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 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). He is the Executive Director of MAPLE and a teacher at MAPLE.
Daniel Ryūshin Thorson
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.
Khemā Danielle Eernisse
Khema found her way to MAPLE through an urgent and desperate concern for the many existential risks facing life on the planet. After two years of studying the unfolding collapse of our ecological and social systems, her life completely unraveled and she knew everything needed to change. MAPLE offered a clear path forward.
For the last six years, Khema’s family has been the tight-knit ecstatic dance and contact improv community in western MA. During that time, her life revolved around the study of touch, embodiment, movement, trauma healing, authentic communication, intimate relationship, and permaculture. She helped to start a Circling community there and later completed a Circling facilitator training. Over time, she grew a successful private practice combining elements of professional cuddling, Thai massage, and Circling. Khema’s intention at MAPLE is to reconcile her Earth-based spirituality with Buddhist practice and to use that marriage to become a death doula for our dying civilization.
Renshin Lauren Lee
Renshin has been a resident at MAPLE since May 2019.
Renshin is in a lifelong struggle for truth and virtue. She has been a Magic: The Gathering competitor / content creator, an iOS developer, a rationality researcher / instructor, a community builder, and a Circling facilitator. Now, at MAPLE, she seeks the ability to stay in one place and become someone people can rely on—a dependable, trustworthy, wise and loving leader.
Hōshin Norell LeungWhen Hōshin was 4 she would hold her hands under hot water until the water started to feel both hot and cold. In those moments she understood that our perceptions are not always what they seem. What appears one way on the outside can be the opposite on the inside.
As she aged, this experience remained a compass in her life. How can pain reveal pleasure? How can diving into grief unfurl joy? What portal to the mysteries is behind the dark curtain of my shame? How can fear give way to Love?
The Unified Field connected her with MAPLE, where she was reminded of a lifetime of longing and praying for authentic relationships, apprenticeship with a true teacher, and deliverance from the barren landscape of the mainstream.
Therapy dog work with her late animal teachers is one of her life’s masterpieces. She has worked in massage therapy, mental health, pole dancing, and teaching ESL and critical thinking through literature overseas. She’s interested in shamanic spirituality.
Karunādhamma Sophia Gallagher
Karuṇādhamma joined the Monastic Academy to develop the clarity and emotional resiliency required to face the compounding issues of climate change and economic injustice. She hopes for her training to prepare her to be of service in times of confusion and scarcity.
Before joining MAPLE, Karuṇādhamma received a BA in Philosophy & Communications, travelled throughout the US & Europe, got a MS in Urban Studies, and founded a non-profit cooperative for systems change education. Her research focuses on the intersection of ethics, cooperative economics, and knowledge commons. Her training so far has been predominantly in Zen Buddhism through residencies at Great Vow Zen Monastery & Atlanta Soto Zen Center, though she is interested in comparative study & training in different traditions.
Karuṇādhamma is passionate about monastics’ role in “pastoral care” and learning to support the community in navigating transitions of life and death. She hopes to develop more options for lay-monastic hybrid lifestyles and to support communal stewardship of land, shelter, food, & resources.
Bhadda Heidi Marchi
She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a BS in Psychology, and a minor in Studio Art in 2020. While enrolled, she served on the executive board of Meditation and Mindfulness Club, witnessing firsthand the healing powers of gathering in a trustworthy community of practice. She was introduced to Buddhism through Dharma art workshops led by her painting professor and mentor, Jill, and is very enthusiastic about the intersection of mindfulness and creative expression. Over the last 5 years she has been urgently and intentionally striving to do less harm to the planet, working with individual and collective sustainability and environmental protection efforts. She has been vegan for 4 years, and finds this a spiritually supportive diet. Her vow is to fully embody grace and compassion, and she is incredibly grateful for the MAPLE community fostering the development of the skills of wisdom, love and power in order to actualize this.
Joe came to MAPLE to become a beacon of joy, love, and wisdom that can help all people flourish and contribute to a more peaceful world. His research and teaching interests focus on innovations in education and human development, and the cultivation of mindfulness, social emotional learning, purpose, leadership, and systems change.
After graduating from Hamilton College where he played basketball and studied inequality and development, Joe won a post-graduate fellowship to investigate exemplary learning environments around the world. He visited schools, accelerators, and ministries in the Nordics, participated in teacher trainings, meditation retreats, and education conferences in Asia, and immersed himself in leadership academies, NGOs, and intentional communities across Africa. The most insightful and joyous moments, however, came from his time at Buddhist monasteries. This propelled him to become a mindful leadership teacher with the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, an education non-profit born at Google, and ultimately to the Monastic Academy where he gets to deepen his practice and help shape a network of transformative learning centers.
Kyōshin grew up in Guangzhou, China until she moved to New York City with her parents at age 10. After graduating from Brown University with a degree in Computer Science, she worked as a software engineer for about ten years. During this time, she accumulated many unhelpful mental patterns, resulting in depression, anxiety, self-hatred and loneliness. She began teaching herself psychology, philosophy, and interpersonal communication, as well as practicing meditation and mindful self-compassion.
Gradually, she has embraced new ways of showing up, including eating a 100% plant-based diet to stop participating in causing animal suffering, and dancing like no one’s watching whenever she feels called to. In June 2019, she attended Sōryū’s first talk at OAK and was intrigued by his candor, insightfulness, and ability to see people unusually clearly. She began attending OAK’s morning meditation and chanting, until one morning she felt as if she was going to where she truly belonged, and knew that she needed to train with MAPLE and OAK. She has since trained at both locations as an apprentice and now as a resident.
BT is a resident at the Monastic Academy.
Alf is a mystical man child exploring recipes of being where we all don’t kill ourselves. He’s curious about what is this mind? What is this I? What is this dancing sky? How do we live the good life in a complex world? How do we make the perfect walnut butter? Yet, how will we feed the babies? Can we regenerate soil and souls via the Dharma? If the Buddha were alive today, what would he eat and why? Is it even possible for 7 billion humans to live harmoniously with nature? Will beauty and spiritual friendship save the world?
He doesn’t have the answers, but painfully he’s learned that sometimes having the right questions is more important. What he does know is this – there must be a better way. So when Alf isn’t asking too many questions, he is striving for Awakening, writing a book on the Dharma of food, and helping to build next generation eco villages. And so unclear of the way through our current destruction – yet clear in the way of the Dharma – he and the beautifully weird people at the Monastic Academy eat, laugh, and lovingly experiment on a better recipe of being. Read more on his blog or connect with him on LinkedIn.
Kōshin Alex Flint
Permeating a billion-world universe, enlightening beings undertake manifestation according to the form of the beings there, according to their various different inclinations, doing so by following knowledge of how to appears as reflections, according to how beings may become ripe for perfect enlightenment and liberation. In the same way they pervade two, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, up to an unspeakable number of universes and undertake manifestations in the forms of the beings there according to their various inclinations, by means of knowledge of how to appear as a reflection.
Matt came to MAPLE for his own spiritual growth, as well as to help build systems that can improve the spiritual growth of humanity. He has a background in entrepreneurship, previously having run a startup dedicated to helping organizations make wiser decisions. He owns a coaching practice focused on helping people be productive and process their emotions without beating themselves up.
Previously, he worked with character development in children, including developing a magician training program for youth, and a character-development based after-school curriculum. He looks to use these varied skills to help MAPLE preserve life on earth.
Life is Dan’s curriculum. All beings his teachers. Above all else, Dan is a seeker – a lifelong-learner – dedicated to the path of truth and compassion. For the past ten years Dan’s work experience and professional development have been focused on education. He has taught and worked with students and teachers from inner-city New York, rural Thailand, highly urbanized China, rural India and Germany. Most recently he led the curriculum development, teacher training and leadership verticals at Barefoot College.
Through working in these diverse environments Dan has been exposed to various educational philosophies and pedagogic practices. There have been recurring similarities and differences between students, teachers, schools and school systems. These observations have led him to question the mainstream way of educating and to explore alternatives within and beyond ‘schooling.’ You can contact Dan and learn more about his professional background here.
Ellen came to the Monastic Academy in hopes of radically transforming her mind, heart, and ability to lead. After years spent confronting the climate and ecological crisis, she felt called to offer herself to a community whose aspirations match the urgency of this moment. Ellen also has a lifelong connection to the land of the Northeast Kingdom, as her parents built an off-grid cabin here by hand in 1987.
Ellen was brought to meditation practice by her mother’s illness and death in 2012. She has been studying and practicing the Dharma, primarily in the Insight tradition, ever since. She was a professional musician for ten years, and is also a licensed psychotherapist (LICSW) with a specialty in trauma and grief. As she trains at the Monastic Academy, she is in perpetual gratitude to her wife Susan, who supports her journey from their shared home in Washington, D.C.
Phil has spent most of his life entirely misunderstood and misunderstanding himself relentlessly evermore. All the while. Isn’t it obvious? Fate brought him here—and folly! What choice did he have? Ever. What choice is there, but joy?
So here he is. A baboon. His main claim to fame is having been an ordained monk at the Pa-Auk Monastery near Mawlamyine, Myanmar several years ago. He spent his 19th and 20th birthdays there, surrounded by red sand and red robes. Another notable achievement is his yearlong stint in the Finnish defence forces. Phil grew cup in New York City, and spent his young adulthood living in Helsinki. He publishes his own music videos and he wanted me to add that he is in love with Art. Phil would that he could become, “Art. And Soon.”