(Steve Irwin Accent)
“AUSSIE! AUSSIE! AUSSIE! AUSSIE!……….AUSSIE! AUSSIE! AUSSIE!”
First week in Australia was CRIKEY! The stoke levels of the group were off the charts heading into this next leg of our journey. We could feel the energy of the outback coursing through our veins obsessing over the dangerous and gnarly environment in our near future. Upon our arrival in Brisbane we stayed our first night at the BBR (Brisbane Backpackers Resort). The place was filled with fun things to do such as a pool with a hot tub, and basketball. But the best part was the very short walk to an amazing boardwalk along the river flowing through Brisbane. The group split up to grab lunch and kill some time at the public pool/artificial beach and playgrounds near the water. We all assembled back at the hostel for a life story (a time our group members share details about their lives) and a relaxing evening. Our first taste of Brisbane was great but we had to keep moving onto our next destination.
The next morning we packed up and made our way onto a train taking us north to Eudlo, Australia. Our navigation crew did a stellar job of managing our tickets and train transfers for a quick and easy transition. Upon our arrival we were met with some very nice folks from Chrenrezig Institute named Kieren, Sunni, and Jenny. The three of them would take us to our Buddhist retreat where we would spend our next few days. Driving through the winding roads of forest we arrived at the amazingly beautiful Chenrezig Institute. It was truly breath taking as the entire place sits on top of a giant hill with all of the accommodations, eating areas, and places of worship intertwined in a very cohesive way. Lining the roads and pathways were beautiful lights and prayer flags giving the place a magical feel. Before settling into our rooms Kieren gave us the run down of how the place works and we all felt at home. Meals were on a very timely schedule with dinner being ready at 5:30pm every night. That first meal we had a delicious vegan cream of broccoli soup which would be the trend for the rest of the dinners. Oh, also all the meals were vegetarian! The idea of eating all vegetarian food for an entire week was very daunting for most, but we were all pleasantly surprised to find that chef Rob was on our side. Throughout the entire time we were spoiled with amazing lunches that consisted of stir fry, potatoes, pumpkin, Dahl with rice, and salads that all took out taste buds on a rollercoaster of Enlightenment!
Which brings us to our next chapter of learning the Buddha ways from a true Buddha Masta. The next morning we ate breakfast and got ready for our first session with an amazing lady by the name of Venreble Tsultrim. Tsultrim would go on to expand our minds about life and what it means to be a good person. Twice a day we would meet at the “Gompa” which is a big room of worship where everybody goes to practice Buddhism and meditate. We learned all about Enlightenment and the steps it takes to achieve it. Not an easy task. The teachings Buddhism goes so in depth that it would take a life time to obtain all of the ideas. Which many Buddhas dedicate their lives to doing. But during our time we were able to soak up as much knowledge as we could. A big part of learning and understanding Buddhism is being able to meditate. The first thing Tsultrim instilled in us was how to meditate correctly and the different types that you can practice. The group found that meditating is not an easy task but can be very beneficial for the mind, body, and spirit. Another very interesting part of Chenrezig was the Garden of Enlightenment. This was a place on the reservation where people would go to meditate and be in peace. One day during our stay we did a day of silence. This meant that we were not able to speak at all for 24 hours. It was quite difficult for some but also beneficial for those who took part in it. Overall our stay at Chenrezig was amazing for so many reasons. We took the train back to Brisbane to stay a couple nights there before heading north to Cains. Some stopped at the Australian Zoo, created by the one and only Steve Irwin. It was truly amazing! Keep ya updated soon!