Listed below are East Bay Meditation Center teachers. This list includes EBMC teachers who have taught classes, and at practice groups, at EBMC over the past 2 years.

FOR TEACHERS: Teacher Sangha Resources

Andrés González
Visiting Teacher
Andrés González (he/they/él) is a two-spirit, queer, and trans Mestizo with Native American, Mexican, and European ancestries. He is trained as a psychotherapist, holds a masters degree in social work, and is part of the 2023-2024 BCSP Psychedelic Facilitation Certificate Program cohort. Andrés is a 2023 graduate from East Bay Meditation Center’s inaugural two-year Spiritual Teacher & Leadership (STL) training and in 2019, he participated in Communities Rizing, a 200hr Yoga & Meditation Teacher Training for People of Color. Andrés became a student of Iyengar yoga in 2013 and in 2015, began his Buddhadharma journey with East Bay Meditation Center's beloved BIPOC Sangha. He has since been a devoted practitioner, weaving the wisdom of yoga and Theravada Buddhism with his ancestral curanderismo lineages. Andrés is honored to reside on Huichin land, unceded territory of the Ohlone people (Oakland, CA).
Community Teacher

Ream, pronouns:  She/They. Ream is a queer organizer and somatics practitioner of European ancestry currently in Oakland, CA, organizing for economic and racial justice and immigrants’ rights, working for over 25 years in the labor movement and currently as the Strategic Campaigns Director for the United Domestic Workers’ Union.  Ream is a graduate of EBMC’s PITA and WAS programs and is a co-founder of the Social Justice Sangha.  Ream is a practitioner with Generative Somatics, teaching “Somatics for White Racial Justice Organizers” and holds trauma healing groups with activists and movement leaders.  

Amana Brembry-Johnson
Core Teacher

Amana Brembry Johnson has been a student and practitioner of many spiritual traditions throughout her life. The journey of Vipassana practice began 10 years ago with the early People of Color Retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She completed the Community Dharma Leaders Program in 2017, and is a graduate of the 2020 Spirit Rock Teacher Training. Amana leads meditation and contemplative yoga that interweaves Dharma with movement. She mentors practitioners who wish to deepen their practice and understanding of the teachings. An accomplished visual artist, Amana creates imagery that exposes emotional and spiritual barriers of the heart.

Anjali Sawhney
Visiting Teacher

Anjali Sawhney (she/her/s) is a Certified Integral Life Coach and a trained international Leadership Embodiment Teacher (somatic coaching based on Aikido & Mindfulness). Anjali has coached & facilitated somatics & mindfulness workshops in the non-profit, corporate, and educational sectors including the Richmond Community Foundation, California Endowment, UCSF & City of San Francisco. Anjali also serves directly with untapped BIPOC students, those unhoused, and those in recovery by providing coaching, counseling & series workshops through various non-profits as well as independently. She is currently on the EBMC Program Committee and Leadership Sangha (Board). She is passionate about rallying people through community & spirituality as well as street protests for equity & systemic change, is in awe of nature & live music, & on rare occasions is allowed to groove with her children, Aanika and Jai.

Anne Finger
Community Teacher

Anne Finger has been practicing at East Bay Meditation Center for over a decade. She is committed to bringing the needs and joys of the disabled community to our sangha. In addition to her practice at EBMC, she has also attended retreats at Spirit Rock as well as at Gaia House in the UK and also trained in the chaplaincy training program at Sati Center.

Venmo @Anne-Finger-1

[photo by Shoey Sindel]

Anthony "T” Maes
Community Teacher + Teen Sangha Coordinator

Anthony “T” Maes was born and raised in the East Bay. He has practiced Buddhist meditation since 2003 in the Thai Forest lineage of Theravada Buddhism. In 2009, he travelled to Thailand to deepen his study and practice. He is a teacher at East Bay Meditation Center and at Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, where he teaches week-long teen meditation retreats and leads diversity trainings, multiracial liberation, and relational mindfulness. “T” graduated from UC Berkeley in 2004, completed the yearlong Commit2Dharma program at EBMC in 2011, and the 2017 Facilitator-1 training at Against The Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, where he also teaches Qi Gong. He is currently in the 3-year Organic Intelligence practitioner training.

Anushka Fernandopulle
Community Teacher

Anushka Fernandopulle teaches Insight Meditation retreats and workshops around the world and is on the Teacher's Council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Her teaching is informed by nature, creative arts, political engagement and modern urban life. Anushka has trained for over 30 years in the Theravada Buddhist tradition in the U.S., India, and Sri Lanka and lives in San Francisco. To offer Anushka a gift for her teachings, please do so via Venmo: @anushkaF

Arinna Weisman
Community Teacher

Arinna has studied Insight Meditation since 1979. She teaches in the lineage of the Great Burmese teacher U Bha Khin and was empowered to teach by Ruth Denison and has been teaching since 1988. Arinna is the founding teacher of Insight Meditation Center of the Pioneer Valley in Easthampton, MA, and co-author of A Beginner’s Guide to Insight Meditation. She has spent the last two years living in Thai Forest monasteries. She is interested in how to build healthy communities and so her dharma practice has been infused with political, anti-racist and multicultural perspectives.

Arisika Razak
Core Teacher

Arisika Razak, MPH, is the former Chair of the Women’s Spirituality Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Previously a nurse-midwife, her teachings incorporate diverse spiritual traditions, women's health and healing, multicultural feminisms, queer theory, and diversity theory. Arisika has led national and international healing workshops and ritual celebrations for women for over three decades, as well as embodied spiritual workshops for people of all genders. She has co-facilitated workshops with Marlene Jones at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and regularly leads workshops at EBMC. To offer a gift to support Arisika's teachings, please do so via PayPal:

Armand Volkas
Visiting Teacher

Armand Volkas, MFT, RDT/BCT is a psychotherapist, drama therapist and theatre director. He is Clinical Director of the Living Arts Counseling Center in Emeryville, Associate Professor in the Drama Therapy and Expressive Arts Therapy Programs at CIIS, Director of the Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble and founder of Healing the Wounds of History, an approach that uses the power of drama and expressive arts therapy to heal generational, historical and collective trauma. Volkas is the son of Auschwitz survivors and resistance fighters from World War II. He was moved by his personal struggle with this legacy to address the issues that arose from it: identity, victimization and perpetration, meaning and grief. Healing the Wounds of History helps participants work through the burden of such legacies by transforming their pain into constructive action. At the heart of Armand’s work is a respect for the power of personal story to build bridges between people and cultures.

Augusta Hopkins
Visiting Teacher

Augusta Hopkins (she/her) is a cisgender, white, woman who recognizes that this social location informs her experience. She first meditated as a teen through martial arts, studied Buddhism in college in Korea, and formally became a student of the Dharma at Wat Suan Mokkh in Thailand in 2006. Augusta brings her passion for the practice of embodied awareness to guiding SF Sangha, teaching Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, mentoring new meditation teachers, and helping herself and other white people awaken from the delusion of white supremacy.  She is a student of Rev. angel Kyodo williams, ordained by Peace Activist Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, and authorized to teach as a Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader.  Her style has been called ‘Zen with an edge!’

Ayesha Ali
Visiting Teacher

Ayesha Ali is a storyteller, poet, writer, and mindfulness teacher who believes that meditation practices can confront the delusion of separation that hinders us from connecting to ourselves and hinders the ability to connect to other people.  She has been engaged in mindfulness practice and work for over twenty years. She has shared the liberation to be found in mindfulness with various organizations in the UK and the US dealing with domestic violence and youth in under-resourced communities. She has also worked with returning citizens. She is one of the founders of the Heart Refuge Mindfulness Community for People of Color. She is an Affiliate Teacher with the Insight Community of Washington DC, where she facilitates the Heartwidth Sangha, an all-inclusive community. She is the guiding teacher for IMCW’s BIPOC sangha and part of the teaching team for the LGBTQIA+ sangha. She has published articles in Lion’s Roar Magazine and Tricycle

Bang Nguyen
Community Teacher

Bang Nguyen is a refugee from Vietnam.  He first practiced meditation in 1968 during the war in Vietnam.  Since 1998, he has been practicing meditation in the traditions of Plum Village (Thich Nhat Hanh), Soto Zen, and insight meditation.  He has taught meditation to people of color, LGBTIQ, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual communities. Bang is a member of the East Bay Meditation Center’s Dharma Study Group and works as a researcher in cancer prevention and control to address health disparities in medically underserved communities.

