Summit Teachers

Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown

Acharya Judith Simmer-Brownr, Ph.D., is professor of Religious Studies at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, where she has taught since 1978. She served as Dean of the Shambhala International Teachers’ Academy for nine years, and teaches internationally for Shambhala. Her teaching specialties are meditation practice, Shambhala teachings, Buddhist philosophy, tantric Buddhism, and contemplative higher education. Her book, Dakini’s Warm Breath (Shambhala 2001), explores the feminine principle as it reveals itself in meditation practice and everyday life for women and men. She has also edited Meditation and the Classroom: Contemplative Pedagogy for Religious Studies (SUNY 2011). She and her husband, Richard, have two adult children and three grandchildren.

Dr. Rick Hanson

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York Times best-selling author. His books are available in 26 languages and include Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s Brain, Just One Thing, and Mother Nurture. He edits the Wise Brain Bulletin and has numerous audio programs. A summa cum laude graduate of UCLA and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, he’s been an invited speaker at NASA, Oxford, Stanford, Harvard, and other major universities, and taught in meditation centers worldwide. His work has been featured on the BBC, CBS, and NPR, and he offers the free Just One Thing newsletter with over 120,000 subscribers, plus the online Foundations of Well-Being program in positive neuroplasticity that anyone with financial need can do for free.

Chade-Meng Tan

Chade-Meng Tan (Meng) is a Google pioneer, award-winning engineer, international bestselling author, thought leader and philanthropist whose work has received 8 nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. He retired from Google as its Jolly Good Fellow at the age of 45. He is co-chair of One Billion Acts of Peace and chairman of the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute. He serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and as an Executive Producer of the film Walk With Me.

At Google, Meng led the creation of a groundbreaking mindfulness-based emotional intelligence course called Search Inside Yourself, which is also the title of Meng’s New York Times bestselling book. He delivered a TED talk on compassion at the United Nations and spoke at the White House about the development of kindness. His personal motto is, “Life is too important to be taken seriously”. Meng hopes to see every workplace in the world become a drinking fountain for happiness and enlightenment.

Joseph Goldstein

Joseph Goldstein is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society and the Barre Center for Buddhist studies, both in Barre, Massachusetts. He is the author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism, and Insight Meditation among others. Joseph has studied and practiced meditation since 1967 under the guidance of eminent teachers from India, Burma, and Tibet and he leads Insight Meditation retreats around the world.

Acharya Gaylon Ferguson

Acharya Gaylon Ferguson, PhD, is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition who has been leading meditation retreats since 1976. He is a member of Naropa University’s core faculty and the author of Natural Bravery: Fear and Fearlessness as a Direct Path of Awakening and Natural Wakefulness: Discovering the Wisdom We Were Born With. Additionally, his article, “Making Friends with Ourselves,” was selected for inclusion in The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 and his essay “No Color, All Colors” appears in the book, Mindful Politics.

Dr. Christine Carter

A sociologist and senior fellow at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, Christine Carter, Ph.D., is the author of The Sweet Spot (2015) and Raising Happiness (2011). Drawing on the latest scientific research on positivity, productivity, and elite performance, Carter demonstrates a sweet paradox: by doing less we can actually accomplish more.

A sought-after keynote speaker and executive coach, Dr. Carter also teaches online classes and writes an award-winning blog, which is frequently syndicated on Huffington Post,,, and several other websites.

Sharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg is a central figure in the field of meditation, a world-renowned teacher and NY Times bestselling author. She has played a crucial role in bringing meditation and mindfulness practices to the West and into mainstream culture since 1974, when she first began teaching. She is the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA and the author of ten books including NY Times bestseller, Real Happiness, her seminal work, Lovingkindness, and Real Love, her new release by Flatiron Books. Acclaimed for her humorous, down-to-earth teaching style, Sharon offers a secular, modern approach to Buddhist teachings, making them instantly accessible. She is a regular columnist for On Being, a contributor to Huffington Post, and the host of her own podcast: The Metta Hour.

Geneen Roth

Geneen Roth is the author and ten books, including the just released This Messy Magnificent Life and the New York Times bestsellers When Food Is Love, Lost and Found, and Women Food and God, as well as The Craggy Hole in My Heart and the Cat Who Fixed It. She has been teaching groundbreaking workshops and retreats for over thirty years and has appeared on numerous national shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, the Today show, Good Morning America, and The View.

Dr. Kelly McGonigal

Dr. Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University. She is the author of several books, including the international bestseller “The Willpower Instinct” and her latest book “The Upside of Stress.” Through the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism, she co-authored the Stanford Compassion Cultivation Training. Her 2013 TED talk, “How to Make Stress Your Friend,” is one of the most viewed TED talks of all time. She also teaches group fitness, including dance, yoga, and mixed martial arts.

Dr. Jerry Gardner

Lama Thupten Gyaltsen Dorje Rinpoche is the resident teacher and founder of Urgyen Samten Ling Gonpa located in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has studied and practiced the Buddhadharma for over 50 years. He was recognized as Lama in 1997 by Khonchok Monlam Rinpoche and Khenpo Thupten Ozer Rinpoche. In 2013, he was recognized as Rinpoche by Dupsing Rinpoche, Shangpa Rinpoche, and Khonchok Monlam Rinpoche. He has practiced and studied in Bhutan, Nepal and India. Thupten Rinpoche seeks to bridge all he has learned into a concise approach that is accessible to all sentient beings. The foundation of those teachings is loving kindness and compassion.

Dr. Elisha Goldstein

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is co-founder of The Center for Mindful Living in West Los Angeles and creator of number of powerful programs including the 6-month online mentorship program A Course in Mindful Living (Next course begins October, 2018), Mindfulness at Work, and CALM – connecting adolescents to learning mindfulness with his wife Dr. Stefanie Goldstein. He is a psychologist, speaker and author who has published numerous articles, chapters, and blogs, including Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, The Now Effect: How This Moment Can Change the Rest of Your Life and co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn and MBSR Every Day. He synthesizes the pearls of traditional psychotherapy with a progressive integration of mindfulness to achieve mental and emotional healing. He lives with his wife and 3 little boys in West Los Angeles, California.

Melody Warnick

Melody Warnick is the author of This Is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are (Viking, 2016), an eminently practical guide to improving, investing in, and coming to love the place where you live. Described by Richard Florida as “an important book for so many people who are choosing their place to live,” This Is Where You Belong explores the groundbreaking concept of place attachment and leads longtime residents and newcomers alike to commit to a more passionate relationship with their community. A freelance writer for such publications as Reader’s Digest, Better Homes and Gardens, and The Guardian, and currently a columnist for, Melody lives with her family in Blacksburg, Virginia. You can find her online at

Lodro Rinzler

Lodro Rinzler has taught meditation for sixteen years in the Shambhala lineage and is the award-winning author of six books including The Buddha Walks into a Bar and Love Hurts: Buddhist Advice for the HeartbrokenHe has spoken across the world at conferences, universities and businesses as diverse as Google, Harvard University and the White House. Lodro’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street JournalThe Atlantic, FOX, CBS, and NBC. He serves as co-founder and Chief Spiritual Officer of MNDFL, NYC’s premier drop-in meditation studios.

Dr. Ali Binazir

Dr. Ali Binazir is a Happiness Engineer, three-time TEDx speaker, clinical hypnotherapist, and author of 4 books, including The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible, the highest-rated dating book on Amazon for 4 years. He holds an AB from Harvard College, an M.D. from UC San Diego School of Medicine, and an M.Phil. from Cambridge University. He is working on his newest book, Happiness Engineering.

