All conflict starts in the mind. If we do not invest time or energy into something, we will not gain a result. This is the same with the mind.
We will host Spiritual Retreats for investors, philanthropists, entreprenuers and change makers in comfortable and inspirational settings. To do good outside, we must go inside.
Through Educate Hearts and Minds, The Inner and Outer Peace Fund will create synergistic programs between the west and the east to foster benevolent human beings. The initial focus of the Fund will be to allocate capital to educational organizations in low-income communities.
“If we are to ensure a peaceful future for our world, I believe that it is important that we foster positive values like compassion, kindness and love in our children’s minds from an early age.”
– His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
The Tibetan culture and identity is “nearing extinction,” according to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. It is of immeasurable benefit to the world that this culture based on loving-kindness and compassion survives.
If we are to ensure a peaceful world, we must address the spiritual and emotional development of youth and design wisdom-based education programs that nurture their inner life.
Cultivating the seed of compassion and a heart-centered approach to education is essential in our interconnected world where global goodness and friendships are essential tools in harvesting positive relations, productivity and the collective needs of all people.
The NOW I KNOW series is a unique and vibrant series of books for children about cultivating wholesome states of mind.
Based on the one thousand-year-old eight verses for training the mind by Master Geshe Langri Thangpa, these teachings never before translated for children, which seek to preserve the cultural heritage of Tibet and honor the wisdom of its people in the world today.
Recited daily by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, each one of these stories offers a different method of finding happiness for self and others and features a lesson which once learned will put the reader on a path towards a more fulfilling more sustaining way of life.
The Inner Peace and Outer Peace Fund will help build nourishment libraries amongst youth at schools and organizations in Bhutan, the Himalayan region and select schools in the United States. Our goal is to spark a conversation that puts cultivating happiness as a skill at the forefront of 21st century education for children.
One of the tragedies for villagers living In the Himalayan regions is the dearth of schools. They are few, far between, and frequently not going beyond the primary grades or junior high. Children must walk many kilometers per day to school, something which is not feasible during the snowy winters or rainy summers. For this reason, the children of the Himalayas must either leave their villages for urban areas or remain uneducated (or barely educated), rendering them unable to get proper employment later in life. Giving these children access to education is crucial.
Divine Shakti Foundation currently has built, renovated and expanded schools in a few regions of the Himalayas. There is need for much, much more. This can begin with school buses that can carry children from the villages to the nearby schools, and then expand to include the construction of more, better quality, schools in more villages.
Divine Shakti Foundation has been running, sponsoring, and assisting schools in the Himalayan region for more than two decades. We run free children’s schools as well as women’s vocational training programs. However there is a great need to scale up dramatically.
Himalayan Healing Centre, Help in Action is a voluntary non-profit association founded by T.Y.S. Lama Gangchen, a Tibetan lama healer. Resident in Italy since 15 years Lama Gangchen works tirelessly to promote reciprocal exchanges between the east and west, be it from a cultural point of view or that of humanitarian aid in favour of those places less fortunate. The Tibetan name “Kiurok Tsochun” that he gave to the Association means help for the poorest and most forgotten. Registered with the Italian Government in 1997, the Association – run entirely by volunteers – has been active since 1992. It offers long distance adoptions and humanitarian aid projects in favour of countries that are underdeveloped. The Association is part of the Lama Gangchen World Peace Foundation, a United Nations affiliated Non Governmental Organization.
The Tibetan name “Kiurok Tsochun” that he gave to the Association means help for the poorest and most forgotten. Registered with the Italian Government in 1997, the Association – run entirely by volunteers – has been active since 1992. It offers long distance adoptions and humanitarian aid projects in favour of countries that are underdeveloped.
The Long Distance Adoptions Project
The Long Distance Adoptions Project is active in Nepal and in various Tibetan monasteries. It is possible to “adopt” a child but also a sick, disabled or elderly person, or even a monk, of any age, living and studying in a Tibetan monastery. Some of the donations collected are also used in the realization of basic infrastructures – schools, clinics and aqueducts – in the communities in which the children live.
