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.
Valerie Mason-John is a playwright and author of eight books. She works as a consultant in conflict transformation, restorative justice, leadership, and anti-bullying. She lives in British Columbia, and is chairperson of Vancouver Buddhist Centre, where she leads a weekly meditation class for people in recovery from addiction.