Itir’s story :

After the Saturday morning meditation at the Melbourne Buddhist Centre I picked one of the little Buddhas laid out on the shrine and joined Maitripala, Dantacitta and Julie in the Buddhas in My Pocket’s first official pilgrimage walk to the Melbourne CBD. I reminded myself of our intention to cultivate loving kindness towards strangers passing by, mindful of opportunities to connect with a ‘neutral person’ and perhaps pass on the Buddha in my pocket.

Nevertheless, shortly after we started walking Dantacitta and I fell into a deep conversation about the ups and downs of practice. I talked about the sadness I felt around what is happening in my hometown Ankara where my parents live, and the fear and sense of helplessness I can experience when confronted with the reality of life there. There, it seems like there are no ‘neutral’ people but either friends or enemies.

As we got closer to the city centre we were surrounded by more and more people, slowly becoming a part of the ebb and flow of the sunny Saturday afternoon. We then stopped by at a café to conclude our walk before we went our separate ways.

I left the others thinking perhaps I had failed at fulfilling the purpose of the walk.

I did not talk to a stranger and the Buddha was still in my pocket.

But as I continued to walk home I realised that my mood had shifted and I felt a little lighter and positive.

Amongst the many people walking on this planet I had just been with 3 others who like me had somehow found the Dharma and were willing to practice for the benefit of others.

And perhaps for the time being I was the one who needed the Buddha in my pocket and to receive the loving kindness that can come from connecting with friends in the Dharma.

Thank you for creating this precious opportunity dear Maitripala. May your pilgrimage continue to bring many others inspiration and joy.

With much gratitude,