A new venue for the dances is emerging in Sydney. It is a boutique studio venue to use Prema Desara’s term. We were very blessed to have Prema stay with us and lead a weekend of Tara practices, barely a week after we moved back into our newly renovated house.
The first stage of the process of return was the house blessing by Satpurananda Kulavaduta or Baba for short. As you can see from the photo, this was quite a complex process as Indian/Tibetan rituals tend to be. Previously, the land itself had been balanced by our late beloved Peter, a master dowser, some months before the build began over a year and half ago.
Then a week after we moved in we picked up Prema and Myri from the airport. They stayed in our guest rooms for over a week and had a good time in Sydney, which they presented with their story in the Tara Dhatu newsletter. It was so wonderful to see the space come alive with the Tara dances and with Prema’s teachings. After this first weekend in November last year, the space felt quite different energetically. Something had changed in its atmosphere. The very basic altar that we set up for Baba was expanded into 3 altars to Tara and to the ancestors of the dances. Here are some pics from that weekend. The first shows Prema leading a Tara dance with me playing guitar in the middle:
The next shows some rather wild dancing by Kafia in the middle:
The third shows Prema giving some of her profound Buddhist teachings:
After that weekend we’ve had regular Tara meetings here once a month. Prema’s visit rekindled the flame of the Sydney Tara group which is now meeting on a regular basis. This is a blessing for our house to have such beautiful sacred practices in our living space.
As well the venue has become a space for visiting speakers and teachers. Most recently on the 20th of March we had a dialogue evening with Manish Jain, an Indian American who had come to Australia for the Economics of Happiness conference in the Byron area and was brought to Sydney by Juli Gassner, one of our Sydney dancers, who is the educational coordinator at Kinma, a democratic free school in Terrey Hills.
Manish is the coordinator of Shikshantar: The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, and co-founder of Swaraj University, which is dedicated to the regeneration of local culture, economy and ecology. He is the editor of several books on such themes as learning societies, unlearning, gift culture, community, and tools for deep dialogue. Juli has been giving out his book at our dance meetings.
One of the special gatherings was our house warming New Year’s Eve gathering where many friends gathered over the afternoon and evening. As well as a wonderful collection of friends, conversations, food and drinks, we had a soundasations session in the afternoon. This is a fully improvised drumming, percussion, chanting, dancing and whatever else music session. Then in the evening when it got dark, we watched photos and some short videos from the fabulous Uplift Festival 2012 at Byron that I attended, thanks to Zebunissa and Andrew, on whose floor I slept and Brigitte who drove me there and back most days. Finally around midnight, we did some dances and thereby danced in the new year.
Here’s a photo of the house at 15 Blair Street, Bondi, for those who have not yet had the privilege to see it live: