Atisha News - Atisha Centre



Atisha News - Atisha Centre
November December January 2011/12
Geshe Konchok Tsering
With Love...
Eight years and roughly five months have passed since I
first came to the Atisha Centre. I have used this opportunity to
bring as much benefit as I could through the dharma. Through
these activities I have made many friends and developed a
closeness to many of you. I consider that the best part of my
life has been offered here. As well as the teachings I rejoice
in having had the opportunity to give refuge to over 200.
In several notable cases individuals have given up killing
sentient beings on my advice. In the central Victorian region
and around the Melbourne area I have helped those who were
sick, in conflict or suffering from spirit and non-human harm.
The chance to do all this has been possible due to the existence
of the centre. Lama Zopa Rinpoche, centre committees,
members, volunteers, and students have all supported this
work. Therefore, I consider them all to be most kind. Please do not interpret my resignation as disrespect for the
centre. I know there are many who are sad and disappointed.
Please don’t be down. There is no need. Every meeting has
a parting, whatever is raised up will come down, everything
gathered will be again scattered, and every birth ends in death.
These are the characteristics of cyclic existence. What is important is to do whatever you can to make this life
meaningful. Since the centre is the basis of benefit please continue to maintain your connection and offer your
support. By benefiting the centre, we help to insure that the teachings of the Buddha remain. In doing so, always
cultivate the motivation to benefit all sentient beings.
I dedicate the merits of these 8 years so that the Atisha Centre, Thubten Shedrup Ling Monastery and The Great
Stupa of Universal Compassion may flourish and bring great benefit to many. The most important thing in this
regard is to create the necessary causes and conditions to make this happen. This is our own responsibility. My
opportunity to be of help has come due to the centre, and since the centre exists because of you it has come due
to your kindness too. May the teachings of the Buddha remain and flourish forever. May all our precious teachers such as His
Holiness The Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa Rinpoche remain to benefit beings a long time and may all their holy
wishes be fulfilled.
Phone: 03 5446 3336. Address: PO Box 97, Eaglehawk, Victoria, 3556. 25 Sandhurst Town Road.
Atisha Centre is located just 15 minutes from the heart of Bendigo. Follow the Loddon Highway
through Eaglehawk and turn left at the Allies Hotel (Allies Rd). Turn right into Sandhurst Town Rd.
Atisha Centre recognises His Holiness the Dalai Lama as its spiritual leader. Atisha Centre is affiliated with Foundation
for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition Australia (FPMTA). Spiritual Director: Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
Lama Yeshe
Christmas Dharma by Lama Thubten Yeshe in Silent Mind, Holy
Mind Teachings given to Western students at Kopan Monastery
on Christmas Eve
When we see each other again on Christmas Eve for the celebration of Holy Jesus’ birth, let us do
so in peace and with a good vibration and a happy mind. I think it would be wonderful. To attend the
celebration with an angry disposition would be so sad. Come instead with a beautiful motivation and
much love. Have no discrimination, but see everything as a golden flower, even your worst enemy. Then
Christmas, which so often produces an agitated mind, will become so beautiful. When you change your
mental attitude, the external vision also changes. This is a true turning of the mind. There is no doubt
about this. I am not special, but I have had experience of doing this, and it works. You people are so
intelligent, so you can understand how the mind has this ability to change itself and its environment.
There is no reason why this change cannot be for the better. Some of you might think, “Oh, I want to
have nothing to do with Jesus, nothing to do with the Bible.” This is a very angry, emotional attitude to
have towards Christianity. If you really understood, you would recognize that what Jesus taught was,
“Love!” It is as simple and as profound as that. If you had true love within you, I am sure you would
feel much more peaceful than you do now. How do you normally think of love? Be honest. It is always
involved with discriminations, isn’t it? Just look around this room and see if anyone here is an object of
your love. Why do you discriminate so sharply between friend and enemy? Why do you see such a big
difference between yourself and others? In the Buddhist teaching, this falsely discriminating attitude is
called dualism. Jesus said that such an attitude is the opposite of true love. Therefore, is there any one of
us who has the pure love that Jesus was talking about? If we do not, we should not criticize his teachings
or feel they are irrelevant to us. We are the ones who have misunderstood, perhaps knowing the words
of his teachings, but never acting upon them. There are so many beautiful sentences in the Bible.
