After thirty-five years of experience around the dharma, with eight of these years in Asia, I am still deeply inspired, as a teacher, by students' progress with the practice. I see the questioning I do with myself reflected in others. The infinite loop of my practice and my teaching becomes a self-fulling prophecy. As I see others letting go of old baggage, it inspires me to continue questioning myself.
My teachings, for I am not a scholar, come from my experience on the pillow. In the first ten years of the practice, I worked on the pain of life, the confusion, how to gain clarity. In the next ten, I was finding balance in non-attachment; being in life, but not wanting to enter life. In the last ten, I've been learning how to engage with the stickiness of living and loving. I ask, how kind are people to each other? How can we find a place inside that is not afraid anymore?
We need to know what drives us and our minds, how to relieve the cultural anxiety all around us. We need to stop and slow down, to start feeling. But the dharma not just a stress reduction course; the teachings point directly toward the nature of human conditioning and our freedom.
Overall, my teachings are very much about self-acceptance, giving ourselves space to do the practice and find our own voice. My intention is to give people permission to listen to themselves, to become friends with themselves. Ultimately, this moment is enough, we're enough, and don't need to be anything other than we are.
After decades of practice and teaching, what inspires me are those moments when I can see the habitual as if it were for the first time. If such moments occur while I'm giving a talk, then the teacher in me can hear its own words imbued with the freshness imparted by those who truly listen -- the multiple aspects of myself being part of the audience as well. Thanks for your participation in the process.
I have two main aims in teaching. The first is to spread the dharma as widely as possible, offering it to as many different people as I can. The second is to teach a smaller number of people over sustained periods of time. This in-depth teaching engages my tremendous love for intensive, long-term meditation practice, where people can immerse themselves in the retreat experience and see how it transforms their understanding.
Although deeply rooted in the Vipassana tradition of Theravada Buddhism, I enjoy working with various skillful means from different Buddhist schools to help convey the essence of all practice, the one dharma of liberation. This essential dharma includes the wisdom of non-clinging, the motivation of compassion to practice for the benefit of all beings, and the potential for liberation within us all.
Given the speed and complexity of our culture, the Buddha's teachings offer a much-needed means to slow down, a way to create some inner calm. We need to touch base with this place of tranquillity in order to allow our bodies and minds to unwind. We then have the chance to see more deeply and profoundly the nature of our lives, how we create suffering and how we can be free. The dharma begins with the development of calm and it carries us all the way to liberation.
Jozen Tamori Gibson (they, them) began formal meditation practice in 2004 through Sotō Zen while living in Japan joined by a Theravada practice in 2010. Jozen is a participant in the 2017-2021 Insight Meditation Society (IMS) Dharma Teacher Training program and serves on the New York Insight Meditation Center’s teacher council. With certifications and embodiment studies in Yoga, Qigong, Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy (IFOT) and Complex Trauma, Jozen lives to provide and nourish contemplative mind-heart-body alignment practices and spaces rooted in wellness, anti-oppression and interdependent liberation for all beings. Jozen honors the wisdom and compassion of all teachers, highlighting their mother, Akimi, and dharma root teacher, Pamela Weiss.
Kaira Jewel Lingo is a Dharma teacher and lived as an ordained nun for 15 years in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing, and is now based in New York. She provides individual spiritual mentoring and leads retreats internationally, offering mindfulness programs for educators, parents and youth in schools, in addition to activists, people of color, artists and families. She mentors with the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program, was lead teacher for Mindful Schools’ year long training for educators, teaches teens and adults with Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, and is a guiding teacher for One Earth Sangha. She edited Thich Nhat Hanh’s Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children and has been published in numerous other books and magazines. She explores the interweaving of art, play, ecology and embodied mindfulness practice and is an InterPlay leader. Read her recent article, In Times of Crisis Call Upon the Strength of Peace, published in Lion’s Roar magazine.
It has long been important for me to offer the purity of the teachings of the Buddha in a way that connects with our common sense and compassion as human beings, which allows for the natural blossoming of wisdom.