Rebecca Bradshaw is the guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Center of the Pioneer Valley (www.insightpv.org) in
Easthampton, Massachusetts, and one at the guiding teachers at the Insight
Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. "My passion is encouraging
students to drop into embodied presence, and grounding this presence in
wisdom and lovingkindness. When a sense of love and kindness underlies our
practice, we can explore life deeply in a truly integrated way, bringing
together mind, heart, and body. Wisdom then holds it all in spaciousness. I
enjoy connecting with young people in the Dharma, teaching students on
longer retreats, supporting sangha on a community level, and sharing the
dharma in Spanish."
In my teaching I hope to convey my deep faith that freeing our hearts and minds is possible so we can live our lives from a place of wisdom, care and ease. What we need is honesty, perseverance and a good portion of humor.
Ricahrd Mendius, MD is a neurologist in private practice in Marin County. He trained at UCLA as an epileptologist under Jerome Engel and as a neurobehaviorist under Frank Benson and Jeff Cummings. He has been on the teaching faculty of UCLA, Oregon Health Sciences University, and Stanford University. His meditation practice began in the 1980s with Shinzen Young in Los Angeles, and continues at Spirit Rock with Jack Kornfield, Phillip Moffitt, Ajahn Amaro, and Ajahn Sumedho. He teaches a weekly meditation class at San Quentin. His daughters, Courtney and Taryn, and his son, Ian, are three of his main teachers and companions on the path.
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!
Rob Burbea has practiced and studied Buddhism since 1985. Teaching since 2004, he is currently the Gaia House Resident Teacher and a member of its Teacher Council. He is a co-founder of Sanghaseva, an organization exploring the Dharma through international service work, and also a co-initiator of DANCE, the Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement (www.thedancewebsite.org). Rob is the author of Seeing That Frees: Meditations on Emptiness and Dependent Arising.
More and more, the teaching practice takes me into the community where I engage directly with students. My focus right now is on bringing the continuity of the Dharma into the market place. Although retreating is an important form for self-knowledge, I find myself less interested in the immediate results of a retreat and more interested in helping students investigate their relationship to the ups and downs of their everyday life.
Nature, death and spontaneous freedom continually interweave themselves into my teaching. From the forest of Thailand, where I spent several years, I bring a deep awareness of the healing quality of nature into my teachings. Relaxing into our true nature allows us to realize what it means to be a human being. It is here we find a resting point, a counterbalance to the speed and turbulence of our culture.
My work in hospice brings a sense of urgency into my teaching. Working with the theme of death and dying reveals the here and now of life to us, how important it is to open to each loss, change and transition that marks our path. Life is precious. We need to awaken without hesitation.
Many of us crave to be more calm and centered. We know that life has more to offer than this fleeting material world. For each of us, the Dharma offers an immediacy of freedom for which we do not have to strive or wait. In practice, we can learn to relax deeply into the moment and rediscover spontaneous freedom.