Speakers

We are happy to host various distinguished, international speakers. Many of our invited speakers studied directly under the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Newer generations who have been touched by the work of the Vidyadhara will also share their thoughts and inspiration

Lady Diana Mukpo

Diana J. Mukpo was born in England in 1953. She attended the prestigious Benenden School until she left at the age of sixteen to marry the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Mrs. Mukpo moved to the United States in 1970, where she remained with Trungpa Rinpoche until his death in 1987. She is the author of Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chögyam Trungpa. During their marriage, she pursued intensive study of dressage, including Vienna’s Spanish Riding School. She is now the owner and director of Windhorse Dressage, and she travels and teaches dressage clinics throughout the United States and Canada. 

Carolyn Rose Gimian 

Carolyn Rose Gimian is the Executive Director at Chogyam Trungpa Institute at Naropa University in Colorado, USA. The compiler and editor of The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, Carolyn Rose Gimian has been editing the works of Chögyam Trungpa for more than twenty-five years. She is the founding director of the Shambhala Archives, the archival repository for Chögyam Trungpa’s work in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

Larry Mermelstein

Beginning in 1971, Larry Mermelstein became a close student of the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. He served as an Acharya in the Vajradhatu/Shambhala community for twenty years, as well as being a member of the Board of Directors for nearly that long. He is a founding member and the Executive Director of the Nalanda Translation Committee for over forty years and is a long-time consulting editor to Shambhala Publications. Larry is a great storyteller. 

Judy L. Lief

Judith L. Lief is a Buddhist teacher, writer, and editor. She was a close student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who empowered her as a teacher, and she has edited many of his books including The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma volumes and Milarepa. She has been a teacher and practitioner for over 35 years and continues to teach and lead retreats throughout the world. Lief is also active in the field of death and dying and is the author of Making Friends with Death. Her articles have appeared in The Shambhala Sun, Tricycle, O Magazine, Buddhadharma, and The Naropa Journal of Contemplative Psychotherapy.

Judith Simmer-Brown

Judith Simmer-Brown, Ph.D., is a Distinguished Professor of Contemplative and Religious Studies at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. She is an Acharya (senior dharma teacher) of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Naropa’s founder. She lectures and writes on Tibetan Buddhism, American Buddhism, women and Buddhism, interreligious dialogue, and contemplative education. Her books are Dakini’s Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism (Shambhala) and, with Fran Grace, an edited collection of articles called Meditation and the Classroom: Contemplative Pedagogy for Religious Studies (Religious Studies Series, State University of New York Press, 2010).

Han de Wit 

Han F. de Wit received his PhD in psychology from the University of Amsterdam in 1977. He has been a visiting scholar at the University of California Berkeley and Naropa University. There he began to study the psychological insights and theories that can be found in the contemplative traditions of world religions, which brought him international acclaim as a founder of contemplative psychology. Trained as a Buddhist teacher by Chögyam Trungpa and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, he is also the author of many books. Han’s most recent publication, The Great Within: the transformative power and psychology of the spiritual path, was published in 2019 by Shambhala Publications.

Deborah Klimburg-Salter

Dr. Deborah Klimburg-Salter is an Emeritus Professor of Asian Art History at the University of Vienna. She has been a Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton, at the Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin and at Magdalen College, Oxford University. Since 2003, she has been a member of the UNESCO’s International Coordinating Committee for Cultural Heritage Afghanistan. Her work has involved extensive field work and writing on the art and archaeology of Afghanistan, Northern India, and Tibet, for which she was awarded the “Austrian of the Year 2007 – Science” Award for her extraordinary achievements. She has been a student of Trungpa Rinpoche since 1969. Her 1982 publication, Silk Route and the Diamond Path: Esoteric Buddhist Art on the Trans-Himalayan Trade Routes was based upon the art exhibition she co-curated with the Vidyadhara and includes a chapter he authored, “Sacred Outlook: the Vajrayogin̄i shrine and practice”.

Rigdzin Shikpo

Rigdzin Shikpo is the Dharma director of the Longchen Foundation, a community of Buddhist teachers and students practicing meditation in the Mahayana and Dzogchen traditions of Buddhism. Meeting his principal teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in London in 1965, Rigdzin Shikpo received extensive and detailed teachings on the practices of the Nyingma Dzogchen tradition. In 1975, the Longchen Foundation was established by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, both acknowledged as accomplished masters of the Kagyu-Nyingma and Nyingma traditions respectively. They appointed Rigdzin Shikpo as spiritual leader and entrusted him to realise their vision for the development and spread of the teachings. He is the author of Never Turn Away: The Buddhist Path Beyond Hope and Fear.

Francesca Fremantle

 

Francesca Fremantle is a scholar and translator of Sanskrit and Tibetan works of Hindu and Buddhist tantra, and was a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche for many years. Francesca worked closely with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche on the 1975 translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Francesca received her PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She is a teacher in the Longchen Foundation and one of Rigdzin Shikpo’s most senior students. She is the author of Luminous Emptiness – Understanding the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Alexandre Jollien

Born with cerebral palsy, Alexandre Jollien grew up in a home for the severely disabled. Completely by chance, he discovered philosophy, and his life was changed forever. He published his first book In Praise of Weakness at the age of twenty-two, and has since established himself as a profound and compelling moral thinker and spiritual teacher. With his friends, Matthieu Ricard and Christophe André, Jollien published the best-seller In Search of Wisdom: A Monk, a Philosopher, and a Psychiatrist on What Matters Most and most recently, À nous la liberté! Jollien is one of the first original philosophers to have consistently reflected on what it means to be born and live with disability, not as an insurmountable obstacle but as a source of strength and creative energy. He is currently writing on Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

Fabrice Midal

As a philosopher and writer, Fabrice Midal focuses on everyday violence (burnouts, manipulations, digital addictions). As one of France’s most iconic meditation teacher, he founded the Occidental School of Meditation (École occidentale de méditation), where meditation isn’t perceived as a way to calm ourselves, empty our minds or cut ourselves from reality, but as a mean to confront these violences in a pragmatic way.
Having a PhD in philosophy, he sees it as a way to question the situation of our society. He is also a head publisher and contributed to the fame of American masters of positive psychology, as well as authors that promote an authentic vision of meditation. He is also the author of The French Way Of Not Giving A Fuck, a book translated in several languages and of the biography Chögyam Trungpa : his life and vision.

Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones is a scholar, translator, and editor of Chögyam Trungpa. His PhD dissertation at McGill University, Montreal, Canada explores the transmission of the special Surmang Hearing Lineage during the time of the Fourth Trungpa, Künga Namgyel. He has also written on Chögyam Trungpa’s skillful transmission of Buddhism to North America. Ryan is an associate member of the Nalanda Translation Committee. He is a contributing editor to a forthcoming book of Chögyam Trungpa’s first talks at Naropa Institute, as part of the Opening the Dharma Treasury editorial committee lead by senior editors Carolyn Gimian and Judith Lief.