ALL WELCOME !
MITRA is excited to present our 8th MITRA Conference titled “Destination Mindfulness“, to be held on Saturday and Sunday 3-4 May, 2014 at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Similar to our previous conferences, this conference will consist of main talks, panel discussions and break-out sessions, all facilitated by respected international and local, monastic and lay speakers from the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions of Buddhism.
The conference theme this year “Destination Mindfulness“, focuses on using Buddhist teachings and philosophy to help us find and maintain balance in our busy lives. Presentation and discussion topics at the conference include: methods to cope with daily stress and changes, handling situations that compromise and conflict with our personal and spiritual ethics, finding meaning in our professional and personal lives, as well as a focus on how to live mindfully, finding ways to integrate the Buddha’s teachings into our everyday lives, in a fast-paced and ever changing world.
The conference is open to all people (not a youth conference!), from all backgrounds, ages and religions. All welcome!
Get a glimpse of our MITRA Conference 2007 – Change Your Mind Change the World and also check out our MITRA Conference 2008 – Wisdom for a Modern World.
The 2014 MITRA Conference lineup includes the following guest speakers:
His Eminence (H.E.) Aenpo Kyabgon Rinpoche
Aenpo Kyabgon Rinpoche is a Tibetan Buddhist Monk and is currently residing in the Kyegu Buddhist Institute (“KBI”) in Sydney.
At the age of five, His Holiness Sakya Trizin, the Head of Sakyapa Order of Tibetan Buddhism, recognised him as the reincarnation of his predecessor. Aenpo Kyabgon is one of the very few Tulkus (reincarnated Rinpoches) in all of Tibet who possesses the ‘Kyabgon’ title.
Following his early monastic studies, Rinpoche began his higher studies in Sutra, Tantra and Shastras under the late Venerable Khenpo Migmar Tsering and other teachers at Sakya College, the noted Institute of Higher Buddhist Studies (in Rajpur, near Dehra Dun in Northern India). Rinpoche graduated in 1998 with the Kachupa degree, equivalent to a B.A.
Rinpoche has received numerous initiations and teachings from His Holiness the Sakya Trizin, His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoche (Head of the Ngorpa lineage of the Sakya Tradition), and special Tantric teachings from late Khenpo Appey Rinpoche, the founder of Sakya College in India and the International Buddhist Academy in Nepal. Rinpoche, well versed in English, survived a major car accident in 1998 after graduating from Sakya College. Rinpoche has kindly been travelling widely to bestow empowerments and give teachings to many students from South East Asia, and Australia.
Rinpoche has a unique approach to his teachings, in particular, being able to relate to his students of various ages and experiences. He brings loving kindness, compassion, encouragement and inspiration through his teachings. Many of his students find Rinpoche as a relaxed and genuine teacher who is also fun with a great sense of humour.
For more information on Aenpo Kyabgon Rinpoche’s biography, teachings and projects please go to the KBI website.
Venerable Thubten Chodron
Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron has practiced the Buddha’s teachings for nearly forty years. A native of Los Angeles, she ordained as a nun in the Tibetan tradition in 1977 and received the full ordination of a bhikshuni in Taiwan in 1986. Venerable Chodron has studied extensively with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tsenzhap Serkhong Rinpoche, Zopa Rinpoche, and Lama Thubten Yeshe among many other Tibetan masters. With a clear, practical, and humorous style, she teaches Buddhist philosophy and meditation worldwide.
Her numerous books, published in several languages, include Open Heart, Clear Mind; Buddhism for Beginners; Taming the Mind; Guided Meditations on the Stages of the Path; and, most recently, Don’t Believe Everything You Think and was editor for Wisdom’s publication of Insight Into Emptiness.
Venerable Chodron has been the resident teacher at Amitabha Buddhist Center in Singapore, and was the resident teacher and spiritual advisor for Dharma Friendship Foundation in Seattle for ten years. She is currently the Abbess of Sravasti Abbey, a Buddhist monastic community in Newport, Washington, which she founded in 2003. Many of her teachings are available on her website and on YouTube. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Venerable Sujato is an Australian Theravanda Buddhist Monk ordained in a monastery in Chieng Mai in Thailand during the 1990s. He played in a successful rock band called Martha’s Vineyard for many years before he joined an intensive Buddhist retreat in Thailand which introduced him to the Buddha’s teachings.
Besides spending 3 years in the Bodhinyana monastery with Ajahn Brahm, he also spent several years in remote hermitages and caves in Thailand in Malaysia.
Venerable Sujato has taught the Dhamma and meditation to a varied audience in Australia and internationally such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, The USA, Germany, Norway, India, Sri Lanka and many others, and has spoken at several major International Buddhist conferences and events. He also helped to establish the Santi Forest Monastery in Bundanoon, where he was the abbot for many years.
Venerable Sujato has become well known for his articulate and support for the fully ordained Bhikkhuni lineage. A special field of interest is the role of women in Buddhism and particularly the revival of the Bhikkhuni order within the Theravada tradition. As well as being a meditator and teacher, Venerable Sujato is a scholar of early Buddhism, with several books and essays of original and often groundbreaking research. He contributes to Buddhism in Australia through a wide variety of forums and organisations, including the Australian Sangha Association, Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils, Australia Partnership of Religious Organisations, Australian Association of Buddhist Councillors and Psychotherapists, Australian Association fo Buddhist Studies, and Australian Religious Response to Climate Change.
Sarah Napthali is the author of the Buddhism for Mothers series of books published by Allen & Unwin which has been translated into nine languages to date. She has recently completed the soon to be published Buddhism for Couples about applying Buddhist teachings in a long-term partner relationship along with a Graduate Diploma in Psychology from Macquarie University. Practising in the Insight tradition, with the Bluegum Sangha, Sarah strives to apply Buddhist teachings to her role as mother, wife and friend. She believes that our relationships with others are valuable ground for Buddhist practice but that a kind, compassionate relationship with our own self is an essential foundation for practice.
Ajahn Brahmali was born in Norway in 1964. He first became interested in Buddhism and meditation in his early 20s after a visit to Japan. He completed Masters degrees in Engineering and Finance, before renouncing the world of industry and commerce to ordain as a Bhikkhu with Ajahn Brahm as his preceptor in 1996.
Apart from being responsible for all the building work at Bodhinyana, Ajahn Brahmali also teaches the monastic rules (the Vinaya) and gives Pali classes (the language of the texts).
Ajahn Brahmali’s clear and thoughtful talks make the teachings of the Buddha accessible to all and are very popular downloads on the BSWA (Buddhist Society of Western Australia) website. He teaches regularly at BSWA and in Singapore. Ajahn Brahmali has also published a number of articles on important points of the Dhamma. Ajahn Brahmali is currently involved with the development of the Sutta Central, which is an online correspondence of early Buddhist discourses containing early Buddhist texts, translations and parallels.
Venerable Huifeng is a New Zealand monk in the Chinese Mahayana tradition, currently residing and teaching in Taiwan.
Having been introduced to Buddhism in his early teens, he committed himself to Buddhist practice in the 1990s. Studying at several of Fo Guang Shan Monastery’s Buddhist Colleges, he received full ordination as a Bhikkhu in 2004. From 2006 to 2011 he studied a Masters and then completed a PhD degree in Buddhist studies at the University of Hong Kong. His PhD dissertation was entitled “Chiasmus in the Early Prajnaparamita: Literary Parallelism Connecting Criticism & Hermeneutics in an Early Mahayana Sutra”.
Presently he is one of five Vice-Abbots for Fo Guang Shan Monastery, and an Assistant Professor at the Department of Buddhist Studies at Fo Guang University, Taiwan. His areas of academic focus include Indian Buddhism, in particular early Mahāyāna sūtra and śāstra, translation and hermeneutics, and practices of contemporary Taiwanese Buddhism. Practice wise, he practices and teaches both classic Indian and Chinese forms of Buddhist meditation, in addition to a little hatha yoga.
Ayya Dhammadhira grew up in California, USA. After receiving her BA in Social Sciences and MA in Education, she worked as a school teacher for ten years. Upon learning more about Buddhism and experiencing significant life changes, she decided to enter monastic life in England in 2001. For eleven years, she trained at Amaravati and Chithurst Monasteries before returning to the US in 2012. Back in America, Ayya took Bhikkhuni ordination and continued her life as a nun at Mahapajapati Monastery. In 2013, Ayya was invited to join the group of nuns at Santi Forest Monastery in Bundanoon, NSW where she currently resides. Ayya Dhammadhira brings the teaching of the Buddha to life and teaches the Dhamma in an engaging, down-to-earth and enlightening manner that captures the attention of the audience.
After a successful career as a business leader, Alexandra Yuille, B. Arts. CCPE (Advanced) completed her Advanced Certificate with the NSW College of Pastoral Education in 2002. She has worked as a Pastoral Carer at both St Vincents and Royal North Shore Hospitals in Sydney. From 2006 to 2009 Alexandra trained in the study and practice of authentic Buddhist teachings on meditation, mind, compassion and wisdom at the Rigpa Institute of Wisdom and Compassion in France. Alexandra currently teaches meditation and compassion practices to a wide variety of people including business leaders and health care workers.
Venerable Guo Jun
Venerable Guo Jun is a Singaporean Mahayana Monk ordained under Venerable Song Nian of Mahabodi Temple in Singapore. He has studied and practised in all areas of Tibetan, Theravada, Mahayana Buddhism and Ch’an Buddhism for many years under the guidance of Venerable Master Sheng-yen.
He has studied and completed various University undergraduate degrees in Biotechnology, Buddhist Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology and more recently a Masters of Buddhist Studies from the University of Sydney.
He speaks Mandarin, Korean and English and has travelled worldwide to Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, the United States, Luxemburg, Poland, Croatia and Switzerland to teach the Dharma and share his experiences.
He is a member of the Australian Psychological Society and currently is the abbot of Mahabodi Temple in Singapore.
Dr. Chien Hoong Gooi
Dr Chien Hoong Gooi is a Clinical Psychologist and Buddhist teacher who seeks to integrate western psychology with the practices of Buddhist meditation. He was previously involved in clinical research applying mindfulness practices in the treatment of anxiety disorders at The University of Sydney and also served as the Buddhist Chaplain at the University of New South Wales. He is currently in private practice and is a committee member for the Australian Association of Buddhist Counsellors and Psychotherapists (AABCAP).
Dr Gooi works from an integrated approach, combining Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with Mindfulness and Acceptance-based strategies. He conducts mindfulness meditation courses and workshops, locally and abroad, as part of his personal involvement in community outreach. He also has a special interest working with grief and loss. He assists adults with anxiety, phobias, grief and loss, depression, stress management, and psychological and emotional wellbeing.
Dr Gooi is a member of Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA), Australian Psychology Society (APS), Australian Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (AACBT), Australian Association of Buddhist Counsellors and Psychotherapists (AABCAP) and Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychology (MSCP).
Phil Carlisle first met Lama Ole Nydahl in 1995 at a public talk. His relaxed style and western approach inspired Phil to begin practising Diamond Way Buddhism in the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism.The Karma Kagyu lineage is one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. As a lineage of direct oral transmission, it especially treasures meditation and, through interaction with a qualified teacher, can bring about the full and direct experience of the nature of mind. As a lay practitioner, Phil runs a successful multimedia business, integrating his Buddhist practice with living in the modern world. In 2007 Lama Ole asked Phil to begin teaching Diamond Way Buddhism in Australasia and spread these precious teachings as transparently as possible to idealistic, clear-thinking Westerners. Phil Carlisle has been a student of Lama Ole Nydahl for many years, travelling extensively with Lama Ole throughout Australia and New Zealand as well as Europe. Phil and his Media company have recorded and produced video documentary of Lama Ole’s lectures as well as producing a concise teaching series used in centres world wide. Phil has been teaching Buddhism for a number of years within Australia and New Zealand and completed a teaching tour of Russia. Bringing his many years of experience and knowledge, Phil delivers the Buddha’s Teachings in a relaxed and understandable style.
Grahame has been involved in Buddhist meditation practice for over 40 years. He began his study in England in 1969 before being ordained as a Buddhist monk for one year in BodhGaya, India in 1971. He took a primary role in the establishment of Vipassana meditation in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw in Australia and co-founded the Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre outside Sydney., Grahame leads introductory and day long courses in Illawarra & Sydney areas and regularly teaches longer intensive retreats in Honolulu, Hawaii where he is a guiding teacher with the meditation group Vipassana Hawaii. He also teaches yearly retreats in Sri Lanka with the Nirodha Trust. He has also helped pioneer a workshop format that enhances the transfer of mindfulness from the formal sitting practice into daily life. Grahame returns to Myanmar (Burma) regulary in order to deepen his own practice and study of the Buddha’s teachings ,at times assisting in the teaching of Vipassana retreats for foreigners. Grahame teaches a classical tradition of insight meditation with a relaxed, accessible style.
Dhammadāsa Bhikkhu was born in England in 1965, but migrated to Australia when he was young. From a young age, he was spiritually minded and was deeply committed to the only spiritual tradition he knew at the time, Protestant Christianity. He studied the Bible diligently and at one time aspired to be a missionary. From an early age, he was interested in languages and studied Greek, French, German, Chinese, Thai, Pāli, Arabic, Sanskrit and Latin.
He became interested in Buddhism in 1985, and a year later, took ordination as a Thai Theravada Buddhist monk in Australia with Luang Por Somdet Phra Maha Rājamagalāchariya Wat Paknam, Bhasicharoen, as his preceptor. This was probably the first Theravāda Bhikkhu ordination in Australia.
