Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera, known as Ajahn Brahm (born Peter Betts on 7 August 1951) is a British Theravada Buddhist monk. Currently Brahm is the Abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery, in Serpentine, Western Australia, the Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, Spiritual Adviser to the Buddhist Society of Victoria, Spiritual Adviser to the Buddhist Society of South Australia, Spiritual Patron of the Buddhist Fellowship in Singapore, Patron of the Brahm centre in Singapore, and Spiritual Patron of the Bodhikusuma Centre in Sydney.
This talk was recorded by Insight Meditation South Bay in Mountain View, California. For more talks and information, visit www.imsb.org.
So, many of you know me from you YouTube. Many of you are being my stalker for the last week, following me everywhere, and still, many, many different teachings from the introduction. Now, I am a mark of—understands of being a hypocrite. There’s no way of actually living anywhere, anyone, anywhere. So in life, whatever you believe in, you have to stand up for. While you teach, you have to do what you believe in, you have to follow, and make it happen. And it’s not that difficult to do. There’s one of the teachings of my master, Ajahn Chah, in Thailand. He passed away a long time ago. And that was the teaching, which—it is in one of my books, but not many people knew about this teaching, because it happened to an Australian man, who told me about this. But before Ajahn Cha had a stroke, he was unable to teach. He became quite well-known in many areas of the world. And this Australian man, he wanted to see the great master to ask some questions. This people often do, once a while, steep questions, over those with the reputation for wisdom and compassion.
So he travelled all the way from Sydney to Bangkok. From Bangkok, had the northeast of Thailand, ___. And from ___, to ___ to take him to this remote monastery in Thailand. By the time he got to this monastery. It was a huge monastery. He had to ask someone who could understand English. Now, where is this great master? And he was under his hut where he usually receive guests. And so this Australian man walked to that area, and found the great master was surrounded by about 200 or 300 people. All of them, asking their questions. And he waited, and waited, and waited, 2 hours, 3 hours, and he was not any closer to talking to the master Ajahn Chah. So, disappointed. He gave up. He got up and walked away. Realizing that there’s no chance he could get close enough to ask the questions he came all that way for.
But on the way out, he saw the monks who were doing some sweeping of the grounds. He realized his ___ will not come for a while, so he decided at the very least, he could make some good karma. And do some cleaning. So he picked up the ___, and started sweeping. Maybe not even 5 minutes have passed by, and he felt, behind him, someone put their hand on his shoulder. And of course, he looked around. And that hand belonged to Ajahn Chah. Ajahn Chah was a great monk. That he could read minds. That’s why it’s a bit scary to be with him. But I said already, don’t be afraid that monks or nuns can read your minds, because in meditation, when you do develop that ability, you’ll only be able to read one or two minds, and after two minds, that’s enough. You will never want to read such a mind again. Your minds aren’t worth reading.
So, Ajahn Chah had read this guy’s mind and least he’d know that this man had such come a long distance. And only for the one reason of seeing this great master. Not for touring around, not for travelling, not for buying mementos to give to his family when he get back home. He came from Sydney directly here. He was going to go back to Sydney again. So Ajahn Chah, through an interpreter, gave him a quick teaching. It was only just one sentence. And you know, most of the greatest teachings I have got while ___ one-liners. They’re the ones, which you take back to you and they really mean so much. I’ll give you one of my ___, before I give you Ajahn Chah’s.
Because this time, there was a Singaporean man, he was asking me very quickly, because he had to go to work. What is the essence of Buddhism? I told him, and he said, the essence of Buddhism is suffering, and suffering is asking from this world something it can’t give you. What a beautiful teaching. When you ask from this world something it cannot give you, that’s called suffering, and we ask so much in this world. So much impossible things, such as your husband always being home on time, such as your wife always being kind, such as your children always being smart and going to ___, such as your boss being reasonable. This is asking from this world something it can never give you. Or Ajahn Brahm, are you telling bad jokes? (laughs)
So, ___ for today, I’ve told so many bad jokes from the last few days. How many heard Malaysia’s bad joke? Because this has been YouTube. The ___ and the ___. Okay, few of you have heard, but most of you haven’t.
So, here’s tonight’s bad joke. For those of you who wants to take a ___ break, I would advise to go now. So this has happened in an indigenous community, somewhere up in the mountains, and he chose ___ reservation, a woman had three sounds, and she named his first son Foot, her second son Foot-Foot, and the third son, you’ve guessed it, Foot-Foot-Foot. And so Foot, Foot- Foot, and Foot- Foot- Foot, they grew up together in the mountains, they played together, they learned together, they went hunting together, and they got to travel together. They were so close and had a wonderful upbringing. But when Foot turned to 21, he said through his mother, mom I’ve lived all this life in the mountains in the forest. I’ve never been into the city. I want to go to San Francisco to see what the city is like. The mom said, no, it’s too dangerous, you don’t belong there. You won’t know what to do. And Foot said, but I planned to take my younger brother Foot-Foot with me, because Foot and Foot-Foot should be okay in the city.
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