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
Here are a series of questions that I was recently asked as part of a Casey Multifaith Network presentation for the local Star Newspaper, with the intention to create peace, understanding and harmony within the community.
I thought the answers may be of some benefit for practising Buddhists and Non-Buddhists alike.
Happy Vesak. May all beings be well and happy.
1) What is your name and where do you live?
Andrew Williams. I live at Phillip Island & Endeavour Hills.
2) What religion do you believe in and/or follow and what is your involvement?
Buddhism. I have studied & practised Buddhism since I was quite young. I have been teaching Buddhism since 1998, initially in the USA & now back home in Australia.
Shakyamuni Buddha appeared on the stage of this world with four great noble tasks to perform, namely to open up the treasury of truth, to indicate its meaning, to cause men to apprehend it, and to lead them to it,(1) which can be achieved by the penetrative power of Buddha’s wisdom or vision, i.e., Buddha a, Buddha nature.
Bhikkhu Bodhi is an American Buddhist monk from New York City. Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1944, he obtained a BA in philosophy from Brooklyn College (1966) and a PhD in philosophy from Claremont Graduate School (1972).
The ASA annual conference brings together Buddhist monastics of all traditions living in, or visiting Australia, for fellowship, dialogue and to address the issues facing Buddhism in Australia. The ASA has in previous years, and is still working with the Department of Immigration & Border Security to assist those monastic’s seeking Permanent Residency Visas through representations to the Federal Government. Where appropriate, the ASA has and continues to consult with state Buddhist Councils and Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils (FABC) for a solution to these ongoing issues. The ASA has arranged monastic education forums such as the 2010 Vinaya Conference, and represents the Australian Sangha community at various International Conferences, as well as consultations with various State & Federal Government agencies.
Wake Up – Young Adults for a Healthy and Compassionate Society, is a world-wide network of young people practicing the living art of mindfulness. We share a determination to live in an awakened way, taking a 21st Century version of the 5 Mindfulness Trainings as our path and guiding light.
The Wake Up network has grown out of Plum Village meditation center in SW France, under the guidance of Venerable Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Plum Village has been offering retreats to young people for over two decades, and the Wake Up movement was formally launched in Summer 2008.
The first two steps in the process of becoming a lay disciple of the Buddha are the going for refuge (sarana gamana) and the undertaking of the five precepts (pañca-sila samadana). By the former step a person makes the commitment to accept the Triple Gem — the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha — as the guiding ideals of his life, by the latter he expresses his determination to bring his actions into harmony with these ideals through right conduct. The following two tracts were written for the purpose of giving a clear and concise explanation of these two steps. Though they are intended principally for those who have newly embraced the Buddha's teaching they will probably be found useful as well by long-term traditional Buddhists wanting to understand the meaning of practices with which they are already familiar and also by those who want to know what becoming a Buddhist involves.