Below are listed the Leadership Sangha/Core Teacher members of the East Bay Meditation Center, as well as some of the Community Teachers who have current or upcoming programs at EBMC. Some Leadership Sangha members are also EBMC teachers.
Carol Cano: Co–Founder and Guiding Teacher for Philippine Insight Meditation Community and Co-Founder of Templa Wellness in the Philippines. She started her practice 25 years ago at Wat Kow Tahm in Thailand. She moved to San Francisco in 1991, where she was introduced to Spirit Rock Meditation Center and the teachings of Jack Kornfiled. Carol served on the Diversity Council with SRMC for several years, was mentored by Jack Kornfield the last four years, and completed the Community Dharma Leader program with SRMC. She has a unique cross-cultural braiding of Native American and Basque Spirituality that complements her Dharma practice.
Christy Leffall has maintained a spiritual meditation practice in the Theravadan tradition since 2007. She has held practice at several Vipassana-based residential retreats in Northern California. As an active member of the Generosity Committee at EBMC, Christy is currently a member of both the LSangha and the Commit-to-Dharma 2012 cohort. Christy's life's work in social, economic, and environmental justice has included positions in community organizing, housing policy advocacy, and currently as an urban land use planner in the East Bay. She is a Center for Whole Communities Fellow. Christy holds a Masters in City Planning with a concentration in Community and Economic Development from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design.
Jamilah Bradshaw’s practice gives honor to African Diaspora, American Indigenous, and Zen Buddhist traditions. A daughter of Southern medicine women, business owners, and educators, she’s a native of East Oakland—attending college 1.2 miles down the street from her elementary school. She is a raja yoga teacher and Integral Health Fellow through the Niroga Institute. Her work in community heath and philanthropy examines utilizing funding and organizing models to effectively support community-based expressions of health and wellness. She’s currently a grad student in CIIS’s Community Mental Health, highlighting brilliant psychological recovery/trauma-regulation strategies embodied in urban communities. She is a member of EBMC’s People of Color sangha and a frequent attendee at People of Color daylongs and classes.
Joan Doyle founded the East Bay LGBT Vipassana group that has grown into EBMC's Alphabet Sangha for LGBTQI and same-gender loving practitioners. In addition to co-teaching the Tuesday group at EBMC, she is active with the family programs at both EBMC and Spirit Rock, where she teaches meditation classes for young people. Joan has been meditating and practicing Dharma for over a decade, has sat many retreats and has completed Spirit Rock's DPP program.
Kimi Mojica holds a Masters degree in Conflict Dispute Resolution and is a consultant in the areas of intercultural communication, leadership development and social justice education. Kimi currently works in the philanthropic sector and is a former board member of the Astraea Foundation. They have worked for over a decade in higher education as an advocate for marginalized communities. Kimi’s teaching work is guided by a love of experiential learning, martial arts and Buddhist practices of mindfulness and liberation. Kimi is deeply committed to promoting practices of non-violence and self-care.
Noliwe Alexander has been a student of Vipassana meditation for over 15 years. Throughout this time of deep devotion to the Dharma, Noliwe has become a dedicated practitioner, teacher of various sitting groups around the Bay Area, facilitator of community workshops and Buddhist meditation day longs and class series programs. She is a Life & Business Coach dedicating both her coaching & Dharma practice to the POC, LGBT, At Risk and Elder communities. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s CDL4 program and completed EBMC’s Commit 2 Dharma program in 2010.
Noliwe is a wisdom keeper and humbled by the presence of her ancestors spirit that lives within and walks beside.
Renee has been a student of the dharma since 2004, and has been a part of the EBMC Alphabet Sangha since 2008. She participated in the Commit to Dharma and Practice in Action programs and helped to launch the Friends of the EBMC monthly giving program as part of the Generosity Committee. Renee is the Executive Director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, a 4,500 member bicycle advocacy organization located in Oakland, working for safe and enjoyable bicycling for all people of the East Bay.
Roger is the Executive Director of the Mind Body Awareness Project (MBA Project), a nonprofit that teaches mindfulness to youth in the juvenile justice system. Roger is also a leadership and executive coach for nonprofit managers with Alpenglow Consulting and Coaching. He has a Master’s of Nonprofit Administration and has launched, worked for, and served on the boards of dozens of social justice and environmental nonprofits. Roger appreciates the challenges of self-care that activists face as well as the power of mindful leadership for sustaining personal and organizational momentum. He thinks deeply about class, race and privilege and acts wherever possible to challenge the systems that reinforce that privilege. He has studied the Dharma since 2003 with a daily meditation practice since 2010.
Shenaaz Janmohamed is a healer, high school wellness counselor and curator of the Totally Radical Muslims Zine. She began her meditation practice in 2008, and served as EBMC's People of Color Sangha Coordinator for a year and a half during which she helped build the POC Sangha Coordinating Committee. She believes in the power and need for collective healing, and in that spirit is honored to join the L Sangha. For Shenaaz, Buddhism has been a vehicle to feel the esoteric beauty of her Islamic culture and ancestry, and has brought her closer to herself and home.
