Anushka Fernandopulle formally trained in Buddhist meditation for over 25 years, primarily Vipassana or Insight Meditation (the root of secular Mindfulness meditation). After studying Buddhism at Harvard, she spent four years in full-time intensive meditation training in monasteries and retreat centers in the US, India and Sri Lanka. In the twenty years since then she continued to practice in daily life, studied the Pali Canon, and spent at least one month in intensive silent retreat most years.
Bhante Buddharakkhita was born and raised in Uganda, Africa. He first encountered Buddhism in 1990 while living in India, and he began practicing meditation in 1993. He was ordained as a Buddhist monk by the late Venerable U Silananda in 2002 at the Tathagata Meditation Center in San Jose, California and then he spent eight years under the guidance of Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society, West Virginia. He is the founder of the Uganda Buddhist Center in Uganda, and is also the spiritual director of Flowering Lotus Meditation Center in Magnolia, Mississippi. Bhante has been teaching meditation in Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia, and the U.S, since 2005.
Bhante Kovida grew up on Jamaica, West Indies, of Chinese descent. He immigrated to Canada, studied for a science degree, then traveled overland from Europe to India and Nepal in 1974-1975, where he began the study of Indian history and culture, Hatha Yoga and meditation, and Buddhism. Bhante Kovida took ordination with Venerable Balangoda Anandamaitreya, a noted scholar, teacher and meditation practitioner, in in Sri Lanka, in January, 1991.
Venerable 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 is a frequent visitor to our group and is a mentor to many. She studied Buddhism in Dharamsala, India, for fifteen years and received a doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Hawaii. She is a founder and past president of Sakyadhita: International Association of Buddhist Women, and director of Jamyang Foundation, an innovative education project for women in developing countries.
Grahame White has been involved in Buddhist meditation practice for over 40 years. He began his study in England in 1969 before being ordained as a Buddhist monk for one year in BodhGaya, India in 1971. He took a primary role in the establishment of Vipassana meditation in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw in Australia and co-founded the Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Center outside Sydney. Grahame has been a guest teacher for the past 15 years, guiding us on his yearly visits to our Island.
Grahame leads introductory and day long courses in Sydney and regularly teaches longer intensive retreats in the US. He has also helped pioneer a workshop format that enhances the transfer of mindfulness from the formal sitting practice into daily life. Grahame returns to Myanmar (Burma) each year in order to deepen his practice and study of the Buddha’s teachings and at times assist in the teaching of Vipassana retreats for foreigners. Grahame teaches a classical tradition of insight meditation with a relaxed, accessible style.
The Venerable Virañani is an American nun ordained in the Burmese Theravada tradition. She has been a nun for more than eight years and has been living at the Chanmyay Myaing Meditation Center in Burma since 2006. Ven. Virañani has studied the dharma and practiced meditation for many years, sitting numerous long-term retreats. As well as her commitment to the inner work of Buddhist meditation, Ven. Virañani is also deeply involved in compassionate action through her service to yogis in the Meditation Center and her dharma teaching in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and Burma.