Teachers: Healing & Insight
Award-winning author of eight books, Dr Valerie Mason-John (hon Doctorate of Letters) MA, is the cofounder of and guiding teacher at worldwideinsight.org’s Healing & Insight programme. She is the co-author of the twice award-winning book Eight Step Recovery – Using The Buddha’s Teachings to Overcome Addiction, which has been published in English, Spanish and Marathi. She is also the co- designer of the Mindfulness-Based Addiction Recovery MBAR eight-week program. She has been meditating for 25 years, and was ordained in 2005 in India into the Triratna Buddhist Order, when she was renamed Vimalasara. She has worked in the addiction field for over 15 years, delivering anger management programmes to women who chose to go to rehab instead of being incarcerated. She works as a Bully Doctor for several School Boards in Canada, works as a life coach with individuals and organizations, as well as being a trainer in conflict resolution, restorative justice and leadership.
Angyu Devin Ashwood
After practising in a range of traditions, Angyu Devin Ashwood has been a student of Soto Zen in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki for the last 15 years under the guidance of Tenshin Reb Anderson. He has been particularly concerned to take his experience of the Buddha’s liberative teaching and practise and offer this in underserved populations, in prisons and addiction recovery services. As part of this, he works as a prison chaplain and trains teachers to deliver Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention with the charity Action on Addiction. Closer to home, living with his wife and children, Devin also enjoys visiting schools and supporting community practise within the Western Chan Fellowship as well as acting as Chair for the Dancing Mountains Zen Sangha in the UK. He writes for on-line and print publication including most recently ‘Buddhism & Addiction’ for the Sage publication Key Concepts in Substance misuse (2015).
Martine Batchelor lived in Korea as a Zen nun for ten years from 1975 to 1985. She is the author of Meditation for Life, The Path of Compassion, and Let Go: A Buddhist Guide to Breaking Free of Habits. She is a member of the Gaia House Teacher Council. She teaches meditation retreats worldwide. After returning to lay life and while living in England she trained as a counsellor. She is interested in how meditation and mindfulness can help us creatively engage with the mental, emotional and relational habits that bind us and stop our potential for wisdom and compassion manifesting fully.
Christie Bates (Acharya Passatininna)
Christie Bates (Passatininnia) is a Dharma teacher, contemplative therapist and the Men’s Co-Occurring Program Director at The Ranch, a treatment center for trauma, mental health and addictive disorders just outside of Nashville TN. A Licensed Professional Counselor in Tennessee, US, Christie has extensive background working with individuals and families in recovery from chronic developmental stress and acute trauma, both in 12-step culture and Buddhist recovery circles. She received a Bachelor’s degree from Rhodes College and earned a Masters of Mental Health Counseling with the support of a Career Development Grant from the American Association of University Women. Her training has included secular mindfulness, Buddhist meditation and contemplative Christian practice. Continuing her education in the Dharmacharya path with Venerables Pannavati and Pannadipa, she was ordained Acharya Passatininnia into the Embracing Simplicity Contemplative Order on October 30, 2016. She is founder and teacher for NABRS Meditation Group, a Dharma community in Nashville.
Bhikkhu Samahita is originally from Denmark. He was a Medical Doctor and an Associate Professor, before ordaining as a bhikkhu. He currently resides in Sri Lanka and is a bhikkhu of the Theravada Forest Tradition – Arannavasin. He arrived in Sri Lanka 2001, was ordained as novice at Maharagama Bhikkhu Training Center 29th January 2002 by the late Ven. Madihe Paññasiha Mahanayaka Thera and fully ordained as Bhikkhu the same place the 5th July 2003 by Ven. Ñāna Ratana Mahanayaka Thera. He meditates mostly alone in a remote mountain forest hermitage in Bambarella, near Hulu Ganga, Panwila ~ 56km from Kandy. Daytime visitors are always welcome. Over-night accommodation is available at small meditation-center nearby. He operates several online groups for spreading the teachings of the Dhamma and maintains a website with a wealth of material on the Dhamma by other members of the Theravada Sangha.
Jokai Blackwell Sensei, a Soto Zen priest in the White Plum Lineage, received Dharma Transmission (authorization to teach) in 2014 following the completion of formal study at Yokoji Zen Mountain Center with Tenshin Fletcher Roshi. During his formal training, encompassing over a decade of residential training and service, Jokai completed koan study. His expression is informed by a thorough grounding in the traditional forms. Jokai emphasizes the direct experience of awakening using contemporary language and time-honored methods. Originally from Wales, UK, Jokai continues to live and serve at Yokoji Zen Mountain Center, and teaches Meditation in Recovery classes at an intensive outpatient treatment center in Palm Springs, CA.
Ryuko Laura Burges, a lay entrusted Buddhist teacher in the Soto Zen tradition, lectures and leads retreats at different practice centres in Northern California. A practicing Buddhist since 1975, she has taught children for 30 years and brings mindfulness practice into the elementary classroom. Laura co-founded the Sangha in Recovery program at Zen Center. She is the abiding teacher at the Lenox House meditation group in Oakland.
Enrique Collazo started practicing in the Theravada tradition right after he got sober in 2004. He has been using the Dharma as a map for his daily recovery since then. In 2010 he started a facilitator training and started offering classes as a facilitator and meditation instructor for youth and adults in and out of recovery. Enrique has recently completed a teacher training from Noah Levine and Vinny Ferraro. He’s currently teaching in the Bay Area with Against the Stream/Dharma Punx and is working with youth as a facilitator for Challenge Day. One of his main passions is sharing how one can use the Dharma as a path to recover from addiction. Enrique has a unique presence full of calmness and power and teaches the Dharma in a straight-forward and practical way.
Vince Cullen has been associated with Wat Thamkrabok monastery in Thailand and Buddhist-oriented alcohol and other drug recovery since 1998. Vince founded the Fifth Precept mindfulness for recovery group and teaches ‘Hungry Ghost’ recovery retreats internationally. He has held appointments as Buddhist Prison Chaplain at both male and female prisons in the UK.
Stephen Dansiger found recovery and the Dharma almost simultaneously over 25 years ago. He has remained consistent with both ever since. Steve practiced zazen for most of that time, including a one-year residency at Zen Buddhist monastery. He has taught mindfulness for over 20 years in a variety of settings, including meditation centers, schools, businesses, government agencies and treatment centers. He now teaches classes regularly at Against the Stream Meditation Society in Los Angeles, and also leads short retreats and workshops locally and nationally. Currently, Steve is the Clinical Director of Refuge Recovery Centers, which he helped to establish along with Noah Levine.
Shahara Godfrey has practiced in the Theravada Buddhist tradition for over 20 years. She has completed Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leadership and Dedicated Practitioner’s programs. In addition, she is a graduate of the UCLA Mindfulness and Awareness Research Center program as well as a core teacher at the East bay Meditation Center since 2008. Shahara combines Somatic work with Buddhsim and Mindfulness through Dissertation Coaching, 12-step Recovery work and the arts. She holds a MA in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University and a Ph.D. in Transformative Learning from California Institute of Integral Studies.
Kevin Griffin is a Buddhist teacher and author in the Theravada tradition. He is a co-founder of the Buddhist Recovery Network and teaches internationally across Buddhist traditions. He has been a Buddhist practitioner and in recovery for over three decades. His teacher training was at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Northern California, where he still teaches his flagship Dharma and Recovery class. Besides teaching at Buddhist and other spiritual centers, Kevin works with treatment centers and has consulted with leading addiction researchers.
Chris Grosso is a public speaker, writer, recovering addict, spiritual director, and author. Chris studied for a few years under the Venerable Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tenzin at Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Centre Middletown, Connecticut. He was the Abbot of His Holiness monastery in both India and NY, and received the Medicine Buddha transmission directly from HH in 2006. Chris is passionate about his work with people who are in the process of healing or struggling with addictions of all kinds. He speaks and leads groups in detoxes, yoga studios, rehabs, youth centers, 12-step meetings, hospitals, conferences, and festivals worldwide. He is a member of the advisory board for Drugs over Dinner and hosts The Indie Spiritualist Podcast on The Mindpod Network.
Gavin Harrison is the author and poet of Petals and Blood: Stories, Dharma and Poems of Ecstasy, Awakening and Annihilation and In the Lap of the Buddha. He is a recipient of the “Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award,” presented to him by His Holiness the Dalai Lama for “kindness and quiet dedication to others”. His teachings of Awakening are rooted in the Buddhist Insight Meditation Tradition. He lives on the Big Island of Hawai‘i, is a student of Yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong and his passions include ocean swimming, hiking and growing fruit and vegetables. He is a USA fundraiser for The Woza Moya Project and The Group of Hope supporting AIDS orphans in KwaZulu, South Africa.
John Haspel’s interest in Eastern philosophy began in his teens and developed further in his mid twenties. Having taken the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1981 as they were originally intended, John recovered from alcoholism and addiction and his interest in meditation deepened. John eventually focused his study on the direct teachings of the Buddha as preserved in the Pali Canon. Through study and application of the direct teachings of the Buddha John has found a deeply profound but accessible and understandable path for anyone interested in putting aside all confusion and suffering common to humankind. John is the founder and Dhamma teacher at Cross River Meditation Center in Frenchtown New Jersey. John is the author of the book “The Truth of Happiness”. He leads Mindfulness Based RecoveryTM workshops, as well as 12 step workshops based on his book “The Spiritual Solution – Simple and Effective Recovery Through the Taking and Teaching of the 12 Steps.”
Augusta Hopkins currently leads the SF Sangha which is rooted in the Plum Village tradition of Vietnamese Zan Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who welcomed Augusta into the Core Community of the Order of Interbeing in a formal ceremony on 10th of September 2011. Augusta teaches Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction publicly and privately, and is undertaking the Spirit Rock and IMS training for Community Dharma Leaders. In following the Buddhist precepts Augusta chooses not to drink alcohol, although she has not noticed personal addiction it. However, she has been in recovery from the effects of someone else’s drinking for seven years; the Dharma opened the door for her to begin this recovery process. She is particularly interested in bringing the Dharma to those who are wanting to recover from the pain of the effects of someone else’s addiction.
Thérèse Jacobs-Stewart has been a practicing psychotherapist, meditation teacher, and international consultant for more than thirty years. In 2004, she founded MindRoads Meditation Center, a community-based center offering a practical, actionable approach to mindfulness training and meditation. It is the home of the Saint Paul, Minnesota chapter of Mindfulness and 12-Step meetings and a member of the Buddhist Recovery Network. Thérèse has studied with Tibetan monks in Nepal and India, Carmelite contemplatives in a monastery in Arizona, and the Soto Zen community at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in San Francisco, California. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with her husband of 35-years, Jim, and their cat Kukla.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. is a scientist, writer, and meditation teacher. He is Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he was founding executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society (1995), and founder (in 1979) and former director of its world-renown Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Clinic. His research career focused on mind/body interactions for healing and on the clinical applications of mindfulness meditation training for people with chronic pain and stress-related disorders. Dr. Kabat-Zinn’s work has contributed to a growing movement of mindfulness into mainstream institutions.
Passionate about finding and bringing practice to each moment of life, Cynthia has been involved with Zen Buddhism for over 29 years and in recovery for 31. Ordained in 2008, she was given Dharma Transmission in 2010 by her heart and root teacher, Darlene Cohen. As Senior Vice President in a fast-paced non-profit with a hefty travel schedule, trying to balance practice, family and friends, she knows how demanding our lives in the marketplace can be. Skillfully meeting all situations, all moments, wherever we are is her primary interest.
