InsightLA's Dharma Council

InsightLA's Dharma Council, comprised of senior practitioners in the fields of mindfulness, Buddhism and spirituality, assists and advises InsightLA in determining matters of social service, teaching and gives direction to our stakeholders helping fulfill InsightLA's mission and outreach.

The council serves as a body of wisdom and stewardship - caring for, monitoring and cultivating the Dharma in an ever changing world.

Anam Thubten Rinpoche

Anam Thubten grew up in Tibet and at an early age began to practice in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Among his many teachers, his most formative guides were Lama Tsurlo, Khenpo Chopel, and Lama Garwang. He is the founder and spiritual advisor of Dharmata Foundation, teaching widely in the U.S. and abroad. He is also the author of various articles and books in both the Tibetan and English language. His books in English include The Magic of Awareness and No Self, No Problem. To view Anam Thubten’s teaching and retreat schedule, please visit www.dharmata.org/events-calendar. Through the essential wisdom of Buddhism and his personal experience on the spiritual path, Anam Thubten brings alive the timeless teachings and invites everyone to participate.

Ari Goldfield

Ari Goldfield is a Buddhist teacher. He had the unique experience of being continuously in the training and service of his own teacher, Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, for eleven years.  From 1998-2009, Ari served as Khenpo Rinpoche’s translator and secretary, accompanying Rinpoche on seven round-the-world teaching tours. Ari received extensive instruction from Rinpoche in Buddhist philosophy, meditation, and teaching methods, and meditated under Rinpoche’s guidance in numerous retreats. In 2006, Khenpo Rinpoche sent Ari on his own tour to teach philosophy, meditation, and yogic exercise in Europe, North America, and Asia. In 2007, Ari moved with Rinpoche to Seattle, where he served and helped care for him until Rinpoche moved back to Nepal in 2009. Ari now teaches in Rinpoche’s Karma Kagyu lineage, with the blessings of the head of the lineage, H.H. the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, and of Khenpo Rinpoche.

Ari is also a published translator and author of books, articles, and numerous songs of realization and texts on Buddhist philosophy and meditation. These include Khenpo Rinpoche’s books Stars of Wisdom, The Sun of Wisdom, and Rinpoche’s Song of the Eight Flashing Lances teaching, which appeared in The Best Buddhist Writing 2007. He is a contributing author of Freeing the Body, Freeing the Mind: Writings on the Connections Between Yoga and Buddhism.

Ari studied Buddhist texts in Tibetan and Sanskrit at Buddhist monasteries in Nepal and India, and at the Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies in India. In addition to translating for Khenpo Rinpoche, he has also served as translator for H.H. Karmapa, Tenga Rinpoche, and many other Tibetan teachers. From 2007-11, Ari served as president of the Marpa Foundation, a nonprofit organization initiated by Khenpo Rinpoche that supports Buddhist translation, nunneries in Bhutan and Nepal, and other Buddhist activities. Ari holds a BA from Harvard College and a JD from Harvard Law School, both with honors.

Ari married Rose Taylor Goldfield in 2008 while on semi-retreat with Khenpo Rinpoche. They currently teach internationally from their home base in San Francisco under the auspices of Wisdom Sun, the practice and study community they established together in 2011.

George Mumford

George Mumford’s deeply moving personal story is unforgettable. A basketball player at the University of Massachusetts (where he roomed with Dr. J, Julius Erving), injuries forced Mumford out of the game he loved. The medications that relieved the pain of his injuries also numbed him to the emptiness he felt without the game and eventually led him to heroin.

After years of making meditation on and off the cushion the center of his life and getting clean, Mumford enrolled in Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program and collaborated with him to create the Inner-city Stress Reduction Clinic in the early nineties.

When Michael Jordan left the Chicago Bulls to play baseball in 1993, the team was in crisis. Coach Phil Jackson, a long-time mindfulness practitioner, contacted Dr. Kabat-Zinn to find someone who could teach mindfulness techniques to the struggling team—someone who would have credibility and could speak the language of his players. Kabat-Zinn led Jackson to Mumford and their partnership began.

Mumford has worked with Jackson and many of the teams he coached to become NBA champions. His roster of champion clients has since blossomed way beyond basketball to include corporate executives, Olympians, and athletes in many different sports.

He currently works with Jackson's New York Knicks. 