Amana Brembry Johnson began her journey of dharma practice and study as a result of the early People of Color Retreats offered at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She is currently a participant in the fifth iteration of the Community Dharma Leaders Training at Spirit Rock, and is a graduate of “Commit To Dharma”, a one-year course offered through EBMC. Amana teaches contemplative yoga practices and provides mentorship to Theravada practitioners who wish to deepen their understanding of the dharma and find continuity of practice within daily life. She creates visual art that poses personal and spiritual inquiries into the heart.
Anna Douglas, PhD, is one of the founding teachers of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and a member of the Teachers Council. She has taught classes and retreats in the Insight Meditation tradition nationwide for 30 years. She has a background in psychology and the arts, and offers ongoing psycho-spiritual mentoring for students. She divides her time between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sonoran desert of Arizona. She is the guiding teacher for Insight Meditation Tucson.
Anthony “T” Maes was born and raised in the East Bay. He has practiced Buddhist meditation since 2003 including long retreats and living in a monastery in Thailand. He has volunteered on many teen meditation retreats since 2009 where he enjoys leading mixed-heritage liberation, relational mindfulness, and acrobalance. “T” graduated from UC Berkeley in 2004, completed the yearlong Commit2Dharma program at EBMC in 2011, and is a graduate of the Heart Mind Curriculum mindfulness teacher training program.
Anushka Fernandopulle has trained in meditation in the Theravada Buddhist tradition for over 20 years in the US and Asia. Other influences have been mystics from various cultures and traditions, creative arts, nature, service work, progressive social change movements, and modern urban life. Anushka teaches retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Insight Meditation Society, and around the country. She has an MBA and also works as an executive/life coach, facilitator, and organizational development consultant. More on her teaching can be found at www.anushkaf.org
Arinna has studied Insight Meditation since 1979. She teaches in the lineage of the Great Burmese teacher U Bha Khin and was empowered to teach by Ruth Denison and has been teaching since 1988. Arinna is the founding teacher of Insight Meditation Center of the Pioneer Valley in Easthampton, MA, and co-author of A Beginner’s Guide to Insight Meditation. She has spent the last two years living in Thai Forest monasteries. She is interested in how to build healthy communities and so her dharma practice has been infused with political, anti-racist and multicultural perspectives.
Arisika Razak, RN, NM, MPH is the former Chair of the Women’s Spirituality Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). Her teachings incorporate diverse spiritual traditions, women's health and healing, multicultural feminisms, queer theory, and contemporary diversity theory. Arisika has led national and international spiritual and healing workshops and ritual celebrations for women for over three decades, as well as embodied spiritual workshops for women and men, including several daylong workshops at EBMC. She has co-facilitated workshops with Marlene Jones at Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
Art Jolly began meditating in the early 1990s and in 2003 spent five months practicing in Burma. He completed Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioners and Community Dharma Leader Programs and has trained in Somatic Experiencing, a method for working with trauma. He led a sitting group in the East Bay for many years and also teaches at Marin Sangha and other groups. Outside of work, Art enjoys dancing and the restorative power of nature.
Bang Nguyen first practiced meditation and chanting in 1968 during the war in Vietnam. Since 1998, he has been practicing meditation with people of color, LGBTQI/SGL, and multicultural communities at Deer Park Monastery in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, San Francisco Zen Center, and East Bay Meditation Center.
Baruch Golden is a long-time practitioner, hospice RN and mindfulness teacher. He taught mindfulness practices to children in elementary, middle and high school for the non-profit Mindful Schools for many years and offers dharma talks at many Bay Area sanghas. He is a graduate of Community Dharma Leader's Program in 2012 at Spirit Rock and the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training program at he Sati Center of Buddhist Studies in Redwood City.
The Venerable Buddharakkhita was born and raised in Uganda. Meditating since 1993, he was ordained as a Theravada Buddhist monk in 2002 by the late Sayadaw U Silananda. He teaches worldwide and in April 2005 founded the Uganda Buddhist Centre. It is the first Buddhist Center in Uganda. Bhante is the author of Planting Dhamma Seeds: The Emerging Buddhism in Africa. He is also a resident monk at the Bhavana Society Forest Monastery in West Virginia, USA.
Bhikkhu Pannadipa is an international teacher and co-Abbot of Embracing Simplicity. He practiced Taoism for 40 years and was a Taoist priest before becoming a Buddhist monk. As a shifu, he excelled in the Chinese internal and external arts, medical qigong and ch’an meditation. Known for his clarity in instruction and deep stillness, Pannadipa is loved and respected the world over. To find out more about him, visit
Bidyut Bose is the Founder and Executive Director of Niroga Institute (www.niroga.org), which brings evidence-based Transformative Life/Leadership Skills (TLS: mindfulness practice including yoga, breath regulation and meditation) to educators and vulnerable students in schools, juvenile halls and jails throughout the Bay Area. Bidyut conducts TLS trainings for leaders in education, health care, violence prevention and more. Having learned yoga and meditation since he was a child, and with a PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley, his current research interests include strategies for positive child and youth development, and the development of cost-effective architectures for lasting social transformation.
