Canberra Insight Meditation Group

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Canberra Insight Meditation Group
Main School Theravada
Sub School Vipassana, Burmese, Mahasi Sayadaw
Teacher(s) Lesley Lebkowicz, John McIntyre
Contact Infotmation
Address 32 Archibald Street
Australian Capital Territory 2602
Country Australia
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The practice

Insight meditation (sometimes called mindfulness meditation or Vipassana) is a simple and direct form of practice.The tradition began in Burma in the early years of the last century when there was a flourishing of many forms of Vipassana. One was the style of practice inaugurated by Mahasi Sayadaw, the heart of which is paying attention to all of our experience. Study with the Burmese Sayadaws, most notably with Sayadaw U Pandita, has been a significant part of the practice of many western teachers.

The tradition was first brought to Australia from Burma and northern India by American teachers, notably Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg, and then by Michele McDonald and Steven Smith. As the tradition has settled into the West, it has gradually shed some of its more overtly cultural expressions and assumed a form which is more suited to our Western conditioning. The discipline of Burmese monasteries which supports practice there, has softened into a more relaxed form with which Western meditators are more at ease. The teaching is entirely faithful to the original teachings of the Buddha on which the practice is based, and it also addresses our circumstances now.

Though simple and easy to understand intellectually, paying attention to all our experience is often difficult. To make this easier, the practice is formalised into three areas: sitting meditation, walking meditation and mindfulness of daily activities. We practise the first two (sitting and walking meditation) and Metta (loving kindness) meditation in our weekly sitting group and all three forms of mindfulness on our monthly one day retreats and on longer retreats.

We gradually learn to see and accept our own minds, and in doing so we learn to accept others. At first we often see the conditioned nature of our minds – all our everyday difficulties as well as our joys and good-heartedness. As our practice deepens, so does our capacity for great peace. Our minds have the capacity to develop the spaciousness and equanimity which allows us to hold the joys and sorrows of a full life.

The teaching offered in the Canberra Insight Meditation Group focusses on the importance of developing a loving gentleness towards our own minds and on the importance of exercising autonomy and responsibility for our own mental/spiritual development.

Loving kindness (or Metta) arises naturally in the course of the practice. It is also taught separately to foster its own development and the development of mindfulness.

The potential of our own minds is enormous. Realising that potential is possible – it takes patience and courage – and every moment spent in mindfulness takes us closer.

Group leaders

Lesley Lebkowicz has practised with Western teachers and Burmese meditation masters in the Mahasi lineage of Insight Meditation in Burma, Nepal, the United States and Australia since 1983. Her main teachers have been Michele McDonald, Sayadaw U Pandita, John Hale and Sayadaw U Vivekananda. She has worked as a teacher and a counsellor and currently divides her time between writing and formal spiritual practice.

John McIntyre has been a meditator in the Mahasi tradition for more than twenty years. His teachers have been Sayadaw U Janaka, Sayadaw U Vivekananda, Ven Pannyavaro and Patrick Kearney. He is a trustee of the Buddha Sasana Association of Australia, the body that owns and operates the Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre.


Weekly meditation is held in the shrine room at the Sakyamuni Buddhist Centre, 32 Archibald Street, Lyneham. For directions to the Centre see the following Google map. For instructions on how to find the shrine room at the Centre scroll down to the images below the map.

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Once you arrive at Archibald Street, you will recognise the Buddhist Centre by the ceremonial gate at the T junction of Archibald Street and Mackennal Street.


A few metres downhill on Archibald Street is a smaller gate by which you enter the monastery. Drive in here.


Further along the driveway you will see a large statue of Kwan Yin on your left.

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Keep driving until you reach the back of the property where you can park your car. Then walk back to Kwan Yin and head towards the buildings. You will see a covered walkway.


Once you are under the walkway turn to your right towards the one – storey building.

Enter through the double glass doors. We are through the wooden doors immediately ahead of you.