Since its inception in 2016, Buddhist Insights has invited monastics of all different traditions to teach at our retreats at the Rockaway Summer House first, and at Empty Cloud since 2019. We have also collaborated with other like-minded practitioners from different faiths and art disciplines.
Robina Courtin is a Buddhist nun in the Tibetan Buddhist Gelugpa tradition and lineage of Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Ordained since the late 1970s, Ven. Robina has worked full time since then for FPMT. Over the years she has served as editorial director of Wisdom Publications, editor of Mandala Magazine, executive director of Liberation Prison Project, and as a touring teacher of Buddhism. Her life and work with prisoners have been featured in the documentary films Chasing Buddha and Key to Freedom. https://robinacourtin.com/
Ven. Dr. Pannavati, a former Christian pastor, is an African-American nun ordained in both Theravada and Chan Buddhism. A disciple of Great Master Kuang Seng, Rinpoche Zhaxi Zhouma, and Roshi Bernie Glassman, she has been a long-term advocate of women’s rights, humanitarian aid, and social equality. Her teachings emphasize the importance of both contemplative practice and compassionate action. She conducts retreats nationally at over 50 centers each year. http://heartwoodrefuge.org/
Ajahn Brahm is the popular Buddhist teacher to a growing international audience of people keen to learn meditation and develop a deeper spiritual understanding. He is also the founding father of an emergent Australian forest tradition of Buddhist monasticism focused on being true to the original roots of the Buddha’s Teaching of Dhamma and Vinaya. www.bswa.org
Rev. Myo Denis Lahey
Rev. Myo Denis Lahey is the Abbot at Issan-ji (Hartford Street Zen Center) as well as Practice Leader at Valley Streams Zen Sangha in Sacramento, California, and has previously served as head of practice (Tanto) at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. A Dharma heir of Tenshin Reb Anderson, he serves as Treasurer for the Soto Zen Buddhist Association of North America (SZBA) and is a member of the Association for Soto Zen Buddhism of Japan (ASZB). Raised in an observant Roman Catholic home, Myo was drawn to religion and spirituality at an early age and found Zen Buddhism in his teens. He began sitting in 1969 and practiced with many San Francisco Zen Center practitioners and teachers, including Dainin Katigiri-roshi, Kobun Chino-sensei, Yoshimura-sensei, and Issan Dorsey. Myo studied Sanskrit at UC Berkeley for ten years. https://hszc.org
Ajahn Punnadhammo has been studying and practicing Buddhism since 1979 and was ordained in Thailand in the forest tradition of Ajahn Chah (novice ordination Feb. 1991, higher ordination Feb. 1992). Between 1990 and 1995 he was based at Wat Pah Nanachat, Thailand. Punnadhammo is a Canadian, born Michael Dominskyj in Toronto in 1955. He began studying the Dhamma under Kema Ananda, the founder and first teacher at the Arrow River Center. https://arrowriver.ca
Brother Phap Hai
Australian by birth, Brother Phap Hai or Dharma Ocean, was ordained as a monk in 1997 and a Dharma teacher in January 2003 by Thich Nhat Hanh. He is the abbott at Deer Park Monastery in Southern California and is an active Dharma teacher who leads retreats, days of mindfulness and talks throughout the western United States, Australia, South America and Asia. He is the author of the book, Nothing To It: Ten Ways to Be at Home with Yourself, published by Parallax Press in Fall 2015. Brother Phap Hai has been the co-chair of the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation since 2011 and feels very moved to have the opportunity to be in contact with so many friends with such depth of practice and generosity. Quote by Thich Nhat Hanh that inspires him: “There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.”