Susan Piver

Susan Piver is the New York Times bestselling author of eight books, including The Hard Questions, the award-winning How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life, and The Wisdom of a Broken Heart. Her new book is Start Here Now: An Open-Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation. She is also founder of the Open Heart Project, an international online mindfulness community with close to 20,000 members.

Kate Johnson

Kate Johnson’s favorite words are awareness, embodiment, and action. She has been practicing Buddhist meditation in the western Insight/Theravada tradition since 2008, and is empowered to teach through Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Currently, Kate teaches about meditation, creativity and social justice at New York Insight, the Rubin Museum, and the Institute for Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, and designs online programs at Buddhist Peace Fellowship. Her first book will be published in Spring 2020.

Bruce Tift

Bruce Tift, MA, LMFT has been in private practice since 1979 and has taught at Naropa University for 25 years. Bruce has given presentations in the US, Mexico, and Japan. A practitioner of Vajrayana Buddhism for more than 35 years, he had the good fortune to be a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and to meet a number of realized teachers.

Parneet Pal

Parneet Pal is the Chief Science Officer at Wisdom Labs, a San Francisco-based company building wiser workplaces using the science of mindfulness, resilience and compassion. A Harvard-trained physician, she moved away from clinical practice to focus on prevention, working at the intersection of lifestyle medicine, behavior change and technology. She has written for various publications including Harvard Business Review and has been featured on the cover of Mindful magazine.

Acharya Fleet Maull

Fleet Maull is an author, meditation teacher, executive coach and social entrepreneur, working at the intersection of personal and social transformation. Acharya Maull is an empowered senior teacher in both the Shambhala Buddhist and Zen Peacemaker traditions, who leads meditation and bearing witness retreats, activist trainings and prison programs around the world. He founded Prison Mindfulness Institute and Engaged Mindfulness Institute. He is the author of Dharma in Hell and Radical Responsibility.

Rhonda Magee

Rhonda Magee, JD, MA (Sociology), is Professor of Law and former Co-Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of San Francisco. She is also a member of the advisory board of the Center for Mindfulness, a member of the Project for the Integration of Spirituality, Law and Politics, and a contributor to At USF, she teaches Contemplative Lawyering, Race Law and Policy, and Torts and has taught Immigration Law and Insurance Law. She is an expert in Contemplative Pedagogy, Race Law, Identity-Sensitive Pedagogy, Critical Race Perspectives on the Intersection of Race and Immigration. In 2015, Rhonda was named a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute.

Andrea Sanders

Andrea Sanders lives in Boulder, Colorado and is the founder the nonprofit Be Zero and Space and Pause. She is a TEDx Speaker, BioMindful teacher/advisor, and artist.

Andrea’s background in environmental conservation education and mindfulness spans over 20 years. She supports individuals in understanding more about themselves and how they connect to their world. Encouraging day-to-day ecological responsibility and mindfulness as a way to develop better relationships with ourselves, others, and the world around us. Andrea spends her time inspiring lifestyles that are vibrant and meaningful while offering practical and supportive guidance.

Roshi Joan Halifax

Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D., is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She is Founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is Director of the Project on Being with Dying, and Founder of the Upaya Prison Project that develops programs on meditation for prisoners. She received her Ph.D. in medical anthropology in 1973 and has lectured on the subject of death and dying at many academic institutions and medical centers around the world. She received a National Science Foundation Fellowship in Visual Anthropology, was an Honorary Research Fellow in Medical Ethnobotany at Harvard University, and was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress. She is also founder of the Nomads Clinic in Nepal. She studied for a decade with Zen Teacher Seung Sahn and was a teacher in the Kwan Um Zen School. A Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order and founder of Prajna Mountain Buddhist Order, her work and practice for more than four decades has focused on engaged Buddhism.

Her books include: The Human Encounter with Death (with Stanislav Grof), The Fruitful Darkness, A Journey Through Buddhist Practice, Simplicity in the Complex: A Buddhist Life in America, Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Wisdom in the Presence of Death, and her most recent, Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet.