First Interfaith Conference on Classical Tantra in Australia
Date: Saturday 14-15 November, 2105
Venue: Janssen Spirituality Centre,
22 Woodvale Road Boronia Vic, 3155
Classical Tantra in the World’s Religions
The bliss that arises from the union of opposites
Conducted by the MELA Interfaith Association Inc.
in association with Janssen Spirituality Centre
The tantric tradition is ancient and extensive, influential and profound. However, in the West it has been gravely misunderstood. Even in India, it has come to mean sorcery and charlatanism.
The real aim of tantra is to reach the freedom that arises from the union of transcendence and immanence, emptiness and plenitude, male and female, light and darkness, beauty and horror, good and evil, strength and weakness, purity and impurity, human and divine, life and death. This paradoxical path is said to lead most effectively and rapidly to the highest state.
This conference on classical tantra wishes to explore the valuable contribution tantra has made in the past and can still make. Indeed, the essential elements of tantra are found in the Hindu tradition as well as in the Buddhist tantra, in Sufi love poetry, in the Jewish Kabbalah, in the yin and yang of Taoism and in the theme of mystical marriage in Christianity.
The conference will involve input by knowledgeable and experienced speakers in these religions as well as workshops and discussions on texts and imagery. It is probably the first of its kind in Australia.
Registration fees: $165 full,
$135 concession (includes light lunches and refreshments)
Accommodation is available for $55 per night (includes breakfast)
Information: Call +61 417 560 087 for information
Registration: For those wishing to attend please email email@example.com
Closing date 1-Oct-2015. Apply early as space is limited.
Saturday: 14 Nov 2015
8.30 am Registration
9.00 am Welcome and opening ceremony
9.15 am Opening address: John Dupuche
9.45 am Introductory participant workshop
10.30 am Morning tea
11.00 am Hindu Tantra: Shri Kedar Rajopadhyaya, Yogi Matsyendranath
Text/icon study in small groups
12.30 am Lunch
2.00 pm Buddhist Tantra: Ven. Thubten Gyatso
3.00 am Text/icon study in small groups
3.30 pm Afternoon tea
4.00 pm Taoism (Yin and Yang): Morgan Buchanan
Text/icon study in small groups
Sunday: 15 Nov 2015
7.30 am Breakfast
9.00 am Christian Tantra: John Dupuche
10.00 am Text/icon study in small groups
10.30 am Morning tea
11.00 am Kabbalah: Merav Carmeli
11.30 am Text/icon study in small groups
12.30 pm Lunch
2.00 pm Sufism: Herman Roborgh
3.00 pm Text/icon study
3.30 pm Afternoon tea
4.00 pm Concluding general discussion: what has been achieved?
5.00 pm Closing ceremony
Rev. Dr. John Dupuche is Parish Priest of Nazareth Parish, Ricketts Point, Melbourne. He has a doctorate in Sanskrit, specialising in Kashmir Shaivism and is particularly interested in its interface with Christianity. He is Honorary Fellow in the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy at the Australian Catholic University with special involvement in interfaith relations, and senior-lecturer and co-ordinator of the Graduate Certificate in Guiding Meditation at MCD University of Divinity. He is chair of the Catholic Interfaith Committee of the Archdiocese, and member of the executive of the School of Prayer within the Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation. He travels to India each year, and lives in an interfaith ashram. His book: Abhinavagupta: the Kula Ritual as elaborated in chapter 29 of the Tantraloka was published in 2003; Jesus, the Mantra of God, in 2005; and Vers un Tantra Chrétien in 2009 (translated as Towards a Christian Tantra). He has written many articles in these fields.
Shri Kedar Raj Rajopadhyaya, the Guru of the Bhaktapur Royal Devi temple and associated lineages, is Guru to Yogi Matsyendranath and Dr. Mark Dyczkowski. He has many students throughout the world and is one of the most notable initiating gurus in Nepal. Kedar Raj collaborated with Dr. Robert Levy on the anthropological study ‘Mesocosm’. He taught at the University of California, San Diego, for five years in the 1970s and has also taught in Europe and the UK. Although the esoteric traditions of Bhaktapur will not be publicly discussed, Guru Kedar Raj is happy to talk in general about gender and religion, the history of Nepali Shaktism and other such topics.