Fundraising is aimed at the realization of healthcare, educational and social projects within the Himalayan Community, such as the construction and running of schools, clinics, dispensaries, monasteries, aqueducts and the rehabilitation of people with disabilities.
“Inner peace is the most solid foundation for world peace.”
– T.Y.S. Lama Gangchen Rinpoche
Children in Nepal
The Association works mainly in the area of the capital, Kathmandu. One of the poorest countries in the world, with a daily income of less than a dollar, most people find themselves living on the threshold of extreme poverty. However, the Kathmandu Valley still attracts thousands of poor people from the countryside who are in desperate need of work. But, as the economic situation of the country continues to worsen the numbers of unemployed and hungry grow; in the capital vast areas of degradation exist where the rising number of poor live in precarious homes that lack water, sanitation, electricity, food, mattresses, blankets… Public services, when available, have a fee and so it is the poor who often remain excluded.
Parents have to pay to send their children to school, but families who have a sufficient income are rare so many children start work at an early age and the illiteracy rate in the country remains high.
Thanks to this project approximately 900 children are enrolled into schools in the Kathmandu area. These children, from the poorest families, are guaranteed education and medical care. Some of the children who first entered into the long distance adoptions programme, are now studying in further education.
Schools in Tibet
This project takes care of some already existent infant schools in the Shigatse area of Central Tibet. These extremely poor schools, made up of 3 to 4 rooms, are constructed of mud bricks with beaten earth floors and are almost completely without equipment or furniture.
Village schools offer instruction only up to the third year. The school of Nye is the only one in this district that offers education up to the sixth class and therefore also has to offer very basic residential facilities, because of the lack of transport, to the 200 children who come from surrounding villages.
The schools often lack desks, chairs, money for heating, to buy books and scholastic materials, to carry out basic maintenance such as roof repairs and the replacement of broken glass that is so necessary due to the extreme climate of Tibet. Donations received by the Association are used to cover these expenses. Thanks to funds raised for the schools project, the Shongma Shang Village school was completely rebuilt in order to replace the existing dangerous building. Other donations were used to buy blankets and mattresses for the children of Nye School, who slept on wooden palettes and were badly covered, due to the lack of blankets, against the extreme climatic conditions. Many of the children “adopted at a distance” in Tibet attend one of these schools, and in these villages the numbers of children able to receive an education is growing.
For children who do not receive any help it is very difficult for them to attend school, because their families have no income and therefore not even the small amount of money needed to buy school materials, but these parents also need to give up help in the fields, with younger siblings, with the animals, for the collecting of fuel and so on.
Thanks to the generosity of donors, schools have been built in villages that the Association helps.
The Emergency Fund
The Association, in Nepal, Tibet and India, is often approached by people in desperate need of immediate assistance: some need money for basic medical care for themselves or their children (there is no free medical care in these countries) and others for urgent life-saving operations; some people because they have no work or have lost their harvest and have no other way to feed their family or pay the rent; others because they are elderly and alone, not able to work they are left abandoned to themselves.
The Emergency Fund also takes care of sustaining temporarily those children whose sponsorships have been interrupted. In this way children are not forced to leave school or to return to their initial difficult living situations.
Photo credit: National Geographic
“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”
– President John F. Kennedy
Many of the monks at the Segyu Gaden Phodrang Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal come from small villages where the families are very poor and uneducated. Coming to the monastery provides a unique opportunity for these monks to receive an education in modern subjects in addition to the traditional religious training.
When the monks enter the monastery, Segyu takes the full responsibility for their welfare, their education, and their health. This enables the monks to focus completely on their studies and to practice the holy Buddha-Dharma.
Learn more: Monks Needing Sponsorship
PayPal directly to the Segyu Gaden Phodrang Monastery: Sponsor a Monk
Since the Earthquake
At this time, Segyu finds itself in an uncharted, unique situation due to last year’s earthquake. With a loss of funds and support, the Segyu has taken under its care more than 60 mini monks of tender age and in desperate conditions. The Segyu cares for these children and plants the seeds of dharma to benefit their future lives.
