CCN was founded by Elizabeth West in 2011 in order to support the work of Dr Alan Wallace and the development of contemplative science. As Executive Director and Company Secretary she continues to play a prominent and very active role, supported by six trustees. Dr Alan Wallace is the Honorary President.
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Dr B Alan Wallace – Honorary President
Dr Alan Wallace began his studies of Tibetan Buddhism, language, and culture in 1970 at the University of Göttingen in Germany and continued over the next 14 years in India, Switzerland, and the United States. Ordained as a Buddhist monk by H. H. the Dalai Lama in 1975, he has taught Buddhist meditation and philosophy worldwide since 1976 and he has served as interpreter for numerous Tibetan scholars and contemplatives, including the Dalai Lama.
After graduating summa cum laude from Amherst College, where he studied physics and the philosophy of science, he returned his monastic vows and went on to earn his Ph.D. in religious studies at Stanford University. He then taught for four years in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and is now the founder and president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies (http://sbinstitute.com).
He has edited, translated, authored, and contributed to more than thirty books on Tibetan Buddhism, medicine, language, and culture, and the interface between science and religion.
For more detail see www.alanwallace.org
Elizabeth West - Founder of CCN and Company Secretary
I was born in England in 1944, but spent most of my childhood in Southern Africa where I became a Catholic nun at the age of 18. After returning to the UK I met two nuns of my order who taught yoga and Vedanta in a Christian context and I became interested in Eastern religions and meditation. I spent nine months with them in India in Hindu and Christian ashrams.
This led to a transformation in my spiritual life, which eventually led me out of the convent and into Buddhism. During the transition period I worked for the Westminster Interfaith Programme in London and also gained an MA in World Religions. After this, I spent 10 years working for the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM), during which time I led a number of Buddhist/Christian retreats.
Meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama during dialogues with Fr. Laurence Freeman, the head of WCCM, was the final step into Buddhism. Dr Alan Wallace became my teacher in 2007, and this led to the founding of CCN which attempts to bring together the various strands of my life: Buddhism, Interfaith dialogue, and the interface between Buddhism, science and secular spirituality. Above all, my motivation is personal transformation through spiritual practice, and to help others by bringing these teachings to bear on the darkness we face in the world.
Stewart Morgan – CCN Chair person
An early interest in Buddhism in my youth clearly set a seed, even taking me briefly on a visit to the early community at Samye Ling in 1972. Everyday life in Samsara however – acquiring a wonderful wife and daughter and building an organisational career – deflected me for many long years until, in retirement, I found myself once again reconnecting with Buddhist ideas, initially at Samye Dzong in London, training with Rob Nairn and the Mindfulness Association.
In recent years, this led on to me encountering Alan Wallace’s wonderful teachings. Since 2013, I have much enjoyed being a regular member of CCN’s monthly Study Group, which Elizabeth created to bring together those interested in exploring these teachings, and attending Alan’s UK retreats. I became a trustee of CCN in 2015 and agreed to take on a role as acting Chairman in the summer of this year when Katie announced her need to return home to the USA. I live in Guildford with my wife Rosemary.
Katie Morrow – Trustee and former Chair person
Katie Morrow has been a student of Buddhism since 1977. She teaches secular mindfulness as well as Buddhism within the Shambhala tradition. She has twenty years experience working for a variety of charitable organisations.
Jo Feld - Trustee
Finding and incorporating Buddhist philosophy and practice into my days has been life changing and I'm very happy and proud to be part of a group which supports Alan Wallace who has brought Tibetan Buddhism to the West in a way that Western people can digest it but without losing anything in translation.
I am a psychotherapist working with young people and their families. I am also a lecturer in counselling and psychotherapy and incorporate Buddhist psychology into my practice and teaching. I teach mindfulness also, and run bespoke groups for carers and also for schools who wish their ethos to be based on mindful principles.
Julie Smith – Trustee
Julie has a unique story of transition from a successful corporate career to secular meditation teacher. She is the founder of Nature meditations and the creator of a unique five step program to support gaining mastery of meditation techniques to reduce stress levels for improved health and wellbeing.
Fran Giaquinto - Trustee
I am a botanist and ecologist by background with a life-long interest in the inter-dependence between plants and other organisms in the natural environment. I first went to Samye Ling when I was 25 while a research student but I was too restless for sustained meditation practice and, instead, became actively involved in yoga. My life was transformed when a friend gave me a copy of Alan Wallace's Attention Revolution and I’m very happy to be part of CCN which helps to make Alan’s teachings accessible to many people in the UK and elsewhere.