Bonnie Duran has been practicing Mindfulness Meditation since 1982. She has taken teachings from many western teachers including Joseph Goldstein and Marcia Rose, as well as Tibetan teachers, Venerable Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. She is one of founders of The People of Color Sangha in Albuquerque, New Mexico and in Seattle Washington, is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader 3 training program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and is currently in the Spirit Rock teacher training program. Bonnie is also involved in Native American spiritual practices and traditions. She is a contributor to Hilda Gutiérrez Baldoquín’s book, Dharma, Color and Culture: New Voices in Western Buddhism (Parallax), and has written for Turning Wheel: The Journal of Socially Engaged Buddhism.
Bonnie Duran, Dr.PH, is an associate professor in the Department of Health Services, University of Washington School of Public Health and is also Director of the Center for Indigenous Health Research at the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (www.iwri.org ). She teaches graduate courses in Health Promotion/Disease Prevention and critical theory. Bonnie has worked in public health research, evaluation and education among Native Americans and other communities of color for 27 years.
Charlie Johnson teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, yoga, qigong, meditation, and the Dharma in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. He has been practicing meditation and yoga since 1972 and teaching for over fifteen years. Charlie is a certified yoga instructor, a member of the California Yoga Teachers Association and is registered with the Yoga Alliance. He has served on the boards of directors of EBMC and Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
Chinh Nguyen has been practicing meditation since 1999. He is ordained into the Order of Interbeing in the Plum Village Tradition in 2008. He also practices with Dragon Gate Zen and Berkeley Shambhala POC Sangha.
Crystal Johnson has been part of the EBMC community almost since it opened its doors, first as a sitting group volunteer coordinator and currently as a member of the Program Committee. She participated in the first year of EBMC’s Commit2Dharma study program and has completed Spirit Rock’s 2 year Dedicated Practitioner’s Program, along with a number of residential retreats. She is a clinical psychologist with a particular interest in clinical work with marginalized communities as a social justice practice. She is particularly interested in applying her developing understanding of the dharma to EBMC’s efforts to build a truly diverse community of practitioners.
David Foecke first encountered meditation in 1982 at a 10-day retreat. Since then, he has sat some fifty-plus retreats, adding up to more than two years of his life. He completed the Community Dharma Leader Program (where he co-chaired the Diversity Committee), and served on the Board of Directors, at Spirit Rock. He co-founded a popular restaurant, has been a community organizer, and was Director of a two social change non-profit organizations. He functioned in a volunteer Executive-Director-equivalent role on the Leadership Sangha during the seven years (2005-2012) of EBMC's “start-up” phase, where he helped design our generosity-based operating systems.
Debra Kerr has meditated since 1991, and is influenced by both Vipassana and Dzogchen practices. A graduate of Community Dharma Leader training at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, she co-founded and served on the board of the East Bay Meditation Center from 2000-2006. In addition to teaching and leading support groups for meditation practitioners around the Bay Area, Deb teaches mindfulness meditation in assisted living and long term care facilities, where she also works as a speech pathologist.
Devin Berry is a co-founder of Deeper Still, the teen sangha at EBMC. He has been practicing meditation since 1999, both in the Plum Village tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh and in the Vipassana practice of Spirit Rock and IMS. Devin completed the first Commit2Dharma program at EBMC and is a graduate of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction teacher training practicum.
Donald Rothberg, Ph.D., a member of the Teachers Council at Spirit Rock, has practiced Insight Meditation since 1976, and has also received training in Tibetan Dzogchen and Mahamudra practice and the Hakomi approach to body-based psychotherapy. Formerly on the faculties of the University of Kentucky, Kenyon College, and Saybrook Graduate School, he currently writes and teaches classes, groups, and retreats on meditation, transforming the judgmental mind, mindful communication and wise speech, working skillfully with conflict, and socially engaged Buddhism. He has helped to guide a number of six-month to two-year training programs in socially engaged spirituality, both Buddhist-based and interfaith—through Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Saybrook, and Spirit Rock. He is the author of The Engaged Spiritual Life: A Buddhist Approach to Transforming Ourselves and the World.
Doug is a visual artist and bodyworker who has been teaching massage, anatomy and Qi Gong since 2006. Doug’s journey to bodywork began in art school with anatomical drawing, and continued as an English teacher in Japan where he used embodied experience to teach and learn language. As a massage therapist and teacher, Doug uses Qi Gong and meditation to teach his clients and students to tap into the flow of their qi. He offers workshops in bodywork, teaches at McKinnon Body Therapy Center in Oakland, and has a private massage practice in Oakland and Berkeley.
Enrique Collazo has been practicing in the Vipassanna tradition since 2005. Since 2009, he has offered classes as a facilitator and meditation instructor for youth and adults in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. He’s currently teaching in the Bay Area with Against the Stream and is working with youth as mindfulness instructor with the Mind Body Awareness Project. Enrique shares Dharma in a straightforward and practical manner and loves working with youth and supporting their transformation.
Eve Decker performs and records original songs based on Buddhist teachings, leads dharma music singing circles, and presents daylong programs on dharma and music throughout Northern California. A Vipassana and Metta meditation practitioner for 20 years, Eve is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leaders and Path of Engagement programs at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. For more on Eve see www.evedecker.com.
