Richard Shankman has been a meditator since 1970, and teaches at Dharma centers and groups internationally. He is guiding teacher of the Metta Dharma Foundation, and cofounder of the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies and of Mindful Schools. He practices and teaches meditation that integrates compassion, mindfulness, concentration and insight as one path of practice. Richard is the author of The Art and Skill of Buddhist Meditation and The Experience of Samadhi.
I first encountered Buddhism in 1974, and it blew the doors wide open for me with its profound and practical insights into the mind, suffering, and true happiness. Over time I gravitated to the original teachings of the Buddha, embodied in the Theravadan tradition, for their down-to-earth clarity, and important sources for me have included the teachers of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and the Pali Canon itself. More recently, I've explored grounding the dharma in modern evolutionary neuropsychology - "neurodharma" - recognizing how mind arises dependently upon the body, especially the nervous system as it tries to meet ancient needs for raw survival. I am especially interested in using these approaches to heighten the learning - the cultivation (bhavana) - from beneficial experiences (otherwise often wasted on the brain) to reduce the underlying sense of deficit and disturbance that causes the craving that causes suffering and harm. Overall, I feel amazingly blessed to have the opportunity in this life to ride the dharma stream and share its gifts with others!
Robert Cusick trained at Stanford University in the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) and is a Stanford certified Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) instructor. He studied in the Soto Zen Tradition at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, in the Ridhwan School’s Diamond approach with A.H. Almaas (Hameed Ali) and in Spirit Rock’s multi-year Dedicated Practioner’s Program. He ordained in Burma under the world-renowned Burmese Meditation Master, Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw, and studied there with him for a number of years. His practice is focused on recognizing and cultivating compassion through the application of mindfulness.
Ronald Purser, Ph.D. is a professor of management at San Francisco State University where he has taught the last sixteen years in both the MBA and undergraduate business programs. He received his doctorate in organizational behavior from Case Western Reserve University. He started studying and practicing the Dhamma in 1981 at the Tibetan Nyingma Institute in Berkeley, and began formal Zen training at the Cleveland Zen Center in 1985 under Koshin Ogui Sensei, who had been Shunryu Suzuki’s personal assistant in the early 1960’s. After returning to San Francisco in 1997, he continued to study and practice with Zen teachers and Tibetan lamas, and recently was ordained as a Zen teacher in the Korean Buddhist Taego order. More recently, Dr. Purser has directed his studies to the Nikayas and Pali suttas literature under the direction of Shaila Catherine. His recent blog, 'Beyond McMindfulness' in the Huffington Post has spurred debate and discussions in the Buddhist community. He has been interviewed by The Buddhist Geeks, The Secular Buddhist, and The Naked Monk podcasts; has spoken at the First International Conference on Mindfulness in Rome, as well as City University of New York (CUNY) annual fall Mindfulness Lecture series. His writings focus on the value of Buddhist practice and Buddhist psychology for transforming organizations, institutions and society.
Sandi Peters has been working with older adults since 1986 and practicing vipassana style meditation since 1988. As a gerontologist she has worked with elders at all levels of capacity. As a meditator, she has been exploring the ways that elderhood and Buddhism mutually support each other. Sandi currently is the activity director of a nursing home in Berkeley and a graduate student in Depth Psychology at Sonoma State University.
Shaila Catherine is the founder of Bodhi Courses (bodhicourses.org) an online Dhamma classroom, and Insight Meditation South Bay, a meditation center in Mountain View, California (imsb.org). She has been practicing meditation since 1980, with more than eight years of accumulated silent retreat experience, and has taught since 1996 in the USA, and internationally. Shaila has dedicated several years to studying with masters in India, Nepal and Thailand, completed a one year intensive meditation retreat with the focus on concentration and jhana, and authored Focused and Fearless: A Meditator's Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity, (Wisdom Publications, 2008). She has extensive experience practicing and teaching mindfulness, loving kindness, concentration, and a broad range of approaches to liberating insight. Since 2006, Shaila has continued her study of jhana and insight under the direction of Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw, and authored Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Vipassana (Wisdom Publications, 2011).
John Kelly has been a practicing Buddhist for over 30 years and has extensively studied the Pali language and the suttas of the Pali Canon. Since retiring from a career as a computer database specialist in the USA, John moved back to his home country, Australia, in 2004, where he currently resides in Brisbane. He was principal assistant to Bhikkhu Bodhi in his recently published landmark translation of the Anguttara Nikaya, in addition to his earlier sutta anthology, "In the Buddha's Words". In 2005 John was a founding member and designer on the team that created SuttaCentral.net, a continuously growing trove of information on early Buddhist texts, translations, and parallels. In 2011 John completed an MA in Buddhist Studies from the University of Sunderland and subsequently his dissertation for this course, "The Buddha's Teachings to Lay People", was published in the academic journal Buddhist Studies Review.