Loch Kelly, M.Div., LCSW is the author of Shift into Freedom: The Science and Practice of Open-Hearted Awareness. He is an educator, licensed psychotherapist and recognized leader in the field of meditation who was asked to teach Sutra Mahamudra by Tibetan Buddhist teacher Mingyur Rinpoche and nondual meditation by Adyashanti. Loch has worked in community mental health and addiction recovery for 30 years. He is the founder of the non-profit Open-Hearted Awareness Institute. Loch is an emerging voice in modernizing meditation, social engagement and collaborates with neuroscientists at Yale, UPenn and NYU to study how awareness training can enhance compassion and wellbeing.
Scott Kiloby is the author of six books and an international speaker on the subject of non-dual wisdom and how it effectively releases addiction, anxiety and depression. His latest book, “Natural Rest for Addiction” helps people dissolve addiction through an advanced mindfulness approach called the Living Inquiries. Scott is the founder and director of a worldwide organization called “The Living Inquiries Community”, which contains over 80 facilitators doing Scott’s work in 12 different countries. Scott is the founder and director of the Kiloby Center for Recovery in Rancho Mirage, California, the first addiction treatment center to focus almost entirely on mindfulness. Scott is also the co-owner of the Kiloby Sober Living House in Palm Desert, CA.
Josh Korda has been the presiding teacher at Dharmapunx NYC for the last decade. Over the last five years he’s been a visiting teacher at Zen Care and Against the Stream. Josh teaches multiple retreats each year, mentors a wide array of spiritual practitioners; his meditations can be found on the popular mindfulness app insighttimer. Josh writes for a number of publications, including many pieces on Huffington Post. Tricycle Magazine has featured a documentary film about Josh’s teaching on its website, which you can watch here.
Dori Langevin began a relationship with meditation in 1980 as part of bio-psycho-social-spiritual recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Five years later she was introduced to Buddhist teachings and practices by Jack Kornfield and immediately felt the resonance between the Four Noble Truths and her addiction and recovery experience. In 2003, Tara Brach invited her to co-teach IMCW addiction/recovery workshops and residential meditation retreats. Dori completed the 4-year Spirit Rock/IMS teacher training and teaches adult, young adult and teen and family retreats. She is devoted to “re-membering” and calling on qualities of the Sacred Feminine ~ variance of vision, inclusiveness, interdependence & deep reverence for all life, honoring inner authority, and embodied presence.
Eddie LeShure is a teacher for Asheville Insight Meditation, as well as a registered substance abuse counselor. He leads groups in various treatment/recovery settings, as well as series classes, workshops, retreats, conferences, conventions, and at the local detention center. After serving time at Attica Prison for a narcotics charge (where he endured a bloody rebellion in 1971), Eddie has practiced and done retreats with many teachers in Theravada, Zen and Tibetan traditions and lived in community for 18 months, while finding recovery. Eddie directs a “Mindfulness & 12 Step Recovery” meeting, as well as a radio program focusing on relief from addiction and trauma, both weekly, and is currently co-authoring a manual for treatment/aftercare centers linking mindfulness and self-compassion practices to stages of recovery. His lengthy journey in mindfulness and recovery passionately fuels his support of those who aspire to avoid relapse and live a life free from addiction.
Noah Levine, author of Dharma Punx and Against The Stream, is a Buddhist teacher, author and counselor. He is trained to teach by Jack Kornfield of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA. He teaches meditation classes, workshops and retreats nationally as well as leading groups in juvenile halls and prisons. Noah holds a masters degree in counseling psychology from CIIS. He has studied with many prominent teachers in both the Theravadan and Mahayanan Buddhist traditions.
