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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia.

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The first two novels of my trilogy, The Talismans, are not available as e-books at present, but I expect to get them back online shortly. However, I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. I hope to see my books back on Amazon under a new publisher in the near future.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Cloak of Challiver

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've Lived - Sydney

Places I've Lived - Sydney
Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier
Blue Lake

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day
From Kings Park

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
From Kings Park

Inner Peace Blog

Inner Peace Blog
Awarded by Joanna Fay. Click on the image to visit her lovely website!

Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award
Awarded by Kim Falconer. Click on the pic to check out her Quantum Astrology blog!

Fabulous Blog Award

Fabulous Blog Award
Awarded by Kathryn Warner. Click on the pic to check out her Edward II blog!

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Saturday, 15 August 2015

Buddhists Confer #1

Last weekend, Perth had the privilege of hosting the 9th Global Conference on Buddhism, thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, together with Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera and his brother monks of the Bodhinyana Forest Monastery. It was heartwarming to see so many sects and ethnic groups all rejoicing in the teachings of the Buddha together. 

There were friends from other faiths there too: Buddhism makes no claim to exclusivity and everyone was welcome to listen, question and comment. All the world's faiths preach peace and brotherhood amongst human beings, but Buddhism, so far as I can tell, is the only faith that teaches its followers how to do it. The fact that the various sects in Buddhism laugh at their differences rather than arguing over them says a lot about the way Buddhists think. 

As if to emphasise the inclusive nature of Buddhism, the proceedings started with a really lovely 'Welcome to Country' with Bill, a wonderful singer and dijderidoo player, to entertain and enlighten us, followed by a fascinating talk from Gail Wynne on the history of the Nyungar tribes of the Perth region. The opening continued with an address from the Hon Dr Michael Nahan, MLA, who pointed out that Buddhist adherence in Australia has increased by 40% in recent years, with the Dalai Lama (head of one of the sects of Tibetan Buddhism, but universally honoured by Buddhists and other people of all faiths and none) attracting as large a crowd as the Rolling Stones. Dr Nahan made us laugh by telling the tale of a recent trip to Asia, where people continually asked if he knew Ajahn Brahm. When he responded in the affirmative, they immediately wanted to include him in a 'selfie'! 

There was a video message from respected American monk Bhikku Bodhi, who spoke on justice. 'All beings' he said, 'need to be treated with compassion,' and to this end he'd founded the organisation Buddhist Global Relief to fight chronic hunger and malnutrition worldwide. The movement places great emphasis on improving the position of women and girls, endeavouring to keep girls in school and to raise the status of women generally in places where, sadly, they are still regarded as second-class citizens. 

More than 800 people had come to the conference from all five continents and many countries, including Finland! The speakers were varied also - Robina Courtin, a nun in the Tibetan tradition, joked her way through her introduction, ending by telling us she was a 'radical Lesbian separatist feminist' who also supported the Sydney Swans, an Australian Rules Football team! Father Bob Maguire, an octagenarian Roman Catholic priest, echoed Bhikku Bodhi's words, saying that as a nation we needed to look after the 'unloved and the unlovely' members of our society. Father Bob can be sarcastic and cynical when speaking of the church hierarchy. 'There is a clash of cultures' he said. 'Either you put the church first or the poor first, and often Jesus' (who would certainly have done the latter) 'doesn't even get a look in'. He went on to say that we should ask indigenous leaders for spiritual instruction, because we need to learn to respect our ancestors and the natural world around us.' Father Bob ended his talk by saying he was a 'card-carrying non-paedophile' to which Ajahn Brahm added by saying he himself was a 'card-carrying heretic' because he ordained women! 

The next panel discussion, 'Mindfulness is wellness' was presented by Piyal Walpola MD PhD; Ven Zinai Shi (Buddhist scholar, teacher and meditator with a special interest in the dialogue between Buddhist psychology and modern psychology) and Professor George Burns, Adjunct Professor of Psychology at the Cairnmillar Institute, Melbourne. They brought up some interesting links. 

'Anxiety and depression', said Dr Walpola, 'are a result of distorted cognition'. (Buddhism lays much emphasis on seeing things as they really are, right now, in the present moment.) 'Clinging to ideas of how we want things to be can only lead to suffering' he went on. 'If we constantly ruminate on the past, it can lead to depression, and if we cling to thoughts of the future, anxiety often results. With mindfulness training, the sense of self decreases and sensory perception increases. This improves working memory and reduces cognitive decline.'

Venerable Zinai Shi spoke of the effects of mindfulness training on cancer patients. The main result was a sense of 'acceptance of uncertainty'.  In conclusion, Prof. Burns showed us a picture of a toilet bowl with a fly painted on the inner surface. This was an effort to reduce 'spillage' in male public toilets, and apparently it worked well because the user was inclined to aim for the fly! Mindful urinating can be excellent awareness practice. 

On that note I'll leave the conference for now, since the last panel of the day warrants a post of its own! It combined dhamma and science fiction. Yes, honestly!

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