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Today, in two shrine rooms filled with sangha members, family and friends, we bade farewell to Dharmachari Dipankara who, along with Dharmamati and Buddhadasa, brought Bhante’s explication of the Dharma to Australia back in 1981. Without their efforts, and Dipankara’s fortitude in particular, there would not be a Sydney Buddhist Centre.
Dipankara had lain in state since Monday afternoon. During even the small hours of the morning he had not been alone - meditators sat by his side throughout the night, filled with gratitude and love for this kindest of men. This morning the Order in Sydney gathered to recite the refuges and precepts and prepare his journey with a heartfelt offering of the Vajrasattva mantra.
Dipankara’s family, and in particular his mother, were warmly welcomed to the Sydney Buddhist Centre.
Dharmananda prepared and led the funeral service with grace and attention. Euologies were provided by Tim McNally, Dipankara’s elder brother and also by Dharmamati and Chittaprabha. Further rejoicings were made by a long standing friend Cecilia and fellow Order Member Ratnajyoti. All praised Dipankara’s tenacity, his dedication and his open-hearted friendliness that dissolved conflicts, though he was not unfamilar with them. His energy to share the Dharma with anyone was celebrated - the fruits of his efforts being the very people in the room and beyond.
For those who were unable fit into the main shrine room, an audio video feed was set up into the smaller shrine room so that all who came could be part of the event.
The Karaniya metta sutta and the Mangala sutta were shared, reminding us all of Dipankara’s kindly manner, his dedication to family and his devotion towards seeking the Truth. With the Last Vandana and the Blessings, Dipankara was prepared to leave us but not before members of the singing group (the Vocal Locals),with whom Dipankara sang, gave us a moving version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ - one of his personal favourites.
After a short break for refreshments, we gathered in the courtyard and, chanting Sabbe Satta Sukhi Hontu, we took Dipankara from the Sydney Buddhist Centre. Chapter brothers helped him into the hearse for his last journey.
Whilst we rejoice in the man who, as his name means, brought the light of the Dharma to others, we must also thank those who worked so hard to make this his final days at the SBC so special for us all. Thanks go to Buddhadasa, Danavira and Dharmamati who provided many of the photos of Dipankara through the years that were projected during the service. We also thank the men’s chapters in Sydney and the wider Order for all their efforts in helping the family to make this a moving and suitable celebration of Dipankara’s luminous life.