Kittisaro, from Tennessee, a Rhodes Scholar and a Buddhist practitioner for over 35 years including 15 years as a Theravada monk in the Forest School of Ajahn Chah. He is also a practitioner of Pure Land and Chan Buddhism. He is co-founder, with Thanissara of Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat in South Africa and has completed two year long retreats. Kittisaro currently lives in the North Bay, California, teaches at IMS and Spirit Rock, and is co-author of Listening to the Heart, A Contemplative Journey to Engaged Buddhism. He lives in the North Bay CA, and is on the Teacher Council at Spirit Rock, and is a core teacher at IMS.
Kristina Baré is an insight meditation teacher, therapist, and Somatic Experiencing practitioner. She has trained primarily in the Burmese lineages of Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw and Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw. She enjoys supporting students deepening samadhi, loving-kindness and insight. Opening the door to an expansion of the heart and to liberating wisdom. In support of the Buddha’s teachings, Kristina also draws on knowledge from western psychology and Somatic Experiencing. She invites a kind, patient, and embodied approach as a base for samadhi, loving-kindness and insight meditation practices.
The method I use most in teaching is anapanasati or mindfulness with breathing. Breath awareness supports us while we investigate the entire mind-body process. It helps calm the mind and gives us a graceful entry into a state of choiceless awareness--a place without agendas, where we are not for or against whatever turns up in the moment.
In this state we relax into ourselves. We allow the mind to empty itself of its own content and take us into a realm of silence.
Choiceless awareness, with the transition into and out of silence, has fascinated me for a long time. What are the barriers to our minds becoming silent? How do we remain in silence long enough to receive its countless benefits? Can we learn to bring thought-free wakefulness into each aspect of our ordinary, daily living?
As lay people we need a practice that helps us learn how to live whole-heartedly, to do justice to the many challenges of lay life, and at the same time grow in the dharma. This includes moving gracefully back and forth between our daily life and intensive retreat practice.
Presently, I am deeply interested in using Buddha's Charter of Freedom of Inquiry, the Kalama Sutta, as a framework for my teaching. In this teaching, the Buddha invites us to question and doubt. It invites us to use personal experience to test and verify the truth of the teachings. This in turn encourages us to acknowledge life's greatest teacher: Life itself.
The challenge for us all is to question ourselves. Do we know how to live? If the answer, in any way, is no, then bring in the dharma and let's see how the teachings help us live in a wise and kind way.
Larry Yang, a longtime meditator, trained as a psychotherapist, has taught meditation since 1999 and is a core teacher at East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, CA. He has practiced in Southeast Asia and was a Buddhist monk in Thailand.
Booker brings her heart and wisdom to the intersection of Dharma, embodied practice, and activism. She began working with system-involved populations in 2005 and was a senior teacher and Director of Trainings with Lineage Project for 10 years, and facilitated an intervention on Riker's Island from 2009-2011 through NYU. Booker shares her expertise nationally on creating culturally responsive environments and changing the paradigm of self and community care. She has spoken at Mind&Life Institute’s International Symposium, Contemplative Minds in Higher Education, and Mindfulness in Education conferences, as well as at universities across the country. She is a co-founder of the Yoga Service Council at Omega Institute, and the Meditation Working Group of Occupy Wall Street. Booker is a co-author of Best Practices for Yoga in a Criminal Justice Setting, a contributor to Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality’s report on Gender & Trauma, YOGA: The Secret of Life, and Sharon Salzberg's book Happiness at Work. Booker is on faculty with the Engaged Mindfulness Institute and Off the Mat Into the World. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Mindful Yoga and Meditation training (2012), Community Dharma Leaders’ Training (2017), and will complete Spirit Rock’s Teacher Training in 2020.
Lienchi was born into a Buddhist family. She began her path of meditation in 1986 with Thay Thich Nhat Hanh in the Mahayana tradition. In 1994, she met Bhante Khippapanno, his kindness and wisdom inspired her to practice in the Theravada tradition. Since 1998, she has been visiting Asia regularly for monastic training. Lienchi has been ordained 3 times and has attended many retreats ranging from 10 days to 2 years with Bhante Khippapanno, Luang Por Sumedho, Sayadaw U Pandita, Sayadaw U Tejaniya. She is in a four-year Teacher Training Program with Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella at IMC California-US.
In 2015, Lienchi left her career as an architect to practice full-time in Burma with her primary teacher, Sayadaw U Tejaniya, for 2 years.
In early 2017, Trudy Goodman-Founder of the InsightLA Meditation Organization invited Lienchi to teach. Both of her teachers: Bhante Khippapanno and Sayadaw U Tejaniya encouraged her to share her understandings and experiences of meditation with other yogis. Since then, Lienchi has been sharing how she knows the mind through a natural and relaxed continuity. Lienchi has a practical, intuitive, and compassionate approach to the development of wisdom through the cultivation of awareness.
Currently, Lienchi is working with a number of meditation centers in the US and providing online help for yogis in many different countries worldwide.
Kate Lila Wheeler began teaching meditation in the mid-1980s and continues to practice with teachers in Theravada and Tibetan Buddhist lineages. Writing is an important part of her life; she has recently completed a second novel.