Walk in the Dhamma—a cool Dhamma song!

Many years ago I was asked to write a Buddhist national anthem for Australia. I came up with the following set of lyrics, to the tune of Waltzing Matilda (which should totally be our real national anthem!). I forgot about these for years, until recently Dana Murty asked for a copy (thanks, Dana!). I though I’d post them here for your enjoyment.

Once a jolly Buddha camped by a running stream
Under the shade of a Bodhi tree
And he sat and meditated ’till his mind was free
Who’ll come and walk in the Dhamma with me?

Walk in the Dhamma
Walk in the Dhamma
Who’ll come and walk in the Dhamma with me?
And he sat and meditated ’till his mind was free
Who’ll come and walk in the Dhamma with me?

He walked that dusty road down to Benares
To see the five monks staying in the Deer Park
And he taught the four noble truths, the Dhamma he himself had seen:
Suffering, its origin, cessation, the path.

Walk in the Dhamma
Walk in the Dhamma
Who’ll come and walk in the Dhamma with me?
And he taught the four noble truths, the Dhamma he himself had seen
Who’ll come and walk in the Dhamma with me?

When Kondannya heard about the middle way
The noble eightfold path that leads to peace of mind
The vision of the Dhamma arose within him clear to see
And so the Buddha said: ‘Kondannya understands!’

Walk in the Dhamma
Walk in the Dhamma
Who’ll come and walk in the Dhamma with me?
The vision of the Dhamma arose within him clear to see
Who’ll come and walk in the Dhamma with me?

And now the Buddha’s teaching has come to this big empty land
With waratah and wallabies and scribbly-bark trees
And the ghost of the Buddha may be heard inside the monasteries:
‘Who’ll come and walk in the Dhamma with me?’

Walk in the Dhamma
Walk in the Dhamma
Who’ll come and walk in the Dhamma with me?
And the ghost of the Buddha may be heard inside the monasteries:
‘Who’ll come and walk in the Dhamma with me?’

12 thoughts on “Walk in the Dhamma—a cool Dhamma song!

  1. Hi Bhante, Thanks for this delightful “anthem,” which brings back happy memories of my young camping and campfire days Waltzing with Matilda in Malaysia and Singapore. I can’t imagine you actually singing or even humming the tune as you wrote the lyrics. But it’s interesting watching you grow as a Dharma seeker. It’s really a gift for those of us who love good music and beyond Christian-inspired “Buddhist hymns.” Just to inform you that I’ll be passing on this great musical gift from the silence of a great Dharma mind in my upcoming weekly reflection for the joy and good of those on our TMC mailing list. Anumodana from Piya.

  2. Lovely, Bhante! I hope we get to sing this one day.

    Dear Piya, in Thay’s community there is a lot of mindful song. Very simple gathas, lovely tunes. It is a beautiful way to water good seeds, especially the seeds of togetherness, a nice way to engage children in the teaching, as the ubiquitous Dharma talk does tend to put them to sleep and we big people can share it with them. Let me know and I can share a few with you or visit the Plum Village website. Thay even sang for the first time in public at a recent retreat I was at – during the Q&A a young boy asked him to sing a song. Out of compassion for the little boy, instead of refusing, he pulled out a few lines from an old song from his childhood and sang it in French.

    A Lotus for You

  3. Bhante,

    You may have to change the words to an original tune for the sake of copyright though before you get someone not ordained to sing it, if ordained can’t sing.

    • Well, I think so. It’s such a great song, with the ghost and the outlaw. It’s always a bit on the edge, which is why we have never adopted it as our official national anthem. For me it captures the “otherness” of Dhamma in a way that that is quite subversive, sneaking it underneath a bit of pop culture…

  4. The play with fire is mostly estimated as cool. Such is the misunderstanding in the world. How cool would it to do not suggest hot thinks to be cool?
    Its like on the the Highway to hell, it is a very ironical remembrance, like black humor. It’s just that we get easy attached to such. Or when I think on mind training it is sometimes “funny” to think of being born to be wild and many more suggestion. The stuff is, that those who are attached easily misinterpret it in the same way the author had thought and do not easily pick out the ironical wisdom that could be found in normal worldly ways. Its sad but true and it does not matter to many, but at the end we everybody like to be a hero for one day and there will be maybe a day when we realize dhamma I’m coming home

    So my intensive suggestion is that you should really walk and if you really want, you will move mountains.

    As you enter the stream, you might join to sing on admirable Friendship. But well, as song you are not soberly its really danger. So better let it be!

    It give so much nourishment, that you could easily be lost for a long time. Coming back to sex sells and the drawback of selling sex, remember:

    <a href="http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/lib/thai/chah/insimpleterms_en.html%5DIt a lonely path

    Whatever there is in the mind: If our reasons aren’t yet good enough, we can’t let it go. In other words, there are two sides: this side here and that side there. People tend to walk along this side or along that side. There’s hardly anybody who walks along the middle. It’s a lonely path. When there’s love, we walk along the path of love. When there’s hatred, we walk along the path of hatred. If we try to walk by letting go of love and hatred, it’s a lonely path. We aren’t willing to follow it.

    Aren’t we all running?

    See the danger of being still virtual

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