Biographies of Advisers
Venerable Thich Tri Hoang is founding abbot of Phap Nguyen Buddhist Congregation in Pearland, Texas. The temple’s mission is to support the propagation of the Buddhadharma and the training of lay and monastic Dharma teachers. It also is dedicated to preserving and developing the Vietnamese Buddhist cultural heritage. Ven. Tri Hoang became a novice Buddhist monk in Vietnam at the age of 14 and received full ordination at 24. He has studied under many Buddhist masters including Thich Tri Thu, Thich Huyen Vi, and Thich Nhat Hanh. Ven. Tri Hoang also studied Buddhism and philosophy in India, Holland, France and China. He received a Doctorate in Eastern Philosophy from Leiden University in Holland. He has led Buddhist meditation retreats in Holland, France, England, and the U.S. He speaks five languages including English, Chinese, and Vietnamese.
Venerable Heng Sure is currently President of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association. He was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1976 under the great Chinese Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua, founder of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. For the sake of world peace, he undertook a pilgrimage of over six hundred miles from South Pasadena to Ukiah, California, repeatedly taking three steps and one bow to cover the entire route. In the entire two years and nine months taken to make the pilgrimage and for three years following, he observed a practice of total silence. Ven. Heng Sure has an M.A. in Oriental Languages from UC Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. He serves as the Managing Director of the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery and teaches on the staff at the Institute for World Religions. Ven. Heng Sure is active in interfaith dialogue and teaches a course in Buddhist-Christian Dialogue at the Graduate Theological Union. He has recently published two audio CDs of English-language Buddhist music and stories.
Ven. Bhikkhu Buddharakkhita was born and raised in Uganda, Africa. He first encountered Buddhism in 1990 while living in India, and he began practicing meditation in 1993. In June 2001, he started formal monastic training, and in November 2002 he received higher ordination under the late Venerable U Silananda at the Tathagata Meditation Center in California. He has continued his Dhamma study and meditation practice for eight years under the guidance of Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society, West Virginia. He is the founder of the Uganda Buddhist Center in Uganda and has been teaching meditation in Africa, Brazil, and the U.S. Besides spending time at the Buddhist Center in Uganda, he is the spiritual director of Flowering Lotus Meditation Center in Magnolia, Mississippi. His book, Planting Dhamma Seeds: The Emergence of Buddhism on African Soil, tells the story of his religious work in Africa.
Rev. Joan Hogetsu Hoeberichts, Sensei received ordination as a Zen priest in 1995 from Nicolee Jikyo McMahon, Roshi, and Dharma transmission as a Zen teacher in 2004. In 1996 she became the spiritual director of the Heart Circle Sangha in Ridgewood, NJ. Rev. Hoeberichts is also a full-time psychotherapist with a private practice in Manhattan and Montclair, NJ. She has a BA from Cornell University, MBA from NYU, and MSW from Fordham University. She received post-graduate certifications in Pastoral Psychotherapy and Marriage and Family Therapy from Blanton-Peale Graduate Institute. Along with Charika Marasinghe, she established the Psycho-Spiritual Healing Project — a joint effort to bring psycho-spiritual relief to the survivors of the disastrous South Asian tsunami that struck Sri Lanka on December 26, 2004, leaving many children without parents and parents without their children. In recognition of this work, Joan and Charika were awarded the 2008 “Women and Engaged Buddhism Award” by the Buddhist Women’s Conference.
Gil Fronsdal is the primary teacher for the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California; he trained to be a teacher under Jack Kornfield and has been teaching since 1990. He has practiced Zen and Vipassana in the U.S. and Asia since 1975 and was a Theravada monk in Burma in 1985. He teaches Vipassana meditation both at IMC-Redwood City and at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, where he is on its Teachers&rdsuo; Council. Originally ordained as a Soto Zen priest at the San Francisco Zen Center in 1982, in 1995 he received Dharma transmission from Mel Weitsman, the abbot of the Berkeley Zen Center. He currently serves on the SF Zen Center Elders’ Council. In 1998 Gil received a PhD in Religious Studies from Stanford University, writing his dissertation on the earliest forms of the bodhisattva ideal. He is the author of The Issue at Hand, a collection of essays on mindfulness practice, and translator of the Shambhala edition of The Dhammapada. Gil co-founded the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies, where he currently teaches a year-long introductory course on Buddhist Chaplaincy.
Professor David R. Loy received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Singapore. He has taught in Singapore and Japan and currently holds the Besl Family Chair of Ethics/Religion & Society, a visiting appointment at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Loy is the author of Nonduality: A Study in Comparative Philosophy (Yale University Press, 1988), Lack and Transcendence: The Problem of Death and Life in Psychotherapy, Existentialism, and Buddhism (Humanities Press, 1996), A Buddhist History of the West: Studies in Lack (State University of New York Press, 2002), and The Great Awakening: A Buddhist Social Theory (Wisdom Publications, 2003). David R. Loy has become a great advocate of the Buddhist world view’s ability to transform the sociopolitical landscape of the modern world. His most recent work is Money, Sex, War, Karma (Wisdom Publications, 2008). In addition to his academic work, David Loy is an authorized teacher in the Sanbo Kyodan lineage of Zen Buddhism where he completed formal koan training under Zen Master Yamada Koun Roshi.
Sharon Salzberg is one of America’s leading spiritual teachers and authors. In 1976, together with Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield, she established the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, MA, which now ranks as one of the most prominent meditation centers in the West. In 1989, Sharon and Joseph Goldstein co-founded the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (BCBS). In 1998, they initiated the Forest Refuge, a long-term retreat center on IMS property. Sharon resides in Barre, Massachusetts and New York City. She is currently a contributing editor of Oprah’s O Magazine, and has appeared in Time, Yoga Journal, Tricycle, and Shambhala Sun, as well as on a variety of radio programs. Her books include The Revolutionary Art of Loving-kindness, A Heart as Wide as the World, and Faith.
Professor Jan Willis (BA and MA in Philosophy, Cornell University and Ph.D. in Indic and Buddhist Studies, Columbia University, 1976) is Professor of Religion at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. She has studied with Tibetan Buddhists in India, Nepal, Switzerland and the U.S. for four decades, and has taught courses in Buddhism for thirty-five years. She is the author of The Diamond Light: An Introduction to Tibetan Buddhist Meditation (1972), On Knowing Reality: The Tattvartha Chapter of Asanga’s Bodhisattvabhumi (1979), Enlightened Beings: Life Stories from the Ganden Oral Tradition (1995); and the editor of Feminine Ground: Essays on Women and Tibet (1989). Additionally, Willis has published a number of articles and essays on various topics in Buddhism Buddhist meditation, women and Buddhism and Buddhism and race. In 2001, she authored the memoir, Dreaming Me: An African American Woman’s Spiritual Journey (re-issued October 1, 2008 by Wisdom Publications as Dreaming Me: Black, Baptist, and Buddhist One Woman’s Spiritual Journey). In December of 2000, Time magazine named Willis one of “six spiritual innovators for the new millennium.” In 2003, she was a recipient of Wesleyan University’s Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching. In September of 2005, Newsweek magazine’s “Spirituality in America” issue included a profile of her and, in its May 2007 edition, Ebony magazine named Willis one of its “Power 150” most influential African Americans.