Avinash Do



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Fast Facts
Sri Avinash profile image3.jpg
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Thanh Ha Do (birthname), Sri Avinash, Sat Guru Sri Avinash Do
Function: 
Guru
Traditions: 
Ammachi, Selfless Service, Love, Meditation
Main Countries of Activity: 
Australia
Date of Birth: 
04/04/1973
Place of Birth: 
Nha Trang, Vietnam
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Yes
Ancestor Gurus: 

Biography

Avinash Do was born in 1973, into a fisherman family in Nha Trang, Vietnam. His birth name is Thanh Ha Do, and in Vietnamese 'Thanh Ha' means 'pure river'. He is the third youngest of nine children, with six sisters and two brothers.

When he was a child, his father would spend most of his time fishing at sea, only returning home for one week each month to sell his fish to support the large family. In order to supplement the family income during low fishing seasons, his mother traveled long distances to buy goods in large cities to trade in smaller towns.

When he was three years old, his mother passed away in a tragic car accident while travelling between cities for work. This caused a major emotional and financial shock for the whole family. Avinash’s father had to work extra hard to make ends meet and the older siblings began taking care of the younger siblings.

When he was old enough to attend school, his sisters would walk him there. He did not enjoy school and often looked out of the window longing to be outside and to swim across the backwaters. On most mornings, Sri Avinash would wait behind the school gate watching his sister disappear out of sight, and then he'd excitedly go down to the backwaters to swim all day. He would dry his hair in the sun just before coming home, so that his sisters couldn't see he'd skipped school.

His sisters would often check by smelling his hair and asking him, “Did you swim in the backwater today?” Sri Avinash would get away with it most of the time by responding calmly, “No, I was at school. If you don’t believe me you can go and ask the school teacher.” He knew his sisters would never check, because they were so busy and would forget. Sri Avinash had a natural calmness and cheekiness from a young age.

ESCAPE FROM VIETNAM

At the age of eight his family was separated when his father planned an escape from the Vietnamese communist regime. His father took him and his older brother on the first trip, with the intention to return for a second trip with his remaining children.

They escaped by boat in the hope of migrating to a safer and more prosperous country. Landing in Malaysia five days later, they were taken to a refugee camp. Then on 21 January 1983, after one year on the refugee camp, Sri Avinash, his father and his brother arrived in Australia after being granted permanent residency.

THE BEGINNING OF LIFE'S STRUGGLES

Avinash really enjoyed his primary school years where he made many friends from various ethnic backgrounds. He also loved playing sports such as cricket and football and playing Atari computer games at his friend’s house.

His family lived in shared houses in Sydney’s inner west with other Vietnamese families, which was the only way they could afford to pay the rent. In winter there was no heating in the houses and the skin on Sri Avinash's knuckles and lips used to crack and bleed from the cold. Most of their clothes were donated by charities.

In his first year of high school he asked his father if he could cook for the family, to relieve his father from the daily cooking duties. His father was surprised because Sri Avinash was so young and had little experience in cooking, but his father said, “Have a try and see how you go.”

His cooking was only basic, but it was good enough to score the fulltime job. With this development, his time playing with friends after school came to an end because he had to catch the bus home quickly each afternoon to start cooking.

After moving from shared house to shared house, Sri Avinash's father was granted a government housing commission house in North Ryde in 1989. By this time two of his sisters had migrated to Australia from Vietnam to join the family. Sri Avinash and his family couldn't believe how lucky they were to be able to live in a brand new town-house with four bedrooms, after so many years of living together in one bedroom in old and cold houses.

In North Ryde he struggled to meet new friends that he was close with like the friends from his previous school. Combined with the fact that he found high school much more serious than primary school, this marked the beginning of his life struggles and suffering.

HIS HEART YEARNED

During his teenage years and early 20s, he felt a hollow sadness and purposelessness which he did not know how to get rid of. He endeavoured to get a good education and career as a solution to his problems, and this led him to enrol in a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Macquarie University in 1995.

In his first year of university he did a personal training course and it was during this course that he experienced his first spontaneous satori, which lasted for many hours. He didn't know how that happened, but it was clear to him that his heart yearned for more of it. The thought came to him that, “There must be meditators who know about this type of thing, so I need to learn from them how to meditate.”

PRAYING TO GOD

Soon after, Sri Avinash joined the university meditation society and immediately fell in love with meditation when it brought such deep peace. He would meditate daily for many hours at home and in between classes at university.

On completion of his degree, he secured a job as an auditor at one of the 'big six' accounting firms. Although this was a secure and prosperous career, in his second year at the firm he realized that it was not fulfilling for him.

After realizing that the corporate life was not the answer, Sri Avinash worked for two years as a sales person in various Real Estate agencies. It was during these two years that Sri Avinash seriously contemplated how to live a purposeful life, and he would think of God often during this period.

When he was working, he enjoyed it when no buyers came to the open-house inspections because he would use this time to talk and pray to God for help and guidance. Whilst praying, his eyes would be full of tears and on occasions he had to quickly wipe the tears from his face when a buyer approached. He continued this practice of prayerful contemplation whenever he could over the next two years.

In the hope of finding a new career, Sri Avinash decided to go back to Macquarie University where he completed a Masters of Commerce in Marketing. However, after experiencing the marketing industry for a few weeks he felt a heavy sadness, knowing again that this was not for him, but still not knowing what to do with his life.

RENUNCIATION

At the age of 30, Sri Avinash felt a natural renunciation towards the world. He lost all concern for relationships and worldly pleasures. He was tired of struggling and had no feeling to put any energy into those things. He continued reading spiritual books, spent a lot of time in his room in a surrendered state and sometimes played tennis at a local social tennis club. There was a sense in him that he could wait eternally for life to take hold of him in whichever direction it may.

This state went on for three years. It was a beautiful and blissful state and Sri Avinash says, “I wouldn’t lose my peace of mind for any more than a total of 10 minutes in a year.” However there was a feeling that something was missing and that he wasn’t living the life he came to this planet for. He yearned to serve humanity, but didn’t know how. So all he could do was pray to God and wait.

COMING HOME

Through a stranger’s recommendation, Sri Avinash met Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, also known as Amma the ‘Hugging Saint’, in Sydney during her 2006 Australian tour. Soon after, he flew to India to stay at Amma's ashram, Amritapuri. As soon as he entered the ashram gate he felt, “I have lived here for a thousand years. I am finally home again.” He immediately had a tremendous love for Amma and Amma's disciples.

Many years earlier, Sri Avinash had once been asked, “If you had seven days left to live, what would you do?” He answered, “I would look for an enlightened Master and spend my remaining days learning from them.” So being at Amritapuri was a dream come true.

In Amritapuri, Amma gave him a Guru mantra and his spiritual name, 'Avinash', which means 'indestructible'.

LIFE AS A SPIRITUAL SEEKER

For the next three and a half years Sri Avinash dedicated his life to serving Amma. This involved serving Amma on her Indian and international tours and at Amritapuri. His main seva ('selfless service') on the Indian tours was cooking rice for the large crowds that attended Amma’s programs. During the European tours he served as a kitchen assistant and in Amritapuri his main seva was cutting and stacking paper which would be made into books, magazines and other products.

For Sri Avinash, it was such a great joy to serve Amma. He felt tremendous gratitude for the opportunity and for God’s blessing to be able to live such a life. He says, “I would often sit down at the end of the day to eat rice and curry at Amritapuri, and I'd feel so much love and gratitude that just the thought of Amma would bring me tears of joy.” As well as the love of serving Amma in Amritapuri, Sri Avinash greatly cherished Amma’s weekly satsangs on Tuesdays. He always felt sad when her satsang ended because he had to wait another week for more.

PUTTING AMMA'S TEACHINGS INTO PRACTICE

His main daily spiritual practices were seva, mantra japa, archana (chanting the thousand names of the Divine Mother), treating others with kindness and directly bringing his awareness to the present moment. Throughout each day he would consistently make sure that he was in the present moment. Whenever he became aware that his mind had drifted away in thoughts, he would immediately bring himself back to the present moment at will. For him this was a second-to-second, minute-to-minute activity, all day. He says that there were some occasions when he would lose the awareness of the present moment for an hour or so, in distraction. When he realized this had happened, there was immediately an immense determination to make up for the error by bringing himself back to the present moment and staying there for as long as he could.

Sri Avinash had such faith in Amma that whenever any unfavourable situation appeared in his life, he would not be concerned about it. He would just surrender it to Amma and be at peace.

The nature of Sri Avinash's seva for Amma, as well as the large number of disciples around Amma, meant that he did not have a physically close relationship with her. For example, he never had an opportunity to have a one-on-one talk with Amma. Because of this, he says, “I had to make the most of Amma’s help from a distance.” When he heard Amma’s satsang on Tuesdays, there was hardly a time that it didn’t bring him heart-quenching tears. Each week, he couldn’t wait to put her teachings into practice in his life.

By this time, he claims he was experiencing hours of satori every day. He says he would either induce the satori state or it would come to him spontaneously. His main goal was then to stretch out this state to every waking moment, while serving Amma. He says he kept his experiences quietly to himself, sharing about them with only a few of his friends.

“It was like a garden for spiritual growth, I couldn’t believe my luck. I had such immense gratefulness, and throughout the three and a half years, I gave it everything I had, to serve the Master and live the Master’s teachings.”

While serving Amma in Barcelona during her tour of Europe in 2009, he claims he experienced a permanent satori in the early hours of November 11. He went back to Amritapuri and continued serving Amma for four months, after which time he knew in his heart that his old seva had come to an end. At this point he felt an automatic pull to go back to Australia to begin a new seva.

“I laughed in disbelief that it happened to such an ordinary son of a fisherman, and then I cried tears of gratitude.”

In 2011 he began giving weekly satsangs in Sydney, Australia.

In 2013, he established the Self-Realization Ashram in Northern NSW, which was initially called The Meditation Farm. It is an Ashram which provides a home for spiritual seekers who wish to train under his guidance and who yearn to live a life of service and compassion. It is also a place where non-residents can participate in events and service projects, to meet with Sri Avinash and to experience Ashram life.

