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Shantum Seth

Shantum Seth is a teacher, cultural interpreter, social activist and a man of peace. He is an ordained teacher (Dharmacharya) in the Zen lineage (of the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh) and the foremost guide to the sites associated with the Buddha. He has been leading pilgrimages 'In the Footsteps of the Buddha' and other transformative journeys throughout India and parts of South Asia since 1988.
He is actively involved in environmental, cultural and peace programmes as well as training teachers through Mindfulness in Education, pioneered by the non-profit trust, Ahimsa www.ahimsatrust.org 
 
He has contributed to a number of books including 'Walking with the Buddha', 'Planting Seeds… Sharing Mindfulness with Children', and 'Volunteers Against Conflict'. He has also been a consultant on films including 'Life of the Buddha' by BBC and Discovery, 'The Story of India' made by BBC and PBS, and a Hollywood production entitled 'Buddha'. He and his work have been featured in The New York Times, Newsweek, and National Geographic, besides other publications.

He had a weekly programme on national TV in India where he offered teachings and has been a guest speaker at many forums including the Young Presidents' Organization, the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, the Confederation of Indian Industries and a number of educational institutions and museums, both in the east and in the west.

He advises the Government of India's Ministry of Tourism and Culture and was instrumental in initiating the Endogenous Tourism programme. He worked in the corporate sector and later in social advocacy and development, fifteen years of which were with the United Nations Development Programme, managing programmes on volunteer promotion, peace education, and artisan livelihoods across 16 countries.

Shantum Seth studied at The Doon School and St Stephen's College in India and then graduated in Development Studies, with his thesis in Gandhian Economics, from the University of East Anglia, while also graduating in Footwear Technology and Management in England.
 
His commitment to a cross cultural and global understanding has led him to travel to more than 50 countries and nearly every state of India.

Having lived in England, the USA and France for over 14 years, he now lives with his wife, two daughters and parents, in Noida, near New Delhi, India.

 

Journeys led by him:
Peepal Pilgrimage, Saal Pilgrimage, Ancient Monastaries, Wisdom Traditions of South India, Living Faiths of India, The Taj Mahal at Agra, Explore the multifaceted city of Delhi with Shantum Seth

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"Dharma Yatra (Pilgrimage) is very important for Buddhists. When we visit these sacred sites, we are reminded of the Master, Lord Buddha. It develops in us a strong sense of compassion. Ideally, one should be a better person when one returns, otherwise it is not useful, a waste of money and time."

- HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA (In an exclusive interview given for the book "Walking with the Buddha', co-authored by Shantum Seth).

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Articles & Interviews>>


 

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Wendy Garling

Wendy Garling is the author of the acclaimed new book, Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha’s Life, published in 2016 by Shambhala Publications. She has a BA from Wellesley College and MA in Sanskrit language and literature from the University of California, Berkeley. A Tibetan Buddhist practitioner and dharma teacher, Wendy took refuge with His Holiness the 16th Karmapa in 1976 and first met His Holiness the Dalai Lama in India in 1979. She has studied with many teachers of different schools and lineages; her main teacher was the late Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden.

For many years Wendy has taught women's spirituality focusing on Buddhist traditions, including original research into ancient Sanskrit and Pali literature investigating seemingly “forgotten” women's stories, especially those imbedded in the earliest biographies of the Buddha. In Stars at Dawn, Wendy re-introduces these ancient women’s stories, weaving them into a refreshing new biography that shifts the traditional patriarchal paradigm to a more accurate, gender-balanced and female friendly understanding of the Buddha's life and early Buddhism. Currently Wendy is writing a biography of the Buddha's stepmother, Mahaprajapati Gautami, scheduled for release by Shambhala in 2019.

Pilgrimage has played an important role in Wendy’s life. In 2007 she journeyed “In the Footsteps of Machig Labdron,” to sites of the sacred feminine in Tibet, led by Tsultrim Allione and Jerome Edou. In 2012 she traveled on pilgrimage to the sacred sites of the Buddha in India, paralleling the Buddhapath itinerary. Her dream is to return the stories of women in early Buddhism to their origins, reawaken the women’s voices, and ensure that their stories are not just told, but this time remembered and valorized as integral to the roots of Buddhism.


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Stephen Batchelor

Stephen Batchelor is a contemporary Buddhist teacher and writer, best known for his secular or agnostic approach to Buddhism. Stephen considers Buddhism to be a constantly evolving culture of awakening rather than a religious system based on immutable dogmas and beliefs. Through his writings, translations and teaching, Stephen engages in a critical exploration of Buddhism's role in the modern world.
He is the translator and author of various books and articles on Buddhism including the bestselling 'Buddhism Without Beliefs' (Riverhead 1997) and 'Living with the Devil: A Meditation on Good and Evil' (Riverhead, 2004). His most recent publication is 'Confession of a Buddhist Atheist' (Spiegel&Grau, 2010).

