In the spirit of Martin Luther King, “Ari” has led peace marches and meditations with millions of poor people. In the mold of Mahatma Gandhi, he has quieted angry masses through his personal example. Like Jimmy Carter, he has successfully mediated intense conflicts and helped build hundreds of homes. Like the Dalai Lama and the world’s greatest preachers, he has an impressive ability to rally ordinary citizens to see the spiritual wisdom of looking beyond their own salvation to help ensure the salvation of others.
But he is definitely his own man…and he is almost completely unknown outside of Sri Lanka. He is Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne, founder of the Sarvodaya Shramadana movement of Sri Lanka.
Dr. Ariyaratne and the movement he founded have survived years of government harassment and intimidation, assassination threats and malevolent neglect by politicians. Yet Sarvodaya continues to embody and practise the meaning of its name: “the sharing of labour, thought and energy for the awakening of all.”
It is an underestimation to think of him, as journalists have, as Sri Lanka’s “little Gandhi,” even though he won the Gandhi Peace Prize in 1996, the Niwano Peace Prize, the King Beaudoin Award and many other international honors for his work in peace making and village development. True, Ariyaratne is “like” many other leaders of popular movements. But his unique, nationwide brand of “development from the bottom up” has an enviable track record of success that endures.
It has not been easy. After 47 years of service to strife-torn Sri Lanka and humanity, Ariyaratne now strives for peace with an urgency. While separatists and the government have waged war on the island, villagers have struggled to make ends meet. The quality of their lives has depended as much on each month’s rains and the generous spirit of their neighbors as it has on the promises of globalisation or politicians.
In the late 1990s, the big money and swaggering influence of traditional international aid were drying up. Now Dr. Ariyaratne’s message resonates even more than before–economic development alone will not suffice. True community requires nourishing the body and the spirit; the melding of a sense of mutual responsibility and self help that comes from living the truths of compassion, loving kindness, joy in the happiness of others and equanimity.
When telling the story of Sarvodaya it is tempting to speak in sheer numbers. The largest non-government organisation in Sri Lanka, this grassroots movement involves people in more almost 15,000 villages rediscovering their ability to influence their own destinies. Sarvodaya has energised them to build more than 5,000 pre-schools, community health centres, libraries and cottage industries; establish thousands of village banks; dig thousands of wells and latrines; promote biodiversity, solar energy, rehabilitation…and peace.
A veteran of years of push and pull from the likes of the World Bank, AID, the UNDP and similar agencies from around the globe, Ariyaratne is more than a bit blunt about the strings attached to such aid. Ironically, his self-help movement still struggles mightily with inadequate funding, even as it plays a key role in the nationwide effort for peace.
Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne’s belief remains…in the power of individuals, families, villages, nations…and a world tied together by an awakening of the spirit that breathes life into us all.
Jim worked for 17 years at Father Flanagan’s Girls and Boys Town, in Boys Town, Nebraska. In 1990, Jim founded Girls and Boys Town of New England. Jim has served as the Director of Child and Adolescent Residential Services for McLean Hospital, Director of Family-Based Services for the Northeast Center for Youth and Families,
Executive Director of the Kolbourne School, Senior Administrator at Alternative Behavioral Services, and Vice President of Residential Services at Brightside for Families and Children.
He has published numerous research articles, has presented at national, regional and local human service conferences, and has served on numerous child welfare, mental health and educational boards.
Mirabai Bush is Senior Fellow and the founding Director of the Center on Contemplative Mind in Society, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage contemplative awareness in American life in order to create a more just, compassionate, and reflective society. She has designed and led contemplative trainings for corporations from Monsanto to Google, led a survey of contemplative practice, and directed a Contemplative Practice Fellowship awards program with the American Council of Learned Societies to explore such practices in academic courses. She is currently directing a study for the US Army on promoting resiliency and performance among Army medical and chaplain caregivers through mindfulness training. The Center also sponsors a program to bring contemplative practices into social justice organizations and into the profession of law, engaging law students, law faculty, and attorneys in an exploration of the role of contemplative practice in legal education and the practice of law.
Mirabai formerly directed the Seva Foundation Guatemala Project, which supports sustainable agriculture and integrated community development. She co-developed Sustaining Compassion, Sustaining the Earth, a series of retreats and events for grassroots environmental activists on the interconnection of spirit and action. She is co-author, with Ram Dass, of Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service. She co-founded and directed Illuminations, Inc., in Cambridge, MA. Her innovative business approaches, based on mindfulness practice, were reported in Newsweek, Inc., Fortune, and the Boston Business Journal.
Her spiritual studies include meditation at the Burmese Vihara in Bodh Gaya, India, with Shri S.N. Goenka and Anagarika Munindra; bhakti yoga with Hindu teacher Neemkaroli Baba; and studies with Tibetan lamas Kalu Rinpoche, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Kyabje Gehlek Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and others. She was a student of aikido master Kanai Sensei for five years. She has a special interest in the uncovering and recovery of women’s wisdom to inform work for social change. She has co-taught or co-facilitated such groups with Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Sharon Salzberg, Joan Halifax, Margo Adler, Starhawk, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Terry Tempest Williams, and Vicky Noble.
President European Buddhist Union
Frans Goetghebeur worked as a roman languages teacher in secondary education for many years.
