Steve Armstrong began his dhamma practice in 1975 with senior Western teachers Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg and Jack Kornfield. After 10 years of retreats and service on staff and as Executive Director and Board member at the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts, he travelled to Burma where he ordained for five years as the Buddhist monk, U Buddharakkhita, and practiced intensive vipassana (insight) and metta (lovingkindness) at the Mahasi Meditation Center in Yangon with Burmese monastics Sayadaws U Pandita (mindfulness, metta, vipassana), U Lakkhana (vipassana), U Jatilla (vipassana), and studied abhidhamma with U Zagara in Australia.
Returning to the US in 1990, after disrobing to become a layman, he has led meditation retreats, including the annual 3-month retreat at IMS for 18 years. Since 2004, he has been practicing “mindfulness of mind” with Sayadaw U Tejaniya and now integrates the teachings of these two awareness and insight traditions. He has taught mindfulness, insight and abhidhamma retreats in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US since 1991.
As a co-founding Director and Guiding Teacher of the Vipassana Metta Foundation along with Kamala Masters, they have overseen development of “Ho’omalamalama,” a 17-acre dhamma sanctuary and hermitage on Maui where they have planted more than 2500 fruit, shade, tropical hardwood and native Hawaiian trees.
Beginning in 2005, he has directed the Myanmar Schools Project: the compassionate response by the Vipassana Metta Foundation, to the need for educational facilities in Myanmar. To date (2016), they have built or renovated 100 schools, 5 clinics and 5 nunneries in Burma.
In 2000, he initiated a project to develop and lead the Vipassana Metta Foundation Translation Committee, a team of current and former Burmese and Western monastics well practiced in the Mahāsi Sayadaw tradition of vipassana, to translate, edit and publish Mahāsi Sayadaw’s Manual of Insight in English. This authoritative and comprehensive meditation manual was published by Wisdom Publications in May, 2016.
Kamala Masters began practicing meditation in the mid-seventies attending retreats in the Theravada tradition. In 1977 she met Anagarika Munindra, her first teacher, who taught her the value of being mindful in everyday life. In 1985, she began to practice vipassana and metta meditations intensively with Sayadaw U Pandita with whom she temporarily ordained as a Buddhist nun in 2001 and 2003. In 2005, she began practicing cittanupassana, contemplation of mind, with Sayadaw U Tejaniya. She integrates this teaching with what she has learned from her other respected teachers.
Since the early nineties, Kamala has been teaching in the United States and abroad, and is a Guiding Teacher and member of the Board of Directors at the Insight Meditation Society. In 1995 she co-founded Vipassana Metta Foundation with Steve Armstrong, developing the Maui Dhamma Sanctuary for self-reliant students to practice. She served as an editor on the Vipassana Metta Foundation Translation Committee for Mahasi Sayadaw's Manual of Insight, published by Wisdom Publications in 2016.
Kamala strives for extended periods of self-retreat each year. She is grateful for the opportunity to serve and to grow in the Dhamma.
Patrick Kearney is an independent dharma teacher in the lineage of Mahāsī Sayādaw. He has trained extensively in the Mahasi approach to insight meditation, his principal teachers being Paṇḍitārāma Sayādaw and John Hale. He has also trained in the Diamond Sangha lineage of Zen Buddhism. His original teacher was Robert Aitken Rōshi, and he has also studied with Paul Maloney Rōshi.
Patrick has a particular interest in the original teachings of the Buddha — Buddhism as it was before Theravāda or Mahāyāna were ever thought of. He studies Pāli, the language of the earliest surviving Indian recension of the Buddha's teachings, and seeks to bring his understanding of the early texts to the practice of dharma in the contemporary world.
Alexis has been in the field of mindfulness and meditation since 2001. After graduating from Harvard in 1995, he spent several years in medical school before leaving his chosen career as a doctor to seek out a different path. It was while traveling in India that he was introduced to insight meditation.
