Shannon Stein, MSW, is a practice-oriented teacher steeped in both traditional and pragmatic Dharma. With warmth, humour and wisdom, she invites new and developed students into broader and deeper examinations of their meditation practices with a focus on Shamata (concentration), Prajna (wisdom) and the open-hearted exploration and practice of Sila (ethics). Introduced to the Dharma by Lama Gyurme Dorje she received lay ordination in 2013 by Lama Sonam Gyatso at the Dharma Centre of Canada. In 2016, her first teacher gave her teaching authority as Lama in the Namgyal Lineage of the Karma Kaygu School of Tibetan Buddhism. What most attracted Shannon to this lineage was Namgyal Rinpoche's unique emphasis on both the Tibetan and the Theravada teachings, the latter of which has been Shannon's main focus to date.
Having studied closely with many Namgyal lineage teachers, she has established a world wide presence through face-to-face and online meditation teaching, supporting a full spectrum from novice students to those rooted in established meditation disciplines. Her understanding has been deeply enhanced by her training with Daniel Ingram and Ron Crouch. She keeps her personal practice sharp by challenging herself to reach beyond the edge of her own progress in Sila, Shamata and Prajna.
Shannon and her husband of thirty years have raised two children together. As a therapist for over three decades, her work in private practice with individuals, couples and groups has given her a unique and intimate compassion for the complex struggles of householder responsibilities and relationships, which help inform her ability to guide and support ardent meditators in our busy and demanding modern world. She recognizes and appreciates the effort and balance required to advance on the path of awakening and uses her knowledge to encourage meditators not to relinquish the heroic effort to awaken despite the demands of their commitments to the people in their lives.
Pierre Zakarauskas, Ph.D. was drawn to practicing the Dharma as a way to line up his understanding of the world as a physicist with how it felt to be human. Science provided him with a particular understanding of the world, including the mind, but it had nothing to say on how to live a good life, a happy and full life. A meditator since 1995 and a daily practioner since 2002, in 2004 Pierre decided to devote a substantial portion of his time meditating, both at home and on silent retreats. Pierre’s main teachers were Ayya Khema and Leigh Brasington, in the Theravadin tradition, who taught the sutta jhanas as a way to cultivate the mind prior to, or alongside, insight practice.
Pierre has been leading sitting groups in Vancouver since 2008. He now uses The Mind Illuminated (TMI) structured method by Culadasa to teach samatha and Vipassana. He greatly appreciates TMI for its detailed, step-by-step approach, free of supernatural concepts. He is working on a book whose working title is “Awakening is for Skeptics Too!” but is comfortable working with people having any belief system. Pierre lives in Vancouver, BC, with his wife, Jennifer.