On December 5-7, Vimutti Buddhist Monastery, the Auckland Theravada Buddhist Assoc., The Auckland University Buddhist Society, Richman Wee and the Buddhist Fellowship from Singapore combined their strengths to sponsor the first major Buddhist conference in New Zealand.
Held at the Auckland University, this three day event featured speakers from around the world. Beginning with a public talk by Venerable Ajahn Brahm on Friday evening, the teachings continued throughout the weekend. Saturday and Sunday offered a full schedule of presentations from monks, nuns, leading academics and Buddhist Community leaders. Topics ranged from the nature of mind and consciousness to Buddhist economics, from gender equality to death, dying and rebirth. Venerable Bhante Gunaratana gave a number of talks and led the audience in a guided meditation. The conference was also an opportunity for local groups and traditions to gather in a spirit of harmony and unified purpose. The food and catering for the entire conference was donated and organised by the local ATBA Thai and Sri Lankan communities, and Vimutti Monastery was full to the brim hosting the eminent Sangha members, both bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. The program of events flowed smoothly all weekend, a testiment to good organisation. All in all, it was a joyful occasion to celebrate the Dhamma arriving in a new land with the warmth of kalyanamitta friendship and mutual support.