Fresh! White, CPCC, is a Certified Professional, Mindfulness & Life Coach. He has been practicing Mindfulness since 2007, and is currently a student of Spirit Rock’s Dharma Leadership Program. In addition to Co-leading the Teen Sangha at EBMC, Fresh! is also a rotating teacher at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, and leads a group for Trans* and Gender Variant folks in Oakland as well. Fresh! earned his Early Childhood Education Credits at Skyline College when he committed to being a classroom assistant and volunteer back in the 90s. Since 2003, Fresh! has facilitated or co-lead over 100 discussions in San Francisco and Marin, in schools and workplaces, with a goal of ending bullying for all, with a focus on creating safety for the LBGTQI communities.
Gregory Mengel, Ph.D. is a teacher and writer exploring the intersection of justice and ecology. Gregory is committed to social transformation and radical pedagogy. He teaches writing at San Quentin State Prison and blogs at www.cosmologyofwhiteness.blogspot.com.
H. Margarita Loinaz, M.D., has been a Buddhist practitioner since 1977 in the Tibetan and Theravada traditions with an emphasis on Dzogchen practice for the past 10 years. She contributed to the initiation of the diversity program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and has taught intermittently since 1997. She is originally from Dominican Republic.
Hozan Alan Senauke is a Soto Zen priest, vice-abbot of Berkeley Zen Center, a writer, musician, and activist honored as a pioneer of socially engaged Buddhism. Alan was executive director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, and serves on the Advisory Committee of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists. In 2007 he founded the Clear View Project, focusing on social change and training in Asia, particularly in Burma and among the India’s Ambedkarite Buddhists or ex-untouchables. Alan’s engaged Buddhist books and music cds are available at www.clearviewproduct.com.
Jack Kornfield trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India and Burma. He has taught meditation internationally since 1974 and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. He is a founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He holds a PhD in clinical psychology, and is a husband and father. His books include "A Path with Heart"; "Buddha's Little Instruction Book"; "Teachings of the Buddha"; "Seeking the Heart of Wisdom"; "Living Dharma"; "A Still Forest Pool"; "Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart"; "After the Ecstasy, the Laundry"; and "The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace". His new book is entitled "The Wise Heart".
For the past 25 years, Jenn Biehn has taught Tai Chi Chih (TCC) – Joy through Movement. TCC consists of 20 easy-to-learn accessible movements that emphasize a soft continuity of motion and can be practiced in silence or with guided visualizations. She has taught TCC to those healing from trauma in various community based organizations as well as staff and faculty at City College of SF. At three month meditation retreat in 2013, Jenn adapted the movements to embody the Ten Paramis as well as the Brahma Viharas and has been delighted to share these embodied practices at EBMC day longs.
Jim Willems teaches vipassana and jhana meditations. He began practicing meditation in 1960 while he was bedridden with an autoimmune illness for six months. He was given permission to teach meditation by Anagarika Munindra and Joseph Goldstein in 1994. He believes the Dharma has made it possible for him to live with high levels of constant pain. He has worked with people with terminal and chronic illness in different parts of the United States.
john a. powell is an internationally recognized expert and scholar in the areas of civil rights and civil liberties and a wide range of issues including race, structural racism, ethnicity, housing, poverty, and democracy. In addition to being a Professor of Law, African American Studies, and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, Professor powell holds the Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion, and serves as the Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. In addition to having founded and directed various Institutes across the nation, Professor powell has taught at numerous law schools, including Harvard and Columbia University, and has authored of several books, including his most recent work, Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society.
John Mifsud was born on the Island of Malta. He has practiced Insight Meditation since 2001 and graduated from the Community Dharma Leaders Training Program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in 2012. John has extensive retreat experience across the country and traveled throughout Asia on four major Buddhist pilgrimages. He is a Community Teacher at the East Bay Meditation Center and the founding leader of EBMC’s Deep Refuge Sangha for Alphabet Brothers of Color. He teaches internationally with a special interest in delivering mindfulness tools to marginalized communities.
Kaira Jewel (formerly Sr. Jewel) has been practicing mindfulness and Buddhist meditation since 1997. She was ordained as a nun by Thich Nhat Hanh in 1999 and as a Dharma teacher in 2007. She returned to secular life in 2015 and continues as a lay Buddhist teacher and mindfulness teacher. She has led mindfulness retreats in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Brazil, India and Southern Africa. She spends much of her time sharing mindfulness and compassion, especially with children, families and young people, and bringing mindfulness to teachers and schools. She is editor of Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children by Thich Nhat Hanh.
After experiencing the loss of a relationship, job and beloved family member within a two month period, Kamala Itzel Damaris turned to meditation and yoga to address the questions she had begun asking herself about the nature of life and loss. Kamala has practiced Buddhist meditation since 2001. In 2010, she completed the Commit2Dharma program offered through East Bay Meditation Center. In 2009, she completed the BayNVC Committed NVC Practitioner Program and is on the Leadership Support Team for this year’s program (renamed the BayNVC Immersion Program).
