Teachers and Dharma Leaders

  • Bob Stahl
    Bob Stahl

    Bob Stahl, PhD, formerly lived in a Buddhist monastery for eight and a half years and later founded eight Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs in medical centers in the SF Bay Area. He is on faculty at the Brown University Mindfulness Center and formerly at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Bob teaches MBSR Teacher Trainings and Insight Meditation retreats worldwide and is the former guiding teacher at Insight Santa Cruz and a visiting teacher at Spirit Rock and Insight Meditation Society. He is co-author of five books: A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook (1st & 2nd editions), Living With Your Heart Wide Open, Calming the Rush of Panic, A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook for Anxiety, and MBSR Everyday.

  • Dawn Neal
    Dawn Neal

    Dawn Neal has devoted several years to silent retreat since 2005. She has an MA in Theravada Buddhist studies and spiritual care, and is a professional interfaith spiritual care counselor (chaplain). Her intensive practice includes ordaining in Burma, where she was authorized to teach the Buddhist path from the perspective of Mettā. Dawn is completing Dharma Teacher training with Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella. Since 2010, she has taught classes, workshops, and retreats in the Bay Area and beyond. See http://www.liberatingdharma.org for her full teaching schedule.

    Dawn works as a Professional Interfaith Spiritual Care Counselor (Chaplain). She also serves the Dharma community as a Buddhist teacher and scholar. She is currently in Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella’s Dharma Teacher Training through the Insight Retreat Center.

  • Mary Grace Orr
    Mary Grace Orr
    Emeritus Founding Teacher

    Mary Grace Orr is the Founding Teacher of Insight Santa Cruz, which began with a small sitting group in 1989. She is also a teacher emeritus at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She stepped down from her role at ISC late in 2011 and shortly after moved to Volcano, Hawaiʻi. She teaches two regular groups there, as well as a few retreats on the mainland. In addition to her Buddhist practice, she is deeply interested in Christian mystical traditions and recently completed the two year Living School program with Richard Rohr. Email Mary Grace if you would like to join her weekly meditation and discussion group on Zoom.

  • Tenzin Chogkyi
    Tenzin Chogkyi

    Tenzin Chogkyi  (she/her/hers) is a teacher of workshops and programs that bridge the worlds of Buddhist thought, contemplative practice, mental and emotional cultivation, and the latest research in the field of positive psychology. Tenzin first became interested in meditation in the early 1970s and then started practicing Tibetan Buddhism in early 1991 during a year she spent studying in India and Nepal. She completed several long meditation retreats over a six-year period and took monastic ordination with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, practicing as a monastic for nearly 20 years. Since 2006 she has been teaching in Buddhist centers around the world and taught in prisons for 15 years.

    She is also a certified teacher of Compassion Cultivation Training and the Cultivating Emotional Balance program. Tenzin is especially interested in bringing the wisdom of Buddhism into modern culture and into alignment with modern cultural values such as racial and gender justice and environmental awareness. She feels strongly that a genuine and meaningful spiritual path includes not only personal transformation, but social and cultural transformation as well. She loves interfaith collaboration and is a volunteer for the Interfaith Speakers Bureau of the Islamic Networks Group in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. She is featured on a monthly radio show called “Reflections on Buddhism on KSQD 90.7 in the Santa Cruz area. She also finds time to create her Unlocking True Happiness podcast which you can check out at unlockingtruehappiness.org where you will also find her current teaching schedule. She is currently based on traditional Awaswas Ohlone land, in what is now known as Santa Cruz, CA.


In Center & Online

Other Locations


Oct 15 2023


Pacific Time
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Guiding Teacher Installation Ceremony

Insight Santa Cruz will mark the installation of a new Guiding Teacher as we officially welcome Dawn Neal to her role as the new spiritual leader of the center. The Guiding Teacher (GT) has many years of practice, retreats, and instruction and has been fully authorized and empowered to be a Buddhist Insight teacher from a Senior Insight teacher. At the ceremony, Dawn will also invite Sr. Teacher Tenzin Chogkyi to be her advisor and aide, and we will be honoring the service of Bob Stahl and Mary Grace Orr in steering our Sangha during this transitional period.

The ceremony will be followed by a potluck on the outdoor patio. If you live locally and are able to share in this way, please come and bring a dish.

We continue to hold our sangha with ongoing care and work to prevent COVID-19 spread, so in-person attendance is limited; the sangha is invited to attend virtually. There will be limited spaces available for in-person attendance; to apply for the lottery, click here. (note- still waiting for this link)

Please return to the calendar to join an online session or learn of any schedule updates.

Attend either online or in person at the Meditation Center

Online Attendance Instructions:

Online Meeting ID: 816 3781 7883

Dial-in Passcode: 098584

Join online by clicking the Join Online button or calling +1-669-900-6833 US (San Jose) followed by the Online Meeting ID number and #. If a passcode is requested, then enter the Dial-in Passcode and #. Find your local number by clicking here. The preferred way to join is by using a Zoom application with your personal Zoom account.

Onsite Attendance Instructions:

N95 or KN95 Masks are Required

We highly recommend that onsite attendees be fully vaccinated, including boosters, per CDC guidelines. Attendees are required to wear N95 or KN95 masks that fit well and cover the nose and mouth. ISC will provide a mask if you need one, but you can support the center by bringing your own.

The following displayed information is for event planning and hosting (participants should ignore):

  • Zoom user hosting the event: Zoom01@insightsantacruz.org