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Teacher Profiles 2015
Guy Armstrong has practiced insight meditation for over 40 years, including training as a Buddhist monk in Thailand with Ajahn Buddhadasa. He began teaching in 1984 and has led retreats worldwide. He is an IMS guiding teacher and teaches regularly at the fall Three-Month Retreat.
Listen to one of Guy's talks: Joy and Happiness given at IMS on October 23, 2015 – 59 minutes, 40.3 MB (Download, Stream)
Sally Armstrong began practicing vipassana meditation in India in 1981, and started teaching in 1996. She is a co-guiding teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and has also led Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioners Program for 12 years.
Listen to one of Sally's talks: What is Mindfulness? given at IMS on September 12, 2011 – 57 minutes, 39.6 MB (Download, Stream)
Steve Armstrong, a co-founding teacher at the Vipassana Metta Foundation's dhamma sanctuary on Maui, shares the Buddha's teachings on human development and liberation of mind. Out of compassion for future generations, he plants trees and directs the Myanmar Schools Project.
Listen to one of Steve's talks: Four Noble Truths given at IMS on August 13, 2009 – 66 minutes, 45.1 MB (Download, Stream)
Pascal Auclair has been immersed in the dharma since 1997, studying with revered Asian monastic and lay Western teachers. A co-founder of True North Insight Meditation Centre in Canada, he enjoys sharing the Buddha's teachings internationally with all curious people. Photo: © salva magaz/www.magaz.com
Listen to one of Pascal's talks: How Letting Go Happens given at IMS on January 1, 2016 – 49 minutes, 33.8 MB (Download, Stream)
Rebecca Bradshaw is the guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Center of Pioneer Valley, MA. She leads vipassana retreats, including Spanish language courses, emphasizing embodied clarity and kindness. She holds a Master�s Degree in Counseling Psychology, and also serves as an IMS guiding teacher.
Listen to one of Rebecca's talks: Clinging and Non-Clinging given at IMS on November 7, 2014 � 62 minutes, 43 MB (Download, Stream)
Howard Cohn has been leading vipassana retreats internationally since 1985. A psychotherapist and an original member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council, he brings joy and passion to his teaching with an emphasis on reawakening our natural freedom.
Listen to one of Howard's talks: Happiness of a Buddha given at IMS on on January 31, 2013 – 62 minutes, 42.7 MB (Download, Stream)
Chas DiCapua has offered meditation since 2001. He is interested in how all aspects of life can be used towards awakening. Currently the IMS Resident Teacher, he teaches throughout the US.
Listen to one of Chas's talks: Renunciation given at IMS on July 31, 2016 – 67 minutes, 33.4 MB (Download, Stream)
Christina Feldman is an IMS guiding teacher, co-founder of Gaia House in England, and a core teacher of Bodhi College in Europe. Teaching meditation retreats since 1976, she has recently been involved in the dialogue between cognitive therapies and Buddhist practice. Christina's new book on the Brahma Viharas, The Boundless Heart, will be released in February 2017.
Listen to one of Christina's talks: The Wisdom of Disappointment given at IMS on March 11, 2007 – 44 minutes, 10.1 MB (Download, Stream)
Andrea Fella has practiced insight meditation since 1996, studying with both Western and Asian teachers. With an emphasis on clarity and practicality, she is co-guiding teacher at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, CA, and teaches retreats nationally.
Listen to one of Andrea's talks: Dependant Origination given at IMS on October 10, 2013 – 61 minutes, 43.2 MB (Download, Stream)
Joseph Goldstein has taught Buddhist meditation worldwide since 1974. A co-founder and guiding teacher of IMS, he also helped envision and establish BCBS and IMS's Forest Refuge center. His books include Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, One Dharma, Insight Meditation and others.
Listen to one of Joseph's talks: Liberation Through Non-Clinging given at IMS on June 26, 2016 – 64 minutes, 42.5 MB (Download, Stream)
Michael Grady was a guiding teacher at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center for more than 20 years. He has practiced insight meditation since 1974 and also trained with the late Master Sheng Yen. Michael encourages an attitude in which all of life is viewed as an opportunity for awakening.
Listen to one of Michael's talks: Not Self: We Are Included in Nature given at IMS on August 25, 2009 – 52 minutes, 35.3 MB (Download, Stream)
Kittisaro, a Rhodes Scholar, spent 15 years as a monk in the Forest Sangha of Ajahn Chah. A co-founder of Dharmagiri in South Africa and co-author of Listening to the Heart, he teaches worldwide.