Shortly after ordination, he started the Vijjā Dhammakāya meditation system, with Phramahā Wanchai Selakun, a meditation teacher from Wat Paknam, Bhasicharoen, Bangkok. In 1988, he started the Mahāsi Vipassanā meditation system with Ajahn Sawai at Samnak Vipassanā Vivekasom, Chonburi, Thailand. In Thailand in 1993, he met Buddhadāsa Bhikkhu, who encouraged him to focus on the Words of the Buddha, which he has done since then and which clarified greatly the Buddha’s teaching for him. From the year 2000, he has given various public talks and written various articles on the Buddha’s teaching. In 2004, he completed a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Studies in Religion (Buddhist Studies) and Mandarin (Modern Chinese Language) at the University of Queensland. In 2005, he published a book called “The Gift of the Buddha – A Happy Life” with an excellent foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Besides Buddhism, he is passionate about the environment and is actively involved with permaculture.
Jim has been a Buddhist teacher for over fifteen years and was one of the initiators of the earliest structured Buddhist programs presented at the Buddhist Library. He has taught numerous Buddhist courses in various organisations, such as the Buddhist Council of NSW, Buddhist Library, Indonesian Buddhist Society of NSW and Bodhikusuma Buddhist and Meditation Centre. Jim is a regular speaker and meditation workshop facilitator at University Buddhist organisations. He is also trained as a Hospital Buddhist Chaplain.
Venerable Thubten Choden
Ven Choden is one of Gen-La Venerable Thubten Tenzin’s monastic Sangha in Wellington, NSW, and has been a Buddhist nun for 11 years, having been ordained by Geshe Thubten Dawa. She is a resident monastic of Tharpa Choeling Abbey which began in 2004 under the guidance of Venerable Thubten Tenzin. Tharpa Choeling Abbey was so named by Geshe Thubten Dawa and the Sangha have been together for over twelve years, studying, practising and working on the various projects under the direction of the abbess and kind teacher Venerable Tenzin (often referred to as Gen-la, which means “kind teacher” in Tibetan).
Tharpa Choeling offers a range of activities, both local and international, including prison visits, Buddhist counselling, meditation outreach courses, meditation CDs, courses on healing, Lam Rim courses, on-line courses – Understanding Buddhism and How to Meditate, Mindfulness courses, Tibetan Breath Yoga courses and much more, all by donation.
After artisitic and business pursuits, Debbie undertook Buddhist Spiritual studies with Rigpa in 2006. Then as a mother, she incorporated into her life teaching Buddhist Scripture to children in schools whilst also undertaking roles of Care for Rigpa Yeshe, incorporating a Buddhist retreat program for Children. Since 2011, Debbie has been working as the Buddhist Chaplain at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick . Today she works with Aged Care and Disability after gaining Certification and more specifically dealing with palliative care patients in their homes.
The MITRA Conference 2014 will be hosted by the following Masters of Ceremony (MC):
Tina is the Principal Solicitor of Metta Legal, a role which encourages her to bring Buddhist ethical principles into her practice of law. She has participated in University Buddhist societies, and is an active member of the Buddhist community generally. She is interested in sharing the Buddha’s teachings in all kinds of forums and media. Some of these projects include writing for print and online publications, editing Buddhist books, organising Buddhist community events and also appearing briefly on television. Click here to view some of Tina’s writings.
Steven Daghlian works as a Market Analyst at CommSec, providing sharemarket updates for Channel 10, Sky News, ABC, Channel 9 and a number of radio stations across Australia. He attended a 10-day Vipassana Meditation retreat in the Blue Mountains a few years ago, which changed his life for the better (and also made him cry!). He is in awe and inspired by those who dedicate their lives to the re-discovery of universal truths and the deepening of wisdom. Outside of work, he has been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over five years, meditates, plays music with a band called NAH74 each week and is fascinated by experiments relating to intention’s influence on living things.
2014 Mitra Conference Information
DATE: 3-4 May 2014
TIME: 8:00am – 5:30pm
VENUE: Guthrie Theatre – University of Technology, Sydney
Entry is via Harris Street, Ultimo. NSW. 2007.
TICKETS: Tickets can be purchased from our Registration page
Early Bird Special extended until 23 March 2014!
Early Bird Ticket Prices – 13 January 2014 to 23 March 2014
Full Ticket Prices – 24 March 2014 to 4 May 2014
Discounted “Early-bird” tickets are on sale from 13 January 2014 – 23 March 2014, so make sure you take up this excellent value limited offer before it closes and tickets run out! Tickets include a Conference pack, discounted offers from our sponsors, morning and afternoon tea.
As MITRA is a non-for-profit organisation, the event is wholly run by volunteers and the cost of the tickets is a reflection of the costs incurred by MITRA to bring local and international speakers and delegates to a central location in the Sydney CBD at an affordable price. All profits from this Conference will go towards to Buddhist Temples, volunteer projects and charities chosen by our speakers and future MITRA Conferences.
Registration for break-out sessions will take place during the registration process at the Conference.
For more information, or if you have any enquiries please email our Conference Convenor at firstname.lastname@example.org