OUR PRESENTERS (alphabetical by Surname):

Ms. Kara Braun
Kara was entirely privileged and delighted to serve in the role of Community Chaplain in Kingston, Ontario between summer 2013 and spring 2016. She worked for a small non-profit organization, supporting mostly men coming out of local, minimum security, federal correctional institutions.

Her professional practice is largely an integration of her own psychospiritual health journey, well supported over 17-years by an M.D. psychotherapist with expertise in transpersonal psychology – along with formal insight meditation and mindfulness practice, guided by the teaching of Shinzen Young and others. She did a Master of Theological Studies with a specialization in Spiritual and Religious Care in a Pluralist Society at Queen’s Theological College. She is presently doing a 400-hour, second advanced unit of Supervised Pastoral Education through the Canadian Association of Spiritual Care at Providence Care in Kingston and has applied for registration with the Ontario College of Registered Psychotherapists. She is patiently waiting for the folks at Emmanuel College to open up the Diploma in Buddhist Mindfulness and Mental Health to distance learners…

Other passions including education, bicycle commuting, urban farming (backyard hens, strawberries and garlic), communing with, basking in the life and energy of children, neighbours, strangers – water, trees – rocks and sun – flowers, mosses – birds – cats and dogs.

Mr. Sean Hillman
Sean Hillman is a Clinical Ethicist at Lakeridge Health with the Centre for Clinical Ethics. A Medical Anthropologist and doctoral candidate in South Asian Religions/Bioethics at U of T, he completed a year-long fellowship in Clinical and Organizational Bioethics and is currently writing his dissertation on end-of-life decision-making among Indian and Tibetan religious adherents in India and Canada. Sean was a Buddhist monk for 13 years (ordained both novice and full by H.H. the Dalai Lama) and has spent five years in India, including six months of ethnographic field-work and recent talks on Buddhist and Jain ritual fasting and immobilization at the end-of-life. He also has served as a bedside caregiver in hospital for almost two decades, mostly in critical care. internal medicine and oncology.

Ms. Clara Ho
Clara Ho is an Ontario Graduate Scholar completing her Master of Social Work (MSW) at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work (FIFSW) in the University of Toronto. She has won academic awards for her scholarship and writing at the university and community level, particularly regarding topics of grief and bereavement. Currently, she is co-authoring a paper on how a group-based expressive writing program can facilitate psycho-social well-being for caregivers of palliative patients. Her research and clinical interests include end-of-life care, palliative care, and grief processes across the life span. As the Vice-Chair of the FIFSW Faculty Council and President of the MSW Graduate Students’ Association, Clara works closely with students, staff, and faculty to improve the quality of social work education within the classroom and in the field. Clara will be presenting on “Integrating Buddhist Concepts of Death and Loss into Grief Counselling”.

Venerable Thomas Kilts
Venerable Thomas Kilts is the Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisor and Spiritual Health Therapist for the William Osler Health System in Ontario, Canada.  He has held certifications with the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC), and Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) and is currently certified through the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC) as a Teaching Supervisor and is as well a registered psychotherapist (RP) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO).  Having worked in the professional field of spiritual care for over twenty years, Ven. Thom has worked in trauma centers, community hospitals and in AIDS ministry.  He is a lineage holder in the Celtic Buddhist lineage founded by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and his personal attendant, John Riley Perks.  He has as well been endorsed as a Dharma Teacher through the Dzogchen Center of North America.  Having received empowerments and training through traditional lineages of Vajrayana Buddhism, Thom also holds a Masters degree in Buddhist Studies from Naropa University.  

Dr. Lewis Lancaster
Dr. Lewis Lancaster is a professor emeritus in the Department of East Asian Languages at the University of California at Berkeley and has been an adjunct professor at UWest since 1992. He has served as the Chair of Buddhist Studies at UC Berkeley and Editor of the Berkeley Buddhist Studies Series. Dr. Lancaster has published over 55 articles and reviews and has edited or authored numerous books including Prajnaparamita and Related Systems, The Korean Buddhist Canon, Buddhist Scriptures, Early Ch’an in China and Tibet, and Assimilation of Buddhism in Korea.

He is the founder and Director of the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (ECAI). ECAI (www.ecai.org) is promoting worldwide electronic access to quality research data. ECAI is a partnership of technical specialists and the scholarly community dedicated to the support of scholarship through technology. ECAI is building an infrastructure for retrieval of data over the Internet from servers located anywhere in the world. Guided by the paradigm of the historical atlas, research data is indexed by time and place using temporally-enabled Geographic Information Systems software. User queries retrieve and display data in GIS layers on a map-based interface, allowing comparisons across discipline, region, and time. He currently also teaches on-line courses in the Extended Studies program at the University of the West.

Dr. Cuilan Liu
Dr. Liu is an Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies at Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto. She received her PhD from Harvard University for her dissertation on the status and role of music within the Buddhist religious tradition, and its subsequent interpretation in China and Tibet.  She received a second PhD field in Critical Media Practice offered by the Harvard Film Study Center, for which she completed the 83-minute documentary film Young Jigme shot in a Buddhist monastery in Northeastern Tibet. 

