Teachers: Sunday Insight
After strong intimations of the spiritual as a teenager, Martin Aylward travelled to India aged 19 to explore meditation. He spent most of the next 5 years in monasteries, ashrams and meditation centres in India and Thailand, including two years in a hermitage in the Himalayas with one of his teachers. Returning to Europe, in 1995 he co-founded with his wife Gail, the Tapovan Dharma Community in the French Pyrenees. Gradually, the number of visitors increased beyond the capacity of the place, and in 2005 – 10 years after opening – they relocated to Le Moulin, a former Zen monastery in the Dordogne, South West France, where Martin and Gail continue to live with their two children. His approach draws on extensive practice in the Buddhist Theravada tradition, as well as the influence of Non-dual teachings and the Diamond Approach.
James Baraz has been teaching meditation since 1978 and the Awakening Joy course since 2003. He leads retreats, workshops and classes in the U.S. and abroad and is a founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California.
James is co-author with Shoshana Alexander of Awakening Joy, a new book based on the course. In addition, James is on the International Advisory Board of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. He lives with his wife in the Bay Area, has two sons and three grandchildren.
Martine Batchelor was born in France in 1953. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in Korea in 1975. She studied Zen Buddhism under the guidance of the late Master Kusan at Songgwang Sa monastery until 1984. Following Master Kusan’s death she returned her nun’s vows and left Korea. She returned to Europe with her husband, Stephen, in 1985. She was a member of the Sharpham North Community in Devon, England for six years. She worked as a lecturer and spiritual counsellor both at Gaia House and elsewhere in Britain. She was also involved in interfaith dialogue and was a Trustee of the International Sacred Literature Trust until 2000. With her husband she co-leads meditation retreats worldwide. They now live in France. http://www.martinebatchelor.org/index.php/en/
Tara Brach is a leading western teacher of Buddhist meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening. She has practiced and taught meditation for over 35 years, with an emphasis on vipassana (mindfulness or insight) meditation. Tara is the senior teacher and founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. A clinical psychologist, Tara is the author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge.
Eugene is the founding teacher of the San Francisco Insight Meditation Community of San Francisco. He teaches at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and leads intensive meditation retreats internationally. His teaching is influenced by both Burmese and Thai streams of the Theravada tradition as well as Zen and Tibetan Buddhist practice. He is also a teacher of the Diamond Approach, a school of spiritual investigation and self-realization developed by A. H. Almaas.
Shaila Catherine is the founder of Bodhi Courses, an online Dhamma classroom (http://www.bodhicourses.org), and Insight Meditation South Bay, a Buddhist meditation center in Silicon Valley in California (http://www.imsb.org). She has been practicing meditation since 1980, accumulating more than eight years of silent retreat experience, and has taught internationally since 1996. Shaila studied with masters in India, Thailand, and Nepal, and also with the founders of western meditation centers. She completed a one-year intensive meditation retreat with the focus on concentration and jhāna, and authored Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity. Shaila practiced intensively under the direction of Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw from 2006-2015, absorbing a precise and rigorous approach to samādhi and vipassanā that continues to inform her teaching. She authored Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhāna and Vipassanā to help make this traditional training in samādhi and vipassanā accessible to western practitioners.
Mark Coleman has been studying meditation practices since 1981, primarily within the Insight meditation (Buddhist) tradition. He has been teaching meditation retreats since 1997. His teaching is influenced by studies with many great teachers in the Buddhist tradition as well as from Advaita and Tibetan teachers in Asia and the West, and through his teacher training with Jack Kornfield. Mark primarily teaches at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California, and teaches nationally, in Europe and India.
Trudy Goodman is currently the senior Vipassana teacher in Los Angeles from the Theravada lineage of the major meditation centers where Trudy trained — and now teaches, with the blessings of her teachers: Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA, The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA. Trudy is passionate about embracing both relational and transcendent perspectives so that the teachings encompass the fullness of our humanity. Trudy’s teaching embraces both secular mindfulness and Buddhist practice. At InsightLA, everyone is invited to connect with their intuitive wisdom and rediscover the joy that’s possible for the human heart.
