I, (not inherently existent), twenty one years, born in Kapilavastu, from the tear of Chenrezig, my guru, supreme spiritual friend. I, mahayana babe, too lucky!

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Once upon a time there was a girl more intelligent than anyone else. Really; gosh, that’s unusual! Her name was Oceané, and she was born under a sal tree in Fawkner. Really, what, like the Buddha? Well, if the truth be told, she arrived a teeny weeny babe, that her mother gasped at, and said, “All that effort for that.”  This was actually at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, in Parkville Victoria, under the watchful eye of Lord Buddha, otherwise known as Glynn White, friend of Weary Dunlop and Frank Forster.

Her mother Grace, was a nurse, who happily, naturally enjoyed looking after the welfare of others. This is somewhat debatable, however.

After growing up a bit, from the age of about five years, there was Leeda, a guide friend, born to take care of the blind. We used to share cups of tea together, specially arranged with Oceane’s own formal tea ceremony. Much later a Buddhist temple was constructed nearby.

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 Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2020

https://www.dalailama.com/news/2020/leaving-bodhgaya-and-paying-a-short-visit-to-patna

 

 

 

Buddha Mind, Thoughts for the Day, Monday 29 November, 2004 – A Captain’s Logbook continued

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Moving right along.  Don’t seem to be too good at those daily entries. The year has really rolled on by. Today I’ve been considering social work as a career possibility.  There is an accelerated two year program at Monash which looks interesting.  Still there is more money in psychology apparently. Christian still favors psychology.

Just went for a swim this morning and then cooked lunch.  Have to try and get back into an earlier wake up routine. Last night I didn’t get to sleep till too late and then woke up late.  That is really annoying. The swim felt grand though, so maybe there is hope for me yet.

Verna sounded not so good today when I rang her. Health really is a day to day thing. This afternoon Debbie is giving me a massage. The massage really works wonders.  I am enjoying seeing her.  It is really very kind that she has offered to massage me.

Julia will be back in 9 days.

Today is hot outside.  The cricket is on.  Australia and New Zealand test series. Not much on Foxtel.

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Buddha Mind, Friday 13 August, 2004 (More from A Captain’s Logbook).

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Yesterday Geshe Doga said to Vanessa, “Money enough.” What does this mean? Well, on the positive side, maybe I won’t end up begging on the street, or isn’t this what many Buddhists are doing these days? How are Mahayana Buddhists doing well financially? If you put ethics first, you really need to work with a culture of people who value ethical conduct over materialistic, and selfish, or destructive motivations. Geshe Doga suggested “Computers?” Vanessa thought, OK and what about investigating science even further?

Buddhist science is way more advanced than western ideology (philosophy and psychology). Mind scientists study the mind. They, Mahayana Buddhists, study the heart, (meaning, the mind). Now, the mind has an interconnection with the brain and the other organs of the body, but it, the mind, is clear and knowing. Psychiatrists study the brain. Buddhists study the body, speech and mind.

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As a mind scientist and philosopher, the study of Lo Rig, Mind and Mental Factors, is essential to working out how to abandon negative states of mind, the six primary delusions and the secondary delusions, (see Alexander Berzin Archives). Buddhists must also focus on how to cultivate Bodhicitta; the bodhicitta motivation, aspiring to and engaging in the deeds of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, to progress along the path to the cessation of suffering and to eventually attain the cessation of suffering, liberation – (freedom from throwing karma, (meaning action)), and Buddhahood.

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2020

 

Commentary on the Simpsons – The problems with ordinary appearance and self grasping

In this episode, we look at how Bart is just so distraught because Homer and wifey wifey have decided to go out to some sort of gala event, and they have decided that Lisa is to babysit the children. So, Bart is just outraged and ready to play up. What’s the problem Bart? Samsara is just so annoying! Here we see the bane of meeting with what you do not want and being separated from what you like. The bane of moving from high to low over and over without choice. What’s up Bart’s nostril? Well, I’d say, wrong view.

