Australia Day 26th January 2018 “Zen Buddhist’s Compassion and Wisdom in Australia” by Ku San Roshi Australia Day is a day to celebrate our past and is a day to help us find our future. Zen Buddhism is based on compassion and wisdom. When we look closely at what Australia and Australians are, and how we live with each other, we find a beginning of compassion and an increasing attitude of acceptance. This acceptance, wisdom and compassion is pointing the way to our future. This is our love for our country, and that love embraces our love for all the peoples in the universe. People from all over the world live here with us. We all share this land with the First Australians and our original inhabitants who came to Australia 70,000 years or more ago. We are lucky to have a day to reflect who we are and what is our potential as a nation and as a people. What is our potential for a safe and free country? I think it is a place to practice our religions: whatever they are. Our practices of ethics and goodwill are creating this Australia and will continue even more so into the future. This is a beautiful place where we live. We have in our hands, this responsibility to become the future of wisdom and compassion. All religions bring their ethics and that is true of Buddhism. When I look closely at Buddhist practice I find much in common with Christianity and much that is different. But what underpins Buddhism is compassion and wisdom. Buddhism is being informed and transformed by this Great Southern Land. The First Australians are showing how to love this great South Land. They are helping us to feel comfortable when walking this land. We too are coming home to country. This future we create requires that we all look deeply into our hearts and find our own compassion and wisdom. Our forbears came to this country as convicts, soldiers and settlers and those who came 70,000 years before. We slowly began to learn to love this land and found that we needed each other to survive. We had to look after each other. We see this today in the thousands of volunteers who keep us safe. Our country of floods and droughts also shows the way. Somehow this Great South Land is also teaching us how to live. We are being educated by our country. This knowledge comes from our land. It reaches out and touches us as we rub against the earth with our hands, bodies and our feet as we walk on it. It seems to come from the earth itself and it touches us so deeply. In this ancient land we see the face of all men and women of the universe. It is like when we see the face of a stranger and we recognize our own face for the first time. We see our beloved in the bright light of a summer day and the cool river breezes of nightfall. We see our own smiles and we know the way things should be. As we journey further on our road to nationhood we enter freely the high mountains and deep valleys of this Great South Land. The moon is now shining in our hearts, and we find our deep connection to our land and to each other. Ku San Roshi