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Meet our speakers

Through meditation, awareness, compassion and serving others, we will be learning from teachers, historians, technologists, scientists, authors and spiritual leaders from various traditions, as well as hearing from a diverse group of speakers on their unique journeys of questioning and truth seeking. 

 

Ajahn Brahm

Ajahn Brahmavamso  (known to most simply as Ajahn Brahm) was born Peter Betts in London, United Kingdom in August 7, 1951.

He came from a poor family growing up in a tiny council flat in Acton. His father died when he was 16. He won scholarships first to a top high school in West London and then to Cambridge University in 1969. At Cambridge he joined the University’s Buddhist Society, Psychic Research Society, and  Astronomical Society, which gives some idea of his interests. After a few weeks at the age of 18, he saw a monk for the first time giving a talk in the Wordsworth Room of Kings College, Cambridge. He knew then that was what he wanted to be. After graduating from Cambridge he taught in a high school for one year before traveling to Thailand for the sole purpose of renunciation as a monk. He subsequently trained under the austere meditation master Ajahn Chah for almost 9 years.

Ajahn Brahm co-founded (with Ajahn Jagaro) Bodhinyana Monastery in Serpentine, Western Australia. He literally contributed to the building of this monastery as he built most of the structures with his own hands alongside his fellow monastics. 

In 1995 Ajahn Brahm started the process of establishing an independent monastery for Buddhist women. In 1998 he wilfully ignored pleas from his treasurer that we were way over budget to support the purchase at auction of 583 acres of beautiful forest close to Perth, which land is now Dhammasara Bhikkhuni Monastery.

It is harder to build people than monasteries and so, in October 2009, Ajahn Brahm organized the first full ordination in Australia of Bhikkhunis in the Theravada Forest Tradition, consequently being expelled from the monasteries in which he grew up as a monk. Dhammasara is now a well-established monastery with 11 Bhikkhunis and 2 Samaneri in a beautifully serene environment.

From 2006 he led the fundraising, planning, and development of Jhana Grove Meditation Retreat Centre, a world-class meditation retreat facility with 60 guest rooms, each with its own ensuite, which is in use all year round either by the BSWA or other meditation groups. In 2012 Jhana Grove served 1300 retreatants. Places on Ajahn Brahm’s meditation retreats are typically booked out in a matter of minutes due to his popularity as a meditation teacher. In 2013, began building work on “Hermit’s Hill”, an extension of Bodhinyana Monastery. Bodhinyana is the largest Theravadan Buddhist monastery outside of Asia.

Ajahn Brahm will be a speaker at the 11th Global Conference on Buddhism.

Rev. Heng Sure

Dharma Master Rev. Heng Sure was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1976. For the sake of world peace, he undertook an over six hundred mile pilgrimage from South Pasadena to Ukiah, repeatedly taking three steps and one bow to cover the entire journey. In the entire two years taken to make the pilgrimage, he observed a practice of total silence. Rev. Heng Sure has an M.A. in Oriental Languages from UC Berkeley and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. He serves as the Managing Director of the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery and teaches on the staff at the Institute for World Religions. He lectures on the Avatamsaka Sutra at the Berkeley Monastery every Saturday evening. He is actively involved in interfaith dialogue and in the ongoing conversation between spirituality and technology.

 

Nikki Mirghafori

Nikki Mirghafori, PhD, is an Artificial Intelligence scientist and a Buddhist teacher. Nikki is a multiple lineage holders in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, empowered by the Burmese meditation master Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw, as well as the Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She is also a Stanford-trained Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) instructor and a UCLA certified mindfulness facilitator.  

Nikki has taught silent meditation retreats with Western luminaries such as Sharon Salzberg, Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, Gil Fronsdal, and others on a variety of contemplative topics ranging from mindfulness and loving kindness to death contemplation.  She is on the Teachers Council of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center and a Teacher at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, CA, and serves on the Board of Directors of both organizations.  

In a parallel universe, Nikki has been a researcher and inventor in Artificial Intelligence, holding multiple patents.  She has directed international research programs, advised post-docs and PhD students, authored many scientific articles, taught graduate classes at UC Berkeley, and been a scientific advisor to Silicon Valley technology startups.

 
 

Nipun Mehta

Nipun Mehta was born in Ahmedabad, India in 1975. When he was twelve, his family moved to Santa Clara, California in the heart of Silicon Valley. Nipun Mehta is the founder of ServiceSpace, an incubator of projects that works at the intersection of volunteerism, technology, and gift-economy. What started as an experiment with four friends in Silicon Valley has now grown to a global ecosystem of over 500,000 members that has delivered millions of dollars in service for free.

Nipun has received many awards, including the Jefferson Award for Public Service, Wavy Gravy's Humanitarian award, and Dalai Lama's Unsung Hero of Compassion. In 2015, President Barack Obama appointed him to a council on poverty and inequality. Nipun is routinely invited to share his message of "giftivism" to wide-ranging audiences, from inner city youth in Memphis to academics in London to international dignitaries at the United Nations; his speech at UPenn commencement in May 2012 was read by millions.

He serves on the advisory boards of the Seva Foundation, the Dalai Lama Foundation, and the Greater Good Science Center. Nipun's high-school goal was to either become a tennis-pro or a Himalayan Yogi. 

Dissatisfied by the dot-com greed of the late 90s, Nipun went to a homeless shelter with three friends to "give with absolutely no strings attached." They ended up creating a website, and also an organization named ServiceSpace.

Over the years, they built thousands of websites for nonprofits but also started incubating a diverse set of projects that included online portals DailyGood and KarmaTube, offline movements like Smile Cards, a pay-it-forward rickshaw in India, and Karma Kitchen restaurants in three cities across the US.

In 2001, at the age of 25, Nipun quit his job to become a "full-time volunteer." He didn't have a plan of survival beyond six months, but so far, so good. In January 2005, Nipun and Guri, his wife of six months, put everything aside to embark on an open-ended, unscripted walking pilgrimage in India, to "use our hands to do random acts of kindness, our heads to profile inspiring people, and our hearts to cultivate truth." Living on a dollar a day, eating wherever food was offered, sleeping wherever a flat surface was found, the couple walked 1000 kilometers before ending up at a retreat center, where they meditated for three months.

Today, both Nipun and Guri live in Berkeley and stay rooted in a practice of small acts of service. The journey continues. Nipun's mission statement in life now reads: "Bring smiles in the world and stillness in my heart."

 

 

Karma Lekshe Tsomo

Karma Lekshe Tsomo grew in Malibu and settled in Honolulu. Her Zenn family name led her to Buddhism at a young age. In 1964, she set off to go surfing in Japan and wound up doing Zen meditation. After many adventures, she found her way to Dharamsala in 1972, ordained as a nun in France in 1977, and had many more adventures. She is a professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of San Diego, a founder of Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women, and the director of Jamyang Foundation, which supports education programs for nuns in Indian and girls in Bangladesh.

 

Zilong Wang

Zilong Wang grew up in China, studied in Germany, and attended Hampshire College in USA, where his self-designed major was “Logic of Capital vs. Logic of Nature: Understanding Marx and Darwin”.
After two years of working at a sustainability consulting firm in Bay Area, he embarked on a Journey to the East, a bicycling pilgrimage around the world to "return home". In the past 2.5 years, the solo journey has taken him through 16 countries and 10,000km of cycling distance. He listened to Scriptures during the day and knocked on strangers’ doors to stay for the night.
"On the two-year bicycling pilgrimage from US to China, the heartfelt moments were often the things I did NOT do: the judgments I did not make while listening to others; the delicious food I did not (over)eat at the home of strangers who hosts me each night. It was a project of undoing and subtraction, to clean the temple of mind-body so that it could be of some use." - Zilong Wang
These days, Zilong is a resident volunteer at Xilai Monastery in China. He also volunteers for ServiceSpace, and was an inaugural Fellow of the Spiritual Ecology Fellowship

 
 

Richard Dixey

Richard holds a Ph.D in Biophysics from London University, an M.A. with distinction in the history and philosophy of science from London University, and a B.A in Cell Biology from Oxford. He was director of the Bioelectronic Research Unit at St Bartholomew's hospital in London for fourteen years before founding and becoming the Chief Executive of Phytopharm PLC, a biotechnology company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Since 1972, through his interest in Buddhism, he has worked on the interface between scientific and spiritual perspectives and has traveled extensively in the Himalayas, India, and South East Asia. He and his wife Wangmo, who is the eldest daughter of Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, are co-directors of the Light of Buddhadharma Foundation, which is dedicated to revitalizing the Buddhist culture of India. He is also on the faculty of Dharma College in Berkeley and is an advisor to the Khyentse Foundation.

