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Australian Centre For Sufism



 

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Recent Series:

The Teachings of
Sufi Stories
November 2016

Previous Courses:

Islamic Spirituality
(Sufism) - Series II
June-July 2014

Islamic Spirituality
(Sufism) - Series I
March-April 2014

Spiritual Unfoldment
Through The Sufi Path
Part II
May-June 2013

Beginning The
Spiritual Unfoldment
Through The Sufi Path
Part I
February-March 2013

Spiritual Unfoldment
Through The Enneagram
Part II
August-September 2012

Spiritual Unfoldment
Through The Enneagram
Part I
May-June 2012

The Spiritual Path of
Sufism - Part 1
Spiritual Transformation
& its Effect in Daily Life
December 2010

Beginners Guide to
the Work of Sufism
July-September 2009

Beginners Guide to
the Work of Sufism
July-September 2009

Spiritual Teachings
of Moulana Rumi
February 2008

Spiritual Unfoldment Through the Path of Sufism
(Using The Spiritual
Teachings of Moulana Rumi)
March 2006

Clearing an Inner
Space for
Remembrance of
God (Zikr)
March 2005

Spiritual Unfoldment Through the Path of Sufism
(Using The Spiritual
Teachings of Moulana Rumi)
March 2004

The Spiritual Aspects
of The Enneagram
February 2003

Moulana Rumi & His Poetry - Mathnawi (Mathnawi)
April 2002


Previous Courses:

Islamic Spirituality (Sufism)
Lecture Series II
13 June to 4 July 2014

The Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies (ACSIS) is running a series of educational lectures on Islamic Spirituality (Sufism). Our second set of lectures in this educational series is a continuation of the recorded lectures from Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr at George Washington University.

In this second set of lectures Professor Nasr moves his attention from the doctrine of Sufism to the methods of Sufism and will be focusing on important theoretical aspects of method such as:
  - The nature of the obstacles of the mind
  - Concentration, meditation and zikr
  - The development of virtues
  - The role that the inner virtues have in weakening the ego self/nafs

We are privileged to have been allowed to use these audio recordings at ACSIS so that people in Australia can have the experience as though they are sitting in the classroom with Professor Nasr as he lectures on Sufism. This is a rare opportunity to learn from such a distinguished scholar as Professor Nasr, a world renowned authority on Islamic Spirituality. Many students travel from all over the world to study with Professor Nasr to learn about Islamic Spirituality and many of the contemporary scholars and teachers of Islamic Philosophy and Sufism have been students of Professor Nasr - he is known as "the teacher of the teachers".

Sheikha Fleur Nassery Bonnin will be present providing further spiritual insight and understanding into this important spiritual work.



Islamic Spirituality (Sufism)
Lecture Series I
21 March to 11 April 2014

The Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies (ACSIS) will be running a series of educational lectures on Islamic Spirituality (Sufism).

We are very pleased to announce that the first set of lectures in this educational series are recorded lectures from Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr. It is worth noting that many students travel from all over the world to study with Professor Nasr to learn about Islamic Spirituality and many of the contemporary scholars and teachers of Islamic Philosophy and Sufism have been students of Professor Nasr - he is known as "the teacher of the teachers".

We are privileged to have been allowed to use these audio recordings at ACSIS so that people in Australia can have the experience of sitting in the classroom with Professor Nasr as he lectures on Islamic Spirituality (Sufism).

In these lectures Professor Nasr teaches certain foundational ideas of Sufism, such as:
  - What Sufism really is
  - What is the human state from the point of view of Sufi doctrine
  - What are the inner virtues that weaken the ego self / nafs



Spiritual Unfoldment
Through The Sufi Path - Part II
Developing an Understanding of the Foundations

May to June 2013

Continuing from "Beginning The Spiritual Unfoldment Through The Sufi Path", this upcoming course will be delving deeper into the knowledge and understanding of the foundations of the Sufi path.

Sufism is the path of knowing God and journeying to God, where the purpose of the creation of life in general, and the creation of human beings in particular, is realised and therefore lived. It is about the struggle of overcoming the false ego/self (nafs), in order to reach the essential self which is the reflection of the Divine Reality.

The Sufi path rests securely upon Divine Revelation and the teaching and guidance of the Prophet (pbuh), in which the traveller is taught to know his/her self in order to know his/her Lord as they are gradually purified of their attachment to their personal ego/self attributes.

