This is the sequel to Opening the Door of Your Heart and contains numerous anecdotes, 108 to be exact, many of which I had heard from Ajahn Brahm’s talks, thus it was nice to have a written record of because they are often very amusing.
Although written by a monk, the stories are secular, and open readers’ eyes to the ways of living a compassionate, kinder and happier life. The titles of the stories are post scribed with moral description, fundamental to Buddhist teaching: wisdom, compassion, cultivation, equanimity, letting go, loving-kindness, non self, generosity, contemplation and forgiveness.
To illustrate how a story is like, here is an excerpt of the first story:
The Container and the Content
– Ajahn Brahm
A local journalist called and asked me “ What would you do, Ajahn Brahm, if someone took a Buddhist Holy Book and flushed it down the toilet?”
Without hesitation I answered “Sir, if someone took a Buddhist Holy Book and flushed it down the toilet, the first thing I would do is call a plumber!”
When the journalist finished laughing, he confided in me that that was the most sensible answer he had heard.
Then I went further. I explained that someone may blow up many statues of the Buddha, burn down Buddhist temples or kill Buddhist monks and nuns; they may destroy all of this but I will never allow them to destroy Buddhism. You may flush a Holy Book down a toilet, but you will never flush forgiveness, peace and compassion down a toilet.
The book is not the religion, nor the statue, the building or the priest. These are only “containers.”
What does the book teach us? What does the statue represent? What qualities are the priests supposed to embody? This is the “content”.
When we recognize the difference between the container and the contents, then we will preserve the contents even when the container is being destroyed.
We can print more books, build more temples and statues and even train more monks and nuns, but when we lose our love and respect for others and ourselves and replace it with violence, then the whole religion has gone down the toilet.
If you like this story, you would like the rest too.