Lama Shannon and Pierre Zakarauskas, Ph.D.

Shannon Stein, MSW, is a practice-oriented and adept meditation teacher steeped in both traditional and pragmatic Dharma.She is a Lama in the Namgyal lineage of Dharma practice. 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) development and the open-hearted exploration and practice of Sila (ethics). Introduced to the Dharma by Lama Gerry Kopelow, her first teacher, she is now a Lama in the Namgyal Lineage of the Karma Kaygu School of Tibetan Buddhism with a particular interest and appreciation for Theravadin practice.

Having studied closely with many of Namgyal Rinpoche's longtime students, she teaches regularly at the Dharma Centre of Winnipeg and 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, both pragmatic and traditional, has been deeply enhanced by working closely as a student and Dharma collaborator to 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. Married with children for over thirty years and a therapist throughout those 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.

Shannon will be publishing a book in the fall of 2017 in collaboration with Daniel Ingram on the ancient concentration practice of Fire Kasina.


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.