Lama Tsomo is an American lama, author, and co-founder of the Namchak Foundation. She followed a path of spiritual inquiry and study that ultimately led to her ordination as one of the few American lamas in Tibetan Buddhism. Lama Tsomo learned Tibetan to study with her teacher Tulku Sangak Rinpoche, and now shares the teachings of the Namchak lineage in the US and abroad. Lama Tsomo holds an M.A. in Counseling Psychology and is the author of the award winning Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling? An Introduction and Guide to Tibetan Buddhist Practice. She is passionate about reaching young people and supporting those working for positive social change.
Kittisaro and Thanissara have been married since 1992. They spent 7 years as guiding teachers of the Buddhist Retreat Centre KwaZulu S. Africa and then went on to found Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat on the border of Lesotho and South Africa. They co-founded several HIV/Aids Outreach Programs and currently support Kuluingile Project, a home for children left vulnerable due to HIV/Aids run by Sister Abegail Ntleko, award winner of the Dalai Lama Unsung Hero Award. They lead retreats in S.Africa, UK, U.S.A and Israel and regularly host one to three-month retreats at Dharmagiri. They currently reside in Sebastopol, CA.
Kittisaro is from Tennessee, USA. He graduated from Princeton as a Rhodes Scholar. He ordained with Ajahn Chah in 1976 in the Thai Forest Tradition. He was a monk for 15 years and helped found several monasteries in the UK. His practice has also been informed by the Chinese school of Master Hua since 1980. Kittisaro completed two one year silent self retreats and is co-author of ‘Listening to the Heart.’ He has taught extensively since the 1980’s and is a core teacher at Insight Meditation Society, MA, founding teacher of Chattanooga Insight, TN and affiliated teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, CA.
Thanissara is from an Anglo-Irish family in London. She started Buddhist practice in the Burmese school in 1975. She spent 12 years as a Buddhist nun in the Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah where she was a founding member of Chithurst Monastery and Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in the UK. Thanissara has an MA in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy Practice from the UK. She has taught extensively since the late 1980’s, is the author of several books, including two poetry books. Her latest is Time to Stand Up: An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth.
Robert A.F. Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, President of the Tibet House U.S., a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tibetan civilization, and President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies, a non-profit affiliated with the Center for Buddhist Studies at Columbia University and dedicated to the publication of translations of important artistic and scientific treatises from the Tibetan Tengyur.
TIME Magazine chose Professor Thurman as one of its 25 most influential Americans in 1997, describing him as a “larger than life scholar-activist destined to convey the Dharma, the precious teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, from Asia to America.” The New York Times recently said Thurman “is considered the leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism.”
Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D. is the Founding Director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream, a school for consciousness studies in Berkeley, CA. Isa is also the creator of the spiritual counseling model, Depth Hypnosis. In addition to her teaching schedule that includes teaching classes in Applied Buddhist Psychology, Applied Shamanism, Integrated Energy Medicine and Depth Hypnosis, she has active practices in Depth Hypnosis and Applied Shamanic Counseling in San Francisco, CA.