I try to convey that the wisdom and compassion we are looking for is already inside of us. I see practice as learning how to purify our mind and heart so we can hear the Buddha inside. In doing so, we naturally embody the dharma and help awaken that understanding and love in others we meet.
I try to use the formal teachings as a doorway for people to see the truth in themselves. I feel I'm doing my job when people look into themselves to come to their own deep understandings of the truth, access their own inner wisdom and trust in their "Buddha-knowing," as Ajahn Chah called it, which is different from their intellectual knowing.
The Buddha-knowing is a deeper place, underneath the concepts, which is in touch with the truth, with our seed of awakening. I want practitioners to have more and more confidence in, and familiarity with, that deeper place of knowing. It is accessing this dimension of our being that becomes the guide to cutting through the confusion caused by greed and fear. We have everything we need inside ourselves. We do not need to look to a teacher when we remember who we really are.
Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey aims to inspire the skills, determination, and faith necessary to realize the deepest human freedom. He is the resident teacher for Vipassana Hawai’i and when off-island teaches across the US, Canada, and in Burma.
Jessica Morey, MA, is the executive director and lead teacher of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education. She began practicing meditation at age 14 on IMS Teen Retreats. She has undertaken longer-term practice in Asia and the US, and worked in clean energy finance. She is a participant in the 2017-2021 IMS Teacher Training Program.
John Peacock, an academic and meditation teacher for 25 years, currently teaches Buddhist studies and Indian religions at the University of Bristol, UK. He is an Associate Director of The Oxford Mindfulness Centre, recognized by Oxford University.
From 1971-1991 Joseph Kappel lived as a Buddhist monk as Pabhakaro Bhikkhu, with Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Sumedho in Thailand and Great Britain. His initial interest in Buddhism was inspired by visits to Thailand from Vietnam where he was a Captain serving as a combat helicopter pilot in 1969-70. Since leaving monastic life in 1991, Joseph has taught MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) in Massachusetts’s prisons, received the degree of Master of Education from Harvard University, and worked with college athletes to facilitate “mental fitness” and the inner game. He currently teaches meditation retreats in various settings in the US. Additionally, he co-leads retreats with Ajahn Amaro at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in England. Joseph’s commitment is to encourage everyone to awaken in daily life by using life’s journey to cultivate deep understanding, virtuous conduct, along with wise effort & reflection.
Dr. Judson Brewer, MD PhD is the Director of Research at the Center for Mindfulness and associate professor in medicine and psychiatry at UMass Medical School. A psychiatrist and internationally known expert in mindfulness training for addictions, Brewer has developed and tested novel mindfulness programs for addictions. He started meditating on his first day of medical school in 1996 and has been under the guidance of Joseph Goldstein since 2008.
Kaira Jewel Lingo is a Dharma teacher and lived as an ordained nun for 15 years in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing, and is now based in New York. She provides individual spiritual mentoring and leads retreats internationally, offering mindfulness programs for educators, parents and youth in schools, in addition to activists, people of color, artists and families. She mentors with the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program, was lead teacher for Mindful Schools’ year long training for educators, teaches teens and adults with Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, and is a guiding teacher for One Earth Sangha. She edited Thich Nhat Hanh’s Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children and has been published in numerous other books and magazines. She explores the interweaving of art, play, ecology and embodied mindfulness practice and is an InterPlay leader. Read her recent article, In Times of Crisis Call Upon the Strength of Peace, published in Lion’s Roar magazine.
Kittisaro & Thanissara, both former monastics in the Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah, are married, teaching partners, and co-founders of Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat, in South Africa. They are co-authors of Listening to the Heart, A Contemplative Guide to Engaged Buddhism. They currently live in North Bay California where they are Guiding Teachers of Sacred Mountain Sangha, on the Spirit Rock Teacher Council, and are Core Teachers at IMS.