Core Faculty

Leslie Booker brings her heart and wisdom to the intersection of Dharma, Embodied Wisdom, and Social Justice; an integration of ancient wisdom practices that support us in navigating our modern world. She has presented at Mind and Life Institute’s International Symposium, Fetzer Institute, Contemplative Minds in Higher Education, and Mindfulness in America conferences, and as a guest lecturer at the University of Virginia, Columbia University Teacher’s College, Pitzer, and Vassar Colleges, and CUNY Law. She often speaks on the need to expand our vision around culturally responsive teachings, and changing the paradigm of self and community care. Booker is a co-author of Best Practices for Yoga in a Criminal Justice Setting, a contributor to Georgetown Law’s report on Gender and Trauma, and YOGA: The Secret of Life. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Mindful Yoga and Meditation training (2012) and Community Dharma Leaders’ Training (2017), and Spirit Rock’s four year Retreat Teacher Training (2020).

Leslie Booker brings her heart and wisdom to the intersection of Dharma, Embodied Wisdom, and Social Justice; an integration of ancient wisdom practices that support us in navigating our modern world. She has presented at Mind and Life Institute’s International Symposium, Fetzer Institute, Contemplative Minds in Higher Education, and Mindfulness in America conferences, and as a guest lecturer at the University of Virginia, Columbia University Teacher’s College, Pitzer, and Vassar Colleges, and CUNY Law. She often speaks on the need to expand our vision around culturally responsive teachings, and changing the paradigm of self and community care. Booker is a co-author of Best Practices for Yoga in a Criminal Justice Setting, a contributor to Georgetown Law’s report on Gender and Trauma, and YOGA: The Secret of Life. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Mindful Yoga and Meditation training (2012) and Community Dharma Leaders’ Training (2017), and Spirit Rock’s four year Retreat Teacher Training (2020).

Venerable Burin is the Executive Director of The Middle Way Research Institute, a New York-based global non-profit organization that converges timeless wisdom and evidence-based science to tackle key problems facing humanity. Ordained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand in 2000, his quest is to provide holistic and cutting-edge solutions for people of all ages, races, religions, as well as those without religious beliefs, to achieve sustainability leading to global happiness. He is the Pioneer of “Inner Peace Education,” a groundbreaking curriculum modernizing ancient wisdom into simple and practical tools to help individuals cultivate the “Inner Peace Lifestyle.” He has taught in 30 countries throughout 6 continents. His “World Peace through Inner Peace” projects have touched more than 100,000 people from all walks of life.

Venerable Burin is the Executive Director of The Middle Way Research Institute, a New York-based global non-profit organization that converges timeless wisdom and evidence-based science to tackle key problems facing humanity. Ordained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand in 2000, his quest is to provide holistic and cutting-edge solutions for people of all ages, races, religions, as well as those without religious beliefs, to achieve sustainability leading to global happiness. He is the Pioneer of “Inner Peace Education,” a groundbreaking curriculum modernizing ancient wisdom into simple and practical tools to help individuals cultivate the “Inner Peace Lifestyle.” He has taught in 30 countries throughout 6 continents. His “World Peace through Inner Peace” projects have touched more than 100,000 people from all walks of life.

Pilar Jennings, PhD, is a professor of psychiatry and religion at the Union Theological Seminary and a lecturer at Columbia University. She is also a visiting lecturer at Weill Cornell University School of Medicine in their Integrative Health concentration. Through this program, associated with the Nalanda Institute of Contemplative Science, Pilar teaches medical students about mindfulness and psychodynamic techniques to be utilized for their own stress reduction and for their patients’ increased well-being. She is also a psychoanalyst with a focus on the clinical applications of Buddhist meditation; she has been working with patients and their families through the Harlem Family Institute since 2004. Pilar is the author of Mixing Minds: The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism, and To Heal a Wounded Heart: The Transformative Power of Buddhism and Psychotherapy in Action.

Pilar Jennings, PhD, is a professor of psychiatry and religion at the Union Theological Seminary and a lecturer at Columbia University. She is also a visiting lecturer at Weill Cornell University School of Medicine in their Integrative Health concentration. Through this program, associated with the Nalanda Institute of Contemplative Science, Pilar teaches medical students about mindfulness and psychodynamic techniques to be utilized for their own stress reduction and for their patients’ increased well-being. She is also a psychoanalyst with a focus on the clinical applications of Buddhist meditation; she has been working with patients and their families through the Harlem Family Institute since 2004. Pilar is the author of Mixing Minds: The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism, and To Heal a Wounded Heart: The Transformative Power of Buddhism and Psychotherapy in Action.

