April 27, 2022

Finding a way back to peace when everything falls apart - Bhikkhu Mudu - Sage Advice

Finding a way back to peace when everything falls apart - Bhikkhu Mudu - Sage Advice

In this episode of Sage Advice, we have Venerable Mudu from Bodhinyana Great Southern calling in from the deep south of Western Australia, here to share his advice on finding a way back to peace when everything falls apart.
For more information about Ven...


In this episode of Sage Advice, we have Venerable Mudu from Bodhinyana Great Southern calling in from the deep south of Western Australia, here to share his advice on finding a way back to peace when everything falls apart.

For more information about Venerable Mudu:

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May you be happy!

Sol

Transcript

54:09.43

sol_hanna

Thanks for being here Now. Bhante Many perhaps all of our listeners have been in a desperate situation of some sort at some time where everything seems to have fallen Apart. It may be the loss of a job the death of a dear and loved One. An adverse medical diagnosis like cancer or perhaps struggles with mental Health Can you empathize with these circumstances have you been there yourself.

 

54:29.64

Venerable Mudu

I. I Certainly have I certainly have I have I've had a reasonably good life. An easy life A happy life. But I did I did have like most people have had is I've had some very tough times and. And the time the times that I had is precisely these hard times I had was precisely. What actually kind of gave me the impetus to take up ah borderhist practice and ultimately to. Take that as far as possible and it's why I became a monk So those ah the suffering I had was the suffering through going through family separation and you know for the whole of your life just um, being conditioned into.

 

55:12.20

sol_hanna

Um.

 

55:29.35

Venerable Mudu

Ah, having this expectation that you would have you know a wife children a house and a job and live happily ever after um to have that to put so much weight on that to put so Much. Um. To rest so much of your kind of expectations in life on that and then have that crumble. Yeah, it is quite that that can be extremely painful and people deal with this in different ways you know, um.

 

55:53.97

sol_hanna

Fall Fall apart.

 

56:07.84

Venerable Mudu

Um, very grateful that I've dealt with this in ah in a very skillful way and a very wholesome way because there are other ways which aren't so skillful aren't so wholesome and we all know stories about suicide after these sorts of things which is a terrible um, terrible.

 

56:21.90

sol_hanna

M.

 

56:26.44

Venerable Mudu

Way to tackle this problem other ways people tackle these problems with drinking and drugs and distractions like that which also aren't so Wholesome. So I can say I'm very very grateful that I've been able to be shown a way to deal with these things which. Which has been very skillful and has alleviated these um these pains one hundred I would say almost 100% I can guarantee that.

 

56:54.74

sol_hanna

Wow, That's that that's a that's ah, really inspiring and hopefully some of the people listening right now can even just knowing that there is a way out of that turmoil and that pain would be give them great Hope So But perhaps before we go On. We can explore. Ah, how we can turn our lives around after a time of great challenge. Perhaps we should first look at what is the root cause why do we suffer so much in life.

 

57:23.72

Venerable Mudu

Ah, from my from my opinion that I've learned from the teachings. So of the Buddha which I've heard through the mouth of Ajan Brahm and some of his senior monks like Ajan Bramali and also some of the other teachers in my tradition like Arjun somado and a couple of other other monks that um, one of the main problems we suffer is because we have um, we have these expectations in life. And with these expectations sometimes buddhist people describe them as desires wants things like that which is yeah fair enough that kind of can fall under the definition of having expectations wanting things to happen a certain way and that's precisely what? what. Most of us do in life. We have very high expectations on on ourselves. We have high expectations on our family members like our partners and our children and these expectations are just sometimes they're just even the. Even normal reasonable expectations are sometimes they're too much and when those expectations aren't met. We get upset. We get angry and and and we and we we suffer we hurt from that. Um, you know for myself I just mentioned before I went through separation my expectations from very young age and I can remember like going into high school in year eight that um I was growing up. You know year eight is a big change from. Primary school back in my day high school started year eight not like year seven like it does now and I felt grown up and I I started thinking about stuff like ah one day I have to have a wife I've got to get a good job I've got. Year 11 and 12 to think about if I don't get good grades in year eleven and 12 then my whole life is going to be destroyed because that's what the teachers tell me that's what my mother and father tell me and and all these anxieties and stresses start building up because you have these expectations on on how you should be and for some people. It's just. Ah, too much. They can't even handle them at high school and we do even hear about high school people having suicides as well and mental health issues and depression and anxiety. So the question was you know.

