Show cover of Teaching Meditation

Teaching Meditation

This is the only podcast we know of devoted to the teaching of meditation. We interview teachers and others about the process of teaching, how they became teachers, their thoughts on who should and shouldn't teach, tips for new and veteran teachers, and more. While teachers and prospective teachers of meditation will of course find lots to learn here, this is also a great resource for anyone who wants to peer behind the curtain of being a meditation teacher. You can learn more about your hosts Upali over here and about Tucker over here


Marianne Bentzen: Intimacy and Playfulness; Trauma and Resource
Marianne Bentzen is a psychotherapist and trainer in neuroaffective development psychology.  She is the author of a number of books including Neuroaffective Meditation: A Practical Guide to Lifelong Brain Development, Emotional Growth, and Healing Trauma.  Marianne talks about her path to becoming a meditation teacher as a psychotherapist and how to connect with heartfulness and playfulness in teaching.  She also defines trauma, explains its parallels with deep meditative states, and points toward how support might begin for practitioners with trauma.  Support the show
75:36 3/29/23
Dr. Daniel Ingram: Managing Controversy in Dharma Circles
Dr. Daniel Ingram is a retired emergency medicine doctor who is the author of two versions of the book Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha.   His current projects are the Emergent Phenomenology Research Consortium and a charity called the Emergence Benefactors.  Daniel discusses the way in which he became a dharma teacher, where he actually began by working with the most advanced practitioners, and he discusses a number of areas in which he has "stepped on minefields" and created controversy.  Support the show
57:27 3/13/23
Julianna Raye: The Unified Mindfulness Teacher Training Program
Guest Julianna Raye joins Tucker to describe the Unified Mindfulness teacher training system.  This is the second in our series on some of the larger teacher training programs; Vidyamala Burch's episode was the first.Support the show
64:37 2/6/23
Dharma 3.0 and Multiplayer Meditation with Vince Horn
Vince Horn, meditation teacher and co-founder of Buddhist Geeks, talks with Upali about his path of transmission and training in Dharma Teaching.  He also explores transparency in Dana, Dharma and Sangha in the world of Web 3.0, and the power of social meditative techniques aka Multiplayer Meditation.  Support the show
59:51 8/30/22
Shaila Catherine: When Students Get Distracted
Shaila Catherine rejoins us on the program.  We discuss several ancient practices, including the asubha practice (sometimes called "foulness of the body") and what the Buddha calls "crushing mind with mind," and how these practices do and don't work for modern students.  Shaila also describes her own process for finding a teacher once one is already a teacher.  She has just written a new book called Beyond Distraction: Five Practical Ways to Focus the Mind, so our conversation veers as well into helping students who are struggling with distracted minds.Support the show
63:38 8/9/22
Lopon Chandra Easton: 10 years of Vajrayana Training, and Feeding Your Demons
Lopön Chandra Easton is a Westerner who grew up in the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition.  She did nine years of preparatory (ngondro) practices and spent 5 - 10 years training to be a teacher.  She is a lineage holder under Lama Tsultrim  Allione, author of the book Feeding Your Demons.  She is currently on the Tara Mandala Board of Directors and the Tara Mandala Bay Area coordinating committee, through which she teaches and organizes events in the Bay Area.  To learn about Chandra and connect with her, head to the show
73:04 4/9/22
Henrik Norberg: Religious Buddhism, or, Teaching Retreats in Caves
Henrik Norberg is a celibate, non-monastic teacher of meditation retreats, often in caves in Southeast Arizona.  Hear him and Upali talk about the difference between Eastern and Western conceptualizations of stream entry, Henrik's view that Western Buddhism hyperfocuses on meditation, and what Henrik's own path looks like, which he said it primarily morality practice.Support the show
50:14 3/27/22
Kynan Tan: Success As a New and Fulltime Meditation Teacher
Australian teacher Kynan Tan, PhD only recently began teaching meditation and was quickly able to leave his regular job and become a fulltime teacher.  In this interview, you'll hear how he prepared himself to teach, how he gets continuing education and supervision as a new teacher, and what steps he thinks allowed him to attract so many students in a short time.  You can learn more about Kynan and contact him at the show
