Paul was born 1961 and lived most of life in the coastal county of Pembrokeshire, UK. He always loved the sea, and aspired to be a professional football (soccer) player. One day, at the age of 15, while playing football, unbounded awareness dawned. Everything was the “ocean”. He didn’t know what this was, or whether anyone else had experienced it, but later on he discovered the Upanishads in a bookstore, which led to his joining a Vedanta Monastery for five years. For a time after that, he lived a hermit-like life. One day in meditation, a woman’s name came to him. He had never heard of her, nor did he even know whether she existed, but he knew he would marry her. He later did, opened a gallery and had two boys. He now spends his time supporting the boys and their business and chatting about the ocean.
Kabir Helminski is a Shaikh in the lineage of Rumi, and co-director of The Threshold Society. His translations of Rumi and books on spirituality, Living Presence and The Knowing Heart, have been published in at least eight languages. In 2009 and subsequent years Kabir was named as one of the “500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” by the Royal Strategic Studies Center (Jordan). He has toured North America as Shaikh with the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey bringing Sufi culture to more than 100,000 people. His latest book is Holistic Islam: Sufism, Transformation, and the Needs of Our Time.
In joining the Episcopal church over 20 years ago, Fox has been working with young people to reinvent forms of worship by bringing elements of rave such as dance, dj, vj and more into the Western Liturgy. The Cosmic Mass has been celebrated over 100 times and in dozens of cities in North America.
Fox is recipient of the Abbey Courage of Conscience Peace Award (other recipients being the Dali Lama, Mother Teresa, Ernesto Cardenal and Rosa Parks), the Gandhi King Ikeda Award, the Tikkun National Ethics Award and other awards.
Amoda Maa is a contemporary spiritual teacher, author, and speaker. After years of spiritual seeking, meditation, and immersion in psychospiritual practices, an experience of the dark night of the soul led her to a profound inner awakening. Then, after a long period of integration, she began speaking from silence in small gatherings. Today she offers meetings and retreats, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and events, attracting spiritual seekers and people looking for peace and fulfillment in an increasingly chaotic world. Her teachings are free of religion and tradition, and she brings to them a deep understanding of the human journey, born out of her own experience.
Her new book Embodied Enlightenment— written 15 years after her awakening — is based on the many conversations at the cutting edge of spiritual inquiry in her meetings with people from all around the world, and addresses many of the questions relevant to today’s seeker. It has been acclaimed as “a beautiful and precious gift to an emerging new humanity.”
Amoda lives with her husband and beloved, Kavi, in California.
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.