Student Letter – Nov 2011

The following letter has been reprinted in full, with the permission of the author.

Dear Therese

It is my absolute pleasure to present you this offering on behalf of the Beaumaris Buddhist centre. Alan was meant to be up here as well but China called and he had to answer. To me Therese, you are not only a fabulous teacher but also a friend, mother, mentor and an amazing role model in my life and I am sure there are many in this room who share this sentiment.

When I first joined the centre almost 9 years ago, I had just arrived in Australia with 2 small children, and was not coping very well with the overwhelming challenges and changes that moving countries creates. When I first saw the advertisement for meditation classes in the newspaper, my husband Alan, encouraged me to sign up, to help me cope with things in my life. I think he had given up ever thinking his wife would ever smile at things in life again.

I had always been searching for a spiritual outlet that resonated with me and after attending the first class with Therese, I felt for the first time in my life a connection with something that made so much sense and it felt like the most wonderful awakening. I had never thought that a shy person with not much confidence, was someone with an enormous ego! Not only that but that impermanence and change was inevitable and something to be embraced. I really had to rethink my approach to life. Therese has saved me hundreds of dollars in psychological services although there may be some that may think I could still benefit from a bit of therapy! I still have much work to do but it has been such a joy to have had her encourage my children and husband to embrace the Buddhist teachings. It has been invaluable to my family and something that has been enormously beneficial.

Unfortunately my path to enlightenment continues to be very slow but in the time I have been here, I have seen Therese guide some very special people to become the most amazing teachers, as well as volunteers that help in the centre. It has been wonderful to see many lives transformed by her input. There have been many amongst us, that have experienced hardship in their personal lives and it is no doubt that Therese’s teaching of the dharma have helped a lot of us overcome events in our lives that we would not have thought possible.

I think anyone that has volunteered their services with Therese, will know that she has extremely high standards but the outcomes are always something that leave one feeling proud and happy to help out with. This is truly a beautiful and special centre and it is with Therese’s guidance that keeps it so.

Therese’s great skills as a teacher are, for me, what translates the Dharma from a deep philosophy into a glimpse into how life could be better lived. It is her wonderful energy, warmth and humour which makes the learning so much fun! This was very much evident this past Sunday seeing her teach to a room full of children at dharma4kids.

And to conclude, Alan sent me an email this morning that he asked me to read out….it reads “Dear Therese, in all my studies of various subjects over the years (and there have been a few), I have never been told as many times by any teacher that “Alan, you look very confused – are you getting any of this?” as by Therese! Usually Therese is right when she says this and I am confused – and I suspect that sometimes I may not be alone. But, all is not lost, Therese, don’t despair! I do believe that, in the path of learning characterized by significant periods of confusion, glimpses of the truth do happen and, certainly, valuable insight is being gained along the way!”

From Alan and myself and all fellow students in the Centre, thank you very, very much for another wonderful year and please rest and savour the time off with your fabulous family – you thoroughly deserve it! We look forward to seeing you again in the new year refreshed, rejuvenated and raring to go!