Local Teachers

Way of Shambhala Directors

Shastri Pamela Bothwell

first encountered the Dharma at Tail of the Tiger (Karme Chöling Buddhist Contemplative Center) in Vermont in 1973. She has served as co-director of the New York Shambhala Center; Head of Practice and Study at Karme-Chöling; Head of Study at the San Francisco Shambhala Center; Ambassador to the Los Angeles Shambhala Center; and Co-Director of the Los Angeles Shambhala Center. In 2010, she was appointed by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche as Shastri for Los Angeles.

Shastri Marcy Fink

has been a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche since 1977. Trained in both the sciences and the arts, she has been a stress management consultant for Boeing, and has worked with a start-up company that uses biofeedback and mindfulness/awareness exercises as tools for dealing with stress. As a member of the Los Angeles Buddhist and Interfaith Councils she worked for many years with the diverse religious communities in Los Angeles. She is a senior teacher and former Director of Education at SMCLA and travels frequently to teach.

Shastri Marilyn Moore

is a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. She has served as the Shambhala Center Director and as Head of Practice. She currently co-directs Shambhala in Orange County.

Shastri Joel Wachbrit

is a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and has been a member of the LA Shambhala community since 1989. He has held many positions at SMCLA, including Center Co-Director and Head of Buddhist Education. Joel composes music for TV and film and is an accomplished guitarist. He is married to Jill Freeman, and they have several children – all with four legs.

Katie Bainbridge

Katharine Bainbridge

has been a Shambhala Buddhist practitioner and student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche for over 25 years. She is a Jungian Psychoanalyst in private practice in Encino. She specializes in dream work and issues relating to women’s health and wellbeing.

John Beard

is a senior student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. He has studied Buddhist teachings and practiced meditation for over 35 years and has taught Shambhala Training levels for over 25 years.


Sheryl Beard

Sheryl Beard is a senior student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. She has served as a meditation instruction for many years and is currently the Practice and Education Coordinator for the Shambhala Center Los Angeles Westside.

Guy Blume

has been a Buddhist practitioner for 20 years. He is a meditation instructor at the Shambhala Meditation Center Los Angeles and a Kado practitioner. In his other life he is an interior designer.


Tharpa Chotron

has been actively involved in the structure and growth of SMCLA since its inception, and has taught many Dharma classes here. She has also taught meditation under the auspices of Naropa University in Gangtok, Sikkim. She is an accomplished photographer who has exhibited in Los Angeles, India, and Sweden.

Johanna Demetrakas

is a former Resident Director of Shambhala Training in Los Angeles and also former Director of SMCLA. She co-directed Warrior Assemblies at Karme Chöling and in Mexico, and taught the first Heart of Warriorship Program in a prison in the U.S. A film-maker, her current film is Crazy Wisdom, a documentary on the life and times of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

debra2Debra Dysart

is a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and has been interested in the Shambhala Buddhist teachings ever since she discovered Pema Chödrön’s Wisdom of No Escape in a Barnes and Nobles in 1997. (She met her husband Malcolm in that same bookstore.) Debra is a Shambhala Art teacher and was a former Center Co-Director of Shambhala Los Angeles. She sings with the Verdi Chorus and serves on its board of directors.

Anne Fraser

has been a member of the Shambhala community since 1974. She was one of the founding members of the Shambhala Center in Chicago where she lived and practiced until 2008, when she and her husband went “on the road”. A former real estate lawyer with a large corporation, Anne is the mother of three and also a grandmother. Anne currently lives in Carpinteria CA with her husband Robert Lehmann and their two lhasa apsos, Kiki and Soso.

gregGreg Heffron

started teaching in the Shambhala tradition in 2005. He’s been teaching Mindful Communication in the tradition of Acharya Susan Gillis Chapman since 2009 and owns Green Zone Conversations, a businesses dedicated to teaching her approach to individuals and organizations. In 2005, he apprenticed with senior Mudra Space Awareness teacher Craig Smith, and became authorized to teach this mind-body meditation technique that is unique to the Shambhala tradition.

