Young Shepparton Buddhists learn about their culture in Goulburn Valley first

By Madi Chwasta

A Buddhism teaching session for children aged between eight and 13 was held on Saturday at Shepparton Senior Citizens Centre, in a Goulburn Valley first.

With support from the Sri Lankan Association of Goulburn Valley and the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District, the Buddhism Association of the Goulburn Valley decided to run this class to support young and eager Buddhism students.

“We run meditation sessions, where we get close to 100 people per session, but there’s no place for younger community members,” Buddhist Association of the Goulburn Valley president Sam Atukorala said.

“We organised this service to cater for the students who want to learn about Buddhism.

“We understood it’s a need for the Buddhist community in the Goulburn Valley.”

Mr Atukorala said nine children showed up to the session led by Albury-based monk Phra Satit Thitadhammo, where the teachings included an introduction to the five core Buddhism values, known as precepts, which promote a moral and ethical way of living.

He said their organisation hoped to run sessions each month, and would likely see community engagement grow as a result.

“We had language classes running at the same time, so it’s a great start,” he said.

“We’ve planted the seed, and we’ll see where we go.”

He said there were about 400 Buddhists in the Goulburn Valley across a range of ethnic backgrounds, including Sri Lankan, Thai, Chinese, Indonesian and Australian.

The Buddhism Association of the Goulburn Valley has been in operation for five years, with the goal to support Buddhists in the region but to also share Buddhist culture with the entire community.

The association has a long-term plan to establish a Buddhist centre in Shepparton.