Frank has worked in the community care voluntary mental health sector for some twenty-five years. He is the co founder of Belfast Black mountain Zen centre and has been a student of Ryushin Paul Haller since 1998. Prior to Zen he was a student and co-founder of Jampa Ling Belfast in the Gelugpa tradition. As an indigenous Belfast-born practitioner he has been at the forefront of developing creative cross-community mindfulness-based initiatives to communities / groups traumatised by the Northern Ireland troubles. Frank studied mindfulness at the University of Wales and is a qualified integrative humanistic counsellor. Presently Frank teaches mindfulness through the life-long learning programme at the Queen’s University of Belfast and has also successfully delivered experiential and practice-based training programmes to mental health and allied professionals working in psychiatry, nursing, social work and the criminal justice system.
Darren Littlejohn is author of the bestselling book, The 12-Step Buddhist (Atria\Beyond Words 2009). As a 30 year student of Buddhism he’s clocked over 1000 retreat hours with Zen and Tibetan Masters. His list of teachers is long, but his main teachers are Joko Beck, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche. Darren is an energy healer who uses Reiki, Peruvian Shamanic and Tibetan healing techniques. He studied Shamanism for two years with Rosemary Beam, Christina Pratt and others.Darren has conducted meditation and yoga retreats in Oregon and California for years and has carried his inspirational message to more than 25 cities nationwide. He’s appeared in the New York Times, TVs Extra and several magazines and podcasts. He podcasts on iTunes with over 100,000 downloads and writes regularly for the Huffington Post.
Padmadharini first came across Buddhism at 22 when she attended a meditation class at the London Buddhist Centre of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (now Triratna). She was Ordinated in 2004, and has taught meditation and Buddhism courses and led retreats internationally since then. A Breathworks-accredited trainer in mindfulness-based approaches to working with pain, stress and depression, Padmadharini brings a wealth of personal experience using practice to transform suffering, and has a keen interest in the addictive nature of thoughts that intensify and escalate mental distress. She currently lives in NY.
Dr Paramabandhu Groves is a consultant psychiatrist working in the National Health Service in London (UK) specialising in addiction. He is an ordained member of the Triratna Buddhist Order and teaches at the London Buddhist Centre. He is the clinical director of Breathing Space, which is the health and well-being wing of the London Buddhist Centre, and which runs courses in mindfulness-based approaches, including mindfulness-based addiction recovery (MBAR). He is the author of Practical Buddhism: Mindfulness and Skilful Living in the Modern Era; and with Valerie Mason-John, Eight Step Recovery: Using the Buddha’s Teachings to Overcome Addiction. His forthcoming book, with Dr Jed Shamel, Mindful Emotion: A Short Course in Kindness is due out in 2016.
Marcus Lorenzo Penn
Marcus Lorenzo Penn, M.D., C.Y.T. is a holistic medical doctor, self care empowerment coach, yoga teacher and meditation and mindfulness facilitator. After receiving transformational awakenings in 2003 and 2006 that the western model of medicine was not for him, he began a very conscious inward journey of self discovery, self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-worth that also included a journey through many experiences of deep clinical depression and recovery. Dr. Penn received Integral Health Fellowship certification in mindfulness and yoga from the Niroga Institute (Berkeley, CA, USA) and has attended numerous retreats and workshops on Buddhist teachings at Spirit Rock (Woodacre, California, USA), East Bay Meditation Center and Oakland Center for Spiritual Living (Oakland, California, USA, respectively). He is the Founder/CEO of Self Care Reform Wellness.
Dawa Tarchin Phillips
Dawa Tarchin Phillips teaches in-depth awakening around the world and is a mindfulness and meditation expert and research specialist in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of California Santa Barbara. An advanced meditation practitioner for over 20 years, he completed two 3-year meditation retreats and is a classically trained senior Dharma and meditation teacher. Dawa is the President/CEO of Empowerment Holdings, LLC, an international leadership training and consulting firm that trains business leaders and organizations on 5 continents in Mindful Leadership, Conscious Prosperity and Conscious Business approaches. He has been a guest lecturer and advisor at numerous academic and professional institutions, including Cal Poly, MIT, AHRI, AmCham and UCLA. He lives and practices in Santa Barbara, CA. His YouTube channel can be found here.
Byakuren Judith Ragir has taught in the Katagiri-Roshi Lineage of Zen for the last twenty years and she was acknowledged with Zen transmission in 2007. She has worked a 12 step program and Zen for 39 years. In 2004, she started a 12 step and Buddhism meeting; the recordings from those meetings are available on http://www.judithragir.org/. Since then she has led many workshops and retreats on the translation of the 12 steps into a more Buddhist-friendly language. She is currently a Senior Dharma Teacher at Clouds in Water Zen Center in St. Paul.
Tuere Sala, Guiding Teacher for Seattle Insight Meditation Society (SIMS), is a retired prosecuting attorney who has practiced Vipassana meditation for over 25 years. She has been an active member and volunteer at SIMS since 2001. Tuere believes that urban meditation is the foundation for today’s practitioner’s path to liberation. She is inspired by bringing the Dharma to nontraditional places and is a strong advocate for practitioners living with high stress, past trauma and difficulties sitting still. Her teachings reflect an approach to Dharma that is both easy to follow and understand – making it accessible to everyone. Tuere has completed extensive trainings including: the 2 Year Spirit Rock/IMS Community Dharma Leader Program; a 1 Year Focusing for Complex Trauma Course which incorporates mindfulness principles with somatic listening and a 1 Year Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Training Course (MMFT) which incorporates mindfulness principles within the high stress work environments of first responders.
By the age of 20 Shakyakumara had graduated from Cambridge University with first class honours, but at age 21 he burnt out with Chronic Fatigue, and spent three years recovering. Mindfulness as taught by the Buddha was a key factor in his recovery. He now teaches Mindfulness in the workplace, helping others recover from burnout, reduce stress and be highly effective in enjoyable and sustainable ways. Shakyakumara is ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order and has 20 years of experience of practising Mindfulness in the workplace, particularly in Windhorse:Evolution, a Buddhist Right Livelihood business within the Triratna tradition. He is the developer of the Brief Mindfulness model of workplace mindfulness, taught in organisations such as Bupa and Sheffield University. As well as corporate training, Shakya uses online platforms to teach individuals and small groups around the world.
Mary Stancavage has practiced meditation, yoga, and cultivated a spiritual practice for almost 30 years. This practice has coincided with her journey in recovery. She began her investigation into Buddhist teachings in the 1990s and studied with Noah Levine in the Thai Forest Tradition beginning in 2005. In 2009 she was empowered by Levine to teach Buddha-dharma. Mary currently serves as Director of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society where she has co-facilitated Year-to-Live groups since 2008, and has a weekly dharma class. She also is a member of the ATS Teachers’ Council. She completed the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at the Sati Center and served as volunteer chaplain at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. Mary sits on the board of the Buddhist Insight Network.
Ralph Steele has taught meditation since 1987. He completed a year of intensive practice as a Theravada monk in Myanmar and Thailand; in 2000 he completed a four year teacher training with Jack Kornfield. Born on Pawleys Island, S.C., Ralph began his meditation practice while in high school in Japan. He studied with Tibetan masters Ven. Kalu Rinpoche and Lobsang Lhalungpa, and worked on H.H. The Dalai Lama’s meditation team at the San Francisco conference of Nobel laureates. Ralph is a Vietnam veteran, and spearheaded the establishment of annual retreats for People of Color at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Insight Meditation Society. He is the guiding teacher of Life Transition Meditation Center, and director of Life Transition Therapy, Inc a clinic offering meditation-based treatment for trauma in Santa Fe, N.M., and the author of Tending The Fire: The Path of War and Meditation
Steven Tierney, Ed.D. LPPC is Professor and Chair of Community Mental Health Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He is a licensed psychotherapist in California and Massachusetts and is a nationally certified counselor. He is a certified addiction specialist who has worked in community-based organizations in Boston and San Francisco for four decades; creating and providing innovative mental health and SUD (substance use disorders) prevention and treatment models for adolescents, transition-aged youth and adults. Steven is an ordained Buddhist priest in the Soto lineage of Suzuki Roshi. He is the Co-Founder and Chief Educational Officer of the San Francisco Mindfulness Foundation, providing relapse prevention and mindfulness-based services to individuals, families and providers. Steven has been teaching on topics of meditation, mindfulness, addiction and mental health for more than 25 years.