 

01:00:08.37

sol_hanna

The cause the root cause why do we suffer.

 

01:00:09.27

Venerable Mudu

Um, yeah, in my opinion. It's um, it is because we have these expectations on ourselves and on others and if we were to do follow Ajan Brahm's advice and his advice is. For his monks. You know his ah his advice to people and he uses his monks as and as an example is he says I don't have any problems with my monks at all. Whatever they do I don't get upset I don't get disappointed because. I have very very low expectations of them. He says my expectations of them are 0 so whenever um, they do something and they perform they always exceed my expectations. So I'm never disappointed.

 

01:00:49.89

sol_hanna

Mm.

 

01:01:00.70

sol_hanna

Ah, yeah, it's very good.

 

01:01:02.36

Venerable Mudu

He said that to me the other day he said no he said it to my number 2 monk he said my number two monk that was here at the time venerable nevato said he said Bhante Bhante ah John Brahm says we've exceeding his expectations and I said yes I know venerable.

 

01:01:17.83

sol_hanna

Ah.

 

01:01:20.11

Venerable Mudu

Because his expectations of us are zero and we both laughed.

 

01:01:22.82

sol_hanna

Ah, but there's something something we could all learn from that. Um, for those of us. Ah who have or may have in future a painful, stressful disorienting episode in life. What's one of the first things that we should keep in mind or do. Like what would be the first thing we could work out or find to find our way back to peace.

 

01:01:46.50

Venerable Mudu

This is ah is a great question but it's easy to answer hard to do because I'm going to? yeah use. What's worked for me and this is advice that or teachings that Aja Bram also gives. Is that um when these things in life happen death of a loved one a loss of a job um child or loved one that has an addiction a drug addiction or. Something like that or some sort of ah disappointment or suffering in life hits you then the best thing to do is just see it as this is par for the course these are things that has happened in life. Often you'll hear people say but I've been such a good person I why why me? Why did? Why did my child die or why did um, you know why did this bad thing happen to me and really if you're asking those questions you really It's impossible to answer why it happened to you but it has happened to you and it does happen to good people like you so. The best thing is look at it as as par for the course this just just happens and um it happens to lots of people. But. It's the way you deal with it that is either going to make it more painful or it makes it something that you can take in your stride. So when we have us a bad unpleasant. Happening in our life and we see it as par for the course these are just normal things that happen to normal people people die all the time and it's not just old people that die sometimes it's young people then we can actually yeah, kind of um. If. We do take it as part for the course and that means we see this as completely normal then we can also do what um what is known as ah, well it's a story actually. This is when we have these bad things happen in life if we do something positive with them then and learn from them then they can become great teachers for us. So I'm going to use the example here of when the two neighbors.

 

01:04:34.31

Venerable Mudu

The 2 people on the street. They had a truckload of manure or as ajam Brahm says a truckload of ShIT delivered to their front door and 1 person said who ordered I never ordered this truckload of dung. This is crazy. Whoever ordered this. They're mad and I'm gonna wring their neck and if I find out who it is and he complained and he whinged and carried on and he closed he slammed the door and he left that pile of ShIT on his porch to stink and. Attract maggots and flies and looked and smell awful and the other neighbor who had this same truckload of manure that he did an order put on his front doorstep. He didn't say anything he knew exactly what to do with it and. Shovel load by shovel load. He put it into his wheelbarrow and he wheeled it into his backyard where he had a young mango tree and he dug that shit that manure that poo into. The soil around the mango tree and it was a lot of work. It took a lot of sweat and many many wheelbarrow loads but eventually the truck the truckload of dung on his front yard had been moved. Had been dug into the soil around the mango tree and after a little while the mango tree it it started absorbing those nutrients from that manure and into the roots up through the trunk. Into the leaves and into the fresh flower buds and those flower buds got germinated and they became fruits and after a little more time those fruits grew into beautiful big mangoes. And he had so many mangoes and when he tried that first mango he actually um as the juice dribbled down his chin. He he remembered what went into that mango all of that shit all that hard work that he he did. Digging it into the mango tree was now bearing fruits. He was reaping their rewards these delicious mangoes. The sweetest mangoes he'd ever tasted and more than that he had so many mangoes he didn't know what to do with him. He couldn't eat them all.

