FIMC Flagstaff Dharma Leaders
Below are many of the individuals whom give dharma talks, hold discussions, offer study groups or other events to our community.
* Individuals ordered by first name.
Allen B. Atkins
Allen moved to Flagstaff in 1998 to work at Northern Arizona University (NAU) as a professor of Finance. He has been interested in meditation since first learning Transcendental Meditation (TM) in college. After college, in 1978, he was introduced to Vipassana and it has been his main practice ever since. He sits a retreat of at least a week or so almost every year. He sat the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) three month retreat three times and in 2000-2001 took a leave of absence from work to spend the year practicing at IMS and in Burma, Thailand and India. Allen taught yoga and meditation in Texas from 1979-1983. He has been teaching a six-week beginning Vipassana course each semester at NAU since 1999. The course is currently being taught with Cathy Small. His other main hobbies include music, singing and cycling.
Brian Lesage has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1989 and has taught meditation since 2000. He has studied in the Zen, Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism. He was ordained in the Rinzai Zen tradition in 1996. His training in Vipassana Meditation includes doing extended meditation retreats in Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, and India as well as numerous retreats in the U.S. He leads retreats and teaches meditation courses nationwide. Brian also has a private practice in Somatic Experiencing, which is a naturalistic approach to healing trauma.
For more information about Brian, please visit his website Liberating Awareness.
See his schedule of retreats and other related activities.
Cathy Small is an author and retired professor of anthropology who has been practicing vipassana meditation for more than twenty years. She has completed numerous extended meditation retreats focusing on awareness, loving kindness, and concentration in the U.S. and Asia, and has taught meditation since 2010. She currently co-teaches a six-week course in mindfulness every semester for FIMC and Northern Arizona University, and offers a mindfulness course for inmates at the Coconino County jail.
Greg Scharf began meditating in 1992 & has been teaching residential meditation retreats since 2007, including the annual 3 month retreat at the Insight Meditation Society where he is a core teacher. In his teaching Greg emphasizes the understanding that meditation is fundamentally an exploration of nature and natural processes. He also stresses the critical importance of bringing the qualities of kindness, compassion, and a sense of humor to practice. Greg has a long-standing relationship with the country & people of Burma (Myanmar) where he trained as a Buddhist monk and where he works with a small humanitarian aid project - particularly targeting education, health-care, and support of Buddhist Nuns. Currently living in the high country of northern Arizona, Greg's love of nature and the outdoors deeply informs both his practice and teaching.
I was introduced to Vipassana meditation in 1990 when I took an undergraduate class on the “Social Psychology of Consciousness.” I meditated on my own until 2003 when I began sitting with the Flagstaff Vipassana Sangha and attending retreats. As a professor of sociology at Northern Arizona University I integrate contemplative practices into my teaching and writing. I have written about Buddhist Sociology as well as about how contemplative practices may help us address environmental crises. More recently I have had the opportunity to facilitate “mindfulness circles” and offer workshops on “Mindfulness for Social Activists.” I live with 4 wild beings (my husband and 3 children) and find their presence a continual reminder to breath and experience the aliveness of the present moment.
Kan Yan has been practicing mindfulness meditation for over a decade in various Zen and Insight traditions both in the US and Asia. He has a meditation teacher certification from the Interdependence Project and participated in Spirit Rock's Advanced Practitioner Program. He has worked as a documentary filmmaker, an international humanitarian for the United Nations, a lawyer for the US Federal Courts, and a management consultant for McKinsey & Company where he designed and facilitated mindful leadership retreats for senior executives. He is also an avid dancer and teaches contact improvisation, which has been as influential as silent retreat in deepening his understanding of the dharma.
Michelle's passion for Vipassana meditation first began in 2012. Through her own meditation practice, joining the Flagstaff Insight Meditation community and attending numerous retreats she experienced a personal transformation which inspired a strong desire to teach and share this practice with others. In 2016 she earned a Certification in Mindfulness Facilitation through UCLA and is now an Internationally Certified Mindfulness Teacher. She also works in private practice as a Counselor, specializing in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy and offers Introduction to Mindfulness classes throughout the Flagstaff community. You can visit her website at www.manymindfulmoments.com Michelle is an avid outdoors woman and loves to get out in Nature with friends and her two dogs. She lives with a bright and grateful heart and is dedicated to sharing kindness, compassion and wisdom with all those she meets.
Robert Goodman is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Northern Arizona University, where he conducts research that examines the neurological, behavioral, and psychosocial consequences of mindfulness. Conducted in collaboration with Easters and Western Buddhist scholars, Rob's ongoing program of research examines the interplay between mindfulness and several core psychological processes, such as emotion, and memory. A second line of his research examines the capacity for mindfulness to confer self-regulatory advantages when people face various existential threats, such as ostracism, uncertainty, and mortality. Rob has been practicing Vipassana meditation since 2004.
Sarah Hsia has been practicing Buddhism for four decades starting with Vipassana and then Zen traditions with Thich Nhat Hanh and others. Her most fruitful arena of practice has been in the work setting. She has worked as an emergency physician for three decades, most of that time in Flagstaff, Arizona and feels deep gratitude for her rich encounters with all walks of human life inclusive of class, gender and race. She is currently engaged with holding space for an Asian American Affinity Group, developing a curriculum for a local Children’s Sangha and is enrolled in the Chaplaincy program at Upaya Zen Center with Roshi Joan Halifax.