Niki grew up in Honolulu and Kailua. She encountered Buddhism at age 11, when she found a book on the family bookshelf, called Light of Asia, a noted Buddhist classic, written in 1879. It made a great impression on her. She completed her Masters Degree in European/ Latin American history at the University of California at Berkeley and was deeply involved in the anti-Vietnam war and Civil Rights struggles of the ‘60s. She began meditation practice with Zen teacher Aitken Roshi in 1970 until the birth of her son in 1976. She returned to regular practice, doing Vipassana meditation at the home of theThanh and Xuan Huynh and also practiced with Lama Rinchen of the Nu’uanu Tibetan Center. Since then, she has continued as a Vipassana practitioner, doing many retreats at the Palolo Zen Center and also participating at the Broken Ridge Temple. In 2018, she initiated a weekly Windward practice group at the Windward Buddhist Temple and they meet every Wednesday evening on Zoom.
Amanda is originally from Baltimore. Her meditation journey began in 2009 when she began classes in Vedic and Jewish meditation traditions. Her introduction to Buddhist dharma was in 2014 at a local Shambhala Center retreat. She continued to practice until 2016 when she moved to Hawaii and began graduate school at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at UH Manoa. At that point she ventured briefly into Zen Buddhism at the Diamond Sangha and the Aloha Sangha taught by Tom Davidson-Marx. She began sitting at the Mu Ryang Sa temple in 2018 when a classmate brought her to the Saturday sittings. She has since moved back to Baltimore but continues to find refuge in both the virtual sittings and dharma talks which have brought this medley of practices and traditions into a more focused spiritual path.