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The Heart of These Times: Dharma Conversations Responding to a World in Pain

Live Online Course

July 5th, 2020 - July 26th, 2020

Join us for a compelling series of dialogues, led by Sangha Live founder and guiding teacher, Martin Aylward, exploring how we meet and respond wisely to the challenges of our times.

Scheduling note: Due to a family emergency, our second conversation with Sanah Ahsan has been postponed. We will update this page with a new date as soon as it is confirmed.

These are intense days.

We’re living with the uncertainty and danger of a global pandemic. We are finally awakening en masse to the deadly injustices of structural racism. And we’re grappling with the existential threat of ecological collapse and climate disruption. 

Grief, rage, confusion and fear swirl around these topics. 

But these issues call forth the need for wisdom, compassion and courageous, informed engagement. Now, more than ever.

To respond to this challenge, Sangha Live presents a one-off live-only experience with The Heart of These Times

On four consecutive Sundays, Sangha Live founder and guiding teacher, Martin Aylward, will sit with fellow Dharma practitioners and teachers to explore the heart of these times, with each other, and in discussion with online participants. 

The Heart of These Times is unlike any other live Dharma teaching. 

With events moving so quickly in the world right now, we didn’t want to feel tied to a particular theme each week. Our aim in bringing together different guests each week is to create a forum where we can explore the most pressing global challenges of COVID, racism and the environment while having the flexibility to respond to events as they happen.

That’s what makes The Heart of These Times so urgent right now, and we hope you’ll join us as we start the conversations that will lead to healing.

How it works

Each week, Martin is joined by a different Dharma teacher or practitioner to explore the biggest global challenges facing the planet right now. With the ever-shifting nature of the situation, we believe this flexible format brings a more dynamic conversation while allowing students the opportunity to bring their voices to the conversation.

Each conversation will last an hour and will be broadcast live. For the first 30 minutes, Martin and the guest for that week will have a wide-ranging discussion. In the second half, Martin and the guest will be open to questions from those joining live online.

Each session will be recorded and made available for those who cannot attend live.

View session times here.

Who are the guest speakers joining Martin?

We’ve selected the guests for their experience and the unique perspective and voice they bring as well as dedication to their Dharma practice. Every speaker brings a depth of personal and professional experience of the challenges in discussion.

Guest speakers will appear in the following order:

  • 5th July: Climate scientist and educator-activist Sensei Kritee Kanko, PhD
  • 12th July: Award-winning poet and psychologist Sanah Ahsan
  • 19th July: Mindfulness teacher Kaira Jewel Lingo
  • 26th July: Buddhist teacher and NYC Department of Correction Executive Director of Chaplaincy, Lama Justin Von Bujdoss

Week 1: Sensei Kritee Kanko, PhD (5th July)

Dharma Conversations

Sensei Kritee Kanko, PhD is a climate scientist, educator-activist, grief-ritual leader and a Zen priest. She is a Sensei in the Rinzai Zen Buddhist lineage of Cold Mountain, a founding Dharma teacher of Boundless in Motion and a co-founder of Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center. She has served as an Ecodharma teacher for Earth-Love-Go (Lama Foundation), One Earth Sangha, Impermanent Sangha and Shogaku Zen Institute. As a senior scientist in the Global Climate Program at Environmental Defense Fund, she helps implement climate-smart farming at scale in India. She was trained as a microbiologist and isotope biogeochemist at Rutgers and Princeton Universities.

Kritee believes in identifying and releasing our personal and ecological grief and bringing our gifts into strategic collective actions for societal healing. Kritee regularly lectures on the inseparability of climate and racial justice at national and international forums including World Council of Churches. Her articles and interviews have appeared in Tricycle, Lion’s Roar, Buddhadharma, Tikkun and several other Buddhist and climate advocacy outlets. Her synthesis of myths surrounding climate crisis, racism, ethics and action is available as a Youtube video. Her video interviews and articles can be accessed here. Originally from India, she now lives with her husband Imtiaz Rangala, also a climate scientist, in Boulder, Colorado. She is COVID-19 survivor.

Week 2: Sanah Ahsan (Postponed) - new date to be confirmed

Dharma Conversations

Sanah is an award-winning poet and psychologist. Her creative and therapeutic work centres around being awake to suffering in a loving, embodied way. Her spiritual practice of Islam has deepened through her committed meditation practice.

