Teachers 2018-08-11T12:39:21+00:00

Meet Lama Palden

one of the few female Buddhist lamas in the world. Her new book, Love On Every Breath, release date spring of 2019, shares with modern readers a 1000 year old meditation that opens the heart and transforms suffering into love and healing.

Lama Palden Drolma is the founder and Senior Lama of Sukhasiddhi Foundation. She completed the Tibetan Buddhist three-year retreat in the Shangpa and Kagyu lineages under the previous Kalu Rinpoche’s guidance in 1985. In 1986 she became one of the first women to be authorized as a lama in the Buddhist tradition. In addition to Kalu Rinpoche, she has studied with many of the great Tibetan masters from all lineages.

With gratitude to her gurus, and love for people, Lama Palden transmits, trains and mentors students, passing on the profound and precious meditations and teachings that enable one to completely awaken. She focuses on translating Tibetan Buddhist principles and practices in ways that make them accessible to Westerners. Lama Palden was profiled in Shambhala Sun magazine as one of the women “changing the face of Buddhism.”

Lama Palden’s background is in comparative mysticism and psychology. As a licensed psychotherapist she has done groundbreaking work in the intersection of the spiritual and psychological aspects of our humanity. She is deeply committed, as was her root guru, Khabje Kalu Rinpoche, to ecumenicalism and interspirituality.

Lama Palden: The Awakening Feminine

Teachers’ Council

The Sukhasiddhi Teachers’ Council is composed of authorized teachers who have engaged in extensive spiritual practice and study within our lineages. Guided by Lama Palden, the Council develops and delivers the Sukhasiddhi curriculum and provides mentoring and support for Sukhasiddhi practitioners.

Lama Drupgyu Tenzin, (Anthony Chapman),

Lama Drupgyu Tenzin, a student of Kalu Rinpoche since 1972, and a monk from 1974 to 1995, participated in the first traditional three-year retreat for Westerners from 1976 to 1980, in France. Kalu Rinpoche subsequently appointed him as Lama of his center in Paris, and later Lama Drupgyu became the first westerner to be appointed Druppön, or Retreat Master, leading three-year retreats on Saltspring Island, Canada. Subsequently, he participated for six years in the translation of Jamgon Kongtrul’s Treasury of Knowledge. Lama Drupgyu assisted in the establishment of Tsadra Foundation, a New York based non-profit that supports development of Vajrayana in the West, and is currently Vice-President.

Lama Döndrup

Lama Döndrup has practiced and studied in the Buddhist tradition for over twenty years. After five years of Theravadin Buddhist training, she immersed herself in the teachings and practices of the Shangpa and Kagyu Vajrayana lineages. In 2005, she completed the three-year retreat and was authorized as a lama. Upon her return to Marin County, she began teaching classes and leading meditations at Sukhasiddhi Foundation. Lama Döndrup enjoys guiding students through creation and completion stage meditations; helping them to feel confident in their own understanding of ceremonies and teachings; and supporting the natural unfolding of their innate wisdom. In addition to her Buddhist practice, Lama Döndrup has trained in the Diamond Approach for seven years and has a Masters of Fine Arts degree in piano performance. She is on the piano faculty at San Domenico Music Conservatory.

Lama Pat (Pat Berube)

Lama Pat first started meditating in 1975. Prior to meeting Lama Palden in 1999, she studied with both western and eastern teachers including several pilgrimages and retreats in India. Under Lama Palden’s tutelage, she completed both the full Shangpa Kagyu practices usually reserved for the traditional three year retreat and the four-year teacher training program. In 2017, under the authority of Kalu Rinpoche, both Lama Palden and Lama Drupgyu authorized her as a Lama. With immense gratitude for her teachers and the lineage, Lama Pat is excited to share these teachings with others that supports the natural unfoldment of innate wisdom transforming one’s life. In addition to her dharma studies and teaching, she has been an RN for over 40 years and holds a masters in counseling psychology. She also leads Sukhasiddhi’s Clear Light Institute assisting contemplative approaches to working with illness, death and dying.

Annik Brunet (Lama Tashi)

Annik Brunet (Lama Tashe) has been on the spiritual path for 30 years. She completed the Sukhasiddhi Shangpa Lineage and Teacher Training programs. Since 2008, she has led classes, workshops, and retreats, and is currently the guiding teacher for the Bodhi Program. In 2017, Annik was authorized by Lama Palden and Lama Drupgyu as a Lama. Annik holds a master’s degree in photography, and her life-long impetus has been to explore the mystery of phenomenal appearances. The practice of photography as a visionary art and a means to cleanse the doors of perception eventually led her to the direct access Vajrayana offers. From this joint passion for dharma and art, Annik derives great enthusiasm for facilitating the exploration and actualization of the openness, kindness, and radiance that resides at the heart of every being.

