Monday, August 15, 2011
As a young, poor student, he found a part-time job selling children's encyclopedia from door-to-door. He described that job as the worst job in the world, because it entails "cheating" on the customers. The training he got was about psychologically making the parents feel guilty that they didn't care about their children if they didn't buy his encyclopedias. Then one day, he actually sold one to a young couple who had a baby of about 1 year old. He felt so guilty about it, the poor young couple who probably didn't have enough money to get by, and they spent their money on a worthless encyclopedia. He quit the job the next day, and felt guilty about it, until he became a monk when he learnt to let go.
Then one day, while giving a talk about forgiveness in Perth, he told this story. After the talk, a young woman walked up to him and said that she was from England, and as a young child she had this encyclopedia that her parents bought for her from a student who was a door-to-door salesman. And she wondered if it was Ajahn Brahm who actually sold that book to her parents, but it really might have been him, because the world is a strange place where what goes around, comes around.
She said: "I loved that book. It was my constant companion as I was growing up, and I had so many fun hours reading it!"