Dr. Liu’s sustained interests in Buddhism and Law brought her to teach and conduct research in the United States, Germany, China, and Canada. In 2014 she held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany. Prior to joining Emmanuel College, she also held a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of East Asian Studies at McGill University, where her research focuses on Buddhism and the State in middle period China. She examines the tension between Buddhism and the State during the Tang Dynasty (7th-10th centuries), when Buddhism and Chinese law both reached a pinnacle of their respective developments. One of her key objectives is to understand how legal space was constantly reshaped by the co-existence and interaction of two complex legal systems. Ultimately, her project aims to examine how a balance was struck between the restriction and accommodation of religious law in the public sphere.

Sister Elaine MacInnis
Sister Elaine MacInnis is a Roman Catholic nun and a Zen Roshi trained in Japan. She is the founder of “Freeing the Human Spirit”, a program that teaches yoga and meditation to inmates in Canadian prisons. http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/news/prisoners-look-inward-to-discover-personal-freedom
For her her life-long work in helping others, Sister MacInnis was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada. We are very honoured by her presence as our special guest at the Buddhist Prison Chaplaincy in Canada panel.

Ms. Charmaine Mak
Though born into a Buddhist family, Charmaine wasn’t an active practitioner until a chance meeting with Zasep Rinpoche in 1995. In 1998 Zasep Rinpoche, by now her root guru, sent her to participate in a seven year program of intensive Buddhist studies called “The Masters Program” in Pomaia, Italy, at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, co-ordinated by the FPMT. The program was a compressed version of the Geshe program (Doctor of Divinity) taught in the major monasteries in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
After her Buddhist studies and ending her studies with a six month retreat, Charmaine returned to Vancouver to pursue her studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine, particularly in acupuncture.

In 2010, she became the Buddhist Chaplain in the Pacific Region for Corrections Canada. Charmaine was one of two serving Buddhist Chaplains in all of Canada at the time.
Charmaine made her way to Toronto at the end of 2013 when her position as Buddhist Chaplain ended. Now working in healthcare, she incorporates her Buddhist practice in her work and everyday life.

Dr. John Makransky
Professor Makransky is Associate Professor of Buddhism and Comparative Theology at Boston College, senior academic advisor for Kathmandu University’s Centre for Buddhist Studies in Nepal, and President of the Society of Buddhist-Christian studies. John is the developer of the Sustainable Compassion Training (SCT) model, and co-founder and guiding teacher of the Courage of Care Coalition and Foundation for Active Compassion, organizations that provide contemplative trainings in sustainable care and compassion for people in caring professions and social activism. John’s academic writings have focused on thought and practice in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, on adapting Buddhist contemplative practices to meet contemporary needs, and on theoretical issues in interfaith learning. A selected list of his academic publications can be found here: http://www.bc.edu/schools/cas/theology/faculty/jmakransky.html

Dr. Lynette Monteiro
Dr. Lynette Monteiro is a registered psychologist in private practice. Her Master’s in Psychology (Carleton University, Ottawa) explored the role of brain lateralization in human communications disorders and her Ph.D. research explored the impact of medical intervention on attention and impulsivity in preschool-aged children with Attention Deficit Disorder. Because she appreciated the close alignment of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Buddhist psychology, the advent of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) opened the doors to melding her personal practice of meditation and CBT in psychotherapy. Establishing the Ottawa Mindfulness Clinic (2003) was an important transition from being a solitary practitioner of Buddhism to stepping out into community.

While practicing in the Zen tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh she became aware of the importance of ethics in the cultivation of mindfulness, whether secular, spiritual, or clinical. Trained in several first and second generation mindfulness-based programs, she has consistently advocated for an ethical framework that guides the development of mindfulness practice. Thus, the mindfulness-based symptom management (MBSM) program at the OMC was developed to address directly suffering as an incongruence between who we are and who we wish to be. Co-authoring the book, Mindfulness Starts Here, articulated this perspective by focusing on values as the base upon which mindfulness rests. MBSM also sought a balance between Western secular and Buddhist approaches in psychotherapy. Lynette completed the Buddhist Chaplaincy under the proctorship of Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbess of Upaya Zen Center; the thesis completed for Chaplaincy extended her interest into the role of values-incongruence and the cultivation of values as the arc of secular mindfulness programs.

As Training Director for the Professional Training Program at the OMC and a Clinical Supervisor for doctoral candidates of the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa, Lynette has developed a comprehensive training program for professional training in mindfulness-based programs. She is also on the faculty of the AMM-MIND program at the University of Toronto and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (Barre, MA) where she teaches ways to cultivate awareness and integration of appropriate ethical frameworks into the curriculum of mindfulness programs. Lynette’s writings on Buddhism are published at 108 Zen Books and writings on clinical aspects of mindfulness are found here in the Ottawa Mindfulness Clinic blog. Articles in peer-reviewed journals are available on Academia.edu.

