Don't live like a fish in Egypt, a frog in a well, or an emu or ostrich with its head in the sand.
1) "Don’t be like a fish in Egypt, and live in denial (the Nile river). LOL."
This quote, or joke with meaning, "Don't be like a fish in Egypt, and live in denial (the Nile River)", was something that just popped out of my mouth while teaching a Dharma class a few years ago at a monthly half-day Buddhist youth retreat.
The classes were simply entitled 'Q&A' and we would give each class a name that related to the subject matter at the end of the class. The subject matter was determined by the questions asked by the students.
I initiated this little quirk to help enable the students to commit the teachings to memory and to have a laugh too. Some examples of the class names are: 'Fish in Egypt', - To be responsible in our lives and not live in denial; 'Stuff' - Discussing everyday suffering and it's causes; 'Extra Stuff' - Related to freeing the mind from worry, anxiety and the like; 'Blah Blah Blah' - Discussing Right Speech. Just to name a few.
Anyway, the class mentioned above took place around the time of the end of year exams. The age group of the students was probably between 13-23 years old, so the students were either attending high school or university.
As mentioned, the basic subject matter was to 'Be responsible and not to turn our back on our responsibilities as students'. To listen, study, learn and commit to memory what we have learned. To have respect and appreciation for the efforts and knowledge of our parents and teachers, as well as maintaining a positive attitude.
Also discussed was the need to always practise the Dharma and how helpful doing so would be leading up to and during the examination process.
I'm sorry that this quote, or joke with meaning, does not make sense if translated directly to other languages other than English, due to it being a play on words. Hopefully this brief explanation is helpful, clear and easy to understand for everyone, and for translation into other languages.
2) "Don’t be like a frog in a well, thinking that the well is the whole universe and that outside of the well does not exist."
To live a contented life we must develop and maintain an open mind, for if we are open-minded we will experience life with more clarity and understanding. We will allow ourselves the opportunity to be happier, and be able to deal with life's changes and difficulties more calmly, as well as being able to find solutions to our problems with less worry and anxiety.
When our mind is not open, we cut ourselves off from experiencing life to the fullest. It is not beneficial to keep a closed mind, thinking that our way is the only way, that this is just the way we are. The more our mind is closed, the more likely we are to drag ourselves and others around us down, and the less likely we are to experience contentment and peace, and to develop true compassion and understanding.
So do your best to develop and maintain an open mind, and avoid being closed-minded and living like a frog in a well.
3) "Don't live like an emu or an ostrich, and just put your head in the sand and think no one can see you. Be responsible."
When an emu or an ostrich does not want to be seen, they naively bury their head in the sand, thinking that their whole body is hidden from all that surrounds them. Just because they can't see anything, they think that nothing can see them.
Similarly, many people act in this way. Thinking that their unwholesome actions of mind, body and speech go unnoticed by those around them. They live their lives trying to gain respect from others, but unfortunately think, act and speak contrary to their wish to be respected.
They have no understanding of the universal law of karma, not realising that for every unwholesome thought, action and word that they engage in, they will experience a similar unwholesome and undesirable effect.
So we should do our very best to only engage in wholesome thoughts, actions and words, and encourage and persuade others to do likewise.
Be honest to ourselves and not put our head in the sand. Believe in ourselves and our potential to live virtuously.
By Dharma Teacher Andrew Williams Melbourne February 2017
The Eight Precepts with Right Livelihood as the Eighth (Ājīvatthamaka Sīla) Dhamma Teachers Certificate
EN074 -__ Feb2010 5 8 Precepts Diacritials
Requirements and Ceremonies for the Five Precepts (Panca Sila),
The Eight Precepts with Right Livelihood as the Eighth (Ajivatthamaka Sila),
Dhamma Teachers Certificate, issued by the Buddhist Group of Kendal
(Theravada) and Ketumati Buddhist Vihara at Wesak 2006).
Updated February 2010
Venerable Rewata Dhamma born in Myanmar [Burma], was head of the Birmingham Buddhist Vihara until his death in 2004. His book Maha Paritta: The Discourses of the Great Protection (With the Threefold Refuges, Precepts, Salutations to the Triple Gem, Dependent Origination and Metta Bhavana), gives the formula in Pali and English for requesting Ajivatthamaka Sila (The Eight Precepts with Right Livelihood as the Eighth). (pages 9-12)
Venerable Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Mahanayaka Thera Abhidhaja Maharatthaguru Agga Maha Pandita (1896-1998)
Venerable Balangoda Ananda Maitreya, born in Sri Lanka, attended the Sixth Buddhist Council held in Myanmar [Burma] (1954-56). In 1956, during the third session of the Council, he served as Chairman of the Convocation for a few weeks. The Council was convened by the Myanmar [Burmese] government to prepare an authorized re-edit and reprint of the entire Tipitaka (the Pali Canon) and its commentaries. Venerable Ananda Maitreya was appointed the Sri
The BEP Buddhist Embroidery Project was started by attendees of the London Buddhist Vihara (Monastery) in 1994. The BEP decided to teach embroidery to people who had not learnt it in childhood. The late Venerable Apparakke Jinaratana, a Theravada Buddhist Bhikkhu (monk), who lived in a cave in Sri Lanka, near a very poor village, was using very old newspapers (supplied by villagers) as tablecloths. The BEP decided to embroider tablecloths, wall hangings and sitting cloths for his use. Although items are given to one monk, they actually belong to the whole of the Bhikkhu Sangha [Order of Buddhist Monks] according to the Vinaya (Buddhist Monastic Discipline). In Asian villages, washing is done in streams and waterfalls, and hung to dry in the hot sun, so items do not last as long as they do in the west.
