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Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage

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Brisbane & Toowoomba

Strength and support

A new friend from Toowoomba offered to hand on one of the tiny Buddhas I carry with me.

In her words………

“I chose this Buddha for my friend for its particular visual beauty and the fact that it had a rectangular back. The back gave the feeling of strength and support.

 My friend and I have been mutually supportive of each other through some challenging times. 

I knew she would understand why I had given it to her. 

The Dharma is a central part of this person’s life and the very fact that I had decided to choose a Buddha for her meant so much to her. 

I wanted to remind her of her own potential for Buddhahood.”

Buddha donated by Danakosa Retreat Centre Scotland.  Its a replica of a statue that is in Sarnath Museum metres from the place where the Buddha turned the wheel of the Dharma.

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Helping hands from Toowoomba

Sometimes people seeing my tiny Buddhas are drawn to ask to take one to give to a friend or family member. This happened recently on a retreat in Toowoomba.

I will let those that handed on some Buddhas tell their story .

P’s story :

Thank you  for allowing me to hand out of Buddha to my Father. I specifically had lunch with mum and dad on Tuesday, to explain the retreat, your story, and the story behind this particular Buddha, from the clay soils of the Jetta Grove in India, from your Order Member friend who is from the Retreat Centre near Kempsey, and now to my Dad. 

Dad is a typically non religious, although both mum and dad were very interested in the retreat, what I am learning, and of course your pilgrimage and the story of this Buddha.

I like how the materials of this Buddha, as with everything in the universe, comes directly from the earth, and in time, will return to the earthly / universal elements, a metaphor for the potential of things to become things, and the impermanence of things.

Mum and Dad have noticed a real change in my being, behaviour, actions and views since commencing my interest in the Dharma. This Buddha represents the infinite potential in all beings – something despite Dad’s age (70 this year) is meaningful and true, and possible.

This handing over of the Buddha to Dad, and the story behind its journey, drew parallels  with our own personal journeys, and was a special moment for us both to share.

Thankyou for the catalyst for this moment to be shared and experienced.

With loving kindness, peace, compassion, and momentary awareness of each moment.

Buddha from India donated by Satyagandhi, Naganaga NSW

 

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J’s story :

I was drawn to give this Buddha to my friend to help her with her latest round of treatment for a serious illness. I felt anticipation as I sent it off. She  contacted me she to say it had arrived. She said it was an amazing and beautiful gift and she sounded so happy. I asked her to send a photo of it in her hand. My friend said she felt this Buddha was female.

Buddha donated by Lewi UK

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Buddhas in Brisbane

My short stop on the Buddhas in my Pocket pilgrimage in Brisbane has come to an end. A day retreat we called Metta Makeover went well. I just love doing what I can to boost people’s metta practice.
Hrdayaja gave me a couple of days alone in her wonderful flat- what a treat. And we finished the visit having dinner out with Nagadeva, Hrdayaja and Chandramalin.

I hope to return for longer next year.

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Undercover work

The village green in Toowoomba was empty as it was too hot to sit directly in the sun.
So I moved over to a park bench under a shady tree.
A man was sitting on a bench directly opposite to me. Shorts, backpack, shade.
I smiled and commented on the weather and so began the communication dance of strangers.

He told me he did not live in Toowoomba but was there doing ‘ undercover work’. I don’t wish to give away in this post what he was actually doing but I can assure you it is a very helpful job he is engaged in.
I felt heartened, as the field he was working in is one where women are often taken advantage of financially. His undercover work lessens the chance of that happening.

This man travels all over Australia doing this useful job. For part of each day he gets to sit in city parks and town squares for a couple of hours and enjoys watching people going about their business. However he said he often felt sad when he saw people in the grip of addiction and struggling with the weight of a hard life.
So I told him about my Buddhas in the Pocket pilgrimage and how I also am traveling around the country and meeting many interesting people.
He did know a bit about Buddhism. He told me more about the Nan Tien Buddhist Temple near Wollongong (photos below)  which I had visited many years ago when it had been first built.

He also shared some of stories about visiting Buddhist temples and sites in Thailand with his wife. In one place he had seen large stone Buddha statues with their heavy stone heads chopped off, victims of some long forgotten conflict.

I moved to sit next to him on his bench seat and took my bag of Buddhas out.
I invited him to choose one. The one he picked was a small metal Buddha.
I gave him my blog address and said he could see what I might write about our meeting.
I said he could follow the journey if he wanted to.
He enthusiastically replied, ‘Yes I want to be part of this journey!’

Both of us had noted the small imperfection in the base of the Buddha.
‘Well, we are all like that.’ he said.

He seemed interested in the Buddha’s story so I told him a little about how the Buddha was prepared to sit for a very long time under a tree until he really deeply understood how things really were.
A cheeky grin formed as he listened to the story.
And then his eyes gazed up to the wide, shading tree we were sitting under.
I realised what he was thinking and I said ‘ All things are possible ‘

Saying goodbye we shook hands as I left him to go about his undercover business.

Buddha donated by Pam Melbourne

Thanks Viryaja

What a pleasure it was to spend time with my Order sister Viryaja.

Week after week she sits in circles sharing the Dharma. I see the community blossoming with the friendship she offers those who wander into the Toowoomba Buddhist Centre.

A big thank you to both Viryaja  and her husband Peter who fed me lovely food and made sure I had a bed every night. A trip to the Japanese gardens was a highlight.

 

 

Goodbye Toowoomba

Tomorrow I leave Toowoomba and catch a bus to Brisbane. Thank you to the Toowoomba sangha – I was warmly scooped up and looked after so well.

The courage and commitment of people in quite isolated situations practicing the Dharma and developing  a spiritual community is always impressive.                                Inspired by the Buddhist teachings they pitch in and help where needed.

A weekend retreat, at a lovely country rented venue complete with mist in gumtrees, on the topic of ‘The True Indivual ‘ left us open hearted and connected.

Sadhu to Viryaja, Roger , the management committee and friends, who together have already achieved the purchase of a building to hold classes in.

In the hands of the Order – Viryaja

Viryaja explains this item that has meaning for her……..

“This quartz stone was given to me as a gift after I was ordained in 2011 at Golden Bay, New Zealand.
It was the first time I had met Akasamati, who was on the team.
She was doing the shrines and helping make our Ordination retreat very special.
She is a beautiful woman and did everything so beautifully.
Akasamati invited those of us who had just been Ordained to choose from wrapped gifts she had arranged on a tray.
When I unwrapped the one I selected it was this white, round stone.
I love the smoothness and feel of it in my hands.
Circles are really quite important to me so I love the shape and the spiral of paua shell through it.   Paua shells are unique to New Zealand.
This stone is always in sight in my room either on the shelf above the Buddha or on my desk.
It is very special to me.”

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Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage