Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Shaykh Yassir Chadly has been the imam (spiritual leader) at the Masjid-Al Iman a multi-cultural Sufi-oriented mosque in Oakland, California since 1992.
His unique blend of deep spiritual subjects combined with Sufi Folk traditions and his own distinctive sense of humor has made him an extremely popular lecturer around the Bay Area on subjects such as Islam, transformation and Sufism.
He is currently an adjunct professor at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and has taught workshops at The California Institute for Integral Studies teaching classes on Islam, Sufism, The poet Rumi, and Sufi Storytelling and the art of sermon.
As a Moroccan musician, he has recorded albums with Jazz artists Omar Sosa, Pharoah Sanders and Randy Weston and has recently released his first solo CD entitled “AJEEB!!” available on itunes. He has also composed and performed music for The Lines Ballet Company of San Francisco, The North Carolina Ballet Company and The Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre.
He has also presented lecture/demonstrations on Moroccan and Gnawa music at many venues including The Julia Morgan Theatre And The California Academy of Sciences.
In 2002 Yassir performed live at The Diablo Valley College Ethnic Storytelling Festival in Concord, California.
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Sri Satya Narayan Goenka (born 1924) is a leading lay teacher of Vipassanā meditation and a student of Sayagyi U Ba Khin. He has trained more than 700 assistant teachers and each year more than 100,000 people do Goenka sponsored Vipassana courses. Mr. Goenka is married to Ilaichidevi Goenka who sits as co-teacher with him. They have six sons.
SN Goenka emphasises that, "The Buddha never taught a sectarian religion; he taught Dhamma - the way to liberation - which is universal" and presents his teachings as non-sectarian and open to people of all faiths or no faith. Goenka calls Vipassana meditation an experiential scientific practice, through which one can observe the constantly changing nature of the mind and body at the deepest level, a profound understanding that leads to a truly happy and peaceful life.