He has co-led a number of journeys 'In the Footsteps of the Buddha' with Shantum Seth, and they will now be co-leading an exploration of the Ancient Buddhist Monasteries of Central India, including Ajanta, Ellora and Sanchi.

Stephen was born in Dundee, Scotland, and grew up in a humanist environment with his mother and brother in Watford, north-west of London. After completing his education at Watford Grammar School, he travelled overland to India in February 1972 at the age of eighteen.

He settled in Dharamsala, the capital-in-exile of the Dalai Lama, and studied at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives with Ven. Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey. He was ordained as a novice Buddhist monk in 1974. He left India in 1975 in order to study Buddhist philosophy and doctrine under the guidance of Ven. Geshe Rabten. The following year he received full ordination as a Buddhist monk. In 1979 he moved to Germany as a translator for Ven. Geshe Thubten Ngawang at the Tibetisches Institut, Hamburg. In April 1981 he travelled to Songgwangsa Monastery in South Korea to train in Zen Buddhism under the guidance of Ven. Kusan Sunim. He remained in Korea until the autumn of 1984, when he left for a pilgrimage to Japan, China and Tibet.

He disrobed in February 1985 and married Martine Fages in Hong Kong before returning to England and joining the Sharpham North Community in Totnes, Devon. During the fifteen years he lived at Sharpham, he became co-ordinator of the Sharpham Trust (1992) and co-founder of the Sharpham College for Buddhist Studies and Contemporary Enquiry (1996). Throughout this period he worked as the Buddhist Chaplain of HM Prisons Channings Wood. From 1990 he has been a Guiding Teacher at Gaia house meditation centre in Devon and since 1992 a contributing editor of 'Tricycle: the Buddhist Review'.

In August 2000, he and Martine moved to Aquitaine, France, where they live in a small village near Bordeaux with their cat Zoë. While at home he pursues his work as a scholar, writer and artist. For several months each year he travels worldwide to lead meditation retreats and teach Buddhism.

 

Journey led by him:
Ancient Buddhist Monasteries of India


 

Martine Batchelor

Martine Batchelor was born in France in 1953. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in Korea in 1975. She studied Zen Buddhism under the guidance of the late Master Kusan at Songgwang Sa monastery until 1984. Her Zen training also took her to nunneries in Taiwan and Japan. From 1981 she served as Kusan Sunim's interpreter and accompanied him on lecture tours throughout the United States and Europe. She translated his book 'The Way of Korean Zen'. Following Master Kusan's death she returned her nun's vows and left Korea.

She returned to Europe with her husband, Stephen, in 1985. She was a member of the Sharpham North Community in Devon, England for six years. She worked as a lecturer and spiritual counsellor both at Gaia House and elsewhere in Britain. She was also involved in interfaith dialogue and was a Trustee of the International Sacred Literature Trust until 2000.

In 1992 she published, as co-editor, 'Buddhism and Ecology'. In 1996 she published, as editor, 'Walking on Lotus Flowers' which in 2001 was reissued under the title 'Women on the Buddhist Path'. She is the author of 'Principles of Zen', 'Meditation for Life' (an illustrated book on meditation), 'The Path of Compassion' (a translation from the Korean, with reference to the original Chinese, of the Brahmajala Sutra, i.e. the Bodhisattva Precepts), 'Women in Korean Zen' and 'Let Go: A Buddhist Guide to Breaking Free of Habits'. Her latest book is 'The Spirit of the Buddha'.

In addition to writing books, she leads meditation groups that incorporate aspects of Zen, Vipassana and Tibetan Buddhism. She now lives in France with her husband and co-leads retreats worldwide. They have co-led a pilgrimage 'In the Footsteps of the Buddha' with Shantum Seth, and this time will be co-leading a journey to the Ancient Buddhist Monasteries of Central India, including Ajanta, Ellora and Sanchi.

She speaks French, English and Korean and can read Chinese characters. She has written various articles for magazines on the Korean way of tea, Buddhism and women, Buddhism and ecology, and Zen cooking. She is interested in meditation in daily life, Buddhism and social action, religion and women's issues, Zen and its history, factual and legendary.

 

Journey led by her:
Ancient Buddhist Monasteries of India

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Bernie Glassman

Bernie Glassman is the founder of the Zen Peacemakers, Zen Master Bernie Glassman, evolved from a traditional Zen Buddhist monastery-model practice to become a leading proponent of social engagement as spiritual practice. He is internationally recognized as a pioneer of Buddhism in the West and as a founder of Socially Engaged Buddhism and spiritually based Social Entrepreneurship. He has proven to be one of the most creative forces in Western Buddhism, creating new paths, practices, liturgy and organizations to serve the people who fall between the cracks of society.