From FPMT- Osel
Lama Yeshe Kopan Monastery 1974
Cherry R attue - Atisha Centre Director
Dear Members and Friends,
The last three months have continued
to be very busy, as our Centre becomes
better known and attracts increasing
numbers of students and visitors.
As I write, 15 fulfilled participants
from Pam Cayton’s ‘Seven Steps to
Knowledge, Strength and Compassion’
weekend workshop are driving out of
Atisha Centre, while Geshe Konchok’s Tsering’s farewell
celebrations are nearing completion under the guiding hand of
Hannelore, and preparations for Open Day, our biggest public
awareness campaign and fundraiser of the year, are gathering
momentum, in addition bookings are already coming for
November events: the very popular Mindfulness Yoga Day
and Gyatso’s Strictly Meditating residential retreat. In just a
few weeks it will be Christmas and time once again for Ven.
Tony’s annual Chenrezig retreat and the beautiful New Year’s
Eve light offerings, which always bring so many people to
Atisha Centre. Visitors often comment on the full programme
here in our ‘back of beyond’ country Victoria Dharma centre,
and we are blessed to be able to offer it.
Behind the scenes Marilyn is busily working with Lila to
create a comprehensive and easily accessible web site that will
be informative and easy to use with, among other functions,
online course and accommodation bookings and membership
subscription renewals. We are just putting the finishing touches
to our application to the ATO for Gift Deductable Recipiency,
and in addition we are pleased to announce that we were
successful in our application for a small federal grant to
support volunteers. Volunteers are recognized as the backbone
of most not for profit organizations, and this is especially true
of Dharma centres, We welcome Sally Dudgeon and Brian
Ashen, as new members of the committee, their experience
of many years in the Dharma will be a great asset to Atisha
How quickly this 30th year in the life of Atisha Buddhist
Centre has passed, bringing many opportunities to rejoice and
a multitude of challenges to help us strengthen our practice. We
were saddened by Geshe-la’s decision to leave Atisha Centre,
we will all miss the amazing and extensive opportunities
Geshe-la has provided for us to study the precious teachings.
While he is irreplaceable, as students of the Dharma we accept
the impermanence of all things, and we respect his reasons for
leaving. As the holiday season approaches, the Committee
extends its sincere thanks to you, members and friends, for all
you do to help the flourishing of Atisha Centre, which exists
solely to benefit sentient beings. We look forward to meeting
up with you as we sit side by side in the Gompa, as we work
harmoniously together in the preparation of events, or over a
cup of chai on Sunday morning.
With love Cherry
The Great Stupa of
Universal Compassion News
Thubten Shedrup Ling
Monastery News
The Great Stupa construction continues steadily. Level
5 is now complete and it is hoped that Level 6 concrete will
be poured by the end of October. Construction is behind
schedule on the North side of the Great Stupa due to delays
of the steel
the North
side of the
Gompa. It is
hoped that
the technical
issues with
the arch will be resolved quickly so that the current work
program can be completed by November.
Planning is already underway on the next stage of the
construction which will involve balustrades and walls of
the Great Stupa. This work is expected to commence by
early 2012. The goal is to get the Gompa of the Great Stupa
to the lock-up stage as quickly as possible. It is expected
that this will be achieved with current funding reserves. The Jade Buddha for Universal Peace is currently still
in Europe where it is being very well received. The tour
has now been extended to include Lucerne and Marseilles.
After Europe the Jade Buddha will be shipped to Singapore
where it will be showcased in the world famous shopping
strip “Orchard Road” for Chinese New Year celebrations
in mid January.
Things here at the Thubtem Shedrup Ling Monastery are
chugging along with the monks continuing to lead mediations
and teachings on Mondays, Tuesdays and Sundays, as well as
doing personal practices and the normal daily activities around
the monastery.
Venerable Gyasto reports that “the Petunia’s and snapdragons
are doing fabulously” and with Tim coming up to help out a
little with Gyasto, the gardens are looking superb.
As well as that the new accommodation has been completed
and a new garden shed has been erected by Ven’s Gyasto and
Prayers at TSL Monastery
Venerables, Namgyal. Lobzang, Jampa, Lhundrup
and Gyatso
Weekly Progr am
Introduction to Buddhist Meditation
10.00am - 11.00am at Atisha Centre.