Beth Smith
Visiting Teacher

Beth has practiced meditation, according to the Vipassana tradition, for more than 10 years. She works as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, supervising and teaching psychotherapist trainees. She also volunteers as a Buddhist Chaplain at Laguna Honda Hospital and is continuing her training in spiritual caregiving, which began at the Sati Center and continues through Clinical Pastoral Education at the Pacific Institute of Essential Conversations. Beth regularly teaches medical and mental health providers on topics related to disability liberation and unlearning racism. She has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.

Carol Cano
Core Teacher
Carol Cano began her practice 30 years ago at Wat Kow Tahm in Thailand and has actively engaged in building communities and teaching Dharma internationally. She has completed a myriad of training programs at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and is currently participating in their Retreat Teacher Training. Carol is a core teacher and was a former board member of East Bay Meditation Center. Her unique teachings are deeply grounded in Basque, Native American and Buddhist influences that braid the Dharma along indigenous wisdom and Earth-based practices. Carol reminds us to keep grounded in our hearts as we uphold spiritual ideals and encourages us to remain balanced within the demands of modern life. To offer a gift to Carol to support her teachings, please do so via Venmo: @Carol-Cano-4
Charlie Johnson
Founding Teacher

Charlie Johnson teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, yoga, qigong, meditation, and the Dharma in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. He has been practicing meditation and yoga since 1972 and teaching for over fifteen years. Charlie is a certified yoga instructor, a member of the California Yoga Teachers Association and is registered with the Yoga Alliance. He has served on the boards of directors of EBMC and Spirit Rock Meditation Center.

Chinh Nguyen
Community Teacher

Chinh Nguyen has practiced in the traditions of Soto Zen, Shambhala and is an ordained member with the Order of Interbeing, established by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. He is Co-Vice-President of Mindful Peacebuilding, a non-profit organization that gives attention to mindfulness, honoring inclusiveness, and strengthening the capacity for deep listening and loving speech. He teaches InterPlay, a movement and storytelling practice that builds community. He has been enjoying arranging flowers and greenery and studies Ikebana at the San Francisco Shambhala Center. He believes that flower arranging can be playful, satisfying and fun.

Christian Howard
Visiting Teacher

Christian Howard (they/them) is a writer, narrative designer, and cultural strategist who uses storytelling to explore introspection and transformative futures with communities and organizations. Their work in the US and abroad focuses on cultivating mindful leadership practices that support sustainable social and organizational change. Their spiritual practice is based primarily in Tibetan Buddhist traditions (primarily Gelug and Nyingma, with a strong component of Dzogchen and "mind training" in the Dalai Lama'’s lineage), and integrates research on the experience of emotion as a path for developing the happiness of being for ourselves and in relationship with others. They are a graduate of EBMC’s sixth Practice in Transformative Action (PiTA) cohort and has served as an Apprentice Teacher for the PitA7 and PiTA8 cohorts.

Crystal Johnson
Community Teacher

Crystal Johnson has been involved at EBMC almost from the beginning, first as Volunteer Coordinator for the Friday night practice group (now the Mahasangha), then as a founding member of the Program Committee from 2010-2017.  She has recently joined the LSangha (Board) as part of the Finance Committee.  She is a graduate of the Commit2Dharma program at the East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC), and of the Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP4) and Community Dharma Leader (CDL5) Program offered by Spirit Rock. During her time in CDL5, she worked with other white practitioners to develop an 8-session, peer-facilitated, Whiteness and Racism Study Group curriculum that was used by about two-thirds of the white practitioners to support their participation in the CDL community. She has co-created, and co-teaches programs for white dharma practitioners seeking to build awareness, knowledge and skills to challenge the dynamics of white privilege and race-based oppression, and to create truly diverse sangha.

David Foecke
Visiting Teacher

David Foecke is a social entrepreneur, father, husband, and activist. He is a co-founder of the East Bay Meditation Center. In a former life, he was the founding Executive Director of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, co-founder of Washington Peace Action, and of Cafe Flora in Seattle. He began his meditation practice in 1982 and has spent more than two years of his life in fifty-plus intensive silent retreats, with over one hundred teachers from five different traditions. His current practice is centered around co-parenting an energetic youngster.

Dawn Haney
Community Teacher

Dawn Haney brings Buddhist-informed activism to movements from climate justice to white anti-racist organizing. She has been teaching and training for close to 20 years, on feminism, anti-racism, violence prevention, and more. A dharma student for the past 12 years in the Theravada tradition, she is currently in Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leaders training program.

To support the teaching, please donate via Paypal: Venmo: dawnmarissa
Dawn Mauricio
Visiting Teacher

Dawn has been practicing and studying Insight Meditation since 2005, sitting silent residential retreats in Canada, United States, Thailand, and Burma. Since discovering the Dharma, she has graduated from Spirit Rock's Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation Training and the Dedicated Practitioners' Program, as well as the first teacher development group of True North Insight. Dawn teaches with a playful, dynamic, and centered approach, currently leading a weekly sitting group, daylong retreats, and mindfulness workshops. She is a meditation retreat teacher for teenagers with Inward Bound Mindfulness Education and is currently in Spirit Rock's 4-year Teacher Training.

Debra Kerr
Founding & Core Teacher

Debra Kerr has meditated since 1991, and is influenced by both Vipassana and Dzogchen practices. A graduate of Community Dharma Leader training at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, she co-founded and served on the board of the East Bay Meditation Center from 2000-2006. In addition to teaching and leading support groups for meditation practitioners around the Bay Area, Deb teaches mindfulness meditation in assisted living and long term care facilities, where she also works as a speech pathologist.

Devin Berry
Community Teacher

Devin Berry is a co-founder of Deeper Still, the teen sangha at EBMC. He has been practicing meditation since 1999, both in the Plum Village tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh and in the Vipassana practice of Spirit Rock and IMS. Devin completed the first Commit2Dharma program at EBMC and is a graduate of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction teacher training practicum.

Donald Rothberg
Community Teacher

Donald Rothberg, Ph.D., a member of the Teachers Council at Spirit Rock, has practiced Insight Meditation since 1976, and has also received training in Tibetan Dzogchen and Mahamudra practice and the Hakomi approach to body-based psychotherapy. Formerly on the faculties of the University of Kentucky, Kenyon College, and Saybrook Graduate School, he currently writes and teaches classes, groups, and retreats on meditation, transforming the judgmental mind, mindful communication and wise speech, working skillfully with conflict, and socially engaged Buddhism. He has helped to guide a number of six-month to two-year training programs in socially engaged spirituality, both Buddhist-based and interfaith—through Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Saybrook, and Spirit Rock. He is the author of The Engaged Spiritual Life: A Buddhist Approach to Transforming Ourselves and the World. Payment Info - Paypal:

Duncan Ryūken Williams
Visiting Teacher

Duncan Ryūken Williams was ordained as a Soto Zen Buddhist priest at Kotakuji Temple (Nagano, Japan) in 1993. He served as a Buddhist chaplain at Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. in 2000. Currently, he is Professor in and the Chair of the USC School of Religion and Director of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture in Los Angeles. Previously, he held the Ito Distinguished Chair of Japanese Buddhism at UC Berkeley and served as the Director of Berkeley’s Center for Japanese Studies. Williams is the author of the LA Times bestseller American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War (Harvard University Press, 2019) about Buddhism and the WWII Japanese American internment; The Other Side of Zen: A Social History of Sōtō Zen Buddhism in Tokugawa Japan (Princeton University Press, 2005), and editor of 7 books including Issei Buddhism in the AmericasAmerican Buddhism, Hapa Japan, and Buddhism and Ecology. He is also a National Co-Chair of Tsuru for Solidarity, a Japanese American racial justice organization.

emiko yoshikami
Visiting Teacher
emiko (she/they) was raised with the Dharma through the Western Insight tradition and began practicing Vipassana meditation as a child. Ancestrally, she comes from a long lineage of Jodo Shinshu Buddhist priests. Seeded with Insight meditation, steeped in the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, guided by Kuan Yin, touched deeply by Dzogchan, and reaching toward Higashi Honganji, emiko honors the many Dharma streams that flow through their life. They are a graduate of the East Bay Meditation Center’s first Spiritual Teacher & Leadership training and is currently a participant in the Sacred Mountain Sangha’s Dharmapala Training. She facilitates various sanghas locally and internationally, and works to create Dharma spaces by and for marginalized groups such as sex workers, and those disabled, neurodiverse, and/or chronically ill. As a mixed-raced, mixed-Buddhist queer, they practice holding contradictions with equanimity as they strive to co-create a more just and compassionate world.
Francisco Morillo Gable
Visiting Teacher

Francisco studies and practices Early Buddhism with Bhikkhu Analayo (Barre Center for Buddhist Studies) and Gil Fronsdal (Insight Meditation Center, IMC).  After fifteen years of rehabilitation with the Dhamma following an accident in 2003 that rendered him disabled, and after completing several training programs at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and IMC, he devoted himself to sharing teachings.  The focus of his efforts is serving underserved groups and the greater Spanish speaking world. He was born and raised in the Dominican Republic until ten years old. He is married to the man with whom he’s been together for more than twenty years.

Gregory Mengel
Community Teacher
Gregory Mengel PhD is an educator and writer working on social and ecological healing. Gregory cofounded Beyond Separation, which offers classes and workshops on racism and the culture of whiteness for white-identified people. He also teaches Untraining White Liberal Racism with the Untraining and is part of the teaching team for White and Awakening in Sangha at EBMC. Gregory’s writing can be found at as well as Medium and Huffington Post.
Helen Weng, PhD.

Helen Weng, PhD is an assistant professor of Psychiatry, and a core faculty member at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and affiliate faculty member at the Neuroscape Center, UCSF. She is trained as a contemplative neuroscientist and clinical psychologist, and has studied how compassion meditation changes brain responses to human suffering. Helen’s current research uses machine learning techniques to understand brain states that occur during meditation. She is working to increase the diversity of meditators included in contemplative neuroscience studies, using community engagement and social justice frameworks.

Imee Contreras
Visiting Teacher

Imee Contreras is the founder of Mindfulness Asia, and co-founder and principal teacher of Philippine Insight Meditation Community. Mentored by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Tara Brach, Ph.D., and Carol Cano, M.A., she received formal training at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. She is a mentor for Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach's Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program and The Power of Awareness course, serves as a Cross-Cultural Mindfulness teacher and Board Member at Braided Wisdom and an affiliate teacher at UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center.  She is a visiting teacher in various meditation centers around the world, a founding Advisory Council member of the Global Compassion Coalition, and is credentialled by the International Mindfulness Teachers Association.

Jack Kornfield
Discussion Partner

Jack Kornfield trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India and Burma. He has taught meditation internationally since 1974 and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. He is a founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He holds a PhD in clinical psychology, and is a husband and father. His books include "A Path with Heart"; "Buddha's Little Instruction Book"; "Teachings of the Buddha"; "Seeking the Heart of Wisdom"; "Living Dharma"; "A Still Forest Pool"; "Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart"; "After the Ecstasy, the Laundry"; and "The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace". His new book is entitled "The Wise Heart".

JD Doyle
Community Teacher

JD Doyle is a Core Teacher at EBMC and helped found the Alphabet Sangha. JD is in the Spirit Rock teacher training and completed the Dedicated Practitioner program and the Community Dharma Leader program. They’ve practiced Buddhism since 1995 in the U.S., Thailand, and Burma. For over twenty-five years, they worked as a public school teacher focusing on issues of equity and access. They are committed to celebrating the diversity of our human sangha, addressing the impact of racism on our communities, expanding concepts of gender, and living in ways that honor the sacredness of the Earth. To offer a gift to support JD's teachings, please do so via Venmo: @JD-Doyle3

Jeff Haozous
Visiting Teacher

Jeff Haozous began meditating in 1996. In 2021, he completed Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Teacher Training Program. Jeff has taught retreats at Spirit Rock, Insight Meditation Society, and other retreat centers. He is a Chiricahua/Warm Springs Apache and was Chairman of the Fort Sill Apache Tribe for sixteen years. Jeff lives in the Cochise Stronghold, a sacred site in his tribe’s homeland in southeast Arizona, where he hikes, meditates in nature and practices compassion.

Jenn Biehn
Movement Teacher

For the past 25 years, Jenn Biehn has taught Tai Chi Chih (TCC) – Joy through Movement.  TCC consists of 20 easy-to-learn accessible movements that emphasize a soft continuity of motion and can be practiced in silence or with guided visualizations.  She has taught TCC to those healing from trauma in various community based organizations.  At three month meditation retreat in 2013, Jenn adapted the movements to embody the Paramis and Brahma Viharas and has been delighted to share these at EBMC daylongs. Jenn loves including embodied awareness and healing movement in her life-long journey of building community. To offer a gift to support the teachings, please do so via PayPal: 

Jessy Zapanta
Movement Teacher

Founder of Healing Without Hierarchy & Kapwa Flow Somatic Meditation, Jessy Zapanta (he, she, siya) is a community builder, educator, and survivor-centered mindful movement and meditation facilitator born and raised in the working-class, BIPOC-majority parts of the lands known as the Bay Area (Ohlone territory). Jessy is a graduate of EBMC’s Practice in Transformative Action Program and inaugural two-year Spiritual Teacher and Leadership Program, and is a co-founder of Dharma in Motion Sangha. Experienced in western and Asian bodywork, counseling, Raja Yoga, qigong, somatics, and improv, he has held space for queer, trans, gender-diverse, disabled, and neurodivergent folks of all ages. Siya is passionate about radical inclusion and access, inviting the collective needs of participants into the room. With roots spanning across Pangasinan and Pampanga, Nagasaki, and Fujian, Jessy’s path includes reclaiming diverse ancestral teachings, trusting intuition, and building intersectional, intergenerational communities of care.

Jonathan Relucio
Movement Teacher

For a decade, Jonathan Relucio taught trauma-informed yoga, meditation, and mindfulness in urban schools, mental health clinics and juvenile detention centers as a Senior Trainer for Niroga Institute. He has completed Spirit Rock's Mindfulness, Yoga and Meditation Training; Communities Rizing teacher training program; and East Bay Meditation Center's Spiritual Teacher and Leadership training.  Jonathan facilitates transformation in social justice movements with Rockwood Leadership Institute; integrates trauma-informed mindfulness with restorative circles for healing and racial equity as co-founder of; and serves on the Healing Advisory council for Filipino Advocates for Justice.

With over 20 years of experience in social services, community organizing, training, and leadership development, Jonathan values yoga, meditation, indigenous medicine and dance as practices for liberation that heal us from the impact of oppressive systems.


Venmo: @JonathanRelucio

Kamala Itzel Hayward
Visiting Teacher

Itzel Hayward (aka Rev. Kamala) has helped guide people to experience the Dharma through all forms and stages of relationships for nearly 10 years. She is particularly passionate about coaching individuals to remember their Divine nature and open courageously and mindfully to Love. She completed the first Commit2Dharma program offered at EBMC and is trained as an Integral Yoga senior teacher and minister. She has been sharing yoga, meditation, and mindful meditation since 2010.

Kazu Haga
Community Teacher

Kazu Haga is the founder of the East Point Peace Academy, a core member of the Ahimsa collective and the Fierce Vulnerability Network and author of Healing Resistance: A Radically Different Response to Harm. He is a practitioner, trainer and teacher of nonviolence, restorative justice, organizing and mindfulness and works with incarcerated people, youth, and activists from around the country. He has over 20 years of experience in nonviolence and social change work, and has been an active trainer since 2000. He resides in Oakland, CA.   

Keisha Turner
Movement Teacher

Keisha Turner came to the practice of yoga as a teen.  Later when she was introduced to Vipassana meditation, she felt compelled to deepen her practice and study of these transformative teachings.  In the lineage of her teacher, Julie Dohrman, Keisha’s alignment-based yoga classes offer space for fellow practitioners to connect with their highest intentions by prioritizing self-care and liberation from oppressive constructs.  Keisha also teaches dance, performs, and facilitates arts-based, anti-oppression workshops throughout the U.S. and abroad.  She is a blossoming root woman and healer whose creative enterprise, EarthChild, is a collection of love-offerings comprised of performance, yoga classes, and body care products designed to celebrate, heal, and uplift oppressed communities. To offer a gift to support Keisha's teachings, please do so via Venmo: @IamEarthChild 

Kenji Oshima
Community Teacher

Kenji Oshima graduated from both of EBMC’s yearlong programs, Commit to Dharma and Practice in Transformative Action. As someone who has lived with CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) for over two decades, he was on the team that addressed accessibility issues for EBMC at the old Broadway Street location. Kenji moved to the Bay Area in 1993 to act as a community organizer, nationally, for grassroots gay Asian and Pacific Islander HIV prevention groups. As a spiritual and life coach he focuses on other entrepreneurial types who also grapple with ADHD. He has a unique perspective as a bi-racial/bi-cultural/bi-coastal, disabled, gay man.

Kevin Martin
Community Teacher

Kevin Martin, MA, has practiced in the Insight tradition for a decade.  He is currently a student in the Dharmacharya Lay Ordination program guided by Ven. Pannavati Bhikkhuni and Ven. Pannidipa Bhikku.  His socially engaged practice centers uprooting patriarchal systems in dharma communities.  In 2016, Kevin completed Practice in Transformative Action program.  He also serves as a Community Teacher at Insight Richmond based in the Bay Area. 

Kimber Simpkins-Nuccio
Visiting Teacher
Kimber Simpkins-Nuccio is a white, cis, queer mom and writer who has taught movement and mindfulness in the Bay area for twenty years, bringing body love and social justice to her teaching and learning.  She completed the Dedicated Practitioner's Program at Spirit Rock in 2016, teacher training at Mindfulness Training Institute in 2017, and racial justice facilitation training with Holistic Resistance in 2020. She’s honored to be part of EBMC’s Spiritual Teacher Leadership program. A long time dharma practitioner, she has witnessed first hand how the practice of mindfulness has brought more compassion, connection, and joy to her relationships and her life.
Venmo: @Kimber-Simpkins
Kinshasa Bennett
Visiting Teacher

Kinshasa (she/her). Queer, African-American, pet parent. Psychologist by day. Magic weaver by night (and also day). Currently integrating sitting, dancing, praying, and vocal meditation practices. Incorporating ritual, indigeneity, and authenticity into my life as a Buddhist and keeping sangha in my heart. Launched from EBMC in 2009 and Spirit Rock in 2011. You can find me watching Sci-fi, women’s sports, or dancing in my living room.

Kimi Mojica
Community Teacher

First introduced to mindfulness and the teachings of the Buddha in 2003, through Thich Nhat Hahn and the Plum Village tradition, Kimi has been student and practitioner ever since. A Community Teacher at East Bay Meditation Center, their commitment to racial, gender and healing justice is evident through the dynamic and ways they hold space and as a consultant, facilitator, coach, and conflict transformation practitioner. 

As a sangha builder and community leader, Kimi is a graduate of EBMC’s Commit2Dharma program, Spiritual Teacher and Leader training program, has served as former Board Chair and later co-founder of Restorative Practices for Dharma Practitioners (RPDP) deep refuge group. Beyond EBMC they have had the privilege and joy of teaching at various sangha affinity groups (BIPOC, QTPOC, Queer/Trans/Non-Binary folx); daylongs and retreats at Braided Wisdom, Dhamma Dena among others. Kimi loves connecting through ritual, movement and nature, centering liberatory practices that cultivate wholeness and well-being in everyday life.

To offer a gift to help support Kimi's teachings, please do so via Venmo: kimi-mojica

Kitsy Schoen
Community Teacher

Kitsy Schoen, LCSW, has been practicing Vipassana meditation for over 30 years. She is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader Program at Spirit Rock and was a member of EBMC's Leadership Sangha for 6.5 years. Kitsy has facilitated groups, classes and workshops since 1982. Inspired in large part by Reverend Ryumon Hilda Gutiérrez Baldoquín, Kitsy is passionate about exploring the intersection of mindfulness and multicultural awareness.

Konda Mason
Community Teacher

Konda Mason was introduced to Tibetan Buddhism in 1982. Her love for Vipassana began in 1996, working with Jack Kornfield at the Vallecitos Retreat Center. She has been teaching at Spirit Rock since 1997, starting as a yoga teacher.  Konda’s dharma training includes the East Bay Meditation Center Commit to Dharma program, Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader and she is a recent graduate of the 2020 Spirit Rock Teacher Training program. Konda has taught daylongs, retreats and workshops. 

In addition to her spiritual pursuits, Konda is a social entrepreneur and thought leader working at the intersection of social and financial justice and planetary healing. She is passionate about reversing the harm the extractive economy has had on all living systems. Her  work with RUNWAY and the founding of Jubilee Justice, Inc. and Potlikker Capital encapsulates the restorative work she does with Black urban entrepreneurs and Black rural farmers, respectively.  She is driven by her desire to witness a world that is environmentally regenerative, spiritually fulfilling, socially just and economically equitable.

She sits on the Boards of Directors of  On Being with Krista Tippett, Lion’s Roar Publications, One Generation and is a Trustee at Mills College in Oakland, CA.

Larry Ward, PhD
Visiting Teacher

Larry Ward is a senior teacher in Buddhist Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh's Plum Village tradition, the author of the book America's Racial Karma.

Dr. Ward brings forty years of international experience in organizational change and local community renewal to his work at the Lotus Institute. He holds a PhD in Religious Studies with an emphasis on Buddhism and the neuroscience of meditation, and has trained at the Trauma Resource Institute. Dr. Ward has taught courses at Claremont Graduate University and the University of the West. As a teacher, Dr. Ward interweaves insights with personal stories and resounding clarity that express his Dharma name, “True Great Sound.”

Lama Tsomo
Visiting Teacher

Lama Tsomo is an American lama, author, and co-founder of the Namchak Foundation. She followed a path of spiritual inquiry and study that ultimately led to her ordination as one of the few American lamas in Tibetan Buddhism. Lama Tsomo learned Tibetan to study with her teacher Tulku Sangak Rinpoche, and now shares the teachings of the Namchak lineage in the US and abroad. Lama Tsomo holds an M.A. in Counseling Psychology and is the author of the award winning Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling? An Introduction and Guide to Tibetan Buddhist Practice. She is passionate about reaching young people and supporting those working for positive social change.

Larry Yang
Founding Teacher

Larry Yang teaches meditation nationally, and has spent much energy to deepen Dharma teachings within multicultural communities. Larry is a core teacher of EBMC. He is on the Teachers’ Council and the Board at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and is the Guiding Teacher of Insight Community of the Desert in Palm Springs, CA. Larry is trained as a psychotherapist and has spent six months as a Buddhist monk in Thailand. He considers retreat practice, family practice, livelihood practice, and householder practice all integral to a spiritual path towards Freedom. He is one of the teachers who coordinate the Community Dharma Leadership training program cultivating future leadership in the dharma.

Leslie Booker
Visiting Teacher

Booker brings her heart and wisdom to the intersection of Dharma, embodied wisdom, and activism. Working for over a decade with the most vulnerable populations in NYC, she now shares her expertise nationally, speaking on the need to create culturally responsive environments, and changing the paradigm of self and community care. Booker is a co-author of Best Practices for Yoga in a Criminal Justice Setting, a contributor to Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality’s report on Gender & Trauma, YOGA: The Secret of Life, and Sharon Salzberg's book Happiness at Work. Booker is on faculty with the Engaged Mindfulness Institute, Off the Mat Into the World, Bending Towards Justice and the Yoga and Dharma Training at Spirit Rock. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Mindful Yoga and Meditation training (2012), Community Dharma Leaders’ Training (2017), and will complete Spirit Rock’s Teacher Training in 2020.

