First Wives Club: She Who Saves

February 8, 2011

Green Tara

Sculpture by Barbara McLean

The Atisha Centre is a calm and peaceful Buddhist retreat and educational facility, nestled in the native Australian bushlands of central Victoria, 15 minutes from the centre of  Bendigo and 2 hours northwest of Melbourne.

Currently this statue is a work in progress at Studio Hampton. This image is near completion and the elaborate adornments are being made separately. These will embellish the final complex sculpture which will then be hand-painted. When installed Tara will be sheltered in a glass walled pagoda, designed to be clearly visible for making offerings and meditation, in the garden of  the Atisha Centre dedicated as a memorial to Lama Thubten Yeshe.

This is one of the first sites where Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa taught in Australia.  Their great vision for the future of the Centre includes the Monastery, the  Atisha retreat and teaching centre as well as The Great Stupa (in progress) and a future Nunnery, Aged care facility, School and a lay community.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche has given much advice on the importance of holy objects such as:

” Holy objects only leave positive imprints, no negative imprint. When we watch TV or go sightseeing in the city many of the things we see can leave a negative imprint on our mind, depending on how we look at them. But the benefit that we get from looking at holy objects is like the limitless sky.”

Read More: The Statue and the Sculptor


An Old Tibetan Wives Tale

Long, long ago when the world was young and the tiger walked with the deer, there was a rich king who had four wives. The king loved his  fourth wife the most and adorned her with riches. He also loved his third wife and was always showing her off to neighbouring kingdoms. However, he always feared that she would leave him. His second wife was kind and considerate and his trusted confidante and advisor in difficult times. Wife number one was devoted and loyal and although she loved him deeply, he was not as interested and tended to ignore her.
One day, the king fell ill and the truth dawned that his life was soon to end. He thought of the luxurious life he had led and feared being alone when he died.
He asked his fourth wife, “I have loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing, showered gifts upon you and taken great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No way!” she replied and walked away without another word.
The sad king then asked the third wife, “I have loved you all my life. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company? ” “No!” she replied. “Life is too good! When you die, I’m going to remarry!”

Four Wives (1939)
He then asked the second wife, “I have always turned to you for help and you’ve always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?” “I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!” she replied. “At the very most, I can help with your funeral.”
Then a voice called out to the king in his sadness: “I’ll leave with you and follow you no matter where you go.” The king looked up and there was his first wife. She was so skinny and undernourished. Greatly grieved, the king said, “I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!”
In truth, we all have four wives in our lives. Our fourth wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it’ll leave us when we die. It’ll be burnt, buried or chopped up for the vultures and wolves or feed the worms.

Our third wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, it will all go to others. It will be divided up.

Our second wife is our family and friends. No matter how much they have supported and loved us, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the burial site. Even if they enter the portal of Death they and we must walk alone into the Bardo Thodol.

Our first wife is our mindstream, often neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the ego. However, our mindstream is the only thing that will follow us wherever we go.
The moral: Care for your body and keep it healthy so you can live life to its fullest. Enjoy your possessions, the pleasure and the comfort they provide. Cherish your friends and family and the love they provide. Don’t forget to nourish your mindstream as it is the source of all your life and will prove to be your most faithful friend.

~ Wive’s Tale pinched at Yun Hoi Wing Chun Kuen



  1. Possibly the most beautiful Green Tara I’ve ever seen. She doesn’t need adornments or colour; just leave her serene and white and luminous.

  2. She is going to be the blue-green colour of a gum leaf, which is very nice. I used to live in Bendigo – never went to the Atisha Centre, which was just a couple of shacks 10-12 years ago. Bendigo also has the only white marble statue in the Southern Hemisphere of Quan Yin – so there’s some Big Goddess Mojo happening in the Golden Triangle.

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