INTRODUCING A FEW MEMBERS OF OUR CCR CONTEMPLATIVE COMMUNITIES

ANDREA VAZQUEZ (YESHE)

Born in Southern California and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, Andrea began her Buddhist journey when she was 21 after a severe burn accident. Her accident inspired a deep shift in her outlook on her life and her mission in the world, motivating her to plunge into the study and practice of Buddhism in order to uncover the true causes of happiness and suffering. Her studies and practice have been focused in the Gelug and Nyingma schools of Tibetan Buddhism; she has studied with master teachers in the US, Mexico, Australia, India, and Nepal. She has also engaged in numerous meditation retreats and Buddhist pilgrimages around the world.

Andrea met Dr. B. Alan Wallace in 2014 in Guadalajara, Mexico, and has continued to study and practice his teachings, finding in them a true and clear path to personal fulfillment. She has seen the real-world benefits of her dedication to practice within her own mind and in her relationships with others. This has inspired her to deepen her practice even further and share the wisdom of Buddhist teachings with the world. It has been Andrea’s aspiration to engage in long-term retreat since the age of 23, and so it is with great joy and gratitude that, along with serving the CCR mission as a volunteer, she has now entered full-time retreat alongside her precious teachers and fellow practitioners as part of the first group of retreatants at Miyo Samten Ling.

Andrea is also proud to represent the Latinx community at the CCR. In addition to her aspiration to bring greater insights into the nature of mind and consciousness to the world, Andrea is also inspired to explore the hypothesis that, even amid the mental and social fragmentation of the 21st century, all human beings – including women of color – have the potential to realize genuine awakening in this very life.

JODIE K. LEA

Jodie K. Lea has been immersed in the healing arts for over 20 years. Jodie started out earning a BA in Psychology from the New School University in New York City followed by an MA in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. From an early age Jodie has been haunted by the modern problem, summed up so succinctly by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: “The past century has seen remarkable developments in the scientific understanding of the human body and brain, yet people across the world struggle to find peace of mind. In the meantime, little progress has been made in understanding the relationship between body and mind, while the nature of consciousness remains as great a mystery as ever.” Jodie’s quest in her own life as well as in her career has been to explore the contemplative traditions of the world to shed new rays of hope and discovery on this fundamental human problem.

Jodie practiced as a psychotherapist in diverse settings including drug and alcohol rehab and Integrative Medicine and she also maintained a private practice working with adults, teens, children and families in crisis. Jodie’s work in the clinical setting led her to expand beyond her training in depth psychology to explore mind-body healing modalities. Eventually she became certified in Healing Touch and trained in the US and Thailand to become a registered yoga teacher. For the past 7 years Jodie turned her attention exclusively to yoga, owning and operating a yoga school, training new teachers and leading yoga and meditation courses and retreats in the US, Mexico, Thailand, and Europe. In 2019 she authored her first book entitled “Diamond Yoga,” due to be published in 2021.

The more Jodie taught and trained, the more she realized that deep human healing, growth and transformation required sophisticated understanding of mind training and meditation practices. In searching for a teacher, Jodie discovered Dr. B. Alan Wallace’s work in 2008 and has been studying and practicing with him ever since. In 2016 during an 8-week retreat with Lama Alan in Pomaia, Italy, Jodie had the opportunity to hear his vision for the Center for Contemplative Research. From that day forward, she aspired to one day participate in the CCR as a long-term retreatant.

Fast forward to 2020 when for Jodie all of the supporting circumstances came together to turn this dream into a reality. Jodie is humbled and honored to have worked for the CCR at Miyo Samten Ling as a volunteer before entering full-time retreat under the guidance of Dr. Wallace. Entering into deep retreat, in a place of silence and seclusion, with the support of expert teachers and fellow retreatants, Jodie hopes to fulfill her aspiration to devote herself full-time to the Path of the Great Perfection. Through this practice and the accompanying research, Jodie hopes to help fulfill the vision of the CCR and to find sustainable methods to quickly assist humanity in deep healing, creating inner and outer mental and emotional peace, and to restore harmony with our precious planet Earth.

JOSEPH CADIFF

Joseph Cadiff is a scholar, practitioner, and teacher of Buddhism and Yoga. He has studied and practiced since the age of 20 across various traditions, including Hatha Yoga, Advaita Vedanta, Soto Zen, Theravada, and Tibetan Buddhism. While earning his BA from Indiana University, he trained as a yoga teacher at Sivananda Ashram in California, and wrote his honors thesis on comparative mysticism and developmental psychology. He later earned his MA in Yoga Studies from Loyola Marymount University, focusing his studies on Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and the early yogic traditions of India. Joseph has traveled widely through the US, Europe, India, and Nepal, studying and practicing among various religious communities.

