Colin Beavan is among the world’s best known spokespeople on environmental issues, consumerism and human quality of life. His writing, speaking, consulting and activism have encouraged tens of thousands of people to examine their lives to discover what’s really important to them. He is the author of How to Be Alive: A Guide to the Kind of Happiness that Helps the World and No Impact Man. Colin is the executive director of the No Impact Project, the author of the book and the subject of the documentary No Impact Man, a 350.org “Messenger,” a dharma teacher in the Kwan Um School of Zen, and a board member of Transportation Alternatives. He was the Green Party’s candidate for a seat in the United States House of Representatives in the 2012 electoral race for New York’s 8th Congressional district. He holds a PhD from the University of Liverpool and is the author of two books previous to No Impact Man.
Culadasa (John Yates, Ph.D.) is the director of Dharma Treasure Buddhist Sangha in Tucson, Arizona and author of The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Using Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science (Dharma Treasure Press, October 6, 2015). A meditation master with over four decades of experience in the Tibetan and Theravadin Buddhist traditions, Culadasa was ordained as an Upasaka (dedicated lay-practitioner) in 1976 and received ordination in the International Order of Buddhist ministers in Rosemead, California in December 2009.
His principle teachers were Upasaka Kema Ananda and the Venerable Jotidhamma Bhikkhu, both trained in the Theravadin and Tibetan Karma Kagyu traditions with lineage to the Venerable Ananda Bodhi (later recognized by the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa as the tulku Namgyal Rinpoche).
For many years, Culadasa taught physiology and neuroscience and worked at the forefront of the new fields of complementary healthcare education, physical medicine, and therapeutic massage. His unique lineage allows Culadasa to provide his students with a broad and in-depth perspective on the Buddha Dharma. He combines the original teachings of the Buddha with an emerging, scientific understanding of the mind to give students a rich and rare opportunity for rapid progress and profound insight.
DaRa Williams is a trainer, meditation teacher and psychotherapist. DaRa has been a meditator for the past 25 years and is a practitioner of both Vipassana and Ascension meditation. She is a graduate of the Spirit Rock/Insight Meditation Society Teacher Training Program and is a Guiding Teacher at IMS. She is the Program Manager and a core teacher in the current IMS Teacher Training. DaRa has been a clinician and administrator in the field of Mental Health for over 25 years and currently maintains a private practice in Manhattan. She is a certified trainer and practitioner of Indigenous Focusing-Oriented Therapy and Complex Trauma. DaRa integrates these skills, understandings, wisdom traditions and worldviews in her intention for contributing to the ending of suffering for all beings.
"It is my belief that vipassana meditation and the dharma are ideal for transforming suffering, particularly the trauma of oppression and its many vicissitudes-where the chains around our minds and hearts can be broken and dissolved. Awareness and wisdom become the vehicle for freedom and transforming lives."
Dave Smith is a Buddhist meditation teacher, addiction treatment specialist, experienced speaker, and published author. He is empowered to teach by Noah Levine of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society and received training in Buddhist psychology from the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (BCBS). HE has operated intensive programs and trainings for the Nashville office of the Mind Body Awareness Project (MBA), as well as providing services, workshops and trainings for Refuge Recovery. Dave has extensive experience bringing meditative interventions into jails, prisons, youth detention centers and addiction treatment facilities. He is the guiding teacher of the Against the Stream Nashville Meditation Center and teaches over 300 meditation classes and workshops a year. Dave teaches Buddhist meditation retreats internationally and is an active teacher for Against the Stream throughout the US. He provides direct services for mental health agencies, the public library, and speaks nationally at Addiction and Behavioral Health conferences. Dave recently relocated to Los Angeles.
Gina Sharpe is a founding teacher of New York Insight. She discovered the Dharma over 30 years ago and has studied and practiced in Asia and the United States. She was trained as a Retreat Teacher under the mentorship of Jack Kornfield. She teaches at Retreat Centers and meditation communities around the United States, including at a maximum security prison for women. She holds two meditation classes in Westchester County, New York.