H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. As such, he carries on a tradition that stretches unbroken back to the 13th century. He is committed to promoting basic human values, to fostering inter-religious harmony, advocating for the welfare of the Tibetan people and reviving ancient Indian knowledge.
His Holiness words to ‘Ehvam – International Spiritual Center for Peace’ in Israel (delivered via his personal assistant, Mr. Chhime Chhoekyapa):
Today the world is facing a time of great uncertainty and upheaval in many corners of the world. His Holiness feels that when it comes to making the world a better place, concern for the well-being of others is tantamount. He therefore appreciates your Center’s work for peace through steps like inter-religious harmony with active participation of spiritual leaders of different faiths. His Holiness believes in the oneness of humanity and therefore considers himself just one of the 7 billion human beings.
On his part His Holiness is committed to promoting human values such as compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline, and inter-religious harmony and understanding among the world’s major religious traditions.
His Holiness sends his prayers and good wishes
Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa
Venerable Emeritus Abbot Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa (known as Geshe Trinley Topgye) was born in 1937, and is one of the last generation of Tibetan Buddhist scholars to begin their educational careers in Tibet prior to the Chinese invasion. He has played an instrumental role in the reestablishment and preservation of Tibetan Buddhist traditions in exile, and in the spread of Tibetan Buddhism to the Western world.
In 1996, the Dalai Lama appointed him as the honorable Abbot of the Gyumed Tantric College. Khensur Rinpoche completed his three-year term as Abbot with dedication and success. He taught tantric studies continuously for three years and conducted numerous religious rituals and ceremonies.
Highly regarded for his scholarship and depth of religious practice, Rinpoche teaches frequently in New York, Washington D.C., and at Do Ngak Kunphen Ling (DNKL), a Tibetan Buddhist center in Connecticut, where he hosted a visit from the Dalai Lama in 2012. He is abbot emeritus of Gyumed Tantric College, head of Mey College’s Thewo regional house at Sera Monastery—one of the largest Tibetan monasteries in exile—and Spiritual Director of DNKL where he resides.
For more information about Rinpoche or DNKL, please visit: http://www.dnkldharma.org/
Lama Kunga, Ngor Thartse Rinpoche
Lama Kunga Rinpoche was born into a noble family in Lhasa, Tibet in 1935, the son of the last treasurer in the Dalai Lama’s government in Lhasa.
At the age of 7, he was recognized as a reincarnation of Sevan Repa, a heart disciple of Milarepa, Tibet’s great 11th-century poet-saint. Rinpoche entered Ngor Monastery at eight and was ordained as a monk at sixteen. In 1959, he was Vice-Abbot of Ngor Monastery, in the Sakya Tradition, but fled through western Tibet with some of his countrymen at the time of Chinese invasion.
Rinpoche came to America in 1962. He settled in California in 1972, and soon established the Ewam Choden Tibetan Buddhist Center in Kensington, California. Lama Kunga has also taught in New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon, Utah, Arkansas, Florida, southern California, Hawaii, and in Brazil and Costa Rico. In addition to various classes in Buddhism and Vajrayana, Lama Kunga offers instruction in the Tibetan language and culture.
With such a skilled and compassionate teacher, Lama Kunga Rinpoche’s students feel blessed by his close relationship to the Buddha Dharma and his kind generosity in sharing and teaching it.
For more information about Rinpoche or Ewam Choden Tibetan Buddhist Center, please visit: http://www.ewamchoden.org/
Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo
Venerable Karma Lekshe Tsomo (born 23 September 1944) is a Buddhist nun, scholar and social activist. She is a professor at the University of San Diego, where she teaches Buddhism and World Religions. She is co-founder and past president of the Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women and the founding director of the Jamyang Foundation, which supports the education of women and girls in the Himalayan region. She took novice precepts as a Buddhist nun in France in 1977, and full ordination in Korea in 1982.
Karma Lekshe Tsomo is a professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego, where she teaches Buddhism, World Religions, and Comparative Religious Ethics. She studied Buddhism in Dharamsala, India, for fifteen years and received a doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Hawaii. Her research has primarily concerned women in Buddhism, death and dying, and Buddhist philosophy and ethics.
She is the author of Sisters in Solitude: Two Traditions of Monastic Ethics for Women and Into the Jaws of Yama, Lord of Death: Buddhism, Bioethics, and Death, and numerous articles, including “Gender Equity and Human Rights,” and “Global Exchange: Women in the Transmission and Transformation of Buddhism.” In addition, she edited Eminent Buddhist Women; Buddhist Women and Social Justice: Ideals, Challenges, and Achievements; Innovative Buddhist Women: Swimming Against the Stream; Buddhist Women Across Cultures: Realizations; Out of the Shadows: Socially Engaged Buddhist Women; and Sakyadhita: Daughters of the Buddha.
Professor Tsomo emphasizes a dialectical approach to teaching, encouraging students to investigate the assumptions they bring to the study of religion and to dialogue on the fundamental questions of the human experience. She incorporates comparative and experiential approaches, including field research at local churches, temples, synagogues, and mosques. Her classes raise questions about the role of religion in contemporary life, including issues of race, privilege, gender, environment, economic ethics, politics, and violence. She encourages active discussion on issues of global concern, such as secularism, fundamentalism, religious syncretism, and inter-religious dialogue.
Lama Tsultrim Allione
Lama Tsultrim Allione is an author, internationally known Buddhist teacher, and the founder and resident lama of Tara Mandala Retreat Center. She is the author of Women of Wisdom and national bestseller, Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict, which is now translated into twenty languages, and now her new book Wisdom Rising: Journey into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine, May 2018.