When Joseph encountered Dr. B. Alan Wallace’s teachings in 2017, he immediately resonated with the clarity and depth of Alan’s presentation of the Buddhist path, and with Alan’s vision for the Center for Contemplative Research. After continuing his studies with Alan over the last several years, he is now delighted to have the opportunity to serve the CCR project as a volunteer and long-term retreatant engaging in open-ended retreat at Miyo Samten Ling under the guidance of Dr. Alan Wallace and alongside other dedicated practitioners.

It is Joseph’s hope that the study, practice, and research done at the CCR will serve as a beacon of wisdom and open-minded collaboration in our world, leading to a radical shift in our collective understanding of consciousness, reality, and the highest potentials of spiritual practice and realization.

LORI MILLER

I was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area in the town of San Carlos from 1958-1990s. I witnessed Silicon Valley and Apple Computing spring up from our beloved orchards, but mostly, I recall it as a time there of acute exploration of spirituality outside of mainstream Christianity, and I was fascinated by it. I started my search for my spiritual path when in my 20s, trying many of the offerings in the Bay Area myself. EST was the rage and I tried it. I went to see Ram Dass teaching in Marin County, Ken Kesey was driving the Further bus in the nearby Redwoods. The SF Zen Center was starting and I saw Spirit Rock grow as I attended teachings from Jack Kornfield on Monday nights, as well as other teachers who came there.

Much later I came across His Holiness the Dalai Lama via the media and I knew that he had the path I was looking for. I attended the Heart Sutra teaching His Holiness gave in Silicon Valley before I had ever taken refuge. I then tried many Dharma centers and took a Vajrasattva empowerment with Thrangu Rinpoche and had zero idea of what I was doing or why. Eventually I was attending one center in Portland, OR (KCC) that had invited Dr. B. Alan Wallace to speak. I listened to his descriptions of shamatha and its value of unwavering attention, of the potential intersection of contemplative discoveries and science, and intuitively knew that he was the one to follow even before I knew he was a direct disciple of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

I began to attend his one week retreats primarily in the Santa Cruz area, in Santa Barbara, and Lone Pine, CA. Later, I would be chosen to participate in the Shamatha Project. Now I am going back into retreat, hopefully to participate with scientists again, continue my path, continue the Shamatha Project so to speak, with hopes that my previous EEG and other measurements would be helpful to the scientific studies to be done at CCR, and to continue to follow Dr. Wallace’s teachings of the Dudjom Lingpa lineage. It is my sincere hope that I achieve shamatha … and beyond. It is my sincere prayer is that this entire undertaking at Miyo Samten Ling will bring a bounty of benefit for a struggling world.

ANONYMOUS

I had the great good fortune to meet the Dharma in 1974 and to study with some of the most highly realized beings of our time. Inspired by them to dedicate my life in service to others, I raised two children and worked in healthcare for 35 years.

I have realized that the amount I can benefit is still so limited. Now the time has come for more intensive practice. I have this incredible opportunity to enter a retreat here at Miyo Samten Ling under the guidance of Lama Alan Wallace. Starting with a five month retreat to gain more confidence and skill, my hope is that in time, I can enter long term retreat and further develop the wisdom and compassion necessary to be able to more fully meet the needs of others.

ANONYMOUS

I was born in 1991, and since 2014 I have been dedicating myself full-time to the study and practice of Dharma. It was in 2015 that I first met Dr. B. Alan Wallace in person, during the 8-week retreat he was leading in Australia. I had been following his teachings by way of books and recordings for quite a few years prior to that. Since then, I have been preparing to go into strict long-term retreat in order to single-pointedly put these precious teachings into practice, and I am very happy that this has finally become a reality. I feel very fortunate to have been accepted to do long-term retreat at Miyo Samten Ling, under the guidance of Dr. Wallace, and it is my heartfelt wish that I may be able to make the most of this rare opportunity.

Throughout these years I have also been exploring my own spiritual heritage of the Islamic/Sufi tradition – so far on an amateur level, mostly through my own efforts; though I do intend to further and deepen my studies in the future – and it is my aspiration to make use of the methods, skills and insights that we will be cultivating at the CCR, to help rediscover the spiritual depths of the Islamic tradition.

I find this quality of non-sectarian openness, integral to the CCR’s vision, very inspiring and refreshing. I really appreciate that this project intends to speak to and benefit not only people of different spiritual backgrounds, but also those who do not identify with a specific spiritual tradition. Moreover, I admire the CCR’s willingness to work together with the scientific community; not claiming to answer all of the big questions or solve each and every conflict the world is facing, but gently working towards greater understanding and harmony among all humanity, on a level that cuts across different worldviews.

Specifically, I believe the methods of shamatha and vipashyana – which as H. H. the Dalai Lama has remarked, are practiced in all of the great contemplative traditions of the world in one form or another – will play a key role in reaching an “inter-contemplative” as well as a scientific understanding of the nature of the mind and of the true causes of suffering and of genuine well-being; and these are the practices that will be our main focus at the CCR.