Piyal Walpola

Dr. Piyal Walpola is a physician working in a primary care setting, educating doctors and patients on mindfulness. After the completion of his degree in Medicine, he completed a PhD at the University of Toronto. After that, he developed a keen interest in the Buddhist practice of mindfulness meditation and sutta study. He has developed a conceptual model on how the mind works (Mapping the mind) using a cognitive map based on Theravada Buddhist texts from the Pali Canon. This model was developed using first-person insights, as well as extensive Theravada sutta study focusing specifically on discourses that illustrate the cognitive pathways of perception. This was done in collaboration with Dr. Tony Toneatto, the Director of the Buddhism, Psychology and Mental Heath Program, at the University of Toronto. The main goal of the development of this model was to simplify many complex cognitive processes and interactions found in Buddhist discourses to facilitate understanding of the cognitive pathways of perception. The development and application of this model will not only help with personal contemplative practice but will also provide direction for future research of contemplative science exploring the mechanisms of human suffering.

Piyal Wapola will be one of the spiritual leaders at GCB11.

 

Lewis Lancaster

Lewis Lancaster (born 27 October 1932) is Emeritus Professor of the Department of East Asian Languages at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, and has served as President, Adjunct Professor, and Chair of the dissertation committee at University of the West since 1992. He graduated from Roanoke College (B.A.) in 1954 and received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Roanoke in 2007. He is also a 1958 graduate of USC-ST (M.Th.) and a 1968 graduate of the University of Wisconsin (Ph.D.). He received an Honorary Doctorate of Buddhist Studies from Vietnam Buddhist University in 2011.

Professor Lancaster has published over 55 articles and reviews and has edited or authored numerous books including Prajnaparamita and Related Systems, The Korean Buddhist Canon, Buddhist Scriptures, Early Ch’an in China and Tibet, and Assimilation of Buddhism in Korea. He also founded the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative to use the computer-based technology to map the spread of Buddhism from the remote past to the present. In 2008 he gave the Burke Lectureship on Religion & Society. Professor Lancaster is the research advisor for the Buddha's Birthday Education Project. He was the Chair of Buddhist Studies at UC, Berkeley, USA, and Editor of the Berkeley Buddhist Studies Series.

Professor Lancaster is the research adviser for the Buddha's Birthday Education Project, which has documented and hosted art exhibitions of the celebration of the Buddha's birthday in Chinese Buddhism throughout history.

Professor Lancaster was a key figure in the creation of descriptive catalog and digitization of the Korean Buddhist Canon. He was awarded the 2014 Grand Award from the Korean Buddhist Order for his contribution to Buddhism.

 

Ayya Tathaaloka

Venerable (Ayyā) Tathālokā is an American-born member of the Buddhist Monastic Sangha, the founder, teacher and preceptor of the Dhammadharini Sangha. She entered monastic life thirty years ago and received full bhikkhunī ordination with Sri Lanka Sangha in California led by the late, great, groundbreaking master and preceptor, Ven. Dr. Havanpola Ratanasāra. In 2005 she cofounded Dhammadharini Support Foundation together with the first residential monastic community for fully ordained Theravāda bhikkhunīs in the Americas. Inspired by Buddhist Forest traditions, in 2008, she co-founded Aranya Bodhi Hermitage on the Sonoma Coast, and more recently also Dhammadharini Monastery in the Sonoma Mountain area of Northern California. In 2009, she became the first contemporary western woman to be appointed a bhikkhunī preceptor. Ven. Tathālokā first received instruction in Mindfulness and Insight practices at age ten, further studying and training with Indian, Korean, Thai, Sri Lankan and Burmese meditation teachers, including branches of the Thai forest traditions of the most venerable Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta and the Burmese Vipassana meditation masters Sayadaw U Pandita and Pa-auk Sayadaw. Her practice and teaching are profoundly influenced by the Buddha’s teachings as contained in the canonical Early Buddhist suttas, together with the teachings and practices of Forest and Insight meditation traditions. Her first love is the living and sharing of this excellent Path - the reason she comes out of the forest. 

 

Priscilla and Raymond

Yeh

Since 2003 Ray and Priscilla Yeh have lived as volunteers in a Buddhist community, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, in Ukiah, CA. Priscilla earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from National Taiwan University, and her MBA degree from University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. After receiving her MBA degree, she worked for Xerox Corporation. During her tenure there, she developed sales models and did extensive financial analysis on sales forecasting for the company. After she married, she then worked for Penn State University at its Computation Center.
Ray received his higher education mainly from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, earning a BSEE, a MA, and a Ph.D in Mathematics. He has taught at five universities. He was Chairman of Computer Science at both the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Maryland. He was the Control Data Corporation distinguished professor at the University of Minnesota. He has published eight technical books, two business books, and more than 120 technical papers. He was the founding editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering and founder of the IEEE International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE).
He also co-founded two professional societies, and has been a consultant to several nations plus many businesses and non-profit organizations. He is a life fellow of IEEE, SDPS, ATLAS, and IC2 Institute at the University of Texas. Dr. Yeh is a Laureate of the IEEE Centennial Medal, among many others. Two awards were also established under his name.
In 1977, Ray and Priscilla co-founded International Software Systems, Inc. (ISSI) with Priscilla serving as the company’s only President for over 20 years. Utilizing her management skills, she shepherded the company’s growth, from a home operation to an organization with more than 100 people on staff, including more than 20 Ph.Ds. Ray and Priscilla also co-founded another company, Syscorp International, in 1986 with Priscilla serving as its first President.
Since 2003, Priscilla and Ray have been jointly teaching a leadership class for young people. In addition, Priscilla has also taught many “parenting” classes to help young parents learn how to raise their children in today’s complex world.

 

Ven. Dr. Pannavati

Ven. Dr. Pannavati, a former Christian pastor, is co-founder and co-Abbot of Embracing-Simplicity Hermitage and Co-Director of Heartwood Refuge, a new intentional community, and residential retreat and conference center in Hendersonville, NC. She is president of the Treasure Human Life Foundation. A black, female Buddhist monk ordained in the Theravada and Chan traditions, she remains a disciple of Great Master Kuang Seng, continues Vajrayana empowerments and teachings with beloved Rinpoche Zhaxi Zhouma and received transmission from Roshi Bernie Glassman of Zen Peacemaker. Pannavati is both contemplative and empowered for compassionate service. She conducts retreats nationally at over 50 centers and churches each year sharing living truths that are deep, yet apprehendable. She advises the cultivation of both wisdom and compassionate action. She believes is it fine to sit in temples and meditate and pray when things are good; when they are not, we are compelled to get off our pillows and do something. Let our actions line up with our intentions.

Locally, Pannavati founded My Place and housed 85 youth over 4 years. After their graduation from high school she created a state licensed and funded jobs training program and successful social enterprise for 3 years, My Gluten Free Bread Company.

Pannavati advocates on behalf of disempowered women and youth globally, and insists on equality and respect in spiritual life for both female monastics and laity. She has adopted many “untouchable” villages in India, helping them establish an egalitarian community based on Buddhist principles of conduct and livelihood, providing wells, books, improving their schools and providing micro-grants.  Approximately 30,000 people live in these villages. She ordained the first Tamili bhikkhuni and visits each year to encourage and promote spiritual well-being and socio-economic development.

She is a recipient of the Outstanding Buddhist Women’s Award; received a special commendation from the Princess of Thailand for Humanitarian Acts as she assisted Venerable Dr. Lee in guiding the first 50 Thai Bhikkhunis ordained on Thai soil with Thai monks witnessing and convened a platform of Bhikkhunis to ordain the first 10 Cambodian Samaneris in a Cambodian temple, witnessed by Cambodian abbots including Maha Thera Ven. Dhammathero Sao Khon, President of the Community of Khmer Buddhist Monks of the USA.

Pannavati remains committed to advocacy for social justice, the homeless, sick and disenfranchised, those who are marginalized, abused, neglected and unloved. She lives the Dhamma.

 

Ven. De Hong

Venerable De Hong is one of the co-founders of the Engaged Buddhist Alliance and has volunteered in seven California state prisons since 2013. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of the West since 2016, teaching Introduction to Buddhist Psychology and Living Buddhism. De was fully ordained in the Vietnamese Pure Land tradition in 2006 and in the Theravada tradition under Sayadaw Khippa Panno in 2014. He holds an MA and PhD in Buddhist Studies from University of the West, completed in 2010 and 2014 respectively. The topic of his dissertation was “Development of Buddhist Repentance in Early Medieval China.” De is fluent in Vietnamese and three Chinese dialects (Mandarin, Cantonese, and Teochew).

 
 

Ani Pema Deki

University of Cambridge educated former "high-flying" financial analyst  who worked for HSBC in New York, London and Hong Kong, is a British yoga and meditation teacher, an author and founder and CEO of the charity "Opening Your Heart to Bhutan." The charity focuses on helping children in need in the Himalayan kingdom, particularly those in rural areas. It provides access to education, to medical care (including the helping with the training of medical practitioners) and supplies basic amenities, including sanitation and transport.

After rigorous training - and unusually for a mother – (she has one son, Oscar, born 14 September 2006) Slade was ordained as a Buddhist nun in Bhutan in February 2014, the first (and in 2018 still the only) Western woman to have achieved this.

Her autobiography "Set Free: A Life-Changing Journey from Banking to Buddhism in Bhutan" (published by Summersdale in April 2017) reached the no.1 spot in the Amazon charts in the Religious Biography Category and details the role of traumatic events in changing the course of her life.

