12 June 2018


Imagine this… A Buddha carved from a million dollars worth of top quality jade now residing in regional Victoria! What a story… Well worth telling…

For those unacquainted, this giant Buddha was carved from one massive piece of pure polar jade found in the Yukon - the far northwest of Canada - 18 years ago.

I had the good fortune to be invited to attend its inauguration when the Jade Buddha arrived at its new home - the Atisha Centre outside Bendigo on Friday 18th May.

So this week, this incredible story and encouragement to visit, plus details of Ruth's upcoming meditation retreat in the Yarra Valley, but first

Thought for the day (a longer poem in honour of the Jade Buddha …)

The Journey

One day you finally knew

What you had to do, 
And began,

Though the voices around you

Kept shouting

Their bad advice-
though the whole house

Began to tremble

And you felt the old tug

At your ankles.

"Mend my life!"

Each voice cried.

But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,

Though the wind pried

With its stiff fingers

At the very foundations,

Though their melancholy
was terrible.

It was already late

Enough, and a wild night,

And the road full of fallen

Branches and stones.

But little by little,

As you left their voices behind,

The stars began to burn

Through the sheets of clouds,

And there was a new voice

Which you slowly

Recognized as your own,

That kept you company

As you strode deeper and deeper

Into the world,

Determined to do

The only thing you could do-
determined to save

The only life you could save.

Mary Oliver

Some of us may have been fortunate to see the Jade Buddha during its travels or buy a small piece made from the offcuts.

The Jade Buddha is 2.5 metres high and sits on an alabaster throne of close to 1.6 metres. Weighing in around 4 tonnes, it is considered to be priceless and is shown here in its uncut form with Ian Green (on the right), the man behind the whole project.

The Jade Buddha was modelled upon the Buddha inside the Mahabodhi Stupa in Bodh Gaya (India).  This Buddha was chosen because it is recognised by most Buddhists as the closest likeness to the Buddha himself.

The Jade Buddha project 
In early 2003 Ian Green heard about the massive piece of jade known as Polar Pride.

Ian then spoke to his spiritual master, Tibetan Lama Zopa Rinpoche (whose organisation FPMT has a major centre in Melbourne, the Tara Institute - along with many other centres around the world).

That night Lama Zopa had a vision that the boulder would become a Buddha that would illuminate the world.

Lama Zopa then told Ian “you must turn this jade boulder into a Jade Buddha as a holy object to offer to the world”.

            Lama Zopa with the Dalai Lama

The next 5 years were devoted to raising the necessary funds, selecting the best jade master carvers, shipping the boulder to Thailand, preparing a total of 4 prototypes, carving and polishing the Jade Buddha. Completion?  December 2008.

World tour
Commencing early in 2009 the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace toured the world with the objective of inspiring everyone who sees it to find peace in their family; peace at work; peace at school, peace in their community and most importantly peace in their heart.

The Jade Buddha tour travelled to over 120 cities in 20 countries and an estimated 12 million people spent time in its presence.

Atisha and the stupa
The stupa in which this remarkable statue is now the centrepiece, is nearing full completion but already stands 50 metres high and 50 metres wide at its base, making this $20 million building the largest of its type in the western world.

Atisha had its genesis in the advertising career of its now President, Ian Green. Turning his back on the “rat race” and looking to India for solace and meaning, Ian found Buddhism before returning to Melbourne; whereupon his father offered him 50 acres in Myers Flat, near Bendigo.

Over the past 38 years, Ian has supported the Atisha Buddhist centre as it has expanded to over 210 acres and now includes a monastery, a retreat centre and an inter-faith peace garden. There are also plans to create a school and an aged-care facility.

"A little town that runs on Buddhist values of harmony and cooperation and, you know, peace — but that also runs on the grounds of sustainability," Ian said.

Highly recommended for a visit
No doubt the Jade Buddha and the incredible stupa will be a draw card for serious pilgrims and curious tourists - who may just make a connection or have their curiosity aroused and turn towards the dharma.

For any of us; what I do suggest is that whenever you can, make a visit - it is quite extra-ordinary and the atmosphere in the stupa, when you sit in front of the statues of the Jade Buddha and Guru Rinpoche, plus a huge White Tara thangka is quite something.

Well worth making time for…

Jade Buddha    WEBSITE

Ruth Gawler's 
next meditation retreat

Meditation - Pure and Simple

Whether burnt out, dealing with physical or mental issues, this retreat provides a unique opportunity to be led and supported by a doctor well versed in Mind-Body Medicine who has a particular expertise with deep relaxation and healing.

Ruth will focus in this retreat upon the meditation techniques of Dr Ainslie Meares and Ian Gawler

Combine deep relaxation techniques and mindfulness meditation to release the stress we carry in our bodies in this busy and complex modern world. Ideal for healing, rejuvenation and opening our awareness.

Ruth’s teaching style is one of openness and authenticity, and there will be plenty of opportunity for questions and discussion. Techniques covered in this retreat will be accessible and engaging for both beginners and more experienced meditators. This retreat is well suited to all Health Professionals.

DATES                                    September - Monday 10th to Friday 14th 2018
VENUE                                   Yarra Valley Living Centre, Rayner Crt, Yarra Junction, Victoria
ENQUIRIES, BOOKINGS     The Gawler Foundation ClientServices@gawler.org
                                                 and 1300 651 211 - Call Mon-Fri 9-5pm



  1. Ian this is wonderful. Thanks for posting.
    I don't know when I can get to Bendigo, but it is going on the bucket list immediately.
    Glad you are enjoying your retirement.

  2. Thanks for the Jade Buddha story - I am going to Bodh Gaya for a Vipassana session and will see the original from which this beautiful Jade Buddha was modeled - even though I cannot see this one.
    Ian Green has shown us what can be done with genuine Faith and endeavor. That too is an inspirational story.

  3. It is a Buddhist practice to consecrated a statue with sutras and mantras. I am wondering if that is what those pieces of paper are? meditating statue

  4. I first came into contact with dr Ainslie Meares in 1985-86 when my Mother had bowel cancer in Hobart, Tasmania. I corresponded with Dr Meares & i wanted my Mum to go see him but she was too overwhelmed with her illness & held back, dictated by convention & her subordination with her husband, my Father so she never went to see Dr Meares & sadly died just begore Christmas of 86.
    I kept reading about dr ainslie meares work in Victoria & the association of Dr Ian Gawler & his pioneering approach to cancer treatment & how his life was saved & how he continued dr meares work when dr meares sadly passed away & im amazed ive come full circle now in 2020 almost 35 years later, now i am 64 next month & chronically tired every day & sleep each day away. I have outlived my Mother but at least she died on her feet. I am horizontal most of my life it feels like . Yet dr tells me iv got nothing wrong. I know my body is giving up & starting to shut down as i have many issues i as too embarrassed to go into here. My life force cant find any strength or purity to heal whats going on within me.
    One day soon im going to get in my car & drive down to see you Ruth. If i can find you & if you will take me in as a mefitation student because i cant slow down my brain at all. The Jade Buddha may give me inspiration & show me how to master my mind so i can meditate. Thankyou for still being here. x