Past Events & Programs

AHIMSA  presents:

Sunday Sept 28,2014   1:30-4:30pm
Berkeley Buddhist Monastery, 2304 McKinley, Berkeley, CA


We have all experienced conflict in various forms. Our speakers have been engaged with attempts to understand and resolve conflict using various approaches and techniques.


Welcome and Moderator – Rev. Gerry Caprio, President of AHIMSA



Well known former Chanel 5 News Anchor and currently Candidate for the Oakland City Council. Volunteer in the Maximum Security Units at Alameda County’s Probation Rites of Passage Program. Her issues will include police staffing, quality of life concerns and affordable development.  She continues to pursue sculpture and art as well as teaching journalism at Dominican University in San Rafael.

JANE FALK, Ph.D – Linguist, Consultant and Trainer
Dr. Falk is a consultant and coach committed to creating peace and harmony in the context of cross-cultural misunderstanding and conflict.  She trained at Princeton, has held positions at UC Berkeley and CUNY and is the principal of Jane Falk & Associates.

J.G. LAROCHETTE - Mindful Life Project
Mindful Life Project teaches self-awareness, impulse-control, confidence, and resiliency to elementary students in under-served schools and communities through mindfulness, yoga, therapeutic and performing arts.

KOKOMON CLOTTEY - Attitudinal Healing Connection
Mindful Drumming is the meditative drumming technique Kokomom innovated and teaches to help individuals achieve peace, build community and bring joy into life.

ServiceSpace is an all volunteer-run organization that leverages technology to inspire greater volunteerism. It allows inherent generosity to become small acts of service for the community. Outer change is closely tied to one’s own inner transformation- changing ourselves to change the world.


  Free Public Offering:
A Special Afternoon on


Listen to audio recording of the event »

Stories by three persons who have experienced Near Death Experiences (NDEs)  in which they became aware of their mortality, and unsure if they were still alive or already dead. How has it affected their lives and how would it affect yours?


Sunday  April 27, 2014  1:30-4PM 
at the Institute for World Religions / Berkeley Buddhist Monastery

2304 McKinley Ave, (at corner of Bancroft, one block west of Berkeley High School)
Berkeley, CA 94703

Consider it: every person you have ever met, every person you will pass in the street today, is going to die. Living long enough, each will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime? -- Sam Harris

Welcome – Fr. Gerry Caprio, President of AHIMSA
AHIMSA anniversary acknowledgements  -  Shireen Burns
Introduction – Ruth Richards, M.D.,PH.D. – Significance and Characteristics of NDE
TOM MAHON– Although raised with the Christian view of afterlife, Tom’s near-death experience  was like that recounted in The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A journey through the Bardo, and encountering a ‘demon fierce and mild.’
ROGER STEINBRONN – Drowned, came back different (and new skills to show for it).
Rev. RICHARD MAPPLEBECKPALMER – appointed to the chaplaincy of the Grace Institute for  Religious Learning. Co-Pastor of Grace North Church. For over 10 years unofficially  ‘chaplained’ the Young ATHIESTS at UC Berkeley.
 There will be a short  BREAK followed by a Q&A  session with the speakers.


Now Available on the Internet:

*** Talks from our March 24, 2013 panel discussion on Unity in Diversity: To Cure a Culture of Violence. This was a special discussion on cultural violence and responses to it, in the light of the Vedantic philosophy as brought to the West by SWAMI VIVEKANANDA (1863 - 1902).  The event was held in commemoration of Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birthday, and AHIMSA's 20th anniversary.  The event was held at the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery and Institute for World Religions, March 24, 2013

Contributors and links to talks:


Panel Moderator 
Swami Vedananda, Vedanta Retreat, Olema, California

Religious, Ethnic and Racial Diversity - Sources of Hatred, Bigotry and Violence
by Swami Tattwamayananda, Assistant Minister, Vedanta Society of San Francisco

Synopsis: All forms of discrimination, fanaticism, and violence are rooted in the idea of the “others.” Spirituality is not ideology. It is ideology that creates division in society. Spirituality  is about the Unity of  the whole creation and, therefore, acts as a bridge between religions and people of different ethnic backgrounds.

Capitalism and Social Justice

by Tapan Parikh, Professor, School of Information, UC Berkeley

Synopsis: Experience in the United States and China shows that uncontrolled capitalism leads to societies in which a few are super rich and a large number are poor and unable to meet daily basics needs such as food, housing, healthcare, and education.  To promote social justice, nations must make huge investments in enterprises based on technologies that serve the poor.

Gender Discrimination and Its Impact on Society

by Preeti Shekar, Exec. Director, Narika

Synopsis: What is the status of women in Hinduism and how did Swami Vivekananda consider the status and role of women in Indian society? Most world religions are patriarchal and controlling of women but women have also been able to negotiate agency and advocate for themselves using religious frameworks.

Raj Yoga for Inner Peace - A Necessary Condition for Building Peaceful Communities

by Bidyut K. Bose, Executive Director, Niroga Institute
Synopsis: It is not possible to have peaceful communities until everyone in the community has a way to achieve peace within.  Even as we explore the causes of violence in the external environment, we must also learn to control the mind.  To achieve this, the method taught by Raja Yoga will be briefly described.

Service as a Gift - Transforming a Materialistic and Violent Culture

by Somik Raha, Coordinator, ServiceSpace

Synopsis: Throughout their lives, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi experimented with certain core values.  What insights might we unlock in experimenting to test our core values? Drawing on personal experiences from ServiceSpace, this talk will celebrate experiments with core values.


Finding Unity in Diversity to Cure a Culture of Violence
Entire talk including Q&A:

Religious, Ethnic and Racial Diversity - Sources of Hatred, Bigotry and Violence, Swami Tattwamayananda

Capitalism and Social Justice, Tapan Parikh

Gender Discrimination and Its Impact on Society, Preeti Shekar

Raj Yoga for Inner Peace - A Necessary Condition for Building Peaceful Communities, Bidyut K. Bose

Service as a Gift - Transforming a Materialistic and Violent Culture, Somik Raha

*** Ruth Richards, M.D., Ph.D. Saybrook University and Harvard Medical School, Advisory Board, AHIMSA

speaking on


Original Presentation was May 17, 2011

Go to

This talk highlights empathy as an essential yet often unsung human quality— one that is immediate, creative, connecting, and powerful—while exploring its greater potential for who we are as humans, and its vital role in our future growth, health, and progress, as individuals and as cultures.  

Ruth Richards, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor in the Graduate College of Psychology and Humanistic Studies at Saybrook University in San Francisco, in the Consciousness and Spirituality concentration area, where she teaches courses including Eastern Psychologies, Psychology of Consciousness, and Dimensions of Creativity. 

*** Mitch Hall:
Roots of Empathy and Nonviolence in Childhood

Original Presentation was December 7, 2010

Go to for Video of Mitch Hall's talk and to for updated slides on Slideshow page

If we are to reach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children...” (M.K. Gandhi, 11/19/31)

Mitch Hall
is a wellness counselor for underprivileged children and youth, a peace and children’s rights activist, a published author, and a certified yoga teacher. You can read his writings on his website,


  = = = =  = = ALSO

Now available: Conference Talks from our 2008 Conference on the Human Capacity for Peace. Go to "Audio Talks" on web page "Voices of Ahimsa"

From the 2008 Conference Program: AHIMSA, The Institute for World Religions, and the International House UC Berkeley, a special day of talks and practices
Meeting Each Other with Compassion and Respect: In Individual and Global Settings
Hosted by the Pacific School of Religion of the Graduate Theological Union
Saturday April 5th,  9:30 AM - 4:30 PM at the Badè Museum ,Pacific School of Religion

1798 Scenic Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709
For directions : Parking is free in the PSR lot on Saturdays


May my tongue be innocent of malice and my lips free from lies. When confronted by enemies may my soul stay calm, truly humble to all.

 – Prayer from Shaharit for Shabbatt

     Today we live in heightening awareness of the power of language to empower violence in all its forms and at all scales. We see the blatant ability of language to divide people and exasperate global tensions. And we also see its balancing power – the ways in which language and action can mitigate violence and nurture peace.  
     In this conference we consider this dynamic, and are privileged to have contributors whose backgrounds offer a great breadth of experiences representing many dimensions of this dynamic – from the scale of the individual to that of global settings, and from issues of social mores to spiritual teachings.
     Many questions come naturally, and expand from the individual to social and global issues. We start with the individual. How is daily language rooted in metaphors of war? What are the changes in inner and outer attention which we need in affecting change in us? What voice do I hear in myself? How do I greet threat? When is an enemy not an enemy? In what is rooted transformation and healing? How do nonviolence and peace compare and differ? What is a nonviolent community? What is a peaceful community?
     The pertinence of these questions will be addressed as the morning and afternoon unfold. The day will include both talks and shared experiences and practices. We welcome you to a day on the power of nonviolent language and action.

Morning 9:30 – 12:30 am GIVING VOICE TO NON-VIOLENCE

Chair: Liliane C. Koziol, Program Director, I-House, UC Berkeley
Sharon Ellison, THE ART OF POWERFUL NONDEFENSIVE COMMUNICATION: Taking the War out of Our Words.
Sharon Ellison will share with us her studies on the rooting of violence in language, defensiveness and habitual modes of communication, and will introduce us to ways of transforming habits of thought through attention and practice.
Herb Behrstock, SPEAKING PEACE: Finding Understanding, Attaining the Common Good – Global Perspectives
Herb Behrstock will draw on more than thirty years working as a United Nations senior officer and Resident Representative in several developing countries.
In the context of the world’s wisdom traditions, Huston Smith will reflect on the qualities of nonviolence and the shift of attention met in spiritual transformation as it informs outer action.
Sr. Elizabeth Padilla, THE POWER OF MUSIC
Sr. Elizabeth Padilla will perform and speak about the quality of music which directly reaches the heart and spirit.


Roundtable moderated by: Ruth Richards, Professor of Psychology, SaybrookUniversity
Each contributor brings an unique area of experience to this discussion.
Sharon Ellison on non-defensive communication (continue from morning)
Mitch Hall on education, family and social nonviolence
Emmy Irobi on international conflict resolution
Michelle Moore on the Global Oneness Project
Ken Preston-Pile, Pace e Bene, on nonviolent social action





» Recordings of some past conferences are available.
» Ahimsa Journals

AHIMSA Conferences:

'93: Finding Unity in Diversity -- A Dialogue
'94: In Search of Consciousness
'95: Education and Human Values
'96: Global Harmony -- A Day of Music
'97: Science Within Consciousness?
'98: Spiritual Dimensions of our Technological Future
'99: Economics, Spirituality and Human Good
'00: Science, Spirituality and Nonviolence
'01: Building Islands of Peace in a Violent World
'02: IMAGINE (Reconnecting Science, Spirit, and Society through Conversation, Ceremony and Performing Arts)
'05/06 Conference and Series on the Human Capacity for Peace: Reaching for Empathy and the Roots of Peace
'07 Conference and Series on Finding the Creative and Spiritual in Everyday Life
'08 Conference on Finding The Power of Nonviolent Language and Action 
'09 Local Actions for Global Transformation:The Power of the Human Spirit

AHIMSA Literature

Dimensions of Unity
Dialogues of Spirituality, Science, and Society

These dialogues of talks and writings on themes of spirituality, science and society are from our AHIMSA events during the first ten years, 1993-2003.

This book is arranged around four major themes that we have addressed over these 10 years. The essays include articles from our Journal, Ahimsa Voices, including new, expanded, and re-grouped papers. The Themes are:
Part 1: Ahimsa and himsa (non-violence and violence)
Part 2: Consciousness, Science, and Spirit
Part 3: Entering the Self: Art, Mysticism, and Gender
Part 4: Society, Technology, and Spirit

The essays in each section are arranged to evoke dialogue and discussion, as well as to encourage reflection on the spiritual dimensions of the topics.

Dimensions of Unity Includes talks and essays authored by:

Huston Smith, Author of The World's Religions
Swami Prabuddhananda, Head of the Vedanta Society of Northern California
Marian Diamond, Professor of Integrative Biology and author of Magic Trees of the Mind
Michael Nagler, founder of the Peace and Conflict Study Program, U. C. Berkeley, and Author of Is There No Other Way?: The Search for a Nonviolent Future

If you would like to pruchase a copy of this book, please » contact us. Thank you.

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