Friday December 3rd
11am PST – Opening Ceremony
Friday started with an opening ceremony by Myokei followed by Q and A with the BRN Board
Myokei Caine-Barrett currently holds the position of Bishop of the Nichiren Shu Buddhist Order of North America. She is the first woman and the first American to hold this position. She is also the first American woman and first person of African American-Japanese descent to be fully ordained, having completed this process in 2007 with Archbishop Nissho Uchino in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. She is the guiding teacher and resident priest at Myoken-ji Temple in Houston, Texas. Myokei Shonin continues to volunteer with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as clergy to two prison Sanghas for the past 16 years in keeping with the Lotus Sutra teaching of full equality of all beings. Her writings have been published in a variety of Buddhist magazines [Tricycle, Lion’s Roar] and newspapers [Nichiren Shu News] and is featured in The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women. She is currently developing curriculum for (1) the Nichiren Shu tradition and the Lotus Sutra and (2) dealing with the trauma of incarceration and racism. She also supports weekend trainings for Healing Warrior Hearts, a Texas for Heroes project designed to truly welcome veterans home. Myokei Shonin is a facilitator in dialogues on racism and managing conflict mindfully. She is also a licensed Religious Science practitioner.
Friday noon PST – Keynote
Accessing Awareness Greater than our self
He is a licensed psychotherapist and recognized leader in the field of meditation and awakening. He is the founder of the non-profit, Open-Hearted Awareness Institute and has worked in community mental health, established homeless shelters and counseled family members of 9/11. Loch graduated from He is a licensed psychotherapist and recognized leader in the field of meditation and awakening. He is the founder of the non-profit, Effortless Mindfulness Institute. Loch has worked in community mental health and recovery and counseled family members of 9/11. Loch graduated from Columbia University and received a fellowship to study in Sri Lanka, India and Nepal. He has collaborated with neuroscientists at Yale, UPenn and NYU in the study of how awareness training can enhance compassion and wellbeing. Loch is dedicated to reducing suffering and supporting people to wake up, grow up and live a life of compassionate service. Loch is known for his warm sense of humor, and his trust that awakening is the next natural stage of development. He teaches the advanced, yet simple, nondual pointers and direct methods of effortless mindfulness, informed by psychology and social justice. Loch lives in upstate New York with his wife Paige and their cat Duffy.
More info at www.lochkelly.org
Friday 1:30pm PST – Sangha Social followed by a Recovery Disco
Valentine Darling and DJ Hanzi
Come socialize with fellow attendees in a supportive community space hosted by Valentine Darling and stay after for a Recovery Disco party DJ’d by DJ Hanzi from Brooklyn New York! It’s going to be a fun community building experience.
Valentine Darling is a queer recovery podcaster and recovery coach with a passion to help people find the holistic path that works for them.
Friday 5-6pm PST – Meditation and Q&A
Dharma Teacher / Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Trainer
Dave Smith is an internationally recognized Buddhist meditation teacher, addiction treatment specialist, and published author. His background is rooted in the Insight Meditation tradition and he was empowered to teach through the Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society. He has extensive experience bringing meditative interventions into jails, prisons, youth detention centers and addiction treatment facilities. Dave teaches residential meditation retreats and classes, provides trainings and consulting in both secular and Buddhist contexts, and works with students through his meditation mentoring program. He recently founded the Secular Dharma Foundation and lives in Paonia, Colorado.
Friday 5-6pm PST – Eight Step Recovery for Food and other Process Addictions
Lisa K. and Eric D.
Eight Step Recovery – using the Buddha’s teachings to
overcome addiction. Focus is on food and other process addictions, but
all are welcome.
Friday 7:30-8:30 pm PST – 8-Step Meeting
Insight L.A. 8-Step Meeting with Vanessa
Saturday December 4th
8 – 9:30am PST – Yoga in Mindful Recovery
Michael came into his sober life on 2/17/2001 and found Kundalini Yoga in 2013. He realized the vital, healing energy that can be accessed with this style of yoga and how it supports his sober life. He began teaching in 2014 and finds deep purpose and joy sharing this yogic technology with others. He brings compassionate and enlivening energy into each class. Intuitively combining kriya, prana and meditation, that is dynamic and relevant. Hopefully you will have an experience that will gently challenge you to grow your capacity and support you in your discovery process.
