…aahhh no. Not really. But sort of!
A small group of Mount Colah Mount Kuring Gai Venturers and Berowra Venturers spent a day at Wat Buddha Damma, which is a Buddhist monastery, deep in the bush in northern Sydney. This retreat is 15kms north of Wisemans Ferry, and offers a glimpse at the lives of two Buddhist monks who live there.
It’s quite a long and dusty drive out there (sorry James – I was in front!), but the dirt track goes through some beautiful untouched scenery, up amongst the hills!
On arrival, we were shown around the large property, which is surrounded by national parks. After a walk of about 15 minutes, with a monk chatting along side us, we came to a “sala” or meditation hall. We were given a brief talk about some basic principles of Buddhism.
We then went back to the main kitchen area, and offered food to the monks and received a blessing before we ate our own food. I think it was mainly vego, but everyone thought it was pretty good!
Then we had a few hours of helping out the monks. We helped them dig trenches to lay poly pipe that directs water to the monks little huts in the forest that they use fore meditating. The monks aren’t allowed to dig the earth, as they may accidentally kill a living being. So, we helped them out.
After that, we cleaned up and went to a talk in the sala. The talk consisted of principles of Buddhism, and also included a short (15 minute!!) meditation. Try not doing anything for 15 minutes – it’s along time! The Venturers seemed to get it though! We then went for a quick stroll and looked at a bodhi tree, which is a tree that is sacred to Buddhism.
All up, it was a very interesting day for our Venturers. These monks live a very secluded life, yet seem very content with their lot. We’ll go there again if anyone is keen!