Category Archives: Australia

Guqin master shares the sounds of love

site_197_world%20news_59183325 NOV 2016 – 5:29PM

SBS World News Radio: The guqin is an ancient musical instrument recognised as an important part of the world’s heritage. It has a history dating back at least three thousand years and was played by the Chinese philosopher, Confucius. Rarely seen outside of China, Australian audiences are hearing it played by one of its master performers.

By Greg Dyett
25 NOV 2016 – 4:00 PM UPDATED 25 NOV 2016 – 5:29 PM

The ancient sounds of the guqin as played by Master Yang Qing.
Speaking through a translator, he says the soft, elegant sounds of the seven-stringed guqin are designed to promote love.

“The sounds of this instrument, they are all harmonious. It’s about love, it’s about kindness. The sound is not that loud but what we are trying to do is that through the sounds of the music, we are trying to promote the mentality, the ideology of love, loving our nations, loving for the people so this is what we want to promote through this instrument. And what I’ve said just now, it also connects this instrument, it’s just like our teacher, our mother, our friend and it’s also about time, bring about harmony to the people around us.”

The Nan Tien Institute, which runs Australia’s largest Buddhist college, helped to bring Master Yang to Australia for a series of performances.

The institute’s Venerable Juefang says the instrument has Buddhist sensibilities.

“It gives space to the performer so in the Buddhist context, it is also the same. Everyone has our own lives, how are we going to build our own life, how are we going to perform our own music of our life, it’s all within ourselves. In the Buddhist context, there is this notion about emptiness. Emptiness means that there is space, there is all sorts of possibility to build our own life, to have a complete life, so this music – guqin – and Buddhism, the cultivation about a human being, there is actually a lot of relevance.” Continue reading

Master Yang Qing is in Australia to play a series of concerts on the ancient guqin

master_yang_qing_sbs_0SBS News
27 NOV 2016 – 1:33PM

‘It’s about love’: master musician brings ancient Chinese guqin to Australia

A master of the ancient, UNESCO-recognised, Chinese instrument the guqin is in Australia to play a series of concerts.

By Greg Dyett

The ancient gupin has been part of China’s history for at least 3000 years and was played by the Chinese philosopher, Confucius.

The guqin is a seven-stringed zither instrument and one of its master performers has been in Australia for a series of concerts.

Master Yang Qing has been playing the instrument for decades and he told SBS News the guqin’s soft, elegant sounds were designed to promote love.

“The sounds of this instrument are all harmonious,” he said.

“It’s about love, it’s about kindness. The sound is not that loud and what we are trying to do through the sound of the music is promoting the mentality and ideology of love.

“Loving our nations, loving for the people, is what we are trying to promote through this instrument.”

The Nan Tien Institute, which runs Australia’s largest Buddhist college, helped to bring Master Yang to Australia for a series of concerts.

The institute’s Venerable Jue Fang said the guqin had Buddhist sensibilities.

“It gives space to the performer so in the Buddhist context, it is also the same,” she said. Continue reading

Mandalay restores stone plaques

inside-no-213TR Weekly
November 23, 2015 by Wanwisa Ngamsangchaikit

MANDALAY, 23 November 2015: Myanmar Ministry of Culture’s Archaeology and National Museum is collaborating with Sydney University’s Buddhist Studies Programme in Australia to restore stone inscriptions at Kuthodaw Pagoda in Mandalay.

Global New Light of Myanmar reported the collaboration started since the beginning of the year.

According to Archaeology and National Museum’s Mandalay branch, technicians and experts are undertaking preservation works of stone plaques and pagodas, taking photo records, translating stone inscriptions from Pali-Myanmar to English and publishing academic articles about the stones and inscriptions.
Translation and publishing are being carried out by Sydney University.

The stone plaques depict Myanmar as it was in the 19th century as well as cultural aspects related to the Buddhist faith.

Kuthodaw Pagoda (also known as Maha Lawkamarazein Pagoda) was built by King Mindon in 1859. The pagoda, enclosed by high walls, was a repository for 729 stone plaques on Buddhist Pitaka.

The Buddhist stupa lies at the foot of Mandalay Hill contains the world’s largest book.

In 2013, the stone plaques from Kuthodaw Pagoda were included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.


‘Buddhist Art and Contemporary Culture’ lecture by Dr Charlotte Galloway (Australia)

Sydney and Wollongong

Lecturer: Dr Charlotte Galloway PhD (ANU, Australia), BA (Art History and Curatorship)

Date: Monday 15 June – Friday 19 June
Time: 9 – 5.30 pm daily
Venue: Nan Tien Institute Wollongong Campus
231 Nolan Street, Unanderra (Wollongong) NSW 2526


Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, Sydney NSW 2000

About the Speaker

Dr Charlotte Galloway is a sessional lecturer for NTI – teaching the subject ‘Buddhist Art and Contemporary Culture’. Dr Galloway also lectures in Asian art history and Curatorial Studies at the Australian National University. Previously, she was Asian Art Curator at the National Gallery in Canberra. Her research interests focus on the Buddhist art of Burma, and Southeast Asia more broadly. Recent research includes the relationships between Buddhist texts and image in early Burma, and the transmission of Buddhism through Southeast Asia. The reception and interpretation of Buddhist art in the West since the colonial period is an ongoing research interest. She is interested in the nexus between the two elements of Buddhism – the practice and the academic theory; and the relationship between Buddhist art and imagery, and the changing modern practice of Buddhism.
About the Subject

‘Buddhist Art and Contemporary Culture’ explores the history, development, form and meaning of Buddhist arts and their influence in different cultures and contexts. Topics include the beauty of Chan and Purity Land, Buddhist architecture, spiritual totems of Tibetan Buddhists, calligraphy and stone inscriptions, as well as the influence of Buddhism on art, music and dance in different cultures.

The subject will combine lectures; a guided object analysis session at the Art Gallery of New South Wales; a calligraphy workshop; and expert guide through contemporary Asian art exhibition; talks from professional artists; and more.

Taken as a short course, non-award subject it would be a valuable professional development course for teachers, artists, critics, curators, academics – or even out of pure interest. It can also be taken as a larger Masters, Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate program.


Cultural feast in Lismore for the Thai New Year

CELEBRATION: Chalee Kotsu, of Eureka, participating in the blessing by the Monks for the Thai New Year celebration in Lismore.

CELEBRATION: Chalee Kotsu, of Eureka, participating in the blessing by the Monks for the Thai New Year celebration in Lismore.

6th Apr 2015 5:00 AM

Mireille Merlet-Shaw

SIZZLING satay sticks, Buddhist monks and plenty of colourful dancing all helped to create Lismore’s celebration of the Thai New Year – Songkran Day.

The New Year celebration in Thailand is all about friends and family coming together, according to Petcharat Moss, from the Northern Rivers Thai Community Association.

“What we want to do is say thank you to Australia, and our Australian friends and family, because we have a great life here,” she said.

“We have been supported by the people here, and we love to give back to the community,” she said.

The day included religious and spiritual ceremonies, cultural dancers and music as well as Thai boxing demonstrations.

Buddhism was the key religion of Thailand and Buddhists monks play a key part in New Year celebrations, Ms Moss said.

“We invite the monks to come here to pray for blessings,” Ms Moss said.

Visitors to the festival were invited to take part in a water blessing ceremony to convey their best wishes to the elderly and the monks, she said.

“When people put the water in the palms of the monk and the elderly, they give them their best wishes, and then the monks and the elderly give the wishes back to them as well,” she said.

It is all about showing respect and gratitude to the seniors, she said.

Thai New Year marks the start of the northern spring and the passing of the solstice, she said.

Songkran in Lismore has been held at the Rous Hall for many years, but this year it took over the Goodman Plaza at the Southern Cross University. Continue reading

Ian Fairweather’s Drunken Buddha paintings reunited at Tarrawarra

 Spiritual: a detail from Ian Fairweather’s On The Lake. Photograph: Ian Fairweather/DACS Fiona Gruber

Spiritual: a detail from Ian Fairweather’s On The Lake. Photograph: Ian Fairweather/DACS
Fiona Gruber

Queensland artist survived prisoner of war camp, near drowning and arrest to become one of Australian art’s most influential figures

Tuesday 2 December 2014 02.08 EST

In the pantheon of 20th century Australian artists, the reclusive, eccentric and much-travelled painter Ian Fairweather has an exalted status. He’s the dedicated painter who gave his life to his art and whose influences – cubism, abstract expressionism, Chinese calligraphy, the art of the Pacific and Indigenous Australian iconography – melded into a strikingly individualistic style.

He was also a man who looked back favourably on his time in a German prisoner of war camp because it allowed him to draw more – and study Japanese.

Fairweather said of painting that “it gives me the same kind of satisfaction that religion, I imagine, gives to some people” and his works include a series of paintings based on the life of the mischievous and inebriated Buddhist monk Chi-Tien, who lived in China in the 13th century.

He created the works after first translating the original tales about Chi-Tien from Mandarin, a language in which he was fluent. The Drunken Buddha series has just gone on display at Tarrawarra Museum of Art, north-east of Melbourne, the first time the paintings have been brought together since their showing at Sydney’s Macquarie gallery in 1965. Continue reading

Buddhist teaching inspires architecture at Nan Tien Institute


Wollongong’s Nan Tien Temple opens first Buddhist-run tertiary institution in Australia, with architecture by Woods Bagot.

