Toby Gillies Buddhist Meditation

Traditions in conversation

Traditions in conversation. Interfaith dialogue

Meditation today: Traditions in Conversation


Traditions in conversation was an event held on Friday, February 23, 2018. The full day event was titled “Colloquium, Meditation today: Traditions in Conversation.” It was held at the Melbourne University of Divinity.

Venerable Toby Gillies was one of a number of presenters.

If you are interested in a copy of the notes from Traditions in Conversation, please get in touch through the contact page.


The event was from 9.00am to 4.00pm, Friday, February 23, 2018.


The venue:


Melbourne University of Divinity


Centre for Theology and Divinity,


29 College Crescent, Parkville.


The programme and speakers are listed below.


Meditation today: Traditions in conversation – Event Brochure


In February 2018, leading experts in meditation from different traditions will gather at the University of Divinity.  They aim to discuss the evolution of meditation and its relevance today.  The contributors are experts and practitioners of meditation.  They are recognised as contributing to research and practice in several areas. They cover historical studies of meditation with a variety of religious traditions of meditation. Others examine the science of meditation, in its clinical and therapeutic uses, and the use of meditation in education settings.


This Colloquium is the outcome of collaboration between The Contemplary, Confluence and the University of Divinity


Traditions in conversation: Schedule


9.00am Arrival, welcome, tea and coffee


9.25am Meditation in the Chapel


Charles Potter


9.45am Ancient practices of meditation: Stoic and Christian


Associate Professor Matthew Sharpe (Deakin University)


Dr. Cullan Joyce (University of Divinity, CTC and Confluence)


10.45am Morning Tea


11.15am Religious Meditation: How is it relevant today


Associate Professor, Reverend Dr. John DuPuche (University of Divinity, CTC and Confluence)


Venerable Toby Gillies (Buddhist Monk)


12.15am Lunch


1.00pm The Science of Meditation


Dr. Petrina Barson GP (The Contemplary)


Dr. Anette Webb


2.00pm Afternoon Tea


2.15pm Meditation and Education in Theory and Practice


Janet Etty-Leal (Meditation Capsules, Meditation Australia and Confluence)


Christopher Morris (University of Divinity, CTC)


3.15pm Panel Discussion


All speakers


3,45pm Response and Farewell


Associate Professor, Reverend Dr. John DuPuche (University of Divinity, CTC and Confluence)


Associate Professor Matthew Sharpe (Deakin University)


Presenters – morning sessions


Associate Professor Matthew Sharpe teaches philosophy and Deakin. He has published on the history of Western conceptions of philosophy as a way of life and is working on a co-authored monograph on the subject. Professor Sharpe has a particular interest in Stoic philosophy, and the Roman Stoics Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. He is also co-translating a volume of essays in the area by the renowned French classicist Pierre Hadot.


Dr Cullan Joyce lectures in philosophy at Catholic Theological College. His doctorate is on the thought of Maximus the Confessor, a pivotal Early Christian ascetic. He is researching how Maximus’ work relates to contemporary studies in meditation. He is the founding director of Confluence.


Rev. Dr. John Dupuche is a Priest of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. He is Associate Professor at the University of Divinity and an Honorary Fellow at the Australian Catholic University, and chair of the Catholic Interfaith Committee of the Archdiocese. He has a doctorate in Sanskrit, specialising in Kashmir Shaivism and is interested in its interface with Christianity. His book: Abhinavagupta: the Kula Ritual as Elaborated in Chapter 29 of the Tantrāloka 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. He leads an interfaith ashram on the outskirts of Melbourne. His website is


Venerable Toby Gillieshas been presenting courses in Buddhist philosophy and the theory and practice of meditation since 1980. Toby was granted full ordination in 1986 and accepted into the Sera Jey Monastic University in Mysore India. He has completed a study of the five major fields: Logic, Phenomenology, Ontology, Transcendental Wisdom and Monastic Discipline. Toby teaches these fields and the esoteric Vajrayana (tantric) theory and practice. He has conducted numerous group and solitary meditation retreats ranging from two weeks to five months in duration.

Presenters – afternoon sessions


Dr Petrina Barson is a certified teacher of the Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) originating at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. CCT is a program which draws from traditional contemplative practice and the science of mindfulness and compassion. She has been teaching CCT to medical students at the University of Melbourne since 2014. Dr. Barson is involved in research into outcomes of this program amongst medical students and is an Honorary Fellow in the Department of General Practice. She is a long-term member of a progressive Christian community, which inspires and supports the understanding of compassion.


Dr Annette Webb is a Consultant Paediatician, Gastroenterologist and Clinical Hypnotherapist. Her MD doctoral thesis was in the area of mind body therapies for Chronic and Complex Abdominal pain. Annette has been meditating since she was a child and has completed formal qualifications in Mindfulness and Stillness Meditation therapy. Annette was employed as a staff specialist at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Monash Children’s Southern Health and Cabrini Hospital’s In Melbourne and is currently in private practice. She continues to utilise meditation practices in her personal and professional life.


Janet Etty-Lealspecialises in bringing Mindfulness to life: developing and delivering meaningful programs, instilled with thoughtful, creative pedagogy to a range of persons and institutions. With many years of experience, her program is informed by neuroscientist and leading educational visionaries, including the work of Professor Martin Seligman, Alfie Kohn and Dr Norman Doige (The Brain that Changes Itself and The Brain’s Way of Healing)


Christopher Morris is a lecturer at the Catholic Theological College Melbourne in Christian Spirituality and in a Graduate Course in Meditation. He is a PhD candidate focussing on the Christian wisdom tradition. Christopher is also a spiritual director and oblate of the Camaldolese Benedictines.