Waking Up in the Bush
a weekend bush retreat at Wat Buddhalavarn,
Wedderburn 19-21 September 2003


A weekend bush retreat
and the Dharma taught in an Australian vernacular
by Buddhist teacher, John Allan.

From sunset Friday 19 to the afternoon of Sunday 21 September 2003
At Wat Buddhalavarn Forest Monastery, Minerva Road, Wedderburn NSW

"Take delight in the forest and empty places, practice there," said the Lord Buddha.

The big events of the Buddha's life and teachings happened in the Bush. He was born in the forest and left a palace to attain awakening in the forest. Most of his teachings, including his first one, took place in the forest. Finally he passed away under trees in the forest.

Again and again he told his students to practice cultivation of the heart/mind in the forest.

John Allan will teach in the companionship of the Venerable Santititho, Phra Khamphaeng and fellow monks, and the lay supporters of the Wat.

"Just one candle dispels the darkness" is his theme and he will reflect on engaged Buddhist practice and the spreading of peace in times of war, conflict and social upheaval: peace within, peace in the family, peace in community, peace abroad.

John's teaching style is interactive and the Retreat will be conducted as a camp in the bush, outdoors, under stars and by open fires.

Women and men, long term Dharma farers and beginners, all will find John's teaching style refreshing and enlightening.

For the duration of the retreat, participants will be asked to take the five Buddhist precepts (mind of kindness, contentment, truthfulness, simplicity, clarity) and join the routine of the Wat, rising early and not eating from noon to next morning.

John Allan, Buddhist teacher

John Allan has been a Buddhist practitioner for over 30 years. He has run two Buddhist groups every week for the past four years in Lismore and Byron Bay. Currently 50 people attend these groups. In 1973 he was attendant to Phra Khantipalo during 5 week - long meditation retreats in northern NSW and Queensland, the first Buddhist meditation retreats to be held in Australia.

John went to Thailand in 1974, ordained for 6 months and stayed with Forest Meditation teachers in NE Thailand. After disrobing and returning to Australia he helped build the Forest Meditation Centre on Dharmananda community near The Channon in northern NSW and was subsequently was a founder of the near by Bodhi Farm community. He married and had 2 children, is now a grandfather.

John has worked in the arts and people in various ways. He was a nationally exhibited fine wood worker and also worked as a community artist in Campbelltown and the Gold Coast designing children's playgrounds. For a few years he worked as a carer of profoundly disabled children.

In 1988 as part of his Dharma practice, John pioneered support groups for violent and abusive men to help heal them of their violence. During this time he started private practice as a counsellor and therapist working with men, women and children and now has 15 years experience in the field.

For the past 10 years he has led annual men's gatherings called "Standing up Alive", a name given by a senior Aboriginal Elder from Western Australia. These events have inspired many of the leaders of the national men's movement. John has also works with The Spirit of the Land Foundation to "build bridges of understanding between indigenous and western cultures."

Two years ago Elders of the Galpu Clan of Eastern Arnhem Land, in full ceremony, empowered John as the first non Yolngu Custodian of the Rainbow Serpent or Witij Dreaming. This ancient lore is concerned with peace, compassion and healing.

About Wat Buddhalavarn

Wat Buddhalavarn is a Buddhist monastery supported by the Lao community of Sydney. It backs onto the sandstone bushland of the Georges River Reserve. The Retreat will be conducted as a camp in the bushland grounds of the Wat, outdoors, under stars and by open fires.

Participants are asked to carry in the warm clothing, shelter and sleeping gear that they need. Also sit cushions and camp chairs if needed. The Retreat will begin at 6 pm and participants are asked to arrive and set up camp before that time.

A closed Retreat, participants will be expected to stay without any coming or going or making any outside contact till after the close of the retreat on 4 pm Sunday afternoon.

Breakfast and lunch will be served on the Saturday and Sunday. Hot drinks will be available at all times.


Both John Allan and the monks of Wat Buddhalavarn are supported to teach the Dharma by the generosity (Dana) of those who hear the teaching.

To cover the expenses of setting up the Retreat and providing food, a registration fee of $40 per head will help cover basic costs; teachings by Dana.

To assist with catering, please confirm participation by 5 pm Thursday 18 September.


Wat Buddhalavarn is in Minerva Road, Wedderburn, New South Wales, Australia.

Telephone bookings and inquiries: Graeme Dunstan 02 4634 1287

Email: graemedunstan@rainbowregion.com


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