senior teachers

ELAZAR ASLAN Elazar started his practice in Vipassana in 1995 and received teachings from Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein and their teacher U Pandita. He received his first Highest Yoga Tantra Empowerment in 2002 and has studied with various Tibetan Lamas since then. He was a TBC Officer 2011 - 2022, and was asked by Lama Losang to be a senior teacher in 2016. Elazar is co-author of Boundless Leadership, to be released by Shambhala Press in November. The book reflects his career of bringing buddhists principles to business practices. He does workshops and retreats on applying buddhist principles to ease our daily lives.

TONY BORIS Tony has been a senior teacher at the TBC since 2011, and was president of the center from 2011 to 2015. He's received a number of teachings and empowerments from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and other great teachers over the years. He is also co-founder of the animal welfare nonprofit Philadoptables (http://www.philadoptables.org/), and shares his dharma gratitude through the blog Shantideva Space (http://www.shantideva.space/) under his musical handle, Peace, baby. (https://open.spotify.com/artist/0EFXRFxiwh1PbvFajXxELW?si=LgVuRI-6Tp6okBkncCZBkg)

VICKI CAHILL Vicki Cahill began her study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism in 1995 with Losang Samten at the Tibetan Buddhist Center in Philadelphia. At the Tibetan Buddhist Center, Vicki had the opportunity to study with teachers from Nyingma, Kagyu, and Gelug lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. It was here that she met Gelek Rimpoche in 1996, at his teachings of the Three Principal of the Path. Vicki became Gelek Rimpoche’s student and subsequently a member of Jewel Heart. In addition to continuing her study with Losang, she has attended weekly teachings at Jewel Heart and annual Jewel Heart retreats. Vicki became a facilitator for Jewel Heart and ran Jewel Heart courses at the Philadelphia Meditation Center and various other locations throughout the Philadelphia area over the years. In 2015 she was invited to join the Buddhist Chaplaincy training program at Jewel Heart, which she completed in 2017. Beginning in July 2016 and continuing until the Prison closed to volunteers due to the pandemic in March 2020, Vicki led classes on meditation and awareness training at the Philadelphia Department of Prisons. These classes were attended by adult males in maximum security, adult females, and juveniles. In 2018, she became a Buddhist chaplaincy extern at Pennsylvania Hospital, and she continued with another externship in 2019 at HUP. Vicki is honored to have been a guest speaker at the Tibetan Buddhist Center.

ATUL GOVIL I started my practice with Losang Samten in 1994. In 1999, Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tenzin, started me on studying the Heart Sutra. Since then, have received teachings from various lamas, including, HH Dalai Lama, Sogyal Rinpoche, and Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal. Have attended coursework at Landmark Worldwide and completed the Introduction Leader Program. Currently serving as co-treasurer of CTBC Philadelphia and look forward to remotely leading meditations and teachings.

KEN KLEIN Bio coming!

SR. SHARIFA VERNICE MEYTUNG (MEYLONG TUNGBA) Sr. Sharifa is a Catholic-Buddhist lay contemplative practitioner and haijin (writer of haiku poetry). Her spiritual practice is also deeply informed by her Bantu animist indigeneity. She has studied in many community and academic settings, including Catholic Theology at the University of Erfurt, Germany. She is currently beginning her fourth year of a seven-year Padme Sangye Ling Philosophy Shedra (study) on “3 Yana Vows:” Ngari Panchen & HH Dudjom Rinpoche, under the direction of Venerable Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche. She continues to live in her practice as a Catholic lay sister, having taken lay vows and consecration to Our Lady of Częstochowa (Mary), in 1999 at Jasna Góra Monastery, Poland. Her Dharma practice is an augmentation of her foundational spiritual practices. Her focus is on spiritual liberation through guided meditative/contemplative practices; sharing knowledge and wisdom; nurturing compassion and bodhicitta. Sr. Sharifa serves as a Board member of the Center & Library for the Bible and Social Justice (CLBSJ – Stony Point, New York); the Philadelphia Buddhist Association (PBA); Relief & Research International (Wellness Woods Project – Susquehanna County); and is a member of the Leadership Team/Dharma In Action for the Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia (CTBC). Recent writings: Yola Wesoƚowska - Legacy (www.one-world-music.com) Oil For The Lamp: 7 Virtues of Human Character Development (ISBN 978-0-692-18944-3) Web platforms: www.meytung.worpress.com www.sistervern.wordpress.com www.energycentersblog.wordpress.com YouTube videos: Jataka Tales series (Sr. Sharifa Vernice Meytung-Ma)