Yogi Matsyendranath has expertise in Shri Vidya and Shakta Tantra of Nepal, as well as the Nath Tradition. He was fully trained in these traditions in India and Nepal, and has been ordained as a Guru and is authorized to initiate adepts into the traditions. Furthermore, he learned from various Gurus in India and Nepal the connections between Nath Tradition and esoteric Shakta Tantra. He is an expert in all aspects of tantric puja and Hatha Yoga practice. He has written, translated and published several fundamental texts of the Nath Tradition from Sanskrit and Hindi into Russian. In more recent times, he has been actively involved in interfaith dialogue in the Interfaith Ashram in Warburton where he lives.
Thubden Gyatso was born Adrian Feldmann in Melbourne in 1943, grew up in Melbourne, Sydney, and Hobart. Graduated in medicine, Melbourne University 1968, Worked in hospitals in Australia, New Guinea, and England for 5 years. Met Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche in Nepal in 1974, became ordained at Kopan Monastery, Kathmandu at the end of 1975. Helped establish Western sangha communities in Nepal, France, and Australia. Taught at Dharma Centres in Europe, Far East, America, and Australia. Went to Mongolia in 1999 to help establish new Dharma Centre. Stayed there for four years. Performed a three-year meditation retreat on Kangaroo Island 2005 – 2008. Currently director of Thubten Shedrup Ling Monastery, Bendigo, Australia. Published three books: ‘Perfect Mirror’ and ‘A Leaf in the Wind’ both published by Lothian Books, Melbourne, and ‘The World and Ourselves- Buddhist
Psychology’ published at Kopan Monastery, Nepal.
Sifu Morgan Buchanan began training in Tai Chi over twenty years ago at the University of Melbourne. Tai Chi is a practical expression of the Tao. The living philosophical system called ‘Taoism’ helps us understand the world and how we can live in it by embracing the principles of change inherent in nature and human experience. It emphasises emptiness, softness, non-resistance and giving up the self. Sifu Morgan has continued his training with some of Australia’s best instructors as well as travelling and living overseas to pursue his understanding of Tai Chi and its connection with traditional Chinese philosophy and culture. He has been training with Master Law Lun Yeung since 2001, is Master Law’s senior student, and has been certified to teach the Cheng Man Ching style which focuses on Tai Chi as a starting point for investigation into Chinese philosophy, medicine and the arts. Morgan teaches three classes per week in Beaumaris as well as conducting workshops and personal tuition. He has worked out of an office in the Ricketts Point Interfaith household for four years where he’s had the opportunity to discuss philosophy and interfaith matters with Rev. Dr John Dupuche, Venerable Lama Tendar and Swami Samnyasanand.
Merav Carmeli was born is Israel. She has a BA and MA in Bible and Jewish Studies from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She is now working on her Phd which focuses on the Zohar (the most important work of the classical Kabbalah from the 13th century) and specifically on the centrality of the Divine Feminine in this composition. She has taught Jewish Studies and Jewish Mysticism at the adult education program of Monash University through the ACJC, at universities in Israel and at other institutions.
For the last 12 years she has analysed the available Zohar manuscripts (from the 14th-16th centuries) as part of the Pritzker Zohar Project (a critical translation into English of the Zohar, Stanford University Press). She is now an Adjunct Research Associate at Monash University. Merav has published a few academic articles and she is the co-editor of two volumes on the Zohar. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and three children.
Herman Roborgh spent many years as a Christian missionary in Indonesia and Pakistan engaged in pastoral work among the Christian community. While living in these two Muslim countries, he witnessed at first hand the deep relationship that Muslims have with God and with the Prophet Muhammad. He realised that Christians and Muslims needed to develop a more respectful attitude towards one another’s faith tradition. So he began to deepen his understanding of Islam by studying the languages of Urdu and Arabic. After writing a thesis on a Pakistani scholar who had published an original approach to the interpretation of the Qur’an, Herman completed a PhD in Islamic studies at Aligarh Muslim University in India. Subsequently, Herman returned to Australia where he has been doing further research into ways of interpreting the Qur’an. His interest is to find ways of understanding Islam that can be understood and accepted by people living in a secular society like Australia
The MELA Interfaith Association is an incorporated not-for-profit organisation which seeks to promote the ties of friendship between members of different faith traditions in order to learn from each other’s spiritual experience and to journey together in peace and harmony.
MELA activities include: Interfaith Retreats, Conversations, Study Groups on Sacred Texts, Joint Interfaith Teachings on Selected Themes, Hermitage Experiences, Conferences and Pilgrimages.
MELA Interfaith Association Inc. ABN 35 166 549 720 3227
Phone: +61 417 560 087;