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.
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.
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.
Peter Xūramitra Park
Peter has dedicated his life to asking deep questions— what does it mean to be human and how should one act? He began this journey through studying philosophy and religion. In college, he practiced Tai Chi Quan and participated in a ten-day Vipassana meditation retreat, which turned these deep questions into life practices.
Peter continued his studies at American University with a Master’s in Buddhist & Continental Philosophy.
Before joining MAPLE, he worked at a technology company as the Director of Web Development and Online Marketing. He also traveled the country in a tiny 21-foot RV before founding a Dharma House community in Boston.
At MAPLE, Peter introduced the community to the interpersonal meditation practice of Circling and offered the first public Circling workshops in Vermont. He teaches Circling events in Burlington. He is a certified Circling instructor under Circling Europe, assistant teacher with Shinzen Young, and thus far, finished three solitary 8-11 week cabin retreats. Peter took lay ordination under Shinzen Young and Soryu Forall in 2020 and received the name, Xūramitra (heroic friend).
Zak Stein grew up on the East Coast of the US and managed to find a way through several school systems as a “high achieving dyslexic.” During doctoral training in psychology and philosophy at Harvard, he discovered the field of existential
risk and has since dedicated his life to working on the resolution of the world’s most pressing problems.
Zak currently works as a writer, researcher, and thought leader at the front edge of understanding how educational systems and approaches are related to problems of civilizational collapse. He is also a consultant to governments and businesses seeking to mitigate catastrophic risks through educational innovation, as well as a mentor to individuals seeking to use their power responsibly. His work can be found at The Consilience Project, and at the Center for World Philosophy and Religion (formerly the Center for Integral Wisdom). His book Education in a Time Between Worlds has been widely acclaimed, considered by some as one of the most important books on the philosophy of education to be published this century.
He has been a longtime caregiver and musician, as well as a practitioner of both Zen and Jewish mysticism.