Her recent TED Talk ‘Rewriting my story with love and poetry as a queer muslim’ draws on the concept of radical re-mothering as a woman of colour, influenced by thinkers including bell hooks and Audre Lorde. Sanah is currently completing her clinical psychology PhD, and her research specialises in deconstructing Whiteness.

She can be reached here: and

Week 3: Kaira Jewel Lingo (19th July)

Kaira Jewel teaches meditation and mindfulness internationally, with a focus on activists, people of color, artists, educators, families, and youth. She began practicing mindfulness in 1997. An ordained nun of 15 years in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing, she is now based in Colombo, Sri Lanka, leading retreats in the U.S. and internationally, offering mindfulness programs for educators and youth in schools, as well as individual spiritual mentoring. In addition to practicing in the Zen tradition, she practices and teaches in the Vipassana Insight tradition of Spirit Rock.

She can be reached here:

Week 4: Lama Justin von Bujdoss (26th July)

Lama Justin von Bujdoss

Lama Justin von Bujdoss (Repa Dorje Odzer) is an American vajrayana Buddhist teacher, writer, and the Executive Director of Chaplaincy and Staff Wellness for NYC Department of Correction where he also serves as Staff Chaplain. He also has experience as a hospice and hospital chaplain. Lama Justin was ordained as a repa, a lay tantric yogin in the tradition of Milarepa, by His Eminence Gyaltsab Rinpoche. Lama Justin is a co-founder of Bhumisparsha, an experimental Buddhist sangha, along with Lama Rod Owens. He is the author of Modern Tantric Buddhism: Authenticity and Embodiment in Dharma Practice published by North Atlantic Books, and a contributor to Buddhism and Whiteness: Critical Reflections, published by Lexington Books. Lama Justin has spoken on Buddhist practice at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, University of Chicago, Wellesley, Columbia and has led retreats at a variety of Dharma centres. He has been a visiting teacher at Union Theological Seminary and is passionate about helping to create the conditions for authentic embodied tantric Buddhist spiritual practice in the West. 

What does it cost to register?

As this is a new live format, we want to open up registration to as many participants as possible.

That’s why you can register for your place for $20 today.

This nominal fee simply covers our technical costs.

After each weekly session, Martin will invite students and participants to donate Dana, if they feel they have received value. 

Here's what you get when you register

  • An invitation to join Martin and the guests in discussion live so you can ask questions and explore ideas directly
  • Recordings of each session you can watch back again
  • Invitation to explore the themes further in the online forum

Series details

  • 4 hours of live video content
  • We’ll record every moment of Martin in discussion with his special guests so you can return again and again to the teaching and discussion when you need.
  • Join the live sessions and take the opportunity to ask questions directly of the teachers, explore ideas and deepen your practice.
  • 30-day refund guarantee. We believe you will gain great value from the unique format of this series. However, if you’re dissatisfied with it for any reason, we’ll give you a full refund up to 30 days after purchase.

Live Online Course Details

4 Live Interactive sessions

Each week of the series will be presented as a 1 hour live session, incorporating both conversation between Martin and the guest speaker, as well as time for questions. All sessions will be recorded and made available for those who can't attend live.

Sangha Live Online Meditation

Online Sangha

Connect with an international community that is practicing with you. Shared experiences and insights from others enrich the experience and help us go deeper with the teachings.

30 day refund guarantee

We believe you will gain great value from the unique format of this series. However, if you’re dissatisfied with it for any reason, we’ll give you a full refund up to 30 days after purchase.

Accessible to All

To make the series widely available, we’re asking for only a small cost for registration. At the end of each of the four live sessions we will give those in attendance the opportunity to make a donation or contribute Dana.


Photo - Alarm Clock - Schedule

Dates & Times

Session 1: Sunday July 5
Session 2: Sunday July 12
Session 3: Sunday July 19
Session 4: Sunday July 26

About Martin Aylward

photo of Martin Aylward smiling

Martin Aylward is the founding teacher of Sangha Live. After spending his early adult years in Asian monasteries and with Himalayan hermits, Martin settled in Southern France with his wife Gail and their 2 children, co-founding the Moulin de Chaves retreat centre where he lives and teaches.

Martin teaches meditation, guides students and leads retreats internationally, emphasising the integration of the deepest wisdom teachings into the midst of the lives we live. He is also a director of the Mindfulness Training Institute. Martin’s book Awake Where You Are: The Art of Embodied Awareness (2021) is now available via Wisdom Publications