Gina Sharpe

Gina Sharpe was born in Jamaica and immigrated to New York at the age of 11. She has an A.B. in Philosophy from Barnard College and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. Before practicing law, she worked for the New York City government (the Lindsay Administration), in the motion picture industry (as Assistant to the Producer of feature length films Little Big Man, Paper Lion and Alice’s Restaurant), as well as conducting research in public not-for-profits. As a lawyer, she practiced as a corporate litigator and then as a corporate lawyer. She also served as an executive in the fields of venture capital and mergers and acquisitions.

After retiring from the practice of law, she co-founded New York Insight Meditation Center. She currently serves as the Guiding Teacher. Trained as a retreat teacher in a joint Teacher Training Program of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Insight Meditation Society, she teaches at various venues around the United States including Spirit Rock, Insight Meditation Society, Vallecitos Mountain Refuge, Mid America Dharma, Garrison Institute, Asia Society, Tibet House, the New York Open Center, the Katonah Yoga Center and a maximum security prison for women. She has been teaching the Dharma since 1995. She has served on the boards of directors of several not-for-profit and for-profit organizations.

Jack Kornfield

Jack Kornfield trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India and Burma. He has taught meditation internationally since 1974 and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. He began his training after graduating from Dartmouth College in Asian Studies in 1967. Then he joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to the Public Health Service in northeast Thailand, which is home to several of the world's oldest Buddhist forest monasteries. He met and studied under the Buddhist master Ven. Ajahn Chah, as well as the Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma. After returning to the United States, Jack co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, with fellow meditation teachers Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein. He is also a founding teacher of the Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California, where he currently lives and teaches. Over the years, Jack has taught in centers and universities worldwide, led International Buddhist Teacher meetings with the Dalai Lama and worked with many of the great teachers of our time. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

His books have been translated into 20 languages and sold more than a million copies. They include, A Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology, A Path with Heart; After the Ecstasy, the Laundry; Teachings of the Buddha; Seeking the Heart of Wisdom; Living Dharma; A Still Forest Pool; Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart; Buddha's Little Instruction Book; The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace and his most recent book, Bringing Home the Dharma: Awakening Right Where You Are.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, is founding Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is also the founding director of its renowned Stress Reduction Clinic and Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He teaches mindfulness and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in various venues around the world. He received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from MIT in 1971 in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate, Salvador Luria.

He is the author of numerous scientific papers on the clinical applications of mindfulness in medicine and health care, and of a number of books for the lay public: Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness (Delta, 1991); Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life (Hyperion, 1994); Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness (Hyperion, 2005); and Arriving at Your Own Door: 108 Lessons in Mindfulness (Hyperion, 2007). He is also co-author, with his wife Myla, of Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting (Hyperion, 1997); and with Williams, Teasdale, and Segal, of The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Guilford, 2007). Overall, his books have been translated into over 30 languages.

Kate Lila Wheeler

Born in Oklahoma — sounds like beginning of Country and Western song.   Two weeks later, Mom took me on a plane to Latin America.  Whoops!  First word was ‘perro,’ dog. Still like them. Went to grad school for writing. In 1988 in Burma I was a Buddhist nun for a while. Now I teach Buddhist meditation and write fiction books, live with my husband, David M. Guss, who is also a writer.

Since I teach meditation, an ethics statement is in order:  I will try to embody the Buddha’s teachings by practicing them sincerely.  Kindness in particular but wisdom, too, to the best of my ability. Teaching means we all have the ability to be enlightened — if we practice!  As a teacher I’ll do my best to uphold that understanding.  Sometimes I eat meat, likewise drink wine, but I will endeavor not to take advantage of any student financially, intellectually, sexually, emotionally — and to give you full attention — again, as best I can.  Any mistakes or if I harm you, please let me know.  Justice, spirituality, and trying to avert a climate catastrophe are inseparable.  I work to help in those spheres as well.   Making the best of this mysterious and fleeting life.

Lama Surya Das

Lama Surya Das is one of the foremost Western Buddhist meditation teachers and scholars, one of the main interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, and a leading spokesperson for the emerging American Buddhism. The Dalai Lama affectionately calls him “The Western Lama.”

