Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage


December 2016

With sleigh bells ringing…

I had not expected to hand out a Buddha during my trip into a technology shop in a busy shopping centre. My aim was to get in quickly when the doors opened and home again avoiding the pre- Christmas purchasing madness as much as possible.

But what a delightful trip it turned out to be.

The young women who was attending to my requests asked me about my kesa and what it meant.

There followed a wonderful discussion as we explored our spiritual beliefs. She was a Christian with an interest in occultism and mysticism. She had already also been curious about various aspects of Buddhism.

She loved the cartoonist Leunig and singer Leonard Cohen and had a dream to one day open a retreat centre where people could come and enjoy silence and beauty by the ocean.We had a lot in common.

I learned about her connection with Kuan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion.

It was a delightful moment of synchronicity, as Kuan Yin sadhana had been my main practice for 17 years.

Although I had not taken my main bag of Buddhas I now always carry a few in my bag, so I dived in wondering if I had a Kuan Yin with me. I did and she accepted it gratefully.

So here in a noisy shopping centre with sleigh bells ringing over the sound system and money changing hands for Christmas gifts at every counter, we were fortunate to enjoy the gift of an open aware meeting with meaningful communication.


Kuan Yin donated by Shani, Melbourne


The crack…that’s where the light gets in.

She had great glitter- infused black stockings on and a funky hat. The young woman turned towards me when I offered her the opportunity to choose a Buddha from my little bag.

Her wide smile reassured me that she didn’t mind the interruption.

I was delighted when she chose a very small earth Buddha with an indefinable face.

When I received this Buddha by parcel all the way from the UK, it had been damaged in transit. Some of it had crumbled and the face had worn off. It was if it had been ground away whilst underneath the pressure of much heavier postal items.

Whilst doing my best to glue the broken tip back on, I called to mind the wonderful  Japanese art form of Kintsugi, the process of joining the cracks in broken pottery with gold- arguably making it more beautiful than before. I had hoped then that whist on my pilgrimage someone might see the beauty of imperfection in this tiny Buddha. And now nearly 10 months later it was going to its new home.

She held it in the palm of her hand with great care and an element of tenderness was immediately present.

We talked about its qualities. She had been drawn to a feeling  timelessness she sensed in as soon as she saw it.   “Well travelled.” she said as her eyes took it in.

We talked about travel and discovered we shared a long held wish to visit the Buddhist temples of Japan.

Although only a couple centimetres tall the earthiness and groundedness of this Buddha appealed to its new caretaker.

She laughed as she declared that she could well do with some calm groundedness in her life at the moment.

Her friend was due to arrive soon and they were off to enjoy the African themed festivities happening that day at Federation Square.

I was very happy that the next journey had begun for the little Buddha with no face.


Buddha donated by Khemasuri UK


In the hands of the Order – Sanghamati

Sanghamati from Port Fairy Australia tells us about a possession that is very meaningful to him.

“This copy of the Dhammapada ( Ananda Maitreya version) accompanied me over 10 years whilst I travelled around the world.

It was my resource to the Dharma on so many occasions, sitting on planes or in hotel rooms. Sometimes it was a little platform for my tiny little Buddhas which I would set up for meditation as I was travelling.
I carry this book pretty much everywhere with me and I still randomly flick to different parts of the book for inspiration. What I discover is often so relevant to what is going on in my life.
So much of it resonates and hits the target for any doubt or fears or issues at any given time.
The ‘Twins’ or ‘Mind’ sections are favourites to dip into.
I also love giving it as a gift.
It is uplifting, inspiring and empowering.
It’s the first possession I would save if there was a fire in my house.
It has everything needed to keep you spiritually nourished.”




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Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage