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Guaria de Osa

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Nonprofit Organization

Council for Cultural and Biological Diversity (Fundación OSA)

Costa Rica
Respecting Nature


Themes to Explore
Teachers & Ceremonial Masters
Tuition Includes
Tuition Does Not Include
How to Pay Extra Fees
To Participate
Contact Person
Getting to Guaria Effortlessly
Int'l Flight Reservations
Suggested Reading List



Invites you to join us
with the flowers in full bloom and the weather is supreme on

January 10 - January 19, 2009

Rainforest Plant Medicine
Council Gathering

"Nature as Teacher and Timeless Wisdom for Self, Community and Planetary Healing"

Rainforest Ocean Wilderness Discovery Centre and Ethnobotanical Gardens

Where the Rainforest kisses the Ocean

Join us on an unforgettable adventure of self-discovery, wellness and exploration of rainforest plant medicine traditions with time-honored maestros from the Ecuadorian Amazon, an intrepid Ethnobotanist, an ardent fire-keeper, alongside mindful participants — gathering in the heart of the Osa Peninsula also known as "The Little Amazon by the Ocean" endorsed by National Geographic as "the most biological intense place on Earth!"

* * * *

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  • To experientially learn from ancient rainforest plant medicine traditions stemming from the time-tested, traditional healing and well-ness practices of Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon.
  • To welcome an alchemic transformation, healing, and re-integration of body, mind, heart and spirit.
  • To receive insight and guidance from these ancient and profound worldviews and thus strengthen one's essence and improve one's health.
  • To enjoy and be nurtured by the pristine Pacific Ocean and mighty rainforest ecosystems on the Osa Peninsula and her natural wonders.
  • A fund-raiser
    • To continue facilitating the transmission of the Secoya People's core knowledge of medicinal plants by providing protection and support to the community elders and their families as the Gardeners of the Rainforest.
    • To provide materials for fiber glass canoes for the Secoya school children who travel on the river from home to school. This project began two years ago .. with the intention of not cutting ancient trees for their canoes.
    • To reprint the first ethnobotanical bilingual education booklet on the use of their medicinal plants written by Jonathon S. Miller-Weisberger for the Secoya children.
    • To provide health and wellness among the community elders – for example dental and vision checkups and other necessities when they arise … choosing alternative medicine practices when applicable.
  • Ethnobotanist, Jonathon S. Miller-Weisberger, director of The Council for Cultural & Biological Diversity (aka Grupo Osanimi) has dedicated efforts since 1994 to cultural heritage rekindling processes that includes participatory ethnobotanical and ethnographical field documentation and publication of this material in bilingual education booklets for local schools. It has also included the preservation of medicinal plant knowledge via workshops and educational council gatherings as well as the protection of the plants themselves in ethnobotanical gardens, in situ.

    Our work has always been in collaboration and support of traditional healers and their healing methods. Among indigenous peoples communities our approach is holistic and direct in nature aimed at finding creative ways to bridging the gap among the generations in order to collaborate in the efforts of safeguarding the rainforest and the knowledge pertinent for continued sustainable living, healing and well being.

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Themes to Explore

  • Experience the prehistoric origins of Plant Medicine Traditions from the Ecuadorian Amazon as taught and lived by the Secoya elders.
  • Welcome the past, present and future importance of Indigenous Plant Medicines and its healers and gardeners.
  • Appreciate the connection and relationship of plant medicines with the ancient traditions of Tao.
  • Connect the magnitude of these two Indigenous Spiritual Sciences and aspects that nourish renewal and wellness in our personal life, our community life, and the life of our environment, locally and globally.
  • Expand one's guts and grace.

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Teachers and Ceremonial Masters

The Maestros

The exploration of rainforest plant medicine traditions with time-honored maestros, are Secoyas - ceremonial masters from the Upper Napo Region of the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest, an ethnic minority, whose name, Secoya means "People from the Multi-Colored River."

