Resume of Ajahn Brahm tour d’ Indonesia 2010 @ UPH Karawaci, March 20, 2010
(Reported by Mei Linda (Chemical Engineering 2006) at March 22, 2010)
This year, Ajahn Brahm tour d’ Indonesia is held again at the end of March 2010, and on March 20, it took place at Tower C of UPH Karawaci, Tangerang, started from 7pm – 10pm. Ajahn Brahm started from talking stories about “Good, Bad, Who Knows?” before entering the main topic, “Loving You, Loving Me”.
The first story is about a king who is very fond of hunting with his doctor who is always following him. One day, when the king was hunting in the jungle, he cut his finger himself accidentally. Then his doctor checked his finger immediately, and the king asked whether his finger’s condition was good or bad. Then his doctor replied, “Good, bad, who knows?”, and he put medicine to the cut finger. Several days later, the king’s finger was getting worse, so the king called his doctor again and asked him, “How is my finger’s condition? Good or bad?” Again, the doctor just replied, “Good, bad, who knows?” And he bandaged the injured finger. But, several days later, the finger was getting worse again, and the king had to be willing to let his finger be amputated by the doctor. Because of losing his finger, the king was so angry and sent his doctor to jail while saying, “You are a bad doctor!!” Again, the doctor answered, “Good, bad, who knows?”
The next day, the king was hunting again in the jungle. This time, he had lost the direction and got separated from his armies. Later, he was arrested by the indigenous people of the jungle and they wanted to sacrifice him in their ritual because, as a king, he would be a perfect sacrificial gift to their god. But, just before they sacrificed the king, they noticed that his finger wasn’t complete (only 9 fingers), so they let him go because of his imperfection as a gift. When he came back to the palace, he was so thankful to his doctor because of amputating his finger so that he freed his doctor from jail and said, “You are a good doctor, it was a bad decision for me to send you to jail!” But, the doctor just answered, “Good, bad, who knows?” The king was surprised, “Why? Isn’t it a bad decision?” The doctor said, “If you didn’t send me to jail, than I would have lost with you in the jungle and I would have been the victim to be sacrificed.”
The second story told about a poor couple who lived in Australia. The wife was sick and had to live in the hospital. They’ve been married for over 40 years, but they didn’t have any child. One day, the wife’s illness finally killed her. The husband was very sad so that 3 days after his wife’s death, the husband died too. Their souls arrived together in heaven’s gate at the same time, and they’ve been waiting by an angel and a devil there. The angel said that because of their kindness when they still lived, they were decided to live at heaven. Then the devil left, and they entered the heaven. They were given a large manor with many rooms, gold furnishings, antiques, a golf course, and cars with best design and technology. When the husband looked at the manor’s size and the antiques, he was so afraid that he said to the angel, “My salary in the earth could never afford the taxes of these housing.” The angel told him, “Don’t worry, there is no government in heaven, so you don’t need to pay any taxation.” Then, the angel took them to have a look inside the manor. There were many gold furniture and antiques in every rooms of the manor, and all the bathrooms were made by gold, including the equipments. After taking a look, the angel said to them, “If there is something you dislike, just told me, I’ll change it immediately for you.” The husband, looking at the antiques anxiously, said, “I could never afford the insurance of these luxuries!” Angel said, “Don’t worry, there is no burglar in heaven, so you don’t need to insurance anything.”
The angel took them out to have a look at the cars in the garage of the manor. There were a car which could hike to the peak of the mountain, a limousine with a tennis court inside it, and a red- newest-Ferrary. The husband shouted happily, “Wow! I’ve been dreaming to have a red-newest-Ferrary for a long time! But my salary will not be enough to afford it! But I’m afraid to be caught by the officer because of overspeed…” Angel said, ”Don’t worry, there is no officer in heaven. Besides, you are save to drive as fast as you want, because you have already died!”
