Author Archives: brucemacrae

2018/01/20 Heather Martin Retreat Audio

The following files were recorded at Goward House in Victoria during a retreat presented by Heather Martin on January 20/21 2018.


2018/03/31 Pascal Auclair Weekend Retreat


Saturday 31 March and Sunday 01 April, 2018
Time: Saturday 
9 am – 4:30 pm; Sunday 9 am – 4 pm.
Goward House, 2495 Arbutus Road, Victoria, BC.
Registration opens Mar 05, 2018

 Intimacy with the world, inner and outer, will be what we open to and cultivate during this retreat, inviting again and again a balance of heart and mind, friendliness and clarity. This sets the right conditions for wisdom and freedom to arise naturally. While sitting and walking with meditative presence and guidance from the teacher, we will discover for ourselves what is possible in this very life.

 Pascal Auclair has been immersed in Buddhist practice and study since 1997, sitting retreats in Asia and America with revered monastics and lay teachers. He has been mentored by Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Massachusetts and Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California. Pascal teaches in North America and in Europe. He is a co­founder and Guiding Teacher at True North Insight. His depth of insight, classical training, and creative expression all combine in a wise and compassionate presence. In addition, his warmth and humour make Pascal a much appreciated teacher

2018/02/18 Core Buddhist Teachings with Brock Brown

Core Teachings at Sunday Sit

Beginning on Sunday, February 18th, Brock Brown will offer a series of monthly talks for VIMS on the core teachings of the Buddha: the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold path. This is the path which leads us to the end of suffering.
The following is a schedule of the talks:
Feb 18  The First Noble Truth and Right View
Mar 18  Right Intention
April 15 Sila – Ethical Conduct
May 13 The Second Noble Truth – Tanha or Craving
June 17 Right Effort
July 22  Right Mindfulness
Sept 23 Right Concentration
Oct 21  The Third Noble Truth – Letting Go

2018/01/14 The Divine Abidings

Divine Abidings

Beginning on Sunday, January 14th, Margo will offer a series of monthly talks for the Victoria Insight Meditation Society on the four Divine Abidings, four qualities of mind and heart that we can cultivate as the natural expression of our being. While presenting each of these, she will draw on the stories of some remarkable figures in the history of Buddhism, individuals whose lives were and are an embodiment of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.
Sunday, January 14th – “Ananda, Guardian of the Dhamma” – Loving-Kindness as an act of imagination.
Sunday, February 11th – “The Legend of King Ashoka” – Compassion as a vehicle of transformation.
Sunday, March 25th – “The Lay Disciple, Visakha” – Joy and the Path of Service.
Sunday, April 22nd – “Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama” – Equanimity as a gift we bestow and a practice we embody.

Here is a link to a page on my site:

2018/02/24 Margo McLoughlin 2 Day Retreat

Illuminating the World, Befriending the Mind: Mindfulness and the Path of Practice
A two-day retreat with Margo McLoughlin
at Goward House,2495 Arbutus Road, Victoria, BC.
February 24 – 25, 2017
Sat 9 – 4:30  –   Sun 9 – 4:00
Registration open. Register
A dedicated practice of mindfulness sharpens perception while also softening the heart. In this weekend retreat, we will deepen our understanding of mindful awareness through a careful examination of the first two factors of awakening – mindfulness (sati) and investigation (dhamma-vicaya). At the same time, we will review the foundations of practice and explore the importance of friendliness (metta) as we learn to befriend  our own minds.
A teacher, storyteller, and writer, Margo holds a Master of Divinity from the Harvard Divinity School. In 2012, she completed her training as a Community Dharma Leader through Spirit Rock Meditation Centre.
Extra event at Goward House prior to retreat
On Friday, February 23rd, from 7 – 8:30 p.m., Margo will present a storytelling program entitled “An Evening of Elephants: Reflections on Rebirth and Stories from the Buddhist Tradition.”
Margo has been translating and adapting the birth stories of the Buddha for the last twenty years. Her translations have been published in Insight Journal and Parabola Magazine. She has performed for a number of communities throughout the United States, including Seattle Insight, Insight Santa Cruz, San Francisco Insight, New York Insight and Insight Meditation Society.
This evening program is by donation. No advance registration is necessary. Children eight years old and older are welcome. Please come early to ensure a seat! 

2017/12/27 Radical Dharma Report

RADICAL DHARMA workshop in Seattle:  On race, love and liberation

Written by Farheen HaQ with Gagan Leekha and Khalilah Alwani

L-R : Khalilah Alwani, Rev.angel Kyodo williams, Gagan Leekha and Farheen HaQ at the Radical Dharma training in Seattle, Dec, 2017.

Four sangha members (Tahia Ahmed, Khalilah Alwani, Farheen HaQ and Gagan Leekha) from Victoria recently travelled to Seattle to spend a weekend listening to dharma teacher Reverent angel Kyodo’s williams’ teachings centred around racial justice and community liberation.  It was inspiring and powerful to be amongst a large sangha of people of colour (POC) and white allies ready to sit with the discomfort and pain of the racism that affects us all.

Rev. angel is a powerful, loving and wise dharma teacher.  She reminded us that our dharma work is to notice the many locations we rest in and that racialization is always having an effect on us – for folks white and coloured.   The weekend included a POC caucus followed by two days of mixed group discussion.  During the POC caucus, many sangha members shared experiences of having to leave parts of themselves behind to fit into white spaces and/or doing “double duty” to make spaces more accessible for themselves and others.  Rev. angel noted that playing this dual role can hinder our liberation and its everyone’s role to do the deep work of recognizing racial injustice present in our communities.

