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Bodhipaksa is teaching in Australia, March 2017!

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Rainbow at Vijayaloka

Rainbow at Vijayaloka

Bodhipaksa is teaching in Australia in 2017! He’s been invited by the Sydney Buddhist Centre to lead a week-long retreat on lovingkindness and the other three “divine abidings” at Vijayaloka Buddhist Retreat Centre, at Minto, just one hour from the centre of Sydney, on a plot of largely pristine bushland above the upper reaches of the Georges River.

This week-long retreat is an opportunity to enjoy my innovative and even provocative take on the “divine abidings” or Brahma Viharas — four inspiring and transformative practices that progressively expand our sphere of concern to include all beings.

The divine abidings are a path to insight, blending compassion and wisdom.

On this retreat we will delve progressively deeper into the divine abidings, developing an unselfish concern as deep as the world itself: a love that leads ourselves and others toward awakening.

These teachings have grown out of over 30 years of practicing these meditations, and of helping literally thousands of people to explore them. The retreat is suitable for people who already have some meditation experience. It’s not an event for complete beginners.

  • Metta is kindness, or an empathic recognition that just as we desire happiness, other beings desire happiness; therefore we wish for the wellbeing of others.
  • Karuna, or compassion, is the desire that beings be free from suffering so that they may experience happiness.
  • Mudita, or joyful appreciation, is far more than “being happy because others are happy.” It begins by recognizing that true happiness does not arise randomly, but as the result of skillful actions. Therefore we rejoice in the good we see in ourselves and the world, and encourage its development, living as much as possible from a basis of gratitude and appreciation.
  • Upekkha is often translated as equanimity, or balance. But it goes much deeper. The root meaning of upekkha is “to watch intimately.” It begins with the recognition that the deepest and truest form of happiness is the peace that arises from spiritual awakening; therefore if we truly want beings to be happy we should rejoice in and encourage the cultivation of insight in ourselves and others.

In cultivating upekkha we must look deeply into the hearts of beings and recognize their need for awakening. And we must look deeply into the nature of reality itself, so that we know what awakening is, and can help others to attain it. Upekkha, in its essence, is identical to “The Great Compassion” (Maha-Karuna) of the Mahayana, that seeks the enlightenment of all beings.

The divine abidings, ultimately, are a love as deep as life itself.

The retreat runs from Friday, 3 March until Friday, 10 March, 2017.

Click here to register for Bodhipaksa’s retreat in Australia.

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“We found that the health and wellbeing profile of people who had meditated for at least two years was significantly higher in the majority of health and wellbeing categories when compared to the Australian population,” Sydney Morning Herald quoted research leader Dr Ramesh Manocha, from the university’s psychiatry discipline.

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They have begun a research project investigating stress responses in people who meditate regularly compared to people who are long-term carers and who do not meditate.

Behavioural neuroscience researcher Dr Maarten Immink says ultimately the project aims to show that meditation reduces stress and that it can have physical as well as mental function benefits for people who live in higher stress situations.

“Previous research has already shown that meditation helps with attention, memory and decision making,” he says.

“The general notion of meditation is not to avoid stress but to learn to deal with the stress a little bit differently. So when stress is triggered, as it is in all of us, it’s about how we respond to that, whether it’s about breathing differently or thinking in a different way. We’re hoping to show that meditation can have impacts on physical health and mental function, by evaluating differences in stress biomarkers (cortisol) and in how people handle stressful challenges.”

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They need 40 participants who are regular meditators (have engaged in meditation practice five days a week for at least three years) and who are in good health. They also need 40 participants who have been carers for at least three years, who are generally in good health and who are not regular meditators.

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Anyone interested in being involved, or wanting more information, can contact Dr Kelly on (08) 8302 2901 or by email shona.kelly@unisa.edu.au

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