I was born in Chicago and grew up there and in Nairobi, Kenya, in a multi-racial family within a residential spiritual community. From a young age I remember feeling connected to people in other countries and knowing that my purpose in life was to be of service, to relieve suffering and bring joy to others.
I graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. and M.A. in Anthropology and Social Sciences and speak fluent Portuguese, French, German and Italian, and rudimentary Spanish.
I teach Buddhist meditation, mindfulness, and compassion internationally, with a focus on activists, people of color, artists, educators, families, and youth. I began practicing mindfulness in 1997. An ordained nun of 15 years in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing, I am now a lay Dharma teacher based in Washington, DC. I lead retreats worldwide, teach meditation, support groups and individuals and offer mindfulness programs for educators and youth in schools. I work with students around the world offering ongoing individual support, meeting locally and online. I also run courses in urban, non-residential settings.
I edited Thich Nhat Hanh’s, Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children and helped to start and develop Wake Up Schools, bringing mindfulness to education. I currently teach educators in the Mindful Schools year-long certification program, I share mindfulness with parents, educators and students in DC public schools through Minds, Inc, and teach teen and young adults’ mindfulness retreats with Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme).
I explore the interweaving of art, play, ecology and spiritual practice and am a certified yoga teacher and InterPlay leader. In spring 2015 I was spiritual practitioner in residence at Schumacher College, an ecological college, in the United Kingdom. I return there to teach in their post-graduate program each year. My spiritual roots are in the Vietnamese Zen tradition, which influences much of my teaching, and I have also practiced Insight meditation extensively. I am currently in the 4-year Spirit Rock Teacher Training Program.
Kaira Jewel Lingo on advaya