BARBARA MONTGOMERY Barbara is a Board Member of CTBC and former Vice-President and President and has been a member since shortly after the Center was begun. Her Buddhist practice began in Southeast Asia and has been a mainstay in her life for over 50 years. Her path has led her to deeply explore the practice of Dzogchen. She is profoundly grateful to her root teachers, Thich That Hanh, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Venerable Losang Samten for all the kindness, compassion and wisdom they have shared, along with the many other teachers and our precious sangha with whom she has had the privilege to study. Her professional career has taken her from working in the television and film industries to her own music production and publishing companies. She is also an international performing and recording jazz musician. For the past 15 years she has focused on two areas of her life: The Farmhouse Retreat and Wellness Center in Kennett Square, PA, with its roots beginning in her volunteer work as the President of the PA Brady Campaign/Million Mom March for ten years, dedicated to preventing gun violence; and her wellness practice as an Integrative and Orthomolecular Medicine Health Practitioner. The latter had its foundation in her 20 years of clinical work with brain-injured children and their families. Her Buddhist practice provides a vital foundation for all of these endeavours.

FLOYD PLATTON After living my first thirty years as a secular Jew I started taking courses in Religious Studies at Temple University. Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi had been invited to join the Temple faculty, and I took classes with him, and had personal instruction from him in Jewish mysticism at his home. I continued to be associated with him for fifteen years as his secretary after I retired, until 1993. In 1995 I saw Losang Samten creating a Kalachakra mandala at the Phila. Art Museum, and learned that there was a Buddhist Center in Philadelphia, which I started attending regularly. Losang continues to be the primary spiritual influence in my life. In 2000 I started attending Dzogchen retreats with Palden Sherab and Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoches of the Padmasambhava Buddhist Center. In 2016 I attended the first of several courses with Scott McBride of the Clear Light Meditation Institute. I have attended classes and talks by Sogyal Rinpoche, Gelek Rinpoche, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Garchen Rinpoche and Anam Thubten.

SUE PASSANTE Bio coming!

BILL STAUFFER Bill Stauffer is a former university administrator who retired in September of 2018 to devote more time to his spiritual practice through the skillful means of teachings, books, sangha and meditation. Bill has been studying and practicing Buddhism with various teachers since 1995. However, his primary teacher has been Geshe Losang Samten of the Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center (CTBC) of Philadelphia with whom Bill has practiced since 1995. Bill was secretary of the CTBC for a year around 2000 and served as President of the CTBC for six years from January 2002 through the end of 2007. He currently serves as Membership Coordinator. Bill has been leading services and teaching at the CTBC for more than 20 years. He has also taught at other venues. For example, Bill was the founder and leader of Loving-Kindness practice at the Philadelphia Meditation Center from 2000 – 2006. He was the founder and leader of Dharma Discussion practice at the Philadelphia Meditation Center from 2006 – 2016. Bill has taught 12 week courses on Buddhist Philosophy for Temple University’s OLLI division. Bill’s main interest in Buddhism is studying foundational teachings such as the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, Buddhist Ethics, Mindfulness of Breathing, and the Four Immeasureables. He often practice the contemplation of impermanence, suffering and no-self. The Pali texts are a special love of his. When giving talks, Bill likes to draw from teachings in the Pali canon. Bill enjoys contemplating spiritual truth from different perspectives. Even though Buddhism is his primary path, Bill finds it helpful to hear from other traditions too. His spiritual interests were first stimulated by Walt Whitman who Bill still considers to be a friend and teacher. Walt is the person who convinced Bill of the truth of rebirth. Bill has been studying yoga since 2007 and especially loves the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Bill was raised a Christian and enjoys hearing Christian teachings that summarize core teachings of the Buddha. For example, see Jesus’ teaching on impermanence at Matthew 6: 19-21 and see Jesus’ teaching on loving kindness as the highest skillful means at 1st John 4: 7 – 8.

MARJON VAN KEMPEN Marjon met the Dharma in the person of Lama Yeshe in 1978 at Kopan monastery in Kathmandu Nepal, where she completed the 1 month Lam Rim retreat. Once settled in Philadelphia in the 1980’s she became a member of the Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia and a long term student of Lama Losang Samten, while raising a family and working as a physical therapist in various clinical settings. Marjon feels strong devotion for green and white Tara. For several years she led Tara practice sessions at TBC. More recently Marjon has taken a particular interest in the practice of purification. She enjoys individual practice but also recognizes the cumulative benefit of group purification practice. practice at the Philadelphia Meditation Center from 2006 – 2016.