Sharda Rogell
Sharda Rogell
    "Be who you are meant to be and you will set the world on fire."
    St. Catherine

    About Sharda

    I began practicing meditation in 1976 as a last resort to deal with my perennial unhappiness. Transcendental Meditation was suggested to me as a way to help and I practiced this form of meditation with great discipline, gaining some favorable results for two years. When I moved to San Francisco in 1978 to study holistic healing, I met James Baraz who was offering one of his first classes in Vipassana meditation. Once I stepped onto the Buddha’s path, something clicked and I became a dedicated practitioner. I joined James at his San Franicsco sitting group when there were just three of us sitting in these early days! Then I began sitting many long retreats at the Insight Meditation Society under the guidance of Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield. I also helped James organize retreats for Joseph and Jack in California as a cook. I joined Wes Nisker and Barbara Gates as the graphic designer for the Inquiring Mind vipassana journal when it was first launched in 1983.

    As retreats became more popular and there were so few teachers, Jack and Joseph invited some of the experienced students to assist on their retreats. I was asked to help and shortly afterwards, in 1985, I was invited to join Jack’s first teacher training, along with James Baraz, Sylvia Bornstein, Howie Cohn and Anna Douglas. As part of our training, Howie and I started the first San Francisco meditation group in my living room. In 1987, though, I left the Bay Area and moved to Totnes, Devon England to join Christopher Titmuss as a teaching partner. The two of us taught together for the next 15 years. I also lived at Sharpham, a Buddhist community nearby and I became involved at Gaia House Meditation Centre, near Newton Abbot, as one of their teachers.

    This was a significant time of learning and growth for me. Christopher and I spent every winter in India teaching a 3 week silent retreat at the Thai Temple, in Bodh Gaya, India, where the Buddha was enlightened. I also had the great fortune of meeting H.W.L. Poonja in 1990 in Lucknow, India and spent time with him off and on until his death in 1997. This experience was to be the turning point on my spiritual path and Poonja’s teachings continue to serve as the guiding light of my dharma vision. During these years, I also had the good fortune to receive teachings from many great Tibetan teachers, including Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and Nyshol Kempo Rinpoche.

    In 2002, I returned to the San Francisco Bay Area to live near Spirit Rock Meditation Center where I am on the Teacher's Council. I have been a Board member there and also one of the Governing Teachers. Since 1993, I have been the guiding teacher of the Regina Insight Meditation Community in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, as well as a guiding teacher in New Zealand where I teach with Jeremy Logan and visit with different vipassana communities each year.

    The other great influence since moving back to California has been my association with A. H. Almaas and Karen Johnson in the Diamond Approach School. This teaching has allowed me to deeply integrate my understanding of Buddhist principles with learning how to function fully in the world as a whole person. The teachings of Burmese teacher, Sayadaw U Tejaniya, with his emphasis on cultivating wisdom-awareness, were a great influence in my understanding as well as many retreats with the Tibetan teacher, Tsoknyi Rinpoche. Most recently, I am a student in the Living School (through the Center for Contemplative Action) with Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault and James Finley with the intention of integrating Christian Mysticsm.

    My intention for my practice is to live an awakening life – a life that expresses itself with wisdom and compassion, passion for the truth, and curiosity and love for the adventure. My intention is to stay true to this understanding and support all those with whom I come into contact so we can increase and strengthen our potential to awaken together.