Fifty Years, Fifty Voices: Maitripala (highlights)On Thu, 4 August, 2022 - 12:45
I don’t need to go away from samsara to be really going for refuge. I can be right in the middle of it.
In 1968, I was 12 years old. I was living with my parents and siblings in suburban Reservoir, Melbourne Australia.
I was second eldest (first daughter) of five children. We had moved up to the city from an idyllic country life in Gippsland to have closer access to secondary schools. My early life was spent proving I was stronger and tougher than my three brothers.
In 1978, I was 22 and had been married for three years. I had graduated from teaching college and was working as a primary school teacher. It was the beginning of a school teaching career that continued over three decades.
In 1988, I was living in a beautiful house surrounded by a beautiful forest in a village called Emerald in the Dandenong Ranges (just over an hour from the city of Melbourne)
I was raising a family of three lovely daughters and my husband was running a successful building business. My life was idyllic and I had not had any major suffering in my life. Hanging washing on the line one day I had an experience of deeply knowing there was ‘more’.
By 1990, I was divorced and co-parenting my children with my ex-husband, still living in Emerald and working at the local primary school. I only had one more year to live before the Dharma came into my life.
In 1998, I was preparing to go to Tuscany for my Ordination the following year. Earlier, in 1991, I had come across the Dharma at a weekend course taught by Buddhadasa and Guhyavajra in the backyard shrine room of a men’s community. This was before the birth of the Melbourne Buddhist Centre. Eventually a small Centre (Dandenong Ranges Buddhist Centre) and sangha had formed over the years in Emerald where I was still living.
In 2008 I was living in a caravan on the one acre of land in Emerald surrounding my family home. I had gone forth physically from my home as I was increasingly attracted to a life of simplicity. So I had rented out my house to friends once my daughters had all left home and enjoyed two years of caravan living, It was a very happy time of my life, it was also a time of growth.
In 2018 I am back in Melbourne looking for a new living situation so I can settle down after the last three years of a very rewarding, wandering lifestyle. When I finished a 14 month period in 2014, living and working at Tiratanaloka Retreat Centre in Wales, I began a ‘Buddhas in my Pocket’ pilgrimage. This involved visiting and helping at 8 Triratna centres or groups across Australia.
This year, engaging with a ‘KM4 Australia’ Future Dharma Fund project and becoming a Public Preceptor, I really would like to have a room again where I can put my dharma books on a shelf!