According to indigenous wisdom traditions across the planet, sharing is the key to maintaining a healthy, balanced life for all. We strongly recommend that people come to work with ayahuasca with a clear understanding of the crucial importance of reciprocity.
Reciprocity enables us to complete the varying phases of healing that we pass through in life. Without reciprocity, there is no rebirthing cycle. Healing is a process of consciously allowing aspects of pain in our past to die. We are then reborn. Reciprocity is the thread that runs throughout this rebirthing process.
By reciprocating all the benefits that come to you from others, nature and the spirit world, you become more benevolent. By respecting others and understanding their needs, your journey of healing and self-discovery is supported significantly more by the spirits of the plants and transpersonal forces outside of our comprehension.
We’ve all been given a gift. The gift of life. What we do with our lives is our gift back.
The universal principle of reciprocity is called Ayni in Quechua, the most widely spoken indigenous language of South America. In its closest translation, it can be understood as reciprocity, interconnectedness and mutual aid.
Ayni is the central principle that guides all aspects of daily life, above the concepts of munay (to love), yachay (to learn, know, and remember), llan’kay (to work) and sumak kawsay (to live a good life). It is a basic rule and practice that has enabled the inhabitants of one of the harshest terrains on Earth not only to survive but to thrive.
Ayni both entails and presupposes a profound respect for life. Living by ayni, one deeply understands the importance of giving back through the circulation of energy, goods, knowledge and labor for the benefit of family, society, culture and environment. When we return and wake up to the gift of life, remembering to live with gratitude, respect and in reciprocity, benevolence manifests in its highest form.
We find ourselves at an incredible threshold. While humankind has largely lost sight of ayni, indigenous wisdom is rising. We see traditional ecological knowledge and the living wisdom of indigenous peoples moving front and center, accepted as legitimate and effective approaches to healing our relationship with our planet and ourselves.
This is the era of cross-pollination, and bridge-building – a new opportunity for the human species to act with integrity, respect and reciprocity, assisting each other in creating a beautiful future on this beautiful planet. As the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us, “Healing the planet and healing oneself are the same thing.” This healing – and this change – begins within each of us.
The Temple embodies this philosophy in all aspects of our work and enthusiastically gives back to the people and the environment here in the Amazon.
Since 2010, the Temple has taken the most significant stand in the ‘ayahuasca scene’ – in and out of the Amazon – for Ayni / reciprocity, donating over $1,000,000 to projects and people in South America, and beyond, that generate positive social and environmental impact.
We stand for a new era of living in reciprocity with our beloved planet, Mother Earth.
Reciprocity to the Amazon
In 2012, we founded a sister non-profit organization, the Chaikuni Institute.
For over a decade, and leading by example in the ayahuasca scene, the Temple has demonstrated a new healthcare model that places major importance on reciprocity, putting people and the planet before profit. For us, this is ‘spirituality in action’.
Through the Chaikuni Institute, we are focused on the following three programs:
Supporting Indigenous Projects and People
Niwe Rao Xobo Dieta Center
Since 2016, the Temple has supported Niwe Rao Xobo, a plant spirit dieta center established and run by Maestra Ynes Sanchez Gonzalez.
We provided legal, fiscal, and financial support, as well as significant promotions of the center in the first 5 years whilst Ynes was establishing Niwe Rao Xobo.
It has become one of the most popular and well-respected indigenous-owned dieta centres in the Peruvian Amazon.
Ynes’s daughter Laura is a key member of our healing team, working with us six months of the year. Ynes also occasionally returns to the Temple to work with us too.
Shipibo Rao Dieta Center
Since 2019, we have provided significant support to Shipibo Rao, a plant spirit dieta center established and run by Maestro José Lopez (son of Ynes).
We work extremely closely with Maestro José, supporting his work by raising awareness about dietas at Shipibo Rao, providing legal and accounting support, marketing and promotions, and general financial support when needed (mainly for construction and renovations to the infrastructure).
Master plant dietas with Jose deeply honor Shipibo tradition (as they do at Niwe Rao Xobo), are a ‘dive into the deep end’ of healing, and the next step on the Amazonian plant-spirit healing journey that we recommend to guests of the Temple feeling called to take their process further / deeper.
Jose works most of the year at his center holding master plant dietas, whilst also coming to support us at the Temple on ayahuasca retreats twice a year.
We are proud and honoured to consider Jose and the Lopez family our close friends and allies, and are deeply committed to our collaborations over the long term.
We have collaborated with the Shipibo-Konibo Association of Onanyabo (Ancestral Healers), supporting them to raise funds via a crowdfunding campaign and donating ourselves.
The main project that we have helped to fund is the ‘Onayabo en Accion’ (Shipibo healers in action) – a project that focuses on a treatment and revitalization protocol for Shipibo communities heavily hit by COVID-19.
In partnership with Chaikuni Institute and the Temple of the Way of Light, they successfully reached 333 people in 10 communities.
Since the initial pilot project, they then reached out farther along the Ucayali River to continue their work and developed strategies for long-term care and crisis response.
COVID Crowdfunding Campaign
When the Temple was forced to move into a suspension of all retreats – from March 2020 to August 2021 – we carried out our first crowdfunding campaign in collaboration with the Chaikuni Institute.
The intention was to support our local staff and Shipibo healers financially, whilst they were not able to work at the Temple.
We were deeply touched by the response of the Temple guest community, who donated $180,000. These funds were critical for our local & indigenous teams. They provided them with the ability to cover their bills, food costs, and any medications that were needed during the pandemic.
Mamo Romualdo of the Arhuaco People in Colombia
We are also blessed to be supported by a Mamo – a spiritual authority/healer – from the Arhuaco people of the Sierra Nevada mountains of Colombia. Mamo Romualdo visited us at the Temple in 2019 and has been supporting our work spiritually ever since.
We reciprocate his support by arranging work for him with some of our guests, contributing to his projects in Colombia, and funding the purchase of small plots of ancestral land that he is in the process of reclaiming from local farmers who took over these sacred sites decades ago.
Personal/Individual Financial Support
We have also carried out many individual/special donations, financially supporting countless healers and their families over the years. Although we are blessed to work with high-level healers, health issues still arise, mainly in their families.
The reality of life in the rainforest is harsh, and health complications often come up that require Western medical attention. We ensure that we care for and support our healers at all times, and when critical health issues arise, we support their family members too.
Supporting Non-Indigenous Projects
We have also provided sponsorship funds to numerous projects and organisations in the ‘plant medicine’ scene including multiple donations to ICEERS (for their World Ayahuasca conferences), to MAPS (for their Psychedelic Science conferences), to the Parliament of World Religions, as well as many others.
Since 2007, the Temple has provided significant support to our local village, Tres Unidos. We have been the main economic driver for our local area, employing locals from our local village and four other communities within a 2-hour walk. All of the local staff at the Temple come from these communities.
Over the years, we have funded:
- School teachers to ensure the local kids receive a good education
- Equipment for the school
- The construction of a school
- The construction of the local church
- The development of a running water system for our local village, providing water for each household
- Regular support of ‘mingas’ (local works to maintain the village)
- Village events (anniversaries, Christmas, special communal days of celebration, etc)
- Any much more!
Through our sister NGO, the Chaikuni Institute, we have been involved in supporting the transformation of destructive slash-and-burn farming practices into healthy regenerative agroforestry initiatives, that are now becoming widely adopted in our area, as well as many other projects.
The Temple has led the way for over a decade in the ayahuasca scene, inspiring many other centers and practitioners to realise the importance of and practice reciprocity.
There is no other ayahuasca healing center in the world that has had such an extensive impact working with the indigenous peoples of Peru. We are honored to collaborate with a large ecosystem of Peruvian friends and allies, all aligned to a common intention – the protection and preservation of the Amazon Rainforest.
We fundamentally believe that ‘profit’ generated through healing services is best returned to the people and environment that it comes from.