Josh delves into the importance of teachers in the context of Buddhism and Zen practice, emphasizing the pragmatic nature of Buddha’s teachings. He acknowledges the diversity of meditation apps but underlines the necessity of a teacher, sharing personal insights on the value of having two influential teachers in his own practice. Josh discusses the evolution of his relationship with his primary teacher, Zen Master Ji Hang, highlighting the challenges and specific details of his journey. He critiques the commercialization of meditation and stresses the importance of keeping the Dharma free. Josh reflects on the potential dangers of meditation without proper guidance and the significance of the teachings in conjunction with practice. He shares anecdotes of his teacher guiding him through challenges, such as using a mala for anxiety and transitioning away from it. Josh addresses the distractions and unique challenges of practicing Zen in Las Vegas, expressing gratitude for having a teacher who practices with the Sangha regularly. He emphasizes the transformative aspect of Zen, describing the process as a letting go of attachments and a free fall into the unknown. Josh concludes with a metaphor of a man hanging from a tree, emphasizing the Zen practice of letting go and the impermanence of all things.


Mara expresses deep gratitude for her teacher, Andrew Chapman, at Wild Heart Meditation Center, recognizing the profound impact he has had on her spiritual journey. Andrew’s openness and genuine reception have allowed Mara to explore different facets of herself and manifest the teachings she has received into their Sangha.

During a challenging period in Mara’s life, Andrew provided unwavering support, sitting with her through the lamentation of her heart without imposing expectations or the need to mask her suffering. Mara values not only the insightful talks and podcasts by Andrew but, more significantly, the lessons she learns from witnessing how he embodies the Dharma in his actions.

Andrew’s softness and trust in the Dharma, especially during Mara’s darkest moments surrounding her son’s tragic decision, became a lifeline. His instinctual trust in Mara’s ability to navigate the worldly winds demonstrated the power of trust in the Dharma. Mara highlights Andrew’s belief and actions as a powerful teaching, showcasing Dharma in action and inspiring her to trust and believe in herself during challenging times.


After Joe’s initial meeting with Rinpoche, the teacher visited Salt Lake City frequently due to collaborative work on the Buddha Path translation. Despite not residing in the city, Rinpoche’s frequent visits allowed Joe to see him regularly. During one teaching, Rinpoche demonstrated resting in awareness, leaving a profound impact on Joe. After the session, Rinpoche offered Joe advice that proved transformative. He encouraged Joe to view himself as good, challenging his habit of self-degradation. This counsel shifted Joe’s perspective and motivated him to practice positive thinking.

Reflecting on his pre-Buddhism years, Joe acknowledged a pessimistic and fatalistic mindset. Gradual practice led to a positive transformation, with others perceiving him as consistently happy—a testament to the efficacy of his efforts.

One significant teaching involved recognizing and overcoming “cold pride,” a negative self-perception. Another impactful moment occurred when Rinpoche affirmed Joe’s inquiry about wanting to become a Buddha, emphasizing that it aligned with bodhicitta—a compassionate intention to help all beings. Rinpoche’s encouragement, coupled with a symbolic blessing, deeply moved Joe.
Joe also shared a remarkable incident during a storm in Las Vegas when Rinpoche’s teaching studio lost power. The lights returned as soon as the teaching concluded, leaving a strong impression on Joe. Another instance involved Rinpoche addressing Joe’s recurring dreams of tornadoes, linking it to jealousy. This insight prompted Joe to recognize and counteract jealous thoughts with practices of love and rejoicing.
In summary, Rinpoche’s teachings and personal interactions with Joe significantly influenced his mindset, guiding him towards positive thinking, compassion, and self-improvement.


Kim holds Vinnie Ferraro in high regard as one of her favorite teachers in San Francisco, appreciating the love he radiates during his teachings. Vinnie has overcome significant challenges, including jail time, addiction, and the dramatic loss of his mother at a young age. Despite his hardships, Vinnie has maintained self-love and equanimity, sharing these qualities with others.

Kim emphasizes the cyclical nature of Dharma talks, noting that while the teachings remain consistent, their impact varies as individuals evolve. Teachers like Vinnie inspire Kim to persevere in her practice by embodying the teachings in their lives. Kim values the authenticity of teachers who openly acknowledge their struggles with ego and other common human challenges. The collective journey of practicing together and supporting one another has a profound impact on Kim.

Expressing gratitude for her teachers, Kim highlights their ability to provide insights and guidance during times of uncertainty. She hopes to share the wisdom gained from her teachers with others and continue living it herself. Kim recognizes that teachers, like everyone else, are not infallible and should not be placed on pedestals. She draws parallels to the Buddha, emphasizing that the teachings are accessible to all, and the cultivation of Buddha nature is within everyone.

In conclusion, Kim stresses the equality among individuals on the spiritual journey, highlighting that teachers can learn from their students as much as students can learn from teachers, fostering a sense of unity and shared growth in the spiritual community.