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. 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.
Peter has dedicated his life to asking and realizing deep questions—such as, 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. Over the years, Peter has trained with various Insight, Zen, and Tibetan traditions.
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 leads Circling & meditation retreats and teaches Circling events in Burlington. He is also very interested in adult ego development, Metamodernism, strategic thinking, productivity, and operations.
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.
Tasshin lived at MAPLE as a resident from 2015-2017, helped start our new OAK location in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2018, and is now back in Vermont. Tasshin grew up in Massachusetts and went to school at St. John’s College, Annapolis, MD, where he studied the Great Books and received a Liberal Arts degree. He has worked in many fields: as a writing coach, a programmer, meditation teacher, business consultant, and as a small business owner. Tasshin is passionate about exploring the connection between contemplative practice, physical movement and exercise, and intellectual endeavors. His name, Tasshin (達真), means to reach, achieve, or touch truth or authenticity.
Steven is at the Monastic Academy in order to live life in a self-actualized and authentic way, acting on what is true for each moment. He is working to understand how the constructions of gender, sexuality, race, and capitalism inform our perceptions—and also how to engage in society with true compassion, rather than from ego-driven attempts to “help people” in order to feel like a good person.
He sees radical societal change being stalled 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. He lived in Spain for two years teaching English and Theater.
Daniel has joined the Monastic Academy in order to become a person who can serve the world in a time of crisis and contribute to building an educational institution that can train many more such people.
In previous incarnations, Daniel has organized with Occupy Wall Street (in NYC); worked at a company called Buddhist Geeks (it’s what it sounds like); helped start Boulder Flood Relief in the aftermath of the September 2013 Boulder, CO floods (which went on to become an award-winning non-profit); founded a mindfulness education company; launched a new American political party; and spent over 10,000 (awful, wonderful) hours in formal meditation practice. Daniel is the host of the Emerge podcast, which explores the relationship between inner and outer transformation.
Kevin has been loving his training experience at the Monastic Academy, where he can grow his mindful awareness and practice Circling, a form of interpersonal meditation. His knowledge of himself, others, and the world is broadening and deepening. He is grateful to be a part of a community that holds him to the highest standards and pushes him to go beyond what he thought was possible.
Prior to becoming a resident, Kevin learned to excite, enchant, and evoke catharsis in audiences by studying theater directing and music at the University of Michigan. He then traveled for six months, primarily in India—exploring music, culture, and Buddhist meditation. Participating in their joyful culture and finding a spiritual practice in monasteries, he fell in love with practicing mindfulness and nurturing unconditional happiness and freedom.
He works to act from compassion, express his experience with vulnerability, and come into deeper connection with others. As he transcends his habitual thought and behavior, he is beginning to build a satisfying and fulfilling life.
Ashley is passionate about mental health and well-being, and she especially loves working with kids. She has volunteered as a counselor and administrator for University of California’s Camp Kesem, a non-profit organization that supports children through and beyond a parent’s cancer. Ashley has also taught English to middle-school and high-school students in Israel, volunteered at various youth shelters, and worked as a Child Care Counselor for foster youth. Ashley wants to add mindfulness meditation into her repertoire of tools when working with kids to help them stay present in the moment, grow happier, and be more confident.
She also wants to make mindfulness her life practice. She is excited to observe and gain greater awareness of her mental and behavioral habits so that she can come from a place of intentional compassion in each moment. She knows that the Monastic Academy will help her embody her best self—and in turn, help her bring out the best in others as well.
Herschel was born in the Bay Area and raised Jewish; he became an atheist around age 12. He learned about the Monastic Academy while living in the rationalist community in Berkeley, California. Herschel has had a fascination separately with mysticism and with monasticism for a long time, despite his atheist leanings.
Herschel is interested in linguistics, mathematics, and music. He spends a lot of energy trying to understand how conflict and disagreement work and how people can connect more deeply. Most of all, Herschel is deeply interested in truth, whatever that means.
Lauren comes from the Bay Area Rationalist and Effective Altruism communities and has much more experience with Circling than meditation. Her newfound interest in meditation comes from a lifelong striving for growth and personal development. In particular, she’s looking to acquire the skill of dependability and “doing what you say you will do,” while moving from a place of compassion and curiosity.
In her past life, she has been a competitive Magic: The Gathering player / content producer, an iOS developer, and a research instructor at the Center for Applied Rationality. She loves teaching and guiding people through techniques like Focusing, Internal Family Systems, and Immunity to Change mapping, among others. Her other interests include epistemics, group dynamics, model-building, introspection, neuroscience, and artistic expression.
She is dedicated to healing her traumas and becoming a more self-aligned, capable, perceptive, and compassionate person. She wants to help others do the same.
All his life, Jason has had an appreciation for the importance of living in a way that helps others. Inspired by his parents’ careers in mental health and education, their social and political engagement, and their choice of “Dāna” (from the Sanskrit word for generosity) for their family name, he decided to follow a career path in a similar direction.
His interest in mindfulness came about in high school after years of struggling with internal turmoil and looking for relief. After watching the movie I Am (2010) and reading Ekhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, he felt a newfound motivation to do something to minimize the suffering both inside himself and in the world.
While studying Social Work at the University of Vermont, he started practicing and teaching mindfulness through the UVM Mindfulness program. He also learned how to effectively help others through his course work and participated in student activism. These three components fed into each other as he explored how inner peace and outer justice are related.
This exploration has continued to grow richer for Jason as he continues practicing mindfulness and taking on more responsibility in his work and his life at the Monastic Academy.
Cameron JoynerCameron‘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.
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.
George LestnerGeorge has always felt the need to make sense of everything. Starkly deprived from the comfort of false certainty and purpose and baffled by the absurdity of existence, he undertook an undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Nottingham University.
Luckily, he encountered Buddhist & Asian Philosophy in his final year of study and decided that directly experiencing his reality was far more fruitful than solely thinking about it. Enamoured by Shinzen Young’s seamless marriage of science and pragmatic Dharma, he came to the Monastic Academy to practice Unified Mindfulness and develop his experiential knowledge of reality. He also hopes that in doing this a natural, non-religious ethics will reveal itself.
Proud to be the first Modern Monastic from Britain, he is more than up for the challenge and relishes his time here, knowing there is nowhere else on Earth like it.
Besides his obsession with learning more about contemplative paths, George spends most of his time exploring the world of music, playing the drums, and smiling at his dog. He hopes this bio is the last ego-managing activity he does in a while.
Kyoshin 供真“Sharing the truth of liberation with all of humanity” is the meaning of his Dharma Refuge name.
Kyoshin worked for General Motors for 35 years, having started on the assembly line and later becoming a coordinator, supporting a culture of team concept and continuous improvement. He volunteered at Crisis Text Line as Crisis Counselor, helping people cope with bullying, suicide, loss, gender issues, self-harm, and more, all while learning how important self-care is for caregivers.
A decade of silent meditation retreats; loving-friendliness, compassion, appreciation and acceptance (the Brahmaviharas); and the study and contemplation of Buddhadharma are all a part of his life-practice. He has done many retreats, starting with S. N. Goenka and continuing on with Shinzen Young, Bhante Gunaratana, and Ajahn Sucitto at centers such as the Insight Meditation Society, Forest Refuge, and Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.
A loving, supportive wife and family along with many teachers have helped this process, allowing appreciative joy to flow.
After a deep and traumatic experience with depression and anxiety in his first year of college, John felt compelled to find a more authentic way of being in the world.
He found mindfulness to be an effective tool and turned it into a daily practice. Finding retreats had a powerful impact on his practice, he became curious what it would be like to devote his life to meditation. What kind of changes would be possible? Would he be able to integrate them into some sort of a normal city life?
John then met Harrison Heyl—a resident at OAK, MAPLE’s sister branch in California—who told him about the Monastic Academy. John then flew from his home in Ireland to MAPLE, to join as an apprentice and later became a full-time resident. He is also pursuing a Pathways certification with Unified Mindfulness, in order to become a teacher himself.
John continues to be amazed by what’s possible when simply paying attention to the present moment. Mindfulness empowers him to connect, relate, and be vulnerable with others. By meeting negative patterns of thought, limiting beliefs, and contractive worldviews with mindful attention, he can outgrow them and actualize a potential far greater than he thought possible.
Board of 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.
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.