Elizabeth West was a Catholic nun for 30 years. In 1977 she met two nuns of her order who came from India and led retreats using Yoga and Vedanta teachings in a Christian context. This awoke her interest in Indian philosophy and religions and the practice of meditation. She spent time in India visiting Hindu and Christian ashrams, and afterwards worked for the Catholic Church in Westminster Interfaith, fostering dialogue between the many faiths present in London. During this time she took an M.A. in world Regions at SOAS, London University. She has led Buddhist/Christian retreats with various Buddhist teachers for many years and as a result founded the Buddhist Christian Vedanta Network in 1999 (www.buddhist-christian.org).
On leaving her Order, she went to live at the Christian Meditation Centre in London and was involved in the Good Heart Seminar, where the Dalai Lama spoke on the Christian Gospels. This led to the Way of Peace series of events with Christian Meditation and the Dalai Lama. These events strengthened her interest in Tibetan Buddhism and its practical teachings, which led her to move to North Wales and study with Lama Shenpen Hookham, a teacher of Dzogchen and Mahamudra meditation practices, which are rooted in the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Now back in London, she follows the Dzogchen teachings under the guidance of Alan Wallace. Her experience of several traditions from the inside inspired her to continue the work of dialogue at the level of practice, enabling people to deepen their understanding of the spiritual journey. She has just completed an 8 week Shamatha retreat led by Alan Wallace in Phuket, Thailand.