A journey to buddhism

lana

For a long time I’ve wanted to learn more about Buddhist practices. Then about seven years ago after getting married and falling pregnant with my first child I decided to take the first step. I was really unsure where to begin. Do I start by learning meditation? Is there anywhere in Albury / Wodonga I can go to learn Buddhist practices? I wasn’t sure of the answers so I began by reading books, many of which were written by the Dalai Lama. I found a connection immediately with the writings, but the books often left me with more questions than answers. It was then that I made connection with the local Buddhist group – Wat Buddhavongsayaram. I nervously went along one Sunday morning unsure of what to expect. I had researched some basic ‘temple etiquettes’ prior to going and in preparation for my first session I politely dressed in white, collected some offerings for the teaching monk and drove to the temple.

sunday8sep

I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived that the temple wasn’t as ‘formal’ as the ones I had researched. The teaching monk (named Ajahn Satit) was there to greet everyone who came in. I later found out that Ajahn is the respectful way to address any Buddhist monk and Satit was his first name. It’s interesting to note that over the last seven years I have collected a number of other useful tips and tricks! However on this first session I was still a little rusty. I realised I was a little rusty when I wrongfully sat on the wrong side of the temple and was politely asked to sit to the left. When I moved to the left I quickly realised that all the other women had sat to the left. As I said, it’s taken me many more years to collect these useful tips. Despite reading all the Dalai Lama books I could get my hands on, none of them taught me this. It was during my first visit that I felt I had come to the right place. The people were great, the meditation is fantastic but what the biggest impact for me came from Ajahn Satit’s ‘Dhamma’ talks. I remember his first talk vividly. It was around Valentine’s Day and he spoke about love. He spoke about loving yourself and about respect for all creatures. This was like gold for me. Being in the presence of such a respected monk, listening to him talk straight from the heart about the aspects at the core of buddhist practices was so insightful. After my first session I couldn’t wait for the next & complimented my readings with the Dhamma talks each week. Things finally started to make sense.

jala

Two years after my first session I decided to take my daughter along to the temple. As parents of toddlers would know, getting them to sit still for any length of time of hard work. I was nervous about this but was excited about taking her. To my surprise (and with some practice) by the time she was 2 and a half she was confidently, and more importantly quietly, able to sit and meditate with the group for a twenty minute period. She loved going to the temple and had a great relationship with Ajahn Satit.

302east

I’ve been proud to watch the temple grow from its humble beginnings in South Albury to the new much larger location in East Street. I would encourage anyone with an interest in knowing or learning more about the lovely buddhist community of Albury/ Wodonga to come along. It’s such a supportive, welcoming environment of any new guests.

Lana Hanssens
Wodonga

Posted in Local News | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

100k is needed for the meditation facility.

participant Wat Albury is a Buddhist temple and meditation centre here in Albury. As well as the facilities it provides as a temple it offers training for those wishing to learn meditation. Everyone knows that modern life is busy and stressful. The techniques of meditation are psychological tools that can deal with this stress and create a peaceful refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life. This ancient method of relaxed living is studied and taught at such Western institutions as Sydney University and Oxford University in the UK. At Oxford a whole department is dedicated to researching the psychological benefits of meditation in the West. Of course, Buddhism cannot be reduced to a set of useful techniques; it is a spiritual path that leads its practitioners to live more wholesome lives and to make the best of their lives. But at Wat Albury we realize that not everyone wishes to follow this path right now but that they can still achieve the benefits – in their everyday lives – of practicing meditation. 302east Wat Albury invites you to take part in contributing to the establishment of a permanent meditation-centre facility for this region. Our services are provided freely to the community. Your donation will make this mission possible. The settlement date is set to be on 24th October 2014: in the meantime, the community is racing to raise $100,000 by that date.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Heading to the 4th Anniversary with the bright future.

The future of the Buddhist temple in Albury has been uncertain for years.

celebration

The Thai monk, Ajahn Satit Thitadhammo took the leadership and forge through all the crisis. Now it is confirmed that he is definitely signing a contract to purchase a large property in East Albury to be a permanent place of the Buddhist temple on the border. He announced this news on Facebook both his own and the temple’s page. Many people who follow the pages have been very excited with joy on the good news. The Buddhist community has been waiting for quite some time for a place to call home. This is the only Buddhist temple in this region time being.

302east

The settlement date is set to be on 24th October 2014, in the meantime, the community is racing to raise $100,000 by the date. They also like to appeal to the public to make some financial contribution as Buddhist community in the regional city like Albury is very small. The temple will contribute many benefits for the whole border community.

Meditation Hall

Kathy Vagg, who has been to the service at the temple, reflected the same statement above in her comment about the temple that:

“The Buddhist temple benefits everyone who attends. It provides a solid base for one to attend and liaise with the community, in a very non-confronting, gentle and grounded way. Community is lacking in this age and brings a set of problems. The good food, lovely people and warmth which is generated from the temple space is beneficial to the individual, who can then go out in the community and generate more compassion and generosity toward others.”

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The overseas award to the Buddhist work on the border

Approaching  Vesak (the Buddha day) in May this year, the Buddhist community on the border will receive  pleasing news. Ajahn Satit, the Buddhist monk who runs the Buddhist Sunday service every week has been granted an honorary Sema-Dhammachaka Award from Thailand.

award

Sema-Dhammachaka Award is an honorary award given to persons or organisations who put great effort to support or work towards Buddhist propagation both in Thailand and overseas. It is a real honour of a life time to receive this award. The award is Presented by H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on the celebration of Vesaka Puja week in Thailand every year.