Since that time, Alexis has practiced in many meditative styles and traditions, including with Sayadaw U Tejaniya, the Thai Forest tradition with Ajahn Sumedho, the Tibetan tradition with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and within the lay Western insight community where he continues to learn from the growing diversity of voices.
Alexis's primary teacher has been Sayadaw U Tejaniya, from the Burmese Theravada tradition, and with whom he ordained as a Buddhist monk from 2003 - 2005. Sayadaw encouraged Alexis to teach in 2012. Alexis also completed the Spirit Rock/IMS four-year teacher training program with Jack Kornfield and others, including mentors Joseph Goldstein and Carol Wilson.
Alexis teaches meditation at retreat centers throughout the world. He is featured on the 10% Happier meditation app and is the guiding teacher for Open Door Meditation Community.
Alexis's teaching style is natural and uncrafted. He brings a practical, intuitive and compassionate approach to the development of wisdom.
Ariya Baumann was born and raised in Switzerland. She started to practise meditation during her training as a music and dance teacher at the conservatory in Zürich. In 1992, she went to Myanmar (Burma) and ordained as a nun under Sayadaw U Janaka and for many years she practised Vipassana and Metta meditation under his guidance.
Later she assisted the Sayadaws by translating talks and interviews for foreign meditators. In 2006, she changed to the Chanmyay Myaing Meditation Centre, Yangon, where she assisted Sayadaw U Indaka as
well as teaching the foreign meditators herself. In 2013 Ariya disrobed and returned to Switzerland from where she continues to teach Vipassana and Metta meditation worldwide as well as taking care of her aged father.
Ariya has translated a number of Dhamma books from Burmese to English and German. These books include Mahasi Sayadaw’s Manual of Insight and Sayadaw U Indaka’s books on Metta and The Factors of
Enlightenment. She is a co-founder and president of ‘Metta In Action’ which supports a variety of social and medical projects in Burma, especially nunneries.
Sayadaw U Tejaniya began his Buddhist training as a young teenager in Burma under the late Shwe Oo Min Sayadaw (1913–2002). After a career in business and life as a householder, he has become a permanent monk since 1996. He teaches meditation at Shwe Oo Min Dhamma Sukha Forest Meditation Center in Yangon, Myanmar.
Sayadaw’s relaxed demeanor and easy sense of humor can belie a commitment to awareness he encourages his students to apply in every aspect of their lives. His earlier life as a householder gives him a rare insight into the challenges faced by his lay students. His books, “Don’t Look Down on the Defilements, They Will Laugh at You”, “Awareness alone is not Enough” and “Dhamma Everywhere: Welcoming each Moment with Awareness+Wisdom” aptly characterize his teachings—accessible and true to the traditional teachings of the Buddha.
Grahame White has been involved in Buddhist meditation practice for over 40 years. He began his study of Buddhism in England in 1969 before being ordained as a Buddhist monk for one year in Bodh Gaya, India in 1971. He took a primary role in the establishment of Vipassana meditation in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw in Australia and co-founded the Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre.
He currently leads introductory and day-long courses in Sydney and Wollongong, and also regularly teaches longer intensive retreats in the United States and various countries in Asia. Grahame has also helped pioneer the workshop format of teaching meditation that enhances the transfer of mindfulness from the formal sitting practice into daily life.
Guy Armstrong has been leading insight meditation retreats since 1984 in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. His training included living as a monk for a year in the Thai forest lineage. Guy is a member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council and a guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society. He lives in Woodacre, CA.
Guy is the author of Emptiness: A Practical Guide for Meditators and the corresponding Wisdom Academy course, Emptiness: A Practical Course for Meditators.
Sally Armstrong began practicing Vipassana Meditation in India in 1981. She spent five years in England, where she managed a retreat center and was a founding member of the Sharpham meditation community. When she moved to California in 1988, she continued her dharma service at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in a number of roles, including executive director. Sally began teaching in 1996, and is a Co-Guiding teacher.
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