Doug Slakey began his meditation practice in 1995 and has been a student of Shaila Catherine since 2001. He has practiced in the Chan/Advaita Vedanta manner with Adyashanti, attended many vipassana retreats, and has most recently completed four jhana retreats with Shaila. Doug completed the meditation teacher training program at Chochmat HaLev in Berkeley and has studied at CCARE, the Stanford compassion training center. He holds a doctorate in psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, where he also completed spiritual guidance training.
Drew Oman's involvement with Buddhism began in the early 70s when he took a course in Buddhist Scriptures from Walpola Rahula (What the Buddha Taught) at Northwestern University, where Drew obtained a BA in psychology. His spiritual journey led him through years of rich study and practice with the Quakers, Self-Realization Fellowship, and while following Eknath Easwaran here in the Bay Area, an immersion in the Christian mystics. Drew returned to Buddhism, specifically to Vipassana practice, in the early 90s, and has established a consistent meditation practice, is an active member of IMSB, studies Buddhist scripture, and engages in retreat practice. Drew has taught English as a Second Language in community college and Stanford, and works as an English language coach in corporate settings.
Ed Haertel has maintained a daily meditation practice for over 20 years, and attends retreats with Shaila whenever he can. He has been active in IMSB since its beginning in 2006, and has served as IMSB's treasurer since 2008. For the past six years he has co-hosted the IMSB sutta study course in his home. Ed is a professor in the School of Education at Stanford University, and an expert in the field of educational testing and assessment
Elad Levinson LCSW has studied and practiced Buddhism since 1970. His practice has always been passionately interested in the integration of Buddhist philosophy and methods with the mundane worlds exigencies. He is the co-founder of Pounds for Poverty, whose mission is to bring Mindfulness and Altruism to the treatment of weight related illnesses. He has an active psychotherapy practice in Palo Alto and management consulting firm focused upon accelerating the solutions to environmental and social problems working with the entrepreneur- founder/investors or senior leaders. His firm is called Noble Purpose Consulting.
I have always enjoyed working with practitioners who are continuing to deepen their practice. In the many long retreats I teach at both IMS and Spirit Rock, I feel free to pass on the deepest pointings I’ve found in the teachings of the Buddha in the Pali Canon. Those are my guiding lights in practice and understanding.
It is fun for me to take the most difficult concepts and put them into accessible language, to unwrap the mystery. So I try to find ways to explore the breadth of concepts like "emptiness" -- to see how the entire path can be explained in terms of this synonym for nibbana. One of my aims is to bring the goal of freedom into the here and now. This way practitioners get a taste of freedom, so they know what they are heading toward on their journey to liberation.
The tools of mindfulness and lovingkindness can be picked up by anyone. They are easy to understand and they bring immediate benefit to our lives. The essence of vipassana is ideally suited to western society, especially to the resonance between our psychological turn of mind and our quest for spiritual understanding.
Heather Sundberg has taught insight meditation since 1999 and completed the Spirit Rock/IMS Teacher Training. Beginning her own meditation practice in her late teens, for the last 25 years, Heather has studied with senior teachers in the Insight Meditation (Vipassana) and Tibetan (Vajrayana) traditions and has sat 1-3 months of retreat a year for almost 20 years. She was the Spirit Rock Family & Teen Program Teacher & Manager for a decade. Between 2010- 2015 she spent a cumulative one-year in study, practice, and pilgrimage in Asia. Since 2011, she has been a Teacher at Mountain Stream Meditation Center and sister communities in the Sierra Foothills, and also teaches nationally, especially at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Her teaching emphasizes embodiment, compassion and practical wisdom.
Ines Freedman first became interested in meditation through her yoga practice in 1970. She has been practicing Buddhist meditation since 1985, with Gil Fronsdal being her primary teacher since 1995. She is a graduate of the Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader Program and a past Managing Director of Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City. She is a retired chiropractor.
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).