So what exactly is wrong view, and how does it create sin and negativity, black seeds and negative instinct within the mind? Wrong view imputes inherent existence, it thinks, I inherently exist and so do you, etc. However, that is incorrect. All phenomena lack inherent existence, whilst cause and effect and dependent arising are unfailing. So, the person, the five aggregates are empty of inherent existence. The selflessness of person is that you understand, see and realise the emptiness of the self of person. The selflessness of phenomena is that you don’t grasp at things as being inherently existent in any way at all, you see the emptiness of all phenomena. Even emptiness is empty of inherent existence.

Bart looks at Lisa like she’s the problem in his life and Lisa is looking all good and ready to boss Bart around. What hell! The thing is Lisa is still suffering and also imputing wrong view, so Bart thinks, Lisa, you are no help and just go away and leave me in peace please. The ignorance of a self of person and phenomena is to blame for the misery portrayed and discussed in The Simpsons.

 

 

 

 

Buddha Mind, 3 February 2020

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I’m going to try and write about what happened in my retreat and how things got so difficult with my family.

I really need to begin at the beginning. What happened to me as a person, when I started to get to know Geshela and take the teachings at Tara House seriously.

This is a long story, so I will be patient, and try to show what happened to Vanessa and her family, once I developed the bodhicitta mind aspiring to and engaging on the path to the cessation of suffering, to achieve the cessation of suffering, Buddhahood.

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It will take me some time to explain, but I will take it step by step and see what develops.

One of the qualities that attracted Vanessa to Christian way back when Vanessa was twenty-one years of age, and first getting to know Christian, was that Christian was not like all the other Aussie Larrikins that Vanessa knew at the time. Many of the young men Vanessa knew at that time were interested in the football culture and keen on a beer. Vanessa isn’t critical of a friendly, harmonious get together, but non-virtue is no good for anyone.

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2020

The magic of ultimate bodhicitta; the mind aspiring to and engaging in the path to buddhahood with the wisdom realising emptiness.

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For those of you interested in the great vehicle of mahayana buddhism, here are some inspiring soundtracks from this period in movie history.

Vanessa remembers watching this movie Rocky when she was probably about seven or eight years of age. So many if not all would agree it’s a terrific theme song, but if you lack the bodhicitta motivation, the mind aspiring to and engaging in the path to buddhahood, you are really just lost in the tragedy of samsara.

 

 

The Glory of Love is also inspiring as a soundtrack, but you can never go past the need to practice authentic Guru devotion when traversing the path to the cessation of suffering. What we need to do is to recognise the four noble truths; the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the cessation of suffering and the truth of the path to the cessation of suffering. We also need to understand and realise conventional and ultimate truth; the two truths.

In 1986, Vanessa was seventeen and going through much angst and worry as she experienced betrayal during her final year of school. Many years of hardship would follow, as Vanessa battled to seek out and master the path to Buddhahood, for the benefit of all sentient beings. Utterly disgusted by the pain and suffering of the world around, Vanessa began to investigate the causes of her daily trial and how to cessate the causes of samsara, such as the bane of uncertainty and meeting with what we do not want whilst being separated from what we like and need. This is highlighted by such sufferings of the threat of invasion by a wicked regime like China, that is so worldly, so atheist and  so thoroughly backward and selfish. Learning how to battle skilfully, compassionately in a renounced way the true causes of suffering; hatred, ignorance, and attachment is a very meaningful and necessary alternative and also the only viable solution to revolving in a tired and wandering way along the path of conditioned existence.

 

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What is wrong with the Mental Health Care System in Australia

Seventeen years ago, my mother lied to the mental health care service. My mother wrongly accused me of threatening her with a knife. No such incident occurred. Indeed no thought of threatening my mother ever occurred to me. My mother offered to act as a benefactor to assist me as a practicing Buddhist. My mother, Anne, said she was very happy to support my Buddhist practice. The thing was, when it came to paying the bill, however, she acted with malice and jealousy and lied about things to try and get out of supporting me financially.

I study the mind. I am a well studied Buddhist. Here is something of a list of my qualifications. (taken from my curriculum vitae posted on bodhicittamind.com and emptinessmind.com.)

As I have studied Buddhist philosophy and the science of mind and meditation for over twenty years, I feel this puts me in an excellent position to give well intentioned and meaningful advice to others on how to achieve a state of health and inner peace. Following is a list of just some of the courses, teachings, commentaries and Initiations I have studied and completed in Buddhist philosophy.

  • Venerable Geshe Doga’s Lam Rim Commentary held on Tuesday nights which lasted many years. In fact, I didn’t miss a single class in 11 years of attending Study Group and the only reason that record was broken was that I simply became too sick to continue.
  • Venerable Geshe Doga’s Commentary on Shantideva’s Guide to a Bodhisattva’s Way of Life on Wednesday nights over a similar period of time.
  • Venerable Geshe Doga’s Commentary on the Wheel of Sharp Weapons(over several years)
  • Gained precious insights into emptiness, learning how to penetrate reality through meditation on emptiness, attending The Penetrating Reality Course,September, 1992.
  • Attended Venerable Geshe Doga’s Thirty-five Buddhas Commentary,1992
  • Studied The Jewel Rosary of an Awakening Warrior at a weekend Course, taught by Venerable Geshe Doga, Easter, 1993
  • Attended Venerable Geshe Doga’s Commentary on understanding the differences between love and attachment, May 1993 and July, 1997.
  • Learnt about the Seven-point Thought Transformation Technique in a weekend retreat held in 1993 and in July, 1997.
  • Completed the Vajrasattva Commentary in July, 1993 and again in September 1995, September, 1997 and September 2000.
  • Learnt how to cut though and overcome anger in May, 1994 and August, 1998.
  • Attended a talk Geshe Doga gave to the Healing Group, July, 1994.
  • Received the Commentary on the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation, in July, 1994, then again in August 1994 and May 1997.
  • Completed the Heart Sutra Commentary, October, 1994
  • Received the oral transmission of the Thirty-seven Practices of a Bodhisattva Commentary during May, 1995 and again in August of the same year and in April, 1999.
  • Studied how to develop patience in June, 1995.
  • Learnt about how to develop single-pointed concentration in October, 1995.
  • Studied the Four Noble Truths twice, once in April, 1998.
  • Completed the Taking Refuge Course held at Tara, in May, 1996 and in July 1998.
  • Received the commentary on The Three Principle Paths in May, 1996 and in April 2000.
  • Received the commentary on How to Develop Bodhicitta, in June, 1996.
  • Learnt all about Karma and how it functions, in July, 1996 and in October 1998.
  • Learnt about how to overcome Compassion Fatigue some time in 1996.
  • Completed the commentary on The Jewel Rosary of an Awakening Warrior in March, 1997.
  • Received the Commentary on the Four Immeasurable Thoughts twice, once in June 1997.
  • Learnt about How to Develop Compassion in October, 1997.
  • Received Geshe Doga’s commentary on the Foundation of all Good Qualities in April, 1998.
  • Received the Commentary on The Two Truths in June, 1998.
  • Learnt how to meditate on death and impermanence in September, 1998.
  • Received the Commentary on Developing Loving Kindness in November, 1998.
  • Studied about How to Meditate in February, 1999.
  • Learnt about How to be Happy in March, 1999.
  • Received the commentary on Developing Calm Abiding in April, 1999.
  • Studied the Seven-fold Cause and Effect in May, 1999.
  • Received the commentary on the Eight Mahayana Precepts in October, 1999.
  • Studied How to Develop Special Insight through the practice of emptiness in May, 2000.
  • Received the commentary on the Six Session Guru Yoga in July, 2000.
  • Attended the Six Yogas of Naropa Commentary in November, 2000.
  • Studied How to Develop Mindfulness and Alertness in June, 2000.
  • Attended the Tenets Teaching throughout 2001.
  • Attended the Lam Rim Condensed teachings in 2007.
  • Received the commentary on Aryadeva’s Four Hundred Verses, sometime in 2007.
  • Received the White Tara Initiation annually from 1992 – 2006.
  • Received the Green Tara Initiation in 2007 and several times prior to that.
  • Receive the 1000 Arm Chenrezig Initiation conferred by Ribur Rinpoche
  • Received the Vajrayogini Initiation (several times)
  • Received Manjushri, Chenrezig, Vajrasattva, and Medicine Buddha word empowerment from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
  • Received Om Mani Padme Hum empowerment from His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Parliament House Canberra 1997
  • Received commentary on Shantideva’s A Guide to the Bodhisattvas Way of Life in Bodhgaya from His Holiness the Dalai Lama
  • Received White Tara Long Life empowerment form His Holiness the Dalai Lama Bodhgaya 2002, Sydney 1997, Geelong 2002
  • Received the Heruka Initiation from Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche at Atisha Centre, Bendigo
  • Received Yellow Manjushri Initiation from the Venerable Geshe Doga 2003
  • Did 25 weekend Nyung Nae fasting retreats on compassion, averaging 3 a year for seven or eight years from 1992 onwards.
  • Yamantaka Retreat Blue Mountains, 2015 with HHDL.

 

When I was falsely arrested by the police, I told the police they had been lied to. There was no checking of the source of the information they received. My mother lied, saying I threatened her with a knife, but no such event ever took place. Then the police didn’t check for validity. They didn’t realize my mother lied, that she is quite ill with delusion. The hospital refused to validate things either.

The mental health care system says it represents people on issues to do with the brain and the central nervous system. But the brain is not the mind. The psychiatrist doesn’t even study the mind. It studies the brain and the central nervous system. The mind has a subtle connection to the brain and the body. The body is the Om which is located at the crown, the speech is the Ah, located at the throat, and the mind is the HUM at the heart.

The mind rides on subtle wind within the channels and the chakras. There are six chakras and three channels. The right channel is white, the left channel is red and the central channel is blue. I study the mind and mind science. The mind is clear and knowing. I have been studying with Namgyal Monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet and Sera Jey Monastic University for 27 years, once completing a business degree at Monash University. I have also studied psychology at both Monash University and Melbourne University.

The mental health system does not study the mind, only grosser phenomena. The psychiatrist for the most part is not a practicing Buddhist. It is not goverened by a study of ethics the way the mind scientist is. Mind scientists study compassion and wisdom. They are goverened and led by a meticulous study of the three higher trainings of ethics, concentration and wisdom, the vinaya, the abhidharma and sutra, (the word of the Buddha). Then the bodhisattva studies the six or ten perfections. These aetheist psychiatrists have no such wisdom or knowledge, and no standard in reporting accurately without lying and making up nonsense. They are both unethical and incomplete. The psychiatrist is corrupt because it doesn’t practice ethics, and it is unreliable because it’s not a Buddhist. It lacks discriminating wisdom, because it does not rely up refuge in the Three Jewels, and it does not seek liberation from cyclic existence or enlightenment. The psychiatrist is an ordinary sentient being, afflicted by ego and delusions and lies to obtain it’s position within the government and society.

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2019

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Nights in the Moon Lily Garden – Chapter Eight

Death of All That Is Familiar

After spending the weekend at one of my friend’s houses, Mother realized things needed to change quickly if there was to be any hope of averting a complete disaster from taking place the following year, my final year at school. Taking me to a coffee shop after school, she did her best to address the dysfunction that had all but entrenched itself into our family unit.

“Darling,” she said as we sat down in a quaint little coffee shop. “I have something to tell you that I think will really make you happy.”

I looked at her with hope in my eyes, but not without a certain level of naivety and innocence.

“What is it Mum,” I asked hopefully.

Reaching over, she held my hand before continuing, “I’ve been thinking very seriously about everything you have said to me. I realize you feel I have not been working hard enough to ensure we all continue in our abilities to live happily and comfortably together. I am sorry if you feel I have let you down.”

I stared back at her, a little surprised by her confession.

My mother continued to speak. “I have found a nice flat near school which we will start renting in a few weeks. I intend to leave your father now and to get a divorce. You will have to help me, Oceané, with the move. I have arranged for some removalists to come, but I am worried about what will happen when your father finds out.”

“He doesn’t have to find out Mum,” I replied full of determination.

“What do you mean, Oceané? Once I tell him we are leaving, all hell will break loose.”

I leaned forward, full of insistence. “Mum, you’re not going to tell him. We will move out in secret. You will arrange to have the removalists come on a night when you know he will be staying at Francesca’s (his mistress). If the truck comes close to midnight, we will have enough time to get all our belongings and the furniture out of the house. That is the only way it will work Mum. There is no point tackling Dad head on. You will only walk away the loser from such a fight.”

“I hadn’t thought of that,” said my mother looking a little worried. “Do you really think such a plan will work?”

“Of course it will,” I said confidently.” But you can’t tell anyone. Not even Lucy. She is too young and may inadvertently spill the beans to Dad. This is our secret. I will help you, but you must promise not to say anything to Dad or anyone else.”

My mother hesitated. I squeezed her hand tightly in mine.

“This is not a time for fear Mum. You must be strong, for all of our sakes. I will write a letter to Dad and explain our reasons for leaving. I will leave it for him to read once we have left. No one can reason with him at the moment. The time for discussion is over. You need to be clear and resolute in your planning and thinking, and to break yourself out of this rut we have all fallen into.”

As we drank our coffee, the conversation continued as we planned the coming move together. I had my doubts about Mum’s ability to stick to this plan, but remained hopeful that she would realize taking on Dad in a headlong confrontation would only result in her being more victimized than ever.

Feeling a small sense of hope, I felt that perhaps our situation would improve after all, now that my mother had agreed to a plan for change. I felt my duty lay with doing all that I could to help her stick to the plan and avoid caving in at the last minute. It seemed like a tall order at the time, but I had a renewed sense of vigor and determination to ensure that we moved away quietly from Dad and avoided any more nasty confrontations.

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2019

 

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Nights in the Moon Lily Garden – Chapter Seven

I am So Sad I Am Unable To Study

December, 1985

On an overcast Sunday afternoon, Oceané sat in her bedroom reading and trying to focus on her studies when she heard her parents starting to argue. Her exams were only a week away, and yet she had to endure daily disruptions to her studies as tensions reached breaking point in the house. Both her parents had continued to argue on a daily basis, which always climaxed with screams and shouts. As she sat listening to the argument intensify, she wondered how she would ever create the conditions conducive to achieving a set of good exam results. A few moments later, Oceané realized Lucy was standing in the hallway, trying to follow the argument between their two parents.

“Lucy,” Oceané whispered. “Come in here and sit with me. It is better not to get involved.”

“Leave me alone,” snapped Lucy ferociously, not comprehending the damage that would result from getting involved in an argument she didn’t understand. “I want to be with Mum,” she hissed, before running to join her mother.

Oceané sighed with frustration and returned to her desk, gazing out of the window as she tried to block out the tension and distress arising from her parents’ heated attacks. Her eyes returned to the page she had been studying, but her heart was empty and desolate. Every year close to exam time, the arguments between her parents would increase in intensity and frequency. With the house full of tension and distress, Oceané found it impossible to concentrate in such a fractured environment.

As she sat in her chair trying to concentrate, she could feel herself getting inextricably caught up in the daily drama and tension of her parents failing marriage and gradually, her enthusiasm to study and memorize the material in front of her eroded away. Grace, Edward and Lucy were all ignorant of the absolutely damaging effects of their own ignorance, attachment and hatred. Unable to settle their disputes in a quiet and reasonable manner, daily fights and arguments were the norm, creating an unhappy and deeply disturbing environment for all concerned.

Edward had been having affairs with various women for many years, and all the ensuing unhappiness surrounding that had worn away at Grace’s health, leaving her in a state that could only be described something very close to death.  Unable to see a clear path forward, nor a happy future, Oceané’s heart sank in despair. Although she knew both parents expected the best from her, Oceané struggled to find a path to inner peace and happiness.

As the screaming continued, Oceané found that she too became focused upon the content of her parents’ argument.

“I want a divorce,” cried Grace.

“You can have your f…king divorce,” Edward replied. “Take your two children and get the hell out of my life.”

“Aren’t you forgetting they are also your children?” Grace demanded.

“I don’t give a stuff about the children. You turned them away from me a long time ago.”

“Your alcoholic habits are the cause for all the damage,” Grace replied bitterly.

“Fuck you,” he screamed. “Get the hell out of my house!”

“This is my house,” cried Grace.

“Not any more it isn’t. I got you to sign over the assets that were in your name when you were too f…king weak and stupid to know what you were doing.”

Oceané jumped from her seat. Realizing Edward had gone too far, she ran down the hallway to the living room and into the maelstrom unfolding all around her.

“What the hell is going on?’ Oceané cried. “Have you both gone completely mad? I am trying to study and you are not giving me a single chance to get anything done with this constant screaming and fighting. My exams are next week, and I can’t concentrate with you both at each other’s throats. I really can’t stand it anymore Dad. You’re threatening to take away our home and run off with that horrible tart who is only trying to take you for all your money, and yet you still demand high results from me despite the fact there is mayhem all around.”

“And what about you, Mum? Can’t you just try to ignore his attacks and not respond to his attempts to provoke you?”

“Oh, he is doing far more than that, Oceané. He has already emptied the family trust of the money that was set aside for you and Lucy’s future. His aim is to leave us with nothing.”

“You got what you deserve,” barked Edward.

“Stop it,” cried Oceané. “Do you want me to end it all now?” she cried as she picked up a large knife that lay on the kitchen table. “I have had enough. This fighting has been going on for years and years. I don’t have a hope of being able to focus clearly with this hell going on around me and a family disintegrating before my very eyes. Can’t you see how selfish you both are being? Why do you always ramp up the fights right around the time of my exams? Are you purposely trying to put me off my studies?”

“Oceané, put the knife down,” cried Grace in an empty and dispassionate tone of voice.

“Why? Why should I behave responsibly when you two are going crazy and refusing to sort things out in a calm and civilized manner? I’ll withdraw this threat when you bring some peace and stability back into our lives. Otherwise, there is no point hanging around. I can’t bear to hear this day after day, year after year. You do this to me every time I have work to do and need some peace and quiet. You expect me to be responsible? Well how about setting a better example for your children to follow?”

“See what you’ve done, Edward?” cried Grace.

“Don’t blame me, you f..cking stupid bitch,” he thundered, while reaching for another glass of scotch.

Oceané looked at them both in despair. “Well, I can see neither of you have any intention of changing,” said Oceané as she slammed down the knife in disgust and burst into tears. “I’m leaving,” she said, before running back to her room.

Crying and sobbing, Oceané blindly grabbed her small canvas wallet, checking through the wall of tears streaming from her eyes to see if she had enough money for a train ride to the other side of town. She grabbed her school bag and some clothes before running to the front door, just as her mother appeared behind her.

“Wait, Oceané, wait! Where are you going? Don’t leave me here on my own.”

“What is the point of staying Mum?” Oceané sobbed, gasping for breath as her sobbing became more uncontrolled. “You will never get it together with Dad. I can’t live with this aggressive arguing and abuse anymore. How can I work and be happy with both of you tearing each other to pieces day after day? You need to leave him Mum,” Oceané continued, “or you won’t have anything left of your life to save. He is going to take us all to the cleaners and he doesn’t mind if he buries you along the way. Look at yourself. You’re a nervous wreck and you’re health won’t hold up much longer under these conditions.” She focused intently on her mother’s eyes to see if her message was getting through.  “It’s over Mum. We have to get out while we can. He doesn’t care about us anymore. He only wants to live with that horrible home wrecker he is now hitched up with. So please, let’s go while we still have a chance.”

There was a moment’s silence as Oceané and Grace stood looking at each other, with Oceané wondering if her mother had fully realized that the end had indeed come for their life together as a family. Their life together could be characterized as deeply turbulent, and materially focused, with no insights or understanding whatsoever into their true spiritual potential and innate abilities to each achieve deep states of inner peace, happiness and freedom.

“I am going to stay with some friends for a few days,” Oceané continued. “I need to get out of this horrible atmosphere. I have exams to focus on Mum. Can’t you see it is impossible to work here under these conditions?”

“Where are you going to stay, Oceané? Please don’t leave.”

“I don’t know where I’m going,” Oceané cried helplessly. My friends don’t really care about me either. They are only interested in distracting me too, and making sure we make life at school just a place for games and fun, rather than using the opportunity we have to actually learn something useful. I will go somewhere that’s a bit more peaceful and harmonious than here, so I can find somewhere to relax.”

