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Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage

Month

June 2016

All the way from Thailand

He was sitting under a tree that was occasionally delivering golden autumn leaves at his feet. It was in the small square near the Melbourne Buddhist Centre. My first impression was that he might be a lonely man. How quickly judgments and labels arise !

I have to remind myself to totally disregard them as I learn time and time again that they rarely bear any resemblance to the truth.

I sit firstly on the only other wooden bench in the square.  Breathe in, breathe out … widen perspective …Indra’s Net…who is this jewel am I about to meet?

Feet now moving and legs propelling me to go and sit right next to him with a bag of Buddhas in hand.

” Hello, some friends from around the world have given me some gifts to share with people in Australia. Can I show you them and to see if you would like one?”

At first there is hesitancy. I can tell he is a polite man not used to rejecting others.

So I open the bag of Buddhas quickly and his eyes fall on them and he says, ” Oh, they are lovely.’

He is too polite to reach out and touch them but I follow his eyes to a tiny green Thai Buddha enclosed in a little case.

“That one was given to a friend of mine many years ago by someone who got it from Thailand. My friend recently gave it to me to pass on ….would you like it? ”

He picked it up and carefully rotated it through his fingers as he told me all about his son who is currently working in Thailand teaching English to small children.

I introduce myself as Maitri, hoping its easier to remember and use in our conversation.

He offers his name and his hand to shake.

There are often certain magical moments in the street metta pilgrimage where somehow a rich, relaxed, kind space opens up. It’s like we’ve learnt to dance as unencumbered human beings together- the boundaries and defences have dropped. There is a flow and and ease in a very bearable lightness of ‘being.’

I know that I might never see this man again and I know it doesn’t matter. This moment of gentle presence between two human beings is enough.

We discuss the vast potential that each little Buddha represents. I ask him if he has someone to give the Buddha to. He tells me about his daughter.

” She’s very shy.” he says.

He wonders if the shyness will stop her reaching her full capabilities.

This endpoint a universal wish for most parents.

He hopes the Buddha will give her courage to go beyond what she thinks she is capable of right now. Before we part, I ask him why he was sitting in the square today. He tells me he was passing time until his mate comes to meet him to go for lunch.

So my first thought on seeing him sitting alone in the square was ,of course, wrong.

He wasn’t  lonely. I smile in the knowledge that he also now has a Buddha in his pocket on its way to his daughter.

His parting gift to me is a big smile and a warm handshake and he wishes me well on the pilgrimage.

 

Buddha donated by Akashamani, Port Fairy Australia IMG_4223

 

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A Buddha in the sand.

On New Year’s Eve 1991,  a friend from my home town of Emerald was walking along a beach in state of distress. She was in the grip of deep grief following the loss of her mother and her marriage.

As she walked for hours along the beach in despair she called out for guidance.

Her foot touched something in the sand. She bent down and a small Buddha was unearthed. It looked like it had fallen off a key chain. Although she had not had any previous connections with Buddhist teachings, she resolved that day to find out more about Buddhism.

 

In March 1991 she found herself at a party at my house.

Deep into the night of festivities I heard her voice call out over the top of the music,

” Who wants to come and find out about Buddhism with me?”

In my inebriated state I heard my own voice calling back enthusiastically, “Me. I will!”

I have no idea why I responded.  I had never given a moments thought to exploring any religion.

So began an amazing journey that has brought such freedom and richness to my life.

25 years later I find myself showing this dear friend the bag of Buddhas that I take on my pilgrimage.

And she connects immediately with a beautiful white Buddha.  She loves its long neck and peaceful face.  She said it was as if the head rose elegantly above samsara allowing for a clear view of how things really are.

I know its time to complete a circle in the sand.

All these years later after she introduced me to the Buddha,Dharma and Sangha it was a delight to send one home in her pocket…..wrapped up in deep gratitude.

 

IMG_6289Buddha donated by a shiny new Order member Pasadadipa UK.

 

 

 

 

 

Coast to coast -Buddhas in my Pocket for Manchester

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Arthavadin and Lynne-Marie will complete the walk in its entirety and welcome others to join for the duration, a day or a few hours.

They plan to walk from St. Bees to Robin Hood Bay across the UK. The route is 190 miles, which works out at an average of 14.5 miles per day.

They will walk with Buddhas in their pockets offering the third stage of the loving kindness practice as they walk, connecting with fellow travellers and local communities. They hope to connect the Triratna movement handing out buddhas gifted from the Sangha to the people they meet. They will start each day with meditation and end the day with ritual and puja.This walk feels like a suitable challenge and something that is outside their present experience.

Please help them to raise their target to transform the ground floor of Manchester Buddhist Centre for current and future generations

Source: Lynne-Marie Eccleston’s Coast to Coast with Buddhas in our pockets for Manchester Buddhist Centre on BT MyDonate

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Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage