Toni Packer explores how thought constructs images of self and other, how authority is created, how separation and conflict come into being, and what happens when there is awareness and insight.
Born in Germany, Toni has lived most of her adult life in western New York State at the center she founded, Springwater Center. Toni had been a student and then teacher trained by Roshi Philip Kapleau of the Rochester Zen Center. As a teacher, Toni’s concern with the problems of tradition and authority led her to question then break her affiliation with formal Buddhist Zen.
Toni now makes no special claim to authority and has no formal affiliation with Buddhism. Her approach is at once simple, radical, ordinary, and inviting.
Sandra Gonzalez was born and raised in Nicaragua and began working with Toni Packer in 1988. Previously, she studied at other meditation centers. Sandra leads retreats at both Springwater Center and at other locations each year. She teaches in both English and Spanish.
Richard Witteman worked with Phillip Kapleau at the Rochester Zen Center from 1971 to 1981, and has worked with Toni Packer since 1982. He has been a member of Springwater Center since its inception, and has made many valuable contributions to the Center's building projects and other activities during his annual visits. Richard currently lives in Gualala, California.
Wayne Coger has led retreats since 2001. He has worked with Toni Packer for over 25 years. Wayne has been a staff member at Springwater Center since 1981. Previously, he studied at the Rochester Zen Center. "Toni Packer asked me if I would share the work that we do with others. While I have never had any desire to become a 'teacher,' exploring the work of meditative inquiry has been my deepest joy and passion for many years. What excites me is this possibility to look at anything and everything freshly, without inhibitions or strictures. It is through this open inquiry that we begin to learn about ourselves. To learn how we are when we are not bound by our ideas and self-images."
Stew Glick began working with Roshi Philip Kapleau at the Rochester Zen Center in 1971. He started working with Toni Packer around 1975 after she began to teach and he later joined her staff at the Zen Center. He was on staff at Springwater Center from its founding in 1981 until 2008. Stew has been leading retreats and meeting with people since 1997. He is presently working full time with his wife in her solo medical practice. With friends he recently began informal Sunday morning sittings with dialogues in Rochester, NY.
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