Begin your journey of self-transformation through meditation and the cultivation of mindfulness in the Vipassana tradition

Posted By admin on January 17th, 2010

The way of the Buddha is to know yourself; To know yourself is to forget yourself; To forget yourself is to be awakened by all things. Dogen – Thirteenth Century Zen Monk


Teachers & Lay Leaders

Taos Mountain Sangha,is a lay Sangha, but has hosted many senior teachers from across North America and abroad including Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg from Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and others as noted below.

Selah Chamberlain has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1969.  He practiced and taught Taijiquan (“Tai Chi”) for several years in the 1970s, and has practiced acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine since 1981. He has led beginning meditation classes at Taos Mountain Sangha and has occasionally facilitated evening meditation and discussion sessions. Selah serves as an advisor to the TMS Board of Directors.

Sean Murphy has been a practitioner of Zen meditation for over 25 years. He has taught meditation since 1998 to writers, artists, college students and many others. One Bird, One Stone, his nonfiction chronicle of Zen in America, won a 2014 International Book Award. He is also the Hemingway Award-winning author of three novels, including The Time of New Weather. He teaches meditation, creative writing and literature at the University of New Mexico-Taos. He is the co-founder and President of the nonprofit Sage Institute, which hosts a regular series of meditation workshops as well as an innovative Meditation Leader Training Program www.murphyzen.com

Marcia Rose lives in Taos, NM. She is the founder and Guiding Teacher of The Mountain Hermitage www.mountainhermitage.org and founding teacher of Taos Mountain Sangha, She has been studying and practicing the teachings of the Buddha with Asian and Western teachers since 1970, primarily in the Theravada tradition. Her own teaching reflects a clear influence from over 25 years of practice in the Burmese Mahasi Vipassana lineage as well as five-plus years of practice with Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw. Marcia has been authorized by Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw to teach Samatha/Jhana meditation in the Pa Auk Forest Monastery lineage. She has also studied and practiced in the Dzogchen Tibetan Buddhist tradition with Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche, and Tsoknyi Rinpoche. Marcia was Resident Teacher for staff at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, MA from 1991-1995. She continues to teach at IMS and the Forest Refuge (the long-term practice center for experienced students on the IMS campus) as a visiting teacher. Marcia also teaches Vipassana, Brahma Vihara, Concentration, and Creative Process retreats in other U.S. and international venues, and is dedicated to offering these ancient and timeless teachings in ways that make them accessible and authentic for contemporary culture.

Jean Smith has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1986 and has published nine books on Buddhism–including The Beginner’s Guide to Insight Meditation (with Arinna Weisman); Now! The Art of Being Truly Present; Life Is Spiritual Practice (the Paramis); as well as a novel, Himalayan Passage. Jean is a member of Taos Mountain Sangha, where she is a regular guest teacher, and she serves on the board of The Mountain Hermitage.

Julie Tato, a regular guest speaker at Taos Mountain Sangha, has practiced meditation since 1988, primarily Vipassana, with Sharon Salzberg, Ven. Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and many others. An instructor of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, she has a particular interest in Lovingkindness meditation and in practice in daily life.Julie teaches meditation with youth and with those recovering from loss. She has lived, worked, & practiced in spiritual community, including many years at the Lama Foundation near Taos and the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts. Julie also works locally supporting people with disabilities and their families.

James Baraz is a founding member of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California, where he started the Community Dharma Leaders program, the Spirit Rock Family and Teens program and the Kalyana Mitta (Spiritual Friends) Network.  He has been teaching the Awakening Joy course since 2003 and is co-author with Shoshana Alexander of  Awakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness (Bantam), 2010. James leads classes and retreats in the US and abroad and lives with his wife, Jane, in Berkeley, California.

Stephen Batchelor, a contemporary Buddhist teacher, writer and photographer is best known for his secular or agnostic approach to Buddhism. He was a monk for ten years, first in the Tibetan Gelugpa tradition, and then in Korean Zen. Later, he co-founded the Sharpham College for Buddhist Studies and contemporary Enquiry. He has worked as Buddhist Chaplain in a prison, as a guiding teacher at Gaia House meditation center in Devon, England, and as contributing editor of Tricycle. His most recent publications include, Living with the Devil: a Meditation on Good and Evil, Buddhism Without Beliefs, Verses from the Center: A Buddhist Vision of the Sublime, The Awakening of the West: The Encounter of Buddhism and Western Culture, and The Faith to Doubt: Glimpses of Buddhist Uncertainty.

Leigh Brasington has been practicing since 1985 and is the senior American student of the late Venerable Ayya Khema. She confirmed Leigh’s practice and requested that he begin teaching. Leigh assisted Venerable Ayya Khema starting in 1994 and began teaching retreats in 1997. Since the death of the Venerable Ayya Khema, Leigh is the only person authorized by her who is currently teaching the Jhanas (Meditative Absorptions) in North America.  “Don’t take yourself so seriously – you’ll never get out of this alive.” Leigh Brasington Richard Taido Christofferson, Sensei, started his Zen practice with Eido Roshi in New York City in 1983. In 1988, he met Genpo Roshi and has studied with him ever since. He moved to Salt Lake City in 1988 to live and practice at Kanzeon Zen Center there and received Jukai, lay ordination, in 1989. He received Shukke Tokudo, monk ordination, in 1994, and was Shuso, head monk, in the fall of 1998. He received Hoshi, permission to begin teaching under the supervision of Genpo Roshi in 2003. He then received Denkai, in 2006. He received Dharma Transmission, Shiho, on May 12, 2007, and is now an assistant teacher at Kanzeon Zen Center, and serves as Godo, or head of training.

