Kim Allen has practiced Insight meditation since 2003, with Gil Fronsdal as her primary teacher. She leads the Los Gatos Insight sangha and teaches at other local sanghas. Her practice also includes intensive retreat, sutta study, and managing retreats at the Insight Retreat Center. She has completed the Sati Center Buddhist Chaplaincy training program and volunteers as a hospital chaplain. Interested in both natural and human systems, she has also served as a sustainability consultant and mindful movement instructor.
Rev. Tony Bernhard is a Buddhist chaplain and teacher. He maintains an active practice with inmates in Folsom Prison and hosts sitting groups in Davis. He sits on the board of the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies and teaches regularly around the bay area and central valley. His practice is non-traditional, guided by his chaplaincy work in prison, his teaching and by his study of the early Pali scriptures.
Jennifer Block provides spiritual care to people in crisis, mentoring to caregivers and teaches people how to access their innate capacity for caring and healing. She is a longtime dharma practitioner and Buddhist chaplain. A nationally-recognized educator and consultant, Jennifer teaches the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training program with Paul Haller and Gil Fronsdal at the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies.
Daniel Bowling is a mediator and mediation trainer for the US District Court for Northern California. He co-edited/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 helped start mediation in South Carolina, where he practiced law after graduating from Harvard Law School. He has practiced meditation since 1976 and participated in Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leaders Training. He currently is on the Spirit Rock Board of Directors and Ethics and Reconciliation Committee.
Barbara Byrum is a priest in the Zen tradition. She has a meditation center in Pacifica, California, where she holds meditation retreats and facilitates nondenominational study groups. Barbara transcribes the audio talks of Shohaku Okumura, a nationally known Zen teacher and author. Learn more about Barbara at Montara Mountain Zendo.
Beata Chapman is a Zen priest and studied extensively with Darlene Cohen and Tony Patchell at Russian River Zendo and Katherine Thanas at Santa Cruz Zen Center. She teaches classes on Living in Wonder at the Russian River Zendo in Guerneville, leads groups for people with chronic pain, and speaks to Zen groups throughout the peninsula and greater Bay Area.
Diana teaches graduate-level courses on Theravada Buddhism at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley and Introduction to Meditation at IMC. She has cumulatively spent more than a year in silent meditation retreats, has a Master’s degree in Buddhist Studies and is a graduate of the Sati Center Buddhist Chaplaincy program. She is also trained as a scientist and serves the dharma community by being the former treasurer of IMC, the current treasurer of IRC and on the board of the Buddhist Insight Network.
Chris Clifford has practiced insight meditation since 1995. She appreciates the integration of intensive meditation retreats with daily life Dharma practice and service. Chris is an instructor, mentor and coordinator for Insight Meditation Center’s Eightfold Path Program and the Online Introduction to Meditation. She also manages retreats for The Mountain Hermitage in New Mexico and serves as the volunteer kitchen manager for Insight Retreat Center. She is a retired software engineer.
In my late 20’s I became a resident at the San Francisco Zen Center where I practiced Zen for 14 years, including Tassajara monastery, Green Gulch Farm, and the City Center, and was ordained as a priest. When I left the Zen Center I became married, had a child, and owned and operated two San Francisco restaurants. I am now retired and practice Vipassana, primarily associating with Insight Meditation Center and Gil Frosdal, where I am a mentor to individual students, am on the Chaplaincy Council, and the IMC board. I have been a chaplain volunteer for 15 years at Peninsula Hospital, and was a hospice bedside volunteer with the Zen Hospice Project for 20 years.
Enrique Collazo will be speaking on the subject of addiction and Buddhism. He has been practicing in the Vipassanna tradition since 2005. In 2009 he joined a training with Noah Levine and Vinny Ferraro with the Against The Stream Buddhist meditation society and since then has offered daylongs, workshops, and classes as a facilitator and meditation instructor for people in recovery, youth and the general population in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Enrique shares Dharma in a straightforward and practical manner and finds that he receives the most joy when bringing the Dharma into the world of addiction and recovery.
Devon Cresci has been a dharma practitioner for 17 years. She has been in a teaching role for 7 years and the last 4 of those with Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society. Devon identifies as a queer woman and is heartfelt about the power of practice to increase peace and freedom for all. Currently she works part time for Mindful Schools as a guiding teacher for their online classes and full time as a Social Worker in a public high school in San Francisco. There, she teaches mindfulness to both students and staff. She is passionate about bringing these practices into SF public schools. In her summers, she teaches with iBme (Inward Bound Mindfulness Education), on teen mindfulness retreats. She is sober and finds the dharma deeply supportive on the path of recovery.
Robert Cusick trained at Stanford University in the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) and has studied extensively in a number of different contemplative traditions. He is a Certified Stanford CCT (Compassion Cultivation Training) Instructor and teaches at Stanford University, the University of CA, San Francisco (UCSF), Kaiser Hospitals and in multiple other venues. As a former monastic, he ordained in Burma under the renowned meditation master, Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw, and trained with him from 2003 to 2012. He provides bereavement support for adults and children at Kara, in Palo Alto, where he teaches and co-facilitates ongoing trainings in Kara’s Adult Services program and directs Kara’s ongoing “Caregivers Forum” program. Robert sits on the board of directors of the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies. You can contact him at: The Compassion Train.
Susan Ezequelle has been practicing Insight Meditation since 1997. A student of Gil Fronsdal, she worked closely with Gil and other community members to found the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City in 2001, where she served as board member and teacher. In recent years Susan trained as a chaplain and worked as palliative care chaplain and Spiritual Care Manager at San Francisco General Hospital. Currently she is working part time as chaplain at Stanford Hospital.
Sydney Fisher has been a dharma practitioner for five years and is passionate about the dharma practice and believes in the Budda’s teaching as the way towards liberation. She has completed Against the Stream’s facilitator 1 training and continues to study under guiding teachers Joanna Harper and Vinny Ferrero. Sydney works full time as a school social worker in a public high school in San Francisco and is committee to bringing mindfulness to the students and staff at her school.
Born near Chicago, Illinois, Christina was drawn to Buddhist ideas at the age of seventeen. A few years later she traveled to Nepal, where she became ordained as a nun in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and then went on to study and do meditation retreats in Nepal and India. She soon met Segyu Rinpoche, with whom she has worked for over twenty years as an assistant, a student, and now as a co-founder of Juniper. Christina co-develops Juniper’s content and practices and teaches meditation at the Juniper Meditation Center, and works at the Juniper Integrative Care Clinic in San Francisco.
Kaisa Puhakka, Ph.D.
Kaisa Puhakka, PhD, teaches psychotherapy and its integration with Buddhist practice as a core faculty member at California Institute of Integral Studies. She also works with clients and supervises students and interns in private practice. Her ongoing personal inquiry draws from Dzogchen texts, Krishnamurti, and vipassana and Zen practices, among others.
Kaplan, Shunzan Jill
Jill has been practising Zen since 1993 with Zen Heart Sangha in Woodside, CA and received Dharma Transmission from Misha Merrill in July 2013. She received priest ordination in 2001 and was Shuso (head monk)for the Sangha’s first practice period in 2008. She is currently helping lead the evening and Saturday programs at the Sangha, as well as teaching the sewing of the Buddha’s robes. Jill has a psychotherapy practice in San Jose, is a teaching member of Sandplay Therapists of America, and teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. She resides in Redwood City with her husband and has two grown sons.
Judy Long is an outpatient palliative care chaplain at UCSF, where she provides interfaith spiritual care with a deep commitment to care for caregivers, both family members and clinicians, that grew out of her experience as a hospital and hospice chaplain and facilitating grief and family caregiver support groups. As a chaplain and educator, she provides evidence-based trainings in compassion and mindful resilience to make caregiving sustainable and reduce burn-out, including the G.R.A.C.E. training, developed by Roshi Joan Halifax, PhD, Upaya Institute. You can reach Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lopon Namchek Dorji
Lopon Namchak Dorji is from Bhutan and has studied under many of the greatest living masters of Tibetan Buddhism. Lopon Namchak has taught at several monastic universities in Bhutan, India and Nepal. An erudite scholar practitioner, he strives to bridge the gap between traditional Buddhist philosophy and western life. He spends most of his time composing, editing, translating, and serving as a resident teacher of Ewam Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism.
Misha Merrill was ordained a Zen priest in 1988 by Les Kaye Roshi in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi of the San Francisco Zen Center. She received Dharma Transmission from him in 1998 and has been leading a meditation group in Redwood City 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 joyfully cultivates a large garden.
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 is in professional chaplaincy training (CPE) at Bay Area hospitals. Dawn is a scholar, facilitator, and integral coach, with certifications from the Harvard Negotiation Project. She teaches and facilitates Buddhist, non-religious, and interfaith meditation groups
Jim 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 15 years, including a six week retreat with Joseph Goldstein in 2003. Jim enjoys sailing on the San Francisco Bay.
Liz Powell is IMC Dharma Sprouts and Dharma Rocks family programs leader. She has been practicing Vipassana meditation since 2004. She emphasizes mindfulness in daily life in her work as a Marriage Family Therapist, and enjoys retreat practice as well. Since 1996, Liz has worked with children, teens, and adults, first as a court-appointed special advocate for children, then as Director of Youth and Family Services for Kara, a non-profit peer support agency providing services for people and organizations dealing with a terminal illness or death. She currently serves as an IMC board member.
Renshin Bunce was a resident of Zen Center from 2001 to 2008, first for three years at Tassajara
and then for four more years at City Center. She has helped hundreds of students sew their rakusus in the City Center sewing room, where she currently leads a class every other Saturday afternoon. She is also known for her photographs, and her page of photos has been called “The Zen Center Yearbook.” Renshin was priest ordained with Zenkei Blanche Hartman in 2003; was Shuso (head monk) with Myogen-Roshi at Tassajara in 2008; and received dharma transmission from him in 2013. She lives on the Peninsula, where she works as a hospice chaplain. For more information you can see her website at Renshin Bunce.
My interest in meditation began way back and became consistent in the early 90’s, when I regularly meditated at SF Zen Center. Soon, I migrated to Crystal Springs Sangha where I was Darlene Cohen’s student and now, Sarita Tamayo’s. I looked for more involvement in my Sangha. I took the two year Shogaku Priest Ongoing Training Course (SPOT), and continue with summer intensives. I spent a winter practice period at Tassajara (2012), priest ordained (2013), was shuso (2015) and that permitted me to teach. I now lead Crystal Springs Sangha with Sarita. In all this, what I love most is the belonging to Crystal Springs Sangha and its mysterious connection to the whole world.