My birth name is Julia. I was born and raised in South London. I met Paul at the age of 13 when he was performing in a band. We married at 19 and have a son and daughter from that relationship and another daughter who we adopted age 13. I am a qualified Chef and spent the majority of my working life in the catering industry, including my own catering company. I formalised my commitment to the Dharma path in 2001 at a Triratna Buddhist Centre in Croydon UK where Paul was working. Although I had for years considered myself aligned to Buddhism, much of that was in relation to supporting Paul’s journey throughout the Buddhist traditions whilst my priority was focused on the home and the children. Making that commitment meant I was now in a position to develop my own practice. I began working in a wholefood shop alongside other female Buddhists on a ‘needs met’ basis which provided a real challenge both to my practice of the Dharma and to the concept of just ‘giving what you can and taking what you need’. This type of work is known as Team Based Right Livelihood and operates in accordance with Buddhist ethical principles. In 2006 I moved with Paul to Western Australia and began to support his Dharma work here. Leaving my friends and family, especially my 7 grandchildren was difficult, but thankfully one daughter and two grandchildren have moved here also and now live on our doorstep. I am currently the treasurer of the registered charity Dharmadatu Sangha Inc and also the catering co-ordinator for retreats that we run.
My birth name is Arthur. My very long pathway to Dharma practice clearly developed as a very young child. As with many Western people I had the usual exposure to the inherited faith of my Grandparents, but in my case the indoctrination was to no avail. As a very young school boy I could feel nothing within Methodism, so I tried out the Salvos to see if they had a different slant on things, but no joy there either. I came to understand then, as now, that an ethical path to guide human behaviours and interactions is essential for a harmonious life and that the inherent good in all people needs adequate expression through a proven path, free from indoctrination, blind faith, dogma and guilt.
My many journeys around the globe, making contact with practitioners of many and varied paths continue to support that understanding. I initially formalised my commitment to the Dharma path under Kundawella Vangeesa Maha Thero in Sri Lanka and in 2006 re-formalised that commitment within the context of the Dharmadatu Sangha and was ordained into the Dharmadatu Buddhist Order in Sri Lanka by Paul Beard on 13th June 2014. Thirty five years of Dharma practice, many of which were spent in isolation, has shown me how important it is to find other like-minded individuals to share the journey with you. That opportunity now presents itself, with the creation of a dedicated Dharma and Meditation centre in Western Australia where people can explore a proven path in ways that are relevant to their own culture.