36:01 3/4/22
Vidyamala Burch: Growing a Dharma Org Without Losing The Heart
Vidyamala Burch is the founder of Breathworks, has a teacher training program with over 600 alumni, has been teaching mindfulness for pain for many decades, and has been voted one of the most influential disabled people in the United Kingdom.  Hear Vidyamala's story of growing up in New Zealand, moving full-time into a retreat center, and starting and steering Breathworks.  She'll discuss how to keep the "heart" in an organization as it grows and how to receive feedback on teachers and colleagues.Support the show
48:29 2/18/22
Mukti: Teaching and Embodiment
Mukti is a teacher in a nondual lineage.  She received her authorization to teach from Adyashanti, her husband.  You can learn more about Mukti over here.Mukti’s teachings invite attunement to the act of being and to the heart of awareness. Such attunement can awaken Spirit to reveal Itself as your essential self and as the essence of all of life. This revelation is known as Self-realization, and is the birth of conscious Spirit made manifest, known as embodiment.Her teaching methods for nurturing realization and embodiment are founded in meditation, self-inquiry, and body awareness, and encourage connecting with one’s self as an expression of all of life.Support the show
60:37 2/8/22
Upasaka Upali: I Can't Remember How Many Intro Classes I've Taught
Upali talks about teaching intro courses vs advanced students, coping with the unfairness of the world, working with students' emotional wellbeing, and how to escape Garfunkel syndrome.Upasaka Upali is a Dharma teacher who aims to demystify meditation, provide tangible instruction, and create a rewarding experience for practitioners. Upali received transmission in a lineage that can be traced back to the Buddha through Namgyal Rinpoche (Ananda Bodhi), and he took his Upasaka vows in 2015. He has a degree from St. Olaf College and has studied Dharma and meditation with Tucker Peck, Ph.D. and Upasaka Culadasa. He was a founding member of the Open Dharma Foundation and also served as its founding Executive Director. He is the co-host of this podcast, as you assured know since you're listening to it.   You can learn more or contact him at the show
53:10 6/3/21
Don & Patty: How to Run a Retreat Center
Don and Patty, both dharma teachers, run the Wellbeing Retreat Center in Tazewell, Tennessee.   This special episode focuses, rather than on the usual topic of teaching meditation, on how to start and manage a meditation retreat center.Support the show
55:39 5/13/21
Shaila Catherine: Teaching Towards Full Liberation
Shaila Catherine is the founder of Insight Meditation South Bay, a meditation group in Silicon Valley, and also Bodhi Courses, an online Buddhist classroom. She has been practicing meditation since 1980, with more than nine years of accumulated silent retreat experience. She has taught since 1996 in the USA, and internationally.   She completed a one-year intensive meditation retreat with the focus on concentration and jhana, and authored Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity. Shaila practiced under the guidance of Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw from 2006-2015, and authored Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Vipassana to help make this traditional approach to meditative training accessible to western practitioners.In this episode, Shaila talks about the relationship betwen jhana and insight, and achieving full liberation through practice.Support the show
63:46 4/27/21
Boaz Feldman: Freedom and Fulfillment
Boaz Feldman talks with Upali from a multi-year meditation retreat and shares his personal journey of becoming a monk, returning to lay life, and becoming a psychologist.  Boaz and Upali talk about the challenges and benefits of integrating ancient tradition in a modern world, and Boaz presents a framework that formulates that possibilty.  To learn more about Boaz, please check out his website:, and  you can also learn more about Neurosystemics at . Support the show
64:39 4/15/21
Dr. Andrew Holecek: Finding Your Niche
Dr. Andrew Holecek covers a lot of ground, from describing finding his niche in sleep and dream meditation, to doing a three-year retreat, and his thoughts on the frequent scandals among dharma teachers.  Learn more about Andrew at the show
63:40 3/29/21
Dorothy Hunt: How Do We Teach The Ineffable?