I am originally from Ethiopia and have been in Seattle area for the past 19 years. I have been practicing Kundalini yoga for the last four years and am also Certified teacher. The healing I received from my practice help me to grow as woman and as small business owner. Currently I own a skincare and wellness business.
Saturday 9-10am – PST Stages of Recovery
Stages of Recovery Panel
BIPOC Buddhist Recovery Meeting
Wise Friends and Facilitators
Stu Jenkins is a member of the East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, which he considers his spiritual home. He currently holds space in several Eight Step Recovery meetings.
Kaiayo Shatteen is a Black Indigenous, Queer Mother of two young adults. They are blessed to reside on the Unceded Land of the Lisjan (Ohlone) People where they are a Reproductive Justice Advocate & Consultant, Apprentice Midwife and an LGBTQI+ Equity Consultant.
They have a deep commitment to ending the injustice that puts BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) and LGBTQI+ communities at the bottom when it comes to positive birth outcomes, access to inclusive health care, and equity in the workplace . This work is an answer to Ancestral calling and they are guided by their Ancestors daily.
In 2019, their aunt became an Ancestor and during that transition, their Ancestors made it clear that Kaiayo needed to make a lifestyle change . They have been in recovery since July 2019 and have committed themselves to honor their Ancestors, study Buddhism, share the benefits of their sobriety and stay on the path of recovery.
Walt Opie is a dharma teacher in the Insight Meditation tradition and currently teaches classes, daylongs and retreats at sanghas throughout the U.S. He recently completed four years of teacher training through the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, MA. He has led sitting groups for people in recovery and served as a volunteer Buddhist facilitator/chaplain in several California state prisons. His writing appears in the book collection Still, In the City: Creating Peace of Mind in the Midst of Urban Chaos edited by Angela Dews. He has been in continuous recovery for over three decades and is deeply grateful for the guidance of the 12 Steps as well as Buddhist teachings and practices to help him stay clean and sober. Walt lives with his wife and daughter in Berkeley, CA, which is located on the ancestral and unceded land of the Chochenyo speaking Ohlone people.
Stanley started on a path of recovery more than ten years ago to address compulsive eating. In the process he uncovered the urgency of addressing his drinking and substance use habits as other behaviors he developed to manage anxiety. After three years of tentative participation in 12-step recovery, he encountered buddhist-centered paths to sobriety, which opened up and expanded his experience recovery. He currently participates in AA, 8 Step recovery and Recovery Dharma groups.
Saturday 11am – PST Keynote
Finding Healing through the Historical and and Present Day Harm of Sugar
I am in recovery from sugar addiction. When women of color experience health issues, it is not uncommon for them to struggle in silence. My passion is to bring sugar awareness to communities of color through understanding how historical and present-day injuries impact health. By helping women understand how too much sugar relates to metabolic syndrome, they can improve their overall health and ultimately their communities. I know that sugar addiction is real and that everyone may not be able to live a sugar-free lifestyle, so I use history and health to motivate them to make the best food choices.
My educational background includes an undergraduate degree in nursing, a master’s degree in Human Rights and Social Justice, a license in Holistic Medicine Addiction, and certification in SUGAR.
Saturday 11:15am – 12:30pm PST
Mindful Eating Panel
Yoga in Mindful Recovery
Wise Friends and Facilitators
Greetings, my name is Susan and I am in long-term recovery from alcohol and I’ve been practicing Buddhism for over eight years. In addition to Buddhist recovery, I practice yoga, which I find beneficial for my sobriety and health.
I started a Buddhist recovery meeting in West Seattle seven years ago which is now a Recovery Dharma online meeting. I am also a certified Smart Recovery facilitator, and an active Recovery Dharma mentor.
After assisting BRN in promoting the 2019 Summit, I am now honored to work with an amazing group of people planning the 2021 Summit.
