This Tasmanian based Buddhist community has existed in some form or another since 2006. Initially it was made up of mostly Vajrayana practitioners, who would meet either in Devonport, or at the Penguin home of Sangye Dorje, a former Rabjung Monk of the Rechung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
By 2009, the group was meeting exclusively in Penguin, and under the guidance of Sangye Dorje it developed a more inclusive, non-sectarian, outlook exploring the richness of the world of Buddhism.
In 2011, the Buddha-Heart Fellowship was born, the name chosen so as to be a constant reminder of the potential for Awakening to the True Self that is within all sentient beings, and reflecting the inclusive attitude of our members. Buddha-Heart, the Awakened Heart/Mind of Compassion and Wisdom, which is Buddhahood.
2013 saw some major changes. We became affiliated with CloudWater Zendo, the Zen Centre of Cleveland, Ohio, USA; and our Resident Teacher Venerable Sangye Dorje was ordained as a Ch’an (Zen) Priest of the Nien-Fo Ch’an Order of Monks by Venerable Shih Ying-Fa, Abbot of CloudWater Zendo. Sangye Dorje was given the Dharma name “Shih Jingang” (meaning Vajra Disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha). Accordingly, the Buddha-Heart Fellowship changed its emphasis to Nien-Fo Ch’an, which are the unified teachings of Ch’an and Pure Land Buddhism. But we always remained dedicated to the ideals of inclusiveness, and community service.
Donations of three large Buddha statues and other items for our Altar were made by Nga and Vinh Duong and some other members of the Vietnamese-Australian Buddhist community, including their relatives in the USA. We received a large Buddha Shakyamuni statue, and other items from our late dharma sister Etty “Peaceful Heart” De Graaff. Buddha statues and other items were donated by David Melhuish and Pauline Clayton. We have a growing Reference Library of donated books available to local students interested in Buddhism. Without the continued help of named and anonymous patrons the work of serving the needs of individual students and the greater community would not be sustainable.
Since June 2013, Ven. Shih Jingang has been regularly teaching classes, and leading retreats in various places around Tasmania, interstate and overseas; Sifu is active in Chaplaincy, Palliative Care, Funeral Officiating, and is regularly asked to give Dharma talks to community groups, and professional bodies. He served 15 years as a Retained Volunteer Firefighter with the Tasmania Fire Service; is a Co-Patron of (BEWES) Buddhists Engaged with Emergency Services; and a member of (ASA) Australian Sangha Association.
On September 7, 2019, in a Transmission ceremony held at CloudWater Zendo, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, Ven. Shih Jingang was presented with the robes of an Abbot and proclaimed to be a 49th Generation Dharma Heir of the Linji sect of Ch’an Buddhism by Ven. Shih Ying-Fa, Abbot of CloudWater Zendo and Head of the Nien-Fo Ch’an Order. A great honour and blessing.
Awakened Heart Community of Tasmania
In January of 2020, Sifu relocated to the Greater Hobart area of southern Tasmania, and was asked to take on the role of being Abbot & Spiritual Director of the Awakened Heart Community of Tasmania. This fledgling group has two main aims: to buy land and build a training/retreat centre; and provide affordable housing to the wider community. The Buddha-Heart Fellowship is in the process of being phased out to become the Awakened Heart Community of Tasmania. Supporters and friends are united in a common purpose, to work and practice for the benefit of all suffering sentient beings.
May the Dharma continue to prosper, and may all beings be liberated from the sufferings of Samsara.
Buddha is Name, Name is Buddha, the Awakened Heart our True Home.
Email: AHCTasmania@gmx.com Facebook: Awakened Heart Community of Tasmania; and Buddhaheart Fellowship.
Copyright © 2013-2021 – Venerable Shih Jingang