former buddhist monk, performer, writer
Alan Clements, a former monk, journalist, activist, author, and performing artist, was the first American to ordain as a Buddhist monk in Burma where he lived in a monastery for the better part of a decade during the 1970s and 1980s. During this time he trained in Buddhist psychology and Insight ( vipassana ) meditation with two of the most respected meditation masters of the modern era, the late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw, and his successor the Venerable Sayadaw U Pandita.
Clements was forced to leave monastic in 1984 by Burma's military dictatorship (no reason given). He subsequently returned to the West, becoming an evocative activist for global human rights and freedom, lecturing and leading seminars worldwide. His efforts on behalf of oppressed peoples led a former director of Amnesty International to call Alan "one of the most important and compelling voices of our times."
As a journalist, Alan has lived in some of the most highly volatile areas of the world. In the jungles of Burma, in 1990, he was the first Westerner to witness and document the genocide of the ethnic minorities by the military dictatorship, which he wrote about in his first book, Burma: The Next Killing Fields?, with a foreword by the Dalai Lama.
Invited to Croatia in 1993 by a senior officer for the United Nations, he lived in the former Yugoslavia during the final year of their war, where he consulted with staff members of NGO's and the United Nation's on the "vital role of consciousness in understanding human rights, freedom, and peace." At that time Clements also wrote "Burning"-- a screenplay about love, freedom, and nonviolence in the context of hatred, totalitarianism, and war."
In 1995, Clements made a risky journey back to Burma where he spent six months with Burma's opposition leaders, all of whom had just been released from prison. In April 1996 he smuggled their taped conversations from Burma that became The Voice of Hope, (Seven Stories Press, NY)--the internationally acclaimed book of conversations with Aung San Suu Kyi, 1991's Nobel Peace laureate and leader of her country' nonviolent struggle for freedom. The book also contained feature length interviews with the two co-chairmen of Aung San Suu Kyi's political party, U Tin Oo and U Kyi Maung.
Clements is also the co-author (with Leslie Kean) and a contributing photographer to Burma's Revolution of the Spirit (Aperture, NY)--a large format photographic tribute to Burma's nonviolent struggle for democracy--with a foreword by the Dalai Lama and essays by eight Nobel peace laureates. In addition, Clements was the script revisionist and advisor for Beyond Rangoon (Castle Rock Entertainment), a feature film depicting the crisis in Burma, directed by John Boorman.
Watch Alan Clements
on the "Fanny Keifer show"
Alan's most recent book, Instinct for Freedom (New World Library, CA) chronicles his life-long spiritual journey and his core philosophy on the nature of freedom, along with an in-depth analysis of both the theory and practice of meditation, as well as a rare look into the philosophical underpinnings of Burma's nonviolent struggle for freedom, known as "a revolution of the spirit."
As result of Alan's activism in Burma, in 1997 the dictatorship "permanently blacklisted" him from reentering the country, branding him "Public Enemy."
Aung San Suu Kyi was rearrested in 2001 and again in 2003, where she remains incommunicado, along with nearly 1,500 other prisoner's of conscience.
Alan performs his acclaimed one-man show, " Spiritually Incorrect," to audiences around the world as benefits for the Burma Project USA--a non-profit human rights organization--to raise awareness of Aung San Suu Kyi's incarceration, as well as her political party's urgent request for an international boycott of travel to Burma.
Alan's one-man show uniquely combines comedy, satire, drama, and activism into a stream of consciousness series of metapysical-political monologues that serve to obliterate contemporary sacred spiritual cows and geopolitical propaganda that proclaims religious beliefs and moral values as a justification for political and military aggression.
Clements has been interviewed on ABC's Nightline, CBS Evening News, Talk to America, CBC, VOA, BBC, and by the New York Times, London Times, Time and Newsweek magazines, Yoga Journal, Conscious Living, and scores of other media worldwide.
In addition, Alan has presented to such organizations as Mikhail Gorbachev's State of The World Forum, The Soros Foundation, United Nations Association of San Francisco, the universities of California, Toronto, Sydney, and many others, including a keynote address at the John Ford Theater for Amnesty International's 30th year anniversary.
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Alan lectures, performs, and leads retreats in North America, Europe and Australia, to illuminate the fundamental importance of understanding human consciousness as the basis for true social, political and spiritual transformation.