Called “the most intriguing African-American Buddhist” by Library Journal, Rev. angel Kyodo williams Sensei, is an author, maverick spiritual teacher, master trainer and founder of Center for Transformative Change. She has been bridging the worlds of personal transformation and justice since the publication of her critically-acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace. Her book was hailed as “an act of love” by Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker and “a classic” by Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield.
Ordained as a Zen priest, she is a Sensei, the second black woman recognized as a teacher in her lineage. She is a social visionary that applies wisdom teachings and practice to social issues. She sees Transformative Social Change as America’s next great movement. She is an early shaper and leading voice in that work and coined the name for the field. In recognition of her work, Rev. angel received the first Creating Enlightened Society Award from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. For over 15 years, she has deeply invested her time and energy to putting into practice her unwavering belief that the key to transforming society is transforming our inner lives. She has developed comprehensive systems for illuminating both practical personal change and the profoundly liberating potential of mindfulness, yoga, and somatic practices coupled with wisdom teachings. Calling for a paradigm shift that “changes the way change is done,” angel envisions the building of a presence-centered social justice movement as the foundation for personal freedom, a just society and the healing of divisions of race, class, faith and politic.
Both fierce and grounded, she is known for her unflinching willingness to both sit with and speak uncomfortable truths with love. Her work has been widely covered by such publications as New York Times, Boston Globe, Ms., Essence, Buddhadharma, Village Voice, and on the Oxygen Channel. angel notes, “Love and justice are not two. Without inner change, there can be no outer change. Without collective change, no change matters.” Whether in writing, teaching or speaking, her voice is unique.
Thanissara is Anglo-Irish, and originally from London. She trained in the Burmese school of U Ba Khin in the late 1970’s, and went on to ordain as a nun in the Thai Forest school of Ajahn Chah for 12 years. She left the monastery in 1991, married, and together with her husband and teaching partner Kittisaro, established Dharmagiri Insight Meditation Center in South Africa. She helped fund raise for, and guide several HIV/Aids response projects in rural KwaZulu Natal. She has taught numerous meditation retreats internationally, and has an MA in Mindfulness Based Psychotherapy. She is a core teacher at Insight Meditation Society, MA, and affiliated teacher at Spirit Rock, CA. She is author of several poetry books, co-author with Kittisaro of Listening to the Heart, and author of Time To Stand Up, An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth. She currently lives in the Bay area, CA.
Sydney Faith Rose
Sydney Faith Rose is a lifelong meditator, Holistic Health Coach and yoga instructor, who trained in the year-long meditation instructor and Secular Buddhist Program at The Interdependence Project. Sydney holds a B.A. in psychology from The New School and has participated in advanced training to teach trauma-informed yoga and meditation as well as being trained in evidence-based treatment practices for working with youth around issues of substance misuse and mental health. She spent 6 weeks in continuous meditative practice at Insight Meditation Society and knows the power of insight practice first-hand.
Over the past 6 years, Sydney has taught meditation and yoga -- as well as building and supporting wellness initiatives -- at large universities, in corporate offices and at small non-profits in and around NYC and across the United States.
Ralph De La Rosa
Ralph De La Rosa is a heart centered psychotherapist, meditation instructor, writer, and transformative life coach. In 2008, he founded Rebel Heart Meditation, a weekly class that blends meditation, psychology, and neuroscience, to form discussion about the transformative potential of our messy modern lives. Ralph also teaches at MNDFL, NYC's premier drop-in meditation studio, and with Susan Piver's online community, the Open Heart Project.
His work has appeared in Elephant Journal, GQ, Women's Health, Wanderlust, TimeOut NY, AFAR Magazine, New York Yoga + Life Magazine, and Refinery 29.
Ralph began practicing meditation in 1996 within the bhakti yoga tradition and became a student of Amma (Mata Amritananda Mayi) in 2000. He began studying Buddhism in 2005 and holds vows within the Shambhala Buddhist lineage.
Ralph currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his two cats, Emma Goldman and Henry.
Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche
Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche, a meditation master in the Nyingma lineage of the Buddhist tradition, has a passion for presenting teachings in a practical and experiential way for modern audiences. His primary teacher was Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche, one of the greatest Dzogchen masters of the last century. A long-time resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche is the author of Our Pristine Mind: A Practical Guide to Unconditional Happiness, and the founder and spiritual director of Pristine Mind Foundation.
Lodro Rinzler is a teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage and the author of five books on meditation including the best-selling “The Buddha Walks into a Bar…" and the award-winning books “Walk Like a Buddha” and “The Buddha Walks into the Office…” Over the last sixteen years he has spoken at meditation centers, businesses, college campuses, and locations as diverse as Google, Harvard University, and the White House. Lodro’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic. In addition to serving as the Chief Spiritual Officer of M N D F L, NYC's premier drop-in meditation studio, Lodro is the founder of the Institute for Compassionate Leadership. lodrorinzler.com
Miles Neale is a Buddhist psychotherapist in private practice, Assistant Director of the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, Clinical Instructor of Psychology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and contributing expert on mindfulness meditation for the BBC World Service. Miles earned a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies and has spent twenty years studying Buddhism under American Buddhist scholars Joe Loizzo and Robert Thurman as well as Tibetan masters Gelek Rimpoche and Lama Zopa. Dr. Neale’s approach to personal healing and transformation isinformed by contemplative neuroscience, an eclectic hybrid of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist psychology and meditative arts, depth psychotherapy, and the current neuroscience of trauma resilience.
Joe Loizzo, M.D., Ph.D. is a contemplative psychotherapist, clinical researcher, and Buddhist scholar-teacher who integrates ancient contemplative science and technology with current breakthroughs in neuroscience and optimal health. After training in psychiatry at Harvard and completing a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies at Columbia, he founded Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, a non-profit that helps people build sustainable happiness, compassion, and leadership through integrating science-based contemplative skills into their daily lives.
On faculty at the Weill Cornell Center for Integrative Medicine and the Columbia University Center for Buddhist Studies, Dr. Loizzo lectures widely on the role of meditative learning in the future of heath, education, and leadership, and teaches regular public classes and workshops at his Nalanda Institute, and Tibet House US. In 2007, he published Nagarjuna’s Reason Sixty with Chandrakirti’s Commentary, a translation study of contemplative self-analysis in Buddhism. His second book, Sustainable Happiness: The Mind Science of Well-Being, Altruism, and Inspiration, appeared in the Routledge Behavioral Science Series in 2012. He has published dozens of chapters and articles on contemplative science in peer reviewed books and journals including The Journal of Religion, the Annual Review of Psychiatry, and the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Dr. Loizzo has a private psychotherapy practice in Manhattan, where he lives with his wife, Gerardine, and their sons Maitreya and Ananda.
Adreanna's first encounter with Buddhism was in a high school philosophy class where the discourses on The Heart Sutra rocked her worldview in an uncomfortable and exhilarating way.
Following a decade of flirtation with meditation, she found her home at The Interdependence Project in NYC, where she completed their year-long training immersion, and continues to study, practice and teach alongside those who inspire her path.
She’s taught meditation as a practical tool for clarity and resilience to corporate offices, middle school students, and served as a lead coordinator of the Meditation Working Group at Occupy Wall Street, bringing daily practice to the volunteers at Zuccotti Park in 2011.
You can find her teaching regularly at MNDFL, New York City’s premier drop in meditation studio located in the heart and hustle of Greenwich Village.
Joshua Bee Alafia graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 1995 with a BA in Theatre Arts/Film. He currently is a filmmaker and has worked as a teaching artist teaching film, capoeira, tai chi and teaches mindfulness practice through the Lineage Project. He is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leaders training through Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He currently teaches at New York Insight Meditation Center, MNDFL and leads the Brooklyn People of Color and Allies Meditation bimonthly sit every 2nd and 4th Monday at the Brooklyn Zen Center.