Heng Sure (Bhikshu) holds a Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley and has a Masters from the University of California at Berkeley in Oriental Languages. He currently lectures on the Buddhist Sutras and holds regular meditation classes.
U Pyinya Zawta is Executive Director in Exile of the All Burma Monks’ Alliance, a leader of Burma’s Saffron Revolution in the autumn of 2007. In 2008, arriving in the United States with refugee status, he and three other exiled monks created a monastery in Utica, New York, where continues to live and organize. Born in 1960 in the Magwe District of central Burma, U Pyinya Zawta was ordained at the age of twenty. After years of study at monastic universities in Burma, he was appointed president of Rangoon’s Aloan Township Young Monks Union. Arrested and imprisoned several times from 1990 onward, in January 1998 U Pyinya Zawta was arrested and sentenced to seven years in Insein prison He moved to the Rangoon’s Maggin Monastery in 2005 and opened a study center and a unique HIV/AIDS patient support refuge. Pyinya Zawta helped form and lead the All Burma Monks Alliance, which in 2007 protested Burma’s repressive military rule. Tens of thousands of monks and nuns marched in the streets alongside countless civilians, chanting the Metta Sutta. But the demonstrations were fiercely repressed. U Pyinya Zawta escaped from Rangoon by taking on a variety of disguises. Unable to capture him, the Burmese military regime arrested his mother and siblings, who were not released until he surfaced in Mae Sot, Thailand in January 2008. Since moving to the U.S. Pyinya Zawta, along with his dedication to daily Buddhist practice and meditation, works tirelessly to support refugee monks inside and outside of Burma, and to build a free nation for all Burma’s people.
Adam is the son of James Baraz, a co-founder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Adam graduated from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, in Spring of 2011. He has done extensive retreat practice, including the 3-month retreat at IMS, a one month retreat at Spirit Rock, two month-long retreats in the Tibetan tradition, and numerous shorter retreats.
Amma Ṭhanasanti is a California born spiritual teacher dedicated to serving all beings. Since she first encountered the Dharma in 1979, she has been committed to awakening. As a former Buddhist nun of 26 years, she combines the precision and rigor of the Ajahn Chah Forest Tradition, compassion, pure awareness practices and a passion for wholeness. Amma has been teaching intensive meditation retreats in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia since 1995. She invites an openness to pause and inquire into the truth of the present moment, integrating what is liberating at the core of our human condition.
As a young child growing up in Tibet, Anam Thubten was intent on entering the monastery, where for much of his childhood and young adult life he received the benefit of extensive academic and spiritual training from several teachers in the Nyingma branch of Tibetan Buddhism. He conveys the Dharma with the blessing of teachers Khenpo Chopel, Lama Garwang and others gone before in a lineage of wisdom holders and enlightened masters. During his formative years in Tibet he also developed a special affinity with a yogi and lifetime hermit Lama Tsurlo, who remains a deep source of inspiration in Anam Thubten’s expression of the Dharma.
After arriving in America in the early 1990’s Anam Thubten began to teach the Dharma at the request of others. Today he travels extensively in the U.S. and occasionally abroad, teaching in fluent English and offering in a direct experiential manner the essence of the timeless, non- conceptual wisdom teachings of the Buddha. These teachings, free of any sect, point directly to one’s true nature as boundless love and wisdom. In his teachings and presence with others, Anam Thubten invites the heart-opening, mind-emptying awakening to one’s true nature that is already enlightened. The transformative power of these teachings that flow from the wisdom mind of the Buddha through teachers such as Anam Thubten is apparent in the lives of many who have embraced them.
Anam Thubten is the author of various articles and books in both the Tibetan and English language. His first book in English appeared under the title ‘No Self, No Problem.’ He is the founder and spiritual advisor of Dharmata Foundation based in Point Richmond, California.
Anam Thubten’s personal scheduling and events coordinator is Joanie Mercer. For event and booking requests please contact Joanie at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (512) 330-1741.
The Dharma is a refuge and a gift, available to anyone who values and nourishes it through practice. After working with mindfulness and loving-kindness for nearly 25 years, I have found these practices to be good friends who follow me everywhere, present through all the ups and downs of my life.
On retreat, we have the opportunity to deeply experience the value of simplicity, of being, stillness, and solitude. These are doorways that open into a deeper understanding of Emptiness, through which we see more clearly how our lives and the life of this planet are inextricably interwoven, and that how we live and what we do really matters.
Upon entering a new century together, can we learn to meet life with compassion rather than judgment? With generosity rather than greed? With humility instead of arrogance? With the intention to include rather than exclude? And with a genuine openness to what we do not know, and therefore might fear? I believe these are urgent questions for the global situation, and rich questions for Dharma inquiry.
For several years, I have been teaching classes in meditation and the creative process. I see the creative process (in whatever medium) as a living engagement with the understanding of the Heart Sutra that "form is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than form." For those who practice Dharma, engaging in a creative process is a bridge between the stillness of meditation and the activity of the world. It teaches us about non-doing and non-clinging in action.
Anthony Rodgers is a mentee of James Baraz. As of November 2009, he has practiced in the Theravadan tradition for five years. He recently completed the Zen Hospice Project training and is currently doing weekly volunteer caregiving at the Zen Hospice. He also participates in the chaplaincy training at the Sati Center in Redwood City and co-facilitates a weekly sititng group.
My teaching practice and my personal practice continually intertwine, each weaving a pattern in the larger tapestry of the Dharma. The theme that threads itself throughout my practice relates to the tremendous pain and suffering, the challenges and difficulties that so many beings face, and the possibility of awakening from this suffering. From this immediate calling I've woven the purpose of my life.
It is a deep honor for me to come together with others who feel a similar calling of connection to the Dharma to learn about the greatest gift of all: a happiness inside of us that is unconditional, and a depth of being that is infinite.
Together, our practice is dedicated to this effort of opening to our hearts' potential. To this I bring the flavor of my lineage--the continuation of the teachings of my root teachers, Ruth Denison and her teacher U Bha Khin; a commitment to learning how to live with each other in kindness; and my life as a lesbian in a long-term relationship.
Even though I have been involved in different traditions over the years, what I love about Buddhism is the simplicity of the practice; the fact that it isn't embodied by a lot of ritual, or special clothes, or the need for different props. I love the moment-to-moment calling of awareness to whatever one is doing. And vitally important, I appreciate the safety inherent in the teacher/student relationship, where the emphasis is on the practice itself and the teacher engages as a peer and spiritual friend.
Betsy Rose is a singer, writer, recording artist, and a mother. She is a renowned children’s artist, teaching children the power of their own voices and creativity through singing and song making workshops. She has performed widely throughout the world at festivals, ecological conferences and spiritual gatherings. Spiritual leaders such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Matthew Fox and Joanna Macy have included her music in their work. She co-leads events for the Family Program at Spirit Rock. She was introduced to the dharma by Thich Nhat Hanh in 1987.