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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Eight new Dharmacharinis in Australasia

Dharmanandi writes from New Zealand with news of eight recent ordinations there -

At the Public Ordination held at 2pm on Friday October 16th at Shambhala Retreat Centre, Golden Bay, New Zealand, the following Dharmacharinis were born:

Lynda Gill becomes Shamani (long 'i') 'The calming one/the one who calms'. Private Preceptor Chittaprabha, Public Preceptor Megha

Jennifer Jones becomes Carunalaka (long 1st, 2nd and 4th 'a') 'Red lotus'. Private Preceptor Megha.
Lea Richardson becomes Carunetra (long 1st and final 'a') 'Beautiful eyed'. Private Preceptor Megha.
Kath Dubout becomes Vimuttinandi (long final 'i') 'She who delights in liberation/freedom'. Private Preceptor Megha.
Yael Raz becomes Prakashika (long 2nd and final 'a') 'She who is brilliant/shining/bright'. Private Preceptor Chittaprabha. Varadevi was the Public Preceptor for the above

Bethwyn Malcolm becomes Amritaketu 'She who possesses the flame of the deathless'. Private Preceptor Varadevi.
Adele Chapman becomes Taralila (all vowels long) 'She who plays/sports with Tara'. Private Preceptor Varadevi.
Glyniss Cree becomes Akashamani (long 1st and 2nd 'a', long 'i') 'She who has a jewel of space'. Private Preceptor Chittaprabha.  Dharmanandi was the Public Preceptor for the above.

With Metta



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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

'Wrathful Compassion' exhibition in Sydney

The FWBO's Sydney Buddhist Centre is hosting a fundraising exhibition on the theme of 'Wrathful Compassion'- and many if not all the images are available to view on the internet.

 They say "Compassion as a quality, can be quite fierce - in response to the inequities and suffering of our world".

As the two images show, some of the images follow traditional Buddhist iconography; some are much more innovative and 'modern'.

For more details, check the centre's special exhibition page - or go straight to the on-line catalogue.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

A Green Elephant in Sydney: fundraising for India

Last summer after feverish weeks of preparation, the Green Elephant Buddhist charity shop opened in Sydney, Australia, close to the FWBO's Sydney Buddhist Centre.

Varada reports - 

"The project is the brainchild of two women Dhammamitras, both of whom have asked for ordination. They have since been joined by a third women mitra, who also has asked for ordination. She gave up her well paid, part-time job in IT to become the shop manager, which is the only paid position in the shop.

"The profits from the shop, once they are fully established and have paid off the loans taken out for set-up expenses will be divided 60% to the projects for women and children in India, such as those run by Arya Tara Mahila Trust, and 40% to the Sydney Buddhist Centre. The public has responded warmly and strongly to the shop, and are very interested in the Indian women's projects being supported.

"Already in only a few months of operation the shop is breaking even and should soon be able to start paying off the loans taken out. We hope to make a profit distribution this financial year.

"An enormous amount of vision, planning, enthusiasm and hard work is going into this project to provide money that will benefit women and children in India.

"Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu"

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Vijayaloka's Meditation Marathon raises $6,000 AUD

Vijayaloka is the FWBO's Retreat Centre near Sydney. 

Members of the Sydney sangha have recently completed their first 'Meditation Marathon' - and raised nearly $6,000 AUD for Vijayaloka in the process.

They say - "Over the Easter weekend, we held our 'Growth and Contentment' Meditation Marathon to promote the benefits of meditation and raise much-needed funds for the urgent upgrade of the Vijayaloka Buddhist Retreat Centre near Sydney. The buildings are fairly makeshift (temporary buildings built circa 1940's) and need urgent repairs to be safe enough to meet local council requirements. The Sangha have raised a good part of the money so far, and a great deal of work has already been done, including fireproofing and refurbishing of most of the bedrooms".

Altogether 15 people took part, and one, Aaron Matheson, formerly from the LBC in London, commented -

"Being with the Sangha from Sydney has provided the conditions for me to change in dramatically positive ways. To express my gratitude, I took part in the meditations".

Work at Vijayaloka is still going on, and their fundraising site at is still open.

In addition, the Vijayaloka retreat centre's transformation received a welcome boost recently with the awarding of nearly $42,000 from the Australian Government Community Water Grant, as part of their $2 billion Australian Government Water Fund. The Vijayaloka proposal qualified for support because it is a community orientated initiative that demonstrates public benefit and puts in place practical solutions to help save and protect local water resources.

The photographs show the river at the bottom of the Vijayaloka land, and Chris Hayes MP, the local Federal member, joining the Elements retreat with Chittaprabha (retreat leader) and Viraja (Chairman).

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Sydney Buddhist Centre in Meditation Marathon

The FWBO’s Sydney Buddhist Centre in Australia is planning a meditation marathon event for the Easter long weekend this April. They are inviting others to meditate with them no matter where you are in the world. They say -

"All funds raised by this event will go to paying for badly needed refurbishment work at our retreat centre Vijayaloka. The immediate aim is to use the funds raised to help us complete the work needed to meet a local council’s May 2009 deadline".

The river at VijayalokaIf you'd like to participate, here are the details -

How it works:
No matter where you are, you can nominate the amount of time you would like to set aside for meditation over the Easter weekend. Some of us in Australia will be together on retreat at Vijayaloka and it would be lovely if you could join us, but you can participate from wherever you are.

Once you have decided on the amount of time you'll be spending in meditation simply drop us an email to let us know (, or join our online fundraising team at (more instructions below).
Ask your family, friends, and workmates to sponsor you! They can do this by making a donation via the website, or through you.

How to join online:
To join the online fundraising team:
• Go to
• Click the 'Join this team' button
• Fill in the form that comes up and click 'Continue to Next Step'
• When asked for the team password, type in 'vijayaloka' (all lowercase)
This will create a personal page for you under the meditation marathon team page, where you can display a message and set your fundraising target.

• Then, send an email to your friends, family and colleagues asking them to sponsor you, and include a link to your page. Your sponsors can then go to your page and make a donation by credit card or PayPal.

If it's all too technical, Yael will be happy to create your page for you. Contact her at and include your phone number, postal address, date of birth, fundraising target and a short message to include on your page. Donations over $2 are tax deductible in Australia.

What it's all about:
We are all growing, in one way or another., in each moment. This year we are setting in place a number of activities that encourage us all to reflect on and set conditions that help foster a deeper contentment in our lives and in the world around us. We are combining these activities with our efforts to see our retreat centre Vijayaloka grow and prosper.

In this spirit, we are encouraging sangha members to take some time out over the long-weekend to meditate. In doing this we will be joining together with sangha friends from around the world meditating together that same weekend.

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rupavati emerges from nine-month solitary at Naga-Naga, Australia

Naga-Naga is a little-known FWBO women’s vihara in Eastern Australia, some way south of Brisbane. It was created upon land traditionally owned by the Dhungutti nation and developed as a place dedicated to women’s spiritual practise by its previous owner, Minmia, a senior Wiradjiri woman. When the FWBO took it over, they included in their vision their intention to provide support to women who are serious Buddhist practitioners, particularly those who are ordained or seeking ordination in the Western Buddhist Order; also to live in harmony with and to promote the well being of the land its inhabitants, both seen and unseen.

Among other projects they offer facilities for women to engage in long solitary retreats; FWBO News has recently received this report from Rupavati, newly emerged from a nine-month retreat there. She says -

“In June last year I was newly arrived at Naganaga Vihara. I was planning a nine-month solitary retreat – it was yet to begin and I was looking forward to a road trip first.

“All that is far behind me now. My retreat finished towards the end of April this year, and as I slowly emerged from that I gradually merged into the community and their annual May ‘Rains Retreat’. During my time alone everyone in the community - Megha, Padmalaya, Satyagandhi and Viryadana – had been a wonderful support, bringing me my weekly food shopping, replenishing gas cylinders and other requests as need arose. I am extremely grateful to them all, especially Satyagandhi, for creating such a safe and beautiful situation.

“The retreat itself was a huge internal adventure. Being continuously face to face with my mind for that length of time was a sobering experience. From where does it all come? As my awareness developed and intensified, as I engaged more and more deeply and fully with my sadhana practices and formless meditation, I felt sometimes as if I were inhabiting an alternative world or life, an all-enveloping hallucination. Then my awareness would return and I would remember the illusory nature of this existence too. I reflected often on Emptiness, something I had not done in years. Going deep into my body and looking at atoms that are more space than matter (remember the Tao of Physics?) and seeing form and emptiness. This was reflection not experiential but gave me a feel for the illusory nature of my body.

“Towards the end of the retreat I became aware that I was engaging with a much more subtle level of my body. What I have learned is ongoing, pathways yet to be explored, new doors opening in my practice.

“The caravan I inhabited was in a beautiful setting. From my sofa outside I could see the Macleay River and across to the mountainous hills opposite. Everything was lush and green as we had a very wet summer. I walked daily in the valley by the river, sometimes just sitting beside it watching it flow, and enjoying the multitude of wildlife. I walked late in the afternoon when the sun began to lose the intensity of heat, the sun slanting through the leaves of the trees and gleaming on the rich chestnut-coloured cows and their beautiful little calves. It has been quite a wrench to leave all that and engage with the world again.

“Now I am back in New Zealand, slowly relaxing into a very different beauty and serenity. I'm here until mid-October when I return to the UK and my life in London. Lastly I'll just mention how very much I enjoyed a sense of being in touch with the wider Order during my solitary – although I was alone I read the Order’s monthly journal ‘Shabda’ treating myself to a few letters or an article in bed each night. Much love to all in our Sangha.


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Tuesday, May 29, 2007


At the Public Ordinations held at 3pm on Friday May 25th at Shambhala in Golden Bay, New Zealand, the following Dharmacharinis were born -


Robyn Blackman becomes KAMALADEVI - pali and skt. "(She who is a) lotus goddess" (long final i) so Kamaladevii

Serena Ann becomes GAMBHIRAJA - skt. "(She who is) born of the depths" (long i and long final a) so Gambhiirajaa

Alison Mann becomes HRDAYAJA - skt "(She who is) heart born" ( dot under r and long final a) so Hrdayajaa


Sue Johnson becomes VIRYADANA - skt "(She who) gives energy in pursuit of the good" (long i and long second a and final a ) so Viiryadaanaa.

Victoria Bel becomes BUDDHANKAPALI - skt "(She who is) embraced by the Buddha" (long first a, long final a and dot over the n) so Buddhaankapaali.

Anita Hirshhorn becomes VIDYATARA - skt "(She who is) a protector of spiritual knowledge ( long first, second and final a) so Vidyaataaraa

Jane Beck becomes PADMADASI (She who is a) "Servant of the Lotus" (long final i) so Padmadasii

Maureen Nicholls becomes SARADARSHINI "She who sees/understands/knows the pith or substance or heart (of things) (long first a and long final i) so Saaradarshinii.


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