In this six week course we will be exploring fundamental issues such as:

  • How to live according to the real purpose of life

  • How to discover hidden aspects of the self (nafs)

  • Addressing three of the major obstacles: doubt, resistance and defence mechanisms

  • Exploring spirituality versus materiality

  • Exploring the central role of trust (tavakol) in spiritual unfoldment



Beginning The Spiritual Unfoldment
Through The Sufi Path - Part I
February to March 2013

The Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies will be running a 6 week course on the foundations of Sufism for those who are interested in walking the Sufi path.

Sufism is often described as a path of love and knowledge of God. Whilst this is true, for the beginning traveller (salek) it is about those aspects of the path which concentrate on faith (iman), remembrance (zikr) and surrender.

Through this path, which rests securely upon Divine Revelation and the teaching and guidance of the Prophet, the traveller is taught to know his/her self in order to know his/her Lord as they are gradually purified of their attachment to their personal attributes (ego-self).

As the Prophet said: “He who knows his Self, knows his Lord”

This course will address fundamental issues such as:

  • What is Sufism (Tassawuf)?

  • What is the Purpose of Life according to Sufism?

  • What is the soul (nafs)?

  • What are the stages of the soul's transcendence?

We will also delve into aspects of the self that need to be addressed to be able to travel on the Sufi path, such as:

  • Doubt

  • Resistance

  • Surrender

  • The teacher - student relationship (rabita)

This course will be run by Julian Zanelli, Sufi initiate and psychotherapist. We envisage that this course will be followed by another course that will go into further detail on these important subjects, preparing one to become a traveller on the path to God consciousness.

Please note that you are not required to have any prior knowledge of Sufism for this course.

The Course will be over six Friday evenings commencing 15th February 2013.


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Spiritual Unfoldment
Through The Enneagram
Part II - August to September 2012

 
 
 

In May to June 2012, the Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies ran a five week course on the Sufi Enneagram. Part I outlined the framework of the Sufi Enneagram and covered some of the beginning phases of psycho-spiritual study. It also gave participants an opportunity to begin to engage practically in the work of the Sufi Enneagram.

Part II will be exploring further the practical applications of the Enneagram and Sufism. Participants will have an opportunity to apply the Sufi Enneagram in their daily lives, uncovering their imbalances and blockages to gain a deeper insight into themselves and their spiritual nature.

In Sufism the path of knowledge of self is not considered separate from the psychological and spiritual journey. It is seen as a vital and necessary process in order to fully realise one's real potential. The Enneagram's implicit spiritual psychology is detailed and holistic. It maps out the structures and processes of the personality, from the lowest levels of moral and psychological dysfunction, through the levels of functioning that are considered acceptable in society and then beyond this to the spiritual levels of being.

The course will provide you with an opportunity to:

  • Gain an understanding of the Sufi perspective of the purpose of the journey of life

  • Use active reflection (muhasaba) to identify the ego-personality's ingrained habits and imbalances

  • Recognise how these habits keep you trapped in the ego-personality which hinders spiritual growth

  • Further your practice of unravelling hidden tendencies and misperceptions

  • Better understand the structure of your self/nafs and its connection to God

This course will be over five Friday evenings commencing 17th August 2012.


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Spiritual Unfoldment
Through The Enneagram
Part I - May to June 2012

 
 
 

The Australian Centre for Sufism will be running a Spiritual Development Course
using the Enneagram according to its origin in Sufism.

In Sufism the path of knowledge of self is not considered separate from the psychological and spiritual journey. It is seen as a vital and necessary process in order to fully realise one's real potential. The Enneagram maps out the structures and processes of the personality, from the lowest levels of moral and psychological dysfunction, through the levels of functioning that are considered acceptable in society and then beyond this to the spiritual levels of being. Its implicit spiritual psychology is detailed and holistic, which enables us to better understand the structure of our self and our soul and therefore the connection of the soul to God. 

The course has been put together to combine the theoretical and experiential aspects of the Enneagram for the purpose of spiritual unfoldment. We will combine the Enneagram with active reflection (muhasaba), which is fundamental in Sufism, in order to gain insight into our deeper psycho-spiritual dynamics, which are usually played out unconsciously and prevent us from understanding our own nature more deeply. 

This course will provide you with an opportunity to:

  • Gain an understanding of the Sufi perspective of the purpose of the journey of life.

  • Learn about the essential components of the Enneagram according to Sufism.

  • Learn how to identify and begin to unravel previously hidden tendencies and misunderstandings that have hindered spiritual growth. 

  • Gain a greater awareness of the relationship between the personality and undiscovered aspects of your spiritual nature.

The course will be run over 5 Friday evenings, commencing 4th May 2012


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Beginners Guide to the Work of Sufism

July to September 2009

As a continuation of our Zikr gatherings and in response to requests that we have received, ACSIS offered an introductory series, Beginners Guide to the Work of Sufism.

