TEACHERS & INSTRUCTORS


As students of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, either directly or indirectly, all WBC teachers emphasize experiential Buddhism, which develops as meditation practice deepens and filters into one’s daily life. Trungpa Rinpoche was a Tibetan meditation master, scholar, and teacher who interpreted Buddhism for Western lifestyles and minds and who brought the Shambhala Buddhist teachings on creating enlightened society to the West.


TEACHER BIOS


 
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John Baker

Westchester Buddhist Center Founding Board Member and Teacher

John Baker has been a student of Buddhism for more than 41 years. A close disciple of ChögyamTrungpa Rinpoche, he co-founded and taught at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, serving as its CEO for the first three years of its existence, teaching there for five. He also co-founded and co-directed the Karma Dzong Meditation Center in Boulder for the first five years of its existence.

He is the co-editor of Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism and The Myth of Freedom and the author numerous articles.


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Derek Kolleeny

Westchester Buddhist Center Founding Board Member and Teacher

Derek began the practice and study of Buddhism in 1976 and soon became a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, attending his first of many Naropa Institute summer sessions in 1977. He earned a B.A. from Harvard College in the Comparative Study of World Religions, focused on Buddhism, including study of Sanskrit and Tibetan languages. During a year off from college, Derek was the assistant coordinator of the six-month US tour of HH the XVIth GyalwaKarmapa in 1980 and attended the Vajradhatu Seminary and the Kalapa Assembly in 1981 at Lake Louise, in Alberta, Canada.

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Jane Kolleeny

Westchester Buddhist Center Founding Board Member and Teacher

Jane Kolleeny has been studying and practicing Buddhism since the early seventies when her teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche arrived in Boulder, Colorado. A native Coloradan, she moved to New York in 1990 and taught classes at the New York Shambhala Center for many years, organizing and teaching at the Tuesday dharma gatherings for nine years. She serves as retreats and business development director at Garrison Institute producing over 100 retreats a year. 
 
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Gene Bobker

Westchester Buddhist Center Board Member and Senior Teacher

Gene Bobker met Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche as a student at University of Colorado the summer of 1971. She attended the 1974 Seminary and became a meditation instructor in 1976. In the late seventies she became a teacher at the New York Shambhala Center and also served as director of the center from 1977 to 1982.  In 1982 she staffed the Bedford Springs Seminary, and later served as Practice Department coordinator in New York. She has been teaching at Westchester Buddhist Center for six years.  Genie is an educator in the Westchester public school system, and is a mother and grandmother


Julie Farmer

Westchester Buddhist Center Teacher

Julie Farmer is a practitioner of Buddhism in the tradition of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.  Julie studied with the Bon Buddhist, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and for many years with her teacher, Reggie Ray PhD, founder of Dharma Ocean in Crestone, Colorado.  An impassioned proponent of embodied meditation, Julie also teaches the somatic meditation practices derived from Tibetan yoga developed by Reggie Ray.  She has studied extensively at the Westchester Buddhist Center including the Profound Treasury of Dharma.   Formerly an orthopedic physical therapist, Julie incorporates her knowledge of the body in her meditation instruction.  Helping people identify and release muscular holding patterns allows the physical circulation and subtle energies to flow freely in the body, providing a fertile environment for personal growth and transformation.  A long-time meditation instructor for the center, Julie is honored and inspired to be sharing the profound transformative path of Buddhism, as it has been waking her up for at least a decade now.


Andrea Sherman

Westchester Buddhist Center Teacher

Andrea Sherman was inspired by the teachings of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to enter the path of Buddhism.  She studied at NY Shambhala Center, where she led the community group Conversations on Aging and trained with Acharya Judy Lief. At the Westchester Buddhist Center she studied extensively and for many years the Buddhist path according to Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche including the Profound Treasury of Dharma. Andrea is currently a student of Phakchok Rinpoche and is a graduate of the New York Zen Center Foundations in Buddhist Contemplative Care program as well as the Zen Buddhist End-of Life Doula training. Andrea has a Ph.D in gerontology and taught at NYU for many years. She lives in Dobbs Ferry with her husband Kevin. They have a son Erik, and a black lab Buster.