Drukmo Gyal Dakini

Drukmo Gyal Dakini was born in the Northeastern part of Tibet into a Tibetan yogi (Tib. Ngakpa) family where mantra, yoga, and meditation were introduced at a young age. With support from the local Tibetan yogic community and family, she practiced mantras with traditional old melodies and sang publicly from 2008. She moved to Europe in early 2014 in order to work with Sorig Khang International - one of the biggest organization and Academy of Traditional Tibetan Medicine in the west, which was found by Dr.Nida Chenagtsang, during her stay in the west, she produced 5 albums of Tibetan Healing mantras and chants with musicians from all over the world, she travelled to more than 20 countries to share concerts, public talks, workshops and courses on Healing mantras, yoga, meditation as well as External Therapies according to Traditional Tibetan Medicine. one of the focuses of all her activities is helping females to find equality, helping mothers&children to view each other with divinity and compassion through Tibetan Spiritual healing and Buddhist practices.

 

Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu

Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu is a psychologist with a doctorate from Harvard University, and training in clinical and community psychology, yoga, meditation, and Chinese medicine. He was professor of education and at the University of Tokyo and director of the international counseling center. At Stanford University he cofounded the LifeWorks program in contemplative and integrative education. Dr. Murphy-Shigematsu has been a teacher and counselor for children and adults in schools and universities in Japan and the United States, from day care to medical school. His work balances traditional wisdom and modern science in designing mindful, gentle, and compassionate educational practices and spaces. He uses storytelling, both written and oral, to enhance whole-person learning and mindful citizenship.

His research career includes fieldwork in Okinawa and other parts of Japan in healing and human development as a Fulbright scholar. His work has contributed to understanding in areas of narrative psychology, mixed-race identity, multicultural counseling, and diversity in Japan as well as the United States. His current research is in the assessment of mindfulness in promoting personal well being, leadership, and social transformation.

Author of books, articles, and essays in English and Japanese, Dr. Murphy-Shigematsu writes about multicultural perspectives on mindfulness, identity, and citizenship. His stories of healing and human development have been hailed as “beautifully written," "deeply moving," "groundbreaking,” and "revolutionary." Bridging literary and social science genres, his writing is both scholarly and accessible to a wide audience. His latest book is From Mindfulness to Heartfulness: Transforming Self and Society with Compassion. He is the author of When Half Is Whole and Multicultural Encounters; and coauthor of Synergy, Healing, and Empowerment. His books in Japanese include Amerasian Children; and the Stanford University Mindfulness Classroom. 

 

Rev. Hozan Alan Senauke

Rev. Hozan Alan Senauke is a Buddhist priest, vice-abbot of Berkeley Zen Center in California. In 2007 he founded Clear View Project, developing Buddhist-based resources for social change in Asia and the U.S., with a focus on Burma and on “ex-untouchable” Buddhists in India. He is on the core faculty of Upaya Zen Center’s chaplaincy training program. In other lives, Alan is a father, and a musician, not necessarily in that order.

 

Pankaj Meshram

Pankaj Meshram is Buddhist from Nagpur India. His ancestors were converted to Buddhism with Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, at the historic event on Oct 14, 1956 at DikshabhumiNagpur, India. This conversion ceremony was personally attended by 500,000 to 600,000 people and is unique event in the history of religions in the world. He is born and brought-up in Ambedkarite Buddhist family and has been an ardent follower of Dr Ambedkar’s ideology of Socialism and Freedom with Buddhism as base since their conversion to Buddhism. 

Today, the Buddhism followed by Dr Ambedkar’s followers is called Ambedkarite Buddhism or “Navayana” (New Vehicle). Pankaj has been avid follower and has studied the Ambedkarite Buddhism through the famous book “The Buddha and His Dhamma” written by Dr. Ambedkar himself and is treated almost as Bible of Buddhism by Dr Ambedkar’s followers. Pankaj is well versed in study and practice of the Ambedkarite Buddhism and believes that Social aspects of Buddhism has at most importance in Ambedkarite Buddhism which can be referred as “Compassion in Action” or “Pay back to Society”. He is actively involved in many social projects conducted through an organization called, “Ambedkar Association of North America” and currently serves as Secretary for this organization. 

In his other life, professionally, he is hardware design engineer with 20 years of work experience, currently serving as principal program manager at Marvell Semiconductor. He has worked in India, Singapore and USA for various Semiconductor companies and has extensive knowledge in design, implementation and execution for semiconductor projects, especially for Hard Disk Drive and storage Industry. He is ahusband and father of two son, living his peaceful and beautiful life in Denver CO.

