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Gaia House Teachers

Meet the Retreat Teachers:Gaia House teachers 2009

Gaia House Teacher Council:

Gaia House Meditation teachers lead retreats here and also provide guidance for the organisation in the form of a Teacher Council.

Caroline JonesJenny WilksRob Burbea
Catherine McGeeKirsten KratzStephen Batchelor
Christina FeldmanMartine BatchelorYanai Postelnik

Gaia House Visiting Teachers:

Visiting teachers come from all over the world to lead retreats at Gaia House, offering a range of Buddhist Dharma teachings.  Below are the visiting teachers who will be helping to deliver our 2018 programme.
Talks from Gaia House teachers can be heard on Dharma Seed. (Please try the ‘Talks on Dharma Seed’ link if a talk doesn’t play on this page.)

Ajahn BrahmHelen StephensonMartin Aylward
Ajahn JutindharoJake DartingtonMary Aubry
Alan LewisJanet SurreyNorman Feldman
Anushka FernandopulleJaya Karen RudgardSuvaco
Bhante BodhidhammaJohn PeacockThanissara
Brad RichecoeurLama Rod OwensVen Canda
Carl FooksLaura Bridgman (Kovida)Vici Williams
Chris CullenLeela SartiZohar Lavie
Gail AylwardLeigh Brasington
Gregory KramerLloyd Burton

AJAHN BRAHM was born in London in 1951 and earned a degree in Theoretical Physics from Cambridge University. He became a monk in 1974 under Ajahn Chah and is today the abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery near Perth and a revered spiritual guide, regularly attracting thousands to his inventive and insightful talks. Ajahn Brahm has also been a pioneer for the full bhikkhuni ordination of women in the Theravada tradition, and is working with Ven. Canda to develop a Bhikkhuni Monastery in England.

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AJAHN JUTINDHARO Ajahn Jutindharo began his meditation practice in 1982 and since 1989 has been a monk in the Thai forest lineage of Ajhan Chah and Ajahn Sumedho, living primarily in the UK. For the last ten years he has been the Abbot at Hartridge Monastery in Devon.

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ALAN LEWIS has been engaging in spiritual inquiry and meditation practice since the 1970s. He spent 17 years as a Theravadin Buddhist monk and disrobed in December 2000. He now runs an IT business in Devon with his wife Vanessa, with whom he built and maintains the Gaia House website and Zen Moments.org.

Listen to one of Alan Lewis's Talks given at Gaia House on 12.09.2012: It's OK To Be Who You Are (Duration 40:10)

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ANUSHKA FERNANDOPULLE has trained in Buddhist meditation for over 25 years, lives in San Francisco and teaches meditation around the globe. Her teaching is informed by nature, creative arts, political engagement, and modern urban life. She holds a BA from Harvard and MBA from Yale. For more info visit: Anushkaf.org

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BHANTE BODHIDHAMMA started training in Soto Zen in 1977, then in the Mahasi Theravada Tradition with Sayadaws U Rewata Dhamma, U Janaka and U Pandita. In 1986 he ordained, subsequently spending eight years at Kanduboda Mahasi Meditation Centre in Sri Lanka. He has been teaching in England, Ireland and internationally since 1998. From 2001- 2005, he was the Resident Teacher at Gaia House. He founded the Satipanya Buddhist Retreat in Wales, a meditation centre devoted to the Mahasi tradition.

Listen to one of Bhante Bodhidhamma's Talks: Mae Chee Kaew: Awakened! (Duration 41:40)
More talks on Dharma Seed. and Satipanya.

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BRAD RICHECOEUR has been practising Insight Meditation and Qigong for over 20 years. He is a senior student of Master Zhixing Wang, and brings a meditative inquiry into the nature of health, healing and embodied presence. He is the co-founder of Qigong Southwest and is also a Craniosacral Therapist and a tutor on the Craniosacral Therapy training at the Karuna Institute, Devon, UK.

Listen to one of Brad Richecoeur's Talks given at Gaia House on 13.12.2015: Ignition of the Three Energy Centres (Duration 58:27)

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Carl FooksCARL FOOKS has been practising Buddhism since the late 1980's, starting with Rinzai Zen before settling on the Mahasi tradition in 2007, and has been under the guidance of Bhante Bodhidhamma since 2010. He teaches a weekly group in London and retreats at Satipanya. He has an MA in Buddhist Studies.