Turning away, she walked down the pathway towards the street. Oceané knew her plan was flawed and perhaps a pathetic means of finding a solution, but she wanted to make a point. Feeling as though she couldn’t bear to be in her parents company for a moment longer, she walked towards a train that was already waiting at the station. Although she knew she had nowhere stable to go, and no refuge or means to secure real freedom from the miserable state she found herself in, she continued to walk away from her family home, towards a cold and desolate world, which in reality was no different from the unhappiness she was trying to leave behind. A bitter wind cut through her bones and bit at her nose and ears. Everything appeared totally lifeless and grey, as though she was surrounded by a sea full of desolate concrete and steel, with nothing to protect her from the pain in her heart, or from the acute and dark well of suffering and despair.

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2019

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Nights in the Moon Lily Garden – Chapter Six

Mayhem and Misery – Catastrophic Suffering

Ignorance breeds confusion.

When you lack discipline and a proper understanding of ethics, or turn away from the dharma, from the types of mental states and actions that hold one back from suffering, only disappointment and unhappiness, degradation and mayhem will follow.

To raise a child without a deep grounding in the dharma can only be described as absolutely stupid. Forget what the world thinks. Worldly attitudes are born from a lack of understanding and knowledge. What the world rates as important is often based upon some egotistical and false view of the self, of I and mine.

I remember when I was just about to finish school, looking upon the adult world with a deep feeling of hopelessness. All the people my parents held in high regard appeared to be caught in a vicious cycle of misery. Even though they had attained some wealth and worldly status, not even doctors from the western world appeared to have all the answers to the pervasive type of suffering we were all immersed in. When your parents suffer a brutal failure in their marital relationship, when you are surrounded by people who are only interested in bullying the smartest at school into a state of submission and decline, when there is a lack of adequate role models for the young and the worldly blindly chase after material gains as though it’s the only solution to all of life’s problems, confusion takes hold causing wreckage and an enormous degree of emotional and physical suffering. Without the sword of wisdom to guide one through failure and disintegration of all that is familiar, one is truly as helpless and directionless as a dead leaf blown violently by the winds of change, uncertainty and darkness.

Although I was a straight A student throughout all my years of school, when it came to my final HSC exams, instead of blitzing all the subjects in the manner I had done in the past, I only achieved an average set of results. I didn’t even bother studying in the last week of swat vac. I went out and partied with friends who had already completed their exams.

I’m not proud of that, even though I did still manage to get into a course I was actually well suited to at university. However, the problem was, I fell into an unhappy cycle of regret, having been used to getting near perfect results in every subject. As I have said, a lot can be gained from having a high degree of intelligence, but without a proper understanding and realization of the dharma, of wisdom and compassion, you are still at the mercy of karma and delusions. This means that suffering will continue unless you actually cut the root of suffering itself. The root of suffering comes in the form of a false view of I, of self and of phenomena. Until one fully realizes that all phenomena lack inherent existence and one is able to let go of all negative emotions, one will remain like a bucket travelling up and down in a well, without the proper means to escape the cycle of existence.

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2019

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Nights in the Moon Lily Garden – Chapter Five

Grasping At A Self Of Person

Running, terrified. Am I in hell? I told my parents to get a divorce, to sell their holiday house and farm. Now I have no money, no prospects. All signs of sanity have gone. This is what happened in 1986.

It’s a very sad and sobering aspect of my life that I must acknowledge the cruel and unbalanced way in which I have commonly been treated by both my mother and sister. However, to distort the facts and to try and gloss over some of the most painful events of my life would not only be dishonest, but in a way an act of almost acknowledging that abusive behavior, and harmful mental patterns are in some way acceptable, when clearly, they are not, no matter who they are coming from or directed towards.

It is the case that both my mother Grace, and sister Lucy have both convinced themselves absolutely that they are totally within their rights to act in a continuously deceptive, dishonest and profoundly harmful way towards me, simply because I am a daughter and sister. They have both decided that because I am a close relative, that leaves the door wide open for them to do whatever they can to destroy whatever amount of happiness I manage to create.