He has been associated with the Buddhist institutes in Schoten, Brussel, Huy (Belgium) and Cadzand (The Netherlands) for more than thirty years.
He has been president of the Buddhist Union of Belgium (BUB) for 10 years.
From September 2008 till September 2011 he has been president of the European Buddhist Union (EBU).
Frans Goetghebeur is a founder member of various interconvictional organisations and an esteemed speaker on topics such as the acculturation of Buddhism in the West, and the status of spiritualism in our society. His goal is to stimulate ecumenical and multi-faith philosophical dialogue within the various schools of Buddhism and also between spiritual traditions, science and ideology.
He has collaborated on numerous publications related to multi-cultural education, pacifism, and Buddhist philosophy.
He has published the following books, in French and in Dutch:
Tout change, quelques réflexions sur l’éthique, l’économie, la science et le bouddhisme à notre époque (Publications Kunchab, 2003)
Alles verandert, enkele beschouwingen over ethiek, economie, wetenschap en boeddhisme in deze tijd (Uitgeverij Kunchab, 2003)
La mort, une compagne pour la vie (Publications Kunchab, 2006)
De dood, een metgezel voor het leven (Uitgeverij Kunchab, 2005)
Le bouddhisme : une spiritualité pour demain ? (Editions Luc Pire, 2007)
Wakker worden met Boeddha (Davidsfonds/Leuven Uitgeverij Ten Have, 2006)
Les mille visages du bouddhisme (Editions Racine, 2008)
De duizend gezichten van het boeddhisme (Uitgeverij Lannoo, 2008)
Invisible, mais présent – la force tranquille du bouddhisme (Editions ASP- Kunchab+, 2010)
Onzichtbaar aanwezig – de stille kracht van het boeddhisme (Uitgeverij ASP- Kunchab+, 2010)
De essentie: Boeddhisme (Uitgeverij Luster, 2010)
Wavy Gravy, Hugh Romney, who is fast approaching official geezerhood, is more active and more effective in the world then he was decades ago. Back then when still known as Hugh Romney he stood on the stage of the original Woodstock concert and announced….” What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400,000!” He was at Woodstock as a member of an entertainment/activist commune known as the Hog Farm. Today, the Hog Farm still exists, collectively owning and operating the 700-acre Black Oak Ranch and hosting the annual Pig-Nic. And Wavy lives a third of the year in a Berkeley Hog Farm urban outpost, a big communal house he refers to as “hippie Hyannisport” But Mr. Gravy (as he’s known to readers of the New York Times) has expanded his activities over the past two-and-a-half decades to include codirectorship (with his wife, Jahanara) of Camp Winnarainbow, a performing arts program for children which takes over the Hog Farm for 10 weeks every summer, and the organization of all-star rock concerts to raise money for a variety of environmental, progressive, political, and charitable causes, most notably Seva, a foundation he cofounded in 1978, initially to combat preventable and curable blindness in the Third World.
He may be best known to millions as a cosmic cut-up and the inspiration for a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor – “I am an activist clown and former frozen dessert,” he says – but it is because of his good work on behalf of the planet and its least fortunate residents that Wavy Gravy has achieved his own brand of sainthood. His friend and satirist Paul Krassner has called him “the illegitimate son of Harpo Marx and Mother Teresa.” Wavy says, “Some people tell me I’m a saint, I tell them I’m Saint Misbehavin’.”
“I’m sure that some people could regard Wavy Gravy as a leftover from the ’60s crowd,” says James O’Dea, executive director of Seva, upon whose board of directors Wavy sits along with a host of MDs and PhDs. “After all, here is this guy who is still hanging out with tie-dyes and seems lost in the ’60s. But he really took the ’60s idealism and made it his life, and practiced it. We live in a time when, in some ways, there has been a certain unscrupulous use of morality and family values and official religion and righteousness in the public domain. What a remarkable contrast to somebody who spends the summer with inner city kids and the kids of homeless people, teaching them circus performing arts. He is your board member who is always there, who comes to every event, and who is helping you raise money for the ‘eyeballs’ in India, as he says. He is clearly a person who does his own inner spiritual work in a very persistent way and then matches it with his walk in the world.”
Indeed, when you spend any stretch of time with Wavy Gravy, strolling around the Hog Farm during the Pig-Nic, hanging out with him at his “hippie Hyannisport” in Berkeley, observing him in action at a public function – you quickly discover that the man with the rubbery face and ever-changing costume is a walking public service announcement for positive social change and compassion. During an exploration of the Pig-Nic’s “backstage” area, which encompasses a meadow with a labyrinth based on an ancient pagan model, a lovely wooded creek, and the magnificent oak grove where the Camp Winnarainbow teepees are pitched, the Balinese gongs of Berkeley’s Gamelan Sekar Jaya are ringing through the trees. How many people does he think have migrated to Laytonville for the weekend? “I don’t know, count the legs and divide by two,” he says. Countless campers, coworkers, and admirers shout Wavy’s name or greet him with “Hi, Boss,” a title Wavy just as quickly bestows on others.
As Wavy carries a bucket of water from the creek to quench the thirst of the flowers in the labyrinth, it is boggling to imagine the paths he has trodden in his six decades on the planet: As a child growing up in Princeton, New Jersey (he was born in East Greenbush, New York), he took walks around the block with Albert Einstein; when he was poetry director at the Gaslight Cafe on MacDougal Street in New York City during the early 1960s, introducing “jazz and poetry” to Greenwich Village, Marlene Dietrich gave him a book of Rilke poems, and Bob Dylan shared his room upstairs, writing the first draft of “A Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall” on his typewriter; when, still as Hugh Romney, he became a traveling monologist, “talking about weird stuff that had happened to me,” he opened shows for John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Peter, Paul & Mary, and Ian & Sylvia, and organized the Phantom Cabaret with Tiny Tim and Moondog; when Lenny Bruce was his manager, the infamous stand-up comic gave the then Al Dente and future Wavy Gravy a yarmulke to sew inside a cowboy hat that had belonged to Hollywood western star Tom Mix – “So I could say ‘Howdy Goyim!” He also earned a part in the San Francisco improvisational group The Committee and later taught improvisation to neurologically handicapped kids in Pasadena.
In 1965, when he and his wife (then known as Bonnie Jean) were living in a one-room cabin in Sunland, California outside Los Angeles, they and 40 of their closest friends in the Grateful Dead and the Merry Pranksters (Kesey was on the lam in Mexico at the time) posed for a photograph for a Life magazine cover. “The landlord went ballistic,” Wavy recalls, “and we were bummed for about an hour and a half until a neighbor came by and said, ‘Old Saul up on that mountain had a stroke and they need somebody to slop them hogs!’ So we were given a mountain top rent-free for slopping 45 hogs.” Thus was born the Hog Farm, soon to hit the road in buses purchased with money earned as extras in Otto Preminger’s Skidoo, presenting the free “Hog Farm and Friends in Open Celebration” show all over the country.
And all that took place before Woodstock made Wavy’s raspy voice recognizable to millions; well before he wrote two books: The Hog Farm and Friends (1974) and Something Good For A Change: Random Notes On Peace Thru Living (1992); before he started campaigning on behalf of Nobody for President (“Nobody’s Perfect, Nobody Keeps All Promises, Nobody Should Have That Much Power”); and before Gravy splashed all over the rock-and-roll milieu, becoming bosom buddies with everyone from veterans Jackson Browne and Crosby, Stills & Nash to neo-punksters Green Day (after acting as an emcee at Woodstock 2).
But celebrity, while crucial to his fund-raising efforts, seems tangential to the essence of Wavy’s work. Back in Berkeley, on a hot September morning, he waddles up to his corner bedroom, a psychedelic cave in which every inch of wall space is festooned with posters, photographs, mandalas, banners, and bumper stickers. Every shelf, nook, and cranny is crowded with books, beads, videotapes, Buddha figures, crystals, tetrahedrons, incense, Mickey Mouse and Goofy figurines, antlers, wind-up teeth, and empty soda pop cans. A pair of oversized clown shoes appear to be crawling out of one of the canvas bags on the floor. Wavy’s lair feels like a cross between a tree house and a New Age/kitsch shrine to the bard of Woodstock himself.
Wearing shorts and athletic shoes, Wavy settles back on his bed for a two-hour conversation. His short-sleeved shirt is unbuttoned and he dreamily strokes his ample belly as he talks. He looks like nothing less than a reclining Buddha disguised as a counterculture tourist as he waxes rhapsodically through stream-of-consciousness segues about his life’s work. Topic number one, dearest to his heart and freshest in his memory because he has just returned from his annual summer sojourn at the Black Oak Ranch, is Camp Winnarainbow.
“We just finished our 24th year,” he begins. “It originally started as day care for Sufi kids. I thought it unjust that parents should be penalized spiritually, not being able to meditate and stuff, because they had kids. So I said ‘Give me all your kids,’ and we concocted this little circus arts day care. We discovered that perhaps the kids would be better off without the parents and the parents would be better off without the kids, so we rented the next camp down the road, which was maybe two miles away, and turned it into an overnight camp.” A decade or so ago, the Hog Farm acquired its permanent country land outside Laytonville. “I knew instantly it was ideal for our camp,” Wavy says. In addition to the oak grove for camping, the Farm boasts its own lake (Lake Veronica with a raft named George) and a 350-foot water slide from Marine World.
Each summer, Camp Winnarainbow conducts four two-week sessions for kids, a one-week introductory session for seven-year-old novices, and a one-week session for grownups. Volunteer teachers share such skills as juggling, unicycling, tightrope walking, and trapeze, as well as music and art. “Grownup camp is just like kids’ camp,” Wavy explains, “except you get to stay up late and you don’t have to brush your teeth. We’re not trying to turn out little professional actors or circus stars, although it does happen. What we’re really into is producing universal human beings who can deal with anything that comes down the pike with some style and grace. We’ve been pretty darn successful at that. A lot of the kids who are running the camp now started as campers when they were seven.They can usually do it on a unicycle while juggling three balls. We curry both hemispheres of the E brain. In school, kids learn numbers and letters; we teach timing and balance, which I think is equally important – without competition, except with yourself.”
Camp Winnarainbow’s concept of practice embraces so much more than physical skills. Mornings begin with Wavy reading from something like the Tao Te Ching or Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, and then the kids choose between high-intensity aerobics or yoga for their warm-ups. “I’ve also in the last five years discovered that kids will do anything if they can stay up later than other kids, even sit with a straight back and watch their breath. So we instituted WISE Gaias. WISE is Winnarainbow Inner Space Exploration. Three or four years ago we created a labyrinth for Jose Arguelles’s Dreamspell ceremony. They leave their problems at the center of the labyrinth and come out pretty clean.”
