Our founding story

With a combined 90+ years of teaching mindfulness, world-renowned meditation teachers Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield teamed up with conscious entrepreneurs Willem Bult and Ranah Edelin to create Banyan. Our intention is to help thousands of people discover inner freedom and love. To meet the global need for belonging and connection. And to share proven practices that help us thrive in our modern world.

Banyan is built on deep insight, love, and compassion and offers everyone a welcoming place to navigate life’s ups and downs together.
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Tara brach (Co-Founder)

Tara Brach, Ph.D. is a co-founder of Banyan, meditation teacher, psychologist and author of several books including Radical Acceptance, Radical Compassion and Trusting the Gold.

As an undergraduate at Clark University, Tara pursued a double major in psychology and political science. After college, she lived for ten years in an ashram—a spiritual community—where she practiced and taught both yoga and concentrative meditation.

Working as both a psychotherapist and a meditation teacher, she found herself naturally blending these two powerful traditions—introducing meditation to her therapy clients and sharing western psychological insights with meditation students. This synthesis has evolved, in more recent years, into Tara’s groundbreaking work in training psychotherapists to integrate mindfulness strategies into their clinical work.
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Jack Kornfield (Co-FOunder)

Jack Kornfield trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India and Burma. He has taught meditation internationally since 1974 and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. After graduating from Dartmouth College in Asian Studies in 1967 he joined the Peace Corps and worked on tropical medicine teams in the Mekong River valley. He then studied as a monk under the Buddhist master Ven. Ajahn Chah, as well as the Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma. Returning to the United States, Jack co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, with fellow meditation teachers Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein and the Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California. Over the years, Jack has taught in centers and universities worldwide, led International Buddhist Teacher meetings, and worked with many of the great teachers of our time. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is a grandfather, husband and activist.

His books have been translated into 20 languages and sold more than 2 million copies. They include, A Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology, A Path with Heart; After the Ecstasy, the Laundry; Teachings of the Buddha; Seeking the Heart of Wisdom; Living Dharma; A Still Forest Pool; Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart; Buddha’s Little Instruction Book; The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace, Bringing Home the Dharma: Awakening Right Where You Are, and his most recent book, No Time Like the Present: Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are.
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Willem Bult (Co-Founder & CEO)

Willem Bult began his career as an entrepreneur and software engineer in The Netherlands. At 25, he moved to the US and co-founded multiple companies, one of which was acquired by Airbnb in 2015. Throughout his 20 years of building Internet companies, he has always focused on creating a significant and positive impact on the world. Building communities has also been a key aspect in his work.

Willem has long been curious to understand life's profound mysteries, delving into psychedelics and later ceremonial use of plant medicines, which sparked a deeper spiritual journey. His purpose became to enhance people’s well-being and consciousness. With meditation and mindfulness as pillars of his practice, he aims to live an examined life while being fully in the world. Through Banyan, he supports others in awakening and expanding in love.
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Ranah Edelin (Co-Founder)

Ranah spent many years starting and operating startups, including as founding team member of the music service Rhapsody and Co-Founder/CEO of SingShot.

Ranah currently spends his time supporting Banyan as board member and advisor, as well as a coach to other startup founders and execs. He facilitates at the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) for the Interpersonal Dynamics (aka “Touchy Feely”) course, which helps MBA students have more authentic relationships with themselves and others and has been voted the most impactful class at the GSB for the last 50 years.

Ranah received a BA from Brown University, an MBA from Stanford GSB, and a scholarship from the Japanese government to study at Nagoya University. He currently lives in the Bay Area with his family and tries to get out in nature whenever he can.