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
HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR 2019
Year of the Pig
Welcome to our
LUNAR NEW YEAR EVE:
Monday: 4/2/2019:From 6pm to mid-night),
the program includes:
Vegie Food Stalls , Prayers for everyone’s Ancestors , Repantance Ceremony, Cultural performances, Lion Dance & Firecrackers; Prayers for World Peace & Family Well-Being.
All welcome, come & go at your own pleasure!
Buddha Blessings & Our Best Wishes to you & your family
Within a tree, there is a flower
Within a rock, there is a flame
Dedication for Most Venerable Thich Nhu Dien
on the ceremonial event of his 70th birthday, and 40 year-milestone for Vien Giac Temple to be established in Germany
Bhikhhu Thích Nguyên Tạng
Translated into English by: Dr Tâm Tịnh, Hoa Chí & Hoa Nghiêm
“Within a tree, there’s a flower, within a rock, there’s a flame” is the dharma taught by Zen Master Dao, recalled by Most Venerable Thich Nhu Dien during his dharmic teachings to which I had good fortune to attend in his dharma-propagating journey to the United States of America in 2006 when I acted as an assistant to him.
Smartphone Overuse, Youth Suicide and Buddhism as a Healing Source,
Youth suicide is disturbingly rising. Ashley Welch, in her article “What’s behind the rise in youth suicides?” (2017), gave some insights into the trend. The author mentioned potential causes for this trauma and notably pointed to “the correlation between the rising popularity of smartphones and increased rates of suicide and depression among young people” (para. 17). Although Welch did not offer a clear reason for the correlation, this point raises an awareness of an irony. We, as readers, may wonder, “How can such a wonderful entertaining device cause that terrible thing?” In this paper, I will discuss the roots of this pain, and then suggest Buddhism as a healing source.
Why Aren't We Teaching You Mindfulness?
AnneMarie Rossi, Founder and CEO of BeMindful
Harvard conducted a research study and they tracked more than 1,000 people from birth until age 32 looking for what made someone successful. What common characteristic or trait was seen in a successful individual? It wasn't their race, what language they spoke, what neighborhood they grow up in, or how much money their parents had. It wasn't how well they did on standardized tests or even their IQ. It was self-control; those who were successful, who had good careers, financial stability, loving relationships, and physical health. Those who were successful, were the ones who could focus, pay attention, and regulate their emotions.
The Buddhist community is extremely upset by the inappropriate and disrespectful use of the image of Buddha, The Buddhist community is extremely upset by the inappropriate and disrespectful use of the image of Buddha, in a display at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) entitled the 'Eternity-Buddha in Nirvana, the Dying Gaul, Farnese Hercules, Night, Day, Sartyr and Bacchante, Funerary Genius, Achilles, Persian Soldier Fighting, Dancing Faun, Crouching Aphrodite, Narcisse Couché, Othryades the Spartan Dying, the Fall of Icarus, A River, Milo of Croton'. It can also be seen at: https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/131149/
Although this display has been in place for some months, we have only just been made aware of its' existence. We are not usually outspoken, but this display desecrates the image of Buddha by placing images of these mythical images on him and in doing so, showing no apparent regard or respect for Him.
Prior to sharing some thoughts on the question, 'According to 2010 statistics, the number of Buddhists around the world is consistently increasing by approximately 5% to 10% per annum. What do you think are the main causes for this increase?', I should mention that I'm often 'open-mindedly skeptical' about such surveys, and the statistics gathered during such surveys. For where does the information come from and how is the information gathered, and for what purpose, and so on and so forth.
To give the briefest conclusion that I can think of to the question- 'Do you think that sectarian diversity affects the stability of Buddhism as a whole?', I would have to say, 'Yes' and 'No'.
My intention here is not to give a definitive answer, but to give readers 'food for thought', to enable each of us to be responsible and maintain pure intentions, to think for ourselves and develop genuine wisdom and compassion.
In the spirit of the Dharma, rather than dwelling on any possible problems, we should mainly focus on solutions to any such problems. With the hope of maintaining the integrity and purity of Buddhism in this world.
Come and join us for this multicultural celebration of the
Buddha’s Birth Enlightenment and Passing
Its a Free Event - All Welcome
Vesak Procession & Commemoration in the City of Melbourne.
10am - 3.30pm, Saturday 27 May
Come along to celebrate one of the most important days in the Buddhist Calendar and together commemorate the Buddha’s universal peace message for the world.