The Secoya language is a Western Tucanoan language spoken by 297 Secoya People in Ecuador and 144 in Peru. Tucanoan, consisting of 15 languages, is a language family of Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru.

The bad news: geopolitical borders, the encroachment and harassment of the petroleum companies, and the impact of colonization now imperil their culture and ancestral lands.

The good news: the few living Secoya traditional elders refer to their plant lore as an umbilical cord that connects them to their past.

Sentient Experientials will bring to Guaria de Osa during this Rainforest Plant Medicine Council Gathering "Nature as Teacher and Timeless Wisdom for Self, Community and Planetary Healing" a number of Secoya elders – over 70 years young - who will facilitate boundless healing transformation giving participants a first hand opportunity to meet deep-forest healers and cultural masters. Their songs, profoundly and uniquely cherished, will guide your journey's meditations.

Jonathon Miller-Weisberger (aka Sparrow), Ethnobotanist and student of Traditional Chinese and Indigenous Medicine, a Naturalist, and Rainforest guide, has more than 14 years of ground level experience in the Ecuadorian Amazon. His friendship and work relationship with the Secoyas date back to 1994.

Jonathon has the important task of holding the container at the Council Gatherings - as well as Sentient Experientials Journeys into the Ecuadorian Amazon and all events at Guaria de Osa on the Osa Peninsula.

He is the founder and steward of Guaria de Osa Rainforest Ocean Wilderness Discovery Centre and the director of the Council for Cultural and Biological Diversity. Click here for more information.

Born in Berkeley, California, he was raised in Ecuador with his sister Ladna, he has over 18 years of Rainforest Conservation advocacy beginning from his early years at Humboldt State University. Jonathon writes and submits articles in Spanish and English, keeps volumes of excellent journals, and now, 'sandwiched between' rainforest conservation projects in the Ecuadorian Amazon and Andes, marine rescue turtle project on the Osa Peninsula, and the creation of Guaria de Osa and its medicinal plant garden, his book is now in progress.

"Over the years, I have been working on what I call The New Ethnobotany, an emerging discipline that seeks to enact new methods of cultural transmission to revive, validate, and strengthen the vast plant lore among and within Indigenous and rural peoples' communities. I believe that the preservation and attentive transmission of Indigenous plant knowledge both among forest communities and the world at large are crucial links in ongoing forest protection. Ultimately millions of hectares of priceless tropical Rainforest lie in the hands of Indigenous peoples' communities undergoing rapid changes and cultural dissolution, and the fate of these forest lies directly in the ability of Indigenous People(s) to continue renewing their relationship and sustainable approach to living in the forest. Consequently much work is necessary among these communities to, at the very least, strengthen traditional plant knowledge. The problems of deforestation are tremendously complex, yet, that shouldn't stop people from finding practical solutions to this global concern. We are seeking to discover effective techniques and strategies towards these ends."
— Jonathon S. Miller-Weisberger, ethnobotanist

Dahlia Kresch Miller is the one who will get you to Guaria de Osa effortlessly by arranging all your Costa Rican logistical reservations and transfers. Once you get off your international plane you will be 'escorted' all the way to Guaria de Osa on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica.

Dahlia is a founding member of Guaria de Osa and Sentient Experientials international Liaison. She studied piano at Juilliard Conservatory of Music in New York, received her Masters Degree in the Interdisciplinary Studies of Consciousness at John F. Kennedy University in California and began a Ph.D. degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the California Institute of Integral Studies with a focus on Living Systems Theory. Dahlia turns her personal, professional, and passionate attention to the wellbeing and lessons of the Rainforest and her gardeners and stewards. She is also the proud mother of Jonathon and Ladna Miller-Weisberger (you can 'meet' them in The Staff page of our web site.)

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Tuition: $1,600/participant
10 days / 9 nights
Space available: 15 participants

• Deposit to reserve your space: $800 by or before November 10th
• Balance is due by or before December 10th.