Lev (Fresh!) White
Community Teacher

Fresh! White, CPCC, is a Certified Professional, Mindfulness & Life Coach. He has been practicing Mindfulness since 2007, and is currently a student of Spirit Rock’s Dharma Leadership Program. In addition to Co-leading the Teen Sangha at EBMC, Fresh! is also a rotating teacher at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, and leads a group for Trans* and Gender Variant folks in Oakland as well. Fresh! earned his Early Childhood Education Credits at Skyline College when he committed to being a classroom assistant and volunteer back in the 90s. Since 2003, Fresh! has facilitated or co-lead over 100 discussions in San Francisco and Marin, in schools and workplaces, with a goal of ending bullying for all, with a focus on creating safety for the LBGTQI communities. To offer dana to Fresh!, please do so via the following:

Venmo is: freshencounter.
CashApp: $FreshWhite


Lisa Fujie Parks
Visiting Teacher

Lisa Fujie Parks is a multiracial Japanese and white queer woman who grew up part of her childhood in Japan and makes a home in Oakland, California, the lands of the Ohlone people. Lisa practices the dharma in the Plum Village tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and in other traditions, in service to wholeness and solidarity. Lisa graduated from East Bay Meditation Center's (EBMC) inaugural Spiritual Teacher and Leadership (STL) training, and also completed the Commit2Dharma program and Practice in Transformative Action program. Lisa is a parent to a young adult in a two-home blended family and works in public health as a facilitator, coach, and advocate. Lisa also serves as the Board Co-Chair of Our Family Coalition, a community organization advancing equity for the full and expanding spectrum of LGBTQ+ families and children. Lisa's favorite ritual is to go outside to give gratitude to our human and more-than-human relatives and ancestors and listen for guidance. If you would like to support Lisa's teachings, please do so via Venmo: @Lisa-Parks-12 or PayPal:

Lisa Moore
Community Teacher

Lisa Moore began practicing in 1998, with the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. She joined the EBMC community by participating in the first Commit2Dharma study series where she began to deepen her practice of sangha. She is currently working with the programming committee of the Center and in Dharmacharya training with the Ven. Pannavati. She teaches at San Francisco State University where she supports the next generation of public health, harm reduction and social justice advocates.

Lola Davina
Workshop Facilitator

Lola Davina (she/her pronouns) is the author of the "Thriving in Sex Work" series of self-help books for sex workers. She has spent almost thirty years in and around the sex industry, working as a stripper, dominatrix, porn actress, and escort over a fifteen-year period. She earned an M.A. in Human Sexuality and an M.S. in Nonprofit Fundraising, and writes a self-care and wellness column for Lola has led multiple mindfulness, self-care, and self-compassion workshops for sex workers both in the United States and abroad.

Louije Kim
Community Teacher

Louije Kim is an Oakland-based therapist and dharma practitioner who has been cultivating a Vipassana practice since 2009. Louije completed the East Bay Meditation Center’s (EBMC) Commit to Dharma program in 2012 and is a graduate of Spirit Rock's most recent iteration of the Dedicated Practitioner Program. Currently, they are enrolled in the Community Dharma Leader program. They are deeply committed to the personal and collective liberation of local communities.

Marcella Raimondo
Visiting Teacher

Marcella Raimondo, PhD, MPH is a passionate and spirited clinical trainer speaking from her
heart on social justice and eating disorders since 1995. In 1997, Marcella worked with
About-Face, a nonprofit organization that addresses media impact on body image serving as
the Director of Media Literacy until 2005. Today she is on the About-Face Board of Founders
and a consultant. She is also on the Advisory Board for the Association of Size Health and
Diversity (ASDAH), on the Advisory Board of Eating Disorder Recovery Support (EDRS) as
Past President. and serves as Co-Chair of the Academy of Eating Disorders Diversity Equity
and Inclusion committee. Marcella received her B.A. from UC Berkeley, and Master’s Degree
in Public Health from the University of Michigan. Marcella’s desire to address eating
disorders drove her to pursue her doctorate in clinical psychology, receiving her PhD in
2012. She completed her post- doc internships at an eating disorder outpatient program and
an eating disorder residential program for adolescents. Marcella currently serves as a
Licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY # 27037) in Kaiser Permanente’s eating disorder clinic in
Oakland and runs a private practice. Marcella herself recovered from anorexia nervosa over
20 years ago. Marcella trains in Kajukenbo at  Hand to Hand  Kajukenbo Self Defense Center in
Oakland. She holds a second degree black belt and enjoys the exploratory path her training
gives her. Her recovery and her martial arts training inspire her dedication to multicultural
body nurturance and community celebration.
For more information about Marcella's trainings, go to

Margarita Loinaz, MD
Community Teacher

Margarita Loinaz, MD has trained in the Tibetan and Theravada traditions. She met her root teacher Kalu Rimpoche in 1977 and is a Dzogchen student of Lama Drimed Norbu. She is a graduate of the first Community Dharma Leader’s Program at SRMC and began teaching in l997 leading the Women of Color Sitting Group in Marin City with Marlene Jones and co-organizing the first People of Color Retreat in 1999. Her current teaching integrates Dzogchen practice with social justice and environmental awareness. As a physician, she served Day Laborers, the Latinx and Homeless communities in San Francisco. She is a grandmother and originally from the Dominican Republic.

Marti Paschal
Visiting Teacher

Marti Paschal began her meditation practice in 2005 and has since studied with teachers at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, East Bay Meditation Center, San Francisco Zen Center, and Vajrapani Institute. She completed the yearlong Commit2Dharma program at EBMC and the Contemplative Caregiver Course at the San Francisco Zen Center in 2014. She recently completed the coursework for the two-year Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Training Program with teachers Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach. She is also a Compassion Cultivation Facilitator in Training enrolled in the Compassion Cultivation Training Teacher Certification Program, a course developed by the Center for Compassion & Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University.

Master John Ellis
Community Teacher
Master John W. Ellis IV is a martial artist with more than 35 years of experience in helping people strengthen the connections between the body, mind and spirit. He teaches toddlers, youth, adults, senior citizens, athletes, the physically challenged, and autistic children. He has more than 40 years of meditation practice in Christian, Zen, Vipassana and New Thought traditions; and has written about martial arts, spirituality, and alternative health for major media. Master Ellis leads Ananda Martial Arts and Fitness Academy in Oakland, where he teaches traditional martial arts, self-defense and Five Realms Meditative Movement.
Melvin Escobar
Core Teacher
Melvin Escobar is a bilingual-bicultural Dharma teacher, licensed psychotherapist, and certified yoga instructor. He is a graduate of EBMC’s Commit to Dharma, and for more than a decade has served EBMC in a variety of roles, including on the development team for Resilience, Refuge and (R)evolution, a six-month leadership program for People of Color. He is a U.S.-born bilingual-bi-cultural Salvadoran who haswalked the path of service for most of his life, drawing on his life experiences as a working-class queer man of color. Having encountered the priceless wisdom embodied in Buddhism and Yoga, he continues daily to learn the revolutionary potential of body-centered contemplative practices for personal and social healing.
To support the teachings, please do so via:
Venmo: @Melvin-Escobar
Michele Ku
Community Teacher & Family Sangha Coordinator

Michele Ku is a long term Insight Meditation practitioner, a mindfulness teacher, therapist and a parent. She teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at Kaiser Oakland. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock Meditation Center's Community Dharma Leaders Program in 2012 and the Dedicated Practitioner’s Program in 2019. She is the co-founder, coordinator and teacher of the Family Sangha at EBMC.  One of her main spiritual practices is bringing mindfulness to everyday life and within the family. 

