(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.
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.
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.
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.