Well, it has been a week since I got back from the Alan Wallace Shamatha retreat in Sydney. The retreat was great, of course, we were all well looked after and the teachings were wonderful.
Below is a photo of the meditation hall taken between sessions. The retreat was held at a Catholic conference/convent in Sydney hence the crucifix. But what was extraordinary so my Catholic friends tell me is to see statues of Buddha and other Buddhist images along side those of Jesus. There we were, Buddhist, Christian and scientist types all together, all investigating the nature of the mind by employing the contemplative investigatory method we call meditation. Now, that is extraordinary!
Since getting back to Hobart, I have been in contact with Alan to discuss both my future and the future of the Australian Institute for Consciousness Studies (hereafter AICS). I suggested to Alan that AICS offer regular weekend seminars and meditation retreats based on his style of presentation. For I believe his style is ideally suited to a Western audience which mainly consists of people from a secular background, and because these teachings on mental balance and training can be listened to without the need to believe in anything metaphysical. Moreover, this style brings together all schools of Buddhism from the Theravada and Zen, through to the Indo-Tibetan forms into one developmental approach. He agreed saying:”excellent idea!” as well as providing me with some of his own material for AICS to use.
And so, I will be leading retreats on meditation here in Tasmania four times a year—three weekend retreats and one week long retreat—into the future or until the time I go into long-term retreat myself. When this will happen is dependent on many factors which I will not go into right now. Suffice it to say, the Ph.D is only one of many impediments, and so I can say with certainty, it will not be for several years at least.
However , in order to start offering retreats I still need to find a good retreat centre which is not too expensive, and can accommodate up to several dozen people—this is actually not so easy. If you know of such a place could you please let me know. And so by offering regular retreats—with the week-long retreat in the warmer months to allow people from the main land to attend—I hope we can begin to build and promote the good work of AICS and the Phuket International Academy.
Above is a photo of the newly build Phuket International Academy Mind Center and here is a little snippet about the center taken from the website:
Phuket Mind Centre at PIA, offers training in the cultivation of cognitive and emotional balance. Phuket International Academy Mind Centre (PIAMC) provides a blend of contemporary psychology and neuroscience alongside ancient Asian contemplative practices. Delivered through residential retreats and weekend seminars PIAMC is open to all. Working in close interaction with the PIA Day School and the PIA Sports and Leisure Club, the programmes offered through PIAMC will contribute to everyone’s enhanced mental balance and wellbeing.
Although the full details are not yet available, I am hoping to post something about the dates for the first retreat soon…so keep an eye out. Until then you may also want to sign up for the AICS newsletter which you can do over at the AICS website.
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