Facilitator Training

Facilitator 1 Training

with JoAnna Harper and Vinny Ferraro

November 10-13, 2016 (Los Angeles)

May 4-7, 2017 (San Francisco)

October 12-15, 2017 (Los Angeles)


This training is designed for people who are now leading or who would like to lead a meditation group in their community. Over the period of one year we will meet as a small group with people from around the country to learn the basic skills of leading these groups.*
The training will include:

• Comprehensive study of the Buddha’s four noble truths and the brahma viharas
• Experiential exercises in leading guided meditations
• How to start and sustain a meditation group
• How to answer commonly-asked meditation questions.

* This group is not meant to empower anyone as a Buddhist teacher. It is only for the role of peer-based facilitation of meditation groups and basic meditation instructor.

 The training group will meet three times over the course of a year at Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society in Los Angeles and San Francisco, for a period of four days each time. These trainings will be opportunities for the group to discuss the literature that has been assigned and to go in-depth into the personal issues that you will face as group facilitators. In addition to meetings, each person involved in the training is expected to be prepared to lead a class in their community. (We encourage and suggest getting experience teaching by volunteering at a local rehab, jail or home for the elderly, homeless, etc.)

 JoAnna and Vinny will also guide each trainee personally on what they feel needs to be developed in order to become the best facilitator possible. For some, this will require longer silent meditation retreats, and for others they may suggest some form of renunciation.

The intention behind offering this training is to spread the dharma, and to support and encourage alternatives to the mainstream meditation scene that has taken root so far in the West.

The cost of the Meditation Instructor and Group Facilitator Training is $3,500*. ($500 Registration fee plus $1,000 per group session). By joining this group you are fully responsible for the total amount of the training whether you complete it or not. This fee does not cover travel, books or accommodations in Los Angeles or San Francisco. If you can pay for the entire training in advance you will receive a $500 discount. Payment plans are available and there are some scholarship funds.

 TRAINING PREREQUISITE: At least three years of meditation experience and at least 10 days of silent retreat experience. Please outline this experience in your application.

To apply, please fill out the following application.  All applications are due by July 31.



Vinny Ferraro is the Senior Trainer for Mindful Schools in Oakland, California and his work was the subject of MTV’s If You Really Knew Me, He is a Dharma teacher and a nationally recognized leader in designing & implementing interventions for at-risk youth.
In 1987, he began volunteering his time to be of service. He went on to to help establish Dharma Punx in the mid 90’s.
In 2001, he began teaching for Challenge Day, teaching emotional intelligence and other social skills, eventually becoming their Training Director, and leading workshops to more than 100,000 youth. He then became the Training Director for the Mind Body Awareness Project, a non-profit that teaches meditation to the incarcerated.
He is a Guiding Teacher for Against the Stream, and for 11 years has led a Friday night meditation group in San Francisco. He doesn’t like talking about himself in the 3rd person.

JoAnna Harper has been exploring and practicing multiple traditions since 1999. In 2005, her focus landed on Buddhism and Vipassana meditation, which is the premise for most of her current teaching. She teaches; adult and teen weeklong silent retreats, day longs and weekly classes, and works with at risk youth and non at risk youth in institutional and school settings. She has been trained in council facilitation with the Ojai Foundation, is a guiding teacher at Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society and is currently in the Spirit Rock/IMS/IMC four-year teacher training. She is the grateful mother of CJ and Harris – her main inspirations.