JoAnna Harper has been exploring and practicing multiple traditions since 1999. In 2005, her focus landed on Buddhism and Vipassana meditation, which is the premise for most of her current teaching. She teaches; adult and teen weeklong silent retreats, day longs and weekly classes, and works with at risk youth and non at risk youth in institutional and school settings. She has been trained in council facilitation with the Ojai Foundation, is a graduate of Noah Levine’s Against the Stream teacher training and is currently in the Spirit Rock/IMS/IMC four-year teacher training. She is the grateful mother of CJ and Harris – her main inspirations.
Kittisaro (Harry Randolph Weinberg)
From Tennessee USA, graduated from Princeton as a Rhodes Scholar and went on to Oxford before going to Thailand to ordain with Ajahn Chah in 1976. He was a monk for 15 years and during that time helped found Chithurst Monastery and Devon Vihara in the UK. He also taught extensively during this time and was involved in the training of monks. He disrobed in 1991 and since then has taught internationally in the States, Europe, South Africa, and Israel. He has studied and practiced Chan and Pure Land for 35 years informed by the Chinese school of Master Hua. Kittisaro has completed two one year long silent self retreats and is currently writing in between continuing his teaching engagements.
Josh Korda has been meditating for over two decades and began his studies of Theravada Buddhism in 1996. He has been the teacher at New York Dharmapunx since 2005, and at the Monday night Brooklyn Dharma class. For the last three years Josh has been a visiting teacher at ZenCare.org, a non-profit organization that trains hospice volunteers, and gives talks at Meditate New York.
Gregory Kramer is the Founder and Guiding Teacher of Metta Programs and has been teaching Insight Meditation since 1980. He developed the practice of Insight Dialogue and has been teaching it since 1995, offering retreats in North America, Asia, Europe, and Australia. He has studied with esteemed teachers, including Anagarika Dhammadina, Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Mahanayaka Thero, Achan Sobin Namto, and Ven. Punnaji Maha Thero. Gregory is the author of : Insight Dialogue: The Interpersonal Path to Freedom (Shambhala), Seeding the Heart: Practicing Lovingkindness with Children, Meditating Together, Speaking from Silence: the Practice of Insight Dialogue, and Dharma Contemplation: Meditating Together with Wisdom Texts.
Catherine McGee has practised and studied Buddhist meditation since 1992. She has been teaching insight meditation at Gaia House and internationally since 1997. She is a member of the Gaia House teacher council. She is particularly interested in the integration and embodiment of insight into our personal lives, and the opening of our personal lives for a depth of insight. Her practice is more recently influenced by the Diamond Approach of A H Almaas.
At the peak of his career, former CEO and Editor-in-chief of Esquire magazine, Phillip Moffitt, traded in his worldly aspirations to explore the inner life. He subsequently founded the Life Balance Institute and now teaches vipassana meditation with an emphasis on living the dharma in daily life. Phillip is a co-guiding teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and the author of Emotional Chaos to Clarity and Dancing with Life.
Caverly Morgan is the founding meditation teacher of One House of Peace. She has been dedicated to awareness practice since 1995, including eight years as a monk at a silent Zen monastery. Her teaching integrates the original spirit of Zen with a contemporary nondual approach. She offers workshops, retreats, and private consultations for adults. Caverly is also the founder of the nonprofit Peace in Schools. She created the first accredited high school mindfulness course in the United States. Her vision is to make mindfulness a recognized discipline in public education. Caverly teaches with clarity, humor, and a boundless heart. Her passion is using skillful means to assist students from all walks of life to awaken. Her unwavering commitment to consciousness is the foundation for the work of transformation and realization that she offers the world.
Wes has studied Buddhist meditation for over three decades with teachers in Asia and America, and for the past 15 years has been leading his own retreats and workshops in Buddhist insight meditation and philosophy at venues internationally. He is an affiliate teacher at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California.
Yanai Postelnik has practiced and studied Insight Meditation and Buddhism since 1990 and has been teaching internationally for over 20 years. He is much inspired by the Thai forest tradition and the transformative power of the natural world. He lives with his wife in Devon, England.
