Sundays on Melrose Teachers

Each Sunday we have a different teacher or leader at the 11am meditation and Dharma talk on Melrose. This gives us the opportunity to hear different flavors of Buddhist teachings. We are honored to have some of the most respected teachers in the area participate in this class on a regular basis. We also have guest teachers both from out of town and the local area. Check the calendar for specific dates.

Cheryl Slean (2nd Sunday) has been practicing Buddhist meditation since 1995 and studying in the Theravada tradition since 1998. She was invited to teach by her teacher Rodney Smith and has subsequently shared dharma at Seattle Insight, mid-Columbia Insight, Against the Stream, and at Insight Community of the Desert, where she is a founding teacher and board member. Cheryl is also a writer, filmmaker and educator working in the arts, healthcare research and environmental sustainability. 

Kevin Bortolin (3rd Sunday) teaches philosophy and world religions courses at Ventura College. His  rapport with students is reflected in their responses resulting in his ranking among the top 50 hottest professors in the nation on  He is a world traveler and has studied in Italy, India and Japan. He is a Zen teacher, having received Dharma Transmission in Tokyo from Gudo Nishijima Roshi, a Soto Zen monk and author. Each month Kevin leads classes in Zen meditation and philosophy in Ventura, Santa Monica, and Los Angeles. He is the founder and facilitator of Café Philosophia, an informal discussion group on topics concerned with a life worth living. As well as leading retreats and workshops, Kevin is a public speaker and accomplished storyteller. His storytelling is inspired by his mentor and friend Robert A. Johnson, world renowned author, lecturer, and storyteller. Kevin’s teaching of both philosophy and world religions is inspired by Dr. Howard Mueller who continues to be a respected teacher and wise counselor in that single individual life stanced in the ever present, ever renewing, indwelling ground of wisdom and compassion. Kevin and his wife Mariko enjoy travel and their every day life together in Ventura. You can find more info at his website, WayofPhilosophy.

Kusala Bhikshu (4th Sunday)  is an American born monk ordained in the Zen tradition of Vietnam. He began practicing meditation in 1979 and received full ordination as a monk in 1996. He lives and works at the International Buddhist Meditation Center in the Korea-town section of Los Angeles, and has an extremely busy schedule teaching throughout Southern California.  The Rev Kusala has taught in Juvenile Hall, to youth groups, college students and churches. He facilitates meditation and discussion groups on Buddhism and social action. He is also an accomplished musician and plays blues harmonica and ukulele, and has written several Buddhist songs. (When we’re lucky, he plays for us on Sunday mornings.) Rev Kusala also maintains a website Urban Dharma, which is a compendium of the best of Buddhism in America, and is an invaluable resource.

Other Sunday Teachers

Gloria Kamler has practiced meditation and yoga for over two decades and is a student of Shinzen Young, Ajahn Amaro and Jon Kabat-Zinn.  She has also taught Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for over 14 years. Gloria’s dedication to living mindfully is an integral part of her professional and personal life. She is grateful in sharing her experience and understanding of mindfulness practice with others, and hopes that her work helps her students to lead more fulfilling lives.

George Haas started down his path with a period of light-weight spiritual seeking (and heavy drug and alcohol use). In 1978 he began a serious exploration of the 11th step in the 12-Step tradition, working primarily with concentration to reduce the anxiety of living sober. In an effort to make sense of, and live with, the mounting AIDS deaths of the 1980s, Mr. Haas begin waling the Red Road and reading Buddhist texts. Moving to Los Angeles from Manhattan in 1992, Mr Haas began sitting vipassana at Ordinary Dharma, and reading extensively. In 1998 he began study with his current teacher, Shizen Young. Mr. Haas is a Senior Facilitator at Vipassana Support International and teaches in an irreverent style. He has been teaching meditation in LA since 2000.

Michael Zittel began a daily sitting practice in 1987. He has practiced Tibetan Buddhism in Kopan Monastery, Nepal, and Zen at Mount Baldy Zen Center. His main practice is Vipassana meditation which he studied formally with Shinzen Young, starting in 1999. He was trained to be a meditation facilitator through Vipassana Support International in 2001. He  taught meditation to both psychiatric outpatients and mental health professionals at South Bay Mental Health in 2003. He also works one-on-one with individuals helping them with their practice, and currently leads the 7am morning sits Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week at Against the Stream.