The Segyu is the only Tantric University in its tradition, and one of the most significant needs is for the Segyu to accommodate and house monastics from all of the great Gelug monasteries to continue with their Tantric studies. Many lamas are working together to create a new comprehensive study program, which will protect and ensure the continuation of this pure, unbroken Tantric Lineage of Je Tsongkhapa. Your support also helps to support the growing number of mini monks since the earthquake, as well as the senior monks who care for them.
Through your kindness and generosity, you can assist Segyu Gaden Phodrang Monastery in its mission to educate and train monks in the fundamentals of Dharma. One way is to Sponsor a Monk. By pledging $25 each month, the donor will help provide the monks with proper nutrition, medical care, and education. The ICV Inner and Outer Peace Fund will direct your philanthropy to support the monks, and you will be given a picture and information about your monk friend with whom you may correspond. If your monk is too young to write to you, the monastery will provide you with updates on the monk’s life and progress. Your generosity can be paramount in helping the Segyu Gaden Phodrang Monastery to provide the young monks with good physical and spiritual care.
“Doing retreat means you’re making war with your inner enemy – delusions.”
– Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Albagnano Healing Meditation Centre
Address: Via Campo dell’Eva, 1, 28813 Albagnano di Bée (VB) Italia
Albagnano Healing Meditation Centre is located near Bée in the province of Verbania on Lake Maggiore. Overlooking the suggestive panorama of the lake, Albagnano is immersed in pine and chestnut woods at an altitude of 600 metres on the edge of the Val Grande national park.
Tibetan Master and Healer T.Y.S. Lama Gangchen Rinpoche inaugurated the Healing and Meditation Centre in 1999. He has been living in Albagnano since then, bringing together a community of people who share an interest in spirituality and wish to live in harmony with nature, carrying out numerous projects that contribute to revitalising the village and rural culture.
The Centre, of Tibetan Buddhist Mahayana Vajrayana tradition, welcomes everyone who is interested in regenerating and healing the energies of body and mind, and developing their human potential through ancient spiritual and healing methods. Courses are held on Buddhist philosophy, psychology and meditation, and the meditative techniques of NgalSo Tantric Self Healing.
The Centre welcomes people who wish to undertake spiritual retreats in a pure environment. We offer individual consultations, ancient Himalayan medical traditions, therapies for physical and mental wellbeing, Reiki, Yoga, Indian and Tibetan astrology, art therapy and other activities to develop personal qualities, increase happiness and inner peace. The Centre also organizes humanitarian aid for Himalayan countries, pilgrimages to the sacred places of Buddhism and inter-religious meetings for world peace.
Address: PO: Swargashram, Rishikesh-249304, Uttarakhand, India
Phone: +91-135-244-0055, +91-135-244-0088
Parmarth Niketan is a true spiritual haven, lying on the holy banks of Mother Ganga in the lap of the lush Himalayas. It is the largest ashram in Rishikesh, providing its thousands of pilgrims who come from all corners of the Earth with a clean, pure and sacred atmosphere as well as abundant, beautiful gardens. With over 1,000 rooms, the facilities are a perfect blend of modern amenities and traditional, spiritual simplicity. Parmarth Niketan is located in Swargashram, on the main road, just on the banks of the sacred Ganges River.
It is no surprise that pilgrims are drawn here from all over the world. The awe-inspiring beauty of the ashram, the clear flowing Ganga, the majestic mountains, and the lush green forests will embrace and rejuvenate your entire being. Parmarth Niketan offers comfort, inspiration and upliftment for your body, mind and spirit as well as a deeper connection with the Divine. As you stay in the ashram, you will feel your soul bathing in the peace of sacred energies, including those that emanate from nature and those that linger from the timeless healing powers of saints, sages and holy ones. Parmarth Niketan contains within it the voice and the spirit of divine communion.
