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Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage

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Order hands

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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Thank you Adelaide Sangha

It was delightful to meet many of the Adelaide sangha on my pilgrimage visit a few weeks ago.

I had lovely catchups with people in beautiful places. I loved the lush gardens and the visits to the ocean which is so close by.

There’s nothing like walking along the ocean edge or better still bobbing up and down in the salty water, talking Dharma with people wanting to grow and be the best they can be.

The giant Kuan Yin looking out to the southern ocean reminded me of my connection with her at my Ordination nearly 18 years ago.

I led day retreats on Metta and Compassion and enjoyed meeting up with Dharmamodini , Saddhavijaya and Ratnadaka …appreciating all they are doing to share the Dharma in the lovely city of Adelaide.

Meditating on the cool, lush grass of Dharmamodini’s  retreat-like  back yard is another fond memory. Thanks for looking after me with such warm care.

In the hands of the Order- Padmasiddhi

words from Padmasiddhi

“This gold coloured Kesa is worn by me to signify that I practice within our Buddhist Order as an Anagarika. It is special to me because it is a regular reminder of my commitment to go deeper with my efforts to cultivate Stillness, Simplicity & Contentment.

These are states of being that I want to attain for myself, so I can be “in the world, but not of it”.

They are also states of being that I would wish for others as I sincerely believe that if we can all be happy, living with a little less then our world may become more sustainable.”

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In the hands of the Order- Sudaya

Sudaya received this beautiful gift on the occasion of her Kalyana Mitra ceremony many years ago.

Her very good friend Vidyamala gave it to her in a shrine room at a women’s Buddhist community, Birmingham, UK.  Both Sudaya and Vidyamala had worked at different times at Taraloka, a Buddhist retreat centre.  They connected through a shared understanding and experience of the joys and challenges involved in such wholehearted Dharma work.

A KM ceremony involves a commitment made to a friend, by two spiritual mentors, to support and guide that individual through their journey of self discovery and transformation.

Sudaya immediately felt a connection to this piece of jewellery, which is from NZ, Vidyamala’s birthplace. She responded to the natural, straight, simplicity of the piece.

It was also  made of jade-a beautiful green colour, like Green Tara the Buddha of Enlightened activity.

 

 

 

 

 

In the hands of the Order- Satyagandhi

Satyaghandi explains……

“When I first walked into the Sydney Buddhist Centre back in 1984 I was particularly drawn towards Vajrasuri. I really responded to her and that’s what made me decide to come back.

My early life as a Buddhist was particularly informed by how Vajrasuri taught the Dharma.

Being an artist and an art therapist she taught it by doing very imaginative and guided imagery work.  Which I loved!

Eventually I became a mitra and asked to train for Ordination.

I had heard about the idea of Kalyana mitras- people making commitments in their friendships  with a focus on supporting each other on their spiritual journey. 

Vajrasuri and I  had a great friendship with each other . We used to hang out and go to the movies and go away together. We enjoyed each other’s company.

I have always felt so grateful to her, as I believe if I had not met her that day that the Centre, I probably wouldn’t have gone back. 

As I did not have a second person to ask we couldn’t yet have an official KM ceremony.

So we decided to conduct our own friendship commitment ceremony in front of Vajrasuri’s shrine.

During that ritual we exchanged gifts. And this is what Vajrasuri gave me- a beautiful crystal.

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Thirteen years later I actually did get to have the formal KM ceremony with Vajrasuri and Megha.”

In the hands of the Order at Naganaga- Megha

This rock is from New Zealand and was given to me by a dear friend, Varadevi.

It’s from one of her local beaches, a bay on the east coast around Wellington.

This sort of rock, where a shell is fossilised within the rock, brings about a moment of wonder when I look at it.  I like the link with my friend and also my birth place was near Wellington.

It’s particularly the spiral embedded in the rock I am attracted to as well. It reminds me of the Spiral Path teaching. It’s like the Dharma imprinted through ancient times in the rock.

The timelessness of the Law of the Dharma.

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In the hands of the Order …Viryadana

Viryadana……..”This is an embroidered picture of the Buddha. It was made for me as a gift by my longest standing special friend in Australia, Patsy.  She is a very dear friend. I have now been living in Australia for more than 40 years but we knew each other back in NZ when we were very young.  She moved over here and when I arrived a few years later in I lived in her house for 3 years as I settled into this country.

Patsy made this special gift for me over 10 years ago. It was a surprise and I was deeply touched. Each stitch feels like it has friendship in it. It’s unique. “

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In the hands of the Order-…Vajrasuri

I am just back from a wonderful time leading a Mindfully Alive retreat at the Australian women’s vihara, Naganaga, just out of Kemspey ,NSW.

It is enlivening doing retreats in the Aussie bush along with wallabies, carpet pythons and a myriad of stunning birds.

Over the next few posts I’d like to introduce you to the four women who live at the vihara.

Firstly, Vajrasuri……

“This peacock plus two elephants was given to me by the Order when I was leaving India.

I had worked there for 16 years helping with the women’s Ordination process. It was a very sad time for me to make the decision for my own health to finish my work in India. Leaving behind many friends and the  women I had privately Ordained was very sad. However, I was given this  beautiful peacock and the elephants to put on my shrine in Australia so that I would always be reminded of India and my friends there. I have seen wild peacocks at the Hsuan Tsang retreat centre at Bordharan, near Nagpur. I love the colour and the ‘over the top’ aspect of this gift. 

And I can say in some way that it represents what my time in India meant for me. 

It was more than I could have ever believed my experience of life could be. 

My experiences in India were so very positive. Living in India is not always easy but I had so many good friends and that made everything possible .”

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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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Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage