AFTER THE FIRES – Kamalashila tibetan buddhist centre February 2020
Kamalashila was miraculously spared from the traumatising monster fire that brewed on the west side of Mt Gulaga overlooking our entire Centre property. It hovered over the 150 acres that hold all the precious teachings and blessings of Kamalashila, the master’s home, the gompa, as well as all down the far South Coast to the Victorian border and beyond, into parts of Victoria, and the North Coast of NSW up to the Queensland border, the Snowy Mountains, outskirts all around Canberra. Due to the most recent heavenly and heavy rainfall, it has now been declared “put out”!!!
During the beginning of the year the Kyegu Buddhist Institute (KBI) monks carried out two Nagaraja rituals which aim to produce rain and also to promote environmental health and stability by rejuvenating weakened Nagas, as prayers were also being made for the favourable rebirth of the vast numbers of animals who have been killed. They carried out these two pujas within a few weeks of one another at Bronte Beach, Sydney NSW.
We thank all for the deepest of heartfelt prayers from the highest of Tibetan Buddhist masters abroad in India, to our locals. So many, during these fires since 26 November 2019 up until a few weeks ago, have lost their loved ones, animals, all possessions – some had to flee in the middle of the night from the flames unexpectedly without even their wallet; more than the mind can comprehend. One must continue prayers for those lost – they are saying over one billion animals perished not even including all types of creatures, insects, endangered species; the list is frightful (uncountable Om Mani Padme Hum mantras)!
There is so much healing needed which inevitably will happen in time yet seeing the immensity of it all in bits and pieces in the aftermath brings a deep sinking feeling in one’s heart and brings one to tears. Now we are seeing some encouraging growth which arises out of this inexplicable despair as our communities continue to support, love and hear one another so we can mend. Here are a few smoke-filled images over the last few months at the centre along with some beautiful images of the KBI monks performing the Naga pujas.
Rain glorious rain!!! Much has fallen on the far South Coast overnight including at Kamalashila. It seems like only a blink ago that we evacuated due to fires. We hope there is enough water for all the people, animals and crops and that everyone stays safe on the roads and in their communities.
AFTER THE FIRES – SUPPORTING LOCAL COMMUNITIES February 2020
Drogmi Buddhist Institute sangha offered an evening meal at Quaama for the fourth week, a beautiful community 20 minutes’ drive south of Tilba that was devastatingly affected by fires at New Year. There are signs of great recovery in the community, yet challenging times ahead as many are still living in tents and vans.
The community say they really look forward to Karma la’s delicious and nutritious food and visits by our sangha. We also enjoy connecting with new friends each week. Around 100 people attended for the meal this Sunday 9 February, with a special addition of momos added to the menu which were all eaten up.
We have warmly invited the Quaama community to the Centre to enjoy Losar celebrations on 23 February.
A special big thank you to Karma la – you are an inspiration to us all.
AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 29 January 2020
The centre recently during the bushfire aftermath partnered with local wildlife community grassroots group Animal Australia to keep up food and water for wildlife living and those escaping fires and taking refuge at the Centre.
We set up three designated watering and feeding stations for all the animals on Kamalashila’s land, from the small insects to the larger animals like wombats and wallabies. Thank you to Annie, Penny and Rebecca who helped set this all up. Rebecca, a local wildlife expert, was impressed with some of the birds she saw on the property, birds she has not seen for months in the local area. With her help we have strategically placed food for the various birds and animals.
Al has done a great job in designing and making these watering pipes that keep the flow of water up to the animals. Thank you to Karma la who is doing the feeding and care of the animals.
PILGRIMAGE TO INDIA AND NEPAL DECEMBER 2019-JANUARY 2020
We dedicate this 11th pilgrimage to Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe, our teacher, in commemoration of the four major holy sites we visited, Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Kushinagar and Lumbini, and the minor sites of Vulture Peak, Shravasti and the holy places in Kathmandu. The pilgrimage went from 28 December 2019 to 18 January 2020.
We were so fortunate to have Khenpo la guide us on this 2019-2020 pilgrimage to India and Nepal. There was a memorable and dramatic start to our pilgrimage with eight days in Bodhgaya, not only because Bodhgaya was the place of the Buddha's enlightenment, but because it was here we learned of the extent of the devastation by fires back in Australia.
We all chanted and meditated under the Bodhi Tree praying to Guru Rinpoche to dispel natural disaster for friends and family at home. Khenpo la’s equanimity and composure steadied us, even though Kamalashila itself was in danger. We were also fortunate to have the prayers and blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Eminence Luding Khen Rinpoche, and Jetsun Kushok Chimey Luding, to alleviate the fires...
“Following in the footsteps of the Buddha with Khenpo la as our guide and mentor and having the Sangha as fellow pilgrims on this journey through India and Nepal was a truly memorable experience that cannot be justified through words alone. Khenpo la’s energy, devotion and care was truly inspirational. For me personally, revisiting those holy sites once again has allowed me to come full circle and finally close some old doors and open a new chapter. I never imagined that a pilgrimage could be so challenging, powerful and inspirational at the same time. Thank you Drogmi Buddhist Institute for your efforts and putting together an amazing itinerary. I look forward to the next one!” Nat J.
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 12 January 2020
Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre, its buildings, wildlife and gardens remained safe during the bushfires. We are grateful for all the prayers and good wishes from our local community and abroad.
On Sunday 12 January we gathered for a special compassion meditation, including reciting healing mantras and prayers. People came from as far away as Canberra. The group focused on all those sentient beings who have lost so much. We prayed for pain and suffering to be eased. We asked for equanimity, peace of mind and contentment to grow within all our lives. The group recognised the generosity, compassion and service that so many offered during this devastating period. We acknowledged our members who shared their homes with others. We also noted with gratitude what has been saved from the fires in our local towns. We prayed for the people that have passed, those suffering injuries or illnesses. We also prayed for the pets, livestock and wildlife that have been injured or lost, or those that have died.
Our meeting was followed by a tasty lunch cooked by Karma. It had been challenging to focus on the meditation, as the wonderful aromas from the kitchen wafted through. As I left the Centre, Karma was busy cooking food to take to the Quaama community. I could see him adding his kindness to the meals. Karma mirrored the amazing energy and service we have experienced from so many volunteers from all beliefs. Deborah T.