Are you interested in making spiritual practice one of the primary focal points of your day-to-day life?
Are you interested in deepening your meditation practice and exploring serious Dharma study?
Are you interested in exploring service to family and community and culture, as dharma or secular mindfulness practice?
If so, then, one of these practice programs at EBMC might be of interest to you.

We are excited to announce the launch of East Bay Meditation Center’s Spiritual Teacher and Leadership Training (STL).  STL was developed in alignment with the mission and vision of EBMC and carries the goal of fostering liberation for diverse communities by advancing personal and interpersonal healing, social engagement and transformation, and radically inclusive community building. The purpose of the training is to cultivate future teachers and leaders to step into leadership roles within EBMC’s infrastructure and into the expanse of surrounding, diverse communities and partnering organizations.


STL is a comprehensive, two-year training offered by the East Bay Meditation Center for dedicated Dharma practitioners who are leading or coordinating meditation/Dharma groups and/or participating in programs at EBMC. The training will begin in February 2021 and go through February 2023. The core curriculum will be offered by guiding teachers: Noliwe Alexander, Carol Cano, JD Doyle, and Amana Brembry Johnson. Selected guests will offer teachings in their specific fields. Participants will meet monthly in training configurations that include:  two, week-long residential retreats, non-residential and single day retreats.  All participants are expected to commit to full participation for the two-year period.


EBMC has created and continues to evolve a comprehensive and far-reaching social ecosystem, one that is equitable, ethical, inclusive, and challenges the dominant market capital system that prospers the few over the many. EBMC’s ability to thrive is rooted in interdependence, diversity, and connection to the larger world environment. The center has increasingly become an exemplar of how to integrate radical inclusivity and social justice with the Buddhadharma, creating a model that is of great value to organizations and institutions on a national and international scale.  Throughout EBMC’s history, dedicated Dharma practitioners have evolved who are ready to step into leadership positions. Due to this confluence of individual and collective development, we are launching STL training at this time.


  • The STL training will:
  • Impart a strong knowledge of the Suttas and the Buddhist lineage
  • Connect classic teachings to contemporary issues in ways that align with social justice, transformative healing, and radical inclusivity
  • Master pedagogy for leading meditation groups, Dharma classes, daylongs and weekend retreats
  • Teach how to cultivate and sustain diverse community-based groups and Dharma organizations, in alignment with trauma informed practices and accessibility awareness
  • Explore the values, principles, and practices of shared leadership and gift economics
  • Support the embodiment of relational skills, such as: empathy, humility, curiosity, humor and ethics
  • Deepen knowledge to create sacred spaces and rituals, rooted in the wisdom and compassion of Buddhism and other spiritual traditions


  • An active member of the EBMC community.
  • A minimum of five years of dedicated Dharma practice.
  • A daily meditation practice based in foundational elements of Buddhist teachings.
  • 30-40 nights or more of residential retreat practice.  This can include other silent meditation retreat experiences with Buddhist or other traditions and should include at least two, seven-day, silent meditation retreats, or a month or more of continuous retreat practice. Recognizing that this criteria is not accessible to everyone, applications will be reviewed on a case by case basis through a holistic selection process.
  • A commitment to embody the core elements of EBMC’s principles which include: Gift Economics, Radical Inclusivity, Buddhism and Mindfulness, Shared Leadership, and Social Justice and Healing.
  • An embodied practice of the 5 precepts.
  • An understanding of the importance of environmental/climate justice and human/animal rights as it relates to ethical integrity.
  • Completion of EBMC’s White Awakening in Sangha (WAS) and/or an equivalent anti-racist training by all white participants.
  • Strong communication and leadership skills.
  • Personal and interpersonal maturity that includes an understanding of power and privilege.
  • A commitment to full participation for the entirety of the training.


Participants will be chosen only from nominations by EBMC Teachers, Staff Members, Practice Group Coordinators, and meditation teachers from other organizations and institutions. Nominations will be accepted between March 15, 2020 and June 22, 2020 via this nomination form.

All nominations will be reviewed and qualified candidates will be invited to submit applications starting on August 1, 2020.  Final application deadline will be September 30, 2020.  Candidates will be informed of participation by November 15, 2020.

For more information, please contact

Announcing EBMC’s New Half-year Radical Buddhism Leadership Program for People of Color!

