Springboard Sangha

Teachers


Senior Teacher


Brian Arnell

brian.2After dabbling in meditation and Eastern religions for years, Brian began a serious practice in 1984.  In 1998, he moved full-time to a retreat center in New York’s Hudson Valley and began intensive practice in the Theravada tradition.  Following the instructions of his teachers to pass on what he has learned and experienced, he left the retreat center in 2006 and moved to Philadelphia.  He has been teaching at Springboard since.


Teachers


Deborah Cooper

deborah's picI have been a “seeker” all my adult life and explored several different spiritual paths before being lucky enough to come to Vipassana Buddhism via Mindfulness Meditation. I became committed to this work and nine years ago trained at the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine to become qualified to teach the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course as developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I now offer regular introductory courses in mindfulness meditation and have a couple of on-going study groups. As a psychotherapist, mindfulness has had a profound impact on my therapy practice. I love to work with those who seek to integrate mindfulness practice into their every day lives, finding ways to reduce suffering using interventions based on Buddhist teachings. My personal practice includes regular sitting meditation, a couple of retreats a year, and the good fortune to study with a teacher for whom I have deep love and respect.


Nathan Long

nathan picNathan Long was born in Washington, D.C., grew up in a log cabin in rural Maryland, and has lived in many places across the U.S.  He was introduced to meditation in a eastern philosophy class in college and has been meditating on and off ever since.  He practiced Vipassana at retreats in Thailand and the U.S. and cooked for and sat with a Zen Catholic retreat in Oregon for ten years.  Recently, he was introduced to the practice of Dzogchen and will complete the first year training in the Margha Program, under the leadership of Lama Willa Miller, in Nov, 2015. Otherwise, Nathan is a writer of fiction and essays, teaching creative writing at Stockton University and locally through MALT. More information about his writing and teaching can be found at https://blogs.stockton.edu/longn/


Deanna Bond

deannaOne of my favorite teachings from the Buddha is “Ehipassiko” (Pali) which translates as “Come see for yourself.” Buddha encouraged practitioners not to ‘believe,’ but to practice—to have their own experience, and gain authentic, intimate ‘knowing.’ For me, that knowing began in 2008 when I sat still for 5 minutes. I was astounded that I could achieve relative peace. I had been desperate to find a way to cope with physical pain and debilitating anxiety around life-threatening illness. I now have a healthier, more peaceful relationship to illness and pain. Being in love with the practice, I’m very dedicated! I do long retreats at Spirit Rock and IMS, and I find that practicing mindfulness in daily life is a great teacher. I love the challenge of sutta study, and I’m learning Pali. I’ve been with the sangha since 2010 and enjoy deep friendship with fellow ‘travelers.’ I have heartfelt drive to share the dhamma because I am deeply moved to help others who are suffering and want to learn new ways for personal peace and also for a deeper peace in the world.


Bob Chapra

bob chapra imageBob Chapra has been a member of the Springboard Studio Sangha since 2008. He also studied with Sharon Salzberg in New York City.

Bob has been a student of The Feldenkrais Method since 1973 and was authorized to teach by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais in 1977. Bob also studied Sensory Awareness with Charlotte Selver and Charles Brooks and was authorized to teach in the tradition of Elsa Gindler by Gindler’s co-teacher, Carola Speads. Bob has noticed a deep common ground between vipassana meditation and these somatic practices and explores this intersection in his teaching.


Michelle Stortz

Michelle StortzMichelle Stortz specializes in yoga for cancer and chronic illness and teaches in numerous medical settings throughout the Philadelphia area. Her yoga teaching is augmented by her studies in meditation and Buddhism and her involvement with the Springboard Meditation Sangha. She leads retreats and group classes and works with individuals in private sessions.


Mary Kalyna


Michael McDermott

Michael is a musician, composer and web developer. He has been practicing meditation and studying Buddhism for 15+ years. Once considered separate realms of his life, recently he’s been synthesizing the Dhamma, meditation, sonic arts, improvisation and awareness through a practice called Deep Listening. Michael is a certified Deep Listening teacher, he studied with Pauline Oliveros at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2016. He began formally teaching at Springboard in 2016 with a special interest in The Jhanas, artistic and creative practices and Buddhist Metaphysics.  SoundofListening.com


Eliza Callard

eliza-callard-150Eliza Callard is a poet who has been with Springboard since it opened. She particularly likes to teach on the Brahma Viharas and about living with cystic fibrosis. She lives with her family (some furrier than others) in Germantown.

 


Kim Empson

In October 2011 I began a meditation practice after taking a course at Omega Institute called Awake in the Wild, led by nature guide and meditation teacher, Mark Coleman. It was then I combined my love of nature with a more formal sitting practice. After studying essential buddhist teachings online, I became Springboard’s first community coordinator and served in that role from Dec. 2013 until Oct. 2016. Exploring Vipassana at IMS, and the Dzogchen practice with the Natural Dharma Fellowship, I continue to grow and learn. I take refuge in the 3 jewels: The Buddha, Dharma, & Sangha.


Visiting Teachers


Oren Jay Sofer

2016.Oren_.J.Sofer-headshot2Integrating the tools and insights of Buddhist meditation, Somatics and Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Oren brings a unique and pragmatic perspective to living and speaking mindfully. His teaching combines formal training and study with everyday experience working in the world.

He leads classes, workshops, and retreats nationally in mindfulness, Dharma practice, and interpersonal communication. As part of his commitment to support others to live the values of a spiritual path, Oren also works with individuals in on-going, personal Dharma Mentoring relationships.


Lama Willa Miller

Lama_Willa_ThumbnailWilla B. Miller, PhD is the Founder and Spiritual Director of Natural Dharma Fellowship in Boston, MA and its retreat center Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, NH. She was authorized as a dharma teacher and lineage holder (lama) in the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism after completion of two consecutive three-year retreats in the nineties. She has also practiced in the Shangpa and Nyingma lineages. She is editor, author and translator (respectively) of three books: The Arts of Contemplative Care: Pioneering Voices in Buddhist Chaplaincy and Pastoral Work (2012), Everyday Dharma: Seven Weeks to Finding the Buddha in You (2009), and Essence of Ambrosia (2005). In 2013, she received a doctorate from Harvard University in Religion, and is currently Visiting Lecturer in Buddhist Ministry at Harvard Divinity School. Her academic teaching interests include Tantra and the Body, Buddhism and Ecology, and Buddhist Contemplative Care, among other topics. Outside of academia, her teaching specialties include the body as a door to awakening, natural meditation (mahamudra), and heart-cultivation (lojong). She is interested in the practical integration of meditation into daily life, and has participated as an advisor in several scientific studies on meditation. Her teachers and guides have included Kalu Rinpoche, Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Lama Norlha Rinpoche, and others. She currently derives inspiration for her practice and teaching from Lama John Makransky, Anam Thubten and Tsoknyi Rinpoche. She lives in Arlington, MA with her husband and two dogs, and frequently visits Wonderwell Mountain Refuge.


Josh Korda

joshInPark_gianna1-150x150Josh Korda has been the dharma teacher at the New York and Brooklyn Dharmapunx meetings since 2005, and is a regular visiting teacher at Against the Stream Buddhist community in Los Angeles. He has a large buddhist mentoring private practice and has written for the buddhist magazines Shambhala Sun, Tricycle and Buddhadharma. He has been profiled by The New York Times, Village Voice and CBS News (interviewed by Dr. Jon LaPook). For the last four years Josh has also led classes at ZenCare.org, a non-profit organization that trains hospice volunteers. Josh has had the honor to study with countless spiritual teachers in the Theravadan Buddhist tradition, including Noah Levine, Vinny Ferraro, Ajahns Geoff, Sucitto, Amaro and Tara Brach to name a few. Josh’s dharma talks are followed by a large online community at dharmapunxnyc.podbean.com.


Caroline Peterson

caroline's picCaroline founded Springboard Studio and initiated the current regular meditation practice schedule at the studio 10 years ago this January 2016 with her friend in the Dharma Brian Arnell. Caroline began her Buddhiststudies at the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center in Washington, New Jersey in the early 90s. Her teachers there included a number of Tibetan Lamas, and American Buddhist teachers Robert Thurman, Jeffrey Hopkins, Anne Klein, Donald Lopez, Joshua Cutler and the psychologist Daniel Brown.

Caroline received professional training to teach the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) curriculum program between 2000-2004 at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center with Jon Kabat-Zinn, Saki Santorelli, Florence Meleo-Meyer and Melissa Blacker, regularly attending retreats with a number of teachers at IMS and the Forest Refuge in Barre, Mass. Caroline began studying in the Zen tradition in the Fall of 2013 after a retreat at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe. She is currently focused on studying Dogen’s Genjokoan under the guidance of her teacher Roshi Melissa Myozen Blacker, the Abbot of the Worcester Zen Center in Massachusetts. Caroline is a Board-certified Art Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor at Springboard Studio and the Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital.