Greetings to Everyone
I was born in Adelaide, South Australia with 2 weeks left of the ’70’s. A fortnight in the Royal Ashford Hospital with my Mother after her C-section is the longest stint I have done in my birth-town. Adelaide was the closest capital city to Leinster in Western Australia where my Dad worked as a nickel miner until I was 2. My younger brother was born in the same hospital before we moved to Brisbane, Queensland where Dad owned a milk-run. When I was 5, Dad moved us to Bougainville in Papua New Guinea where he resumed working as a cocoa and coconut plantation manager, returning to Brisbane after the onset of the Bougainville civil war in 1990. 12 bouts of malaria and no access to TV left me very small for my age and completely out of touch with all things cool for an eleven year old. Dad struggled for work for a few years in the early ’90’s and we moved between 2 caravan parks before renting a small place across the fence from my primary school.
My parents paid an exorbitant amount to send me to a secondary school called ‘Churchie’ which is well known for grooming boys into the type of man that would choose to wear knee high socks with short pants. By this time Dad was back working in PNG and Mum held the fort in Brisbane. After a very unsuccessful season masquerading as a rugby league player, I tried my hand at ice speed skating. Both my brother and I had a talent for it and went on to represent Australia at 2 Winter Olympics each, ’98 and ’02 for me and ’02 and ’06 for my younger brother.
I retired from competing at 22 and enrolled in a Bachelor of Science after an eponymous “gap year” in the United Kingdom. I chose to major in philosophy of science which provided me with the opportunity to begin communicating thoughts and ideas directly related to notions formulated since my direct experiences as a 9 year old.
I now work as a high-school science teacher on the New South Wales Central Coast where I live with my young family. I am privileged to practice with the Silky Oak Zen Sanga and cherish the guidance of Jishin Hoka (Matt). Officially my involvement with the Dharma is new, however I have found Zen, particularly Rinzai, to superimpose perfectly with conclusions and notions I have brought with me. I have actually lived for 26 years with the same Koan: “If there was not This, there wouldn’t be this.” The earliest recollection I have of being just dumb-struck in the face of the brute fact of experience, is as a 9 year old staring up at the stars and repeating those words in my head. The ineffable transcendent brutality of no-thing-ness has stayed with me all this time and I have never changed the wording of the uttering in my head.
I would like to express my gratitude and support for our wider Sanga and look forward to engaging with the members along our shared path.