This episode touches on Christian practice, Adyashanti's lineage of Zen, and how to teach meditation from more of a non-doing, already-there perspective, rather than a technique-based one.Dorothy Hunt is the founder of the San Francisco Center for Meditation and Psychotherapy, and serves as Spiritual Director and President of Moon Mountain Sangha, Inc., a California non-profit religious corporation. Dorothy currently offers meditation and satsang gatherings, awakening groups, weekend retreat days, and longer residential retreats.  Following a series of ever-deepening realizations, Dorothy was invited by her spiritual teacher, Adyashanti, to teach within his lineage. While Adyashanti was trained in the Zen tradition, Dorothy’s spiritual path led from Mother Teresa of Calcutta to the Advaita teachers, Ramana Maharshi and Ramesh Balsekar, and eventually to Adyashanti. Each one of her teachers appeared to her totally unexpectedly, yet profoundly.Support the show
60:39 3/17/21
Shinzen Young: The Greatest Dignity Is Absolute Humility
Shinzen Young is an American mindfulness teacher and neuroscience research consultant.His systematic approach to categorizing, adapting and teaching meditation, known as Unified Mindfulness, has resulted in collaborations with Harvard Medical School, Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Vermont in the bourgeoning field of contemplative neuroscience.Shinzen’s interest in Asia began at the age of 14 when he decided to attend Japanese ethnic school in his native city of Los Angeles.Learn more at the show
35:35 3/1/21
Stephen Batchelor: Teaching Dharma vs Teaching Meditation
Upali interviews Stephen Batchelor,  a contemporary Buddhist teacher and writer, a former monk best known for his secular or agnostic approach to Buddhism.  They talk about teaching Dharma (vs simply teaching meditation), finding authority through authorship, and plant medicine. Stephen teaches meditation around the world, and he is the author of such well-known books as Buddhism Without Beliefs, Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, After Buddhism, and most recently The Art of Solitude.  You can learn more about Stephen at the show
60:34 2/15/21
Stephanie Nash: Building Your Own Following
Tucker interviews Stephanie Nash.  Stephanie has a psychology degree from Duke University and a Masters from Yale University.  In addition to her career as an actress, Stephanie has had the privilege of working closely with Shinzen Young and has been a facilitator with Vipassana Support International since 1999, teaching retreats.   In addition to a specialization in mindful eating, Stephanie has written several influential guides, including her well-known guide to meditation posture.  You can reach Stephanie over here.Support the show
60:58 2/2/21
Dr. Tucker Peck: Coping with Imposter Syndrome
Upali interviews Tucker.  Dr. Tucker Peck is a meditation teacher and clinical psychologist whose specialties include working with advanced meditators and using meditation to help those suffering from psychological disorders.Tucker began formal training in meditation in 2005 and has studied with Sharon Salzberg of the Insight Meditation Society and Upasaka Culadasa.Tucker received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Brown University, and he received his Masters and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the College of Science at the University of Arizona. Tucker is a published author on the scientific study of meditation, focusing on how meditation affects the brain. He is a faculty member of the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and he is the founder and former Director of Palo Santo Psychotherapy & Wellness.  He is the founder and board president of the Open Dharma Foundation, which provides scholarships to meditation retreats, and for four years served as the president of the Tucson Community Meditation Center.  His newest project is, an online course to overcome insomnia.Support the show
52:06 2/2/21
Jessica Graham: Sex, Money, and Teaching Meditation
Tucker interviews Jessica Graham.  Jessica is a meditation teacher, sex, relationship, and spiritual guide for couples and individuals, international speaker, and author of Good Sex: Getting Off Without Checking Out, which has been translated into several languages, and is a best seller in the Netherlands. She is also a contributing editor of the popular meditation blog, Deconstructing Yourself, and is certified in Grief Recovery coaching. Jessica can be found on many apps including; Simple Habit, Wise@Work, Emjoy, Breethe, and Sanity & Self. Jessica has offered workshops at various centers internationally, including Esalen Institute. She has been interviewed/quoted for such publications as, Women’s Health Magazine, Bustle, GOOP, Lion’s Roar, The Lilly, Health Magazine, and more. She is also included in The Great Courses’ Masters of Mindfulness.  In addition to this, Jessica is also an award-winning actor and filmmaker. You can connect with Jessica on Instagram @jessicaclarkgraham and at Support the show
50:27 2/2/21
Michael Taft: How Not To Become Guru
Tucker interviews Michael Taft.  Michael is a maverick meditation teacher, bestselling author, and podcaster. As a mindfulness coach, he specializes in secular, science-based mindfulness training in retreats, groups, corporate settings, and one-on-one sessions. Michael is the author of several books, including the bestselling The Mindful Geek, Nondualism: A Brief History of a Timeless Concept, and Ego (which he co-authored), as well as the editor of such books as Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson and The Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young.He has often taught meditation at Google, worked on curriculum development for SIYLI, and is currently core faculty at Wisdom Labs, in San Francisco. Michael is also a featured teacher on the Simple Habit app, and an official advisor to the Therapeutic Neuroscience Lab. He was previously editor-in-chief of Being Human, and was the long-time editorial director of Sounds True.From Zen temples in Japan to yogi caves in India, Michael has been meditating for over thirty five years and has extensive experience in both Buddhist Vipassana and Hindu Tantric practice. Michael is a senior facilitator in Shinzen Young’s Unified Mindfulness system, and is a teacher of meditation groups around the Bay Area. He currently lives in Oakland, California, and is founding editor of the iconoclastic mindfulness meditation blog and podcast Deconstructing Yourself.Support the show
50:50 2/2/21
Introduction to the podcast, with Tucker, Upali, and Shinzen Young
A short episode where Tucker, Upali and Shinzen explain what the podcast will be about.Support the show
14:57 2/1/21

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