Aaron and Nicky are recent Alumni of Wesleyan University, graduating in 2017 and 2019 respectively. They created a student ground dedicated to meditation and Buddhist practice while at Wesleyan, and brought sixty students to Dai Bosatsu Zendo in Livingston Manor, NY during their time there. Seeing students’ response to the monastery and the power of Zen practice in an academic environment inspired the creation of this program. They are both early in their practice, but well-connected to students and universities. They are in charge of logistics, marketing, and recruitment.
Miles Bukiet is also a Wesleyan Alumni. He graduated in 2011 and spent five years of full-time study of meditation including two years at monasteries and practice centers in Asia, two years of solitary retreat under the guidance of Alan Wallace, Ph.D. and Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D, and one year studying with Soryu Forall at the Monastic Academy. His practice experience in meditation and related mind-body disciplines includes upwards of 10,000 hours of practice.
Miles recently completed the Master’s of Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania where he focused his studies on the intersection of meditation and modern science. He currently teaches at NYU through MindfulNYU and has run retreats and workshops at Wesleyan University, Upenn Medicine, Middlebury College, Mindful Harlem, Columbia Teacher’s College, and the Monastic Academy. In addition to classical meditation, Miles has a passion for interpersonal meditation as a way to increase emotional intelligence, and build coherence and psychological safety in individuals, teams, and families. He has co-facilitated interpersonal meditation retreats with Circling Europe and has accumulated over a thousand hours of practice and teaching with this potent form. Miles is currently studying the Alexander Technique (a refined method of fostering body awareness and tension release) with Ann Rodger at The Balance Arts Center where he is a third of the way through a 1,600 hour teacher training. By drawing from these various rich traditions, Miles creates programing to fit the needs of unique populations.
As of now, Miles will be our retreat leader and facilitator for the Orientation and Integration retreats at the beginning and end of the program.
Jogen Salzberg runs the summer-immersion program at Great Vow Zen Monastery, which was crucial for inspiring this program. He has been a resource in both providing materials, ideas, and supporting the development of this program.
Jogen Salzberg, Sensei has been practicing Zen since 1997, he entered monastic training at Great Vow Zen Monastery in 2003 and received Dharma Transmission from Chozen Bays, Roshi and Hogen Bays, Roshi in 2017. Since 2011 He has been a student of Dzogchen teacher Keith Dowman. Jogen is one of the guiding teachers at the monastery and serves as the Assistant Abbot and Director of Training. Jogen leads a weekly meditation gathering at Heart of Wisdom, and DJ’s for the live-blended listening meditation event Beyond the Sound.
Rabbi David has provided ongoing support for us during our time at Wesleyan, and has played a crucial role in bringing meditation to the Wesleyan community at large.
Rabbi David is the director of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life at Wesleyan University. He studied at Columbia University (BA), The Jewish Theological Seminary (BA), Yakar, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (MHL and Rabbinic Ordination), and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2015 he completed a second Smikha/Ordination with Aleph: Allliance for Jewish Renewal in the lineage of his beloved teacher and friend Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z'l.
Makaella Kingsley is the director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Wesleyan University. She has been a mentor for us in getting the program off the ground and helped immensely with the process of creating a new organization.
She encouraged Aaron to participate in the Connecticut New Venture Pitch Competition where he won Best Executive Summary.