The Things I Do For You – How to practice the six perfections of generosity, morality, patience, enthusiastic perseverance, concentration and wisdom.

Buddhism, Culture, Education, ethics, Health, meditation, Philosophy

Following on from the 1992 tour of His Holiness to Australia, I began working as a Kitchen Manager at Tara Insitute, in Melbourne, Australia. This is the way I practiced generosity. The Buddhist Centre at the time had many commitments and I agreed to volunteer much of my time, seven hours a day to complete the work necessary as kitchen manager to that Buddhist Centre.

I woke up early at four or five am. Then I would focus on generating the bodhicitta motivation as a reason behind all my actions of body, speech and mind. One needs to look at the seven fold cause and effect method to understand why it is so worthwhile to generate the bodhicitta motivation as the reason behind each action of body, speech and mind that one both aspires to and engages in.

I will discuss this now. Firstly beings need to be recognized as having been like kind mothers. All beings are like this, kind mothers. Then you think of the ways in which these beings are kind. We are fortunate to be in receipt and prescence of such a holy, and pure spiritual, religious, scientific and medical tradition, that is uncorrupt. There are so many ways to recognize the kindness that is on display around us. We can’t really get anywhere without this kindness.

Then we consider repaying this kindness. How wrong to take kindness for granted, or to be greedy with it. Then we develop loving kindness, the wish for oneself and others to have happiness and it’s causes. We need to deeply feel this way at all times to oppose anger and hatred, which is is the wish to cause harm. You need to apply the antidote of loving kindness to oppose and cessate the harmful negative states of mind of anger and hatred. Hatred and anger are always wrong states of mind.

Then you generate compassion, which is the wish for oneself and others to be free of suffering and it’s causes. After this you generate altruism and then you develop the mind wishing to, aspiring to and engaging in the path to Buddhahood or enlightenment. You also need to recognize that all phenomena lack inherent existence, whilst cause and effect and dependent arising are unfailing.

Now, having done this, I worked on preparing the weekly menu. So I would shower and dress thinking this way.

I prepared a three course vegetarian meal for the residents of Tara and the public, over forty people, five evenings a week.

The meal would begin with soup, then a main course, and finally desert. I had to arrange a meal design that offered different meals for about two weeks in a row. Then I did the ordering, keeping within a strict budget. All the meal planning and menu design and ordering was done in my own time, unpaid as a volunteer. I turned up for some paid work five hours a day, five days a week to actually prepare and cook the meals.

My meals were quite well received. People generally liked the soup, which was good. As I was a bit new to vegetarian cooking, I had quite a bit to learn. After four months on the job, the executive committee advertised the Centre’s position of Centre Manager. After consulting with Geshe Doga, I was advised to apply for the position.

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2019

The Things I Do For You – Learning how to be beneficial and not harmful with everything you do.

Buddhism, Culture, Education, ethics, Health, Medicine, meditation, Philosophy

My name is Vanessa Anne Pollock. I have been working full time as a Mahayana Buddhist for 27 years. I met His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet in Melbourne, in 1992. It’s a nice story. I told this story in Nights in the Moon Lily Garden.

Vanessa, a young arts and business student from Monash University, aged twenty three, went out to dinner with Christian Walsh to a Chinese restaurant in the city of Melbourne, one Tuesday night. From memory we ate around 9pm. We both enjoyed a decent meal, I think you could say. After eating and paying for the meal, we slowly left the restaurant and made our way towards the car. On the way, we walked past the Theosophical Bookstore and stopped to have a look in the window. I glanced at a copy of Freedom in Exile by His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, that was displayed in the window. Christian, who was a young and fit landscape designer, aged about twenty seven, quietly spoke to Vanessa, “I’ve just finished reading this book, Freedom in Exile. It’s excellent. You should read it. His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso is really a man that harmonizes the word. He doesn’t falter. His Holiness is a wonderful leader. I like to be lead by such a holy man.”

“Yes, I quite agree. That’s wonderful. I will read that now,” Vanessa said without hesitation.

Then Vanessa looked with interest at a flyer stuck on the window of the Theosophical bookstore. It had an image of His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, looking wise and compassionate, advertising the 1992 tour to Australia of His Holiness. Christian said, “Oh great what is this?” The flyer announced that there were tickets on already on sale, and the public could, at their discretion, join as a benefactor to the tour, for $1000.00. Vanessa didn’t have much money at the time, but carefully and joyfully spoke up, “Christian, would you like to go halves with me and get two benefactor tickets to support the tour of His Holiness to Australia?”

Christian considered. “Alright then. Do you feel OK about that? We don’t have that much cash at the moment.”

Vanessa didn’t feel too concerned, rather inspired and uplifted. “Christian, I think it’s a good idea.” Vanessa started to memorize the phone number which indicated where to purchase the tickets for the tour. The flyer stated the contact details of Tara Institute, a Melbourne Buddhist Centre, and then after reading, Vanessa said to Christian, “I will go to this Buddhist Centre tomorrow and pick up the tickets. I can get to the bank in the morning.”

So, apart from having the good karma of supporting the cost of the Buddhist teaching tour of His Holiness to Australia, benefactors received two tickets to a number of events in their home city to learn about the Buddhist path.

Vanessa and Christian both consider this to be a wonderful way to learn from experts how to practice virtue the white actions of body, speech and mind, and how to abandon the cause of suffering, the black actions and the delusions which propel negative acts. These are the  delusions of ignorance, hatred and attachment, which must be cessated to enjoy the fruits of higher rebirth, liberation and enlightenment.

 

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2019.