In 2012, Venerable Dr Juewei invited a small group of volunteers to work together, bringing the Buddha’s ancient wisdom into the modern world. Each project has been a learning experience. As well as the materials and knowledge collected, we have been guided to put values, skills and reflections into practice.
In 2018, the team reflected on their own development and the power of the community that had been built over the years. While troubled by the increasing “crises” facing the world, we were continually encouraged by individuals and communities working to tackle these issues from innovative directions. Inspired, we invited these friends to join in a new project “The Communities of Practice”, hosted at our spiritual home – the Nan Tien Institute, Wollongong. Using the principles of Humanistic Buddhism, the community spends a day working through practices to shape a compassionate, effective response to the challenges facing us in our modern lives.
We hope that participants can take back to their homes, workplaces and local communities renewed skills and ideas. From these small beginnings, we look forward to values such as generosity, empathy and community spirit developing deeply and permeating widely.
Founder, Communities of Practice
Venerable Dr Juewei is the Director of Nan Tien Institute’s Humanistic Buddhism Centre and Lecturer at the Institute’s Applied Buddhist Studies program.
Venerable Dr Juewei holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies, a Master of Arts in Buddhist Studies, a Master of Business Administration, and a Master of Science in Computer Science and Engineering. Through the Humanistic Buddhism Centre, Venerable Dr Juewei heads up a worldwide tour, ‘Buddha’s Birthday Education Project (BBEP)’ that connects past and present, east and west. The team from BBEP are behind the current Communities of Practice series.
Aunty Fran Bodkin
7th October 2018, Connections: The Power of The Gift
Aunty Fran Bodkin is a descendant of the D’harawal people of the Bidiagal clan. She is an educator of D’harawal knowledge and holds a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences with five majors, one of which is Environmental Sciences, plus other post graduate degrees. She has published three books on D’harawal culture, stories and natural resources.
Aunty Fran works tirelessly with groups of all ages, sharing ethno-scientific knowledge passed down by traditional clans and which is being increasingly referred to by modern research, in order to promote a deeper understanding of how to care for our natural environment.
Chair of the Australian Sangha Association
Venerable Bomhyon is the current chair of the Australian Sangha Association -the peak representative body for monks and nuns living in Australia. She also serves as a member of the Religious Advisory Committee to the Australian Defence Forces and has recently commenced doctoral research at Western Sydney University where she also volunteers as a Chaplain.
Venerable Bomhyon’s earlier professional background is in education and social work with post graduate training in counselling, psychotherapy and group work.
Venerable Bomhyon first ordained in the Thai Forest tradition in 1995, practicing in the Korean Zen tradition. From 2010, Venerable Bomhyon worked in palliative care, in both hospital and community-based services. She also coordinated the Buddhist Council prison chaplaincy program, and later established the Buddhist Spiritual HealthCare project. In 3 years, more than 100 Buddhists from various traditions and cultural backgrounds, received training in Spiritual Care practice.
Venerable Bomhyon teaches at various Buddhist Centres in Sydney and Melbourne and continues to offer education in Compassionate Communication and Spiritual Care, including Death & Dying and Grief and Loss. She is deeply engaged in interfaith dialogue with others who are spiritually and ecologically motivated to live in right relationship to the planet and all beings.
Rev Bill Crews AM
22 April 2019, We Can Make a Difference
Originally an electrical engineer, in 1969, Bill helped create the Life Education Centres along with Rev Ted Noffs, to assist young people to avoid harmful drugs. Life Education Centres are now all over Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand, New Zealand, England and America.
In 1986, he was ordained as minister of the Ashfield Uniting Church in Sydney’s inner-west. At Ashfield he created The Exodus Foundation to assist homeless and abandoned youth. Today The Exodus Foundation is one of Sydney’s largest frontline charities.
Since August 2002 Rev. Crews has broadcast his Sunday Night Crews radio programme on Sydney station 2GB-873AM.
