CIMG4997A[Born July 17th, 1944. England. Grammar school, then from 1961 to 1964 trained as an actor, first at the Central School of Speech & Drama and then as a founding student at Drama Centre, London. Professional actor from 1964 to 1971 and a member of the National Theatre Company from 1966 until 1969. Then from September 1971, overland to the Buddhist Holy Places in India. Arrived in Thailand at the beginning of December 1971. Ordained a samanera by Ven. Chao Khun Dhep Siddhimuni on December 26th, 1971 at Wat Mahadhatu in Bangkok. Then to the North East and Ven. Ajahn Chah and Wat Pah Pong at the beginning of 1972. Ordained bhikkhu May 26th, 1972 in Warimchamrab in the presence of Ven. Ajahn Chah and monks of Wat Nong Pah Pong. To England and the Hampstead Vihara with Ajahn Chah in 1977. Began visiting prisons in the summer of 1977. The first prisons were Pentonville, Holloway and the three prisons on the Isle of Wight, Parkhurst, Albany and Camp Hill. Moved to the Isle of Wight in 1979. Moved to Warwickshire in 1984. Angulimala, the Buddhist Prison Chaplaincy launched at Magha Puja in 1985. The Forest Hermitage opened in October 1985. Made an OBE for services to prisoners in HM The Queen’s Birthday Honours 2003. Made a Chao Khun on HM The King of Thailand’s Birthday, December 5th, 2004. Abbot of The Forest Hermitage since 1985. Spiritual Director of Angulimala, the Buddhist Prison Chaplaincy since its founding in 1985. Buddhist Adviser to HM Prison Service & NOMS.]

For further information: http://foresthermitage.org.uk/

Dr. PETER GROSSENBACHER is Associate Professor in Contemplative Psychology and Contemplative Education at Naropa University, and a Visiting Scholar at the Mind and Life Institute. His training and expertise integrate the fields of Buddhist meditation, education, and scientific research. He is a devoted practitioner of Vajrayana Tibetan Buddhism, including meditative practices in Kagyu, Nyingma, and Shambhala traditions, and started meditating in 1980. He teaches meditation and trains teachers at Naropa University and in a variety of settings. His book, Finding Consciousness in the Brain: A Neurocognitive Approach, offers insights into the brain’s involvement in conscious experience. After researching multisensory attention and synesthesia at the University of Cambridge and the National Institute of Mental Health, he joined the Naropa faculty in 2000, where he founded the Consciousness Laboratory. With synergy between modern science and ancient contemplative approaches to understanding mind and spirit, he directs a program of research on the teaching of meditation and the contemplative development of meditators. Dr. Grossenbacher’s work has been covered by the New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, Discover Magazine, as well as numerous radio interviews and newspaper articles.


The VENERABLE LAMA RINCHEN PHUNTSOK is a skillful teacher with a light and joyful manner. He is a scholar and meditation master of the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition. Born in Tibet, Lama Rinchen began receiving instruction in the Tibetan Buddhism Tradition at the age of six in Tsasum Chokhorling Monastery in Tibet. After he left Tibet in 1958, he studied at Young Lama's Home School in Dalhousie, The Buddhist Monastic School in Rewalsar, Nyingmapa Lama's College in Dehra-Dun, and Zongdog Palri Monastery in Kalimpong. Lama Rinchen graduated from Sanskrit University in Varanasi India where he completed advanced studies in Sutrayana Buddhist philosophy and scriptures, commentaries, logic, literature, history, and the major sciences of the Tibetan curriculum. For many years Lama Rinchen was in charge of Zangdog Palri Monastery in India and also Urgyen Dongag, Choling Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. In 1980, His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche asked him to come to the United States to teach in his New York center where Lama Rinchen was director and resident Lama for four years. Since then he has lectured widely throughout the United States and Europe at centers, colleges, and universities. 

For further information: http://dongakcholing.org/LamaRinchen.html

ROBIN MOORE is a translator for the Buddhadhamma Foundation in Bangkok, working on a four-year project to translate Venerable Phra Payutto’s compendium on Buddhism, titled ‘Buddhadhamma.’

Robin grew up in the USA. After meeting Venerable Ajahn Sumedho, he moved to England and was ordained as a monk. He lived as a monk in the Ajahn Chah tradition for eighteen years, dividing this time between England and Thailand. 

Robin currently translates and teaches language in Bangkok.

VENERABLE BHANTE HOMAGAMA KONDANNA is a Forest Tradition monk in the style of Ajahn Chah and was born in Sri Lanka in 1939, the first of a large family. He was sent by his parents to London to study engineering and acquired a degree in 1962. After a 16 year professional career in London he came to see the futility of the things that entertained him as a lay person. He realized that happiness was a journey with no end and saw that the mookhood provided the best venue for this.

He ordained in 1978 on a barge at high tide on the River Thames (ordination on water is an alternative when a properly bounded location is not available). Ajahn Dr Saddha Tissa (Head of the UK Sangha) was preceptor and Ajahn Sumedho was achariya. Thereafter he spent about a year and a half at the Hampstead Vihara and was part of the pioneer group that did the huge rennovation and reconstruction to begin the temple at Chithurst from 1978/79. In 1981 he was sent to be with Ajahn Chah in Ubon.

From Thailand he went to Vipassana Meditation Center in Moretuwa. He also served as a member of the Elders Committe for 11 years. He is now the spiritual advisor of SewaLanka Foundation. Sewalanka enhances the capacity of rural communities to democratically identify and address their own development needs and provides services that contribute to the economically viable, socially just, and ecologically sustainable development of Sri Lanka.

He has traveled widely to North and South America, Europe and Asia where he has led retreats for the last 30 years.

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