Karla Jackson-Brewer, MS has been a student of Lama Tsultrim Allione for 27 years. She is a Tara Mandala Authorized Teacher, and has traveled with Lama Tsultrim on Pilgrimage to Tibet and Bali. Karla has been practicing Chöd for 26 years and she has assisted Lama Tsultrim on many Chöd Retreats. For the past 3 years she has co-taught Chöd at Tara Mandala. In October 2012, she received the Chöd Empowerment from His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje. She is an adjunct Professor in the Women’s & Gender Studies Department and the Africana Studies Department at Rutgers, The State University.
Katherine Roubos loves chanting because it is the quality of the intention (not the sound!) that counts. Kat ordained temporarily with a bhikkhuni sangha in Northern Thailand in 2012, where the community chanted together many hours each day as a foundation of practice. Kat is committed to expressing the dharma through examining privilege and power and taking action to dismantle systems of racism and other oppressions, internally and externally. Kat also teaches MBSR, supports the Teen Sangha at EBMC, is in grad school for social work at Smith College, and studies in the current Dedicated Practitioners Program at Spirit Rock.
Kazu Haga’s introduction to social justice came at 17, when he participated in the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage, a walking journey to retrace the slave trade. He is a Kingian Nonviolence Trainer and is also certified in Alternatives to Violence. He is the Founder & Coordinator of the East Point Peace Academy, and co-founder of Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ).
Kitsy Schoen, LCSW, has been practicing Vipassana meditation for over 30 years. She is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader Program at Spirit Rock and was a member of EBMC's Leadership Sangha for 6.5 years. Kitsy has facilitated groups, classes and workshops since 1982. Inspired in large part by Reverend Ryumon Hilda Gutiérrez Baldoquín, Kitsy is passionate about exploring the intersection of mindfulness and multicultural awareness.
Larry Yang teaches meditation nationally, and has spent much energy to deepen Dharma teachings within multicultural communities. Larry is a core teacher of EBMC. He is on the Teachers’ Council and the Board at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and is the Guiding Teacher of Insight Community of the Desert in Palm Springs, CA. Larry is trained as a psychotherapist and has spent six months as a Buddhist monk in Thailand. He considers retreat practice, family practice, livelihood practice, and householder practice all integral to a spiritual path towards Freedom. He is one of the teachers who coordinate the Community Dharma Leadership training program cultivating future leadership in the dharma.
Lisa Moore began practicing in 1998, with the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. She joined the EBMC community by participating in the first Commit2Dharma study series where she began to deepen her practice of sangha. She is currently working with the programming committee of the Center and in Dharmacharya training with the Ven. Pannavati. She teaches at San Francisco State University where she supports the next generation of public health, harm reduction and social justice advocates.
Marlena Willis has practiced Buddhist meditation for many years, including intensive retreats. She was involved in early diversity work in the Buddhist communities in northern California, organizing five people of color meditation daylongs from 1992-1994, as well as diversity trainings for the community as a whole. She has completed the BayNVC Leadership Program and has taught NVC at her church (the First Unitarian Church of Oakland) and for people with chronic illness and disability.
Master Ellis is a martial artist with more than 25 years of experience in helping people strengthen the connections between the body, mind and spirit. He has taught toddlers, youth, adults, senior citizens, athletes, the physically challenged, and autistic children. He has more than 35 years of meditation practice among Christian, Zen, Vipassana and New Thought traditions; and as a journalist has written about martial arts, spirituality, and alternative health for major media. Master Ellis currently teaches at Ananda Martial Arts & Fitness Academy in Oakland. Visit www.FiveRealms.com.
Max began sitting at EBMC in 2007. Over the years Max has participated in a coordinating role with the Alphabet Sangha, served on several EBMC committees and the EBMC Leadership Sangha, and participated in two year-long programs at EBMC (C2D and PiA). Max is devoted to social justice and community building, focusing on racial and disability justice, fat liberation, queer liberation, and exploring how to create the conditions necessary for authentic diversity and liberation for all beings. Max is a member of Spirit Rock's Community Dharma Leader training program (CDL5).
Melvin took his first Yoga class in 2001 and discovered it to be an ideal complement to his work. Melvin is a graduate of the Integral Health Fellowship at Niroga Institute and EBMC’s Commit to Dharma program. He teaches and practices Raja Yoga, the yoga of mindfulness, a practice which cultivates self-love and mind-body integration. He continues daily to learn the ways in which body-centered contemplative practices create personal and social healing. Melvin believes that Yoga is the embodiment of revolution. http://melvinescobarlcsw.com/
Melvin tomó su primera clase de Yoga en el año 2001 y ha descubierto que es un complemento ideal para el obra de su vida. Melvin es un graduado de Niroga Instituto, y del programa “Commit to Dharma” en EBMC. Él enseña y practica el Raja Yoga, la Yoga de la atención plena, una práctica que cultiva el amor propio y la integración de mente-cuerpo. Al diario Melvin continua a apredener que estas prácticas crean la sanación y curación personal y social. Melvin cree que el Yoga es la encarnación de la revolución. http://melvinescobarlcsw.com/
Michele Ku is a long-term Vipassana practitioner and a parent. She teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction to adults at Kaiser Oakland. She also has taught mindfulness to children in elementary schools through Mindful Schools. She is co-founder and peer leader of a small family sangha for families of color and multi-racial families in the east bay facilitated by parents. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock Meditation Center's Community Dharma Leaders Program in 2012. Her main spiritual practice is bringing mindfulness to everyday life and within the family.
Mushim is a Buddhist teacher, writer, and multicultural community activist, with a background in both monastic and lay Buddhist practice. She has taught residential meditation retreats for people of color, social justice activists, and women and is guiding teacher of EBMC’s Practice in Transformative Action yearlong program. Mushim is the recipient of the 2014 Gil Lopez peacemaker award from the Association for Dispute Resolution of Northern California. In September 2015 was a recipient of an honorary doctor of sacred theology degree from the Starr King School for the Ministry. See www.mushimikeda.com
Nathan Thompson has been a Buddhist practitioner since 2002, primarily in the Soto Zen tradition. He received jukai or the lay precepts in 2008, and was part of the Sunday dharma talk rotation at his former home sangha (Clouds in Water Zen Center in St. Paul, Minnesota) from 2013-2015. Nathan also led a weekly meditation class at St. Paul Yoga Center from 2013-2015, and worked as an adult English as a Second Language teacher for over a decade in Minnesota. He also co-taught a workshop with Mushim Ikeda at the 2014 Buddhist Peace Fellowship National Gathering.
Neesha Patel, PhD is a practitioner of Vipassana/Insight meditation. Her interests include exploring the role of culture in our practice, our wellbeing and our lives. She is trained as a psychologist, a mindfulness facilitator, and a mindfulness based stress reduction teacher. She is deeply grateful for the gifts of practice and the opportunities to share it with others.
Noliwe Alexander has been a student of Vipassana meditation for over 15 years. She became a dedicated practitioner after attending the 2nd POC Vipassana retreat at Spirit Rock in 2000 and the African American Retreat in 2002. She is a graduate of Community Dharma Leaders 4 program though Spirit Rock Meditation Center, completed the Commit2Dharma (C2D) program through EBMC and delivers Dharma talks at the Alphabet and POC Sanghas at EBMC and throughout the SF Bay Area. Noliwe is a Life & Business Coach, empowerment workshop facilitator, dedicating her coaching & Dharma practice to the LGBT, At Risk and Elder communities.
Paul Ciske, Ph.D. has a private practice called “Your Well-Being” where he uses a variety of techniques for communicating with the nervous system to improve his client’s capacity to participate in the life activities of their choosing. Paul holds a mastery level for Muscle Activation Techniques®, Resistance Training Specialist® and Z-Health® Performance Solutions and is an accredited instructor for Conscious Embodiment® and T’ai Chi Chih®. He is also the inventor of the Ciske Comfort Cushion℠.
Pawan Bareja, Ph.D., has practiced Vipassana meditation for over 10 years. She is a Somatic Experiencing (SE) Trauma Resolution Practitioner, a Buddhist Ritual Minister and has assisted several daylongs at Spirit Rock, including the annual “Care Providers” daylong. She is a graduate from Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leadership Program. In her private practice, she works with symptoms of stress, anxiety and trauma in a diverse population of clients. She uses trauma resolution techniques and mindfulness meditation to help her clients find ease in their daily lives. She teaches classes on mindfulness and trauma in the Castro district in San Francisco.
Phillip Moffitt is a Buddhist meditation teacher and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is Co-Guiding Teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and the author of two books: Emotional Chaos to Clarity and Dancing with Life: Buddhist Insights for Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering. www.lifebalanceinstitute.com
Rabbi Diane Elliot has been a modern dancer, choreographer, somatic therapist, and teacher of Body-Mind Centering®. A longtime meditator in the Theravadan Buddhist tradition, she received rabbinic ordination in 2006, after six years of study at the trans-denominational Academy for Jewish Religion, California, in Los Angeles. She currently directs Wholly Present, an East Bay center for embodied Judaism, and Embodying Spirit, En-spiriting Body, a movement-based Jewish leadership training. Learn more about her work at www.whollypresent.org.
Raúl Kahlil Betancourt began his buddhist studies when he was 16 in L.A. and has been studying steadily since. He has studied Vietnamese Zen in LA and Soto Zen in Santa Cruz and SF as well as Green Gulch and Tassajara. He spent a year as a personal student to a head instructor from Eijeiji, at his home temple in Japan. He also earned a black belt in Aikido. He eventually found his spiritual home at EBMC in Oakland. He is currently teaching science at a high school in SF where he is also a teacher meditation leader.
Rev. Daigan Gaither began Buddhist practice in 1995. He received Priest Ordination in 2011 from Ryushin Paul Haller Roshi at San Francisco Zen Center. In 2009 he co-founded Queer Dharma at SFZC with Tova Green. His work and practice include many hours devoted to community service and volunteerism as one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Daigan has been a speaker at Gay Buddhist Fellowship, Gay Buddhist Sangha, and the LGBT Sangha at the Lesbian and Gay Community Center in San Francisco. Daigan speaks nationwide on a variety of topics including sex, sexuality, politics and activism in relation to Dharma.