John Hatton AO
22 April 2019, We Can Make a Difference
John Hatton was raised in Hammondville, Western Sydney, and became a teacher of agriculture and science. In parallel he was elected Councillor of the Shoalhaven Shire Council from 1965 to 1973, President from 1969 to 1973. John then was elected as the Independent Member for the South Coast to NSW State Parliament from 1973 to 1995 where he was a consistent campaigner against corruption and wastage.
He retired in 1995 after 22 years as MP for the South Coast, but remains a committed campaigner against corruption and for community empowerment.
Stephen Hill AM
Stephen Hill is Emeritus Professor of the University of Wollongong, Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts. Though graduating initially as a research chemist, he also was awarded Australia’s first PhD in Business Administration (University of Melbourne) and was appointed as Foundation Professor of Sociology at the University of Wollongong at age 30.
He has authored or coauthored 22 books and over 350 publications or major international speeches across eleven disciplines. From 1995 to 2006 he served as the United Nations’ Regional Director for Science for Asia and the Pacific and Ambassador of the UN Agency, UNESCO – based in Indonesia and Paris.
Stephen is a key advisor to the Communities of Practice series.
Bill Lovegrove AO
28 January 2019, The Power of The Mind
Professor Lovegrove has been President of the Nan Tien Institute since 2016. He was the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Southern Queensland from 2003-2011. Before that he was the Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor at Griffith following appointments at the University of Wollongong as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and International) and as Professor of Psychology.
He is an Emeritus Professor at both the Universities of Wollongong and Southern Queensland. He received his AO in 2017 for leadership in tertiary education, developing academia in regional areas and to cooperative research in various fields.
Chief Abbess of Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temples in Australia and New Zealand
Abbess Manko is the Abbess of Nan Tien Temple, Wollongong and the Chief Abbess of Fo Guang Shan temples in Australia and New Zealand. She was born in Malaysia and first volunteered at her local temple. She joined the Fo Guang order in 1987, and in 1990 she was assigned to Wollongong – overseeing the construction of Nan Tien Temple. The temple is the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere and welcomes thousands of visitors every year.
In 1996, she was posted to Singapore to develop a Humanistic Buddhism Centre, with the grand opening of Fo Guang Shan Singapore in 2008. Since 2010, she has returned to Australia and continued her tireless project building work in supervising construction of the Nan Tien Institute and the Nan Tien Bridge (connecting the Temple and Institute).
She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Nan Tien Institute and is Chairperson of the Hsing Yun Education Foundation. The not-for-profit Foundation provides financial support and learning opportunities to the wider community to access and understand values and principles of Humanistic Buddhism.
Cecilia was born in Singapore and migrated to Perth in 1996 with her husband and three children. There, she obtained a Master of Law degree from the University of Western Australia while also lecturing business law at Curtin University.
She was the President of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia from 2013 to 2015 and from 2015 to 2019 Cecilia held the position of president of the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils of Australia. In this role she represented the Buddhist community of Australia nationally including representations in Federal Parliament in Canberra and at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Cecilia teaches meditation to beginners and has recently authored a book – Opens Like a Flower Cut it with a Knife – A Buddhist Mother’s Journey through Grief.
Founder and President of the Metta Centre
Tina Ng is the Founder and President of the Metta Centre, which provides a space for Buddhist teachers to share the Buddha’s teachings to the public. Tina is also the Principal Solicitor of Metta Legal, a law firm that deals with cases relating to family law, child protection, property, civil litigation and guardianship matters. She is an accredited mediator at Metta Resolution, which provides mediation, training and coaching to resolve conflict in the community and within families.
Tina is serving her second year on the board of the Buddhist Council of NSW, and is active in the Buddhist community supporting various causes. Tina has a keen interest in supporting the youth, and runs mentoring programs through her law firm and projects. She has participated in Buddhist events as coordinator, advisor, emcee and auctioneer at charity functions. She has shared the Buddha’s teachings in conferences, talks, workshops, and in her writings (www.littlepieceofcalm.com).
Dr Jonathan Page
Dr Jonathan Page has been a Medical Oncologist for 36 years with a long-term interest in Palliative Care. Although he prescribes chemotherapy (and other drugs) and refers patients for radiotherapy and surgery if necessary, he also incorporates an inquiry into the psychospiritual domain to address matters of fear, regret, guilt, meaning, purpose, love and legacy (as they arise). The psychospiritual domain can be accessed through meditation, presence and deep listening with an open heart-mind.
Dr Priscilla Wong
Priscilla is a general practitioner through the week, and has been volunteering with the Communities of Practice since 2015. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Applied Buddhist Studies from Nan Tien Institute.
Joey is grateful to the Singapore Government and the people in supporting his education at the University of Melbourne. Following that, he served as an educator for two years, and contributed in the space of policy making and communications in two short stints at the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.
Now, he and his family are in Melbourne. He is grateful to be given the opportunity to serve the mental health community in Australia as an Executive Business Partner to the C-Suite Executives of Neami National – one of the largest community mental health service providers in Australia.
His deepest wish is embedded in the following words of Metta:
May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings be awakened to the light of their true nature.
May all beings be free.
Ina Redd Denton
Ina Denton is a practicing Buddhist, having taken Refuge in the Triple Gem and the Five Precepts in November 2009. She is a Certified Lay Dharma Lecturer and Vice Chairperson of the International Outreach Committee for BLIA (Buddha’s Light International Association) and a Member of Guang Ming Buddhist Temple, Orlando, Florida, USA.
Ina holds a Master of Social Work degree (M.S.W.) from the University of Illinois. Her professional career includes public and private human service administration, board and program development, community partnerships and executive consultation.
As a member of BLIA and proponent of Humanistic Buddhism, Ina shares the Dharma through teaching, lectures and interfaith activities. She also trains others to propagate Humanistic Buddhism by the design and implementation of workshops and symposia. As a westerner who has adopted a Chinese temple as her family (and their adoption of her), Ina strives to assure that people of all cultures and communities can find a spiritual home in the teachings of the Buddha, and use those teaching to carry the passport of a “global citizen,” at home in the Dharma and in all societies and cultures.
Associate Professor Chris Zaslawski
Dr Chris Zaslawski is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Life Sciences within the Faculty of Science at the University of Technology, Sydney. He is a registered Chinese medicine practitioner and registered physiotherapist. He has been a short term consultant for the World Health Organisation for a number of acupuncture related projects in the areas of education, research and clinical practice guidelines.
Chris has post graduate qualifications in education (Masters of Health Science Education) and Science (PhD-Science). He is an active researcher in the areas of clinical trials, clinical research design and human research ethics. To this end he has managed several randomised controlled trials to completion including publication of results. He is also deputy editor of the Australian Journal of Chinese Medicine, Australia’s only peer reviewed journal on acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. He has delivered over 60 presentations at local and international conferences and has over 70 publications in professional and peer reviewed international journals.
Dr. Ekaterina (Katya) Todarello
Dr. Ekaterina (Katya) Todarello is Founder and CEO of EKA PRANA Institute: Higher Self Education. Her previous academic experience in teaching and researching embodied leadership, management, and workplace spirituality, as well as her commitment to meditation, led Katya to start her own professional practice. Katya’s envisions her business to be a part of the sweeping global educational shift away from transmitting information and towards facilitating transformation.
In her mentoring, teaching, consulting and facilitation work, Katya applies various modalities and frameworks. These include delivering mindfulness-based programs and dynamic meditation practices, teaching yoga and its philosophy, and offering somatic, ontological and life coaching to individuals and organisations.
As part of the Communities of Practice volunteering team at the Nan Tien Institute, Ekaterina is happily helping to host and facilitate Humanistic Buddhism weekly check-in sessions.
Xiaomeng has a particular interest in Buddhism and has been volunteering with FGS branch temples (in Beijing and Yixing) since 2018. She completed her MA in Applied Buddhist Studies at Nan Tien Institute in December 2021 and now is a part-time student at Beijing Foreign Studies University, majoring in English education.
Xiaomeng wishes to contribute to the Dharma propagation through education by planting the Bodhi seeds in younger generations. She is grateful to join the Community of Practice, within which she has felt boundless loving-kindness and been provoked with countless insights from the Bodhisattvas of this community.
Yijun is lucky to have had the opportunity to volunteer with FGS branches around the world. All the beautiful encounters along the way have strengthened her passion to contribute to environmental and spiritual preservation.
She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Toronto. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student at the University of Hong Kong and the Southern University of Science and Technology, where she is exploring the potential of an ecological civilization. Yijun feels very grateful to have studied at Nan Tien Institute, which marked an important turning point in her life.
Liam Carver is a designer with a keen interest in spirituality and Buddhism. After graduating with a Bachelor of Communication Design, Liam returned to Nan Tien Temple as a volunteer where he became part of the Buddha’s Birthday Education Project which later became the Humanistic Buddhism Centre at Nan Tien Institute. During his time with Fo Guang Shan, Liam undertook many lay and monastic retreats and completed a course of study with the Nan Tien Institute.
After many years of volunteering and offering as a designer, teacher and advocate, Liam now wishes to follow in his teachers’ footsteps, bringing the wisdom found in spirituality to the modern, ever-changing world in a way that is engaging and meaningful.
Venerable Juefang is the director of International Relations at Nan Tien Institute and the General Manager of the Hsing Yun Education Foundation. She received her PhD in education studies from Peking University, China and her MA in Buddhist studies from Fo Guang University, Taiwan.
Venerable Miaoyou is the Director and Company Secretary of the Nan Tien Institute. She has been a resident teacher at the Nan Tien Temple for more than 15 years, and during that time has conducted meditation retreats for hundreds of visitors. In addition to leading meditation retreats,
Venerable Miaoyou has assumed several positions, including overseeing the development and construction of the bridge connecting the Temple and the Institute. She is also a spokesperson for the media and interfaith events and conferences.
Venerable Youji is the Curator of the Nan Tien Art Gallery in Nan Tien Institute and one of the editors for the 20-volume Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts published in 2016.
Venerable Youji holds a Masters of Arts in Buddhist Studies from Fo Guang University and a Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Arts from University of Central England. An aspiring artist, her exhibition Doodling Chan is currently on tour in countries including Australia, Malaysia, Philippines, China, and the USA.
Alex Trauth-Goik is a PhD candidate at the University of Wollongong whose research focuses on cross-cultural perceptions and justifications for digital technologies and ways in which big data is being used to govern populations. He has previously worked for the media intelligence company Meltwater as a government media analyst. In 2017 he graduated with First Class Honours in International Studies majoring in Chinese Mandarin from the University of Wollongong. Alex now maintains a position as Tutor and Guest Lecturer at the University of Wollongong.
Bruce McKenzie is a change practitioner and academic who develops systemic thinking principles and practices to assist organisations, governments and communities to address their transformational goals to improve productivity, relevance and alignment in a changing world. He is one of the world’s most experienced Systemic practitioners.
Recognised globally for successfully building organisational capacity to initiate and manage change, through generating innovative, sustainable strategies and developing alternative ways of thinking about challenges and crisis.
He is a director of the Center for Systemic Leadership, director of Systemic Development Associates (SDA), co-founder and president of Future Insight Maps, a pioneer of WindTunneling software and Fulcrum online learning. Bruce is currently enrolled in the M.A. in Applied Buddhist Studies at Nan Tien Institute.
Prof. Manikan handles courses on Education Management, Entrepreneurship, Finance for Artists, Creative and Intuitive Management, Strategic Human Resource & Organizational Development, Human Behavior in Organizations, Self-Mastery, the Arts, and Spirituality. She received full qualification and accreditation as administrator of the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) Step I & II from the Asianic Psychologists Press in 2003.
Prof. Manikan is currently a professor at the Ateneo de Manila University-Asian Center for Entrepreneurship and also a Senior Faculty for the Executive Doctoral Program at the Development Academy of the Philippines.
Professor David Rooney
David Rooney is Professor of Management and Organisation Studies in the Faculty of Business and Economics, Macquarie University. He has researched, taught and published widely in the areas of the wisdom, leadership, the knowledge economy, and creative industries.
His books include Public Policy in the Knowledge-Based Economy, the Handbook on the Knowledge Economy, Knowledge Policy: Challenges for the Twenty First Century, and the forthcoming Wisdom and Management in the Knowledge Economy.
Rooney has published in many leading academic journals including The Leadership Quarterly, Public Administration Review, Human Relations and Academy of Management Learning and Education.
Dr Elizabeth King
Elizabeth King is a leadership development adviser and an acknowledged author and scholar focusing on the role of mindfulness at work. Prior to founding her own business in 1999 she held senior roles in the healthcare industry.
Her research involves the integration of business scholarship and practice to enhance executive performance and organisational culture. Her academic background includes a Science degree in Biotechnology, an MBA, a Masters of Coaching and Human Resource Management, postgraduate training in Mind Body Medicine at Harvard and a PhD. Her thesis is titled ‘Developing leaders to perform in uncertainty : The mindfulness solution’.
Gawaine Powell Davies
Gawaine Powell Davies is Chair of the Buddhist Council of NSW. Until recently he was Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity at the University of NSW, where he worked for 20 years in research, development and evaluation of primary health care. He is also Chair of Sydney Insight Meditators, and a member of the Kookaburra sangha in Forest Lodge. In the light of recent world events his favourite word is now solidarity.
Jade is a cotutelle PhD Candidate at Macquarie University, Australia and Groningen University, the Netherlands. He has previously worked as a Research Analyst at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Jade maintains a position as an Early Career Researcher Fellow at the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right, Member Researcher at The Urban Violence Research Network, Tutor and Guest Lecturer at the University of Wollongong and Macquarie University.
Dr Jane Qiu
Jane is the co-founder of Kintell.com, a global knowledge network that focuses on 1-to-1 video advice on any topic. She is also an Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) fellow who teaches international strategy, China business, cross-cultural communication, and workplace mindfulness practice to MBA students. Jane’s research focuses on workplace mindfulness and application of Eastern philosophy in the Western business world and was visiting scholar at the Said Business School, University of Oxford and London Business School in 2014.
Louise has been practising Tai Chi and Qi Gong for 10 years learning forms such as Yang, Chen and Sun tai chi forms as well as many Qi Gong forms. She has travelled around China with a Tai Chi and Qi Gong master Master Tary Yip and visited Wudang Mountain, the birthplace of Tai Chi, several times and practised with Daoist monks.
She has competed and won many competitions for Tai Chi both nationally and internationally, in fact she just returned from Shanghai where she won a gold medal for the Yang 24 form at the Chin Wu International Wu Shu and Tai Ji competition in August. She is very happy and fortunate today to be able to introduce you to a well-known qigong form called the Ba Duan Jin (Eight Brocade exercises) that has demonstrated to have health benefits for both young and old.
Magali Goirand is a systemics practitioner. She has worked with small and large international high-tech organisations in Europe and the U.S as consultant, learning facilitator, and researcher. Her dual background in science and business allows her to navigate the two communities with ease. She is a talent development professional with an extensive facilitation experience fostering collaborative learning. She is a director at Systemic Development Associates, and a founder and consultant at Papillon Transformative Consulting. Prior to joining SDA, she worked for IBM, leading programs aiming at enabling sales teams around the world.
Magali has an M.S. in Electrical Engineering, major in signal processing and acoustics (France), and an MBA in sustainable enterprise (USA). She is a certified WindTunneling facilitator. She is currently enrolled in the M.A. in Applied Buddhist Studies at Nan Tien Institute (Australia).
Professor Mario Fernando
Dr Mario Fernando is Professor of Management in the School of Management, Operations and Marketing, University of Wollongong. His research interests are centred on exploring how responsible executive action leads to positive individual, organisational and societal outcomes.
Currently, Mario is conducting research on responsible leadership, business ethics and human resource management areas. He has published three books and numerous academic journal articles in high-impact journals. He serves on three journal editorial boards. Mario’s learning and teaching contributions over a sustained period have been recognised at national and institutional levels.
Meg is a cross-cultural consultant, executive coach and experiential learning facilitator. She has an academic background in organizational and coaching psychology as well as practical business experience running manufacturing and consultancy companies and designing and delivering action learning programs in leadership, ethics and culture change in Asia and Australia. Her work is informed bylasting engagement with the teachings and practices of Vajrayana Buddhism which she seeks to apply in her professional and personal life through daily meditation practice and mindful relational responsibility.
Meg recently spent a year working for the Royal Government of Bhutan on a multi-disciplinary report to the United Nations titled “Happiness: Towards a New Development Paradigm” and was formerly Director of Consulting at the St James Ethics Centre.
She currently provides mindfulness-based coaching for personal clients, business leaders and teams at Hart&Mind Coaching, and is a guest lecturer in Nan Tien Institute’s Graduate Certificate of Humanistic Buddhism.
Dr Nadine Levy
Dr Nadine Levy is a lecturer in Health and Social Wellbeing at the Nan Tien Institute. She holds a PhD in sociology and Honours degrees in both law and gender studies. Her research investigates women’s lived experience across a range of social sites, including health, therapeutic landscapes and spiritual movements, and examines the themes of belonging, emotions and social connection.
Nadine’s approach to teaching is student-centred, contemplative and grounded in critical theory. She has a particular interest in Buddhist sociology/a sociology of Buddhism and the ways these two paradigms can enliven each other. Nadine is a long-term Buddhist practitioner and is currently completing teacher training in the Insight meditation tradition.
Dr Remy Low
Remy Low is a lecturer in the University of Sydney’s School of Education and Social Work. In his research, Remy examines educational policy and practice in relation to broader social, cultural, and religious issues. He is also interested in exploring ways to cultivate greater awareness of such issues through contemplative pedagogy (e.g. mindfulness, deep listening, process art, etc.).
Dr Sue Sumskis
Dr Sue Sumskis, PhD is a Credentialed Mental Health Professional teaching within the Health and Social Wellbeing programs at NTI. Sue has a postgraduate qualification in health (PhD examining resilience and mental health) and is currently undertaking a second PhD examining contemplative education. Sue’s research in mental health, resilience and contemplative education sit within the nexus of education and recovery.
Sue has published numerous academic journal articles and book chapters and has won international and national awards for translational research in mental health.
Sue’s approach to education and transformation is based on the premise that modern education encourages a fragmentation of emotion and reason. Incorporating contemplative practices in education enables the confluence of discordant thoughts, feelings, emotions, values, and beliefs. Doing so results in a more fully human and humane outcome which pays attention to the student’s need to feel harmony and equanimity between knowledge, decisions and actions.
Tom’s sustainability focus is in empowering community led responses using the many tools that have been developed over the last several decades, particularly Deep Listening. He has a BA in sustainable development from Murdoch University in W.A.
The Communities of Practice project is run by a generous community of volunteers from all walks of life, from Buddhist monastics to academic professionals. It is with a variety of skills that each member of the community brings that we can continue to run events like the weekly Sunday Check-In Sessions.
The Communities of Practice is a non-profit volunteer run initiative. If you would like to get involved, please contact us at email@example.com