Meditation Teachers

Shambhala Meditation Teachers in LA

Emily Bower

started practicing in the Shambhala community in 1987, in Berkeley, CA. She began studying with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche when he came to teach in Berkeley in 1991. She served as his editor for various projects, including his first book, Turning the Mind into an Ally. She has studied kyudo with Kanjuro Shibata Sensei and is a lifelong member of the Dorje Kasung. In 1991, she joined the staff of Karme Chöling, where she lived for three years, working on publicity and marketing. She has been a professional editor since 1987 and has most recently worked full-time as an acquiring editor for Shambhala Publications in Boston. Now, in addition to traveling and teaching in the Shambhala mandala, she continues to work as a book editor and publishing consultant. 

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

has been a member of the Los Angeles Shambhala community since 1989. He served as Center Co-Director and before that was Director of Buddhist Education for 7 years. In 2016 he was appointed as one of three Shastris, or senior teachers, for the greater Los Angeles area. Joel has been a working musician for more than forty years and for the last twenty he has composed music for TV and film.

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.

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.


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.


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.

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

has been a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche for over 25 years. She is the Deputy Minister of the Pillar of Government of Shambhala, guiding and supporting Shambhala Center Directors in the Americas. Cynthia has traveled extensively around our globe with a backpack and her running shoes, gathering teachings and running marathons. She is also a Motorcycle Safety Instructor for the California Motorcycle Safety Program.

Sharon Owyang

has been a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche since 2007. She is the Regional Director of Southern California Shambhala, as well as a writer, former film producer, and world traveler.

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
Guy Blume
Pamela Bothwell
Darryl Burnham
Laura Burnham
Debra Dysart
Malcolm Dysart
Gil Figueroa
Anne Fraser
Tom Gottlieb
Marcy Fink
Laura Landau
Robert Lehmann
John MacAdams
Cynthia MacKay
Marilyn Moore
Christopher O’Hare
Bruce Oglesby
Sharon Owyang
Anne Saitzyk
Steve Saitzyk
Carter Smith
Franny Smith
Kate Summers
Carolyn Sykes
Joel Wachbrit
Pearl Werbin
Gail Whitacre
Claude Zachary

Acharyas (Senior Teachers)

The acharyas of Shambhala are senior teachers appointed by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. As the Sakyong’s representatives, the acharyas, who are empowered to offer refuge and bodhisattva vows, bring the continuity of the lineage into the living teaching environment of local Shambhala centers.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the lineage holder of Shambhala, chose these individuals because of their knowledge, wisdom, and commitment to the confluence of teachings found in Shambhala.

Shastris (Teachers)

In Sanskrit, shastri literally means “teacher learned in the texts and commentaries”. The shastris have been appointed for three year terms by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche to bring the current understanding of the Shambhala Buddhist vision and teachings to their centers, to be a reference point for questions about the path, and in particular to help establish The Way of Shambhala curriculum as the core path. A major role of the shastri is to personally mentor and strengthen the local teaching mandala.  Shastris will also support the leadership in Shambhala centers in building community and strengthening the vision of enlightened society.