Whirlwind Down Under:
Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Australia and New Zealand
Pacifying aggressive creatures, blessing a magnificent new building, partaking of feasts, teaching on the need for wisdom and compassion, endowing 1000-armed Chenrezig initiations – this was just part of the whirlwind tour of Australia and New Zealand by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in May and June of this year. We begin with Western Australia …
Blessings for all at Hayagriva Centre, Perth, and Hospice of Mother Tara, Bunbury
Ex-Center Director Owen Cole reports: Brutus, a feisty South African Lovebird, was lucky. He received an extensive blessing from Lama Zopa Rinpoche at the first stop: Hayagriva Buddhist Centre in Perth, Western Australia. Rinpoche said mantras over the bird before placing a khata over it. Brutus was so placid after the encounter that Ven. Robina Courtin, who had come to Perth for the weekend, bestowed on the bird the more auspicious name Men Lha, meaning Medicine Buddha.
The Australia-New Zealand visit had started with Rinpoche inviting students of the two Western Australia centers – Hayagriva and the Hospice of Mother Tara (two hours south in the regional city of Bunbury) – to a big dinner party. A later public talk was attended by about five-hundred people, and an initiation over the weekend on the 1,000 armed Chenrezig went to the early hours of the morning.
These centers have achieved much in recent years. Both have established a stable base, purchased new buildings, and have regular programs for the community.
Hayagriva’s magnificent new altar would lift the heart of any Dharma student; and the non-Buddhist husband of a student built a line of large prayer wheels outside the gompa which Rinpoche blessed. The prayer wheels were filled with mantras written on eight kilometers of paper.
Venerable Thubten Dondrub, the resident teacher for both centers, has been a student of Lama Zopa Rinpoche for thirty years, and at one stage was his attendant. “You can forget how amazing it is for people when they first meet someone like Rinpoche,” he said. “It is so rare to meet someone who is so genuine, authentic, and fully committed. Even if new students don’t understand or remember all he says, what is immediately communicated by his presence is that here is a being who fully embodies the Dharma of wisdom and compassion.”