Last month, our founder, Tenzin Ösel Hita, visited our Global Tree Initiative (GTI) communities in New Zealand and in Australia, where he led Habit Alignment Key (HAK) retreats.
As we shared in a previous news article, our GTI Australia coordinators planned for Ösel to visit our partner, Atisha Buddhist Centre, and to conduct a welcome ceremony for him, performed by the First Nation People (FNP) of Australia.
Mark and Jill tell us that the visit went very well, and that they are very happy with the overall outcome.
“The successful HAK retreat went ahead as planned and concluded on Wednesday, 13 December 2023, with a retreat planting event at Atisha Centre on the final afternoon. The 100 attendees were overwhelmingly supportive of the Welcome to Country and Didgeridoo performance masterfully delivered by FNP Dja Dja Wurrung man, Troy Firebrace.
Many of us were overcome by joyous emotions and just a few tears of gratitude. One participant observed it was the best Welcome they had experienced from many previous functions! Troy beautifully embraced the hopes and expectations of the retreat in a heartfelt and totally sincere way. He was offered a Djaara Acknowledgement Plaque, sourced with donated funds, which he duly blessed in the smoking ceremony and returned to Ösel Hita for placement at Atisha Centre.
His rendition of the Didgeridoo in the Hall of the Great Stupa was an exceptional experience for all.”
Adding to the success of the retreat, Mark tells us that “I have assembled and co-opted 7 new GTI coordinators to support GTI across Australia! Each of these engaging women of all ages who are all actively engaged in environmental work in their respective states, were thrilled to be approached to take on the role in their regions.
They are from left to right in the photo:
Georgie (23) and Ella (35)for Queensland will share the role.
Maria (62) for South Australia.
Nic (55) for northern Victoria (helping me). Nic will be posting her report for 7,000 trees on her farm.
Sue (60) for Western Australia (with possibly another coordinator sharing with Sue).
Not in the photo are Heather (42) in New South Wales and Bec (47) in Tasmania.
We now have coverage across every state except the Northern Territory!
They all have complementary skills in public relations, local community activism and engagement, Buddhist networks, art and design, ecological projects, and fundraising roles and they are super enthusiastic WOMEN!!! We need more female worldviews here! I instantly connected with them following my talk. They are so excited to join and had not previously known about GTI.”
In the coming weeks, we will share more about our new team members in Australia. Welcome, ladies, and thank you for offering your service!
Last but not least, Mark shares that “I would like to express my unbounded gratitude to the 36 generous donors who allowed this Welcome to proceed through their giving. Ösel Hita and the organizers were equally impressed and grateful for the offering of the Welcome, as the official commencement of the retreat which created special meaning for everyone involved. We honor the Djaara’s living culture and their unique role in the life of the region.”
The 36 donors helped to raise 1,631 AU$. The list of donors is mentioned below.
Thank you to everyone in Australia who is helping our community (and trees) grow. We appreciate you, and we look forward to sharing more news from this part of the world!
Anrich Bester (2)
Atisha Buddhist Meditation Centre
Brian Ashen and Judith-Ann Robertson (2)
Jill Lancashire (2)
Mark Allaway (2)
R & S Irvine
Ven. Gyalten Dondrup
Ven. Thubten Drime
Zopa Noble Park Buddhists
An additional seven people requested anonymity.