SPEAKERS + MUSIC
Born in Lhasa, Tibet in 1939, Kyabje Gelek Rimpoche was recognized as an incarnate lama at the age of four. Carefully tutored from an early age by some of Tibet’s greatest living masters, Rimpoche gained renown for his powers of memory, intellectual judgment and penetrating insight.
As a small child living in a monk’s cell in a country with no electricity or running water, and little news of the outside world, he had scoured the pictures of torn copies of Life Magazine for anything he could gather about America. Now Rimpoche brings his life experience and wisdom to both the east and the west.
Rimpoche is particularly distinguished for his thorough familiarity with modern culture, and special effectiveness as a teacher of Western practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. In 1988, Rimpoche founded Jewel Heart, a Tibetan Buddhist Center. His Collected Works now include over 32 transcripts of his teachings, numerous articles, and the national bestseller Good Life, Good Death (Riverhead Books 2001) and the Tara Box: Rituals for Protection and Healing from the Female Buddha (New World Library 2004). Rimpoche is a U.S. citizen and lives in Michigan.
Ram Dass (Richard Alpert) is one of America's most beloved spiritual figures and the author of several books, including the seminal Be Here Now. He has made his mark on the world through his writing and teachings, and by promoting loving service, harmonious business practices, and conscious care for the dying. His spirit has been a guiding light for four generations.
He is also known for his personal and professional associations with Timothy Leary at Harvard University in the early 1960s, for his travels to India and his relationship with the Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba, and for founding several charitable organizations.
The Love Serve Remember Foundation was organized to preserve and continue the teachings of Neem Karoli Baba and Ram Dass, and to work with Ram Dass on his writings and other future projects. The Hanuman Foundation is a nonprofit educational and service organization founded by Ram Dass in 1974, focused on the spiritual well-being of society through education, media and community service programs. The Seva Foundation is an international health organization founded by Ram Dass in 1978, along with public health leader Larry Brilliant and humanitarian activist Wavy Gravy.
Barbara Bonner is the author of the new book Inspiring Generosity, which includes 14 stories about people she calls "generosity heroes," along with over a hundred inspiring quotations from across the centuries, and 30 magnificent poems with generosity as their theme.
“Generosity is the first of the Buddhist transcendent virtues, and this lovely little book is a great act of generosity on Barbara Bonner’s part! It gives you the gift of understanding bit by bit how generosity is most beneficial to the giver – opening your hand opens your heart and your life in new and unexpected ways." - Robert Thurman
Barbara started her professional life as an art historian, moving on to leadership positions in three New York City museums. She later served as Vice President of Bennington College and the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. She now has her own consulting practice focused on helping non-profits transform their philanthropic support.
Committed to a life in philanthropy, she has served on ten nonprofit boards and has started a fund to serve women with cancer in her region. She is currently board chair at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. A gardener, swimmer, avid reader and enthusiastic student of yoga, Eastern religions and contemplative practice, Barbara lives in a converted barn in the beautiful Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts.
Tara Brach, Ph.D., is a leading western teacher of Buddhist meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening. She has practiced and taught meditation for over 35 years, with an emphasis on Vipassana, also called mindfulness or insight meditation. Tara is the senior teacher and founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington.
Tara is a peace activist and an engaged Buddhist. She is co-founder of the Washington, DC Buddhist Peace Fellowship. A clinical psychologist, she is the author of Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha. Her upcoming book, True Refuge - Three Gateways to a Fearless Heart will be published by Bantam in 2012.
Tara is nationally known for her skill in weaving western psychological wisdom with a range of meditative practices. Her approach emphasizes compassion for oneself and others, mindful presence and the direct realization and embodiment of natural awareness.
Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care, Roshi Joan Halifax is Founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
She received her Ph.D. in medical anthropology in 1973 while teaching at the University of Miami Medical School. She has lectured on the subject of death and dying at many academic institutions, including Harvard Divinity School, Harvard Medical School, Georgetown Medical School, and University of Virginia Medical School, Duke University Medical School, University of Connecticut Medical School, among many others. She received a National Science Foundation Fellowship in Visual Anthropology, was an Honorary Research Fellow in Medical Ethnobotany at Harvard University, and is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress.