Guided Meditation and short introductory talk, followed
by Chai in the dining room. Fantastic for beginners and
experienced practitioners.
Peace & Wellness Practice
1.30 - 2.00pm at Atisha Gifts - Bendigo
Short guided meditations including mantra recitation.
This practice is useful for those who are suffering disease
and helps overcome obstacles to achieving health and
happiness. It also adds inspiration and mindfulness to your
working week. If you know someone who is ill or who
has passed away, have their name add to the prayer list.
To add someone to the prayer list please e-mail details to:
[email protected] Every Monday (except school
Meditation for Beginners
5.45 - 6.45 pm at Atisha Gifts
Buddhist meditation offers a range of techniques that
help calm the mind. Each day most of us experience a
‘roller-coaster’ of emotions from feelings of happiness and
contentment to sadness and frustration. Through meditation
we can help ourselves experience and develop a more
peaceful mind. For information, please call Atisha office
5446 3336.
Karuna Relaxation Meditation
Every Tuesday (except school holidays) at 10.30am
cuppa and chat, 11 am relaxation meditation. at Atisha gifts
Lyttleton Tce Bendigo . Phone Carol 5446 2390 PLEASE
NOTE: The Karuna group will hold its last meditation for
2011 on Tuesday 22 Nov and will resume on Tues 7th Feb
Teaching with Thubten Gyatso
Venerable Gyatso teaches on The 6 Main Minds and the 51
Mental Functions 7.30 pm at Atisha Centre, commencing
October 26th
When teaching this subject at Nalanda Monastery, France,
in the 1980’s, Khensur Rinpoche, Geshe Jampa Tegchok,
ex-abbot of Sera Je Monastery, said: “If we strive only for
the happiness of this life, we will forget our future life and
we will make no preparation
for it. On the other hand, by
reflecting on the continuity
of consciousness, we will
realise that at death we will
have no freedom to go where
we want. Without choice,
we may be obliged to take
birth in unpleasant places.
The absence of choice in
taking rebirth is due to the
influence of karma, our
previous actions. When
we understand that rebirth
is determined by karma, and karma is created by mental
functions, we will make a positive effort to avoid having
to take rebirth without choice. If we do not understand the
relationship between main minds and mental functions,
we will be unable to achieve our wishes, in particular, true
cessation (the cessation of suffering and its causes). On the
other hand, by understanding minds and mental functions,
we will know how to create virtue through constructive
mental functions and how to avoid non-virtue caused by
destructive mental functions.”
Monthly Progr am
Community Day and
Dharma Club for Children
10.00am 2nd Sunday of the Month (unless specified)
Community days welcome regulars and newcomers
alike. November 13th, December 11th and Please Note:
There will be no community day in Janurary.
You can participate in a meditation and discussion talk
led by a sangha member and meet others over a shared lunch
(midday). Please bring a plate of vegetarian food to share.
Dharma Club for Children has an enjoyable program
with group exercises, meditation, discussions and fun
activities for children of all ages. Please bring something
special to share - food, flowers, drinks, ideas.
In order to protect our precious children, parents are
asked to supervise their children once Dharma Club is
finished. The Dharma Club will be held in the Small Gompa
10am -12noon. Contact Liam 0429812715
Atisha Centre Gompa
Guru Puja 7.30pm (unless specified)
Tara and Medicine Buddha 6pm (unless specified)
Everyone is welcome to attend these group practices.
Please bring an offering of flowers and/or food to share.
If you know of anyone who has intense suffering, a life
threatening illness, or who has recently died, please give
details to the Monastery or Atisha office. You may also
sponsor a Puja for someone who is unwell. Do this by
providing offerings yourself and/or making a donation by
using the Practising Generosity form on the back page.