Venerable Yuttadhammo (formerly Noah Greenspoon) is a Canadian-born Theravada Buddhist monk, ordained in 2001 under the guidance of Venerable Ajaan Tong Sirimangalo of Chiang Mai, Thailand. http://sirimangalo.org
Ayya Dhammadīpā has been practicing Buddhism since 1987. She became a resident at Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery in 2017, and was recently ordained a full bhikkhuni in the Theravada Forest Tradition in the West. Prior to taking up Theravada practice, Ayya was ordained a nun in the Soto Zen tradition in 2007, after 20 years of lay Zen practice. She is a Dharma Heir in the Suzuki Roshi lineage. Her shift to the Theravada tradition is a natural extension of her longtime metta practice and study of the suttas. https://dhamma-dipa.com
Akāliko Bhikkhu is an Australian monk in the Theravada forest tradition. Bhante Akāliko first encountered Buddhism as a teenager and spent over twenty years practising in different traditions both in Australia and overseas, before taking full ordination at Bodhinyana Monastery with Ajahn Brahm as his preceptor. He is the founder of Rainbodhi LGBTQIA+ Buddhist Community and a Buddhist chaplain at Western Sydney University. He currently resides with his long-term teacher, Bhante Sujato, at Lokanta Vihara (the Monastery at the End of the World) in Sydney, Australia.
Venerable Chang-Hwa is the Director of Chan Meditation Center. After completing monastic education at Dharma Drum Sangha University in Taiwan and receiving full ordination in 2005, Venerable served as Director of the Department of International Relations and Development in DDM Taiwan. In addition to her current position as Director, Ven. Chang-Hwa also supervises DDM Dharmapala Groups in North America, gives public lectures and leads meditation programs. Venerable Chang-Hwa holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Venerable is fluent in Mandarin, Taiwanese, and English. https://www.chancenter.org/en/
Venerable Kottawe Nanda, the resident monk of the Long Island Buddhist Meditation center was born in Sri Lanka in 1966. Ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1977 he received his higher ordination in 1985. Ven. Nanda had his primary education at the Sri Nanananda Vanavasa Buddhist Institute, Waturuwila, Sri Lanka from 1977 to 1983 under the most Venerable Waturuwila Sri Ñanananda, the Maha Nayake Thero of the Syamopali Vanavasa Nikaya (Forest-dwelling-sect). He earned a Tripitakavedi Degree (Bachelor of Tripitaka) at the Bhikkhu University of Anuradhapura in 1989 and a Master’s degree in Buddhist Philosophy from the University of Kelaniya in 1991. A teacher of Buddha Dhamma, he is well versed in meditation techniques and practices. https://www.libmc.org
Ven Canda began meditating in 1996 in the Goenka tradition. She spent the next 7 years meditating and giving voluntary service on numerous retreats throughout India, Nepal and Europe. In 2006, after graduating in Ayurvedic medicine, she ordained with Sayadaw U Pannyajota at Thephyu Tawya monastery, Burma and trained there for the next four years. In 2010 she contacted the teachings of Ajahn Brahm, which compelled her to leave Burma. She has been living in Australia since 2012 where she joined the nuns community of Dhammasara monastery, Perth. Ven Canda took Bhikkhuni ordination in 2014, and has recently been asked by her teacher Ajahn Brahm to establish a monastery for nuns in the UK. Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project was subsequently developed for this purpose (www.anukampaproject.org).
Rev. Doyeon Park
Inspired by the Buddhist idea of inner freedom and happiness, Rev. Doyeon Park started her monastic training in 1998. She graduated from Dept. of Won Buddhism, Won Kwang University, Iksan, Korea and earned M.A. of Won Buddhist Studies from Won Institute of Graduate Studies, Glenside, Pennsylvania, USA. She received full ordination in 2007. She has served as minister of the Manhattan Won Buddhist temple since 2008, and is the Buddhist Religious Life Adviser at Columbia University and the Buddhist chaplain at New York University.
Ven. Bhikkhu Ananda is the General Secretary of Maha Bodhi Society, Bangalore and its branches. In 1987 he became secretary of Maha Bodhi Society and under the compassionate guidance of Ven. Acharya Buddharakkhita became involved in its many programs, both spiritual and social. He is one of the main teachers at the Mahabodhi Monastic Institute, the largest Theravada monastic school in India. He conducts Sutta, Pali and Abhidhamma classes, gives discourses and leads meditation retreats in India and abroad. http://www.mahabodhi.info
Bhante Sujato is a senior teaching monk in Australia and the region. He is currently focussing on leading the team for SuttaCentral, a website for early Buddhist texts, translations, and parallels. https://lokanta.github.io
Bhante Rahula was born in California in 1948. After finishing high school, he spent 3 years in the military; following his time in the army, he spent several years as a wandering hippie, traveling through Europe and Asia. He first encountered Buddhism in Nepal, where he took a month-long meditation course. Subsequently, he studied Yoga in India, and became ordained as a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka in 1975. He spent a further 11 years studying Dhamma and practicing solitary meditation in Sri Lanka before moving to West Virginia in 1986 to become the vice-abbot of Bhāvanā Society. Since 2010 he has been traveling around the globe on an indefinite teaching tour.
He is the author of several books, including his autobiographies “One Night’s Shelter” and “Traversing the Great Himalayas,” and a number of books on meditation and Dhamma. such as “The Way to Peace and Happiness” and “Breaking Through the Self Delusion.” https://www.lionwisdom.org/our-founders/
Hai-An (Sister Ocean) is a fully ordained Buddhist monastic based in Toronto, Ontario. She received her novice ordination from Thich Nhat Hanh 2012 and full ordination in 2016, training at Plum Village Monastery in France and Blue Cliff Monastery in New York State. She left her monastery in 2018 and now carries the teachings of Plum Village while blending them with the Theravada tradition, mystical Christianity, and social justice teachings. She loves supporting people in practical and creative ways to develop mindfulness, compassion, and joy in daily life. She is a member of Dharma Pathways, connecting monastics to lay communities, and of the ARISE Sangha, dedicated to bringing racial justice to the forefront of the Plum Village community. www.dharmapathways.org
Ven. Sangye Khadro
Ven. Sangye Khadro has taught several retreats and courses at Sravasti Abbey.Â California-born, Ven. Sangye Khadro ordained as a Buddhist nun atÂ Kopan MonasteryÂ Â in 1974, and isÂ a longtime friend and colleague of Abbey founder Ven. Thubten Chodron.Â Ven. Sangye Khadro took the full (bhikshuni) ordination in 1988. While studying at Nalanda Monastery in France in the 1980s, she helped to start the Dorje Pamo Nunnery, along with Ven. Chodron.Â Ven. Sangye Khadro has studied Buddhism with many great masters includingÂ Â Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Lama Yeshe, His Holiness theÂ Dalai Lama, Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, and KhensurÂ Jampa Tegchok.Â She began teaching in 1979 and was a resident teacherÂ atÂ Amitabha Buddhist CentreÂ in Singapore for 11 years.Â She followed the Masters Program at Â Lama Tsong Khapa Institute in Italy from 2008 â€“ 2013, and was resident teacher at the FPMT center in Denmark from 2016-2017.Â Ven. Sangye Khadro has authored severalÂ books, including the best-selling,Â How to Meditate,Â now in its 17th printing, which has been translated into thirteen languages.
Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi, originally from New York City, has been a Buddhist monk since 1972. He was the editor for the Buddhist Publication Society in Sri Lanka, from 1984 until 2002. He has edited Ven. Nanamoli’s translation of the Majjhima Nikaya (Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha), translated the Samyutta Nikaya (Connected Discourses of the Buddha), and compiled an anthology from the Pali Canon (In the Buddha’s Words). He now resides at Chuang Yen Monastery and teaches there and at Bodhi Monastery in Lafayette, New Jersey. http://baus.org/
Venerable Chang-Zhai is a Buddhist nun of the Mahayana Chan tradition (Taiwanese Zen). She entered the Dharma Drum Sangha University (DDSU) in 2008, mainly studying under the Chan Practice program. In 2010, Venerable received full ordination. In 2012, after completing a 4-year monastic education at DDSUniversity in Taiwan, she returned to the U.S. and has served as a member of the Chan Meditation Center in New York until now. Venerable speaks both Mandarin and English. www.chancenter.org
Rev. Kaizen Bob Gunn
Rev. Kaizen Robert Gunn, Ph.D., is Director of Zen at United Church, an affiliate sitting group of the Village Zendo of New York City. He began studying Zen Buddhism over sixteen years ago under Roshi John Daido Loori, and has been studying with Roshi Enkyo O’Hara for the past six years. His middle name, “Kaizen” is the dharma name given by Roshi Enkyo, and means “unfolding Zen.” He has been active in Buddhist/Christian dialogue through the Society for Buddhist/Christian Studies. Most recently he gave a paper at the Second Kyoto Conference on Buddhism and Psychotherapy in Japan, on “Two Arrows Meeting in Mid-Air: Self and No Self in Buddhism and Psychotherapy.” He is the author of Journeys into Emptiness: Dogen, Merton and Jung and the Quest for Transformation. Paulist Press: 2000. He is a psychotherapist with a private practice of psychotherapy in Manhattan, and is a lecturer in Psychiatry and Religion at Union Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and is currently pastor of the United Church of Rockville Centre, Long Island. He has served churches in Maine and Massachusetts as well as New York.
