Ajahn Chah said that monks must be dustbins. Monks, and seniors monks especially, have to sit in their monastery, listen to people's problems, and accept all their rubbish. Marital problems, difficulties with teenage children, rows with relations, financial problems — we hear the lot. I don't know why. What does a celibate monk know about marital problems? We left the world to get away from all that rubbish. But out of compassion we sit and listen, share our peace, and receive all the rubbish.

There was an extra, essential piece of advice that Ajahn Chah would give. He told us to be like a dustbin with a hole in the bottom! We were to receive all the rubbish, but to keep none.

Therefore an effective friend, or counselor, is like a dustbin with no bottom, and is never too full to listen to another problem.

Ajahn Brahm in Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung?