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Our Teachers

We invite meditation teachers who are trained in how to teach meditation and follow the teacher’s code of ethics. Most of them are from the Insight (Vipassana) tradition although a few come from other traditions.

See below for teachers who are on this year’s programme:

 

Ajahn Amaro

Ajahn Amaro was born 1956 in England; he went to London University and graduated with a joint honours degree in psychology & physiology. He was ordained as a monk by Ven. Ajahn Chah in April 1979. He trained in England from 1979 to 1995 under Ven. Ajahn Sumedho and started going to the USA to teach in 1990; in June 1996 he opened Abhayagiri Monastery, in Redwood Valley, California. He was co-abbot there, with Ajahn Pasanno, until 2010 when, on Ajahn Sumedho’s retirement, he took up the role of abbot at Amaravati Monastery, in Hertfordshire. He has authored or co-authored about 20 books on Buddhist themes. In 2015 he was honoured by the King of Thailand with the title Chao Khun Videsabuddhiguna

 

Ajahn Sucitto

Ajahn Sucitto was one of the original group who founded Chithurst Monastery (Cittaviveka) in West Sussex in 1979 and Amaravati near Hemel Hempstead in 1984. He has been teaching retreats in Britain and overseas since 1981, and has authored Rude Awakenings and Turning the Wheel of Truth for commercial distribution, as well as several books for free distribution. Many free books, podcasts, audio files and CDs are available from the websites below.

Visit Ajahn Sucitto’s website
Visit Ajahn Sucitto’s blog
Visit the Chithurst Monastery website
Visit the Forest Sangha Publications website

 

Bhante Bodhidhamma 

Bhante Bodhidhamma began his meditation in the Soto Zen tradition in 1978 and has practised widely in the Theravada tradition, centring on the Mahasi tradition. In 1986, he ordained and subsequently spent eight years at Kanduboda Meditation Centre in Sri Lanka. From June 2001-2005, he was the resident teacher in residence at Gaia House. He founded Satipanya Buddhist Retreat (https://www.satipanya.org.uk), dedicated to the Mahasi tradition, on the borders of Wales in 2007. The centre has gone through extensive development and now accommodates 10 meditators in single rooms. 

 

Catherine McGee

Catherine McGee has been teaching Insight Meditation retreats since 1999.  She is a member of the Gaia House teacher council, teaches yearly at the Insight Meditation Society and the  Barre Centre for Buddhist Studies and is a guiding teacher for One Earth Sangha– a web-based sangha exploring Buddhist responses to the climate and ecological crises.

Between 2014 -2019 she collaborated closely with Rob Burbea in shaping and teaching A Soulmaking Dharma.

 

Christina Feldman

Christina Feldman is a co-founder of Gaia House and a member of the Gaia House teacher council. She has been leading insight meditation retreats worldwide since 1976. She is a guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society, Massachusetts. Her books include Woman awake, The way of meditation, Silence, Compassion and The Buddhist path to simplicity.  Her most recent book Mindfulness: Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Psychology, is written with Willem Kuyken.

 

Clare Brunt

Clare has practised meditation in the Insight tradition for 25 years, and has worked as a psychotherapist for over 35 years.

She was for many years a dharma student of Rob Burbea. She completed the Community Dharma Leaders (CDL) programme in 2017 and has since run several meditation courses for beginners in the Twickenham area. Clare has a long association with London Insight Meditation and was Chair of the Trustees from 2011-2015.

 

Esther Slattery

Esther is a black Londoner, mother of two, meditation/mindfulness practitioner and teacher. She is also a psychotherapist with special interest in trauma, self-esteem, belonging (identity, equality and inclusion) and dynamics of wellbeing (including health inequalities). She trained to teach at Oxford university (Mst in MBCT). She has been teaching in the community (voluntary and private sector) and within the NHS (staff and patients).

