Atisha Centre

From Australian Buddhist History
Jump to: navigation, search
Atisha Centre

Atisha Centre

Information
Main School Vajrayana
Founded 1980
People
Director(s) Ruby Karmay
Rinpoche(s) Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Contact Infotmation
Address 25 Sandhurst Town Road
Myers Flat
Victoria 3556
Australia
Country Australia
Coordinates
Fatal error: Failed to parse or geocode



Fatal error: Failed to parse or geocode


The following coordinate was not recognized: div><span class="errorbox">Fatal error: Failed to parse or geocode</span></div><br /><br />.
The following coordinate was not recognized: div><span class="errorbox">Fatal error: Failed to parse or geocode</span></div><br /><br />.
Map
Loading map...
Phone (03) 5446 3336
Website http://www.atishacentre.org.au/
Email office@atishacentre.org.au
Postal Address PO Box 97 Eaglehawk VIC 3556



Atisha Centre

"Atisha Buddhist Centre is a Tibetan Buddhist meditation centre, providing opportunities for study and practice of a spiritual path, where people can develop their natural wisdom and compassion."

Atisha Centre is a peaceful retreat centre and hub of Buddhist education, nestled in the quiet native bushland of central Victoria, near Bendigo. Founded in 1981, the Centre provides a serene and welcoming setting for all who seek time out from busy lives or learning about Buddhism.

Situated in close proximity to Atisha Centre is the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, currently under construction, and soon to become among the most significant Buddhist temples and pilgrimage destinations in the world, and the Thubten Shedrup Ling Monastery, where monks devote themselves to study, meditation and spiritual transformation.

Atisha Centre is a Mahayana Buddhist centre affiliated with the FPMT. Our spiritual Director is Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche and we follow the teachings of His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

The Dja Dja Wrung people are proudly acknowledged as the traditional owners of this land.

The History

File:AtishaHistory.jpg
History of Atisha Center

In a search that went on for months Uldis Balodis, myself and one or two others drove all over the state trying to find somewhere suitable. I remember long drives up and down dirt roads looking for suitable places that might be for sale.

I came home one weekend and was speaking to my father, Ed Green, about our search for a retreat centre. My father said why don’t you use some of this land? He had purchased over 700 acres of bushland in the Myers Flat area, on part of which my family had set up a heritage park called Sandhurst Town. In mid 1980 I wrote to Lama Yeshe about my father’s offer to donate 50 acres to set up a Buddhist centre. Lama sought several divinations and received the views that the land would be highly beneficial. Lama then accepted Ed’s offer and agreed to teach on the Bendigo land when he next visited Australia in 1981.

Now the real work began. I looked for people to shift to Bendigo with me to set up Atisha Centre. At the 1979 Kopan course I had befriended Ken Hawter, a physiotherapist from Perth, whom I asked to come with me to Bendigo. Ken agreed, and soon set up a Physio practice and became part of the Bendigo community being, amongst other things, a very successful member of the Lockwood tennis club. Ken was later ordained as Venerable Pende, and now lives at Chenrezig Institute. I also asked Judy Imer to come to Bendigo. Of course this was a big decision for a mother of three small children. I think that Judy was both excited and frightened at the prospect. But after throwing the “I-Ching” and receiving a positive reading about the ever expanding results, Judy made her life changing decision.

And so it was that Ken, Judy, Finn, Zack, Cody and I moved to Bendigo in March 1981. At this time our accommodation was railway carriages with no electricity or running water. It was a truly amazing achievement for Judy to look after our three boys by kerosene lamp and water jugs, while also helping to set up Atisha Centre.We only had six months to make Atisha Centre ready for a course with Lama Yeshe, booked for four weeks in August 1981. Fortunately we were joined by other hardy pioneers to help with the work, among them Harry Sutton, Alex and Stewart Moore, Graham Reid, Graham Mathews and Alice Arbuthnott. There was so much to do: the five railway carriages had to be painted, beds and mattresses acquired, toilets and septic tanks put in, kitchens set up and so much more.

My father also contributed greatly, arranging for his company Stramit to donate and erect the toilet block, kitchen, the small gompa and the adjoining accommodation block. These buildings have contributed to Atisha Centre for the last 30 years. In those six months as much building took place at Atisha centre as happened in all the years since. From Sandhurst Town we also ‘borrowed’ the church to hold the course, and the restaurant, where the retreaters ate their meals. The same building (now known as the Great Stupa Exhibition Centre) will be used to feed the people attending Lama Zopa’s course in April 2011.

Somehow we managed to put everything in place, and by August 1981 Atisha Centre opened its doors. Lama was accommodated in my mother’s house. Around 120 people attended the inaugural course at Atisha Centre, on Mahamudra. Lama also gave an Heruka initiation and held a public talk at the Kangaroo Flat High School hall.