As far as they are concerned, once they act to destroy the happiness I may create, in the form of a friendship with others, for example, they have no hesitation in covering up their harmful actions by simply lying to others, and distorting the facts about what really took place.

To their minds, when something degenerates into a he said, she said situation, they are confident that the ignorance in humans in general, will do its job in confusing their listeners enough so they are unable to discern just who did the wrong thing in the first place. Therefore, their acts of aggression, hatred, jealousy and greed go unrecognized by the majority, creating a free environment for them to continue on in their efforts to isolate me from the rest of the world and to ensure that their abuse has the most destructive impact and effect.

There was a time, during my HSC year, after I had managed to befriend many of the girls who once used to bully me because I was a high achieving student that I would be regularly asked to stay over at a school friends’ house on a Saturday night. We would usually go to some party, or perhaps just gather a group of friends to watch a video together, as most young people enjoy doing.

On this particular Saturday, I was asked to stay over at Sarah’s house, and my mother agreed that this would be OK. I said I would spend the Sunday morning doing some homework at Sarah’s house, before returning home after lunch to continue on with my studies. As this was the arrangement, I left feeling happy that I could avoid being part of the tense and stressed environment that constantly pervaded my time at home with my mother and sister. Mother was now firmly entrenched in the pattern of breaking down in tears on a regular basis and had the habit of criticizing me for any manner of things, simply because she was buckling under the pressure of her impending divorce with father.

On this occasion, I had a reasonably settled time away, and the next day, on the Sunday, just after lunch, there was a phone call at Sarah’s house. Sarah answered the phone and soon informed me that Mrs. Wong, the mother of another friend of mine at school, wanted to speak to me. I answered the phone, a little curious as to why she would be calling.

Mrs. Wong, “how are you,” I said.

“Listen to me, you disgraceful child,” seethed Mrs. Wong on the other end of the phone.

“How dare you run away for the night without informing your mother of your intention to leave. You have made her worried sick. She has been on the phone crying hysterically to me all morning. What sort of a daughter are you, that you could do such a thing to your mother?”

I was aghast. “But Mrs. Wong, I told Mum yesterday I was staying at Sarah’s. She agreed that it was OK for me to do this. She knew I wasn’t coming home til after lunch today.”

“Don’t lie to me,” screamed Mrs. Wong. “You get yourself home immediately young girl. I never want to hear of you doing such a thing like this to your mother again.”

“But I’m not lying,” I cried, now on the verge of tears myself. “I told mother what I was doing, I promise.” I was so shocked by the anger Mrs. Wong was directing towards me, a feeling of having the wind knocked out of me soon prevailed.

Mrs. Wong snapped. “I can’t believe you are now trying to lie about this, Oceané.”

Mrs. Wong refused to accept my version of events, and I quickly realized that mother had managed to convince her of my guilt, even though the reality was that I had done everything I was supposed to do as a responsible daughter in this situation.

I got off the phone. I turned to face Sarah, but my heart sank further into despair as I immediately saw that she too had been sucked in by the drama. Glaring at me with a rising temper, she said. “You’d better get yourself home, Oceané. I can’t believe what you have done.”

Shocked by the rapid change in atmosphere, I looked upon Sarah in disbelief, sickened, feeling totally isolated and confused.

“How can you believe that I would do such a thing,” I responded, the words barely audible as they passed through my lips. “I am telling you all the truth. It is mother who for whatever reason doesn’t appear to remember or want to acknowledge what really happened. She is very confused at the moment because of the divorce. Didn’t you know since her nervous breakdown she rarely makes any sense?”

“Just go,” snapped Sarah with blind irrationality. “Go and get your bags and get yourself home before any more damage is done.”

I left knowing full well that things were only going to get much, much worse for me once I arrived home. There, I knew I would be greeted by a mentally unbalanced and aggressive mother, and an equally unbalanced and jealous sister, whose only interest would be to further deepen the divide between me, my friends and whatever fragment of a family that remained, further intensifying the heartache and pain, and virtually destroying any opportunity for reconciliation and peace.

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2019

 

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