Tara Brach

Tara Brach, Ph.D., is a leading western teacher of Buddhist meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening. She has practiced and taught meditation for over 35 years, with an emphasis on Vipassana, also called mindfulness or insight meditation. Tara is the senior teacher and founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. 

Tara is a peace activist and an engaged Buddhist.  She is co-founder of the Washington, DC Buddhist Peace Fellowship. A clinical psychologist, she is the author of Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha.  Her upcoming book, True Refuge - Three Gateways to a Fearless Heart will be published by Bantam in 2012.  

Tara is nationally known for her skill in weaving western psychological wisdom with a range of meditative practices. Her approach emphasizes compassion for oneself and others, mindful presence and the direct realization and embodiment of natural awareness.


Jonathan Foust

Jonathan Foust has practiced meditation since 1972. A senior teacher and former president of Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, he has been teaching yoga and meditation for over twenty years in both residential and corporate settings.

Jonathan leads three weekly meditation classes as well as retreats in the DC area and around the country. He is the creator of the "Year of Living Mindfully" program and offers private sessions in Focusing, a body-oriented therapy that is powerfully synergistic with mindfulness meditation.


Rick Hanson

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist and author of Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happniess, Love, and Wisdom, published in 20 languages, as well as Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on the neuroscience of relieving worry and stress and promoting positive relationships and inner peace.

He is founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, and he is an Affiliate of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. He's taught at Oxford, Stanford and Harvard, and in meditation centers worldwide.

He is an expert on self-directed neuroplasticity. His work has been featured on the BBC, NPR, Consumer Reports Health, and U.S. News and World Report, and his articles have appeared in Tricycle Magazine, Insight Journal, and Inquiring Mind. He edits the Wise Brain Bulletin, and his weekly e-newsletter -- Just One Thing -- has over 30,000 subscribers. He appears on Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and other major websites. He has several audio programs with Sounds True.  His first book was Mother Nature: A Mother's Guide to Health in Body, Mind, and Intimate Relationships (Penguin, 2002).

A summa cum laude graduate of UCLA, he is a trustee of Saybrook University. He also served on the board of Spirit Rock Meditation Center for nine years, and was President of the Board of Family Works, a community agency. He began meditating in 1974, trained in several traditions, and leads a weekly meditation gathering in San Rafael, CA. He enjoys rock-climbing and taking a break from emails. He and his wife have two adult children.


Venerable Pannavati Bhikkhuni

Bhikkhuni Pannavati, Co-Abbot, spiritual director and Founder of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage, is a Buddhist monk, ordained in both the Theravada and Mahayana (Chan) traditions with empowerments and transmission from Roshi Bernie Glassman of Zen Peacemakers. She is also a founding circle director of Women of Compassionate Wisdom, a 21st-century, trans-lineage, international Buddhist Order and Sisterhood. She is a former Christian pastor, Taoist monk and initiated yogi, with a doctorate in religion. Ven. Pannavati's insight comes not just from study, but deep personal commitment to the practice and understanding of the central truths in the various spiritual traditions.  

She is a contemplative who is engaged in compassionate action, and an international teacher engaged in advancing humanitarian causes globally.  She was a 2008 recipient of the international Outstanding Buddhist Women's Award, received special commendation from the Princess of Thailand for Humanitarian Acts in 2009, and established the first Thai and Cambodian ordination platforms for women in 2009 and 2011, respectively. 

In 2009, Ven. Pannavati also founded My Place, a residential, transitional, housing program for young people. My Place functions out of her Hermitage, offering training in self-responsibility, positive self-expression, the arts, meditation, education, career training and work readiness, ineraction with adult mentors and referral for crisis internvention.  She is the recipient of the 2011 Women in Engaged Buddhism Award, presented by the Buddhist Council of the Midwest. 


Congressman Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan is the United States Representative for Ohio's 17th congressional district, currently serving his fifth term. A mindfulness practitioner and a long-time champion of efforts to improve the health and well-being of American families and children, Congressman Ryan is also a public advocate for mindfulness-based programs in schools, the military, and the health care system.

For the past several years, he has been meeting with educators, doctors, researchers, and military, business, and environmental leaders to explore innovative programs to use our innate mindfulness as a source of resilience and innovation.

 His book A Mindful Nation comes out in March.


Sharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg is one of the leading meditation and spiritual teachers in the world. She co-founded the Insight Meditation Society with Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein, and is the author of eight books, including 2011's Real Happiness, which made it to #15 on the New York Times extended bestseller.  

Sharon is a frequent writer on The Huffington Post and has been a contributing editor at O, The Oprah Magazine.  She divides her time between Barre, Massachusetts, home of the Insight Meditation Society, and New York City. Sharon is a teacher of Asian meditation practices, focusing on vipassana and brahmavihara meditations. Along with Joseph Goldstein, she also co-founded the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and The Forest Refuge as a long-term meditation retreat center. 


Tsoknyi Rinpoche

For over 15 years, Tsoknyi Rinpoche has been teaching students worldwide about the innermost nature of mind in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Rinpoche is one of those rare teachers whose lighthearted, yet illuminating style appeals to both beginners and advanced practitioners alike. He is truly a bridge between ancient wisdom and the modern mind. His fresh insights into the western psyche have enabled him to teach and write in a way that touches our most profound awareness, using metaphors, stories and images that point directly to our everyday experience. He is widely recognized as a brilliant meditation teacher.  In addition to his new book (April 2012) Open Heart, Open Mind: Awakening the Power of Essence Love, he is the author of two other books, Carefree Dignity and Fearless Simplicity. He has a keen interest in the ongoing dialogue between western research (especially neuroscience) and Buddhist practitioners and scholars.

Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s activity greatly contributes to the preservation of the Buddha Dharma in the East, while nurturing its growth in the West. His personal warmth and compassionate attention greatly enrich and enliven the depth of our learning experience. His dedication to teaching is based on his belief that the precious Buddha Dharma can bring peace and harmony to the world.



Dekila Chungyalpa helps WWF develop partnerships with faith leaders and institutions in order to protect biodiversity, natural resources and environmental services. Her knowledge of five languages – Sikkimese, Tibetan, Hindi, Nepali, and English – as well as her passion for conservation and faith-based work contributes to the success she is having with building WWF’s new Sacred Earth program.

"Faith leaders and institutions are often the backbone of local communities.” By working with them towards wildlife protection or climate change adaptation, WWF ensures that conservation goals inspire and motivate all parts of the community. At the same time, WWF also engages in a very important dialogue – how to enrich and transform societal values and aspirations towards a sustainable future for all life on Earth.

Prior to creating the Sacred Earth program, Dekila spent six years leading WWF's efforts in the Mekong region on large-scale strategies for hydropower and climate change and five years designing and managing community-based conservation projects with WWF's Eastern Himalayas program.

Lou Leonard, Managing Director of Climate Change. Some people think of climate change as something that will happen in the future – a problem for their kids or grandchildren to solve.  As a conservationist who’s worked with communities across America and around the world, Lou’s seen the effects our changing climate is having right now.  From unprecedented droughts and wildfires in the American West, where Lou began his career, to dying coral reefs in East Africa, where he lived and taught, to extreme rainfall in New England, where Lou grew up, climate change is here and getting worse.  

As Managing Director of the Climate Change Program, Lou is the organization’s strategic leader on WWF’s work to fight climate change, including the important role that tropical forests play in that effort.  Lou previously served as WWF’s director of U.S. climate policy, leading our work to support a new climate and clean energy law for the U.S., as well as building WWF’s program on forests & climate change. 

A lawyer by training, Lou has practiced and taught international and domestic energy and conservation law, including with the US government and in the private sector.  He served as special counsel to the Secretary of the Interior specializing in water law and Native American rights.  From there, Lou worked as a senior associate for Latham & Watkins, LLP, specializing in California natural resources and energy issues.  He left Latham to accept a Fulbright Senior Scholarship teaching law at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, where he lived and worked from 2006-2007. While in Tanzania, Lou also supported local communities and civil society groups on land and forest conservation.



Christian Gregory

Chrisstian Gregory has been a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche for more than 20 years. He is currently the Head of Meditation Instruction at the Washington DC Shambhala Center.




Jayne Sutton

Jayne Sutton has been a student of Shambhala Buddhism and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche for more than 10 years. She currently serves as the Director of the Washington DC Shambhala Center.





Jerry Webster 

Jerry Webster has been a student of the teachings and practices of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the founder of Shambhala Buddhism, and of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, his successor, for more than 30 years.  He currently serves as the Shastri, or Head Teacher, of the Washington DC Shambhala Center.