Venerable Master Hai Tao of Taiwan, renowned Buddhist monk, worldwide vegan advocate, and strong supporter of DVA:
Our greatest evil currently is that every day we are involved in a feud with animals, such as killing and consuming fish, shrimp, crab, etc…on a daily basis. It is only when we fall ill one day or when we are grieving for our own ill or dying child do we realize the pain that animals endure.
DVA Chapters play a vital role in fulfilling Dharma Voices for Animals’ mission of bringing awareness of the suffering of animals to the Dharma community. Located throughout the world, Chapters serve two important functions.
- Bringing together like-minded people in local communities
- Acting as the grassroots agent for promoting DVA’s goal of bringing awareness to the suffering of animals within their Buddhist/Dharma communities
Local Chapters will engage in activities that promote DVA’s message within the wider dharma community as well as get together for events such as film screenings (for example, Animals and the Buddha), readings, guest speakers, group discussions, and potlucks. The activities of every Chapter are different, reflecting the remarkable diversity of DVA’s membership.
At the bottom of the page is a list of the active DVA Chapters along with contact information. If you are interested in attending a Chapter event and live in the area of one of our local Chapters, feel free to contact the group’s leader listed below. There will be opportunities for Chapter members to connect with other Chapters around the world.
Do you have leadership experience, energy, enthusiasm, and passion for animals and the dharma? If so, consider starting a DVA Chapter in your local area. If you are interested, please contact c…@dharmavoicesforanimals.org for more information.
DVA CHAPTERS: Austria, Bhutan, Canada, Chicago, Chico, Colombo, Connecticut, Dallas, Detroit-Ann Arbor, England, Germany, Kandy, Los Angeles, Madison, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York City, Penang, Perth, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area, Singapore, and Silicon Valley.
Chapter Leader: Chaajur Nimaa Reichardt
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Chapter Leader: Vicki Seglin
Vicki Seglin is an ordained lay member of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing and practices with Fierce Compassion Sangha in Evanston, Illinois. She feels fortunate to be able to practice right livelihood, as a clinical psychologist, and to have found Dharma Voices for Animals, which helps her to actively combine her two spiritual paths of a vegan lifestyle and Buddhist practice. Practicing and creating compassion for our animal companions is an essential part of her spiritual aspirations.
Sherry Morgado has been practicing Zen Buddhism in the lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh since 2010, although she began meditating in 1981 after reading “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.” by Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi. She practices with the Slowly Ripening Sangha at Sky Creek Dharma Center in Chico, California. She loves sharing the Buddha’s message of compassion for animals through her personal example of living as a peaceful and joyful vegan, as well as active advocacy on their behalf.
Senaka Weeraratna is an attorney, living in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He was the legal adviser to the drafting of Sri Lanka’s first Animal Welfare/Rights law since 1906 and has actively campaigned for its passage. President Sirisena’s cabinet recently approved the bill which is now on it’s way to becoming the law of Sri Lanka.
Dallas, Texas, USA
Chapter Leader: Cheryla Coskie
Monastic Advisor: Tashi Nyima
Detroit-Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Chapter Co-Leaders: John Bussineau and Billie Bussineau
John has been a Dharma practitioner 19 years. He is a student of Gelek Rimpoche, founder of the Jewel Heart Tibetan Learning Center Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. John lives in Michigan with his wife, Billie Bussineau, of 37 years and one rescue dog. He teaches/facilitates dharma classes in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and is the author of the book: The Buddha, The Vegan, and You, where he tells his personal story of trying a one-month vegan challenge with his family. In it he shares many of the difficulties experienced along the way and reveals some of the Buddhist methods he used to overcome them.
Billie has been involved with the Dharma for 19 years and attended numerous retreats and teachings during that time. She is also a student of Gelek Rimpoche, founder of Jewel Heart. Billie also practices yoga and volunteers for the Plant-Based Nutrition Support Group (PBNSG) helping people to transition to a healthier lifestyle. An on-and-off vegetarian her entire life, she has led a vegan lifestyle for the past 6-years and is a relentless advocate for a more compassionate lifestyle. Billie and John have been married for 37 years and have two daughters, Stephanie and Cristina, and a granddaughter Lorelai, who are also vegans.
Denise Jones was born in Anacortes, Washington in the US and currently lives near Bath in England. She was drawn to Buddhism twenty-five years ago when she moved to Portland, Oregon and found a small group of practitioners. She took refuge vows with Her Eminence Sakya Jetsun Chimey Luding Rinpoche and was fortunate to receive many wonderful teachings. She had always felt compassion towards animals and became vegan three years ago. Her current daily practice includes Exchange (Tong-len), Tranquillity, and Insight meditations. After watching DVA’s film, Animals and the Buddha, Denise became a member of DVA. As England Chapter Leader, she hopes to support DVA’ mission to be a voice for animals and a force for compassionate living within the Sangha.
