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Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage

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Buddhists on the path

When I moved back near my favourite forest recently my happiest waking activity quickly became an early morning walk amongst the tall mountain ash trees. The mists, the call of the loud cockatoos and the wonderous mimickery of the lyrebirds are a feast for the senses.
On two different occasions I met Buddhist practitioners each quietly breathing in the forest peace as was I.

Perhaps our Buddhist practices drew us to this alive, still, special place. The early hours means of course there are very few people walking the tracks and I guess we liked it that way.

However, in both cases a slow gentle conversation began to take place which lead to discovering our mutual understanding of value of the Buddha’s teaching.
I was able to exchange gifts with one of the men who was soon to leave Australia to return to his family in Sri Lanka after a number of years working in Australia. He gave me some beautiful herbal mix teas made by his tea company and I passed on one of the donated little buddhas which has completed a journey from the UK, to Australia and now on to Sri Lanka. Even though the Covid pandemic has shut down international travel for now, by the time we parted I carried a warm invitation to visit him and Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka anytime I wished.

Buddha donated by Padmajyoti UK

Buddhas in Adelaide

Tracy from Adelaide asked if she could hand on two of the little
buddhas given to me for the ‘Buddhas in my pocket’ journey.
Here are her stories :

Buddha 1

“ I met this lovely child strolling down the street one day. She was being pushed in a pram and her little eyes caught mine as we passed and I stopped to say hello. Her mum told me how grateful she was to have this little girl, how she struggled with the decision to keep her as she was but a babe herself, still in her teens.
After a short time I remembered the two buddhas I had in my bag that Maitripala had given me to hand out.
I held one in each hand and asked little ten month old if she would like to have one.
Her eyes darted between each and after some consideration, she reached out and chose this turquoise buddha . Perhaps one day her mum may tell her the story of how she came to have it, and who knows where that may take her.”

Buddha 2

“Never having attended a Mitra ceremony, I had no idea what to expect. It was such a joyous occasion, filled with rejoicing in merit and celebrating the commitment made.
At one point people started to line up in front of the new Mitra, offering cards, gifts and congratulations.
I was unprepared for this having not brought a gift, yet waiting in the line, I remembered the remaining Buddha I had in my bag and it seemed the perfect gift.
It was received with much love and gratitude and I had the thought that we are never empty handed if we have a ‘Buddha in our pocket’ or indeed, the Dharma in our life.”

Let me know if you recognise either buddha as one you donated.

Two fathers and a bath

After a heartwarming two weeks of sitting with my dear dad as he inched towards the end of his 86 years of life, we tenderly celebrated this wonderful man on Thursday at his funeral.
Then I only had one rest day and headed off alone today to drive to a GFR retreat with an overnight motel stay on the way to Vijayaloka.

It was my birthday and I love a good solo car trip.
When I arrived at the motel the owner told me she had upgraded me to the spa suite at no extra cost. No particular reason but she said she felt drawn to do it the night before I arrived.
I was delighted …as both my dad and I love baths and i knew it would be a great way to absorb the strong time of the previous weeks.
As stood in motel reception and explained to this kind person why the gift of a bath was so timely we discovered both our fathers had died on the same day the week before.
She also had three daughters and one of her daughter’s birthday was the same as mine.
We laughed at the serendipity nature of connecting incidents in our lives.
Just before I went to start my bath I was compelled to dig out my bag of little buddhas and go back and offer one to her.

One of the Buddhas I had placed standing in a row caught her eye straight away.
A small golden Amoghasiddhi.
I explained the fearlessness hand gesture ….a bringer of courage.
Her eyes moistened and we did not need to speak details…of anything.
Suffering is universal …there was just a ‘knowing’ .
-a heart feeling that connected two strangers standing in a small country town between Melbourne and Sydney.
She said quietly, with that little Buddha in her hand, “I will never forget this.”
And I will never forget her kindness or intuitiveness in placing me in a room with a bath where I could have alone time with the pulsating heart ache of that accompanies missing my dearly loved dad.

Buddha donated by Bridie UK

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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Buddhas in my pocket

An Australian Buddhist Pilgrimage