I am a 53 year old mother of a 6 year old. I have been in recovery from food addiction for almost 5 years. Even though I have been in therapy for years and am a therapist by trade, Buddishm and 12 step recovery for food addiction brought me to spirituality and peace in a way I have never known. As I continue to awaken to my suffering and the suffering of others, I have access to a place of profound responsibility and peace like I have never known. The presence and consciousness I feel today allows me to step more deeply into my parenting, my relationships and my life with honesty, integrity and humility. I no longer obsess about food. The possibilities feel endless. It took 40 plus years to silence the call food had on me. It is possible because I found Buddhism, Sangha and the 12 steps.
Jayn struggled with food/eating, alcohol, drugs, and other addictive behaviours since age 12. She stopped drinking and drugging in 1995 but continued to struggle with obsessive thinking about food and weight, snacking, dieting, bingeing and purging.
Professionals labeled her as ‘eating disordered’ and told her that therapy, anti-depressants
and eating ‘everything in moderation’ was the answer.
It didn’t work, despite 30-plus years of trying.
When she discovered her struggles with food and eating were just another addiction outlet, she was finally able to arrest it and enjoy a full life in recovery.
Today she maintains her ideal body composition, is craving-free and lives with peace, passion, and purpose!
Michael Davis, BFA, MDiv, CADCII – l let go of drugs and nicotine in 1972 and then discovered the core addiction I struggled with was compulsive eating and joined OA in the mid-70s. At that time I let go of alcohol, because I realized it was a primary trigger in my eating issues. I served as an Episcopal priest from 1976-1993, where my personal practice was based primarily in a contemplative style of meditation and retreat. Also during that time I participated in a number of international Buddhist/Christian dialogues. Since then I have been a part of Tibetan, Zen and Theravada Buddhist Sanghas and currently find my home in Portland Friends of Dhamma, a Theravada community in the lineage of Ajahn Chah. About 12 years ago I began participating in a homegrown Buddhist/12step meeting that formed in Portland. When Refuge Recovery started, this group shifted into that format and I was a part of the earliest meetings that started in Portland about 7 years ago. I attended all of the Refuge Recovery International Conferences except the first one. When Recovery Dharma was created and left Refuge Recovery, I joined in the Portland InterSangha leadership. Currently I am the chair of the Wise Friends Committee which puts on workshops and encourages the development of mentorship and inquiry circles. About 6 months ago I helped start a “Exploring Recovery from Eating Addiction” inquiry circle (writing meeting) and developed some writing questions specific to eating disorder and a process for exploring compassionate renunciation with process addictions. This inquiry circle is closed, due to the level of intimacy and safety needed and it has taken my recovery and renunciation to a new level. I currently serve as a Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence Intervention Counselor
Saturday 11:15am – 12:15pm PST
Sex, Lust and Pornography Panel
Karina entered recovery from sex and pornography addiction on February 2017 and hasn’t looked back since! Her portal for self-discovery was through a 12-step S-program until she deviated from it after 4+ years, switching to a Buddhist-inspired healing modality instead. She bows down to her teachers and her sangha for accepting her wherever she’s at in her journey.
Kimberly has been practicing Buddhism for a decade and was naturally drawn to Buddhist recovery when they began their journey of healing from lust and love addiction in 2018. Kimberly is dedicated to creating safe spaces for people to talk about the shame and trauma underlying their addictions. Outside of recovery meetings, Kimberly is part of an online community following Thích Nhất Hạnh and the Plum Village tradition.
“I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct.” -the 3rd Mindfulness Training (True Love)
Thomas (they/them) began to shyly talk about their childhood sexual abuse (CSA), at age 39.
Thomas shares: “CSA was the root cause of my suffering, but I just couldn’t talk about it—yet CSA is called out in the 3rd Mindfulness Training recitation. By directly and bravely reciting these difficult topics, I felt I was given safe permission (within a Buddhist context) to talk about and explore this as the deep source of my suffering. The feeling of safety helped me overcome the shame and social stigmas that trapped me in my cross-addictions. In safety, I learned with practice that it was OK to be vulnerable: to share, to let go, to cry, to be me. It became possible to begin to heal decades-old wounds inside. It’s my wish in recovery to reshare this gift of safety and vulnerability.”
The name, “Men’s True Intimacy” can sound like an oxymoron for some people. For members, co-creating this sangha has provided a safe & supportive sanctuary where we don’t shame, gossip, judge, or criticize. So it’s really OK to talk about recovering from sexually compulsive behaviors and we hold space for brave shares about sexual abuse. We’ve also experienced that by shifting the focus away from “avoid sexual misconduct” toward a goal of “cultivating True Intimacy,” we are lovingly reminded that our goal is common, noble, and beautiful.
Saturday Noon – 1pm PST
BIPOC Buddhist Recovery Meeting
Saturday Noon – 1pm PST – Sit and Share Meeting
Vince Cullen has been associated with Wat Thamkrabok monastery in Thailand and Buddhist-oriented alcohol and other drug recovery since 1998. Vince founded the Fifth Precept mindfulness for recovery group and teaches ‘Hungry Ghost’ recovery retreats internationally. He has held appointments as Buddhist Prison Chaplain at both male and female prisons in the UK.
He is currently based in Tipperary, Ireland.
Saturday 1:15 – 2:15pm PST
Interview with Todd Y. on Psychedelics and Recovery
Vimalasara (Valerie) Mason-John is the current President of BRN. She was the co-founder and guiding teacher of Healing and Insight, an online faculty that explored the sharp edges of suffering. Award-winning author of 8 books, she is the co-founder and co-author of Eight Step Recovery: Using The Buddha’s Teachings to Overcome Addiction with 8 step meetings in 3 continents. And she is also the co-founder of Mindfulness-Based Addiction Recovery. Vimalasara is a senior teacher in the Triratna Order and Community.
Todd is 54 years old and has been in long-term recovery from addiction and alcoholism since 2009. He works intensively with others to help them achieve a life of satisfying and meaningful sobriety. His approach is eclectic and holistic. It draws from a diversity of modalities including 12 Steps, MI, CBT and Mindfulness practice to deeply address the bio/psycho/social/spiritual aspects of addictive disorders. Todd has worked extensively with Ayahuasca for over 12 years within a variety of communal and personalized settings.
Sunday December 5th
7:30 – 8:20am PST – AAPI & Buddhist Recovery Panel
Thomas Tran is dedicated to the lifework of Buddhist Recovery—with an emphasis on weekly Inquiry Circle workgroups as a greater vehicle to collective recovery. In just 2 years, their commitment to facilitating 300+ inquiry meetings has helped in 50+ spiritual friends completing their Recovery Dharma inquiries.
Thomas is co-author of “The Self-Compassionate Inquiries”: a gentler inquiry of trauma & childhood through self-care & loving encouragement. (ref: http://selfcompassionate.rd.rocks) These inquiries include the “Karma Garden” inquiries—a renunciation tool & personal buddhist recovery plan for any addictive pattern. (ref: http://garden.rd.rocks )
They’re a co-founder & facilitator of RD BIPOC & Men’s true INTIMACY (3rd Precept) sanghas. Thomas’s Dharma practice deeply resonates with the peace teachings of Thích Nhất Hạnh.
Mohini is deeply grateful to the BIPOC Recovery Dharma community, a community that she joined in May 2021 after travelling 7 years through many different recovery rooms. She feels supported and seen here in ways that she did not know was possible in white dominant spaces. As a Brown woman, a colonized settler on the territories of the Wendat, Haudenoshaunee Confederacy, and Anishnaabe (Tkaronto/Toronto), Mohini knows reclaiming herself is vital to herself AND being in right relationship on the lands she lives. She is honoured to be in the company of this panel – listening and learning together.
Insight L.A. 8-Step Meeting
AAPI & Buddhist Recovery Panel
Vanessa coordinates volunteers for BRN and is part of the Wednesday meetings, morning sits, and the BRN book club. Growing up in a Taiwanese family, she is a second generation Buddhist. However, she found that the path of Buddhist recovery significantly deepens her understanding and practice in Buddhism. Vanessa is also a spoken word poet and a mom for her plants. She has an interests in academia and has a master’s degree in Religious Studies with a focus in Buddhism, and is currently a Clinical Psychology PhD student.
