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Retreat & Teacher Archive

Bhikkhuni Vimala (bhikkhuni means female monk) has been a student of Bhante Sujatha since 2006, and a Buddhist since 1995. She began her Buddhist studies as a member of the Milwaukee Shambhala Center, but upon meeting Bhante 11 years later, she recognized him as her teacher and made the move to Theravadan Buddhism. In 2007, she was ordained as a samaneri (novice nun), and in 2010 she traveled to Sri Lanka with Bhante Sujatha for her higher (final) ordination.

Vimala lives in Wisconsin and teaches meditation classes and retreats there and in Illinois with Blue Lotus Buddhist Temple in Woodstock. She has two adult children, two adult dogs, and in her lay life has been a writer, a copyeditor, an ESL teacher in Japan, and most recently a teacher in the juvenile corrections system. She believes her multi-faceted life experiences give her a broad-brush view of life and deepen her understanding of the Buddha's teachings. A strong sense of humor doesn't hurt either!

Living Without Running Away: Using Mindfulness Practice to Work with Our Difficult Emotions, December 11, 2011.
Allan Cooper's meditation practice began in 1973 in India, and since 1986 he has practiced Buddhist meditation in the Theravada and Vipassana tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw. He has studied with many prominent monastic and lay teachers in the Burma, U.S.A, and Nepal, including the Venerable Sayadaw U Pandita, Joseph Goldstein, and the Venerable Sayadaw U Vivekanada, abbot of Panditarama International Meditation Center Lumbini, Nepal. Allan has served as a hospice and mental health nurse for approximately 20 years in a variety of settings and locations.
Our Thoughts Lead to Our Habits: Conditioning Towards or Away From Freedom, September 17-19, 2010, September 23-25, 2011, October 5, 6, & 7, 2012
This weekend Vipassana retreat provided the chance to directly experience how conditioning in our minds, speech and actions defines who we are. We learned that through meditation our habits limit opportunities to think, speak, and act with a clear and compassionate Heart and Mind. We also learned how meditation helps us loosen and free ourselves from habit and prejudice.
Bhante Punna Akurugoda is a Theravadan monk from Sri Lanka. He was ordained in 1983 and has extensive teaching experience in the United States and abroad. Bhante has been busy expanding the Blue Lotus Temple in various parts of the U.S. and was in Las Vegas working with the Blue Lotus Insight Meditation Group to help establish a center here. Bhante Punna graciously led Lotus in the Desert Group one or two times a month from January to April 2010 focusing on shamatha using loving-kindness and vipassana. You can email Bhante at

Kevin Griffin is a longtime Buddhist practitioner and 12-Step participant, he is a leader in the mindful recovery movement and one of the founders of the Buddhist Recovery Network. Kevin has trained with the leading Western Vipassana teachers, among them Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, and Ajahn Amaro. He completed the Community Dharma Leader Training at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Marin County, CA. Kevin is the author of One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps (Rodale Press, 2004) and the forthcoming God, Buddha, and the Path of Recovery (Hay House, 2009). Kevin teaches nationally in Buddhist centers, treatment centers, professional conferences, and academic settings. He specializes in helping people in recovery connect with meditation and a progressive understanding of the 12 Steps.

Desire and the End of Desire: Letting Go Of Addictive Behaviors: October 3-4, 2008
The Buddha taught that we all experience desire; however, with practice we can better manage the affects of desire. We know that without mindfulness, desire can lead to addictive behaviors that lead us away from healthy relationships with ourselves and others. We explored practices of mindfulness and concentration, loving kindness and compassion that help us open into states of awareness, clarity and peace. During this daylong retreat, between periods of sitting and walking meditation, Kevin gave talks about desire, how to end desire, and letting go of addictive behaviors.
Shaila Catherine has been practicing meditation since 1980, with seven years of accumulated silent retreat experience, and has been teaching since 1996. She has studied with masters in India, Nepal and Thailand. She founded Insight Meditation South Bay in California in 2006. Shaila’s current focus is the development of concentration and the deep state of absorption called jhana. She completed a one-year intensive meditation retreat focused on jhana as the basis for insight (2003-2004) at Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts. She is the author of the book Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity and Widsom, Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhāna and Vipassan, from Wisdom Publications.
Loving Kindness: A Practice of Happiness: November 1-3, 2002
Loving kindness is a profound quality of friendliness toward all life. The gentle art of connecting with an open heart through this ancient systematic meditation practice is called “metta” in Theravadan Buddhist countries. Metta meditation cultivates a heartfelt wish that all beings be happy beginning with ourselves and gradually expanding the field of loving kindness to embrace those whom we love, and those who are difficult to love until this caring radiates to all beings without exception. Loving kindness practice heals the heart, meets the pains of life with sensitivity, and cultivates the ability to forgive. It is an ideal compliment to mindfulness meditation as well as a complete practice within itself.

