10 Questions with Fred Tsao, Founder & Chairman of SANGHA Retreat by OCTAVE Institute

10 Questions with Fred Tsao, Founder & Chairman of SANGHA Retreat by OCTAVE Institute

SANGHA Retreat is where you stay to simply enjoy a spa experience with Chinese wisdom and practices combined with western science, located in Suzhou "the Venice of China", 1.5 hours west of Shanghai. As one of Asia’s most successful businessmen, Fred Tsao didn’t need to do this project. He has put his own money into this because he believes this knowledge, and looking at life from a different perspective, is what the world needs.

Q: Tell us about SANGHA Retreat by OCTAVE Institute.
OCTAVE Institute is a world view of believing in whole-ism and evolution; that when we are at one with ourselves and our environment, we are well. To arrive there, you have to be mindfully living your life.

Q: How does OCTAVE Institute differ from other wellness retreats?
We are holistic, we’re more customized, because everyone is on their own journey. And we are also on a journey. We are journey mates with our guests.

Q: Why should someone travel so far to come to SANGHA Retreat? What’s the persuasive factor?
Let’s turn it around. Why would I fly around the world to find things to learn? Because you’ve got to go to the place to find things, things are not going to find you. People come here because they are seeking something. There is something we sell here that is unique: Chinese wisdom with quantum science. Fundamentally it’s based on The Great Learning [one of the four books in Confucianism]: relationships, how you relate with yourself, ethics, how to grow your purpose, your value, your aspiration for hope, mankind, and philanthropy. When you have those things, your needs are fulfilled.

Q: Why did you create OCTAVE Institute?
I created this for many reasons, but I suppose the core of it is, we all only have one thing and that is life, and I feel at this stage of my journey, I really have to focus on life. I am very interested in everybody’s life because we live life together. But without knowing what life is, how do you live it? There are many, many companies in the lifestyle business. I thought it better to go into a “style life” business. Here we help you discover life, and more importantly, your life, and we support you on the discovery which never ends. This awakening to wisdom never stops. Animals are shaped by their environment, but humans have an option. We can evolve ourselves and evolve our environment. It was thought that genetics determine us. But epigenetics shows that even what we believe can alter our genes physically. We can determine our own evolution. You have a choice: evolve the environment and take the challenge, or the environment will evolve you. What internal environment do we want to create for ourselves? A loving, kind one, or one filled with fear, jealousy, and greed? It’s a choice.

Q: How does SANGHA Retreat support guests on their path to transformation?
Transformation is a big word. The only truth is movement, the only truth is change. Frankly, the minute you learn something, you are completely different. The more you know about reality, the bigger the impact on your life. Since relationship is co-created, when you change yourself, the world will change around you. All you need to do is change the way you see the world.

Q: How does SANGHA Retreat help guests make sustainable changes?
We are a curated platform to help people awaken their self-clarity of what they are, what their life is like, and how they want to live it. The process is called awakening. When we help people wake and shift their consciousness, they become aware, they focus, they think and notice, and they find a solution. That is the mother of intelligence. We help you with a whole mind-body approach, with meditation, cleaning up your body because it clouds your mind, and self-coaching. Coaches can identify your limiting thoughts--’I’m a winner,’ or ‘I’m a loser’-- and take away the labels. Some people need the label, but then you jump from one frying pan to another. Whether you are a winner or loser, it limits you, because you can’t win or lose all the time. And what is winning or losing anyway?

Q: Where does one begin?
How do people awaken? Your pain point makes you notice more, so it is a good place to start. You just awaken bit by bit. We have 40,000 thoughts a day, and 90% repeat themselves. We teach you mindfulness, which is also discipline; how to observe your mind as a practice; and how you interact with people.

Q: Describe the Sound Healing Dome
When you are in the Dome, it resonates, intensifying the energy of the crystal mandala inside which is tuned to the energy of the universe. We are vibrations ourselves, everything resonates. We use both crystal and metal bowls that have different sounds and vibrations, and healing, rejuvenating qualities. The intent and energy of the person playing the bowls is also very important.

Q: Is SANGHA Retreat best for a solitary journey, or with friends?
We recommend people come here not just by themselves or as a couple, but with siblings, family, or friends. Wellness is in relationships, because everything is holistic. Relationships happen inside us. We don’t work on that enough. Think of the toxins we hold inside from years of guilt, trapped emotions, or things left unsaid. It’s in the body too, not just the psyche. Either you work on them, or they will eat you alive. The first step is mindfulness for self-compassion. How much do you love yourself? We have to learn how to love ourselves.

Q: What is quantum leadership?
Quantum leadership is about shifting consciousness, just like OCTAVE Institute. Leadership is creativity. Leadership is making changes, positive changes. Leadership is based on love and creativity. Every one of us has to lead our life; Quantum leadership starts with yourself. It is a mindset, a state of consciousness. It’s natural. You can learn a lot about the Tao, and yin and yang here at SANGHA Retreat. This ancient culture has a lot to offer.