Zen Mentors

Todd Bankler
Joel Barna
Robin Bradford
Rupesh Chhagan
Lila Parrish
Laurie Winnette

What is a Zen Mentor?

A Zen Mentor is someone who supports you on your practice path. At Appamada, we have some experienced sangha members who have practiced deeply and generously offered themselves in support of the sangha in many ways. Here are the foundations of their experience and their preparation for this role:

  1. Steadfast daily sitting practice

  2. Dedicated work with a teacher

  3. Participating in intensives

  4. Learning and teaching all Appamada roles

  5. Studying and abiding by the Buddhist Precepts

  6. Studying the work of important teachers in our tradition

  7. Engaging with and learning from peers on a Council

  8. Serving as a Head Student during a Practice Period, which includes participating in the opening ceremony, giving dharma talks, teaching a class series, meeting one on one with students for tea, and finally engaging with Dharma questions from the sangha in the closing ceremony.

In all of these ways, they have shown their wholehearted dedication to Appamada, to this path, to this sangha, and to the teachings of the Dharma. They are a treasure in our community.

In the role of Zen Mentor, they offer themselves as spiritual friends and support for students at Appamada. We recognize their skills and commitment to our fundamental principle of mindful care, and their experience and capacities to serve in this role. They have, in fact, already been enacting this role, and here we simply recognize it and name it.

We encourage you to seek them out, whether for informal tea or formal practice discussion in support of your practice path and your encounters with life-as-it-is. They can also give instruction when you are ready to learn various roles at Appamada. You may bring any questions to them that arise on this path of waking up and growing up, knowing that they have our full confidence and trust. In this way they also support the head teachers, Flint and I, and extend our care for you.