Proud to be one of the regional Buddhist temples

screen capture from Shepparton News online

Screen capture from Shepparton News online

After the Buddhist ceremony to celebrate the 4th Anniversary of the Aroi Thai Restaurant in Shepparton on the 29th March 2016, the Buddhist community in Albury who participated in the celebration felt proud that their city had a Buddhist Temple.  Shepparton have long had a Buddhist community however do not have a Temple of their own.

Having a Buddhist Temple means so much to the Buddhist community as they have monastic order who preserves the teachings of the Buddha, theoretically and practically. It is hard for people who are interested in the teachings and only have the internet as a means of research. It is far easier when you have direct access to a trained Buddhist Monk.

The abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, Luang Por Dhammajayo ('Luang Por' meaning Venerable Father), greeting laypeople at the Wat

The abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, Luang Por Dhammajayo (‘Luang Por’ meaning Venerable Father), greeting laypeople at the Wat

With the kindness of Phrathepyanmahamuni the Abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, Thailand, who’s vision is to bring peace to the world. He has sent experienced Buddhist Monks and lay Buddhists overseas to share Buddhist knowledge and Meditation. The first Dhammakaya centre in Australia was established in Sydney in 1998 and then Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. The work in Albury commenced with a very humble beginning in an abandoned Temple located in South Albury. The Temple relocated to a temporary premises that were generously offered by Aisha Flow Yoga while the team searched for a permanent home.

“I feel very proud that we carefully selected the best place to offer to the Buddha to be our Buddhist Temple. Our Temple building might not be so magnificent but for the beauty of the surrounding view, which would be hard to find elsewhere.” Said Phra Satit

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The permanent place at 302 East Street, East Albury has a converted a triple garage as a meditation room which will allow for up to 30 people on a Sunday and also acts as a residence for the Buddhist Monks. The regular Sunday service operated for the first time at its new home on the 26th July 2015. Apart from regular Sunday services the Temple has been able to offer accommodation to travelling Buddhist Monks who sometimes come to provide Buddhist services in this city. There are also some other services that the Temple is able to offer to the community here when needed, such as funeral services.

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Dhammakaya Meditation Centre Albury or Wat Phra Dhammakaya Albury in Thai (Wat translates in English as Buddhist Temple) is the only Dhammakaya centre in regional cities across Australia. All other centres are in the capital city of each state and mostly accommodate Thai communities while Wat Phra Dhammakaya Albury aims to reach all local people. So the service here uses English as the main communication language. The centre has been well supported accommodating local audiences.

Australian Buddhists are aware that there are many traditions of Buddhist schools and that they all practice differently. However, Buddhism has been well recognised as one of the most peaceful religious no matter which school they are.

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What is Dhammakaya? Dhammakaya is a Pali word meaning “body of Dhamma” or the Enlightened body. Wat Phra Dhammakaya using this name as the aim for practicing meditation to attend the Dhammakaya. You could notice every temple has their own name related to the Buddha or Dhamma or Sangha which are the triple gems of Buddhism (the Dhamma being the teachings and the Sangha representing the monastic followers)

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The word Dhammakaya that you might come across on the internet or mass media mostly means the Dhammakaya Temple. Dhammakaya Temple is a Thai Theravada Buddhist Temple. The Temple operation is very organised and has a million dedicated followers. The Temple has faced many criticisms in past years. Even though negative news has been mentioned in the Thai mass media, the Dhammakaya followers still continue to attend their Temple. It demonstrates that the message the people who visit the temple experience and understand must be different from that which is represented in some of the media.

Dhammakaya Chapel

Phra Satit Thitadhammo the teaching monk at Dhammakaya Meditation Centre Albury shared the experience that he first came to the Dhammakaya Temple, Thailand when he was only two years old in 1979 with his mother. His father passed away even before he was one. His mother brought him up alone with financial assistance from relatives and her own work. So he confirms that you don’t need to be rich to come to the Temple, rather you need to be good, to come to the Temple. He and his Mother were picked up every week by a good friend, who went to the Temple every Sunday. At that time the Temple was small and located on 71 acres of land. The number of people attending ranged from a several hundred to a few thousand on some special occasions. The activities at the Temple were mostly chanting, meditating and listening to the Dhamma talk. People donate within their capacity and some of the younger generation do volunteer work at the Temple.

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“What I saw at that time was that people who were taught at the Temple and followed the Dhamma in an effort to keep their life on the right path were very happy. With the leadership provided by Phrathepyanmahamuni they were confident that they could share the same happiness with more people. They then found that larger facilities with bigger capacities were needed so they were happy to support the growth that allowed the Temple to grow rapidly.” Said Phra Satit.

The word “wealth” is often confused in Buddhism and perhaps with people who are interested in the Buddhist concept, however to make it clear we can look at the opposite word which is “poverty”. Poverty (daliddiya) is in no place praised or encouraged in Buddhism. The Buddha said, “Poverty is a suffering in the world for a layman.” He also said, “Woeful in the world is poverty and debt” (A.III.350,352). Though monks should be contented and have few wishes, poverty is never encouraged, even for the Monks.,

The main point is that wealth in itself is not to be praised or blamed, the importance is the way one acquires and uses it.