It was designed to give participants a taste of the practical and experiential work of Sufism, as well as an experience of the Sufi practice of Zikr. The course was over five fortnightly sessions.

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The Spiritual Teachings of Moulana Rumi

February 2008

Moulana Rumi, the messenger of love, speaks to our inner heart and soul - but what does it all mean and how can it be applied to our day to day lives? Using authentic translations of his work, Fatima Fleur Nassery Bonnin (Founder and Director of the Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies), provides a one day course designed to help better understand Moulana Rumi's impact on the human psyche and explore the true meaning of his teachings. Combining her native language of Persian and her deep knowledge of Moulana Rumi and Sufism, she will take you on a journey from the outer to the inner of Moulana Rumi's message.

Fatima Fleur Nassery Bonnin says:
"Timelessness is the essence of Rumi’s teachings. Revered as a Saint by people of many faiths, his illuminating teachings through his poetry continue to have a profound impact and relevance in our lives even in this present time. The pathway to God through Love is the hallmark of Sufism and Rumi in particular, has reached its pinnacle."

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Spiritual Unfoldment Through
The Path of Sufism
- Using The Spiritual Teachings of Moulana Rumi

March 2006

Most likely you are reading this information because you are interested in or being drawn towards spiritual unfoldment. If so, this is a good time to pause and ask yourself some important questions such as: Who am I? Why am I here? What is the purpose of life? Once you have pondered on such questions and taken steps towards getting some answers, then you can start the inner journey, and with perseverance you can become a “salek”, a traveller on the spiritual path.

Generally man is unaware and forgetful of the purpose of this life’s journey. The longing for deeper meaning in life and for something real is the beginning of the path of spiritual unfoldment. The following is helpful in understanding the dilemma of human beings:

Imagine that you get into your car and drive to a supermarket or department store to buy something that you need. But as soon as you enter the store, you forget what you came for. You become busy, mesmerised and occupied with all the things that you see around you. You follow the crowd and do what they do but, once in a while when you have a moment of quietness, you get this nagging feeling that there was something you came here for. “What was it?” The crowd around you are engrossed in joining in the games that are being played and do not even pause and ask themselves: “Was there something else that brought me here?" This question is asked by only a few who have a vague memory (by the Grace of God) of something else.

Man is made multidimensional with different levels and depths, therefore the religions which are vehicles for the transformation of man are also multidimensional, with an outer, middle and inner reality. The fact that the majority are not aware of their true reality does not negate this reality, it just stops them from experiencing it. However there is always a minority who uphold the light for the travellers on the spiritual path, and Sufis are within this group.

The Sufi tradition has a 1400 year history rich in teachings through various methods such as the oral tradition, discourses, writings and poetry by spiritual masters and guides. One important source of Sufi teaching which we will explore is the book of Mathnawi by Moulana Rumi. Moulana Rumi starts this celebrated book, by saying:

         “Listen to this reed how it laments
                   it tells the story of separation”

In one sense, the core of Sufi teaching is hidden in this one verse. If one knows that there is a separation and man has been separated from something or someone, then one also realises that there could be a reunion. This reality is not available to most people because they are busy with their subjectivity and preoccupation with the world. It is only after the inner eyes open that one can see that Reality is different from what they had experienced.

         "Oh you who are hiding in everything
                   like the meaning inside the words"

Suddenly there is real meaning and purpose in day to day life. This unfoldment takes place when we become conscious of the Beloved - God Conscious.

Man is compartmentalised and lost in the never ending play of mental images, concepts and psychic and emotional tensions of the personality. This is the root of all our unhappiness. Inner happiness is only achieved by being out of the state of fragmentation and being in the state of wholeness. Man therefore needs to become whole. It is in this state of wholeness that we can experience the oneness and unity with God. This is the inner meaning of 'Tawhid' which is the unity of existence and the goal of the Sufi path.

This course is led by Fleur Nassery Bonnin, an initiated Sufi murshid, a psychologist and the Founder and Director of the Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies. She believes that psychological and spiritual development are inseparable, both are necessary components in the pursuit of spiritual awareness. Fleur has developed this introductory one day course which focuses on aspects of Sufi teaching.

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Clearing an Inner Space for
Remembrance of God (Zikr)

March 2005

Over the years, Sufis have developed certain practices to intensify the remembrance of God. The goal of Zikr is to be in a state of total remembrance of God which equates with total forgetting of self. Zikr has different levels including the Zikr of the tongue, the Zikr of the heart and the Zikr of the soul. While we are repeating the calling on God's Names, we try to keep ourselves in alignment with the moment to moment renewal of the Grace of that Name.