When he was opening the garage and about to run the Ferrary, he saw a garden outside the manor. There was a golf course with 18 holes. The angel said, “This golf course was specially made for you. You know Tiger Woods? When he got a car accident, his soul had ever gone out to this place. So, I just asked him to design a golf course for you. Wherever the ball landed, it will be directed to one of the hole!” The husband was so happy, but he saw that his wife was a little bit angry, so he asked her, “What’s wrong? Finally we can live happily in heaven now.” Her wife replied, “If you didn’t take care of me so good when I was still live, I would have enjoy all of this facilities 3 years earlier!!” And after that, they lived happily in heaven.
So, the main meaning of this story is, when something (that you assumed) bad came to you, don’t think that it was really a bad condition, because good, bad, who knows? Maybe actually it’s a good thing. And, if you assumed that it’s a bad thing, then believe that a good thing always follow a bad thing. For example, if your someone special died, don’t be so sad or cry of his/her death, because maybe his/her condition will be better after they died.
Ajahn Brahm said that, actually, if we cried when one of our beloved dead, we didn’t cry for his/her death, but we were crying because of feeling a pity to ourselves. It was because he/she was the ones who could accept and love us whoever we are, and it was also because we couldn’t accept and love ourselves and value our life thoroughly, so we assumed that the death of our beloved, as well as the natural disasters that destroyed our house, was bad thing to us. (Ajahn Brahm also said that there was a woman whose house was destroyed by a natural disaster. The bad weather and the broken house had forced her and her family moving to another new-foreign-place. At first, the woman felt that it was a bad thing, but because of the disaster, she unexpectedly met Ajahn Brahm in the new place and she become a student of Him now. So, actually the disaster was a good thing to her, because it’s not bad at all.)
Talking about the ones who could accept and love us, accepting and loving ourselves whoever we are, and value our life thoroughly that had been mentioned above, Ajahn Brahm told us about the next interesting story derived from the topic “Love You”, about a burglar and a temple’s leader monk. One day, the leader monk woke up early in the morning because of strange voice coming from the chanting room. When he went there, he saw a burglar with his knife was trying to open the charity box. The burglar saw him and pointed the knife to him and threatening him. But in spite of scare, the monk, filled in compassionate heart, said, “Why are you keep trying to open it with your knife? Here is the key.” He gave him the key, and the burglar said threateningly, “Are you tricking me??” “No, I’m not tricking you. The donation is made for the needed people like you, so go ahead and have it.” So the burglar opened the box while keep pointing his knife to the monk. While the burglar emptying the box, the monk noticed that he is very thin, so the monk told him, “There are some leftover offering this morning in that cupboard, take them and serve yourself after you emptied the charity box.” And after emptying the box, the burglar, still pointing his knife at the monk, opened the cupboard and emptying it. The burglar was about to leave when he threatened the monk for the last time with his knife, “Don’t try to call the officer for this robbery!!” The monk replied, “Why should I call the officer? I gave you these things, so you needn’t to be worry.” After the conversation ended, the burglar left the temple.
Several days later, the burglar was caught by the officer when stealing in a citizen’s house. He was imprisoned for 10 years. 10 years and 1 month after that day, the monk woke up again early in the morning because of the noise in chanting room. He saw the burglar with his knife had come back to that room. The burglar, with the threatening voice, asked the monk, “Remember me??” “Oh yeah, here is the key”, said the monk, giving the key to him. This time, the burglar didn’t pointing his knife to the monk after accepting the key. The burglar smiled, and said, “You know, when I was in prison, I always remembered you. It’s only you, who treated me so kindly. My parents always hit me, all my friends dislike me and get away from me. And now, I come to steal something from you.” “What is it?” the monk asked calmly. He answered, “I want to steal your kindness and your passion. Please accept me as your student.” And the monk shaved the burglar’s hair…
After telling the story above, Ajahn Brahm continued with his own life’s story. He said that when He was still at school, once, His father fetched him home by car. But, His father dropped Him right before they reached home, and His father said to him, “Son, whenever you are, my door will always open for you.” At that time, He didn’t understand very well the meaning of His father’s words. He though, his father’s (house’s) door would always open, because of their poverty, they didn’t have any padlock at all to lock the front door, and they thought they needn’t to lock it at all, based on their poor condition of life at that time. Even, His parents always hoped there would appear a burglar to rob their house, so that when the burglar saw their poverty, maybe the burglar would even dropped something for them. But later, He understood the meaning when he had become a monk. That is, no matter what we have become, or whatever happened to us, or however our life has changed, the door of our parents will always open to us, will always accept us.. just like the story of burglar and the monk above, where the monk always opened his door to everyone, even for the burglar.. the point is, “loving you, loving me”.