Keiryu Liên Shutt is Dharma transmitted by Zenkei Blanche Hartman. Drawing from her monastic practices in the U.S. and overseas, she endeavors to share ways in which the deep settledness of traditional practices can be brought into everyday life. She teaches at San Francisco Zen Center, East Bay Meditation Center, and other Bay Area groups. To find out info about her sitting group, access talks, schedule a practice discussion (PD) and other retreat or workshop information, please go to www.AccessToZen.org.
Rev. M. Jamil Scott serves as the Director of Religious Exploration at the First Unitarian Society of Denver and served as the 2014 Fahs Collaborative contemplative education research fellow in collaboration with Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary. As a Fahs Fellow, Rev. Jamil, created a platform for a youth solidarity response to the Black Lives Matter movement entitled Mutuality Movement (mutualitymovement.org). He is completing his Master of Divinity at Naropa University and is an ordained Buddhist minister by the International Order of Buddhist Ministers. Rev. Jamil is Buddhist practitioner in the Dzogchen tradition and has been active in faith based social justice work with the organizing group PICO and very recently participated in the Buddhist Peace Fellowship's National Gathering.
Rev. Jisan Tova Green is a resident of San Francisco Zen Center, where she is a practice leader and works as SFZC's Development Director. She was ordained in 2003 by Eijun Linda Cutts in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and received Dharma Transmission in 2015.. Tova co-founded and leads the Queer Dharma group at SFZC. She has sat with people who are dying and their families and friends as a hospice social worker.
Sarwang Parikh is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern who has worked with young people for over a decade. He has meditated and practiced yoga for the past 10 years. He is currently a part of Spirit Rock's Dedicated Practitioner Program and EBMC's Men of Color Deep Refuge group. Sarwang has worked therapeutically with young people across cultures and around the world in a variety of therapeutic, school-based and community settings. He currently provides holistic counseling, leads mindfulness groups, and facilitates trainings on mindfulness in education with Seeds-of-Awareness.org. Sarwang is passionately committed to integrating social change and personal healing through practicing mindfulness and developing relationships.
Satya de la Paz began practicing yoga in 2004, seeking relief from chronic injury from years as an athlete. She quickly fell in love with yoga's ability to heal the mind, body, and heart. She has been teaching yoga and practicing healing arts since 2007 and has studied with Bridget Kramer Woods, Chrissy and Kenny Graham, Jazz Poiter, and Paula Tursi. Drawing from the traditions of Anusara Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, and Buddhism, she challenges students to play at their edge while cultivating awareness and connection to their highest potential.
Sean Feit (SEP, E-RYT) teaches Buddhism and Yoga with a focus on the integration of practice, philosophy, and self inquiry with trauma resolution and social justice. He has studied in Zen and Theravada lineages and is authorized to teach by Jack Kornfield. He teaches meditation and philosophy at EBMC, Yoga Tree, Yoga Garden, and Piedmont Yoga, and at Spirit Rock, where he completed the DPP and MYMT trainings. Sean also researches experimental dance for a PhD in Performance Studies, blogs about contemporary Buddhism and Yoga, and lives in Oakland, enjoying a thriving community of artists and seekers. Website: nadalila.org
Shahara Godfrey has trained in the Theravada Buddhist tradition for over 20 years. Other influences have been spiritual teachers from various cultures and traditions as well as the creative arts. She is a graduate of CDL and POE programs from Spirit Rock. Shahara has a Ph.D. and currently works as an Educator.
Spring Washam is a meditation and dharma teacher based in Oakland, California. She was trained by Jack Kornfield and now leads Vipassana and Metta retreats throughout the country. Spring is one of the founders of the East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland where she teaches daylong retreats and weekly classes. She is also a member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council. Spring is considered a pioneer in bringing mindfulness based healing practices to inner city communities. In addition she has extensive training in indigenous healing practices and works with students individually from around the world. www.springwasham.com
Syra Smith is an engaged artist, community organizer and mindfulness educator interested in deep ecology and manifesting a culture where we can turn toward fearless abundance and generosity. In 2013 she founded Oakland’s Dana Cafe, a gathering offering transformational teachings at no cost to participants. Syra has been educating young people for over 15 years. She co-facilitates EBMC’s weekly Teen Sangha and is a mindfulness and meditation instructor with the Mind Body Awareness Project where she helps to provide tools for resiliency to at-risk and incarcerated teens. She completed EBMC’s Commit to Dharma study program in 2011 and will graduate Spirit Rock Meditation Center's 2 year Community Dharma Leaders training in 2017.
Ven. Dr. Pannavati is Co-Abbot of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage in the US and a founding circle director of Women of Compassionate Wisdom. Ordained in both Theravada and Mahayana traditions with Vajrayana empowerments and dharma transmission from Roshi Bernie Glassman of Zen Peacemakers, she is a teacher and contemplative engaged in compassionate action globally; advocating an egalitarian way of life for all. A recipient of numerous international humanitarian awards for working with homeless youth in rural America, the Untouchables in India and ordaining nuns in Thailand and Cambodia, Pannavati is known for her wit, humor and clarity. To find out more about her, visit www.pannavati.org.