 

01:07:14.68

Venerable Mudu

So he shared them with all of his neighbors and made them very happy as well and this is a story famous a Jum Brahm story that I'm repeating but the moral of this story is that um this shit that was delivered to his front door was the was the. It's a metaphor It's like the shit that we're delivered in our life. You can either complain or whinge about it and make that shit more smelly and more stinky or you can do something about it and you can actually work with it and dig it into your practice and this is what? um. This is what this this smart man did and he he actually um, worked with these the shit in his life and he made good fruits out of it and he was even able to share it and and be generous and kind. So this is what we can do with the shit that comes along in our life. The unpleasant things we can actually first kind of see them as par for the course this happens to everybody and if it's particularly painful we work with it. We see where the pain comes from see what's causing us our discomfort. Work with it. Do the meditation do the practice and then reap the rewards of a happy life.

 

01:08:33.88

sol_hanna

Thank you very much pante now and I take it so in the first instance, it's accepting life as it is even if it's unpleasant. Even if it's unfair. It's just an acceptance of things as they are but that metaphor also indicates that there's ah. That that finding your way back to peace is not something that happens quickly. It can take quite some time. Um, so being more specific. What are the kinds of practices that we should sustain in order to find our way back to a greater sense of peace and ease.

 

01:09:00.60

Venerable Mudu

And.

 

01:09:10.34

Venerable Mudu

Great! Great question and thanks for putting my long-winded answer into some simple sentences. Um, that's right? So the the man with that dug the fit into his mango tree. He worked very hard. To get the rewards from it. It's it's like the practice of um that we do in in Buddhism and and you don't most people for their first introduction to any sort of buddhist practice is meditation. They go to a meditation class. And just like myself they often are wrongly have the wrong idea that sitting on the cushion is going to solve all the problems and it is a great way to start because you can if you're very lucky. You can find some peace in that meditation and you can start to value peace. But peace doesn't always come up so easy in meditation it does take some groundwork to do that and this this is where I'm trying to answer your question is that um, it's it. It is. Excuse me it. It is easy, but it's also not easy because it requires some effort. It requires some patience. It requires some investment of time. So changing some of your lifestyle habits as well. So um. You know, maybe just like the good people that come to meditation on a Friday night they forfeited their Friday night at the pub to come to the meditation group instead. So they've they've swapped one possibly slightly unwholesome activity drinking at the pub to. Actually going to find some peace on a Friday night instead other things that are also very important that establish a good peaceful life a happy life that go hand in hand with a meditation practice are um. Living a good wholesome life. Essentially the Buddha describes many different ways to do this but quite a lot of monks will say that it's just all boils down to being kind to oneself and being kind to others. And when we can do this in every aspect of our life from our workplace to our home place to our place of when we sporting clubs and that as well. These are all opportunities to actually practice being kind to others.

 

01:11:58.66

Venerable Mudu

These sporting Clubs. You know if you're on a committee. You know how difficult it is. It's getting along with people is um, this is a this is another great opportunity. The sporting club is one of these places where you're on the committee. You think you're being a volunteer but in the background. In your mind. You've got expectations I'm the president I want it to be done this way if it's not going to be done this way then um, then you know there's going to be hell to pay So This is a great opportunity if you're in a volunteer association to practice letting go like letting go for your own.

 

01:12:18.10

sol_hanna

And.

 

01:12:36.14

Venerable Mudu

Um, ah you know some of those greater parts of your ego that um, kind of are a bit controlling or they they kind of are ah so controlling or so domineering that they put other people off. Think you're a bossi boots or something like that. So yeah, there's there's parts of this practice that require you to put in some work and and buddhist. Um. Monks and going to meditation classes. A great way to to find out what some of these answers are because I can't tell you them all now in ah in an interview because it's taken me my 10 years of practice at monastery plus a few more before that and I'm still learning now. But like I said before being the most important thing is to kind of try and put yourself in the shoes of others have empathy like your first question addressed having empathy to know how others feel and and and trying to cut some slack be and ear for someone else. As well. Sometimes it's being kind is is just a says is the main player in Aju Brahm's teachings is kindness is all his practice is all about kindness is to he is actually the kindest person I know.

 

01:14:05.91

sol_hanna

And so that kindness towards oneself as well. When 1 ne's suffering kindness but it goes in every direction doesn't it and when you develop kindness for others. It's easier to develop kindness for yourself and vice versa.