The daily activities at Parmarth Niketan include morning universal prayers, daily yoga and meditation classes, daily satsang and lecture programs, kirtan, the world-renowned Ganga Aarti at sunset, as well as Nature Cure and Ayurvedic treatment.
There are frequently special cultural and spiritual programs given by visiting revered saints, acclaimed musicians, spiritual and social leaders and others.
Additionally, there are frequent camps in which pilgrims come from across the world to partake in intensive courses on yoga, meditation, pranayama, stress management, acupressure, Reiki and other ancient Indian sciences.
Address: WCCM International Office, St Marks, Myddelton Square, London, EC1R 1XX, United Kingdom
Phone: + 44 (0) 20 7278 2070
A new contemplative centre and meditation retreat to help to make the world more peaceful. In the past 20 years, the World Community for Christian Meditation and Meditatio, its secular outreach, have shown that meditation builds community. Bonnevaux, its new home, is an inspirational opportunity to take this work to the next stage.
Contemplative centres through history have always served as places of peace and reconciliation. A thousand years ago a Benedictine monastery was built in Bonnevaux, near Poitiers in France. On these ancient foundations we are going to develop a contemplative centre for the 21st century.
Bonnevaux will contribute to the peace-building and mutual understanding so much needed in our world now. As a meditation centre with its roots deep in the Christian tradition and yet open to all in an inclusive spirit, it will show the potential of meditation for people of all ages, beliefs and backgrounds to unify minds and heal divided hearts. With its focus on a simple and universal teaching Bonnevaux will deepen the contemplative dimension of Christian life and also bring the fruits of meditation to people of other religious or secular beliefs. A wide range of retreats and events will be shaped to address the needs of participants from diverse cultures.
Bonnevaux is a beautiful site which still retains parts of the original monastery built there in 1119. It is an ideal space, with a spirit of deep peace and beauty, for a contemplative retreat centre attuned to the needs of our time.
Address: West Ogwell, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ12 6EWW, United Kingdom
Phone: + 44 (0) 16 2633 3613
Gaia House is a silent meditation retreat centre, a sanctuary of contemplative calm set amongst the gentle hills and quiet woodlands of South Devon.
Founded in 1983, we are a registered charity committed to preserving, protecting and enhancing emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual health through meditation.
Through our year-round programme of weekend and week-long group retreats we offer meditation instruction and teachings drawn from a wide variety of Buddhist traditions. Additionally, we cater for long-term solitary meditators and work retreatants.
We warmly welcome all people of every age, ethnicity, cultural heritage and religious background, socio-economic group, ability, sexual orientation and gender identity. To benefit from meditation, all that is needed is an interest in inner exploration and development.
What is the purpose of coming on meditation retreat?
Buddhist meditation retreats are an opportunity to explore and develop serenity, wisdom and compassion through meditation and mindfulness practice in a supportive environment.
All retreats at Gaia House share the common aim of Buddhist contemplative traditions: to free the mind and heart from confusion, self-centredness and anguish. This opportunity allows us to cultivate moment-to-moment awareness that nurtures inner stillness and peace, insight into the nature of our experience and the fostering of emotional resources with which to respond more fully to suffering.
What sort of meditation is taught at Gaia House?
Our retreats are predominantly based in the Buddhist practices of Insight (Vipassana), Loving-kindness (Metta) and Zen meditation. Despite the varieties of meditation practice, all of our Dharma teachers share an aspiration to encourage a continuity of self-awareness and experiential learning.
The teachings and practices offered at Gaia House are founded in the spiritual teachings of the Buddha, who lived 2,500 years ago. Through his own deep interest in life and commitment to discovering freedom he came to a profound realisation of the understanding and practices that ennoble and liberate a human being. What is offered during retreats is the opportunity to experience this ennobling wisdom for ourselves.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
– Nelson Mandela
Our experienced team has the character, courage and commitment to solving the world’s greatest challenges. We operate on the ground to facilitate essential research. Conducting large-scale interviews and clarifying risks and opportunities, we create engagement with community leaders to establish sustainable solutions.