Guru Puja:
Nov 5th & 20th
Dec 4th & 20th
Jan 13th & 27th
Tara Puja:
Dec 2nd
Oct 4th
Medicine Buddha Puja: Nov 10th , Jan 18th
Precepts Just before dawn
Nov: 3rd, 10th, 25th Dec: 2th, 10th, 24th
Jan: 1st, 9th, 23rd
Venerable Gyatso teaching at Dromtonpa in
Daylesford. Phone Andrea: 0434482480
November Progr am
Legend: AG = Atisha Gifts, DB = Discovering Buddhism, BM = Buddhist Meditation, G = Gompa, SG = Small Gompa, AC = Atisha Centre, EC = Exhibition Centre, NPF = No Prayer Flags
Karuna Relax
Meditation AG
Peace & Wellness
Practice AG 1.30p
Peace & Wellness
Practice AG 1.30p
Mind & Mental
Teaching with
Gyatso 7-30G
Karuna Relax
Meditation AG
BM 5.45p AG
Karuna Relax
Meditation AG
BM 5.45p AG
Karuna Relax
Meditation AG
BM 5.45p AG
Precepts 4
Precepts 11
Mind & Mental
Teaching with
Gyatso 7-30G
BM 5.45p AG
Peace & Wellness
Practice AG 1.30p
Mind & Mental
Teaching with
Gyatso 7-30G
Mind & Mental
Teaching with
Gyatso 7-30G
Medicine Buddha
Puja 6.00p G
Mindfulness Yoga Meditation 10am G
with Gina
9.30 - 4.45G
Guru Puja 6.00p
Community Day
Childrens Dharma
Club SG
NPF 18
Meditation 10am SG
Guru Puja 7.30p G
Strictly Meditating Strictly Meditating
Retreat with Gyatso Retreat with Gyatso
Precepts 26
Meditation 10am SG
Strictly Meditating Strictly Meditating
Strictly Meditating Strictly Meditating Strictly Meditating Strictly Meditating
Retreat with Gyatso Retreat with Gyatso Retreat with Gyatso Retreat with Gyatso Retreat with Gyatso Retreat with Gyatso Retreat with Gyatso
Peace & Wellness
Practice AG 1.30p
Mind & Mental
Teaching with
Gyatso 7-30G
Mindfulness Yoga Day
Saturday November 5th
9.30 am – 4.45 pm
Yoga, meaning union, is a practice where we learn to connect the body, mind and spirit. The integration of these aspects
of ourselves allows us to re-connect to our inner, deeper wisdom and to be in harmony with the world we live in. And
what better place to experience the ancient teachings of Yoga than in the peaceful surrounds of Atisha Centre. This day
is open to students of all levels. Janet Lowndes and Gina Macauley will guide you through a series of postures (including
restorative Yoga), breathing exercises, relaxation and meditation. During the lunch break you will be free to join in a tour
of the adjacent Tibetan Buddhist Monastery and the Great Stupa or simple relax in the centre’s grounds before beginning
the afternoon’s restorative session.
The cost is $90 and includes morning and afternoon tea and a vegetarian lunch. Please arrive 15 minutes early for
registration and a 9.30 am start. For further details and booking please contact the Atisha Office on 03 5446 3336, [email protected]
Strictly Meditating
With Venerable Thubten Gyatso
November 19th to 27th
The extended retreat conditions are designed to support this intensive meditation practice and so students must be able
to commit to the full residential retreat of 9 days. Silence will be observed for most of the time and meals will be adjusted
accordingly to support meditation. There will be opportunities to engage in karma yoga activities as well. The retreat will
run from Saturday 19th November and conclude with breakfast on Sunday 27th November. Specific retreat information
will be sent to participants after their booking is made. $650: inc. 8 nights accommodation, meals, course materials,
offerings etc
Self-serve continental style breakfasts, vegetarian lunches (the main meal) and a light supper as well as refreshments ie.
Tea, cold drinks. Note that after the first 2 or 3 days, there will be just 2 meals per day.
Accommodation can be booked by phoning the office. A 50% deposit is required to confirm your booking with the total
payable by November 16th. Cancellations prior to the event will incur an administration fee. Refunds may not be possible
for withdrawal during the event. For information contact Atisha Centre on 03 54463336 or [email protected]
Bookings close Wed’ 16th Nov 2011
December Progr am
Legend: AG = Atisha Gifts, DB = Discovering Buddhism, BM = Buddhist Meditation, G = Gompa, SG = Small Gompa, AC = Atisha Centre, EC = Exhibition Centre, NPF = No Prayer Flags
Precepts 3
Tara Puja 6p G
Peace & Wellness
Practice AG 1.30p
Peace & Wellness
Practice AG 1.30p
Healing Practice G
Mind & Mental
Teaching with
Gyatso 7-30G
BM 5.45p AG
Meditation 10am G
Guru Puja 7.30p G
Precepts 11
Ven Lhundrup
NPF 29
Chenrezig Retreat
Chenrezig Retreat
Chenrezig Retreat
Chenrezig Retreat
BM 5.45p AG
Mind & Mental
Teaching with
Gyatso 7-30G
BM 5.45p AG
Community Day
Childrens Dharma
Club SG
Meditation 10am G
Precepts 25
Meditation 10am G
Lama Tsong Kapa
Guru Puja 7.30p G
Chenrezig Retreat
Vajrasattva Practice Day
With Venerable Lhundrup
December 10th 8.30am to 4 pm
Without purifying the mind of habitual negative
tendencies and energy it is very difficult to make any real
progress in meditation. Once we do intense purification, and
clean out our previous regretted actions, our mind becomes
more clear, lucid and relaxed and it is much easier to gain
experiential insight into the meaning of the teachings.
