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Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage

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Buddhas undercover

A friend going overseas for an adventure in the UK and  to visit family in her birth country in Eurasia, took some of the little Buddhas to give away.

This is what happened :

My mom is an artist and was recently getting interested in jewellery making. She had made me a beautiful lotus necklace and asked if there were any other symbols that I liked.

I was telling her about about the vajra and we decided to make a vajra necklace.

We were workshopping the idea and I went upstairs to get a book where I had drawn a vajra and the bag of Buddha’s caught my eye so I brought it to the table.

I decided that I wouldn’t offer her a Buddha but just bring the bag with me to show her. In my country of birth there isn’t much information on Buddhism and what is available is quite bleak and a little negative. Me, becoming a Buddhist, is quite unconventional and a little scary so I try to be mindful and not push my views or preference on to my family.

But as soon as the bag was out she asked me about it and I told her about the  ‘Buddhas  in my pocket’ project and started taking them out of the bag. I had the beautiful Buddhas  all lined up, her face lit up and she asked if she could have one!

So I said yes of course 🙂  She picked a clay Buddha because it reminded her of our country’s archeological artefacts and her connection with clay and ceramic making. She placed it in between photos of her mother and father and said it found its perfect spot. It was such a lovely playful and light moment devoid of any fear, worries or anxiety. It really brought lightness to the whole thing.

I will cherish it as a metta-full memory! 🙂

Buddha donated by Danakosha retreat centre, Scotland

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“The other Buddha I gave to a GFR mitra in my country of birth. We had been hanging out together and she had been so generous all day, giving me gifts and covering meals. During the day we talked about the ordination process and discovered many similarities in our practice and training even though we live on opposite sides of the world. Then we talked about synchronicity and delightful coincidences.

I had brought the bag of Buddhas with me and wanted to offer her a Buddha. I was taking out all the Buddhas for her to chose from but before I got to the third one she was clear she woudl over the white Buddha. She had been thinking about acquiring a discreet little Buddha to keep in her car.

That white Buddha was donated by Kirsten my good friend from Sydney Australia, another GFR mitra. I felt this was another lovely coincidence that links us all together. “

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A force of positivity

As I watched this person work I was really struck by her purposeful gait and boundless energy. Here was someone, nearly in her 7 th decade of this life, living so fully engaged in whatever she was doing.
She was endlessly positive.
Sometimes people are cheery on a surface level but underneath things can be turbulent.
However, with this inspiring woman, automatically seeing the best in people went down many layers deep.
Spending time around someone like that really brings confidence and trust easily into communication and connection.
When I offered her a Buddha she chose one mainly because of the colour.
It reminded her a little of pale New Zealand greenstone.
She also liked the shape.
She told me as we chatted, that as soon as she picked it up she realised she would hand it on to a friend- it really needed to go to her friend.
Sometimes the Buddhas in my Pocket are like that.
They still have a little more of a journey to go before they arrive fully into a new home .

Buddha donated by Ineke, New South Wales, Australia IMG_0378

Infinite potential

IMG_0015Someone who offered to hand on one of the Buddhas in my Pocket recently sent me her story …….

” I gave the small Buddha to my partner, who is suffering from depression and anxiety and is in a very constricted mental state.

He accepted the Buddha with sincererity knowing how important such a gift was to me. But when I told him it represented infinite potential he scoffed and said ‘well that is not me’.

Such a sad thing, as I have always seen his radiant potential and really believe in him.

I hope one day he will believe in himself again too.”

Buddha donated by Dhammannyu Hove UK

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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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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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.

Bags of Buddhas

I have arrived back  in Australia after an inspiring visit to the UK.

40 Buddhas out of the 165 donated have found new homes.

Here are the remaining 125 which I will attempt to hand on before the pilgrimage ends in April year!

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I have successfully managed to keep track of 163 donor names.

But these two little Buddhas below were handed to me and I missed recording the names of the donors.

One was given on the Triratna Order Convention in Uk and the other might have been on a retreat in Australia.

If you recognise either of them could you email me at ..

maitripala@gmail.com

 

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Even on retreat, Buddhas find new homes .

From a Mitra training for Ordination in Australia.

This Buddha found its way to me through an act of generosity and intuition. As a practicing Buddhist in an isolated context, I was hugely grateful to be given this little Buddha, who represents the whole of the Triratna sangha to me. When I see this Buddha I feel connected to everyone within Triratna, and all Buddhists around the world who are practicing deeply. I will always remember how this Buddha found its way to me, while I was on retreat, and how through receiving it I felt loved, accepted, acknowledged and seen.”

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Buddha donated by Leicestershire Study group UK

from Ankara to Melbourne

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,

Itir

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Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage