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From the Teachers

What we're doing with this practice is cultivating natural wisdom, love & compassion from the perspective of innate wholeness.
~ Lama John Makransky

Our Mission

To empower people with profound contemplative practices that support their aspirations to become better people and to make a better world.

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Meditation Teachers

Listing of Guiding Teachers



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Brooke D. Lavelle, Ph.D. ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
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Brooke D. Lavelle Heineberg is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Courage of Care Leadership Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing Sustainable Compassion Training (SCT) programs and support to individuals and communities in education, health care, and other areas of social service. She is also Senior Education Consultant at the Mind & Life Institute and a co-developer of the Call to Care program for teachers and students. Brooke holds a PhD in Religious Studies from Emory University. Her academic work focuses on the confluence of Buddhist contemplative theory and cognitive science, as well as the cultural contexts that shape the transmission, reception, and secularization of Buddhist contemplative practices in America. At Emory, she served as a lead instructor for several studies examining the efficacy of Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT), and has helped to develop and adapt CBCT for school children as well as adolescents in Atlanta's foster care system. Brooke earned her BA in Religion and Psychology at Barnard College, and her MA degree in Religion at Columbia University. While at Columbia, she worked as a Research Coordinator for the Columbia Integrative Medicine Program, where she developed and taught yoga and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs for a variety of clinical populations. Brooke serves on the Board of the Foundation for Active Compassion and now resides in the Bay Area where she works as a consultant at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University and the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at UC Berkeley.

Brooke teaches Innate Compassion and Wisdom Meditation in San Francisco, CA
 
Ana Hristic  ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
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Ana Hristic, MA, works with children and families as a clinician and case manager. She strives to create opportunities for youth in foster care to make meaningful connections, while empowering families and systems to best understand and address high risk behaviors. Ana has been a student of Lama John Makransky since 2000, deepening her study of Tibetan Buddhism and practicing Natural Wisdom and Compassion meditations. She has completed many meditation retreats over the years.

Ana teaches Innate Compassion and Wisdom Meditation in Portland, Oregon.
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Paul Knitter ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
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Paul Knitter is the Emeritus Paul Tillich Professor of Theology, World Religions, and Culture at Union Theological Seminary, New York, now living with his wife Cathy Cornell in Madison, Wisconsin. Most of his research and writing over the course of 40 years of teaching has been in the area of interreligious dialogue. In 2009 he published Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian.

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Lili Knutzen  ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
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Lili Knutzen, MA, MED, LMHC is a licensed mental health counselor and psychotherapist in private practice in New York City. She has been practicing Natural Wisdom and Compassion meditations under the guidance of Lama John Makransky for the past seven years.

Lili teaches Innate Compassion and Wisdom Meditation in Montclair, New Jersey, where she lives with her husband, two daughters and a dog.
 
Carol Marsh  ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
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Carol Marsh is an architect living and practicing in the Boston area, and has recently begun work as a hospice volunteer. She has studied with Lama John Makransky since he first introduced his Natural Wisdom and Compassion teachings, as well as with other teachers of Dzogchen and Mahamudra. She has found these practices profoundly transforming in her work life and her personal relationships. Carol joined the Foundation for Active Compassion Board in 2010.
Carol Teaches Innate Compassion and Wisdom Meditation in Cambridge, MA and Jamaica Plain, MA
 
Kathe McKenna ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
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Kathe McKenna was one of the founders of Haley House in 1966 when she and her husband welcomed men who were homeless into their apartment. For the next 42 years she merged her background in Christian contemplation with service. In the 1980s, she walked for peace and chanted with the Nipponzan Myohoji monks and nuns. She was introduced to Dzogchen by Sogyal Rinpoche and became a student of Lama Surya Das, under whose guidance she went on a 100-Day Wisdom Retreat. It is Tibetan Buddhism with its practices that turn poison into medicine - in oneself and the world - that is her path.

Kathe teaches Innate Compassion and Wisdom Meditation in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
 
Paul Mintzer  ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
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Paul Mintzer is a mostly retired ophthalmologist.  A long time meditator, Paul became interested in Tibetan Buddhism and Dzogchen in the mid 90’s and has been a student of John Makransky since John became a lama.  Paul is a founding member of the Putney meditation group and lives in Southampton, MA, with his wife Ellen who is an FAC board member.  Paul credits Lama John’s practices of Innate Wisdom and Compassion for radically changing his outlook on life.

Paul teaches Innate Compassion and Wisdom Meditation in Northampton, MA.
 
Sheila Moir ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
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After many years spent edging toward the inevitable, Sheila joyfully took refuge in the Buddhist path in 2005 with the unwitting support of Julie Forsythe.  At the same time, she discovered Lama John's practices of Innate Compassion and Wisdom, by whose power and blessings she ha been held ever since.  She has since had the opportunity of attending a number of retreats with Lama John and Lama Willa Miller.  Sheila now lives and works in rural Maine, but in the 1990's she and her husband were fortunate enough to sail around the world, a journey that made clear through direct experience that all people are indeed "just like me", no matter the cultural overlays.  Sheila is a teacher in the Blue Hill Group.  
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Bob Morrison  ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
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Robert Morrison is a writer living in the Boston area. Since meeting the late Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche in 1994, he has studied and practiced Dzogchen and other teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, primarily with his main teachers: Lama Surya Das, Lama John Makransky, Lama Willa Miller, Charles Genoud and Brendan Kennedy. He has been leading practices of Natural Wisdom and Compassion for many years, and is also an associate teacher with Natural Dharma Fellowship. As an avid hiker, his special interests include the awakening power of nature and, as a cancer survivor, the challenges of cancer as spiritual opportunities.

Bob teaches Innate Compassion and Wisdom Meditation in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
 
Ilona O'Connor  ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
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Ilona grew up in the Catholic tradition. Her spiritual benefactors include Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton and Daniel Berrigan.  She lived and worked at Haley House, the Boston Catholic Worker, in the 1980s.  This experience of spiritual community inspired a deeper commitment to the path of contemplation and action.  IIona has practiced as a home health nurse in inner city Boston for almost 30 years. She has also taught  Enneagram studies to a variety of organizations beginning in 1995.  Since learning the meditations of Natural Wisdom and Compassion in 2008, she has felt a strong sense of connection to the teachings and joy in the practice.

Ilona teaches Innate Compassion and Wisdom Meditation in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.
 
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