Mushim (Patricia) Ikeda
Founding & Core Teacher

Mushim Patricia Ikeda is an internationally-known secular mindfulness and Buddhist teacher working primarily with justice activists and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) meditation practitioners. A core teacher at East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, California, she is an author whose writing has been published in Lion's Roar, Tricycle, Buddhadharma and various anthologies. She is the founding and guiding teacher of EBMC's Practice in Transformative Action, a yearlong program that completed its tenth cohort in July 2023, providing secular mindfulness training for justice activists and agents of change. Mushim was selected by Lion's Roar Buddhist media magazine as one of twenty-six "Great Buddhist Teachers" in the January 2022 issue. If you would like to make a gift to our beloved teacher, please do so via Venmo: @MushimPatricia-Ikeda or PayPal:

Myokei Caine-Barrett, Shonin
Visiting Teacher
Current Bishop of the Nichiren Order of North America [NONA], Myokei Caine-Barrett is also Resident Priest and Guiding Teacher of the Nichiren Buddhist Sangha of Texas' Myoken-ji Temple. She is the first Western woman, and first person of African-Japanese descent, to be ordained in the Nichiren Shu tradition as well as the first female Bishop in NONA. Myokei Shonin leads two incarcerated sanghas at Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and has also worked to support the healing of emotional issues of military service with Healing Warrior Hearts. She has been a Buddhist practitioner for over 50 years, as well as a Religious Science Practitioner for the past 13 years.
nialla rose
Dharma in Motion - Movement Teacher
nialla rose is a certified Tai Chi Chih teacher. A Buddhist for many years, she is a member of the Order of Interbeing and has been meditating since she was a teenager. She loves to walk as slowly as possible. She loves to cook and eat, read and write. She also enjoys playing games. 
Nils Heymann
Visiting Teacher

Nils Heymann is a native of El Salvador. He started meditating when he was 16 years old. He is influenced by the Catholic mystics and Hindu saints. He ordained in Thailand in Ajahn Chah's Theravada Forest tradition from 1993 to 2000. He teaches in a variety of venues including Common Ground Meditation Center in Minneapolis. He is a member of the EBMC Alphabet Brothers of Color Deep Refuge Group. His teachers are Ajahn Viradhammo and Luang Por Sumedho.

Noliwe Alexander
Community Teacher

Noliwe Alexander has been a student of Vipassana meditation for over 20 years. Throughout this time of deep devotion to the Dharma, Noliwe has become a dedicated practitioner, meditation teacher of various retreats and sitting groups, day-longs and class series programs. She dedicates her coaching & Dharma practice to the POC, LGBTQIA+, At Risk and Elder communities. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock's CDL4 program, EBMC's Commit 2 Dharma program in 2010 and a graduate of Spirit Rock Teacher Training from 2017-2020. As founder of Peace At Any Pace, Inc, Noliwe offers a Journey to Healing from Intergenerational & Ancestral Trauma retreats, presented exclusively to people from the African Diaspora.  Noliwe is a wisdom keeper and humbled by the presence of her ancestor’s spirit that lives within and walks beside her.

Patrick Brown
Community Teacher

Patrick Brown is originally from Chicago and a graduate of the EBMC Commit to Dharma Program. He is currently practicing in the Community Dharma Leaders Training Program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He is on the Leadership Team of the EBMC People of Color Sangha, the EBMC Alphabet Sangha and the Alphabet Brothers of Color Deep Refuge Sangha.

Paul Ciske
Community Teacher

Paul Ciske, Ph.D., has a private practice in Oakland called “Your Well-Being." He uses methodologies for communicating with the nervous system to improve the capacity of his clients to fully participate in life. He has been a student of Vipassana meditation since 1993 and participated in the Senior Student program, Dedicated Practitioner Program, and Advanced Practitioner’s Program through Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He is certified to facilitate Conscious Embodiment Courses based on the principles of Aikido and Mindfulness, and teaches T’ai Chi Chih, Joy through Movement. He is a student of Tsoknyi Rinpoche and participates in the Bay Area Pundarika group.

Peggy Rowe Ward
Visiting Teacher

Peggy met Thich Nhat Hanh in 1990, and that was it. She fell in love with her teacher and the dharma, She was ordained into the Order of Interbeing in 1994 and received the Dharma Teacher transmission in 2001. She and her husband, Larry Ward, supported Thich Nhat Hanh for over 25 years in international outreach and teaching. She co-authored Making Friends with Time and Love's Garden and is on the faculty of Atlantic University. Their work is in supporting Bodhisattvas on the journey of individual and collective healing, transformation and liberation. She offers a path of deep insight through embodied wisdom, trauma resiliency, movement, art, writing and ritual.

Phoenix Song
Visiting Teacher

Phoenix Song is a queer, non-binary Korean American adoptee teacher, performer and healer featured in SF Magazine's Best of the Bay for yoga music. They believe that everyone can sing and love to help people free their voices and rhythm in private and group classes. Phoenix leads ancestral healing, grief, and diversity/solidarity workshops and trainings that use expressive arts and somatic processes. If you would like to support Phoenix's teachings, please do so via Venmo @phoenixsongmusic or PayPal To learn more about their sound healing offerings, classes, and performances, please visit

Ramon Honea
Visiting Teacher
Ramón Honea (He/They/Them) is a biracial,gay, second generation Oakland Latinx native, he served for 20 years as a teacher/administrator in the SF/Oakland Unified School Districts. After that, through therapy he found meditation and the East Bay Meditation Centers “POC night” where he joined the coordinating committee for several years. Now working / currently on furlough, at Spirit Rock Meditation Center as a residential Retreat Manager, managing week long silent retreats. Obtained a mindfulness teaching credential through the Mindfulness Training Institute in 2019.
Ramona Lisa Ortiz-Smith
Visiting Teacher

Ramona Lisa (she / her) has been practicing Vipassana meditation, studying the Dharma and sitting silent meditation retreats in the Theravada tradition for the past 12 years. She is a graduate of East Bay Meditation Center’s (EBMC) Commit to Dharma program (C2D3) and Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP6). Ramona Lisa has served as a Retreat Manager and Community Welcome Leader at Spirit Rock. She currently serves on the leadership board and teaches for the Mills College Love and Liberation Sangha. She is also former member of EBMC’s Leadership Sangha. Ramona Lisa is passionate about her service to the Dharma as a freelance Retreat Manager, Dharma Leader, Writer and Executive Administrator, through which she is known for her dedication to customer service, support and love for the Dharma. If you would like to offer a gift to help support Ramona Lisa’s service in the Dharma, please do so at Venmo: @Ramona-Ortiz-Smith

Raúl Kahlil Betancourt
Teen Sangha Teacher

Raúl Kahlil Betancourt began his Buddhist studies when he was 16 in L.A. and has been studying steadily since. He has studied Vietnamese Zen in LA and Soto Zen in Santa Cruz and SF as well as Green Gulch and Tassajara. He spent a year as a personal student to a head instructor from Eijeiji, at his home temple in Japan. He also earned a black belt in Aikido. He eventually found his spiritual home at EBMC in Oakland. He is currently teaching science at a high school in SF where he is also a teacher meditation leader.

Rebekah Eppley
Visiting Teacher

Rebekah is a white identified queer person born and raised among rivers and trees on Abenaki land in Vermont. She’s lived in the Bay Area since 1991. She was first introduced to meditation and the Dharma through a Mindful Writing course in 2013 by her late teacher Chris Malcomb and started a more formal meditation practice with Zenju Earthlyn Manuel at the Still Breathing Center in 2014. She found her way to EBMC in late 2014 where she’s been practicing since.

Rebekah has had many rewarding experiences at EBMC including serving as a Temple Keeper. She made her Bodhisattva vows with Mushim Ikeda in 2017. She’s part of the Restorative Practices Deep Refuge group and serves on the Maha Sangha Coordinating Committee. Currently she’s part of the first cohort of EBMC’s Spiritual Teacher Leadership Training program which she will complete in 2023.

