knife he said now I have come to take compassion and wisdom, please show me how you were so kind to me, even though I was about to kill you and rob your tample. So the Bugler realizing for the first time he thought that money was happiness after those five years realized that kindness is more important than money he said the first time he have stolen the wrong thing now he come to take the right thing and asked the Abbot to teach him; compassion and Kindness. I like that story because sometimes when we want something, we are wanting the wrong thing. It is ok to want but not the material things in life the rich people in this world are not the people
in the big houses The rich people in this world are the
people with the big hearts Those people who are wealthy are not the
people with big bank balances Those people who are wealthy are
the people who have got time for each other. Isn’t that so? It is obviously the quality of life which is why that the craving which we have in this world is actually wrongly directed And that’s why it leads to suffering. And usually you should grow older and older and older in life while other people start to question more and more when you experience getting the big house or the wealth or the fame, so many people say ‘so what?’ This is it? This is what I worked so hard for? Where’s the pay off? because such craving; we call it unfaithfully craving We call it unfaithful because it promises so much but fails to deliver. But the desire for the beautiful qualities of life things like peace, time, contentment kindness, compassion, generocity those are the real things which is wonderful to crave for which is great to desire, you are actually desiring something which is truly worth something in life. Why? because what does the wealth, the money the house, the car, what does it really promise you? It promises freedom and happiness, respect, security That’s sometimes what people think about these days If I get wealthy then I can be secure and happy for ever after I still remember the story which I read still as a young man May I read all the right stories which is why I became a monk instead of seeking fortune in the world I sort fortune in my heart. There was a man who was in the boom years of United States in the roaring 20s made enough money and managed to cash it in before the depression years and being a multimillionaire he decided ‘why should I just
live in the United States’ are there any other places in the world where I can live which got a better climate, safer, more happy existence so he went to the local public library got out books and he used his intelligence to try and find the perfect place in the world where he could retire and enjoy his remaining years using his great wealth. He could go anywhere he wanted with so much money. So he decided on a tropical island with perfect climate it was called Guadalcanal For those of you who are old enough you know that Guadalcanal became famous because it was the site of two major battles in the Second World War. First when it was taken over by the Japanese Imperial Troops and then it was actually taken over by the Americans afterwards two huge battles. So there was a guy who made his pile, and thought I am now gonna retire to Guadalcanal thinking of being peaceful for ever after. What happened? He gets involved in two major wars, Actually he survived both battles apparently. Two major battles, he survived both and lived to tell the tale but it wasn’t a peaceful place. So don’t know where
you want to retire Whether it is the Peppermint Grove or to the Darryl Keys I don’t know what other places you think but who knows what’s going to happen there later on? (audience laughs) That’s the trouble they might have a new airport in peppermint Grove in next five years; wherever else you live this is a great uncertainty of life so you cannot trust such material investments. sometimes you invest so much in your wife you take her shopping to Paris you bring her all the latest fashions and of course she runs away with your best friend because he is more wealthy than you whatever else it is you know what it is like how can you really have any security in life? Now look at myself as a monk, I got no money and I have no health insurance, I have no superannuation, no pension plans I am getting old now. And I think wow what am I going to do next. But you know I don’t worry about my future I got great investments than you have kamma investments Because of how much I have served, how much I have given over these last years I know I don’t have to worry about anything about my future. Even when I go overseas sometimes they ask whether I have any health insurance because thing happen when you are overseas can get into an accident, fall sick or something But I say I have health insurance when I go overseas there are enough people who care about me when I go to Singapore or Thailand or Sri Lanka and I know I would get the best of care if I fall sick and same here why? its because I have been kind enough to many people that people just want to be kind back that is my health insurance, by paying in many many installments, kindness and giving to others This is what I know will come back to me It is basic Buddhist teachings If you want security for your future make lots of good kamma be kind, be generous, be there for others and others will be there for you which is why the wealthy people sometimes gets so lonely they wonder, I got all this money but I can’t get the best care Sure they have invested in the share market but they have never invested in their kamma market This is the Wall Street of Australia,
Dhammaloka Buddhist Center This is the way you can make great investments with a guaranteed return, and the Buddhist Kamma stockmarket never crashes and always there for you for this life and the next and that actually, this is not just a joke this is not an exaggeration, people actually craving and desiring, they want happiness they want peace, ask yourself sometime what do I really want in life? Sometimes people just say they want to be cared for. How do you become ‘cared for’ you don’t become ‘cared for’ because you are rich, you just become exploited or
become feared you become ‘cared for’ when you know how to care for others. This is again; what kamma is all about So if you desire, is to care for other people in this world If that is your craving in life, seeing how much I care for others Then you are putting the craving in the right place. The craving to have a more harmonious peaceful, sharing, kind warm society Not having big houses, but again by having big hearts Big hearted communities which really look after
