Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage


Port Fairy

Beautiful Port Fairy

I love driving alone during the 4 hour trip from Melbourne to Port Fairy.

Having experienced a happy childhood in a small country town in another part of Victoria, something in me relaxes and breathes deeply as I pass by the open fields, grand vistas and little pockets of shops.

Port Fairy has the added beauty of being situated alongside a river mouth flowing into a vast, energetic ocean. Whales from Antarctica pass by at certain times of the year and the wide streets and old style houses trigger happy memories and make me smile.

Akashamani and  Sanghamati steer a small sangha there with dedication and commitment. Both of these dear friends have to travel long distances to enjoy the company of the wider Order  and largely have to feed their own inspiration and progress. I have great admiration for pioneers who week after week set up the conditions for others to explore the Dharma. I know they both feel inspired by the enthusiasm and openness of the local community of practitioners.

I was very warmly welcomed and truly loved being on the women’s retreat held at a farmhouse on the edge of river. It was a harmonious and reflective retreat exploring the 5 Buddha mandala.

I drank up the birdsong, sunsets and company. Feeling so fortunate.

The next stop on my journey will be Adhistana UK.

In the hands of Akashamani

Akashamani – an Order Member from Port Fairy Australia

“This is a Victorian mourning brooch brought for me by my husband shortly after my adult son had died. I had touched a deep well of grief. 

I remember going up to the Triratna retreat centre in Sydney ( Vijayaloka) and talking to a wise friend about how this tragic event might be explored as a basis of practice and growth. After his death I had a strong vision of my son on the Wheel of Life. I saw him through all the stages- newborn, toddler, teenager, young father.
And in that instant I knew this cycle of life was nothing special…it was so ordinary. I also saw that I was not alone and shared this story with so many other people. It was both an extremely painful and simultaneously rich journey at times.
The desire to never forget what I learnt during that time was very strong.
I wonder if I would have joined the Order had I not had to make sense of that deep suffering. I wish that it had not happened that way..but it did.
I think it now enables me to connect with empathy and understanding with others in similar situations. The brooch has the baby hair of my three children in it.”


Everything that’s needed is there

She said she had chosen this particular Buddha as the border on it had attracted her.

It had been a year of being assailed with the worldy winds of pain and loss within her family.
“I think the border represents inclusivity. Everything that is really needed is there. ” she told me.
She felt that her connection with the Buddhist teachings had been a protective factor in managing this very tough year.
Through it all, she said, she somehow knew it would be okay and this little Buddha is now a reminder of that Truth.

Buddha donated by Vajratara. UK

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Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage