Melbourne Buddhist Meditation Classes
Meditation Classes Melbourne
Classes recommenced in 2018 on Tuesday, February 6. The class at 7.00pm to 8.00pm is an introductory course spanning eight weeks.
A new introductory course will begin on Tuesday, April 10. More on these meditation classes here.
The 8.00pm to 9.00pm classes continue the study of Buddhist philosophy and meditations on the Path to Enlightenment. These Lam Rim classes continue on from 2017.
Learn to meditate
Take a breath, create time and space, and relax. Enter into the wonderful stillness, peace and calm that awaits you in meditation. Meditation Classes Melbourne is offering ‘Learn to meditate’ classes for beginners. Those wishing to explore the benefits of meditation and mindfulness will find these classes of great value.
It is always the right time to learn to meditate. However, we often need convincing to make the time. Yes, we can all enjoy a means to reduce the effects of stress. We can see the benefits of better focus and sharper awareness. Likewise, better health and sleep are attractive. But even hearing the common benefits of meditation or reading the ever-growing encyclopedia of scientific evidence is not enough. To be convinced we have to try it as guided by an experienced practitioner.
Personal experience validates the benefits of meditation. You experience how meditation and mindfulness leads to better states of mind. This brings more and deeper experiences of happiness, peace and freedom in life.
Even thinking you are too busy to meditate is a sure sign of a need to meditate. Time management issues can be resolved. Moreover, the clarity developed in meditation brilliantly uses your precious time. As a consequence you are more productive and feel less busy at the same time. All this by using more of the power of your mind by learning how to meditate.
In fact, meditation and mindfulness are the greatest life-skills of all. And the mindfulness that is a part of meditation brings clarity and focus into all spheres of daily life.
The aim of our meditation classes
Learning to meditate from an experienced and authentic meditation teacher sets meditation practice in its true context. Finally we have a path to ever greater happiness, joy and bliss. Here we find increasing freedom from stress, pressure and suffering.
The real purpose of meditation and mindfulness practice is to help us feel great. It is to release us from limitation and unpleasant experiences, from bad habits and suffering.
Thus meditation shows how to find happiness and a sense of relaxation and peace within. At the same time meditation will take us to a natural level of happiness that is a constant sense of bliss. This comes from within no matter what is happening around you in life. It is just always there, ever available to you.
Venerable Toby Gillies
Coming up in March/April
Introductory meditation class on Tuesday, March 27, 7.00-8.00pm final class for this block.
New introduction to mindfulness meditation will begin on Tuesday, April 10.
Advanced Buddhist meditation classes on Tuesday, March 27, 8.00-9.00pm, ongoing each week.
There will be a break for Easter on Tuesday April 3.
Introductory classes in 2018
Through these meditation classes you will notice the effect of regular practice. First, we reduce our sense of stress and anxiety. Then we find a new sense of stillness and calm. Most of all, with mindfulness we can then extend the benefits of meditation into all parts of our lives.
Meditation is a spiritual journey. In the first place we conquer our fears.
With that, our emotions become positive.
Regular practice releases us from the hold of negativity and limitation.
Mindful living brings a new awareness of ourselves and those we interact with. We thus get to know the workings of our mind. We can see where the contents of mind are helping us. Then we can contrast this with where our mindset may hinder us and block our development. In time, we gain all the meditation methods we need to overcome hindrances.
Meditation, mindfulness and mind
Meditation is above all a tool for understanding the mind.
We learn the role and limitations of conceptuality.
Meditation reveals our habits, feelings, emotions and intuitive senses.
Until we meditate mental events are subconscious. As a result, we are reactive and driven from one experience to the next. But meditation makes us conscious of this. It thus gives us choice and freedom over habit and reaction.
Further, as our inner world changes, physical changes occur. We experience improved health, more energy and better sleep.
Thus, doctors and traditional health professionals recommend meditation and mindfulness.
Notably, they found meditation to be an adjunct to healing.
Advances in neuroscience thus now explore the mind body connection.
Scientists have used brain mapping techniques on meditators and discovered them to be the happiest people on earth.
Study and meditation: learning how to meditate
With a traditional teacher we soon see the need for continued learning to go with practice.
This combination of listening to teachings and practice has guided the Buddhist approach.
Significantly, it is a feature of the Dalai Lama’s teachings.
To gain the best results from meditation, we need to study the practice. This study provides both direction and inspiration. In other words, it motivates us to continue and be consistent.
With consistent practice we will gain true inner realisation, an unshakeable spiritual ground.
Consequently, from here we can no longer fall back into bad habits.
We aim to provide a supportive environment for learning so that practice and study support each other.
As a result, we see the stages of the path to enlightenment and learn how to progress through them.
We thus open to all the richness that life has to offer.
Overall, study and meditation are the two pillars of spiritual progress.
What to expect if I am new to meditation
Meditation classes Melbourne are at a convenient location. They are in the main hall at the Augustine Centre, 2 Minona Street Hawthorn, Melbourne. Most find the straight-backed chairs and armchairs provided are the preferred option. At the same time, cushions are available for those who prefer sitting cross-legged. The hall is a quiet and relaxed environment.
You need not bring anything. Come as you are whether straight from work or home. Of course, you may bring a notebook and pen if you like. Some find that note taking helps whereas others prefer not. The venue is a nice central location for access from most suburbs in Melbourne. Our students come from all over Melbourne. As soon as you establish the connection, you will find any travel worthwhile.
The structure of the classes
To begin with, each session has a full explanation of how to meditate.
In the middle, there is a guided meditation session.
In conclusion, we have questions and discussion.
The sessions are relaxed (well, you would hope so wouldn’t you!) and friendly. Our eight week courses start with the basics. For this reason, we move from posture onwards because we assume no prior knowledge. The introduction to meditation courses are in 8 week blocks. Although, if you feel the urge, it is fine to come along at any point. You can pick up all you need and then carry on to the next eight week meditation course if you wish.
Most of all, try it out.
Experience beats mere theory.
Anyone can meditate but some find it easier than others. This is of no consequence, however. The results are more determined by consistency. Making the effort and commitment are the main factors. Hence whether you find it easier or a bit more difficult is neither here nor there. In the final analysis, the important thing is having a good teacher.
Melbourne Buddhist Meditation Classes will help you feel comfortable and at home.
Who is the teaches the meditation courses
The teacher at Melbourne Buddhist meditation classes is Venerable Toby Gillies.
Venerable Toby is an ordained Buddhist monk.
He ordained in the Tibetan tradition of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1986.
Accordingly, Toby has long experience teaching people how to meditate.
Toby trained under the scholar-monk Geshe Thubten Loden. Also he worked for his teacher establishing the Tibetan Buddhist Society. Toby served Geshe-la in writing his nine acclaimed books.
Venerable Toby has spent years in meditation retreats ranging from two weeks to five months at a time.
Ven. Toby is a member of the SeraJe monastic University in Mysore, India.
Seraje has over 3000 monks and Toby joined the monastery in 1989. Thereupon, he studied at the monastery over the years with his teacher.
He is a member of the Denma College at the monastery.
Learn from a Buddhist monk
All that training may sound daunting, but Toby has been teaching beginners for 40 years. Accordingly, he has a wonderful knack of making things clear, accessible and free of dogma. Toby understands the demands of modern western life and knows we have to start somewhere. Thus he understands that progress is a gradual thing. As a result, he will take you as far as you can go with meditation by building your knowledge and experience step by step.
Toby is down to earth and conducts the classes in great humour. In any event, he conveys the sense of peace and relaxation that meditation brings. Ven. Toby has taught thousands of people how to meditate.
Additionally, he has introduced them to the path to enlightenment.
Melbourne Buddhist Meditation Classes in Hawthorn was established in 2011. Prior to that Toby taught at centres throughout Melbourne.
Finding an authentic spiritual guide for a meditation teacher brings with it the blessings of the lineage.
Thus, meeting this lineage will speed your progress in meditation.
Mindfulness and meditation
Mindfulness is a part of meditation and is coupled with attention and awareness for developing concentration.
All our introductory meditation classes emphasise the practice of mindfulness.
The common understanding of mindfulness is ‘paying attention,’ most often related to the present moment.
We aim to remain attentive to whatever presents right now. But, mindfulness is more than that.
The Sanskrit, Pali and Tibetan terms for mindfulness translate as ‘remembering’.
Consequently, more accurate than ‘paying attention’ would thus be ‘retaining attention’.
Keeping the object of concentration in mind is a major part of meditation. It keeps you present, thus very much here and now. In contrast, when distracted, your attention wanders to the past or future. ‘Remembering’ brings your attention back. As a result, it keeps you grounded in the present experience.
Significantly, this is the case whether engaged in sitting meditation or meditation in action.
In meditation we use a method of mindfulness of the breath. Likewise, we use that same mindfulness with other objects. We cultivate mindfulness of the body, the feelings, the mind and the phenomena of mind. These are the famous Buddhist practices of the four foundations of mindfulness.
All things considered, meditation and mindfulness are our most valuable tools, a gift beyond measure.
Buddhist classes and meditation retreats
Melbourne Buddhist Meditation Classes offer advanced classes in Buddhist philosophy.
Here, we study the all-important path to enlightenment, an awakening to reality.
Spiritual insights we develop along the way bring constant improvement. Moreover, we gain better focus, concentration, a deep inner stillness and calm.
Further, we reduce our distractions. We overcome dullness and the obstacles to our own and others’ benefit. Thus the Enlightenment we aim for is a state of perfect benefit to oneself and others. In essence it is the omega point of spiritual life.
Of course, meditation brings contentment and equanimity.
Owing to this we have an effortless deep communication with others.
The state of enlightenment is a consciousness both joyous and grounded. It is a calmness free of anger, fear, anxiety and all other taints of stress and suffering.
Meditation techniques from Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism, sutra and tantra, gives many techniques of meditation.
We therefore follow a progressive structure of methods leading to enlightenment.
To begin with, single pointed concentration (samadhi) leads to calm abiding (samatha).
In due time, we then combine calm abiding and insight (vipassana) to realize ultimate truth.
Calm abiding may arise from mindfulness of the breath. Likewise, it can also come from any of the four foundations in mindfulness.
Another method for calm abiding is meditating on loving kindness.
Further, we can meditate on any virtue we choose and strengthen it.
Mantra meditation and deity yoga, in general, involve both chanting and visualisation.
Moreover, they also employ postures (mudra) and concentration.
Significantly, these are a foundation for tantric yogas.
Tantric meditations involve energy absorption and mandala visualisations among other methods.
How we can learn the path of meditation gradually
The guru-disciple relationship of pure spiritual friendship is very important.
It gives the means by which the circle of trainees receive appropriate instruction. Thus they learn the methods most suited for their development.
In live classes we receive guided meditations. Under those circumstances we learn more than by reading volumes. We gain from our teacher’s experience.
Direct experience gives constant inspiration and produces the vitality and energy to persevere.
We then practise in harmony with a structured program of study. The fascinating insights of the spiritual path will forever fill all aspects of life. It provides all the skills we need for success.
Melbourne Buddhist Meditation Classes Buddhist classes are from 8.00pm to 9.00pm. They are for more experienced students.
Throughout the year there are one day retreats. Dates for retreats in 2018 are here.