Pankaj Meshram

Secretary, AANA

 

Rev. Kiyonobu Joshin Kuwahara

Rev. Kiyonobu Joshin Kuwahara (Rev. Kiyo) is resident minister of the Berkeley Buddhist Temple (BBT), one of the sixty member temples of the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) affiliated with Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha (aka Nishi Hongwanji) based in Kyoto, Japan.

This form of Pure Land Buddhism has the largest number of followers in Japan and was introduced to the continental US over 120 years ago.

 

Born and raised in his family’s temple in Hiroshima, Rev. Kiyo was ordained in 1999 and has been following the ministerial path here in the US for the last two decades. He completed M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism at Ryukoku University in Kyoto; an M.A. in comparative studies between Jodo Shinshu and Christianity from the Institute of Buddhist Studies/Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley; and in 2007, appointed as the first coordinator of the Jodo Shinshu Correspondence Course, a new internet-based educational program based at the BCA Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley.

 

He then served as a co-director for the BCA Center for Buddhist Education, directing ministers continuing education, minister’s assistant training; and new initiatives such as “LGBTQ and Shin Buddhism,” (see article in BuddhaDharma – Practitioner’s Quarterly, Winter 2013). He is also an adjunct faculty member at the Institute of Buddhist Studies.

 

Norman Fischer

Norman Fischer is a poet, essayist, and Zen Buddhist priest. He is one of the senior Zen teachers in America. The latest of his more than twenty-five poetry and prose titles are The World Could Be Otherwise: Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path (prose)and Untitled Series: Life As It Is (poetry). In 2000 he retired as co-abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center to found The Everyday Zen Foundation ( www.everydayzen.org), an international network of Buddhist groups and social projects.

 

Ven Ru Chang

Breesia Wade is FGS Buddha Museum Representative. 

Founded by Venerable Master Hsing Yun, the FGS Buddha Museum is a historic construction that resides in the minds of all beings. Visitors ranging from individuals to families, schools, and organizations are free to gather and learn here. The Buddha Museum serves to acquaint the public with the Buddha’s quantities, through which the Buddhist practice can be inspired. The Buddha Museum was thus built not only to venerate the Buddha, but more importantly with the interests of sentient beings kept in mind.”  
Missions of the Buddha Museum:

1. Life education - through the promotion of cultural arts and environmental protection.

2. Buddhist arts - preserving and re-creating through exhibitions and academic conferences.

3. Serving the public - with respect and tolerance, through sharing resources, and with warm hospitality.

4. 48 underground palaces - as reserves of human wisdom and historic relics.
Core Values of the Buddha Museum:

1. Three Acts of Goodness: Doing Good Deeds, Speaking Good Words, Having Good Intentions

2. Four Givings: Giving Others Confidence, Giving Others Joy, Giving Others Hope, Giving Others Convenience

 

Master Jian Hu

Master Jian Hu's life encompasses both Eastern and Western cultures. He came to the United States as a teenager and went on to graduate from California Institute of Technology and University of California, San Diego with a doctorate in Computer Science. In pursuit of a more meaningful existence, he renounced all worldly attachments to study under the auspices of the Great Master Wei Chueh at the Chung Tai Monastery in Taiwan. There, for many years, he immersed himself deeply in the study and practice of Buddhism and made great advances on the Dharma path of wisdom and compassion.
In October of the year 2000, Master Jian Hu and four other monks came to California to establish the Buddha Gate Monastery in the picturesque town of Lafayette. Here, Master Jian Hu, as the first Abbot of the Monastery, by the example of his own selfless life and by giving spiritual lectures and meditation sessions, hopes to bring the ancient yet timeless wisdom of Buddhism to the public.
The mission of the Chung Tai Zen Center at Sunnyvale, CA is to teach the truths of Buddhism and lead all sentient beings to the attainment of liberation through the practice of Chan meditation. Master Jian Hu, educated in the forefront of western sciences yet with a deep affection for classical Chinese culture, is uniquely suited to bridging the gap between the East and the West. He speaks fluently both in English and in Chinese, giving both elementary and advanced lessons in the meditative practice taught by the Buddha himself.  Under the Master's patient and compassionate guidance, students learn that enlightenment must be achieved by one's own efforts.The Master also conducts informal discussion groups where students can ask questions freely; he always finds time for personal consultation. His students deeply admire his wisdom as well as his patience and humor. Benefiting much from the Master's teachings, they return week after week.  Through him they will discover their luminous Buddha nature. Through him they will travel with joy the direct road to enlightenment.

     Master Jian Hu was previously Dean of the Buddhist Institute at Chung Tai Monastery in Taiwan. He has conducted numerous Chan Meditation retreats, and given many lectures at meditation centers and universities in Taiwan, including Hsinchu Science Park, the "Silicon Valley of Taiwan".