one another That’s sometimes why in the poorer suburbs people look after each other much easier My mother because I came from a poor family was always lived in what was called Council Flats Council Flats were State subsidized housing Even after my father died we just moved from one council flat to another My poor mother lived in these Council Flats for many years. And these big tall tower blocks in London were supposed to be a hot bed of crime. So my little old mother was a prime suspect according to the sociologists. But she lived in this tower block for many years and I remember when I went to visit her and stayed in that tower block for a short while I was going to give a talk in the Sri Lankan Vihara is Chiswick one day and it was not that far from where my mother lived so I wanted to walk. I enjoyed those walks in the streets of London especially in my robes. Because I was always a radical I wanted to surprise and stagger and confront people with my sartorial elegance of brown robes. But I also enjoyed having fun because people would look at me and sometimes not knowing exactly what you were dressed in these robes, these are like what people used to called bed blankets sometimes they are cross the other side of the road
but I’ll always take pleasure in wishing them Good Morning with a smile to an Englishman when someone actually wishes you
‘Good Morning’ you have to say Good Morning back. It is psychological torture for them. Being a sadist I enjoyed that. But anyhow on this particular occasion when I in the elevator when I got to the bottom as the door was open I was the only one in the elevator and as the door was opened I was confronted by an old lady who was covered with blood. It was like scene out of a movie I didn’t know what had happened to her whether she has been attacked, mugged or whatever but she
actually told me that she had fallen down by the flight of steps. She must have been about sixty five or seventy because she could still stand so immediately I forgot about giving a talk at any sort of Vihara it’s more important I am kind and compassion; I like to practice Buddhism rather than teach it. So I forgot about the talk and I took this old lady upstairs to my mother’s apartment where we bathed her wounds called the ambulance, she did have a broken leg but because of the shock she couldn’t feel the pain at the time, so we bathed her, comforted her, called the ambulance but the wonderful thing which happened was that because it was an accident and because I took her into my mother’s apartment very quickly, my mother left the door opened and there was a trail of blood which was leading into my mother’s apartment and I was so pleased in a matter of five minutes I don’t know how many people had come into my mother’s apartment to find out what was going on and whether she was alright. And when they found out the reason why one of the tenants in these apartment blocks had an accident, fallen over and was wounded, it was wonderful to see the community coming together and helping one and another I was bathing the wounds because my mother doesn’t like blood someone else was going to her house to actually to turn her oven off because she had something in the oven cooking and somebody was going to ring her daughter somewhere else and everybody was working together so well I thought, this is not a hot bed of crime this is a community where people cared about each other. And because they were all poor, they weren’t afraid of one and another. I thought actually one of the reasons why a community was made in this tower block is because of the elevator. Every day people will be stuck together in this very small elevator, not this big elevators you find in these big mansions, a small elevators. Small elevators are great. You are stuck together going up and down no matter how much of a stiff upper lip, how reserved you are as an English person you see these same people up and down on the lift, after a couple of years you start talking to them. When you start talking to them you get to know them. When you get to know them you become friendly when you become friendly you start caring for each other. That’s one of the lovely things which happens when you live in small places. People get to know each other and care for one another. And I thought Wow that places is not wealthy as far as material things are concerned. But what a wonderful thing is that you know
that somebody would switch off our oven if you had to go to a hospital unexpectedly, someone would bath your wounds, someone would look after you and care for you and that’s called health insurance. The real one. Because there is always someone to care because you cared for others. That’s what people want most of all to be cared for and looked after specially in times of difficulty and stress. So really when we talk about craving; this is really what we should be craving for. We are using our mental energies, using our desires to build up something which is worth while in life. Instead of these false shimmers like big houses, big bank balances,big cars and fancy cloths shee you don’t need fancy cloths to get on in life This is why we wear brown robes, these are far more practical these brown robes like this because whenever I spill a cup of tea I don’t need to wash it. The brown goes to brown most stains are brown stains; that’s one of the reasons why we have brown robes because they are easy to look after and this actually seconds as a blanket at night times so this is so practical to have few things and use them well I don’t know how many clothes you have specially those poor people who are young and have to wear designer clothes, designer shoes and designer everything. It’s great being like a monk which is so simple the same robe we wear day in and day out. I wear this robe to see the Queen of England, I wear this robe to see the builders at the building site of the retreat center. Isn’t that wonderful you don’t have to think ‘I am seeing the Queen today what shall I wear?’ I am going to see the builder what shall I put on today? It the same before I saw the Queen I never had a haricut the same old thing or the President of Sri Lanka or other people you go and see. So it’s great being simple. So my craving is to see how simpler I can be in my life materially and how rich I can make my life emotionally carrying and looking after others. And that’s precisely what we learn in Buddhism You don’t need that much to be happy The Secret of Happiness and I am saying this because someone asked me today can I talk about ‘the Secret’ ‘The Secret’ is a book with a video which has sold a lot of copies and has made the author into a very unhappy rich person. Stupid. But that’s not the secret like willing something and it comes to you. Because sure there is something to that, it you imagine it you will it long enough eventually it will come But do you really want that? Is that how you are going to use the power of your mind just to get a car parking space you want in the mall? It is much better to have the car park space further away then you get some exercise. And then you don’t die of a heart attack when you are forty. So the thing is yes, there is some truth to that but you are wanting the wrong thing. wouldn’t it be wonderful if that book said if you just imagine world peace or you can imagine just poor people in Africa having wells in every village or you can imagine just the people in Perth having enough