Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage

Being seen

I am often touched by people’s responses when handing out a little buddha and mentioning that it represents one’s vast potential. Quite a number of people have had an immediate response of tears forming.
It seems they are the tears of relief when their vast potential is highlighted ( even if not fully realised yet ) rather than their perhaps obvious limitations.
Those limitations can be formed by people assuming things about us, about our gender, our background, our culture, or by their previous experience of us and so on. That’s what they see and a view is formed and sometimes is set like concrete. And the possibility that we can grow and change and transform can go unacknowledged.

It was like this when this little Buddha in the Australian bush found a home with someone about to travel back to England. I hope she remembers her unlimited potential and that some of us are prepared to keep her company whilst that unfolds.
All human beings have this potential …….a beautiful teaching of the Buddha.

Buddha donated by Alison UK

Tropical delight

Recently when visiting my daughter in tropical Queensland I was generously invited into the home of a couple I had never met before. The conversations wove in and out as we discovered more about each other over dinner. 

She was so welcoming and warm and I sensed this home was often opened up and shared with others. 

He relayed some experiences he had when traveling in the 70’s across many countries and cultures. In March 1976 he found himself in a Buddhist monastery somewhere in Sikkham.  In a room he witnessed many monks seated around the senior monk whilst making ongoing sound in a vibrational way. The sound was unlike anything he had ever heard before and very hard to explain. 

After some time he was amazed to see the senior monk slowly levitate a number of centimetres off the ground. 

I have read about this paranormal  power being accessed by yogis but had never met anyone who claimed to have witnessed it with their own eyes.  

I really believed him. 

As even now, sitting together on the outdoor patio, I could sense the awe and the depth of how the experience had touched him all those years ago and still did today. 

We are not so much affected I think by the actual act we are witnessing but the deep glimpse into unbounded human potentiality. 

In the morning after the lovely dinner I knew I wanted to go back and offer each these hosts one of the little buddhas so generously gifted to me by people around the world. 

I still have a few dozen to hand on of the 183 that had been given to me. 

After lining up 5 assorted buddhas on the table to choose from it was immediately clear each of them which two buddhas would be moving on.  

He chose the glass Kuan Yin buddha and saw immediately links to his Kiwi heritage. It was shaped a bit like the Māori tiki. 

He also explained what was significant to him in the colours. 

Yellow -looking to the sun to see where it was and where it came from. 

Green – walking upon the ground and treading gently.

Brown – Mother Earth where he will return to.

The colour was also an attraction when my other host chose the green/blue Buddha. It’s shape was pleasing to her, too. 

She was very happy to hear about the calming hand placement representing meditation shown on her little buddha and she said she needed to keep it close. 

As I explained a little about the richness that had come from handing out the buddhas over the years to strangers, her eyes lit up and she obviously knew from experience what I meant. 

She shared a memory of a time when she had been traveling in the outback of Australia and followed up on a spontaneous sense of moving into open connection with a stranger. 

It was for her also a beautiful moment of richness that goes on to have an effect beyond the actual time spent together for both people involved.  

What an amazing world it could be if we were always in touch with this openness to other human beings no matter who they are and where they have come from.  

Buddhas donated by

Sok Kheim – Melbourne Nagasuri -Sydney

Buddhists on the path

When I moved back near my favourite forest recently my happiest waking activity quickly became an early morning walk amongst the tall mountain ash trees. The mists, the call of the loud cockatoos and the wonderous mimickery of the lyrebirds are a feast for the senses.
On two different occasions I met Buddhist practitioners each quietly breathing in the forest peace as was I.

Perhaps our Buddhist practices drew us to this alive, still, special place. The early hours means of course there are very few people walking the tracks and I guess we liked it that way.

However, in both cases a slow gentle conversation began to take place which lead to discovering our mutual understanding of value of the Buddha’s teaching.
I was able to exchange gifts with one of the men who was soon to leave Australia to return to his family in Sri Lanka after a number of years working in Australia. He gave me some beautiful herbal mix teas made by his tea company and I passed on one of the donated little buddhas which has completed a journey from the UK, to Australia and now on to Sri Lanka. Even though the Covid pandemic has shut down international travel for now, by the time we parted I carried a warm invitation to visit him and Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka anytime I wished.

