Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

About

About Wisdom

Wisdom Publications is the leading publisher of contemporary and classic Buddhist books and practical works on mindfulness. Publishing books from all major Buddhist traditions, Wisdom is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to cultivating Buddhist voices the world over, advancing critical scholarship, and preserving and sharing Buddhist literary culture.

Wisdom traces its beginnings to the influential Tibetan teachers Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche who in the 1970s established the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international network of Buddhist service organizations. Lama Yeshe’s vision of “publications for wisdom culture” led to the founding of Wisdom Publications.

Over 30 years, Wisdom has developed a peerless list of over three hundred finely edited and beautifully produced titles that are distributed worldwide and have been translated into more than thirty languages. Wisdom’s success in fulfilling its mission is due to the combined efforts and generosity of countless authors, translators, editors, donors, and staff, all inspired by the profound richness of Buddhism.

Team Wisdom

Wisdom Staff Photo

Tim McNeill

Timothy J. McNeill

Publisher/CEO

For twenty-five years, Tim has had the honor and pleasure of working to develop Wisdom into a world leader of Buddhist publishing. He took this position at the request of his teacher, Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, whom he first met in 1973 at Kopan Monastery outside Kathmandu, Nepal.

Coming from a mostly Catholic and Jesuit high school educational background, Tim went on to earn an undergraduate degree in English literature from SUNY Buffalo. Soon after that, an adventurous spirit turned a summer exploring family roots in Ireland into a year-long overland odyssey to India, where he first encountered Buddhism—and His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. After four years in the Himalayan region, primarily teaching English with the Peace Corps in Bamiyan Province and at Kabul University in Afghanistan, he returned to complete quantitative methods course work in statistics and economics at Columbia University in preparation for pursuit of a Master's in Public Policy (MPP) degree at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Following graduate school, he worked internationally as a consultant with Arthur D. Little, Inc., on a number of major development projects across the Middle East and in Asia, and taught courses in international development planning for the ADL Management Education Institute. In 1983 Tim was recruited to be Vice President of Corporate Development for International Data Group (IDG), the world’s largest publisher of information about information technology with operations in sixty-five countries. His responsibilities included establishing business entities in emerging markets and leading strategic planning exercises for the company’s existing publication and market research business units.

In 1987 Tim turned his political avocation into a full-time role as Associate Director of Issues for Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis’ 1988 presidential campaign. Due to the request of his teacher—and the will of the American electorate—Tim began working at Wisdom Publications rather than the White House when the Dukakis campaign wound down. 

In 2009 the publishing industry’s leading journal, Publishers Weekly, selected Tim to profile as one of their Changemakers.

In addition to serving on Wisdom Publications’ board of directors, Tim has served since 1988 on the board of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), including as its chair. He has also served on the boards of The Tibet House US, Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (BCBS) in Massachusetts, Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation (MTDC), and Hungry Minds, Inc. (publisher of the For Dummies® book series). He is a current and founding board member of the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC).
 
David Kittelstrom

David Kittelstrom

Senior Editor

A twenty-year veteran of Wisdom Publications, David is staff editor for the various translation and academic series, including Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, The Library of Tibetan Classics, Classics of Indian Buddhism, and Teachings of the Buddha. He has served as well as editor of dozens of other books on topics ranging from Japanese Pure Land, to Chinese Zen, to Theravada, and he celebrates the Dharma’s diverse and ever-changing forms.

A native of Maine who grew up very active in the United Church of Christ, David got his B.A. in Religion in 1990 from Carleton College in Minnesota, where he studied Buddhism with Roger Jackson, Bardwell Smith, and Eshin Nishimura, wrote his undergraduate thesis comparing the Madhyamaka thought of Nagarjuna with the desconstruction philosophy of Jacques Derrida, and was profoundly affected by Christian Feminist Theology. In 1988 he spent a semester in Nepal on a School for International Training program directed by Ian Baker, living with a Newari family and attending his first Tibetan Buddhism course with Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche. After college, he spent two years in Seattle working in community mental health with chronically mentally ill adults and meditated for a while at Dai Bai Zan Cho Bo Zen Ji and participated in a Catholic ministry training program. On the advice of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, he began working at Wisdom in 1993 following a year in South Asia when he stayed at Father Bede Griffith’s Shantivanam ashram in Tamil Nadu, attended a course with Venerable Robina Courtin and refuge ceremony with Lama Lhundup at Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu, and undertook the monsoon retreat at Tushita Meditation Center in Dharamsala.

While in Boston, he was fortunate to live between 1994 and 1996 with Sera Je Geshe Tsulga, the resident teacher of Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies, and he served as the director of Kurukulla Center from 1999 to 2001 during the purchase of their building. He was a regular participant in the Buddhist Coalition of New England, an interfaith community active in the 1990s that fostered personal connections and shared practice among the many Buddhist traditions in the Boston area.

At Wisdom, he began as an editorial assistant and customer-service representative when Wisdom still ran a bookstore and a mail-order company on Newbury Street in Boston. From 1995 to 1997, he was director of sales and distribution for the company, and in 1997 switched full time to the editorial department, first as production editor, then as editor alongside E. Gene Smith, and since 2003 as a senior editor. David has two children and currently works for Wisdom from his office in Santa Rosa, California.

Josh Bartok

Josh Bartok

Senior Editor

Josh has served as in-house staff editor for almost thirteen years and 150 books in all traditions of Buddhism. He is the co-author, with Ezra Bayda, of Saying Yes To Life (Even the Hard Parts), and the authoring editor of Daily Doses of Wisdom, Daily Wisdom, More Daily Wisdom, Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s How to Be Happy, and Lama Yeshe’s When the Chocolate Runs Out.

He is also head teacher and spiritual director at the Greater Boston Zen Center, and one of the guiding teachers of Boundless Way Zen. He is a full member of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association and the American Zen Teachers Association, and is a friend of the Lay Zen Teachers Association. Josh has served on the Board of Directors for the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and on the planning committee of the first-ever Next-Generation Dharma Teachers event, part of the Mahasangha Gathering that took place at Garrison Institute in July of 2011.

Josh graduated from Vassar College in 1993 with a degree in Cognitive Science. Recreationally, Josh is an amateur photographer who shows locally and regionally. His work is influenced by John Daido Loori, Kaz Tanahashi, as well as sumi-e and abstract expressionist painters. His photos can be seen online at www.shobophoto.com.

Laura Cunningham

Laura Cunningham

Production Editor

Laura started meditating when she was in high school, when she began attending a weekly mindfulness class led by students of Thich Nhat Hanh at her local Unitarian Universalist congregation. At Bard College she studied literature and comparative religions. She's been working for Wisdom since 2007 and in her free time is an avid reader and traveler.

Andy Francis

Andy Francis

Editor

A native of Madison, Wisconsin, Andy came to know Geshe Lhundub Sopa there, and has been his student (and a student of Buddhism) since 1995. Throughout his time as a student at the University of Wisconsin, and for a few years after earning his bachelors degree in 2006, he worked as a research associate on studies of meditation at the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, under Richard Davidson. Andy is more recently a graduate of the Harvard Divinity School, where he earned his Master of Divinity with Buddhism as his area of focus. He joined the Wisdom team as an editor in January of 2012.

Before pursuing higher education, Andy worked as a baker for many years, where he learned how rewarding and enjoyable it is to work together with others to share what is delectable and nourishing with the world. This is likely why he feels so at home working together with authors and his fellow Wisdom colleagues to bring the best literature that the Buddhist world has to offer to you.

Tony Lulek

Tony Lulek

Business Manager and Production Manager

Tony's interest in Buddhism grew when he volunteered at the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center and worked directly with Gene Smith. He was hired shortly after to manage their accounting and graphic design. When E. Gene Smith moved the TBRC to New York, Gene introduced Tony to Wisdom Publications. It wasn't until the Fall of 2002 that a job came open in the production department. Just before attending a retreat at the Vipassana Retreat Center in Shelburne Falls, MA, Tony was offered the position. Since then he has managed the production department. Last year, he took on additional responsibility, bringing with him years of experience, and now manages Wisdom's accounting and inventory. Besides being a Buddhist, Tony is also a farmer, raising chickens for eggs, turkeys, and honeybees.

Lydia Anderson

Lydia Anderson

Marketing and Promotions Manager

Lydia’s interest in religion began at Bard College where she majored in theater and theology. After earning her Master’s Degree from the University of South Carolina, she began work in marketing, joining Wisdom in 2011. When she’s not spreading the word about Wisdom’s titles, she works as a dramaturge and sometimes-director in Boston’s fringe theater community.

Pema Tsewang, Shastri

Pema Tsewang, Shastri

Customer Service Manager

Pema has worked at Wisdom since 1998. A former Fulbright scholar at Harvard University, Pema has served as the chairman of the board of directors for the Tibetan Association of Boston, and has served in various capacities—as principal, headmaster, and teacher of Tibetan language, literature, and history—at schools in the Tibetan Children’s Village, and as principal and administrator at the Institute for Buddhist Dialectics Dolmaling, both in Dharamsala, India. He has published many books in Tibetan, including poetry, fiction and nonfiction, and translations of works by Dr. Gene Sharp and Charles Dickens. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with his family.

Kestrel Slocombe

Kestrel Slocombe

Advancement and Communications

Kestrel has been interested in Buddhism since 2008, when she began sitting retreats at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA. She is now a student of Boundless Way Zen at the Greater Boston Zen Center in Cambridge. She studied literature at Bennington College and has worked internships at the Insight Meditation Society, Satya House Publications, and the Kneerim, Williams, & Bloom Literary Agency. Kestrel joined Wisdom in August 2012.

Maura Gaughan

Maura Gaughan

Editorial Assistant

Maura started working as the editorial assistant at Wisdom in the spring of 2013. After years of studying literature, she decided to bring her sense of empathy for the reader, as well as the writer, to the world of Buddhist publishing. When she is not reading new American fiction, she can be found practicing yoga, riding her bike, or catching a Dharma Talk at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center.

 

 

Banner image: ©  Jan Reurink