Jack Petranker, J.D. is the director of both the Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages and the Center for Creative Inquiry. He has taught meditation and Buddhist psychology for many years at the Nyingma Institute in Berkeley, and is the author of "When It Rains, Does Space Get Wet?" (Dharma Publishing 2006).
James R. Doty, M.D. is the Founder and Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at the Stanford Institute for Neuro-Innovation and Translational Neuroscience (SINTN) of which His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the founding benefactor. He collaborates with scientists from a number of disciplines examining the neural bases for compassion and altruism.
He is an inventor and entrepreneur as well as a Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University School of Medicine. As a philanthropist, Dr. Doty supports a number of charitable organizations supporting peace initiatives and providing healthcare throughout the world. He also supports a variety of research initiatives and has provided scholarships and endowed chairs at multiple universities.
He is on the Board of a number of non-profit organizations including the Dalai Lama Foundation of which he is Chairman and the Association of Medical Ethics. Dr. Doty is also on the Senior Advisory Board of the Council of the Parliament of the World's Religions
Janet Taylor began practicing vipassana meditation in early 2006 and is inspired by the possibility of complete liberation and by seeing the truth of the Buddha's teachings of impermanence, the suffering caused by attachment, and emptiness in her daily practice. Janet has attended 10 residential retreats, including three seven-day jhana retreats, completed a 35-week course on the practice of the 32 body parts meditation, and serves as a mentor for beginning meditators at IMSB. Janet received her BFA degree in sculpture, and enjoys nature and sea kayaking. She currently works as a technical writer and curriculum developer.
Jason Murphy- Pedulla MA, has been practicing Vipassana meditation since 1994. He is a teacher and therapist who has been working with youth, families and adults for over 20 years. Jason has taught mindful awareness in a variety of settings throughout the United States and leads weekly groups in Santa Cruz and San Jose.
Jason has studied and trained with several prominent teachers in the Thai Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah. Some of them are Ajahn Sumedho, Ajahn Passano and Amaro Bhikkhu Other teachers and mentors have been, Gil Fronsdal, John Travis, Sylvia Boornstein and Jack Kornfield.
Jason is empowered to teach by the Spirit Rock teachers counsel. He received his training with Noah Levine MA. author of Dharma Punx, Against the Stream, Mary Grace Orr Spirit Rock teacher and Bob Stahl, Ph.D., Guiding Teacher at Insight Santa Cruz and author Living with your heart wide open.
Jennifer Dungan began her meditation practice in 2003 with a mindfulness based stress reduction course (MBSR). The discipline of meditation opened a new world of personal discovery and her desire to continue learning propelled her to IMSB in January 2006. Jennifer especially appreciates the scientific method promoted by the Buddha. She lives with her spouse in Mountain View and works at NASA Ames Research Center.
Jim Podolske is an atmospheric scientist at NASA who has been a Vipassana student since 1998. He serves the Insight Meditation Center sangha both as a volunteer and introductory meditation instructor, and is a former IMC board member. He has sat vipassana, samadhi, and brahmavihara retreats over the last 11 years, including a six week retreat in 2003. Jim enjoys sailing on the San Francisco Bay.
John Astin holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, Irvine. He is a nationally recognized researcher in the field of mind-body medicine. Prior to his current position as a Research Scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, he was a fellow at Stanford University and a professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Maryland's Center for Integrative Medicine. He lectures widely on the topics of stress and health and the applications of meditation in medical training and practice. He has published over 50 scientific papers in the areas of stress reduction and mind-body medicine, and is the co-author of the book Control Therapy: An Integrated Approach to Psychotherapy, Health & Healing. His scientific work has been featured on CNN, Fox News, and a host of other local and national media. He is also the author of two books of poetry and prose reflections on the non-dual nature of awareness, Too Intimate for Words and This Is Always Enough.
"Kelly McGonigal, PhD, is an instructor of meditation, psychology,
and yoga at Stanford University, with a special emphasis on the
collaboration of science and traditional practitioners. She teaches
the Compassion Cultivation Program, which integrates traditional
lovingkindness and compassion practices with insights from Western
neuroscience and scientific psychology, under the guidance of Geshe