Attendance is by donation and please bring your own
lunch. If you would like to attend please contact the Atisha
Office by Wednesday December 8th Phone 03 5446 3336 or
email [email protected]
Guru Puja and Light
Anniversary of Lama Tsong Khapa
Tuesday December 20th at 7.30pm
Following the puja we will circumambulate the Gompa
while reciting The Four Line Praise to Lama Tsong Khapa.
On this day we celebrate the kindness of the founder of
the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism, who lived 13571419. Lama Tsong Khapa was a renowned scholar, highly
respected monk, realised meditator and great philosopher,
who wrote many influential works. His most important
work is Lamrim Chenmo - The Great Exposition of the
Stages of the Path. Join with Sangha and other members in
the Guru Puja and light offerings.
If you wish to make offerings, you can make tea light
candle offerings, food offerings or offerings of flowers.
New Years
Light Offering
Annual Chenrezig
With Ven Tony
December 27th - January 1st
Join in this wonderful opportunity to generate peace
and compassion as we meditate and aspire to embody the
beautiful qualities of Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion.
Practices will include mantra recitation, meditation on
Chenrezig, prostrations and contemplation of the Eight
verses for Training the Mind.
Commencing Monday Dec 27th at 7.30pm and concludes
Saturday Jan 1st at 1.00pm; Includes New Year Eve Light
Offering. Course fee is $250 and includes lunches, snacks
and refreshments. Shared accommodation is available from
$35 per night or camping sites at $15 per night. Inquiries
and bookings call Atisha Centre on 03 5446 3336 or email
[email protected] Bookings Essential
New Years Eve
Light Offering
Friday December 31st
All are welcome to attend this offering as a time to
celebrate and to generate aspirations for peace and harmony.
Commencing Friday December 31st at 10.00pm for
mantra recitation; Light offering at 11.00pm; Chai and
supper at midnight.
Sponsorship of lights: $10 for 10 light offerings (Please
use Practicing Generosity form). With each light offering
you may wish to make special prayers and dedications.
January Progr am
Legend: AG = Atisha Gifts, DB = Discovering Buddhism, BM = Buddhist Meditation, G = Gompa, SG = Small Gompa, AC = Atisha Centre, EC = Exhibition Centre, NPF = No Prayer Flags
Meditation 10am SG
Chenrezig Retreat
Precepts 10
Precepts 24
Medicine Buddha
Puja 6p G
Guru Puja 7.30p G
Meditation 10am G
Practice Day
Dr Al Gabay
Meditation 10am G
NPF 22
Meditation 10am G
Meditation 10am G
Guru Puja 7.30p G
Vajrasattva Practice Day
With Dr Al Gabay
January 14th 8.30am to 4 pm
Without purifying the mind of habitual negative tendencies and energy it is very difficult to make
any real progress in meditation. Once we do intense purification, and clean out our previous regretted
actions, our mind becomes more clear, lucid and relaxed and it is much easier to gain experiential
insight into the meaning of the teachings.
Attendance is by donation and please bring your own lunch. If you would like to attend please
contact the Atisha Office by Wednesday January 11th Phone 03 5446 3336 or email [email protected]
Take Meditation its Good for You
In the Australia there are millions using meditation to enhance their daily lives. It is estimated that over 10 million
Americans practice some form of meditation daily whilst in Europe our counterparts are catching on and for good reason.
Scientists are saying that not only is it boosting their immune systems but it is also, from the result of brain scans they have
done, rewiring and even reshaping the brains of the meditators.
