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Buddhist Recovery Network - Academy Teachers
BRN Academy Teachers
Kevin Griffin is a Buddhist teacher and author in the Theravada tradition. He is a co-founder of the Buddhist Recovery Network and teaches internationally across Buddhist traditions. He has been a Buddhist practitioner and in recovery for over three decades. His teacher training was at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Northern California, where he still teaches his flagship Dharma and Recovery class. Besides teaching at Buddhist and other spiritual centers, Kevin works with treatment centers and has consulted with leading addiction researchers.
His website is: www.kevingriffin.net
His books include:
A Burning Desire: Dharma God and the Path of Recovery
One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps
Buddhism & The Twelve Steps Workbook
Recovering Joy: A Mindful Life After Addiction
His CDs include:
Recovery One Breath at a Time
One Breath, Twelve Steps
Laughing Buddha (music)
Ruth King is an insight meditation teacher, life coach, and emotional wisdom author and consultant. She is the founder of Mindful Members Meditation Community of Charlotte, a core teacher in Spirit Rock's Dedicated Practitioner Program, and a guiding teacher with Insight Meditation Community of Washington, DC. She is the author of Healing Rage — Women Making Inner Peace Possible, and Mindful of Race (published date 2017).
Joan Tollifson writes and talks about the ever-changing, ever-present living reality Here/Now. Her bare-bones approach is open, direct, immediate and down-to-earth. Joan is interested in seeing through the imaginary problems that we think are binding us, the stories of lack and imperfection, and waking up to the aliveness of this moment, just as it is. Joan has a background in Buddhism and Advaita, but does not identify with any particular tradition. Her main teacher was Toni Packer, a former Zen teacher who left the tradition behind to work in a simpler and more open way. Joan has personal experience with addiction and compulsion as well as depression, and she has had a lifelong interest in how we meet these kinds of situations and what we can do to be free of them. Joan is the author of Bare-Bones Meditation: Waking Up from the Story of My Life (1996), Awake in the Heartland: The Ecstasy of What Is (2003), Painting the Sidewalk with Water: Talks and Dialogs about Nonduality (2010), and Nothing to Grasp (2012). She has lived in California, New York and Chicago, and is currently living in southern Oregon.
Ralph Steele has taught meditation since 1987. He completed a year of intensive practice as a Theravada monk in Myanmar and Thailand; in 2000 he completed a four year teacher training with Jack Kornfield. Born on Pawleys Island, S.C., Ralph began his meditation practice while in high school in Japan. He studied with Tibetan masters Ven. Kalu Rinpoche and Lobsang Lhalungpa, and worked on H.H. The Dalai Lama's meditation team at the San Francisco conference of Nobel laureates. Ralph is a Vietnam veteran, and spearheaded the establishment of annual retreats for People of Color at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Insight Meditation Society. He is the guiding teacher of Life Transition Meditation Center, and director of Life Transition Therapy, Inc a clinic offering meditation-based treatment for trauma in Santa Fe, N.M., and the author of Tending The Fire: The Path of War and Meditation.
Vidyamala Burch is an ordained member of the Triratna Buddhist Order as well as founder and co-Director of Breathworks, an organization devoted to offering mindfulness and compassion to people suffering from pain, illness and stress (www.breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk). Breathworks teachers now offer courses in over 25 countries.
Vidyamala teaches and speaks internationally in both her Buddhist and Breathworks roles. She specializes in mindfulness and compassion retreats and workshops.
In 2008 she wrote Living well with Pain and Illness — the mindful way to free yourself from suffering; and in 2012 she co-authored Mindfulness for Health with Danny Penman (published as You are Not Your Pain in the USA). This won first prize in the BMA book awards 2014 in the 'Popular Medicine' category — clinical books aimed at the general public. She is currently completing Mindfulness for Women, which will be published in February 2016. She has also published a number of guided meditation CDs and DVDs.
Breathworks grew out of Vidyamala's personal experience of managing chronic pain following spinal injuries and surgery in her teens. She learned mindfulness and compassion meditations within the Buddhist tradition when she was 25 and has used these over the subsequent 30 years to create a fulfilling quality of life, despite ongoing pain and disability.
Caroline Brazier is a therapist, writer and trainer whose work focuses on Buddhist approaches to mental health. Author of seven books on Buddhism, psychotherapy and ecotherapy, she takes a holistic view of compulsive and addictive processes, underpinned by the core teachings on our human condition, and offers positive and practical views of ways to work with them.
Mary Stancavage has practiced meditation, yoga, and cultivated a spiritual practice for almost 30 years. This practice has coincided with her journey in recovery. She began her investigation into Buddhist teachings in the 1990's and studied with Noah Levine in the Thai Forest Tradition beginning in 2005. In 2009 she was empowered by Levine to teach Buddha-dharma. She taught meditation at recovery centers in Los Angeles and has worked intimately with the Refuge Recovery Program over the last several years. She was also a long-time board member of the Buddhist Recovery Network. Mary currently serves as Director of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society where she has co-facilitated Year-to-Live groups since 2008, and has a weekly dharma class. She also is a member of the ATS Teachers' Council. She completed the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at the Sati Center and served as volunteer chaplain at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. Mary sits on the board of the Buddhist Insight Network. In addition, she has a Masters from UCLA, and worked as an archaeologist in the Middle East.
Vince Cullen has been associated with Wat Thamkrabok monastery in Thailand and Buddhist-oriented alcohol and other drug recovery since 1998. Vince founded the Fifth Precept mindfulness for recovery group and teaches 'Hungry Ghost' recovery retreats internationally. He has held appointments as Buddhist Prison Chaplain at both male and female prisons in the UK.