From 1972-1975, she worked with psychiatrist Stanislav Grof at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center with dying cancer patients. She has continued to work with dying people and their families, and to teach health care professionals and family caregivers the psycho-social, ethical and spiritual aspects of care of the dying.
She is Director of the Project on Being with Dying, and Founder and Director of the Upaya Prison Project that develops programs on meditation for prisoners. For the past 25 years, she has been active in environmental work. She studied for a decade with Zen Teacher Seung Sahn and was a teacher in the Kwan Um Zen School. She received the Lamp Transmission from Thich Nhat Hanh, and was given Inka by Roshi Bernie Glassman.
A Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order, her work and practice for more than four decades has focused on applied Buddhism. Her books include: The Human Encounter with Death (with Stanislav Grof); The Fruitful Darkness; Simplicity in the Complex: A Buddhist Life in America; Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Wisdom in the Presence of Death; Being with Dying: Compassionate End-of-Life Care (Professional Training Guide)and Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death. She is a Lindisfarne Fellow and Co-director of the Fellowship and a Mind and Life Board member.
Allan Lokos is the founder and guiding teacher of The Community Meditation Center in New York City. He is the author of the best seller, Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living and Pocket Peace: Effective Practices for Enlightened Living.
His writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, Tricycle magazine, and Beliefnet, and he has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and on more than fifty radio and TV programs. Among the places he has taught are Columbia University Teachers College, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Marymount College, The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, The Rubin Museum (Brainwave Series), NY Insight Meditation Center, The NY Open Center, Tibet House USA, and Insight Meditation Community of Washington.
Allan has practiced meditation since the mid-nineties and studied with such renowned teachers as Sharon Salzberg, Thich Nhat Hanh, Joseph Goldstein, Andrew Olendzki, and Stephen Batchelor. Earlier in this life Allan enjoyed a successful career as a professional singer, appearing in the original Broadway productions of Oliver!, Pickwick, and the Stratford Festival/Broadway production of The Pirates of Penzance.
Fleet Maull is an acharya (senior teacher) and leader in the worldwide Shambhala Buddhist community and a personal representative of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the current Shambhala lineage holder. Acharya Maull was a longtime student and personal attendant of the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the founder of Shambhala. He is also a Dharma Successor of Roshi Bernie Glassman and a sensei (senior teacher) and senior priest in the Soto Zen lineage and the Zen Peacemaker Order. He is a meditation teacher, author, trainer and coach who facilitates deep transformation for individuals, businesses, organizations and communities through his Radical Responsibility and Radical Possibility trainings, meditation retreats, prison trainings, street retreats and bearing witness retreats.
He founded both Prison Mindfulness Institute (aka Prison Dharma Network) and the National Prison Hospice Association while serving a 14-year sentence for drug trafficking in a federal prison, where he co-founded the first prison hospice program in 1987. Since his release in 1999, he co-founded the Peacemaker Institute and the Rwanda Bearing Witness Retreat and Peace Initiative as well as the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, NM. He has also served as a retreat leader for the annual Auschwitz-Birkenau Bearing Witness retreat in Poland for the past 13 years.
He taught Buddhist Psychology, Socially Engaged Buddhism and Contemplative Approaches to Social Action and Peacemaking from 1999 to 2009 at Naropa University, where he also founded the Center for Contemplative End of Life Care and organized and chaired six national conferences on Contemplative Care. He has also served as faculty in the Upaya Institute's Being With Dying program and guest lectures annually at the Harvard Divinity School on hospice and prison chaplaincy and other themes.
Today, he serves as the training director for Prison Mindfulness Institute and as a thought leader and activist in the growing national movement aimed at transforming the criminal justice and correctional systems in the United States through the introduction mindfulness based programs for prisoners and correctional staff. He is the co-author, along with PMI executive director Kate Crisp, of the groundbreaking Path of Freedom program, a mindfulness-based emotional intelligence (MBEI) curriculum currently being offered in correctional facilities in ten states and five countries. Acharya Maull leads retreats, transformational leadership and activist trainings and prison programs throughout the world, working to end the global plague of violence. He is the author of Dharma in Hell, the Prison Writings of Fleet Maull and the forthcoming book Radical Responsibility.
Rich is co-founder of Wisdom Labs, a company that focuses on the art and science of thriving by delivering evidence-based learning solutions that promote well being, resilience and productivity.
Rich also plays a leadership role at the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, a not-for-profit consultancy whose mission is to promote wise and compassionate leadership worldwide. Before launching Wisdom Labs, Rich was the head of executive education at Google, responsible for leadership-development content, tools and programs for senior leaders. He also led some of Google’s efforts that focused on employee well-being.
A student of Theravada Buddhism for more than 25 years, Margo McLoughlin is a Canadian writer and storyteller, based in Victoria, BC. Following a year on staff at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, McLoughlin began translating and adapting the Jataka (the stories of the Buddha’s previous lives in human and animal form). Many of her translations have been published in Parabola Magazine and she has performed these ancient tales in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, and Burma. Her CD, Jataka: Stories and Music of Buddhist India, was released in 2005.
McLoughlin holds a Master of Divinity from the Harvard Divinity School. She has been a puppeteer, a chaplain, an elementary school teacher, as well as a storyteller for the John E. Fetzer Institute’s Generosity of Spirit project. Over several years, the Fetzer Institute hosted Generosity of Spirit retreats for diverse communities, with the goal of using world tales of giving and receiving to spark dialogue and build relationships. Two books edited by McLoughlin celebrate the work of this project: Seeds of Generosity: Storytelling in the Classroom and The Giving Heart: Folktales for Exploring Generosity.
In recent years McLoughlin has been Artist-in-Residence at the Centre for Studies in Religion in Society at the University of Victoria, as well as a consultant for local projects involving seniors in story circles. In 2012 she graduated from the Community Dharma Leader training at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and now leads retreats and Dharma classes on Vancouver Island. As both a scholar and a poet, McLoughlin’s creative retelling of the Jataka and Buddhist legends not only transport the listener to another time and place, they also bring home with dazzling clarity the Buddha’s teachings on wisdom and compassion.
Sharon Salzberg is one of America’s leading spiritual teachers and authors. She is co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, MA and has played a crucial role in bringing Asian meditation practices to the West. The ancient Buddhist practices of vipassana (mindfulness) and metta (lovingkindness) are the foundations of her work.
She is the author of numerous books including Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion, Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation, and Real Happiness at Work. Her latest book is Love Your Enemies, written with Robert Thurman.
Washington DC based singer/songwriter LEA describes her music as SoulFolk. At the stylistic center between the earthy tones of Tracy Chapman and the urban/ethereal sound of India.Arie, LEA’s music has been featured at the Kennedy Center, The Music Center at Strathmore, as well as other venues in the US and Europe.
LEA is dedicated to sharing exceptional music and the joy of creativity, and has shared the stage with Dar Williams, Anthony Hamilton, Vivian Green, Mavis Staples and the legendary Odetta.
Angela is a flutist, song keeper, and medicine woman who carries deep understanding of the healing powers of music and the Earth. Born in the rolling hills of Appalachia, Angela began playing the flute at age nine, and followed her passion for music to Baltimore, where she received her Bachelor of Music degree in flute performance at the Peabody Institute.
In the years that followed, her love for music merged with her quest for spiritual transformation and healing. This quest led her around the world, flute in hand. During these journeys, Angela connected deeply with the ancient sacred traditions of Peru, and she began to discover her own path as a songkeeper and medicine woman, bringing together music, ritual, and prayer. In the midst of this quest, Angela received her M. A. degree in Pilgrimage Studies at Goddard College.
During this time, she also completed training as a Reiki Master, and became a devoted student of Nonviolent Communication. Angela has enjoyed a diverse career as a professional musician and teacher for more than 20 years. As a flutist and singer, she has shared her gifts in concert halls, schools, yoga studios, temples, in nature, and in sacred ceremonies throughout North and South America, as well as Europe and Asia.
Doug MacKenzie plays both contemporary guitar and traditional mrdangam, the principal drum of South Indian Classical Music. He has composed and performed consistently throughout the US with a Carnatic Music Trio (a small group of Americans who play South Indian music), with a bi-coastal Bharatanatyam (South Indian Classical Dance) ensemble, as a solo guitarist, and with various fusion ensembles, choreographers and storytellers. Doug holds a B.A. in World Music from Wesleyan University and works also as a Somatic Movement Therapist (practitioner of Body-Mind Centering® and Craniosacral Therapy), teaching his class called Moving How We Grew nationally. His music is both spontaneous and composed. Doug will be accompanying Margo McLoughlin.