Teacher Profiles – Forest Refuge

2018 & 2019

Bhikkhu Anālayo

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Bhikkhu Anālayo is a German scholar-monk, teacher and author of several books on meditation. He studies Buddhist texts in Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese and Tibetan, with a special interest in Buddhist meditation and the role of women in Buddhism.

Guy Armstrong

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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 author of Emptiness: A Practical Guide for Meditators.

Listen to one of Guy's talks: Joy and Happiness given at IMS on October 23, 2015 – 59 minutes, 40.3 MB Download

Sally Armstrong

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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

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

Shaila Catherine

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Shaila Catherine is the founder of Bodhi Courses and Insight Meditation South Bay . She has taught internationally since 1996, and has studied with both Western teachers and Asian meditation masters, including Ven. Pa-Auk Sayadaw. She is the author of Focused and Fearless and Wisdom Wide and Deep.

Andrea Fella

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Andrea Fella has practiced insight meditation since 1996, studying with both Western and Asian teachers. Her teaching emphasizes clarity and practicality. She is co-guiding teacher at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, CA, a member of the Spirit Rock Governing Teacher's Council, and teaches retreats nationally.

Listen to one of Andrea's talks: Dependent Origination given at IMS on October 10, 2013 – 61 minutes, 43.2 MB Download

Sayadaw U Jagara

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Sayadaw U Jagara has 37 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 and in the Pa Auk traditions of Myanmar as well as being familiar with other Buddhist approaches.

Caroline Jones

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Caroline Jones, a member of the Gaia House Teacher Council, has been practicing meditation for 29 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.


Photo of  Kittisaro

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: A Contemplative Journey to Engaged Buddhism, he teaches worldwide.

Listen to one of Kittisaro's talks: Attending to the Immovable given at IMS on October 10, 2017 – 62 minutes, 43 MB Download

Nikki Mirghafori

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Nikki Mirghafori, PhD, has practiced intensively with Asian and Western teachers. In 2008, her primary teacher, Burmese master Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw, with whom she studied jhānas and detailed analytical vipassana, instructed her to teach. An Artificial Intelligence scientist for two decades, she now teaches Dharma nationally.

Listen to one of Nikki's talks: Anatta given at IMS on November 21, 2013 – 59 minutes, 41 MB Download

Winnie Nazarko

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Winnie Nazarko started dharma practice 35 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

Annie Nugent

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Annie Nugent has practiced since 1979 and was an IMS Resident Teacher from 1999 to 2003. She has been part of the teaching team for the annual Three-Month Retreat for a number of years and has taught at the Forest Refuge since 2004. 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 on November 15, 2010 – 55 minutes, 23.2 MB Download

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

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

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 from 1991 to 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,

Alexis Santos

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Alexis Santos has practiced insight meditation since 2001, including training as a Buddhist monk in Burma with Sayadaw U Tejaniya. He brings a practical, intuitive and compassionate approach to the development of wisdom. Teaching retreats in the US and internationally, he offers daily life practice support online at his website livingdharma.io.

Greg Scharf

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Greg Scharf, an IMS guiding teacher, has practiced with Western and Asian teachers in the Theravada tradition since 1992. He has been teaching residential retreats since 2007, including the annual Three-Month Retreat at IMS. Greg's love of nature and the outdoors deeply informs both his practice and teaching.

Listen to one of Greg's talks: Great Joy The Ox given at IMS on November 27, 2017 – 60 minutes, 41.5 MB Download

Jill Shepherd

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Jill Shepherd sat her first insight meditation retreat in Thailand in 1999. She currently divides her time between the US, Australia and New Zealand, teaching residential retreats and supporting local communities to explore the Dharma in daily life.

Listen to one of Jill's talks: Dukkha, and the Ending of Dukkah, given at IMS on December 3, 2017 – 61 minutes, 41.8 MB Download

Ajahn Sucitto

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Ajahn Sucitto became a bhikkhu in Thailand in 1976. He has been closely associated with Ajahn Sumedho since 1977, and was abbot of Cittaviveka Buddhist Monastery in Chithurst, England from 1992 to 2014. He has taught at IMS since 1989. Free-distribution books, articles and talks can be downloaded from his website.

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


Photo of  Thanissara

Thanissara trained in the monastic Forest Sangha of Ajahn Chah for 12 years. She has led retreats since 1988, co-founded Dharmagiri in South Africa, and has an MA in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy. In addition, she is the author of several books and co-author of Listening to the Heart: A Contemplative Journey to Engaged Buddhism.

Listen to one of Thanissara's talks: The Immensity of Awareness given at IMS on October 12, 2017 – 44 minutes, 31 MB Download

Carol Wilson

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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 (lovingkindness) and vipassana (insight) 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 April 20, 2017 - 62 minutes, 42.7 MB Download