Vimalasara (Valerie) Mason-John is the co-author of the twice award winning book Eight Step Recovery – Using The Buddha's Teachings to Overcome Addiction. She is a TEDx speaker and is the author of 8 books including her award winning novel Borrowed Body, and Detox Your Heart working with anger, hatred and fear. She is also the co- founder of Healing Insight, an online teaching faculty that explores the sharp edge of suffering in it's broadest sense, including addiction, physical and mental pain, every Saturday on www.worldwideinsight.org. She is chairperson of Vancouver Triratna Buddhist Centre.
Walt Opie leads the Berkeley Dharma & Recovery meditation group for people in recovery that meets weekly on Tuesday nights at Northbrae Community Church. He is a graduate of Spirit Rock's Community Dharma Leaders' (CDL4) training program and was mentored by Kevin Griffin (author of One Breath at a Time). In addition, he served in the Spirit Rock Communications Department for 7 years.
Wildecy de Fátima Jury is a Brazilian community leader in the Bay Area since 1980. She is a certified mediator and a meditation practitioner who has been studying different spiritual practices including Yoruba, and Native American, since 1985. She has been a Vipassana meditator since 2000 and has attended daylongs at Spirit Rock and EBMC. Wildecy is a member of EBMC’s Dharma Study Group and is a participant in the Community Dharma Leader Program at Spirit Rock (CDL4). As a spiritual activist she has worked with many multicultural communities and groups including LGBT groups, Immigrants and Refugees, women, youth and children.
Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, PhD, is an author, visual artist, drummer and guiding teacher of Still Breathing Zen Meditation Center in East Oakland, CA. She is the author of The Way of Tenderness: Awakening Through Race, Sexuality, and Gender (Wisdom Publications), Tell Me Something About Buddhism (Hampton Roads Publishing), which includes a foreword written by Thich Nhat Hanh, with poetry and illustrations by Zenju Earthlyn and Black Angel Cards: 36 Oracle Cards and Messages (Kasai River Press). In addition, she is a contributing author to many books, including Dharma, Color and Culture: Voices From Western Buddhist Teachers of Color (Parallax) and Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women (Wisdom Publications), edited by Florence Caplow and Susan Moon. For more information go to zenju.org.
Zoketsu Norman Fischer is a poet, priest, and a former abbot of San Francisco Zen Center. He is founder and teacher of the Everyday Zen Foundation (www.everydayzen.org) dedicated to sharing Zen teaching and practice widely with the world. His latest book is Sailing Home: Using the Wisdom of Homer's Odyssey to Navigate Life's Perils and Pitfalls. He has also written Taking Our Places: The Buddhist Path to Growing Up and his latest volume of poetry is I Was Blown Back. Norman's new book, Conflict, was published in September 2011 by Chax Press.
An edited video of "Mindfulness and the Possibility of Freedom: Angela Davis and Jon Kabat-Zinn in Dialogue," a benefit for the East Bay Meditation Center that was held on January 15, 2015, is now available!
Please go to http://davisandkabatzinnvideo.eventbrite.com.
2016 Finances: "As I shared in our Fall 2015 newsletter, we ended 2015 with about $361,000 in total income and $357,000 in expenses. Deep bows of appreciation to our EBMC community for your tremendous generosity, and for the sangha members who shared their beautiful stories about the impact of EBMC in their lives. We surpassed our December 2015 end-of-year fundraising goal, met our matching grant from the Kalliopeia Foundation, and we raised more than we ever have before in our end-of-year fundraising campaign. We had a net of $13,625 for the programs that are transforming lives every day!
For 2016, we are stretching and growing together: we are aiming our sights toward $439,000 in income, and $414,000 in expenses."
To read the entire report, click here.
Please practice generosity and keep EBMC's operations running smoothly by Adopting a Bill! You can adopt all or part of one of our monthly bills by clicking below.
Four Sangha members are generously participating in this way of giving and we ask you to join them. Deep bows of gratitude to our generous Sangha!
Some of our bills include:
Insurance: $425 - ADOPTED
Phone: $50 - ADOPTED
Office Supplies: $175
Internet: $30 - ADOPTED
Program Supplies: $85
Web Hosting: $18 - ADOPTED
Database Hosting: $20 - ADOPTED
Security System: $45 - ADOPTED
Online Communication: $80
Bookkeeping system: $20 - ADOPTED
Payroll Service: $150
Click on the Donate Now button. Choose the “recurring donation” option and indicate which bill you’d like to pay in the “Event/Program Designation” line. It’s that easy!
There are a number of items we would love to have at EBMC that would make our home even more warm, efficient, and accommodating. Please view the Wish List page for more details.
Volunteering for EBMC is fun and inspiring, and a great way to deepen your spiritual practice. We have a variety of volunteer positions, some of which can be done anywhere with Internet access, and some of which require being on site at the meditation center, either on a regular basis or for a specific, time-limited project. Our generous, talented volunteers are an important part of the heart of our community, and are all leaders in helping to make EBMC a vibrant and sustainable community resource. For more information, check out our volunteer page.
A few of our wonderful volunteer painting crew. To volunteer for other special projects like this, email through our Contact Us page. For more information about other volunteer opportunities, visit our Volunteer page.