Dharma teachers

Dharma teachers from around the globe:  Below you will find bio’s and dharma talks from the teachers who have inspired me the most…..please enjoy!  Click on teachers name for more info/website…

Steven Smith,  co-founded Vipassana Hawai’i in 1984 and in 1995 founded the Metta-Dana Project for educational and medical projects in Burma. Also in 1995 Steven helped establish the Kyaswa Valley Retreat Center in Burma, headed by Sayadaw U Lakkhana, Abbot of Kyaswa Monastery. This partnership helped usher in the beginnings of Vipassana Hawai’i’s Fusion Dhamma approach combining traditional and contemporary teaching styles in the same retreat. Anchored in the Theravadan Buddhist Burmese lineage of Mahasi Sayadaw since 1974, he was trained and sanctioned as a teacher by revered monk and meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita. Steven divides his time teaching Vipassana and the Divine Abodes (loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity) meditation retreats around the world, and assisting Burmese refugee communities along the Thai-Burma border. His long term vision for preserving the Dhamma is culminating in the beginnings of the Hawai’i Insight Meditation Center (HIMC) on the Big Island of Hawai’i’s remote North Kohala coast.

Noah Levine, author of Dharma Punx, Against The Stream and The Heart of the Revolution, is a Buddhist teacher, author and counselor. He was trained to teach by Jack Kornfied of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA. He is the founding teacher of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, with two centers in LA and over 20 affiliated groups around North America. He teaches meditation classes, workshops and retreats internationally.  Noah holds a Masters degree in counseling psychology. He is also on the board of directors of the Buddhist Recovery Network.  Levine lives in Los Angeles.

Talks: 2010-10_06 Uncovering Faith / Spiritual Maturity

Vinny Ferraro has been practicing meditation since 1993. He has studied with several renowned spiritual teachers including Jack Kornfield, Ajahn Sumedho, and the Dalai Lama. In 1998, he spent a year sitting bedside with the dying through the San Francisco Zen Center Hospice Program. Since 2000, Vinny has led workshops for youth in schools internationally for a non-profit organization called Challenge Day. He has taught meditation to incarcerated youth and adults and is currently training dharma teachers to do the same for the Mind Body Awareness Project. He is a Spirit Rock  Community Dharma Leader and has been teaching the weekly Urban Dharma group in San Francisco since 2004. Vinny was recently featured in the Spring 2010 issue of Tricycle.

Talks: The Freedom of Forgiveness

Joseph Goldstein has been leading insight and loving-kindness meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre Massachusetts, where he is one of the organization’s guiding teachers. In 1989, together with several other teachers and students of insight meditation, he helped establish the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.

Talks: _life story / mindfulness / 4th Noble (turning the wheel)

Michele McDonald co-founded Vipassana Hawaii in 1984 with Steven Smith. She has taught Insight meditation for thirty years. Beyond her commitment to the Vipassana Hawaii  Sangha,  she teaches extensively throughout the United States,  in Canada,  Burma, and various locations around the world.  Michele has been a quiet pioneer having being the first woman to teach a formal retreat in Burma,  side-by-side with a senior monastic figure, Sayadaw U Lakkhana, Abbot of Kyaswa Monastery.  She appreciates teaching at many levels of practice and has enjoyed teaching three-month retreats for experienced students as well as developing meditation retreats for youth. Her style of teaching emphasizes helping individuals find entry points into stillness that are natural for them. She encourages an understanding of the path of insight and a gentle strengthening of mindfulness and concentration so that, ultimately, people can access the peaceful depths of their experience in every moment.  Michele is thrilled when students begin to love their practice.

Talks: 2003-10_19 Comparing, Compassion And Gratitude / metta

JoAnna Harper has been exploring and practicing multiple traditions since 1999.  In 2005 her focus landed on Buddhism and Vipassana meditation, which is the premise for most of her current teaching. Although her main focus is on working with youth through her bi-weekly children’s and teen sanghas, teen day long retreats, residential retreats and work in the juvenile justice system, she is also co -teaching adult residential retreats as well as leading a Year to Live practice and teaching one on one sessions.  Her favorite teaching tools are working in Council and relational mindfulness.  She is a recent  graduate of Noah Levine’s teacher training program and is trained through the Ojai Foundation as a Council facilitator.  She is the grateful mother of CJ and Harris her main inspirations.

Talks: Know What You’re Feeling / Wise Speech

 Stephen Batchelor is a contemporary Buddhist teacher and writer, best known for his secular or agnostic approach to Buddhism. Stephen considers Buddhism to be a constantly evolving culture of awakening rather than a religious system based on immutable dogmas and beliefs. In particular, he regards the doctrines of karma and rebirth to be features of ancient Indian civilization and not intrinsic to what the Buddha taught. Buddhism has survived for the past 2,500 years because of its capacity to reinvent itself in accord with the needs of the different Asian societies with which it has creatively interacted throughout its history. As Buddhism encounters modernity, it enters a vital new phase of its development. Through his writings, translations and teaching, Stephen engages in a critical exploration of Buddhism’s role in the modern world, which has earned him both condemnation as a heretic and praise as a reformer.

Talks4 components of dharma / Entering the Stream

Martine Batchelor was born in France in 1953. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in Korea in 1975.  She studied Zen Buddhism under the guidance of the late Master Kusan at Songgwang Sa monastery until 1985. Her Zen training also took her to nunneries in Taiwan and Japan. From 1981 she served as Kusan Sunim’s interpreter and accompanied him on lecture tours throughout the United States and Europe. She translated his book ‘The Way of Korean Zen’ and has written an unpublished manuscript about the life of Korean Zen nuns.  Martine is a member of the Gaia House Teacher Council.  Martine is the author of ‘Meditation for Life’, ‘The Path of Compassion’, ‘Women in Korean Zen’ and ‘Let Go: A Buddhist Guide to Breaking Free of Habits’. Her latest work is the ‘Spirit of the Buddha’.

talks: Creative Engagement

Ajahn Sucitto (Bhikkhu Sucitto, born 4 November 1949) is a British-born Theravada Buddhist monk. He is, since 1992, the abbot of Cittaviveka. He was born in London, and was ordained in Thailand in March 1976. He moved to Britain in 1978 and took up training under Ajahn Sumedho at the Hampstead Buddhist Vihara. In 1979 he was one of the small group of monks, led by Ajahn Sumedho, who established Cittaviveka, inWest Sussex. In 1984 he accompanied Ajahn Sumedho in establishing Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in Hertfordshire. In 1992 he was appointed abbot of Cittaviveka.

talks:  5 faculties /

Steven Armstrong has studied the dhamma and practiced insight meditation since 1975. He served for many years at the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts as Executive Director, Board member and senior teacher of the annual three month retreat. As a monk in Burma for 5 years, under the guidance of Sayadaw U Pandita, he undertook intensive, silent practice of insight and lovingkindness meditations and in Australia, he studied the Buddhist psychology (abhidhamma) with Sayadaw U Zagara.  Steve is a co-founding teacher of the Vipassana Metta Foundation’s dharma sanctuary on Maui. He has been leading meditation retreats internationally since 1990, presenting the core teachings of the Buddha; and offering a variety of Buddhist mindfulness practices, encouraging cultivation of insightful awareness, and liberating in all life activities.

Talks: right effort / Right concentration

Kevin Griffin  is the author of the seminal 2004 book “One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps” and the recent “A Burning Desire: Dharma God and the Path of Recovery”. He has been practicing Buddhist meditation for three decades and been in recovery since 1985. He’s been a meditation teacher for almost fifteen years. His teacher training was at Spirit Rock Meditation Center where he currently leads Dharma and Recovery classes.

Pablo Das is empowered to teach Vipassana meditation and Buddha Dharma by the Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society founder Noah Levine. He teaches regularly at A.T.S. centers in Los Angeles and at various A.T.S. groups and in retreat settings nationwide. Professionally, he works as a mindfulness based wellness, nutrition and recovery coach integrating mindfulness practices and Buddhist principles in his private “in person” (and phone based) counseling work. He is a board member and presenter for the Buddhist Recovery Network which exists to explore the role of Buddhism in liberation from addiction and dependency. Pablo is an advocate for a Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender and “other identified” voice in american Buddhism and runs an LGBT group at the ATS center. He works in suicide prevention in the LGBTQ youth population. Finally, Pablo is a Buddhism inspired indie-folk (antifolk) musician who tours nationally and can be found transforming monotonous Buddhist chants into indie rock retreat hits.

Talks:  It’s Real / Relational Mindfulness

Tempel Smith began practicing vipassana and metta meditation in 1989 within the Theravada Buddhist tradition at Insight Meditation Society (IMS), and focused early service and activism on nuclear disarmament, environmental protection, and working in crisis shelters for homeless and abused youth. In 1997 he spent a year in Burma as an ordained monk with both Sayadaw U Pandita and Pa Auk Sayadaw, and later practiced in silence for nine months at the IMS. Since 2001 Tempel has begun to teach meditation and Buddhist psychology to a wide variety of people including prisoners, activists, youth, service providers, and those with severe and chronic illnesses. He founded the B.A.S.E. House in San Francisco – a residential community dedicated to living a socially engaged Buddhist life. Tempel spent a year in volunteer service for Zen Hospice, and led the Teen program for Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California. In 2003 he initiated an international meditation retreat and program for teenagers and young adults. Tempel worked for the Buddhist Peace Fellowship in Berkeley coordinating the B.A.S.E. and Young Adults programs. He completed a four year teacher-training program run by Jack Kornfield at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and IMS. Tempel also leads pilgrimages to Thailand, Burma, and India.

Talks: right view & dependent arising / a new paradigm


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4 responses to “Dharma teachers

  • Bryan Mara

    Vipassana Meditation literally means to observe the breath. By practicing Vipassana one eventually becomes the master of his or her own mind. During the meditation on the breath in the body, we look inward and gradually we become masters our own emotions. This results in a much greater clarity of thought processes and behaviors we display in our every day lives. By focusing on the body’s internal environment, it opens a door for us to see the true nature of our body and mind. We remain in the present moment as we observe the breath and eventually the mind does not wander into the past or future. When the mind becomes still and silent our awareness of the true reality of ourselves blossoms and we are no longer prisoners of our suffering. A suffering mind is always grasping, wanting, seeking attachment, worrying and emotional. Vipassana Meditation teaches us that we no longer need to cling to these negative mental states and opens the door to true happiness and profound mental peace..

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