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Teacher Profiles – Forest Refuge

2016 & 2017

Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia

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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

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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.

Rebecca Bradshaw

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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)

Shaila Catherine

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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.

Patricia Genoud-Feldman

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Patricia Genoud-Feldman has been practicing Buddhist meditation (vipassana and Dzogchen) in Asia and the West since 1984, and teaching vipassana internationally since 1997. She is a co-founder and guiding teacher of the Meditation Centre Vimalakirti in Geneva, Switzerland.

Listen to one of Patricia's talks: Purifying the Mind and Heart given at IMS on November 13, 2008 � 66 minutes, 30.3 MB (Download, Stream)

Joseph Goldstein

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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)

Sayadaw U Jagara

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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.

Caroline Jones

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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.

Bhante Khippapanno

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Bhante Khippapanno, ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1949, practiced vipassana in India and Burma with Dipa Ma, Mahasi Sayadaw and Shwe Oo Min Sayadaw. He founded Jetavana Vihara, Washington, DC, 1982, and Sakyamuni Meditation Center, CA, 1988. He helped establish Phuoc Son Meditation Center, Vietnam, 1994.


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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)

Brian Lesage

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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)

Narayan Liebenson

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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)

Winnie Nazarko

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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

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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)

Susan O'Brien

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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

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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

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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)

Greg Scharf

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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

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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

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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)


Photo of  Thanissara

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)

Sayadaw U Vivekananda

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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.

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