There was a time too, when one of Ajahn Brahm’s students was facing robbery in her house in Australia. At that time, the burglar entered her garden and commanded her to lie on the ground. But, because the student has had a ‘brain-wash’ (said Ajahn Brahm 😀 hehe,,) by listening to Ajahn Brahm’s teaching of “loving you”, she didn’t fear of the burglar. All she did was just saying calmly, “I’m a peaceful woman.” Unexpected, the burglar replied, “I’m a peaceful man too,” and he started crying. “My wife was about to give birth, but we don’t have any money for it. I don’t have any chance, I was forced to do this,” said the burglar. Knowing this, the student gave 50 dollars from her purse and her car’s key to the burglar. The burglar was very thankful so that before he left with the car, he turned to the woman and said, “May God Bless You”. At that time, this news was booming in Australia, because this was the first time that a burglar blessed his victim.
To describe the meaning of “loving you & loving me” further, Ajahn Brahm continued with another story. There was a wife who was holding a death ceremony for his husband. At the funeral procession, she was asked to give some words for commemorating her husband. She said, “When he was still life, my husband always keeps this, his treasure, inside his wallet.” She pulled out a piece of small yellowish paper. “Every time my husband would get angry to anyone, he always opened his wallet and looked at this paper, then his anger would disappear.”
“He attained this paper when he was in school. One day, two of his classmates nearly came to fight. At that time, his teacher told each of them in that class to stay at their desk and pulled out a piece of paper.” “The teacher told them to draw a straight line separating the paper to two identical columns, write down the name of their most-dislike-person at the top of the paper and all of the bad behavior that person had that made them dislike very much on the left side.” “Soon, the left side had been filled. Then, the teacher told them again to fill in the right column with the good behavior and positive side of their dislike-person. This time, the students took a long time to fill in the right column. But when all of them finished writing, the teacher told them to tear off that piece of paper right on the line that separated the two columns, throw the left side to the trash can on the teacher’s hands, and gave the right piece to the person they were writing about.” “From this experience, my husband learned not to hate or get anger to anyone. That’s how he could live in peace until the end of his life.”
From the story above, Ajahn Brahm told us to love everyone, because everyone had the positive side. And, actually, we have let our heart hurt again and again, each time we thought of anyone, as our “enemy”. At last, hating people would only result on hurting ourselves. The more we hate them, the more we’ve hurt ourselves because of our thought and our bad feeling. So, let’s forget the text written on the left side of the paper (the negative side) of every person, throw it into the trash can, keep the right piece of paper well, and read it every time you started to hate that person, so that you can forget your hate and change it to love (Ajahn Brahm also said that we may have a copy for ourselves if we want to present that right piece of paper to that person). Because, by loving everyone, we’ve opened the door to our heart for everyone, and by that way, we can have a peaceful mind, be a peaceful person, and live in peace each other.
Actually, we couldn’t know whether what we’ve just faced is good or bad things (good, bad, who knows?), and as long as we can take the positive side of our experiences, love ourselves and love others (loving you, loving me), we can peacefully let our beloved ones or our other valuable things go someday when it happened. And, remember, bad things usually followed by good things, so keep valuing our worthy life by living happily with a peaceful mind, loving ourselves and others, and opening the door to our heart for everyone, and always think positive in every condition, even to the disasters that hit us, or the death of our beloved, because good, bad, who knows?