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Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage

Author

Maitripala

Member of Triratna Buddhist Order

A 20 year journey

20 years ago I walked up the steps of a beautiful old building in Tuscany and joined a community to live for 6 weeks with 15 others who were being ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order. Well supported by a team we were able to dive into a mythical and seemingly timeless realm of practice and growth.

What a beautiful and inspiring time that was.

When you share such a significant going forth with others, a bond is formed that transcends different countries of origin and personality types.

20 years later, 10 of us met again recently for 5 days in the UK countryside.

Time was spent witnessing lives lived with all the joy and suffering it brings…..and setting our intentions for the next 5 years.

How precious to have that touchstone.

So 15 little Buddhas have gone home with my friends as a reminder of the 1000 armed Avalokitesvara that is a symbol for our Order.

Buddhas donated by

Prasadadipa -UK

Danakosa -Scotland

Wendy- Emerald Australia

Lynne Marie -UK

Helen-UK

Jodie- NSW Australia

Rachel -Sheffield UK

Sraddhagita- UK

Maitrisara- Birmingham UK

Satyagandhi-Autralia

Pam- Melbourne Australia

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

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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

Return journey

As I headed off for a short trip to New Zealand I quickly plucked 3 little buddhas from my remaining stash to take with me. It’s a good opportunity in airports and traveling for little Buddhas to find a new home

Whilst staying with a dear friend on a small island I had the opportunity to meet up with another lovely friend from the UK. We had lived and worked together at a retreat centre in Wales. That 14 months had been such a rich and fruitful time of my life.

I had the urge to send one of the buddhas back with her to perhaps sit at a base of a tree in the retreat centre grounds.

I took the three out and chose the smallest one to ask her to take back in her luggage.

I was surprised and delighted when I looked up my list of donors to find the Buddha I had chosen had been donated by another team member and good friend from my time at the retreat centre.  She had recently just moved on from the Centre and it felt totally appropriate for her donated Buddha to make a return journey and dwell in the beautiful gardens as a testimony to all these amazing women offer in sharing the dharma in that setting.

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Buddha donated by Amritamati -Wales, Spain and beyond ….

 

 

Friendship in the palm of their hands

Update from Itir

A little over a year ago I left Melbourne to go to Adhisthana in the UK and join the Women’s Dharma Life Course. Before I left, Maitripala gave me 10 little buddhas to find new homes for during my trip

A few buddhas had already been passed on by the time I got to Adhisthana but I still had enough for each of the women who finished the course.

I even had one for dear Akasajoti, who coordinated the course and looked after us, as we each fell apart and re-emerged a little freer, over and over, in those 5 months.

So during my final project in our last week together I was able to hand these buddhas to my friends.

I don’t think have I cried so intensely in front of other people in my whole life, as I did when presenting my project. Acknowledging how friendship has changed me was just very overwhelming. As I gave each person a little buddha I came up with a name that contained their wonderful qualities. It’s been almost 8 months since the course ended and I am still so very impressed and moved by the women I had the great privilege to live in community with. It was a very special time that will continue to support me in opening my heart. I believe the effects of the course will carry on throughout my life and beyond and I hope I can really honor what we collectively created. Thank you for the buddhas dear Maitripala, it was lovely to be able to give them all a little parting gift,……although I don’t feel we are really apart.”

 

Buddhas donated by 

Alex Carr-Malcolm, UK

Tegan, Australia

Akasalila, UK

Shantipala, UK

Linda, Australia

Prasadajata, Australia

 

 

 

Clear sight in difficult times

I am really inspired when I see people take on illness or a change in their health outlook as a chance to embrace life and living even more fully……..taking the truth of impermanence as a factor to deepen their knowledge of what this crazy universe has to offer in richness and peace.

A few weeks ago a woman I met embodied this sense of having come to peace with something big, something that needed courage to face. And as we spoke, it was clear that had indeed been the case. A life changing medical event that affected her sight and quite literally changed how she saw the world in a much deeper sense as well.

So I placed my little Buddhas on a shelf and offered her to choose one. As often happens one of the Buddhas caught her attention immediately.

Why that one ?

She told me it was something about the earthy stability of this Buddha and also how the Buddha’s hands hands were placed, at once both settling and receiving.

She thought it was exquisite. With this tiny Buddha in her hands she explained  that since her illness her path has been opening her heart to everything without preferences.

And I know this little Buddha will keep her good company in this noble task.

Buddha donated by Amritamati. Wales

 

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A mother’s gift

Feeling irrational fear is not usually a pleasant sensation, however this time it led to a lovely connection with a stranger. I had stepped onto the small plane and felt the rising of an old ancient fear I hadn’t had to deal with for a couple of years. I was puzzled and taken back by its strength.

The woman I sat next to intuitively began talking to me in a supportive way. She was so open and friendly that it took my mind off the well known rising, irrational panic.

The conversation wove it’s way to a mutual landscape of sharing stories about our daughters.  Grandbabies ….about to arrive and already arrived.

We were both familiar with the type of worry that at times inhabited this landscape.

After sharing a bit about my Buddhist life she smiled and showed me her necklace. It had the Avalokitesvara ( Buddha of compassion ) seed syllable on it.  We had more in common than we would have initially expected.

I learned of her wonderful years of volunteer work raising money to help rebuild a village damaged in the Nepalese earthquake. She had also visited the local monastery nearby.

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Pema Namding Monastery is a Nyingma Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Nepal which was opened in April 2008. Trulsik Rinpoche of Thupten Chholing Monastery named this monastery

Acknowledging our Buddhist connection, I wanted to offer her a little Buddha to give to her daughter who was about to give birth.  However, I had unmindfully packed them in my luggage which had ended up in the belly of plane rather than my cabin luggage.

She kindly gave me her address and after sending pictures for her daughter to choose one of my little Buddhas , I carefully packed the chosen one and sent it on.

From one mother to another mother ….firstly handed on to her daughter and then on again to that daughter’s new baby daughter.

 

This Buddha, donated by another mother, Kiranada in USA , has finally arrived in at its new home.

 

The hard to find gift

It was so uplifting hearing someone describe the journey they had been on with their daughter’s mental illness as a gift. 

From personal experience in my own family this comment did not surprise me.

To an outsider watching on, as families deal with mental illness, the obvious suffering is what they see so clearly and are drawn to focus on. 

But something else can happen in that painful arena that brings growth, richness and compassion for self and others to the fore. 

So I invited this woman to choose from my bag of little Buddhas. 

Her hand alighted on a tiny little Buddha encased in a bodhi leaf, hands gently clasped in meditation mudra. 

Even in the midst of the extremes of mental states,  wisdom and compassion are to be found. 

In this person’s eyes I could see that she knew that too. 

Buddha donated by Akashamani      Port Fairy Australia BAE8ABE7-4609-4216-8F88-3A6C4AB3E3BD

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Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage