Day 1 Keynote Talks
Socially Engaged, Spiritually Aware
by Venerable Thubten Gyatso
The Buddhist practice is a path of wisdom and skilful means, balancing one’s spiritual practice and spiritual service, unifying the personal and social. Like wings of a bird, both aspects are required for our practice to soar. In this talk, we will explore the relationship between social engagement and spiritual awareness.
Disconnect to Reconnect
by Venerable Akāliko
We live in a connected world, linked to a global community through technology and social media, yet we often feel disconnected from ourselves and others. This talk challenges us to examine the quality of both our online and offline interactions, asking what habits, attitudes and activities we can cultivate to feel more connected and what things we need to disconnect from to live a happy and meaningful life.
The Power of Understanding your Story
by Matt Orsborn
Telling and hearing stories are powerful ways to bear witness to our and others’ lives. Our lives are made up of stories and individual moments. Some of those stories may arouse in us joy, others may stir sadness, and others may just be another moment in time that has passed. Whatever those stories may have been, a part of those stories still remains within us today, and continues to write the story that we live out each day.
HiStory, HerStory, Our Story
by Venerable Ayya Tathaloka
History is made up of stories of individuals, communities and events that shape the future and bind all of humanity together. Each person has a story: whether it’s his story, her story, or a shared common story, those stories pass on messages and lessons of the past to the next generation. Each person’s experiences are different and the lens in which we view our past and present is coloured by our own predispositions. Stories of the Buddha and his disciples now make up the teachings that we learn from today. So what story are we creating today?
Discussion Panel – (Re)writing our Story
Every moment we are writing our story. Those stories may follow a particular pattern, have a moral that we need to learn, and connect with the stories of others. In this panel, we will explore the relevance of stories and storytelling in our spiritual practice, explore the individual and common socio-historical story, and ways in which we can write – and rewrite – the story we want to live in every moment.
Ven. Ani Rinchen Khandro
Ven. Bom Hyon Sunim
Day 2 Keynote Talks
Buddha Dharma in the 21st Century
by Venerable Ani Rinchen Khandro
Timeless Wisdom for Modern Times
The major problems we face in today’s world, whether personal or universal, originate in the human mind. From mental and emotional ill health to global imbalances of power and resources, all stem from root causes in the mind. Fortunately, that is also where we find the solutions. The Buddha Dharma provides not only profound insight into our situation, but also the blueprint of an action plan to resolve it and go beyond to realise the full flowering of our potential. We are the architects of our future. Do we continue to sleepwalk along the road to destruction of ourselves and our home on planet Earth? Or wake up, open our hearts and minds and follow the path of Buddha Dharma to a sustainable, meaningful future of liberation, wellbeing and joy. The future is in our hands.
Stepping into the Deep Future
by Venerable Sujato
Darkness is crowding in upon our imaginations, tainted by fears of climate change, extremism, inequality, and a creeping fascism. We know this is happening, but we can’t stop checking our phones, looking for the next dopamine hit. We have become distracted by the present, and not in a good way. It is a shallow, fractured, and anxious present, where we always feel swept along by forces out of our control. If we are to reclaim our future, we must learn to stand in the deep present, a place of stillness and clarity, a solid rock from which we can step into the future and start to shape the world that we want to live in.
Buddhism and the Burning Issues
by Venerable Ayya Yeshe Bodhicitta
We live in a time when human rights and gains that we have made for women, people of colour and LGBTQ and poor people are being stripped away. Twelve million women said “Me too”. Spiritual teachers have been accused of sexual abuse, and similar issues persist. The spiritual journey is not always filled with bliss and perfection. On our spiritual and worldly journeys, we inevitably meet with challenges. When we stand against injustice, we may encounter hate, intolerance and conflict. This talk will provide strategies to see, understand, and ultimately deal with those challenges and the structural violence that occurs so that we can face them skilfully.
Holding the World in our Hearts
by Venerable Bom Hyon Sunim
When we see that our story is interconnected with a common story, we can see that our lives are deeply connected with the lives of others. In knowing of the pain of others, we feel compassion in our hearts to wish to heal their pain. In knowing of the fortunes of others, we can rejoice in their happiness. In bearing witness to their story, we connect to their lives deeply with ours. In this way, we can hold the world in hearts.
The Buddha and his disciples’ spiritual journey have been passed down to us in the scriptures. This panel will explore the stories of the past and how the teachings exemplified in those teachings continue to hold relevance for us now in our own journey. With panelists across the major Buddhist traditions, this session focuses on the practical aspects of the respective traditions’ teachings and texts to elucidate how they may be applied to our lives today.
Ven. Thubten Gyatso
Ven. Ayya Tathaloka
Moderator: Walter Mason