Buddhism has taken firm roots in Australia during the last few decades, due in part to people migrating to Australia from various Buddhist cultures and their 2nd generation, who either moved here as children or were born here. It is also due in part to the genuine interest in these precious teachings and way of life shown by Australian's of all backgrounds. Some of whom have deep virtuous roots from practising the Dhamma in previous lives and others who are totally new to the Dhamma, having a strong attraction to the peace, harmony and understanding that results from the Buddhist practises of morality, meditation and wisdom. Therefore it is essential that the Dhamma be taught in the English language, using terminology and expression that can be clearly understood.
Every walk of life, culture and language has various common sayings and one of the most commonly used in Australia is 'No Worries, Mate'! Have you ever thought what 'no worries, mate' could possibly mean if investigated and analysed from a Buddhist perspective? In this article we will explore and endeavour to shed new light on the meaning of this common Australian saying.
To begin, we will break it up into two parts; 1) 'no worries', and 2) 'mate'. Briefly, to have 'no worries' means to have a mind free of worry, fear, anxiety, regret and the like, and therefore, a mind free of the causes of these disturbing emotions. That is, a mind free of ignorance, attachment and aversion. Whilst 'mate' means friend, partner or relative.
Now let's have a look at how we can decrease and eventually eradicate worry and it's causes from our minds by applying the medicine of the Dhamma. By practising morality, meditation and wisdom.
To live morally means to avoid speaking non-truth, slandering or speaking to divide, using harsh language and engaging in meaningless gossip. We should speak the truth, speak to unite, skilfully, sweetly and meaningfully. It also means to avoid acting in any way that brings harm. To avoid destroying life, taking what is not freely given and to avoid harmful activities in our relations with others, and instead, to respect life, be generous and act with care, love and friendship. In whatever we do in life, whether it's work, study, sport or others types of hobbies, we should be harmless, non-aggressive and conscientious.
With pure intentions, we should also engage in the practise of meditation with enthusiastic effort to maintain wholesome thoughts and attitudes, relinquishing unwholesome thoughts and attitudes, developing and maintaining the mindfulness and concentration that leads to insight and understanding.
In other words we should engage in the practise of the path prescribed by the Lord Buddha, namely the Eight-Fold Path, which is best summed up by the Buddha's words, " Do no harm, do only good, purify your mind". And don't worry, the more we practise, the better we get at it and the more it becomes natural. If we live this way we will have much less worries and eventually no worries at all.
Now let's have a look at the word 'mate'. Since we all share this world together, we are all intimately connected and dependant upon each other. All mates! Therefore, to be kind to ourselves we must be kind to others. To be kind to others we are being kind to ourselves. Also we all have the potential to realise the ultimate peace or enlightenment.
It is also helpful to keep in mind that 1) All beings tremble at the thought of being harmed. Knowing this, how can we harm them? 2) Knowing that we all seek happiness, cultivate love for all, and 3) It is life that all beings treasure the most. Love and respect is where friendships abide.
Therefore, we should also develop and practise the Four Immeasurable's of universal love, compassion, joy and equanimity. Wishing that all beings have happiness and its causes and are free from suffering and its causes. We should have great appreciation for and take great joy in the successes of others and always maintain a mind free of bias, attachment and aversion. These are called immeasurable's because they bring immeasurable benefit to all beings and can be developed beyond limitation.
True peace must firstly be developed internally, in our own mind, and then expressed outwardly through our actions and words. We must live by example. Thinking, acting and speaking with the motivation to cause and maintain peace, harmony and understanding. Then peace can be caused and realised, and the lack of peace can be overcome.
When a pebble is thrown into a pond, the ripples that are created cover all parts of the pond, likewise every thought, action and word effects everything. So we should think, act and speak with universal love, compassion, joy and equanimity, based on true understanding. This way, we can contribute to peace in the world and have a positive influence on others to do likewise.
Study, practise and share the Dhamma well. Then we will have No Worries, Mate!
Written by Andrew. J. Williams Lay Dhamma Teacher 14/4/15
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.
No past, no present, no future. All created things arise and pass away. All names and labels dissolve. You can observe this in meditation practice and, in experiencing impermanence in life and so-called death.
At the conclusion of the Diamond Sutra, it is said that, this is how we should view our conditioned existence: as a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a phantom and a dream.
Today I sit alone in a house. The government of the country in which I live has requested that I stay here in isolation for the health and safety of the community both here and abroad. Countless others are doing the same thing, except that some call it a forced lock down, or an obstacle to their free movement. I see this as an opportunity to practice.
The Buddha taught that the suffering connected with birth, sickness, old age and death is a fact of life for sentient beings in Samsara. But so is the possibility of transcendence from Samsaric suffering.
So, for a practitioner, the question is not just “Why?” but also “How?” Why do I/we suffer and, how do I/we overcome suffering? The answer to the former is found in intuitively recognizing (the 3 Poisons): harmful habits of attachment, anger and ignorance; and the answer to the latter lies in resolving to study and practice the Noble Eightfold Path (the antidote) and, fully realizing Buddhahood for the benefit of a
In the Dhammapada, the Buddha says, “What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of our mind.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has given many millions of people worldwide time to reflect on their lives and habits of thought, speech and action.
I know quite a few who have found a refuge of peace in their gardens. Cultivating, planting seeds, adding water and nutrients all help in maintaining a healthy garden. They are also a necessary part in taking care of our bodies. But what about the mind? Generosity, ethics, loving-kindness, compassion, meditative concentration and wisdom are the food for our inner spiritual garden. Without them there is no harvest, no fruit of Awakening, Buddhahood.
As a child my parents encouraged questions, as did my Heart Lama. However, the latter person gave me two questions to ask before speaking: “will what I am wanting to say, and the way I say it, be helpful or harmful to myself/others? Also, does the question come from ‘I don’t know’ (beginner’s mind), or from a place of judgement and opinions?” The aim was/is to cultivate the mind to be like an empty vessel, not one filled to the brim and overflowing where nothing new can enter.