Listen to one of Kittisaro's talks: Ice to Water as Dukkha to Peace given at IMS on March 9, 2011 – 33 minutes, 22.7 MB (Download, Stream)
Jack Kornfield trained as a Buddhist monk in Asia. He is a co-founder of IMS and Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and has taught meditation internationally since 1974. He holds a PhD in clinical psychology and is the author of a number of books, including The Wise Heart and After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.
Listen to one of Jack's talks: The Garden of the Heart given at IMS on May 5, 2007 – 58 minutes, 26.6 MB (Download, Stream)
Narayan Liebenson is a guiding teacher of IMS and the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center, and a regular contributor to Buddhadharma magazine. Her training includes over 30 years in the Theravada tradition as well as in Chan with the late Master Sheng Yen.
Listen to one of Narayan's talks: Compassion given at IMS on August 23, 2007 – 45 minutes, 8 MB (Download, Stream)
Kamala Masters is a co-founder of Vipassana Metta Foundation, and serves as an IMS guiding teacher. A meditator since 1977, she trained intensively in metta (lovingkindness) and vipassana (insight) with Sayadaw U Pandita and Anagarika Munindra. Continuing her practice with Sayadaw U Tejaniya, she encourages an open relaxed awareness that has precision and clarity.
Listen to one of Kamala's talks: Three Pillars of the Dharma given at IMS on August 14, 2009 – 56 minutes, 38.3 MB (Download, Stream)
Michele McDonald has taught insight meditation around the world for over 35 years, helping individuals to find their own natural entry points into stillness and deep liberation. She is a co-founder of Vipassana Hawai'i as well as a leader of retreats for youth and taking part in Burma relief projects.
Winnie Nazarko started dharma practice 30 years ago, asking, "Why does there have to be suffering in the world?" She teaches to help individuals realize their full potential for clarity, balance, kindness and wisdom.
Listen to one of Winnie's talks: Seeing the Good given at IMS on November 11, 2011 – 55 minutes, 37.8 MB (Download, Stream)
Annie Nugent has practiced since 1979 and was an IMS Resident Teacher, 1999-2003. Her teaching style aims to reveal how all aspects of our lives can help us come to a clear and direct understanding of the Truth.
Listen to one of Annie's talks: Trust in the Unfolding Process of the Dharma given at IMS – 55 minutes, 23.2 MB (Download, Stream)
Yanai Postelnik has been teaching insight meditation retreats internationally since 1992. His teaching is inspired by the Forest tradition of Thailand and the natural world. He lives in England and is a member of the Teacher Council of Gaia House.
Listen to one of Yanai's talks: Vulnerability, Not Knowing and Openness given at IMS on July 13, 2011 – 54 minutes, 37.6 MB (Download, Stream)
Sharon Salzberg, a co-founder of IMS and BCBS, has practiced meditation since 1971 and has been teaching worldwide since 1974. She is an IMS guiding teacher and author of Real Happiness, Faith, Lovingkindness and other publications.
Listen to one of Sharon's talks: Three Personality Types given at IMS on March 23, 2004 – 48 minutes, 11.1 MB (Download)
Greg Scharf has practiced with Western and Asian teachers in the Theravada tradition since 1992, and has been teaching residential retreats since 2007, including the annual Three-Month Retreat at IMS, where he is a core teacher.
Listen to one of Greg's talks: Renunciation given at IMS on April 8, 2011 – 54 minutes, 37.6 MB (Download, Stream)
Rodney Smith, Smith is an IMS retired guiding teacher and former Buddhist monk. He worked in hospice for 17 years and authored Stepping Out of Self-Deception, Awakening: A Paradigm Shift of the Heart, and Lessons from the Dying. He is the founding teacher of the Seattle Insight Meditation Society.
Listen to one of Rodney's talks: Abiding with Creation given at IMS on March 11, 2014 – 44 minutes, 30.4 MB (Download, Stream)
Ajahn Sucitto became a bhikkhu in Thailand in 1976. He has been closely associated with Ajahn Sumedho for over 30 years, and was abbot of Cittaviveka Buddhist Monastery in Chithurst, England. He has taught at IMS since 1989.
Listen to one of Ajahn Sucitto's talks: The Thermals of Awakening given at IMS on April 18, 2014 – 54 minutes, 36.9 MB (Download, Stream)
Thanissara trained in the monastic Forest Sangha of Ajahn Chah for 12 years. She's led retreats since 1988, co-founded Dharmagiri in South Africa, has an MA in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy Practice and is author of several books.
