Mahamudra Meditation Center - Active Teachers

Keith Hale - Short Bio

Keith's meditative practice started when he was fifteen years old when he started working with Gung-fu, practices which he later discovered were "very similar to resting mind practices" of Buddhism. Several years later, from 1976 to 1984, he had the opportunity to study with Nam Singh from whom he learned the art of Tai Chi and Taoist meditation. He has maintained those practices and, at the encouragement of his teacher, taught weekly classes in Tai Chi and Taoist meditation since that time. In this regards, he is one of the most experienced Western teachers of Taoism and Tai Chi. In addition, he has studied and practiced Chi Gung under various teachers.

In 1992, Keith joined Mahamudra Meditation Center, participating regularly in classes and retreats, including a retreat at Lake Big Bear with Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. Since that time, Keith has studied and practiced closely with Lama Thapkhay and in reliance upon the teachings of Thrangu Rinpoche. His area of focus is uniting Mahamudra and Tai Chi practice and the integration of practice into daily life. A former contractor, he recently retired from teaching "shop" at a residential treatment center in Northern California dedicated to transforming the lives of "at-risk" boys. Since 2001, Keith (Lama Kunzang) serves as Dharma Teacher for Mahamudra Meditation Center where he facilitates various study and practice programs. He also serves as the Director of Thrangu Chagchen Chögar and its occasional retreat activities.

Andrew Levine - Short Bio

A lecturer in English at San Francisco State University, Andrew began studying Buddhist meditation forty years ago, practicing with both Zen and Theravadin vipassana teachers. Introduced to the nature of mind teachings in the early nineties, he has received instruction in Mahamudra and Dzogchen from several excellent lamas; his principal teacher is the Mahamudra master Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. Since then, he has participated in numerous Dharma retreats with emphasis on Mahamudra and Dzogchen practice.

In recent years, Andrew has trained closely with Lama Thapkhay (Peter), as well as with Donna McLaughlin, another western teacher affiliated with Thrangu Rinpoche, acting as an assistant or co-teacher in ongoing classes and retreats. In 2006, Lama Thapkhay invited Andrew to formally join the faculty of Mahamudra Meditation Center. Andrew (Lama Rabjam) is the Director of Mahamudra Meditation Center (since 2015) and serves as the head Dharma Teacher for it's Nine-Month Program, which he has facilitated since 2008.

Pat Schotka - Short Bio

Pat's introduction to Buddhism started in 1969 while traveling in Scotland. At the suggestion of a friend, she visited Samye Ling monastery and was impressed by "the openness and joy of the people" there. For many years Pat maintained an active interest in Buddhism. In the early 90's, she encountered Piercing the Autumn Sky at her local library, only to discover that the book's author lived nearby and had a small meditation group. Ever since that time, Pat has been practicing with the group and studying and practicing closely with Peter, in reliance upon the teachings of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and Khenchen Könchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche.

Over the years Pat has received teachings from and attended retreats with several leading Tibetan Buddhist teachers, including Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Chagud Tulku Rinpoche, Lama Tharchin and Khenchen Könchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche. In 2001, she traveled with Khenchen Könchog Gyaltsen to Tibet and Mount Kailash. Over the past fifteen years, the focus of her dharma studies and practice has been on Mahamudra and Dzogchen practice. During this entire time, she has been active professionally and yet managed to participate in most center retreats. Pat (Lama Chögyal) serves as Dharma Teacher for Mahamudra Meditation Center where she facilitates various study and practice programs.


Founding Director - Lama Thapkhay (Peter)

Lama Thapkhay (Peter Barth) founded Mahamudra Meditation Center under the guidance of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and served as its director from 1990 to 2015. He is the author of A Meditation Guide for Mahamudra and Piercing the Autumn Sky (Italian edition La naturale libertà della mente, Ubaldini Editore, Rome.) In addition, he edited Mahamudra Teachings by Garchen Rinpoche and served as an editor of Essentials of Mahamudra by Thrangu Rinpoche. Most recently, he compiled a collection of notes on The Meditations of Longchen Rabjam for students of Longchenpa's Treasury of Basic Space of Phenomena.

A student of Tibetan Buddhism since 1970, Peter became one of the first Western Dharma teachers encouraged to teach mahamudra when he was given the title of "lama" (facilitator) by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche along with the request to continue to help students interested in this "path to liberation." Subsequently, Rinpoche also presented him with a hand-written lineage letter expressing the depth of his gratitude for his dedication to mahamudra practice. Since then, Peter has reached thousands through his writings and has had the opportunity to guide hundreds in explorations of mahamudra teachings and methods, using the traditional, humanistic "circle of yogis" approach. Today, Peter's mahamudra meditation manual is used in various Kagyu centers and by meditators around the world.

In 2015, Peter stepped back from all MMC responsibilities upon handing them over to long-term dedicated students.

"How wonderful it is to come together and get to explore the nature of one's awareness and mind and perceptions. There is nothing more interesting and amazing than the nature of our awareness, a timeless and pristine wishful-filling jewel." - MMC Group Member

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