Richard Gere does it, Goldy Hawn does it, Sir John Harvey Jones does it, Jet Li does it and Sting too. With a celebrity
list of acting, sports and entrepreneurial practitioners - meditation is the holistically minded person’s secret garden.
Meditation is the greatest gift that you could ever give to yourself. The purpose of meditation is to introduce you to
the sky like nature of your mind which may give you freedom from possible eons of mental and intellectual darkness. All
spiritual traditions practice meditation especially Buddhist, Sufi and Hindu paths. By arresting the intellect and putting the
ego on notice, we can return to our long forgotten core consciousness. The practice is not to be a pursuit that brings the
mind into a mental dullness or torpor it is rather a release, or gradual unveiling of the mind into a luminous, crisp and alert
Reflections On Early Years
By Pende (Ken) Hawter
Judy Green, Venerable Pende, Ian Green
In 1979 I met a young
fellow named Ian Green
at Kopan Monastery in
Nepal. When I moved
to Melbourne at the
beginning of 1981,
Ian kindly invited me
to stay at his house.
Several months later,
when he invited me to
join him, Judy and her
three kids to develop
a Dharma Centre in
Bendigo, I jumped
at the chance, having
come from the bush in
WA. My memory of
the first few months
was preparing for Lama
Yeshe’s first course in
August of that year. I
spent most of my time
with Graham Mathews
and others rebuilding
the old church in Sandhurst Town to be used for Lama’s course, and also working to put roofs on and bunks inside the
old railway carriages, to be used as accommodation for the course. I remember the very cold mornings when my hands
were that cold that it initially hurt to pick up and use a hammer. But I really enjoyed the work, especially re-puttying the
stained glass windows in the church. As always there was a last minute rush before Lama came, and I recall splashing on
the last bit of paint and putting the ladder away as Lama walked down the road. Another fond memory was acting as ‘car
park attendant’ when we started conducting evening teachings at the Centre. I would stand in the car park with my torch
and welcome people as they arrived and walk them over to the Gompa. Ian gave many of the evening teachings in those
early days. During Lama’s visit I had the chance to meet with him and seek his advice about how best to devote my life
to Dharma. He initially suggested being Spiritual Program Coordinator for the Centre but I expressed my doubts about
being to do this effectively because I was fairly new to the Dharma and had limited Dharma knowledge (not to mention
that I struggle to chant in tune!). He then suggested I set up a Physiotherapy Clinic in Bendigo “to help support the Centre
and become a respectable citizen”. I am not sure about the latter part, but I did set up and ran the clinic for about two years.
I also ran weekly relaxation classes and produced relaxation tapes for use with my clients.
Ven. Harry Sutton proved to be a great asset when he arrived, and was very popular with the locals. On the track from the
Centre to Sandhurst Town, Harry, in his inimitable way, erected a sign saying “Beware ant crossing” to stop any ants being
killed. It would be remiss of me not to mention the great kindness and support of Ed and Joyce Green in those early years.
This has been well documented by Ian and Judy in previous issues, but there certainly wouldn’t be a centre without them.
In early 1983 I wrote to Lama and requested his permission to take ordination. His reply was to take ordination with
Lama Zopa Rinpoche when he came in June that year, and then to come to Kopan Monastery at the end of the year. I took
ordination with Rinpoche in June in Melbourne. He then gave a course in the old church in Sandhurst Town in which I led
the meditations, shivering all the while as I only had one set of summer robes!
On weekends when I was in my clinic in Bendigo I would often go and sit in the beautiful grounds of the local Catholic
convent. There were only 5 or 6 elderly nuns remaining in the convent, several of whom had been ordained for over fifty
years. They had many rose bushes, which I offered to prune for them. When I did this, one dear old nun would periodically
bring me tea and refreshments on a silver tea service.
On Saturdays I used to play in the local back-blocks tennis competition and would often have my little mate Zack
(Judy’s middle son) in tow. The best part of these outings was the wonderful afternoon teas the country ladies would bring
Talking of Judy’s children there was one amusing occasion when Graham, Ian and I accompanied Judy to an end of year
school concert. I’m not sure what the locals thought of us Buddhists when we all walked in together!