Surya has spent over forty five years studying Zen, vipassana, yoga, and Tibetan Buddhism with the great masters of Asia, including the Dalai Lama’s own teachers, and has twice completed the traditional three year meditation cloistered retreat at his teacher’s Tibetan monastery. He is an authorized lama and lineage holder in the Nyingmapa School of Tibetan Buddhism, and a close personal disciple of the leading grand lamas of that tradition. He is the founder of the Dzogchen Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and its branch centers around the country, including the retreat center Dzogchen Osel Ling outside Austin, Texas, where he conducts long training retreats and Advanced Dzogchen retreats. Over the years, Surya has brought many Tibetan lamas to this country to teach and start centers and retreats. As founder of the Western Buddhist Teachers Network with the Dalai Lama, he regularly helps organize its international Buddhist Teachers Conferences. He is also active in interfaith dialogue and charitable projects in the Third World. In recent years, Lama Surya has turned his efforts and focus towards youth and contemplative education initiatives, what he calls “True higher education and wisdom for life training.”

Larry Yang

Larry Yang teaches meditation retreats nationally and has a special interest in creating access to the Dharma for diverse communities. Larry has practiced extensively for almost 30 years and ordained in Thailand under Ajahn Tong. He is one of the coordinating teachers of the Spirit Rock Teacher Training program. Larry was honored for his work in racial justice by being selected as the community's choice for Grand Marshal in the 2016 San Francisco LGBTIQ Pride Parade. His website is:  www.larryyang.org.

Rose Taylor Goldfield

Rose Taylor Goldfield is a second-generation Buddhist teacher in the Karma Kagyü lineage, with the blessing of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa and her teacher Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. She teaches Buddhist meditation, philosophy, yogic exercise and dance, and classical Tibetan language.

Rose has written and translated books, articles, and numerous songs of realization, including Khenpo Rinpoche’s book Stars of Wisdom and a chapter in Freeing the Body, Freeing the Mind: Writings on the Connection Between Yoga and Buddhism. She holds an MA in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies from Naropa University. Rose grew up in a Buddhist household, her mother first practiced in the Theravadin tradition and lived in Thailand for many years and later became a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner after meeting Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1968.

Having studied and practiced extensively in the Shambhala lineage, Rose began training under Khenpo Rinpoche’s close guidance in 2002. He sent her on numerous extensive practice and study retreats.  In 2005, he appointed her teacher to his nuns in Bhutan and Nepal. She taught the nuns Tibetan Buddhist philosophical texts and meditation, and was a teacher at the ten-week program for international students at Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche’s monastery in Nepal. From 2007-9, Rose attended Khenpo Rinpoche daily while living with him in semi-retreat in Seattle. In 2007, Khenpo Rinpoche appointed her to a full-time position with Marpa Foundation, where she served as vice-president and secretary until 2011.

Rose married Ari Goldfield in 2008 while on semi-retreat with Khenpo Rinpoche. They currently teach internationally from their home base in San Francisco under the auspices of Wisdom Sun, the practice and study community they established together in 2011.

Tara Brach

Tara Brach, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, an internationally known teacher of mindfulness meditation, and the founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. She is author of bestselling Radical Acceptance and True Refuge, and has contributed numerous articles to popular magazines and websites. 

Tara is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences where she discusses the role of mindfulness in emotional healing and spiritual awakening. She leads accredited workshops for mental health professionals interested in integrating meditation into the practice of psychotherapy. Tara also offers meditation retreats at centers in the United States and in Europe.

Her podcasted talks and meditations are downloaded nearly a million times each month. In addition to her public teaching, Tara is active in bringing meditation into DC area schools, prisons and to underserved populations, and in activities that promote racial justice.

Trudy Goodman

Trudy Goodman Kornfield, Ph.D., is the Founding Teacher of InsightLA, the first center to combine training in Insight (Vipassana) Meditation and in non-sectarian mindfulness and compassion practices, including Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC). The fourth teacher ever of MBSR, Trudy taught with its creator, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and studied Buddhist meditation for 40 years, with Asian and Western teachers. She is the Guiding Teacher and co-founder of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the first center in the world dedicated to integrating these two disciplines, and had a private psychotherapy practice there for 25 years. Trudy co-founded Family Path and Growing Spirit, family mindfulness programs, with Susan Kaiser Greenland in Los Angeles, and has worked with kids and families throughout her career. Trudy teaches retreats and workshops worldwide; often teaching with her husband, Jack Kornfield. Trudy is a contributing author: Clinical Handbook of Mindfulness (Springer, 2008); Compassion and Wisdom in Psychotherapy, (Guilford Press, 2011); Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, (Guilford Press, 2013).