Chapter Leader: Helena Kschischan
Monastic Advisor: Geshe Thapkhe
Tiere Und Der Buddha – Animals and the Buddha with German subtitles
DVA website in German
Dr. Chamith Nanayakkara is a veterinarian surgeon, who travels extensively around the world. Doctor Nanayakkara’s Kandy chapter is reaching out to young people and families in Sri Lanka to promote the Buddha’s teachings about compassion and non-harming toward ALL sentient living beings, as well as the health and ecological benefits of a vegetarian diet.
Los Angeles, California, USA
Chapter Leader: Philip Murphy
Philip Murphy is a longtime student of the Buddhadharma, having begun practicing in 1997 at the Cambridge Insight Mediation Center (CIMC) in Cambridge, MA. In his practice Philip embraces as fully as is humanly possible the Five Precepts, including the First Precept and its exhortation to refrain from killing living beings. He is a former member of the board of directors at CIMC and currently serves as a director at the Insight Meditation Center of Pioneer Valley (Easthampton, MA).
Philip is the founding principal of Commonwealth Mindful Philanthropy Group, a mindfulness-informed philanthropic advisory group serving nonprofit organizations in the contemplative sector. He splits time between Los Angeles and western Massachusetts, where he resides with his wife, Anne, and their four rescue racing greyhounds, Star Jean, Marcus, Ivy, and Mac.
At age 13, Lorri started climbing over fences to give cows chin scratches and she credits Wisconsin’s cows as her first teachers on her path to compassion for all beings! Lorri went on to start the first shelters in the country for farm animals – opening a total of three sanctuaries, including Farm Sanctuary and Animal Acres. After her sanctuary work, Lorri worked at Deer Park Monastery in California to help develop the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation to support his mindfulness practice centers in North America. Lorri is an ordained member of the Order of Interbeing in the Plum Village tradition and has been co-coordinating the Madison Chapter of Dharma Voices for Animals.
Chapter Leader: Ed Rutledge
Chapter Leader: Bhante Sathi
Bhante Sathi is from Kandy, Sri Lanka, and lives in Mankato, Minnesota, USA. Emerging spiritual interests in his early teens led Bhante Sathi to be ordained as a novice monk (bhikku) at age 19 in the Theravada tradition in his native country. After three years of education and training under Wattegama Dhammawasa Maha Thera at Sri Subhodaranaya International Bhikku Center, Sri Lanka, he received higher ordination as a fully ordained monk. As a monk, he taught meditation and insight practices and counseled people from many walks of life using Buddhist teachings.
Invitations from people interested in meditation led to Bhante expanding his teaching to Europe, Canada and the United States. In 1999 he became a resident monk at the Great Lakes Buddhist Vihara in Southfield Michigan and traveled around the US and Canada teaching meditation and mindfulness practices, the teachings and philosophy of Buddha (Dhamma), and leading retreats.
In 2003 he made Minnesota his home and, with the support of friends, founded Triple Gem of the North in Mankato where he began living. He became a US citizen and traveled the state, sharing his knowledge and training in the Buddha’s teachings, meditation, and mindful living.
Upāsaka Kamil Ghoshal is an Eight-Precept Theravādin disciple and a dedicated
student of the Buddha’s original Dhammā. He holds a formal degree in Buddhist
Philosophy with principal area of research in presectarian Buddhism. Kamil is
currently working on his first manuscript, which will discuss both, the Buddha’s
Teachings and other developed Buddhist perspectives on non-human animals in
their historical, cultural, and philosophical context. His other activities
include traditional Chinese martial arts and technical mountaineering.
Chapter Co-Leaders: Chhen Sela (second from left in group photo) and Chii Chew Hong (third from left in group photo and in individual photo)
Monastic Advisor: Venerable Wei Wu
Chii Chew works as an engineer in Malaysia. He formally took refuge in Buddhism in 2015. With his parents’ guidance, he has followed the vegetarian practice since primary school. It is sometimes a difficult struggle to overcome one’s desire for animal flesh especially when many others in our community are unfriendly toward vegetarian practice. But, with a strong intention to practice compassion for ALL beings, vegetarianism can express a deep connection with animals who, like us, all have the will to live. Chii Chew would love to help people find their own way to vegetarianism or to his own practice of veganism through discussion and guidance.