This experiential psycho-spiritual workshop includes Focusing to quieten the constant interruptions of the thoughts and clear an inner space so that we can practise remembrance of God. One can then use this learning every day towards one's spiritual development and benefit from its Grace.

This is a rare opportunity to be led through this experiential process developed by Fleur Nassery Bonnin, Sufi teacher, psychologist and the Founder and Director of the Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies.

 

___________________________________________________________


Spiritual Unfoldment Through
The Path of Sufism
- Using The Spiritual Teachings of Moulana Rumi

March 2004

Most likely you are reading this information because you are interested in or being drawn towards spiritual unfoldment. If so, this is a good time to pause and ask yourself some important questions such as: Who am I? Why am I here? What is the purpose of life? Once you have pondered on such questions and taken steps towards getting some answers, then you can start the inner journey, and with perseverance you can become a “salek”, a traveller on the spiritual path.

Generally man is unaware and forgetful of the purpose of this life’s journey. The longing for deeper meaning in life and for something real is the beginning of the path of spiritual unfoldment. The following is helpful in understanding the dilemma of human beings:

Imagine that you get into your car and drive to a supermarket or department store to buy something that you need. But as soon as you enter the store, you forget what you came for. You become busy, mesmerised and occupied with all the things that you see around you. You follow the crowd and do what they do but, once in a while when you have a moment of quietness, you get this nagging feeling that there was something you came here for. “What was it?” The crowd around you are engrossed in joining in the games that are being played and do not even pause and ask themselves: “Was there something else that brought me here?" This question is asked by only a few who have a vague memory (by the Grace of God) of something else.

Man is made multidimensional with different levels and depths, therefore the religions which are vehicles for the transformation of man are also multidimensional, with an outer, middle and inner reality. The fact that the majority are not aware of their true reality does not negate this reality, it just stops them from experiencing it. However there is always a minority who uphold the light for the travellers on the spiritual path, and Sufis are within this group.

The Sufi tradition has a 1400 year history rich in teachings through various methods such as the oral tradition, discourses, writings and poetry by spiritual masters and guides. One important source of Sufi teaching which we will explore is the book of Mathnawi by Moulana Rumi. Moulana Rumi starts this celebrated book, by saying:

         “Listen to this reed how it laments
                   it tells the story of separation”

In one sense, the core of Sufi teaching is hidden in this one verse. If one knows that there is a separation and man has been separated from something or someone, then one also realises that there could be a reunion. This reality is not available to most people because they are busy with their subjectivity and preoccupation with the world. It is only after the inner eyes open that one can see that Reality is different from what they had experienced.

         "Oh you who are hiding in everything
                   like the meaning inside the words"

Suddenly there is real meaning and purpose in day to day life. This unfoldment takes place when we become conscious of the Beloved - God Conscious.

Man is compartmentalised and lost in the never ending play of mental images, concepts and psychic and emotional tensions of the personality. This is the root of all our unhappiness. Inner happiness is only achieved by being out of the state of fragmentation and being in the state of wholeness. Man therefore needs to become whole. It is in this state of wholeness that we can experience the oneness and unity with God. This is the inner meaning of 'Tawhid' which is the unity of existence and the goal of the Sufi path.

This course is led by Fleur Nassery Bonnin, an initiated Sufi murshid, a psychologist and the Founder and Director of the Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies. She believes that psychological and spiritual development are inseparable, both are necessary components in the pursuit of spiritual awareness. Fleur has developed this introductory one day course which focuses on aspects of Sufi teaching.

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The Spiritual Aspect
of the Enneagram

February 2003

"I was a hidden treasure and I loved that I be known,
so I created the creation so that I can be known."

Hadith Qudsi

Sufism is a spiritual journey to God in which the purpose of life and its inner meanings are uncovered and experienced in daily life.

Man is compartmentalised and lost in the never-ending play of mental images, concepts and psychic and emotional tensions of the personality. It is the root of all our unhappiness. We are composed of body, mind and spirit, and each part needs to be integrated at its own level. Since inner happiness (sakina) is only achieved by being out of the state of fragmentation and being in the state of wholeness, man therefore needs to become whole. It is in this state of wholeness that he can experience the oneness and unity with God. This is the inner meaning of 'Tawhid', which is unity of existence. This is the Sufi path.

This introductory course uses a combination of direct teaching, guidance and study of ancient Sufi teachings with emphasis on exploring the Enneagram of personalities and the spiritual aspects of the Enneagram.

The course is led by initiated Sufi teacher, psychologist and the Founder and Director of the Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies, Fleur Nassery Bonnin.

