During my travels around western NSW last January with Chris from Central West Buddhists, we firstly visited Molong and Orange, then we stopped at Wellington, which was halfway to my final destination of Dubbo.
Wellngton is the home of Tharpa Choeling Australia, also known as the Wellington Buddhist Centre. The three nuns and one monk who live there have created a spiritual oasis of calm and peace in an unlikely spot along the highway in this small regional town. The feeling of sanctuary extends beyond the buildings to the lush green gardens surrounding the centre.
We were welcomed by the venerables to share a meal and help one of the residents, Venerable Choden, celebrate her birthday with some cake and good cheer. It was wonderful to get to know some monastics from a different tradition to mine and learn about their work in the community, which includes helping out with donations for local charities.
Afterwards, we were given a tour of the centre, seeing the spacious meditation hall where the monastics teach yoga, meditation and Dhamma to the locals. We also toured the extensive garden, getting lost amid the winding paths and luscious foliage. A highlight was an old train carriage which has been converted into a garden room, filled with plants, prayer flags and paper origami cranes. A serene place to sit and relax!
It was very inspiring to meet with the dedicated spiritual practitioners of Tharpa Choeling and be welcomed so warmly. It was truly heartening to see the Buddha’s teachings flourishing even in this remote rural location and that they are doing so much good for the community.