Teachers

Lotus

Berget Jelane

Berget is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leaders Program at Spirit Rock and also the chaplaincy training through Sati Center. She coordinates the San Jose Sangha and regularly teaches there and at IMC. She is a retired psychotherapist in private practice in San Jose since 1986. Begert was ordained a Lay Buddhist Minister in 2010.

Kim Allen

Kim Allen has been practicing Insight meditation since 2003 in the US and Sri Lanka, including two-and-a-half years in silent retreat. She is a senior teacher at Insight Santa Cruz and has taught at many Bay Area centers, including courses for dedicated students and study of the suttas. She has taught retreats locally and in Southern California and Canada. Dedicated to a life of deep Dharma practice in the West, she draws from a background in science, contemplative practices, and creativity to offer classical Dharma in a modern context.

Carla Brennan

Carla has been practicing mindfulness meditation in the Vipassana, Zen, and Tibetan traditions for over 30 years. She teaches with Vipassana Santa Cruz and offers retreats in wild nature. She also teaches Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz.

Robert Cusick

Robert Cusick is a long time student of Gil Fronsdal. He was a Buddhist monk in Burma, trained by the Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw. He also trained in the Soto Zen tradition at Tassajara Zen Center in 2001. He participated in the Diamond Heart program with Hameed Ali (A.H. Almaas), in the Sati Center's Buddhist Chaplaincy training and completed the Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP) at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in 2003, where he served as Retreats Program Manager. Robert is a certified Kripalu Yoga instructor, and sits on the board of directors at the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies.

Max Erdstein

Max started practicing with IMC in 1999 just after graduating from Stanford. He has practiced Vipassana and Zen in America, Japan, Thailand, and Burma. He studied Buddhist chaplaincy with the Sati Center. He was trained as a Dharma teacher by Gil Fronsdal and is a graduate of the Spirit Rock teacher training program. With Gil he taught the first weeklong retreat at IRC in November 2012. He is a husband and father of two girls.

Ines Freedman

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 currently participating in the Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader Program. She is Managing Director of Insight Meditation Center. She is a retired chiropractor.

Margaret Gainer

Margaret began Buddhist meditation practice in 1995, and teaches at Bay Area meditation groups and churches. She leads monthly Center Days at East West Meditation program at Mercy Center in Burlingame. Margaret completed Sati Center Buddhist Chaplaincy Training, and since 2005 has offered weekly meditation classes in a county jail, where she also volunteers with Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy (CIC). Margaret attends a UCC church and brings Buddhist teachings and understanding into the life of the congregation.

Misha Merrill

Misha Merrill was ordained a Zen priest in 1988 by Les Kaye Roshi in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi of the San Francisco Zen Center. She received Dharma Transmission from him in 1998 and has been leading a meditation group in Redwood City since 1993. She also teaches young children at the Peninsula School of Menlo Park. She lives in the hills above Stanford with her husband and joyfully cultivates a large garden.

Bob Stahl

Bob Stahl is a long-time practitioner of insight meditation who lived in a Buddhist monastery for over eight years. He now directs Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programs in Bay Area medical centers. Bob is also a husband and a father of two sons.

Ying Chen

Ying Chen was born in China and came to US when she was in College. She took refuge with Venerable Ji Ru in 1995. She was exposed to Mahayana Buddhism early on. Since 2001, she was drawn to the Theravada tradition through sutta studies with Shaila Catherine and other Chinese dharma teachers and practitioners. In the past 13 years, she has been practicing primarily under the guidance of Gil Fronsdal. Ying is a graduate of the Sati Center Chaplaincy program. She is currently working as a part-time spiritual care volunteer in Kaiser Hospital and facilitates the Insight Meditation Center support group for people living with illness. Ying has a Ph.D in computer science and worked in technology companies for close to 20 years.

Ayya Sobhana

Ayya Sobhana has meditated and trained with Bhante Henepola Gunaratana since 1989. She ordained in 2003 and obtained full Bhikkhuni ordination in 2006. Last year, Ayya Sobhana moved from the Bhavana Society in West Virginia to become the Prioress of Aranya Bodhi - Awakening Forest Hermitage, on the Sonoma Coast of California. Her primary practice is the Eightfold Noble Path, that is, integration of meditation with ethical living and compassionate relationships, for the sake of liberation.

Ayya Tathaaloka

Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni is an American-born member of the Buddhist Monastic Sangha with a background in Zen and Theravadan Buddhism. Venerable Tathaaloka began her journey into monastic life more than twenty years ago, and was granted Higher Ordination by an multi-ethnic gathering of the Bhikkhu & Bhikkhuni Sanghas in Southern California in early 1997. In 2005 she co-founded the first Theravadan Buddhist women's monastery in the Western United States here in the San Francisco East Bay. Following in the late Ayya Khema's footsteps, in 2009 Ayya Tathaaloka became the second Western woman to be appointed a Preceptor in Theravadan Buddhism. Inspired by the Forest traditions in Buddhism, she is currently involved in founding a rustic off-the-grid women's monastic retreat on the Sonoma Coast named Aranya Bodhi: Awakening Forest Hermitage, while sharing her time with the hermitage's "in the Bay" annex in Fremont: The Bodhi House.



Updated: 02/09/2020