Our Core Teachers
Steven Tierney, Ed.D., LPCC is Soto Zen priest in the lineage of Suzuki Roshi. Dr. Tierney is a psychotherapist, professor and the Co-Founder of the San Francisco Mindfulness Foundation. Steven Tierney can be contacted at email@example.com.
An SF Bay Area native, Syra Smith began her personal meditation practice as a teen in 1988 and has been practicing in the Theravada Buddhist tradition since 2009. She graduated EBMC’s Commit to Dharma study program in 2011 and Spirit Rock Meditation Center's 2 year Community Dharma Leader's Training in 2017. Syra teaches Insight Meditation and mindfulness throughout the SF Bay. http://projectroot.org/syra-smith-meditation
Our Guest Teachers
John Lewis is a graduate of Spirit Rock's 2004 Dedicated Practitioner Program. He has taught mindfulness in a variety of settings including the 2020 Mindfulness in Law Teacher Training program and a transitional facility for homeless queer youth. John and his husband Stuart Gaffney have been two of the leaders in the marriage equality movement for the last 17 years and conceive their work as a form of engaged mindfulness. They are currently involved in the global movement for LGBTIQ equality, regularly guest lecture at a Japanese university, and write for the San Francisco Bay Times. For more information about their marriage equality work, please visit Marriage Equality.
Dawn Haney brings Buddhist-informed activism to social movements from migrant justice to fat liberation. She has been teaching and training for 20 years, on feminism, white anti-racism, violence prevention, direct action, spirituality, and more. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leaders program, a Community Teacher at East Bay Meditation Center, and taught across the US in her former role as Co-Director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.
Lisa Hoffman's passion is to bring the Buddha’s teachings alive in our everyday lives, to help us with kindness and wisdom. Lisa was ordained in the Zen tradition by Surei Darlene Cohen in 2008 and received Dharma Transmission from Tony Patchell in 2013. She is also a coach, consultant, facilitator and trainer in the nonprofit community. www.lisahoffman.net
Arinna Weisman has been teaching since 1989 and was one of the SFLGBT Sangha's 2014 core teachers. Her root teacher is Ruth Denison who was empowered by the Burmese teacher U Bha Khin. She is the founding teacher of Insight Meditation Center of the Pioneer Valley and is co-author of the book, A Beginner’s Guide to Insight Meditation. arinnaweisman.org
Shahara Godfrey has practiced in the Theravada Buddhist tradition for over 20 years. She has completed Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leadership and Dedicated Practitioner’s programs. In addition, Shahara is a graduate of the UCLA Mindfulness and Awareness Research Center program as well as a core teacher at the East Bay Meditation Center.
Note that our dear teacher Shahara Godfrey passed away on December 1, 2020 after her long journey with cancer. We will miss her dearly and are grateful that she shared her wisdom with us. She will live on in our hearts and in our practices. Blessings to all her friends and family.
Anushka has trained for over 25 years in the Theravada Buddhist tradition and is a member of the Teacher's Council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Anushka teaches Vipassana/Insight Meditation and Dharma around the world and works as a leadership coach and management consultant, influenced by a BA from Harvard and an MBA from Yale. Her teaching is informed by nature, politics, arts and modern urban life. She leads a weekly group, Monday Night Dharma, in San Francisco. For more info please visit www.anushkaf.org.
Trip Weil has been practicing Buddhist meditation since 2004. He is a Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader and a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioners Programs. Formerly an attorney, Trip is a psychotherapist in private practice in San Francisco. Trip also teaches meditation at the San Francisco Insight Meditation Community.
Rev. Daigan Gaither began Buddhist practice in 1995 in the Vipassana tradition, and then began to study Zen in 2003 with Ryushin Paul Haller Roshi. He received Lay Ordination in 2006 where he was given the name Daigan or “Great Vow”, and received Priest Ordination in July 2011. His work, practice and free time include many hours devoted to community service in a variety of ways including his work as one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Zen Hospice Project. While living at San Francisco Zen Center, Daigan speaks nationwide on a variety of topics as well as having sat on a number of boards and committees that serve community needs and which further social justice.
Baruch Golden is a long-time practitioner, hospice RN and mindfulness teacher. He has taught mindfulness practices to children in elementary, middle and high school for the non-profit Mindful Schools for many years and offers dharma talks at many Bay Area sanghas. He teachers regularly at the East Bay Meditation Center. He is a graduate of Community Dharma Leader's Program in 2012 at Spirit Rock and the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training program at the Sati Center of Buddhist Studies in Redwood City.
Noliwe Alexander has been a student of Vipassana meditation for over 15 years. Throughout this time of deep devotion to the Dharma, Noliwe has become a dedicated practitioner, teacher of various sitting groups around the Bay Area, facilitator of community workshops and Buddhist meditation daylongs and class series programs. She is a Life & Business Coach dedicating both her coaching & Dharma practice to the POC, LGBT, At Risk and Elder communities. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s CDL4 program and completed EBMC’s Commit 2 Dharma program in 2010. Noliwe is a wisdom keeper and humbled by the presence of her ancestors spirit that lives within and walks beside.
Dawn Neal began contemplative practice in 1997, and has been teaching meditation since 2010. She has practiced in America and Asia, taking temporary ordination in Burma. An Integral Coach and Interfaith Chaplain, Dawn is currently earning an MA in Theravada Studies and Buddhist Chaplaincy from the Institute of Buddhist Studies. She speaks internationally on loving-kindness, and teaches meditation, mindfulness, and loving-kindness in both clinical and Buddhist settings.
Ari Lathuras Ari Lathuras has been practicing meditation for approximately 35 years. She has received teaching from many renowned Buddhist teachers over the years. Pema Chodron has been one of her main sources of dharma teachings. She studied and practiced with Ani Pema since the mid-90's. About 13 years ago she met Ani Pema's teacher , Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche and became a student of his. She has also attended several teachings with Mindrolling Kondro Rinpoche. As a professional sign language interpreter, Ari has interpreted for many dharma teachers over the years.