So what is it that’s going on in Coogee? Are we a Buddhist centre? Are we an outreach group from the Sydney Centre? Or are we something else? What I can tell you is that there is a wonderful sangha emerging after more than three years of running weekly meditation and Dharma study at the picturesque Coogee Croquet Club. And I can also tell you that Jayakula, the six person community just up the road is thriving.
Padmadakini and I started things off by offering Thursday night meditation and over time we added a Sunday morning sit and a bi-weekly Dharma study. I’m going to be bold and say that this is the germinal stages of The Coogee Buddhist Centre as it is my aspiration that the momentum we’ve established grows toward our own dedicated premises offering a wide range of ways people in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs can participate in and engage with the precious teachings of the Buddha.
We’ve just had our third retreat. We’ve had full moon pujas on the Coogee Headland and our first round of mitra requests. On an average Thursday night (if there is such a thing) we have anywhere between ten and twenty-five people doing mindfulness of breathing or metta. In the studies we’ve covered, amongst other things, ‘Life with Full Attention’ and ‘The Journey and the Guide’ by Maitreyabandhu, ‘Who is the Buddha?’ by Bhante and a variety of talks also by Sangharakshita; currently we’re studying ‘This Being That Becomes by Dhivan.
As previously mentioned, around the corner and up the hill on Brook Street is Jayakula; our vihara or community. I live there along with five other fellas enjoying and being challenged by the delights and rigours of community life that draws on the Buddhist precepts as guiding principles. Meditation happens at 6 am daily and each Wednesday we prepare a meal together and share a community evening. Of course these are only some of the regular check-in points of our community and much of the richness evolves out of the day-to-day experience of living together under a common roof.
The beautiful thing to me has been witnessing the growth of our friendship and capacity to communicate skilfully through challenges; ah the blessings of the spiritual life! So if any of you fellas out there are interested in living communally, feel free to communicate your interest to me and we’d love to see any of the Sydney sangha at both the Coogee Croquet Club and Jayakula. Order Members are warmly invited to book in to lead meditations and any interest taken by any of you will be warmly received. Those who have been involved with Triratna in Sydney for a long period of time will know that the Sydney Buddhist Centre was housed in a women’s community in Dolphin Street Coogee for a number of years before we moved across to Newtown and so you could think of our current activities as a sort of ‘home-coming’. May the Dharma take root all over this wonderful city of ours!