Buddha donated by Padmajyoti UK

Buddhas in Adelaide

Tracy from Adelaide asked if she could hand on two of the little
buddhas given to me for the ‘Buddhas in my pocket’ journey.
Here are her stories :

Buddha 1

“ I met this lovely child strolling down the street one day. She was being pushed in a pram and her little eyes caught mine as we passed and I stopped to say hello. Her mum told me how grateful she was to have this little girl, how she struggled with the decision to keep her as she was but a babe herself, still in her teens.
After a short time I remembered the two buddhas I had in my bag that Maitripala had given me to hand out.
I held one in each hand and asked little ten month old if she would like to have one.
Her eyes darted between each and after some consideration, she reached out and chose this turquoise buddha . Perhaps one day her mum may tell her the story of how she came to have it, and who knows where that may take her.”

Buddha 2

“Never having attended a Mitra ceremony, I had no idea what to expect. It was such a joyous occasion, filled with rejoicing in merit and celebrating the commitment made.
At one point people started to line up in front of the new Mitra, offering cards, gifts and congratulations.
I was unprepared for this having not brought a gift, yet waiting in the line, I remembered the remaining Buddha I had in my bag and it seemed the perfect gift.
It was received with much love and gratitude and I had the thought that we are never empty handed if we have a ‘Buddha in our pocket’ or indeed, the Dharma in our life.”

Let me know if you recognise either buddha as one you donated.

Two fathers and a bath

After a heartwarming two weeks of sitting with my dear dad as he inched towards the end of his 86 years of life, we tenderly celebrated this wonderful man on Thursday at his funeral.
Then I only had one rest day and headed off alone today to drive to a GFR retreat with an overnight motel stay on the way to Vijayaloka.

It was my birthday and I love a good solo car trip.
When I arrived at the motel the owner told me she had upgraded me to the spa suite at no extra cost. No particular reason but she said she felt drawn to do it the night before I arrived.
I was delighted …as both my dad and I love baths and i knew it would be a great way to absorb the strong time of the previous weeks.
As stood in motel reception and explained to this kind person why the gift of a bath was so timely we discovered both our fathers had died on the same day the week before.
She also had three daughters and one of her daughter’s birthday was the same as mine.
We laughed at the serendipity nature of connecting incidents in our lives.
Just before I went to start my bath I was compelled to dig out my bag of little buddhas and go back and offer one to her.

One of the Buddhas I had placed standing in a row caught her eye straight away.
A small golden Amoghasiddhi.
I explained the fearlessness hand gesture ….a bringer of courage.
Her eyes moistened and we did not need to speak details…of anything.
Suffering is universal …there was just a ‘knowing’ .
-a heart feeling that connected two strangers standing in a small country town between Melbourne and Sydney.
She said quietly, with that little Buddha in her hand, “I will never forget this.”
And I will never forget her kindness or intuitiveness in placing me in a room with a bath where I could have alone time with the pulsating heart ache of that accompanies missing my dearly loved dad.

Buddha donated by Bridie UK

Many moons ago, in May 2017 when I was first inspired by Maitripala’s pilgrimage, she kindly gave me 2 little Buddhas to pass on when so moved.  The recipient of this Buddha, donated by Maggie in the U.K. is a work colleague.

Becoming aware we had some perspectives in common I discovered this mother of 3 rises at 5.15am to meditate in her bathroom before the household begins its day and she gets ready for work.  She has recently begun exploring Buddhism.

When I offered the last of my 2 Buddhas she happily accepted it, saying she felt “understood”.  We had lunch together under a tree and I told her the Buddhas In My Pocket story.  I find it strengthening to share a Dharmic perspective with her sometimes at work.  I do believe she does too.

Blessed indeed are we.

Written by Jody (Kempsey NSW)Jodie


Courage to continue

Sometimes in life extra energy is needed just to take a deep breath and ride out the bumps. This Buddha was chosen by a courageous person. Colourful, confident and authentic in laying the tough times out on the table.

May the Buddha she chose bring more ease

Buddha donated by Prasadajata, Australia


Lines of life

His face was as lined as his hands.

The lines of his life story. Etched deeply.

His suffering was visible in other ways too.

We had just a sprinkling of conversation.

And then when opening my bag of buddhas, his eyes fell to Manjushri’s sword with its ability to cut through ignorance. He was pleased with his new gift and it certainly looked grand in his hand.

Buddha donated by Alokasanna UK

Time in Pure Land

Four months ago twenty little buddhas found their way to new homes on one night. I had the good fortune to live for a month with twenty people who were living their life with a total dedication to developing compassion and wisdom. Some of them I had met before and some I hadn’t. The month together was full of beauty, laughter, friendship, inspiration, uplift and new learnings.
In that time our wonderful 93 year old teacher died and I know we will all continue to share, across the world, the gifts he gave us.
Forever grateful.

Buddhas donated by Pasadadipa, UK

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Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage