By Venerable Ol Sam, of Wat Buddharangsi & Cambodian Buddhist Association of Victoria, Springvale South
The coronavirus has hit many people around the world with people in fear of the pandemic.
With the practice of mindfulness, they can avoid touching the face and washing hands.
The Buddhist teaching that can help people in current times of fear, anxiety and isolation is to chant these passages for frequent recollection:
We are continually driven to old age, there being no way to resist it;
We are continually driven to sickness, there being no way to resist it;
We are continually driven to death, there being no way to resist it;
We are destined to lose and leave our beloved ones and things.
I am owner of my deed, I am the heir to my deed:
I am born of my deed, I am related to my deed;
I abide supported by my deed, whatever deed I shall do;
For good or for evil, of that I shall be the heir.
Thus, these subjects are recollected every day, together with the Buddha teachings for three characteristics.
The first characteristic, Anicca Lakkhana, means the mark of impermanence.
Everything is ever changing, subject to destruction, and quite unstable and unreliable. Things are constantly decaying.
No matter how much we may try to hold it, no single thing is the same at this present moment, as it was one moment ago.
For example, when we closely observe and analyze in our mind the flame of a burning candle, we take note of the flame and its five unique features.
The features are: momentarily arising, constantly developing, continuing in its normal state, dying down and dying away.
This is the nature of things – growth, continuance, decay and death.
The second characteristic, Dukkha Lakkhana, means dissatisfaction experienced by human and animals.
Both human beings and animals suffer.
Dukkha Lakkhana is the mark of suffering, stress, frustration, pain, illness, unhappiness, instability.
The characteristic of impermanence may also be called the mark of suffering or dissatisfaction.
Thirdly, Anatta Lakkhana or ‘Selflessness’ is the last common mark of everything that exists. Everything is selfless because we cannot find a part in anything which can be called the self. Therefore, there is nothing to possess or control.
Mindfulness, meditation and chanting provides spiritual relief.