Board of Directors
“Go forth, O Bhikkhus, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world….” — Narada Thera, The Buddha Dhamma
Brief Board Member Bios
I’ve lived in the town of Hartford for almost 30 years with my husband, Evan. We have two children, I work as a physical therapist and Evan as a high school teacher.
I grew up in Rutland Vermont in a Catholic family. My love of “the great silence’ developed from that tradition. I loved the candles, the incense and the chanting. Sitting in the back of most any Catholic church felt like my safe, peaceful place. As you might expect, Thomas Merton’s Zen and the Birds of Appetite was my introduction to a more Buddhist practice. Maia Gay, an Upper Valley Buddhist in the early ’80s introduced me to Karme Choling and weekly sits at Rollins Chapel.
But, I found my home at VIMS with Doreen a few years later and have remained here ever since. At this point in my life I am particularly interested in learning how best to take my practice off the cushion and into the realm of social justice. I am inspired by the teachings of Dipa Ma, and Ajahn Sucitto, particularly his book on the Paramis. Some of my best teachers, however are my children Mateo and Lucia. And to be completely honest, I have learned some of my most important lessons from my horse Have a Little Faith, aka Faith, who never hesitates to remind me to Be Here Now.
I have thought about becoming a VIMS board member for a few years. The timing feels right as my children are beginning to head off for life on their own. I am looking forward to deepening my relationship to VIMS, listening hard and adding my own voice to the dedicated group that makes up the Board.
I first discovered Buddhism through a survey course in college taught by Alan Sponberg
37 years ago. The ideas presented resonated with me in a way that the teachings of my
Catholic upbringing never had. However, it was the writings of Jon Kabat-Zinn, that
spurred my formal practice. It was exciting for me to see so clearly how the some of the
basic Buddhist teaching could be applied to everyday living. I formally practiced Zen
Meditation at the former Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City for a time in the 1990’s
and then practiced more informally over the next few decades. Five years ago, at a
particularly stressful point in my life, I discovered Vipassana Meditation. Since that time,
I have been very focused on this practice and how to integrate it into daily living.
Although originally motivated to practice by the idea of Awakening, Vipassana has
taught me that the beauty of the path is in the living of it each day. Other
authors/teachers that have influenced my practice include: Upasaka Culadasa, Rob
Burbea, Joseph Goldstein and Narayan Liebenson. I am also the Board Chair of The
Sage School, an independent K-8 school in Foxboro, MA.
Mindy grew up in New York State. During her undergraduate education in New Paltz, NY, she studied biology but held a strong interest in anthropology and ceramics. It was during her time in New Paltz that she learned and was inducted into Transcendental Meditation. This began her meditation practice and interest in the dharma. Eventually her studies became concentrated in a concern and passion for women’s health issues, especially the preservation of normal pregnancy and birth care. She attended the University of Pennsylvania where she received her Master’s Degree in Nursing and Midwifery. Mindy had the privilege of practicing nurse-midwifery at DHMC from 1984 until her retirement in July 2015. In 1991, Mindy began taking yoga with Doreen. The space in the barn where classes were held felt sacred, as did Doreen’s presence and teaching. Involvement with VIMS grew from there. Mindy served on the board of VIMS from 2008 – 2010, and is happy to be returning now. Mindy lives in West Lebanon. She is the very proud mother of two grown daughters, and at the time of this writing is patiently awaiting the birth of her first grandchild. Mindy is happy to have more time in her life now to continue to pursue her interest and hobby in creating handbuilt functional pottery.
Gina joined the VIMS community in the spring of 2013. My spiritual seeking really began with my father’s death when I was barely 6. Being aware of mortality at an early age informs one’s life in a powerful way. Learning of the value of silence in community was a tremendous gift from the Quaker community which I joined in the early 90’s. My spiritual search was accelerated when I took a position with Hospice of the Upper Valley in 1992 as volunteer and bereavement coordinator. (Actually replacing Doreen) It was during this time that I was introduced to Buddhism and studied with mentors like Stephen and Ondrea Levine, Frank Ostaseski and Joan Halifax. Service in community has always been a strong component of my life and I really look forward to putting the Path into practice through working on the Sangha Board.
Although I’d been exposed to Buddhism earlier in life — and was open to practice and to many Buddhist teachings — I didn’t have a positive response to the religious context in which the teachings were usually embedded. In 2006, I began meditating regularly and, seeking to deepen my meditation, attended a retreat led by Jack Kornfield. By that time, causes and conditions were such that I was able to experience the Dharma in a much different and deeper way. At a retreat with Jack a year later, I took refuge. I became active in VIMS shortly after I discovered it and greatly appreciate the value of our Sangha. Teachers who currently inspire me include Akincano, Steven Batchelor, Christine Feldman, and the faculty of Bodhi College; Bhikkhu Analayo; Gil Fronsdal; Joseph Goldstein; Sayadaw U Tejaniya; and Doreen Schweizer. I’m enrolled in Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield’s Mindfulness Teacher Training program beginning in February 2019.
AT THE CENTER OF THE SANGHA
The Board of Directors is the hub of our many volunteer activities. Since VIMS’ inception in the mid-’90s, we have had a steering committee of some sort. In 2002 this group began meeting regularly. At the time of our incorporation as a not-for-profit organization in 2006, an official Board of Directors was defined. It has met monthly ever since. This core group continues to shape our direction, advise our teachers, help administer our classes and sits, and support VIMS’ retreats. Approximately thirty five sangha members have served on the Board of Directors. We offer a deep bow of appreciation to these dedicated individuals.