Ven.Canberra Damita

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My birth name is John Chen, and my monk’s name is Venerable Canberra Damita. My Primary Education includes a BA, Double Major in Mathematics (1975), Graduate Diploma in Computer Studies (1976) and Operation Research Graduate Diploma (1977). I have worked in the Computer Industry (about 17 years) in the Defense, Administrative Services, Public-Service-Board and Attorney-Generals Departments in Canberra before I took a redundancy package (May 1994) so that I could pursue my personal goals. I have two children; my son is married with two grandchildren, and my daughter is engaged. At school, I initiated developing a non-scripture class.

In between 15 years plus as a Buddhist monk and from the late 20s, I practiced privately developing the Full-Lotus Posture (FLP) from a Semi-Lotus Posture. I began formal meditation training soon after my father passed away (during 1984) under my first teacher, Venerable Somaloka MahaThera. I regularly attended the annual 10-day meditation retreat for 12 years at my teacher’s meditation centre. While still working I attended one and three months trial as a Buddhist monk. I left work (May 1994) and donned the white robe as an Upasaka for 12 months, and ordained as a novice (Samanera, 6 May 1995), and attended my monk’s (bhikkhu) higher ordination (May 1998), registered in Sri Lanka. I stayed 4.5 years in Sri Lanka, and six months intense formal meditation training at Panditarama meditation centre (July 1999). Since 2000, I have had many teachers.

I have taught non-scriptural classes Buddhism at High and Primary Schools in the Blue Mtns at Katoomba HS and PS, Wentworth Falls Infants and PS for 2 years and given several public talks to smaller groups.

I began formal Buddhist studies (May 2002-April 2005). In Myanmar, I graduated from a Diploma in Buddhist Teachings (2002) and B.A. between (2003-2005). I designed the cover of two books published overseas; ‘Understanding Ourselves Better, BEF, Taiwan, 1992’, and ‘Understanding Ourselves Better, Vol.1: First Noble Truth, Dukkha Sacca, ITBMU, Myanmar, 2004.’

After returning in 2005, I installed my 1st bronze 7 meters Buddha statue (Nov 2005) and designed my own residence, and from lockup stage established my abode and opened it to the public on 20 August 2008. During this time, I also established my Association, Young-at-Heart Meditation Research Centre (Sept 2006-present) and am progressively establishing the surrounding sloped landscape over time and space. MC’ed my mum’s funeral service (March 7 2009)! In 2010, I spent the whole year to formulate and design the contract details to build two more 7 meters bronze Buddha statues, and organize shipping transportation to Australia and freight to Blue Mountains (installed on site by 56 feet span crane, Jan 10 2011). Learning to teach about Buddhist Meditation at my Centre since 20 Aug 2008.

In Natural Cures forum (2012), I introduced an Angina solution and, Queensland Pawpaw Natural Skin Cream that the FDA would have paid millions to buy is under examination by NCs Labs in England. On various public medias or forums, I have explained Buddhist principles on public forums like Natural Cures (NCs), GIN Community, LinkedIn and Facebook, and individually at the Centre in Australia. Recently, I have become more active giving small talks at LCM local events. I recommended to GIN Events to use adjustable Identification Name Tags at Family Reunion, which was used on the 2013 Cruise but has reverted back at 2013 Dream Weekend.

First time I taught the Beginner’s Meditation Course on a Norwegian Pearl Cruise, (21-22 Jan 2013), trial talk given at a GIN member’s home, and the second teaching at Thai Monastery, Dallas, TX (21, 24-25 April 2013).


1. A plan to build a pagoda-chapter house combination and landscaping over three years plus;
2. Prove that the FLP is a Universal Law; and
3. Complete writing 3rd book, ‘Understanding Ourselves Better, Vol2: Second-Third Noble Truths