Thursday, March 16th, 2017 - The Contemplary

An Austrian woman who has spent the past 12 years meditating alone in caves high in the mountains of Nepal will share her inspiring story for the first time in Australia on March 21 as part The Contemplary's In Conversation with a Contemplative series.

Tara Choying Lhamo will appear in the free Melbourne event hosted by the secular charity, which formed last year to promote contemplative and ethical practices for a better, kinder and more harmonious world. 

The Contemplary Director Charles Potter said Tara's visit presented a remarkable opportunity to understand what is possible when we deeply examine the mind's habitual patterns and cultivate its deepest potential.

“It is rare to find someone who has left society for such an extended period to really explore contemplative practices that transform the mind,” Potter said. 

“The return of a contemplative from the wilderness is an important opportunity to refresh our understanding about how to live, what is truly important and how we might unlock the mind to enhance our society.”

He said Tara had long been questioning the 'you get born, you work and then you die' cycle of life after being in a horrific car accident which left a family member dead and she needing various operations. 

In her early 20s, Tara abandoned her flat, friends and photography job to fully devote herself to meditation and a 'useful way of life' after hearing a Buddhist teacher utter a single line: 'For the benefit of all beings, we want to attain enlightenment'. 

For the first eight years, she lived with her teacher in Nepal within his monastic community. Later, she did year-round solitary retreats in mountainous caves, areas so wild it took six days to walk to civilisation.

Potter said The Contemplary's invitation to guests like Tara was part of its mission to foster a 'contemplative renaissance' through events, education and research drawn from various disciplines and traditions. These included spiritual traditions, science, technology, the arts and humanities.

“Most of the problems faced by modern humanity stem from our drive to pursue happiness purely through material fulfilment, and a failure to cultivate inner qualities that are a source of lasting contentment and well-being. However, we are seeing a new science of virtue arising as researchers in new fields rediscover the links between generosity, patience, gratitude and kindness with happiness and better ways of engaging in the world,” he said.

“An important part of The Contemplary's work is to let people know there are different opportunities to achieve transformation on a personal or collective level. Not all of them involve sitting in a cave for 12 years.”

In Conversation with a Contemplative: Tara Choying Lhamo – 6.30-9.30pm, March 21 at the Community Church of St Marks, Clifton Hill. For more information or to arrange an interview with Tara Choying Lhamo or Charles Potter, contact Sam Sgambellone on 0410 583 581, email [email protected] or visit

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