We accept: PayPal (using a debit or credit card); personal check, cashiers' check; money order; or American Express Travelers' check.

For extra nights, before and/or after a Council Gathering:
- $100/night/person for lodging and meals
- Fee for a non-group rate for Osa Peninsula transfers is $50 for one person on the boat; $35 for 2 to 5 people on a boat.

Tuition Includes

Note: All activities are optional

Besides having the privilege of being in the company of Secoya Shamans of the Ecuadorian Amazon during this shape-shifting event, there will be:

  • 6-7:30 AM: Sunrise meditation and Dao-In Yoga an ancient energy conducting exercise from the traditions of Tao where we also practice breath work techniques to strengthen one's health and well being.
  • Engage in healing ceremonies for replenishment and well being
  • Renewal Methods of fasting, cleansing, and purifying with medicinal rainforest plants time-tested by the Secoya Culture.
  • To have experience learning directly from the plants.
  • Renewal Cleansings and Ceremonies with traditional plant diet to gain wisdom and strength
  • Plant baths for aura cleansing
  • Medicinal rainforest plants purges at 3 am for the intention of balancing the body's pH crucial to any healing or detoxification program and for preventing disease. Most people in today's modern society are acidic because of diet, sedentary lifestyle (or in some cases, over-exercising), stress, pollution, and the accumulation of chemical and heavy metal toxins. When the acid and alkaline properties are of equal strength, we say the pH is balanced. Purging with medicinal plants with the heavenly stars looking at us is a very good thing to do!
  • Traditional healing ceremonies with rainforest plant medicine for the intention of spiritual and physical self-integration, renewal and wellness. Facilitated by traditional masters who come from a direct lineage going back generations within the Secoya People of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Their heavenly shamanic chants are extraordinarily inspiring and healing.
  • Learn forest ecology, tropical nature & indigenous worldview with its Origin mythology from the Amazon.
  • Ethnobotanical Plant and Talk Walk through Guaria de Osa's Gardens
  • Presentations and dialogues with themes to explore throughout the week: Ethnobotany, Wisdom Transmission, Plant Medicine Traditions in the Amazon; Indigenous World View, Cosmology and Mythology; comparative study of Amazonian and Taoist spiritual views; and how these traditions translate into a modern context as lessons from Nature.
  • Listen to rare recordings of shamanic healing chants from the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon.
  • Several Rainforest walks to experience the highlights of the Osa Peninsula the wondrous and awe-inspiring world of biological diversity of towering gallery of trees, beach and ocean ecosystems.
    • - Paradise beach and rainforest waterfall walk to Rio Claro
    • - Rainforest Hike on St. Joseph's Ridge Trail, a 'path not taken' bordering Corcovado National Park
    • - A sunrise beach walk at 4:30 am to a bat cave and waterfall
  • Tao In Yoga
  • Live traditional marimba music by Guaria de Osa's staff
  • Ocean swim and snorkel
  • Sit on a wooden turtle or anaconda carved bench
  • Climb very tall old trees
  • Engage in lots of laughter!

Tuition Includes into the Bargain!

  • 10 days / 9 nights lodging
  • On non-fasting days: scrumptious, wholesome, meals with vegetarian options
  • Four Osa Peninsula Transfers
  • Just a 3 min. stroll thru Guaria's gardens or longer if you stop to smell the flowers and gaze at the birds is a secluded 1 & 1/4 mile beautiful beach to swim, surf, and snorkel
  • Surfboards and boogie boards
  • Yoga mats and a splendid yoga space for anyone who wants to stretch
  • Filtered water in the dining room and kitchen; for all other uses at Guaria, there is spring water that gushes pure water naturally filtered straight from the rocks
  • Solar system lighting
  • Clean linens and towels
  • Costa Rican Tourist Tax on lodging

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Tuition Does Not Include

[Rates are subject to change]

  • All San Jose expenses: hotel, taxi transfer, meals, airport exit tax; cost $26/person as of 2006
  • Costa Rican domestic air flight $226 round trip (as of 2009)
  • We have an experienced staff, compassionate and competent who have your safety and comfort as our first priority.
  • Our staff accepts gratuities. Tips are appreciated and we propose 20% of your tuition. Please present to Guaria's administrator who will, in turn, distribute to staff both 'on stage' and those 'behind the curtain.'
  • One on One Healing with the Secoya Shamans: $100/session
  • Tui Na Massage
  • Refer to Extra Fees
  • Laundry service wash and dried by the sun
  • Use of internet
  • On exhibit and for sale will be Pablo Amaringo's visionary paintings. View Pablo Amaringo Gallery.

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How to Pay Extra Fees at Guaria de Osa

  • We accept Costa Rican Colones, US Dollars, American Expresss Travelers Checks or PayPal with a major credit card.
  • We do not accept personal checks because the bank takes 6 months to cash them.
  • What We Offer is listed at the links below:

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To Participate

Please send your tuition plus two Travel Documents to Send (click here)

  1. Write your check payable to: SENTIENT EXPERIENTIALS
  2. Mail your tuition and Hold Harmless Agreement to:
      Sentient Experientials
      PO Box 1004
      El Cerrito, CA 94530
  3. Please e-mail Reservation Travel Document to

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Contact Person

Dahlia Miller
Tel. (510) 235 - 4313 in California

In the spirit of networking,
we thank you for passing the news on to others about
this significant shape-shifting event.

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Getting to Guaria de Osa

We make the following round-trip reservations to get you to Guaria de Osa effortlessly!

  1. Costa Rican domestic round-trip flight from San José to the Osa Peninsula (Drake Bay & Palmar Sur). You will receive instructions how to pre-pay.
  2. Taxi transfers in San José: from Juan Santamaria International Airport and Tobias Bolaños Domestic Airport; to & from hotel in San Jose. Please pay taxi driver.
  3. Hotel in San José: cozy and affordable, centrally located near museums, shops, and parks with benches to sit on and watch the people go by. Please pay hotel directly
  4. Included in your tuition: Osa Peninsula roundtrip land and water transfer to Guaria de Osa.

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International Flight Reservations

Before you purchase your international flight ticket, please e-mail us the itinerary to review. Thank you.

  • We suggest participants arrive at least one day before the Council Gathering date.
  • At Santa Maria International there are two exits to the street. After you finish with customs, please take the left exit to the street and look for a colorfully designed Guaria de Osa sign held by two strong brown arms. Our taxi staff will help you with your luggage and drive you to the hotel where we've made a reservation in your name. If you need our cab staff to drive you to visit a museum, etc. etc. – feel free to ask him. Please pay driver directly.
  • DAY 1 of the Council Gathering, everyone will fly from San Jose on the domestic flight to the Osa Peninsula en route to Guaria de Osa.
  • For anyone who needs to leave Costa Rica on the last day of the Council Gathering your morning transfer from the Osa Peninsula arrives into San Jose at 11 am. Thus, it is very important to book your departure international flight back to your home country anytime after 3 pm. or spend the night in San Jose.

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Guests will undertake full accountability for all that is experienced because essentially your sojourn at Guaria de Osa, albeit an enriching adventure, this is a personal experience.

Guaria de Osa wishes to reserve the right to change the itinerary if by chance there may surprisingly arise any unforeseen circumstances, such as raw weather, ocean conditions, including last minute cancellations by guest teachers, or other unforeseen circumstances. Please trust that whatever changes are made will not affect the quality of the experience.