Thanks to royalties from the Ben & Jerry’s Wavy Gravy ice cream flavor and grants from the Grateful Dead’s Rex Foundation, Winnarainbow is able to provide camp scholarships for homeless children from the Bay Area and Native American kids from a reservation in South Dakota. That assures what Wavy calls “a little diverse miniworld.”
Not long after the founding of Camp Winnarainbow, Wavy found another way of working with kids. Rather, it found him. Some doctors at Children’s Hospital in Oakland had read about all this hippie do-gooder work in the Oakland Tribune, and they stopped by my house and asked if I would come entertain the kids.” Still in deep pain from his third spinal surgery and “bouncing on the bottom,” as he puts it, Wavy figured he had nothing to lose. “On my way out the door, somebody handed me a rubber nose. Without it I could have struck out completely. With it I was able to move outside my own bummer and make little kids laugh. I thought I had troubles ’til I eyeballed some of those kids!”
Wavy continued to visit kids at the hospital on almost a daily basis for seven years. “Then I went on a tour and came back and they wouldn’t let me in anymore. It was quite a blow. I still don’t know why, and nobody has been able to find out, but I guess somebody on the board didn’t want this hippie freak coming in there.” Wavy simply transferred his efforts to the Children’s Cancer Research Institute in San Francisco. In his book Something Good for a Change, he tells the story of 11-year-old Billy, who had lost his hair to chemotherapy. Wavy had covered Billy’s head with white clown makeup when Billy’s little sister came up with the idea of showing a movie on Billy’s smooth pate. “Could we, Wavy Gravy?” Billy asked. “Could we please show Godzilla on my head?”
“There was no way I could deny such a bizarre and heartfelt request,” Wavy concludes. “So there we all were, sitting around eating popcorn and watching Godzilla on Billy’s head.”
Of course, Wavy learned many of his strategies, which combine fun and survival, at Woodstock.. The Hog Farm, the “mobile, hallucination-extended family,” was on the road on the East Coast in ’68 and ’69, and was holed up in a big loft on New York’s East Side, when Woodstock Ventures made a proposition. “One day this guy showed up looking like Allen Ginsberg on a Dick Gregory diet with an attaché case,” Wavy recalls, “and he asked us ‘How would you like to do this music festival in New York state?’ The Hog Farm had just rented land in Llano near Black Mesa, New Mexico, and the commune was just about to split the New York scene and settle in Llano. He said, ‘We’ll fly you in on an Astrojet.’ We just figured he was one toke over the line, went back to New Mexico, and thought nothing of it. So we’re celebrating the summer solstice in Llano, and this guy shows up with one of those aluminum rock-and-roll valises full of ‘linear overlay,’ and an Astrojet with room for 85 hippies and 15 Indians.”
Recruited to build fire pits and fire trails around the festival grounds, the Hog Farm convinced the promoter! to let them set up a free kitchen, as well. When they stepped off the plane at Kennedy Airport, the Hog Farmers were met by the world press and told that they had been assigned the task of doing security at Woodstock, too. “I said, ‘My god, they made us the cops,”‘ Wavy recalls. “And I said, ‘Well, do you feel secure?’ The guy said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘See, it’s working already.’ That’s when he said. What are you going to use for crowd control?’ I said, ‘Cream pies and seltzer bottles,’ and they all wrote it down and I thought, ‘The power of manipulating the media, ah ha!”‘
The Hog Farmers’ finest hour came with the rains that swamped Max Yasgur’s farm and threatened to turn the hippie dream into a National Guard nightmare. “The weather turned Woodstock into a national disaster area,” Wavy continues, “and we had a chance to show the world how it would be if we ran the show, so we pulled ourselves up by our collective bootstraps and were amazing – by surrendering ourselves to this interesting energy that enabled us to work days without sleep and intuitively pull off stuff that we couldn’t have thought about in our wildest dreams. And the minute we thought that it was us doing it, we’d fall on our butt in the mud. So I think that the universe was acting out these archetypes. I’ve puzzled over it for decades, and that’s the best I can come up with, that there was this amazing energy that you could surrender to, and it would move you.”
Shortly after Woodstock, the Hog Farmers helped keep the peace between the cowboys and the hippies at the Texas Pop Festival, where blues giant B. B. King gave Wavy Gravy his name. “It’s worked pretty well through my life,” he says, “except with telephone operators – I have to say ‘Gravy, first initial W.”
Another great Hog Farm adventure set the stage for Wavy’s participation in the founding of Seva. Recruited by San Francisco underground radio pioneer Tom Donahue and Warner Brothers Records to travel around the country and be filmed for a movie called Cruising for Burgers, later renamed Medicine Ball Caravan, the Farmers bused themselves across America, setting up stages for mainstream rock and rollers. After one last concert with Pink Floyd in Bishopsbourne, England, the Farmers pooled their movie pay and some funds raised for them from a benefit staged by a London commune and continued their trek across Europe. “It was around the time of the great Pakistani flood,” Wavy remembers, “and relief was pouring in so very, very slow. There was a line of Gandhi’s that hit me at that time, it was something like, ‘If God should appear to starving people, God would not dare to appear in any form other than food.’ We’d had so much attention from that free kitchen at Woodstock, we thought if we were in Pakistan with any kind of food, we could embarrass the large governments, and they would speed up the food relief. Then the Indo-Pakistani war broke out, and we hung a left into K-K-K-Kathmandu, distributing food and medical supplies to Tibetan refugee camps as we traveled. We fixed leaky roofs with rolls of plastic and built a playground in Kathmandu for impoverished kids. We also saw a tremendous number of blind people in Nepal.”
