One of America’s leading spiritual teachers and authors, Sharon Salzberg is cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts. She has played a crucial role in bringing Asian meditation practices to the West. The ancient Buddhist practices of vipassana (mindfulness) and metta (lovingkindness) are the foundations of her work.
"Each of us has a genuine capacity for love, forgiveness, wisdom and compassion. Meditation awakens these qualities so that we can discover for ourselves the unique happiness that is our birthright."
- Sharon Salzberg
As a Buddhist monk for over 25 years, Lama Tsony completed two traditional 3-year retreats under the great meditation master Lama Gendun Rinpoche. For 15 years he was the Abbot of Kundrel Ling Monastery in France where hundreds of other Westerners have also completed 3-year retreats. Since 1999 he has been teaching at the Bodhi Path centers under the spiritual guidance of Shamar Rinpoche. In 2005 he began the transfer of his responsibilities in the monastic community in order to foster the growing Bodhi Path projects. Now a lay teacher, Lama Tsony devotes his time to teaching Tibetan Buddhism and meditation practice throughout Europe and the U.S.
Ryūmon H.G. Baldoquín, Sensei
Before the age of twelve, Ryūmon (Hilda) Gutiérrez Baldoquín, Sensei wanted to be a priest. Proclaiming this with joyful abandon to the local priest at her Catholic school, he summarily dismissed her by patting her head and responding: “How sweet, but little girls are not born to be priests.” Internally assessing this man as a naturally misguided adult, she proceeded to live her life, following an unfolding path that led, almost forty years later, to her ordination as a Soto Zen Priest in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Today, she is a Zen teacher and Dharma Heir of Zenkei Blanche Hartman Roshi, and founder of Dragon Gate Zen, “a temple without walls” whose mission is Transforming the world community through fearless intimacy and living compassion.
As a Zen Priest, she has been instrumental in the founding of People of Color and LGBTQ Sanghas in numerous western convert Dharma centers in the U.S., has served in a consulting role to Dharma centers aspiring to become culturally and racially inclusive, trained, mentored and coached young social change activists, political organizers and emerging leaders, and has taught contemplative practices to social work professionals.
Ryūmon Sensei is editor and contributor to the book Dharma, Color and Culture: New Voices in Western Buddhism, and contributor to Women Practicing Buddhism: American Experiences. She has also co-authored and served as advisor to several national publications on cultural literacy, conflict resolution and liberation strategies such as Cultural Considerations in Domestic Violence Cases: A National Judges Bench Book; Face to Face: Solving Conflicts Without Giving In; and Taking the First Step: A Guide for Cultural Programming. She is published in Buddhadharma: The Practioner’s Quarterly; and Turning Wheel: The Journal of Socially Engaged Buddhism.
Hugh Byrne has studied and practiced Buddhism in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He is a co-founder of the Washington Buddhist Peace Fellowship and the Mindfulness Training Institute of Washington. He teaches classes on Buddhism and meditation for the Smithsonian Resident Associate Program and teaches three weekly classes in Washington, DC.
Hugh has trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and in Somatic Experiencing, a mind/body approach to healing trauma. He has a law degree from London University and a Ph.D. in political science from UCLA and has worked extensively on issues of human rights.
Bill Aiken has been a practicing Buddhist since 1968. He currently serves as public affairs director, spokesperson, associate national director and senior lecturer/teacher for Soka Gakkai International (SGI) - USA Buddhist Association, an American Buddhist community rooted in the Nichiren School of Mahayana Buddhism. Located in Washington DC, the SGI-USA Office of Public Affairs seeks to bring a Buddhist-humanist perspective on issues of peace, culture and education; and works with government, religious, educational, civil liberty organizations and others to advance the values of global citizenship, non-violence, nuclear disarmament, free religious expression and the separation of church and state.
Bill has worked extensively in the area of interfaith dialogue and cooperation, serving as co-founder and executive board member of the Washington DC Area Buddhist Network, Board member of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, and chair of its Interfaith Center for Advancing Justice. In addition to authoring numerous articles and essays, Bill has guest lectured at more than 25 colleges and universities and is cited in numerous news outlets nationwide. Bill Aiken has been a practicing Buddhist since 1968.
He currently serves as public affairs director, spokesperson, associate national director and senior lecturer/teacher for Soka Gakkai International (SGI) - USA Buddhist Association, an American Buddhist community rooted in the Nichiren School of Mahayana Buddhism.
Located in Washington DC, the SGI-USA Office of Public Affairs seeks to bring a Buddhist-humanist perspective on issues of peace, culture and education; and works with government, religious, educational, civil liberty organizations and others to advance the values of global citizenship, non-violence, nuclear disarmament, free religious expression and the separation of church and state.
Colman McCarthy is an American journalist, teacher, lecturer, pacifist, an anarchist and long-time peace activist. He has been teaching courses on nonviolence and the literature of peace since 1982. He has taught at many local schools, including Georgetown University Law Center, American University, the University of Maryland, the Washington Center for Internships, Wilson High School, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School and School Without Walls. In 25 years, he has had more than 7,000 students in his classes. He founded the Center for Teaching Peace, a nonprofit that helps schools begin or expand academic programs in Peace Studies.
He is a regular speaker at U.S. colleges, prep schools, high schools, and peace conferences, and gives an average of 50 lectures a year. The titles of his lectures range from "How To Be a Peacemaker" to "Nonviolence In a Time of War."
Colman wrote columns for The Washington Post from 1969 to 1997. His topics ranged from politics, religion, health, and sports to education, poverty, and peacemaking. He has written for The New Yorker, The Nation, The Progressive, Atlantic Monthly, and The Readers Digest. He has written bi-weekly columns for The National Catholic Reporter since 1997. The Smithsonian magazine has said that he is "a man of profound spiritual awareness."
Annie founded Circle Yoga and Budding Yogis to bring the practice of mindful yoga to children, families, and adults in the DC area. She especially enjoys weaving mindfulness practices with yoga postures and creating more mindfulness and compassion for our bodies. She trusts in the ability of these practices to bring balance and ease into her own life and she joyfully shares their gifts with her students.
Annie discovered meditation when she was a confused teenager, and mindfulness meditation became the center of her life in 1999 when she began studying with her main teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. In addition to Thich Nhat Hanh, her main dharma teachers are Pema Chodron, Jack Kornfield, her four children, and the monks and nuns of Plum Village. In October 2009, Annie was ordained into the Buddhist Order of Interbeing.
Annie has a strong interest in using mindfulness yoga to help people with emotional and psychological struggles, and teaches a workshop on “Yoga for Addictions and Compulsions” regularly. She also has taught many children and teenagers with anxiety related disorders, such as OCD, anorexia, and bulimia. She initiated a Therapeutic Yoga program at Circle Yoga in order to provide yoga to all people regardless of their personal struggles.