Renato Almanzor
Community Teacher

Dr. Renato Almanzor is a transformation catalyst, whose experience emerges from over 25 years developing leaders committed to equitable communities, multicultural organizations, and social justice. As a leadership expert, he has delivered keynote addresses, workshops, and seminars on issues related to leadership for equity, cultural diversity, and social change. Much of his work has been dedicated to supporting community leaders working with and in low-income communities and communities of color. He has a PhD and MA in organizational psychology, an MS in counseling, and BA in psychology, as well as certifications in coaching and Zumba Instruction. He is a proud alum of the first Practices in Transformative Action program at the East Bay Meditation Center, where he also served as an apprentice the following year. If you would like to make a gift to support Renato's teachings, please do so via Venmo: @dralmanzor 

René Rivera
Core Teacher

René Rivera is a leader and bridge-builder, working and learning in all the spaces in-between race, gender, and other perceived binaries, as a queer, mixed-race, trans man. René has been a student of the Dharma since 2004 and has been a part of the East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC) Alphabet Sangha since 2008. He has participated in the Commit to Dharma and Practice in Action programs at EBMC and the Community Dharma Leaders program at Spirit Rock. He currently serves on the EBMC Program Committee and Midday Sangha coordinating committee.. If you would like to offer a gift to support the teachings of René, please do so via Venmo: @ReneRivera

Rev. Daigan Gaither
Community Teacher

Rev. Daigan Gaither began Buddhist practice in 1995. He received Priest Ordination in 2011 from Ryushin Paul Haller Roshi at San Francisco Zen Center. In 2009 he co-founded Queer Dharma at SFZC with Tova Green. His work and practice include many hours devoted to community service and volunteerism as one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Daigan has been a speaker at Gay Buddhist Fellowship, Gay Buddhist Sangha, and the LGBT Sangha at the Lesbian and Gay Community Center in San Francisco. Daigan speaks nationwide on a variety of topics including sex, sexuality, politics and activism in relation to Dharma. Payment Info - Venmo: @RevDaigan-Gaithe

Rev. Keiryu Lien Shutt
Community Teacher

Rev. Liên Shutt is a lineage holder in the Shunryu Suzuki tradition. Born to a Buddhist family in Vietnam, she received her meditation training in the Insight and Zen traditions in the US, Thailand, Japan and Vietnam. She was a founding member of the Buddhists of Color in 1998 and currently is the guiding teacher of Access to Zen, an anti-racist, inclusive sangha and non-profit in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

To make a gift to support the teachings, please do so via Venmo:  @SuddenLeap-A2Z or PayPal:

Rev. Matta Ghaly
Visiting Teacher

Rev. Matta Ghaly (they/them) is an ordained minister, spiritual practitioner and contemplative theologian of Coptic descent, residing on the land of the Chinookan people in Portland, Oregon. Matta serves as the pastor of Mt. Carmel Lutheran Church and as the synod’s director of candidacy, accompanying candidates on their discernment journey through the ordination process. After studying process-oriented psychology, Matta completed a Master of Divinity at Luther Seminary and a Master of Arts in Systematic Theology at the Graduate Theological Union. They are currently pursuing a doctorate in ministry, developing a trauma-informed, somatically-based process of contemplative formation for congregations, activists, and religious professionals. In their practice, teaching and accompaniment, Matta aspires to be heart-centered, attuned to the body’s wisdom, and grounded in cultural humility. 

Rev. Tova Green
Community Teacher

Rev. Jisan Tova Green is a resident of San Francisco Zen Center, where she is a practice leader and works as SFZC's Development Director. She was ordained in 2003 by Eijun Linda Cutts in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and received Dharma Transmission in 2015.. Tova co-founded and leads the Queer Dharma group at SFZC. She has sat with people who are dying and their families and friends as a hospice social worker.

Rhonda V Magee

Rhonda V. Magee, M.A., J.D., is Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco (on leave August 2021-July 2022), and a leading practitioner of the integration of mindfulness practices, multicultural education and social justice advocacy. She has spent more than twenty years exploring, writing and innovating at the intersections of anti-racist education, intersectional social justice-for-all, and contemplative practices. She is an internationally sought-after presenter and global Keynote speaker, mindfulness teacher, practice innovator, storyteller, and thought leader on integrating Mindfulness into Higher Education, Law and Social Justice. A student of a range of Buddhist traditions and a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, she has served as an advisor to a range of leading mindfulness-based professional development organizations, including the Mind and Life Institute, the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness, and the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.  Rhonda’s award-winning book, The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness (Penguin RandomHouse TarcherPerigee: 2019), was named one of the top ten books released for the year by the Greater Good Science Center, and received similar recognition by Psychology Today and the editors of;;

Sandy Boucher
Visiting Teacher

Sandy Boucher is a writer, dharma teacher and writing consultant, whose root teacher was Ruth Denison at Dhamma Dena Desert Vipassana Center; she has taught at EBMC, Spirit Rock, Great Vow Zen Center in Oregon and other venues. Her six dharma books include She Appears! Encounters with the Bodhisattva of Compassion and Hidden Spring: A Buddhist Woman Confronts Cancer, and her essays can be found in tricycle, Lion’s Roar and Buddhadharma, as well as in the archives of Inquiring Mind and Turning Wheel. In 2006 she was named an Outstanding Woman in Buddhism at the United Nations in Bangkok.

Sara Oakes
Teen Sangha Teacher

Sara began her spiritual practice in the path of yoga and devotional chanting in 2000 when she also started training in dance and the healing arts. She has practiced in the Insight Meditation tradition since 2004 attending regular retreats with teachers in the U.S.A., Europe, India and Myanmar. She is a graduate of both the Dedicated Practitioners and the Community Dharma Leader Programs at Spirit Rock Meditation Center.  She has a private practice in Craniosacral therapy, Organic Intelligence, and Somatic Experiencing trauma resolution for people of all ages in the East Bay. Website:

Sarwang Parikh
Community Teacher
Sarwang Parikh (he/they) was borne into the Dharma within a devotional Hindu Gujarati Indian lineage from an immigrant, working-class family raised in the South. They have been steeped in the practice and study of Vedic Yoga and Buddhism, primarily within the Theravāda lineage, for nearly 20 years. Sarwang’s dedication to the Dharma has been sustained as a long-time sangha member at East Bay Meditation Center (currently in STL: Spiritual Teacher Leadership training and graduate of RRR & PITA); deepened practice and study with Spirit Rock (graduate of Dedicated Practitioners Program ); advancing engaged Buddhism with BPF; and mentoring youth with iBme. Sarwang strives to weave ancient wisdom traditions with a decolonized approach to mental health as a psychotherapist primarily serving BIPOC masculine-of-center folks.

Venmo: @sarwangp
PayPal: @Sarwang or
Satya de la Paz
Movement Teacher

Satya de la Paz began practicing yoga in 2004, seeking relief from chronic injury from years as an athlete. She quickly fell in love with yoga's ability to heal the mind, body, and heart. She has been teaching yoga and practicing healing arts since 2007 and has studied with Bridget Kramer Woods, Chrissy and Kenny Graham, Jazz Poiter, and Paula Tursi. Drawing from the traditions of Anusara Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, and Buddhism, she challenges students to play at their edge while cultivating awareness and connection to their highest potential. If you would like to offer a gift to support Satya's teachings, please do so via Venmo: @satyabodyworks 

Sean Feit Oakes
Community Teacher

Sean Feit Oakes, PhD, E-RYT, SEP, teaches Buddhism and Haṭha Yoga with a focus on the integration of meditation, trauma resolution, and social justice. He has studied in Theravāda, Zen, and Vajrāyāna Buddhist lineages, including training as a monk in Burma, and was mentored to teach Insight Meditation by Jack Kornfield. He trained in Yoga with David Moreno and Alice Joanou, and Organic Intelligence with Steven Hoskinson.

Dr. Oakes received his PhD in Performance Studies from UC Davis in 2016, writing on states of consciousness in Buddhist meditation and experimental dance, and teaches at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, East Bay Meditation Center, and Ashtanga Yoga Berkeley.

Shahara Godfrey
Beloved Ancestor - Core Teacher

Shahara Godfrey has trained in the Theravada Buddhist tradition for over 20 years. Other influences have been spiritual teachers from various cultures and traditions as well as the creative arts. She is a graduate of CDL and POE programs from Spirit Rock. Shahara has a Ph.D. and currently works as an Educator.

Sierra Pickett
Visiting Teacher

Sierra Pickett has a passion for accessible Sangha building. At the East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC) — a ​gift economy based, social-justice Buddhist center that Jack Kornfield has called “the most diverse Sangha on the planet” — she has been serving as a long-time Coordinating Committee member of the People Of Color Sangha, a weekly sitting group offering safe(r) space for POC practitioners, ​​and currently sits on the Programming Committee for EBMC at large. A​n addition to Buddhist Peace Fellowship's board of directors, Sierra is a web weaver who sees networking as an intentional act of love connecting us together in reciprocal support​ and interdependence​. ​Volunteering with East Point Peace Academy for 3+ years, she values Kingian Nonviolence as a true avenue in transformation and is honored to have witnessed and experienced it first hand. ​An American Sign Language interpreter, ​Sierra loves expanding linguistic and cultural accessibility within a social justice framework. Easily spotted in bright colors, ​she will greet you with an infectious smile.