Born in New England to an academic family, Lama Tsultrim traveled to India in her late teens and in 1970, at the age of twenty-two, was ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun by H. H. the Sixteenth Karmapa. After four years living as a nun in the Himalayan region, she returned her monastic vows, married, and raised a family of three children and now has six thriving grandchildren.
She has a Master’s degree in Buddhist Studies/Women’s Studies from Antioch University. Her writings and teachings come from her sublime Tibetan lamas as well as her experience as a Western woman and mother. She is known for her ability to translate the wisdom of the ancient Tibetan Buddhist tradition into clear teachings that are relatable and relevant to Western audiences.
Lama Tsultrim continues to guide Tara Mandala, as the resident lama, as well as thousands of students around the world. She was named Buddhist Woman of the Year in 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Dr. B. Alan Wallace
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.
His books discuss Eastern and Western scientific, philosophical, and contemplative modes of inquiry, often focusing on the relationships he sees between science and Buddhism. He is founder of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies.
For more information on Dr. B. Alan Wallace visit the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness website: http://www.alanwallace.org//
Elaine Jackson is a founding member of Vajrapani Institute and has been a student of Tibetan Buddhism since 1977.
She has studied with many of the greatest Buddhist teachers of our time including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lama Thubten Yeshe, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche and many others too numerous to list.
Elaine is known for the warmth and humor with which she teaches. In particular, she loves sharing the wealth of practical insights she has gained from her years of retreat and service within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
Elaine served as Executive Director of Vajrapani Institute for over five years and has also completed a three-year meditation retreat. She lives a contemplative life off-the-grid in the Santa Cruz mountains while offering Dharma teachings and meditation support.
For more information please click here: https://vajrapani.org/resident-teacher/
Our Peace Supporters and Partners
Shaykh Mowafaq Tarif
Sheikh Moafaq Tarif has been the Druze’ spiritual leader in Israel since 1993, continuing a lineage of spiritual leadership tracing back to 1753.
Sami Awad is the Executive Director of Holy Land Trust. He was born December 4th 1971 in the US. Sami is married to Rana Awad and together have three beautiful girls, Layaar, Larina and Lorian.
At a young age Sami was influenced by the teaching of his uncle Mubarak Awad, the Palestinian activist who promoted nonviolent resistance to the occupation during the first Intifadah (popular uprising) and was arrested and deported for his peaceful / nonviolent activists by the Israeli government. Through working with Mubarak, Sami was introduced to great leaders and visionaries of the global nonviolence movement; from Jesus to Gandhi to King.
Sami Awad holds a Masters Degree in International Relations from the American University in Washington D.C. and an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas.
Since his return and establishment of HLT, Sami has engaged himself locally, through promoting and engaging in nonviolence, healing and transformation work and globally through visiting and speaking in different countries, communities, political and religious organizations in places such as India, South Africa, numerous European countries, the US, etc.
For more information please click here: https://holylandtrust.org/
Born in Faradis, a village near Haifa, Ibtisam Mahameed was one of the first women to leave the village to seek an education. A devout Muslim, she works with many groups that promote interfaith dialogue and nonviolence, including the Interfaith Encounter Association and the Golden Road.
Ibtisam is deeply committed to strengthening the role of women in society, and was the first woman to run for mayor of her hometown. She recently received the “Unsung Heroes of Compassion” award from the Dalai Lama in San Francisco, CA. The award honors 50 individuals from across the globe for their work, commitment and dedication to the service of others.
Ihab Balha is the manager of the “The Orchard of Abraham’s children” Foundation, a peace activist and an educator, with experience in the area of Coexistence and bridging gaps between people.
For more the 18 years, he has been an Islamic Cleric and a researcher of the Sufi Movement – the mythical Islamic movement.
Ihab is sanctifying values of Islam for Peace and Love which constitute powerful tools to bridge and join hearts between people.
Ihab is a family man and the father of Noor, Anis and Habib.
For more information please click here: http://www.bismilla.org/
Rabbi Esteban Gottfried
Esteban Gottfried was ordained as a rabbi at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem and is a graduate of the Israeli Rabbinical Seminary of the Shalom Hartman Institute and Hamidrasha at Oranim.
Esteban studied at Tel Aviv University, “Beit Zvi,” and “Nissan Nativ Drama Studio” theater schools and at the Royal Court Theater in London. After completing his studies, he had an active career as playwright, stage director, screenwriter and actor for 20 years.
Esteban was awarded prizes and awards, including two “Israeli Oscars” (Ofir) as a writer and as an actor. He is married to Ruthie and is the father of Maya and Toby.
For more information: http://btfila.org/person/esteban-gottfried/
Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum
Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum is the founder and spiritual leader of Kehilat Zion of Jerusalem and co-founder of the seminary for Israeli rabbis of Hamidrasha and the Hartman Institute.
Her work spans and links tradition and innovation, working toward Jewish spiritual and ethical renaissance. She devotes much of her energy to the renewal of community life in Israel and the struggle for human rights.
She has served as rabbi of Congregation Magen Avraham in the Negev; as a congregational rabbi in the New York suburbs alongside Rabbi Gordon Tucker; and as Assistant Dean of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary in Jerusalem.
In 2010 she was named by the Forward as one of the most influential religious leaders in Israel.
For more information please click here: https://www.zion-jerusalem.org.il/
Professor Avi Elkayam
Prof. Avi Elkayam is Head of the Department of Jewish Thought and Head of the Shlomo Moussaieff Center for the Study of Kabbalah, Faculty of Jewish Studies, Bar-Ilan University. He is co-editor of Da’at – a periodical for Jewish philosophy and Kabbalah, co-founder and co-editor of Kabbalah – a journal for the study of Jewish mysticism.
Prof. Elkayam Translates Arabic mystical poetry from the Middle Ages and modern Arabic poetry and he is one of the founders of the Derech Abraham Group for spiritual dialogue between Jews and Muslims.