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CAROLINE JONES has been practising meditation since 1989. She started teaching in 2006, and now teaches at Gaia House and internationally. She also spends time as a resident teacher at Gaia House. Caroline will be resident teacher at the Forest Refuge, Barre, Massachusetts. from December 2015.

Listen to one of Caroline Jones's Talks given at Gaia House on 18.12.2013: The Gifts of Practice (Duration 50:22)

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CATHERINE McGEE has been teaching Insight Meditation at Gaia House and internationally since 1997. Her teaching emphasises embodiment and working with whatever hinders us from living our deepest knowing in the world. She is an advisor to One Earth Sangha and a long term student of the Diamond Approach.

Listen to one of Catherine McGee's Talks given at Gaia House on 09.08.2010: Intimacy and Non Attachment (Duration 51:37)

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CHRIS CULLEN has practised and studied the Buddha's teachings since 1994 and has been teaching insight meditation retreats since 2010. He also teaches for the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and has a psychotherapy practice in Oxford.

Listen to one of Chris Cullen's Talks given at Insight Meditation Society Retreat Center on 29.01.2015: Compassion (Duration 63:02)

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CHRISTINA FELDMAN is a co-founder of Gaia House. She has been leading Insight Meditation retreats worldwide since 1976. She is a Guiding Teacher of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She is the author of a number of books including Woman Awake, Way of Meditation, and co-author of Soul Food. Recent books include Silence and The Buddhist Path to Simplicity.

Listen to one of Christina Feldman's Talks given at Gaia House on 24.09.2013: Swimming Against the Tide (Duration 61:35)

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GAIL AYLWARD attended her first retreat in Bodh Gaya in 1994. Since then she has lived and worked continuously in meditation centres, as well as bringing up her 2 children. In 2005 Gail became co-founder and director of Moulin de Chaves Meditation Centre in S.W. France. Alongside assisting Martin Aylward on some retreats, Gail is a qualified yoga teacher, offering yoga classes at Le Moulin and locally, emphasizing embodied awareness. She has been a student of the Diamond Approach since 2005.

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GREGORY KRAMER has been teaching meditation since 1980. He developed the practice of Insight Dialogue and is the Founder and Guiding Teacher of Metta Programs, offering retreats worldwide. He is author of several books including Insight Dialogue - The Interpersonal Path to Freedom and Dharma Contemplation: Meditating Together with Wisdom Texts.

Listen to one of Gregory Kramer's Talks given at Gaia House on 04.10.2010: Retreat is Part of Life: What Now? (42:02)

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HELEN STEPHENSON has practised Hatha Yoga and Insight Meditation since 1979. Initially she was taught by the late Robert van Heeckeren and in 1981 she began to study classical yoga with the Indian Yogateacher Sri. S. Rajagopalan. Her movement work is influenced by the work of the late Moshe Feldenkrais "awareness through movement" and her training in body centred therapy with the late Ron Kurtz. Having lived most of her life in a communal setting she and her family now share a home with another family in Newport Pagnell.

Listen to one of Helen Stephenson's Talks given at Gaia House on 01.05.2012: The Texture of Being (Duration 37:59)

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JAKE DARTINGTON has practised Buddhist meditation since 1995. After training as a Dharma teacher with Christina Feldman, he started teaching in 2007. He has a background in Philosophy and Buddhist Studies and has trained as a teacher of MBSR/MBCT. Jake lives in Nottingham where he teaches mindfulness and Insight Meditation.

Listen to one of Jake Dartington's Talks given at Gaia House on 01.01.2016: Four Noble Truths (Duration 53:55)

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JANET SURREYJANET SURREY is an Insight Dialogue Teacher. She teaches Insight Dialogue retreats worldwide and leads a monthly practice group in the Boston area. Her primary meditation teacher was Vimala Thakar, and she has studied with many Vipassana teachers for over 25 years and has trained with Gregory Kramer since 2008. She is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader training at Spirit Rock. Jan is a practicing clinical psychologist and founding scholar of the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at the Wellesley Centers for Women. She is on the faculty and board of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. She is the author of recently published book, The Buddha’s Wife: The Path of Awakening Together.

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JAYA KAREN RUDGARD 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.