Robert Smith, the founder of ICV, entered Wall Street over 20 years ago with lessons passed down from four generations of family members who worked in the investment industry before him. For more than a decade, Robert has allocated capital on behalf of and co-invested with Family Offices. Over the course of his career, he managed sales and trading teams at leading financial institutions, where he built a Fund Investor network and led in profitability at three firms: once while working in a trading capacity at the world’s largest market making firm and twice while working in an equity capital markets capacity at boutique investment banks. In 2014, Robert founded ICV to bring together his network of Family Offices and Fund Investors to evaluate opportunities that create a social impact beyond a financial return. Robert serves as Business Strategy Advisor to New Frontier Bio, a multi-asset holding company, which leverages the long-term involvement of the Kennedy family in healthcare to identify, finance and develop novel medical technologies from inception through clinical proof of concept. He serves as a member of the President’s Advisory Board of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, 16th on U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-2018 Best Hospitals Honor Roll. Robert is Senior Advisor for Fundraising and Partnerships to the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. He is a member of the Advisory Council of Represent.Us., a Trustee of The Children’s Village and the Africa Rising Foundation. Robert serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Chaeli Foundation, Childhood Cancer Kids, Together for Girls and Tuesday’s Children. Robert is also Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors of The Harmon Foundation, a private foundation established in 1922 by his great, great grandfather, William E. Harmon, who operated the largest real estate company in the world at the turn of the 20th century, created the mortgage and college loans, fueled the Harlem Renaissance and donated to thousands of nonprofits over his lifetime “to bring smiles and tender thoughts to the great in heart in high and low places, and to comfort and cheer those who do exceptional things or suffer.” In 2018, Robert was recognized as one of The 100 Visionary Leaders leading us towards a better world by Real Leaders Magazine. He was also inducted as a member of Evolutionary Leaders, a network of people who feel a sense of urgency about the state of our world and are forging a movement for the conscious evolution of humanity. At the invitation of T.Y.S. Lama Gangchen Rinpoche, Robert received the Vajravali cycle, a collection of tantric empowerments and sadhana practices, including the Kalachakra Tantra, one of the most advanced Tantric systems within Tibetan Buddhism, from His Eminence Lama Nyitrul Tulku Rinpoche of the Longchu Monastery in Yushu, Tibet/China.
Shelley Lewis is Executive Director of the Inner and Outer Peace Fund. She is a spiritual/wellness entrepreneur and writer based in New York City. Her will to effect positive change and empathic nature have led her to be at the forefront of designing creative lifestyle solutions for close to two decades. Noted by her contemporaries as the Doyenne of Inner Calm, she is well known for directing community based initiatives in New York City that foster compassion and authentic connection. Shelley is a recognized thought leader in the field of wellness and spirituality founding healing brand Sacred Space NY as a means to help New Yorker’s find their inner calm and discover practices for inner peace. Her upcoming brand The Equanimity Expert teaches a methodology for living based on wisdom based principles and Stoic Philosophy. Shelley is the founder of Dharma Publishing Company, Chocolate Sauce, devoted to nourishing the inner worlds of children and is currently launching an empowerment fitness concept for tween girls called Wonder Gal. She is also the founder and originator of the invite only salon Hedonic Lab; a reflective laboratory for people pursuing their passion with purpose. She has made appearances on Al Jazeera, BBC News Worldwide, Deepak Chopra’s Sirirus Radio discussing her humanitarian endeavors and was a featured contributor for the social impact section of the Huffington Post. Her entree into the world of philanthropy came when she pursued her calling to give back whilst working in the art world and was appointed Director of new funding initiatives for a private foundation that worked closely with the National Science Foundation. The Sari