Laura Landau

is a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, she also teaches Shambhala Art, is a meditation instructor and an assistant director for Shambhala Training.

Robert Lehman

has been a meditator in the Kagyu and Nyingma and Shambhala traditions for over 37 years. His original teacher was the Vidyadhara, the Ven. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Since his passing, he has studied with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Her Eminence Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche of the Mindrolling lineage. Robert and his wife Anne Fraser are retired and living in Carpinteria, CA with their two wonderful Lhasa Apsos. They also have three splendid children, all carving out their own paths.

Greg Lubkin

is a Westside resident who has over 30 years experience meditating and teaching in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition. He is an attorney and a former professor of medieval history and has previously served as Co-Director for the Los Angeles Shambhala Center and the Berkeley Shambhala Center. He is currently co-chair of the Shambhala Trust.

john-macadamsJohn MacAdams

A student and practitioner of Shambhala Buddhism since 1982, for over 16 years John has been an MI and active Assistant Director for Shambhala Training. He is Senior Buddhist Chaplain for the Los Angeles Men’s Central Jail and is certified by the Engaged Mindfulness Institute as a Mindfulness Meditation Facilitator.

Cynthia MacKay

Cynthia MacKay

has been a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche for over 20 years and is Center Director of Shambhala Los Angeles. She has traveled extensively through Asia receiving teachings from many other renowned Buddhist teachers, including the 17th Karmapa. Cynthia is now following in her teacher’s footsteps by running marathons. She is also actively involved in teaching meditation at Men’s Central Jail and a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Malibu.

Chris O'Hare

Chris O’Hare

has been a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche since 1998. He has pursued his love of meditation through yearly retreats and additional trainings. Chris is inspired by the Sakyong’s teachings on Awakened Society, and looks for opportunities to help grow this in the Los Angeles sangha, his family lineage and beyond.

Sharon Owyang

has been a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche since 2007. She was the former Head of Education at SMCLA and is a writer, and world traveler.

loxleyLisa Oxley

is a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and has been practicing meditation for over 15 years. She is also a contemporary artist and arts educator, interested in the zone where  mindfulness and creativity overlap. She has been involved in teaching and education for over 20 years, and teaches meditation and it’s relation to drawing and the creative process at LACMA and Otis College of Art and Design.

gailGail Whitacre

met Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche in 1976, and then founded the first Dharma Study Group in Orange County. Coordinatorships since have included Publicity, Children’s Programs, Practice and Feast Practice. A sociologist and retired teacher, Gail now tutors test prep and does astrological consulting. She lives with her son and dog near the Eagle Rock center, where she is a Meditation Instructor, arranges flowers, teaches, and assistant directs Shambhala levels.

Claude Zachary

is a longtime student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. He is an archivist/librarian at the University of Southern California, and married to Ali Lake.

Meditation Instructors

Katie Bainbridge
John Beard
Sheryl Beard
Guy Blume
Pamela Bothwell
Patsy Brown
Darryl Burnham
Laura Burnham
Tharpa Chotron
David Cipriani
Johanna Demetrakas
Richard Demlow
Debra Dysart
Malcolm Dysart
Marian English
Gil Figueroa
Michael Fink
Anne Fraser
Nancy Gillis
Tom Gottlieb
Marcy Fink
Laura Landau
Robert Lehmann
Gregory Lubkin
John MacAdams
Cynthia MacKay
Marilyn Moore
Christopher O’Hare
Bruce Oglesby
Sharon Owyang
Lisa Oxley
Anne Saitzyk
Steve Saitzyk
Ron Schultz
Carter Smith
Franny Smith
Kate Summers
Carolyn Sykes
Joel Wachbrit
Pearl Werbin
Gail Whitacre
Claude Zachary