 

Breeshia Wade

Breeshia Wade is an alumna of Stanford University and the University of Chicago. She has recently completed a two year Buddhist Chaplaincy training via Upaya Zen Center.

Over the past 5 years, Wade has supported people through grief and transitions as both a doula and chaplain. She currently serves as a hospice/palliative care chaplain and bereavement coordinator. Breeshia frequently offers Reiki to support folks experiencing grief.

In the evenings, Breeshia offers online courses and workshops geared towards millennials via her program called Death Trap Academy (an interest in trap music is not required), which encourages participants to explore grief beyond concrete loss in order to consider how one's relationship to grief informs fear of failure, pursuit of success, dating and relationships etc. Breeshia also uses grief to explore whiteness and racism in some of her workshops.

 
 

Angie Chew

Angie Chew was a tech entrepreneur in the 80s. She sold the business to the EDS group before joining Accenture and subsequently Visa International, Singapore Airlines and Hewlett Packard. 

She spearheaded the 1st Global Conference on Buddhism in 2000 and Executive Meditation Retreats held in 5-star hotels. 

She founded a secular charity in Singapore to promote happier and healthier living. She now serves full time at the charity overseeing 3 centers and has trained more than 4,000 people in mindfulness. 

She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore. 

Kate Munding

Kate Munding has been practicing meditation in the Theravada tradition since 2004. She is a graduate of the 2016 Spirit Rock/IMS/IRC teacher training and primarily teaches residential retreats at Spirit Rock, IRC, and Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center. She is a guiding teacher for the Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley (IMCB), sits on the Teacher's Council at Spirit Rock and a guiding teacher for the Spirit Rock Family Program. 
Kate is the founder of The Heart-Mind Education Project, providing mindfulness-based education programs, trainings, and resources to students and the adults in their lives. Kate lives in the San Francisco east bay with her husband and young son. For more information, visit www.heart-mind-education.com. 

 

Osprey Orielle Lake

Osprey Orielle Lake is the Founder and Executive Director of the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International, working nationally and internationally with grassroots and frontline women leaders, policy-makers, and diverse coalitions to build women's leadership, climate justice, resilient communities, and a just transition to a decentralized, democratized clean energy future. Osprey actively leads WECAN International's projects — from various trainings and work to shift the narrative on climate justice using a feminist lens, to engagements at United Nations climate conferences — from frontline delegations and direct actions, to campaigns such as the 'Women for Forests' program. Osprey was the visionary behind the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit, which brought together 100 global women leaders to draft and implement a 'Women’s Climate Action Agenda’, and she is honored to serve on the Executive Committee for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. Her writing has been featured in publications including The Guardian, Common Dreams, Earth Island Journal, The Ecologist, OpenDemocracy, and EcoWatch, and she is the author of the award-winning book,'Uprisings for the Earth: Reconnecting Culture with Nature'.

 

Ken Alex

Ken Alex is the director of Project Climate at UC Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy and Environment, focusing on the most promising climate solutions and moving them more quickly to policy and scale.  From 2011 to 2018, Ken was a Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Jerry Brown, the Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and the Chair of the Strategic Growth Council, focusing on climate, energy, environment, and land use issues.  Before joining the Governor’s Office, Ken was the Senior Assistant Attorney General heading the environment section of the California Attorney General’s Office, and the co-head of the Office’s global warming unit. From 2000 to 2006, Ken led the California Attorney General’s energy task force, investigating price and supply issues related to California’s energy crisis. Ken is a graduate of Harvard Law School and holds a B.A. in political theory from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

 

Birju Pandya

Birju Pandya focuses on the nexus of finance, systems evolution and inner transformation. 

Birju has years of experience working in the investment world, towards creative uses of capital and designing for emergence. He has focused for a decade on different uses of capital to develop climate solutions.  He also has spent years developing mindfulness-related approaches to support individual/collective human development within business.

Birju has helped shape organizations including Armonia (Regenerative Investing), Mobius (Wealth for Inner Transformation), RSF Social Finance (Integrated Capital), ServiceSpace (Gift Ecology), and McKinsey & Company. His roles in life include volunteer, husband, father, friend, colleague. He is the son of first-generation Indian immigrants, and lives with his family in Berkeley, CA. A few values that Birju holds dear – authenticity, vulnerability, gratefulness, compassion, equanimity.

 

Wangmo Dixey

Wangmo Dixey, born in Berkeley, California, in 1969, is the eldest daughter of Venerable Tarthang Tulku. In addition to her role to as Director of the College, she is Executive Director of the Light of Buddhadharma Foundation International and President of the International Buddhist Association of America. She has been awarded many international accolades for her work in Asia. She holds a BA in International Relations from UCLA and an MA in International Development from American University. 

 

Bhikshu Jin-Wei

Bhikshu Jin-Wei was born in Bialystok, Poland in 1976. He met Buddhism in 1999 and started his spiritual journey. Although he received an M.A. in Law from the University of Bialystok, he found his true calling in volunteer work with the elderly, mentally challenged, and cancer patients. He became a novice monk in 2015 and a fully ordained Bhikshu in 2017 at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in California. He currently resides and leads the daily practices at Berkeley Buddhist Monastery.

 

Doug Powers

Doug Powers is a professor and administrator at Dharma Realm Buddhist University where he teaches classes relating Buddhism and Western philosophy. He first met Buddhism in 1973 and since then has been actively involved in envisioning how Buddhism can inform higher education in America.

 

Sawrang Parikh

Sarwang (he/him) joined the BPF Board this year, and is a psychotherapist in the Bay area, serving primarily youth and people of color for over 12 years. He also teaches mindfulness in schools and organizations, focusing on fostering social-emotional wellness. He is a founding team member of the Bay area mindfulness non-profit, Seeds of Awareness, and a community teacher/sangha member at EBMC. 

 
 

Brian Conroy

Brian Conroy is a disciple of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua whom he first met in 1976 at Gold Mountain Monastery. Brian obtained his B.A and M.A. from San Jose State University. For the past 35 years he has taught in the public schools of San Jose. He taught Storytelling at San Jose State University from 2000-2009. Brianis the founder of the Buddhist Storytelling Circle and has written and published many traditional and contemporary Buddhist wisdom tales. 

Gil Fronsdal 

Gil Fronsdal is the co-teacher for the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California; he has been teaching since 1990. He has practiced Zen and Vipassana in the U.S. and Asia since 1975. He was a Theravada monk in Burma in 1985, and in 1989 began training with Jack Kornfield to be a Vipassana teacher. Gil teaches at Spirit Rock Meditation Center where he is part of its Teachers Council. Gil was ordained as a Soto Zen priest at the San Francisco Zen Center in 1982, and in 1995 received Dharma Transmission from Mel Weitsman, the abbot of the Berkeley Zen Center. He currently serves on the SF Zen Center Elders’ Council. In 2011 he founded IMC’s Insight Retreat Center. Gil has an undergraduate degree in agriculture from U.C. Davis where he was active in promoting the field of sustainable farming. In 1998 he received a PhD in Religious Studies from Stanford University studying the earliest developments of the bodhisattva ideal. He is the author of The Issue at Hand, essays on mindfulness practice; A Monastery Within; a book on the five hindrances called Unhindered; and the translator of The Dhammapada, published by Shambhala Publications.You may listen to Gil’s talks on Audio Dharma.

 
 

Bonnie Rose

Rev. Bonnie Rose is the Senior Minister of the Ventura Center for Spiritual Living, an interfaith organization dedicated to being love, sharing love, and serving love.  Her congregation practices radical acts of Kindness; in fact members of her team are serving at this event.  Bonnie lives in Ventura County with her husband and too many animals to name.  Her blog is www.dailybeloved.org.   

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Julien Tempone

Julien Tempone was born in Tasmania, Australia. He is a novelist, holding a PhD in Creative Writing, and his secondary PhD is in Buddhist philosophy and cognitive neuroscience. He is examining the interaction of first person introspective inquiry through meditation and third person empirical methods. His primary interest is in how contemporary society meets ancient wisdom traditions.

 

Historically ‘mindfulness’ emerged as a colonialist-appropriation of Buddhist contemplative practices, reduced to secular, acceptable forms. Julien’s current research concerns  how Dharma can - in a capitalist society on the brink of ecological collapse - avoid being appropriated as a ‘McMindful’ tool of productivity. He asks is mindfulness’s impact alleviating suffering and cultivating human flourishing? Or merely suppressing the symptoms of structural inequalities and unjust work conditions in a neo-liberalist economy? We must be 'mindful' of the gap between implementation practices like mindfulness and ensuing social flourishing. He hopes to examine how individual and social flourishing may relate, by turning to emerging mindfulness educators that emphasise social justice and ecological action; can mindfulness yet be an instrument for implementing radical structural change?

 

He works in conjunction with the Mind and Life Institute, and has his contemplative training for the Thai-Forest and Burmese traditions, whilst philosophically he has been taught in the Tibetan Geluk lineage. He is also a Masters of Social Work student aspiring to practice as a somatic-psychotherapist. His other primary interests include social and environmental activism, fiction reading and writing; dance, song and play.