On Peace, Love, and Mindfulness
Respected Principal of Fintona Girl School, representative from different religions and groups, teachers and friends. We are delighted to be invited to take part in this multicultural forum. I would like to share with you the teaching of Buddha as well as learn from different religions and cultural group of their knowledge and wisdom.
Buddha Sakyamuni gave up a life of luxury as a prince because he saw the four inevitable sufferings: birth, illness, old age, and death. He wanted to find a relief to sufferings. That's why he started his journey of quest.
After years of searching, he attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. Out of compassion for the world, the Buddha became a volunteer teacher to share the knowledge he gained. He hoped that all could find peace and happiness. He taught everyone that wanted to learn from him, be they kings, commoners, followers of other religions, and different races. He lectured 8 hours a day for 49 years, without a single day of rest. His words were compiled by his students, so vast is the collection that it can fill a library.
what did he lectured about - With such a vast collection of works, the Buddha said he had not spoken a word. Why is that so: Buddha merely described to us the laws of nature. He has not said a single word of his own creation.
Whatever he has said for the 49 years can probably be summed up in two Chinese words: "he ping". "He" meaning peace, "ping" meaning equal. In other words, without being equal, there is no peace.
Everyone wants peace, in our family, school, and society, and above all, peace of mind. Have you experienced fear, anxiety, anger, agitation, and jealousy? So what is peace? It is just the opposite of all these.
But, how to attain peace? The Buddha said we must first find the humbleness in us to regard others as equal to us. Peace has to be found from within ourselves, not to seek from elsewhere. We need to see everything in the universe as one entity and of equal importance. There is no one better than the other. Our world is formed by different races, different cultures, and different religious beliefs. We are all one big family.
For example, if we pull a hair out, the whole body feels the pain. Whatever others do will have an effect on us.
A student once asked Ven Master Chin Kung how he perceived different religions. He responded: "Different religions could be seen as the twigs, branches, leaves, and flowers of the tree. They all stem from the same root. They all teach us to be sincere, pure, wise, and compassionate. The principles and methods of practice of different religions can co-exist without conflicts." When conflicts arise, it is man made: Simply because we have misinterpreted the Holy teaching.
If we think that we are better than the rest, right away, peace will take leave from our heart. And that is the cause for unrest and unhappiness.
Peace also arises from compassion.
What is compassion? Compassion in Buddhism is the same as love in other religions. To be compassionate means to help those in need unconditionally. A good example is Mother Terasa. She helped others selflessly, no matter what their race, belief and religion is. She believed that all have the need to be loved and cared for. This is compassion. Helping others without discrimination.
A friend of mine recently told me a story, while she was teaching in a high school in Queensland; she had a student from Japan. This student got into trouble in Japan and was sent by his parents to Aust. When he was in Japan, he entered into a gang fight, instead of being sent to a Rehabilitation Centre, he was sent to a temple. He used to draw many drawing for my friend, one of his drawing was a big circle at the top, underneath was another 2 smaller circles. He said the big circle denote Buddha, the smaller circles denote one good boy and one bad boy. Buddha rewards the good boy with good things and also gives the bad boy the same good things.
This is the equal compassion that the Buddha gives to all beings. Everyone deserves a chance. In fact more attention should be given to those who commit wrong doings. We should try our best to help them. Extend our love and attention to them to the same extend we would love ourselves.
Compassion is within us. It is a matter of our willingness to share it with everyone.
It is a matter if we are able to let go of our greed, anger and ignorance. These 3 poisons are the root of sufferings, the root of unhappiness, the root to all evil.
We need to up root these evil thoughts so that our compassion mind can reveal.
How do we bring forth the compassion in our nature? Through the practice of Ethical Moral conduct, Meditation and Wisdom.
Ethical moral conduct trained our speech and action to be compassionate. We avoid all evils and perform all wholesome deeds.
But we know that the master mind is our thought. If the thought is evil, it is meaningless for us to pretend to be a nice person. It is just like a big red beautiful apple with a rotten heart!
Therefore, our mind needs to be wholesome. It is difficult in the beginning, not to have hatred, anger and jealousy. Because we are so used to it, it has become our habit. But through the practice of meditation, it help us create positive energy through positive intention in order to go beyond our habit, and recognize our nature.
It is like taming the monkey mind. An untrained mind is like a monkey jumping up and down, without ease, engrossed in fantasies, thoughts, wishes, and feelings but do not realise it, we lack in mindfulness. It is just like we are always breathing but are not aware of it. Unhappy emotion takes over us without our realisation and we dwell in this state of mind, unable to escape.
Meditation helps us in control of our mind. Gradually the mind becomes freed of the defilements; it becomes pure. A pure mind is always full of love--selfless love for all others. This is wisdom. A person with wisdom sees everyone as themselves.
There are different types of meditation. Some uses breathing as a meditation object, some concentrate on Buddha Image, Sunset and lotus flowers.
We will have some time to experience Pureland meditation in our small group sessions later. We will recite the name of the Amitabha Buddha with the accompaniment of Dharma Musical Instruments. And we will give a short intro of how meditation helps us to relax our mind.
To sum up, we all want to live happily. We can be happy if we realize these: We are what we think. All phenomena arise from our thoughts. Always be mindful of the kindness and not the faults of others. Always be aware of our mind, speech, and actions. Think good thoughts, say kind words, do good deeds! Thank you!