Wisdom Seed is a Bay Area event that encourages people from all walks of life, all traditions, all religions and spiritual backgrounds to come together to explore what it means to live a full life. Below are short excerpts from past events with full audio recordings. Wisdom Seed is currently on hiatus. Stay tuned and check back to see when we will resume.

From everything we have learned at Wisdom Seed, a new project is sprouting – Compassionate Leaders is a program to empower and train teens to be wise and mindful leaders in their communities. 

Real Power

Kevin Griffin is the author of One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the 
Twelve Steps
 (Rodale Press 2004) and A Burning Desire: Dharma God and the Path of Recovery (Hay House 2009). A longtime Buddhist practitioner and 12 Step participant, he is a leader in the mindful recovery movement and one of the founders of the Buddhist Recovery Network. Kevin has trained with the leading Western Vipassana teachers, among them Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, and Ajahn Amaro. His teacher training was as a Community Dharma Leader at SpiritRockMeditationCenter in Marin County, CA.

Kevin teaches internationally in Buddhist centers, treatment centers, professional conferences, and academic settings. He specializes in helping people in recovery connect with meditation and a progressive understanding of the 12 Steps. His events range from evening classes, to daylong workshops, and long weekend silent retreats. For information on his schedule click here. Visit him on the web at http://www.kevingriffin.net/

What is Health?

Lorenzo Puertas is an acupuncturist and health care entrepreneur who is dedicated to pioneering a radically different model of health care services.

In 2003, he co-founded Lolo Health, an integrative health clinic that combines many medical traditions in a team environment.  At Lolo Health, acupuncturists, medical doctors, yoga teachers, chiropractors, massage therapists, psychologists, and other health professionals work together in an environment of mutual respect and support.

For the past 10 years, Lorenzo and his team at Lolo Health have been developing new models for both the clinical and business aspects of health care – models that combine the best of many medical systems in a business model that doesn’t depend on donations, grants, government assistance, or the broken health insurance industry.

Calling it “grass roots health reform”, Lorenzo has created a unique membership model that creates a community of health, where doctors and patients are true partners in making health care more accessible, more affordable, and a whole lot more effective and engaging.

Lorenzo’s vision for Lolo Health draws from his experience with many world health traditions, and also from his work as an acupuncturist, as an EMT on an ambulance in AlamedaCounty, and as a U.S. Navy corpsman with the Marine Corps infantry.  He has been editor in chief of the California Journal of Oriental Medicine, and has served on the boards and committees of the California Society or Oriental Medicine, the American Herbal Products Association, and American Association of Oriental Medicine.


Miakoda (Jyll Taylor) is a womyn of diverse racial heritages and a life-long bridge

builder, who has traveled extensively, studying diverse wisdom cultures and

community building practices throughout the globe. She has been practicing

mediation for over 15 years and has engaged in in-depth study of the Buddha

Dharma in India, Tibet and other countries in Asia.


As the Founding Director of Fierce Allies (www.fierceallies.com), Miakoda offers

intensive training in Emotional Warriorship™ and facilitates conflict transformation

processes that result in resilient multicultural partnerships. This work embodies

the complexity of her life experiences, interweaving roots of indigenous values and

emotional and social intelligence, while drawing on somatic healing, Restorative

Justice, experiential learning, popular education, and meditation.

A Monk’s Perspective

Swami Ramananda is the President of the Integral Yoga Institute in San Francisco and a greatly respected senior teacher in the Integral Yoga tradition, who has been practicing Yoga for over 35 years. Ramananda offers practical methods of integrating the timeless teachings and practices of yoga into daily life, and transforming the painful aspects of human experience into steps toward realizing our full potential.

He leads beginner, intermediate and advanced level yoga teacher training programs in San Francisco, and offers a variety of programs in many locations in the U. S., Europe and South America.  Ramananda trains Yoga teachers to bring Yoga into corporate, hospital and medical settings and has taught mind/body wellness programs in many locations.  He is a founding board member of the Yoga Alliance, a national registry that supports and promotes yoga teachers as professionals.  His warmth, wisdom and sense of humor have endeared him to many.

System Shutdown

Tom Mahon has been, at various times, a merchant sailor, heavy machine operator, filmmaker, novelist, glass artisan, and, for 40 years, a public relations consultant to technology companies, primarily in Silicon Valley. Since the early 1990s, he has also spoken and written widely on the need to reconnect technical capability with social responsibility; to re-integrate tech-knowledge with self-knowledge. His work has been covered by, or published in, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The International Herald-Tribune, CNN, CNET, and Business Week. 

At Wisdom Seed, Tom will recount his experiences after being in a coma and then in a state of semi-consciousness for 50 days last summer (2011). His near-death experience brought home to him at a gut level a much deeper understanding of compassion, and the reality of oneness-in-being.  He’ll also reflect upon the difficulty of keeping that level awareness after re-engaging in the busyness of daily life.

He is the author of multiple books including his latest work, “Reconnecting.calm: Finding Common Ground for Science, Technology and Wisdomthat outlines a roadmap to harmonize technical capability with moral and social responsibility. His speaking venues have included M.I.T.; the International Solid State Circuits Conference; a symposium for Fulbright Scholars organized by the U. S. State Department; the United Religions Initiative; panels at electronics trade shows; the San Francisco Fringe Festival; as well as presentations to senior citizen groups, high school students and local congregations.   

Find out more about Tom and his work at his website: www.reconnectingcalm.com/. He also has a collection of stories for children of all ages at www.tommahonbooks.com.

