GElONGMA DRIME SHIWA (Saskia Bleijendaal) started her Buddhist path in the Netherlands with the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order. There she led meditation groups, co-led retreats and participated in the Board of the Amsterdam Buddhist Center. In 2008 she left her job in International Relations at VU University Amsterdam and came to Gampo Abbey where she worked as Head of Education for several years. She soon became a student of Dzogchen Pönlop Rinpoche and studied at Nitartha Summer Institute. She also graduated from the Gampo Abbey Shedra and co-taught one of its courses. In 2011 she received getsülma vows from the V.V. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, and gelongma vows in 2017. In August 2017, she graduated from the traditional three year retreat at Söpa Chöling.
Shiwa has always tried to find a good mix of study and practice, one informing the other and this will be something she would like to continue doing at KCCL.
At present she is one of the directors of Karma Changchub Ling.
STEVE RITCHIE – Vice-President and Director
Steve immigrated from England to the USA in 1974 and became an active student of Tibetan Buddhism and of the great meditation master, the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
From 1981-1983 he lived at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he became a meditation instructor in the shamatha-vipassana discipline and staffed several long group meditation retreats, as well as many other teaching seminars and retreat programs.
He has been a personal attendant to each of the three Shambhala leaders and met many of the great visiting lamas and teachers of the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions through service. He and his family immigrated from Colorado to Nova Scotia in 1989 in support of his teacher’s wishes. Steve has been a real estate broker for 30 years, and besides the j