 

01:14:18.75

Venerable Mudu

Yeah I to be honest I found being kind to myself was the is is the harder one I think out of the 2 being kind to others and being kind to yourself. The second one is is is quite a lot harder because and I've talked about ah this actually. So ah, it. It'd be nice to share what I found is that this comes up a lot in my meditation teachings is that um, being kind to yourself because it is important. But what I found in life that. There's this cliche. That's said a lot when you're growing up and um, the cliche cliched term is um, you've got to love yourself before you can love others and that cliches you so much that. I never really knew what it meant it sounded good when you said it it sounded profound and it sounded important but I never really grasped exactly what it meant until I started looking at my own meditation and and then I found out what. What being kind and what loving yourself meant and to me what it meant was when I do the meditation practice I start off with a body sweet meditation this happens in a lot of meditation techniques. You start off with looking at the 5 senses. And allowing them to become nice and relaxed and you start with the the eyes the eye sense door the nose sense door the tongue sense door the ear sense door and then the sense door of touch and when you go through the sense door of touch I like to scan through the body and give the body as much kindness as I can. And what I do I start I'll learn this from my john brah I start with my toes I ask my toes how they feel are they comfortable if they're not comfortable I move them to a different position and I spend the next five or so minutes in this body sweet meditation get my body really comfortable. So that I can do the meditation and this is where I learned about. Being kind to myself was because as I move from my toe to my soles of my feet to my heels to my legs and then to my knees and asking each part of my body how it feels so I get to my knees and for me, it's always my knees and my toes are a bit cool because I don't have the best circulation there. So. Sometimes there's nothing you can do so I just use my mind just to kind of direct energy there to try and actually imagine warmth there and even if it doesn't work at least I've got this kind thought in my head and then I move to up my legs.

 

01:17:05.75

Venerable Mudu

And then I get to my hips and then I get to my favorite part of my body. The 2 favorite parts is my tummy and my breath I start with my tummy and I and um I give as much kindness to my tummy as I can I have gratitude for my tummy and this sounds so weird people like why you being. Why you're being kind to your tummy. Why do you have gratitude for your tummy because it's part of my body. It's part of who I am and I yeah so I send this kindness there and I say thank you tummy for processing all that food and I know I put too much in there today. Please forgive me and. Even it might sound silly. It brings up a sense of joy and the tummy smiles back at you and then I do the same with my breath my lungs my throat and might I be kind to that and and after doing this a few times or for so many years. However, long I've been doing it. Realize it brings up this huge sense of joy because um, I'm being kind to myself and then the most important thing the cherry on the on the cake here is when you put your body down after making those 5 senses nice and calm. You move to the mind and guess what you do. You bring kindness in there as well and you and your mind just wants to hang out with you. These are these they they set to people haven't heard this before it sounds crazy but this is what I jump brahm teachers and it works I guarantee it. It takes a while to learn to be kind to yourself. But. And the end of the day now I now understand what it means when they say you've got to love yourself before you can love others and that is my definition of how to love yourself is being kind to yourself and that's been such a blessing to my meditation. This kindness learning how to be kind to the body and it just transfers straight into the mind and makes the makes the meditation very kind of take off very quickly very peacefully.

 

01:19:05.85

sol_hanna

Thank you Bhante! That's a very good answer in the sense that it's both the short term and the long-term solution So kindness here and now to oneself to others but then keep practicing at it because you know little by little that kindness will grow. And then your problems will be overcome and you'll be you know, swimming in kindness so to speak.

 

01:19:29.78

Venerable Mudu

Yeah, that's so true. It'd so true.

 

01:19:33.85

sol_hanna

Okay, well, that's probably where we should leave it now for this episode of sage advice. Thank you very much vennimable moodoo for being our inaugural guest on Sage advice on the Treasure Mountain podcast. All the best to you.

 

01:19:46.81

Venerable Mudu

Thank you! Soul's been a pleasure.

 

Bhikkhu Mudu Profile Photo

Bhikkhu Mudu

After a chance invitation by a Thai friend to join her in offering food to the Buddhist monks at Serpentine’s Forest Monastery, Venerable Mudu became inspired by the monastic way of life. Several years later after developing and understanding the importance of meditation and renunciation, he decided to take up the training to become a Buddhist monk.

On 6th January 2014, after completing the two year trial and preliminary training, Venerable Mudu received the higher ordination as a fully ordained Bhikkhu under his teacher and preceptor, Ajahn Brahm at Bodhinyana Buddhist Monastery.

Before coming to Albany, Venerable Mudu was residing at Bodhinyana Buddhist Monastery along with his fellow monastic community of approximately 25 monks. The monks at Bodhinyana enjoy a simple peaceful life of solitude with few possessions; a self-paced meditation practice; share one main meal a day and live in harmony with each other and nature.