ebem teachers


Debra Kerr
Deb 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.


Mushim Patricia Ikeda
Mushim is a core teacher at EBMC. She has experience in both monastic and lay Buddhist practice, and she is also a diversity and inclusion consultant, an author, and a mother. Mushim has Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), a disability that is an environmental illness now affecting increasing numbers of people in our society. Mushim serves part-time on staff as EBMC’s community coordinator, working with volunteers and in communications. To see her writing and to hear audio recordings of her Dharma talks, go to mushimikeda.com


Rev. Jim Willems
Jim began Buddhist Practice in 1960.  He is trained in Zen and Theravada practices and theory.  He was empowered to teach by Anagarika Acharya Munindra in 1992.  His guiding teacher is Joseph Goldstein.  He lives with a painful degenerative disease which attacks his skeleton, connective tissue and nervous system.  He feels called to work especially with people dealing with chronic pain. He is a lifelong student of the Abhidhamma.  He is also an Episcopal priest and has done Ph.D. work in Systematic Theology. He is able to teach contemplative practices of many spiritual traditions and works with students from many religious and spiritual paths.

rebecca-dixon-fotoRebecca Dixon
Rebecca is a longtime student and practitioner who has spent many years sharing the dharma and practice opportunities with hospice patients, incarcerated women, and the chemically dependent. She is an original member of IMC’s Chaplaincy Council and a teacher for each of its online meditation courses. A graduate of the Community Dharma Leader program, Rebecca helped found the East Bay Meditation Center, leads a sitting group that has met on Monday nights in Oakland since 2002, co-leads Alameda Sangha, and is a regular teacher at EBMC’s Every Body Every Mind Sangha. You’re welcome to visit her website, RebeccaDixon.org


Ina Evans
Ina is a longtime vipassana meditation practitioner and a visual artist. She has completed the Spirit Rock Dedicated Practitioner Program (DPP1) and is currently a part of the Spirit Rock Advanced Practitioner Program (APP1). In addition to leading the Sunday night Every Body Every Mind Sangha, she also leads a group for those living with chronic pain and disabilities that meets at the Berkeley Zen Center.


Margarita Loinaz, MD
Margarita has been a Buddhist practitioner since 1977 in the Tibetan and Vipassana traditions and contributed to the initiation of the Diversity Program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in the 1990s. She was born in the Dominican Republic and as a public health physician, she worked with migrant day laborers and homeless people for 12 years in San Francisco which has further informed her spiritual practice. Her current teaching is primarily based on the Tibetan Dzogchen perspective.


Master John W. Ellis IV
Master Ellis is a martial artist with more than 30 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 25 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. He currently teaches at Ananda Martial Arts and Fitness Academy in Oakland. FiveRealms.com


Manuel Vasquez
Manuel began his Buddhist practice in 2009, and currently works with other lay practitioners, holding sacred space with two other practice groups, the EBMC Midday/Midweek sangha and a monthly meditation group in north Berkeley. He dedicates his efforts toward the development of layperson/householder Buddhist life and practice. He is a graduate of the PiTA 2 yearlong program at EBMC (secular mindfulness training for social justice activists). Manuel’s particular Buddhist orientation has been influenced by the Theravada lineage from Burma and Thailand, and he has spent time practicing in Thailand. In the past, Manuel worked as a license mental health therapist, and community mental health director for 25 years.  He is the father of five children and five grandchildren. He experiences much pleasure and gratitude in sharing the Dharma and believes with deep conviction that his Buddhist practice has led to his own improved physical and mental health.


Allison Shore
Allison has been practicing mindfulness meditation since 2003. A graduate of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Teacher Training Practicum at El Camino Hospital, and a participant in the Sati Chaplaincy Training Program in Redwood City and the Community Dharma Leader Program at Spirit Rock, Allison has taught in a variety of academic, clinical, and community settings. Fibromyalgia and chronic nerve pain led her to mindfulness, which she is passionate about sharing with others.


Kenji Oshima
“Coach Kenji” has been meditating for about half of his adult life. He 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, and he is an occasional temple consultant. 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 business 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. coachkenji.com