Susie Harrington has been meditating since 1989, and been engaged in Insight meditation practice since 1995. Teaching since 2005 with the guidance of her teachers – Guy Armstrong and Jack Kornfield: she has also been influenced by Advaita Vedanta and Dzochen teachers. She is a graduate of Hakomi Therapy (a somatic psychotherapy modality). She has been an outdoor professional for over 30 years, including years as a river guide, mountaineering guide, and backcountry ranger.  She leads wilderness based vipassana retreats throughout the year.  For schedule of her retreats see: DesertDharma.org

Eric Kolvig, Ph.D., has been teaching Vipassana (insight meditation) since 1985 and has a strong interest in helping build spiritual community in democratic, non-authoritarian ways. He travels throughout the United States to lead meditation retreats, including those specifically for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. His primary teachers are Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg and Michele McDonald. He lives in a spiritual community in Embudo, New Mexico.

Abhaya Sandra Kopha has practiced Buddhist Meditation for more than 22 years.  She is a Hospice Chaplain and a graduate of the Community Dharma Leaders Program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California. She has participated with Spirit Rock’s Dharma Diversity group, taught meditation classes for women at Spirit Rock as well LGBT’s and women’s groups in San Francisco, and open meditation classes in Lowell, MA and New Mexico. Abhaya continues teaching and support for all the groups.

Brian Lesage has practiced Buddhist meditation for twenty years. He has studied in the Zen, Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism. He was ordained in the Rinzai Zen tradition in 1996 and underwent intensive training for four years. His training in Vipassana Meditation includes doing extended meditation retreats in Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, and India as well as numerous retreats in the U.S.  He leads retreats and teaches meditation courses nationwide. Brian also has a private practice in Somatic Experiencing®, which is a naturalistic approach to healing trauma.

DaeJa Napier teaches Insight Meditation with a particular emphasis on the Brahma Viharas; lovingkindness; metta; compassion; karuna; joy; mudita; and equanimity; upekkha. She has studied and practiced in various Buddhist traditions for over thirty years and has been teaching for twenty. Her root teacher was the late Zen Master Seung Sahn. As a teacher, DaeJa views herself as a kalyana-mitta or spiritual friend. In recent years, her own practice has been enriched through intensive retreats under the guidance of Sayadaw U Janaka, Sayadaw U Pandita and Pa Auk Sayadaw. Dedicated to the balance of ancient Buddhist teachings and their applications in daily life, DaeJa maintained a formal practice while raising five children.

Wes “Scoop” Nisker, is a Buddhist meditation teacher, author, radio commentator and performer. His bestselling books include Essential Crazy Wisdom; The Big Bang, The Buddha, and the Baby Boom; and Buddha’s Nature. His latest book is Crazy Wisdom Saves the World Again! He is also the founder and co-editor of the Buddhist journal “Inquiring Mind.” For the past 15 years, Wes has been leading his own retreats and workshops in Buddhist insight meditation and philosophy at venues internationally.

For more information about Wes, visit www.wesnisker.com

Annie Nugent has studied and practiced in the Theravadan and Tibetan traditions since 1979 under the guidance of a range of teachers including Sayadaw U Pandita, Tulku Akong Rinpoche and various western teachers. Annie was the resident teacher for staff at The Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA from 1999-2003, and has since taught elsewhere, including the annual IMS three-month retreat and The Forest Refuge. Her teaching style aims to reveal how our lives are opportunities to develop a clear understanding of the Truth.

Mary Powell has been part of the Santa Fe Vipassana Sangha since its inception and has served on the board and as its president. She has been practicing since 1989 and regularly sits the six week retreat at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA. Currently she is enrolled in the two and half year Community Dharma Leadership training program at Spirit Rock in CA. As well as teaching the Introduction and Continuing Education courses at the Santa Fe Sangha, she also leads groups and teaches other courses in Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.

Valerie Roth started meditation practice while studying for Masters Degree in East/West Psychology 24 years ago and continued practice in Hawaii with Michele McDonald and Steve Smith for several years.  She has studied and practiced with Gina Sharpe in New York for 9 years.  During that time Valerie completed the Community Dharma Leader training at Spirit Rock.

She retired (from Physical Therapy) and moved to Albuquerque in 2007 and is active in the Albuquerque Vipassana Sangha where she teaches Insight Meditation classes for the Sangha.

Jean Admire began meditation practice in 2000 with dharma teachers Mary Grace Orr of the Santa Cruz Vipassana Sangha and Carolyn Atkinson who leads the Everyday Dharma Center. She currently studies with Susie Harrington as a participant in the Dharma in Daily Life program. She participates in Insight Dialogue activities based on the teachings of Gregory Kramer.

Meri Lehtinen has been practicing Vipassana meditation since the mid-70’s, initially at retreats in California, with Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, Stephen Levine and Christopher Reed, and after a hiatus from the mid-80’s to the mid-90’s while working in Finland, again in the US with Marcia Rose, Eric Kolvig and others in Taos.