Listen to one of Thanissara's talks: Without Walls of the Mind given at IMS on March 10, 2011 – 39 minutes, 27 MB (Download, Stream)
Carol Wilson, an IMS guiding teacher, has practiced insight meditation since 1971 with a variety of teachers, including Sayadaw U Pandita and Ashin U Tejaniya, as well as spending a year as a nun in Thailand. She has offered metta and vipassana retreats worldwide since 1986, including the annual IMS Three-Month course.
Listen to one of Carol's talks: Perception of Impermanence given at IMS on October 22, 2006 – 60 minutes, 13.9 MB (Download, Stream)
Visiting – 2017
Akincano is a guiding teacher of Atammaya Cologne and co-founder of Bodhi College, as well as a psychotherapist. A former monk, he practiced for 20 years in European and Thai Forest monasteries. Particular interests are early Buddhist texts, stillness and contemplative psychology. He teaches meditation and Buddhist psychology internationally.
Listen to one of Akincano's talks: Maps and Overview: Stages of Attention given at IMS on January 5, 2015 – 50 minutes, 35.3 MB (Download, Stream)
Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia
Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia teaches within the Thai Forest Tradition and is a Lay Buddhist Minister in association with Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in CA. She has been a dhamma teacher since 1990, served as IMS Resident Teacher in the 1990s, and is a core faculty member at BCBS.
James Baraz has practiced meditation since 1974, taught since 1980 and is a founding teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He leads an online meditation course, Awakening Joy, and has written a book by the same name.
Bhante Buddharakkhita was born in Uganda. Meditating since 1993, he was ordained as a Theravada Buddhist monk in 2002 and teaches worldwide. Founder of the Uganda Buddhist Centre, he is also the spiritual advisor of Flowering Lotus in Mississippi, and author of Planting Dhamma Seeds.
Shaila Catherine is known for her dedication to insight meditation and concentration (jhāna) practice. She is the founder of Bodhi Courses, an online Buddhist classroom, and Insight Meditation South Bay in CA. She has authored two books on jhāna and vipassana.
Mark Coleman, founder of the Mindfulness Institute, has taught retreats since 1997, following extensive training in several Buddhist traditions. He leads Wilderness Meditation courses, mindfulness teacher trainings, is an executive coach, and author of Awake in the Wild.
Chris Cullen has practiced and studied BuddhaDharma since 1994 and has been teaching insight meditation retreats since 2008. He has a psychotherapy practice in Oxford, and teaches mindfulness courses for MPs in Parliament in London.
Listen to one of Chris's talks: Knowing and Unknowing the Body given at IMS on January 26, 2015 – 63 minutes, 43 MB (Download, Stream)
Bonnie Duran, DrPH, began Buddhist meditation practice 35 years ago. She enjoys teaching Spirit Rock's Dedicated Practitioners Program, short and long retreats, and holds a People of Color and Allies Sangha in Seattle, WA. She also directs the University of Washington's Center for Indigenous Health Research.
Listen to one of Bonnie's talks: Mana (Conceit) and Skillful Means given at IMS on September 15, 2012 – 53 minutes, 32.3 MB (Download, Stream)
Jean Esther has trained in meditation since 1975. She teaches at Insight Meditation Center of Pioneer Valley, MA, Smith College and nationally. She also integrates the Buddha's teachings on love and wisdom within her psychotherapy practice in Western MA.
Anushka Fernandopulle lives in San Francisco, is on the Spirit Rock Teachers Council, and works as a leadership coach and management consultant in addition to teaching dharma around the world. Her teaching is informed by arts, nature, politics, social justice and modern urban life.
Listen to one of Anushka's talks: Metta: Digging a Good Trench in the Heart given at IMS on August 1, 2009 – 54 minutes, 37.6 MB (Download, Stream)
Alex Haley completed the IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training in 2016 under the mentorship of Joseph Goldstein and Guy Armstrong. He is the Director of Mindfulness Programs at the University of Minnesota. He is passionate about social justice and technology for wellbeing. For more information, please visit the Midwest (ideally in winter!) or visit his site.
JoAnna Harper has practiced in multiple traditions since 1999, and in 2005 her practice landed on Buddha Dharma. Retreat teaching, bringing the dharma to communities and individuals that don't typically have access to traditional settings, and building multicultural community are her focus. She is co-guiding teacher at Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society.
