Buddhist retreats growth plans

by Terra Sword, Northern Rivers Echo, 19th January 2012

Northern Rivers, Australia -- The Buddha Dharma Education Association has lodged a DA with Lismore Council for a $2.8 million expansion of the Bodhi Tree Forest Monastery in Tullera.

President and long-time Buddhist monk Venerable Pannyavaro said they are hoping to run 10-day Vipassana retreats, weekend workshops and longer teaching retreats, with accommodation for around 40 meditators.

The association has applied to build a 15-metre stupa beside a meditation hall, dining hall and pagoda with guest accommodation and car parking.

"We are practising Buddhists who are trying to service the community's need for mental health and wellbeing," Venerable Pannyavaro said. "Vipassana meditation has a great therapeutic benefit. We see the community being built up here over the years and we have a good relationship with the neighbours."

The not-for-profit association bought the land six years ago and the monastery was included in National Geographic's book of '500 of the world's most peaceful and powerful destinations'. The Bodhi Tree Forest Monastery has done lots of bush regeneration on the property, planting more than 4000 rainforest species including koala food trees.

Venerable Pannyavaro says the land was specifically purchased for a sanctuary and hermitage, and said the monks do not see themselves as the owners but rather the custodians of the land. They wish to rehabilitate and care for the 95-acre property while providing a tranquil setting where people can come to meditate.

He said ensuring the development was at peace with the natural environment was all part of the vision.

"It will be solar powered and very low impact on the environment… we're very green," Venerable Pannyavaro said. "We have our own organic vegetable gardens and fruit trees and we'll be expanding that too… growing our food for the centre is important to us. A lot of our energy has gone into rejuvenating the property and everything will be blended into the landscape.

"We want visitors to come here and find a natural environment that's harmonious and nicely landscaped, that's mellow and soft and very conducive for meditation."

Venerable Pannyavaro explained how he lived in Mullumbimby 30 years ago and when he returned to the Northern Rivers in mid-2000 he felt that a major Buddhist centre was lacking in the North Coast area.

"We want to be here for the wellbeing of ourselves and the community," he said.

The DA for the retreat is on public exhibition at Lismore City Council until January 27.
We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Omniscient Robotic-Being for Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv. Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norbuchatbot. Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv