Soryu Forall is an American-born meditation teacher dedicated to serving all living beings. He teaches that this path is the mutually supportive relationship between Awakening and Responsibility, the positive feedback loop between Correct Perception and Correct Behavior.
Soryu has done intensive contemplative practice for over two decades, training in Buddhist monasteries in Asia, primarily under the Zen Master Shodo Harada, for half that time. He also has a degree in Economics with a focus on Environmental Science from Williams College. As the founder of the Center for Mindful Learning and Head Teacher at the Monastic Academy, Soryu offers teachings based in Shinzen Young’s Unified Mindfulness to residents, local community members, and young people around the world. He is grateful for the gifts many teachers have offered him, including those in the Christian, Lakota, Diné, Abenaki, scientific, and the Zen, Ambedkar, Theravada, and Kagyud Buddhist traditions. Soryu works to use mindfulness, leadership, and exponential growth to save life on earth from human greed and create conditions for awakening.
Autumn is a 5th generation Californian with a background as a Violinist, Massage Practitioner, Contact Improv teacher, Poet, and Project Manager.
Before joining The Monastic Academy, she co-founded the Bridge Within movement and traveled the US and Canada doing massage, teaching Contact Improv, and organizing events. She is also co-founder of I Am We, a consciously curated resource network that bridges the communities of integrative spirituality, holistic health, sustainable living, and creative and performing arts.
She is passionate about Networking, growth, helping people discover and actualize their dreams, going on adventures, sharing art and healing and movement, creative collaborative projects, community-building, Spiritual Practice, and the ocean.
Cameron‘s life has always been guided by the search for freedom. He began his search in the corporate IT world, recognizing money brought certain freedoms. After advancing his career and meeting some of his financial goals he began to realize that money wasn’t bringing the degree of freedom he was searching for. He began traveling the world looking for something, not really knowing what it was. This search led him to working with indigenous shamans in Peru where something within him began to awaken. He began to connect with his own deep suffering and recognize the same suffering in his family, friends, coworkers and everyone else in the world.
The more he learned about himself the more he understood he couldn’t help heal the world without healing himself first. A close friend introduced him to the internal martial arts and guided him towards a better path for himself. A meditation retreat opened a new door on how to do this. After years of trying to maintain a practice it became clear he needed immersion in a like-minded community. He is excited about changing himself and hopeful for the future of the world.
SanShin 三真 (Christopher Russell)
SanShin is the son of a slide-guitar-playing goldsmith and equestrian-inclined-hand engraver. He was born in Chicago, baptized Lutheran, grew up Methodist and became fascinated with the various wisdom traditions of the world at a young age through the Beatles, the Dalai Lama and George Mumford. He found great joy in the self-transcendence and flow states achieved playing piano and basketball, bouldering, cooking, water skiing, yoga and strongman training.
Passionate about issues of ethics, social psychology, social change- he was interviewed on a vegan talk radio show in 8th grade and at the age of 20 was a political candidate simultaneously endorsed by the Green Party and Libertarian Party.
He is immensely grateful for all of his failures and successes, friends family and teachers. Especially grateful for his first meditation teachers Bhante Sujatha and the other bhikkhunis and bhikkhus of the Blue Lotus Temple in Woodstock, IL and Chozen and Hogen Bays and all of the Monastics at Great Vow Zen Monastery in Oregon.
Dan was introduced to meditation his freshman year of college, while studying for his bachelor’s in neuroscience. After dabbling and reading about the practice for a few months, he was led to a six-week internship at the American Yoga Foundation in Bovina, NY, in the summer of 2012. This internship crystallized his interest in mindfulness and bodywork as effective approaches to spirituality and well-being, and made them a focus of his life and career.
Ultimately, Dan knew that he had to dive into longer-term intensive practice if he wanted to experience the full benefits of meditation. While he was working as a clinical research assistant he had a serendipitous phone call with a Monastic Academy resident, and ultimately applied and made a year-long commitment to the training.
Dan hopes to carry the wisdom discovered in this training program and elsewhere into his career in clinical psychology. He is passionate about body-based approaches to clinical work, and hopes to help integrate mindfulness of the body more fully into contemporary models of mental health.
Peter obsesses over meditation, technology, and self improvement. His introduction to meditation began by studying philosophy and religion in college. For his university thesis, he did his first meditation retreat and found that meditation works!
Peter continued his studies at American University with a Master’s in Philosophy. His thesis explored Buddhist and Existential Ontology and Ethics. Peter has done retreats in various Insight, Zen, and Tibetan traditions. Before joining MAPLE, Peter worked at a technology company, where he was director of web development and online marketing. He also traveled the country in a tiny RV over a two year period.
As a MAPLE resident, Peter is figuring out how to keep not knowing anything and still make a positive impact.
Pan has always aimed to make the world a better place. At age fifteen, he volunteered for a progressive mayoral candidate, and got hooked on social change. While attaining a Master’s degrees in Political Science and Sustainable Business, he threw himself into a career as an advocate and organizer for democracy, human rights, and the environment.
A decade of championing progressive causes introduced Pan to the challenges of apathy, burnout, and corruption. Searching for answers, Pan turned inward through lucid dreaming, labyrinth walking, and wilderness meditation. Direct experience of interconnectivity and compassion renewed Pan’s calling, and recurring dreams brought him to lead workshops on meditation, mindfulness, and lucid dreaming.
By living in a community that uses mindfulness to help others, Pan is learning to harness the metamorphic power of contemplative practice for building a loving and harmonious world.
Originally from San Diego, CA, Rosie graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 2014 with a B.A. in Business Leadership and minors in Psychology and Creative Writing. She worked for two years as an Outreach Specialist for the National Alliance on Mental Illness before receiving a Masters Degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017.
Rosie is passionate about the powerful energy of dark emotions and the process of alchemizing grief into gifts. She believes in the power of play and laughter and understands grief as a combination of celebration and mourning. She is fascinated by the power of community to help us heal and grow as our stories are seen, heard, and known.
She is passionate about oral ethnography, trauma informed storytelling, nonviolent communication, post-traumatic growth, vegan baking, soccer, and social permaculture. She loves the trifecta of joy that comes from combining exercise, nature and community. She wrote her masters thesis on the positive psychology of death and dying and created a caregiver’s companion around the pillars of resilience, compassion, and mindful grieving.
Steven is at the Monastic Academy in order to go forward in life self-actualized and authentic, acting on what is true for each moment. He is working to understand how the constructions of gender, sexuality, race, and capitalism are informing our perceptions, and to learn to engage in society in a way that is stemming from truth, instead of from false, ego-driven attempts to “help people” in order to feel like a good person.
He sees attempts at radical societal change stalling due to a lack of mindfulness, as we get caught up in ego, and end up perpetuating the same societal problems that we are ostensibly working to reform.
He has previously worked with youth in social and emotional learning programs through The Home for Little Wanderers and Wediko Children’s Services, and lived in Spain for two years teaching English and Theater.
Jōshin 成真 (Steven Dee)
Jōshin found his way to daily meditation practice via Chade-Meng Tan’s Search Inside Yourself program at Google, and then deepened his practice with an extended retreat at Center for Mindful Learning (MAPLE) in 2013. He’s been programming professionally for over a decade. Most recently he worked on Muse, a meditation trainer and EEG headband developed in Toronto.
He’s been involved with various hackerspaces, including San Francisco’s Noisebridge and Toronto’s Site 3 CoLaboratory. He cares a lot about finding and creating communities for nerds, artists, makers, and other weirdos to meet and connect.
He returned to MAPLE full-time in 2016 after seeing clearly what a difference this practice makes in his own life. His current goal is to awaken completely for the benefit of all beings.
We are supported by a close network of mentors and advisors
Shinzen Young became fascinated with Asian culture while a teenager in Los Angeles. Later he enrolled in a Ph.D. program in Bu ddhist Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Eventually, he went to Asia and did extensive training in each of the three major Buddhist traditions: Vajrayana, Zen and Vipassana. Upon returning to the United States, his academic interests shifted to the burgeoning dialogue between Eastern meditation and Western science. Shinzen is known for his innovative “interactive, algorithmic approach” called basic mindfulness, a system specifically designed for use in pain management, recovery support, and as an adjunct to psychotherapy. He leads meditation retreats throughout North America and has helped establish numerous mindfulness centers and programs. He also consults widely on meditation-related research, in both the clinical and the basic science domains.
I am an accomplished dancer, choreographer and spoken word artist who has performed nationally and internationally. Since 2006, I have created original solo, duet and group work, merging storytelling, dance and visual art to create captivating and poignant performances that invariably cause audiences to laugh and cry, sometimes simultaneously. Since 2010, I have collaborated with Ellen Smith Ahern in making duet work that mixes dance and spoken word. In 2011, Ellen and I toured across twelve cites in Europe for six weeks with Double Vision showing original duet work as well as being part of Double Visions installation work. As a Performer and Teaching Artist, I travel the country as a Keynote Performer/Presenter addressing issues of education, disability, access and the power of the arts. My work reaches diverse populations, youth at risk, refugees, homeless families, adults with physical and mental disabilities, college students, rural and urban youth, professional artists and educators. Since 2007, I have taught teachers how to use dance in the classroom as an instructional tool through the Flynn Center Words Come Alive!
Sofi, co-founder of Laughing River Yoga, is an advanced certified Jivamukti Yoga Instructor and a level 1 certified LifeForce Yoga® practitioner. She was first given permission to teach in 1997 by Alan Finger in the tradition of Ishta Yoga, and soon after found her foremost teachers David Life and Sharon Gannon, co- founders of Jivamukti Yoga. Along with David and Sharon, Sofi cites Seane Corn as one of her main inspirations and is an active member of the Off The Mat, Into The World community. Sofi also works in Creative Development and teaches mindfulness at The Center For Mindful Learning, and is the co-founder and director of the Laughing River Yoga Teachers Training Program Laughing River Yoga in Burlington Vermont.
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.