Listen to one of Jaya Karen Rudgard's Talks at Spirit Rock Meditation Center on 24.11.2015: Seeing Through the Net of Illusion (Duration 47:55)

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JENNY WILKS has practised in various Buddhist traditions since the late 1980s, and has an MA in Indian Religions. She has taught for several years at Gaia House, the Barn Retreat near Totnes in Devon UK, and local meditation classes. She trained in clinical psychology and works as an MBCT (Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) therapist and trainer at Exeter University.

Listen to one of Jenny Wilks' Talks at Gaia House on 31.12.2016: The Five Recollections (Duration 52:50)

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JOHN PEACOCK is both an academic and a Buddhist practitioner of nearly forty years. He was initially trained in the Tibetan Gelugpa tradition in India and subsequently spent time in Sri Lanka studying Theravada. He has lectured in Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol, and at present he is Associate Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and teaches on the Master of Studies programme in MBCT (Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) at Oxford University. He has been teaching meditation for over twenty five years and is a Gaia House guiding teacher.

Listen to one of John Peacock's Talks given at Gaia House on 12.09.2015: The Skill of Remembering(61:58)

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KIRSTEN KRATZ has practised Buddhist meditation in Asia and the West since 1993. She started teaching in 2006. One of her particular passions is exploring how wisdom teachings can foster appropriate responses to the challenges of our time; she supports those on personal retreat in Gaia House and is co-initiator of the Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement: DANCE.

Listen to one of Kirsten Kratz's Talks given at Gaia House on 23.03.2013: Calm and Kindness (Duration 38:57)

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LAMA ROD OWENSLAMA ROD OWENS a formally authorised teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He is a visiting teacher at Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme), a contributing teacher with Natural Dharma Fellowship, Daishin Zen Buddhist Temple and the Brooklyn Zen Center. Lama is also a guest faculty member at the Harvard School of Education’s programme Mindfulness for Educators. He completed his graduate studies at Harvard Divinity School and is the co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation.

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LAURA BRIDGMAN began her Dhamma practice in her early teens, and eventually ordained as a nun with Ajahn Sumedho in 1995. She was resident at Amaravati and Chithurst monasteries for eighteen years until moving out to live as a solitary nun in 2010. She has spent extended periods of time with the Burmese teacher Sayadaw U Tejaniya. In 2015 Laura left the monastic tradition to pursue the Diamond Heart (Ridhwan) spiritual path alongside her Vipassana practice. There is much over-lap as it incorporates Buddhist principles and practices.

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LEELA SARTI has been a student of the Buddha's teachings and practices since she was 16 years old. She lives with her family in Sweden and in addition to teaching Insight Meditation retreats internationally works individually with students in her psychotherapy practice in Stockholm. She is a long term student of the Diamond Approach and part of a teacher training program in that tradition.

Listen to one of Leela Sarti's Talks at Gaia House. 19.10.2015: Bowing to Instinct and Embracing Desire (Duration 51:54)

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LEIGH BRASINGTON has been practising 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 own in 1997. He teaches in Europe and North America and is the author of the book Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas. Find more information about Leigh’s teaching and schedule at leighb.com

Listen to one of Leigh Brasington's Talks given at Gaia House on 19.10.2013: Nibbana (and Q&A) (Duration 69:11)

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LLOYD BURTON discovered the power of Vipassana and Metta practices to free him from war-related post-traumatic stress in 1975; and began Dharma teaching in 1997. In 1985 he incorporated the organisation that founded Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Marin County, California. In 2000 he graduated with the charter class of SRMC’s Community Dharma Leader training program. He serves as resident guiding teacher for the Insight Meditation Community of Denver, Colorado. Lloyd received training in Jhana meditation practice from Leigh Brasington and Sister Dipankara (formerly of Pa Auk Monastery); and has been either assisting or co-teaching Jhana retreats with Leigh since 2005. Since 2000, his principal Dharma teaching mentor has been Joseph Goldstein.

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MARTIN AYLWARD began practising Dharma aged 19, spending several years in Asian Buddhist monasteries and with Himalayan hermits. He is co-founder and resident teacher at Moulin de Chaves Retreat Centre in France, and of online Dharma platform WorldwideInsight.org. Martin directs teacher training at Mindfulness Training Institute and leads retreats worldwide. For information on his teachings and schedule visit MartinAylward.com

Listen to one of Martin Aylward's Talks at New York Insight from May 2017.

