Daniel Scharpenburg is an independent dharma teacher and Ch’an Adept living in Kansas City. He regularly gives teachings through the Open Heart Project. He also runs the Monday Night Zen Group at the Rime Buddhist Center. Daniel has a BA in English from KU and handles paperwork for a living.
His teaching style has been compared to that of the earliest Mahayana teachers and Ch’an Masters.
Daniel has taken Bodhisattva Vows in both the Nagarjuna and Asanga lineages and is a lineage holder in the Caodong Ch’an Lineage of Master Hsu Yun.
Alicia “Woz” Wozniak is a Clevelander living in Florida, with the rest of Ohio. Tired of snow and cold, she and her daughter, Weez, moved to the Sunshine State from the Buckeye State in 2009. Since then, she’s been pretty happy; perpetual summer suits her well. A lover of words, particularly the funny ones, she’s a writer and editor who is very hesitant to have any tattooed on her body out of fear of permanent typos, but she’s very ready for another one; number six. “Woz” can also be found teaching Zumba a few times per week and as often as possible going to yoga, giving up complete control to her teachers.
Peter SchallerFeatured Writer & Editor
Peter Schaller is an artist and community development specialist who lives and works in Nicaragua with his three amazing children, two crazy dogs and a cat with canine instincts. Most of his free time is spent trying to figure out how to reduce his karmic and carbon footprints. He is the author of After the Silence, a collection of poems, essays and photographs, and he can be reached by email or on Facebook.
Jonathan Pendall lives in rural Illinois between two cornfields. He is a psychology undergraduate and a Wayfarer in the Order of the Boundless Way (part of the Boundless Mind Zen school). He writes poems, short stories and makes progressive rock music. He loves philosophy, astronomy and a 50/50 mixture of unsweetened green/black tea. He hopes to make a living in the mental health field with a focus on preventing mental illnesses from developing.
Gerald Strib StriblingFeatured Writer & Columnist
Gerald “Strib” Stribling is the author of Buddhism for Dudes: A Jarhead’s Field Guide to Mindfulness (Wisdom Publications, 2015). His past incarnations have included farm hand, steelworker, U.S. Marine, elementary school teacher, and social services professional. Strib volunteered to teach English to children in Sri Lanka as a personal response to 9-11. There he studied with some of the most highly revered monks in Theravada Buddhism. During three of his seven months in the island nation, he actually resided in a Buddhist monastery.
He wrote Buddhism for Dudes as a not-so-subtle, basic examination of the essence of Buddhist philosophy. It’s short and funny and to the point. “Way too much Buddhist information is too complicated to wade through, and some of it is fairyland voodoo, full of metaphysical improbabilities. Buddhism isn’t a religion, it’s a way to live a happy life. This is not hard stuff to understand.” Stribling writes a blog called Buddhism for Tough Guys.
Deb Avery lives in the Southern United States with her animals, surrounded by mighty oaks and woodlands. All of Nature is her friend and teacher. She is an avid gardener, reader of books, lover of all beings and also has been referred to as a “bit of a weird one,” which she takes as a compliment. Having lived in many diverse places, including several years abroad, she has learned first hand that deep inside we are all one and the same. She enjoys long walks with her dog Sam, yoga and meditation.
Alex Chong Do ThompsonFeatured Writer & Columnist
Alex Chong Do Thompson is a former Marine who now earns his living as a Business Analyst. He splits his free time between social justice work, cycling, and deepening his meditation practice. Alex has been a Zen practitioner since 2013, and he is training to become a lay minister in the Bright Dawn Center of Oneness Buddhism. You can read more of his writing by visiting his blog.
Debbie Lynn realized at a very young age that the outer reality was a far cry from her inner truth and meeting her inner wisdom head on always turned into a challenge. The wonderment, curiosity and hypocrisy of life led to exploration and a cumulative documentation (art and journaling) of what she lovingly calls “the purge.” It is her way of ridding any negative energy from the daily grind. She says, “In essence, it is a way to start fresh and cleanse the soul.” Debbie has had numerous articles published with elephant journal, The Edge Magazine and Simple Steps Real Life Magazine. Her daily posts can be found on Facebook.
Brent R. OliverFeatured writer & Columnist
Brent R. Oliver is a freelance writer, horror enthusiast, amateur Buddhist troublemaker, comedic mastermind, and genuine tattooed freak. Reading his work has been compared to stepping on Legos and he’s been offered several high-profile positions scrawling absurdities on some of the finest bathroom walls in America. He has turned them all down in order to stay home without pants so he can tell ludicrous tales in front of his grimy computer. Ninety percent of what he writes is outrageous nonsense and the other ten percent is genius beyond compare. The trick no one has figured out is deciding which is which. He lives in Lexington, KY with a beautiful wife he doesn’t deserve and a jet-black cat that shreds furniture and flesh alike. He does deserve that.
Tammy T. StoneContributor
Tammy T. Stone is a Canadian writer, photographer and chronicler of life as it passes through us. A wanderer at heart, she’s mesmerized by people, places and all of our wildest dreams; the world is somehow so vast and so small. She feels incredibly lucky to have been able to work, learn and live abroad, writing, photographing and wellness-practicing along the way. She invites you to see her photography here and to connect with her on her writer’s page, Twitter and her blog, There’s No War in World, here. Her first book, Formation: Along the Ganges and Back Again, published by Prolific Press, is available here.
Andrew “Dru” Peers is Anglo-Irish and spent over 20 years in Trappist monasteries in England, Ireland and the Netherlands. In 2011, he left the Order, traveling to the home of Celtic Buddhism in America and returned to Europe qualified to work as a meditation teacher. He has since become a lineage holder in Celtic Buddhism and now offers online help and live workhops in his own unique branch thereof. Check out his website for more information.
Sherrin Fitzer works at a large women’s prison in the Midwest (a place she never would have expected to be, yet it is exactly where she is supposed to be). She has been involved in teaching incarcerated prisoners since 1991. In addition to helping incarcerated women with their children, she facilitates a theatre troupe and meditation classes. She believes in the importance of the arts in prisons and tries to implement this as much as possible. Sophia—her cat—is often her editor and generally a quite harsh one.
Michelleanne Bradley is a practicing Pagan and Buddhist in the San Diego area. She was ordained into the Order of Interbeing by Thich Nhat Hanh in 2013. She completed two years of facilitator training with Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, and has completed a Year to Live practice. She founded the Luminous Garden Sangha, and is a facilitator with Los Palomitas de Paz Sangha. Michelleanne’s focus in practice has been on the role of women in Buddhism (and really, everywhere).Michelleanne is a feminist, and writer, and consultant who says fuck a lot.
Carmelene Melanie Siani Featured Writer & Contributor
Carmelene Melanie Siani is a 74 year old woman who began writing for publication on her 73rd birthday in 2015. She writes stories and vignettes about life and how life itself gives us the lessons, hopes and direction we need to put our feet on higher ground. You can find her writing at elephant journal, the Kindness Blog, and on her writer’s Facebook page.