Hi Mick. Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
I am the Resident Teacher at Losang Dragpa Kadampa Buddhist Centre in Newcastle. I have been studying and practising meditation and Buddhism for 15 years.
You are coming to Port over the next few weeks to do some exciting courses. Will this be your first time up here, and what exactly will you be offering?
We have been coming up to Port and surrounding areas for about seven years. We offer a range of meditation courses and events suitable for everyone.
How did your role within this type of industry all come about; what was it that sparked your interest?
To be honest, it was a Buddhist book a friend lent me to read during quiet shifts at work! I wasn’t a Buddhist at the time; however for me, the Buddhist view of the mind, and how happiness and unhappiness depend upon the mind, made complete sense. Shortly after meeting these teachings, a close friend developed anorexia, and I saw directly how powerful the mind is in creating misery. I saw clearly how this person had no ability to control her thoughts, and it was her own thoughts that were the cause of her mental and subsequent physical suffering.
This drove me to learn more about my own mind. I developed a wish to understand and improve my own mind and to help others to do the same. Happiness and unhappiness really do depend on the mind. When our mind is peaceful, we are happy, and when our mind is unpeaceful, it’s impossible to be happy – even if we live in beautiful Port!
Anger, jealousy and other negative thoughts destroy our happiness, just like the surface of a lake whipped up by strong winds.
Through meditation we learn how to reduce and abandon the thoughts that are the source of all our unhappiness. In their place we cultivate positive thoughts conducive to inner peace. Correct meditation is like health-food for the mind. Everyone has the potential to become a more peaceful and happy person. This is what we really want. This is what my friend really wanted, but her confused mind was telling her that to be happy, her body needed to be thin.
It’s very clear, you can’t eat, sleep or drink your way to happiness; we need to think our way to happiness!
Later I decided to stop work and move into the Kadampa Buddhist Centre in Sydney, where I spent a number of years studying, practising and teaching Buddhist Meditation.
In 2009 I was asked if I would like to move to Newcastle and set up a Kadampa Buddhist centre there. A few years later, we began running events in Port and surrounds.
There are some really interesting courses on offer; which one is your favourite and why?
I don’t have a favourite as such; however, I do like the content of the “My Human Life Series” of half-day courses. Why? Because it will inspire us to question the real meaning of our human life, and through this, discover how we can enrich our life with meaning and direction.
For those who won’t be able to attend all courses; which would you recommend?
Whichever appeals to the individual. As mentioned above, our courses and events are open and suitable for everyone, and no previous experience is required.
There is a Day Retreat taking place in March; can you tell us a bit more about this?
From time to time we hold day retreats in the Wauchope / Redbank area. In March I will be guiding a four session day retreat on the topic of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the life of meditation. On this day retreat I will explain what mindfulness really is, its relationship to concentration and how we can improve our mindfulness in meditation and our daily life.
The day retreats are very relaxing and give those who attend an opportunity to forget their problems, even just for a day, and focus on something a bit more positive. Our events are also a great way to meet like-minded people.
How can our readers find out more information about other courses on offer, and how can they stay in touch with what you are doing?
At our events we bring a range of books and CDs. We also provide leaflets with information regarding upcoming events in Port.
Alternatively, you can visit our website:
meditateinportmacquarie.org – where you can also sign up for our regular e-newsletters. We also have a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/meditateinportmacquarie/
Or phone us on: (02) 4023 0215.