Van Nguyen was the most senior (chronologically) Senior Teacher of the Waking Down process, and is now the most senior Trillium Awakening Senior Teacher. He was born in San Francisco on March 5, 1951, and believes that he is one of the earliest Vietnamese to be born in America. After enduring a difficult childhood, he began his active spiritual-seeking in college, which led to deep explorations of numerous spiritual traditions and teachers over many years, including Adi Da, where he originally met Saniel Bonder, the founder of the Waking Down work.
After Saniel had established his own teaching work, Van went to see Saniel at his Sunday sitting on June 26, 1995. At that point, Van believed that he was a spiritual failure, but much to his surprise, during this first meditation and gazing session with Saniel, the embodied feeling witness consciousness became awakened in him. Van dove into intensive work with Saniel, through sittings and private sessions with him. (He also did adjunct work with two of Saniel’s spiritual teacher colleagues, a husband and wife team, also teaching in a similar manner at this time.) Through transmission and Grace, and again much to his surprise, Van had his Second Birth awakening on August 11, 1995.
Van continued to study and apprentice with Saniel, and after sufficient maturity, he began doing spiritual teaching work in January of 1996. Working closely with Saniel, Van assisted many of those who would eventually become the first early group of Waking Down teachers, with their Second Birth awakenings. Over a 20- year period, he witnessed, as well as helped shepherd, the development and evolution of that work from its early days.
In terms of personal evolution, it turns out that after the initial Second Birth (or Heart-Realization), continued deepening and evolution of the basic awakening into more mature and advanced stages unfolds over time. Thus, Van continued in his passion to explore the process of the highest and fullest realization and to deepen his own realization. He continued to engage in ongoing post-awakening “graduate school” studies, which included ongoing studies with Saniel and other spiritual teachers.
Since Van’s spiritual make-up includes both the “discriminative sage”, as well as, the “devotional ecstatic mystic”, he delved into understanding and advancing Heart-Realization from both perspectives. He would immerse himself into the unfolding profound spiritual experiences and states, and then afterwards, he would attempt to explain what had happened and to eventually create a “working map” and new expanded dharma for the more advance stages of Heart-Realization.
Van’s interest in old and new dharma goes back to the earliest days of Waking Down. He was known as the unofficial “dharma guardian” in the early days of Waking Down, due to his keen discrimination about the details of dharma of Waking Down and other schools.
In the area of devotion, in the summer of 2000, Van’s devotional side got more deeply activated through the spiritual transmission initiation of David Spero, a fully Heart-Realized teacher, in the Divine Mother lineage. In David’s sitting, the Divine Love-Bliss and the Divine Shakti Spirit-current were intensified, which resulted in Van experiencing the “intoxication” of a pronounced spiritual ecstasy. In the days that followed, magically, he felt like he was in-love/Love, with no particular person/object that it was directed towards. In the ensuing 15 years, this Mother-based transmission and Van’s ongoing work with David Spero have helped catalyze and accelerate the development and enjoyment of the advanced stages of Heart-Realization.
Van is eager to help guide other receptive people into Heart-Awakening, and then continue further with the post-awakening recognition, evolution, and growth into the more advanced stages of Heart-Realization. Additionally, he would like to help map out these stages, in order to innovatively expand the Trillium path teachings and cosmology, for aspirants/realizers now and for those future generations yet to come.