Gina Sharpe was born in Jamaica and immigrated to New York at the age of 11. After retiring from the practice of law, she co-founded New York Insight Meditation Center where she serves as Guiding Teacher. She has taught at Retreat Centers and other venues around the United States including a maximum security prison for women. She has been teaching the Dharma since 1995 and is particularly inspired by the potential and application of Dharma to transform and illuminate interpersonal and multicultural relations.
Michael Stone is a teacher of yoga and Buddhist meditation (in the vipassana tradition) and a psychotherapist in private practice. He is the founder and director of the Centre of Gravity Sangha, a community of yoga and Buddhist practitioners based in Toronto, where he lives. He is also the author of The Inner Tradition of Yoga and Yoga for a World Out of Balance.
Jason Siff began meditating as a teenager, however it wasn’t until after attending a Goenka Vipassana Meditation retreat in Kathmandu in 1986 that he developed a serious daily meditation practice. He attended several 10-day retreats in India and Nepal during that year, and left for Sri Lanka in 1987 to learn the Mahasi Method and become a Buddhist monk.
He co-founded the Skillful Meditation Project with Gordon Smith in 1996, and has been teaching meditation full-time since then. He lives in Idyllwild, California.
Ralph Steele is the founder of Life Transition Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico where he serves as the guiding meditation teacher. He has practiced Theravadin Buddhist meditation for over three decades and taught since 1987, including at such venues as Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Insight Meditation Society. He completed a year of intensive practice as a monk in Burma and in Thailand. Along with his interest in preserving the Theravada tradition, he is dedicated to making the dharma available to culturally diverse populations. He has also worked with youth around the country.
Dr Valerie Mason-John was renamed Vimalasara when she was ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Community in India 2005. Introduced to Transcendental Meditation in the late 1980s, she went onto study the dharma under the teachings and translations of the Venerable Sangharakshita, and has also sat many Vipassna retreats. She struggled with an extreme eating disorder Anorexia/Bulimic Nervosa and recreational drug use for 20 years, but managed to discover freedom and liberation from these samskara’s on retreats, and in the mediation halls. Clean and Sober for 15 years, she is a TEDx Speaker, Author of 8 books, including co-authoring the Award winning book – Eight Step Recovery – Using The Buddha’s Teachings to Overcome Addiction. She is currently the chair of Vancouver Triratna Buddhist Centre and regularly leads retreats on the themes of recovery, anger and loving kindness.
Thanissara (Linda Mary Peacock)
From a London Anglo-Irish family in London, started Buddhist practice in the Burmese school in 1975. She was inspired to ordain after meeting Ajahn Chah and spent 12 years as a Buddhist nun where she was a founding member of Chithurst Monastery and Amaravati Buddhist Monastery. She was also co-initiator of events for children and families at Amaravati. Thanissara has facilitated meditation retreats internationally the last 25 years and has an MA in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy Practice from Middlesex University & the Karuna Institute in the UK. She has written a book of poetry, ‘Garden of the Midnight Rosary’. Thanissara is co-facilitator of the Community Dharma Leader Program at Spirit Rock Meditation Centre CA, USA.
Christopher Titmuss, a former Buddhist monk in Thailand and India and senior Dharma teacher in the West, offers retreats, facilitates pilgrimages and leads Dharma Gatherings worldwide. His teachings focus on insight meditation (vipassana), the expansive heart and enquiry into emptiness and liberation. Poet and social critic, he is the author of numerous books including Light on Enlightenment, An Awakened Life and Poems from the Edge.
Stephen Batchelor studied for eight years under the guidance of Tibetan lamas and completed a three-year Zen training in Korea. A former Buddhist monk, he is the author of Alone with Others, The Faith to Doubt, The Awakening of the West, Buddhism without Beliefs and Verses from the Centre: a Buddhist Vision of the Sublime. He is a Gaia House guiding teacher and co-founder of Sharpham College. He teaches worldwide and lives in South West France. Stephen’s Confession of a Buddhist Atheist is an account of his journey through Buddhism.