Spiritual Diet

Aumatma Shah is a Naturopathic Doctor, co-founder of the Karma Clinic Network and The Rawality Reversing Diabetes Program. She is delighted to find opportunities to be service, especially towards healing for people and the planet. In her private practice, Aumatma specializes in homeopathy, clinical nutrition, and herbology, as well as the use of state-of-the-art diagnostic methods of live blood cell analysis, heavy metal testing, complete digestive stool analysis, and more. Aumatma offers workshops and lectures throughout the country on health and healing, and the creation of alternative models for health clinic structures such as gift-based clinics.

Micha’el Bedar has a M.A. in Spiritual Nutrition from the Cousens School of Holistic Healing and a B.S. from the University of California, and has been involved in the direction or production of several documentary films as transmissions of awakening.  He started a natural health streaming media company, Yo’el Media.  For several years he coordinated the Peace Every Day Initiative, and also in 2010, co-founded the ongoing BART to HEART monthly medication.   Michael became a spiritual and Essene student of Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, MD, and is ordained as a spiritual elder of the Tree of Life Foundation.  He has now co-founded Tree of Life-Bay Area to support people in overall spiritual life, detoxification and cleansing, live-food nutrition, and peace in the community. 

Spiritual Enlightenment

Kenneth Folk began practicing Buddhist meditation in 1980 and has done extensive long-term retreats in the Mahasi/Theravada tradition in Asia and in the United States. In 2004, Kenneth experienced a fundamental shift in consciousness, finding a happiness that is not dependent on conditions and ending his life-long struggle with depression. Since that time, he has devoted his life to helping others realize this same peace of mind. Kenneth is known for combining different contemplative approaches in clear and accessible ways, for his innovative and highly effective techniques, and for the success of his students. He now collaborates with neuroscientists, social scientists, and psychologists in an effort to better understand spiritual awakening through a contemporary lens.

Our True Nature

Kotoku Ray Crivello is a Zen Teacher in the Soto Zen tradition in the Lineage of Gengo Akiba, Roshi. His Zen studies began as a resident student at the New York Zendo ShoBo-ji (Rinzai-lineage, Soen Nakagawa) where he lived from 1970-1975. After relocating to San Francisco in 1976 he lived at SF Zen Center and TassajaraZenMountainCenter until 1983. Kotoku was ordained in 2004 by Akiba Roshi at his home Temple, Kojin-an in Oakland, California. In January 2012 Kotoku received shiho, or dharma transmission with Akiba Roshi following intensive priest training periods or Angos, hosted by the Japanese Soto-shu for western Zen Priests.

Currently he is working under the auspices of Kojin-an Zendo to build a new Soto Zen international training monastery in Northern California for Western Zen Priests.

Regeneration & Growth

“Many of us believe healthy and local food is the foundation of social justice. It is time for the spiritual people to get active and the activist people to get spiritual so that we can have total revolution of the human spirit. Because we have the idea that the self-indulgent people are just meditating—they are going to caves and meditation centers while all this madness is happening, or you have people at these meditation center that are asking how can you bring peace and calm and harmony to the world if you do not have that in your heart? We need both now, and that we need to combine this inner revolution with the outer revolution to have the total revolution of the spirit. Then we can build the alternatives to a collapsing system built on structural violence.”

Pancho Ramos-Stierle has a passion for astro-biology that brought him to the University of California at Berkeley to pursue a Ph.D in Astrophysics. But when the U.S. government and the laboratories of the university announced they were developing “safer nuclear weapons,” he decided to stop cooperating with the institution. Now as a responsible scientist, he says he is doing his “PhD in Citizenship of the World.” Pancho believes that “when the inner (r)evolution merges with the outer (r)evolution, the Total (R)evolution of the Human Spirit is imminent.” He believes that when science and art are balanced, the beauty of life blossoms with what he calls the “New Renaissance of Humanity.”

Click here for a full interview with Pancho and his involvement with the Occupy Oakland Movement.

Collective Awakening – Music As Medicine

How We Hold On

Bidyut ‘B.K.’ Bose is the founder and Executive Director of Niroga Institute. Bidyut earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of California, Berkeley and spent many years in research and development in Silicon Valley. He has multiple patents to his credit, and has presented at international conferences and at universities around the world. Having learned yoga and meditation from his father since he was a child, and later with monks in the Himalayas, he longed for greater integration of his personal and professional life. Inspired since childhood by the twin ideals of self-realization and selfless service, he founded Niroga Institute in 2005, and his research interests have now shifted to the scientific application of TLS and developing cost-effective architectures for lasting social transformation.

More about BK: Niroga Founder Receives Jefferson Award

Buddha Occupying

Sean Feit’s teaching is dedicated to the integration of yoga and meditation, and draws on 20 years of practice in both. He was a monk in Burma in 2002, and has studied with many wonderful teachers including Jack Kornfield, Sylvia Boorstein and Eugene Cash (Dharma, meditation), David Moreno and Alice Joanou (yoga), and Steve Hoskinson (Somatic Experiencing). Sean teaches at Yoga Tree, Yoga Garden SF, Piedmont Yoga, and SF Insight, and leads kirtan, offering the practice of Bhakti Yoga as an integral aspect of a heart-centered Path. Sean is authorized to teach meditation & Dharma by Jack Kornfield.

Sean is certified as an SEP (Somatic Experiencing Practitioner) and E-RYT200/RYT500 (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher). He is a graduate of the Dedicated Practitioner’s Program and the Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation Training at Spirit Rock Meditation Center.

Absolute Conviction

Haricharan  Das is considered the Spiritual son of SadGuru Sant Keshavadas. Since early childhood Haricharan Das has had the blessing of association with mystics, saints and
noble souls. Their  friendship and mentoring prepared him for the many challenges of Dharma life. With his Gurus’ blessing Haricharan Das teaches Meditation, Prayer and the Yogic Path of the Saints.