When one sangha member described the feeling of being a part of the POC caucus where experiences were shared, witnessed and validated, they spoke of not realizing how parched they were and felt nourished and hydrated by the shared experience.

There was deep conversation about structural and systemic racism in the context of U.S. history.  To make it personal, we (especially white folks) were asked to consider “How do I carry myself so there is room at this watering hole for everyone?”

Finally Rev.angel Kyodo Williams reminded us of the truth that liberation practices are about community, that we cannot be liberated unto ourselves.  We do not practice the dharma to feel better or solely for ourselves, we do it for all beings everywhere.

It is time to look at the dharma structures we practice within as they operate within white dominant culture  — how do we free our dharma from systemic racism or the culture of white supremacy?  Why are our sanghas mostly white? Who is not present and what voices are not being heard in our sanghas?  In Canada, given that we are in a period of reconciliation with our indigenous communities, Rev. angels’ words offer much needed inspiration and her translation of the dharma gives us the tools to sit with the not-knowing and discomfort of the truth of our current context.  It is time for this work and this work is generational.  What can we be doing now to create more welcoming and inclusive sanghas for future generations?

To read more about Rev.angel Kyodo williams’ work, visit:

 For more information or dates for our Indigenous, Black & People of Colour Sitting Group please email:

 This group is open to IBPOC people from across lineages, practices and faiths.  We hope to sit once a month here in Victoria.

2018/01/10 YMCA-YWCA Mindfulness Group

YMCA-YWCA Mindfulness for Young Adults
Starting January 2018:

The Youth Mindfulness Group (Y Mind) is a free 7-week psychoeducational and support group for young adults ages 18-30 who experience mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety.

Participants learn healthy coping skills to manage their anxiety, connect with other young people and receive support all in a safe and friendly community environment.

2018/01/30 Awakening Joy Course

Awakening Joy
Five-month online course starts January 30, 2018
Taught by James Baraz
“I believe our task these days is to develop consciousness, love and caring in ourselves and help remind others of all the good inside and around them. I believe this motivates and empowers people to make this a better world. That is my vision and motivation for teaching this course.”

2017/11/11 Brock Brown retreat audio

The following audio files were recorded at Goward House on the 11th of Nov, 2017 during a one day retreat presented by Brock Brown.


2016/05/25 VIMS Council AGM Minutes

Victoria Insight Meditation Society (VIMS)

 Annual General Meeting


Thursday May 26, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

Agenda Items:

  1. Call to order


  1. Establish Quorum (minimum 3 members per VIMS’ bylaws)

Council: Brock Brown, Brian Chapel, Rhonda Duncan, June Fukushima, Sandra Joy, Bruce MacRae

Members: Joan Glover, John Hilditch, Rod House

Guests: Shelly Hilditch, Isabelle House

Absent with regrets: Joyce Elliot

  1. Approve Agenda

Motion from Joan to approve.
Seconded by Brock.

  1. Approve Minutes from May 21st, 2015 AGM

Motion from John to approve.
Seconded by June.

(Bruce to modify the website to indicate that the 2015 AGM minutes are approved)

  1. Financial Statement for January to December 2015

June Fukushima was the Treasurer in 2015 and Wei Wu the Bookkeeper.

Thanks to both June and Wei for their efficient oversight of VIMS finances.

Account balances as of 2016-01-01

Chequing Account:             $2,392.13

Savings Account:                $3,752.78

TOTAL:                                   $6,144.91

The 2015 financial statement will be posted on the website.

  1. Review of Financial Records

John Hilditch did a review (random sampling) of the Victoria IMS financial records and found everything to be in order.

Motion from Sandra to accept the financial records including the financial statement (point 5above).

Seconded by Bruce.


  1. Determine if audit is required

Motion from John that no audit will be required.
Seconded by Sandra

  1. Directors’ reports

The reports were pre-circulated to the members of VIMS.

Motion from June to accept the reports.

Seconded by Joan.


June made a special acknowledgement of the enormous effort given by Isy to organizing the retreat scheduling and staffing, and to producing the associated roles and responsibilities documentation.

  1. Determine annual membership dues

It was noted that according to current Victoria IMS policy we do not have membership dues.  This policy will continue to be in effect.

  1. Election of officers 

Brock offered thanks to everyone who worked on the council in 2015: “I would like to thank all members of the council for their time and efforts. Rod stepped onto council in a temporary capacity in April, 2015 and provided support and guidance for council through October 2015 during my absence. Rod is officially retiring from council I would like to express heartfelt thanks for all he managed to accomplish during this time”.

Rhonda Duncan was invited to attend our December council meeting with a view to possibly joining council.  She officially joined council as a director in January 2016.

All current directors were willing to stand for another year.

Call for other nominations.


Motion from Brock that officers acclaimed on slate presented:

Brock Brown                         – Chair

Bruce MacRae         – Vice-Chair

June Fukushima     – Treasurer

Sandra Joy                – Secretary

Brian Chapel                        – Director (Registrar)

Rhonda Duncan      – Director

Seconded by Brian.


  1. Retirement of Directors

As mentioned above, Rod House is now retired from council.

  1. Adjournment

Motion from Brock to Adjourn.

Carried – 7:35pm.