Tibetan Buddhists celebrate as a new year marches in

by Leah Odgers, Star News Group, Feb 26, 2008

Melbourne, Australia -- IT MAY seem odd to celebrate the New Year in March but for the Tibetan Buddhist Society it’s the most significant date of the year.

<< The Peaceful Land of Joy Meditation Centre in Melbourne, Australia celebrates Tibetan New Year this weekend.

Hundreds are expected to turn out to the Tibetan Buddhist Society’s Peaceful Land of Joy Meditation Centre in Yuroke this weekend to celebrate Tibetan New Year (or Losar).

Festival director Michael Joseph said the festival is the most important date in the Tibetan calendar, as it marks the beginning of a new year for Buddhists.

“The focal point of the weekend will be a series of one-hour talks where profound Buddhist insights and meditation techniques will be presented by teachers from Tibetan, Thai, Japanese and Korean traditions,” Mr Joseph said.

The 10-acre property on Mickleham Rd is home to the Southern Hemisphere’s only Tibetan temple and is filled with traditional thanka (scroll paintings) and precious Buddhist relics.

At this time of year, visitors can also enjoy the acres of rose gardens in bloom.

“The roses are looking fantastic… The Melbourne weather has been very kind on the garden,” Mr Joseph said.

The festival will kick off Saturday morning and includes a market with eastern and western handicrafts, free garden tours, temple tours explaining the significance of the religious artistic treasures, vegetarian food and a photography exhibition.

The festival begins at 10am and closes 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Entry is $6. Children under 12 are admitted free.

For more information phone 9333 1770.