water because they don’t sprikle their gardens too often or you can people being kind to each other. You can imagine people say in the buses or in the trains giving their seats up to the elderly or sick or pregnant people. It would be wonderful if the different communities whether it is the aboriginal community or the other ethnic communities can live together in peace and harmony it would be wonderful you know if we can have love between our families. Kids looking after one another looking after their parents. It would be wonderful if there is no violence in our schools. Dreaming of things like that I think is far moe worth while than sort of dreaming about material things . So that sort of secret, that’s not the secret to happiness that’s the secret to more headaches and more problems in the world. So the real secret revealed by the Buddha if you like it’s common knowledge now, its not a secret we teach it all the time is that if you really want something in life, if you really aiming for something in life if you are using craving and the power of your physical body and mind to do something, to get something, please get the right things in life. The things which are really worth. You don’t use the power of your mind for second rate sham stuff. Otherwise you are like the person going to the doggy brother’s car deals and getting an old bomb as a car. That’s what that book reminded me of–people selling false goods. So if you really want happiness, contentment kindness compassion generosity that’s what makes the world go around, that’s what inspires, brings happiness, brings peace and brings a world in which you want to live rather than a world in which we always complain why is it life this, why is this all happening, So use your cravings for the right goals. And if you start to use your cravings for the right goals for things like peace, harmony for kindness, for generosity you will also find that’s precisely how one gets success in meditation. Why people love to meditate why people like to become monks and nuns sometimes People often say the happiest times of their lives is when they are at peace. And that’s actually what we say; that peace is golden or silence is golden peace of mind is the most valuable commodity in the world Isn’s that really why we search high and low for a partner for a lifestyle so we can have a few moments of peace It is really the craving, if you really want to crave the right things, you really want to crave for peace, peace in our own hearts if you can’t find peace in your own hearts, of course you can never make peace in the world. All the peace makers have a lot of anger inside of them. They also have lot of self doubt; because of that they can never make real peace. Only a temporary pause or ceasefire in the hostilities between mankind or the womankind or the planet When we learn how to find a bit of peace in our own hearts then we understand what’s truly worth craving for which is why in that book which I wrote Open the Door of your Heart I said one way of making that peace in you own heart is to say to yourself; whoever I am, whatever I have done, the door of my heart is open completely to me. you make peace with your past Not by fighting it but by accepting it. You can’t make peace and war at the same time. Peace means accepting, embracing, being one with something which is another word for unconditional love. Acceptance embracing. So when you embrace the moment you embrace yourself you embrace the people you have to live with only then you can find peace. This is precisely what one does in meditation. Like meditation is almost like a training ground like a gym where one learns the strengths of character so that one can go and attain those skills out into the world and really make something of this world instead of making problems. So learning how to make peace in ones own meditation, sitting here for half an hour, a short time ago did you make peace or did you make war? Did you try and fight all the defilements, the wondering mind, the itchy head, the aches and pains; did you try and fight past and future or did you learn how to embrace them and make peace with them. When you realize what craving does, it makes war When you understand that peace, kindness, gentleness gives you the highest happiness then only do you understand how to make peace with yourself and be truly free , be rich because the highest wealth even in our English Language is called ‘to want for nothing’. To want for nothing.
How much do you need before you can want for nothing? You need nothing at all. You have enough right now. A moment of contentment a moment of accepting yourself, a situation , your partner, your life in this moment is a moment of great peace. Once you understand that peace in the heart you understand what enlightenment is. What the aspiration of Buddhism is. Why we meditate, why we keep precepts, why we come here to listen to talks like this because every now and again you get a taste of freedom a taste of peace, Beautiful silence in the heart where you want for nothing. When you want for nothing is the most beautiful feeling in the world. completely content, at peace and happy with this moment. And as a result of that you know what compassion is and no one not even monks sit in meditation for ever half a hour, a hour two or three hours on retreat and of course then you come and take that peace and put it there in the world. So your craving is sometimes to make peace in your heart and with your eyes you are out of meditation to create the same peace in this world using the same way. To embrace the people you are with. To be kind to them. To be gentle. To be soft. We call that making good kamma The generosity the kindness, the compassion that’s really what we should be craving for And if we can make that in this world, sure we work hard, we have our job, we contribute to society but then we never have any stress. Our work does … our vocation becomes our vacation as Mark Twain used to say We enjoy what we are doing, because we are not doing this for money, we are not doing this to start a big house, we are doing this for peace. We are doing this for kindness. We are doing this to contribute to the happiness of our world. When the goal becomes well aimed we never get the collateral damage, environmental destruction broken families, corruption and war. It’s not that craving is wrong, its the craving for the wrong things, things which lead to suffering, rather than things which leads to peace. There is a challenge for you in this life. You have desire, you have craving, you have aspirations What is really worthwhile to aspire for? where do you want to be in one, two, three, four, five years time. Where do you want the world to be? Really it’s up to you to crave for the right things.
Thank you for listening. Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu. So is somebody celebrating my talk tonight with a firework display? I am very proud of that.. So does anyone got any comments or questions about the talk tonight about ‘the Secret’

