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  • Excellent

  • So... now is the time to move those bones

  • scratch those itches, cough those coughs,

  • in a minute or two's time we begin this evening's talk.

  • So, okay, here we go.

  • So I'll try to give a talk which is relevant

  • sometimes to some which has happened to me recently

  • and yesterday I was doing an interview for

  • a guy doing a thesis in psychology

  • at one of our local universities.

  • And he was talking about something which keeps

  • coming up again and again and again -

  • people who have got low self esteem..

  • And how does that really tie in with the idea

  • in Buddhism of no self at all?

  • So the title of this talk today is "no-self esteem" [laughs]

  • But working it out in a brilliant, brilliant, beautiful way.

  • But in brief I was saying, that you just can't move

  • from people who've got <u>low</u> self esteem,

  • how feel they're hopeless, they're useless,

  • they're a failure, they're not good enough,

  • to move from that, straight to this incredibly wonderful idea

  • of non-self in Buddhism.

  • You can't just make that jump.

  • You've got to go through the stepping stone of

  • no self esteem, to feeling good about yourself,

  • and then from feeling good about yourself,

  • to feeling good about your no-self. [laughs]

  • And that's actually how it usually works.

  • But it comes up again and again and again.

  • I'm sure that many people here feel they're not good enough,

  • they should be better, that happens over in Boddhinyana monastery,

  • and probably in the nun's monastery as well.

  • People think they aren't good enough,

  • they've got low self-esteem.

  • My goodness, if anyone should have low self-esteem,

  • it's me. I'm a total failure in life.

  • I'm over sixty years of age and I've got no superannuation.

  • No bank accounts, no assets, no visible means of support.

  • That's what happens sometimes when you go to

  • government agencies, and they say what means

  • of support have you got? I say - nothing - I'm totally

  • poor, I'm under, totally under, the poverty level.

  • That's why I sometimes like going to government departments.

  • You know, when you go to government departments,

  • they ask you all these questions and it's really

  • easy to put no, no, no, no, no. And that really confuses

  • the hell out of them. They don't know what to do with you

  • because you've go no marriage license, you've got no property,

  • you don't own a car, you haven't got a drivers license,

  • no marriage certificate. You don't exist. [laugh]

  • You're totally off the scale being a monk or a nun

  • in our modern world because everything which they

  • measure you by, you don't qualify.

  • That's why I love going to government departments

  • and they get very upset with me.

  • So anyway, but, I've got, have I got self-esteem,

  • no-self esteem or whatever it is, I certainly

  • haven't got low self esteem.

  • You know when we first came to Australia, that was

  • 28 years ago, as monks.

  • You'd never get so many people come to a talk like this.

  • You'd be lucky if you get 5 come to a talk.

  • That's at the beginning and maybe half of those

  • would leave, or maybe more,

  • before the talk was finished, and the other

  • two were fast asleep. [laughter]

  • So in those days it was very tough and in those

  • days people weren't used to men walking around in dresses,

  • which is what I looked like.

  • They weren't used to you. And so many times

  • people would criticise you, and they'd shout at you,

  • and they would even once they threw stones at me.

  • And that was over in Bunbury beach many years ago.

  • These kids - I was just meditating there, minding my own

  • business - and this stone came whizzing past my ears.

  • Very good they were bad shots, but as they got closer

  • and closer, I thought I better do something.

  • So I just stood up and turned around.

  • And there were these kids.

  • For those of you who were old enough, that was when

  • the orange people were here.

  • They thought I was an orange person,

  • fair enough mistake, this is pretty orange.

  • But I actually started walking to them, and it's

  • amazing, when you face people who do things like that, as soon

  • as I started walking <u>towards</u> them, they started running away. [laughs]

  • There was about six or seven kids there, and they

  • could have easily beaten me up,

  • but just the confidence there was enough to get them to scatter.

  • And I just rushed after them, caught them up,

  • and said "Look, why are you throwing stones? I'm a Buddhist monk".

  • "Ohh, you're a Buddhist monk, sorry! We thought

  • you were an orange person. Buddhist monks are cool." [laughter]

  • So we had a nice conversation about Buddhist afterwards.

  • But sometimes you do get criticised like that,

  • you do get put down, but as a monk you don't

  • lose your self esteem. Somebody called me up from,

  • where was it, today, a visitor or something, I can't remember.

  • They said their son was being bullied at school,

  • bullying is a big thing. And they said

  • a little teaching which really helped them,

  • a very simple teaching, was that teaching which I took

  • back from Thailand, which means that you don't

  • listen to other people's criticisms.

  • It was that teaching, if somebody calls you a dog,

  • you look at your bottom to see if you've got a tail.

  • If you haven't got a tail, you're not a dog, it is the end of the problem.

  • And this actually happened because these bullies,

  • they called this kid a dog, and he would

  • remember the story, this was a kid at school,

  • remember the story, he looked at his bottom,

  • "sorry I haven't got a tail, I'm not a dog".

  • And those kids stopped bullying him after that.

  • Because he had some sense of confidence there.

  • They were just trying to press his buttons,

  • to make him upset, he decided not to allow his buttons

  • to be pressed, and you have the choice for that.

  • But why is it that people do have this sense of

  • low self esteem? Which becomes very very big problem

  • for many people. There's so many people who

  • think they're not clever enough, girls who

  • think they're not beautiful enough,

  • even though they are really gorgeous.