Susie Harrington teaches meditation nationwide and has been the guiding teacher for Desert Dharma since 2005. She has trained in the Insight tradition since 1989, practicing primarily with Guy Armstrong, Jack Kornfield, and Joseph Goldstein. In her practice and teaching she harnesses the skills of inquiry, relational Dharma, and the psychological/spiritual interface.
Sayadaw U Jagara
Sayadaw U Jagara has 35 years’ experience as a Buddhist monk, living in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, dedicated to the practice, study and teaching of dhamma. He has trained and taught in the U Ba Khin as well as in the Pa Auk traditions of Myanmar.
Ajahn Jayanto entered the monastic community in 1989, training under Ajahn Sumedho and others in the Ajahn Chah forest monasteries in the UK and Thailand. He is the abbot of Temple Forest Monastery, a newly-established branch monastery in the town of Temple, New Hampshire.
Madeline Klyne has loved the dharma since 1986. A co-founder of South Shore Insight Meditation Center, she teaches there and at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center. Madeline also leads retreats for LGBTIQ communities at other meditation centers.
Listen to one of Madeline's talks: Life is Fleeting given at IMS on September 15, 2007 – 47 minutes, 21.5 MB (Download, Stream)
Brian Lesage has studied in the Zen, Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism since 1988. He has taught meditation across the US since 2000 and currently teaches in the vipassana tradition. He also has a private Somatic Experiencing® practice.
Listen to one of Brian's talks: Faith given at IMS on September 15, 2012 – 53 minutes, 32.3 MB (Download, Stream)
Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey
Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey's teaching aims to inspire the skills, determination and faith necessary to realize the deepest human freedom. He is the resident teacher for Vipassana Hawai’i and longtime student of Michele McDonald.
Listen to one of Jesse's talks: Exploring Thirst, Conceit and Views given at IMS on May 29, 2015 – 59 minutes, 40.4 MB (Download, Stream)
Catherine McGee has practiced and studied Buddhist meditation since 1992, and has taught at Gaia House in England and internationally since 1997. She is also a student of the Diamond Approach of A.H. Almaas.
Ayya Medhanandi Bhikkhuni
Ayya Medhanandi Bhikkhuni is the founder and guiding teacher of Sati Saraniya Hermitage, a training monastery for bhikkhunis in Perth, Canada. She took her first vows with Sayadaw U Pandita in 1988 in Myanmar and she received bhikkhuni ordination in Taiwan in 2007.
George Mumford has taught meditation since 1986 in a range of environments, from prisons to Harvard Medical School. He is the author of The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance, published in 2015.
Mark Nunberg began his Buddhist practice in 1982 and has been teaching meditation since 1990. He co-founded Common Ground Meditation Center in Minneapolis, MN in 1993 and continues to serve as the center’s guiding teacher.
Listen to one of Mark's talks: Metta, Wisdom and Mindfulness given at IMS on August 6, 2014 – 61 minutes, 41.7 MB (Download, Stream)
Susan O'Brien has been practicing vipassana meditation since 1980 and has studied with a variety of Western and Asian teachers. She began teaching in 1996 and coordinates the Insight Meditation correspondence course.
Listen to one of Susan's talks: Refuge given at IMS on July 13, 2010 – 51 minutes, 35.1 MB (Download, Stream)
Deborah Ratner Helzer
Deborah Ratner Helzer first took up meditation while working on her engineering degree. She has practiced with Western and Asian teachers, including a year as a nun in Burma. She is currently raising her children and teaching near Washington, DC.
Listen to one of Deborah's talks: Opening the Door to Insight given at IMS on August 4, 2014 – 57 minutes, 39.5 MB (Download, Stream)
Marcia Rose has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1970. She is the guiding teacher for The Mountain Hermitage in Taos, NM and was IMS Resident Teacher, 1991-1995. Her international teaching is rooted in the Mahasi and Pa Auk Forest Monastery lineages.
Listen to one of Marcia’s talks: Karma given at IMS on February 22, 2016 – 62 minutes, 42.5 MB (Download, Stream)
Jaya Karen Rudgard
Jaya Karen Rudgard began meditating in the 1980s and practiced for eight years as a nun in the Theravada tradition with Ven. Ajahn Sumedho. She is a graduate of the IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training and teaches insight meditation and mindfulness in the UK and internationally.
Alexis Santos has practiced insight meditation since 2001, including several years as a Buddhist monk in Burma. A long-time student of Sayadaw U Tejaniya, he brings a practical, intuitive and compassionate approach to the development of wisdom.
Sara Schedler has practiced insight meditation for 15 years, and has undergone long-term training in both Asia and the West. She has taught at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center and assisted on IMS retreats.
