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Updates on Australia

March 30, 2016

Here are some updates on my GoFundMe project to raise money for the Global Conference of Chaplains in Higher Education 2016 conference in Bendigo, Australia. If you’re already a supporter, you’ve received these updates via email or Facebook. If you’re not a supporter, please consider donating $5, $10, $20 to the campaign. I’m still a little shy of my goal.

Here is the most recent update, via YouTube:

Logistics and Funds

So far I have raised $2,190 of my $3,000 goal. This is how those funds have been spent:

-$1,267.86 Air New Zealand Flights 7/8 to 7/16 PAID

-$550.00~ Schaller Studio Hotel 7/10 to 7/16 RESERVED, not paid

(~may fluctuate due to currency conversion from AUS to USD)

Remaining: $372.14

The remainder needs to cover 1) travel in Australia and 2) some food on the days immediately before and after the conference. It looks like I can take a regional train from the Melbourne airport to Bendigo; it’s about a 90 minute trip. From there I can get a local bus to my hotel and the hotel provides bicycles for its guests. La Trobe University, where the conference is located, is about 5 kilometers from the hotel along some bicycle paths and calm looking streets. During the conference, meals are provided, so I am set for food except on arrival an departure days.

I am still waiting to hear back from the conference organizers about my request for a scholarship to cover the cost of registration, which is $436~.  If I do not receive a scholarship, I will continue my fundraising push to cover that cost.

Research Progress


Meanwhile, I’ve also been doing research for my paper “Communicating Religious Pluralism as a Spiritual Value: A Buddhist University’s Experience.” I’ve collected sources in two related areas: 1) the general approach of Buddhist traditions to other religions and 2) the specific approach and history of Fo Guang Shan, Hsi Lai Temple, University of the West, and related organizations in inter-religious interactions. I’ll be combing through these sources in the weeks to come with the goal of composing my paper in June.

I have yet to begin creating the workshop, though I am continuing to have ideas about what I’d like to do. The title is “Sustained Compassion Demands Self-Care: But How Do We Do That?” and it’s based on my belief that compassion for others is practically impossible without compassion for and care of oneself and also my observation that this is really, really difficult for caregivers. We are often very hard on ourselves precisely because we want to help other people so much. I’m very interested in this paradox and will start putting together my workshop on this topic in late April.

Donation Opportunity

If you haven’t donated yet, please consider contributing $5, $10, or $20 to my GoFundMe campaign. A little bit from a lot of people goes a long way; all the way to Australia, in fact!

All supporters will receive a copy of my final paper and the workshop materials to share this work with others. I will also be sharing updates of what I’ve learned from the other presenters and chaplains at the conference, so you’ll be traveling and learning vicariously through me.

If you can’t donate, please share this campaign via Facebook, email, or other social media. I understand what it’s like to be unable to contribute, but support comes in many forms and is no less appreciated. Thank you and by this merit may you achieve happiness!

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