  • Guys who think they're not attractive enough,

  • even though they're really good people.

  • Why is it monks, who think they're not good enough

  • as a teacher; they're not good enough as a novice

  • or as a nun. Why do people think that way?

  • The reason is because in our society we have

  • this terrible thing about attaining for the highest,

  • have really high goals and expectations in life.

  • We see that on the advertisements - you haven't lived

  • until you've actually driven a....

  • Actually, I saw one of those new Triumphs

  • on the road the other day - 2.3 litre, you know,

  • motorbikes. Wow! You haven't lived until you've

  • gone on a 2.3 - the biggest engine on a motorbike

  • ever built! Wow, you haven't lived!

  • I was thinking about that, getting on one of those,

  • finding someone who's got one, and see if

  • they wanted to make some good karma. [laughter]

  • But you know it's not good - a monk going

  • on a motorbike - and the reason is these

  • robes - that's the trouble. [laughter]

  • As soon you get any wind in them, they blow up,

  • and off you go like a balloon, like a parachute [laughter]

  • But anyway, the idea was there [laughs]

  • But why is that that people think they have to have

  • all these things to be <u>worth-while</u> in this world?

  • And that is one of the problems - our expectations are

  • just too high for ourselves, let alone of others.

  • So my buzzword for the last month to my monks,

  • to the people I teach internationally is please

  • <u>lower</u> your expectations..

  • And the beautiful thing - I don't <u>have</u> to be so

  • pretty, I don't <u>have</u> to be so strong,

  • I don't <u>have</u> to be so successful.

  • Oh, bliss at last, I can just be me!

  • Now that is a powerful teaching because where

  • do we get all these expectations from?

  • And you know a lot of the times it's not from

  • the people who really love us and care for us -

  • they just want us to be happy, that's all.

  • Yeah, if you're happy being a billionaire, fine.

  • But if you're not we can still love you.

  • Yeah, we're happy if you're very successful

  • in your career, but we love you nevertheless if

  • you're not. If you're a total failure your

  • loved ones love you nevertheless.

  • So you can lower your expectations and not try

  • so hard to meet these goals which other people

  • give you. Because sometimes when we have all

  • these expectations, now you tell your kids that,

  • because sometimes the sort of expectations

  • you give your kids - if you're not top of the class or

  • at least in the top five percent - you're not good enough.

  • Only one twentieth of kids can come up in the top

  • five percent. So you've got to have some kids

  • in the bottom half.

  • They're the very happy..they're the smart kids, I keep on saying

  • this, that as soon as you fail your first

  • examination at school then you're out of

  • there, you're free at last.

  • You're out of prison, because if you pass

  • the exam you have to go back to school next

  • year and do another exam. And then another

  • and another and another. So when you fail your first

  • exam - yeah! I'm free now!

  • I'm doing that because half the children in the

  • school will be in the bottom fifty percent.

  • So you've got a fifty-fifty chance that's your

  • children. Please love them to bits.

  • They don't <u>have</u> to be good at school.

  • As anyone who's read that wonderful book by

  • Daniel Coleman - who is a Buddhist - the

  • emotional intelligence - people are successful

  • not because they do well at school, not

  • because they come in the top ten, fifteen, twenty,

  • fifty percent. Because they're emotionally intelligent,

  • they feel loved, they feel accepted, they have

  • self-esteem because that comes from their parents,

  • never criticising them, never pulling them down,

  • never feeling they have to attain what is beyond

  • their abilities. They feel that they are worthwhile.

  • Those are the people who become successful in life.

  • So for goodness sake stop imbuing your children with

  • what will later be their low self-esteem because they

  • are in that bottom fifty percent who don't do so well.

  • Even bottom fifty percent, even the bottom seventy

  • percent you feel a failure. You feel a failure

  • if you're not the top, if you're not the most beutiful,

  • if you're not the most successful in life.

  • Come on. You can be real that you have to learn

  • how to lower expectations, to learn how to be

  • yourself and then you are successful.

  • Then you have the happiness in life.

  • So instead of asking too much of people,

  • especially asking too much of yourself,

  • we have this wonderful openness of character to

  • love ourselves for who we are.

  • That famous "opening the door of your heart to

  • yourself no matter who you ever be".

  • Now a lot of times you can't get that from others,

  • because others will always be criticising you

  • when you don't meet the goal. If you meet the

  • goal they set the goal higher for you.

  • And they think that's really encouraging you

  • to achieve more in life. The so-called persuit of

  • excellence is just the pursuit of stress and an

  • early death through heart attack. And you don't

  • really want to follow that course, do you, in

  • this life? That's one of the reasons why such

  • a stressful life. Is that really what excellence

  • truly is? With all these achievements, and

  • all these honours, and all these possessions which

  • you have, is that really achievements in life?

  • Is that excellence? Or is excellence being at

  • peace with yourself, being able to go sleep at

  • night with no feeling that you've failed today.

  • At the end of the year, not feeling that you're

  • a hopeless case.

  • Is that worth so-called pursuit of material excellence?

  • Or is it much better to have this wonderful

  • emotional intelligence where you can love yourself for

  • who you are. When you realise you don't

  • <u>have</u> to be successful to feel at peace.

  • You don't have to meet all these goals which

  • other people put on you. That is why my