98 thoughts on “The Secret | Ajahn Brahm | 30 Dec 2007

  • 1) provide exemplary service to others to be in alignment with the law of compensation

    2) leave people with a sense of increase and enjoy challenges ('headaches') to GROW!

    3) set about circulating wealth to HELP those people without water wells – rather than just 'imagining' world peace.. its USING and MASTERING money to flow – thats why it is named 'currency' which must flow to and through you to strive for world peace.

    4)I can do more for greater good with money than without it…xxx

  • Money can be a force for good. There is nothing wrong with aspiring to wealth. That's all Ronda Byrne was getting across. BTW, The Secret touched on so much more than just being wealthy.

  • What the fuck are you talking about! It looks all that tree fucking has made you go mad!

    I wouldn't even let my dog wag its tail to a monk!

  • Exactly all what Buddism does is pollution and putting up useless shows!

    Google "Buddhism polyandry"

    And find out how the Buddists go one step lower than pigs!

  • Whatever happend to your brain! I thought you had some sense compared to the other Buddists who are as good as plain lunatics. But now you prove to be a lunatic!

    Go to Sri Lanka you find 90 % of alcoholics and drug addicts are Buddists! And Muslim who marry 4 wives are not even 1 % of all Muslims!

  • HYPOCRITE!

    If you are anything called a Buddist you should immolate yourself

    watch

    "Self-Immolation of a buddhist monk"

  • Buddists are hypocrites! they preach meditation and trying to reach nirvana, but in reality they screw and procreate like pigs and pollute the world

  • What will you give for your mind? Would you sell your child? kill your mother?.. Does nothing really matter? Do not speak in absolutes. If you care for nothing you are nothing. If you want for the world your desire will drive you to become a monster in the end. Even desire for your mind to be "pure" is a desire in its self. Just be happy, enjoy your stumbles.. if you really think about it it is quite amusing. Nothing is forever. When you die you will measure your life on how happy you were.

  • Haha.. There are many religions that you can buy your way into Heaven. Do not think Buddhism is any different. There are always business men willing to exchange your soul for a newer one for a nominal fee..haha..Sad isn't it? how an idea can attract so many vultures? Ohh well, children must be fed.

  • Thank you Ajahn Brahm, and the Buddhist Society of West Australia for making these teachings available on YouTube. What a treasure to have found!

  • Just shows how incompetent you are. Desire on your way for a pure mind is not how it works. Stop desiring on your way for a pure mind is how it is done. I'm not going to judge you. I think you need to stop being bias and think about it for a second.

