I give thanks and appreciation daily for the wisdom and friendship of my one-on-one teachers over many years. Online formats have been rich with good teaching through 2020, however. The teachers below came forward this year to heal self and society generously, on a donation basis -- and I have to give props where due. Through 2021 I visited their sites regularly ... I was comforted by their beautifully grounded and crafted practices ... very successfully transferred online (that in itself is a craft!).
Through all the madness of 2020-early '21, I was deeply reassured and cheered by the knowledge that as we envision a peaceful and just society, we are definitely not alone.
The superlative Mimi Kuo Deemer
Yogini, author, and qigong master trained in China and by western masters, now fully coming into her own as a teacher of subtle body practice, especially Daoist practice and internal martial arts.
Just one of her many YouTube classes, here is The Eight Brocades, the famous qigong longevity practice.
Meditation masters, Tara Brach and friends Ruth King, Jonathan Foust, Leslie Booker
Tara is perhaps the most relatable, warm, psychologically insightful teacher I've ever known. She's also been my teacher off and on for decades. She and Jonathan Foust have spent decades building Insight Meditation Community of Washington into a welcoming dharma center, a social justice powerhouse and model for other communities.
You can catch all four teachers via online retreats at Insight Meditation Community of Washington: https://imcw.org. Tara and her guests teach on You Tube every Weds. night -- please check out IMCW website for more. Tara's personal website with excellent starter practices, short (or long) https://www.tarabrach.com/
A woman, and teacher, phenomenally. One of my dear dharma friends. Please check out talks and online events at https://ruthking.net/ A leading teacher at IMCW, she is also an acclaimed author, an elder and central figure in creating social justice through the practices of the Buddha. Check out her coaching program for white folks, if you identify: https://ruthking.net/services/mindful-of-race-training/
Quietly charismatic, Leslie Booker teaches a direct and embodied connection to ancestry, and to our peaceful, loving nature. And she does it more skillfully and deeply than you might think possible in 30 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2d0dL7Jd34
The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies
[Shout out to: Brian Lesage and Jessica Locke, Jay Garfield, Laurie Anderson]
The Barre Center has bee staying on the leading edge of multi-lineage, authentic Buddhist teaching, with a progressive edge.
Brian Lesage and Jessica Locke
Brian Lesage and Dr Jessica Locke teach antiracist meditation practice compassionately and non-dogmatically, in universities and Buddhist study centers. After decades of experience, they're skilled and kindly guides, showing how our life in a racialized society can be examined -- with a loving, spacious heart. Racial dharma is far from a woke postscript -- it's a healing part of Buddhist self-inquiry and practice, increasing our sense of joy and belonging in our social roles.
Their new online class is coming up soon! https://www.buddhistinquiry.org/course/living-our-histories-shaping-our-futures-buddhist-anti-racist-practice-2/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feb%203%2020201%20Promo&utm_content=Feb%203%2020201%20Promo+CID_15741bb5fa5446069c56a818e2aa5d44&utm_source=BCBS%20CM&utm_term=Register%20Here
The difficult no-self teachings ... have you ever thought of them as nihilistic, or socially neutral? Properly taught, they represent a gateway to ethical living, social justice and inner well being.
In Prof Garfield's powerful analysis of traditional teaching from the ancient masters of Nalanda University, we found richness in the no-self teachings. It's all about learning to get over ourselves, to recover a truly meaningful life.
In (hopefully) our last solstice with Covid prevalence, Laurie Anderson offered a quietly mindblowing solstice sound meditation. Together with hundreds of other live listeners, my husband and I found inner space to face the losses, the grief, as well as space for our innate playfulness, even joy. https://dharmaseed.org/retreats/?search=PFBR
Lama Rod Owens
How do we mindfully recognize and cherish all our emotions , including anger and frustration, without "othering" that shadow side of our personality through spiritual bypass?
Lama Rod, a powerful, and truly fearless teacher, is always willing to be his vulnerable, real self when he teaches in dharma halls. He's masterful at getting real online too. I saw Lama Rod live in 2019, as frequently as I could ... then off and on through 2020, discussing his book Love and Rage in small activist communities as well as national forums, to teens as well as elders. Check out https://www.lamarod.com/
So many more great teachers to add here, so please offer additions that made your year more meaningful on the cushion and off.