Wat Albury

Three years ago Ajahn Satit came to Albury to re open Wat Buddhawongsayaram, a Buddhist temple at Abercon Street. He has since been holding a Sunday service and re-established the Buddhist community here in Albury. Some may not know that this is only one part of his work. His residence is at a temple in Sydney where he works for a Buddhist community there during the weekday. He is also one of the committee members of the Buddhist Federation of Australia Inc. based in Sydney. He travels to Albury on the weekend to hold the Sunday service for the Buddhist community on the border every week.

page14_bordermail_7Feb11

In the past three years he has been commuting between Sydney and Albury more than 100 times, facing two brake-ins and a rock attack at the Abercon Street premises, dealing with the legal issues of the temple in South Albury, but they did not deter him from his determination to establish the Buddhist community in Albury.

TheBorderMailWed21Mar2010p9

Those who attend the Sunday service, the ground staffs at Albury Airport, staff member of NSW trainlink are the witnesses of that determination. He always smiles in any situation even when the temple was in crisis.

“I understand that works here are not easy, but what inspires me is that we are the only hope, so we just never think of giving up, we only look for opportunities.” Said Ajahn Satit

His hard work has been recognised by the Sema-Dhammachaka Award’s Committee in Thailand. The recognition is in the category of the overseas Buddhist work. This year there are also two other monks from Malaysia and USA received an award in this category.

The Sunday service on 11 May 2014 in Albury will be closed due to his departure to Thailand for the Award presentation.

Third Anniversary of Wat Albury

The community in Albury is organising the celebration for his award on Sunday 18 May 2014 at the temple’s temporary place in Thurgoona. Many Buddhist friends from Sydney and Melbourne are expecting to come along to congratulate him as well.

Posted in Local News | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Which way to Albury Buddhist Temple?

signOftAlburyBuddhistemple
The street sign ‘Buddhist Temple’ used to direct the public to the temple on Abercorn Street has recently been removed. The place has stopped its function as a Buddhist temple since the end of August to allow the authority to solve the long running issue of the ownership of the place.

It is rather sad, however the Sunday service of WatAlbury still goes on for all members and general public. With the generous support from AISHA FLOW YOGA in Thurgoona, Ajahn Satit is conducting the service at the AISHA FLOW YOGA premises every Sunday.

“It might be a bit further away from Albury but people who were return  would find the same warm welcoming community as it used to be in South Albury.” Said Ajahn Satit.

Meditation Time

He would also like to appeal to the local media to inform to the public that while the issue of the place in South Albury hasn’t been finalised, everyone is welcome to join the Buddhist community on Sunday at 10.00am at its temporary home of 88 Finlay Rd, Thurgoona.

Posted in Local News | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Third Anniversary

Third Anniversary of Wat Albury, another milestone that Ajahn Satit and members of Wat Albury have reached. It has not been a rosy journey but they have managed to go through the hurdles and difficulties and turned crisis into opportunities. They become value experiences for all involved. Now they can proudly say that they really start the wheel of Dhamma turning here at the border.

Third Anniversary of Wat Albury

Since the last Sunday service of 25th August, 2013 when the group has to vacate the premises at Abercorn Street, South Albury, many people might not know that Ajahn Satit has commenced the service again on Sunday 8th September 2013 at a new temporary home generously provided by AISHA FLOW YOGA. This, according to Ajahn Satit and members of Wat Albury, has turned their dark day into the brighter one tremendously.

Dhammakaya Meditation Centre Albury

One more good news that marks the celebration of the 3rd Anniversary is, this year, from their hard work for the past 3 years, the Albury centre is formally recognised as one of the overseas Dhammakaya centres. So they are now called Dhammakaya Meditation Centre, Albury, and when they have their own place in the near future, It will be officially called Wat Phra Dhammakaya, Albury.

lunch

The celebration was joined by the temple regular comers plus visitors from Sydney and Melbourne. Everyone was so happy with the positive spiritual energy in the ceremony and variety of delicious Thai food for lunch.

third_an3

The Third Anniversary cake was cut to remark the celebration with the victory chanting from the Buddhist monk.

cake

Posted in Local News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Resumption of Buddhist Sunday Service to the Border

sunday8sep

After the unfortunate disruption caused by the ownership issue of the property on Abercorn Street, Wat Buddhavongsayaram Inc. is extremely happy to announce that it  resumed its regular Sunday service for the people of the border region at the new temporary home in Thurgoona on Sunday 8th September 2013.

card_small

The place has been very generously offered for us to use for Sunday service by the owner of AISHA FLOW YOGA. “It would be sad if the Sunday service that is regularly held at the temple in Albury will be no longer available to the people of this city. So if my place can be of use for Sunday service while they cannot find a new place, I’m very happy to have them here on Sunday” she said

lastSunday
The last Sunday service at the temple on Abercorn Street had a large gathering. The new temporary place that has been offered has brought a smile to everyone’s face. They were happy that they will not miss out on the Sunday service for too long and that they will see each other again in only 2 weeks time.

The future for a permanent place is still uncertain. Wat Buddhavongsayaram Inc. will work closely with Consumer Affairs of Victoria and local MPs to resolve the issue of the temple property on Abercorn Street. At least if Wat Buddhavongsayaram Inc. cannot obtain this place, then hopefully some other Buddhist organisation can legally operate it as a Buddhist temple.

Posted in Local News | Tagged , | Leave a comment