Venerable Dhammananda Bhikkhuni is Thailand’s first fully ordained Theravada Buddhist nun and abbess. She is the spiritual leader of Songdhammakalyani Temple located about an hour southwest of Bangkok. Ven. Dhammananda offers a unique perspective as both an ordained Theravada Bhikkhuni and a feminist, and has been internationally recognized for her work on women in Buddhism and environmental conservation. Prior to her ordination, she was an Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies at Thammasat University for 27 years. She is a tireless crusader for women’s ordination and has traveled the world speaking to audiences about the need to restore the “fourth pillar” of Buddhism.
Ven. Dr. Pannavati is Co-Abbot of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage. An African-American Buddhist monk ordained in the Theravada and Mahayana traditions and with transmission from Roshi Bernie Glassman of Zen Peacemakers, she is both contemplative and empowered for compassionate service. More than 70 homeless youth between the ages of 17 and 21 have resided at the hermitage over the past 2 ½ years and that effort has evolved into a separate 501(c)(3), MyPlace, Inc. which has its own accredited high school, jobs training program, youth center and residential program. An international teacher, she advocates on behalf of disempowered women and youth globally; and insists on equality and respect in Buddhist life for both female monastics and lay sangha. She was a 2008 recipient of the Outstanding Buddhist Women’s Award. In 2009, she received a special commendation from the Princess of Thailand for Humanitarian Acts and ordained the first Thai Bhikkhunis, on Thai soil with Thai monks as witnesses. In May 2010 she convened a platform of Bhikkhunis to ordain 10 Cambodian Samaneris, performing the ceremony in a Cambodian temple, witnessed by Cambodian abbots and sanctioned by Maha Thera Ven. Dhammathero Sao Khon, President of the Community of Khmer Buddhist Monks of the US. Finally, Venerable is a founding circle director of Women of Compassionate Wisdom, a 21st century trans-lineage Buddhist Order and Sisterhood. She recently ordained their first American oblate.
Akincano Marc Weber (Switzerland) is a Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist. He learned to sit still in the early eighties as a Zen practitioner and later joined monastic life in Ajahn Chah’s tradition where he studied and practiced for 20 years in the Forest monasteries of Thailand and Europe. He has studied Pali and scriptures, holds a a degree in Buddhist psychotherapy and lives with his wife in Cologne, Germany from where he teaches Dhamma and meditation internationally.
Teaching is essentially translation. It means ferrying an authentic contemplative tradition across choppy waters into our psychological and cultural realities, losing neither the vision nor the truth of what we know to be our immediate experience.
Dynamic lecturer, progressive scholar, and one of the most prolific writers and translators of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D., continually seeks innovative ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices with Western science to advance the study of the mind.
Dr. Wallace, a scholar and practitioner of Buddhism since 1970, has taught Buddhist theory and meditation worldwide since 1976. Having devoted fourteen years to training as a Tibetan Buddhist monk, ordained by H. H. the Dalai Lama, he went on to earn an undergraduate degree in physics and the philosophy of science at Amherst College and a doctorate in religious studies at Stanford.
With his unique background, Alan brings deep experience and applied skills to the challenge of integrating traditional Indo-Tibetan Buddhism with the modern world.
Alex teaches Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at the University of Minnesota. He has trained through the Center for Mindfulness, including a 9-day practicum and a 7-day retreat with Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and Dr. Saki Santorelli. He was also trained as a Community Dharma Leader by Spirit Rock Meditation Center (SRMC) and is co-founder of the Mindfulness for Students club at the U of M. He is currently going through the Teacher Training Program run jointly by SRMC and the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA.
Alexis has practiced Insight Meditation in India, Burma and the US since 2001. He has been a long-time student of Sayadaw U Tejaniya, including several years of training as a Buddhist Monk under his guidance. Alexis’ teaching emphasizes knowing the mind through a natural and relaxed continuity. He brings a practical, intuitive and compassionate approach to the development of wisdom.
Amita Schmidt, author of Dipa Ma: The Life and Legacy of a Buddhist Master, is a former Resident Teacher at IMS. She currently combines the teaching of non-dual awareness with her foundation in Buddhist practice.