Allan Lokos (emeritus) was the Founding Guiding Teacher of The Community Meditation Center and served as guiding teacher for fourteen years. He is the author of Through the Flames: Overcoming Disaster Through Compassion, Patience, and DeterminationPocket Peace: Effective Practices for Enlightened Living; and Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living. He has been featured on more than one hundred radio and television programs. Places he has taught include Columbia University Teachers College, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, The Rubin Museum, Tibet House US, and Upaya Zen Center. Allan has practiced meditation since the mid-nineties and studied with many of the world’s most renowned teachers, including Thich Nhat Hanh, Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, and Stephen Batchelor. Earlier in this life, Allan enjoyed a successful career as a professional singer.

Allan Lokos (emeritus) was the Founding Guiding Teacher of The Community Meditation Center and served as guiding teacher for fourteen years. He is the author of Through the Flames: Overcoming Disaster Through Compassion, Patience, and DeterminationPocket Peace: Effective Practices for Enlightened Living; and Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living. He has been featured on more than one hundred radio and television programs. Places he has taught include Columbia University Teachers College, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, The Rubin Museum, Tibet House US, and Upaya Zen Center. Allan has practiced meditation since the mid-nineties and studied with many of the world’s most renowned teachers, including Thich Nhat Hanh, Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, and Stephen Batchelor. Earlier in this life, Allan enjoyed a successful career as a professional singer.

Bart van Melik is the CMC guiding teacher. He has taught meditation classes and workshops since 2009, in the New York City area and in residential retreats worldwide. He offers meditation programs to diverse populations including incarcerated youth, homeless youth and families, veterans with PTSD and corporate workers. He has practiced many styles of meditation. Trained by Joseph Goldstein and Carol Wilson, who introduced him to the power of a relaxed awareness that allows us to meet life with kindness - especially in times of difficulty. Gregory Kramer taught him Insight Dialogue - a fully engaged relational meditation practice. From his wife Chantal and son Lou he continues to learn about unconditional love, patience and playing. He is a co-author of Still, in the City: Creating Peace of Mind in the Midst of Urban Chaos. His meditation instructions can be heard on the Meditation Studio App and on Dharma Seed. Originally from Holland, Bart is a graduate of the Spirit Rock/IMS Teacher Training, and the Community Dharma Leaders Program. He holds an M.A. in Psychology of Culture and Religion from Nijmegen University in The Netherlands. Bart is also fully matriculated as an Insight Dialogue Teacher. 

Bart van Melik is the CMC guiding teacher. He has taught meditation classes and workshops since 2009, in the New York City area and in residential retreats worldwide. He offers meditation programs to diverse populations including incarcerated youth, homeless youth and families, veterans with PTSD and corporate workers. He has practiced many styles of meditation. Trained by Joseph Goldstein and Carol Wilson, who introduced him to the power of a relaxed awareness that allows us to meet life with kindness - especially in times of difficulty. Gregory Kramer taught him Insight Dialogue - a fully engaged relational meditation practice. From his wife Chantal and son Lou he continues to learn about unconditional love, patience and playing. He is a co-author of Still, in the City: Creating Peace of Mind in the Midst of Urban Chaos. His meditation instructions can be heard on the Meditation Studio App and on Dharma Seed. Originally from Holland, Bart is a graduate of the Spirit Rock/IMS Teacher Training, and the Community Dharma Leaders Program. He holds an M.A. in Psychology of Culture and Religion from Nijmegen University in The Netherlands. Bart is also fully matriculated as an Insight Dialogue Teacher. 

Andrew Olendzki, PhD, is a Professor at Lesley University, and Director of their Mindfulness Studies program. He is a scholar of early Buddhist thought and practice with a special interest in Buddhist psychology and its relevance to the modern world. He was the original executive director of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, and then was executive director and senior scholar at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. He has also held adjunct faculty positions at Amherst, Brandeis, Harvard, Lesley, and Smith, and was on the faculty at Wesleyan University and Hampshire College. Andrew was also a senior scholar at the Mind and Life Institute and has been a long-time board member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. His books include Unlimiting Mind: The Radically Experiential Psychology of Buddhism, and Untangling Self: A Buddhist Investigation of Who We Really Are. He writes regularly for Tricycle magazine and is the founder of the Integrated Dharma Institute.