The advice about wealth is listed below:

Mundane

  1. Seeking wealth lawfully and unarbitrarily.
  2. Making oneself happy and cheerful.
  3. Sharing with others and doing meritorious deeds.

Trans mundane.

  1. Making use of one’s wealth without greed and longing, without infatuation, heedful of danger and possessed of the insight that sustains spiritual freedom.

(*from Ethics, Wealth, and Salvation R.F. Sizemore 1989 p.45)

So wealth can be wishful for lay Buddhists as long as they acquire and use it correctly. That does not contradict the practice. The more you have, means the more you can share with others as well.

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Rather than make this article too long, the Dhammakaya Temple in Albury is here and open each Sunday at 10.00am for anyone to come and see for themselves what we teach and what we practice.

 

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The 5th Anniversary

The 5th Anniversary on Sunday 29th November 2015 will be another significant milestone for the Buddhist Centre in Albury (Dhammakaya Meditation Centre Albury) when things are all in place. They bought the permanent place on a beautiful mountain view site in East Albury last year. The place has been developed to meet the council requirement to be a place of public worship capable to accommodate 30 people for the Sunday service.  The service started soon after they had the approval by the end of July 2015. A part from servicing people locally, the centre also welcome visitors from big cities like Sydney and Melbourne who are very impressed with the peaceful environment and friendly community in Albury.

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The celebration expect to get the usual interest from main stream media which will be a great spark to raise awareness to the community that the centre is now opened and welcome the public to experience the Buddhist practice on Sunday at their permanent place.

Bodhi tree transplantation

Bodhi tree transplantation last time was 3 years ago in South Albury

The celebration highlights are VDO presentation of the work in the past 5 years, Bodhi tree transplantation, Fundraising for the Air-condition system of the meditation room (Robe offering). Thai lunch will be served to all participant with compliment from Aloy Thai Restaurant, Shepparton, VIC and other Thai members.

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The 5th Anniversary Celebration

Venue: 302 East Street, East Albury NSW 2640

Program

9.30     Registration

10.00   Welcoming Speech (MC)

10.10   5th Anniversary Remarked by Phra Satit

10.15   5th Anniversary VDO Presentation

10.25   5th Anniversary Reflection from Supporters

10.45   Meditation

10.55   Buddhist ceremony

11.15   Blessing

11.20   Bodhi tree transplantation

11.30   Compliment Lunch

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Enquiry call Barry 0459 727 316

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1001307106593893/

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Free Meditation Class

The Most Venerable Phra Thepyanmahamuni

The Most Venerable Phra Thepyanmahamuni

This coming Thursday, 27th August marked the 47th anniversary of The Most Venerable Phra Thepyanmahamuni’s (the Dhammakaya Temple’s Abbot) ordination. We call this day Dhammachai Day. For this occasion, the Dhammakaya Meditation Centre, Albury will be providing a free meditation class for a whole day, every one hour starting from 10am till 7pm.

Brisbane One Day Meditation Course

You are invited to join this event held at 302 East Street, East Albury.

The program for the 1 hr of each session includes:

Introduction to Dhammakaya Meditation

Meditation Guide (English)

Q&A

Tea/Coffee

Except at 4.00pm, the meditation will be guided in Thai broadcasting live from the World Dhammakaya Centre, Thailand.

For further information please e-mail to psatit@live.com.au or call 0411 453 946

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Welcome to our new home

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Since the last Sunday services in September last year (2014) at our temporary home which was generously provided by AISHA FLOW YOGA. Our Buddhist community have been in the transition of settle the new home. Our teaching monk, Phra Satit Thitadhammo has been planning and working for the new place since January 2014. We had took slow steps but stable and secure. We minimise all the risk for the future with our experience in managing Buddhist organisation. The good planning also allow us to reduce cost of setting up the new place and our running cost in the future. The convenience access to the services was one of our priority when we was seeking for the new home. It was a fortune that we had got all the options that we was seeking for convenience access, beautiful of the nature, the large size of the land and the existing building that be able to turn to a good size meditation room. Essentially it was in the town planning zone that can officially permitted to be a Buddhist temple.

Right now all the hard work has been done, we are gladly to announce that our new home for Buddhist community in Albury is now due to open door. The first Sunday service will be this Sunday 26th July 2015 10.00-12.30 it is not the official opening, we call “Welcome to our new home” All new and regular comer are welcome. The internal facility and decoration of the meditation room is not 100% finish at this stage. But we have been waiting to meet each other for too long so we better get the soonest possible to come to meet.

10.00 Meditation
10.30 Dhamma talks
11.10 Requesting Five Precepts
11.15 Food Offering to Monks
11.20 Receive Blessing
11.30 Having Lunch

What to bring?

For regular comers would normally bring some food to offer to the Buddhist Monks and share for lunch.
How about the dressing?
Coming to the temple, it is best to remind ourselves that we come to practice so dressing politely in white is suggested however for coming the first time we would not mind as we know you might not have time to prepare.

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A journey to buddhism

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Heading to the 4th Anniversary with the bright future.

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

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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.

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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.”

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