Sierra Retreats

"Wisdom tells me I am nothing, love tells me I am everything, somewhere in between my life flows."

Our Teachers

Shinzen Young

A native of Los Angeles, Shinzen became fascinated with Asian culture at an early age, learning Chinese and Japanese while still in his teens. In 1968, he entered a doctoral program in Buddhist studies at the University of Wisconsin. Three years later he was ordained as a Buddhist monk at Mount Koya, Japan.

After several years of training in Asian monasteries, he became interested in the scientific study of meditative states and worked at the Princeton Biofeedback Institute. He taught Asian philosophy at Chapman College and mathematics and physics at Ernest Holmes College, and frequently serves as translator for Joshu Sasaki Roshi at Mount Baldy Zen Center.

Shinzen has been conducting meditation retreats throughout North America for over 20 years. His goal is to make meditative practice a viable path for Westerners, not just an exotic import from the East.

Shinzen.orgBasicMindfulness.orgShinzen's YouTube Channel

John Travis

John was recommended to us by Shinzen a few years ago and graciously led a retreat with us in 2004. We were thrilled to have a Senior Spirit Rock teacher join us. John combines psychological knowledge with extensive training in Buddhism and a colorful personal history. He likes to lead intimate retreats that allow more direct contact with retreatants through personal interviews and discussion. People have found him to be warm and very approachable and insightful. With us, he used the Spirit Rock / IMS style of meditation guidance, i.e. starting with a breath focus and gradually expanding to the body, sound, and thoughts and emotions. Using bells, he also did a wonderful sound meditation from the Tibetan tradition.

John has studied vipassana meditation since 1969. He spent many years with recognized Buddhist masters, and took Initiation with His Holiness the 16 th Karmapa. In 1970 he began his studies in the vipassana tradition with Munindra and later became a student of S.N. Goenka. In 1979, he became a monk under the Venerable Taungpulu Sayadaw. His teachers are widely recognized today as among the great Asian masters of Buddhism of our time. John continued his studies in Asia and later in the U.S. where he began teaching in 1986. From 1988 to 1993, he devoted himself to formal teacher training with Jack Kornfield, Ph.D., at Spirit Rock Center. After completing training he was ordained and given Dharma transmission in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw and Achaan Chaa. John has been resident teacher of Mountain Stream Meditation Center, in the Northern California Sierra Foothills since its inception.

You can listen to some of John's Dharma Talks at the Mountain Stream website.