Sunday 8:30 – 10am PST
Wise Friends, facilitators and mentors
This panel brought together facilitators and mentors from several recovery programs (Recovery Dharma, Refuge Recovery, 8-step, Sit and Share, BIPOC and Noble Steps) and include a short meeting.
Sit and Share
A former addict who has found a home on the path of Buddhist Recovery using the program of Recovery Dharma.
BIPOC 8 Step
Justin John Ryan
Justin has been practicing Buddhism since 2003. He got sober in 2019 and started the Tacoma Refuge Recovery Hilltop Sangha in 2020 to help others suffering from addiction find recovery through the Refuge Recovery program. Justin lives in the West Slope neighborhood of Tacoma with his wife, two teenage children, a 12 year old black lab named Olive, a 9 year old cat named Jinkx, and a 5 year old miniature schnauzer named Oscar Wilde.
Caroline de Max
I got into recovery in 2010 from alcohol addiction. 4 years into recovery I went back to my local Tiratna Buddhist Centre and went to the Eight Step Recovery book launch and met Vimalasara/Valerie Mason-John. A year later I was invited to attend Vimalasara’s MBAR course at our Buddhist centre, after that we ran MBAR courses and weekly Eight Step Recovery meetings which have now been running regularly for just over 6 years. I am also in the ordination process with the Tiratna Buddhist order.
George Johns has been an ardent practitioner of Buddhist Recovery since 1998. In over 20 years of recovery, he has combined 12 step work and the dharma to find sobriety, meaning, and to help others do the same.
He has been an informal student of Kevin Griffin’s since he published his groundbreaking book, One Breath at a time, Buddhism and the Twelve Steps in 2004. He helped found a Buddhist Recovery group in New Jersey called Noble Steps, (thenoblesteps.com). Noble Steps offers eight meetings per week plus regular day long retreats. George served on the BRN Board and as Board President from 2010-2017.
George currently lives in Mead Colorado and is currently working on a counseling degree to
take Buddhist recovery into recovery centers, businesses, homes: wherever he can be of
Sunday 10:05-11:05am PST
Chanting workshop – Using the Voice to Cultivate Recovery
Melissa James is a Singer, Songwriter, Artist who uses the gift of her voice and her writing of songs for personal and collective healing. She is the Founder of the charitable mental health and Big Sing initiative SING4SANE. This project was spearheaded by Melissa’s song Live Again which led to a Big Sing recording of the song with all sale proceeds going to the mental health charity, SANE.
Live Again has subsequently been used as the soundtrack to a suicide-prevention fundraising project headed by the European Commission in Brussels called Darkness into Light. In 2017 Melissa’s SING4SANE Big Sing was held in British parliament and a Big Sing performance of Live Again was included in her mainstage appearance at Cambridge Folk Festival in summer 2019. Responding to the global pandemic, in October 2020, in recognition of World Mental Health Day, Melissa held an online Big Sing of Live Again in
collaboration with ThriveLDN.
All this work has furthered Melissa’s belief that singing is a powerful tool for personal and collective healing and transformation. Mind, Body & Song is Melissa’s newest creative project which sees her offer monthly concerts of healing sounds, chants and songs in a
meditative and restorative online space. Melissa is a long-time student and practitioner of yoga and she engages with Buddhism in the Plum Village tradition. Joining this year’s Buddhist Recovery Network Summit, Melissa invites participants to join her in the spiritual practise of chanting and singing or listening with heart.
On social media: @MelissaJamesUK
Sunday 11:15am – 12:15pm PST
Panel on Recovery and Mental Health
Shawna is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker supporting adults along their wellness and recovery journeys. She believes that through warmth, lightness and respect, she can help others reconnect to their Buddha Nature as they (re)discover a path to healing, self-care, and deeper self-knowledge.
Shawna currently lives in Oakland, California with her husband and three children. She holds space in several Eight Step Recovery meetings and also enjoys dancing, DIY projects, learning random facts, and gardening.
