Gyatso's retreats to island cavern

The Advertiser, 29 October 2004

Bendigo, Australia -- FOR more than 20 years the Atisha Centre's Venerable Gyatso has dreamed of building his own retreat.

That wish will soon come to fruition when he embarks on a three year retreat to his cavern at Kangaroo Island, near Adelaide, in May.

Gyatso will travel to Kathmandu, Nepal, on Monday, before returning to Australia after Christmas to make final preparations for the retreat.

He also has a book being launched in February.

In Nepal, Gyatso will help conduct a one month course in Buddhism to 220 westerners. Gyatso completed the course in 1995, and described it as a moving experience.

"For one month, participants in the course must stay at the monastery with no contact via mail or telephone," he said.

"I have never conducted this course and it is going to be a big challenge for me.

"Already, I am a little nervous, but it will be a very powerful and emotional experience for myself and those I will be teaching." Lothian publishers will release Gyatso's book, A Leaf in the Wind, next year.

The publication is an autobiography which explores Gyatso's introduction to Buddhism and his life as a monk.

As for the retreat, it marks yet another significant chapter in the monk's life.

"It is something I have always wanted to do," he said.

"Three years is a long retreat, but I am looking forward to it."