Han de Wit
Han de Wit remembers clearly his return flight to Amsterdam in 1977, following a year of residence at Karme Choling. As he struggled to navigate airport Customs with seven zafus and zabutons piled on his shoulders, the raw materials for the first Vajradhatu Center in Europe, he asked himself "How did I get into this situation?"
In 1975, Han was a promising research psychologist at the University of Amsterdam. His interest in the human psyche arose from personal questions that he had been pondering for years: "Why is it that people experience similar situations in such different ways? What does that tell us about the nature of mind?" For Dr. de Wit, psychology did not keep its promise; it did not answer these questions adequately. He started to look in other directions, visiting bookstores of 'questionable' academic reputation. After reading Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Han says, "that was that." In 1975, he was on his way to meet its author, his teacher, the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Since that time, Han has continued to travel to and from North America, practicing and studying intensively. He has also continued to think about how to broaden and mold western psychological language in such a way that it can contain the Buddhist view of mind and convey the value of meditation practice. Han has written several widely-read books with this purpose in mind.
With his wife Ineke, Han has worked to develop the European sangha. Through the years, this has meant serving in all kinds of capacities: from giving individual meditation instruction and training new instructors, to giving public talks for large audiences; from introducing Kasung practices and teaching Shambhala Training, to introducing Ngedon School. Now that Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has put his trust in him as an acharya, Han says: "On the one hand this feels pretty natural, but on the other hand, I experience it as an tremendously inspiring burden. May I be helpful in alleviating people's fear of suffering and rousing their joy of life."
You can find a few interviews with Han de Wit at http://www.polilogues.com/categories/han_de_wit.html