Albert Mah is a former vice-president of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia and a former treasurer of Hayagriva Buddhist Centre in Perth, Australia. He is currently a dharma teacher at the Buddhist Society of Western Australia giving lessons to the senior school class. He is a vegan, plays an active role in animal advocacy, the vegan way of living and social justice. He lives with a greyhound who was discarded by the racing industry after his racing career ended. Albert believes that when one contemplates suffering deeply one realizes that a life of minimum harm has to incorporate abstention from eating animal flesh and consuming animal products.
Sacramento, California, USA
Chapter Leader: Matt Russell
After almost two decades as a vegetarian, Matt Russell adopted a vegan diet after falling in love with a long-time vegan (now his wife) and reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals. Matt loves cooking and eating delicious, healthy, and creative vegan food, and prepares his family’s daily meals. He has taught popular vegan cooking classes on Thai food, tapas, cultured nut cheeses, vegan thanksgiving, and others.
Matt began his Dharma practice in 1997 at Santa Cruz Zen Center and in 2009 began a regular Vipassana/Theravada practice. Matt now practices with Sacramento Insight Meditation (SIM) and Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group (SBMG). He is currently completing the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies’ Chaplaincy Training Program and is participating in MBSR teacher training with DVA member Bob Stahl. Matt has completed trainings with mindful schools and taught mindfulness to teenagers. He also teaches Spanish language and literature courses at Universities.
Matt is delighted to be part of Dharma Voices for Animals and to help support our dharma communities to truly extend the Buddhist intention of non-harming and compassion.
San Diego, California, USA
Chapter Leader: Bob Isaacson
Bob Isaacson is the President of Dharma Voices for Animals. He has practiced the Dharma in the Vipassana/Theravada tradition for twenty years. He was a civil rights-human rights attorney for twenty-five years, specializing in defending people against the death penalty. Bob currently teaches the Dharma, leads two Sanghas, and leads day-long and weekend retreats in the San Diego area, having been trained in Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Community Dharma Leader Program. Bob is a DVA co-founder and president.
Our San Diego, California, USA Chapter is focusing on local Buddhist centers and how their policies, such as what food to serve, affect animals.
Patti Breitman has been meditating since 1973 and is currently in the Spirit Rock Meditation Center Dedicated Practitioner Program. Co-author of How to Eat Like a Vegetarian, Even if You Never Want to Be One and Never Too Late to Go Vegan, Patti is also secretary of DVA and a co-founder.
Silicon Valley, California, USA
Chapter Leader: Andrew Bear
Andrew Bear, a hospice chaplain, first took refuge with Thich Nhat Hanh in 1991 and was ordained in the lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing in 2015. He has also studied and practiced in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. He is involved with the Earth Holding Sangha, a movement within Thich Nhat Hanh’s tradition that is dedicated to caring for the Earth and all beings by learning ways to stop contributing to climate change and environmental destruction, such as eating a plant based diet. Andrew is a board member of the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC). Andrew also volunteers as a wildlife rehabilitator at the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley and as a wildlife search and rescue responder with Wildlife Emergency Services. Andrew humbly hopes to use his life to protect living beings and dreams of someday living with animal friends on a farm animal sanctuary. Andrew finds joy in practicing a vegan way of life, as every bite of food, every piece of clothing put on, and every mindful step becomes an act of compassion.
Chapter Leader: Meng Wei Chai (individual photo and left in group photo)
Chapter Coordinator: Ng Xin Zhao (center in group photo)
Meng Wei Chai (Daniel) has supported animal causes since he watched the academy award nominee film, the Cove (2009), which used covert techniques to expose the Dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan. After watching a video on slaughterhouses, he became interested in factory farming and became vegan. Daniel is inspired by a lot of animal activists and wants to help educate people about veganism and environmental issues. He works as a financial advisor.
Trincomalee District, Sri Lanka
Chapter Leader: Dr. Kayalvili Balakumar
Dr. B. Kayalvili is a medical doctor who is currently Deputy Director of the General hospital of Trincomalee District, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. Dr. Kayalvili has worked as Regional Epidemiologist and participated in rabies control and other vaccination programs for companion animals. She has earned her MBBS & Masters in Medical Administration.
Washington D.C. Metro area, USA
Chapter Leader: Alex Arbogast
Cruelty-Free Retreat Centers
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Cruelty-Free SanghasDVA Recommended Guidelines for Sanghas. Read More
Teaching Cruelty-Free Discussion Template. Read More
DVA Resources and Recommendations for a Cruelty-Free Lifestyle. Read More
PETA Ad approved by Thich Nhat Hanh. Enlarge