Gen Kel­sang Dawa

Dubbo Photo News - - News - – In­ter­view & photo by Darcee Nixon

I am a Kadampa Bud­dhist Monk,

based at the Khe­drubje Cen­tre on the Cen­tral Coast

I give talks on Bud­dhism and med­i­ta­tion once a month in Dubbo. It used to be less

reg­u­lar, but we had so many re­quests we now hold a monthly class at Western Plains Cul­tural Cen­tre. We were run­ning a day class, but we have moved to an evening slot and the num­bers are just in­cred­i­ble now – with some­times 60 peo­ple com­ing.

In each talk, I guide peo­ple through med­i­ta­tion and then teach them med­i­ta­tion

tech­niques to over­come stress. My hope is they can get a di­rect ex­pe­ri­ence of hav­ing a peace­ful mind – which is quite easy to de­velop, but quite dif­fi­cult to keep.

As a re­sult, not many peo­ple have what Bud­dhists call ‘in­ner peace’, which is a

shame, be­cause it is so easy to de­velop. That’s what Bud­dhism is all about.

I’ll give prac­ti­cal ad­vice on re­main­ing pa­tient in dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions, such as a

re­la­tion­ship at work, or with a fam­ily mem­ber – how to view them in the best way pos­si­ble, even if their be­hav­iour is in­ap­pro­pri­ate. It’s about un­der­stand­ing that if your mind is peace­ful, if you have to say some­thing to them, what comes out is a lot more con­struc­tive than if you were an­gry. So it is all very re­lat­able.

I was raised a Catholic,

then when I was a teenager I started to read about Bud­dhism and med­i­ta­tion and started to de­velop an in­ter­est. Pro­fes­sion­ally I was a chef. I’d lived in the Whit­sun­days in an is­land com­mu­nity and I re­ally en­joyed liv­ing in a big group. I wanted to ex­pe­ri­ence com­mu­nity in a spir­i­tual con­text, so I moved into a Bud­dhist Cen­tre. I knew noth­ing, apart from what I’d read. I hadn’t even been to a med­i­ta­tion class be­fore.

The big­gest re­ward for me from my teach­ing is see­ing the pos­i­tive change in peo­ple.

Peo­ple want to learn how to de­stress and how to re­duce their anx­i­ety. I ap­pre­ci­ate that not ev­ery­body wants to fol­low the Bud­dhist path, but if I can ex­plain it in a prac­ti­cal way, then peo­ple can ap­pre­ci­ate that there is some­thing there for them.

I used to be in the yoga stu­dio on the main strip (Mac­quarie Street, Dubbo). The lady

that ran the yoga stu­dio at that time came here 20 years ago, and peo­ple thought she was lead­ing a cult. Yoga was that for­eign to peo­ple! I think things have changed a lot since then!

What I am hop­ing to achieve here in Dubbo is a med­i­ta­tion cen­tre, so that the

classes that are monthly can be­come weekly.

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