Filtration Project in Dhaka Bangladesh for which she was appointed field offer in 2003 was a trip which changed the trajectory of her life. Through her role she was privy to multiple early stage studies in the fields of neuroscience and mindfulness based stress reduction. Becoming well acquainted with many of the key academics in the field and their research, a particular interest at the cross section of insight and human flourishing led her to a six months teaching program at Teachers College, Columbia University designing socially and emotionally intelligent curriculum for children. Originally from the UK she moved to London to pursue a fine arts course at Christie’s auction house. Once graduating she relocated to New York to continue her career at Christie’s and The Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco before her trip to Bangladesh whilst working with the National Science Foundation led to the creation of her first entreprenurial pursuit, an award winning bi-lingual children’s book to help raise money to rebuild schools in Ghazni province Afghanistan. Blending her background in the arts, philanthropy, publishing and wellness, Shelley applies her holistic experience — she is a certified crisis counselor, positive psychology coach and yoga teacher — with her creative talent and entrepreneurial drive to ensure each project she works on serves the needs of those less fortunate. A quiet force of nature her formidable network of influencers make her well suited to spearhead the development of IOPF and cultivate its vision as a hub for impactful initiatives that help aid world peace by cultivating inner peace. Shelley holds a Master of Arts Degree from University of Glasgow and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.
T.S.Y. Lama Gangchen Tulku Rinpoche is the holder of a long and unbroken lineage of healing lamas and tantric masters. He has a profound knowledge of the interdependent relationship between the body and mind, and has developed the ability to understand the causes and conditions of both mental and physical illness, beyond the mere physical symptoms. Thus, he is able to aid many people overcome and heal their physical and mental problems by helping them to reconnect with their innermost pure-crystal self-healing energy. Born in Drakshu, a small village in western Tibet in 1941, he was recognised at an early age to be a reincarnate lama healer and was enthroned at Gangchen Choepeling Monastery at the age of five. At the age of twelve he received the ‘Kachen’ degree, which is usually conferred after twenty years of study. Between the age of thirteen and eighteen, he studied medicine, astrology, meditation and philosophy in two of the major monastic universities of Tibet: Sera and Tashi Lhunpo. He also studied at Gangchen Gompa, Tropu Gompa and Neytsong Monastery. In 1963, he went into exile to India where he continued his studies for the following seven years at Varanasi Sanskrit University in Benares. In 1970, he received the Geshe Rigram diploma from Sera Monastic University situated in South India. After his graduation, he dedicated his time to the Tibetan communities in Nepal and India where he healed and saved the lives of many people. In Sikkim he was named the private physician to the Royal Family. In 1982, he visited Europe for the first time and in the same year he established his first European centre: Karuna Choetsok in Lesbos, Greece, where he planted a Bodhi tree in the ‘Buddha Garden’ and consecrated what was to become the first in a long line of World Peace Buddha statues, thankas and images. Since then he has travelled extensively – to over 50 countries around the world – both healing and teaching peace, non-formal education and the inner sciences. During these years he has led many pilgrimages throughout the world to some of the most important holy places of the Buddhist tradition but also to the sacred sites of other religious and spiritual denominations. In 1988, he opened his first residential dharma centre outside of Asia: ‘Shide Choe Tsok’ Peace Dharma Centre in Sao Paulo, Brazil and soon after, in 1989, Kunpen Lama Gangchen was established in Milan, Italy. He is now the founder of numerous Dharma centres around the world and in 1992 he instituted the Lama Gangchen World Peace Foundation LGWPF (a UN affiliated NGO). He is also the promoter of the proposal to create a permanent spiritual forum within the United Nations, composed of representatives from all religious movements dedicated to the creation of world peace. Lama Gangchen lives in Albagnano, Italy and is an Italian citizen.