Focused and Fearless: An Evening of Meditation, Discussion & Book Signing: November 14, 2008
Shaila discussed how to cultivate non-distracted attention in daily life and on retreats as well as rarely talked about meditative states (jhanas) that can lead to liberating insight.

Awakening with Insight: November 15-16, 2008
The Buddha taught that to be fully awake is to be enlightened. During this two-day, non-residential retreat, Shaila focused on cultivating a calm, clear awareness, so we can dissolve any suffering that may entangle our hearts and discover our freedom in the midst of daily lives. We exploreed practices of mindfulness and concentration, loving kindness and compassion that will help us open into states of awareness, clarity, and peace. Rather than going through our days on “automatic,” we begin to wake up and bring ourselves in touch with inner wisdom and moment-by-moment awareness of what we experience and feel. Between periods of sitting and walking meditation, Shaila gave talks about “Awakening with Insight.”
Bhante Sujatha is from Sri Lanka and is a monk in the Theravadan tradition and founder of the Blue Lotus Temple in Woodstock, Illinois.

Mindfulness & Metta Meditation Discussion & Practice: June 1, 2008
Guest Teacher: January 11, 2009
Caitriona Reed was a senior teacher in Thich Nhat Hanh's Order of Interbeing, and received the Lamp transmission from him in 1992. She has led retreats since 1981, and has studied with teachers in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. since 1970. Caitriona is a Clinical Hypnotherapist in practice since 1985. Her teaching is informed by the tradition of Engaged Buddhism, the idea that the spiritual life is not separate from other aspects of living, and that meditation and mindfulness training are ways to cultivate awareness in all of life's situations. Caitriona is currently affiliated with Manzanita Village.
Mindfulness Meditation Retreat: October 23-25, 1998

Mindfulness Meditation Retreat: January 22-24, 1999

Mindfulness Meditation Retreat: March 3-5, 2000
Richard Shankman is an experienced meditation instructor with over 25 years experience. Richard is the co-founder of the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies, certified by the Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader Training Program, and teaches at numerous San Francisco Bay Area meditation groups. Richard has been instrumental in starting a meditation program in the San Mateo County Jail system. He has been a facilitator with the Alternatives to Violence Project for several years, presenting three-day workshops primarily in San Quentin State Prison, and in the community.
Advance by Retreating!: June 21-23, 2002

Day of Vipassana Meditation: September 28, 2002

Cultivating the Mind of Love and Peace: June 6-8, 2003

Cultivating the Mind of Love and Peace: November 5-7, 2004

Breath Meditation: A Vehicle for Liberation: March 24-26, 2006
The Anapanasati Sutta - literally, the In-breath Out-breath Mindfulness Discourse - contains the Buddha's most detailed meditation instructions. It also explains how those instructions function within the context of the entire path of practice. This weekend will combine a detailed exploration of the sutta and related texts, with practice periods emphasizing how to put the insights of the texts into practice.

