Dr. 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 texts from the Tibetan Tengyur. 

Time 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 Siddhartha, from Asia to America." The New York Times recently said Thurman "is considered the leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism." 

Thurman is known as a talented popularizer of the Buddha's teachings. He is a riveting speaker and an author of many books on Tibet, Buddhism, art, politics and culture, including The Central Philosophy of Tibet, Circling the Sacred Mountain, Essential Tibetan Buddhism, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet, Worlds of Transformation, Inner Revolution, Infinite Life, and, most recently, Why The Dalai Lama Matters: His Act of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet, and the World

Thurman's work and insights are grounded in more than 40 years of serious academic scholarship and lay Buddhist practice. He has a B.A., A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard, studied in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in India and the United States, and received a Vakpati degree from Central University of Tibetan Studies in Sarnath, India. A long-time advocate of Buddhist monasticism, in 1965, Thurman became the first American ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk; since returned to ordained lay status. 

For further information: https://bobthurman.com/


VENERABLE AJAHN TIRADHAMMO (Canadian) became interested in Dhamma in his student years while travelling through Sri Lanka. Coming to Thailand and meditating at Wat Umong, he took ordination at Wat Meung Man in Chiang Mai with Venerable Tong in 1974. In 1975 he moved to study with Ajahn Chah at Wat Pa Pong and Wat Pa Nanachat. He went on several tudong journeys through the northeast of Thailand and the mountains of Chiang Mai, visiting many famous forest meditation masters. Venerable Tiradhammo was invited to England in 1982 to help with developments there. He spent two years at Chithurst Monastery, and three years in charge of Harnham Vihara in Northumberland. In 1988 he helped establish Dhammapala Monastery near Bern, Switzerland and also later at its new location in the Bernese Alpine village of Kandersteg where he was the senior monk until 2005. In July 2005 he assumed the position of senior monk at Bodhinyanarama, Wellington, NZ. Currently he goes on retreats and gives teachings around the world.

For further information, please see: http://tiradhammo.blogspot.com/

VENERABLE AJAHN VAJIRO, was born in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia in 1953. He studied in England and obtained a degree in Economics in 1974.

In 1979, he met Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Sumedho when they made a visit to Hampstead Vihara in Oakenholt, England. In 1979 he left for Thailand and in June 1980 received Upasampada (higher ordination) at Wat Nong Pah Pong .

Ajahn Vajiro returned to England in 1984 and assisted in Amaravati Buddhist Monastery. From 1985 until 1986 he lived in "Harnham Buddhist Monastery", and from 1986 to 1993 lived in "Chithurst Forest Monastery". Between 1993 and 1998 led the community "'Bodhinyanarama" in Wellington, New Zealand. In Australia, near Melbourne lived three years in retreat in the hermitage "Sanghaloka", before returning to Amaravati in 2001 at the invitation of Luang Por Sumedho.

In 2010, Portugal in the group led by Maria Ferreira da Silva, formally invited him to help establish a monastery of the Forest Tradition in Portugal. This invitation came after a few years of their involvement in the project, since, while in Amaravati, Ajahn Vajiro Ajahn Sumedho asked him to assist the group in Portugal, with the creation of the legal framework to support the monks in this country. When he began his involvement in the project, said that he had no intention of moving in to Portugal, however, life is full of surprises and its connection with the Buddhist community Portuguese proved a very fruitful collaboration.

Ajahn Vajiro pledged to lead the initiative for five years. Some of the monks from the Portuguese community Amaravati are part of this development. From the beginning of Vassa, 2012 (July), he has been living in Portugal.

For further information, please see: https://forestsangha.org/teachings/audio/speakers/ajahn-vajiro

VENERABLE AJAHN DHAMMAVIDU, originally from England, ordained as a monk in 1995 and has lived at Suan Mokkh, Chaiya, in South Thailand since then. He has helped to teach meditation to foreign retreatants at Suan Mokkh International Dharma Hermitage and Dipabhavan Meditation Center at Ko Samui Island. As a translator, he has been particularly interested in The Dhamma Proclamation Series, a multivolume collection of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu's major teachings.

For further information: http://dhammavidu.com/DV/Tan_Dhammavidu.html

VENERABLE AJAHN GAVESAKO was born in 1975 in Czech Republic. His interest in Buddhism started at the age of 15 by discovering some old books in the local library, mainly translations of the Buddha’s discourses in Czech and German language. After that he read English publications kindly sent to him from Sri Lanka by Bhikkhu Bodhi, who also corresponded with him. At the age of 18 he visited Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in England for the first time. Later he used to spend his summer holidays there every year and become familiar with the Thai forest tradition in the lineage of Ajahn Sumedho. While studying philosophy in Prague, he translated a number of Buddhist texts from Pali and English into Czech, including 'Buddha-Dhamma for Students' by Buddhadasa. In 1998 he became an anagarika at Amaravati Monastery, then in 2000 a samanera in Chithurst Monastery, and in 2001 he was ordained as a bhikkhu at Amaravati with Ajahn Sumedho as his preceptor (upajjhaya). Ajahn Gavesako spent several years in the monasteries of the Ajahn Chah tradition in England (Chithurst, Amaravati) and also in Thailand (Wat Pah Nanachat, Wat Marp Jan). After that he lived in Western monasteries in Switzerland. Italy, Germany and New Zealand. Ajahn Gavesako is currently resident at Chithurst Buddhist Monastery in southern England and is helping with the establishing of Skiptvet Buddhist Monastery in Norway.

For further information: cittaviveka.org & skiptvet.skogskloster.no

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