Andrew Olendzki, PhD, is a Professor at Lesley University, and Director of their Mindfulness Studies program. He is a scholar of early Buddhist thought and practice with a special interest in Buddhist psychology and its relevance to the modern world. He was the original executive director of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, and then was executive director and senior scholar at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. He has also held adjunct faculty positions at Amherst, Brandeis, Harvard, Lesley, and Smith, and was on the faculty at Wesleyan University and Hampshire College. Andrew was also a senior scholar at the Mind and Life Institute and has been a long-time board member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. His books include Unlimiting Mind: The Radically Experiential Psychology of Buddhism, and Untangling Self: A Buddhist Investigation of Who We Really Are. He writes regularly for Tricycle magazine and is the founder of the Integrated Dharma Institute.

Sharon Salzberg is a central figure in the field of meditation, a world-renowned teacher and N Y Times best-selling author. She has played a major role in bringing meditation and mindfulness practices to the West and into mainstream culture since 1974, when she first began teaching. She is the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA and the author of ten books including N Y Times bestseller, Real Happiness, her seminal work, Lovingkindness, and her most recent work, Real Change. Known for her humorous, down-to-earth teaching style, Sharon offers a secular, modern approach to Buddhist teachings, making them easily accessible. She is the host of her own podcast, The Metta Hour.

Sharon Salzberg is a central figure in the field of meditation, a world-renowned teacher and N Y Times best-selling author. She has played a major role in bringing meditation and mindfulness practices to the West and into mainstream culture since 1974, when she first began teaching. She is the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA and the author of ten books including N Y Times bestseller, Real Happiness, her seminal work, Lovingkindness, and her most recent work, Real Change. Known for her humorous, down-to-earth teaching style, Sharon offers a secular, modern approach to Buddhist teachings, making them easily accessible. She is the host of her own podcast, The Metta Hour.

Faculty

Rachel Hammerman teaches meditation and is an executive coach who helps people grow their business, set career direction and cultivate relationships with ease. She is a Meditation Faculty Member of the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science and teaches Loving Kindness on Fridays at Tibet House in NYC. She graduated from the Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program and received certification to teach Mindfulness by the International Mindfulness Teachers Association and by Mark Coleman and Martin Aylward’s Mindfulness Training Institute. Rachel is grateful to offer practices and teachings as she’s received them from teachers including Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Tara Brach, Joe Loizzo, Bob Thurman and her dharma mentors, Oren Jay Sofer and Mark Coleman. She has a BA in Sociology from Tufts University. 

Rachel Hammerman teaches meditation and is an executive coach who helps people grow their business, set career direction and cultivate relationships with ease. She is a Meditation Faculty Member of the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science and teaches Loving Kindness on Fridays at Tibet House in NYC. She graduated from the Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program and received certification to teach Mindfulness by the International Mindfulness Teachers Association and by Mark Coleman and Martin Aylward’s Mindfulness Training Institute. Rachel is grateful to offer practices and teachings as she’s received them from teachers including Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Tara Brach, Joe Loizzo, Bob Thurman and her dharma mentors, Oren Jay Sofer and Mark Coleman. She has a BA in Sociology from Tufts University. 

Peace Twesigye is the Assisting Program Director of Buddhist Studies at Union Theological Seminary. Peace assists in designing and overseeing curriculum in Buddhist Studies, working directly with the Senior Director. Peace supports and creates spaces for contemplative practice that serve as a basis for students’ active engagement and service in community as well as supporting academic advisement of Buddhist students. Peace Twesigye organizes and manages public and private conversations and events as part of the Thích Nhất Hạnh Program for Engaged Buddhism at Union Theological Seminary to further expand its public offerings in understanding applied Buddhism. Peace also serves on the board of Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and serves as a practice leader and teacher at New York Insight Meditation Center as well as enjoying the opportunity of offering programs in other spaces when invited. Peace Twesigye has two master’s degrees; the first in violin performance, and the second in education, with a specialization in students with disabilities, and is committed to the path of being a lifelong student.

Peace Twesigye is the Assisting Program Director of Buddhist Studies at Union Theological Seminary. Peace assists in designing and overseeing curriculum in Buddhist Studies, working directly with the Senior Director. Peace supports and creates spaces for contemplative practice that serve as a basis for students’ active engagement and service in community as well as supporting academic advisement of Buddhist students. Peace Twesigye organizes and manages public and private conversations and events as part of the Thích Nhất Hạnh Program for Engaged Buddhism at Union Theological Seminary to further expand its public offerings in understanding applied Buddhism. Peace also serves on the board of Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and serves as a practice leader and teacher at New York Insight Meditation Center as well as enjoying the opportunity of offering programs in other spaces when invited. Peace Twesigye has two master’s degrees; the first in violin performance, and the second in education, with a specialization in students with disabilities, and is committed to the path of being a lifelong student.

Vera Ruangtragool is the founder and director of the non-profit, Truly Well.  Believing that world peace starts with inner peace, she leads guided meditations in English and Spanish and brings people together through events that foster meaningful social connection in the US and abroad. Vera has a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Spanish from UC Berkeley, a Master’s degree in Spanish Translation and Interpretation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and a Master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia University. As a lifelong Buddhist practitioner in the Theravada tradition, she learned meditation at a very young age and has developed her practice over 20 years.  Through her work and everyday interactions, Vera is committed to advancing peace and justice through individual, community, and systemic change.

Vera Ruangtragool is the founder and director of the non-profit, Truly Well.  Believing that world peace starts with inner peace, she leads guided meditations in English and Spanish and brings people together through events that foster meaningful social connection in the US and abroad. Vera has a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Spanish from UC Berkeley, a Master’s degree in Spanish Translation and Interpretation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and a Master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia University. As a lifelong Buddhist practitioner in the Theravada tradition, she learned meditation at a very young age and has developed her practice over 20 years.  Through her work and everyday interactions, Vera is committed to advancing peace and justice through individual, community, and systemic change.

Guest Teachers

Stephen Batchelor is a contemporary Buddhist scholar, teacher, and writer, best known for his secular or agnostic approach to Buddhism. He considers Buddhism to be a constantly evolving culture of awakening rather than a religious system based on immutable dogmas and beliefs. Through his writings, translations, and teaching, he engages in a critical exploration of Buddhism's role in the modern world. He is the translator and author of numerous books and articles on Buddhism including the bestselling Buddhism Without Beliefs, Living with the Devil: A Meditation on Good and Evil, Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, and After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age.

Stephen Batchelor is a contemporary Buddhist scholar, teacher, and writer, best known for his secular or agnostic approach to Buddhism. He considers Buddhism to be a constantly evolving culture of awakening rather than a religious system based on immutable dogmas and beliefs. Through his writings, translations, and teaching, he engages in a critical exploration of Buddhism's role in the modern world. He is the translator and author of numerous books and articles on Buddhism including the bestselling Buddhism Without Beliefs, Living with the Devil: A Meditation on Good and Evil, Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, and After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age.

Rev. Cathy Bristow, an ordained Interfaith Minister, is the founder and principal of Bridges, a consulting firm whose mission is “Relanguaging the conversation around diversity and giving the topic a contemporary paradigm that reflects the complexity of people and change.”  In particular it aims to initiate a fresh conversation about race and gender. Cathy’s professional career includes senior corporate roles and international assignments. She has practiced meditation for several years, and with the CMC for four years. She is also actively involved in her Harlem-based church, First Corinthian Baptist.

Rev. Cathy Bristow, an ordained Interfaith Minister, is the founder and principal of Bridges, a consulting firm whose mission is “Relanguaging the conversation around diversity and giving the topic a contemporary paradigm that reflects the complexity of people and change.”  In particular it aims to initiate a fresh conversation about race and gender. Cathy’s professional career includes senior corporate roles and international assignments. She has practiced meditation for several years, and with the CMC for four years. She is also actively involved in her Harlem-based church, First Corinthian Baptist.

DaRa Williams is a trainer, meditation teacher and psychotherapist. DaRa has been a meditator for the past 25 years and is a practitioner of both Vipassana and Ascension meditation. She is a graduate of the Spirit Rock/Insight Meditation Society Teacher Training Program and is currently a Guiding Teacher at IMS. She is the Program Manager and a core teacher in the current IMS Teacher Training. DaRa has been a clinician and administrator in the field of Mental Health for over 25 years and currently maintains a private practice in Manhattan. She is a certified trainer and practitioner of Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy and Complex Trauma. DaRa integrates these skills, understandings and world views in her intention for contributing to the ending of suffering for all beings.