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Martine BatchelorMARTINE BATCHELOR lived in Korea as a Zen nun under the guidance of Master Kusan for ten years. She is the author of Meditation for Life, The Path of Compassion, Women in Korean Zen and Let Go: A Buddhist Guide to Breaking Free of Habits. She is a Gaia House guiding teacher. She teaches meditation retreats worldwide and lives in South West France. Her latest work is The Spirit of the Buddha.

Listen to one of Martine Batchelor's Talks at Gaia House on 23.07.2015: Instructions - What is This? Questioning. The Way of Korean Seon and it's connection with Vipassana (Duration 34:08)

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Mary-AubryMARY AUBRY has been practicing Vipassana meditation since 1993, and practising the Jhanas since 2010. She was authorized by Tara Brach in 2013 to teach Vipassana retreats and by Leigh Brasington in 2016 to teach the Jhanas. Additionally, she teaches retreats on the Brahma Viharas and the Heavenly Messengers.

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NORMAN FELDMAN has been practising Vipassana Meditation since 1971. Since 1986 he has been leading Insight Meditation retreats internationally, leading sutta study classes, and guiding pilgrimages to Buddhist sites in India. Norman is a co-founder of True North Insight Retreat Centre in Canada. Full bio at InsightMeditationRetreats.ca

Listen to one of Norman Feldman's Talks given at Gaia House on 25.3.2016: Baseball and Cricket (Duration 46:54)

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ROB BURBEA has been practising and studying the Dharma since 1985. He has been teaching since 2004 and is a Guiding Teacher of Freely Given Retreats. He is a co-founder of SanghaSeva, an organisation dedicated to exploring the Dharma through service work internationally, and also a co-initiator of DANCE (Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement). He is the author of Seeing That Frees: Meditations on Emptiness and Dependent Arising.

Listen to one of Rob Burbea's Talks at Gaia House on 31.12.2011: This Matter of Emptiness (Duration 50:33)

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STEPHEN BATCHELOR trained as a Buddhist monk in the Tibetan and Zen traditions. He is the author of several books, including the bestselling Buddhism without Beliefs. His most recent publications are After Buddhism , Secular Buddhism and What is this? Reflections from a Son retreat. A co-founder of Bodhi College, he teaches worldwide and lives in South West France.

Listen to one of Stephen Batchelor's Talks at Gaia House on 24.07.2015: Instructions - Behold the Ceasing (Duration 34:23)

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SUVACO is a former Buddhist monk and a passionate advocate for embodying life in all of its forms. He lives in the South West UK where he works as a psychotherapist and Tai Qi teacher.

Listen to one of Suvaco's Talks at Gaia House on 15.06.2015: Evening Talk from Touching the Earth Retreat (Duration 47:09)

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THANISSARA trained in the Burmese Vipassana School, and Forest School of Ajahn Chah. She has taught meditation retreats since the 1980's, and is co-founder of Dharmagiri Insight Centre, South Africa, and has an MA in Mindfulness Psychotherapy Practice. Thanissara is co-author of Listening to the Heart, and author of Time To Stand Up.

Listen to one of Thanissara's Talks at Dharmagiri, South Africa on 26.12.15: The Evolutionary Journey of Love (Duration 42:04)

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VEN. CANDA began meditating in 1996 with S.N. Goenka and spent the next 7 years deepening her practice in India. She ordained as a Buddhist nun in Burma in 2006 and subsequently took full bhikkhuni ordination with Ajahn Brahm. Her approach to meditation focuses on kindness and letting go as a means to deepening stillness and is increasingly informed by the Early Buddhist Suttas. Ven. Canda founded Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project with Ajahn Brahm - a UK charity aimed at establishing a nun's monastery in the UK.

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VICI WILLIAMS' meditation practice began in the 90’s under the guidance of teachers from the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition and more recently the Insight Tradition. She trained in Mindfulness based approaches in 2008 -2010 at the University of Exeter and since then has been teaching MBSR and MBCT courses in Cornwall and is a Teaching affiliate on the Mindfulness teacher training.

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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. Yanai is a Core Faculty member of Insight Meditation Society, Massachusetts, and he lives with his wife Catherine McGee in Devon, England.

Listen to one of Yanai Postelnik's Talks given at Gaia House on 02.09.2013: The Art of Unknowing (Duration 61:05)

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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.

Listen to one of Zohar Lavie's Talks from the Dharmalaya Silent retreat on 29.03.2017-: Emptiness, Self and Dependent Arising (Duration 50:33)

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