Deepening Meditation and Dharma Practice: February 23-25, 2007
The Buddha taught that the possibility of freedom and happiness exists in any moment, regardless of the situations in our lives. During this weekend we will spend periods of sitting and walking meditation, as well as talks and discussion about using all aspects of our lives for awakening. We will explore practices of mindfulness and concentration, lovingkindness and compassion, which open into states of awareness, clarity and peace. Rather than going through our days on "automatic," we begin to wake up and bring ourselves in touch with inner wisdom and moment-by-moment awareness of what we experience and feel.
Woods Shoemaker is an experienced Vipassana meditation teacher who is on the visiting faculty for the Barre Center for Buddhist studies. He is a student and teacher in the lineage of Desikachar of Madras, India and taught yoga at the Krishnamurti school in England. Woods served on the faculty of the Omega Institue for Holistic Studies.
Vipassana-Vinyoga Retreat: August 2-4, 2002
Vinyoga is a form of yoga from the tradition of T.K.V. Desikachar incorporating mindful breathing and body movement with spine strengthening, preparing the body for sitting meditation.
Eric Kolvig earned a Ph.D. from Yale University and has edited a number of books in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. He has been a dharma teacher since 1985 after practicing intensively and continuing to practice with the Insight Meditation Society. Two of Eric’s main teachers have been Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg. From 1997 to 1999, he was resident teacher for the Santa Fe Vipassana Sangha. In recent years he has led many retreats around the country in a wide variety of environments with diverse practitioners including some for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered individuals. Eric also leads retreats at Spirit Rock.
Practice is the Path to Liberation: October 31 - November 2, 2003
Lucinda Green, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Rocky Mountain Insight(RMI). She has been a student of eastern meditation since 1968. Lucinda began the practice of vipassana meditation in 1975 as part of her professional training as a mind/body integrative therapist. Since that time, she has lived and studied Buddhism intensively in India and Sri Lanka. In addition, she studied at the Nyingma Institute (Tibetan Buddhist) in Berkeley and created the Buddhist women’s Sangha in 1982. Her teachers have included Munindra, U Silananda, Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, Pema Chödrön, Thich Nhat Hahn, Rina Sircar and Christopher Titmus. Since 1994, Lucinda has held weekly meditation meetings and weekend retreats in Colorado Springs.
Opening the Six Sense Doors: April 1-3, 2005

Waking up to the Present Moment:
September 30 - October 2, 2005
Carla Brennan is the Guiding Teacher for Bloom of the Present Insight Meditation Sangha in Santa Cruz, CA and is an insight meditation teacher through Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Carla also offers "Innate Compassion Training" with the Foundation for Active Compassion. She has studied and practiced in the Theravada, Zen and Tibetan Buddhist traditions for 40 years. Carla’s love of wild nature as well as her background as a psychologist and artist enrich her approach to spiritual practice. 

In addition to Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein and other Vipassana teachers, she has practiced with Zen master Seung Sahn, Lama Surya Das and Adyashanti. Carla also trained with Jon Kabat-Zinn and teaches Mindfulness–Based Stress Reduction.
The Freedom of Impermanence: Learning to Let Go: December 1-3, 2006
In this retreat we explored the “three marks of existence” (impermanence, dissatisfaction and nonidentity). This understanding helps us release the unnecessary resistance, contraction, and holding that cause suffering in the heart, mind and body; we then find a new freedom in ease, openness and radical acceptance.

Movement and Stillness: Deepening our Awareness of the Flow of Life: October 5-7, 2007
In this retreat we explored the fundamental nature of awareness. The days alternated between sitting and walking meditation, guided movement and short teaching periods. We practiced both narrow-focused attention that cultivates concentration for steadiness of mind and open awareness that brings clarity, peace and insight in the midst of any activity. In both cases, the emphasis was on practicing "resting in awareness." We learned to distinguish the difference between awareness, thinking and the flow of experience and discover how awareness is the "ground of being" that brings freedom and peace.

Fearless Presence: Meeting All of Life with Radical Mindfulness: April 1-3, 2006
During this weekend retreat we made the shift from judging, controlling and manipulating our experience into fully opening to and befriending it. Pure awareness has no agenda;  it is awake, inclusive and allowing. Radical mindfulness embraces all sensations, feelings and perceptions equally. We can learn to relax into the now and come to rest. We practiced the subtle and powerful approach of “letting be,” a willingness to be open again and again to what is as it is. An emphasis was on “compassionate mindfulness of feeling”. We focused on acknowledging the sensations of the body and the emotions of the heart with a kind, connected presence. The day alternated between silent sitting and walking meditation, guided instructions, talks, Q & A, and Chi Kung.

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