We are excited to announce EBMC’s newest program: “Resilience, Refuge and (R)evolution” a six month Radical Buddhism leadership program for self-identified People of Color that begins in January of 2019.

In order to nurture and create deepened connectivity, networking and growth for current and future POC leaders, “Resilience, Refuge and (R)evolution” has limited its participation to 35 individuals.

Application period is October 1 – November 12, 2018.

Program is Jan – June, 2019.


NOW OFFERED ONLINE (due to COVID-19 pandemic), and in its eighth year, our first year opening this yearlong program to English speakers who are in locations outside of the Bay Area in California in the United States.  This award-winning yearlong program of East Bay Meditation Center for social change and social justice activists, community workers and volunteers, transformative thought leaders is open to all, with a special invitation to People of Color to apply. PiTA 8 trains participants to take practices of inner awareness (mindfulness meditation) into their spheres of activity, and to ground themselves in a Vow Not to Burn Out. 

[Please note: This is a secular mindfulness training program, not a Buddhist or Dharma study program.]

Guiding teacher: Mushim Ikeda, EBMC core teacher

assisted by apprentice teachers Zahra Ahmed, Christian Howard and Unique Holland,  with guest presenters at some sessions. 

Sept. 13, 2020 – July 11, 2021

Deadline for applications for the 2020-2021 yearlong program is Friday, August 21, 2020. Notifications responding to applicants will go out by September 4, 2020 at the latest.

Email for detailed information on how to apply.

“With the Practice in Transformative Action program, you are all carving out an exceptional space for practice and insight.”  — Peter Doran, author of A Political Economy of Attention, Mindfulness and Consumerism: Reclaiming the Mindful Commons (Routledge Studies in Sustainability)   

“The PITA 2 program was invaluable to me as a future physician. Before the program I was meditating off and on for about 10 minutes where now I find myself pushing 20 minutes at 5 days a week. This program has given me the confidence to share this stress reduction tool with my future cohort this upcoming year. I am involved in a program designed for physicians of color who are dedicated to provide care to underserved communities in California. This tool has helped me feel more calm and confident in the day to day demands of a rigorous journey. I have gained a deeper awareness with my body regarding fatigue and responding appropriately in dealing with burnout.” — Alejandro

Fully alive. Seeing clearly. Training in secular mindfulness meditation-based practices. Deep listening and respectful interaction in multicultural community. Reducing stress, increasing joy. Opening to what is new. Transforming ourselves, transforming our communities and the world.

Practice in Transformative Action (PiTA 8) is aimed at supporting individuals to foster transformative inner and outer change by bringing mindfulness awareness practices into their work with progressive social change organizations, coalitions and social movements. Beginning and seasoned social justice activists, as well as people who may not think of themselves as activists, but who are agents of change nevertheless, are invited to apply.

We’ll spend a year together, with 11 monthly meetings in full group, and small group meetings in between full group meetings, learning and practicing a variety of inner awareness practices, in stillness and in movement, designed to inspire a radical understanding of what mindfulness really is, then learning how to extend its benefits and practices to those around us. Guest teachers are invited in order to bring fresh viewpoints, innovative train-the-trainer workshops, and expertise in applying mindfulness to social change and transformation. Program enrollment will be limited to 40 – 60 people, with a special invitation to people of color.

Those who apply to PiTA 8 must commit to making a sincere effort to deeply understand and acknowledge their own and other people’s experience, background, cultural expression and dimensions of privilege and power. This program will support an environment of empowered exploration rather than debate, and we will practice developing spacious awareness in which transformation can occur, as new ways of being and doing, seeing and understanding, are offered and exchanged. This deep receptivity is the foundation for wise, courageous, and strategic action that comes from a profound inner clarity when the intimate realization of interconnection spontaneously arises.

For more about the context of East Bay Meditation Center’s vision, goals and its theory of transformative social change, click here.

How much does this program cost? In order to provide access to people of all income levels, Practice in Transformative Action 8 is offered on a gift economics basis. No upfront fees are required and the guiding teacher receives no payment from EBMC for teaching this program. (Guest presenters will receive a stipend, thanks to a supporting grant for this program.)

Program applicants are asked to make a strong commitment to financially support the teacher and, separately, the meditation center according to their ability and to reflect mindfully and pragmatically on how they can contribute to creating a financially viable program. If you request the online application form by emailing, you will also receive information about EBMC and this specific program’s generosity-based economic model, which aims toward sustainability for everyone involved: the program participants, the guiding teacher, and the meditation center. The apprentice teachers generously offer their time and skills as volunteers.

The first PiTA program in 2013-2014 and Mushim were awarded the Gil A. Lopez Peacemaker Award from the Association for Dispute Resolution of Northern California.

PiTA 8 meeting dates and times

Continuity, commitment and community building are important for best outcomes in any transformative group process. You need to commit to attending all of the eleven (11) sessions.  All meetings will be held online through the Zoom videoconference platform, so you need to have the tech to use Zoom.  (If it is unavoidable that you miss one or more sessions, please indicate this on the application form.)

PiTA 8’s full group will meet 11 times, four times in 2020 and seven times in 2021.

2020: September 13, October 11, November 8, December 13. Sundays, 1:30 to 5:30 pm Pacific Time.

2021:  January 10February 14March 14April 11May 16June 13: Sundays, 1:30 – 5:30 pm Pacific Time.
The final meeting will be on July 1110 am – 5pm Pacific Time, a daylong PiTA retreat & celebration.

In addition, program participants will work in small groups to deepen their socially-engaged mindfulness practices, engage in processes of inquiry and study, and support one another to take transformative mindfulness practices into their communities, workplaces, and networks in innovative and culturally appropriate ways. One-on-one mentoring meetings with Mushim, the program’s guiding teacher, will be offered.

About PiTA’s guiding teacher: Mushim (Patricia Ikeda) is a nationally recognized socially-engaged Buddhist teacher and author, and a core teacher at East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, where she lives. She has practiced mindfulness and meditation for over 30 years, in North America and in Asia, and she has a long track record of diversity and social-justice activism in Buddhist-based, interfaith, and public education communities. Mushim has taught mindfulness meditation retreats nationally for people of color, social justice activists, and women. Her approach to mindfulness as a tool for transformative social change encourages creativity, embodiment, and cultivating humor, equanimity, and a resilient and stable mind. See for more information about Mushim.

PiTA 8 apprentice teacher Christian Howard is a writer, narrative designer, and educator who uses storytelling to explore introspection and transformative futures with communities and organizations. Pulling from his background as a game designer, teaching artist, scientific researcher, and community-based activist, his work in the US and abroad focuses on cultivating mindful leadership practices that support sustainable social and organizational change. He is currently a Narrative Design Strategist at SYPartners in San Francisco. Christian is a graduate of PiTA6, and he was an apprentice teacher with PiTA7. 

Zahra Ahmed, PiTA 8 apprentice teacher, is a new resident of the Bay Area, having recently moved up from Southern California.  She 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.  Zahra also strives to develop and manifest her vision for a more socially just world in all aspects of her life.  She is the mother of one daughter named Rai who serves as one of her most important spiritual teachers.  She is a professor of politics at St. Mary’s College, teaching and conducting research that focuses on contemplative practices within social movements, political mobilization, and critical community engagement.  She also loves running, photography, and all forms of music — especially deep, deep house. Zahra is a graduate of PiTA6 and was an apprentice teacher with PiTA7. 

Born and raised in Oakland, CA, PiTA 8 apprentice teacher Unique Holland (she/ her) is an educator, facilitator, and creative person. Her background includes fifteen years of leadership and management experience in nonprofit, arts, and public education settings.

Unique’s creative background includes 20+ years as a social practice artist and director exploring community, youth leadership, and public policy with collaborative works performed and exhibited in the US and internationally. This work prioritizes reverence for life, loving speech, and deep listening on the path to liberation.

Unique is a lay ordained Buddhist in the Zen tradition practicing under the guidance of Zenju Earthlyn Manuel. She is a graduate of PiTA6 and C2D4.

(In the event that part of the PiTA 8 cohort might be able to meet in person, with other members joining through simultaneous Zoom) Fragrance Free Policy: Out of respect for people with environmental illnesses, we request that everyone attending EBMC please not wear fragrance or scented products when attending events at EBMC. This includes clothing that has been laundered with fragranced detergent or softening products. We greatly appreciate your efforts to make EBMC accessible to those with MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities). Please view our list of fragrance-free products and related resources that can assist you in keeping EBMC fragrance-free.

The East Bay Meditation Center is wheelchair accessible.

White and Awakening in Sangha

Six Session Program for White Practitioners


  • Do you have some experience exploring and working with White Privilege and want to increase your skills to support inclusive sangha building?
  • Do you want to deepen your understanding of Buddhist teachings on suffering, oppression and liberation?
  • Do you want to gain insight into the suffering and harm that arise from our racial conditioning as white people in this society?
  • Would you like to become part of a supportive learning community of white practitioners exploring racism in the context of Buddha Dharma and looking for ways to transform our white racial conditioning and white supremacist systems?

Since its inception, the EBMC community has worked to create safe spaces to practice for individuals who daily confront the effects of oppression–including racism and/or homophobia, heterosexism and ableism—in their lives. In our new 10-year Strategic Plan we renew our commitment to RADICAL INCLUSIVITY: a set of practices “that honor… the inherent worth, humanity and dignity of all people and…cultivate a place of refuge where people of color; people with disabilities, differences and chronic illnesses; members of the LGBTQI community; people of all ages and family structures; and those of intersectional identities can reclaim their inherent value in the face of all forms of oppression.”

An important aspect of this commitment is for us who are white practitioners to enhance our understanding of the harm arising from the system of white privilege, and build skills to facilitate community building across difference, within our sanghas as a whole.  In 2014 the Program Committee convened a group to develop a curriculum for this, which became White and Awakening in Sangha (WAS). Now in its sixth year, this 6-session program is designed to build the awareness and skills of white practitioners toward the creation of a truly inclusive sangha.

As white practitioners in the U.S., we have been shaped by social, economic and other systems in which unearned privilege accrues to white people. To the extent that we are unaware of this system of white privilege and racial conditioning, we are not free to make skillful choices about how to act within it. Rather, we unwittingly behave in ways that lead to suffering for ourselves, our fellow practitioners, our community and the larger society. Further, we may not realize how our conditioning makes us resistant to joining with other white people to change the system and ourselves.

WAS is designed as a guided, collaborative exploration of our racial conditioning as white people. We will apply dharma practices to enhance our capacity to be in community with members of marginalized communities, and develop skills to support the larger practice community. It is also our hope that, through this collaboration, we will expand our shared capacity to help each other learn and grow in ways that support liberation for us all.


  • Six large-group sessions (1:30-5:30pm). These will include formal teaching, participant check-ins, experiential exercises, small group reflection and discussion. Dates:
    • Saturday, January 11
    • Sunday, February 2
    • Sunday, March 1
    • Sunday, March 29
    • Sunday, April 26
    • Sunday, May 31
  • Five small-group sessions (5-8 people) in between large-group sessions to discuss homework and reflections. Note: small-group session dates will vary depending on home-group location.
  • Homework, consisting of reading, journaling, personal reflection, and exercises
  • Dharma buddy to check in with


  • Agree to attend and actively participate in all parts of the program described above
  • Agree to “go the distance,” to stay engaged if/when the going gets rough
  • Agree to seek support of the program facilitators when needed
  • Agree to practice in line with EBMC’s inclusive policies, including Gift Economics and fragrance-free participation


  • Be active in EBMC or another sangha
  • Identify as a white person
  • Have an active Dharma practice and familiarity with practices of mindfulness, lovingkindness and compassion
  • Have a basic understanding of Buddhist teachings
  • Have some experience exploring and working with white privilege
  • Have the interpersonal and emotional skills to work safely and productively with other white practitioners in experiential exercises
  • Be open to courageous self exploration


  • Complete the program application by November 1, 2019 (applicants are encouraged to apply early): 
  • Participate in a phone or in person interview, if requested
  • Acceptance notifications will be sent out by mid December, 2019


Please contact us at: 

Lead Teachers:  Crystal Johnson and Kitsy Schoen

Commit2Dharma is a yearlong program with guiding teacher Larry Yang. The C2D program explores the teachings of the Buddha through the lens of our different lived experiences—our householder lives, our cultural identities, our histories, and our visions of ourselves. These teachings include the Four Noble Truths, the Three Characteristics, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, and other primary Buddhist teachings.

Commit2Dharma is taking “sabbatical”. More information about the next (fifth) iteration of C2D will be posted at this website when it becomes available. Deep gratitude for your dedicated interest in the Dharma, your earnest intentions to deepen your practice, and your commitment to building spiritual community.