NCMC Teachers and Instructors
Ib’nallah S. Kazi Spiritual Director and Lead Teacher
Cornelia Santschi Insight Meditation Teacher
Marcie Barth Meditation Teacher
J. Javier Cruz Meditation Teacher
Andrea Lee Yoga and Meditation Instructor
Kamilah Crawley Mindfulness Instructor and Presenter
Jennifer Becher Yoga and Mindfulness Presenter
Ihsaan R. Muhammad Drum Circle Leader and Presenter
See the NCMC Teacher bios in the Leadership Section.
Visiting Monastic Teacher with NCMC
Bhante Buddharakkhita was born and raised in Uganda, Africa. He first encountered Buddhism in 1990 while living in India, and he began practicing meditation in 1993. He was ordained as a Buddhist monk by the late Venerable U Silananda in 2002 at the Tathagata Meditation Center in San Jose, California and then he spent eight years under the guidance of Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society, West Virginia. He is the founder of the Uganda Buddhist Center in Uganda. Besides spending time at his Center, he is the spiritual director of Flowering Lotus Meditation Center in Magnolia, Mississippi. He is on the council of spiritual advisers to the Buddhist Global Relief, New York. Bhante has been teaching meditation in Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia, and the U.S, since 2005. His book, Planting Dhamma Seeds: The Emergence of Buddhism in Africa, tells the story of his religious and spiritual work in Africa.
Visiting Lay Teachers with NCMC
Rebecca Li, a Dharma heir in the lineage of the Chan Master Sheng Yen, started practicing meditation in 1995. She began her teacher’s training with Master Sheng Yen in 1999 to become a Dharma and meditation instructor. Later on, she trained with Simon Child to lead intensive retreats and received full Dharma transmission in 2016. Currently, she teaches meditation and Dharma classes, gives public lectures and leads retreats at Dharma Drum centers, university meditation groups and Dharma practice groups in the northeast. Her talks and writings can be found at www.rebeccali.org. Rebecca Li is also a professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at The College of New Jersey.
Shaka Georges began his martial arts practice at the age of 9 years old. He immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti in 1975, and ever since then has studied various forms of martial arts including Wing Chun, White Crane Kung Fu Capoeira, and Tai Chi Long and Short Forms. He is a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner from the Mahamudra Lineage and has been meditating for over 10 years. He has also been a fitness coach and instructor in Newark. Shaka is a certified tai chi and qi gong teacher practicing in Montclair and Harrison NJ (see Discovering The Healer Within Facebook page) and is a mathematics high school teacher in West Orange.
NCMC also invites guest teachers and instructors to assist us in our programs.
Our Teacher’s Ethical Guidelines
A Teacher recognizes the implicit trust placed in him or her because of the unique power of the Teacher-Student Relationship. A Teacher consciously avoids any relationship with a student that is exploitative in any way, i.e., he or she never uses such a relationship for personal gain or benefit.
It is the responsibility of the Teacher to maintain a conscious and professional relationship with students and with other Teachers. A Teacher recognizes that the Teacher-Student Relationship involves a power imbalance. This is true even with a student who is no longer studying with the Teacher.
Teachers accurately and honestly present their experience, knowledge, and skills and lead from within these contexts. Teachers support an inclusive and safe practice community that welcomes and respects diversity.
As NCMC Teachers:
- we are committed to the principal of non-violence (physical, emotional, social, psycho-spiritual). A Teacher never engages in harassment, abusive words or actions, or coercion of students or former students. A Teacher shows sensitive regard for the moral, social, and religious standards of students, and avoids imposing his or her personal beliefs on others.
- we are committed to the principal of refraining from theft including physical, intellectual, and social property as well as identity, lineage, or associations. We agree to respect the properties of others by not taking what is not given to us or that does not belong to us. We also agree to bring consciousness to the use of all of the earth’s resources in a respectful and ecological way. This means leaving as few traces as possible.
- we are committed to the principal of refraining from false or misleading speech, gossip, and character assassination. We agree to speak that which is true and useful for our students and community. We agree to cultivate conscious clear communication, and to cultivate the quality of loving-kindness and honesty as the basis of our speech.
- we are committed to the principal of restraint from intoxicants that cause heedlessness or loss of awareness. Substance abuse is the cause of tremendous suffering. We agree that there should be no use of intoxicants during programs and retreats or while on premises. We agree not to abuse or misuse intoxicants at any time. We agree that if we are aware of any teacher who has a drug or alcohol addiction problem, to immediately address the issue with the community.
The Teacher-Student Relationship should be nurturing and supportive but with a level of respect for the student’s best interest. With that in mind NCMC Teachers:
- will not advise a student to go against the advice of his or her health care provider.
- will strive to build the student’s connection to the teachings and to his or her own soul and personal spiritual development, rather than to any personality.
- will treat all communication with students with respectful and appropriate confidentiality.
- will refrain from all forms of sexual involvement with students as they are unethical, even when a student invites or consents to such behavior. Sexual behavior includes, but is not limited to, all forms of overt and covert seductive speech, gestures, and actions.
- will refrain from all forms of financial involvement with students as they are discouraged and may be subject to a disciplinary review. Financial involvement includes but is not limited to loans, gifts, and business relationships. Donations or gifts for teaching or mentoring services is acceptable. If you have any question about financial involvement, contact the NCMC Board of Directors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(The last two points shall be in effect for as long as the Teacher is in a Teacher-Student Relationship and for not less than 6 months after the student has ceased taking any classes or training from the Teacher.)
If a Teacher is unable to continue the teacher-student relationship, the Teacher will, upon the request of the student, connect the student to other appropriate Teacher resources via NCMC.