Ajaan Thanissaro (Geoff) is an American monk of the Thai forest tradition. After graduating from Oberlin College in 1971 with a degree in European Intellectual History, he studied meditation under Ajaan Fuang Jotiko in Thailand and ordained in 1976. In 1991 he helped establish Metta Forest Monastery in San Diego, CA where he is the abbot. He is a prolific writer and translator. Many of his works can be found online at www.accesstoinsight.org.
Born in England in 1956, Ven. Amaro Bhikkhu received his BSc. in Psychology and Physiology from the University of London. Spiritual searching led him to Thailand, where he went to Wat Pah Nanachat, a Forest Tradition monastery established for Western disciples of Thai meditation master Ajahn Chah, who ordained him as a bhikkhu in 1979. He returned to England and joined Ajahn Sumedho at the newly established Chithurst Monastery. He resided for many years at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, making trips to California every year during the 1990s.
In June of 1996 he established Abhayagiri Monastery in Redwood Valley, California, where he was co-abbot with Ajahn Pasanno until July, 2010. Ajahn Amaro has written a number of books, including an account of his 830-mile trek from Chithurst to Harnham Vihara called Tudong - the Long Road North, republished in the expanded book Silent Rain. Other works published by him include Small Boat, Great Mountain (2003), Rain on the Nile (2009) and The Island - An Anthology of the Buddha’s Teachings on Nibbana (2009) co-written with Ajahn Pasanno. Ajahn Amaro returned to Amaravati in July, 2010. At the invitation of Luang Por Sumedho, Ajahn Amaro has been appointed to assume the duties of abbot of Amaravati, commencing after Luang Por Sumedho retires in the autumn of this year.
Originally from Minneapolis, Ajahn Chandako was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1990 in the Thai Forest Tradition in the lineage of Ajahn Chah. After practicing intensive meditation in various monasteries in Thailand and traveling extensively in Tibet, Nepal, and India, he settled at Wat Pah Nanachat in Thailand, the monastery established by Ajahn Chah for his English-speaking disciples. He translated many of the teachings into English and is also the author of 'A Honed and Heavy Ax: Samatha and Vipassana in Harmony.' In recent years, he has taught internationally, and is now the abbot of Vimutti Forest Monastery, near Auckland, New Zealand.
Ajahn Jumnien is a delightfully happy, wise, playful Thai forest monk. Trained in intensive meditation with Ajhan Dhammadaro, he also traveled as a wandering ascetic and mastered a diverse array of concentration meditations. No matter what the technique, he constantly urges us back into seeing our true nature.
Ajahn Liem Thitadhammo, a highly respected and revered Buddhist monk in the classical Thai Forest Tradition, is Ajahn Chahs chosen successor. Born in Thailand in 1941, he took full bhikkhu ordination at the age of 20. In 1969 he began training under Ajahn Chah one of Thailand's most beloved and renowned monks. In 1982 when Ajahn Chah became too ill to carry on with his duties, he entrusted Ajahn Liem with full authority and responsibility to run the monastery at Wat Nong Pah Pong; Ajahn Liem subsequently became abbott. For the Sangha at Wat Pah Nanachat (Ajahn Chahs International Forest Monastery for training monks using English as the language of instruction), Ajahn Liem is a dearly respected teacher and guide in the monastic life.
Ajahn Metta was born in 1953 in Germany. She has been practising meditation since 1984 and has experience of living in other spiritual communities in Europe and Thailand (Wat Suan Mokkh). She became an Anagārikā in 1993 at Amaravati and took higher ordination as a Sīladhārā in 1996. She is one of the group of senior nuns leading the Sīladhārā community. For the past few years she has been teaching meditation workshops and retreats.
Ajahn Pasanno took ordination in Thailand in 1974 with Venerable Phra Khru Ñāṇasirivatana as preceptor. During his first year as a monk he was taken by his teacher to meet Ajahn Chah, with whom he asked to be allowed to stay and train. One of the early residents of Wat Pah Nanachat, Ajahn Pasanno became its abbot in his ninth year. During his incumbency Wat Pah Nanachat developed considerably, both in physical size and in reputation. Ajahn Pasanno became a well-known and highly respected monk and Dhamma teacher in Thailand. Ajahn Pasanno moved to California on New Year's Eve of 1997 to share the abbotship of Abhayagiri with Ajahn Amaro. In 2010, Ajahn Amaro accepted an invitation to serve as abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in England. Ajahn Pasanno is now sole abbot of Abhayagiri.
Ajahn Prasert is originally from northeast Thailand where he became a monk at the age of 11. He studied both in Bangkok and India, and came to the United States in 1982. He is the abbot of Wat Buddhanusorn in Fremont, which he established in 1983.
Ajahn Sundara was born in France. In her early thirties, after working for a few years as a dancer and teacher of contemporary dance in both France and England, she had the opportunity to attend a talk followed by a retreat led by Ajahn Sumedho. His teachings and his way of life as a Buddhist monk resonated deeply. In 1983 she was given the Going Forth as a siladhara (ten precept nun). In the mid-nineties she spent over two years in Thailand practicing in the forest monasteries. For the last 20 years she has taught and led meditation retreats in Europe and North America.
Ajahn Thanasanti was born in California. She was first introduced to insight meditation in 1979 by Jack Engler. After working as an analytical chemist for a few years, in 1987 she went on pilgrimage to India, Nepal and Thailand. She entered Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in 1989 receiving ordination in 1991, and trained with Ajahn Sumedho. She spent a few years traveling as an alms mendicant without a fixed abode.Ajahn Thanasanti has been teaching intensive meditation retreats internationally for many years. Her interest is integrating insight into the full human condition and using nature as a support in the practice. Currently she is resident at Chithurst Buddhist Monastery in the new Rocana Vihara.
Ajahn Thaniya was born in New Zealand. She practised for a number of years with a meditation group closely affiliated with Luang Por Chah and the Thai Forest Tradition . In 1990 she went to England to join the monastic community there. She trains at Cittaviveka Monastery where she is the senior nun. Her interest is in, 'What ripens the heart so it can taste freedom?'
Ayya Anandabodhi first encountered the Buddha’s teachings in her early teens, igniting a deep interest in the Buddha’s Path of Awakening. She lived and trained as a nun in the Forest Tradition at Amaravati and Chithurst monasteries in England from 1992 until 2009, when she moved to the US to help establish Aloka Vihara, a training monastery for women. Her practice and teaching are guided by early Buddhist scriptures and through nature’s pure and immediate Dhamma. In 2011 she took full Bhikkhuni Ordination, joining the growing number of women who are reclaiming this path given by the Buddha.
Ayya Santacittā has practiced meditation since 1988. Her first teacher was Ajahn Buddhadasa, who sparked her interest in Buddhist monastic life. She has trained as a nun in both the East and West since 1993, primarily in the lineage of Ajahn Chah. Since 2002, she also integrates Dzogchen teachings into her practice. Ayya Santacitta is co-founder of Aloka Vihara, a training monastery for women near Placerville, CA, and received bhikkhuni ordination in 2011.
Ayya Santussika grew up on a farm in Indiana and moved to California after receiving a BS and MS in Computer Science. She worked for 15 years as a software engineer in Silicon Valley before dedicating her life to spiritual practice. In 1999, she began visiting monasteries in the US, Europe and Asia where she learned from master teachers mostly in the Ajahn Chah lineage. She trained as a minister and received a Masters of Divinity degree in 2002. She entered monastic life in 2005, primarily living at Amaravati and Chithurst Monasteries and Aloka Vihara. In 2012, she received bhikkhuni ordination and founded Karuna Buddhist Vihara located in Mountain View, California. She teaches Dhamma based on the Pali Canon in America and abroad and is a director for Buddhist Global Relief, a charitable organization striking at the roots of poverty and relieving chronic hunger and malnutrition.Link for Ayya Santussika’s Website: http://www.karunabv.org/
Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni is an American-born member of the Buddhist Women's Monastic Sangha with a background in Zen and Theravadan Buddhism. Venerable Sister Tathaaloka began monastic life sixteen years ago, and was granted Higher Ordination by an ecumenical gathering of the Bhikkhu & Bhikkhuni Sanghas in Southern California in early 1997. With the encouragement of her long-term mentor, Ajahn Maha Prasert, and the expressed wish of many Sangha friends, both lay and monastic, she has recently been involved in opening Dhammadharini Vihara, the first Theravadan Buddhist women's monastic retreat residence in Northern California, where she currently serves as Abbess.
Bhante Henepola Gunaratana is the founding abbot of the Bhavana Society. Born in Sri Lanka, he has been a monk since age 12 and took full ordination at age 20 in 1947. He came to the United States in 1968. Bhante G has written a number of books, including Mindfulness In Plain English and Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness. As Chief Sangha Nayaka Thera for North America, he is the highest-ranking monk of his sect in the US and Canada. Bhante G writes articles, leads retreats, and teaches worldwide.
Venerable Walpola Piyananda (“Bhante”) is the founder, president, and abbot of Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara in Los Angeles, California. Born in 1943 in Sri Lanka, he has been a monk since the age of 12. He came to the United States in 1976 to further his education, attending Northwestern University and UCLA, holding two M.A.s and a Ph.D. He is presently the adviser to the president of Sri Lanka on international religious affairs and the chief monk of the Sri Lankan Sangha in America and Canada. He has provided many services for Southeast Asian refugees in Los Angeles and was the Buddhist chaplain for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. He currently teaches Dharma and meditation at his temple in Los Angeles, one of the oldest Theravada temples in the United States.
Bhante Piyananda has been instrumental in the re-establishment of the Theravada bhikkhuni Order. He was there with the planning and work as a Preceptor in 1996 in Sarnath, India when the first group of women became fully ordained nuns (since the Theravadan Order had previously died out in the year 1017). Since that time he has ordained many more women as fully ordained bhikkhunis.
He is author of The Bodhi Tree Grows in L.A., Saffron Days in L.A., and Thus We Heard: Recollections of the Life of the Buddha.
Bhante Sujiva has dedicated his life to Buddhist teachings. He has studied with many teachers in Malaysia, Thailand and Burma, including Sayadaw U Pandita. He began teaching meditation in Malaysia in 1984 and has held countless retreats there. Beginning in 1995, he started teaching internationally. He has since led retreats in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, several countries in Europe and the US. He also has a degree in Agricultural Science.
Bhikkhu Analayo was born in Germany in 1962 and ordained in Sri Lanka in 1995. In the year 2000 he completed a Ph.D. thesis on the Satipatthana-sutta at the University of Peradeniya (published by Windhorse in the UK). In the year 2007 he completed a habilitation research at the University of Marburg, in which he compared the Majjhima-nikaya discourses with their Chinese, Sanskrit, and Tibetan counterparts. At present, he is a member of the Centre for Buddhist Studies, University of Hamburg, as a Privatdozent (the German equivalent to an associate professorship), and works as a researcher at Dharma Drum Buddhist College, Taiwan. Besides his academic activities, he regularly teaches meditation in Sri Lanka.
Bhikkhu Bodhi is an American Buddhist monk, originally from New York City. In late 1972, he traveled to Sri Lanka, where he received monastic ordination. He lived for altogether twenty-four years in Asia, primarily in Sri Lanka. He was the editor for the Buddhist Publication Society in Kandy from 1984 until 2002, and he has translated numerous texts from the Pali Canon into English, among them the Samyutta Nikaya (Connected Discourses of the Buddha) and the Majjhima Nikaya (Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha). In 2008, he helped to establish Buddhist Global Relief, an organization dedicated to providing poverty relief to people in developing countries. He resides at Chuang Yen Monastery in upstate New York.
Rev. Daigan Gaither began Buddhist practice in 1995 in the Vipassana (Insight) tradition, and then began to study Zen in 2003 with Ryushin Paul Haller Roshi. He received Lay Ordination in 2006 where he was given the name Daigan or “Great Vow”, and received Priest Ordination in July 2011. Daigan speaks internationally on a variety of topics particularly around politics, gender, sexuality, social justice and their intersections with the Dharma. He also sits or has sat on a number of boards and committees that serve community needs and further social justice causes.
Daigan has a BA in Philosophy and Religion from San Francisco State University, and an MA in Buddhist Studies (with a chaplaincy certificate and a certificate in Soto Zen Buddhism) from the Graduate Theological Union and the Institute of Buddhist Studies. He identifies as a disabled, queer, white, cis male and uses he/him/they pronouns.
Sayadaw U Jagara has 35 years’ experience as a Buddhist monk, living in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, dedicated to the practice, study and teaching of dhamma. He has trained and taught in the U Ba Khin as well as in the Pa Auk traditions of Myanmar.
Venerable Dr. Pannavati, a yogini, former Christian pastor, founding Co-Abbot of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage, and a founding director of Sisters of Compassionate Wisdom (a 21st century trans-lineage Buddhist order), ordained in Theravada and Chan Schools, a Zen Dharma Holder and Vajrayana practitioner as well, Ven. Pannavati’s insight is rich with compassion, wit and humor. Known for her ordination of Thai and Cambodian nuns, work with homeless youth in Appalachia, and ministry to the "untouchables" in India, she is the recipient of multiple Outstanding Women in Buddhism Awards, and received a special commendation from HRH Princess Chulabhorn of Thailand for humanitarian service towards women and children. A guest speaker at Buddhafest in Washington DC this year, and returning next year, in 2013, she also guest teaches at many communities including Insight NY and Spirit Rock’s CDL program.
Adrianne, a retired family physician, has been involved in meditation and healing since 1976. She has been practicing Buddhist meditation since 1984. Her spiritual journey has also included contemplative inquiry practices and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.
Trained by Jack Kornfield, Adrianne is influenced by both Thai and Burmese streams of the Theravadan tradition as well as Tibetan (Dzogchen) practice. She teaches classes and retreats in Canada and the US, and leads sitting groups and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programs in Vancouver. She is the guiding teacher for British Columbia Insight Meditation Society in Vancouver and for Saskatoon Insight Meditation Society in Saskatchewan. She has been involved in the Dedicated Practitioner Program at Spirit Rock since it began, and co-taught the Path of Engagement Program also at Spirit Rock.
Hozan Alan Senauke is vice-abbot of Berkeley Zen Center, where he lives with his family. Alan is founder of the Clear View Project, developing Buddhist-based resources for relief and social change. He is Senior Advisor to Buddhist Peace Fellowship. In another realm, Alan has been a student and performer of American traditional music for nearly fifty years.
Alex is an assistant professor of mindfulness programs at the University of Minnesota. He was trained as a Community Dharma Leader by Spirit Rock Meditation Center (SRMC) and is currently going through the 2013-16 Spirit Rock/IMS/IMC Teacher Training program. His mentors are Joseph Goldstein and Guy Armstrong. Alex was also trained through the Center for Spirituality & Healing, the Center for Mindfulness, and the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute.
Alexis has practiced Insight Meditation in India, Burma and the US since 2001. He met Sayadaw U Tejaniya in Burma in 2003 and has been his long-time student, including several years of training as a Buddhist Monk under his guidance. Alexis’ teaching emphasizes knowing the mind through a natural and relaxed continuity. He brings a practical, intuitive and compassionate approach to the development of wisdom. He is in the current Spirit Rock/IMS Teacher Training and can be found assisting retreats throughout the US.
Amana Brembry Johnson is currently a student in the Spirit Rock Teacher Training Program and a graduate of the Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leaders Program. She teaches meditation and guides contemplative movement that interweaves the wisdom of the Dharma with yoga, Qigong, and other embodiment practices.
Andrea Castillo, born in Mexico City, has practiced Insight Meditation since 1998. Her teachers have been Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella. Andrea has taught Dharma in Spanish at IMC since 2011 and more recently at Against the Stream in SF. She completed a Ph.D. in the Humanities at Stanford University in 2009. Andrea is a graduate of the Sati Center Chaplaincy Training Program, and of the Dharma Mentoring Training Program taught by Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella. Presently Andrea is continuing her training in the Local Dharma Leaders at IMC and the Teacher Training at the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts. Andrea has served the Insight community by being on the board of the Buddhist Insight Network, and presently at the IMC board. She also teaches mindfulness in English and Spanish to various populations in the Bay Area.
Andrea Castillo, originaria de la ciudad de México, ha practicado la meditación introspectiva (Insight o Vipassana) desde 1998. Sus maestros han sido Gil Fronsdal y Andrea Fella. Andrea ha impartido el dharma en español desde 2011 en el Insight Meditation Center (IMC) y desde 2015 en Against the Stream, San Francisco. Obtuvo el doctorado en las Humanidades en 2009 de la Universidad de Stanford. También se graduó del Sati Center en el Chaplaincy Training Program, y del Dharma Mentoring Training Program ofrecido en IMC por Gil Fronsdal y Andrea Fella. Actualmente Andrea continua su entrenamiento en el Local Dharma Leaders de IMC y el Entrenamiento para Maestros del Insight Meditation Society en Massachusetts. Andrea ha servido la comunidad Insight siendo miembro de la mesa directiva del Buddhist Insight Network por tres años y actualmente de IMC. Andrea ofrece también cursos de Atención Plena en español e inglés a diferentes poblaciones en el Área de la Bahía.
Andrea Fella is the co-teacher at the Insight Meditation Center and the Insight Retreat Center. She has been practicing Insight Meditation since 1996, and teaching Insight Meditation since 2003. She is particularly drawn to intensive retreat practice, and has done a number of long retreats, both in the United States and in Burma. During one long practice period in Burma, she ordained as a nun with Sayadaw U Janaka. Andrea is especially drawn to the wisdom teachings of the Buddha. Her teachings emphasize clarity and practicality. Andrea is a member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council, and teaches residential retreats for IMC and other retreat centers around the country.
Andrew Getz is a child and adolescent psychiatric nurse who is director of "Youth Horizons," an organization dedicated to introducing awareness practices to youth, with an emphasis on at-risk and incarcerated teens, mostly in the SF Bay area. Andrew has been practicing Vipassana meditation for over 25 years. He spent several years in Asia where he studied under U Pandita of Burma, and in the tradition of Ajahn Buddhadasa of Thailand. He is also an experienced teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn. He has taught retreats at the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
ANDREW OLENDZKI, PH.D. was trained in Buddhist Studies at Lancaster University in England, as well as at Harvard and the University of Sri Lanka. The former executive director of IMS (Insight Meditation Society), he is currently the executive director of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (BCBS) in Barre, MA. He is editor of the Insight Journal.
Angie Boissevain is a transmitted lay priest disciple of Kobun Chino Otogawa and completed transmission with Vanja Palmers. She has been teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area for 40 years, with emphasis on zazen, and informal studies of Buddhist, especially Soto Zen, teachings. She was one of the founders, with Kobun roshi, of Jikoji, a Zen temple and retreat center in the Santa Cruz mountains, and is teacher for Floating Zendo meditation group in Santa Clara.
Ani Tenzin Lhadron ordained in 1996 as a Tibetan Buddhist sramanerika nun in the Rime, non-sectarian tradition. She is a licensed MFT and did her Chaplain Residency at the Institute for Health and Healing, CPMC. Additionally, she has studied Perennial Wisdoms and Diamond Heart for over ten years and holds a deep commitment to Mind Training practices that can be applied in practical ways in everyday life.
Anna Douglas PhD. is one of the founding teachers of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and a member of the Teachers Council. She has taught classes and intensive retreats in the Insight Meditation tradition nationwide for 30 years. She has a background in psychology and the arts, and is an avid painter. Anna offers ongoing mentoring of students, with the focus on removing psychological obstacles to spiritual realization. Her current teaching is focused on the practice of Dharma in aging and dying. She is the guiding teacher for Insight Meditation Tucson where she spends the winter months.
Annie has practiced in the Theravada and Tibetan traditions since 1979 under the guidance of a range of teachers including Sayadaw U Pandita, Tulku Akong Rinpoche and various western teachers. She was the resident teacher at the Insight Meditation Society from 1999-2003 and has since been teaching elsewhere in America, including the annual IMS 3 month retreat and The Forest Refuge. Her teaching style aims to reveal how our all aspects of our lives are opportunities to develop a clear and direct understanding of the Truth.
Anushka Fernandopulle teaches Insight meditation in the San Francisco Bay Area and other parts of the world. Anushka is a member of the Spirit Rock Teacher's Council and has trained in the Theravada Buddhist tradition for 30 years in monasteries in Sri Lanka & India as well as urban US settings. Anushka has an MBA from Yale and works with organizations as a consultant and with individuals as a leadership coach. She leads a weekly meditation group in San Francisco, Monday Night Dharma. More about her teaching and work can be found at www.anushkaf.org
Ari Goldfield is a Buddhist teacher who had the unique experience of being continuously in the training and service of his own teacher, the Tibetan master Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, for eleven years. From 1998-2006, Ari served as Khenpo Rinpoche's oral translator and secretary on seven round-the-world teaching tours, received extensive instruction from Rinpoche, and meditated under Rinpoche’s guidance in retreats. Ari is also a published translator and author of books and articles on Buddhist philosophy and meditation, as well as numerous songs of realization. He holds a BA from Harvard College and a JD from Harvard Law School, both with honors. He and his wife, Rose Taylor, currently teach internationally from their home base in San Francisco under the auspices of Wisdom Sun, the practice and study community they established in 2011.
Arlene Lueck has been a resident practitioner at the San Francisco Zen Center since 1990. She was ordained as a priest by Sojun Mel Weitsman in 1996, She has served as Head Monk at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and received dharma transmission from Norman Fisher. She currently resides at Green Gulch Farm with her husband Daigan where she teaches and also oversees the physical facilities, new construction, and renovation there.
Art Jolly took an introductory meditation course in the early 1990's and sat his first residential retreat in 1995. Since then, he's participated in Spirit Rock's Dedicated Practitioners Program and is currently in their Community Dharma Leaders program. In 2003 he spent 5 months as a monk with Pa-Auk Sayadaw in Burma. His main teacher is Phillip Moffitt. He leads a sitting group in Oakland.
BARBARA GATES is cofounder and coeditor of the Buddhist journal Inquiring Mind, for which she writes a regular column. She has been practicing Buddhist meditation since 1975. Her editorial projects include books by the Dalai Lama, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg and Joanna Macy. She is the author of the recently published book Already Home, A Topography of Spirit and Place. She lives with her husband and daughter in Berkeley, CA.
Berget Jelane has been a student of the Dharma since 1986. She is a graduate of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center Community Dharma Leaders Program and the Sati Center Chaplaincy Training. She was ordained by Gil Fronsdal as a lay Buddhist minister in 2010. She leads the sangha, Insight Meditation San Jose.
Beth Kanji Goldring began sitting Zen in 1995 and was ordained in 1995. She studies vipassana with Gil Fronsdal. She has also studied tonglen with Alan Wallace, and Reiki with Glynn DeBrocky. A former university humanities teacher and human rights worker, Beth lives in Phnom Penh where she founded Brahmavihara Cambodia, formerly Brahmavihara/Cambodia AIDS Project, in 2000. Brahmavihara provides chaplaincy, social work, and material support to some 500 patients with AIDS, tuberculosis and cancer in various hospitals, hospices and prisons and in their homes Brahmavihara Cambodia has received a number of awards, including the IMC Karuna award in 2009. Further information is available at www.brahmavihara.cambodiaaidsproject.org.
Betsy Rose is an accomplished singer and songwriter of folk and progressive music. She has performed widely for over 30 years throughout the world, at festivals, ecological conferences, spiritual gatherings, with organization such as La Leche League, Omega Institute, Aids and Hospice services. She is currently involved in the Singing For Peace Project, through Bay Area gatherings, rallies, demonstrations, vigils and concerts. Many artists have sung and recorded her songs, including Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert and Bobbi McFerron. Dharma teachers such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Matthew Fox, and Joanna Macy include her music in their work. She is one of the teachers of the Family Program at Spirit Rock.
Bhante Buddharakkhita was born and raised in Uganda, Africa. He first encountered Buddhism in 1990 while living in India, and he began practicing meditation in 1993. He was ordained as a Buddhist monk by the late Venerable U Silananda in 2002 at the Tathagata Meditation Center in San Jose, California and then he spent eight years under the guidance of Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society, West Virginia. He is the founder of the Uganda Buddhist Center in Uganda. Besides spending time at the Buddhist Center in Uganda, he is the spiritual director of Flowering Lotus Meditation Center in Magnolia, Mississippi. He is on the council of spiritual advisers to the Global Buddhist Relief, New Jersey. Bhante has been teaching meditation in Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia, and the U.S, since 2005. His book, Planting Dhamma Seeds: The Emergence of Buddhism in Africa, tells the story of his religious and spiritual work in Africa.
Bill Hart is a Hospice and Hospital Chaplain working for several hospitals in the Bay Area. His tradition is primarily Theravadan. He has been practicing meditation since 1995 and has been leading a sitting group since 1998. He has been involved with the Spirit Rock Family program. He completed a year long residency in Clinical Pastoral Education at Sequoia Hospital in 2005 and the Sati Buddhist Chaplaincy Program in 2006. He also serves on IMC's Chaplaincy Council.
Bill Weber is a senior Vipassana student and a recent graduate from Spirit Rock's Community Dharma Leader program. He teaches beginning meditation classes and daylongs. He has studied for the past ten years with Gil Fronsdal and Eugene Cash among others and has extensive retreat practice. He is also a documentary filmmaker and video editor.
ZENZEI BLANCHE HARTMAN began sitting in 1969 with Mel Weitsman and Suzuki-roshi. She was ordained a priest in 1977 by Zentatsu Baker and received dharma transmission with Sojun Mel Weitsman in 1988. She became Abbess of San Francisco Zen Center in 1996. She is married to Shuun Lou Hartman; they have four children and six grandchildren.
Bob Stahl, PhD, has founded seven Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programs in medical centers in the SF Bay Area and is currently offering programs at Dominican Hospital and El Camino Hospitals in Los Gatos and Mt. View. Dr. Stahl serves as a Senior Teacher for Oasis Institute for Mindfulness-Based Professional Education and Training at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Bob is coauthor of 5 books: A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Living With Your Heart Wide Open, Calming the Rush of Panic, A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook for Anxiety, and MBSR Everyday. Bob is the guiding teacher at Insight Santa Cruz and a visiting teacher at Spirit Rock.
Brian Lesage has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1988 and has taught meditation since 2000. He has studied in the Zen, Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism. He was ordained in the Rinzai Zen tradition in 1996. His training in Vipassana Meditation includes doing extended meditation retreats in Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, and India as well as numerous retreats in the U.S. He leads retreats and teaches meditation courses nationwide. Brian also has a private practice in Somatic Experiencing, which is a naturalistic approach to healing trauma. You can also visit his website for Somatic Experiencing at: www.liberatingawareness.com
Bruce Freedman first became interested in meditation through Transcendental Meditation in 1967, and through his yoga practice in 1970. He has been practicing Buddhist meditation as a student of Gil Fronsdal since 1994. He is currently on the IMC Board of Directors. He is a retired chiropractor.
Bruce was first introduced to Buddhism as a doctor during the Vietnam war in 1970 by his dear friend and interpreter, Trug. When he returned to the U.S. he found a balanced Yoga practice consisting of postures and meditation. He continues to practice Hatha Yoga to this day. He practiced other forms of meditation on and off until about 15 years ago when he found Buddhist practice and have engaged fully with persistence and enthusiasm since then. He has been a Buddhist chaplain volunteer in a State prison for 13 years and has taught at Insight Santa Cruz for 11 years. He is also a part of the ISC teacher's council. His voice is best expressed when he teaches from his own experiences, struggles and insights.
bruni dávila was born in Puerto Rico and came to the mainland in 1991. She has practiced Vipassana/Zen meditation since 1995 and at IMC since 2006. A student of both Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella, bruni teaches at IMC and in the wider Bay Area in Spanish and English. She graduated from the Sati Center Introduction to Buddhist Chaplaincy Training, the Dharma Mentoring Training and the Entering the Stream Program at IMC. Currently, bruni is in the IMC Local Dharma Leaders and the 2017-2021 Insight Meditation Society (IMS) Teacher Training Programs.
bruni dávila, originaria de Puerto Rico, emigró a los Estados Unidos continental en 1991. Ella ha practicado la atención plena en las tradiciones Vipassana y Zen desde 1995 y en IMC desde 2006. bruni es estudiante de Gil Fronsdal y Andrea Fella, y enseña la atención plena en español e inglés en IMC y a varios grupos en el Área de la Bahía. Ella se graduó del Programa Introductorio de Capellanía del Sati Center y de los Programas para Mentores del Dharma y "Entering the Stream" de IMC. Actualmente, bruni participa en el programa de entrenamiento "Local Dharma Leaders" de IMC y el Entrenamiento 2017-2021 para Maestros del Insight Meditation Society.
Carla Brennan is an Insight Meditation retreat teacher in the Santa Cruz area and offers drop-in meditation groups, classes, retreats and other programs with Bloom of the Present Insight Meditation. She is also a visiting teacher with the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA. Carla founded Bloom of the Present in 2009.
Carla began meditation practice in 1975 in the Zen tradition and was a student of Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn in Cambridge, MA. A few years later she began attending the newly formed Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA. Later she added the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Dzogchen and is now an authorized teacher of Natural Wisdom and Compassion with the Foundation for Active Compassion. In the early ’90’s, Carla began attending wilderness retreats with Sacred Passage, completing 2 one-month solo retreats near Crestone, CO, and training to be a Sacred Passage Guide. As part of her regular teaching, Carla offers meditation in nature and encourages her students to open to the wisdom of the natural world.
Carolyn Dille is a poet and teacher who facilitates writing and creative expression workshops. She has been practicing Buddhist meditation since 1990, and has trained with a variety of teachers in both the Theravada and Soto Zen traditions. She completed the Community Dharma Leaders program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in 2003. Carolyn lives in Santa Cruz and is writing a book on meditative and creative awareness, working title:Insight, Intuition, and Imagination.
CHARLIE JOHNSON is a retired chemical engineer. He teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, yoga, meditation, and the Dharma in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. He has been practicing meditation and yoga since 1972. He has studied Tibetan Buddhism with Lama Lodu Rinpoche of Kagyu Droden Kunchab in San Francisco. More recently he has been studying in the Theravada Buddhist tradition and is a graduate of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center Community Dharma Leaders program. He is a certified yoga teacher, is registered with the Yoga Alliance and is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists.
Cheryl Hylton has been a student of Gil Fronsdal and meditation practitioner since 1997. She teaches the Basic Meditation Instruction class at IMC, has served on the IMC board, fund development and board development committees and the Ethics and Reconciliation Council. She is IMC residential retreat co-coordinator and lives in San Mateo with her husband, Jeff.
Cheryll Gasner has been practicing Mindfulness and Jhana meditation since 1995. Her principal teachers are Gil Fronsdal and Lee Brasington. She has served as past Secretary for the IMC Board and was a member of the Board Development committee; she helped develop the Sunday Pot-luck Brunch, the Children's program and the Woman's Full Moon Gathering at IMC. She has taught Mindfulness Meditation at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Mountain View. She is a retired Family Nurse Practitioner and lives with her husband, Steve Gasner in Mountain View, CA.
Chris Clifford has practiced meditation at IMC and other Insight centers since 1995. She appreciates the integration of intensive meditation retreats with daily life Dharma practice and service. Chris is a graduate of IMC's Dharma Mentoring program and is currently in the Local Dharma Leadership program. She is an instructor for IMC's various introductory classes and co-leads the Eightfold Path Program. She also manages retreats for The Mountain Hermitage in New Mexico and serves as the kitchen manager for Insight Retreat Center. She is a retired software engineer.
Cyndia began meditating in 1995, and in 2004 began practicing in the Theravada tradition. Since then, she has done numerous retreats, including over a year of formal, silent practice under the direction of several IMS and Spirit Rock teachers, and Stephen Snyder in the Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw's lineage. Cyndia received her Pali name (Hitesī) from the abbots at Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery, and is a student of Ajahn Pasanno. In 2009/10 she was a resident at Abhayagiri and also spent three months with the Saranaloka nuns in San Francisco. Currently she is a Volunteer Hospice Caregiver with Zen Hospice Project and in the Sati Center's yearlong Buddhist Chaplaincy training program.
Dan Landry has had a lifelong interest in contemplative practice. He has been a student of the dhamma since 1999 and is a grateful member of Insight Santa Cruz where he continues to practice and teach.
Daniel Bowling is a mediator and public policy facilitator in Sausalito, California. He co-edited and co-authored "Bringing Peace into the Room" -- the first book on mediation to focus on the importance for resolving conflict of the mediator's personal qualities. He also contributed a chapter entitled “The Buddha’s Teachings on the Personal Qualities of a Conflict Resolver” for Faith and Practice in Conflict Resolution, edited by Professor Rachel Goldberg.
He was the first Public Defender in Charleston, SC and then helped start mediation in South Carolina, where he practiced law after graduating from Harvard Law School. He was the first yoga teacher in Charleston and started a spiritual educational center there in the 1980's. He was also a teacher and General Counsel for Kripalu Yoga Center, in Lenox, Massachusetts and founded the Kripalu Yoga Teachers Association. He has practiced yoga and meditation since 1976 and participated in Spirit Rock's Community Dharma Leaders Training. He currently is President of the Spirit Rock Board of Directors and serves on its Executive, Governance, Diversity, and Ethics and Reconciliation Committees.
Darlene Cohen earned a graduate degree in Physiological Psychology in 1966 and began sitting at the San Francisco Zen Center in 1970. She was ordained as a Zen priest in 1999. She also earned certification as a massage and movement teacher from Meir Schneider, the renowned Israeli self-healing teacher. Darlene counsels chronic pain clients and gives arthritis workshops, classes, lectures, and pain seminars in private practice and at medical facilities and meditation centers. She is author of Arthritis: Stop Suffering, Start Moving and Everyday Exercises for Body and Mind.
David Cohn was a resident practitioner at the Zen Center of San Francisco's three practice places, Tassajara Monastery, Green Gulch Farm, and the City Center, from 1970 to 1984, and was ordained as a priest in 1974. Since then he has carried on lay practice, became married and has a daughter and a grandson. He owned and operated two San Francisco restaurants from 1985 until retirement in 2009. He was a Zen Hospice Project volunteer for 20 years, and has been a Peninsula Hospital volunteer chaplain from 2002 to the present. He serves as board chairman and consultant for the Zen Center Everyday board, overseeing Greens. He practices now with Gil Fronsdal and the IMC and IRC communities, is an IMC board member, is on the IMC chaplaincy council, and is an IMC mentor.
David Lorey has been meditating for many years. While daily sitting and walking meditation form the core of his practice, he also enjoys studying the early teachings of the Pali canon for insights into living in accord with the Dharma. In sharing Dharma teachings and through Dharma-mentoring, David is committed to helping others discover their own unique ways of using meditation to find profound release from stress and suffering. Gil is his guiding teacher, IMC his sangha home.
Dawn Neal began contemplative practice in 1997, and started practicing Buddhist meditation in 2005. Since then, she has accumulated over two years of practice time in silent meditation retreats. In 2009, Sayadaw U Indaka authorized her to teach Buddhist practice from the perspective of love and kindness. Dawn earned an MA (MDiv Eq.) from the Institute of Buddhist Studies with guidance from Gil Fronsdal and Daijaku Kinst. She holds two certifications from the Harvard Negotiation Project, and is in professional ministry/chaplaincy training (CPE). When not in CPE, Dawn serves the community as a scholar, facilitator, and integral coach. She teaches and facilitates Buddhist, secular, and multifaith meditation groups.
Talks available: 9 Tradition: Insight Meditation and Soto Zen
Dhammaruwan, born in a traditional Buddhist village in Sri Lanka, became known for spontaneously chanting suttas as a young boy. He began meditation practice in early childhood with the teachings of Anagarika Munindra. He trained for many years with Bhante Gunaratana and is a graduate of Insight Meditation Society's Teacher Training Program USA (2005). He teaches worldwide, bringing his students complex teaching in simple and easy to understand language. A single parent, Dhammaruwan lives in Sri Lanka with his two teenage children.
Diana Clark is a Buddhist practitioner, scholar, teacher, and general supporter of the dharma. She has cumulatively spent more than a year in silent meditation retreats and when not stealing away to go on retreat, she teaches graduate-level courses on Theravada Buddhism at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. In addition to her graduate degree in Buddhist Studies, she has a PhD in biochemistry and serves the dharma community by being the treasurer of the Insight Retreat Center in Santa Cruz and is on the board of the Buddhist Insight Network.
Diana Winston is a writer, activist, teacher and founder of the Buddhist Alliance for Social Engagement (BASE) Program. She was associate director of Buddhist Peace Fellowship for 9 years. She has practiced Insight Meditation since 1989 and spent a year as a Buddhist nun in Burma. She is the author of Wide Awake: A Buddhist Guide for Teens.
Don Johnson has been practicing Vipassana with Gil Fronsdal since 1992. He is currently interested in how the Dhamma is being transmitted from East to West, and sits with Asian teachers such as U Pandita and U Silananda to learn directly from them. Don has taught college physics, managed an applied mathematics group, and held various marketing positions in Silicon Valley. In addition, he has been deeply involved in organizing grass roots political efforts around land use and civil liberties issues. Currently he practices craniosacral therapy in Montara.
Don Flaxman was a dear friend and supporter of IMC. He died at home on January 16, 2009. From being president of the Spirit Rock board to advising us at IMC, he was very important in the establishment of vipassana centers in the Bay Area. His own generosity, in all its forms, was an inspiration. His goodwill and joy lives on in our community. He gave a number of memorable dharma talks on generosity, his favorite topic.
Donald Rothberg, Ph.D., a member of the Teachers Council at Spirit Rock and a teacher at the East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, has practiced Insight Meditation since 1976, and has also received training in Tibetan Dzogchen and Mahamudra practice and the Hakomi approach to body-based psychotherapy. Formerly on the faculties of the University of Kentucky, Kenyon College, and Saybrook Graduate School, he currently writes and teaches classes, groups, and retreats on meditation, transforming the judgmental mind, mindful communication and wise speech, working skillfully with conflict, and socially engaged Buddhism. He has helped to guide a number of six-month to two-year training programs in socially engaged spirituality, both Buddhist-based and interfaith—through Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Saybrook, and Spirit Rock. He is the author of "The Engaged Spiritual Life: A Buddhist Approach to Transforming Ourselves and the World."
Edward Espe Brown is a zen priest and author of The Tassajara Bread Book and Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings. A teacher of meditation and cooking, he is also a student of Vipassana, yoga, cranio-sacral, handwriting change, and chi gung, as well as a lover of poetry. His teaching style weaves together a multiplicity of strands. Most recently he is featured in the movie How to Cook Your Life, directed by Doris Dorrie, released in the fall of 2007. Teaching schedule is listed at www.peacefulseasangha.com.
Eileen Messina is in training to become a Buddhist Chaplain. She feels Chaplaincy is a natural expression of her years of practice and involvement with the Insight Meditation Center and her responsibility, joy, and commitment as a parent, friend, and community member.
ERIC KOLVIG, PhD has been teaching Dharma in the Vipassana (Insight) meditation tradition since 1985. For several years he was the resident teacher for the Santa Fe and Albuquerque Vipassana Sanghas in New Mexico, and leads meditation retreats around the United States. Eric lives near Gila, New Mexico, at Kusinara, an intentional Buddhist community devoted to conscious living and service. He has had a lifelong love affair with wilderness and has been backpacking, canoeing and skiing since he was a child, and shares this love in teaching backpacking retreats.
Eugene Cash has practiced meditation since 1981. He leads weekly sitting groups in San Francisco and meditation retreats nationwide. Many streams of the vipassana tradition and the Zen school of Buddhism influence his teaching. Eugene is also a teacher in the Ridhwan School. As a psychotherapist he has worked extensively with those who are ill, the dying and the bereaved.
EVAN KAVANAGH has been practicing Vipassana meditation since 1995. He has led meditation groups in the 12-step tradition and is currently in Spirit Rock's Dedicated Practitioners Program. Evan serves as the Executive Director of Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Previously he was executive director of the Western Alliance of Arts Administrators Foundation, worked for the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, volunteered for the United Farm Workers Union, the Gay Community AIDS Project, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Evan is happily domestically partnered with his mate of six years, Andrew Harkins. They have just bought a house in San Francisco that requires more work than either ever envisioned.
In 1987, Frank Ostaseski helped form the Zen Hospice Project, the first Buddhist hospice in America. In 2004, he founded the Metta Institute to provide innovative educational programs on spirituality in dying and to create a national network of end-of-life care practitioners. Frank teaches Buddhist retreats internationally. His workshops have introduced thousands to the practices of mindful and compassionate care of the dying. For more information visit: www.mettainstitute.org.
Fu Schroeder has studied Zen Buddhism as a resident of the San Francisco Zen Center since 1979. She began working for the community at the Tassajara Bread Bakery and later at Greens Restaurant before entering monastic training at Zen Mountain Center. Fu was priest ordained in 1986 and received Dharma Transmission from Tenshin Reb Anderson in 1999. Fu is currently the Abiding Abbess at Green Gulch Farm and a trustee of the Marin Community Foundation and the Buck Family Fund. She offers classes, workshops, and lectures at the Zen Center and other Bay Area Dharma communities. She has recently completed 5 years as Head of Practice at Green Gulch and will be working with the Outreach and Development offices of the Zen Center. Her focus will be on developing children's educational programs at Green Gulch, as well as a variety of diversity issues, including board membership on the Marin Interfaith Council. This summer Green Gulch students have encouraged Fu to provide leadership in studying racism and white privilege in hopes of understanding the lack persistent lack of racial diversity in our Buddhist Sangha. Fu will be bringing some of the results of this conversation to our discussion.
Gay Watson has a PhD in Religious Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She trained as a psychotherapist with the Karuna Institute in Core Process, a Buddhist inspired psychotherapy. She is the author of Beyond Happiness, Deepening the Dialogue Between Buddhism, Psychotherapy and the Mind Sciences (2008) and A Philosophy of Emptiness (2014).
Gil Fronsdal is the co-teacher at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California and the Insight Retreat Center in Santa Cruz, California. He has been teaching since 1990. Gil has practiced Zen and Vipassana since 1975 and has a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Stanford. He has trained in both the Japanese Soto Zen tradition and the Insight Meditation lineage of Theravada Buddhism of Southeast Asia. Gil was trained as a Vipassana teacher by Jack Kornfield and is part of the Vipassana teachers' collective at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He was ordained as a Soto Zen priest at the San Francisco Zen Center in 1982, and in 1995 he received Dharma Transmission from Mel Weitsman, the abbot of the Berkeley Zen Center. He has been the primary teacher for the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California since 1990. He is a husband and father of two boys.
GLORIA TARANIYA AMBROSIA has been offering instruction in Theravada Buddhist teachings and practices since 1990. She is a student of the western forest sangha, the disciples of Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Sumedho, and is a Lay Buddhist Minister in association with Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in California. She has served as resident teacher of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts from 1996 through 1999. Taraniya teaches at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and at Dhamma centers in the United States.
Greg Scharf began meditating in 1992 and has been teaching residential meditation retreats since 2007, including the annual 3 month retreat at the Insight Meditation Society where he is a core teacher. In his teaching Greg emphasizes the understanding that meditation is fundamentally an exploration of nature and natural processes. He also stresses the critical importance of bringing the qualities of kindness, compassion, and a sense of humor to practice. Currently living in the high country of northern Arizona, Greg's love of nature and the outdoors deeply informs both his practice and teaching.
Gregory Kramer has been teaching meditation since 1980. He developed the practice of Insight Dialogue and is the Founder and Guiding Teacher of Metta Programs, offering retreats worldwide and authoring books including Insight Dialogue: The Interpersonal Path to Freedom and Dharma Contemplation: Meditating Together with Wisdom Texts.
Heather Martin has practiced different forms of meditation for over thirty years. Her early dharma practice was under the guidance of S. N. Goenka, and has since been influenced by both Burmese and Thai streams of Theravada - just recently while practicing in Burma with Ven. U Tejaniya. She was trained by Jack Kornfield, and teaches at Spirit Rock, in south western Canada and in the Pacific Northwest. She worked for 20 years as a midwife, and lives on Salt Spring Island, off the west coast of British Columbia.
Heather Sundberg has completed the four-year Spirit Rock/Insight Meditation Society Teacher Training and continues to be mentored by Jack Kornfield. She is also a graduate of the Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leaders program (CDL2). Beginning her own meditation practice in her late teens, for twenty years Heather has studied with senior teachers in the Insight Meditation (Vipassana) and Tibetan (Vajrayana) traditions, and has sat 1-3 months of retreat a year for over a decade. She held the position of Spirit Rock Family Program Teacher & Manager from 2001-2010. She is a Teacher for Mountain Stream Meditation Center in the Sierra Foothills, and also teaches classes, daylongs and retreats nationally, especially at Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
Hilary Borison is a recent graduate of the Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher Training through the UCSD Center for Mindfulness, and a graduate of the Chaplaincy Program through the Sati Center, applying both in her work as a grief counselor with Kara in Palo Alto. She is currently enrolled in the Dharma Mentoring Training Program at IMC and serves a mentor in the Eightfold Path Program. Hilary teaches the Dharma Bodhis middle school program, and co-facilitates the Women's Circle of Mindfulness. She has been a student of Gil Fronsdal's since 2004.
Howard Cohn has practiced meditation since 1972. He has lead vipassana retreats since 1985 and leads an ongoing class in San Francisco. He has studied with many Asian and western teachers of several traditions, including Theravada, Zen, Dzogchen and Advaita Vedanta. He has been strongly influenced by contact with the Indian master H.W.L. Poonja. He has done postgraduate work in East/West Psychology and has a private counseling practice. He leads a sitting group in SAN FRANCISCO: Tuesdays 7:30-9pm. Golden Gate Lutheran Church, 601 Dolores St. (19th & Dolores), SF Info: (415) 447-7761.
Hugh MacMillan was brought to the dhamma, as so many are, by mountains of self-inflicted suffering. He has been sitting since 1984. He sat numerous short retreats with Ajahn Sumedho and Ajahn Amaro followed by longer retreats at IMS with Joseph Goldstein and others. He has been involved in developing the Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in Redwood Valley under co-abbots Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro since 1994. He teaches meditation to prisoners at Soledad prison.
Ines Freedman has been practicing Buddhist meditation since 1985, with Gil Fronsdal being her primary teacher since 1995. She is a graduate of the Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader Program. She currently serves as the Managing Director for the Insight Retreat Center where she also leads weekend retreats. She teaches the Audiodharma Online Meditation Courses, and serves on the IMC Chaplaincy council.
Jacques has been a leader and innovator in the field of rehabilitation for prisoners since 1997. He is an expert on violence prevention, emotional intelligence, restorative justice and mindfulness. Born from 21 years of listening to the traumas of thousands of offenders and victims, a deeply transformational program, Guiding Rage Into Power (G.R.I.P.), has emerged." Jacques will bring a few formerly incarcerated men (Change Agents) to speak about how to best stare down your demons and leave prison before you get out, whether that is behind 4 walls or in the space between your ears.
Verduin’s presentations make interesting connections between the specific predicament of incarceration and the general suffering of the human condition. His perspective draws from working in-depth with victims and offenders, rival gangs and racial factions, and articulates a methodology that helps transcend the ‘Us and Them’ fallacy. Besides the US, presentations and trainings have been offered in Guatemala, El Salvador, Bosnia, Italy and the Netherlands.
Jaku Kinst is a priest and teacher in the Soto Zen tradition and is a licensed psychotherapist. She has taught at the San Francisco Zen Center, Tassajara, Santa Cruz Zen Center and Gampo Abbey with the Venerable Pema Chodron. She teaches graduate courses in Contemplative Psychology, the Psychology of Spiritual Direction and Buddhism. Jaku also trained as a chaplain at the UCSF Medical Center.
James Baraz is a founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center where he started the Family Program, Community Dharma Leader Program and Kalyana Mitta Network. He leads retreats, workshops and classes in the U.S. and abroad and has been teaching the Awakening Joy course (www.awakeningjoy.info) since 2003. James is co-author with Shoshana Alexander of Awakening Joy due in 2010 (Bantam) which is based on the course. In addition, he is on the International Advisory Board of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. James leads ongoing meditation classes in the East Bay. In addition to practicing in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, he has been influenced by Advaita and Dzogchen teachings, as well as the path of devotion.
Jason Murphy has been practicing Vipassana (Insight) meditation since 1994. He is a teacher and counselor who has been working with youth and families for the past 17 years. Jason has taught mindful awareness in a variety of settings and now leads a weekly Mindfulness group for young adults in Santa Cruz. He has assisted at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and with the Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF) on a number of retreats. Jason has sat residential retreats as well as studied at monasteries in the U.S as well as in Asia. Jason is empowered to teach by Noah Levine MA. author of Dharma Punx, Against the Stream, Mary Grace Orr Spirit Rock teacher and Bob Stahl, Ph.D., Director of the Santa Cruz Medical Foundation’s Mindfulness Stress Reduction Program.
Jeff Hardin has been practicing meditation since 2000. He teaches meditation and is a community mentor at the Sacramento Insight Meditation group and a Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader. He is on the Board of the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies and is the managing editor of the Sati Journal. His teachings emphasize using the suttas to inform meditation practice. He has authored How We Practice: An Introduction to Insight Meditation and The Life and Teachings of the Buddha: An Introduction to Sutta Study. These books and some of his prior teachings can be found at sactoinsight.org. Jeff is an emergency department physician and the Executive Director of Insight World Aid (insightworldaid.org).
Jeff Hylton has been a student of Gil Fronsdal since 1997, having practiced other forms of meditation since 1971. He enjoys his service as IMC Saturday all-day retreat manager. Professionally, Jeff is a psychotherapist in private practice in San Mateo utilizing mindfulness to enhance his client's therapeutic progress as they learn and grow in the process. Jeff is an avid skier, nature lover, and a civic volunteer in San Mateo where he lives with his wife, Cheryl.
Jennifer Block’s life work is providing spiritual care to people in crisis, mentoring caregivers, and teaching people how to access their innate capacity for caring and healing. Based in San Francisco, Jennifer is a longtime dharma practitioner and Buddhist chaplain. She provides care to individuals facing the spiritual and emotional issues related to aging, sickness, dying and grief. Jennifer teaches the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training program at the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies, the Compassion Cultivation Training recently developed by Stanford University, and the Contemplative Caregiver Course at San Francisco Zen Center.
Jennifer Lemas is an ordained Buddhist Minister. She has been practicing Vipassana meditation since 1997, with Gil Fronsdal as her guiding teacher. Jennifer leads the Buddhism and Recovery group at IMC, offers meditation instructions to beginners and serves as program mentor for the Eightfold Path Program. She is a graduate of the Sati Center Buddhist Chaplaincy Program, Upaya’s Buddhist Chaplaincy Program and Spirit Rock's Dedicated Practitioner Program (DPP). She completed her clinical pastoral education (CPE) at Sequoia Hospital and is currently co-leading an Interfaith chaplaincy class offered by the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies.
Jill Hyman has practiced yoga since 1974, Vipassana meditation with ISC since 2000. Her practice is influenced by the Thai Forest tradition (Ajahns Sumedho, Succito, & Amaro), Dzogchen (Tsoknyi Rinpoche & Anam Thubten), the many teachers of Spirit Rock & IMS, and especially Shinzen Young (Vipassana Support Institute). She has served as a volunteer chaplain at Salinas Valley State Prison since 2001, heading the program with Bruce since 2003. She completed the 2 & 1/2 year Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader Program in January 2008. A member of the Teachers' Council, she offers classes for those new to practice, daylongs and ISC residential retreats.
Jill Shepherd began practicing insight meditation in Thailand in 1999, and since that time has lived and worked at several meditation centres and monasteries in the USA, Australia, England, and Thailand. She recently spent seven years on staff at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, where she participated in several long retreats and Buddhist study programmes, as well as offering weekly meditation classes at a nearby men's prison. She is a graduate of the IMS / Spirit Rock teacher training program in the USA, under the guidance of Joseph Goldstein and Gil Fronsdal. Currently, she divides her time between the USA, Australia and New Zealand, teaching vipassana and brahma vihara retreats and offering ongoing study and practice groups focused on bringing the dharma into daily life.
Jim Bronson began working with the inner life and spiritual traditions as a student of Krishnamurti through a meditation course in 1968; he began Vipassana Meditation in 1990. Jim focuses on expressing his practice in the world with community outreach and education through Kara for those dealing with tragedy and loss. In addition to talks and meditation instruction in the Bay Area, he officiates at weddings and memorial services, and has organized retreats in natural settings. He is a graduate of the Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader program and serves on the IMC Chaplaincy Council. He is helping create an anthology of practice wisdom, stories and art by lay Vipassana practitioners, called 'Passing It On'.
Jim Podolske is a scientist who has been a Vipassana student of Gil Fronsdal since 1998. He serves the Insight Meditation Center sangha both as a volunteer and introductory meditation instructor, and is a former IMC board member. He has sat Vipassana, Samadhi, and Brahmavihara retreats over the last 10 years, including a six week retreat with Joseph Goldstein in 2003. Jim enjoys sailing on the San Francisco Bay.
Joanna Macy, Ph.D., is a Buddhist scholar and teacher, active world-wide in movements for peace, justice, and ecological sanity. Thousands of people around the world have participated in her workshops and trainings, while her methods have been adopted widely in classrooms, churches, and grassroots organizing. Her work helps people transform despair and apathy, in the face of overwhelming social and ecological crises, into constructive, collaborative action. Joanna's books include "Mutual Causality in Buddhist Teachings and General Systems Theory; World as Lover, World as Self">; and her memoir, "Widening Circles".
John Lewis has practiced insight meditation since 1996. The first years of his practice were devoted to long retreat. More recently, he has focused on daily practice and integrating the Buddhist values of wisdom and compassion into advocacy for marriage equality for same-sex couples. He is a 2004 graduate of Spirit Rock Meditation Center's Dedicated Practitioners Program and has led meditation and yoga groups for homeless transgender and other youth. John has practiced with IMC since 2000, and lives in San Francisco with his partner.
John Martin teaches Vipassana, Metta, and LGBTQI themed meditation retreats. He leads an on-going weekly meditation group in San Francisco and is the guiding teacher for the LGBTQueer Sangha at IMC. He has had a dedicated practice while being engaged in the working world and emphasizes practice for daily life. He also completed the SRMC/IMS/IRC 4-year teacher training in 2016.
John Peacock has been both an academic scholar as well as a Buddhist practitioner/teacher for more than thirty years. Initially trained in the Tibetan Gelugpa tradition in monasteries in South India, he subsequently spent time in Sri Lanka studying Theravada and has taught at Peradiniya University on the outskirts of Kandy. He currently teaches Buddhist studies and Indian religions at the University of Bristol in the UK, is the Guiding Teacher of Sharpham Centre for Contemporary Buddhist Inquiry in England and is an Associate Director of The Oxford Mindfulness Centre, recognized by Oxford University.
JOHN TRAVIS has been a student of Vipassana since 1970. In the eight years he lived in Asia, he studied intensively with senior teachers of the Vipassana and Tibetan traditions. John Is the founder of the Mountain Stream Meditation Center in the Sacramento/Auburn area, where he leads classes and retreats. He is a member of the Spirit Rock Teacher's Council.
Dr. Kabat-Zinn's work has contributed to a growing movement of bringing mindfulness into mainstream institutions in our society such as medicine, health care, hospitals, schools, corporations, prisons, and professional sports. He was the founding executive director of the Center of Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the U. of Mass. Medical School. He founded and directed U. Mass's world-renown Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic which has become the model used in hospitals throughout the country. He is the author of four bestsellers.
Joseph Bobrow is a Zen master, author, and retired psychoanalyst. Thich Nhat Hanh said of Joseph’s first book, Zen and Psychotherapy: Partners in Liberation, “Please read with a feeling of gratitude.” His Holiness The Dalai Lama wrote the foreword for Joseph’s latest book, Waking Up From War: A Better Way Home For Veterans and Nations. In it, Joseph illuminates trauma in an original and integrative way as he presents the work of Coming Home Project, whose retreats have broken new ground in transforming the suffering of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, families, and care providers. He is the founding teacher of Deep Streams Zen Institute in Santa Barbara and teaches extensively.
Joseph Goldstein is a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where he is one of the resident guiding teachers. Since 1967 he has been studying and practicing different forms of Buddhist meditation under eminent teachers from India, Burma, and Tibet. He has been leading meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is a co-founder of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and more recently, the Forest Refuge, a new center for long-term meditation practice. He is the author of Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom, The Experience of Insight, and co-author of Seeking the Heart of Wisdom and Insight Meditation: A Correspondence Course. His latest book is One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism.
Kamala is one of the founders of the Vipassana Metta Foundation on Maui, where she is developing a sanctuary-hermitage for long term practice. She teaches retreats in the worldwide, including being a Core Teacher at the Insight Meditation Society at Barre, MA. Practicing since 1975, her teachers have been the late Anagarika Munindra of India and Sayadaw U Pandita of Burma with whom she continues to practice. She lives on Maui where she raised four children, and is now blessed with five grandchildren.
Kate Munding has been practicing meditation in the Theravada lineage since 2004. She is a graduate of the 2016 Spirit Rock/Insight Meditation Society/Insight Retreat Center teacher training. Kate is a guiding teacher for the Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley (IMCB) and teaches residential retreats and daylongs.
Kate is the founder of The Heart-Mind Education Project, providing mindfulness based education programs, trainings, and resource to students and the adults in their lives.
Kate lives in the San Francisco east bay with her husband and young son.
Kathy Cheney been practicing meditation since 2001 as a student of Gil Fronsdal. She has done several periods of intensive retreat and spent fall of 2007 on personal retreat at Gaia House, in England, working with Christina Feldman. Kathy is part of Spirit Rock's Family Program and teaches at a preschool in Marin County. Her intention is to offer the dharma in ways that young children can hear and practice while having fun.
Kelly McGonigal, PhD, is a senior teacher and research collaborator at the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, as well as a psychology lecturer at Stanford University. She is a long-time meditator in the American Zen tradition and aims to integrates modern science with contemplative practices. Her books include The Willpower Instinct, The Neuroscience of Change, and Yoga for Pain Relief.
Kevin Griffin is a Buddhist teacher and author, best known for his ground-breaking work bringing together the Dharma with issues of recovery and the Twelve Steps. A Buddhist practitioner for nearly 35 years, he brings a wealth of experience and wisdom to his teaching and writing. His books include One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps and his recent Buddhism and the 12 Steps Workbook. Sounds True will release Recovering Joy: A Mindful Life after Addiction in June, 2015. Kevin is also a gifted musician and songwriter, and last year he released a CD of Buddhist-themed rock tunes entitled “Laughing Buddha.” He lives in Berkeley, California with his wife and teenage daughter.
Kim Allen has practiced with Gil Fronsdal since 2003, and now serves on the Teachers Council at Insight Santa Cruz. She has spent over two years in silent retreat, and another two years living at the Insight Retreat Center in Scotts Valley. She has completed the Sati Center’s Buddhist chaplaincy training and volunteers in a hospital. Interested in both natural and human systems, she has worked in science and sustainability, and founded the Buddhist Insight Network.
Kim McLaughlin has been a student of insight meditation since 1987. Prior to that she practiced concentration meditation and other aspects in the Ananda Marga spiritual tradition for 18 years. She studied with the Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw in Burma for three months in 2004. She was a participant in the Dharma Practice Program study group with Gil Fronsdal, and a graduate of the Buddhist Chaplaincy course sponsored by Sati Center.
Kokai Roberts was ordained as a priest at San Francisco Zen Center in 1988. She has been teaching in the City Center Study Center for over ten years and is currently a teacher in residence at the Santa Cruz Zen Center.
Larry Yang teaches meditation retreats nationally and has a special interest in creating access to the Dharma for diverse multicultural communities. Larry is being trained as a teacher by Jack Kornfield and is a Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader. Larry has practiced extensively in Myanmar and Thailand, with a six month period of ordination as a Buddhist monk under the guidance of meditation master Ajahn Tong. He is one of the teachers and leaders of the East Bay Meditation Center.
Laura Crabb has been involved in insight meditation and practice at IMC as Gil Fronsdal's student for 12 years. She has a daily meditation practice and attends a weekly IMC sitting group, and she is particularly fond of retreat practice. She says it's a little like summer camp. She is a Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in the healing of perpetrators and victims of sexual abuse, and she finds that the Buddha's teachings and mindfulness practice strongly influence her way of working with clients.
Lauren Silver has been practicing vipassana meditation since 2004. She studies with both Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella; one of her primary interests is the integration of formal practice with daily life. Lauren teaches the basic instruction class at IMC, helps with programs for children and families, and coordinates Andrea's ongoing Daily Life Practice group. She has a PhD in developmental psychology and has worked as an educator in schools and museums for over 20 years. She considers her daughter to be her most important inspiration for practice.
Seido Lee de Barros,is a Zen Priest and Dharma Teacher in the lineage of Suzuki Roshi, His home temple is Green Gulch Farm in Marin County. He has had a long time involvement in interfaith activities, homeless, and jail services and leads a Buddhist sangha at San Quentin State Prison.
LEE LIPP has practiced Buddhism since 1990. She began meditation with Thich Nhat Hahn and has been a member of the Order of Interbeing. She has practiced Vipassana and Soto Zen for several years. She was lay ordained at San Francisco Zen Center in 1999. She's been a psychotherapist and professor teaching existential therapy since 1980 and supervises at Haight Ashbury Psych. Clinic. She is Outreach Coordinator at San Francisco Zen Center and is active in many areas of socially engaged Buddhism, including having been on Buddhist Peace Fellowship's Board, serving as a mentor for its Buddhist Alliance for Social Engagement (BASE) and coordination of SFZC's Prison Meditation Network.
Leigh Brasington has been practicing meditation since 1985 and is the senior American student of the late Ven. Ayya Khema. Leigh began assisting Ven. Ayya Khemma in 1994, and began teaching retreats on his on in 1997. He teaches in Europe and North America and is the author of the book Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas. Find more about Leigh’s teaching and schedule at http://leighb.com.
Lesley Grant has both practiced Dharma & taught adults & children for 25 years. Graduating from CIIS w/ a thesis in East/ West psychology education, she developed a mindfulness-based somatic therapy program in a neurology clinic, ordained in Sikkim as a Buddhist Nun, and returning to lay practice as a parenting godmother, she is currently combining Waldorf-inspired educational methods, parent's mindfulness practice and Buddhist Dharma, in a co-operative program for parents and children in Marin.
Chikudo Lew Richmond is an ordained disciple of Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki, and a lineage holder in that tradition. Beginning in 1967, for fifteen years he lived and trained at Tassajara Zen Monastery, San Francisco Zen Center, and Green Gulch Zen Temple, where he was its Head of Practice from 1977-1983. He is the author of three books: "Work as a Spiritual Practice, A Practical Buddhist Approach to Inner Growth and Satisfaction on the Job"; "Healing Lazarus, A Buddhist's Journey from Near Death to New Life"; and "A Whole Life's Work, Living Passionately, Growing Spiritually". He is also at work on a new book, "Aging as a Spiritual Practice: A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser", to be published by Gotham Books in Spring, 2012.
Senior Dharma Teacher Eijun Linda Cutts came to San Francisco Zen Center in 1971, and practiced with Suzuki-roshi, and other teachers. Priest ordained in 1975, she has lived at Tassajara, City Center, and since 1993, Green Gulch Farm. Married to Steve Weintraub, a Zen priest and psychotherapist, they have two children; Sarah, who practices at Tassajara and Colombia, South America, and David, who teaches English in China. Linda's son Jonathan studies acupuncture. Linda received dharma transmission from Reb Anderson and served as Abbess of San Francisco Zen Center from 2000 to 2007. Linda teaches and leads retreats at Tassajara, Green Gulch and elsewhere.
Liz Powell has been practicing Vipassana meditation since 2004. She is a graduate of the Dharma Mentoring Training Program and currently in Local Dharma Leader Training with Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella at IMC, as well as having completed the Dedicated Practitioners and Advanced Practitioners Programs at Spirit Rock. In IMC’s Youth and Family Program, she co-led programs for K-2 graders, 3-5th graders, an annual Family Retreat, and a Mindful Parents series for a number of years. She emphasizes mindfulness in daily life in her work as a Marriage Family Therapist, and enjoys retreat practice as well. She has served as IMC board president and program director.
Marc Lesser is CEO of ZBA Associates LLC, a company providing executive coaching, seminar, and facilitation services. He is the founder and former CEO of Brush Dance, a publisher of greeting cards, calendars and gift items, with spiritual themes and artwork. Marc was a resident of the San Francisco Zen Center for 10 years, was director of Tassajara, and is a Zen priest. He is the author of Less: Accomplishing More By Doing Less, and Z.B.A. Zen of Business Administration: How Zen Practice Can Transform Your Work and Your Life. He has an MBA degree from New York University.
Margaret began Buddhist meditation practice in 1995 after taking Jon Kabat Zinn's MBSR class. Since then she has practiced weekly with San Jose Insight Meditation and attended events at IMC. In 2005 she began teaching a weekly meditation class for women inmates at Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas. Through Sati Center, she has completed the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training. Margaret is a member of First Congregational Church of San Jose and brings together Buddhist and Christian teachings there. She has taught at San Jose Insight Meditation and Insight Meditation South Bay.
Maria Straatmann, a retired scientist and businesswoman, has studied in the Vipassana tradition with Gil Fronsdal since 1996. Maria serves as IMC Audiodharma Online Courses Coordinator/Teacher, and on its Chaplaincy Council; she is a Spirit Rock Buddhist Ritual Minister. She emphasizes freedom through seeing things as they are and letting go of unskillful mind habits, on the cushion and especially in daily life.
Mark Abramson DDS is the founder and facilitator of Mindfulness-Meditation Based Stress Reduction programs at Stanford. He has practiced dentistry in the Bay Area for more than twenty-five years, specializing in the treatment of chronic pain and temporomandibular disorders, focusing on non-drug oriented care integrating traditional dental approaches with mind/body techniques, osteopathic manual medicine, and acupuncture. Dr. Abramson holds a black belt in Aikido.
Mark Coleman has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1984, primarily within the insight meditation tradition. He started teaching Vipassana retreats in 1997 in Europe and currently teaches both at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and nationally. He also leads wilderness and nature-based meditation retreats from Alaska to Mexico where he integrates mindfulness practice with the great outdoors. His new book 'Awake in the Wild' is about the practice of meditation in nature. Mark has a private practice in counseling in Marin, where he integrates his Dharma perspectives and training into his therapeutic work.
Martin began exploring meditation at age 19, learning and practicing from both Asian and Western teachers, emphasizing nature as a resource for awakening. His approach draws on extensive practice in the Buddhist Theravada tradition, as well as the influence of Non-dual teachings and the Diamond Approach. He and his wife have established a practice center in South West France.
MARTINE BATCHELOR was a Zen Buddhist nun in Korea for ten years. She teaches meditation retreats worldwide. She is co-editor of "Buddhism and Ecology" and editor of "Women on the Buddhist Path". She is the author of several books including her forthcoming book "Let Go: a Buddhist Guide to Breaking Free of Habits". She is interested in meditation in daily life, Buddhism and social action, religion and women issues, Zen and its history factual and legendary. She lives in France.
MARY ORR has practiced Vipassana since 1983; prior to that she followed western contemplative practices. She worked as a therapist from 1977 to 1995. Trained to teach by Jack Kornfield, she now teaches classes and retreats in Santa Cruz and throughout the United States.
Mary Mocine is the Abbess at Clear Water Zendo in Vallejo, California. She trained at the San Francisco Zen Center, including time at Tassajara, Green Gulch and City Center. Mary was ordained by Sojun Mel Weitsman in 1994 and received Dharma Transmission in 2006. She has also trained in Japan. Mary's teaching emphasizes the awareness of the body. She is also a fan of Dudeism.
Clear Water, aka the Vallejo Zen Center, was established in January of 2000. There are daily practice, classes and retreats at the Center. Mary also leads a dharma group for lawyers as she was a lawyer many years ago. She speaks the language of that kind of practice as well.
Matthew Brensilver, PhD, is a member of the Guiding Teachers Executive Committee and the Teachers Council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He previously served as Program Director for Mindful Schools and for more than a decade, was a core teacher at Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society. He lectures at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center about the intersections between mindfulness and mental health. Before committing to teach meditation full-time, he spent years doing research on addiction pharmacotherapy at the UCLA Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine and is interested in the unfolding dialogue between dharma and science. Matthew is the co-author of two forthcoming books on meditation during adolescence.
Max Erdstein teaches at the Insight Meditation Center and the Insight Retreat Center. He is trained as a teacher by Gil Fronsdal. Max has practiced Vipassana and Zen in America, Japan, Thailand, and Burma. He completed the Spirit Rock/IMS Dharma teacher training program and trained in Buddhist chaplaincy with the Sati Center. With Gil he taught the first weeklong retreat at IRC in November 2012. Max holds an AB degree from Stanford and worked at Google for five years. He is a husband and father of two girls.
Meg Gawler began practicing Buddhism in 1968 as a disciple of the Zen Master, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, including over three years of monastic training. She earned a Master’s in Applied Ecology, moved to Europe, pursued an international career in nature conservation and human development, and began practicing in the Theravāda tradition. She has trained with Gil Fronsdal, Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, and others. Authorized as a Dharma teacher by Jack Kornfield and then by Gil Fronsdal, Meg teaches retreats in both English and French in Switzerland, and serves as a guest teacher at the Insight Meditation Center and elsewhere. Meg also holds a Master’s in Buddhist Studies, specializing in early Theravāda studies. In addition, she teaches Radiant Heart Qigong in the tradition of Teja Bell.
Sojun Mel Weitsman Roshi is abbot of the Berkeley Zen Center. He was ordained by Suzuki Roshi in 1969 as resident priest at the Berkeley Zendo, and was officially installed as abbot of the Berkeley Zen Center in 1985. Sojun lives in North Berkeley with his wife, Liz, and their son, Daniel.
Shoho Michael Newhall began practicing and studying with Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi in the early seventies. He was ordained in the mid-eighties by Chino Roshi and also in Japan by Kobun's brother Kiebun Otogawa Roshi, with whom he did ceremony and temple training. He also practiced with Dainin Katagiri Roshi and Tozen Akiyama Roshi. Monastery training was with Tenshin Reb Anderson at Tassajara, and also under Kobun Chino Roshi as shuso of angos at both Hokoji and Jikoji temples. In the early nineties he was director at Jikoji. Throughout this time he taught visual arts at various schools and universities, including Naropa University, where he also taught meditation and Buddhism. He received Dharma Transmission in 2004. Since that time Shoho Michael Newhall has been the Resident Teacher and chief priest at Jikoji Zen Center.
MICHAEL WENGER has practiced at Zen Center for thirty years and is currently dean of Buddhist studies. He is the author of 33 Fingers: A Collection of Modern American Koans, co-editor of Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness, and editor of Windbell: Teachings from San Francisco Zen Center.
Mirka Knaster has practiced in the Theravada tradition since her first retreat in India in 1981. An independent scholar and freelance writer and editor, she has written Living This Life Fully: Stories and Teachings of Munindra (Shambhala), a book about the meditation master who first taught Dipa Ma, Joseph Goldstein, and many of our western dharma leaders. He was a pivotal figure in the transmission of Dharma to the West and the resulting mindfulness movement. Mirka's last book, Discovering the Body's Wisdom (Bantam) invites readers to befriend their body and explore the benefits of Eastern and Western body-mind disciplines.
Misha Merrill is a Zen teacher in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki, Roshi of the San Francisco Zen Center. She received Dharma Transmission from his disciple, Les Kaye, in 1998 and has been the guiding teacher of Zen Heart Sangha on the Peninsula since 1993. She also teaches young children at the Peninsula School of Menlo Park. She lives in the hills above Stanford with her husband and four-footed friends, and joyfully cultivates a large garden.
Mushim (Patricia) Ikeda is a core teacher at East Bay Meditation Center in downtown Oakland, California. She is a published author and a diversity and inclusion consultant, and she has taught residential retreats for people of color, women, and social justice activists nationally. She teaches an award-winning yearlong program of secular mindfulness training for agents of change at EBMC -- the award given to the program, Practice in Transformative Action, and to Mushim is the Gil A. Lopez Peacemaker Award for a peacemaker of color, from the Association for Dispute Resolution of Northern California. In 2015, Mushim was awarded an honorary doctor of sacred theology degree by the Starr King School for the Ministry and was one of 23 socially-engaged Buddhist leaders from the United States invited to engaged in interreligious dialogue with Catholic leaders in Rome.
Nikki Mirghafori, PhD, teaches and serves on the Board of Directors of the Insight Meditation Center (IMC) and Spirit Rock. She is a Stanford-trained compassion cultivation instructor, a UCLA trained mindfulness facilitator, a Spirit Rock/IMS/IMC trained residential retreat teacher, and authorized by the renown Burmese meditation master, Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw, to teach jhanas and analytical vipassana. Nikki has straddled the worlds of Dharma & technology as an Artificial Intelligence scientist for decades.
NOAH LEVINE is a Buddhist teacher in training with Jack Kornfield and the teaching collective at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA. He teaches meditation retreats nationally as well as leading groups in juvenile halls and prisons around the San Francisco Bay Area. Noah is also the director and co-founder of the Mind Body Awareness Project, a non-profit organization that serves incarcerated youths. He has studied with such well-known and respected teachers as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ram Dass, Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Norman Fischer, and Sylvia Boorstein, to name a few. He is the author of "Dharma Punx". Noah lives in San Francisco, CA.
Nona Olivia has been practicing meditation for some 40 years, during which time she raised her children and became a grandmother. Deeply involved in the Insight Meditation tradition of Theravada Buddhism, Nona graduated from Spirit Rock Meditation Center's first Dedicated Practitioner Program and is a Lay Buddhist Minister, ordained by Gil Fronsdal. Nona practices with and is very inspired by the monastics in the tradition of Ajahn Chah. She holds a PhD from Brown University and teaches at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Norman is a Zen priest and abbot, a husband, father, and a poet, a teacher with wide-ranging interests and passions. During almost 30 years at San Francisco Zen Center, he served as director, tenzo, tanto, operations manager and other positions. Norman retired as abbot of Zen Center in 2000 to take his teaching out into the world. He continues his involvement with the Zen Center as a senior Dharma teacher. Norman believes in the possibility of engaged renunciation: living a fully committed religious life that does not exclude family, work, and a passionate interest in the world. In addition to his teaching with the Everyday Zen sangha in the Bay Area, Norman is guiding teacher to four other groups: the Bellingham (WA) Zen Practice Group, the Mountain Rain Zen Community (Vancouver, B.C.), Mar de Jade (Mexico), and The New York Zen Circle (New York City).
Oren Jay Sofer has practiced meditation in the Theravada Buddhist tradition since 1997, and is a long-time student of both Joseph Goldstein and Ven. Ajahn Sucitto. He holds a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University, is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner for healing trauma and a graduate of the IMS-Spirit Rock Teacher Training Program. Oren is the Founder of Next Step Dharma, a six week online course focused on living the path of awakening in our daily lives, and author of a forth-coming book on Mindful Communication.
Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw is the founder and main teacher of the Pa Auk Forest Monastery in southern Burma. He teaches a particularly thoroughgoing, step-by-step tranquility & insight practice to monastics and lay people practicing at the monastery. This includes samatha (deep access concentration and the jhanas) as well as a variety of vipassana techniques. The purpose of these practices is to bring the practitioner towards Liberation as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Pamela Weiss is the Founder and Chief Wisdom Officer of Appropriate Response, a company dedicated to bringing the principles and practices of mindfulness to the workplace. She has been practicing meditation for over 25 years, including several years of Zen monastic training, and completion of teacher training with Jack Kornfield through Spirit Rock. She lives in San Francisco and teaches internationally.
Paul Haller has been teaching the dharma for over 35 years. Initially ordained as a Theravada monk in Thailand, he became a priest at the San Francisco Zen Center in 1980 and its abbot from 2003 to 2012. He has been leading the Zen Center's outreach program and has extensive experience integrating Buddhist practice with hospice, jail and peace work.
Phillip Moffitt is a Buddhist meditation teacher and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He teaches a weekly insight (vipassana) meditation class in Marin County, is Co-Guiding Teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and leads retreats throughout the United States. Phillip is also the founder and director of Life Balance Institute where he trains executives and individuals in skillful living. He is the author of two books: Emotional Chaos to Clarity: How to Live More Skillfully, Make Better Decisions, and Find Purpose in Life and Dancing with Life: Buddhist Insights for Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering. For more information about Phillip and his work, go to www.dharmawisdom.org and www.lifebalanceinstitute.com.
Rebecca Dixon is a long-time student and practitioner who has spent many years sharing the dharma and practice opportunities with hospice patients, incarcerated women, and the chemically dependent. She is an original member of IMC's Chaplaincy Council and has mentored students in every offering of IMC's online meditation course. A graduate of the Community Dharma Leader program, Rebecca helped found the East Bay Meditation Center, leads a sitting group that has met on Monday nights in Oakland since 2002, co-leads Alameda Sangha, and is a regular teacher at EBMC's disability sangha. You're welcome to visit her web site, RebeccaDixon.org.
Rev. Heng Sure currently serves as Director of the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery and teaches at the Institute for World Religions. Rev. Sure ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1976. He met his teacher, the late Ven. Master Hsüan Hua, while finishing an M.A. in Oriental Languages at UC Berkeley. After receiving full ordination in the Mahayana tradition of Chinese Buddhism he commenced a "three steps, one bow" pilgrimage. With a fellow monk, he traveled more than 600 miles up the California Coastal Highway from Pasadena to Ukiah, making a full prostration to the ground every three steps. They dedicated their efforts to world peace. The journey took over two years and nine months to complete. During the pilgrimage and for two years following, he observed a practice of total silence. Some talks and chants are available at http://dharmaradio.org/
Richard Shankman has been a meditator since 1970 and teaches at dharma centers and groups nationally, including Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Insight Meditation Society. He is a co-founder of the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies and Mindful Schools. He is the author of The Experience of Samadhi: An In-Depth Investigation of Buddhist Meditation.
Richard Sievers was introduced to Vipassana meditation in 1984 on his first 10 day retreat with Sister Ayya Khema, a Buddhist nun from Sri Lanka. Along the path he has had the good fortune of practicing with many dharma teachers, Steve Armstrong, Kamala Master, Jack Kornfield, John Travis, and since moving to the peninsula in 1998, Gil Fronsdal at IMC. His practice continues with great appreciation for the Dharma.
Rick Hanson, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author, and teacher. He began Buddhist practice in 1974, with an emphasis on using householder life for steadiness of mind, insight, and opening the heart. Rick sat on the Board of Spirit Rock Meditation Center for nine years and is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leaders program. He teaches workshops at Sati Center, Spirit Rock, CIIS, Kripalu, and New York Insight. He co-founded the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom and edits the Wise Brain Bulletin (see www.WiseBrain.org). He and his wife have a young adult daughter and son.
Rita Gross, or Acharya Rita as she is known, has been studying, practicing and teaching Vajrayana for forty years. Known as a warm, humorous and very clear teacher, she teaches with a rare combination of academic and dharmic perspectives. She is internationally known for her innovative work on gender and religion. She also has extensive training and experience as a professor of comparative studies in religion and is a Buddhist Dharma teacher, appointed to that position by Her Eminence Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche.
Robert Beatty is a Buddhist dharma teacher and psychotherapist. He is the founder and guiding teacher of the Portland Insight Meditation Community. His meditation training began in India in 1972. He has studied with many teachers in Burma, India, and the US. His primary lineage is through Ruth Denison, who named him a Dharma successor in 1982. He has been a therapist in private practice since 1982.
Robert Cusick is a long time student of Gil Fronsdal. He was a Buddhist monk in Burma, trained by the Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw. He also trained in the Soto Zen tradition at Tassajara Zen Center in 2001. He participated in the Diamond Heart program with Hameed Ali (A.H. Almaas), in the Sati Center's Buddhist Chaplaincy training and completed the Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP) at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in 2003, where he served as Retreats Program Manager. Robert is a certified Kripalu Yoga instructor, and sits on the board of directors at the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies.
Robert Thomas accidentally discovered Buddhism while traveling in Thailand in 1993. After practicing at Wat Pa Nanatchat, he returned to the US and began monastic training at Tassajara. Robert was ordained by Zoketsu Norman Fischer in 2000 and received Dharma Transmission in 2009.
Robert teaches at the San Francisco Zen Center and co-leads retreats with his wife, yoga teacher and acupuncturist, Samantha Ostergaard. He is also a visiting teacher at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe. In addition to teaching, Robert is active in the local community and has been a leader at the San Francisco Zen Center since 2001, including serving as its President from 2005 to 2013.
Ronna Kabatznick is a social psychologist who has been practicing meditation since 1985. She spent nearly two years on a Vipassana meditation retreat under the guidance of two of Thailand's greatest Forest Masters. She is the author of "The Zen of Eating: Ancient Answers to Modern Weight Problems" and a board member of The Center for Mindful Eating, a web-based organization designed to help educate professionals about Mindful Eating. Currently, she is an assistant clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at UCSF. Her Berkeley-based private practice focuses on helping people with depression, weight and relationship issues.
Rose Taylor Goldfield is a second-generation Buddhist teacher and a certified life coach. She studied and practiced under the guidance of the Tibetan master Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, who appointed her teacher of philosophy, meditation, and yogic movement meditation to his nuns in Nepal and Bhutan. Rose is also a published translator and author of books and articles on Buddhist philosophy and meditation. Her new book, out later this year, is Training the Wisdom Body: Tibetan Yogic Exercise (Shambhala Publications). She holds an MA in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies from Naropa University. She and her husband, Ari Goldfield, teach internationally from their home base in Noe Valley, San Francisco, under the auspices of Wisdom Sun, the practice and study community they established together.
Ruth King, is a teacher in the Insight Meditation tradition. She is on the Teacher’s Council at Insight Meditation Community of Washington and Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and is the founder of Mindful Members Insight Meditation Community of Charlotte, NC. She is a life coach and leadership consultant, and offers the Mindful of Race Training program to teams and organizations nationwide. She is the author of several publications, including Healing Rage: Women Making Inner Peace Possible and Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out. www.RuthKing.net.
Sally Clough was introduced to vipassana through retreats in India in 1981. She co-founded the Sharpham meditation community in Devon, England, and was the Executive Director of Spirit Rock for five years. Trained by Jack Kornfield, Sally has led meditation classes and assisted on retreats since 1994.
Santikaro lived with Ajahn Buddhadasa during the last nine years of his life and became his primary translator. Ordained as a Theravada Bhikkhu in 1985, Santikaro spent most of his monastic life at Suan Mokkh. During this time he led Dawn Kiam, a small monastic community for foreigners. He is the founder of Liberation Park, a modern expression of Buddhist practice, study, and social responsibility, located in rural southwestern Wisconsin. There he continues to teach, explore nature, and translate the work of his teacher. He teaches Buddhism and meditation with an emphasis on the early Pali sources and is a lucid interpreter of the original teachings and discourses.
SAYADAW U TEJANIYA started practicing and studying dhamma with his teacher the late Shwe Oo Min Sayadaw (the Gold Cave Hermitage Monastic Teacher) when he was thirteen years old. Ordained as a Buddhist monk for more than 10 years, he teaches meditation at Shwe Oo Min Dhammasukha Tawya in Yangon, Myanmar (Rangoon, Burma).
Sean Kerr is in the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies at University of California, Berkeley, where he is pursuing his Ph.D. on the topic of Indian Buddhism and Pali commentarial literature. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in Sanskrit from the same department, and has been a student of Vipassanā meditation since 2002. He has been teaching Pali in India and the Bay Area since 2010.
Seth Castleman is a teacher, storyteller, and writer. A practicing Jew and a student of Theravadan dharma, he writes about the people, practices, and myths of the Jewish and Buddhist traditions. Seth teaches dharma to youth and adults incarcerated in America's prisons. He first developed and then directed the Family, Teen, and Children's Programs at Spirit Rock Meditation Center 1994-98 and presently co-directs the Lineage Project in New York City. Seth has trained in Asia and the U.S. under the guidance of U Pandita Sayadaw, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Jack Kornfield, Christopher Titmuss, Sharon Salzberg, and Joseph Goldstein.
Shaila Catherine has been practicing meditation since 1980, with more than eight years of accumulated silent retreat experience. She has taught retreats since 1996 in the USA, and internationally. Shaila has dedicated several years to studying with masters in India, Nepal and Thailand, completed a one year intensive meditation retreat with the focus on concentration and jhana, and authored Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity. Shaila Catherine practiced under the guidance of Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw for eight years, and authored Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Vipassana to help make this traditional approach to meditative training accessible to western practitioners. She is the founder of Insight Meditation South Bay, a Buddhist meditation center in Silicon Valley (www.imsb.org) where she leads sitting groups in Mountain View and Saratoga. She also founded Bodhi Courses, an online Buddhist Classroom where she offers two online courses each year on topics related to concentration and insight meditation (www.bodhicourses.org).
SHANTI SOULE practiced Vipassana since the mid 1970s. She become a teacher under the guidance of Ruth Denison in the Burmese lineage of U Ba Khin. After 1990 her practice efforts were devoted to intensive retreat practice and work meditation in the form of acting as the head cook at Vipassana retreats. She passed away in March of 2012.
Shantum Seth is a teacher, social development worker and ordained teacher in the Zen lineage of the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh. He is actively involved in the non-profit Ahimsa, which is pioneering work on "Mindfulness in Education" and setting up a centre for this purpose in the foothills of the Himalayas.
SHARDA ROGELL is currently a teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She has practiced in the Theravadan tradition since 1979. She has been teaching worldwide since 1985 where she brings a strong emphasis to awakening heartfulness. She has also been influenced by the non-dual teachings of Advaita Vedanta and the Dzogchen teachings in the Tibetan tradition.
Sharon Salzberg has been a student of Buddhism since 1971, and has been leading meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. She teaches both intensive awareness practice (vipassana or insight meditation) and the profound cultivation of lovingkindness and compassion (the Brahma Viharas). She is a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and The Forest Refuge, a new center for long term meditation practice. She is the author of Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness and A Heart as Wide as the World; and co-author with Joseph Goldstein of Insight Meditation, a Step-by-Step Course on How to Meditate (audio), from Sounds True.
Shelley has been meditating for over 30 years, the last eleven in the Buddhist Insight tradition. She's one of the leaders and teachers of the Open Door Sangha in Santa Barbara, where she lives, and often serves as a retreat manager at IRC. A wife, mother and grandmother, she also volunteers at a large estate garden, propagating plants and teaching children about their importance to life on earth. Gil Fronsdal is her teacher.
Shin Kwan Park began meditation in the Insight or Vipassana tradition during her MA studies in Counseling Psychology and work in the mental health field. The wisdom and compassion practices along with mindfulness training offered in this tradition compelled her to dedicate herself to deeper practice and experiential learning. She has completed the Community Dharma Leadership Program from Spirit Rock and has been teaching under the mentorship of Gil Fronsdal for the past few years.
Shinzen Young became fascinated with Asian culture while a teenager in Los Angeles. Later he enrolled in a Ph.D. program in Buddhist Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Eventually, he went to Asia and did extensive training in each of the three major Buddhist traditions: Vajrayana, Zen and Vipassana. Upon returning to the United States, his academic interests shifted to the burgeoning dialogue between Eastern meditation and Western science. Shinzen is known for his innovative “interactive, algorithmic approach” to mindfulness, a system specifically designed for use in pain management, recovery support, and as an adjunct to psychotherapy. He leads meditation retreats throughout North America and has helped establish numerous mindfulness centers and programs. He also consults widely on meditation-related research, in both the clinical and the basic science domains.
Smita Joshi has been doing meditation in the Theravada tradition since 1997. She has studied Vipassana meditation with Gil and U Pandita, and Brahmavihara meditation with Shaila Catherine. Though greatly drawn to intensive meditations in a peaceful and supportive retreat setting, Smita considers her most challenging mindfulness practice to be in the midst of her family life in the Silicon Valley of the 21st century. A sufferer of chronic pain for many years, Smita is interested in the value of meditation practices in reducing physical suffering and mental stress.
Spring Washam is a meditation teacher and co-founder of the East Bay Meditation Center. She has practiced meditation intensively since 1997 with many teachers and is known for her joyful heart and loving spirit. She pioneer s bringing mindfulness-based meditation practices to youth and communities of color. Spring is a Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader and leads a weekly sitting group in Oakland. She is in teacher training with Jack Kornfield at Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
Stephen Batchelor, a former Buddhist monk, studied under the guidance of Tibetan lamas and completed a three-year Zen training in Korea. He is the noted author of Alone With Others, The Faith to Doubt, The Awakening of the West, Buddhism Without Beliefs and Verses from the Center, and his new book Living with the Devil: A Meditation on Good and Evil. He is a member of the teacher council at Gaia House in England and is co-founder of Sharpham College. He teaches worldwide and lives in southwest France.
Dr. Stephen Fulder was born in London in 1946, has a doctorate in molecular biology and has published 14 books on outer and inner health. He is the founder and senior teacher of Tovana (the Israel Insight Society), the largest organisation in Israel that brings dharma teachings to thousands of participants yearly. Stephen has been teaching for 25 years, mostly in Israel but also abroad, and teaches a large number of retreats, courses and classes annually, especially to more advanced practitioners. He has been deeply engaged in peace work in the Middle East. His new book is: What’s Beyond Mindfulness: Waking Up to This Precious Life.
Steve has studied the dhamma and practiced insight meditation since 1975. He was a monk for five years in Burma under the guidance of Sayadaw U Pandita where he undertook intensive, silent practice of insight and lovingkindness meditations. He studied the Buddhist psychology (abhidhamma) with Sayadaw U Zagara in Australia and presents it in practical and easily understood terms. He continues his practice under the guidance of Sayadaw U Tejaniya at the Shwe Oo Min Meditation Center in Rangoon. He lives on Maui and has been leading meditation retreats internationally since 1990.
Myogen Steve Stücky has been practicing Zen for 35 years and received Dharma Transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman in 1993. He became co-Abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center in February 2007 and also serves as guiding teacher of Dharma Eye Zen Center in San Rafael.
Myogen Steve Stücky has been practicing Zen for 35 years and received Dharma Transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman in 1993. He became co-Abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center in February 2007 and also serves as guiding teacher of Dharma Eye Zen Center in San Rafael.
Steve Weintraub has been practicing and living at Zen Center since 1968 and has been teaching Buddhism since 1976. He received Dharma Transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman in 1994. He has a psychotherapy practice in San Francisco and Mill Valley and works as a therapist in the context of various analytic depth psychologies.
Steven Gasner has been practicing Buddhist Meditation since 1983. Originally studying in the Zen Tradition for a brief but very fruitful time with Joko Beck at the Zen Center of Los Angeles. He has also practiced at the Community Meditation Center in Los Angeles with Shinzen Young. He is a founding member of the Insight Meditation Center and has been practicing there since 1995.
Surja Tjahaja has been attending Insight Meditation Center for 5 years. He is a volunteer chaplain at the trauma center of Laguna Honda Hospital. He has been teaching Vegetarian Cooking for 5 years, and in the last year at IMC. He was born in Indonesia, is married with one son.
Susan Ezequelle has been practicing Insight Meditation since 1997. She is a past IMC Board President and worked closely with founding teacher Gil Fronsdal and other community members to found in 2001 the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, CA. She has been teaching at IMC since 2003 and in 2008, in response to a deep desire to engage with the world through her Buddhist practice, she completed the year-long Sati Center Chaplaincy Training Program and has served as a hospital chaplain for the past 5 years.
Ze Sho Susan O'Connell has been studying and practicing Zen since 1985 and has lived at the San Francisco Zen Center since 1995. In 1999 she was priest ordained by Tenshin Reb Anderson, and served as Shuso (head student) at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in the fall of 2005. Before moving into Zen Center, she was a feature film producer and, when young, a film and television actress in Hollywood and New York. She has a son and two granddaughters.
Tanya Wiser began her formal meditation practice in 2005 immediately following her first Vipassana retreat. She found the practice to be deeply healing and, because she works as a therapist, she wanted to share Mindfulness with her clients so in 2008 she was trained in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy as well as Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention. In 2011 she joined IMC's Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP4) and began to study the Dharma formally. In 2014 she completed her first month long Vipassana retreat and became a participant in IMC's Dharma Mentor Training Program. She is a student of both Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella.
Tara Brach is a clinical psychologist and founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C. She has been practicing meditation since 1975 and leads retreats throughout North America. Tara is author of the newly published book Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha.
Tara Mulay has been a practitioner of insight meditation since 2003 and has undertaken intensive practice periods in the United States and Burma. She is a current participant in the 2017-2021 IMS/IRC teacher training program and a graduate of Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Community Dharma Leader’s Program. In 2015, she co-founded the San Francisco People of Color Insight Sangha. Tara combines a deep love of classical Theravada and Early Buddhist teachings with a focus on bringing the practice alive in modern daily life.
Teah Strozer is a lineage holder in the Soto Zen tradition of Suzuki Roshi. She was at Tassajara Monastery for 11 years, and was head of practice at San Francisco Zen Center. She used to be a music teacher, and has a foster son.
Tempel Smith began practicing meditation in 1989. In 1997 he ordained as a monk in Burma with Sayadaw U Pandita and Pa Auk Sayadaw. He then practiced as a long-term yogi at IMS. Now, in the Bay Area, he is working on integrating these deep meditative practices into daily life and in his work with the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. Tempel has taught meditation and Buddhist psychology, and is a member of the Spirit Rock Teen Council. He coordinates the BPF's BASE and Youth programs including two intensive retreats for teens each year in the Bay Area.
Therese Fitzgerald trained at the San Francisco and Tassajara Zen Centers with Richard Baker-Roshi, and then with Vietnamese Zen teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, who ordained her as a Dharma teacher in 1994. Therese has served as Director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and co-founder of the Community of Mindful Living, which developed programs for social service in Vietnam and, with Maxine Hong Kingston, offered mindfulness-and-writing workshops for veterans of war. With Dharma Friends, based on Maui, Therese works as a Dharma mentor and instructor, including giving weekly sessions at Maui Community Correctional Center.
Tim was only 20 years old and a student at Stanford in 1964 when he met his teacher, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. At that time there was only one small Zen center in northern California and the practice of meditation was considered “kind of odd.” Then the wildly successful Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind was published. Tim heard firsthand the talks that later appeared in that book, which has sold more than any other book on Zen Buddhism.
In his new book, Nothing Holy About It: The Zen of Being Just Who You Are, Tim writes about the struggle to raise money for the now famous Tassajara Monastery and the story of when Suzuki took the stage after Janis Joplin at the Fillmore Auditorium during a fund-raiser. And he remembers Suzuki’s empathy for his long-suffering student, Trudy Dixon, and his tearful “lion’s roar” at her funeral.
Tim also writes about intimate moments with two other early Japanese teachers: Katagiri Roshi and Chino Roshi. Tim was Chino Roshi’s attendant when he first arrived from Japan and he writes about having tea with him every evening at Tassajara.
In his book, Zen’s core teachings unfold within the ordinary comedies and tragedies of everyday life. He uses poems, Zen art, parables, and koans to show how we realize our interconnected nature through the small things that we do. In his book, as in his life, Tim reveals how to live in the world with a deep joy that comes from embracing the work and play of this very moment.
Tim is the former CEO of the largest non-profit in Minnesota for the mentally impaired and chemically dependent. He is a psychologist, a Zen Buddhist priest, and the Guiding Teacher of Minnesota Zen Meditation Center.
Tony Bernhard first encountered the dharma in 1965 and became one of Spirit Rock’s first community dharma leaders in 1999. He currently sits on the board of the Sati Center, trains inmates and staff at Folsom Prison in mindfulness and dharma, leads sitting groups in Davis, and regularly teaches in a handful of venues in and around Sacramento and the Bay Area. He primarily focuses his practice on study of the dharma teachings in the earliest texts.
Victor has been involved with IMC for the past 7 years. He is on the board of directors and is the Audiodharma Manager plus he teaches beginning Meditation. Victor was introduced to the dharma as a teenager and has continued his spiritual path with Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella as his primary teachers. He enjoys integrating his sitting practice with mindfulness in daily life practice in the style of U-Tejaniya and sitting on retreat.
He is a householder with three children, a spouse of over 30 years and a retired product manager. He has worked for a number of software firms in Silicon Valley. Victor has a degree in Music and Business.
Victoria Austin began practicing meditation in 1971. She ordained as a Zen Priest at in 1982 at the same time as Gil, in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. She received Dharma transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman. She is formerly the tanto (Head of Practice) at Tassajara, and is currently the President of San Francisco Zen Center. She is a certified Iyengar yoga teacher who trains regularly in India and in the U.S.
Vinny Ferraro has been practicing meditation since 1993. In 1998, he spent a year sitting bedside with the dying through the Zen Center Hospice Program in San Francisco, as well as experiencing 'A Year to Live' practice (based on the book by Stephen Levine). He has studied with several renowned spiritual teachers including the Dalai Lama. In 2001, Vinny trained to lead Challenge Days in schools throughout the U.S. and has become an integral member of that organization. He also teaches the weekly insight meditation group Urban Dharma in San Francisco on Friday nights.
Walt Opie was introduced to the dharma in 1993 and began attending regular insight meditation retreats in 2005, which he says greatly reduced his suffering. He is a graduate of the Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leaders program and the Sati Center Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program. Walt has led sitting groups for people in recovery since 2011. He has served as a volunteer Buddhist teacher with Buddhist Pathways Prison Project for over four years. He is currently a trainee in the Insight Meditation Society’s 2017-2021 Teacher Training Program. His most influential teachers include Sayadaw U Tejaniya and Gil Fronsdal.
Wendy Johnson is a lay Dharma teacher ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh. Wendy has lived and practiced at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in northern California since 1975. As a wife and mother of two, Wendy combines her 30-year training in organic agriculture with a commitment to teaching meditation engaged with the life of the world. She has been involved for many years in establishing gardening programs in Bay Area schools. She is completing a book on Zen practice and gardening to be published by Bantam Press.
Wes `Scoop’ Nisker is a teacher of Buddhist meditation, an author, radio commentator, and performer. His books include the bestselling classic Essential Crazy Wisdom; The Big Bang, The Buddha, and the Baby Boom; Buddha’s Nature; and his latest, Crazy Wisdom Saves the World Again! Wes is also the founder and co-editor of the international Buddhist journal “Inquiring Mind.” He is an affiliate teacher at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California, and does regular workshops at Esalen Institute and other venues. For the past several years Wes has been performing a comic monologue entitled Crazy Wisdom Saves the World Again! which was recently staged at the esteemed Berkeley Rep theater. Wes’s famous tag line is: “If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own.”
Will Kabat-Zinn has practiced Vipassana meditation intensively in the U.S. and in Burma. He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and teaches regularly at SF Insight, Spirit Rock and California Institute for Integral Studies (CIIS). For the past eight years Will has taught meditation and awareness practices to incarcerated youth, first in New York City and currently in Alameda County. As an MFT Intern in private practice in San Francisco and Berkeley, Will sees individuals and couples for psychotherapy. He is in teacher training with Jack Kornfield.