Soryu Forall, Chair of the Board, has spent over two decades in intensive contemplative practice. He was ordained in 1998 by Zen Master Taigen Shodo Harada, abbot of Sogen monastery in Okayama, Japan, where he trained for six years. He ran the Sariputta Monastery in Bijapur, India from 2002-2004 and has studied in monasteries throughout India, Tibet, and China. He has also trained in Native American traditions. Soryu’s teachings are primarily informed by Buddhism, Unified Mindfulness, the spiritual paths of the Lakota and Abenaki, and the Quaker tradition of Christianity. He has brought mindfulness and Buddhist teachings to tens of thousands of people through pioneering Modern Mindfulness for Schools, Mind the Music, and the Monastic Academy. He has taught in business, academic, interfaith, and one-on-one settings. He founded the Center for Mindful Learning in 2011, growing it to a broadly supported national nonprofit. He is the Head Teacher of the Monastic Academy in Vermont (MAPLE) and Head of CEDAR, the growing network of modern mindfulness monasteries including MAPLE, OAK in California, and Willow in Canada. He holds a degree in Economics and Environmental Science from Williams College.
Renee Keshin Dee
Keshin (Renee Anthony) Dee, Secretary, is a retired symphonic musician (bassoonist with The Cleveland Pops Orchestra and others), music educator (The College of Wooster, Bowling Green State University, The University of Akron and others), and arts advocate in roles from board president to theater producer to union administrator. A lifelong calling to facilitate understanding and connection is woven into the fabric of her life. A shift away from her arts career created the space for this calling to manifest more directly as she became acquainted with the MAPLE community and the Unified Mindfulness system of meditation. After attending a retreat lead by Shinzen Young at MAPLE, Keshin undertook UM training online. Certified as an L2 Coach, she was a major support in developing UM’s annual online global event, Immersion, as well as helping to launch the UM Pathways program in India. Working with individuals and groups in virtual spaces, Keshin lives her calling to facilitate connection and mindfulness broadly. She and her husband Konshin Richard Dee are thrilled to be among the first families to join the MAPLE Village of the Monastic Academy, where living in community with lay practitioners and monastic residents offers a new way to deepen practice and sustain life on Earth.
Harrison Kaishin Heyl
Harrison “Kaishin” Heyl, Treasurer, began meditating daily in 1996 and has been teaching mindfulness since 2008 to adults and youth. In early 2011, he began working with Soryu Forall to offer the Mind the Music Teacher Training Program for teaching mindfulness to youth through music. Harrison helped Soryu found the Center for Mindful Learning and served as CML’s Executive Director. In 2013, they founded the Monastic Academy. At that time, Harrison trained as a resident for five months while also working on its Modern Mindfulness for Schools program. Harrison has engaged in full-time residential meditation training for a year and a half as a resident of the MAPLE and OAK monastic academies, and for another six months at monasteries and meditation centers in Asia and the U.S. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University of Santa Barbara. He’s currently the Co-Director of the Kind Mind school mindfulness program in Santa Barbara. He brings over three decades of experience working in the fields of government, real estate, education, and mindfulness to his position.
Jennifer Packard began her meditation training and practice in 1992 with Shinzen Young and has continued her informal practice since that time. Jennifer was raised in Anthroposophical Camphill communities for the disabled in the USA and Northern Ireland. She spent most of her adult life overseas in Europe and Africa. On returning to the USA in 2017, she was introduced to Soryu and CML through longtime supporters Shoshin and Kaishin Smith. Jennifer joined the CML board in November 2018. With training as a Systems Business Coach in Germany (1997-2000), she worked as a consultant in the Software and Automotive industry in Germany (2001-2011), managed Springfontein Wine Estate in Stanford, South Africa from (2012-2017) and now manages PK Realty Management LLC, a real estate development and property management company in Portland, ME. She is mother to Yeshe Hagl and Iona Hagl. As a member of the CML board, Jennifer brings great enthusiasm for our work, as well as experience in communication, strategic planning and business development to the table.
Sofi is an advanced certified Jivamukti Yoga instructor who has been teaching Yoga since 1997. Often described as a “teacher’s teacher,” Sofi brings to her classes the wisdom and psychology of yoga philosophy derived from her many years of scriptural study.
Ever passionate about learning, Sofi is pursuing her Masters of Arts (MA) degree in Traditional Yoga Studies through Naropa University. In addition, Sofi completed the Luminous Soul Sanskrit Studies Method Level 1 Year-Long Immersion with Manorama in 2020 and is currently continuing her Classical Sanskrit studies with Dr. Antonia M. Ruppel.
Sofi teaches both private and group classes in the greater Burlington area and travels nationally and internationally to teach workshops. She is the co-director and a lead teacher of the Laughing River Yoga Teacher Training Program and and sits on the board of The Center For Mindful Learning.
Shinzen Young is an American mindfulness teacher and neuroscience research consultant who developed Unified Mindfulness with an eye toward building a bridge between contemplative practice and hard science.
His systematic approach to categorizing, adapting and teaching meditation has resulted in collaborations with Harvard Medical School, Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Vermont in the burgeoning field of contemplative neuroscience.
Shinzen’s interest in Asia began at the age of 14 when he decided to attend Japanese ethnic school in his native city of Los Angeles.
After majoring in Asian languages at UCLA, he entered a PhD program in Buddhist Studies at the University of Wisconsin. As a part of his thesis research, he lived as a Shingon (Japanese Vajrayana) monk for three years at Mount Koya, Japan. It was then that he received the name Shinzen (真善).
Also during that time, he became friends with Father William Johnston (author of Christian Zen). Fr. Johnston helped broaden Shinzen’s interests to include comparative world mysticism and the scientific study of meditative states.
Upon returning to the United States, his academic interests shifted to the dialogue between Eastern meditation and Western science. Shinzen is known for his interactive, algorithmic approach to mindfulness, and often uses mathematical metaphors to illustrate meditative phenomena.
He is the author of The Science of Enlightenment, Natural Pain Relief and numerous audio offerings.
Shinzen leads residential retreats throughout North America. In 2006, he created the Home Practice Program. These phone-based mini-retreats are designed to make deep meditation practice accessible to anyone in the world regardless of their location, health situation, and time or financial constraints. Shinzen oversees all the teacher training programs on Unified Mindfulness, which offers the official certification programs for his system.
Chade-Meng Tan (Meng) is a Google pioneer, award-winning engineer, international bestselling author, thought leader and philanthropist. He is Chairman of the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, and Co-chair of One Billion Acts of Peace, which has been nominated seven times for the Nobel Peace Prize.