A strong connection to the environment and a focus on spaces conducive to reflection are some of the Buddhist ideals behind the architecture of the new Nan Tien Institute which opens its doors to the public for the first time this Sunday 28 September.

The design of the building has been created by global architecture firm Woods Bagot, which used the used the Buddhist symbol of the lotus flower – a pristine, beautiful bloom that arises from the mud – as the starting point for the design of the building.

The lotus flower was chosen to reflect the origins of the site, a former garbage tip adjacent to the Nan Tien Temple, bought by the institute from the local council for one Australian dollar. The economic and social benefits of ‘cleaning up’ and reusing this previous wasteland are significant and follow 4 years of design and construction work, including a multi-million dollar remediation, financed and conducted by Nan Tien Temple.

The structure of the building was formed by grouping spaces into four distinct ‘pods’, creating a public space in between. The ‘pods’ are linked by active bridges, allowing for the movement through the building to be a journey comprised of moments, destinations and thresholds. The building also includes a library, common area with café, art gallery and academic facilities.
The first campus building will cater for 300 students and is designed to provide an environment conducive to teaching and learning in the 21st century by creating a setting for community interaction, education and cultural exchange.

“The building combines the functions of a contemporary learning environment with a destination for visitors to Nan Tien Temple, bringing the community together to reflect and celebrate Buddhist philosophy,” says Georgia Singleton, Director and Global Sector Leader in Education, Science and Health at Woods Bagot.

“The design of the building is beautiful and reflects the Nan Tien Institute’s aims to foster a holistic education,” says the institute’s Director Venerable Miao You.

Curved walls and window openings have created a distinctive look for the building, with precast concrete used to create the signature form of the building.

“In keeping with the Humanistic Buddhist teachings of Fo Guang Shan, the architecture avoids hierarchy, is modern, values the ‘spaces in between’ as well as providing a neutral environment devoid of excess and materialism,” says Woods Bagot Senior Associate John Prentice.

Named “Southern Paradise”, Nan Tien Temple is the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere and welcomes 200,000 visitors from all over the world per year.

A further two stages of the construction works are planned beginning with a $20 million bridge that will straddle the F6 and link the temple with the institute.

Preview tours of the new building will occur on Sunday 28 September as part of Nan Tien Temple’s 20th anniversary celebrations – to register for the event please email or phone 4272 0609. The entire facility will be available to view in March.

Project summary
Project: Nan Tien Institute – Please note the project cannot be called a “university”
Location: Berkeley, New South Wales
Client: Fo Guang Shan International Buddhist Association
Area: 6000m2
Status: Completed
Completion Date: September 2014
Budget: $50 million
Project Team: Georgia Singleton, John Prentice, Kenn Fisher, Alan J Duffy, Chang Liu, Danny Chan, Kate Gillies

Builder: Richard Crookes
Landscape architects: 360 Degrees
Services: Medland Metropolis
Structural Engineering: Brown Consulting
Project Managers: APP
Civil Engineering: Cardno
Site remediation: Douglas and Partners

About Nan Tien Institute

Nan Tien Institute was founded by Grand Master Hsing Yun as part of his objective: “To foster talent through education”. The founder of Fo Guang Shan (FGS) has established an international university consortium including 16 Buddhist Colleges around the world. The primary aim of these colleges is to share the wisdom of Buddhism and to create a holistic and well-informed society.
Nan Tien Institute is Australia’s first government accredited tertiary institution grounded in humanistic Buddhist wisdom and values, and is the latest tertiary education provider to become part of the Fo Guang University Consortium.
The vision of the institute is to support and inspire learning and the pursuit of research and creative practice. It is a place for the exchange of arts and culture. NTI contributes to the advancement and integration of knowledge, culture and ethical understanding for the benefit of humanity in an increasingly complex and globally interdependent world.

About Woods Bagot
Woods Bagot is a global design and consulting firm, with a team of over 850 people working across Australia, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America.

The firm’s unique ‘Global Studio’ philosophy drives unprecedented knowledge sharing and true collaboration across time zones, producing innovative, inspired and functional design solutions.

Specialising in five key sectors – Aviation and Transport; Education, Science and Health; Lifestyle; Sport; and Workplace – Woods Bagot’s diverse portfolio spans more than 140 years, a legacy of design excellence. The firm’s high-profile projects include: ivy, Sydney (with collaborative partners HP&G and Merivale), Qantas International First Lounges (with collaborative partners Marc Newson and Sebastien Segers) and the University of Western Australia Business School, Perth. Woods Bagot has also designed the new $200 million South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

Disciplines: Architecture, Consulting, Interior Design, Urban Design, Master Planning