From the Teachers

We do have the potential to connect at a more fundamental level and to ignore our patterned, reductive judgements of each other.
~ Lama John Makransky

Our Mission

To empower people with profound, accessible spiritual practices that support their individual and collective work to become better people and to make a better world. ...more

Meditation Teachers

Listing of Guiding Teachers

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Joel Baehr ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
Joel Baehr is a pastoral psychotherapist and Buddhist teacher in private practice in Cambridge, MA. A Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, Joel has been an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister for over 45 years. He has been a retreat leader, a consultant to many businesses and non-profit groups, and has coached many executives.
Joel has been a student of Tibetan Buddhist Lamas for 18 years. Prior to that he studied and practiced with spiritual teachers in many other traditions, including Quaker, Sufi, Advaita Vadanta, Roman Catholic, and others.
At the request of Lama Surya Das, in 2000, Joel wrote and taught for many years an online course, "Buddhism and Everyday Life" (currently found at Joel is also the author of an article, "Buddhist Practice-based Psychotherapy," published by the Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health. Joel has served on a numerous non-profit boards of directors.
He currently teaches Innate Wisdom and Compassion meditation groups in Cambridge, MA, Jamaica Plain, MA, Online with GooglePlus, and in Massachusetts prisons..
Chuck Beardsley ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
Chuck Beardsley is a psychotherapist in Scotch Plains, NJ. Chuck specializes in the addiction field, working as a clinician at an intensive outpatient program and in private practice in Westfield, NJ. Chuck has been a regular meditator since 1995. After attending a weekend retreat by Lama Sura Das in 2001, he joined the New York City Sangha of the Dzogchen Foundation, and attended retreats and teachings by Lama Surya Das, Lama John Makransy, and Charles Genoud. Chuck moved to New Jersey after 17 years of living in Manhattan, and became a member of the Foundation for Active Compassion New Jersey Sangha. He has come to appreciate and value the Innate Wisdom and Compassion practices, as taught by Lama John Makransky, and utilizes these teachings in both his work and his other passion-the Dharma of Parenting.

Chuck teaches Innate Compassion and Wisdom Meditation in Scotch Plains, NJ
Don Belanger  ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
Don lives in Concord, NH with his wife and teenage son. He works as a Special Education and Art Teacher in at-risk shelter settings and in public middle and high schools.
Don has been practicing in the Zen Buddhist tradition since 1992 and in the beginning of 2004, he joined a Tibetan Dzogchen practice group. He has been leading meditations in that group since 2005. During that time, he recognized a connection with Lama John Makransky and his teachings of Innate Wisdom and Compassion and now focuses on those practices. He has attended retreats with Sensei Sunyana Graef, Albert Low, Lama Surya Das, Lama Willa Miller, and Lama John Makransky.
He leads 2 Innate Compassion and Wisdom meditation groups in Concord, New Hampshire, a Buddhist group and a non-denominational group.
Ken Bent  ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
Ken Bent lives in Rhode Island and is a small business owner, helping other businesses with organization and storage efficiency in manufacturing or warehouse environments. Although his adult life has been spent working in warehouses, his spirit has always wandered toward the road of open awareness. He has been a regular meditator for over 30 years. Since meeting Lama Sura Das and Lama John Makransky in 2002, his study and practice has been in the Dzogchen tradition, attending retreats and teachings with Lama Surya Das, Lama Willa Miller, Charles Genoud, Brendan Kennedy, and Lama John Makransky. He has come to appreciate and value the power of the parctices of Innate Wisdom and Compassion, as taught by Lama John Makransky. Ken works to keep these practices alive in his daily life and is now focusing his efforts in support of making these practices available to others through the Foundation for Active Compassion.

Ken teaches Innate Compassion and Wisdom Meditation in Providence, RI.
Katherine Bonus ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

Katherine Bonus has been a student of both Christian and Buddhist Meditation practice since 1976. Her primary Christian tradition teacher is James Finley PhD, psychologist and former Trappist monk. Within the Buddhist tradition she has participated in numerous vipassana retreats and teacher trainings led by various teachers including: Sharon Salzberg, Kamala Masters, Steven Armstrong, and Matt Flickstein.

As the founding teacher, Katherine expanded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin, which encompasses 14 teachers and multiple program offerings. She received MBSR teacher certification from the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness and for 20+ years she developed and offered trainings and retreats for various populations including MBSR participants, patients, and healthcare providers (front desk staff, integrative medicine staff, and physicians). Since 2008 she has collaborated in multiple research projects with the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

In July 2014 Katherine retired as manager of the UW Health Mindfulness program but she continues to offer programs and collaborate. Katherine is grateful to be practicing and learning Tibetan Meditation practices through the teachings and adaptations of Lama John Makransky. She is dedicated to deepening in the practices made available by Lama John and hosts a weekly practice group.

Carla Brennan  ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
Carla Brennan has been practicing Buddhist meditation for 36 years in the Theravada, Zen and Tibetan traditions and is a full-time Vipassana teacher in Santa Cruz, CA, offering talks, classes and retreats. She was introduced to Dzogchen teachings in the early 90‘s and started practicing with Lama Surya Das and Lama John Makransky in 1997. She has found Dzogchen meditation and the compassion practices to be important and powerful. Carla has also taught Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for many years, is an artist and former psychotherapist. She has a special interest in offering dharma practice outdoors where wild nature can lead us to an experience of our True Nature.

Carla teaches Innate Compassion and Wisdom Meditation in Santa Cruz, California.
Jane Burdick  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Jane Burdick has been a Movement Specialist and a Certified Feldenkrais Teacher for twenty years. She has a private practice in Portland, Maine, and does workshops for the general public, for women with specific pelvic difficulties, for those who would like more ease in meditation, and classes for those with cancer and Parkinson's Disease. She also teaches Tibetan Yoga.

Jane teaches Innate Compassion and Wisdom Meditation in Portland, Maine.
Terry Conrad This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Since 2004 Terry has sponsored programs with Texas inmates, including meditation, a class on ethics based on the Dalai Lama's book Ethics for the New Millennium, and correspondence courses with incarcerated Buddhists that include a study of the Lojong, a ngondro practice, and the offering of Refuge.

The biggest challenge of Buddhist chaplaincy work in prison is guiding inmates to practice meditation in the crowed and noisy conditions of the prison environment. Terry is a Certified Volunteer Chaplains Assistant CVCA by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, (TDCJ) and sponsors a weekly Buddhist Meditation class on the Mark Stiles Unit in Beaumont, Texas.  He also sponsors a monthly meditation class at the Ramsey Unit in Rosharon, Texas.

Following up on a suggestion made by an inmate on the Stiles Unit, the class “Discovering Ethics” was established in 2008 to study His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s book “Ethics for the New Millennium.” The class is facilitated by inmates who are trained as peer educators for their role in the classroom. The facilitators have written a study guide for the class “Discovering Ethics: A Path to Virtue - A Study Guide for Inmates” using examples of prison culture to promote participation in the discussions of the Key Concepts presented in each chapter. The study guide is adapted from one developed through The Dalai Lama Foundation, who generously donates the textbooks used in the class.
In an effort to promote the replication of the Ethics Class in other prisons, the facilitators have written an Ethics Class Facilitators Training Guide, that includes An Ethical Toolbox, of homework assignments for each chapter,
At the request of the Dalai Lama Foundation, Terry sent a copy of the inmates' Study Guide directly to His Holiness [see transmittal letter]. The guide is currently available on The Dalai Lama Foundation web site;

In an effort to better outreach incarcerated Buddhists that do not have access to dharma based programs due to the lack of Buddhist chaplaincy volunteers, Terry created Project Clear Light under the sponsorship of the Foundation for Active Compassion.  PCL is a 501C3 organization that is a recognized source for Buddhist materials by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. PCL publishes a number of booklets available at no charge to inmates that request them that include: “The Four Nobel Truths,” “The Four Thoughts,” “Refuge,” “A Foundational Practice,” “An Inmates Guide to Buddhist Practice,” and “Lojong: Attitude Transformation in Seven Parts,.” This last booklet is a study guide and commentary for a correspondence course. The course involves "snail mail," at least seven one-on-one exchanges between Terry and the participant. Upon completion of the course, a mala is awarded to each participant. Over 100 inmates have participated in the Lojong course.
Project Clear Light also publishes a quarterly newsletter, “Anguilimala,” produced by members of the Mark Stiles Sacred Heart Sangha, that is mailed out to subscribers within and beyond Texas.

Terry teaches Innate Compassion and Wisdom Meditation in Galveston, Texas and in the prison system in Texas.
Cathy Cornell  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Cathy Cornell is a licensed clinical social worker, currently serving as the clinical director of the Canopy Center’s Oasis program which provides treatment and support to children who have been sexually abused and their families in Madison, WI. Cathy  has served on the Board of Directors of Christians for Peace in El Salvador on since 1988.  A longtime Buddhist practitioner, she seeks to integrate contemplative practices into her social activism and into her healing work with others, especially with those who suffer from traumatic experiences. Cathy teaches innate compassion meditation practices to social service providers and social activists to help them prevent vicarious trauma or burnout as a teacher with the Foundation for Active Compassion.

Dawn-Starr Crowther ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

Dawn-Starr Crowther is the owner of an integrative medicine clinic in Portland, Oregon, where she practices as a Licensed Acupuncturist, working with people living with chronic pain, severe illnesses, survivors of trauma, and at end of life. She also, from time to time, finds herself joyfully blessed to assist her patients with birthing their babies. She has practiced Tibetan Buddhism since 1996, when she attended her first retreat with Lama Surya Das. Since that time she has attended, and staffed, many silent retreats with both Lama Surya and Lama John, and has also studied with Charles Genoud, Brendan Kennedy, and Lama Palden Drolma. She has lead meditation groups in Portland since 1997.

Since 2001, at a retreat shortly after 9/11--when Lama John stressed the necessity of bringing compassion practices forward in the world--the heart-practices of compassion and lovingkindness have been her main practice and refuge. She recently completed a year-long training with Stanford University, and is now certified to teach their Compassion Cultivation Training course. She is passionate about creating beauty in the world through art, gardening, and cooking, and loves spending time on long walks with her husband, Dave, and Labrador, Katie-Bird. She also leads medical service trips to Fiji and the South Pacific to bring acupuncture to under-served populations.

These compassion practices are radically life changing--they foster a quiet revolution of the heart--which Dawn-Starr is dedicated to manifesting in business and health care. She teaches Innate Compassion and Wisdom Meditation in Portland, Oregon.

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