Jill Shepherd is a graduate of the IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training. She divides her time mainly between the US, Australia and New Zealand, teaching insight meditation retreats and supporting local communities to explore the Dharma in daily life.
Oren J. Sofer
Oren J. Sofer has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1997. He holds a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University, is a Somatic Experiencing practitioner for healing trauma, and a graduate of the IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training Program.
Erin Treat has been practicing meditation for over 20 years and is the Guiding Teacher of Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center in northern New Mexico. Her approach to sharing the Dharma is influenced by her love of embodiment and wild nature, as well as her ongoing experience as a student of the Diamond Approach by A.H. Almaas. Erin completed the IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training in 2016.
Lila Kate Wheeler
Lila Kate Wheeler attended her first IMS retreat in 1977 and is still learning. She has been encouraged to teach in the Theravada, Vajrayana and Hindu Advaita traditions. Her aim is to help people cultivate love, tolerance, and freedom. She also writes fiction.
Listen to one of Lila's talks: Equanimity, an Attitude given at IMS on February 6, 2016 – 52 minutes, 32.1 MB (Download, Stream)
DaRa Williams has practiced vipassana meditation for 25 years. She completed the IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training and serves as an Associate Guiding Teacher at IMS. She is also a certified coordinating trainer for Aboriginal Focusing Oriented Complex Trauma Therapy. "It is my experience that meditation and the Dharma are ideal for transforming suffering. Awareness, wisdom and a compassionate heart become the vehicle for transformation, connection and freedom."
Assisting – 2017
Devin Berry has practiced meditation since 1999, and is a community teacher at East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, CA. He recently completed Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioners Program.
Booker is a facilitator, public speaker, consultant, and yoga teacher. Sharing mindfulness and yoga with incarcerated and system-involved youth since 2007, she currently serves as Director of Trainings for Lineage Project. Utilizing social justice principles and embodied wisdom practices, she offers workshops on college campuses, national diversity trainings for yoga teachers, and retreats for refuge and resiliency for activists.
Peggy Gillespie studied to be a Community Dharma Leader at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She teaches at the Insight Meditation Center of Pioneer Valley, MA, and is co-Buddhist advisor at Mt. Holyoke College. She is a journalist and the co-director/founder of Family Diversity Projects.
Devon Hase has been practicing meditation in the vipassana and Karma Kagyu traditions since 1999. A co-founder of Sati Consulting, she loves long retreats as well as finding creative ways to bring depth practice into daily life.
Ed Hauben, a long-term meditator and friend of IMS for over 30 years, has served on its Board of Directors and has assisted with the teen and family retreats since its inception in 1989.
Matthew Hepburn has been exploring life through meditation since 2008. Firmly rooted in vipassana, he is inspired by many contemplative methods of uncovering direct experience. He is interested in both long-term retreat, and intensive practice in daily life.
Caroline Jones, a member of the Gaia House Teacher Council, has been practicing meditation for 25 years and teaching since 2009. In teaching, she encourages students to discover and deepen ways of engaging with the Dharma to bring healing and liberation.
John Martin teaches vipassana, metta, and LGBTQI themed meditation retreats. He leads an ongoing weekly meditation group in San Francisco and is the guiding teacher for the LGBTQueer Sangha at IMC. He has had a dedicated practice while being engaged in the working world and emphasizes practice for daily life. He also completed the IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training in 2016.
Jessica Morey, MA, is the executive director and lead teacher of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education. She began practicing meditation at age 14 on IMS Teen Retreats. She has undertaken longer-term practice in Asia and the US, and worked in clean energy finance.
Yuka Nakamura has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1993 in the Theravada, Dzogchen and Zen traditions, and has been trained as a teacher by Fred von Allmen. Living in Switzerland, she teaches meditation and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.
Yong Oh has studied Soto Zen and vipassana with various teachers since 2006. An acupuncturist, he teaches meditation and mindfulness and is also trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Currently he’s participating in Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leader Training.
Erin Selover has been following the inner guidance of the Dharma since a dear friend tragically died in 1998. She is psychotherapist, rites of passage guide and lover of all things wild and mysterious. She is a recent graduate of the IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training.
Sayadaw U Vivekananda
Sayadaw U Vivekananda has trained under Ven. Sayadaw U Pandita since 1988. He has taught internationally since 1998, guiding meditators in English, Burmese, German and French. He is the resident teacher at Panditarama Lumbini International Vipassana Meditation Center in Nepal.