 

Frank Ostaseski

Frank Ostaseski is an internationally respected Buddhist teacher and visionary cofounder of the Zen Hospice Project, and founder of the Metta Institute. He has sat on the precipice of death with more than a thousand people and trained countless clinicians and caregivers in the art of mindful and compassionate care. He has lectured at Harvard Medical School, the Mayo Clinic, Wisdom.2.0 and teaches at major spiritual centers around the globe. His work has been highlighted on The Oprah Winfrey Show, featured by Bill Moyers in his PBS television series, and honored by H.H. the Dalai Lama. He is the author of The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully. More info: fiveinvitations.com

 

Jake Dartington

Jake Dartington has practised Buddhist meditation since 1995 and trained as a teacher with Christina Feldman. He began to teach retreats and meditation courses in 2007. As well as leading retreats at Gaia House, Jake teaches with organisations including Yoga London, Bahia Yoga, Sheffield Insight and Oxford Gaia House Retreats. He has also completed Mindfulness teacher training courses with Bangor University and regularly teaches eight-week courses in Nottingham.

Visit Jake’s website here.
Visit Jake’s YouTube channel here.

 

James Baraz

James Baraz is a founding teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Centre in the San Francisco Bay Area and leads retreats and workshops internationally. He is the co-author of *Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to Happiness* and *Awakening Joy for Kids*.  He’s been leading the popular Awakening Joy online course since 2003. He serves as a Guiding Teacher to One Earth Sangha, a virtual EcoDharma center supporting a global community in the Path of Engaged Practice. He has also coordinated several Spirit Rock Climate Days and trainings.

 

James Blake

James has practised insight meditation for over 20 years, principally with the guidance of teachers from Gaia House.  He is a Community Dharma Leader authorised by the Gaia House Teachers Council. He was Director of London Insight meditation 2011-14.

 

 

Jaya Karen Rudgard

Jaya began meditating in the 1980s and practised for eight years as a nun in the Thai Forest tradition in England with Ven. Ajahn Sumedho as her teacher. She is a graduate of the IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training and teaches Insight Meditation and mindfulness in the UK and internationally. She has practised qigong with various teachers, is a qualified Holden Qigong instructor, and offers regular online classes (qi-mindful.com).

 

Jenny Wilks

Jenny Wilks has practiced insight meditation for many years and has an MA in Indian Religions. She teaches at Gaia House and at the Barn Retreat in Devon. She trained as a clinical psychologist and works at Exeter University training and supervising mindfulness teachers. Jenny has also attended several Insight Dialogue retreats with Gregory Kramer and draws on this approach in her teaching.

 

John Peacock

John Peacock is a retired academic and practitioner for over fifty years. He studied initially with the Tibetan community in India and subsequently in Sri Lanka. His academic career consisted in teaching philosophy, Buddhist studies and finally Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy at Oxford. He was one of the founding members of Bodhi College and is committed to making Buddhist teaching relevant in the contemporary era.

 

John Teasdale

John Teasdale was one of the co-developers of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy, and has co-authored three books on that subject. For 30 years he worked for the Medical Research Council as a research clinical psychologist in Oxford and Cambridge. After retiring, he trained as a teacher with Christina Feldman and taught retreats internationally with her. He is currently exploring ways to understand mindfulness and inner awakening from a cognitive evolutionary perspective.

 

Kevin Griffin

Kevin is a Buddhist teacher and author of several books, including One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps, and his latest Buddhism & the Twelve Steps DAILY REFLECTIONS. A longtime Buddhist practitioner and 12 Step participant, he is a leader in the mindful recovery movement and one of the founders of the Buddhist Recovery Network.

Learn more at www.kevingriffin.net.

 

Kirsten Kratz

Kirsten has practised Buddhist meditation in Asia and the West since 1993. She started teaching in 2006 and since 2015 she has been ‘teacher in residence’ supporting those on personal retreat at Gaia House. Her love and understanding of Dharma has been strongly influenced by, among others, the teachings of her friend and teacher colleague, Rob Burbea. One of her particular passions is exploring how wisdom teachings can foster appropriate responses to the challenges of our time, and Kirsten sees her involvement in activism as an important expression of her practice. Kirsten is co-initiator of the “Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement” and supporting teacher of Freely Given Retreats.

 

Lama Rod Owens

Lama Rod Owens is a Buddhist minister, best selling author, activist, yoga instructor and authorized Lama, or Buddhist teacher, in the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism and is considered one of the leaders of his generation of Buddhist teachers. He holds a Master of Divinity degree in Buddhist Studies from Harvard Divinity School and was included in the 2021 GOMES STB ’68 Distinguished Alumni Honorees List. He is the co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation. Owens is the co-founder of Bhumisparsha, a Buddhist tantric practice and study community.

 

Leigh Brasington

Leigh Brasington has been practicing meditation since 1985 and is the senior American student of the late Ven. Ayya Khema. Leigh began assisting Ven. Ayya Khemma in 1994, and began teaching retreats on his on in 1997. He is also authorized to teach by Jack Kornfield. Leigh has taught the jhanas, along with multiple insight practices, at well over one hundred residential retreats throughout the United States and Europe. He is the author of the books Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas and Dependent Origination and EmptinessStreams ODependently Arising Processes Interacting. Find more about Leigh’s teaching and schedule at http://leighb.com.

 

Martin Aylward

Martin Aylward began dharma practice and study aged 19, spending several years in Asian monasteries and with Himalayan hermits. Teaching worldwide since 1999, Martin co-founded Moulin de Chaves,  the retreat center where he lives and teaches in SW France; the Mindfulness Training Institute  and the online dharma community Sangha Live. He is married with two adult children, and integrates dharma into daily life with programs like Work Sex Money Dharma.  His latest book is Awake Where You  Are (2021).

 

Mary Stancavage

Mary Stancavage has practiced meditation, yoga, and cultivated a spiritual practice for over 35 years and in 2009 was empowered to teach Buddhadharma. Mary is based in the Los Angeles area and teaches classes, retreats and does individual mentoring. She has taught mindfulness at recovery centers, has co-facilitated Year-to-Live groups since 2008, and has had a weekly dharma class for over a decade. Mary is part of the Guiding Teachers Council at Insight Community of the Desert and a founding teacher at Meditation Coalition. Mary completed the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at the Sati Center and served as volunteer chaplain at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. She also served as Executive Director of the Mind Body Awareness Project from 2016 to 2018. In taking the practice off the cushion, Mary is honored to serve on the board of CLUE: Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. Along with teaching, she continues to investigate what it means to live with an undefended heart. Fun fact: Mary has a Masters Degree from UCLA and worked as an archaeologist in Syria. More info can be found at her website, marystancavage.org.

 

maura-sills-200-pixelsMaura Sills

Maura Sills is the Founder of Core Process Psychotherapy which offers an innovative psycho-spiritual approach to therapy. The Karuna Institute integrates western psychotherapeutic models with Buddhist psychology and mindfulness practices. Drawing on over 30 years of experience, Core Process Psychotherapy offers a depth understanding of what helps and hinders healing insight and transformation. Maura is an Honorary Fellow of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and Director of Training at the Karuna Institute which offers Master Degree Programmes in Buddhist Mindfulness Based Psychotherapy along with Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Retreat.

Click here to see the Karuna Institute’s website

 

Nolitha Tsengiwe

Nolitha is a Meditation teacher trained by IMS ( Insight Meditation Society) , a teacher for Cloud Sangha and Dharmagiri Meditation Center, mentor for Sounds True MMTCP. Nolitha is a Psychologist, Executive Coach and a Leadership Development Consultant. She is currently in a teacher training program in Insight Dialogue under Greg Kramer. She has a trauma sensitive lense in supporting clients who are in search of truth as a doorway to well-being.

 

River Wolton

River Wolton is co-founder of Sheffield Insight Meditation, a graduate of the Gaia House Community Dharma Leadership programme, and is completing teacher training with Bodhi College. She is co-founder of Out Aloud Sheffield’s LGBT choir and has a background in LGBTQ+ activism.el.