Sora Han
Visiting Teacher
Sora is a genderqueer, multicultural, confused human being whose intersecting identities are both deeply heartfelt and largely unimportant. Their first exposure to meditation was through guided body scans at a Unity Church, and later a 10-day meditation retreat in Thailand that they attended on the passing suggestion of a fellow traveler. Sora currently works with a Bay Area nonprofit that promotes gender inclusion for youth, and they have a personal interest in trauma healing and the various forms it can take. 
Spring Washam
Founding & Community Teacher

Spring Washam is a well-known meditation teacher, author and visionary leader based in Oakland, California. She is the author of A Fierce Heart: Finding Strength, Courage, and Wisdom in Any Moment. Spring is considered a pioneer in bringing mindfulness-based healing practices to diverse communities. She is one of the founders and core teachers at the East Bay Meditation Center, located in downtown Oakland, CA. She is also the co-founder of a new organization called Communities Rizing, which is dedicated to providing yoga and meditation teacher training programs for communities of color. She received extensive training by Jack Kornfield, is a member of the teacher’s council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in northern California, and has practiced and studied Buddhist philosophy in both the Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism for the last 20 years. In addition to being a teacher, she is also a shamanic practitioner and has studied indigenous healing practices for over a decade. She is the founder of Lotus Vine Journeys, an organization that blends indigenous healing practices with Buddhist wisdom. Her writing and teachings have appeared in many online journals and publications such as Lions Roar, Tricycle, and She has been a guest on many popular podcasts and radio shows. She currently travels and teaches meditation retreats, workshops and classes worldwide.

Syra Smith
Community Teacher
Syra Smith is an artist, organizer and mindfulness educator interested in deep ecology and manifesting a culture where we can turn toward fearless abundance and generosity.
Syra teaches with East Bay Meditation Center’s Mahasangha in Oakland California, where she is co-creating space with one of the most diverse communities of practitioners in the US. She supports and works with Resolve to Stop the Violence, an award winning program in the San Francisco County Jail System utilizing contemplative and restorative practices to impact violence and recidivism in our prison communities. Syra is the founding co-guiding teacher for EBMC’s Young Adult Deep Refuge Group. She has been educating and working with young people for nearly 20 years. She coordinates and co-facilitates East Bay Meditation Center’s weekly Teen Sangha and has been committed to offering tools for resiliency to at-risk and incarcerated youth.
In the late ‘80s, Syra began her personal practice as a teen herself and has been practicing in the Theravada Buddhist tradition since 2009. She graduated EBMC’s Commit to Dharma study program in 2011 and became a Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader in 2017. Syra teaches Insight Meditation and mindfulness throughout the SF Bay Area and is a regular visiting teacher with Napa Valley Insight Meditation, San Francisco LGBT Sangha and Oakland Against the Stream
Venmo: @Syra-Smith
Tania Triana
Visiting Teacher

Tania Triana [pronouns: she/they/ella/elle] is an educator, activist, and translator raised in Rochester, NY. She joined EBMC in 2014 soon after relocating to Oakland, and accepted the Bodhisattva vows and precepts at a ceremony at EBMC in 2017, and renewed them in 2020. Tania is grateful to have found a spiritual home and social justice community here, and currently serves on the L-Sangha as Board Secretary. When she’s not teaching at the College Preparatory School, Tania enjoys yoga, traveling, cooking, reading, and being tía to the best sobrinitos ever, Javier and Nicolás.

To offer a gift to support Tania's teachings, please do so via Venmo: @Tania-Triana

Thomas Davis
Community Teacher

Thomas Davis is an East Bay native whose path began with practice in the contemplative Christian tradition. Through EBMC, Thomas has cultivated a deep commitment to the practice of Vipassana and Dharma Studies; and has demonstrated his service through volunteering as POC Coordinating Committee, Volunteer Coordinator, Co-Founder of the Men of Color Deep Refuge, CDL5 Practicum Team and Co-Founder of Insight Richmond. Thomas presently serves on staff at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Thomas holds a Bachelors Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from New College of California and brings a real passion for understanding and integrating the Dharma!

Tuere Sala
Visiting Teacher

Tuere Sala is a retired prosecuting attorney who has practiced Vipassana meditation for over 25 years. She has been an active member and volunteer at Seattle Insight since 2001. In 2009, she was appointed to be a Local Dharma Leader and has often supported SIMS in unconventional ways such as answering the many letters SIMS receives from practitioners in prison; offering beginning classes at Angeline Women’s shelter and Jubilee House, a women’s transitional house; and facilitating workshops using nonviolent communication (NVC) to support a mindfulness practice.

Tuere believes that urban meditation is the foundation for today’s practitioner’s path to liberation. She is inspired by bringing the Dharma to nontraditional places and is a strong advocate for practitioners living with high stress, past trauma and difficulties sitting still. Her teachings reflect an approach to Dharma that is both easy to follow and understand – making it accessible to everyone.

Tuere has completed extensive trainings including: the 2 Year Spirit Rock/IMS Community Dharma Leader Program; a 1 Year Focusing for Complex Trauma Course which incorporates mindfulness principles with somatic listening and a 1 Year Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Training Course (MMFT) which incorporates mindfulness principles within the high stress work environments of first responders. She has sat 300+ days of meditation retreat (including residential, non-residential and day-longs) and has a long history of assisting others in establishing and maintaining a daily practice.

Vickie Chang
Family Sangha Teacher

The daughter of Chinese immigrants born and raised in the SF Bay Area, Vickie Chang first encountered the dharma through the doorway of mindfulness meditation in 2008. She graduated from the Spirit Rock DPP 4 program and has benefited from extended periods of retreat at Spirit Rock and IMS. She lived in a Taiwanese Guanyin Pusa monastery and worshipped at the feet of Arunachala. Most influential in her practice has been her relationship with the land, culture, and people of Tiruvannamalai, India, northern New Mexico, and the Divine Buddha Temple in Taiwan. Her main teacher is the Earth/body and her path is love. She is a psychologist and works in West Oakland and Berkeley.

Victoria Mausisa
Visiting Teacher

Victoria Mausisa, (she/siya/we), Filipina, Lola/grandmother.  Victoria began practice over twenty years ago and is ordained in the Plum Village tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, Order of Interbeing.  She is a community builder, sangha and retreat leader.   An advocate for racial and social justice, she co-founded ARISE Sangha -- Awakening Through Race, Intersectionality and Social Equity. She trained in chaplaincy at the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies.  She also trained at the Trauma Resource Institute, weaving trauma informed mindfulness in practice.   She is a graduate of East Bay Meditation Center’s Spiritual and Teacher Leader Program. Victoria is called to heal communities of color and  cultivate inclusive communities.  A contemplative at heart who leans on authenticity and ritual, Victoria thrives on spiritual practice and deep relationships with our ancestors, our lands, family, and friends.

Vimalasara (Valerie) Mason-John
Community Teacher

Vimalasara (Valerie) Mason-John is the author of the new revised edition of Detox Your Heart - Meditations For Emotional Trauma published by Wisdom books in 2017. She is co-author of the award-winning book Eight Step Recovery – Using The Buddha's Teachings to Overcome Addiction. She is a TEDx speaker and is the author of eight books including her award winning novel Borrowed Body. She is the curator of Teachings in Uncertain Times, an online retreat by Teachers of Color for Tricycle Magazine February 2017. She is a leading African Canadian voice in the field of Mindfulness for Emotional Trauma and Addiction.

Zahra Ahmed
Visiting Teacher

Zahra has a varied spiritual background, including Islam, Ifa and Buddhism.  She tries to be responsive to life’s needs and allow her spiritual practice to evolve accordingly.  She is a graduate of the sixth cohort of the Practice in Transformative Action program  (PiTA), which is offered through the East Bay Meditation Center.  She also served as an apprentice teacher for PiTA7 and PiTA8.  She is the mother of one daughter who serves as one of her most important spiritual teachers.  She is also a Professor of Politics at St. Mary’s College with a focus on contemplative practices within social movements, political mobilization among people of color, and critical community engagement.  She also loves running, photography, and all forms of music - especially deep house.