At the end of June this year, 2011, I visited the Centre for the first time for about 20 years. I was wonderful to see
the progress made by
Atisha Centre, to see and
stay at the Monastery, and
to see the mind-blowing
Great Stupa and catching
up with Ian and Judy,Kevin
and Bernice, Graham
Mathews and others.
Not to mention seeing the
Holy Guru Kyabje Lama
Zopa Rinpoche, Khadrola, Lama Osel and Gomo
you Atisha
Centre for the blessings
and memories you have
given me.
Rinpoche, Khadro-la, Osel, Gomo Tulku, Geshe Konchok Tsering, Roger, members of
the Sangha, Pende and Directors. In the post retreat quiet, May 2011
My Life With Atisha Centre
By Brian Ashen
Thirty years in the life of a dharma bum passes very quickly. In late 1982 I discovered Atisha centre when I saw a flyer
for a 10 day Lam Rim and Chenrezig Initiation with Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey at Atisha Centre in Bendigo.
I was keen to hear the essence of dharma from another great master. So, it was up the old Calder highway I went.
Atisha Centre turned out to be a dusty collection of
train carriages and a few buildings that made up the
small gompa and kitchen dining room. Tracks and
trails disappeared in different directions, but the bush
setting was relaxing and the place had a sense of calm,
except in the afternoons when the blast of the shot gun
meant that the bush rangers were holding up the train
ride from Sandhurst Town next door. My roommate
was a strange Doctor, a very bearded Alan Molloy.
Nearly fifty followers of diverse backgrounds sat
through profound teachings and buzzing blow-flies. It
was the first of many courses and retreats at Atisha that
have been a big part of my life.
Atisha Centre was like visiting a time capsule as not
much changed over the years. Thankfully, a steady
stream of people came and went who had a talent for
building, creating gardens and teaching dharma. Atisha
Centre is now unrecognisable from 30 years ago. It definitely has that ‘feel’ that I have felt in centres that are being created
and built by devoted, dedicated people who come and go. Some do stay, however I remember those who wielded a paint
brush or hammer and those who taught Chenrezig mantras or Mahamudra doctrine and I rejoice in every nail hammered
and mantra recited.
Other Events
Mindfulness Yoga Day at Atisha Centre
The recent Mindfulness Yoga Day at Atisha Centre was a beautiful day of rejuvenation and peacefulness. The weather
was a perfectly sunny 17 degrees with a light breeze that brought on it a hint of wattle and spring. The day began with a beautiful meditation followed by a 90 minute asana (posture) practice. As we had all levels of
Yogis in attendance, the practice was tailored to each person with many different variations and students were encouraged
to practice within their own bodies abilities and it was great to see people opting out as necessary. This is the real benefit of
Yoga - being aware and mindful of what is going on within us, body and mind, and deciding how to respond based on that.
Asana was followed by morning tea which was served outside in the sunshine of the Atisha Centre courtyard. It was our
first opportunity to chat casually and enjoy the sunshine.
The next session began with a talk by Janet on Yogic Philosophy and then an open discussion and Q&A. The philosophy
was followed up with some pranayama (breathing practices) just before lunch.
The lunch break was another opportunity to meet and chat in the sun, and after we’d eaten a great feast prepared by
Hannelore, Al led a tour of the Atisha Centre. For those who had never been there before this was a great opportunity for
them to see what it was all about and to hear a bit about the history.
The afternoon session was all about being restored and
renewed. And I think I can safely say that this was the favourite
part of the day. We began with restorative Yoga - see the photo then a long Yoga Nidra, followed by some more pranayama and
we finished the day with one of Janet’s favourite meditations.
It is hard to convey the beautiful, peaceful energy of the day
and venue. The Atisha Centre Gompa has a powerful presence
about it and everyone commented on its beautiful energy. It
is sacred and quiet, qualities that were quite tangible (if these
things can ever really be tangible!), the perfect place to find
A huge thank you to everyone. To all the participants who
were all fabulous, open and enthusiastic, to everyone at Atisha
Centre (especially Ven Lobsang, Maxine and Hannelore), and
to Janet for her guidance and support. I had a great day.
Keep in Touch
Keep up to date with changes to advertised or spontaneous
events, by going to the website
and subscribing to the fortnightly enews. The Atisha Centre
website is currently undergoing a complete transformation,
we apologise for any inconvenience. Phone the office 03
5446 3336 to check details or join the telephone tree call
Shirley Marshall 03 5442 8784.