by Venerable Dr Balangoda Ananda Maitreya
Mahanayaka Thera Abhidhaja Maharatthaguru Aggamaha Pandita DLitt DLitt (1896-1998)
and Jacquetta Gomes Bodhicarini Upasika Jayasili.
Introducing Buddhism was originally published by The Buddhist Society London in 1988, to accompany The Buddhist Society’s Introducing Buddhism Course, on which Jacquetta Gomes was one of the teachers.
Introducing Buddhism has subsequently been published by Buddhist organisations in England, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the USA. Introducing Buddhism is available on several websites including Access to Insight, CBE Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia and Google Books. Introducing Buddhism was launched by the BCC Buddhist Cultural Centre in Sri Lanka with 24 other books under the patronage of Venerable Dr K. Sri Dhammananda Chief Sangha Nayaka of Malaysia and Singapore, in December 1997.
As a child, my mother Enid often said to me, “There is no such thing as a silly question,” and then would add, “unless.” This latter word was left hanging, and I eventually realised that it was up to me to learn the depth of its meaning.
At the same time that Enid was planting seeds for reflection, my first spiritual teacher, Ven. Lama Senge Tashi, encouraged me to cultivate more skilful thoughts, speech and actions. Sometimes I would try to verbally assert “I” or “Me,” and Lama would respond with, “Who is speaking?” or “Who is asking?”
During the Covid-19 pandemic a dharma sister passed from this life. Her name was Robyn. Although she did not call herself a Buddhist, nevertheless, Robyn had a special connection with the deity Medicine Buddha.
Over the six years that I worked with her, in my role as a hospital chaplain, Robyn frequently asked me to chant the mantra of Medicine Buddha and guide her through the visualisation. During her many stays in hospital, this particular practice brought comfort to her while she was experiencing chronic pain, anxiety and fear of the unknown. The medications she took would sometimes cloud her memory, so I would guide her through the details of the visualisation and begin chanting:
Once, as I was about to hold a summer Dharma class on a beach, as the first students began to arrive for the session I picked up two rocks and carefully placed them, one on top of the other, on to a much larger rock base. Observing what I had just done, three students approached: a young married couple and their five year old son.
True Seeing (Ven. Shih Jingang) One day, while Little Pebble and his Master were walking through a garden, the old teacher stopped to look at a white rose in full bloom. He motioned for his young disciple to join him, and they both sat down near where the flower was growing.
‘Little Pebble,’ said the Master, ‘when you look at this object, tell me what you think about it.’
‘The flower is pretty,’ stated the boy. ‘I like it.’
‘’’Flower,” you say. “Pretty, like it,” you say,’ replied the Master, looking to see how his young disciple reacted. Then he added, ‘Mind creates names like flower, and thoughts of like and dislike, pretty and ugly. This mind is small and closed, but if you can see beyond it to the nature of mind, then all is vast like space, completely open to all things. In this state of awareness, there is neither a flower nor a non-flower. Understand?’
But the young disciple did not quite understand, so his Master continued, ‘Little one, come here each day,
One day, Little Pebble went to his teacher, and said, ‘Master, my friend’s dog Tiger died.’
The look on Little Pebble’s face told the old monk that he was troubled. ‘Little one, do you have any questions?’
‘Master, where did Tiger go?’
‘Where did you come from?’ asked the old monk.
‘From my mummy’s tummy.’
‘And where did Mummy come from?’
Little Pebble couldn’t think of an answer.
The Master regarded his young disciple for a moment, then said, ‘Remember, when you made shapes with mud and named them Mummy, Daddy, Master?’
“Calling forth the Great Compassion, we are one with our True Nature; that which is directly Buddha, also indirectly Buddha. Oneness with the Triple Treasure, endless, joyous, perfect being. Morning thought is Kuan-Shih-Yin, evening thought is Kuan-Shih-Yin. All present thoughts arise from Mind, no thought exists apart from Mind.”
These are the words of the Ten Verse Life-Prolonging Kuan-Yin Sutra. Who is reciting them?
A few blocks away, an old man is crying out for help and someone hears. He is a brother, sister, father, mother from a previous life. A phone is picked up and then there are footsteps running towards the sound, “Help me! Help...” Someone sees the old man sitting on the top step, near the front door of his house.