“Both formerly and now, it is only suffering that I describe, and the cessation of suffering.” The Buddha

DaRa Williams is a trainer, meditation teacher and psychotherapist. DaRa has been a meditator for the past 25 years and is a practitioner of both Vipassana and Ascension meditation. She is a graduate of the Spirit Rock/Insight Meditation Society Teacher Training Program and is currently a Guiding Teacher at IMS. She is the Program Manager and a core teacher in the current IMS Teacher Training. DaRa has been a clinician and administrator in the field of Mental Health for over 25 years and currently maintains a private practice in Manhattan. She is a certified trainer and practitioner of Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy and Complex Trauma. DaRa integrates these skills, understandings and world views in her intention for contributing to the ending of suffering for all beings.

“Both formerly and now, it is only suffering that I describe, and the cessation of suffering.” The Buddha

Devin Berry's practice primarily focuses on daily life and long retreat practices. He co-founded Deep Time Liberation, an ancestral healing journey that explores the impact of ancestral legacy and intergenerational trauma on Black Americans. Devin is passionate about the power of witnessing and storytelling as a liberation tool. He is deeply committed to the personal and collective liberation of marginalized communities knowing that through the integration of reflection and insight, clarity and wisdom give rise to wise action.

Devin Berry's practice primarily focuses on daily life and long retreat practices. He co-founded Deep Time Liberation, an ancestral healing journey that explores the impact of ancestral legacy and intergenerational trauma on Black Americans. Devin is passionate about the power of witnessing and storytelling as a liberation tool. He is deeply committed to the personal and collective liberation of marginalized communities knowing that through the integration of reflection and insight, clarity and wisdom give rise to wise action.

Joseph Goldstein has been leading insight and lovingkindness meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MS, where he is one of the organization’s guiding teachers. In 1989, he helped establish the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. Joseph first became interested in Buddhism as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand in 1965. Since 1967 he has studied and practiced different forms of Buddhist meditation under eminent teachers from India, Burma and Tibet. He is the author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, A Heart Full of Peace, One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism, Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom, The Experience of Insight, and co-author of Seeking the Heart of Wisdom and Insight Meditation: A Correspondence Course.

Joseph Goldstein has been leading insight and lovingkindness meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MS, where he is one of the organization’s guiding teachers. In 1989, he helped establish the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. Joseph first became interested in Buddhism as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand in 1965. Since 1967 he has studied and practiced different forms of Buddhist meditation under eminent teachers from India, Burma and Tibet. He is the author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, A Heart Full of Peace, One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism, Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom, The Experience of Insight, and co-author of Seeking the Heart of Wisdom and Insight Meditation: A Correspondence Course.

Joseph (Joe) Loizzo, MD, PhD, is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and Columbia-trained Buddhist scholar with over forty years’ experience studying the beneficial effects of contemplative practices on healing, learning, and development. He founded Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, a non-profit that trains lay and professional caregivers in evidence-based methods of contemplative self-healing to empower themselves and others to reduce stress, build resilience, and cultivate lives of engagement and purpose in our interdependent world. He is Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry in Integrative Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, where he researches and teaches contemplative self-healing and optimal health. He has taught the philosophy of science and religion, the scientific study of contemplative states, and the Indo-Tibetan mind and health sciences at Columbia University, where he is Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Columbia Center for Buddhist Studies.

Joseph (Joe) Loizzo, MD, PhD, is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and Columbia-trained Buddhist scholar with over forty years’ experience studying the beneficial effects of contemplative practices on healing, learning, and development. He founded Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, a non-profit that trains lay and professional caregivers in evidence-based methods of contemplative self-healing to empower themselves and others to reduce stress, build resilience, and cultivate lives of engagement and purpose in our interdependent world. He is Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry in Integrative Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, where he researches and teaches contemplative self-healing and optimal health. He has taught the philosophy of science and religion, the scientific study of contemplative states, and the Indo-Tibetan mind and health sciences at Columbia University, where he is Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Columbia Center for Buddhist Studies.

Martin Aylward is the founding teacher of Sangha Live. After spending his early adult years in Asian monasteries and with Himalayan hermits, Martin settled in Southern France with his wife Gail and their 2 children, co-founding the Moulin de Chaves retreat centre where he lives and teaches. Martin teaches meditation, guides students and leads retreats internationally, emphasising the integration of the deepest wisdom teachings into the midst of the lives we live. He is also a director of the Mindfulness Training Institute. He is the author of Awake Where You Are: The Art of Embodied Awareness (2021).

Martin Aylward is the founding teacher of Sangha Live. After spending his early adult years in Asian monasteries and with Himalayan hermits, Martin settled in Southern France with his wife Gail and their 2 children, co-founding the Moulin de Chaves retreat centre where he lives and teaches. Martin teaches meditation, guides students and leads retreats internationally, emphasising the integration of the deepest wisdom teachings into the midst of the lives we live. He is also a director of the Mindfulness Training Institute. He is the author of Awake Where You Are: The Art of Embodied Awareness (2021).

Matthew Brensilver, MSW, PhD teaches retreats at the Insight Retreat Center, Spirit Rock and Insight Meditation Society. He was previously program director for Mindful Schools and for more than a decade, was a core teacher at Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society. Matthew worked as a clinical social worker, serving severely and persistently mentally ill adults and adolescents. He subsequently earned a PhD from the Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at USC where his dissertation examined the mechanisms of risk and resilience among maltreated adolescents in South Los Angeles. Before committing to teach meditation full-time, he spent years doing research on addiction pharmacotherapy at the UCLA Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine. Each summer, he returns to UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center, teaching on the intersections between mindfulness, science and psychotherapy and conceptualizing dukkha as an interdisciplinary problem. He serves on the Board of Directors at Spirit Rock and is the co-author of two books about meditation during adolescence.

Matthew Brensilver, MSW, PhD teaches retreats at the Insight Retreat Center, Spirit Rock and Insight Meditation Society. He was previously program director for Mindful Schools and for more than a decade, was a core teacher at Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society. Matthew worked as a clinical social worker, serving severely and persistently mentally ill adults and adolescents. He subsequently earned a PhD from the Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at USC where his dissertation examined the mechanisms of risk and resilience among maltreated adolescents in South Los Angeles. Before committing to teach meditation full-time, he spent years doing research on addiction pharmacotherapy at the UCLA Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine. Each summer, he returns to UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center, teaching on the intersections between mindfulness, science and psychotherapy and conceptualizing dukkha as an interdisciplinary problem. He serves on the Board of Directors at Spirit Rock and is the co-author of two books about meditation during adolescence.

Frank Ostaseski is a pioneer in end of life care. In 1987, he cofounded the Zen Hospice Project and guided that groundbreaking work for almost 20 years. In 2005, he founded the Metta Institute training countless healthcare clinicians and caregivers and building a national network of educators, advocates and guides for those facing life-threatening illness. Frank's work has been fusion of spiritual insight and practical social action. It manifests in caring for the homeless, serving on the early front lines AIDS epidemic, lobbying congress, teaching meditation and most daunting, all while raising four teenagers. He has distilled hard-won lessons from his own life journey and synthesized 30 years of being with dying into his personal brand of wisdom. He has lectured at Harvard Medical School, The Mayo Clinic, Wisdom 2.0 among many others. His work has been highlighted on The Oprah Winfrey Show, featured by Bill Moyers on his series On Our Own Terms and honored by H.H. the Dalai Lama. He is the author of The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Life.

Frank Ostaseski is a pioneer in end of life care. In 1987, he cofounded the Zen Hospice Project and guided that groundbreaking work for almost 20 years. In 2005, he founded the Metta Institute training countless healthcare clinicians and caregivers and building a national network of educators, advocates and guides for those facing life-threatening illness. Frank's work has been fusion of spiritual insight and practical social action. It manifests in caring for the homeless, serving on the early front lines AIDS epidemic, lobbying congress, teaching meditation and most daunting, all while raising four teenagers. He has distilled hard-won lessons from his own life journey and synthesized 30 years of being with dying into his personal brand of wisdom. He has lectured at Harvard Medical School, The Mayo Clinic, Wisdom 2.0 among many others. His work has been highlighted on The Oprah Winfrey Show, featured by Bill Moyers on his series On Our Own Terms and honored by H.H. the Dalai Lama. He is the author of The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Life.

Lama Rod Owens is an author, activist, and authorized Lama (Buddhist Teacher) in the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism, and is considered one of the leaders of his generation of Buddhist teachers. He holds a Master of Divinity degree in Buddhist Studies from Harvard Divinity School and is a co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation. Lama Rod is the co-founder of Bhumisparsha, a Buddhist tantric practice and study community and has been published and featured in several publications including Buddhadharma, Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, The Harvard Divinity Bulletin and has offered talks, retreats, and workshops in over 7 countries. Lama Rod facilitates undoing patriarchy workshops for male identified practitioners in Brooklyn and Boston. His next book project will explore transformative anger and rage and is due out June 2020. 

Lama Rod Owens is an author, activist, and authorized Lama (Buddhist Teacher) in the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism, and is considered one of the leaders of his generation of Buddhist teachers. He holds a Master of Divinity degree in Buddhist Studies from Harvard Divinity School and is a co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation. Lama Rod is the co-founder of Bhumisparsha, a Buddhist tantric practice and study community and has been published and featured in several publications including Buddhadharma, Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, The Harvard Divinity Bulletin and has offered talks, retreats, and workshops in over 7 countries. Lama Rod facilitates undoing patriarchy workshops for male identified practitioners in Brooklyn and Boston. His next book project will explore transformative anger and rage and is due out June 2020. 

Sebene Selassie is a teacher and author who guides people to remember and trust their belonging. Born in Ethiopia and raised in Washington DC, she began studying Buddhism 30 years ago as an undergraduate at McGill University. She has an MA from the New School where she focused on race and cultural studies. Sebene is trained as a meditation teacher, an integral coach, and as a practitioner of Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy (IFOT). She offers courses, workshops and retreats online and in person and teaches on the Ten Percent Happier meditation app. Her first book, You Belong: A Call for Connection is published by HarperOne.

Sebene Selassie is a teacher and author who guides people to remember and trust their belonging. Born in Ethiopia and raised in Washington DC, she began studying Buddhism 30 years ago as an undergraduate at McGill University. She has an MA from the New School where she focused on race and cultural studies. Sebene is trained as a meditation teacher, an integral coach, and as a practitioner of Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy (IFOT). She offers courses, workshops and retreats online and in person and teaches on the Ten Percent Happier meditation app. Her first book, You Belong: A Call for Connection is published by HarperOne.

Gina Sharpe has an A.B. in Philosophy from Barnard College and a J.D. from NYU School of Law. Before practicing law, she worked for the New York City government, in the motion picture industry, as well as conducting research in public not-for-profits. After retiring from the practice of law, she co-founded New York Insight Meditation Center. She teaches at various venues around the United States including Spirit Rock, Insight Meditation Society, Vallecitos Mountain Refuge, Mid America Dharma, Garrison Institute, Asia Society, Tibet House, the NY Open Center, the Katonah Yoga Center and a maximum security prison for women. She has been teaching the Dharma since 1995 and has served on the boards of directors of several organizations.

Gina Sharpe has an A.B. in Philosophy from Barnard College and a J.D. from NYU School of Law. Before practicing law, she worked for the New York City government, in the motion picture industry, as well as conducting research in public not-for-profits. After retiring from the practice of law, she co-founded New York Insight Meditation Center. She teaches at various venues around the United States including Spirit Rock, Insight Meditation Society, Vallecitos Mountain Refuge, Mid America Dharma, Garrison Institute, Asia Society, Tibet House, the NY Open Center, the Katonah Yoga Center and a maximum security prison for women. She has been teaching the Dharma since 1995 and has served on the boards of directors of several organizations.

Oren Jay Sofer teaches Buddhist meditation, mindfulness and Nonviolent Communication nationally. A member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council, he holds a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University, is a Certified Trainer of Nonviolent Communication and a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner for the healing of trauma. Oren is the author of Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication and co-author of Teaching Mindfulness to Empower Adolescents. He is co-founder of Mindful Healthcare and the founder of Next Step Dharma, an innovative online program that helps meditators integrate their retreat experiences into daily life. He is active on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Oren Jay Sofer teaches Buddhist meditation, mindfulness and Nonviolent Communication nationally. A member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council, he holds a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University, is a Certified Trainer of Nonviolent Communication and a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner for the healing of trauma. Oren is the author of Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication and co-author of Teaching Mindfulness to Empower Adolescents. He is co-founder of Mindful Healthcare and the founder of Next Step Dharma, an innovative online program that helps meditators integrate their retreat experiences into daily life. He is active on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Robert A.F. Thurman, PhD, is a scholar, author, and academic who has written, edited, and translated numerous books on Tibetan Buddhism. He is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, holding the first endowed chair in this field in the United States. He also is the co-founder and president of the Tibet House New York. Time Magazine chose Professor Thurman as one of its 25 most influential Americans in 1997. He is the author of many books on Tibet, Buddhism, art, politics, and culture.