Ven. Lama Nyitrul Rinpoche is one of the great lamas of our time who holds many precious and rare lineages of Sutra and Tantra. He resides at Longchu Monastery in Yushu, Tibet/China. In 2018, he was invited by Lama Gangchen Rinpoche to the Albagnano Healing and Meditation Centre to give the 45 empowerments of the Vajravali cycle. The Vajravali is a compendium of texts of the various tantric deities and rituals. The collection of tantric empowerments and sadhana practices was systemized in the 12th century by Abhayākaragupta (Jigme Jungne Bepa), a Buddhist monk, scholar and tantric master and the abbot of Vikramasila, one of medieval India’s main study and practice centers of tantric Buddhism. The Vajravali is important because it comprises a single harmonized tantric ritual system or Ocean of Mandalas that can be applied to all tantric Buddhist mandalas. The cycle contains empowerments and blessing rituals of various aspects of deities including Kalachakra, Guhyasamaja, Heruka, Yamantaka, Hevajra, Vajrayogini, and the Five Buddha Families.
Lama Michel Rinpoche was born in 1981 in Sao Paulo, Brazil in a Christian-Jewish family. At the age of five his connection with Tibetan Buddhism became evident when he met Lama Gangchen Rinpoche during his first visit to Brazil, organized by his parents. In the following years, Lama Gangchen Rinpoche and other masters recognized Lama Michel as a tulku, a reincarnation of a Tibetan Buddhist lama. Great lamas like Zopa Rinpoche, Dagyab Rinpoche and Ghelek Rinpoche have confirmed that Lama Michel is the reincarnation of Drubchok Gyawal Sandrup, a Lama of Gangchen Chöpel Ling, a monastery in Tibet. During the fifteenth century at the time of the first Dalai Lama and the beginning of Lama Tsong Khapa’s Gelugpa school, Panchen Zangpo Tashi, one of Lama Gangchen’s incarnations, founded Gangchen Chöpel Ling monastery. His successor, the second regent of the throne, was Drubchok Gyawal Sandrup, a great yogi and master who gave many philosophical teachings. At the age of twelve, Lama Michel decided spontaneously to abandon a ‘normal’ life to undertake a monastic life in southern India. He went to live at Sera Me Monastery – a monastic university with four thousand monks – and for twelve years he received the traditional training that is provided to lamas. Since 2004 he lives in Italy with his master Lama Gangchen Rinpoche. From 2006 up to 2015 Lama Michel spent two months a year studying at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, Tibet, under the guidance of the abbot, Kachen Losang Puntsok Rinpoche, one of the main living masters of Tibet. He studied philosophy, tantra, medicine and astrology, and completed his training in Buddhist Philosophy, meditation practices, Lam Rim, Lo Djong and Vajrayana. His Tibetan name is Chang Chub Chopel Lobsang Nyetrab, which means ‘Wise and Famous Mind of Enlightenment which Spreads Dharma Successfully’. From an early age, Lama Michel has travelled the world with Lama Gangchen Rinpoche giving speeches and teachings to his friends and disciples in a very loving and kind way. Nowadays Lama Michel dedicates his life to sharing his knowledge and experience worldwide in all kinds of formal and informal contexts such as conferences, speeches, teachings, retreats, in schools and universities, through social media etc. With his clarity, compassion and wisdom he shares the profound and vast Buddhist philosophy in an excellent way, perfectly adapted to the needs of people in our contemporary society. Lama Michel guides various Buddhist Centres worldwide, such as Centro de Dharma da Paz in Brazil and Albagnano Healing Meditation Centre in Italy.
