Breakout Workshop Sessions
The breakout sessions provide an excellent opportunity to interact with the workshop facilitators and other attendees in a more intimate manner through group discussions, Q&As, group sharing of personal views, etc. Read the blurbs to find out more about the sessions and the facilitators.
DAY 1 (Saturday 3rd March 2018)
Sex, Love and Addictions
by Jeff Oliver
It appears that our society is crumbling from the inside. People seem not to understand their own mind, the decisions they make, and the consequences of those decisions. The human realm is dynamic, operating by the Law of karma, cause and effect. If we can understand this, we can understand many things and in fact, free our minds.
Re-envisioning Buddhism for Diversity, Social Justice and Equality
by Ven. Ayya Yeshe Bodhicitta
For a long time spirituality and religious institutions were dominated by male hetero patriarchy. Buddhism has been no exception. This has meant that women, LGBTQI people, other abled people and people of colour (in the context of white dominated societies) have been marginalised and not had equal access. How can we keep the best of a time-tested tradition but still make Buddhism relevant to the modern world and give marginalised people a voice? How can we re-invigorate Buddhism so that it will flourish and remain relevant for future generations? This process requires a radical self inventory for Buddhists to get real about our dirty laundry, as well as honouring the beauty that still exists amongst the very real challenges that we face.
You should Learn the Teachings in your Own Language
by Ven. Sujato
The Buddha encouraged his students to study his teachings in their own language. In this spirit, Ven. Sujato has spent over two years in solitude completing the first consistent, complete, and freely available translation of the four main Pali nikayas, making the Buddha’s words available in plain, gender-neutral English. This workshop serves to launch this translation, published on an entirely new platform at SuttaCentral. Ven. Sujato will speak on the challenges and insights of this process, and lead a discussion on the relevance and meaning of the Buddha’s words in our time.
Embodying Life: a ‘window’ into deeper intimacy with self and others
by Ven. Bom Hyon Sunim
I wonder if there’s not a tendency these days to bypass critical thinking and default to conventionalism and popular cultural norms. A ‘spin-off’ of this can find us in unhealthy dependence on populist ‘gurus and teachers’ as a source of all wisdom, power and authority, and infantilise us in a state of spiritual, emotional and developmental immaturity. The Buddha’s exhortation is to remain free of fixed views; it points beyond any and all human ideas and traditions, calling us into the chaos of the naked spiritual life. In the past, seekers would retire to the forest or deep mountains to seek “the truth of all things”. Where can we find such a wilderness today that is not colonised by human ambition and greed, nor mapped by human logic?
The Happiness of Letting Go
by Ven. Chang Xu
In this session we ask the important question of “Are you Happy?” and explore the questions of:
What is Happiness? How can we obtain Happiness?
Where does Happiness come from? Can Happiness be secured?
Happiness is a common goal for every one of us, but how many of us are “happy”?
Why are we Happy or not Happy? Let’s explore the true path to real Happiness.
Living an Exquisitely Elegant Life
by Ven. Thubten Chokyi
Cultivating emotional balance and a happy mind as well as living a happy and rewarding life in this crazy ADHD world is within our grasp. Emotional balance, exquisitely focussed attention, cognitive awareness and altruism are skills we can all learn. Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB) is an evidence-based training that blends ancient techniques for developing mindfulness, empathy and compassion with ground breaking scientific understanding of emotions. The program was developed by world renowned psychologist in the field of emotions, Dr Paul Ekman and highly respected meditation teacher and Buddhist scholar, Dr B Alan Wallace, following the Mind & Life Institute dialogue on Destructive Emotions, with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Ven. Thubten Chokyi completed the Cultivating Emotional Balance Teacher Training with Dr Paul Ekman, Eve Ekman and Alan Wallace in Phuket in 2012. In this session, we will be discussing the importance of cultivating emotional balance, cognitive balance, attentional balance and altruism as foundational pillars for a happy life.
DAY 2 (Sunday 4th March 2018)
Selfies and Not Self – Buddhist Communication in the Digital Age.
by Ven. Akaliko
Right speech was central to the Buddha’s teachings on developing harmonious community relations. Communication today is much more complex and varied than in the Buddha’s time; we don’t just speak to each other in person but connect with a global community through emails, SMS, photos, videos, GIFs and more. How should we apply the Buddha’s teachings on right speech to communication in the digital age?
WALKING THE WALK – Buddha Dharma in the 21st Century
by Ven. Ani Rinchen Khandro
Talking the talk is fine, but it is only the precursor to following through with effective action. In this workshop we will apply the blueprint of Buddha Dharma’s wisdom and compassion as the skilful means to address a range of problems, from the individual to the global.
In this session we can explore how we can:
1. Identify the problem, 2. Ascertain the cause, 3. Prescribe the remedy, 4. Take action
Saṃsāra – Dead or Alive? Buddhist Views on Life and Death
by Matt Orsborn
While the notion of saṃsāra, cyclic death and rebirth, is a core part of Buddhist teachings, it has remained as somewhat of a sticking point for many new to Buddhist culture. While the attitude of “take what you want, and leave the rest,” may enable many to engage in Buddhist practices without having to commit to views and ideas they find unpalatable, is it really as simple as that? Can we so readily separate view from practice, or do they interconnect? In this talk we’re going to look straight at life and death. We’ll look at Buddhist and other religious views about dying, death, and what comes next, as well as investigate some intriguing modern medical science and psychological studies that break against a purely physical interpretation of the death of the material body. Let’s break some taboos about talking about death, and look face to face at our collective fate.
Transforming Adversity and Happiness into the Path to Enlightenment.
by Ven. Thubten Gyatso
When faced with the inevitable problems of life, an anxious or fearful response can lead to anger and resultant negative karma. Pleasure also has the disadvantages of generating attachment and making us complacent in our practice. Both situations, however, can be used to enhance our inner cultivation of compassion, renunciation, patience, wisdom, and refuge in the Three Jewels
by Subhana Barzaghi Roshi
There are 4 dimensions to cultivating compassion; self-compassion, compassion for loved ones, Altruistic Compassion and Supreme Compassion. Self-Compassion is a foundational powerful tool. It is the quivering of the heart for healing ourselves from hurt, distress, pain, grief, anxiety and alienation. In Leonard Cohen’s words from his song Anthem, “Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack in everything, That is how the light gets in”. The workshop will offer teachings on the boundless heart and practices in cultivating self-compassion for those seeking to be in the “body” of our shared world in a compassionate way.
Loving Kindness and the Future Buddha Maitreya
by Ven. Thubten Choden
“I leave here believing more than I had. This love has got no ceiling.” – Eddie Vedder
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that we should use the teaching of the current Buddha, Shakyamuni, rather than praying for Maitreya Buddha to come quickly. But if we follow and are interested in Maitreya Buddha’s teachings now, then the practice of loving-kindness should be our focus. In this breakout session we will look at love, at kindness, and how they connect, especially in relation to the perfections of generosity and patience. When we act kindly towards others, is the love in it more than personal love, is it inclusive of all beings? Can we care enough to be patient with ourselves and others? Does our love go beyond focusing on the delusions and problems of others to a place of equality? Do we know the content and truth of our kind acts of generosity so that they are useful and beneficial? We can contemplate Maitreya Buddha’s teachings, both now and in the future, which are imbued with loving-kindness and all Dharma knowledge.