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"With these few words, I wish to infinitely thank Jonathon for the great assistance that he gives the Secoya People." ANGEL CELESTINO PIAGUAJE, Secoya educator and author

"Dahlia Miller brings her gaia/kali spirit to the Council Gathering while invoking the balancing presence of the Great (Feminine) Mystery." ARMAND HUET de GRENIER, Spiritual Ceremonial Counselor and Teacher "Jonathon Sparrow and the rainforest workers in Ecuador are doing invaluable work. Not only with the Huaorani Indians but with many tribal groups. These young people are conscientiously recording botanical medicinals and new species of rainforest plants and bringing hope to Indigenous People. We all have pride in their efforts and support them in their endeavors." BILL MOLLISON, originator of Permaculture, author, biologist, farmer, teacher and Australia's Man of the Year

"Guaria de Osa is where the Spirit of the Rainforest is alive and well…where the vibration of healing and awakening gets into your dreams and makes you feel like anything is possible on this Earth. As if that were not enough Jonathon Miller-Weisberger - a 'young Schultes' - is a master with the plants and they speak to him. He helps you listen to their myriad voices, each a wise voice singing a different part in Nature's chorus. Come to this place and you will be forever changed." BILL PFEIFFER, Sacred Earth Network

"I felt as if I were on my own private South Pacific Island! Everyone is so kind, knowledgeable and helpful! Food is amazing! The orthopedic mattresses were well worth all the trouble it must have caused to get them here. Thank you for helping to make me conscious of my impulses and the power of my intuition. You are a treasure that I will always keep in my heart." BOBBY SAGER, Sager Family Foundation, Boston, Massachusetts

"Jonathon! What good magic here at Guaria de Osa! Presided over by a most benevolent array of plant energies and animal intelligences, leafing and leaping spirits, laughing under a gazillion gleaming stars, accompanied by the steady drumbeat, like a dark heart of the wave on the sloping strand in wilderness and wonder." DAVID ABRAM, author of The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World

"Jonathon's collaboration as an ethnobotanist fulfills important contributions in collecting medicinal plants and fruit seeds of the area and contributing to the National Herbarium of Ecuador from areas not visited, such as Napo-Galeras, slopes of Cerro de La Plata Mountain Range, and the Headwaters of the Shiripuno River. His seriousness, delivery, and professional talent are a valuable assistance in complementing our objectives." DAVID NEILL, Curator of the Museo de Cienca Nacionales Herbarium, Ecuador "Jonathon Sparrow Miller-Weisberger and his colleagues are doing important work for the preservation of tropical ecosystems, and the indigenous gnosis of the forest inhabitants. They are literally rediscovering the "roots" of humanity's million-year old symbiosis with the plant kindom. Their work is ethical, motivated, and deserves support. In this era of shrinking ecosystems, disappearing species, and cultural dissolution the work of Jonathon and his organization is of incalculable value for every species, and for all species who share this fragile planet." DENNIS McKENNA, ethnopharmacologist and author of Invisible Landscape

"Love, Love, Potency. Fabulous eco journey in the jewel of Central America." GANGA WHITE, founder of White Lotus Foundation, Santa Barbara, California and author of Yoga Beyond Belief

"For Jonathon! Thanks for your work in the world! With best wishes." JEREMY NARBY, author of The Cosmic Serpent, DNA, and The Origins of Knowledge

"The Rainforest Conservation work of Jonathon Sparrow and his Indigenous colleagues ranks among the most respectful, creative and promising ventures underway on behalf of Earth and ancient Earth ways. This is truly Deep Ecology in action - a privilege to behold." JOANNA MACY, Buddhist scholar and Living Systems educator, author; with John Seed, Pat Fleming, and Arne Naess, co-founded The Council of All Beings - a training in movements for peace, justice and ecology; authoring Thinking Like a Mountain

"Beautiful spot, great gardens, fantastic buildings, wonderful forest, very rich people. Thanks for the help, hospitality, generosity, honest, and all around good vibe. And the presence of the plants is palpable." LINCOLN STOLLER, physicist

"Jonathon is an ambassador of Gaian consciousness. He is one of the jewels of the planet." MICHAEL COTTINGHAM, Ethnobotanist, co-founder of The Herbal Medicine Program at The New Mexico College of Natural Healing

