NTI Humanistic Buddhism Projects

Distinguished Lecture Series

On 24th July 2019, Emeritus Professor Lewis Lancaster, one of the most renowned Buddhist Studies scholars in the world, joined Reverend Bill Crews AM, one of the most influential Christian ministers in Australia, at the University of Sydney for an evening of insights and storytelling, as they shared how their experiences and work have led to their own personal transformations in “Power of the Here and Now: ‘An interdisciplinary dialogue on walking the talk”. The talk was attended by an audience of close to 320 people, including professors from the University of Sydney, University of New South Wales and Macquarie University. 

The talk was held in conjunction with the commencement of the first Humanistic Buddhism Graduate Diploma course at Nan Tien Institute in July 2019. Dr Gawaine Powell Davies, Chair of the Buddhist Council of NSW gave the opening speech, followed by Emeritus Professor Bill Lovegrove, President of the Nan Tien Institute. The two distinguished speakers then talked on:-

A. Inner Transformation 

Both distinguished speakers shared their personal stories of working with people. Through these energizing stories, we learned about how individuals and the storytellers themselves have been transformed. We heard stories of how people are released from the ties that tie them. But it requires courage to face themselves and uncover their authentic “selves.” 

B. Insights 

The audience were treated to the insights of these distinguished speakers as they work through their domains of service.  The insights revealed the awareness, compassion and details of human nature.  It also called for an ability to look at their religion and/or service honestly. 

C. The Institution 

The largest and oldest institutional structures (churches and universities) are now facing several important crises that may threaten their continued survival in the form that we know today.  If time permits, honest comments may help to reshape the future of these institutions. 

D. Social Action 

This may constitute an interfaith discussion of how the two religions view social action differently.  Buddhism emphasizes service beyond form to all sentient beings i.e. no giver, no receiver and no gift.  Buddhism is in danger of appropriating the western idea of social justice that is dual in nature.


The event was co-sponsored by Buddhist Council of New South Wales, Australasia Association of Buddhist Studies, Reverend Bill Crews Charitable Foundation, BLIA Sydney Chapter and the Hsing Yun Education Foundation.