Joan Tollifson writes and talks about the ever-changing, ever-present living reality Here/Now. She is interested in seeing through the imaginary problems that we think are binding us, the stories of lack and imperfection, and waking up to the aliveness of this moment, just as it is. Joan has a background in Buddhism and Advaita, but does not identify with any particular tradition. Her main teacher was Toni Packer, a former Zen teacher who left the tradition behind to work in a simpler and more open way. Joan has personal experience with addiction and compulsion as well as depression, and she has had a lifelong interest in how we meet these kinds of situations and what we can do to be free of them. Joan is the author of several books including Bare-Bones Meditation: Waking Up from the Story of My Life (1996), and Nothing to Grasp (2012).
Vajralila has been a practising Buddhist for 17 years and is ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Community. She is particularly inspired by approaches that embrace Direct Experience and the resultant transformation. She has extensive experience of working as a therapist with people in recovery from addiction, both in primary care and secondary care of rehabilitation, up to those embracing step 11 through Buddhist meditation retreats. Vajralila specialises in Trauma and trusts that turning towards what we usually try to get rid off, with kindness and compassion, is the route to the end of suffering and wisdom. She is one of 2 certified ‘Feeding Your Demons’ trainers in The UK.
Vidyamala Burch is an ordained member of the Triratna Buddhist Order as well as founder and co-Director of Breathworks, an organization devoted to offering mindfulness and compassion to people suffering from pain, illness and stress. Breathworks grew out of Vidyamala’s personal experience of managing chronic pain following spinal injuries and surgery in her teens. She learned mindfulness and compassion meditations within the Buddhist tradition when she was 25 and has used these over the subsequent 30 years to create a fulfilling quality of life, despite ongoing pain and disability. Vidyamala teaches and speaks internationally in both her Buddhist and Breathworks’ roles.In 2008 she wrote Living well with Pain and Illness – the mindful way to free yourself from suffering; and in 2012 she co-authored Mindfulness for Health with Danny Penman (published as You are Not Your Pain in the USA).
Larry Ward received his PhD in Religious Studies with an emphasis in Buddhism in 2015. His research focused on meditation and neuroscience. He was certified to teach Search Inside Yourself in 2015. Larry is also an ordained Christian minister and he has celebrated more than 30 years of practice and teaching in this capacity. His teachings on Living Buddha, Living Christ are deep and nuanced from his study and practice into these streams of teaching. Larry lived and served in an ecumenical religious community that offered education and social development projects in over 50 countries. He considers himself a global citizen and is equally comfortable in the Vatican as well as in mud huts in India. His Dharma name is True Great Sound and his voice is a gift, whether it is sharing his poetry, singing or the spoken word.
Brian Dean Williams
Brian Dean Williams is a meditation teacher in the vipassana tradition, who is also a counsellor in private practice in Vancouver. He completed Noah Levine’s meditation facilitator program, and is currently being mentored by Tara Brach. Brian teaches meditation for non-profit organizations and is the organizer for Refuge Recovery in Vancouver. Prior to entering private practice, Brian worked in the public social services sector at a drop-in centre for homeless youth, a day treatment program for gang and criminally-involved youth, and with a housing-first mental health team that assisted individuals with severe mental health and addictions to exit the downtown eastside. Brian is currently also a trainer for the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Dan Woo has been practicing law since 1974. At the start of 2003, he began Buddhist practices and studies. His core meditation, mindfulness and contemplative practices come from Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions. Currently he has begun learning and practicing Qigong forms that trace their lineages to Boddhidharma, the founder of Cha’n Buddhism.