"Many thanks for sharing the beauty and wisdom, shining the deep listening and the natural healing vibrations. What an inspiring and uplifting, magical and amazing meeting place. And the sounds … the music …" NERUPA HOFFMAN-PAISS, yoga teacher; and AMIR PAISS, musician

"My trip to Guaria de Osa was a psychospiritual journey that opened up possibilities in my personal and professional life that I had only dreamed of before. And it was exotically beautiful, rejuvenating and fun!" RACHEL HARRIS, Ph.D., psychologist

"Group Osanimi is doing courageous and innovative work. By seeking out ways to assist cultural transmission while organizing to protect Ecuador's forests, they are working to preserve ancient botanical wisdom, not on some dusty bookshelf, but in the hearts of indigenous youths and in the forest itself. This is a bold and crucial step in these times." ROBERT HASS, poet, United States Poet Laureate, 1996-1997

"Well Jonathon Sparrow, you've done yourself proud – big dreams require big beautiful places to happen. See you next time." SCOTT PITTMAN, Permaculture Institute, New Mexico

"I came here as one and left as another. Thank you." SIMON ASTAIRE, England

"Sacred Love." STING, England "Grupo Osanimi is important work, needs to be supported and is making a real difference." TERENCE McKENNA, ethnobotanist and author of Invisible Landscape

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Just Some of our Favorite Interdisciplinary Readings

Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman,
by Pablo Amaringo and Eduardo Luna. To order: North Atlantic Books, Berkeley -

Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon's Sacred Vine, edited by Luis Eduardo Luna and Steven F. White; (read A Huaorani Myth of the First Miiyabu, by Jonathon S. Miller-Weisberger)

Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth, attaining Unlimited Life, by Hua-Ching Ni

Breaking Open The Head, by Daniel Pinchbeck
(read Ch. 22 on Sentient Experientials in the Ecuadorian Amazon)

Coming Back To Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World,
by Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown; foreword by Matthew Fox

HerbalGram: The Journal of the American Botanical Council

If You Love This Planet: A Plan to Heal the Earth,
by Helen Caldicott, M.D.

In the Rainforest: Report from a Strange, Beautiful, Imperiled World,
by Catherine Caulfield

One River, Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest,
by Wade Davis

Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent,
by Eduardo Galeano

Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual
by Bill Mollison

Riding the Horse Backwards,
by Arnold and Amy Mindell

Seven Life Lessons of Chaos: Timeless Wisdom from the Science of Change,
by John John and F. David Peat

Shaman’s Drum Journal, A Journal of Experiential Shamanism and Spiritual Healing

Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man: A Study in Terror and Healing,
by Michael Taussig

Taoist Inner View of the Universe and the Immortal Realms,
by Hua-Ching Ni

The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge,
by Jeremy Narby

The Lost Language of Plants: The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicines to Life on Earth, by Steven Harrod Buhner (Please read Ch. 11 Living Biognosis the work of Sparrow, pgs. 249 268 and other writers.)

The Nature of Shamanism: Substance and Function of a Religious Metaphor,
by Michael Ripinsky-Naxon

The Reenchantment of Art, by Suzi Gablik

The Reenchantment of the World, by Morris Berman

The Shaman's Body, by Arnold Mindell

The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World, by David Abram

The Tao of Physics, by Fritjof Capra

The Three Halves of Ino Moxo: Teachings of the Wizard of the Upper Amazon, by Cesar Calvo and Kenneth Symington

The Way of the Shaman, by Michael Harner

The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems,
by Fritjof Capra

Thinking Like a Mountain: Toward a Council of All Beings,
by Joanna Macy, John Seed, Pat Fleming, Arne Naess

Thought As A System, by David Bohm

Vine of the Soul, Where the Gods Reign, by Richard Evans Schultes

Workbook for Spiritual Development of All People, by Hua-Ching Ni

World as Lover, World as Self, by Joanna Macy; foreword by Thich Nhat Hanh

In the spirit of networking,
we thank you for passing the news on to others about this significant event.

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