Saturday, June 02, 2007

Bodhi Tree News

First Vipassana Retreats at Bodhi Tree

January Retreats at Bodhi Tree

January 2006 saw the first 10-day intensive Vipassana retreat held at Bodhi Tree, along with a 2-day retreat held earlier in the month with many retreatants actually staying on for the 10-day. All participants enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere of Bodhi Tree, the beautiful wild life and bush land setting, and the teachings of Bhante Pannyavaro, which contributed to some great mindfulness practice!

Our facilities are expanding and we can now comfortably accommodate 15-25 people for the retreats. Our resident cook served up some tasty retreat food for our guests, everybody especially enjoyed the swim in our large natural rock pool with waterfall at the end of the retreat, and the feedback from both retreats was very positive, bringing much joy to Bhante Pannyavaro and Venerable Bodhicitta.

Two Years at Bodhi Tree !!!

One Year at Bodhi Tree !!!

Bodhi Tree has now been operating for two years.

Bhante Pannyavaro and Venerable Bodhicitta (above) with the help of many generous lay volunteers have achieved much in the past year, culminating in our first residential retreats both 2-day and 10-day intensive Insight Meditation (Vipassana) retreats.

Much has been done around the property and buildings including; the clearing of many noxious weeds from the 95 acres, cleaning up our two beautiful creeks and the creation of a large fresh water rock pool, the creation of dormitories for retreatants, expanding our meditation hall, and transforming the old kitchen into a large functioning retreat kitchen as well as much painting and general property maintenance.

We have now secured the property, which includes a covenant that Bodhi Tree will be used for Buddhist practice only and cannot be on sold. Of course, we have still to payback the loan on a monthly basis - so if you can help to support us please use the form below, your kind support is most appreciated.

Our next year should be filled with retreats and much more hard work creating a new meditation hall and dormitory, as well as many covered walking tracks - and of course, getting to know the local wild life with Kangaroos, Wallabies, Echidnas, Koalas, Platypus, Turtles and many species of birds.

The Resident Ordained Sangha

Bodhi Tree's ordained Sangha members are Ven. Bodhicitta, a young Australian monk who is looking after BuddhaNet and currently working on BuddhaNet's 'World Buddhist Directory' database and Ven. Pannyavaro, the senior resident monk.

Making a donation: If you would like to make a donation, you can do so online by clicking here.

Alternatively you can download the Bodhi Tree Pledge Form below.

Bodhi Tree - Pledge Form PDF Doc. (306kb)
To Save a copy right-click and choose 'save target as...

There is no set cost for retreats

The retreats are by Dana. Dana means 'giving'. In the tradition the teachings are given freely, although donations are needed to cover the retreat costs and future teaching programs. For the teachings to continue you can give to support the teachers and the monastery. There is no set cost - the donation is up to you.

Bookings and further information
PDF Bodhi Tree Retreat Registration / Information
PDF Doc. (60 KB) - To download:
click right mouse button on link and select "Save Target As" option.

Bodhi Tree Forest Monastery
& Retreat Centre
78 Bentley Road
Tullera NSW 2480
Phone: +61 (02) 6628 2426

Thursday, May 31, 2007

India protesters refuse to relent

By Narayan Bareth
BBC News, Jaipur

Gujjar protesters blocking a road with six bodies of their dead
Thousands of protesters are continuing to sit on the roads
Three days after 14 people were killed in violent clashes in India's Rajasthan state, tribal protesters are refusing to cremate six of their dead.

Several tens of thousands of protesters are continuing to sit on the highway along with the bodies of their dead.

Some 25,000 members of the nomadic Gujjar tribe are blocking a key national highway along with the bodies.

Officials say the situation across the state is very volatile.

The Gujjars are demanding that they be included in an affirmative action quota which would give them access to government jobs and other benefits.

The trouble started on Tuesday in the state's Dausa district when police fired on Gujjar protesters who had blocked the main road connecting the city of Jaipur with the tourist destination of Agra where the Taj Mahal is located.

Unrest spreading


The unrest has now spread across the state, with properties and vehicles vandalised and road blocks set up every five kilometres.

A strike call by protesters has shut several towns, including Kota and Ajmer, although the state capital, Jaipur, continues to function normally.

The situation in the towns of Karauli and Bharatpur is also tense.

Train services across the state have been disrupted, with protesters uprooting rail tracks in many places.

Bus services to the state from the Indian capital, Delhi, have been cancelled.

The first round of talks between the state government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and leaders of the Gujjars on Wednesday night failed to break the deadlock and the two sides are due to resume their dialogue again later on Thursday.

Thousands of soldiers have been deployed across the state to keep peace.


Wary police officers say the situation has become more complicated as a rival tribal group, the Meenas, has also taken to streets now.

The Gujjars - a large and politically-influential nomadic tribe spread across north India - want to be categorised as an official tribe so that they may benefit from affirmative action quotas which will give them access to government jobs as well as places in state-supported schools and colleges.

If the government accedes to their demand, it falls foul of the Meena tribe which is already in the official tribes list and at present corners most of the benefits meant for them.

Meenas do not want to share the benefits with the Gujjars.

The government is now in a catch-22 situation.

If they accede to the Gujjars' demands, the Meenas threaten to launch protests.

If they refuse the Gujjars' demands, the protesters threaten to escalate their action.

The issue of affirmative action is a sensitive one in India, with many poor communities arguing that it is the only way millions of under-privileged people can benefit from India's economic boom.

But those opposed to it say it is a cynical move by politicians to gain more votes from politically influential communities who make up a large percentage of the country's population.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Low caste Indians seek to convert
Dalit women (file pic)
The conversion is expected to be the largest in modern times
Thousands of tribal and Dalit Hindus in India have gathered in Mumbai to convert en masse to Buddhism.

The ceremony, at which ten of thousands are expected to embrace the Buddhist faith, is being billed as the largest religious conversion in modern India.

The converts hope to escape the rigid caste system in which their status is the lowest.

Right-wing Hindus have often opposed conversion, pushing some Indian states to restrict legal changes of faith.

The BBC's Zubair Ahmed, who is at the racecourse in Mumbai for the event, says 30,000 people are already present, although the organisers are not giving a figure for the total number they expect to convert.

Conversion controversies

The Dalits, once known as Untouchables, hope the conversion will give them dignity and equal rights.

"Once they convert themselves to another religion, the minimum they will get is treatment as human beings," Arun Khote of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights told the BBC.

Commentators say that despite the reservation of jobs for the Dalit and tribal communities, their social status and economic conditions have not greatly improved.

They say that Dalits still face widespread prejudice and discrimination.

Conversion is a controversial subject in India, especially if it involves Hindus converting to Christianity or Islam.

Two weeks ago two Catholic priests were publicly beaten after being accused of trying to bring a group of local people into the Catholic faith.

But converting to Buddhism does not evoke much adverse reaction, as many in India believe Buddhism is an extension of Hinduism.

Even so, several Indian states, especially the ones governed by the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP, have made laws severely restricting conversion.