With locally run sight programs in India, Nepal, and Tibet, Seva provides more than 80,000 eye surgeries a year. It also establishes partnership in Native American communities to tackle the rising epidemic of diabetes, supports work for sustainable agriculture in Chiapas, Mexico, and monitors violence against refugees of the Guatemalan civil war. “What we do is find someone who is a blazing, shining example of doing a particular piece of service, and we just back them hook, line, and sinker,” Wavy says of Seva’s strategy, “sometimes providing the flashlight to help them find the light switch.
According to Wavy, his commitment to the kind of work he does was indeed a product of the ‘60s. “That’s when I knew this thing was real,” he says, “that it was the only game in town and I wanted to go to work for it, whatever it was. There is a wonderful chapter in The Wind In The Willows, where the mole and the rat rescue this little baby otter who was actually being protected at the moment by the god Pan. Of course the otter’s parents were beside themselves and all, and they saw Pan and they worshipped him, and he gave them the best gift of the gods, which was to sprinkle forgetfulness upon them so they wouldn’t be tortured with the memory of that amazement. I could have used a little of that, because I’m always looking for that mega-, ultra-divine lick. It’s like the cosmic carrot that keeps me in the movie. I began my study of comparative religion and service out of lust for that stuff. It’s another kind of greed. Once you realize the interconnectedness of all stuff, there’s no going back. I have an old Gravy line, ‘We are all the same person trying to shake hands with our self.’ Remember that the next time you say, ‘pass the gravy.’”
She has worked in the area of death and dying for over thirty years and is Director of the Project on Being with Dying.
For the past twenty-five years, she has been active in environmental work. A Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order, her work and practice for more than three decades has focused on socially engaged Buddhism.
She serves on the board of Tricycle and her family’s charitable foundation.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. is a scientist, writer, and meditation teacher engaged in bringing mindfulness into the mainstream of medicine and society. He gives public talks and workshops throughout the world on mindfulness and its applications for moving toward greater sanity and balance in today’s 24/7 multi-tasking-addicted, high-speed world. He is Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he was founding executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society, and founder (in 1979) and former director of its world-renown Stress Reduction Clinic. He is the author of Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness (Delta, 1991), Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life (Hyperion, 1994), and co-author, with his wife Myla, of Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting (Hyperion, 1997). His new book, Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness (Hyperion), will be published in January, 2005. His work has contributed to a growing movement of mindfulness into mainstream institutions in our society such as medicine, health care and hospitals, schools, corporations, prisons, and professional sports.
Dr. Kabat-Zinn received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from MIT in 1971 with the Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Salvador Luria. Dr. Kabat-Zinn’s research between 1979 and 2002 focused on mind/body interactions for healing, on various clinical applications of mindfulness meditation training for people with chronic pain and/or stress-related disorders, on the effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on the brain and how it processes emotions, particularly under stress, and on the immune system; on the use and effects of MBSR with women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer; on patients undergoing bone marrow transplant; with prison inmates and staff; in multicultural settings; and on stress in various corporate settings and work environments.
In 1993, his work in the stress reduction clinic was featured in Bill Moyer’s PBS Special, Healing and the Mind and in the book of the same title. Several years ago, he and his colleagues published a research paper demonstrating in a small clinical trial, a four-fold effect of the mind on the rate of skin clearing in patients with psoriasis undergoing ultraviolet light therapy: [Kabat-Zinn et al, Psychosomatic Medicine 60:625-623 (1998)]. A recently published paper [Davidson, Kabat-Zinn, et al. Psychosomatic Medicine 65: 564-570 (2003)] shows positive changes in brain activity, emotional processing under stress, and immune function in people taking an MBSR course in a corporate work setting in a randomized clinical trial.
During his career, he has trained groups of judges, business leaders, lawyers, clergy, and Olympic athletes (the 1984 Olympic Men’s Rowing Team), and environmental activists in mindfulness. Under his direction, the Center for Mindfulness conducted MBSR programs in the inner city in Spanish as well as in English, and in the state prison system in Massachusetts. He conducts annual mindfulness retreats for business leaders and innovators, and with his colleagues in the CFM, conducts training retreats for health professionals in MBSR. Over 200 medical centers and clinics nationwide and abroad now use the MBSR model, including 17 in the Kaiser-Permanente system in Northern California.
In 1998, he received the Art, Science, and Soul of Healing Award from the Institute for Health and Healing, California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, and in 2001, the 2nd Annual Trailblazer Award for “pioneering work in the field of integrative medicine” from the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in La Jolla, California. He is a Founding Fellow of the Fetzer Institute, a Fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and the founding convener of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, a network of deans and chancellors and faculty at major US medical schools engaged at the creative edges of mind/body and integrative medicine. He is also on the Board of the Mind and Life Institute, a group that organizes dialogues between the Dalai Lama and Western scientists to promote deeper understanding of different ways of knowing and probing the nature of mind, emotions, and reality.