On August 14th, Lama walked over the land with Garrey Foulkes and I and shared his vision for Atisha Centre, the Monastery, an aged care facility, a lay community, and of course the Great Stupa. Lama spoke at length about the area to cater for Buddhists throughout their life. His “blueprint” was to set up a Dharma city. During his stay Lama did a lot to help Atisha Centre become established in the local community. He had a convivial meeting with the Bendigo Anglican Bishop, met with the Council at Marong Shire and made media appearances.

After the course we celebrated with an open-day festival for Atisha Centre, held in Sandhurst Town heritage park. We had clowns, jugglers, stilt-walkers, food and rides, and entry was free. We estimated some 5000 people turned up on a very weather-threatened day. The open day was a great success and Lama loved it, and he contributed greatly to its success. Early that morning, when Judy visited him at the house, Lama asked “Is there anything I can do to help?” Judy replied, almost as a joke “Well Lama you could fix the weather for us.” Lama smiled and said “OK”. Later in the morning Lama was seen making offerings to the deities. And while black clouds continued overhead for the whole day, they separated and left a patch of blue sky over Atisha Centre, so that not a drop of rain fell during Open Day.

After Lama’s visit, Judy and I settled in and for the next 15 years or so were the Directors of Atisha centre.

Atisha Centre Meditation

Opportunities exist at Atisha Centre to experience meditation every Sunday morning at 10 am; during courses and retreats and on special days. Please go to the Retreats Tab for specific Meditation retreat details. You are always welcome to use our gompas (meditation and teaching halls) for personal meditation. At 5.45 on Tuesdays, at the Atisha Meditation Room 324 Lyttleton Terrace (formerly Atisha Gifts), we host Meditation for Beginners with a member of the sangha. Meditation classes are suitable for both beginners and experienced meditators. Everyone is welcome.

What happens at a class?

At the beginning of each class the teacher will guide a gentle, relaxing meditation in which he or she will help us to develop a beneficial motivation for attending the class. Then the teacher may give a practical teaching on some aspect of Buddhist meditation and practice. The session ends with a guided meditation, designed to help us take the teaching to heart in such a way that we are confident in beginning to practice it on our own. There is usually time for discussion and questions and answers. Afterwards, for those who wish, there is a chance to talk to the teacher and other students informally.

What do I need to bring to class?

It’s a good idea to bring a warm rug when the days and evenings get cooler. If you wish to take notes, please bring a pen and notepad.

Do I have to be a Buddhist to benefit from meditation?

No. Anyone can learn basic meditation and experience the benefits. Buddhism is a non-evangelical religion. Buddhists respect all people and are happy to help anyone regardless of whether they subscribe to another faith, or to none.

Do I need to have experience in meditation or Buddhism to attend the classes?

No. All you need is the wish to improve yourself and the quality of your life.

What is the cost of the classes?

All classes are by donation. All donations or offerings go toward covering the costs of running the centre, making offerings to the teachers and providing materials.

How should I dress for class?

Dress comfortably and with respect for the monks. Please... no revealing clothing, short shorts or plunging necklines.

Do I have to sit on a cushion on the floor?

No, you may sit on a chair, whatever is most comfortable for you.

Buddhism in a Nutshell

File:Buddhism in a nutshell.jpg
Buddhism in a nutshell

Buddhism in a Nutshell is presented in four or five sessions (depending on the length of each session) and covers these basic principles of Buddhism:

What is a Puja?=

Puja (literally an offering) is a Meditation Ritual on one of the Bodhisattvas or Buddhas. It is a ceremony in which prayers are offered to the Buddhas to request their blessings or invoke their help.

Why are there different pujas?

There are different pujas for different purposes in our lives. There are pujas for meditation practice, purification, removing obstacles, long life, death, illness, business, and so on. Pujas are performed to avert and clear the three types of obstacles, conditions which prevent us from achieving our worldly and spiritual goals.

Pujas can be performed for various purposes:

The puja performed depends on the type of problem and the individual’s karma. Buddha taught us pujas for everything that we need in this life and also future lives. Buddha himself experienced and practiced many different rituals or pujas in his life.

How much does it cost to have a puja performed?

There is no limit to the amount of a donation that can be made. It depends on one’s financial ability and how much you want to make as an offering toward the pujas. Some pujas are complicated and require a lot of materials and a great deal of time to perform.

How do I know which puja I need to do for myself and my family?

Ask a Lama or Sangha member which puja is appropriate.

The Three Types of Obstacles

By doing meditation, prayers and offerings with sincere motivation, unfavorable circumstances that bring problems may be changed. It is said that prayers performed by ordained ones are especially powerful and effective as they are done on the base of pure morality.

What to bring to a puja

It is always appropriate to bring some kind of offering, either for the puja, the sangha or for the centre itself. In the cooler days and evenings a warm rug is a good idea. What is a suitable offering?

Offerings of food , flowers or financial contribution (in an envelope) are appropriate.

Source

Atisha Centre