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Friday, December 18, 2009

New Turkish Dharma website launched

Order Member Vajracaksu has been living and working in Istanbul for the past 6 years, slowly establishing Dharma and meditation classes there, plus offering sessions in “Living Well with Pain, Illness & Stress” courses via Breathworks.

He’s recently launched a new dual-language website ‘Farkindalik Meditasyon’ (meaning, ‘Mindfulness Meditation’), plus a couple of videos of him leading simple meditation-based breathing exercises. You'll findhis videos on
Videosangha or just click below…


‘Farkindalik Meditasyon’is at (Turkish) or in English.

He writes to say "By the way, I’m sure this’ll interest you: I’ve broken out of Istanbul! About a month ago I led a 3.5 hour meditation workshop in Ankara that went very well, 7 women came and left peaceful & happy. I plan to return in 2 or 3 months time and this time attract 1 or 2 more people. Whenever I write to FWBO news again of course I’ll mention it! Kind wishes, Vajracaksu"

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dharma teaching and Breathworks in Turkey

Vajracaksu, the only Order Member living and teaching Dharma in Istanbul, Turkey, writes with news of some recent successes -

"Greetings from Istanbul. I thought I’d keep FWBO News up to date a bit with my mindfulness, meditation and Dharma activities in Istanbul. Since I last wrote about 9 months ago my meditation and meditation & Buddhism courses and events have been attracting significantly more people. There have been a number of small but important developments in my teaching activities.

"I’ve given my first two full length Dharma talks; also my first “Evoking Kindness” meditation course in both Turkish and English; led a few day retreats and several “Invitation to Silence” sessions of shrine room practice. And for the first time ever I actually have a weekly Sunday morning drop-in meditation class at a health centre called "The Life Co." - mostly I get people who are detoxing/fasting coming to these classes.

"Over the past couple of months more and more openings are emerging for me. For example, just last week I gave a presentation to a foreign women’s group called “Corona.” The presentation was called, “Meditation: The Natural Healer”; it ended with a lovely period of the mindfulness of breathing. The whole session went down very well I’d say. As per usual I continue to find it a privilege introducing people to mindfulness, meditation and to the Dharma. I continue to be amazed at the subtle power of meditation practice. It often seems like magic to me! In just 20 to 40 minutes people often become peaceful and happy! Magic!

"I have some other happy news to report. In February at last I became Turkey’s first accredited Breathworks trainer…I write that with a sense of pride! (See my profile on the Breathworks site) At the moment I’m in the middle of leading a “Living Well with Pain & Illness” course which is fully booked. Again it’s deeply satisfying to sense and witness people benefiting from the wonderful tools Breathworks offers - not least making use of the simplicity and healing powers of the breath.

"At the moment I’m also leading a 6 week meditation & Buddhism course entitled “The Network of Personal Relationships” which is going very well. Our current ‘daily life practice’ is to be more aware than usual of the ways people have and do benefit us through their acts of generosity and kindness.

"I’m confident that over the next 6-12 months (if not over the next 5-10 years!) even more people will come along to events I lead. More and more people are hearing about and becoming interested in meditation and I think this trend will continue; even accelerate over the next year or two.

"I thought I’d end this bulletin with a personal write-up one person did following one of the day retreats I led:

“I had been in Istanbul a few months when I googled, “Meditation, Istanbul” and Vajracaksu popped up. Wow, someone from the FWBO was here and they were teaching meditation! It’s been hard to keep up my mediation practice as a) I’m not very disciplined and b) I’m not very disciplined. So I was very excited to hear that Vajracaksu was running a meditation day.

On the day I made my way over to Ortakoy on one of the many old ferries that zig zag across the Bosphorous. Vajracaksu’s apartment has been converted into a lovely shrine room with a small garden at the back. The other participants had already eaten three raisins mindfully and introduced themselves by the time I arrived. We settled into body awareness which was very relaxing and then a period of the mindfulness of breathing. As there were both Turkish and English speakers, Vajracaksu taught in both languages which was very useful. During the tea break we all got to know each other a bit better. There was a woman who had been in Istanbul for nine years and had lost touch with meditation, there was a Georgian woman from America whose dream it was to meet a Sufi, there was a young Turkish guy who had been passionately meditating by himself for years and there was a Turkish woman who was trying to practice daily. 

As usual on these kinds of days everyone was looking to get to know themselves better and get in touch with reality. The atmosphere was lovely and soon everyone bonded over a huge curry cooked by Vajracaksu. At the end of the day, everyone wrote a letter to themselves to remind themselves of what they had learnt. It was a magical day, greatly appreciated by everyone and I hope to attend many more in the future!”

SADHU Vajracaksu!

You can find more details of his classes on his website

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Teaching meditation in Turkey - and in Turkish...

FWBO News is delighted to present this report from Vajracaksu, the WBO's only member teaching and practicing in Turkey.

"Greetings from Turkey, Istanbul to be more precise. Some of you will know that I’ve been living and working in Istanbul for a few years now, doing some meditation and Dharma teaching. In fact in August it will be 5 years! Time flies!

"Last November, for the first time ever I led a small meditation course in Turkish. Doing the course in Turkish was a very big thing for me, and successfully completing it gave me a big confidence boost. Actually, it went well - I gave practical homework each week and sent out 3 emails a week to remind and encourage us to practise, which I think worked well.

"At a small day event on meditation in January one woman showed great determination because she travelled from Bursa – by coach it was about a 10 hour round trip! Later in January and February I led a meditation and Buddhism course entitled, “Words are Powerful: Principles of Communication.” It was based on the speech precepts, in fact we studied Ratnaghosa’s excellent pamphlet, “Just a Word...” As usual, I gave ‘home tasks’ - for example, when studying ‘harmonising speech’ our daily practise was to be particularly mindful when people asked to have their greetings, their ‘salaams’, passed onto someone (this is a very common custom in Turkey). I also suggested we be particularly mindful when people speak well of others behind their backs and to make a special point of passing on these words to the person concerned.

"During the last class – this is something I typically do now – I got us all to reflect on what we’ve learnt during the course and to write ourselves a letter with our reflections; then one or two months after the end of the course I post these letters off to remind ourselves of some of the things we learnt. I think this is an appreciated and effective little exercise.

"In February after much resistance (and hard work actually), I managed to complete recording a meditation CD. I did this at home, it’s not brilliant quality but it’s OK, it’s good enough. The CD includes six meditations in English and six in Turkish, some being sessions of guided Alexander Position. Already its proving to be useful and helpful.

"Last month (in May) I was invited back to Bilgi University to give 3 presentations on meditation to their students. Bilgi University is one of the most prestigious private universities in Turkey. I'd been there last year as well. I spoke on “Meditation: The Natural Medicine”, and covered some of my own experiences of meditation plus summaries of some research into meditation providing evidence for the physiological and psychological benefits of meditation. We had time for questions and lastly an opportunity to practise a short meditation.

"And lastly - right now - I’m in the middle of leading a 5-Week Mindfulness Meditation Course in both English and Turkish. It the first time I’ve led something in both languages, it’s quite challenging actually but I manage. Actually, I typically find it a privilege guiding people into a sense of stillness. This is the first course that I’ve made full use of the Meditation CD and people seem to be finding it very useful. The homework for this week is in two parts: to practise a short meditation every day (with one day off!) and perhaps more challengingly, to take one or two deep breaths whenever we notice that we’re criticising ourselves or others in thought or word. An interesting exercise! I look forward to people’s report back next week.

"I won’t make any definite promises but now I’ve broken my silence in this website, I hope to write more regularly.

"Kind wishes to the reader.

"Vajracaksu (Istanbul) PS - you can contact me here.

"...just like a beautiful flower which has colour and also has
perfume are the beautiful fruitful words of the person who
speaks and does what they say."
The Buddha

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