 

 

Rosalie Dores

Rosalie Dores, MA is an Insight Dialogue Retreat Teacher. She has been practicing meditation and yoga since 1992. Her dharma roots are within the Vipassana tradition of S.N. Goenka, Theravada, Insight Meditation and Insight Dialogue. Rosalie is dedicated to offering teachings that engage at the interface between ancient wisdom and the challenges of our modern world. Rosalie is director of Optimal Living CIC, offering MBSR and Interpersonal Mindfulness Programmes to the general public, and private sector, in London. She is an associate at The Mindfulness Network CIC. She is a founding member of the London & Beyond Online Insight Dialogue group where she offers ID teachings on a regular basis.

 

Sharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg is a meditation pioneer and industry leader, a world-renowned teacher, and New York Times bestselling author. As one of the first to bring meditation and mindfulness into mainstream American culture over 45 years ago, her relatable, demystifying approach has inspired generations of meditation teachers and wellness influencers. Sharon is co-founder of The Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, and the author of eleven books, including the New York Times bestseller, Real Happiness, now in its second edition, her seminal work, Lovingkindness, and her newest book, Real Change: Mindfulness To Heal Ourselves and the World, released in September of 2020 from Flatiron Books. Sharon’s secular, modern approach to Buddhist teachings is sought after at schools, conferences, and retreat centres worldwide. Her podcast, The Metta Hour, has amassed over 3 million downloads and features interviews with the top leaders and thinkers of the mindfulness movement and beyond. Sharon’s writing can be found on Medium, On Being, the Maria Shriver blog, and Huffington Post. Learn more at www.sharonsalzberg.com.

 

Vince Cullen

Having drunk alcoholically from the age of 14 until 39, Vince Cullen sat in his kitchen and poured a glass of lager. He made a promise to himself that this would be his last drink… ever. That was 25-years ago. Since then, he has been associated with Wat Thamkrabok, the famous detox monastery in Thailand and Buddhist-oriented drug and alcohol recovery.

Vince founded and has facilitated Fifth Precept Sangha meditation-for-awakening Sit-and-Share meetings in England, Scotland, Ireland, India, Nepal, Thailand and the USA as part of his ongoing teaching of Hungry Ghost Retreats. He is a board member of the Buddhist Recovery Network and a keynote speaker at Buddhist Recovery Summits.

Vince has completed both the Committed Dharma Practitioner and Advanced Practitioner programmes offered by Gaia House in England. Vince has completed the Mindfulness Teachers Development Programme offered by Bodhi College in Switzerland and the UK. Vince has twice taken temporary ordination in the unique Buddhist tradition practised at Wat Thamkrabok monastery in Thailand.  He has previously been a Buddhist Prison Chaplain in both male and female prisons in the UK. In 2022, Vince became a regular teacher for the Mindful Recovery Foundation.

 

Yanai Postelnik

Yanai first encountered the teachings of the Buddha while travelling in Asia in 1989, and has been teaching Insight Meditation and Buddhist practice internationally for 30 years. He is much inspired by the teachings and practice of the Thai forest tradition, and the transformative power of the natural world. Yanai is a member of the Gaia House Teacher Council, and a Core Faculty member of Insight Meditation Society, Massachusetts. Since 2018 he has devoted a significant amount of his time to activism and nonviolent civil disobedience, calling for an appropriate response by government, to the intersecting climate, ecological and social justice emergencies of our time. Having grown up in New Zealand, with parents of European and Asian heritage, Yanai lives with his wife Catherine McGee, in Devon, England.

 

Zohar Lavie

Zohar Lavie has been practising meditation in different traditions since 1995. This journey has taken her from the meditation cushion into exploring further ways of expressing truth and love and in 2004 she co-founded SanghaSeva. She now spends most of her time facilitating retreats that offer service as a spiritual path around the world. Since 2006 she has been teaching on silent retreats and Dharma gatherings in India, Europe and Israel.

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