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Our Teachers

We invite Dhamma/Dharma and meditation teachers who are qualified and follow the teacher’s code of ethics. Most of them are from the Insight or early Buddhism traditions, although a few come from other lineages or schools.

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

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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. Web: https://ajahnsucitto.org. Blog: http://sucitto.blogspot.com.

 

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Bernat Font

Bernat Font met the dharma at a very young age and has practiced in Europe, India and Myanmar, gradually putting aside his artistic career. He completed his dharma teacher training with the Bodhi College in 2022, mentored by Stephen Batchelor, and is doing a PhD in Buddhist Studies. He is a co-founder of Espai Sati in Barcelona and teaches in English, Catalan and Spanish.

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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. 

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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.

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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. You can find Jake’s website here.

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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, and currently leads our online twice-monthly Dharma Circle sessions.

 

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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).

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Jill Shepherd

Jill Shepherd began practicing insight meditation in Thailand in 1999, and since that time has lived and worked at several meditation centres and monasteries in the US, Australia, England, and Thailand. She spent seven years on staff at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, where she participated in several long retreats and Buddhist study programmes, as well as offering weekly meditation classes at a nearby prison. She is a graduate of the IMS / Spirit Rock teacher training program in the US, under the guidance of Joseph Goldstein and Gil Fronsdal.

Currently, she divides her time mostly between the USA, Australia and New Zealand, teaching insight / vipassanā and brahmavihāra retreats and offering ongoing study and practice groups focused on bringing the dharma into daily life.  She also leads courses and non-residential workshops exploring the relational practice of Insight Dialogue, as developed by Gregory Kramer and colleagues.

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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.

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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).

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Mimi Kuo-Deemer

Mimi Kuo-Deemer, MA, is the author of Qigong and the Tai Chi Axis: Nourishing Practices for Body, Mind and Spirit and Xiu Yang: The Ancient Chinese Art of Self-Cultivation. She teaches qigong, internal martial arts (6th generation lineage holder in Baguazhang) and meditation (studies dharma under Martin Aylward), and once travelled the world as a photojournalist.

Born in the United States, she lived and worked in China for over 13 years before settling in the British countryside with her husband and their dog, three cats, 6 chickens and 60,000 bees. She champions the balance of playfulness and precision as the best way forward in life, and never underestimates how sitting, breathing, and conscious movement grant the clearest and most compassionate perspective on the joyful yet mysterious, messy, and unpredictable job of being human.

For more about Mimi, visit her website at www.mkdeemer.com.

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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.

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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.

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Venerable Canda

Ven. Canda began meditating in 1996 with SN Goenka and practiced intensively in India for many years. In 2006 she was ordained in Burma as a Buddhist nun and in 2012 went to Australia to learn under the guidance of Ajahn Brahm and receive full (bhikkhuni) ordination.
 
Ven Canda’s teachings emphasise kindness and letting go as a way to deepen samadhi (stillness) and insight. Her style is warm, engaging and richly informed by the pragmatism and compassion of the early Buddhist texts.
 
In 2016 Ven Canda founded Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project with her Teacher Ajahn Brahm – a UK charity aimed at establishing the first “Forest Monastery” in the UK where women can take full ordination. You can read more about this worthy community project here: www.anukampaproject.org.
 

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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 26-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 as well as a regular teacher for the Mindful Recovery Foundation.

 

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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.

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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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