When being generous with others, whether materially or emotionally, many interesting thoughts can pop up. As Ajahn Brahm mentions, what happens if someone gives, but one doesn’t get appreciation in return? This could cause someone to be reluctant to give again. Why not just be selfish like everyone else?
Ajahn Brahm discusses how to work with such thoughts and to continue the practice of giving.
Ajahn Brahm mentions that many people fear death because of a prevalent materialistic view of life. Since there is a common view that mind is produced by brain, if someone dies, then mind also disappears.
He explains the topic of reincarnation by looking at the bigger picture, and compares human life to the continual births of universes.
Ajahn Brahm gives a talk on how to approach the “pursuit of happiness.”
He mentions that many people pursue happiness by trying to removing all the unwanted things in their life, like pulling weeds out of the garden. The effect is an endless cycle of trying to pulling out weeds, which can lead to exhaustion and burn out.
He suggests “planting flowers” instead, which is actively trying to create more joy and happiness in the world, and appreciating the happiness that already exists. Eventually the flowers of happiness can outnumber the weeds of problems.
Ajahn Brahmali talks about the difference between common, sensual pleasure and spiritual pleasure. He explains how sensual pleasure is fleeting and is susceptible to many external conditions out of our control, while spiritual pleasure is longer lasting and is something we can directly effect.
While many people are interested in “finding the meaning of life,” Ajahn Brahm puts a twist into this, and gives a talk entitled “putting meaning in life.” He explains how doing so can help against excess negativity and depression in everyday life.
Ajahn Brahm talks about how to deal with disappointment. He mentions how easily people can be influenced by society and media, and can cause people to inevitably want “beyond what life can give us.” He explains how to use Dharma, or “reality, truth, the way things are,” can be used to counteract unrealistic expectations.
In this interesting talk with Ajahn Brahm, he goes over 4 different ways to let go and find more happiness in life. As he explains, being able to let go and let things be isn’t something that has to be done all the time, but is a good tool in the repetoire that someone can have available in daily life.
One of the key views of Buddhism is the view of no-self. Often for beginners, understanding this difficult topic is difficult, especially if its one of the first topics they encounter. In this talk with Ajahn Brahm, he says that for many people, they begin their practice from a space of low self-esteem, and trying to make that jump from having low self-esteem to understanding the concept of “no-self” is too difficult. He suggests first working with one’s self-esteem before learning about no-self.
In this informative talk, he talks about how society emphasizes high goals and expectations can contribute to creating low esteem, and how to deal with the situation.
In this humorous talk through antidotes and examples, Ajahn Brahm talks about how to deal with disappointments and irritations that come from unrealistic expectations.
One of his suggestions is that the nature of life is to not get things right 100%, but to be content with 70% that goes well and learn from the 30% that goes wrong.
Depression seems to be something really prevalent in western society, where many people or those in their family will eventually have a bout with depression. In this talk with Ajahn Brahm, he introduces some Buddhist philosophy that’s been known to help with depression. His talk is structured into 3 areas:
- Depression can be attributed to habituated fault finding and negativity
- Depression can be attributed to constant craving and lack of simplicity
- Depression can be attributed to the difficult nature of life
For many people that weren’t raised in a culture that accepts rebirth, this topic is often very difficult and can take man years to work through. Ajahn Brahm is his talk entitled “One Life, Many Lives,” takes an interesting approach to tackling this problem. Even if someone doesn’t believe in rebirth or multiple lives, his question is asking, “How would a person’s perspective on life change if rebirth did exist.” Even if a person’s is skeptical about this, he’s inviting people just to pretend and see what kind of effect that would have.
His logic is that it changes our relationship to death and how we live our lives. Jokingly, he says that Buddhists are the experts on dying because we’ve done it 1000s of times.
A monk from Bodhinaya Monastery in Australia, giving a talk about the five hindrances of craving, anger, sloth or torpor, restlessness or worry, and doubt. I find this topic to be of personal importance because the 5 hindrances are the biggest obstacles I face in meditation and in my daily practice in general.