H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji‘s motto in life is, “In the Service of God and humanity.” Selflessly dedicated to the welfare of all, He leads, directs and inspires numerous large-scale initiatives that are touching the lives of countless people across India and around the world. Touched by the hand of God at the tender age of eight, Pujya Swamiji left His home to live a life devoted to God and humanity, spending His youth in silence, meditation and austerities high in the Himalayas. At the age of seventeen, after nine years of unbroken, intense spiritual practice, He returned from the forest under the direction of His guru, and obtained an academic education to parallel His spiritual one. Today, Pujya Swamiji’s religion is unity, and he has been a leader in numerous international, interfaith events, summits and parliaments, including at the United Nations, the Vatican, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, the House of Commons, the Parliament of World’s Religions, Religions for Peace, KAICIID, the Hindu-Jewish Summit in Jerusalem, and countless others. Pujya Swamiji is also the Founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) India, the world’s first international initiative which brings together the world’s faiths as allies in helping to ensure every person around the world has access to healthy, life-sustaining Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); the India Heritage Research Foundation (IHRF), an international, non-profit foundation which is known for humanitarian activities, as well as intellectual endeavors, such as the publication of the 11-volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism, as well as free education, medical services, ashrams in the sacred land of Mansarovar and Mt. Kailash in Tibet, and morel; the International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), which draws countless people every year to Rishikesh, India, the birthplace of yoga; the world’s-first Hindu-Jain temple, located in Pittsburgh, and the Minto Shiva temple in Sydney Australia. Pujya Swamiji has also played crucial roles in the founding of innumerable other temples and Indian cultural centres around the world. Pujya Swamiji is also on the Board of Trustees of the India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI), set up by the Government of India in 2008 as a not-for-profit Trust to facilitate Overseas Indian philanthropy into social and development projects in India. He furthermore serves on the Advisory Board of KAICIID (King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Inter-religious and Intercultural Dialogue), which is an intergovernmental organization whose mandate is to promote globally the use of dialogue to prevent and resolve conflict, and to enhance understanding and cooperation among different cultures and religions. Pujya Swamiji is the recipient of innumerable awards, including: the World Peace Ambassador Award, Mahatma Gandhi Humanitarian Award, Hindu of the Year Award, the Lions Club Prominent Personality Award, Best Citizens of India Award, the Uttaranchal Ratan Award, and many more. However, Pujya Swamiji seems unaffected by this incredible list of accomplishments and remains a pious child of God, owning nothing, draped in saffron robes, living a life of true renunciation. His days in Rishikesh are spent offering service to those around him. Thousands travel from across the globe simply to sit in His presence, to receive His “darshan.” He also travels the world, bringing the light of wisdom, inspiration, upliftment and the divine touch to countless souls.
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji was raised in an American family in Hollywood, California and graduated from Stanford University. She was completing her Ph.D. when she left America in 1996 to come and live permanently at Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India. She has been living there since, engaged in spiritual study, practice, and service. She was officially initiated into the order of Sanyas (monastic renunciation) in the year 2000, by her Guru, His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji. Sadhviji is a renowned speaker who gives keynote addresses at large forums, on a wide variety of topics ranging from conscious business to science and spirituality to sustainable development to the keys of happiness and peace in life to all aspects of yoga. She has also been a featured speaker at the United Nations, Parliament of World Religions and many international conferences and summits. Her talks blend the knowledge and logic of the West with the insights, spirituality and wisdom of the East, and she is renowned as a spiritual bridge between the two cultures. At Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, where she lives most of the year, she teaches meditation, gives spiritual discourses and daily satsang, provides counseling and oversees myriad charitable and humanitarian projects and activities. Sadhviji is also: President of Divine Shakti Foundation, a foundation dedicated to bringing education and empowerment to women and children which runs free schools, vocational training programs and empowerment programs. Secretary-General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, an international interfaith organization dedicated to bringing clean water, sanitation & hygiene to the children of the world. Director of the annual world-famous International Yoga Festival at Parmarth which has been covered in Time Magazine, CNN, New York Times, Le Monde and other prestigious publications. Sadhviji has a Ph.D in Psychology and was the Managing Editor for the monumental project of the 11-volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism.
Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.
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In our overly stimulated and chaotic world, A Modern Day Sacred Space helps us find authentic presence in a culture of busyness. This groundbreaking and iconographic meditation orb reinvents the concept of sacred space, with purposefully built installations that reduce stress and restore mind body balance.
“While outer conditions certainly exert a great influence on our well-being. It is the mind that allows for the flourishing of genuine happiness.”
– Matthieu Ricard