Surface of water with ripples

About Rachel

close-up portrait of Rachel

Rachel Lewis began practicing insight meditation in 2003, while completing her physics PhD at Yale. Since 2011, she has taught dharma and meditation classes and retreats in British Columbia and beyond. She completed the IMS/IRC 4-year teacher training in 2021, and is a guiding teacher of the British Columbia Insight Meditation Society. Her dharma teaching interests include the power of music, humour, and creativity to increase our capacity for learning, as well as the way that practice supports and is supported by social justice work.

"I started meditating regularly in 2003, as I was coming to the end of my PhD in nuclear astrophysics, and was immediately hooked. Since then, I have spent more than 500 nights on silent meditation retreats, including two 3-month retreats.

"I was trained as a retreat teacher in the IMS/IRC program that ran from August 2017 to May 2021. Before that, I completed both the Dedicated Practitioner’s Program and the Community Dharma Leaders training programs through Spirit Rock, as well as a certificate in Indigenous Focussing-Oriented Therapy, a trauma therapy modality that emphasizes the collective and intergenerational aspects of trauma.

"I have been teaching classes and workshops in the Vancouver area since 2011, and started teaching meditation retreats in 2015. I have also led meditation groups for DIY Dharma, The Listening Post, and the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women in Maple Ridge, BC. I also enjoy teaching online, including courses through the Barre Centre for Buddhist Studies.

"Social justice and equitable access to the dharma are very important to me. In 2020, I organized a study program for white meditators to learn how to use practice to better understand and confront racism, both in ourselves and in our communities. In 2021, I organized fundraisers to raise money for a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fund, which will enable my home sangha, BC Insight Meditation Society, to better serve people from marginalized communities seeking to learn and practice dharma.

"In 2021, I returned to the board of BC Insight Meditation Society as a teacher representative. I previously served on the board from 2011-2016, and was president from 2012-2015. I also joined the board of Insight World Aid in 2020, where I help organize fundraisers for projects providing humanitarian aid and opportunities for socially engaged Buddhist practice worldwide. In 2022 I joined the board of the Barre Centre for Buddhist Studies, where I serve on the DEI and Development committees.

"You can read more about my thoughts on dharma and community in my chapter in Still in the City; you can find recordings and sheet music of my arrangements of Buddhist chants in my Buddhist Songbook; and check out my alter-egos Bhante Mixalot and Buddhist Hulk.

"Want more details? My full meditation-related CV is here and my professional CV is here."