Ajarn Brahms: How to choose good leaders

A former British born Cambridge scientist turned Buddhist monk Ajarn Brahms, has many worldwide fans especially for his sermons on You tube.

As the Buddhist abbott of Western Australia, he was giving Buddhism talks for his fans and the public at the Puh Toh Sze Buddhist Complex here recently.

Asked on choosing leaders, Brahms said it is more important to select them from their past achievements and accomplishments than on their promises and plans for the future because the future is unforeseeable and this would lead to a competition of who could tell the better lie.

“For those with a track record of corruption, it is more likely they will tell lies in future,” he said.

Abbott Ajarn Brahms does not dabble in fortune telling nor fatalism to know but when the calculative asked about the future global business outlook or gloomy world scenario, he just advises them to be positive and focus instead on the good aspects of life as no one can foresee or predict for sure what would happen tomorrow.

“You could be dead tomorrow. Your meaning in life is to encourage others to be compassionate. It is finding the true meaning of life in difficulty and hard times.”

“When is the most important time?”


“Who is the most important person?”

“The one in front of you.”

“What is the most important task?”

“To care.”

“The most important role of a doctor is not to cure but to care, with compassion.”

Brahms shared with the audience regardless of religion or no religion his most poignant advice for his first Sabah trip which anyone can derive good benefit from it by practising:

“I have learned the most important thing in the morning when you wake up is to smile,” he says.

Brahms was sharing in his sermon entitled ‘Buddhism and Bananas’.  Most bananas are curved in shape like a smiling lip if both ends are put upwards.

By forcing yourself to smile, even using two fingers to force your facial muscles from the ends of your lips upwards, it will trigger the brain to secrete the hormones that will improve your mood for the day.

If this is what you can only bring away as knowledge with you from a Brahms sermon, it will serve you well for the rest of your life, as, remember, the experts say that Buddhist monks are among the happiest people in the world.

“Terrorism?  I am not worried. Don’t be worried about being blown out of the sky,” he said to fans who feared terrorists would hijack his plane or like as how Libyan terrorists managed to put a bomb on it like the Pan Am flight that disintegrated over Lockerbie, Scotland.

“It’s quick to die in a midair incinerating, disintegrating explosion. It is instant cremation. You move on fast from suffering much. It is cheap and simple. Do you know how expensive funerals cost nowadays? Is it expensive in Sabah? Yes? The prices of ceremony, coffin, prayers and the hassle the family has to go through with the funeral arrangements and the wake, paying for this and that. Best of all, your family gets paid by the insurance, they get money instead of spending money,” Brahms surmised.

Earlier Brahms jested that he has accumulated so much frequent flier points that he should qualify to have the whole plane.

What is enlightenment? Abbott Ajarn Brahms simply puts it for the uninitiated lay people as the cessation of desires. Desires that cause our suffering in life instead of contentment and blissfulness.

As a former ivory tower bookworm, Brahms cared enough to learn brick laying and plumbing to build his Buddhist meditation monastery in Perth which he calls Club Med Perth for Club meditation in Perth.

He encouraged Sabahans to start a meditation centre in Kota Kinabalu suggesting it be called Club Med Kota Kinabalu.