ABOUT US

Vision

The vision of the Five Wisdoms Institute is to be a global center for the practices and teachings of the Five Wisdoms. We aspire to make these teachings widely accessible to reawaken the wisdom of our ailing world.


Mission

The mission of the Five Wisdoms Institute is to promote the practices and teachings of the Five Wisdoms, founded in Tantric Buddhism. We serve professionals wanting to enhance their work and individuals seeking self discovery and healing. We engage people in the personal work to bring out their full human potential.

IRINI ROCKWELL

Supreme Rainbow Dancer

Five Wisdoms Institute Founder, Director and Principle Trainer


For decades I have been deeply interested in the essence of who we are and how we can bring out our best to serve the world. The Five Wisdoms have been the vehicle to bring together my training in Buddhism, meditation, psychotherapy, leadership, mind/body disciplines, movement, and the arts.  

My primary interest, as presented in the year long Five Wisdoms Training, is to teach people to actively use the Five Wisdoms in their life and work. My books are The Five Wisdom Energies, a Buddhist Way of Understanding Personalities, Emotions and Relationships and Natural Brilliance. I have taught internationally for almost 40 years at Buddhist centers and spiritual and personal growth venues. Formerly a professional dancer, I then trained in a Contemplative Psychotherapy MA, Authentic Leadership, and Tantric Buddhism.

My Story

One summer day in 1976, I was sitting in a friend’s apartment in Boulder, CO, where we were both assistant teaching at Naropa Institute [now University], a school that focuses on training in the arts, Buddhism, and contemplative psychotherapy. I was reading "Cutting through Spiritual Materialism," written by Naropa’s founder, the Tibetan meditation master Chögyam Trungpa. The following passage caught my eye: “In the Tantric tradition energy is categorized in five basic qualities or Buddha Families: Vajra, Ratna, Padma, Karma and Buddha. Each Buddha family has an emotion associated with it which is transmuted into a particular ‘wisdom’ or aspect of the awakened state of mind. The Buddha families are also associated with colors, elements, landscapes, directions, seasons, with any aspect of the phenomenal world.”

Reading those words changed my life. It led me to a contemplative tradition with an understanding of energy at its core. My immediate connection came from my passion for exploring the dynamic qualities of expressive movement as a dancer and choreographer. I explored human emotions—the heat of love, the strength of anger, the stiffness of pride, the sparkle of joy. So I instinctively knew about the energies of which he wrote. My awareness of these energies began to color my perspective in many aspects of my life, particularly my relationships with people. Why was it that one man brought out my intellectual curiosity and another my physical desire? Why did I feel at ease with one person and anxious with another? Why would I feel powerful in one situation but inhibited and frustrated in another? What was the energetic relationship between myself, these people, and these situations?

More than 40 years later, I am still at it!

ASSOCIATE TEACHERS

Our international cadre of teachers are authorized by Irini to teach the Five Wisdoms:

MATTHIAS HEIDEL

  Frankfurt, Germany

Almost as long as I can remember, I have been interested in what is behind the obvious, on the surface of things and people. The main aspiration in my work as an artist, art therapist, and NonViolent Communication trainer and in my path as a human being is to dig into what it really means to be “authentic.” I am convinced that play and creativity are at the core of every human being to find their own unique access to this basic life energy.

The Five Wisdom Energy work is, in my experience, a most wonderful container for practicing and rediscovering our innate qualities of wisdom and compassion to enrich our own and others’ lives. I studied sculpting at the university of fine arts in Karlsruhe, Germany, client centered art therapy at Staatliche Kunst Akademie, in Wiesbaden, meditation with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and other teachers, and Non Violent Communication with several trainers, especially Robert Gonzales in his Living Compassion work. In my work as an artist and trainer I try to fuse all these influences in order to contribute to peoples’ thriving.











SYDNEY LEIJENHORST 

Wageningen, The Netherlands

For more than forty years, I have been on a journey with the martial, healing, and meditation arts. For several decades the Five Wisdom Energies have been one of my main ‘inspirational arteries’. My specialty lies in catalyzing embodied experiences of these inner qualities and integrating their energetic and creative impulses. My work with Irini Rockwell was one of the most important forces in this development. Other meaningful influences have come from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Dagga Tulku and Diane Musho Hamilton.

 As director of KenKon Integral Life and Training center, I have incorporated the Five Wisdom Energies in various ways, embedding them in our various disciplines such as karate, qigong, and (Tibetan) meditation as well as in seminars, bringing together various teachers and systems. I have also used them to direct and balance organizational processes at KenKon and in trainings for organizations.

Twice a year we hold the ‘Five Vital Wisdoms Weeks’. These periods have become integrative journeys during which my colleagues, students, and I experience an intensified and creative digestion of these wonderful teachings. People in all disciplines, including Zen, judo, aikido and dance, get a taste of these teachings. The energies become a shared source of inspiration, a language that makes people connect at a new and meaningful depth. It enlivens the way we are present in our bodies and world. 

FRANCESCO MELITA

Wageningen, The Netherlands

I work as an independent coach, trainer and storyteller. The two-year Wisdoms@Work training has influenced all I do, personally and professionally. My strength lies in creating an open, safe atmosphere that offers space for development and freedom of expression. It is important for me to express my passion, humor, and creativity to stimulate those qualities in others. At Winnock, I assisted people suffering from chronic pain; at HAN, Arnhem and Nijmegen, I coached teachers; at Koning Willem I Marketing College, I coached marketing students in professional presentations; at Curnet, I offered creativity training for employees of the four biggest civil-engineering bureaus in the Netherlands. I led a workshop for the Dutch Association of Psychologists. At Wageningen University and Research Centre, I coached students and at the Geemente Reeuwijk en Bodegraven Conference, I presented in a collaboration between the municipalities of Reeuwijk and Bodegraven.














KELLY PETRIE

Oregon, Wisconsin USA

A yearning to come home to my authentic nature is what guided me to Naropa University’s Contemplative Education, where I was immersed in Buddhist philosophy and embodiment work, unleashing glimmers of energetic radiance that felt so freeing. This is where I was first introduced to Maitri Space Awareness and Irini Rockwell’s work. Touching the energies through sensate presence transformed the way I could more genuinely connect with the autistic students I was working with at the time. My thesis emerged as a study that unveiled a deeper understanding of autism through the Five Wisdoms lens, lending to a contemplative approach to relationship development between autistic and neurotypical people.

 My passion continues to center around the transformative power the Five Wisdoms brings to curriculum design and teacher-student relationships. I founded the Maitri Center for Mindful Living in Oregon, Wisconsin. My signature training is geared toward parents, caregivers, educators, and other professionals who wish to strengthen their relationships with the autistic people in their lives.

TESSA RACINE

Mas Marvant, France

I have worked in the film industry for twenty years. I make documentaries for French TV and lead video workshops with young people. As well, I am a client-centered therapist. For two years I was assistant to Irini Rockwell’s Paris Wisdoms@Work training. As a a long-time student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, I teach in the Shambhala Buddhist Community. I am very involved in family life, with both children and grandchildren.






















CARUCHA SCHWENCKE

Den Haag, Netherlands

I work as an independent psychosocial therapist, coach, and certified mindfulness trainer. I followed trainings at the Institute for Mindfulness in the tradition of Jon Kabat-Zinn and Breathworks Mindfulness Teacher Training for supporting people dealing with chronic pain and long-term (physical) health conditions. The basis of my work is deeply rooted in the contemplative tradition: Buddhist psychology, meditation, and Western therapeutic skills. I completed the two year Five Wisdoms@Work training program with Irini Rockwell with a focus in contemplative psychotherapy. Since then the Five Wisdom Energies have become an integral part of my personal and working life. As a member of the Network Palliative Care Haaglanden (The Hague), I offer spiritual support for those from different religious and cultural backgrounds who are facing death. I am also in charge of mental welfare and safety issues in Het Koorenhuis, an educational arts institute in The Hague. Over the past two decades I have studied and practiced under the guidance of many Tibetan Buddhist teachers, doing shorter and longer study and meditation retreats in the Karma Kagyu tradition.

KLARA MOLNAR

Hungary

The Five Wisdoms gave me clarity about who I am. They helped me find my strengths and purpose in life. They also played a big part healing my relationships with myself and my family through understanding and seeing the ways I communicate with myself and with others. I met Irini and the Five Wisdoms Training in my early 30’s when my life was a big mess. I was in a big transition trying to figure out what to do with my life and how to best serve the people around me. I knew this to be my path, so I followed Irini on the Five Wisdoms path...and I never left. The Five Wisdoms system is a way of life. If we connect deeply, with ourselves and with others, the world becomes a place where people understand and help each other. It is a natural way of life for all of us. As a Health Coach, a Nutritionist in TCM and a Trainer I use the Five Wisdoms to understand our clients more deeply. I teach the Five Wisdoms to the members of our 5 Elements Community in Hungary.

THE FIVE WISDOMS COUNCIL

The council is the governing body of the Five Wisdoms Institute. Irini Rockwell and the council members work closely to hold the vision and accomplish the mission of the Institute.

NEM BAJRA

Pink Sage Warrior

My passion is to bring joy to workplace, family, and the community. Being an engineer and entrepreneur has helped me appreciate the benefits of technology and financial success in improving one’s livelihood. Yet, I notice that the happiness that comes from having plenty of money and good health is rather limited and conditional.

  Having practiced meditation for many years and trained in the Five Wisdom Energies, I have learned that I can lead a life of joy when I live out my true self. This is my motivation for wanting to share this wisdom with others. When we come to more fully understand our own energetic makeup of the Five Wisdom Energies, we can apply this knowledge to be our most authentic self in our everyday life and work situations.












JEAN GUNNER

Generosity Jewel Warrior

My passion is to help manifest a society based in profound goodness and kindness. Serving as the director of a pediatric primary care medical practice since 1994, I have sought ways to help increase happiness and joy in the workplace. Engaging with my family and the natural world is how I stay authentic and centered in my everyday life. In 2021, I embarked on the yearlong Five Wisdoms Training with Irini Rockwell and became certified to teach.  

At work, the application of the Five Wisdoms helps me to mentor and coach staff, leadership, and the team in real time as we navigate intensified emotional situations. Emotions are no longer something to be feared, rather they are pure energy that can lead to greater depths of connection and human understanding. The employees and our patients and families all benefit from the Five Wisdoms work. I look forward to working in businesses and healthcare operations by applying the Five Wisdom Energies.







KELLY PETRIE

Sparkling Exertion Warrior

A yearning to come home to my authentic nature is what guided me to Naropa University’s Contemplative Education, where I was immersed in Buddhist philosophy and embodiment work, unleashing glimmers of energetic radiance that felt so freeing. This is where I was first introduced to Maitri Space Awareness and Irini Rockwell’s work. Touching the energies through sensate presence transformed the way I could more genuinely connect with the autistic students I was working with at the time. My thesis emerged as a study that unveiled a deeper understanding of autism through the Five Wisdoms lens, lending to a contemplative approach to relationship development between autistic and neurotypical people.  

My passion continues to center around the transformative power the Five Wisdoms brings to curriculum design and teacher-student relationships. I founded the Maitri Center for Mindful Living in Oregon, Wisconsin. I am dedicated to cultivating a sense of wellbeing, impassioned learning, and interconnectivity through the development of innovative programs that employ contemplative pedagogies and creative modalities for optimal human flourishing.

PATRÍCIA VALINHO

Sweetheart Warrior

My utmost desire is to respond to what is needed and be of service. Therefore, I am applying my skills to help the Five Wisdoms community grow. It has been quite the journey. I discovered Irini's books on the Five Wisdoms in 2015, started the dharma path two years later, and the Five Wisdoms Training in 2020. Within 10 years I wish to build a Five Wisdoms centre in Portugal, focused on trauma and self-healing. As well, I want to nurture civic participation (political, social, and cultural) for a more active and awakened democracy.  Having studied communication, management, and design, for the past decades I’ve been an innovator, and marketing and business strategist. I started two businesses focused on promoting Portuguese culture and industries, Uma Casa Portuguesa (house renovations with local raw materials) and Dedal (smart homeware made the heart way in Portugal). What drove me to create these businesses was the need to change both the inevitable loss of traditional knowledge and local economic value creation. I will keep working with projects that promote our culture, services, and products.








NANNETTE WEINHOLD

Rainbow Warrior in Training

As an experiential educator, my passion is creating and supporting experiences that allow for contemplation and self exploration. Upon return from teaching in Southeast Asia, I enrolled in Naropa University’s Contemplative Education MA and was exposed to maitri practices. Recently I completed a PhD in Somatic and Spiritual Psychology which was an opportunity to deepen my understanding of self, other, and the world, through contemplative photography. Currently I am doing the Five Wisdoms Training, where I am immersed in the teachings and practices and having profound insights and transformation. I am transitioning from 35 years of teaching children into retirement, which I call rewirement. I am looking forward to working with people who desire to expand their spectrum of life experiences through the practice of photography. To this end, I am creating contemplative photography classes that bring in the Five Wisdom Energies to both inform my teaching and enhance the experience for the students.










CRAIG ZINK

Richness King Warrior

I was fortunate to spend my childhood surrounded by rolling hills, valleys, forests, streams, and rivers, and the activities and interesting people that were available to me in this rural environment. These experiences spawned my interest in becoming a geologist. Stepping on the path of the dharma in my mid-forties was a natural progression from those early connections in the natural world. The stressors of life also led me to daily contemplative practice and becoming a yoga teacher, meditation guide, and wellness coach. Joining a community and studying the dharma deepened my worldview and expanded my vision and innate capacities for being and working with others.  

Studying and practicing the Five Wisdom Energies has expanded my understanding of the connection of contemplative practice to life experience, the dynamics of human relationships, and the diverse energies in people and the phenomenal world. When I am grounded in awareness and open in the moment, I am in concert with the energies and the constant changes with inner/outer life experience.

 My passion is to share the steps that bring one to that authentic connection and awareness of self, other, and the environment. It starts with simplicity, opens to diversity, and sees the unique qualities that are forever in flux.

JANET PAL

Eternally Blooming Warrior

I am passionate about growth and healing. Yours, mine, ours. I’m particularly passionate about the opportunities for growth and healing presented by change and loss and even more specifically, the growth and healing that can occur in that liminal space between the no more of endings and the not yet of new beginnings.

 The internal experience of our body and how that drives our thinking and behavior, is what we often need help understanding and navigating. This crucial step is often overlooked in a society that values mind over body and thinking and doing over feeling and being. It make the transition much harder and the change almost impossible to sustain.

Grounded in almost two decades of study and practice in contemplative traditions, I am a mindfulness and self compassion coach and holistic practitioner. I am passionate about supporting clients to see, feel, trust, and align with their own innate wisdom and wholeness as they move through the ever changing circumstances of their lives.

The Five Wisdoms Institute offers trainings internationally.
Inspired by Naropa University, Contemplative Psychotherapy, and Authentic Leadership,
our trainings are proven to enhance self-awareness, communication, and effectiveness.