Venerable Bhiksuni Shih Changhwa
Venerable Changhwa received full ordination as Bhiksuni in 2005. She published a Chinese translation “完全證悟” of the English book  “Complete Enlightenment” (1997) by the late Ch’an Master Sheng Yen in 2006.  She was Director of the Department of International Development of Dharma Drum Mountain in Taiwan in 2008. Since 2009, she is the Director of Chan Meditation Centre in New York and serves as the Supervisor of Dharma Drum Mountain Dharmapala in North America. 

Prior to ordination, she studied Biochemistry and Molecular Physics and obtained a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1997.  She finished a post-doctoral fellowship in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California at Los Angeles prior to her monastic training as a novice nun. Between 1990 to 2003, she had published many scientific peer-reviewed articles in her field.

Dr. Henry Shiu
Dr. Henry Shiu teaches in the Buddhism, Psychology and Mental Health program at New College, and is Adjunct Professor of the Buddhism Stream of the Master of Pastoral Studies program at Emmanuel College, at the University of Toronto. His research has focused on the doctrinal and historical studies of Mahayana Buddhism in India, China, and Tibet, particularly on the tathagatagarbha theory. He also does research in the history of Buddhism in Canada and various forms of Socially Engaged Buddhism in the contemporary world. Shiu is the co-editor-in-chief of the Monograph Series in Sino-Tibetan Buddhist Studies, published jointly by Renmin University of China, China Tibetology Publishing House, and the Sino-Tibetan Buddhist Studies Association in North America.

Venerable Bhiksuni Sik Yin Kit
Venerable Yin Kit was ordained under Venerable Sing Yat in Hong Kong since 1992.  She is known to her students and the Chilliwack community as “Sister Jessie,” and to the children who live in the neighbourhood as “Buddha’s Sister.”  She co-founded the Po Lam Buddhist Association in Chilliwack, B.C., Canada in 1994 and has been the Head Nun and Teacher of the Association since then. She is also the Abbess of Ta Kioh Buddhist Temple in San Francisco, California, USA. Venerable Yin Kit has many roles as a spiritual teacher.  She is continuously busy teaching meditation and retreats in the community, schools and prisons in Canada, and also frequently teaches in USA and overseas. She is also active in teaching spiritual care in hospices and hospitals in Canada and Hong Kong.  For this reason, she is sometimes affectionately called “the flying nun” by her students.

The Compassionate Centre for Health, a community service of the Association was established in 2005 to serve the Chinese-speaking immigrants in the Greater-Vancouver area.  This group has grown to over fifty active volunteers who visit senior homes and palliative care units at several sites on a regular basis.  They provide spiritual, religious and social connection to the people who call upon their services. Although Sister Jessie is a serious teacher and practitioner, her constant focus remains on the merging of the teachings, the practice, and everyday life.  She believes the integration and implementation of the Buddha’s teachings in people’s daily lives will certainly bring brightness, harmony and loving kindness to our community, society and the world.

Dr. Phil Stanley
Dr. Phil Stanley is Professor of Religious Studies at Naropa University. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Buddhism and literary Tibetan and was Chair of the Religious Studies Department for nine years (2002 to 2011). Since 2008, he has also served as the Dean of Academic Affairs of Nitartha Institute (www.nitarthainstitute.org) that is dedicated to translating and teaching an entire nine-year Tibetan monastic university curriculum in English. In the third year of a four-year project, Dr. Stanley is translating the VIIIth Karmapa’s three volume Tibetan commentary on the Indian text, Treasury of Higher Knowledge (Abhidharmakosha), which is being taught for a month each by a traditional scholar of the Tibetan tradition, Acharya Kelzang Wangdi. Dr. Stanley is currently translating chapter 6 for the teaching this May-June 2016. Dr. Stanley is being trained to teach the Indian root text with Tibetan commentary in English as part of the Advanced Curriculum of Nitartha Institute.

Dr. Stanley is Co-Convener of the Union Catalog of Buddhist Texts project (UCBT). The overall goal of the UCBT project is to link the online catalogs and electronic texts for all the canons of Buddhism—including Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan, and Mongolian—into a single unified catalog. The UCBT will correlate all the texts of these canons and provide easy access to all the resources of these online catalogs. This is a project of the IABU that is supported by Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University (MCU) in Thailand, with funding from the Royal Thai Government.

Dr. Tony Toneatto
Dr. Tony Toneatto is the Director of the Buddhism, Psychology and Mental Health undergraduate program at the University of Toronto devoted to the study of Buddhist and Western psychology. He is also on the Faculty of the Buddhist Mindfulness and Mental Health diploma program and the Masters of Pastoral Studies (Buddhism) at Emmanuel College and cross-appointed to the Human Development and Applied Psychology Program at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education. Dr. Toneatto is also a registered Clinical Psychologist and a psychoanalyst. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from McGill University and spent 23 years at the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto as a research scientist in addiction. Dr. Toneatto has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in the areas of substance and behavioral addictions, especially pathological gambling, and mindfulness meditation.