David Robert Loy is a professor, writer, and Zen teacher in the Sanbo Kyodan tradition of Japanese Zen Buddhism.
He is a prolific author, whose essays and books have been translated into many languages. His articles appear regularly in the pages of major journals such as Tikkun and Buddhist magazines including Tricycle, Turning Wheel, Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma, as well as in a variety of scholarly journals. Many of his writings, as well as audio and video talks and interviews, are available on the web. He is on the editorial or advisory boards of the journals Cultural Dynamics, Worldviews, Contemporary Buddhism, Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, and World Fellowship of Buddhists Review. He is also on the advisory boards of Buddhist Global Relief, the Clear View Project, and the Ernest Becker Foundation.
David lectures nationally and internationally on various topics, focusing primarily on the encounter between Buddhism and modernity: what each can learn from the other. He is especially concerned about social and ecological issues. A popular recent lecture is “Healing Ecology: A Buddhist Perspective on the Eco-crisis”, which argues that there is an important parallel between what Buddhism says about our personal predicament and our collective predicament today in relation to the rest of the biosphere. Presently he is offering workshops on “Transforming Self, Transforming Society” and on his most recent book, The World Is Made of Stories. He also leads meditation retreats. (To find out about forthcoming lectures, workshops and retreats, see on the Schedule page.)
Loy is a professor of Buddhist and comparative philosophy. His BA is from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and he studied analytic philosophy at King’s College, University of London. His MA is from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and his PhD is from the National University of Singapore. His dissertation was published by Yale University Press as Nonduality: A Study in Comparative Philosophy. He was senior tutor in the Philosophy Department of Singapore University (later the National University of Singapore) from 1978 to 1984. From 1990 until 2005 he was professor in the Faculty of International Studies, Bunkyo University, Chigasaki, Japan. In January 2006 he became the Besl Family Chair Professor of Ethics/Religion and Society with Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, a visiting position that ended in September 2010. In April 2007 David Loy was visiting scholar at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. From January to August 2009 he was a research scholar with the Institute for Advanced Study, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. From September through December 2011 he is in residence at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, with a Lenz Fellowship.
David is married to Linda Goodhew, a professor of English literature and language (and co-author of The Dharma of Dragons and Daemons). They have a son, Mark Loy Goodhew.
Fleet is the founder of the Prison Dharma Network and the National Prison Hospice Association, which promote contemplative spirituality and compassionate end-of-life care for inmates. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Naropa University. In addition, he works as a management consultant and executive coach.
Mark’s interest in renewable energy led him to found HES Energy in 1996. HES now procures more than $500 million in renewable fuel and electricity for 125 hospitals and affiliated universities in the United States. HES is a national leader in generating energy using “green gas.”
Mark is the author of numerous books and articles and is a frequent lecturer on energy and environmental matters. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University with Honors in History, and of the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review and received the Connecticut Law Tribune Prize for legal scholarship.
Matthieu Ricard was born in France in 1946. His father, Jean-François Revel was an honored philosopher, writer, journalist and a member of the noted Académie Française, which is a gathering of some of the most notorious French intellectuals. His mother, Yahne Le Toumelin is a painter and watercolorist.
He grew up among the personalities and ideas of Paris’ intellectual and artistic circles. He studied classical music, ornithology and photography. He counted Luis Buñuel, Igor Stravinsky and Henri Cartier-Bresson among his friends.
He did a Ph.D. in cellular genetics at the Institut Pasteur under Nobel Laureate François Jacob. After completing his Ph.D. thesis in 1972, Mr. Ricard decided to forsake his scientific career and concentrate on Tibetan Buddhist studies.
Matthieu Ricard has lived in the Himalayas since 1972 and has been a Buddhist monk for 37 years at the Shechen Monastery in Nepal. He has met the greatest living teachers and became the close student and attendant of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, one of the most eminent Tibetan masters and luminaries of our time, until the death of Rinpoche in 1991.
Since 1989 he has accompanied HH Dalai Lama to France, acting as his personal interpreter.
He has been awarded the French National Order of Merit by President François Mitterrand for his involvement and his efforts to preserve the Himalayan cultures.
Matthieu Ricard is a bestselling author.
He has translated and edited numerous books on Tibetan Buddhism and is highly praised for his vast knowledge of Tibetan religion and culture.
He is the author of The Mystery of Animal Migration,Hill & Wang, NY, 1969, The Monk and the Philosopher, Knopf Publishing Group, 2000, a best-seller book of dialogues with his father Jean-François Revel, which has been translated into twenty-three languages and on the bestseller booklist in France for nine months.
The Quantum and the Lotus, Crown Publishing Group, 2004, presents an in-depth conversation with the astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan. According to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, it “is the rich and inspiring result of a deeply interesting dialogue between Western science and Buddhist philosophy. This remarkable book will contribute greatly to a better understanding of the true nature of our world and the way we live our lives.”
He has also published The Spirit of Tibet, 2001, (also in video), a photo book on the life of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Monk Dancers of Tibet, Shambhala Publications, 2003, in collaboration, the photobook, Buddhist Himalayas, Harry N Abrams Inc, 2002 and numerous translations of Tibetan texts, including The Life of Shabkar, The Autobiography of a Tibetan Yogin, Snow Lion Publications, 2001 and The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones, The Practice of View, Meditation, and Action, Boston, Shambhala Publications, 1993.
With Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill, Matthieu Ricard continues to bridge the dialogue between East and West.
Motionless Journey features photographs taken from the hermitage’s terrace and surroundings.
His latest books
Matthieu Ricard’s pictures of remarkable spiritual masters, the people of the Himalayas and the landscapes, have appeared internationally in numerous magazines and books. Henri Cartier-Bresson has said of his work that « Matthieu’s spiritual life and his camera are one, from which springs these images, fleeting and eternal ». His work has been exhibited in New York, Paris, Perpignan, Winthertur, Stockholm, and Hong Kong.
He spends several months each year in Tibet implementing charitable projects that have built and maintain sixteen clinics, seven schools, including one for 800 children in the desperately poor districts high up in the Himalayas, orphanages, program for several hundred elderly people and nine bridges. All proceeds from his books go to funding all Shechen’s humanitarian projects in Tibet, Nepal, and India. Each year 100 000 patients, of which 15 000 children, are being taken care of. For further information on these projects link here.
Since 2000, Matthieu Ricard has been an active member of the Mind and Life Institute and participates in current scientific research on Training the Mind and Brain Plasticity headed by the cognitive scientist Professor Richard J. Davidson, one of the world’s leading investigators in the field of neuroplasticity.
At the University of Wisconsin, researchers attached 256 sensors to his skull and placed him into a functional magnetic resonance imager (fMRI). Ricard’s MRI showed the highest level of activity ever recorded in the left pre-frontal cortex of the brain, the area associated with positive emotion. With the scoring ranging from +0.3 to -0.3 (beatific) Matthieu Ricard’s scores were actually off the scale at more than -0.45. It was a world first!!!
This research is done at the following universities: Wisconsin-Madison, Princeton, Berkeley in USA, at Maastricht in the Netherlands and at Zurich in Switzerland. The paper describing the remarkable results, printed in PNAS in 2004, has become the fifth most-downloaded scientific publication in history. So far, this research has been downloaded 150 000 times. http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/101/46/16369
In 2006 and 2009 Matthieu Ricard took part to the World Economic Forum in Davos.
He is co-director of the Buddhist Shechen monastery in Nepal.
He dedicates his activities to fulfilling Khyentse Rinpoche’s vision.
• One of the founders of the Jewish Renewal movement • Professor emeritus at Temple University and a former member of the faculty at Naropa University • A pioneer in interspirituality
Meshullam Zalman HaKohen Schachter was born on August 17th, 1924 in Zholkiew, Poland to Shlomo and Hayyah Gittel Schachter. In 1925, his family moved to Vienna, Austria where he spent most of his childhood. His father, a Belzer hasid with liberal tendencies, had him educated in both a “leftist” Zionist high school, where he learned Latin and Modern Hebrew, and a traditional Orthodox yeshiva, where he studied Torah and Talmud.
In 1938, when he was just 13, his family began the long flight from Nazi oppression through Belgium, France, North Africa, and the Caribbean, until they finally landed in New York City in 1941.
While still in Belgium, Schachter became acquainted with and began to frequent a circle of HaBaD Hasidim who cut and polished diamonds in Antwerp. This association eventually led to his becoming a HaBaD hasid of the Lubavich branch, in whose yeshiva he enrolled after his family arrived in New York. He received his rabbinic ordination from the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva in 1947.
Within a few years of his ordination, he began to travel to college campuses with his friend Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, at the direction of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and took up a post as a congregational rabbi in Fall River, Massachusetts. Later, he would also serve as a congregational rabbi in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
By 1956 he had acquired a Master of Arts degree in the Psychology of Religion (pastoral counseling) from Boston University and taken up a teaching post in the Department of Religion at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, which he would hold until 1975. Soon after, he was instrumental in the founding of the Department and Clinic of Pastoral Psychology at United College (later University of Winnipeg).
In 1968, Schachter had earned his Doctor of Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College and was effectively “divorced” from the Lubavitcher Hasidim over issues relating his controversial engagement with modern culture and other religions, but he continued on as an “independent” hasid, teaching the experiential dimensions of Hasidism as one of the world’s great spiritual traditions. That year, he was also influential among the group who formed Havurat Shalom in Somerville, MA.
The following year, inspired by Havurat Shalom, Christian Trappist spirituality and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Schachter founded the B’nai Or Religious Fellowship (now ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal) with a small circle of students.
He ordained his first rabbi, Rabbi Daniel Siegel of Boston (one of the current leaders of ALEPH) and helped to found the Aquarian Minyan of Berkley, California in 1974.
A few years earlier, he had begun to study Sufism and meet with Sufis in California. This eventually led to his being initiated as a Sheikh in the Sufi Order of Hazrat Inayat Khan in 1975. That year he also became professor of Jewish Mysticism and Psychology of Religion at Temple University where he stayed until his early retirement in 1987, when he was named professor emeritus.
In 1980, he and two others, ordained one of the early influential women rabbis, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb (now based in New Mexico).
1985 saw the birth of a new period in his life. That year Schachter (now Schachter-Shalomi) took a forty-day retreat at Lama Foundation in New Mexico and emerged with a new teaching that became the foundation of his book, From Age-ing to Sage-ing, and the catalyst for the Spiritual Eldering movement.
