Born in Poland after W.W. II, Stefan Dobuszynski and his family immigrated to Brooklyn, New York where he was raised before moving to San Francisco in his early twenties. After several exciting and tumultuous years of social change and soul-searching, Stefan began exploring various Buddhist traditions, and found his spiritual home in Vipassana in 1996. Since then, Stefan has been reading, researching, meditating, questioning, and attending retreats with over two dozen teachers. Stefan is a scholar and a skeptic, and frequently enlivens the SFVS Tuesday evening sessions with articulate and probing questions for the presenter.
Joan began practicing meditation in the Theravada or Insight tradition in 1985. Since then she has practiced and studied intensively in the US and Burma with senior American and Asian monastic teachers, and was a founding board member of the Santa Fe Vipassana Sangha. A lifelong student of hatha yoga, she has
taught meditation and yoga in treatment centers and prisons and has a particular interest in the relationship of personal practice and compassionate action. As a
licensed psychotherapist she works with healing trauma through the power of mind body awareness.
Eric has been teaching Vipassana since 1985. He served as the resident teacher of Vipassana communities in Santa Fe and Albuquerque and leads meditation retreats around the U.S. Eric studied and practiced for years with prominent teachers at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, and he has also trained in the Zen tradition. He earned a Ph.D. from Yale University and has edited a number of books in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. Holding an inclusive understanding of liberation, Eric also works for wholesome change in our community through compassionate action.
Brian Lesage has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1988 and has taught meditation since 2000. He has studied in the Zen, Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism. He was ordained in the Rinzai Zen tradition in 1996. His training in Vipassana Meditation includes doing extended meditation retreats in Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, and India as well as numerous retreats in the U.S. He leads retreats and teaches meditation courses nationwide. Brian also has a private practice in Somatic Experiencing, which is a naturalistic approach to healing trauma. You can also visit his website for Somatic Experiencing at: www.liberatingawareness.com
Joan Mitchell began practicing Insight Meditation with Shinzen Young in 1987. Other teachers who have influenced her practice include Leigh Brashington, Marcia Rose, Eric Kolvig, and most recently, the Venerable Ajahn Sucitto and Venerable U Tejaniya. Her practice regularly includes intensive month-long as well as shorter retreats. Currently her practice and teaching emphasize finding ground in the body and mindfulness of mind states. Since 2008 Joan has been teaching Introduction to Insight Meditation classes. She taught Core Buddhist Studies classes beginning in 2013 until they evolved into Dharma Explorations in 2016. She was a co-founder and coordinator for a Sutta Study group from 2008 – 2016. A member of the SFVS board, she is also coordinator for education programs. Joan is a graduate of the University of Michigan and St. John’s College, and taught English in Turkey, Greece, the Navajo Nation, and Santa Fe. She retired from the National Park Service where she worked as a park and recreation planner. She is also a published poet.
DaeJa Napier teaches Vipassana meditation with an emphasis on the cultivation of the four Brahma Viharas: loving kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity. She has been practicing and studying in various Buddhist traditions since 1974 and has been teaching since 1986. She continues to study with prominent Asian and Western teachers. DaeJa has dedicated her life to exploring the traditional pathways to awakening and their application in daily life. She is the founding and guiding teacher of the Brahma Vihara Foundation. To learn more, visit http://brahmaviharas.org.
Annie Nugent has studied and practiced in the Theravadan and Tibetan traditions since 1979 under the guidance of a range of teachers including Sayadaw U Pandita, Tulku Akong Rinpoche and various western teachers. Annie was the resident teacher for staff at The Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA from 1999-2003, and has since taught elsewhere, including the annual IMS three-month retreat and The Forest Refuge. Her teaching style aims to reveal how our lives are opportunities to develop a clear understanding of the Truth.
Mary Powell has been a Vipassana practioner for over 25 years. During that time she has done intensive retreats at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Mass. In the past couple of years she has done month long self retreats both at home and at a remote cabin in the mountains and at the Forest Refuge. Recently she completed the 2 ½ year Community Dharma Leader training through Sprit Rock Meditation Center. For many years she has served on the board of SFVS and as president as well. She is a member of the Education Committee and teaches with the Family Sangha. Mary serves on the board of the Brahma Vihara Foundation and the Vallecitos Mountain Ranch in northern New Mexico where she teaches retreats during the summer. Mary has always been interested in practicing in nature and incorporates outdoor practice into her retreats.
Alexis has been practicing Dharma since 2001. His interest in Buddhism traces back to an early concern for suffering and the truth-seeking nature of science. After graduating from Harvard with an undergraduate degree in Neurobiology, Alexis went on to pursue a medical career. Before long, his ongoing questioning of what is truly meaningful led to a deepening disillusionment with the medical system at that time. He took a leave from his studies and instead found his way to India, Burma and Thailand where he first encountered the Buddha’s teachings. In 2003, he met Sayadaw U Tejaniya and has since been his long-time student, including ordaining as a Buddhist Monk for several years under his guidance. Alexis’ teaching emphasizes knowing the mind through a natural and relaxed continuity. He brings a practical, intuitive and compassionate approach to the development of wisdom. He is in the current Spirit Rock/IMS Teacher Training and can be found teaching retreats throughout the US and in Europe.
Erin Treat lives in Durango, CO and serves as a Guiding Teacher of Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center. She teaches retreats at Spirit Rock and the Insight Meditation Society, including part of the annual 3-month course at IMS. Erin serves as a teacher and board member at the Durango Dharma Center and enjoys mentoring students from around the country. Her approach to sharing the dharma is influenced by her experience as a student of the Diamond Approach by A.H. Almass and by her love of socially engaged practice, embodiment, and wild nature.