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
Venerable Pannyavaro is an Australian Buddhist monk who has devoted his life to the meditational aspects of the Buddha's teachings.
During his meditation training, he practiced under several meditation masters in Sri Lanka and Burma, including Venerable Sayadaw U Janaka of Chanmyay Meditation Centre, Rangoon, who is the foremost disciple of the renowned Burmese meditation master, the late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw.
Pannyavaro was involved in the beginnings of a number of the very early Buddhist communities in Australia. He later went to Thailand and received higher ordination at Wat Borvornivet in Bangkok under Venerable Phra Nyanasamvarva, the Sangha Raja of Thailand.
Since 1974, he has from time to time studied and practised Vipassana meditation in most of the major Theravada Buddhist countries, including long periods of intensive practise with teachers at the Mahasi Sayadaw centres in Burma.
In the year 563B.C. on the border of modern day Nepal and India, a son was born to a chieftain of the Sakya clan. His name was Siddhartha Gotama and at the age of thirty-five, he attained, after six years of struggle and through his own insight, full enlightenment or Buddhahood. The term 'Buddha' is not a name of a god or an incarnation of a god, despite later Hindu claims to the contrary, but is a title for one who has realised through good conduct, mental cultivation, and wisdom the cause of life's vicissitudes and the way to overcome them. Buddhism is perhaps. unique amongst the world's religions in that it does not place reliance for salvation on some external power, such as a god or even a Buddha, but places the responsibility for life's frustrations squarely on the individual. The Buddha said:
The Pope, who managed to get the United Nations "International Year for Tolerance" off to a good start with the launch of his book, 'Crossing the Threshold of Hope' - Johnathan Cape, London, has demonstrated his abysmal ignorance and lack of understanding of Buddhism. Although he, with reservations, expresses guarded approval of Judaism, Hinduism and Islam, he considers Buddhism beyond the pale. He trots out the usual cliches about Buddhism being "negative" and pessimistic. What really worries him is the appeal Buddhism has to the 'Western' mind, especially to Catholics who see in Buddhist meditation techniques something that has been lost from the contemplative tradition of early Christianity. He provides no logical arguments against Buddhism but resorts to dogma to prove his point.
Buddhism is one of Australia’s fastest growing religions, having increased by 79% in the years 1996 to 2001, then numbering some 357,814 people, being 1.9% of the population. According to the 2001 Commonwealth Census, the majority of Buddhist live in New South Wales and Victoria. The largest concentration of Buddhists in Australia is in the Fairfield Local Government Area where 21.2% of the population registered as Buddhists.