Edward W. Bastian, Ph.D.



Dr. Ed Bastian

From 2002 until the present, Ed Bastian has been founding President of the Spiritual Paths Foundation that convenes a distinguished faculty to teach the transformative principles and theories of the worlds spiritual traditions, to train students the practices of meditation and contemplation, and to translate contemplate practice into positive social change and environmental sustainability.

This work is called InterSpiritual because of the unique process of group meditations and dialog around contemplative intentions, methods, and experiences. Working together, Spiritual Paths faculty and students to co-create an inner foundation for active engagement in the world. The Spiritual Paths Institute has offered a two-year certificate program in InterSpiritual Wisdom as well as weekend retreats, online classes, in-person classes, and mentoring in contemplative practice. Its thematic programs and educational materials help participants develop a sustainable contemplative practice from the wisdom of the world’s great traditions, and create a contemplative community of people from many spiritual and secular perspectives to solve the challenges of our time.


Ed Bastian is the award winning author of Living Fully Dying Well, as well as Mandala: Creating An Authentic Spiritual Path, InterSpiritual Meditation: A Seven-Step Process from the Worlds Spiritual Traditions, and contributor/publisher of Meditations for InterSpiritual Wisdom.  Through his writing, teaching and working with many esteemed contemplative teachers from many traditions, he has developed a process for training InterSpiritual Mentors through a systematic program of Inquiry, Insight and Integration.


As an Adjunct Professor at Antioch University in Santa Barbara, he teaches courses on Buddhism, meditation and religion. As Adjunct Professor at Fielding Graduate University, he teaches a course for personal and organizational development and coaching called Contemplative Leadership that is based on the methodology he has developed in his books.  Bastian also teaches courses based on his work at One Spirit Interfaith in New York City, the Chaplaincy Institute in Berkeley, and The Sacred Art of Living Institute in Bend.  He has taught seminars and retreats at such centers as Esalen Institute, Hollyhock Retreat Center, The Garrison Institute, La Casa de Maria.


In 1980, Ed Bastian received a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies with a minor in Western Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received a Fulbright Foundation Fellowship and an American Institute for Indian Studies Fellowship for the research he conducted in India while studying Indian Philosophy and Religion in Varanasi and Buddhism in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. Dr. Bastian has presented scholarly papers and films at academic conferences in the US, England, Japan and India. He organizedmoderated, and taught courses on religion for the Smithsonian Institution. Bastian’s work in Buddhism began in 1970 with a number of private consultations with His Holiness the Dalai Lama who recommended that he continue his studies with Professor Geshe Lhundup Sopa in the Ph.D. program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Smithsonian Institution

From 1984 to 1989, Dr. Bastian served as a program director for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. He co-directed the National Forum on BioDiversity (whence the term was coined) with the National Academy of Sciences. He was the Smithsonian producer of the critically acclaimed first CD-ROM for the Smithsonian called Life Story (on the discovery of DNA), a co-production with Lucasfilm Ltd. and Apple Computer. He organized the development of a major exhibition on Tropical Rain Forests and helped formulate the mission and programming plan for the International Center. He was a member of the Smithsonian policy steering committee for film, television and interactive media.

During his tenure at the Smithsonian, Bastian managed the development of a series of television dramas and documentaries on the intellectual history of the 20th century with the Discovery Channel and Adrian Malone Productions. The Smithsonian projects under his management included books, catalogs and study guides, major exhibitions, traveling exhibitions, television programs, interactive media, video conferences, lectures and seminars.

Documentary Films

During the 1970s and 80s, Bastian was Executive Producer for six films on Asian religions for the BBC and PBS. He also produced a series of three films on Tibetan religion and culture with grants awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the US Office of Education and the Smithsonian Institution. His films have been honored with screenings and awards including the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the New York Film and Television Festival, the American Film Festival, the Margaret Meade Film Festival, the Cine Golden Eagle, the Aspen Film Festival and the Hawaii Film Festival. He has served on television advisory review panels for the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Internet Entrepreneur

In 1992, Ed Bastian founded Aspen Interactive Media, Inc. (AIM), an interactive multimedia publishing company. In 1994, he collaborated with Sun Microsystems cofounder, Bill Joy, to build aspen.com one of the worlds first community web sites. It was supported by Sun as one of it first trial Internet Web Sites. Bastian orchestrated AIMs Private Placement stock offering in 1995. He directed all phases of the company’s development including server technology, coding, content development, client relations, web site design, ad sales, marketing and strategic planning. In the fall of 1999, he negotiated the sale of this profitable company to Morris Communications.


Bastian has traveled widely as a documentary filmmaker, scholar and student throughout Latin America, Asia, Africa, Europe, Polynesia and the Middle East. Early in his career, between 1966 and 1972, Bastian was a director, producer, soundman, cameraman, writer and editor for a variety of documentary films in Asia, South America, Africa and the US. He was a photographer and writer of the war in Viet Nam and a writer for NBC News in New York. He also served as a field director for Governor Robert Ray of Iowa and for the presidential campaigns of Governors Romney of Michigan and Rockefeller of New York. Bastian was a founding teacher of the Aspen Community School. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa where he was a scholarship basketball player and chief justice of the student court. His interest in politics and basketball deepened in high school when he was elected Governor of Iowa Boys State and selected by Scholastic Magazine as an All American basketball player.

Boards and Community Service

Bastian has served as adviser or board member for a number of non-profit organizations including: the ECOFaith Santa Barbara, United Religions Initiative, Interfaith Initiative of Santa Barbara, Global Peace Initiative of Women, the International Contemplative Alliance, the Garrison Institute, La Casa de Maria, the Aspen Community Forum, the International Design Conference, the Communications and Technology Association, the Aspen Institute, Public Council of the Rockies, the Tibetan refugee Children’s Fund, and Moderator of the Woody Creek Caucus.

Reent Articles, Interviews and Presentations

Here is an abbreviated list of further resources.


1. Here is a recent article with the Contemplative Journal


2. Article with Interfaith Observer



1. Tami Simon, Sounds True conversation


2. Rami Shapiro interview on the InterSpiritual Mandala


3. Festival of Faiths conversation with Jonathan Bastian



1. Talk at Aspen Chapel



Edward W. Bastian, Ph.D.
6 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93109