(DO IT YOURSELF) By Dharma Teacher Andrew. J. Williams
Being a so-called Westerner in this life, I'm often asked the question, "What are the main reasons you have chosen to practise Buddhism?". In answering this type of question, I normally give varying answers of varying lengths depending on who is asking and for what reason they are asking the question.
With the shortest answer being that to study, practise and share the Dharma is the most natural experience that I have had in my life. It feels like I'm at 'home' in the Dharma, and when thoroughly checked, the Buddha's teachings make perfect sense, and I encourage whoever is asking the question to check it out for themselves.
Actually I should humbly mention that when I think back on my life, I feel that I've always thought in a Buddhist way, even before I was directly aware of the term Dharma, and other related and important Dharma terms.
My intention here is not so much to give definitive answers, but to give readers 'food for thought', to enable each of us to be responsible and think for ourselves. So that each of us can develop genuine insight into the nature of reality.
That said, I will endeavour to give you just a few of the main reasons why I have chosen to continue practising Dharma in this and subsequent lives. For to give you all of the main reasons would take a lifetime. May I also take a moment here to share that my mother and late father also have chosen to practise Buddhism.
Firstly, the Dharma points directly to the mind, which is the source of all of our experiences. By practising the Dharma we enable ourselves to purify our mind and directly realise relative and ultimate truth.
The following teachings of the Buddha are just a couple of the teachings that profoundly affected me in my youth and led to me increasing my study and practise of the Dharma at different stages of my life.
"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world. Speak or act with an impure mind, and trouble will follow you, as the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.
We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world. Speak or act with a pure mind, and happiness will follow you, as your shadow, unshakeable." As well as, "Thus shall you think of all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream."
These types of teachings, along with the overall good peaceful vibes that I experienced while in the presence of practicing Buddhists, and especially while in the presence of the learned masters and teachers, have helped to encourage me and helped me to give rise to, and maintain, the enthusiasm and joy that are essential along the way.
Dharma Teacher Andrew. J. Williams and his students
The Dharma is DIY (do it yourself). In other words we are responsible for our own happiness or suffering. We are responsible for our own enlightenment or the lack thereof. The Dharma is the finger pointing the way.
Dharma is for the ultimate good of all, whether one is a Buddhist or not. All sentient beings benefit from the Dharma. This fact continues to impress me to no end.
The Buddha is the supreme guide and physician, the Dharma is the supreme way and medicine, and the fourfold Sangha are the supreme upholders of and administers of the Dharma. We ourselves must follow the way and take the medicine prescribed by the Buddha. To successfully practise the Dharma, accurately and precisely, and to realise the fruit of enlightenment, you must DIY (do it yourself).
I hope that these few words are somewhat helpful and beneficial on your path to enlightenment. With the help and support of the noble triple gem, may you DIY with great enthusiasm and joy. May you be well and happy.
Today, once again, I have another opportunityto talk to you through this online Dharma Talk, proposed by Master Hui Siong. He is Vice President of the World Buddhist Sangha Counciland General-Secretary for Chinese Language Department. He is alsoabbot of Beeh Low See Temple, Mahakaruna Buddhist Center and Vihara Mahavira Graha Medan Temple in Singapore and Indonesia. The connections which lead to this opportunity could be traced back through the founding Congress of the WBSC in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1966 and the second Congress held at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in Saigon, Vietnam in 1969 by the Most Venerable Thich Tam Chau, co-founder of WBSC. At that time, I had just moved from Hoi An to Saigon; so I did not have theopportunity to participate.
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The Book was first published in 1942. The present edition has been revised and expanded. Though primarily intended for the students and beginners rather than scholars, the reader will find it an extremely valuable handbook, offering a sound foundation to the basic tenets of Buddhism as found in its original Pali tradition.