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Irmentraud was born in South Germany in 1957.

After her A-levels and first years at university, she travelled widely through North and South America and Asia and visited many holy places in Thailand, Nepal, India, and Sri Lanka.

In 1982 while staying in Sri Lanka she participated in her first meditation course (Vipassana) and felt sure that this was indeed the spiritual path for her to follow.

After returning to Germany, she continued practicing and studying Buddhism under the guidance of Theravada monks, but later joined the Tibetan Kagyu Tradition. In parallel she started to study Sanskrit, Pali and Tibetan, as well as History of Religion and English literature at Berlin University (Freie Universität Berlin).

In 1990 she graduated from Bonn University with a Masters degree in Indian and Tibetan Studies and History of Religion.

She also completed a five-year-study programme of Buddhist Studies in the Karma Kagyu Tradition at the Kamalashila Institute in Germany, which led to her receiving the title “Dharma Teacher” (skyor dpon) and the permission to teach on fundamental ideas, literature and practice of the Karma Kagyu School.

During those years she continued practising Buddhist meditation, while receiving important empowerments, instructions and blessings from many of the leading Tibetan Kagyu and Nyingma Rinpoches.

She translated several Buddhist books from English into German, taught Classical Tibetan in the Kamalashila Institute, and gave talks on Buddhist topics and since 1990 has published articles in German Buddhist magazines.

From 1992 – 1994 Irmentraud undertook a course of further study at Bonn University which qualified her to teach German as a foreign language. Since that time she has taught German to immigrants as well as to foreign students wanting to study at German universities.

From 1992 – 1994 Irmentraud undertook a course of further study at Bonn University which qualified her to teach German as a foreign language. Since that time she has taught German to immigrants as well as to foreign students wanting to study at German universities.

Both in the field of language teaching (Tibetan, English and German) and as a Dharma teacher trying to present Buddhist ideas to fellow Westerners, she has been confronted with the same challenge – how to explain complex and initially foreign ideas and contexts, whilst using simple, non-technical language, so that ordinary people can relate to them.

This has become somewhat a mission for her: to provide a way into Buddhist practice for Western people that is true to the tradition, but accessible at the same time and with a focus on its application in daily life. Thus in her courses and books the focus is on applying Buddhist principles in modern daily life.

Irmentraud currently lives in Bonn.

 

Irmentraud Schlaffer