Epic bike ride to raise money for new Melbourne Buddhist Centre
On Thu, 27 March, 2014 - 05:42
Jodie Dempster writes from Triratna’s Melbourne Buddhist Centre with news of their fund-raising appeal for a new Centre - and a 3000-kilometre bike ride across Australia. She says -
“The Brunswick-based Melbourne Buddhist Centre has to find a new building. And Saddhavijaya, one of our Order Members, has come up with a novel way of raising funds – a 3000 kilometre bike ride across three states (and the capital for good measure.)
In its nineteen-year life the Centre has helped hundreds of people to learn to meditate, reduce stress and change their lives. However, our rent will increase considerably in May and the team at the Centre have decided it’s time to buy a place of their own. So on the morning of Saturday 29 March we will wave goodbye to a well-known teacher at the Centre, Saddhavijaya, as he embarks on an extraordinary fundraising tour of Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and the ACT.
At the age of 57 this is no small undertaking. The bike tour will take in Birregurra, Port Fairy, Beachport, Adelaide, Sydney, Canberra and then a loop back around to Melbourne. The main stop-offs for this seven stage bike tour focus on visiting fellow Buddhists and other Centres from Triratna. “The weather may be interesting, it could be quite hot when I start out in Victoria and down to zero overnight by the time I get to Canberra. But I’m looking forward to being outside and camping”, he says.
The Centre committee had been discussing ideas for fundraising for some time and had come up with the usual ideas such as cake stalls. But Saddhavijaya comments “I thought, perhaps if we want enough money to buy a building, we need to do something a bit more radical.”
The Centre has been incredibly important to him for the last seventeen years so he is keen to volunteer his time and energy to secure its future: “Having decided as a community that we want to buy a place I’m just trying to do what I can to help that along. Renting a different place is also an option, but owning means we can tailor it to our needs and make the space beautiful.”
In spite of long preparation and a lot of cycling experience, he does have some nerves about the trip: “Can I make it? I’m going on 57. There are long distances of open spaces, cars, trucks, hills and mountains, especially as I get to the Great Dividing Range. Will I be fit enough? Yes, I do have a few concerns. Though I have been training during the last six months this will be challenging both physically and mentally.”
People wanting to support Saddhavijaya and the quest for a new Centre can do so by making a tax-deductible donation either per stage, per kilometre or simply as a lump sum.
As well as raising much needed funds the tour will give Saddhavijaya the chance to be out in nature, enjoy the open spaces and cut back on technology for a while. He will have a phone for sending information to the blog site, but revels in the idea of two months computer-free.
“I’m looking forward to a change from my everyday environment. Living together in the city, our sense of space becomes quite compressed. It’s important to open up and have periods with more space, both mental and physical spaciousness.” Saddhavijaya has already had a lot of encouragement from family and friends, which has been very heartening: “It might actually take me close to three months to complete, but that’s OK. A few friends are going to meet me somewhere en route to lend support and say hello, which will be nice.”
Saddhavijaya had his first taste of bike touring at the age of seven when he and his brother David set off on a ten-mile journey through country South Australia: “Mum packed us lunch, so once we had cycled from Karoonda to Wynarka we ate our sandwiches and chatted for a bit before riding back home again. We loved it.”
This sold bike touring to Saddhavijaya, who is still pedalling strong fifty years later. Hopefully he will return to a new Centre.