Merit Box Contributions
The International Merit box Project helps Lama Zopa
fund beneficial projects worldwide. If you would like to
participate in this project please phone Hannelore 54463336
for more information or go to
Merit Box donations are collected every year from Lama
Tsong Khapa Day December 20th.
Childrens Dharma Club
an enjoyable program
with group exercises,
meditation, discussions and
fun activities for children
of all ages. Please bring
something special to share
food, flowers, drinks, ideas.
In order to protect our
precious children, parents
are asked to supervise their
children once Dharma Club is finished. The Dharma Club
will be held in the small Gompa 10am -12noon.
For more information please Contact Liam 0419812715
Membership Update
A big “Thank You” to the following who have become
members of Atisha Centre over the past three months or have
renewed their membership.
Yien Law, Cameron Young, Kevin and Jillian Vallence,
Louise and Tim Payne, Julie Sloan, Len Derby, Ronda
Rodwell, Karina de Wolf, Jan Butcher and Robyn Andrea
Best wishes, Kathy Rice,Membership.
Newsletter Deadline: 1st January for February/March/April 2012
Please submit articles to Hirani at [email protected]
Atisha Centre Community Classifieds
Atisha Gifts
324 Lyttleton Tce, Bendigo. 5442 6597
Wed - Fri 10am - 5pm, Sat 10am - 1pm
Atisha Centre: 11am - 2pm Sundays
Atisha Gifts in Lyttleton Terrace is constantly receiving
new stock, and if you are looking for great gift ideas,
we can report that some customers are already filling
out their Christmas lists from our exotic yet inexpensive
range of goods from around the world. Among these are
the beautiful Murano glass jewellery made by Tibetan
refugees in India, as well as several new titles in our range
of Dharma books, especially children’s books. Of course
get a 10%
k n o w
that your
h e l p s
cause. We have some interesting Christmas decorations
in stock now, so don’t miss out. Many thanks to Colleen
for her time generously given to Atisha Gifts as a long
time volunteer. We wish her much happiness.Our new
volunteers Vicki and Laiana are doing a fantastic job.
Come and visit us soon!
Elaine and the team at Atisha Gifts.
If you would like to volunteer please contact
Atisha Gifts on 03 5442 6597
Course Fees
There are many aspects related to preparing for a course
such as advertising, administration maintaining the facility,
course material and sometimes travel expenses of a teacher,
offerings to the teacher(s) are also included.
The teaching of Dharma is without charge as teachers
offer their time freely when leading a course. It is traditional,
but optional, to make an offering at the end of the course to
the teacher, bearing in mind that the course fee does include a
contribution towards an offering for the teacher. Please note
also that the Course Fee contributes significantly towards the
sponsorship of Sangha to attend courses and retreats.
Our goal is to make the Dharma available to all who wish
to hear and practice so please contact the Atisha Centre
office if you have questions regarding consideration around
individual financial needs.
The Colour Issue of Atisha News
is Sponsored by
Atisha Gifts
100 Sailors Gully Rd
Eaglehawk 3556
Phone: 5446 1027
Robyn McFarlane N.D.
Bowen Therapy, Remedial Therapy, Homeopathy,
Herbs, Massage, Iris Diagnosis.
Health fund rebates and pensioner discounts available.
Half price Monday - Thursday for Atisha Centre
Members with all proceeds being donated to Atisha
Centre. Take advantage of this very generous offer from
Lee at Clarelee
Pr actising Generosity
Phone: ____________________
I would like to donate the following amounts to the:
Geshe/Interpreter Fund:
New Accommodation Fund:
Puja Offering:
General Donation:
Sangha Support:
Light Offering 10 lights for $10 $_____________
Total Amount:$_____________
Do you require a receipt?
Yes / No
If offering to the Puja would you like a dedication made?
Dedication: __________________________________
Payment Method: Visa / Master Card
Card Number:__________________________________
Name on Card:__________________________________
Expiry Date: _____/_____
Or make cheques payable to ‘Atisha Centre Inc.’ and
send with this form to PO Box 97, Eaglehawk VIC 3556.
We sincerely thank you for your contribution and support
Atisha News is the newsletter of
Atisha Centre
Print Post Approved
Publication No. 326764/00058
If undelivered return to:
PO Box 97, Eaglehawk VIC 3556 Australia

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