Vimalasara (Valerie) Mason-John
Vimalasara (Valerie) Mason-John is the current President of BRN. She was the co-founder and guiding teacher of Healing and Insight, an online faculty that explored the sharp edges of suffering. Award-winning author of 8 books, she is the co-founder and co-author of Eight Step Recovery: Using The Buddha's Teachings to Overcome Addiction, with 8 step meetings in 3 continents. And she is also the co-founder of Mindfulness-Based Addiction Recovery. Vimalasara is a senior teacher in the Triratna Order and Community.
Angyu Devin AshwoodAngyu Devin Ashwood has been influenced by a range of traditions, but has primarily trained in Soto Zen in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki after meeting Tenshin Reb Anderson Roshi in 2000. For much of his life, he has worked to make the Buddha's liberative teaching and practice available to underserved populations, in prisons and addiction recovery services. As part of this, he works as a prison chaplain and trains teachers to deliver Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention. Devin received a Masters Degree in Mindfulness Based Approaches from the University of Bangor and is currently the Director of Gaia House, an Insight focused Buddhist retreat centre in the UK. He occasionally writes for on-line and print publication including: 'Buddhism & Addiction' for the Sage publication 'Key Concepts in Substance misuse' (2015).
Tuere Sala, Guiding Teacher for Seattle Insight Meditation Society (SIMS), is a retired prosecuting attorney who has practiced Vipassana meditation for over 25 years. She has been an active member and volunteer at SIMS 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. She is now the co-lead teacher of SIMS, and is interested in using the dharma to work with depression.
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.
Gary Sanders recently moved to Portland, OR from the Los Angeles area, where he was the founder of SCV Mindfulness and led up to three weekly groups for over 5 years. He was empowered to lead Buddhist meditation and dharma groups by Noah Levine and Vinny Ferraro of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society and also helped found Refuge Recovery, a Buddhist based recovery program for all addictions, which has now spread worldwide. After moving to Portland, Gary was asked to join the teaching staff at Portland Insight Meditation Community by Robert Beatty and the Teachers' Council. His wife and daughters continue to be his greatest teachers.
Gary exclusively used Kevin Griffin's book One Breath at Time, when he first got Sober, and today Refuge is the main recovery program he works.
Acharya Passatininna (Christie Bates)
Acharya Passatininna (Christie Bates) began practicing meditation daily over 30 years ago, in the realm of family recovery, which has given her a particularly deep understanding of the universal nature of addiction and an ability to communicate this to students. She gradually found that Buddhist Insight teaching and practice both resonated with and deepened the recovery process, whether the recovery being sought is from a recognized addiction or more socially acceptable (and often more deeply deluded) patterns of suffering. While her daughters began to transition into adulthood, Christie finally began sitting a few retreats a year in 2010 with teachers such as Phillip Moffitt, Noah Levine, Ajahn Sucitto and others. She has practiced and studied as part of Dedicated Practitioner and Buddhist Recovery study groups in Nashville, Tennessee. She was among the first peer leaders of Nashville's Buddhist Recovery community. Following her training with Venerables Pannavati and Pannadipa she is ordained as Acharya Passatininna, and is the weekly facilitator of the NABRS (Nashville Area Buddhist Recovery Sangha) Insight Meditation Group, which is open to all people who seek recovery from the suffering of self-clinging.
Steven Tierney, Ed.D.
Steven Tierney, Ed.D. LPPC is Professor and Chair of Community Mental Health Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He holds an MA in Counseling and Social Psychology from Wayne State University, an Ed.D from Northeastern University and an advanced certificate in Child and Adolescent Therapy from Boston University. He is a licensed psychotherapist in California (LPCC) and Massachusetts (LMHC) and is a nationally certified counselor (NCC).
Steven is a certified addiction specialist (CAS) who has worked in community-based organizations in Boston and San Francisco for four decades; creating and providing innovative mental health and SUD (substance use disorders) prevention and treatment models for adolescents, transition-aged youth and adults. In 2015 Tierney was awarded Diplomat and Clinical Mental Health Specialist Status by the American Mental Health Counselors Association; the highest level of professional achievement in his profession.
Steven is an ordained Buddhist priest in the Soto lineage of Suzuki Roshi. He is the Co-Founder and Chief Educational Officer of the San Francisco Mindfulness Foundation, providing relapse prevention and mindfulness-based services to individuals, families and providers. Steven has been teaching on topics of meditation, mindfulness, addiction and mental health for more than 25 years.
Shahara Godfrey is a graduate of the UCLA Mindfulness and Awareness Research Center program and holds a MA in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University with a Ph.D. in Transformative Learning from California Institute of Integral Studies. She has been in recovery for over 20 years and practices in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. In addition. She combines combines Somatic work with Buddhism and Mindfulness through Coaching, 12-step and Buddhist Recovery work and the arts. Ms. Godfrey has completed Spirit Rock's Community Dharma Leadership and Dedicated Practitioner's programs. She is a core teacher at the East bay Meditation Center since 2008.
Cynthia Kear is passionate about finding and bringing practice to each moment of life. Cynthia has been involved with Zen Buddhism for over 29 years and in recovery for 31. Ordained in 2008, she was given Dharma Transmission in 2010 by her heart and root teacher, Darlene Cohen. As Senior Vice President in a fast-paced non-profit with a hefty travel schedule, trying to balance practice, family and friends, she knows how demanding our lives in the marketplace can be. Skillfully meeting all situations, all moments, wherever we are is her primary interest.