 

Robert A.F. Thurman

Robert A.F. Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University; President of the Tibet House U.S., and President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies.

Professor Thurman also translates important Tibetan and Sanskrit philosophical writings and lectures and writes on Buddhism, particularly Tibetan Buddhism; on Asian history, particularly the history of the monastic institution in the Asian civilization; and on critical philosophy, with a focus on the dialogue between the material and inner sciences of the world's religious traditions.

Popularizing the Buddha's teachings is just one of Thurman's creative talents. He is a riveting speaker and an author of many books on Tibet, Buddhism, art, politics, and culture, including Circling the Sacred Mountain, Essential Tibetan Buddhism, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet, Worlds of Transformation, and, most recently, Infinite Life: Seven Virtues for Living Well. He is credited with being at the forefront of making Tibetan art accessible and understandable in the West, and with distinguished art historians, he collaborated in curating several important traveling exhibitions, including "Wisdom and Compassion," "Mandala," and "Worlds of Transformation," which set a standard in the art world.

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Ajeer Vidya

Ajeer Vidya has been a senior member of the elite Indian Administrative Services and holds an M Phil degree in International Economic Relations. He is from the Buddhist region of Himachal Pradesh, though a large part of his career was spent in the eastern state of Tripura. He took early retirement from the Indian Government to dedicate himself to studying and sharing the Dharma in India, and now also runs an Information Technology business. Ajeer is an ordained member of the Order of Inter-being and facilitates one of the Thich Nhat Hanh's sanghas in Gurgaon/ Delhi. He is also on the Executive Board of Dzongsar Kyenste Rinpoche's Siddhartha's Intent Institute. Ajeer, a seasoned meditator and teacher, blends the Zen and Tibetan traditions of Buddhism effortlessly.

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Chandana Dey

Chandana Dey is the project manager for Srihaswani, or Creative Manual Skills for Self Reliant Development, set in West Bengal. Based in Santiniketan, she is also leading an effort to revitalize Santiniketan. She has worked for UNRISD (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development) in Geneva, Switzerland. She served as Project Coordinator with Ahimsa Trust in West Bengal for the past decade. Chandana has a background in History and International Affairs. Committed to facilitating grassroots development change, she is the co-founder of The Bhab Initiative.


 

Jagdish Chamola

Jagdish Chamola lives in the hill state Uttarakhand where he runs a restaurant and hotel on the pilgrimage route to Badrinath along with his brother. He has been leading trekking tours in the Himalayas for the past 15 years both for Indians and non Indians. After finishing his Bachelor's degree in Science, he completed a Post-graduate diploma course in Tourism and Hoteliering at the Garhwal university. He is well versed in Indian customs and traditions and is also an excellent cook. He has been assisting Shantum Seth on the Buddhapath pilgrimages for a number of years. He lives with his wife, son and parents.

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Kurian Mathews

Kurian Mathews is a practicing Buddhist. He has trained under Dharamcharya Shantum Seth in Mindfulness and also leading pilgrimages and other journeys in India and elsewhere. He has extensively studied Tibetan Buddhism and also attended retreats by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. In addition Mathews is a trained hiking and adventure guide as well as a Yoga instructor.

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Gitanjali Varma Seth

Gitanjali Varma Seth, after finishing her schooling at The Welham Girls school, graduated from the Lady Sriram College in Delhi with honours in Psychology. Thereafter she passed her Law exams at the Delhi Law School, practised in a law firm and then went on to complete her Masters in Law at the University of Virginia in the US. On her return to India, due to her interest in social justice she joined the United Nations to assist in managing a Programme for Artisan Development in South Asia. During that period she worked closely with Anna Hazare (a modern-day Gandhi) on his 300 village programme. Thereafter she helped set up an international network of marginalized groups in 16 countries again under the auspicies of the UN in the Inter-regional Volunteer Programme for Artisan Support. She won the Atsuhito Nakata award for volunteering, now known as the United Nations Volunteers Ambassador award. She married Shantum Seth in 1996 and they have two children and live in Noida, a suburb of Delhi in India. She is the managing trustee of Ahimsa Trust, which works in the field of education, culture and social development. www.ahimsatrust.org


 

Bina Aranha

Bina Aranha graduated with Commerce honours from Delhi University. She is deeply involved with community work and the Catholic Church. She is an editor of the local residents' newsletter Samvada, and now helps edit over 30 such newsletters in Delhi/Noida. She is the Vice President of Buddhapath and has been with the organization since 1998. She enjoys interacting with people from different countries and backgrounds, sharing with them the unique character of Delhi and India. Her husband is President of an IT company in India and they have three grown up children.

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