Author Archives: brucemacrae

Touching the Earth sitting group

“We are a group of Buddhists and other spiritually oriented folks who meet to discuss and engage with our Buddhist practice in relation to environmental issues, especially the issue of climate change. We have done some coordinated action but primarily we offer mutual support, encouragement and information to enable each of us to pursue various ways of confronting these difficult issues in our daily lives. We meet once a month, usually the final Tuesday of the month.

If you would like more information please email Lawrie Thicke at

2018/02/25 Margo McLoughlin Retreat day two

The following files were recorded at Goward House in Victoria on the 25th of Feb 2018. Margo McLoughlin presented a retreat and the recordings from day two follow.


2018/02/24 Margo McLoughlin retreat day one

The following files were recorded at Goward House in Victoria on the 24th of Feb 2018. Margo McLoughlin presented a retreat and the recordings from day one follow.


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.


2018/02/18 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  The Second Noble Truth- Tanha or Craving
April 15 Right Intention
May 13 Sala – Ethical Conduct
June 17 Right Effort
July 22  Right Mindfulness
Sept 23 Right Concentration
Oct 21  The Third Noble Truth – Letting Go

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.

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.


2017/07/20 VIMS Council Minutes

VIMS Council Meeting Minutes (approved)

Thursday, July 20, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

Brian’s home


Brock, June, Sandra, Bruce, Brian

Absent with Regrets:


Agenda Items:

  1. Review and Approve Council Meeting Agenda:

An addition (point 3 last item) to the distributed agenda was proposed to address the planning of the Victoria IMS Social. Motion from Sandra to approve the modified agenda. Carried.

  1. Approve Minutes of Previous Meeting (May 11th, 2017):

There were no changes to the distributed draft minutes from the May council meeting.  Motion from June to approve the minutes.  Carried.

  1. Business arising from the Minutes and Updates:
  • Ayya Medhanandi retreat update (May 27/28): There were 62 participants over the two days. Good feedback was received after the retreat and Ayya has agreed to return to Victoria in 2019. Thanks to all those who supported this retreat: Coordinators: June Fukushima and Brock Brown; Co-managers: Rhonda Duncan and Lise Bernard; Registrar: Sheila Whincup; Sound: Bruce McRae and Metta Vandervliet.
  • Victoria IMS total retreat participants between January and May 2017 was 226.
  • Victoria IMS Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on May 25, 2017. Draft minutes have been prepared and reviewed by Council. After some minor edits the minutes will be distributed to all founding members and redistributed to Council.
  • The annual Society fee has been paid.
  • The annual Victoria IMS social will be on the 27th October, 2017 and the Garry Oak room at the Fairfield Gonzales Community Centre has been reserved. Thanks to Isy and Rod House for agreeing to plan and support this event again this year.
  1. Finances:
  • June reported on the May-June financials (report was distributed to council members prior to the meeting).

Account Balances as of June 1st, 2017:

Chequing:         $5,784.16

Savings:           $6,771.51

TOTAL:            $12,555.67

Account Balances as of July 1st, 2017:

Chequing:         $3,658.51

Savings:           $6,772.90

TOTAL:            $10,431.41

Motion from June to receive the May-June 2017 financial report. Carried.