Robert A.F. Thurman, PhD, is a scholar, author, and academic who has written, edited, and translated numerous books on Tibetan Buddhism. He is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, holding the first endowed chair in this field in the United States. He also is the co-founder and president of the Tibet House New York. Time Magazine chose Professor Thurman as one of its 25 most influential Americans in 1997. He is the author of many books on Tibet, Buddhism, art, politics, and culture.

Tuere Sala is a Guiding Teacher at Seattle Insight Meditation Society and the founding teacher of the Capitol Hill Meditation Group. She is a retired prosecuting attorney who has practiced Vipassana meditation for over 30 years. 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. Tuere has been teaching since 2010 and has a long history of assisting others in establishing and maintaining a daily practice. 

Tuere Sala is a Guiding Teacher at Seattle Insight Meditation Society and the founding teacher of the Capitol Hill Meditation Group. She is a retired prosecuting attorney who has practiced Vipassana meditation for over 30 years. 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. Tuere has been teaching since 2010 and has a long history of assisting others in establishing and maintaining a daily practice. 

Pamela Weiss is a Buddhist teacher authorized to teach in two traditions—Zen and Theravada. She is currently a member of the Spirit Rock Teacher Council, a co-leader of Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leader training, and a guiding teacher at San Francisco Insight. Pamela is also a leadership coach, pioneer in bringing Buddhist principles and practices into the workplace, and the author of the forthcoming book, A Bigger Sky: Awakening a Fierce Feminine Buddhism. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and little dog, Grover.

Pamela Weiss is a Buddhist teacher authorized to teach in two traditions—Zen and Theravada. She is currently a member of the Spirit Rock Teacher Council, a co-leader of Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leader training, and a guiding teacher at San Francisco Insight. Pamela is also a leadership coach, pioneer in bringing Buddhist principles and practices into the workplace, and the author of the forthcoming book, A Bigger Sky: Awakening a Fierce Feminine Buddhism. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and little dog, Grover.

Pamela Ayo Yetunde is a Community Dharma Leader and a Zen student. She is a pastoral counselor with Center of the Heart and is the co-editor of Black and Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us About Race, Resilience, Transformation and Freedom, as well as other books and articles. Recognizing the potential for Buddhists to create the world they practice for, she co-founded Buddhist Justice Reporter to help bear witness to the criminal, and now civil trials focused on the torture and murder of George Floyd.  She recently joined Lion's Roar as an associate editor. Ayo would like to dialogue with more Buddhist practitioners contemplating their part in making our world more just.

Pamela Ayo Yetunde is a Community Dharma Leader and a Zen student. She is a pastoral counselor with Center of the Heart and is the co-editor of Black and Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us About Race, Resilience, Transformation and Freedom, as well as other books and articles. Recognizing the potential for Buddhists to create the world they practice for, she co-founded Buddhist Justice Reporter to help bear witness to the criminal, and now civil trials focused on the torture and murder of George Floyd.  She recently joined Lion's Roar as an associate editor. Ayo would like to dialogue with more Buddhist practitioners contemplating their part in making our world more just.

A Selection of Books by CMC Teachers

PILAR JENNINGS
• To Heal a Wounded Heart: The Transformative Power of Buddhism and Psychotherapy in Action
• Mixing Minds: The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism

ALLAN LOKOS
• Through the Flames: Overcoming Disaster Through Compassion, Patience, and Determination
• Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living
• Pocket Peace: Effective Practices for Enlightened Living

ANDREW OLENDZKI
• Unlimiting Mind: The Radically Experiential Psychology of Buddhism
• Untangling Self: A Buddhist Investigation of Who We Really Are

SHARON SALZBERG
• Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
• Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection
• Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program
• Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience
• Love Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit and Be a Whole Lot Happier

“To me CMC is teachers who have a knack for explaining complex concepts in a down-to-earth way; teachings that help me to reduce the many levels of stress in my life.” 

Sunday sessions: 10:30 AM–Noon Eastern Time

Wednesday sessions:  6:30–7:30 PM Eastern Time

No registration required

PLEASE NOTE:
In consideration of the health and welfare of the entire community CMC is temporarily offering Sunday and Wednesday sessions via a virtual method.
See the Calendar page for details.
PLEASE NOTE:
In consideration of the health and welfare of the entire community CMC is temporarily offering Sunday and Wednesday sessions via a virtual method.
See the Calendar page for details.
 

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