Born and raised in the Seattle area, Jordan first began studying Buddhism in 2014. He has used Buddhist practices and principles to help in his recovery from addiction. He has attended meditation retreats and practices with a local Buddhist sangha in Seattle. He has struggled primarily with porn, alcohol, drugs, spending, and debt. A Jack of all trades kind of addict! Jordan is active in both Recovery Dharma and 12-step recovery programs where he has held leadership positions. He celebrated 3 years of alcohol sobriety on 11/17/2021. Jordan lives in West Seattle and is an aspiring dog owner.
Marlena Willis deals with PTSD and bi-polar and has been in recovery for compulsive eating for many years. Intensive meditation was a powerful tool in healing and seeing that she was not the trauma that formed her. She has been part of a team that produces a show on KPFA on bringing the tools of meditation and non violent communication to social justice work..
Brett Richardson holds a MEd in Counselling Psychology from University of Toronto, and works in private practice. He specializes in work with queer and gender queer folks, and those struggling with addiction and trauma. He is currently working on a PhD in Social Anthropology at Concordia University, focused on spirituality, addiction, and addiction treatment. His practice and his academic work are deeply informed by systemic / sociocultural / normative ways of understanding human struggles, as well as by his lived experience with addiction and his recovery path that has included more than a dozen years of meditative and somatic practices.
Sunday 11:15am – 12:30pm PST
I have had a meditation practice for 26 years, primarily vipassana and zen. I joined Alanon after a family tragedy and attended meetings until I discovered a Buddhist-inspired recovery program. For the last 5 years, I have been a faithful member of a local Seattle recovery sangha. Being a mentor to others has humbled and inspired me. I truly feel at home.
I am an adult child of an alcoholic. Parents divorced and dad got custody. I became parent for siblings etc and learnt codependent patterns of behavior. People pleasing, caretaking and victim/martyr style behavior. Married drug addict as his behavior familiar to my dads so I continued being the controller and rescuer. My daughter arrived and shortly after I became single parent,joined Al Anon and CODA. This helped in many ways but when my 2nd marriage failed 14 yrs later I found myself in rooms of meditation and Buddhism. I attended retreats and meetings. 12 steps saved my life, Buddhism has taken me from survival to “life is precious”. Today the 5 precepts, 8 fold path, impermanence and awareness of how I cause suffering to myself and others as well as the path of loving kindness and equanimity.. Daily I grow in awareness of life’s richness and possibility. Gratitude, stillness, simplivity, kindness, generosity and mindfulness give me today the joy of living even amidst difficulties and appreciation even of those difficult early years.
I came into recovery in December of 2020, as our youngest daughter entered an inpatient treatment facility at the age of 19. I started to read literature from Recovery Dharma and my life began to change. As I watched our precious family of 7 continue to fracture with many divides amongst us, I started to see I had an addiction to alcohol. Even more transformative, however, was an understanding of what codependency is, and how as a process addiction, the same recovery principles apply as they do to substance use. I am honored to share my story here at the BRN summit and be of service. I live with my husband, Will, and our 2 cats in Snohomish, Washington.
Sunday 1-2pm PST – Special BRN Academy
Reclaiming Your Own Original Medicine: The Season of Letting-go as Practice of Self-Preservation
Indigenous societies recognize individuals holding our personal power as original medicine. The shadow of our false self is purified as we strengthen our authentic self through the practice of coming home to our truth and power. The teachings of the Buddha and indigenous wisdom build this foundation of truth, trust and love.
Carol Cano, M.A. began her practice over 30 years ago at Wat Kow Tahm in Thailand and has actively engaged in building communities and teaching Dharma internationally. She has completed a myriad of training programs at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and is currently participating in their Retreat Teacher Training. Carol is a core teacher and was a former board member of East Bay Meditation Center. Carol co-founded Philippine Insight Meditation Community in Philippines. Her unique teachings are deeply grounded in Basque, Native American and Buddhist influences that braid the Dharma along indigenous wisdom and Earth-based practices. Carol reminds us to keep grounded in our hearts as we uphold spiritual ideals and encourages us to remain balanced within the demands of modern life.
To find out more about Carol, please visit www.carolcano.com.