  1. Bylaws and Constitution:
  • The Council will start reviewing this. June motioned that we amend our constitution to be in line with the new Societies Act regulations. Carried.
  • The current Victoria IMS Constitution is shown below in italics text. The changes agreed to at the Council meeting, in accordance with the example from the new Societies Act Transition guide are:
    • Items 1 and 2 of the existing Victoria IMS Constitution will become the new Constitution;
    • Items 3, 4 and 5 of the existing Victoria IMS Constitution will be added to the new Victoria IMS By-laws together with the following statement after each item: “This provision was previously unalterable” (this statement will replace the current statement which reads “This provision is unalterable”).
  1. The name of the Society is Victoria Insight Meditation Society
  2. The purposes of the Society are:
  3. To promote Buddhist teachings and meditation practices as taught in, but not limited to Theravada Buddhism.
  4. To provide access to the practice and study of the dhamma, the Buddha’s teachings.
  5. To facilitate the growth and sustenance of a sangha, the community of Buddhist practitioners.
  6. to promote the cultivation of insight, generosity and kindness in order to awaken heart and mind and to foster the possibility of freedom from suffering for all.
  7. to encourage a personal meditation practice and the embodiment of the dhamma in daily life.
  8. to do those things incidental and necessary to promote and attain the foregoing purposes, which shall include but not be restricted to the promotion, organisation and conduct of Buddhist meditation retreats, instruction, study and practice groups in British Columbia, primarily in the Greater Victoria regional district.
  9. Upon winding up or dissolution of the Society, the assets, which remain after payment of all cost, charges, and expenses which are properly incurred in the winding up shall be distributed to a registered charity or registered charities as defined in the Income Tax Act (Canada), as may be determined by the members of the Society at the time of winding up or dissolution. This provision is unalterable.
  10. The above purposes of the Society shall be carried out without purpose of gain for its members, and any profits or other accretions to the Society shall be used for promoting its purposes, and all the above purposes shall be carried on in an exclusively charitable manner. This provision is unalterable.
  11. No Director or Officer shall be remunerated for being or acting as a Director or Officer, but a Director or Officer may be reimbursed for all expenses necessarily and reasonably incurred by him or her while engaged in the affairs of the Society. This provision is unalterable.
  1. Sunday Night Community Sit:
    • Margo has suggested doing a Solstice evening at the Yoga Studio on Friday evening December 22nd between 7 and 9pm. Sandra will speak to Margo about the logistics related to this evening.
    • Brock gave Council an update on changes to the format and management of the Sunday Night Community Sit for 2018. The first six months of 2018 are already scheduled and Brock and Sandra will be the primary coordinators for this program in 2018.
  2. Communications:
    • Website: A meeting was held on April 22nd to discuss potential changes to our website.  As a result of this June created a Google Doc for us to log the various changes we would like to see.  To date there has been no further activity on this item.
  3. 2017 Programs/Retreat Operations:
    • If a retreat coordinator is not on Council we need to assign a dedicated council member to liaise with that coordinator in the time leading up to the retreat: Bruce is confirmed as the council liaison for Adrianne Ross’s retreat and Brock for Steve Armstrong’s retreat.
    • Council had an initial discussion on a suggestion made by a participant of Tuere Sala’s retreat in April. The suggestion: at the start of our retreats, we include an acknowledgement of being on First Nations territory. The discussion will be ongoing.
    • Upcoming retreats/events:
      • Aug 19/20 – Ajaan Geoff – registration opens July 24, 2017
      • Sep 16/17 – Adrianne Ross – registration opens Aug 21, 2017
      • Oct 14/15 – Steve Armstrong – registration opens Sep 18, 2017
      • Nov 11 – Brock Brown – registration opens Oct 16, 2017
    • Retreats completed:
      • January 21/22 – Heather Martin
      • February 19 – Margo McLoughlin
      • March 18/19 – Howard Cohn
      • April 30 – Tuere Sala
      • May 27/28 – Ayya Medhanandi
  1. 2018 Programs:
  • January 20/21 – Heather – confirmed – Goward House reserved
  • February 23 – Margo McLoughlin – confirmed – evening talk – Goward House reserved
  • February 24/25 – Margo McLoughlin – confirmed – Goward House reserved
  • March 31/April 1 – Pascal Auclair – confirmed – Goward House reserved
  • May 26/27 – Susie Harrington – confirmed – Goward House reserved
  • June 23/24 – Ajahn Viradhammo – likely – UVic conference room reserved
  • September 15/16 – Brock Brown – confirmed – Goward House reserved
  • October 13/14 – Christina Feldman – confirmed – Goward House reserved
  • Nov 10/11 – Carol Wilson – confirmed – Goward House reserved
  1.  Meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

Next Meeting

September 14th, 2017

Sandra’s home