Khenpo Dimed Dawa (Dr. Dean Pielstick) is an ordained lay practitioner and was conferred the title of “Khenpo” by Tulku Khenchen Paljea Dorjee Rinpoche on Losar, 2009, and President of Dharmakirti College on Losar, 2007. He has also studied with HE Garchen Rinpoche, Ven. Traga Rinpoche, Ven. Gyalpo Rinpoche, Ven. Ontul Rinpoche, Yogi Lama Gursam and numerous others. He has studied extensively the teachings of HH the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh, along with many other contemporary and historical figures. His primary practice is Dzogchen and he has a particular affinity for the Dzogchen teachings of Longchen Rabjam. Although he makes no claims to having great insights or accomplishments, he has agreed to teach at the request of Tulku Khenchen Paljea Dorjee nevertheless. It is in this spirit that he has agreed to share whatever he knows for the benefit of others.
Dr. Pielstick is also a professor of management for Northern Arizona University in Tucson. He has extensive professional and college administrative experience in addition to classroom instruction.
Acharya R. Clifford Leftwich brings much love, wit and experience to teaching Tibetan Mediation. He has studied and practiced for over twenty-four years under the guidance of many great masters of all lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. He has taught in the United States since 1988, and has also taught in Tibet and Nepal. H.H. Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, the head of the Drikung Kagyu lineage, granted Cliff the title Acharya in 1999. (Acharya means Master of Teachers.) He is a popular teacher who has been guiding and teaching meditation practitioners for over eighteen years. He is characterized as demanding in his expectations and loving and patient in helping students reach their inner beauty and realization.
Dusana Dorjee, Ph.D. has been practicing Tibetan Buddhist meditation for ten years, primarily under the guidance of Khenchen Lama Rinpoche. Since 2005 she has been leading group meditation sessions and teaching Tibetan Buddhism. She also serves as a board member of AWAM Foundation launched to support Khenchen Rinpoche's orphanage and shelter for older people in Tibet.
Dusana holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Arizona, and is currently a research officer in cognitive neuroscience at Bangor University in Wales, UK. She also gained a graduate degree in clinical psychology and completed Ph.D. studies in philosophy of mind and science. Throughout her studies she has been interested in fundamental questions about the nature of our mind and its relationship to the brain.
Dusana has long-term interest in scientific research on meditation. She attended the first public meeting between scientists and H.H. The Dalai Lama at MIT in Boston, and was a research fellow at the first Mind and Life Summer Research Institute in June 2004. To actively contribute to research on meditation, she has recently started her first neuroscientific research project examining brain changes associated with attention and emotions as a result of mindfulness meditation. Dusana has also authored and co-authored several scientific and popular scientific articles on meditation and neuroscience. She believes that interactions between science and Buddhism can be very helpful in presenting Buddhist teachings to students in the West in an accessible form.
In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, based on a ‘terma’ (hidden treasure) revelation by Do Khyentse Rinpoche, Dusana is believed to be an incarnation of Sarasvati. Dusana has deep respect for this revelation and approaches it with responsibility and motivation for further practice, but makes no claims about her accomplishments. She believes that it is very important to remind ourselves that we all possess the pristine Buddha nature and need to strive in every moment to accomplish our most noble potential through sincere practice and service to sentient beings.
Susan Marfield, M.A., took refuge in 1997 after practicing tonglen for two weeks during an illness and finding the power of the practice to be the turning point. She has received teachings and empowerments from Gelug, Kagyu and Nyingma teachers and also spent three years living in Dharamsala, India studying and practicing Dharma. Susan is an advanced student/practitioner with Dharmakirti College.
Susan is also currently an RN and was previously a software developer and instructor of computer graphics at the community college level. Susan hopes to be of some help to students despite not considering herself a qualified teacher of the Dharma.