Ayya Sudhamma Bhikkhuni is abbess of Charlotte Buddhist Vihara. The first American woman ordained in Sri Lanka, Ayya Sudhamma has been recognized at the United Nations in Bangkok as an “Outstanding Woman in Buddhism.” Born in Charlotte, NC, in 1963, Ayya Sudhamma graduated from New York University’s School of Law and subsequently practiced law in San Francisco. In 1999, Ayya Sudhamma became a sāmaṇerī or female Buddhist novice at the Bhavana Society under the tutelage of Henepola Gunaratana. In early 2003, she traveled to South Asia, where she became the first American-born woman to gain bhikkhuni ordination in the Theravada school in Sri Lanka. In July 2003, she returned to the United States at the invitation of the Carolina Buddhist Vihara in Greenville, South Carolina, as a resident and teacher. In 2013, after spending a year at Santi Forest Monastery she returned to her birth town of Charlotte, North Carolina for the founding of the Charlotte Buddhist Vihara, where she resides as Abbess and Bhikkhuni. https://www.charlottebuddhistvihara.org
Abbess of Vajra Dakini Nunnery, Khenmo Konchog Nyima Drolma has studied with the foremost spiritual teachers of our time including H.H. Dalai Lama, H.H. Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche (the head of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage) and Ani Pema Chodron. After her novice ordination by Drikung Kyabgon in 1997, she received training at Gampo Abbey guided by Ven. Pema Chödrön, and attended their shedra (philosophy College). In 2002 she took full ordination as a Buddhist nun in Taiwan. In 2004 she was installed as a Khenmo (Abbot) in the Drikung lineage, becoming the first woman and first westerner in her lineage to officially hold this responsibility. She teaches the Dharma internationally. Her current responsibilities, in addition to Vajra Dakini Nunnery, include the Tibetan/Himalayan Nuns Leadership Program and she chairs the international committee for the 2020 Shravasti Rains Retreat. https://vajradakininunnery.org
Bhante Sarananda is a monk of Sri Lankan heritage and the Theravada tradition. Bhante is originally from Kandy and has been ordained under the Mahamevnawa school in Sri Lanka. Bhante is open to all questions about Buddhism and all perspectives that are interested in learning the Dharma to enter the path of the wise. https://mahamevnawanj.org/
Bhikkhu Jayasāra (“Bhante J”) is an American born Buddhist monastic who currently resides at Bhavana Society of West Virginia. He was born in 1978 and raised Catholic. He came to Buddhism in his late 20s and officially took refuge and precepts to become a practicing Buddhist lay disciple on Vesak in 2008. In 2011 he took the Eight Lifetime Precepts with Bhante Gunaratana and was given the name Jayantha. By this point the practice had instilled in him a desire to become a monastic. Bhante J began to regularly attend retreats and weekend visits to Bhavana and learned all he could about the monastic life. He began living at Bhavana Society in September 2014, became an Anagarika (postulant) in March 2015, became a Sāmaṇera (novice monk) in October of 2015, and a Bhikkhu (fully ordained monk) in October 2016.
Ayya Yeshe Chodron ordained as a nun in 2001 at the age of 23. She discovered Buddhism whilst travelling in Nepal and India on a search for the meaning of life. Coming back to her homeland Australia after a year of study and practice in monasteries, she helped run a Buddhist Centre in Sydney and trained with her teacher Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe for five years whilst working as well. Coming to India in 2004, Venerable Yeshe studied for two years in a monastery, but felt a need to make Buddhism accessable and socially engaged, whilst still trying to maintain her contemplative way of life. She met Indian Buddhists in 2005 and has been working with them ever since. She founded Bodhicitta Vihara, a charity that helps the slum-people in Nagpur, India. Her teachers are Sakya Trizen (Head of the Tibetan Sakyapa-school) and Ven Thich Nhat Hanh, the nobel peace prize poet and peace activist. https://ayyayeshe.wordpress.com