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.
Sharon Allen is a long time practitioner and teacher of mindfulness meditation and different forms of movement. She taught Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for many years. Sharon leads several on-going meditation groups that explore spiritual development through meditation, study, and reflection. Sharon encourages the integration of mindfulness in dealing with life’s ever-changing events. When it is suitable, Sharon offers the movement practices of Tai Chi and Qi Gong to enhance mindfulness. These movement practices can be adapted and are beneficial for people with varied physical capabilities.
Dr. Stephen Fulder was born in the UK and received an M.A. from Oxford University and a Ph.D. He has devoted his life to exploring inner and outer healing and spirituality. He is an author and lecturer in herbal and natural medicine with 14 published books. He lives in an environmental village in the Galilee in Israel, which he helped to found and where he grows his own food. Stephen has been practicing Vipassana meditation since 1975, is the founder and senior teacher of the Israel Insight Society, the main Vipassana/Mindfulness organization in Israel, and has been teaching retreats and courses in Buddhist practice for 15 years. He has established programs and organizations, such as ‘Middleway’, which apply these teachings to aid peace and healing in the communities in the Middle East.
Thanissara, originally from London, was a nun for 12 years in the tradition of Ajahn Chah and has taught internationally the last 30 years. She is co-founder and director of Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat, South Africa and has an MA in Mindfulness Psychotherapy Practice from the UK. She is co-author of Listening to the Heart, A Contemplative Guide to Engaged Buddhism, author of Time To Stand Up, An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth, and several books of poetry. She currently lives in the North Bay, California and teaches at IMS and is on the Teacher Council at Spirit Rock, a Core Teacher at IMS, and Guiding Teacher of Sacred Mountain Sangha.
Toni Bernhard is the author of How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and their Caregivers and How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow (Wisdom, Fall 2013). How to Be Sick was named one of the best books of 2010 by Spirituality and Practice. From 1982-2004, Toni was a law professor at the University of California—Davis, serving six years as the dean of students. She has been a practicing Buddhist for over 20 years. Her blog, “Turning Straw Into Gold” is hosted on the website of Psychology Today.
Tony Bernhard first encountered the dharma in 1965 and became one of Spirit Rock’s first community dharma leaders in 1999. He currently sits on the board of the Sati Center, trains inmates and staff at Folsom Prison in mindfulness and dharma, leads sitting groups in Davis, and regularly teaches in a handful of venues in and around Sacramento and the Bay Area. He primarily focuses his practice on study of the dharma teachings in the earliest texts.