Tara Danced at the Sakyadhita Conference In the Blue Mountains Australia

Felicity Oswell is one of Tara Dhatu’s most senior teachers. Her residence is in Sydney, Australia where she has worked with a group of dancers for more than 20 years. June 2019 the Sakyadhita Conference was in the Blue Mountains of Australia, right around the corner from Sydney. Felicity represented Tara Dhatu, offering three sessions of dance as well as a performance. She writes…

I had the great pleasure of attending the Sakyadhita conference in the Blue Mountains along with Karen and Arjuna Weiss (our musician), Katrina our Blue Mountains teacher, Diane a local Tara and 900 or so others! There were around 500 nuns from all over Asia which was such a blessing and I got to catch up with many old dharma friends, as well as meet so many inspiring women and nuns.

We had 3 workshops and Katrina and I danced the 16 Offering Goddess Dance in the Cultural Evening, each one was amazing.

The first workshop was on the first day and in the foyer of the Fairmont Resort in Leura where everyone stayed. This large rambling resort has big open fireplaces, grand views of valleys and rocky outcrops in the mist of the winter landscape, and all was buzzing with a sea of bald heads – I felt like a giant!

The foyer where we offered the Dance of the 21 Qualities of Tara is an enormous open, noisy space where many of the 900 attendees transited. It was challenging to focus the energy of the 80 or so participants, many of the nuns didn’t speak any English and the mike didn’t work well.

Yet the dance generated so much energy in the space, people kept joining in and circles grew in all directions. The dance finished, Arjuna continued to play and people spontaneously went back into singing the mantra and then improvised several circles and other variations of the dance. It was amazing and exhilarating!

On the second day Katrina and I offered the 16 Offering Goddess dance at the Cultural evening. It was a joy to dance for Tenzin Palmo, Joan Halifax and so many inspiring women.

The second workshop was in a more confined space and I led the Dance of Motivation, the Tara Mantra Dance and a Beloved Tara Dance; Karen led several Dances of Universal Peace; Gate Gate Dance and Kwanzeon Bosai which the Korean Nuns loved. It was very well received by around 30 participants, and everyone wanted endless photo opportunities at the end.

Finally, in the 3rd workshop I presented Anahata’s Tara’s Refuge Dance. We did it in 2 circles calling and responding to each other and it was a hit! When we reached the chorus of Namo Gurubya…, it felt like the whole space took off. People said it could be heard through the whole resort and many came just to watch and bask in the energies.

Another highlight was making Kimchi with Korean Nun Jeong Kwan of ‘The Chef’s Table’ fame,– so delicious and she is such a character!

It was such a wonderful sharing and I felt so happy to be a part of this giant wheel of dharma. The breadth and depth of Buddhism shone through the amazing women gathered there and I’m definitely going to the next one!


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