Lama Stephen Gross’

Lama Stephen Gross’ life-long passion has been waking up. Many paths and interests have presented themselves along the way including a fortuitous meeting with the previous Kalu Rinpoche in Mill Valley, CA in the mid-80s where he took refuge. This seeded Stephen’s interest in Vajrayana and eventually led him to study with Lama Palden, opening the door to starting and completing the Bodhi and Shangpa lineage practice programs. Fascinated with the human psyche, he attained his Master’s in Psychology and has practiced as a psychotherapist for 17 years. Stephen’s interest in the intersection of Buddhism and Psychology manifested in teaching a “Buddhism and Psychology” class at JFK University. Now, using his humor and love of the Dharma, Stephen teaches classes at Sukhasiddhi on topics such as: the Chenrezig meditation, the Prajnaparamita Sutra and Karma. Lama Stephen is currently on sabbatical.

Community Dharma Leaders

Community Dharma Leaders are senior practitioners at Sukhasiddhi Foundation trained and authorized by Lama Palden to teach the foundational meditation practices and philosophy of Buddhism.

Ian Richard Albert

Ian Richard Albert is a Community Dharma Leader at Sukhasiddhi Foundation and is authorized to teach the foundational meditation practices and philosophy of Buddhism. He has been studying yoga and meditation for more than 15 years. Since 2008 his primary teacher has been Lama Palden. He completed a two-year Community Dharma Leader training program under lama Palden and Zen teacher Lewis Richmond. In 2003 he co-founded Pranamaya,inc. and spent ten years developing and producing instructional yoga and meditation media with some of the best yoga teachers in the world. Ian also offers meditation instruction and coaching through Mind at Ease.

James William Coleman

James William Coleman has a PhD from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a specialization in the sociology of religion. Among other books, he is the author of The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition (Oxford University Press) and The Buddha’s Dream of Liberation: Freedom, Emptiness, and Awakened Nature, and is the editor of The Third Turning of the Wheel by Reb Anderson Roshi. He has been following the Buddhist path for over 30 years working most closely with Lama Palden Drolma, Reb Anderson Roshi, and the late Toni Packer. He is one of the founding members of the White Heron Sangha in San Luis Obispo, where he currently teaches and practices.

Scott Davis, MFT

Scott Davis, MFT has been a meditator for nearly 40 years: initially in Zen, and then as a Vipassana practitioner at Spirit Rock under the guidance of Sylvia Boorstein. Since 2006 Lama Palden has been his teacher and Sukhasiddhi his spiritual home. He completed the Bodhi Program, is in the Shangpa Program and is a Certified Community Dharma Leader. Scott is a licensed psychotherapist for over twenty years and has a full-time private practice, splitting his time between Mill Valley and the San Francisco Financial District. He holds a BA in International Business, an MS in Clinical Psychology, and is a Certified Executive Coach. To learn more: www.scottdavistherapy.com

Gitte Dobrer

Gitte Dobrer has been a meditator for over 20 years, and has studied lujong (Tibetan Yoga) and Buddhism with Lama Palden for the last 12 years. Her background is in bodywork and movement, and her interest is in the integration of body and spiritual practice. She recently completed the two-year community dharma leader training with Lama Palden and Lew Richmond.

Barbara Juniper

Barbara Juniper is a long-time meditator who completed Sukhasiddhi Foundation’s Community Dharma Leader training, the two year Bodhi program and will soon be completing the four year Shangpa program. She leads the Monday evening community meditation at Sukhasiddhi called Opening the Gate. She has worked as a Spiritual Director and Sound Healer for women in recovery and has a passion for supporting both men and women to connect with their authentic expression and self dignity. She currently has a private Sound Healing practice in Marin and is engaged in many Sound Healing events in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Trinity Sipila

Trinity Sipila has been a lover of and practitioner of yoga for 25 years. She is also an Ayurvedic Practitioner, Massage Therapist and teacher of Yoga and Qi Gung in Marin County. She has studied with Lama Palden and other Sukhasiddhi teachers for the last 7 years. She has great reverence and joy for this beautiful wisdom tradition that can help us to uncover our deeper, living truths, and enabling us to live with integrity, wellbeing, and joy.

Ahbi Vernon, MFT

Ahbi Vernon, MFT has been studying with Lama Palden since 2000 and is a Community Dharma Leader authorized by Sukhasiddhi Foundation. She is a spiritually based psychotherapist who has been in practice for 40 years. Ahbi is interested in the lived experience of the spiritual path. The focus of her teaching involves understanding that all of our experiences are essentially the path: our times ‘on the cushion’ as well as in the ups and downs of daily life, the broad spectrum of our relationships, the highways and byways of our inner world and the dance of our dream world.

Robin Winn, MFT

Robin Winn, MFT is a visionary alchemist, mentor, guide, transformational coach, and human design consultant. She began studying qigong in 1981.  In 2007 she studied and became a teacher of Wisdom Healing QIgong with Ming Tong Gu. Robin is a Lineage student at Sukhasiddhi, a Diamond Logos Teacher, and an Anat Baniel NeuroMovement practitioner. She lives on Maui, and leads qigong and meditation classes at Sukhasiddhi regularly.

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