  • krittmasta-
    I think its great that you know everything. It must be wonderful to prove everybody wrong all the time. hehe.. I'll tell you a little secret. On this topic, you know as much as I do, and infact as much as 99.999% of all humans. So get off your high horse. no offense, just consider it a reality check..

  • all these religions are a joke. The only true way to practice this philosophy is on your own, forgetting all the gimmicks, like tooth relics and statues. I doubt the 25th buddha or any buddha would want anybody to worship him like a god. Thats not what dharma is about. Dharma is about giving people cotrol over their destiny not about worshipping a human being. Such a waste..

  • I am a dharma-ist, not a buddhist. I know quite well what buddhism is. I dont need a westerner to tell me what buddism is. I am not trying to say that I know more than anybody else, but I have seen how the dharma has been manipulated to support a religion with its temples and committees. Buddhism or dharma-ism is NOT about where you go to "pray" or "talk" philosophy, that is not buddhism. Buddhism comes from within. Anyway don't be defensive I am trying to help you view things differently

  • thank you ..beautiful , make since , commen sense teachings.. now i go home to clean out my closet …and i am considered poor…

  • @sumedho1 My peace is not in a monastery it is in my heart. That's the point I am trying to make my friend. You think peace is in a place, I think peace is a inner state of calm and bliss. To find world peace all beings that can must find the peace within. This is possible, but very very unlikely. That feeling of peace you find at a monastery is a external sensation of peaceful coexistence not inner peace. You don't need a monastery to reach nirvana, a radiant peaceful happiness.

  • I just found you and now rejoice! Studying buddhism on my own and it's a pleasure to listen to these talks. They fill in the gaps and help me along my own path. Thanks!

  • May you live long with good health and happiness with the Blessings of the Noble Triple-Gem! Rev. Ajahn Brahm!

  • Just realized that we shall always listen to Dharma to ensure that we are on the right path to happiness. Thanks Ajahn Brahm. : )

  • The Real Buddhism is not just folly worshiping the very powerful God or Buddha like lots of people believe. Buddha he was just a normal person, but he was a very wise man who found out how a person can live their lives happier and peaceful, and get away from suffers. The real Buddhism doesn’t aim for heaven or wealthy lives in their next lives. They aim to have really peaceful life in this life, and do good things for the people who surrounding you, and your society. Make planet more peaceful!

  • @Fernandizo,

    Your view is interesting, but to compare your view with Ajahn Brahm who once was the physicist from Cambridge university and saw the genuineity of Buddhism teaching, he then decided to become the monk under the Buddhism. I think I'd rather follow the monk who has fundamental knowledge about the world and, surely, about life. I am not sure about your Fernandizo! Good luck with your view nevertheless.

  • @Fernandizo,

    Your view is interesting, but to compare your view with Ajahn Brahm's who once was the physicist from Cambridge university and saw the enlightment of Buddhism teaching, he then decided to become the monk under the Buddhism. I think I'd rather follow the monk who has fundamental knowledge about the world and, surely, about life. I am not sure about you, Fernandizo! Good luck with your view nevertheless.

  • all literatur is fiction. all groups and their status quotas are limiting. fear.

    compassion is not limited to one or the other group.graving is life.
    it is beautiful, when inspiration creates desires.

  • I am a Christian and this video was recommended to me. I enjoy learning about what other religions see the life we live in as, but it would never change my belief. This video basically expands on what i want from life. As i tell people, i'll rather be great especially in God's eyes rather than be successful because earthly acquires won't take you to even but having Heavenly gifts and living to the standard of God will.

  • @TheElusiveMan1 you have a point the hare krishna do the same i found what they say is a fact, truly money is a blessing if one never loose touch with love truth life n if and dose not get attached

  • Don't even bother to change a Christian
    The mere fact that they chose Christianity means that their mind capacity is nowhere lucid enough to comprehend logic from our arguments

  • Ajahn Brahm i know that you dont know me. but because you teach the Buddhas teachings with such grace and love, i know me, myself, because of you

  • If people wouldn't bother to attempt to change a christian. I would still be trapped in miserable bondage. Changing a christian is not impossible, It simpy isn't easy. Not doing something worthwhile simply because it's difficult is very a sad thing indeed. You can go back to you're life, no problem. Think about the poor, lost, miserable chrsitian who is simply searching for the truth and terrified to change, they'd been told all their life that such actions would have eternal consequences.

  • I am sorry for my post. It has been 6 months, and now looking back, I guess I was being… arrogant and lazy.
    Sure, I have seen Christians who have converted to Atheism, and became the most logical anti-theist debater (better than the former, I guess).
    Sorry for the generalization, around 6 months ago, I was watching a lot of theism debate on the internet, and seeing some of the arguments people posted just made I loose control… sorry
    I am interest in your story, would you please tell me more?

  • To practice Buddhist teachings, you do not have to stop working. On the contrary, since Buddha 's time, many ordinary people (not monks) could reach nirvana and live their lives as commoners or noblemen. The secret is to take the middle path. Do not get lost in desires, but do not abandon desires or western life style completely. Working hard is a part of practice. Even monks must work to be worthy for meals given by laypeople. Not working or becoming dull is not the way.

  • The secrets of life (and death) are revealed on >>>The Present<<< that you can read for free on truthcontest [.] com
    Prepare to be amazed.

  • Monks – sometimes remind me of surfies – dole bludgers – hippiesville – as harsh as that is – but all this very little money stuff – yet they bum of anyone and everyone – so well – get food – accom – and wonderful temples – infact many monasteries have all the latest mod-cons – – hehe air cond – plasma tvs – mobiles – chaffeurs – always drive in fine cars with driver – food served to them – people bow – they know the secret alright – u dont need much at all if it is given to you – hehe well done

  • Heheh well below 50,000 – well i now know why i am miserable – jesus i have suffering – i knew it. Well – i need about 15000 more to be happy. Actually, i would be happy with 35,000 but Colin Barnett keeps raising utility charges – and people with 50,000 keep voting for him – so another four years of misery – low wages are fine – after all it is just more paper – but cost of living relative to a low wage is not easy – heeh Mr. Barnett is not worried about that i suspect hehee – oh well – yahoo

  • LOVE is the Key…God is Love…Love your neighbor as you love yourself. God gave us that from the beginning to show us the way to live life to the fullest and he continues to give, we simply have to take part. God gave me tins book for YOU. Check out “Once Upon a Time in Heaven” on Amazon.com (Kindle) and see what he has for YOU!

  • It is matter of their needs and wants. If you want to minimise it make the life simple, I think it is achievable.

  • That's rather contemptuous of you. I hope you don't think that's in line with the spirit of Buddhist teachings. It's not. I'm Christian though at the same time I greatly appreciate the wisdom and beauty of Buddhism and its teachings. In fact, there's so much I've learned of the good and true spirit of Christ's teachings thanks to Buddhism! Christs' teachings are not the problem, corrupt leaders and cultures are the problem. Same for Buddhism.

  • Ajahn Brahm, it all depends on the intent.  Money is an excellent servant but a horrible master… There are always pros & cons in life.  Jim Rohn had a wonderful speech called "Great Advice" in which he said "Guard your mind…"   Thank you for your speech & advice… 

  • You can tell this guy lives very spartanly – he rolls out of bed, raps the sheet around his body and calls it good – who needs clothes.

  • If money and wealth causes suffering, isn't it your teacher?  If poverty causes you suffering, isn't that your teacher?  I would like to point out that there is a lot of suffering among middle income people as well. So, money really isn't the issue is it?  Regardless of our financial and material well-being it is the spiritual gifts that should be our greatest craving. I don't believe it is healthy to promote the idea that wealth is not good for us because it creates a desire to push it away, and that is not good for anyone. Funny that he is sitting in front of a Gold Idol saying this? I like this monk, but sometimes he is ever so slightly incorrect.

  • how do the monks maintain food and clothing and such basics? i mean do the monks work or something? i am new to buddahism for i have reached a point i had no where else to turn and knew enough abt buddah to know it taught one to be happy as one is i guess is wht i am trying to say. i would love to go and do a retreat.

  • so by being kind and good karma he is expecting health insurance??? I thought giving without expecting something back in return is the way to go?! Now Im confused Ajahn Brahm.

  • The secret is, you have good and bad. Do all things that are good that increase your well being and does not cause suffering. If anything or anyone starts to cause you suffering, stop it. You are your own master, its up to you to decide.

  • Thank you Ajahn Brahm. I am watering my plants now more and more every day, and no longer the weeds.. I now understand that it is as simple as that, and that we all have the power in our minds to make that decision. Thank you for showing me. Thank you.

  • I crave and make stupid mistakes because my emotions. because of it, ive found this a very hard form of the practice but also one of the causes of a lot of my regrets and suffering, it's a double edge sword.

  • I know I’m almost 12 years too late, but his talks are fire. I don’t even know him and he’s getting me thru some stuff. I pay a therapist and she’s great, but she hasn’t even helped me as much as his talks have.

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