Teachings

"We should always be of help to others. Because a person who is shaking in fear today might one day become a saint and be the light of the world."

"A great Master is always thinking about the mission. A great disciple is always thinking how they can help the Master to serve the mission. All benefits come out of that. It's a great joy."

"There's only one life purpose on this planet - to realize God. Another way to say that is to love - to love all others, to love all beings, to love all creation. That has always been the case on the planet. It doesn't matter if you were born 1500 years ago, your life purpose would still have been to realize God."

“Love everybody and sacrifice your life for everybody. Then, you’re going to be happy.”

"All the problems in today's world are caused by an imbalance. It's an imbalance from too much witnessing of fear and negativities and too little witnessing of love."

"The greatest downfall of a disciple is that they don't listen to the Guru. The biggest success of the disciple is their surrender to the Guru."

"When we know what we are looking for, we will fall in love with inner silence."

"Live selflessly and you will realise your true Self."

"Freedom is just another way to say 'Be Yourself'"

"Stillness, emptiness and oneness. These are different words, but they mean the same thing. When you feel your heart's sweetness, and you feel love, know that is oneness."

"When we master the ability to focus or concentrate on one point, and remain there for long durations, we will be free from emotional suffering."

"Enlightenment is simple peace all the time."

Photos

Locations

Sri Avinash lives at the Self-Realization Ashram in Doon Doon, Northern NSW Australia.

It is in the Tweed Shire, and is surrounded by lush national parks, mountain ranges, forests, creeks, wildlife and green rolling hills.

Self-Realization Ashram
Type: 
Ashram
Details: 

Sri Avinash hosts weekly Satsangs, dinner & movie nights, festive programs, working bees and other events & volunteer opportunities at the Ashram, and in the local community.

Address: 
Self-Realization Ashram
40 Pine Log Rd,
Doon Doon, NSW 2484, Australia
Phone: 
+61 2 6679 9158
Contact Persons: 
Anandamayi
Special Events: 

Satsang with Sri Avinash: Every Saturday night, 5pm - 8:30pm
Dinner & Movie nights: last Friday of every month, 6pm - 9pm
Sharing a Meal Program: ever second Tuesday. Cooking volunteers from 8am. Meal Service from 12pm.

Daily Schedule & Opening Hours: 

Meet Sri Avinash Do:
You can join the Ashram residents to meet Sri Avinash Do for Satsang every Saturday, or during other various events throughout the month. For all upcoming events please refer to the calendar.

All Ashram events are by donation.

You can also meet Sri Avinash privately by appointment.

More info on meeting Sri Avinash:
http://www.selfrealizationashram.org/ashram-australia/meet-sri-avinash-d...

Events Calendar:
http://www.selfrealizationashram.org/ashram-australia/meet-sri-avinash-d...

When to Go: 

Every Saturday evening.

Or, make an appointment for a private consultation with Sri Avinash.

Attractions, activities, and more to see: 

Ashram Life

Daily life for residents at the Self-Realization Ashram primarily involves selfless service, for the benefit of the seeker, the sangha (the spiritual community) and the wider community. Other spiritual practices include Satsang with Sri Avinash, archana (chanting the thousand names of the Divine Mother), mantra japa, mindfulness meditation and devotional singing.

Animals
The Self-Realization Ashram is home to refuge animals and pets, which consist of four cows, one cat, four chickens and two dogs. The animals add a beautiful aspect to the Ashram atmosphere and daily life with animal feeding, dog walks and animal care. All the animals are loved and cared for by Sri Avinash and the Ashram residents, and they have a safe and loving home for life.

Nature & Wild Life
The Self-Realization Ashram is surrounded by beautiful national parks – Nightcap, Mt Jerusalem, Border Ranges, Wollumbin and Mebbin National Parks.

The peaks, ridges and valleys of these national parks make up some of the far northern NSW caldera – the epicentre of an ancient volcano that erupted around 23 million years ago.

The region is rich in vegetation and rain forests, and the Ashram is home to native wild life such as echidnas, wallabies, wedge tailed eagles, rainbow lorikeets, tawny frog mouth birds, kookaburras, goannas and much more.

Etiquette: 
The Ashram observes certain rules for modesty, health, spiritual benefit, tradition and practicality. - No drugs, meat, alcohol, fish, smoking or swearing allowed on the property - No shoes to be worn inside - Proper clothing to be word at all times (no singlets or revealing clothing) - Proper sun care to be taken whilst working outside (hats and sunscreen) - other practical rules which can be introduced at the Ashram
Registration: 
Bookings required. Call the Ashram on +612 6679 9158 Or book for events, or any other enquiries online: http://www.selfrealizationashram.org/contact/
Services in Location: 

Free meal program for people who are homeless or in need of community support.

Every second Tuesday, Nullum House, Murwillumbah NSW.

Prices and Fees: 
All events and consultations with Sri Avinash are by donation.
Maps and Pictures of Location: 
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