Born in Canada, Ven. U Jagara was introduced to Buddhist practice in the early 1970’s by Robert Hover, and ordained as a monk under the Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw in Burma in 1979. He spent 15 years in Sri Lanka combining meditation with the study of Buddhist texts and periodically traveled to India where he practiced in intense retreats with S. N. Goenka. For several years he conducted retreats in India, America, Europe and Asia in the S.N. Goenka tradition. Since 1995 U Jagara has trained under the guidance of Pa Auk Sayadaw, the Burmese master renowned for his faithful adherence to the Visuddhimagga as both a practical guide to jhana and a detailed exposition of direct analytical approaches to vipassana. U Jagara assists Pa Auk Sayadaw in the teaching.
Sayadaw U Tejaniya began his Buddhist training as a young teenager in Burma under the late Shwe Oo Min Sayadaw (1913–2002). After a career in business and life as a householder, he has become a permanent monk since 1996. He teaches meditation at Shwe Oo Min Dhammasukha Tawya in Rangoon, Burma.
Sayadaw’s relaxed demeanor and easy sense of humor can belie a commitment to awareness he encourages his students to apply in every aspect of their lives. His earlier life as a householder gives him a rare insight into the challenges faced by his lay students. His book, “Don’t Look Down on the Defilements, They Will Laugh at You”, aptly characterizes his teaching style—accessible and true to the traditional teachings of the Buddha.
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.
Alan Clements is an author, performing artist, media activist, and founder of the World Dharma vision. As the first American to ordain as a Buddhist monk in Burma, he lived for nearly five years in a Rangoon monastery training in Buddhist psychology and mindfulness meditation under the guidance of two of the most respected meditation teachers of the modern era, the late Mahasi Sayadaw and his successor Sayadaw U Pandita. In 1984 he was forced to leave the country by the dictatorship, with no reason given. He has returned numerous times to witness and document the human rights violations in that country. Subsequently, he has been “blacklisted” from reentering the country by the regime.
He is the author of a number of books and films, including, “Burma: The Next Killing Fields?”, (co-author) “Burma’s Revolution of the Spirit,” “Natural Freedom — The Dharma Beyond Buddhism”, “Instinct for Freedom”, “Spiritually Incorrect - In Defense of Being Human,” “Swimming Through Stone,” and “The Voice of Hope — Conversations with Aung San Suu Kyi.”
He is the co-founder and director of the Burma Project USA, World Dharma Publications, and the World Dharma Online Institute (WDOI). Clements is also a political/spiritual satirist, and performs his acclaimed one-man show “Spiritually Incorrect: In Defense of Being Human,” to audiences around the world.
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 Haley is the Director of Mindfulness Programs at the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality & Healing where he teaches, assists with research and sets the strategy for the mindfulness program area. He has been trained by the Center for Mindfulness, the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, the Insight Meditation Society and the Coaches Training Institute. He has practiced meditation for over 15 years, including many months of intensive retreat practice, and worked for start-ups, mid-sized companies and large multinationals both domestically and internationally in legal and business roles. Alex is a founding member of the Mindfulness for Students network and leads residential retreats around the country. For more info visit www.alexanderhaley.org.
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 and qualities of the heart.