The Enneagram

"God made the creatures as veils. He who knows them as such is led back to Him, but he who takes them as real is barred from His presence"

Ibn al-Arabi

The Enneagram is an ancient Sufi system, which has recently been used as a psychological map of personality types. The Enneagram offers two levels for understanding the personality. The first level focuses on the recognition of the personality and its fixations. This Enneagram of the personality exemplifies psychological aspects and traits of the ego personality. The second and more profound level of the Enneagram is going beyond the personality to the realm of the essential Being. Here, the Enneagram is a model of consciousness that reveals the self as a veil to itSelf.

The ego fixations, habitual patterns and emotions of the nine personality types function as a tool for the ego and as a veil to the Reality, obstructing us from our essential being. By observing and purifying the ego personality, we can free ourselves from these entrapments and move towards consciousness.

This course uses the Enneagram as a vehicle for spiritual unfoldment within the Sufi traditions.

The Teacher

Fleur Nassery Bonnin is a psychologist, an initiated Sufi teacher and the Founder and Director of the Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies. Originally from Persia, she has practised in the United States for many years and now lives and works in Australia, focusing on Sufi psychology and spiritual teaching. She believes that psychological and spiritual development are inseparable; both are necessary components in the pursuit of the path to enlightenment.

In Sufism, self-knowledge is the path that leads to the knowledge of God. Self-realisation as a vehicle for spiritual unfoldment is at the centre of her teaching. Her emphasis is for the seeker to be able to apply the gained knowledge into every day life experience, in order to develop Divine Consciousness.


Suggested Reading:
The Enneagram by Helen Palmer
Facets of Unity by A.H. Almaas

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The Spiritual Teachings of Moulana Rumi
- The Mathnawi (Mathnawi) & His Poetry -

April 2002

The poetic work of Moulana Rumi, the 13th Century Persian mystic is timeless and needs little introduction. After over 700 years he is the most widely read poet in the West today. Moulana Rumi, the messenger of love, is calling mankind to taste the spiritual wine and experience the intoxication that ensues from witnessing the Beloved. He has thrown light on the various aspects of unity, the deathlessness of the loving soul, the joy of passion and true faith. He expresses the poetic euphoria of the belief in God's beauty and the human being as a reflection of that reality.

Moulana Rumi's Work
____________

Moulana Rumi's literary output is as stupendous in magnitude as it is sublime in content. It includes the 25,685 verses of Mathnawi, 36,360 verses of mystical love poetry in Divani Shams-i Tabrizi and 1,983 verses or quatrains of 'Rubaiyat'. In Part Two of this series we will explore the inner meanings and depths of his love poetry and 'Rubaiyat'. However, to begin to appreciate the depth of his poetry one needs to develop the ear for mystical knowledge and to begin to realise the unity of existence and therefore of God. In Part One, the course will focus on the spiritual teachings of Moulana Rumi's most celebrated book "Mathnawi". Here Moulana Rumi becomes the spiritual guide in the role of storyteller, which is an integral part of Sufi teaching.

The Mathnawi
___________

The six volumes of Mathnawi resemble a trackless ocean with no boundaries and no lines of demarcation between the literal 'husk' and the 'kernel' of the teaching. His bold use of language creates a tapestry of every day life stories, old and ancient tales, the familiar and the unfamiliar are interwoven as he passes on his mystical experiences, sometimes with the voice of a friend and sometimes with the voice of a teacher. Ranging over the battlefield of existence, he finds all its conflicts and discords playing the parts assigned to them in the universal harmony, which only mystics can realise.

In the Mathnawi Moulana Rumi says:

"Our book of Mathnawi is the shop for Unity (Wahdat);
      anything that you see there except the One (God) is an idol "

A.J. Arberry says:

" In Rumi the Persian mystical genius found its supreme expression.
Viewing the vast landscape of Sufi poetry, we see him standing out as a sublime
mountain peak; many other poets before and after him are like hills in comparison.
"

In the West, we are now slowly realising the magnitude of Moulana Rumi's genius.

The Course
___________

To understand Moulana Rumi's impact on the human psyche and to explore his message and teachings, Fleur Nassery Bonnin, Founder and Director of the Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies, is bringing together this two-part course. In Part One she will guide us through the spiritual teachings of the stories in the Mathnawi. Combining her native language of Persian and her deep knowledge of Moulana Rumi and Sufi teachings she will take us on a journey from the outer to the inner of Moulana Rumi's message, using his beautiful language as our vessel.


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For further information contact the
Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies (ACSIS)
Phone: (02) 9955 SUFI (7834)
or email: acs@australiansuficentre.org


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