In 1995 he accepted the World Wisdom Chair at the Naropa Institute (now Naropa University) and found a home from which he could teach contemplative Judaism and ecumenical spirituality in an accredited academic setting.
In 2004, Schachter retired from Naropa University. That year, he also co-founded The Sufi-Hasidic Fellowship: the Chishti-Maimuniyya Order of Dervishes with Netanel Miles-Yepez, thus combining the Jewish Hasidic tradition with Islamic Sufi tradition into which he had been initiated in 1975.
Today, he is retired and living happily in Boulder, Colorado with his wife Eve, and his two cats, Mazel and Brakhah.
Gert Scobel was born in 1959 in Aachen. He studied philosophy and theology in Frankfurt am Main and in Berkeley (California). A brief teaching career at the University of San Francisco was followed by a variety of journalistic tasks: freelance work at the FAZ magazine, radio essays for the Hessian Radio, and also in HR, an internship with a focus on “Culture and Science.”
In 1999 he was honored representative of the entire culture time editors, the German Television Prize. In May 2001 he was awarded the Bavarian Television Prize. Gert Scobel won the prestigious Grimme award and was elected “Culture Journalist of the Year”. In 2006 Gert Scobel received for the second time the European EICOS scholarship for science journalists, combined with laboratory visits at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen and at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.
Joe is one of the incorporators, founders, and Board Member Emeritus of the Bank of Western Massachusetts.
Joe is also a founder of the Gasoline Alley Foundation, a 501(c)3 corporation designed to teach inner-city and/or underprivileged persons to be successful entrepreneurs using socially responsible/sustainable business practices while revitalizing inner city neighborhoods.
He is also a Board member of the Social Venture Network, Springfield Technical Community College and the Security Group among others. He is working on a book called What I Learned Hanging at the Corner, lessons from a street kid turned entrepreneur.
After twelve years of monastic training and studies in philosophy and theology, Brother David was sent by his abbot to participate in Buddhist-Christian dialogue, for which he received Vatican approval in 1967. His Zen teachers were Hakkuun Yasutani Roshi, Soen Nakagawa Roshi, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, and Eido Shimano Roshi. He co-founded the Center for Spiritual Studies in 1968 and received the 1975 Martin Buber Award for his achievements in building bridges between religious traditions.
Together with Thomas Merton, Brother David helped launch a renewal of religious life. From 1970 on, he became a leading figure in the House of Prayer movement, which affected some 200,000 members of religious orders in the United States and Canada.
For decades, Brother David divided his time between periods of hermit’s life and extensive lecture tours on five continents. On a two-month lecture tour in Australia, for example, he gave 140 lectures and traveled 12,000 miles within Australia without backtracking. His wide spectrum of audiences has included starving students in Zaire and faculty at Harvard and Columbia Universities, Buddhist monks and Sufi retreatants, Papago Indians and German intellectuals, New Age communes and Naval Cadets at Annapolis, missionaries on Polynesian islands and gatherings at the United Nations, Green Berets and participants at international peace conferences. Brother David has brought spiritual depth into the lives of countless people whom he touches through his lectures, his workshops, and his writings.
He has contributed to a wide range of books and periodicals from the Encyclopedia Americana and The New Catholic Encyclopedia, to the New Age Journal and Parabola Magazine. His books have been translated into many languages. Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer and A Listening Heart have been reprinted and anthologized for more than two decades. Brother David co-authored Belonging to the Universe (winner of the 1992 American Book Award), a dialogue on new paradigm thinking in science and theology with physicist, Fritjof Capra. His dialogue with Buddhists produced The Ground We Share: Buddhist and Christian Practice, co-authored with Robert Aitken Roshi. His most recent books are The Music of Silence, co-written with Sharon Lebell, and Words of Common Sense.
Brother David contributed chapters or interviews to well over 30 books. An article by Brother David was included in The Best Spiritual Writing, 1998. His many audio and videotapes are widely distributed.
At present, Brother David serves a worldwide Network for Grateful Living, through www.gratefulness.org, an interactive website with several thousand participants daily from more than 240 countries.
Bio coming soon.
Robert Thurman holds the first endowed chair in Buddhist Studies in the West, the Jey Tsong Khapa Chair in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies. After education at Philips Exeter and Harvard, he studied Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism for almost thirty years as a personal student of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He has written both scholarly and popular books, and has lectured widely all over the world. His special interest is the exploration of the Indo-Tibetan philosophical and psychological traditions, with a view to their relevance to parallel currents of contemporary thought and science.
Ms. Twist has been recognized as a world-renowned speaker, author, fundraiser, and activist. While in positions of leadership spanning three decades, she has raised hundred of millions of dollars to solve humanity’s most pressing problems. She has also spoken to thousands of people in the business, nonprofit, and academic arenas.
In 2008 Barbara Salaam received transmission as a Preceptor in the Zen Peacemaker Sangha from her Preceptor Teacher Roshi Eve Myonen Marko. Roshi Eve gave her the Dharma name Angyo, Peacemaker.
As a founding member she joined the study and the development of the Zen Peacemaker Order in Europe and later the development of the Zen Peacemaker Circles. Today she is working as the Coordinator of the Zen Peacemaker Circles in Europe.
Barbara Salaam is an active supporter of the “Palestinian Center for the Study of Non-Violence” in Bethlehem Palestine. In Switzerland, she is involved and connected with Muslim women, in learning together and sharing interrelated friendship.